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23rd January 2020 Current Affairs

Sri Lanka topped the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative list Current Affairs
  • Sri Lanka topped on breastfeeding rate according to a new survey conducted by the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi).
  • The survey was taken among 97 countries globally.

Report Highlights:

  • Sri Lanka's rank is based on its performance on ten indicators of policies and programs.
  • Sri Lanka has scored 91 out of 100 points
  • WBTi uses color-code to rank countries. Sri Lanka earned a green color code, which implies the best level of performance.
  • Sri Lanka has been making an effort to support and provide supportive measures for breastfeeding since 2005.
  • Sri Lanka has demonstrated a high level of commitment towards the health and nutrition of mothers and babies.

UK Parliament ratifies Brexit divorce law
  • After years of acrimonious debate, British lawmakers on Wednesday finally approved the terms of their country's historic departure from the European Union. MPs in the lower House of Commons had already backed the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which ratifies the divorce deal that Prime Minister Boris Johnson struck with Brussels last year.
  • But the unelected upper House of Lords made some changes this week, including on the rights of EU citizens and child refugees after Brexit.
  • In a series of votes on Wednesday, the Commons -- where Johnson's Conservatives have a large majority -- rejected all five amendments and sent the bill back to the Lords, who then reluctantly agreed to back down. The Bill is now awaiting royal assent by Queen Elizabeth II for its formal ratification, paving the way for Britain to leave the EU on January 31. The European Parliament still has to back the deal in a vote next week but its approval in London is a historic moment, as Britain edges closer to becoming the first country to leave the 28-member EU.

Sheikh Hasina launches e-passport facility in Bangladesh
  • Bangladesh launched the e-passport facility for its citizens. Inaugurating the facility of e-passport in Dhaka on 22 January, 2020, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that e-passport is a gift to the nation in the Mujib centenary year.
  • She said that it will brighten the image of the country in the digital world. Speaking about the steps taken to facilitate passport and visa services for the people Sheikh Hasina said that Bangladesh has setup 69 passports offices in 64 districts, 33 immigration check-posts and passports and visa wings at 75 missions abroad.
  • The e-passports will have an embedded chip in them which will contain the bio-metric data of the passport holder, photograph and other information contained in the passport. It will also include digital security features in it.
  • Bangladesh has faced the problem of counterfeit passports in the past. Introduction of the e-passport will help control the fake passports in the country. Government hopes that the e-passports will increase the acceptability of the Bangladeshi passports across the world and it will also ease immigration process globally.
  • Bangladesh is the first country in South Asia and 119th country in the wold to provide e-passport facility. According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), over 490 million e-Passports are in circulation in the world.


Srinagar entered the list of Open Defecation Free cities
  • Srinagar entered the list of Open Defecation Free (ODF) cities. The announcement was made by Mayor of Srinagar Junaid Azim Mattu.
  • Srinagar received its Swachhata Certificate from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India. Also, Srinagar has achieved the 45th rank in Cleanest Cities in the country.
  • The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs issues this certificate to cities in the country.

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan:

  • Swachh Bharat Abhiyan or the Clean India Mission was introduced as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on October 2 in 2014.
  • The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan meant to make India the Open Defecation Free (ODF) by 2019. It ensures to provide sanitation facilities to all.
  • The campaign was completed by 2 October 2019 to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

Maharashtra to make Marathi mandate in all schools in the state
  • The Maharashtra government is to make it mandatory to teach the Marathi language in all schools in the state irrespective of mediums of instructions.
  • The announcement was made by the Industries Minister Subhash Desai on 21 January during an interaction organized by the 'Mumbai Marathi Patrakar Sangh'.
  • The government will enact a law during the next Assembly session in February 2020. The draft bill in this connection is being prepared.

Marathi language-Mandatory:

  • The Maharashtra government is to frame a law in next month's Assembly session.
  • The state is to make it mandatory to teach the Marathi language from Class 1 to Class 10 in all schools irrespective of media of all instructions.
  • There are 25,000 English medium schools in the state and the number is increasing.
  • The government aims to carry out all its business in Marathi.
  • It also stated that files without notings in the state language will not be accepted.

Agriculture Ministry organized National consultative workshop
  • The Ministry for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare organized the first National consultative workshop on Strengthening Agri-Logistics in the e-National Agriculture Market (e-Nam) in New Delhi on 21 January 2020.
  • The workshop was inaugurated by the Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shri Narendra Singh Tomar

The workshop aimed to strengthen agriculture and the rural economy as it will strengthen India to face challenges victoriously. The workshop is in line with the Prime Minister's vision of doubling farmers' income by 2022.

