Weekly Current Affairs Pocket : 10 – 16 March 2020

Indian Coast Guards conducts SAREX Exercise-2020 in Goa
* National level Search, and Rescue Exercise and Workshop (Exercise SAREX 2020) concluded in the sea at Vasco, Goa. The exercise was conducted by the Indian Coast Guard (ICG).
* The SAREX exercise was inaugurated by Dr. Ajay Kumar, IAS, Secretary (Defence), Ministry of Defence (MoD).
* The exercise witnessed the participation of 24 overseas observers from 19 countries.
* Ministry of Shipping, Ministry of Civil Aviation, and Ministry of Defence took part in the event.
* The theme of the exercise was Harmonization of Maritime and Aeronautical Search and Rescue code “HAMSAR.”
* The exercise tested the efficiency of operations and coordination of the stakeholders involved in Search and Rescue in the Indian Search and Rescue Region.

Lt Gen KJS Dhillon appointed as DG of Defence Intelligence Agency
* Former decorated Commander of Srinagar-based 15 Corps Lt Gen Kanwal Jeet Singh Dhillon has been appointed as Director General, Defence Intelligence Agency, and Deputy Chief of Integrating Defence Staff (Intelligence) under the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) in the Department of Military Affairs.
* The 57-year-old Lt Gen Dhillon, who is from the 1983 batch of the Indian Military Academy, handed over the charge of 15 Corps to Lt Gen BS Raju on February 29.
* Defence Ministry said the order for Lt Gen Dhillon has been issued and he will assume the charge soon. The former decorated Commander of 15 Corps has been appreciated for three major people-friendly operations during his tenure in Kashmir, including ‘Operation Maa’ (mother), ‘Taleem se Taraqqi’ (Education leads to success) and ‘Humsaya hain hum’ (co-habitatants).

Chalasani Venkat Nageswar appointed as CFO of SBI
* State Bank of India (SBI) has appointed Chalasani Venkat Nageswar as its new Chief Financial Officer (CFO) as per lender’s filing with the stock exchanges.
* Shri Chalasani Venkat Nageswar, Deputy Managing Director, International Banking Group has been given additional charge of Deputy Managing Director & CFO with immediate effect till further orders, said the bank in its filing.
* The decision comes days post the Reserve Bank (RBI) superseded private lender Yes Bank and appointed SBI’s Former Deputy Managing Director and CFO, Prashant Kumar as its administrator.
* As per the new appointment, Nageswar will be balancing the responsibility of being Deputy Managing Director, International Banking Group along with the additional charge of CFO.

PV Sindhu Named BBC Indian Sportswoman Of The Year
* Indian shuttler PV Sindhu won BBC Indian Sportswomen of the Year 2019. The award ceremony was hosted by BBC Director General Tony Hall. Also, veteran athlete PT Usha was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award. He was honored for his contribution to Indian sports and inspiring generations of players.
* Sindhu has five World Championship medals and is the first Indian singles badminton player to win an Olympic silver medal. Sindhu is the first Indian badminton player (singles) to win an Olympic silver medal. Sindhu was 17 when she entered the top 20 in the world rankings in 2012.
* She competed with four other strong nominees, namely Mary Kom (boxing), Vinesh Phogat (wrestling), Dutee Chand (athletics), and Manasi Joshi (para-badminton).

Ashraf Ghani sworn in as Afghanistan President for second term
* Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani was sworn in for a second term on 10th March as his rival Abdullah Abdullah held a parallel inauguration that could plunge the country deeper into crisis ahead of peace talks with the Taliban.
* The oath-taking ceremony of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was attended by hundreds of people, including visiting foreign dignitaries, diplomats and senior political figures.

SBI removes minimum balance requirement
* The State Bank of India (SBI) on 11th March announced it will not ask customers to maintain a minimum balance in savings accounts.
* The state-owned bank rationalised interest rate on savings bank accounts to a flat 3 per cent annum. It also waived off SMS charges.
* SBI customers till now had to maintain an average monthly balance of Rs 3,000, Rs 2,000 and Rs 1,000 in metro, semi urban and rural areas. The bank used to levy a penalty of Rs 5 to Rs 15 plus taxes for not maintaining the minimum balance.

Telangana State Agricultural University Vice Chancellor Praveen Rao wins Dr MS Swaminathan Award
* V Praveen Rao, Vice-Chancellor of Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU), has won the seventh Dr MS Swaminathan Award for the period 2017-2019.
* The Selection Committee has decided to select Praveen Rao for the award recognising his contributions in the fields of agricultural research, teaching, extension and administration. The award will be conferred on him in June.

SIPRI Report : India was world’s second-largest arms importer in 2015-19
* India remained the world’s second largest arms importer during the period 2015-19, with Russia being the largest supplier though Moscow’s share of the Indian weapons market declined from 72% to 56%, a leading think tank that tracks arms transfers said in its annual report on 9th March.
* In its annual “Trends in international arms transfers 2019″ report, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) listed the world’s top five arms importers during the five-year period as Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, Australia and China. Together, the five accounted for 36% of all arms imports.

