GK_Part-1_September 2018 by Puneet Bhatia Sir

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1 GK_Part-1_September 2018 by Puneet Bhatia Sir NATION Meet: India, US Ink Critical Defence Pact President Ram Nath Kovind's Visit to Cyprus, Bulgaria and Czech Republic Prime Minister Narendra Modi Launches India Post Payments Bank PM Narendra Modi Inaugurates Global Mobility Summit 'MOVE' at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi e-courts Programme; Digital Push to Bring Over 2,900 Lower Courts Under 'e-courts' India, Afghanistan and Iran Interact on Regional Issues Including Counter-Terror ISRO's PLSV-C42 Successfully Puts Two UK Earth Satellites into Orbit Union Cabinet Approves Ordinance to Ban Instant Triple Talaq PM Modi Holds Talks with Afghan President PM Narendra Modi Launches Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana Apex Court Upholds Constitutional Validity of Aadhaar 2+2 Meet: India, US Ink Critical Defence Pact A long-negotiated defence pact under which critical and encrypted defence technologies will be provided to the Indian military by the United States was inked in New Delhi on September 6, 2018, after India and the US held their first dialogue. Several key issues, including cross-border terrorism, India's nuclear suppliers group (NSG) bid and the contentious HIB visa issue were discussed. During the talks external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman had with the US secretary of state Michael R Pompeo and defence secretary James Mattis, the two countries also decided to set up hotlines between them dialogue stands for dialogue between External Affairs and Defence Ministers of India and Secretaries of Defence and State of the US. Communications Compatibility, Security Agreement (COMCASA) While Pompeo termed the Communications, Compatibility, Security Agreement (COMCASA) agreement a 'milestone' in the relationship, Sitharaman asserted that the pact would enhance India's defence capabilities and preparedness. The COMCASA would facilitate India to obtain critical defence technologies from the US, and access critical communication network to ensure interoperability between the US and Indian armed forces. It would also allow the intallation of high-security US communication equipment on defence platforms being sources from the country. Swaraj asserted that the dialogue reflected the desire of the leadership of the two countries to further elevate the bilateral strategic communication on cross-cutting defence and security issues. "The recent decision by the US to put India in the list of countries eligible for Strategic Trade Authorization Tier-I License Exemption reflects India's robust and responsible export control policies. In our meeting today, we also agreed to work together to secure India's membership of the nuclear suppliers group at the earliest," she said. Talking about her bilateral meeting with Pompeo before the 2+ 2 dialogue, the external affairs minister said they reviewed the direction of the Indo-US relations in recent months and exchanged views on a number of regional issues of shared concern. Terming the rapidly growing trade and investment ties as an important element of bilateral relationship, Swaraj said this growth was giving rise to new opportunities and a basis for more intense economic engagement which supports development of manufacturing, promotes knowledge and innovation, creates jobs and provides critical resources for growth. "I sought secretary Pompeo's support to nurture our peopleto-people links. Specifically, I conveyed our expectation for a non-discriminatory and predictable approach to the HIE visa regime, given its high impact on innovation, competitiveness and people-to-people partnership, all of which are a vital source of strength for our relationship," Swaraj said. She also noted that there was a growing convergence of views, including on the Indo-Pacific, during the discussion among the four ministers. "We see the Indo-Pacific as a free, open and inclusive concept, with ASEAN centrality at the core and defined by a common rules-based order that both our countries are pursuing," the minister said, adding that India welcomed the US interest in expanding its economic footprint in the region as they "complement our own efforts." Asserting- that counter terrorism cooperation between India and the US has acquired a new qualitative edge and purpose, Swaraj said they have agreed to deepen ties in international forums like the United Nations and the Financial Action Task Force, "We welcomed the recent designations of Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists by the US. They under-score the international community's scrutiny over the threat of terrorism emanating from Pakistan, which has affected India and the US alike. On the 10th anniversary of the 26/11 attacks, we recognised the importance of justice and retribution for the masterminds behind this terrorist attack," Swaraj said. (1)

2 She added, "India supports President Donald Trump's South Asia policy. His call for Pakistan to stop its policy of supporting cross-border terrorism finds resonance with us". The two sides also discussed the ongoing efforts by India and the US in promoting an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan government-controlled reconciliation process, that brings together all ethnic groups and political formation in that country, the minister added talks : A Platform that Reviews the Entire Gamut of Bilateral Relationship The two plus two is a high level dialogue mechanism between the foreign ministers and defence ministers of the two countries that befits their strategic partnership. This is the highest level institutionalized mechanism for discussions between the two countries that have robust ties over a broad sweep of issues with 40 odd government-level working groups. It is aimed at addressing issues of concerns, charting a new course in ties and coordinating positions on broader regional issues such as the Indo-Pacific strategy. Why 2+2 Two Format The two plus two dialogue replaces the strategic commercial dialogue that was being held between the foreign and commerce ministers of the two sides. It's a coincidence that Nirmala Sitharaman who took part in the last edition of the strategic commercial dialogue in 2016 as the commerce minister of the country is the