DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS 27 FEBRUARY 2019

National News

Rising India Summit 2019 Held In New Delhi

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed Network-18 Rising India Summit, held in New Delhi and laid out his vision for a ‘New India‘. The theme of the summit was, ‘Beyond Politics: Defining National Priorities’.

ii. The Prime Minister discussed various topics including income tax and GDP numbers, India’s global standing, Jan Dhan accounts, and unemployment.

Assam Launches PRANAM Commission To Protect Parents Of State Government Employees

i. Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal launched the PRANAMCommission, which is a panel set up to look after the issues concerning a Bill brought in for the protection of parents of state government employees.

ii. The Parents Responsibility and Norms for Accountability and Monitoring (PRANAM) Bill, stated to be the first-of-its-kind bill in the country, aims to protect elderly parents of government employees in their times of need.

Odisha Cabinet Approves State Film Policy 2019

i. With an aim to promote Odia films and create a conducive eco-system for production of films in the region, Naveen Patnaik-led state cabinet gave its nod to the Odisha State Film Policy-2019. 

ii. The policy will promote quality Odia films, facilitate film tourism in the state, establish Odisha as a destination for film shooting and improve screen density in the state.

Useful Info-

  • Ganeshi Lal is the Present Governor of Odisha.

Muhammadu Buhari Re-Elected Nigerian President

i. Muhammadu Buhari was re-elected Nigeria’s President, results showed, after a delayed poll that angered voters and led to claims of rigging and collusion.
ii. Buhari, 76, took an unassailable lead of more than four million votes as the last states were yet to be declared, making it impossible for his nearest rival, Atiku Abubakar, to win.

Useful Info-

  • Nigeria Capital: Abuja, Currency: Nigerian naira.

Awards

Playwright Mahesh Elkunchwar To Be Honoured With META Lifetime Achievement Award

i. Eminent Indian playwright Mahesh Elkunchwar has been chosen for this year’s META Lifetime Achievement Award

ii. The playwright will be conferred upon with the award on March 12, along with the winners of the 14th Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META) festival.

Banking News

BoB Ties Up With German KfW for USD 130m to Refinance Solar  Units

i. State-run Bank of Baroda has tied up with Germany’s KfW Development Bank for funding of USD 113 million to refinance solar projects. 

ii. The tie-up is part of an Indo-German Solar Energy Partnership signed in 2015.

RBI Removes Allahabad Bank, Corporation Bank, Dhanlaxmi Bank From PCA

i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has taken off Allahabad Bank, Corporation Bank and Dhanlaxmi Bank from the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework allowing them to resume their normal lending activities.

ii. The Board for Financial Supervision (BFS) met to review the performance of banks under PCA and noted that the government has infused fresh capital into various banks including some of the banks currently under the PCA framework.


Agreements

IWAI and IOCL Signed MoU On Fuel Needs for National Waterways

i. Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) and Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) signed an MoU for jointly developing infrastructure for fuels, lubricating oil, LPG, Natural Gas and any other related fuel and gas for meeting the requirement of National Waterways.
ii. The MoU will provide for an understanding over general modalities of mutual cooperation leading to addressing futuristic demand of any form of energy for Inland Waterways and associated services.

Useful Info-

  • Chairman of IWAI: Jalaj Shrivastava, Head office: Noida, UP.

Books and Authors

Dr. H Chaturvedi’s Book On ‘Quality, Accreditation & Ranking’ Launched In New Delhi

i. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu launched the book titled ‘Quality, Accreditation, and Ranking – A Silent Revolution in the Offing in Indian Higher Education’ edited by Education Promotion Society for India’s (EPSI) Alternate President Dr. H Chaturvedi in New Delhi.
ii. On this occasion, the UGC Chairman, Dr. DP Singh, and Management Guru Padma Shri Dr. Pritam Singh were present as the guest of honor. The book launch function was organized by EPSI, BIMTECH and Bloomsbury Pvt Ltd.

Sports News

Manu Bhaker, Saurabh Chaudhary Win Gold In 10m Air Pistol Mixed Team

i. Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary clinched the gold medal in the 10m Air Pistol Mixed Team event at the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi. 

ii. Ranxin Jiang and Bowen Zhang of China won silver while the Republic of Korea pair Minjung Kim and Daehun Park got the bronze.

