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30 & 31 January 2020 - Current Affairs

International :
  • Bangalore has declared as the world’s worst city in terms of traffic congestion. According to the Global Traffic Index-2019, conducted by a Netherlands based firm Tom-Tom, people spent 243 hours in traffic jams in 2019. India has four such cities among the world's 10 highest traffic-congested cities. The vehicle navigation company, TomTom’s, said in its annual traffic index that it has surveyed in 416 cities, in 57 countries and 6 continents. It is the ninth annual edition of TomTom.

  • US President Donald Trump has signed the new USMCA North American trade pact with Canada and Mexico into law, pronouncing a glorious future for US industry. The USMCA, crafted over years of negotiation between the three countries, replaces the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. 

    It also makes changes to e-commerce, intellectual property protections and dispute settlement for investors, as well as imposing tougher labor provisions, requiring reforms to Mexico's laws. The signing ceremony event in Washington featured hundreds of business and farm leaders from around the country and scores of Republican officials. No Democratic members of Congress were on the White House guest list.

  • World Health Organisation (WHO) has convened an emergency meeting on 30 January, 2020 over the deadly coronavirus outbreak in China. Emergency Committee on the novel coronavirus under the International Health Regulations will meet in Geneva. The Committee will advise the Director-General on whether the outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), and what recommendations should be made to manage it.

National :
  • Union Government aims to achieve objective of Housing for All by 2022 under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Grameen. A total of over one crore 50 lakh rural houses have been completed in the last five years. Ministry of Finance said, the eligible beneficiaries will get one crore 95 lakh houses in the second phase of the scheme. Government has set a target of 60 lakh houses for the current financial year.

  • Petroleum Minister Dhamendra Pradhan has said that India will continue to lead the global sustainable energy agenda. He was delivering the key note address at the TERI’s World Sustainable Development Summit 2020 on ‘Energy Future Road Map’ in New Delhi on 30th January 2020. Mr Pradhan said, India is in the midst of a major transformative shift in the energy sector, both in scale and complexity and also the interdependence across different systems. He said, the trajectory to end energy poverty in India, as compared to the rest of the world, is based on the special national circumstances.

  • Indian government has decided that pensioners' life certificates will be collected from their doorstep, saving them from hassles of visiting pension disbursing banks. Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare has taken this landmark step to make life easier for senior citizens to submit their Annual Life Certificate for continued pension.

Sports :
  • Rani Rampal, captain of Indian women’s hockey team, became the first hockey player in the world to win the prestigious ‘World Games Athlete of the Year’ Award. The World Games announced the winner on January 31, 2020, after a 20-day voting process by sports lovers around the world. This award is given for outstanding performance, social concern, and good behavior.

  • Olympian Ayonika Paul has won the women's 10m Air Rifle T1 event while Vijayveer Sidhu won the men's 25m Pistol T2 event in the National Shooting trials at Thiruvananthapuram. Zeena also won the junior women's trials in the same event and also had the best qualifying score on the day with a 630.0 to show after 60 shots. Chandigarh's Vijayveer won the junior men's 25m Pistol with an aggregate score of 585. He had three inner 10s, more than second-placed Rajkanwar Singh Sandhu of Punjab.

Appointments :
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 29th January 2020 appointed its Executive Director Janak Raj as member of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), the highest interest rate setting body. The Monetary Policy Committee takes decisions based on majority vote. Each member has one vote but the RBI Governor get a casting vote in case of a tie.

  • India’s Gita Sabharwal has been appointed by the United Nations as its Resident Coordinator in Thailand. She was appointed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres with the host Government’s approval on January 29, 2020. The UN Resident Coordinators are the highest-ranking representatives of the UN’s country-level development system. The Resident Coordinators are designated representatives of the UN Secretary-General and they report directly to him. The resident coordinators have the responsibility of leading UN country teams and coordinate support for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

  • The government on 30 January, 2020 appointed M Ajit Kumar as chairman of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs.

  • Indian-origin Arvind Krishna has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of International Business Machines (IBM).

Days :
  • Nation pays homage to the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi on his 72nd death anniversary on 30th January 2020. It was on this day in 1948, Mahatma Gandhi fell to the bullet of his assassin. The day is also observed as Martyrs Day.



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