Indian co-chair of the two plus two dialogue in her present avatar as the defence minister along with Swaraj. The US has two plus two dialogue with Japan and Australia. Almost similar dialogue mechanism has been put in place between China and the US after their Mar-a-Lago summit between President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jingping in April On its part India has a two plus two dialogue at the level of foreign and defence secretaries between India and Japan. The Significance The India-US ties have come a long way overcoming the hesitations of history to be touted as one of "defining partnership of 21st century" as President Barack Obama had termed it. Under Trump administration, the ties are moving in the desired direction, amidst concerns over differences over trade issues, purported streamlining of work visas and the US sanctions on Russia and Iran affecting India's defence purchase and oil import respectively. However, the foundational strength of the ties remains intact and the two plus two dialogue is set to open a new path in the relationship. But The Trump adiministration's recent decision to elevate India to the STA-1 status (Strategic Trade Authorization-1) is seen as a deserving acknowledgement of the growing synergy between the two countries on strategic issues. Key, Issues, Subjects The two plus two dialogue reviews the entire gamut of bilateral relationship ranging from defence ties to trade ties to counterterrorism cooperation and devising ways to achieve the ambitious target of $ 500 billion bilateral trade volume target by COMCASA (Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement) is a foundational defence pact which was signed between the two sides. It aims to give a legal framework for the transfer of highly sensitive communications security equipment from the US to India that would streamline and facilitate interoperability between their armed forces. COMCASA is one of the three foundational agreements for a seamless military relationship between the two sides. India had signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in August President Ram Nath Kovind's Visit to -Cfprus, Bulgaria and Czech Republic CYPRUS Key Highlights Kovind holds talks with Cypriot counterpart Anastasiades. Kovind invites investment from Cyprus in tourism, smart cities. India, Cyprus vow to curb money laundering. The two countries signed two agreements on September 3, Mr. Kovind was in Cyprus on the first leg of his threenation visit to Europe to continue India's high-level engagements with European countries. Kovind's present itinerary included visit to Cyprus, Bulgaria and Czech Republic. Two Agreement's On September 3, 2018 India and Cyprus signed two agreements on combating money laundering and cooperation in the field of environment as President Ram Nath Kovind met his Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades and held wide ranging talks in Cypriot capital Nicosia. Economic Cooperation Mr. Kovind and Mr. Anastasiades exchanged views on economic cooperation. India was the fastest growing major economy in the world today with a growth rate of 8-2% last quarter, Mr. Kovind said. "In this context and given Cyprus' niche expertise in financial services and investment banking, both of us agreed that there was much scope to deepen our investment partnership," he said in a statement. "We welcomed the signing of the MoU between Financial Intelligence Unit, India, and Unit for Combating Money Laundering of Cyprus. "This agreement would further strengthen the institutional framework to facilitate investment crossflows. We also emphasised that the revision in the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement made in 2016 provided greater opportunities for our investment partnership to grow," Mr. Kovind said. External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a tweet : "India and Cyprus signed two MoUs [memoranda of understanding] today on combating money laundering and cooperation in the field of environment in the presence of Presidents of both "countries." "President Anastasiades and I held detailed discussions on the way forward for our long-standing and excellent relations. I reaffirmed India's unwavering support to Cyprus" for upholding its sovereignty and territorial integrity, President Kovind said. Mr. Kovind and Mr. Anastasiades held discussions on issues of mutual interest, including promotion of (2)

3 business collaboration in the fields of IT and IT-enabled services, tourism, shipping and renewable energy. Global Issues "We reviewed our ongoing bilateral and multi-lateral engagements and discussed issues of regional and global concern. We underlined our common objectives to negotiate the challenges that lie ahead. And we committed ourselves to further stepup our mutually beneficial ties, especially in the economic field," Mr. Kovind said in the statement. The President also paid tributes to a statue of Mahatma Gandhi. "Our founding fathers, Archbishop Makarios and Mahatma Gandhi have blessed our partnership with timeless values, wisdom and foresight. We have the greatest respect for Archbishop Makarios in India," Mr. Kovind said. Underlining Cyprus's contribution to India's economic growth, President Kovind invited the businesses in the Mediterranean nation to invest in the country in the areas of digitalisation, smart cities, infrastructure and tourism. Cyprus is the eighth largest investor in India and bilateral trade stands at around USD 8-2 billion. Terrorism He said India is counting on Cyprus' support for finalising the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism at the United Nations. "I would also like to thank Cyprus for its unstinted backing of India's candidature for an expanded UN Security Council as well as for the Nuclear Suppliers' Group," Kovind said. Noting that both the countries share issues of common concern and are committed to peace, security and sovereignty he said, "Inevitably we find ourselves on the same side. In fact, there are hardly any major issues on which Cyprus and India disagree." President Kovind also addressed the Cypriot parliarment. BULGARIA On the second leg of his visit to Europe in the first week of September President Ram Nath Kovind arrived in Sophia, the capital of Bulgaria. The president visited Bulgaria at the invitation of Bulgarian head