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Important Current Affairs 19th January 2020

National 


Piyush Goyal to lead Indian Delegation to World Economic Forum 2020
•    The Union Minister of Commerce and Industry & Railways, Piyush Goyal, will lead the Indian delegation to the 50th World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting at Davos from January 20 to 24, 2020.
•    The theme of the 2020 meeting is “Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World“.

National Immunization Day 2020
In India, the National Immunization Day was observed on 19 January 2020.
•    As a part of the celebrations, Pulse Polio Immunization programme 2020 was launched where President Ram Nath Kovind administered Polio drops to children below five years at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
•    Under this programme, approximately 17.4 crore children of less than five years of age across the country will be administered polio drops as a part of the immunization drive of the Central Government to sustain polio eradication from the country.

International


New Disease Outbreak: Novel corona virus Grips China’s Wuhan City
•    The Wuhan City of China is in a grip of a new disease outbreak caused by new respiratory virus called Novel corona virus, codenamed as 2019-nCoV.
•    Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
•    2019-nCoV is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
•    The outbreak has so far killed two people in China and sickened at least 45 persons including overseas cases with some new cases being detected in the city.
•    It is believed to have contracted through exposure to animals market that sells seafood and meat in Wuhan.


Banking and Economy


Mastercard to invest $1 bn in India over 5 years towards tech development
•    Global payments company Mastercard planned to invest nearly $1 billion in India over the next five years. The proposed investment will be made over five years in our India operations includes an R&D facility at Pune and another center at Vadodara.
•    The company is also working closely with technology and financial startups in the country by focusing on the innovation and digital payments matrices under its flagship Start Path program,

Half of World’s GDP Moderately or Highly Dependent on Nature: WEF study
•    The World Economic Forum released The New Nature Economy Report titled ‘Nature Risk Rising’ on 19 January 2020.
•    The report has been published by WEF in collaboration with PwC, UK.

RBI Ranks 6th among central banks in buying gold abroad in 2019: WGC Report
•    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was the sixth largest gold buyer abroad in the year 2019, as per the World Gold Council (WGC) report titled, “World Gold Outlook 2020”.
•    The RBI currently holds 625.2 tonnes of gold, which is 6.6 percent of its forex reserves.
•    RBI bought 7.5 tonnes of gold in October 2019, to increase its foreign exchange reserves to $450 billion.
•    The central banks of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Poland bought more than India in 2019 respectively.

NPCI Launches Blockchain-based ‘Vajra Platform’ to Secure Online Payment
•    The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has launched a blockchain-technology based payment system ‘Vajra Platform’ for automating payment clearing and settlement processes.
•    Vajra platform is based on Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), to provide highly secure and tamper-evident transactions stored in a distributed and immutable database.
•    Vajra is a permissioned network that will be set up so that only the parties who have been approved by the Network Administrator can be a part of the network.
•    The platform has three types of nodes: Clearing House node (CHN) for NPCI, UIDAI node for Aadhaar authentication, and Participant node (PN) for all banks/ASP/PPI/PSP

Ranking

Gujarat ranked top for water efficiency Delhi among worst performing states

•    Gujarat ranked the best for parameters on efficiency targets in the review of state and Central government water departments by the ministry of Jal Shakti.
•    Rajasthan is the third-best, and Delhi is among the worst-performing states, according to the ranking for 2019 circulated to different state governments recently. 
•    The seven Central departments reviewed, the Survey of India, got the top billing followed by the National Institute of Hydrology (NIH) and Central Water Commission.