PV Sindhu becomes the brand ambassador for anti-graft helpline
* Badminton world champion PV Sindhu is appointed as the brand ambassador for Andhra Pradesh government’s anti-graft helpline or anti-corruption helpline– 14400
* She has featured along with Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy in a video titled ‘stop corruption’ which states people keep their eyes & ears open against corruption.

Pankaj Advani wins National title in 6-red Snooker
* Ace Indian cueist Pankaj Advani clinched the National 6-Red Snooker Championship with a convincing 7-3 final over Maharashtra’s Ishpreet Singh.
* It is the 34th national title overall for Advani. After trailing 1-3 in the summit clash, the 23-time world champion proved why he is the best. After losing the opening frame, Advani bounced back to draw parity. Then two frames on the trot that had Advani’s name on them were snatched by Ishpreet as he went 3-1 up. Advani dictated the proceedings from Frame 5 onwards.

Amitabh Bachchan becomes brand ambassador of IDFC FIRST Bank
* IDFC FIRST Bank has signed Amitabh Bachchan as its brand ambassador. With this, Amitabh Bachchan has become the first ever brand ambassador of the bank.
* IDFC FIRST Bank provides its customers a range of services including savings account and current accounts, NRI accounts, salary accounts to home and personal loans, small business loans, among others.

Saurashtra defeats Bengal to win the Ranji Trophy title (Cricket)
* Saurashtra has won the Ranji Trophy Title 2019-20 by defeating Bengal in the finals. The final match was played at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium.
* Ranji Trophy is a domestic first-class cricket championship in India.
* Saurashtra is one of the three teams from Gujarat state that participates in the tournament. The winning side was captained by Jaydev Unadkat.

A.K. Sherwani and Rohini Mohan awarded with Chameli Devi Jain Award 2020
* Rohini Mohan (Bengaluru-based freelancer) and Arfa Khanum Sherwani (of The Wire) have been jointly awarded Chameli Devi Jain Award 2020 for outstanding woman journalist.
* The annual award, Chameli Devi Jain Award recognizes social concern, dedication, courage and compassion. It received over 40 entries from all over India representing the print, broadcast and online media.
* Sherwani was chosen for her reporting from conflict situations in Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh while Rohini was chosen for her report on the NRC exercise in Assam.

Indian Mountaineer Bhawna Dehariya Scales Australia’s Highest Mountain Peak Mount Kosciuszko
* Indian mountaineer Bhawna Dehariya successfully scaled Mount Kosciuszko, the highest mountain peak in Australia.
* Ms Dehariya, who hails from Madhya Pradesh, scaled the 2,228-metres Mount Kosciuszko on the occasion of Holi celebration in the country.
* Bhawna Dehariya had also scaled Mount Kilimanjaro on the occasion of Diwali on November 27th, 2019, celebrating two biggest festivals of India at the mountain peaks.

India Ranks 46th in Inclusive Internet Index 2020 by EIU
* India has been ranked 46th out of 100 countries on the inclusive internet index 2020 released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
* The ‘Inclusive Internet Index’ benchmarks countries on the internet’s availability, affordability, relevance and the readiness of people to use it. The annual report is commissioned by Facebook.
* The 4th edition of the ‘Inclusive Internet Index 2020’ covered 100 countries, representing 91% of the world’s population and 96% of global GDP.
* Top 3 Nations-Sweden, New Zealand, United States. Burundi was the worst ranked country placed at 100th position.

Mumbai Central Station to be renamed as Nana Shankarseth Mumbai Central Railway Station
* The Maharashtra cabinet has approved a proposal to rename Mumbai Central station as “Nana Shankarsheth Mumbai Central Railway Station”.
* Jagannath “Nana” Shankarsheth (1803-1865) was a Maharashtra based philanthropist and educationist who is known for his contribution to Mumbai’s development.

GST Rate on Mobile Phones to be hiked from 12% to 18% w.e.f 1st April
* The 39th GST (Goods and Services Tax) Council meeting under the Chairmanship of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was held in New Delhi on 14 March 2020.
The Council has announced certain changes in the GST rates of the following items:
* Increase in GST rates on the Mobile phones from the present 12 percent to 18 percent.
* Slash the GST rate on Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) services of aircraft from 18 percent to 5 percent
* Rationalise the GST rates on handmade and machine-made matchsticks to 12 percent. Earlier this rate was 5 percent for Hand-made matches and 18 percent for machine-made ones.
* These new GST rates will be applicable with effect from 1st April 2020.

Shri Debasish Panda, nominated on RBI Central Board
* The Central Government has nominated Shri Debasish Panda as a Director on the Central Board of Reserve Bank of India.
* He is a Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, New Delhi.
* The nomination of Shri Debasish Panda is effective from March 11, 2020 and until further orders.
* There are two government nominated Directors on the board of RBI. The other one is Shri Atanu Chakraborty.

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