of state, Rumen Radev. On September 6, 2018 President Radev and Kovind unveiled in Sophia a monument to the legendary leader of the Indian Indepen-dence Movement Mahatma Gandhi. President Kovind was the fifth Indian President to visit Bulgaria and the first in 15 years. CZECH Republic President Ram Nath Kovind arrived in the Czech Republic on September on the final leg of his three-nation European tour. He is the fifth Indian President to visit the Central European country, and the first since President Shankar Dayal Sharma in Kovind earlier visited the Czech Republi in his capacity as a Member of Parliament. Prime Minister Narender Modi Launches India Post Payments Bank PM Narendra Modi on September 1, 2018 launched the payments bank of the Indian Postal Department that would take banking to door step of every citizen through a network of post offices and almost 3 lakh postmen and Grameen Dak Sewaks. India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) would be like any other bank but4ts operations would be on a smaller scale without involving any credit risk. It would carry out most banking operations like accepting deposits but can't advance loans or issue credit cards. The freshly minted payments bank would accept deposits of upto ` 1 lakh, offer remittance services, mobile payments/ transfers/purchases and other banking services like ATM/debit cards, net banking and third party fund transfers. Communication minister Manoj Sinha said the IPPB would be available through 650 branches and 3,250 access points. Deposits in 'any account that exceed ` 1 lakh would be automatically converted into post office savings account, he said. The government owns 100% of the IPPB, which had been set up under the aegis of the department of posts, and would offer products and services through multiple channels such as counter services, micro ATMs, mobile banking app, messages and interactive voice response services. The IPPB services would be available at 650 branches and 3,250 access points from September 1, 2018 but would be quickly scaled to all 1-55 lakh post offices by December Of these, 1-30 lakh access points would be located in rural areas, taking it to vast untapped market. The IPPB also had permission to link around 17-crore postal savings bank (PSB) accounts with its own set up. PM Narender Modi Inaugurates Global Mobility Summit 'MOVE at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi The first Global Mobility Summit was organised at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi on September 7-8, 2018 by NITI Aayoe. It was attended by two thousand delegates from across the world. Prime Minister Modi unveiled a mobility road map that seeks investments in manufacturing electric vehicles and increased use of public transport for travel, saying congestion free mobility is critical to check economic and environmental costs of congestion. Speaking at the summit he said clean mobility powered by clean energy is the most powerful weapon to fight climate change. He said that we should champion the idea of clean kilometres. 7Cs: "My vision for the future of mobility in India is based on 7Cs: common, connected, convenient, congestion-free, charged, clean, cutting-edge," he said. The focus must be to go beyond cars to other vehicles such as scooters and rickshaws,: Modi said. (3)

4 "Common public transport must be the cornerstone of our mobility initiatives." The Prime Minister called for leveraging the full potential for vehicle pooling to improve private vehicle utilisation. "Congestion-free mobility is critical to check the economic and environmental costs of congestion," he said. Mobility should be safe, affordable and accessible for all sections of the society, he said. Stating that charged mobility is the way forward, the Prime Minister said the government wants to drive investments across the value chain from batteries to smart charging to electric vehicle manufacturing. 'e-courts Programme; Digital Push to Bring Over 2,900 Lower Courts Under 'e-courts' The government expects to bring online connectivity to 3992 more district and lower courts across the country by the year-end as part of the Supreme Court monitored 'e-courts' project aimed at improving access to justice through digitisation, according to data released by the law ministry. Of these, 547 court complexes mainly lower courts that are often the first point of litigation still have no digital connectivity. The e-courts programme seeks to enable litigants to track their case status, access 'cause lists', daily orders as well as verdicts online. A 'cause list' is a schedule of cases to be heard by a court. India Afghanistan and Iran Interact on Regional Issues Including Counter-Terror India, Afghanistan and Iran held first tripartite meet-ingbn September 11, 2018 in Kabul, during which implementation of Chabahar port project and a host of other issues including ways to deepen counter-terror cooperation were discussed. The Indian panel was led by foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale while the Iranian team was headed by deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi. Afghan deputy foreign minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai chaired the meet. ISRO's PSLV-C42 Successfully Puts Two UK Earth Satellites into Orbit Key Highlights The Commercial launch was carried out under an arjaingement between UK's SSTL, and ISRO's Antrix Corporation Ltd. This is ISRO's first dedicated commercial launch in several months, and Antrix hopes to increase the frequency of such missions in the future. The Indian Space Research Organisation's workhorse the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C42 (PSLV-C42) in it 44th flight put into orbit two UK earth observation satel lites in a text book launch on September 16, Both the satellites together weighed about 889 kg and commercial launch was carried out under an arrangement between UK's Survey Satellite Technologies Limited (SSTL) and Isro's commercial arm Antrix Corporation Ltd. One of the two UK satellites, the one NovaSAR is an S-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite intended for forest mapping, land use and ice cover monitoring, flood and disaster monitoring. Its SAR payload has a dedicated maritime mode designed with a very wide swath area (400-km) to enable the monitoring of the marine