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS 26 FEBRUARY 2019

National News

PM Modi Inaugurated 40-Acre National War Memorial in New Delhi

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated a new National War Memorial, situated in the India Gate complex in New Delhi, to the nation. 

ii. The National War Memorial, spread over 40 acres in the India Gate complex behind the canopy, is dedicated to soldiers killed during the Indo-China War in 1962, Indo-Pak Wars in 1947, 1965 and 1971, Indian Peace Keeping Force Operations in Sri Lanka and in the Kargil Conflict in 1999, and also those in the UN peacekeeping missions.

Useful Info-

  • The 42-metre-high India Gate was built during the British Raj as the All India War Memorial Arch to honour the soldiers who died in the First World War (1914-1918) and the Third Anglo-Afghan War (1919).

FAGMIL Signs MoU With Himachal Pradesh To Establish India’s 4th White Cement Plant Project

i. Under its diversification programme, FCI Aravali Gypsum and Minerals India Limited (FAGMIL) has taken up a project to establish a white cement plant near village Nohra Dhar in Himachal Pradesh, at a project cost of approximately Rs. 605 crores.

ii. It will be the 4th white cement plant in the country. The installed capacity of the plant would be 0.3 million tonnes per annum and it will generate the direct employment of approximately150 persons. 

Useful Info-

  • FAGMIL is a GoI Undertaking, under the administrative control of Department of Fertilizers, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, Government of India.

Madhya Pradesh Government Launched  ‘Mukhyamantri Yuva Swabhiman Yojana’

i. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath launched the State Government’s flagship scheme ‘Mukhyamantri Yuva Swabhiman Yojana’ that guarantees 100 days of employment every year to urban youth from economically weaker sections.

ii. Under the scheme, Rs 4,000 stipend per month during 100 daysperiod, would be given to the youth and they will also be given skill development training in order to become independent. (Only those youths, whose family’s annual income is less than Rs 2 lakh and who are in the age group of 21-30 years, are eligible for the scheme). 

Awards

President Conferred ‘Gandhi Peace Prize’

i. President Ram Nath Kovind conferred the Gandhi Peace Prize for 2015, 16, 17 and 18 at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi.

ii. The award comprises a cash award of one crore rupees, a citation in a scroll, a plaque and a traditional handicraft item.

Here are the awardees that were facilitated at the occasion:

1. For 2015: Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari was given the award for its contribution in Rural Development, Education and Development of natural resources.

2For 2016: Jointly to Akshaya Patra Foundation for its contribution in providing mid-day meals to millions of children across India and Sulabh International for its contribution in improving the condition of sanitation in India and emancipation of manual scavengers.

3. For 2017: Ekal Abhiyan Trust for its contribution in providing Education for Rural and Tribal Children in remote areas pan India, Rural Empowerment, Gender, and Social Equality.

4. For 2018: Japan’s Yohei Sasakawa for his contribution in Leprosy Eradication in India and across the world.

Useful Info-

  • Instituted in 1995 on the occasion of the 125th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the annual award is given to individuals and institutions for their contribution towards social, economic and political transformation through non-violence and other Gandhian methods.

Lifetime Achievement Award For G.R. Karthikeyan

i. G.R. Karthikeyan, father of India’s first Formula One driver Narain Karthikeyan, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement award at the FMSCI annual awards function

ii. FIA president Jean Todt was the chief guest and handed over the awards.

Defence News

India-Bangladesh Joint Military Exercise ‘Sampriti 2019’ in Tangail

i. As part of the ongoing India Bangladesh defence cooperation, a joint military exercise Sampriti-2019 will be conducted at Tangail, Bangladesh from 02 March to 15 March 2019.

ii. Exercise Sampriti-2019 is an important bilateral defence cooperation endeavor between India and Bangladesh and this will be the eighth edition of the exercise which is hosted alternately by both countries.


Appointments

Indra Nooyi Joins Amazon’s Board of Directors

i. PepsiCo’s India-born former CEO Indra Nooyi has joined Amazon’sboard of directors, the online retail giant. Starbucks executive Rosalind Brewer has also joined the Amazon Board.
ii. She was Pepsico CEO from October 2006 to October 2018, where she also served as the Chairman of its board of directors from May 2007 to February 2019.

