20 March 2019 - Daily Current Affairs

20 March 2019 - Daily Current Affairs

20 March 2019 - Daily Current Affairs

1. Indian Army holds Military Exercise with 17 African Nations

  • The Indian Army began a 10-day military exercise with armed forces of 17 African nations ‘AFINDEX-19’ at Aundh Military Station, Pune (Maharashtra).
  • A flypast by a set of Advanced Light Helicopters and Cheetah Helicopter of the Indian Army carrying the flags of United Nations, India and the AFINDEX was the highlight of the opening ceremony.
  • The countries participating in the inaugural edition of the Africa-India Field Training Exercise (AFINDEX) include Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Benin and Botswana.
  • The exercise will focus on the exchange of best practices between the participating nations, team building and tactical level operations in the conduct of the UN-mandated tasks.

2. 'Vijit' becomes the first Indian Coast Guard ship to visit Indonesia

  • Indian Coast Guard Ship 'Vijit' has become the first-ever Coast Guard ship to visit Sabang, Indonesia.
  • This visit of the coast guard ship follows from the first-ever-visit of Naval Ship INS Sumitra to Sabang in July 2018.
  • Vijit's visit also highlights strengthening cooperation in the area of maritime security and safety between New Delhi and Jakarta.
  • The ship is commanded by Comdt T Ashish (0532-J), who is a long Navigation Direction officer.
  • ICGS Vijit is the 2nd in the series of 90 meters Offshore Patrol Vessels and was commissioned at Goa on 11 Dec 2010.

3. Pune-based firm developing software to operate the world’s largest ground telescope in Hawaii

  • A Pune-based IT firm is developing software for the world’s largest ground-based telescope ‘Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT)’, likely to come up on Mauna Kea in Hawaii.
  • The telescope is being constructed jointly by India, US, China, Japan and Canada and is likely to become operational in the mid-2020s.
  • India is building the telescope’s complex optical structure, called the Segment Support Assembly (SSA).
  • An eight-member team at the IT firm, Thought Works, is designing three different software - Common Software Services (CSS), Data Management Services (DMS) and Executive Software (ES).

 Important Dates

4. International Day of Happiness being observed today

  • The 'International Day of Happiness' is celebrated throughout the world on the 20th of March.
  • The day was founded by United Nations adviser ‘Jayme Illien’ on June 28, 2012.

National Affairs

5. GST council approves transition plan for new GST rates on residential properties

  • GST council approved a transition plan for new goods and services tax rates on residential properties under which developers of under-construction buildings may either opt to shift to the revised lower rates without input tax credit or stick to the previous rates.
  • For housing projects launched on or after the first of April this year, the developers will have to adhere to the new GST rates recommended by the council last month.
  • Developers can also opt for different GST options for separate buildings in a project depending on if construction started before or after 31st March 2019.
  • There will be no revenue loss to the government due to the new GST structure for under-construction housing.

6. Special Stamp on Ice Stupa released

  • Chief Postmaster General of Jammu & Kashmir Circle P.D.Tshering has released a special stamp on Ice Stupas in a program in Ganglas village.
  • This year twelve villages in Ladakh made Ice Stupas and during World Water Day celebration on 22nd March the best Ice Stupas will be awarded.
  • Stamps are to create awareness about depleting glaciers and effect on the ecology around the Himalayas.
  • Over 12 villages in Ladakh have built ice Stupas this year in various villages.


7. Famed Economist Alan Krueger passes away

  • Former White House economist and Princeton University professor Alan Krueger (58-years) passed away.
  • Mr. Krueger served as chief economist at the Department of Labor under President Bill Clinton and chair of the Council of Economic Advisers from 2011 to 2013 under former President Barack Obama.


8. Gauri Sawant becomes first transgender election ambassador

  • The Election Commission of India (ECI) has appointed transgender social activist Gauri Sawant, as one of the 12 election ambassadors from Maharashtra.
  • According to the Election Commission, Gauri Sawant's appointment would help in more people from this category getting registered during the final phase of voter’s enrolment.
  • Following the Supreme Court order, transgenders got the right to vote for the first time in 2014.
  • In 2019, 2,086 (2014-918 voters) were registered in this third category.
  • Gauri Sawant would visit every transgender and inspire them about the need for voting.
  • Election Commission has nominated the renowned sportsmen, film-makers, literary personalities of the respective constituencies as the goodwill ambassadors to induce more voters to vote in the Lok Sabha elections.

9. Kazakhstan President resigns after nearly 30 years in power

  • Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev (78-year) has announced his resignation after nearly 30 years in power.
  • Mr Nazarbayev had ruled the country since it emerged from the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.
  • The President of the Republic of Kazakhstan is the head of state, commander-in-chief and holder of the highest office within the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Honours & Awards

10. Indian writer Raghu Karnad wins Windham-Campbell Prize

  • An Indian journalist, author and chief of The Wire, ‘Raghu Karnad’ received the prestigious Windham-Campbell Literature prize (USD 165,000) for non-fiction category.
  • He is the son of Girish Karnad(actor, film director, Kannada writer).
  • He won the award for his debut book, ‘Farthest Field: An Indian story of Second World War’ published in the year 2015.
  • The award was given by Yale University in the United Kingdom to 8 recipients of English language writers from around the world.


11. PCB pays over Rs 11 cr as compensation to BCCI after losing a case in ICC

  • According to PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani, The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has paid 1.6 million US dollars to the Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) as compensation after losing a case in the ICC's Dispute Resolution Committee.
  • The PCB had filed a compensation case against the BCCI last year before the Committee for an amount of 70 million US dollars for not honouring an MoU signed between the two boards.
  • According to the MoU, India and Pakistan were supposed to play six bilateral series between 2015 and 2023, which the BCCI failed to honour.
  • The BCCI said they were unable to play against Pakistan as the Indian government did not give them permission.

12. India won 188 medals at Special Olympics World Games

  • India has won a total of 188 medals (50 gold, 63 silver and 75 bronze) at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
  • In the women’s singles event, Anu Chennekota’s won her maiden Special Olympics World Games gold in the 16-21 years’ division-3 category, another Indian Sabita Yadav won a singles gold in division-4 category and Reshma Shaikh claimed silver following a narrow loss to Sabita in the final.
  • In the men’s event, Karnataka’s Sandesh Krishna and Maharashtra’s Akash Tukuram clinched gold in men’s singles in different divisions of the 18-21 years’ category.
  • The 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games is a multi-sport event for athletes with intellectual disabilities in the tradition of the Special Olympics movement.
  • 7,500 athletes from 190 countries across the world are taking part in the 15th edition of the Games, which boasts of 24 Olympic-style sporting events.
  • Team India is the second largest contingent after the host UAE with 378 athletes.

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