environment, and will provide direct radar ship detection information simultaneously with AIS, ship tracking data to assist with the identification and tracking of sea-going vessels. The other satellite Sl-4 is a high resolution Optical Earth Observation Satellite, used for surveying resources, environment monitoring, urban management and for the disaster monitoring. Just hours before the launch, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) director S. Somanath had said : "When I joined ISRO in 1985, the PSLV was still on paper, and the only rocket we had was SLV-3, the ASLV was struggling with people ridiculing us and asking, when it will reach space. It had earned the moniker of Always Sea Launch Vehicle (ASLV) as it kept failing and landing in water. To see PSLV grow from an idea to become ISRO's workhorse is a great feeling." According to the VSSC director, the rare night launch (22-8 1ST) was at the request of the customer SSTL as the satellites need specific imaging and illumination requirements. The PSLV-C42, was only the third launch of PSLV after the rare failure it encountered in August last year due to problems in the heat shield. Justice Rarijan Gogol Appointed 46th Chief Justice of India Justice Ranjan Gogol, the seniormost judge in Supreme Court- Sfter Chief Justice Dipak Misra, was appointed as the next Chief Justice of India on September 13,2018. "The President of India has appointed Justice Ranjan Gogoi as the next Chief Justice of India. He will assume the office of Chief Justice on October 3, 2018 after the retirement of current Chief Justice, Justice Dipak Misra" said a press release issued by the Prime Minister's office. As the 46th Chief Justice of India, Justice Gogoi will have a tenure of about 13 months, till November 17,2019. Union Cabinet Approves Oridinace to Ban Instant Triple Talaq Key Highlights The instant triple talaq is to be made a penal offence. Minister cites compelling necessity to bring the measure, seeks support. A major section of muslim women welcome the move. The Union Cabinet, on September 19, 2018, approved an ordinance criminalising the Muslim divorce practice of instant triple talaq, which has been banned by the Supreme Court, with the government blaming the Congress party for blocking a bill to that effect in the Rajya Sabha. (4)

5 The proposed ordinance makes instant and arbitrary divorce by a Muslim man by uttering the Urdu word 'talaq' thrice in a row, a crime, but has provisions for reconciliation and bail. PM Narendra Modi Launches Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna Ayushman Bharat is a Scheme to Cover Mn Families Six months after it was announced in this year's Union Budget, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on September 23, 2018, launched his government's flagship Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJA) in Jharkhand's capital Ranchi. The scheme which aims at providing an annual cover of ` 5 lakh to 1074 million poor and vulnerable families, was simultaneously launched in 476 districts across 26 states. World's Largest Public Health Insurance Programme It is the world's largest public funded health insurance programme, and if implemented successfully, would be one of the most important schemes of the Modi government across sectors. To mark the formal launch of the scheme, five people were distributed golden e-cards to acknowledge them as beneficiaries. Ayushman Bharat, also described as 'Medicare' on the lines of the former US President Barack Obama's 'Obamacare' Affordable Act has 1,350 procedures covering pre and post-hospital care, diagnostics and medicines in government and private empanelled / hospitals. It will cover cancer surgeries, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, cardiac surgeries, stents; neuro (brain) surgeries, spine surgeries, dental surgeries, eye surgeries, and specialised tests such as MRI and CT scans among others. "We have achieved the launch in just six months. We were working in a time-bound manner and managed to bring together nearly 13,000 hospitals to be a part of this mega healthcare delivery initiative, and benefit the poor. I congratulate my entire team", Modi said during the launch. Expressing his gratitude to the PM for choosing his state to formally launch the scheme, Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das said, "The state had three medical colleges in 67 years. But in three and a half years work for five more has started. With 31 States and Union territories already being on board, and formally signing the mandatory memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the central government, the implementation is being done in a phased manner. According to the National Health Agency (NHA), which is the central implementing agency for the scheme, 31 have joined so far, and two more (Punjab and Kerala) are in the process of signing the MoU. Apex Court Upholds Constitutional Validity of Aadhar Key Highlights Majority opinion upholds it as a reasonable restriction on privacy. Says it fulfils government's aim to provide dignity to the marginalised. It is a unique ID that can not be duplicated unlike PAN, ration card. Upholds the passage of the Aadhaar Act as a Money Bill. The Supreme Court, in a majority opinion on September 26, 2018, upheld Aadhaar as a reasonable restriction on individual privacy that fulfils the government's 'legitimate aim' to provide dignity to a large, marginalised population living in abject poverty. "The Constitution does not exist for a few or minority of the people of India, but 'We, the People', the Supreme Court observed. World US Cancels $ 300 Million in Security Aid in Pakistan The United States has decided to cancel $ 300 million insecurity-related aid to Pakistan that had been suspended over Islamabad's failure to take decisive action against terror groups operating from its soil. The Pentagon proposes to use that money which came from security-related Coalition Support Fund (CSF) for other purposes if approved by Congress. "Due to a lack of decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy, the remaining $ 300 million was reprogrammed," Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Kone Faulkner said in a statement on September 1, 2018\ Arif Alvi of Pakistan's Elected New Pakistan President Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's (PTI) Ariful Rehman Alvi was on September 4, elected the 13th President of Pakistan. Alvi won the election by securing the requisite number of votes. Arif convincingly defeated Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the PML-N backed Chief of the Muttahada Majlis-e-Amal (MMA). 'I am grateful to God that the PTI-nominated candidate has been successful in the Presidential race today," Alvi said in his victory speech. "I am also thankful to Imran Khan for nominating me for such a big responsibility." Haqqani Terror Network Found Dead US ally-turned foe once a CIA asset, Jalaluddin Haqqani is thought to have introduced suicide bombings to Afghanistan. Jalaluddin Haqqani, founder of the militant Haqqani network, one of the most powerful and feared groups in the Afghan insurgency, passed away after long illness on September 4, 2018 in Kabul. (5)