Sports News

Afghanistan Scores Highest Ever T20 International Score

i. Afghanistan scored 278 for the loss of three wickets from their allotted 20 overs, to register the highest-ever total in T20s at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. 

ii. Hazratullah Zazai scored 162 runs from just 62 balls. Zazai became the first player from Afghanistan to score 150 or more runs, and his 236-run opening stand with Usman Ghani became the highest partnership in T20Is. 

Sri Lanka Becomes 1st Ever Asian Team To Win Test Series In South Africa

i. Sri Lanka cricket team became the first Asian side to win a Test series in South Africa after winning the series by 2-0. 

ii. Kusal Perera was given the Man of the Series award. Before Sri Lanka, only Australia and England have defeated South Africa in a Test series at home.

Useful Info-

  • Sri Lanka capital: Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, Currency: Sri Lankan Rupee, President: Maithripala Sirisena.
  • South Africa Capital: Cape Town, Currency: South African Rand, President: Cyril Ramaphosa.

Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta Wins Cannes International Open Trophy

i. Indian Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta lifted the Cannes International Open trophy. He took an easy draw with Pier Luigi Basso of Italy in the ninth and final round. 

ii. Abhijeet won the tournament with 7.5 points. It is his first solo International tournament victory.

 

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS 25 FEBRUARY 2019

National News

 India Hosts ‘4th Global Digital Health Partnership Summit’

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i. J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare inaugurated the ‘4th Global Digital Health Partnership Summit’ in New Delhi, in the presence of  Ravi Shankar Prasad Union Minister of Law & Justice and Electronics & Information Technology. 

ii. The global intergovernmental meeting on digital health is being hosted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Digital Health Partnership (GDHP). 

 Bihar Becomes The 1st State To Deploy Dog Squad To Check Liquor Smuggling

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i. Bihar has become the first state to deploy specially-trained dogs to check smuggling of liquor which continues to take place inspite of the total ban imposed in the state for the last 3 years. 20 liquor-tracker dogs were trained rigorously for nine months inHyderabad, Telangana.

ii. They were trained at Hyderabad-based Integrated Intelligence Training Academy. Patna will witness deployment of 4 such dogs.

Tamil Nadu Becomes 1st State in Mainland to Get 2 Coast Guard Districts

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i. Tamil Nadu became the first state in the country to get a second Coast Guard district headquarters – Thoothukudi. The first district headquarters is Chennai.

ii. Inaugurated by state Governor Banwarilal Purohit, the Thoothukudi district headquarters has been set up with an aim to augment security mechanism on the eastern coast and the state in particular.

Indian Government Launched Rail Drishti Dashboard

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i. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal launched Rail Drishti Dashboard in New Delhi. 

ii. The dashboard has been launched to keep people informed about the work going on in the Railways across the country.

International News

Zimbabwe Starts Trading New Currency RTGS dollar

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i. Zimbabwe started to trade its new currency, the RTGS dollar, two days after the central bank announced measures to try and resolve a chronic monetary crisis. 

ii. The new currency replaces electronic bank savings called digital dollars and the bond notes and was named after the real-time gross settlement system that banks use to transfer money between each other.

Useful Info-

  • Zimbabwe Capital: Harare, President: Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Women’s Livelihood Bond Launched By World Bank, UN And SIDBI

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i. World Bank, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), and Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI)launched new social impact bonds exclusively for women, called Women’s Livelihood Bonds (WLBs), with an initial corpus of Rs 300 crore.
ii. It will enable individual women entrepreneurs in sectors like food processing, agriculture, services, and small units to borrow around Rs 50,000 to Rs 3 lakh at an annual interest rate of around 13% to 14% or less and have a tenure of 5 years. They will be unsecured, unlisted bonds and offer a fixed coupon rate of 3% per annum to bond investors.

Useful Info-

  • World Bank Interim President: Kristalina Georgieva, Headquarters: Washington D. C.
  • SIDBI Chairman & Managing Director: Mohammad Mustafa Headquarters:Lucknow.
  • UN Women Executive Director: Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Headquarters: New York.

India To Attend OIC Meet for 1st Time in Abu Dhabi

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i. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has been invited to deliver an address at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Abu Dhabi. This is the first time that a leader of the non-Muslim country has been invited to the OIC conference.
ii. Mrs Swaraj will be the Guest of Honour and address the inaugural plenary of the 46th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of OIC on the 1st and 2nd of March.

Useful Info-

  • Abu Dhabi is the capital city of the UAE.