  • The participants discussed the greatest challenges faced during providing farmers the correct price for their produce.
  • Discussion included introducing ways to strengthen the economy and infrastructure of rural areas so that every facility is available to villagers at their door-step.
  • The workshop shared the output of the PM-Kisan Samman Yojana, MaN-Dhan Yojana, PM-Fasal Bima Yojana, which showed good results.


  • Delegations including Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shri Purushottam Rupala and Agriculture Secretary Shri Sanjay Aggrawal were present in the workshop. The National Consultative Workshop witnessed the participation of more than 200 prominent professionals, educationists, practitioners of Agri-Logistics, Cleaning, quality management, Grading, productivity analysis, warehousing and transportation, and logistics start-ups and senior officials from various states across India.


  • Electronic National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) is an electronic trading portal that creates a unified national market for agricultural commodities. It was established on 14 April 2016. e-NAM functions under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare, Government of India.

UP government to provide financial assistance under Mukhyamantri Krishak Durghatna Kalyan Yojana
  • Uttar Pradesh state Government has launched Mukhyamantri Krishak Durghatna Kalyan Yojana.
  • The scheme was launched after the cabinet meeting which was held on 21 January 2020. The announcement was made by the UP Power Minister Shrikant Sharma.
  • The government also announced that it is to implement Mukhyamantri Paryatan Samvardhan Yojana.
Mukhyamantri Krishak Durghatna Kalyan Yojana:
  • The scheme will provide financial assistance of Rs.5 lakh to the family of farmers who die or become handicapped while working in fields.
  • The scheme also includes Bataidars for the first time.
  • The scheme will cover farmers and their family members in the age group of 18-70 years.
  • The scheme was implemented on 14 September 2019 in the state.

Government has set target of providing house to all poor households, before 75th Independence Day
  • Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Arjun Munda has said that advancement of education; health and employment sectors are main focus areas of Central Government's development plan.
  • He was speaking at a Public Outreach Programme meeting held at Talwara in block Pouni of Reasi district in Jammu Division.
  • During his visit to the mountainous district, he sought full involvement of local administration in meeting the targets of Central schemes.

Defence Acquisition Council approves procurement of over Rs.5100 crore worth indigenous equipment
  • Defence Acquisition Council, DAC has approved procurement of equipment worth over five thousand 100 crore rupees from indigenous sources to promote indigenisation.
  • These include sophisticated Electronic Warfare Systems for the Army designed by Defence Research and Development Organisation, DRDO and manufactured locally by the Indian industry.
  • These systems will be used in deserts and plains and will provide comprehensive Electronic Support and Counter Measure capabilities to the field formations in both communication and other aspects of Electronic Warfare.

National Girl Child Day to be celebrated on January 24
  • National Girl Child Day will be celebrated on 24 January in Madhya Pradesh on the theme of “Aware girl child-able Madhya Pradesh" (JagrukBalika-Samarth Madhya Pradesh) under the "BetiBachao-BetiPadhao" scheme.
  • During this, health of girls will be examined. Gender champions at the local level will also be selected.

Cabinet approves over Rs 4300 crore to establish permanent campuses for new NITs
  • Union Cabinet on 22 January, 2020 approved to Revised Cost Estimates for establishment of permanent campuses of new National Institutes of Technology, NITs, at a total cost of 4371.90 crore rupees for the period till 2021-2022. NITs were established in the year 2009 and started functioning from academic year 2010-2011 in their temporary campus with very limited space and infrastructure. These NITs will be fully functional from their permanent campuses by 31st March, 2022.
  • It also approved the extension of tenure of the Commission constituted under Article 340 of the Constitution, to examine the issue of sub-categorization within Other Backward Classes in the Central List. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said, the tenure has been extended by six months till 31st July, 2020.
  • Cabinet has also granted approval to addition of Term of Reference to the existing ToR of the Commission which include studying various Entries in the Central List of OBCs and recommending correction of any repetitions, ambiguities, inconsistencies and errors of spelling or tranion. Mr Javadekar said, Daman will be the capital of newly carved out Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.