6 Haqqani, who founded the network in the 1970s, gave up operational leadership of the group some years ago to his son Sirajuddin, who is now deputy leader of the Afghan Taliban. Pakistan to be the 5th Largest Nuke Weapon State Pakistan's stockpile of atomic warheads could increase to 220 to 250 by 2025, making it the world's fifth-largest nuclear weapon state, according to a news report from the Federation of American Scientists (FAS). Though FAS's latest report focussed solely on Pakistan, an earlier report on global nuclear warhead inventories published in June had estimated that Pakistan currently has 150 atomic warheads, compared to 140 for India. It had also said in its earlier report that Pakistan, North Korea, China and India were among the countries that are increasing their warhead inventories. Nepal Ends Indian Monopoly on Transit Kathmandu gets access to China's ports, ending dependence on India for supply of essential goods, trade. China wiill allow Nepal the use of four of its ports, the Nepalese government said on September 7, 2018 as the landlocked Himalayan nation seeks to end India's monopoly over its trading routes by increasing connections with Beijing. Wedged between China and India, Nepal depends heavily on India for the supply of essential goods including fuel and the use of its ports for trade with other countries. But Kathmandu has sought access to Chinese ports to reduce dependence on India since a prolonged blockade of its border crossings with India in 2015 and 2016 left the country short of fuel and medicines for several months. Officials from Nepal and China finalised the protocol of 'Transit and Transport Agreement' during a meeting in Kathmandu on September 7, 2018 giving Nepal access to the Chinese ports at Tianjin, Shenzhen, Lianyungang and Zhanjiang, a statement from Nepal's commerce ministry said. It said China had also agreed to allow Nepal use of its dry (land) ports at Lanzhou, Lhasa and Xigatse as well as roads to these f acilities. Regional 'Uttarakhand Becomes First State to Declare Cow as 'Rashtra Mata' (National Mother) Uttarakhand on September 19, 2018 became the first state of India to declare cow as 'Rashtra Mata' (national mother) as the State Assembly approved a resolution of this purpose. Animal husbandry minister Rekha Arya tabled the resolution in the Uttarakhand assembly. "We all be it the opposition or the ruling party are aware of the importance of cow. Not only in India but in other countries as well it is vastly respected/' said the minister. She maintained that in religious texts too, we find the mention of cow and it is said that its body is abode to 33 crore gods and deities. She added that if cow is accorded the status of Rashtra Mata, required steps would be taken to protect the animal from being slaughtered. "Besides, the animal is a major source of earning for the people. Tamil Nadu Tamil Nadu Imposes a Complete Ban on e-cigrettes Taking a serious note of the health hazards due to e-cigarettes, Tamil Nadu government imposed a complete ban on 'Electronic Nicotine' Delivery Systems ENDS, popularly known as e-cigarettes with immediate effect in the state in September The' order includes the ban on' the manufacture, sale including online and'possession of e-cigarettes. National and International Alibaba's Jack Ma, China's Richest Man, Retires at 54 Alibaba company's co-founder and executive chairman Jack Ma stepped down from the Chinese e-commerce giant on September 11, 2018 to pursue philanthropy in education, a changing of guard for the $ 420 billion internet company. A former English teacher, Ma started Alibaba in 1999 and built it into one of the world's most consequential e-commerce and digital payments companies, transforming how Chinese people shop and pay for things. That fuelled his networth to more than $ 40 billion, making him China's richest man. He is revered by many Chinese, some of whom have put his portrait in their homes to worship in the same way that the they worship the God of wealth. Ma turned 54 on September 11, He's a symbol of the health of China's private sector and how high they can fly whether he likes it or not," Duncan Clark, author of the book. "Alibaba : The House Jack Ma Built," said of Ma. "His retirement will be inter-preted as frustration or concern whether he likes it or not." Dies Anna Rajam Malhotra: Independent India's first Woman IAS Officer Dies V India's first woman IAS officer, post Independence, AnnavRajam Malhotra, died at her residence in suburban Andheri, Mumbai on September 17, She was 91. She was born as Anna Rajam George in Kerala's Ernakulum district in July She shifted to Chennai after her schooling in Kozhikode to pursue higher education at the University of Madras. Awards and Honours National Sports Awards-2018, Virat Kohli and Mirabai Chanu Get Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Honour The annual National Sports Awards in different categories were announced in September, 2018 by the government of India to recognize the outstanding performances and (6)