Donald Trump Signs SPD-4 To Create US Space Force

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i. US President Donald Trump signed Space Policy Directive-4 (SPD-4), ordering the Pentagon to establish the Space Force as the 6th branch of the United States military, to go along with the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, in order to secure and extend American dominance of the space domain.
ii. Donald Trump signs SPD-4 to create US Space Force SPD-4, as the name suggests, is Mr. Trump’s 4th space policy directive. The initial 3 were:
SPD-1– Directed NASA to get humans back to the Moon as a stepping-stone to Mars.
SPD-2– Streamlined regulations for the commercial space sector.
SPD-3– Dealt with space traffic management.

Cobra Gold Military Exercises Held In Thailand

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i. Thailand and the United States hosted the annual Cobra Gold military exercise, the biggest activity of its type in the Asia-Pacific region with 29 nations taking part as participants or observers. Apart from the 2 countries, 7 countries who participated in the exercise were India, Singapore, Japan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korea.
ii. The Indian Army participated in the military training exercise with a 14-member contingent. India participated in this exercise for the first time in the ‘Observer Plus’category in 2016 alongside China.

Awards 

Oscar Awards 2019 Announced: Complete List Of Winners

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i. The 91st Academy Awards (Oscars) has been announced at the Dolby Theatre inHollywood, the USA

ii. Rami Malek was named Best Actor in a Leading Role for ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’,while Olivia Colman won Best Actress Oscar for ‘The Favourite’ at the 91st Academy Awards.

iii. India-based ‘Period. End of Sentence.’ has won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject.

Manpreet Singh Honoured With AHF’s Player Of The Year

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i. The Asian Hockey Federation has honored Indian skipper Manpreet Singh with the 2018 Player of the Year award. Women team’s striker Lalremsiami has bagged the Rising Player of The Year prize.

ii. Manpreet led the Indian team to an unbeaten streak at the Asian Champions Trophy in Muscat where the team was declared joint winners with Pakistan. 

Economy News

GST Council Reduces GST Rate on Real Estate Projects

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i. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council met for its 33rd meeting and slashed GST rate on under-construction residential properties and the affordable housing projects. 

ii. The revised rates will be applicable from April 1, 2019. The decision was based on recommendations of a Ministerial Panel headed by Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel. 

iii. Here are the revised GST rates:

  1. In case of non-affordable houses, the GST rate for under-construction flats and houses has been brought to 5% without Input Tax Credit (ITC), down from the present 12%.
  2. In case of affordable houses, the GST rate has been reduced to 1% without ITC from 8%

 

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS 24 FEBRUARY 2019

NATIONAL NEWS

PM Modi unveils Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme in Gorakhpur

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme in Gorakhpur. PM-KISAN scheme, announced in the interim Budget, released earlier this month will provide Rs 6,000 per year to small and marginal farmer families having combined land holding/ownership of upto 2 hectares. The amount will be given in 3 installments of Rs 2,000 each.

  • The amount will be transferred directly to the bank account of the beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfer. After launching the scheme, the Prime Minister also handed over certificates to select beneficiaries of the scheme.

GST on affordable housing properties reduced to 1 pc

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) on affordable housing properties without input tax credit (ITC) has been reduced to one per cent, while effective GST of 5 per cent shall be applicable without ITC on residential properties outside affordable segment, as was decided by the GST Council at its 33rd meeting. The new rate will be effective from April 1, 2019. 

  • In metros, a flat of 60 square meter carpet area and costing Rs 45 lakh in the apartment will fall in the affordable housing category. In non-metros, the size will be 90 square meter carpet area and costing Rs 45 lakh.

Odisha launches boat ambulance

The Odisha government launched the boat ambulance service to help patients reach hospitals in remote areas cut off by rivers, at a cost of Rs 5.40 crore. The first boat ambulance was launched at Batighar in the Kendrapara district.

  • Six boat ambulances will add to the road fleet and will be part of the 108 ambulance service. Patients from the areas cut off by rivers need to wait long for transportation to the nearest hospital. They would use boats to cross water bodies to the be picked up by 108 or 102 ambulance.

TN becomes first state in mainland to get 2 Coast Guard dists

Necessitated by frequent issues pertaining to fishermen, Tamil Nadu became the first state in the country to get a second Coast Guard district headquarters – Thoothukudi.