IRCTC to pay compensation of Rs 100 each to 630 passengers of Tejas Express
  • Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has said that it will pay a compensation of 100 rupees each to around 630 passengers of the Ahmedabad-Mumbai Tejas Express because of a delay.
  • The Express, the second IRCTC-run train which commenced commercial operations from January 19, was delayed for over an hour on Wednesday afternoon as it was entering Mumbai. The train reached the Mumbai Central station around 1 hour and 30 minutes late. The IRCTC spokesperson said the passengers will have to apply as per the refund policy. They will be given refund after verification.
  • According to railway officials, the premium train departed from Ahmedabad at 6.42 am, two minutes late. But it arrived at Mumbai Central at 2.36 pm instead of the scheduled time of 1.10 pm. The Tejas Express and a few other suburban and outstation trains were held up due to a technical problem on the outskirts of Mumbai. The IRCTC spokesperson said that as the train was delayed, around 630 passengers who traveled upto Mumbai Central will be given compensation.


Commerce Ministry sets up National Startup Advisory Council to foster start-ups in India
  • The government has announced that it is to set up a National Startup Advisory Council on 21 January 2020.
  • The council will advise the Centre on measures needed to build a strong ecosystem for nurturing innovation and start-ups in India. It was set up by commerce and industry ministry.


  • The Advisory Council will be chaired by the Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal. It consists of non-official members to be nominated by the Centre, founders of successful start-ups, veterans who have grown and scaled companies in India, persons capable to represent interests of investors into start-ups.

National Startup Advisory Council:

  • The Council will suggest measures to foster a culture of innovation among students and others, the commerce and industry ministry.
  • It will suggest measures to facilitate public organizations to protect and commercialization of intellectual property rights, to promote the creation, assimilate innovation, make it easier to start, operate, grow and exit businesses by reducing regulatory compliances and costs.
  • The Council will also direct the companies to promote ease of access to capital for start-ups, mobilize global capital for investments, incentivize domestic capital for investments, and keep control of start-ups with original promoters.

India, Brazil MoU gets approved for cooperation in the oil and natural gas sector
  • The Union Cabinet led by the PM Narendra Modi approved the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Republic of India and the Federative Republic of Brazil.
  • The MoU on cooperation in the field of oil and natural gas. The MoU is expected to be signed during the visit of President of Brazil to India in January 2020.

MoU Provisions:

  • The MoU will enhance cooperation between the two sides in the oil and natural gas sector.
  • Both the countries will work towards establishing cooperation in the E&P initiatives in Brazil and India, research & development in this sector, explore collaboration in Liquefied Natural Gas projects in Brazil, India and third countries.
  • It encourages collaboration in oil energy and environmental issues, including energy policies such as energy research development, energy efficiency, and expansion of the regional energy infrastructure networks.

India’s richest 1% holds over 40% of national wealth: Oxfam Report
  • The India's richest 1 per cent of the population hold 42.5 per cent of national wealth while the bottom 50 per cent, the majority of the population, owns a mere 2.8 per cent.
  • According to an Oxfam report, India's top 10 per cent of the population holds 74.3 per cent of the total national wealth while the bottom 90 percent holds 25.7 percent of national wealth.


Brazil President Bolsonaro to be chief guest at 71st Republic Day
  • President of Brazil Jair Messias Bolsonaro will arrive in New Delhi on a four-day state visit to India.
  • President Bolsonaro will be the chief guest at the 71st Republic Day Parade at Raj Path in the national capital on January 26.
  • He will be accompanied by a delegation comprising of seven Ministers, Chairman of Brazil-India Friendship Group in the Brazilian Parliament, senior officials and a large business delegation.

Mansukh Mandaviya participated in UNAIDS roundtable at WEF, Davos
  • The Union Minister of State for Shipping (I/C) and Chemical & Fertilizers Mansukh Mandaviya participated in the High-level roundtable of The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) at World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland on 21 January 2020.

The theme of the roundtable is Access for all: Leveraging Innovations, Investments, and Partnerships for Health.

  • The officials discussed the health needs that are to be accessible for all and innovative technologies and solutions can play a key role, including in bridging economic inequalities.
  • Mansukh Mandaviya mentioned Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana and Ayushman Bharat aiming to Affordable Quality Healthcare for all.
  • He also described various schemes initiated by the GoI under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi.

Cabinet approves agreement between India and Brazil on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters
  • PM Shri Narendra Modi-led Union Cabinet approved the Agreement between India and the Federative Republic of Brazil on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters has to be signed.

Agreement Provision:

  • The Agreement aims to enhance the effectiveness of both the countries in investigation and prosecution of crime through cooperation and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters.
  • The Agreement will provide a broad legal framework for bilateral cooperation with the Federative Republic of Brazil in investigation and prosecution of crime and in tracing, restraint and confiscation of proceeds and instruments of crime and the fund meant to finance terrorist acts.