7 contributions to the sports by numerous sportspersons across the games. Education India's First Railway Varsity Starts Operations at Vadodara 7 The first of its kind University in the country on the transport sector, the National Rail and Transport (NRTI) started operations in the second week of September. Currently, it is functioning out of the National Academy of Railways, Vadodara. Funded by ministry of railways, with University of California, Berkeley and Cornell University as its international partners, the university started with two undergraduate courses B.Sc. Transportation and BBA Transport Management with 50 students each. National Important Days/ Weeks/ Years November 11 National Education Day November 14 Children's Day November 16 National Press Day November 17 National Journalism Day November 19 National Integration Day November 26 National Law Day International Days November 5 World Tsunami Awareness Day November 7 Infant Protection Day November 9 Legal Service Day November 10 World Science Day For Peace and Development November 14 World Diabetes Day November 19 World Citizen Day November 21 World Fisheries Day, World Television Day Sports world Cricket Indian-Retains Asia Cup-2018 Cricket Crown Defending champion India defeated Bangladesh by three wickets in the final on September 28, 2018 in Dubai to retain its Asia Cup Cricket title for It is India's 7th Asia Cup title as it had clinched it in 1984, 1988, , 1995, 2010 and 2016 before this one in Winning the toss, India asked Bangladesh to bat first. Bangladesh set the target of 223 runs before India which got it at the last ball of the innings with the collective efforts from Indian batsmen at the cost of its seven wickets. It is Bangladesh's second successive Asia Cup final loss as India won the title in 2016, beating the same opponent. India remained unbeaten throughout the Asia Cup tournament. India Blue Wins Duleep Trophy India Blue emerged champion of theduleep Trophy , the coveted domestic cricket trophy of India, beating defending champion India Red by an innings and 187 runs in the final on September 7, 2018 at Dindigul. India Blue scored 541 runs in the first innings. In reply India Red scored 182 and 172 runs in their first and second isnings respectively and lost the title. Football Germany Chosen Host of Euro Football Cup-2024 UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin declared Germany as the host of EURO Cup football tournament in 2024 as Germany beat Turkey in a two-way contest in the UEFA, the European football governing body, executive committe vote on September 27, 2018 in Nyon. Hockey IOC Clinches MCC-Muru-ganpa Gold Cup-2018 The Indian Oil Corporation (IOC)- registered a facile 4-0 victory on Indian Railways in the final on September 16, 2018 in Chennai to clinch the MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup 92nd All-India Hockey Championship title. US Open-2018: Results in Brief Event/Competition Winner Runner-up Men's Single Novak Djokovic Juan Martin del (Serbia) Porto (Argentina) Women's Single Naomi Osaka (Japan) Serena Williams (USA) Europe Retains Laver Cup Crown-2018 Europe successfully defended its Laver Cup Tennis title when its Alexander Zverev of Germany beat Kevin Anderson to complete a 13-8 victory over the world te&m on September 23, 2018 in Chicago. Memorable Points National Who has been appointed the new Chief Justice of India? Justice Ranjan Gogoi Justice Ranjan Gogoi was appointed as the 46th Chief Justice of India on September 13, 2018 after President Ram Nath Kovind gave his approval for his appointment on the top post of the Supreme Court. He succeeds Justice Dipak Misra on this post. Justice Misra recommended Justice Gogol's name for the post of CJI, following the tradition of suggesting the name of the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court as the CJI. Justice Gogoi will have a tenure of a little over 13 months. He will retire on November 17, 2019 as CJI. Justice Gogoi has been the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He became a judge of the Apex Court on April 23, (7)

8 Who has been elected the President of INS for ? Jayant Mammen Mathew Jayant Mammen Mathew, Executive Editor of 'Malayala Manorama', was on September 28, 2018 elected as the President of the Indian Newspaper Society, an apex body of the country's print media industry for the year Mr. Mathew succeeds Akila Urankar of 'Business Standard' on this post. L. Adimoolam of 'Health and the Antiseptic' became the Vice-President of the INS. India successfully test-fired its indigenously developed surface-to-surface short range tactical ballistic missile named Prahaar India successfully test-fired its indigenously developed surface-to-surface short range tactical ballistic missile 'Prahaar' on September 20, 2018 at the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur. Prahaar missile, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), is a solid-fuelled short range missile. It is equipped with inertial navigation system. It can carry a payload of 200 kg upto a strike range of 150 km. PM Modi launched a great healthcare scheme 'PMJAY- Ayushman Bharat' from Ranchi, Jharkhand Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 23, 3018 launched his government's flagship the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) Ayushman Bharat from Ranchi, Jharkhand. PMJAY-Ayushman Bharat also referred to as 'Medicare' aims to provide an annual health cover of ` 5 lakh to lakhs of poor and vulnerable families in the country. It was simultaneously launched in 476 districts across 26 states. The PMJAY will cover beneficiaries identified on the basis of the Socio Economic Caste Survey (2011) and will provide health cover from many health related medical procedures. To mark the formal launch of the PMJAY five people were given golden e-cards to acknowledge them as beneficiaries under the scheme. Which movie has been selected as India's official entry for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' Category in the 91st Oscar Awards? Village Rockstars Rima Das' national award winning Assamese movie 'Village Rockstars' was selected as India's official entry for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category of the 91st Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscar awards in 2019, on September 22, The 12-member selection panel of the Film Federation of India, chaired 1 by Kannada filmmaker Rajendra Babu selected 'Village Rockstars' for the 2019 Oscar from 29 movies including films- like Manto, Gali Guleiyan, Razi, October, 'Padman' etc. In 'Village Rockstars', Rima Das tells the story of a 10-year old girl named Dhunu who dreams of owning a guitar and forming her own musical band in a great natural, touching and dramatic way. This movie won the National Film Award as the Best Film this year. It is the first film from north-east to be nominated to the Oscars. Which state emerged on top of the AMRUT's Ease of Living Index this year? Andhra Pradesh Andhra Pradesh emerged on top of the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) 'Ease of Living Index' 2018 list, released by the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry on September 24, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh secured second and third positions on the list respectively. The Ministry honoured the top three states under AMRUT's Ease of Living Index this year at the National Dissemination Workshop on Ease of Living index in New Delhi on September 24. The Supreme Court formed a three-member committee on jail reforms, headed by Justice (retd.) Amitava Roy The Supreme Court on September 25, 2018 constituted a three-member committee on jail reforms across the country. Former Apex Court Judge, Justice Amitava Roy will be the head of the Committee. An Apex Court bench of Justices Madam B. Lokur, S. Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta appointed the Inspector General of Police of Bureau of Police Research and Development and the DG (Prisons) Tihar Jail as the other two members of the Committee. The Committee would give its suggestions on numerous aspects of jail adminis-/ tration and lives of prisoners like overcrowding of jails, lack of staff in jails, health related facilities for / prisoners etc. The panel would also probe the reasons for violence in prisons. The Centre government formed an eight-member search committee for Lokpal body headed by Former Supreme Court Judge Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai The Central government on September 27, 2018 constituted an eight-member search committee to recommend the chairperson and members of the anti-corruption Ombudsman Lokpal. Former Supreme Court Judge Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai will be the head of the committee. Former SBI Chief Arundhati Bhattacharya, Prasar Bharati Chairperson A Surya Prakash, ISRO head AS Kiran Kumar, former Allahabad HC Judge Justice Sakha Ram Singh Yadav, Shabbirhusein S. Khandelwala, former Gujarat Police DG, Lalit K. Panwar, retired IAS and former Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar are other members of the Panel. Who have been honoured with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, this year? Virat Kohli and Mirabai Charm (8)

9 Indian cricket team (men's) skipper Virat Kohli and World Champion Weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu were selected as the joint winners of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, India's top sports honour, for 2018 on September 20, Kohli is the third Indian.Cricketer after Sachin Tendulkar (1997) and M.S. Dhoni (2007) to get this honour. World Champion and Commonwealth Games gold medalist Mirabai Chanu was the unanimous choice for the honour of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award-committee headed by retired Delhi High Court Judge Justice Indermeet Kaul Kochhar. The award comprises a medal, a citation and a prize money worth ` 7-5 lakh. International The first hydrogen-powered train of the world was launched in Germany Germany on September 17, 2018 launched the world's first hydrogen-powered train to give a big boost to eco-friendly technology. Two bright blue Coradia ilint trains, built by French TGV-maker Alstom, became operational on a 100 km stretch of northern Germany. This hydrogen powered train is a costlier but eco-friendly transport means with about zero polluting emission. Hydrogen-fuelled trains are equipped with fuel cells that produce electricity and energy through a combination of hydrogen and oxygen, a process that gives steam and water as the only emissions. Excess energy is stored in ion lithium batteries on board the trains. The Coradia ilint trains can cover about 1000 kms on a single tank of hydrogen. Who has been elected the new President of Maldives? Ibrahim Mohamed Solih Senior Parliamentarian of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and joint opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih registered an emphatic victory in the Maldives presidential polls on September 24, 2018 by securing about 58-5 per cent votes in his support. Mr. Solih takes the charge of Maldives as the President, succeeding incumbent Abdulla Yameen who secured only about 41 per cent votes. Mr. Solih was the only candidate against Abdulla Yameen. Who was crowned the FIFA Men's Player of the year, 2018? Luka Modric of Croatia Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric was felicitated with the FIFA Men's Player of the year honour on September 24, in London, pipping Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Solah in the race for the top FIFA honour. He won the honour with 26 per cent votes in his favour while Ronaldo got per cent only to finish second in the race. Modric led Croatia to its first FIFA World Cup Final this year as the captain. Winning this honour, Modric broke the decade-long domination of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo on the FIFA Player of the year honour. Brazil's Marta won the FIFA Women's Player of the year honour for the record sixth time. Who has been selected for UN's coveted Nansen award, this year? Evan Atar Adaha Dr. Evan Atar Adaha, a doctor in South Sudan was on September 25, 2018 chosen for the UNHCR's (UN refugee agency) Nansen award for his great selfless services to humanity. Dr. Evan through his Maban Hospital in the South Sudanese town of Bunj serves more than 1,44,000 refugees amid poor medical facilities like no regular supply of general anaesthesia and no properly-equipped surgical theatre. UNHCR Chief Filippo Grandi said Atar's profound humanity had saved thousands of lives. The Nansen Prize is named after Norwegian polar explorer Fridtjob Nansen, who was the first high commissioner for refugees agency in the League of Nations, the predecessor of the UN. Which university or educational retained its top spot on THE-world University Ranking, 2019? University of Oxford University of Oxford, UK emerged on top of the Times Higher Education-THE World University Rankings, 2019, released on September 26, The Oxford claimed the top position on the list for the third year in a row. University of Cambridge and Stanford University secured second and third positions on the list respectively. Indian of Science, Bangalore retained its position as the top educational institute in India, maintaining its position in band on the list. Which country's anti-doping agency was reinstated in a vote by WADA? Russia The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on September 20, 2018 lifted a ban on Russia's antidoping agency, known as RUSADA, paving the way for Russian athletes to return to Global sports events. The executive board of WADA, the global regulator of drugs in sports, massively backed Russia's return to WADA with 9 votes in the support of lifting of -the ban on RUSADA. 