India, Brazil to sign Bilateral Investment Treaty and Strategic Action Plan
  • India and Brazil will be signing a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) during the visit of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro as the Chief Guest of the Republic Day celebrations from 24-27 January 2020. Around 20 agreements are to be signed.

Action plan:

  • The two countries aim to upgrade the strategic partnership with an action plan.
  • The Strategic Partnership Action Plan will serve as an umbrella agreement for the plans the two countries will make in order to increase defence cooperation, technology sharing, and a logistics agreement.
  • Also, the Bilateral Investment Treaty is expected to take the partnership between the countries to the next level
  • The countries are committed to foster economic growth in both countries.

Science & Tech

France is to train Indian flight surgeons for Gaganyaan mission
  • France is to train Indian flight surgeons to enable them to monitor the health of astronauts selected for the human space mission Gaganyaan.
  • The announcement was released on 21 January 2020. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) regarding this is expected to be signed during French space agency CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall's visit to India in January.

Flight surgeon training:

  • The training will be given for two-week. It is a critical aspect of the Gaganyaan project that is aimed at sending three Indians to space by 2022.
  • The flight surgeons are the Indian Air Force (IAF) doctors specializing in aviation medicines and responsible for the health of astronauts before, during and after the flight
  • The surgeons will be shortlisted soon.
  • Those selected surgeons will undergo two weeks of training in France.

India-France relationship:

  • India and France share strengthened ties in the area of space. The two countries had signed a joint vision for space cooperation in March 2018.
  • The agreement came even before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the Gaganyaan project.

Indian Navy signed MoU for offshore Data with GSI
  • Indian Navy signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Geological Survey of India (GSI) on 21 January 2020.
  • The MoU was signed by Commodore AA Abhyankar, who heads the Indian Navy's Oceanology and Meteorology Directorate and Shri N Maran, Deputy Director-General of GSI.

MoU Highlights:

  • The MoU aims to ensure the sharing of seabed sediment data, products and expertise for Naval Application in Meteorology and Oceanography.
  • GSI's Marine and Coastal survey Division based at Mangaluru has mapped most of India's 2.1 Million sq. km Exclusive Economic Zone and has a vast repository of offshore data.
  • As per the MoU, the data collected using GSI's oceanic research vessels Samudra Manthan, Samudra Ratnakar, Samudra Kaustubh and Samudra Shaudhikama will be used by Indian Navy's blue water fleet. Reliable and accurate oceanographic modeling will support the fleet's expansive maritime operations in the Indian Ocean region.

IAF inducts its first squadron of Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft equipped with BrahMos missiles
  • The Indian Air Force has inducted its first squadron of Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft carrying the BrahMos missiles in the South at its Thanjavur base min Tamil Nadu.
  • The Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Bhadauria inducted the squadron at an impressive ceremony.
  • The newly reinstated 222-squadron, also known as the Tigersharks, would serve as a lethal weapons platform capable of carrying both aerial and maritime roles in the Indian Ocean Region.
  • Six of India’s 10 most polluted cities in UP, Jharkhand’s Jharia tops list Lunglei in Mizoram is the least polluted and only Indian city with PM levels under the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) prescribed level of 20/ug/m3 (micrograms per cubic meter), according to Greenpeace India.
  • Six of India’s 10 most polluted cities are in Uttar Pradesh, according to Greenpeace India’s fourth Airpocalypse report released. Noida, Ghaziabad, Bareilly, Allahabad, Moradabad and Firozabad in Uttar Pradesh figure in list of 10 most polluted cities topped by Jharia in Jharkhand and closely followed by Dhanbad in the same state.


Deepika Padukone feted with Crystal Award at WEF
Deepika Padukone received the Crystal Award at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
  • The 'Chhapaak' actress was recognised for her efforts to create awareness about the importance of mental health.
  • Padukone, who has opened up about her battle with the illness and also runs the Live Love Laugh Foundation, said that people must understand depression and anxiety are like any other illness and can be treated.

Tunisia: Former FM Elyes Fakhfakh named PM-designate

  • Tunisia's President Kais Saied has named former Finance Minister Elyes Fakhfakh as Prime Minister-designate. He will now face the difficult task of forming a cabinet within a month.
  • Fakhfakh's proposal will have to gain the approval of a divided parliament, which this month rejected an earlier attempt to form a government.
Published on 1/23/2020 3:53:00 PM