2 votes went against it with one abstention. RUSADA was suspended in November, 2015 after an independent WADA report which outlined evidence of massive state-backed systematic doping in Russian athletes. Russia's revival on WADA list is subject to various conditions. Who emerged the champion of the US Open-2018 Men's Singles title? Novak Djokovic of Serbia Serbia's Novak Djokovic defeated Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-3 in the final on Septembejr 9, 2018 at the Sir Arthur Ashe Stadium, New York to clinch the 2018 US Open Men's Singles Crown. It was Novak's third US Open Singles and 14th Grand Slam Singles Crown of the (9)

10 career. He had won it in 2011 and 2015 before this latest one. It is also Novak's second Grand Slam after his Wimbledon title in July. Novak thrashed Japan's Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in the semi-final to secure his place in the US Open final. Osaka Naomi beat Serena Williams of the USA in the final to clinch the US Open Women's Singles title, becoming the first Japanese to win a Grand Slam Singles Title. Economic Scenario India May Breach 3-3% Fiscal Deficit Target as Oil Prices Rise: Moody's Credit rating agency Moody's Investors Service foresees risks of India breaching the 3-3 per cent fiscal deficit target for the current financial year as higher oil prices add to shortterm fiscal pressures. According to the US-based agency, the Current Account Deficit (CAD), which is the difference between inflow and outflow of foreign currency, will widen but will not jeopardize India's external position; and the gap will remain significantly narrower than five years ago. HDFC Bank Again Most Valuable Indian Brand for 5th Year: Survey Private sector HDFC Bank has become India's most valuable brand for the fifth year in a row with a 21 per cent rise in its brand value to $ 21-7 billion over the previous year, according to a survey. HDFC Bank retained its top spot in the "WPP and Kantar Millward Brown's BrandZ 75 Most Valuable Indian Brands" ranking that was started in 2014 by the global communication services company. Global Hunger Continues to Rise: UN Report Recently released United Nations report reveals that the new evidence continues to signal that the number of hungry people in the world is growing, reaching 821 million in 2017 or one in every nine people, according to the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World India's 44th Rank in Global-Logistics Per formance Index 2018 According to the World Bank Global Logistics Performance Index for the year 2018, India slipped down to 44th rank among 160 nations while in 2016 its rank was 35th at the global level. Based on a worldwide survey of global freight forwarders and express carriers, the World Bank's Logistics Performance Index (LPI) is a benchmarking tool developed by the Washington-based institution that measures performance along the logistics supply chain within a country. Allowing for comparisons across 160 countries, the index can help countries identify challenges and opportunities and improve their logistics performance. The World Bank conducts the survey every two years. Fitch Raises India's GDP Forecast to 7-8% from 7.4% for US multinational Fitch Ratings onseptember 21, 2018 raised India's GDP growth forecast for the current fiscal to 7-8 per cent, up from their earlier estimate of 74 per cent, indicating, however, that-tightening of financial conditions, global oil prices and accumulated bad loans of banks continued as headwinds to the country's growth. Foreign Exchange JSesirws Fall Below $400 Billion Foreign exchange reserves fell below $ 400 billion, for the first time since November 11, 2017, in the first week of September" As on September 7, foreign exchange reserves stood at $ billion, a result of the Reserve Bank of India's intervention at a time when portfolio flows were witnessing some reversals. On September 14, 2018, the total foreign exchange slightly improved to $ billion. Ease of Living Index: Andhra Pradesh Best Performing State According to the report of the Urutrrr Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and Madhya Pradesh were awarded the best performing states in terms of "Ease of Living Index" under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) at the National Dissemination Workshop on Ease of Living Index, Kakinada, Visakhapatnam, Tirupati, and Vijaya-wada cities of Andhra Pradesh; Indore, Bhopal, Ujjain, Satna, Sagar, Jabalpur and Gwalior of Madhya Pradesh and Bhubaneswar and Rourkela from Odisha were covered under the Ease of Living Index. Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana is Now Openended Scheme with More Incentives The government on September 5, 2018 decided to make the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) an open-ended scheme and added more incentives to encourage people to open bank accounts. The flagship financial inclusion scheme was launched in August 2014 for a period of four years. Key features of the Revised Jan Dhan Yojana are following: Jan Dhan Yojana is now an open ended scheme. The over-draft limit for account holders has now been doubled to ` 10,000. There will be no conditions attached for over-draft of up to ` 2,000. The free accident insurance cover for those opening Jan Dhan accounts after August 28, 2018 too has been doubled'to ` 2 lakh. Also, the upper age limit for availing the.facility has been hiked to 65 from the earlier 60 years. As on August 29, 2018, there areapproximately crore Jan Dhan accounts having a total deposit balance of ` 82,039-5 crore. (10)

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