  • The first district headquarters is Chennai. Inaugurated by state Governor Banwarilal Purohit, the Thoothukudi district headquarters has been set up with an aim to augment security mechanism on the eastern coast and the state in particular. 

Chennai to host ‘Science at Sabha’

The fourth edition of ‘Science at the Sabha’, organised by The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, will be held in Chennai. The programme is part of the institute’s outreach programme to the common man. ‘Science at Sabha’ will be held at The Music Academy in Chennai. 

  • The event-like feature talks on topics like “Traffic rules in neurons” by Sandhya Koushika, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai; “Untwisting the twisted matter” by Vijay Shenoy and “The whole is more than the sum of its parts” by Sitabhra Sinha, The Indian Institute of Mathematical Science, Chennai..

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Zimbabwe launches new, discounted currency RTGS Dollar

Zimbabwe’s central bank began trading a sharply discounted replacement currency, attempting to ease a cash crunch that has hobbled the economy and plunged millions deep into poverty. Zimbabwe adopted the dollar in 2009 but, as a chronic hard currency shortage worsened, introduced a parallel system of bond notes that it pegged at 1:1 to the U.S. currency.

  • Effectively reintroducing a national currency, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) said it would carry out a “managed float” of the surrogate, which fetches far less than a dollar on the black market. The bond notes and electronic dollars, locked in individuals’ accounts for months due to a lack of cash, will be merged into a separate currency called RTGS or real-time gross settlement dollars. 

SPORTS

Saurabh wins gold at shooting World Cup

Indian shooter Saurabh Chaudhary won gold in the men’s 10 metre air pistol category at the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi. In the final, the shooter created a new world record with a score of 245. This is the second gold for India in this tournament.

  • Apurvi Chandela had taken the first gold for India when she won the title in the women’s 10m air rifle category.

APPOINTMENTS

Brij Bhushan Sharan elected as WFI President for third time

Member of Parliament Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has been elected third time unopposed as the President of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI). Election of the Office Bearers and Executive Committee Members of WFI for the next years term (2019-2023) were held in New Delhi at the Constitution Club of India. 

  • Along with Brij Bhushan, I.D. Nanavati has been elected as the Senior Vice President, V.N. Prasood as the Secretary General and Satyapal Singh Deshwal as the Treasurer.

AWARDS

Manpreet Singh honoured with AHF’s Player of the Year Award

The Asian Hockey Federation has honoured Indian skipper Manpreet Singh with the 2018 Player of the Year award. Women team’s striker Lalremsiami has bagged the Rising Player of The Year prize.

  • Manpreet led the Indian team to an unbeaten streak at the Asian Champions Trophy in Muscat where the team was declared joint winners with Pakistan while Lalremsiami put up an impressive performance as a striker at the 2018 World Cup.

 

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS 23 FEBRUARY 2019

National News

UP CM Launches Scheme For Adolescent Girls

i. In Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath launched Scheme for Adolescent girls (SAG). The scheme focuses on girls aged between 11 to 14 years who have left studies and will take steps for proper nutrition and special care for them.

ii. The state government also decided to observe Adolescent girls day on 8th of every month at Anganwadi centres across the state.

First Mega Food Park Of Tripura Inaugurated  In Agartala

i. Union Minister of State for Food Processing Industries, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, inaugurated Tripura’s first mega food park named Sikaria Mega Food Park Pvt Ltd at Village Tulakona in Agartala.
ii. It has been set up by Kolkata-based Sikaria Mega Food Park Private Ltd. on 50 acres land provided by Tripura Industrial development corporation Ltd.

Useful Info-

  • Tripura Capital: Agartala, CM: Biplab Kumar Deb, Governor: Prof. Kaptan Singh Solanki.

International News

President Bashir Declares Year-Long State Of Emergency In Sudan

i. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has declared a year-long state of emergency, dissolving his cabinet and local governments throughout the country.

ii. Omar al-Bashir in a televised address called on Sudan’s parliament to postpone constitutional amendments that would allow him to run for another term in a presidential election in 2020.

Awards 

Divya Karnad Becomes First Indian Woman To Receive Future For Nature Award

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i. 33-year-old Ashoka University teacher and Wipro Sustainable Fellow,Divya Karnad became the First Indian Woman to be honoured with the ‘Future for Nature Award’ for her work on marine conservation.

ii. The award is given to 3 people annually, and this year it was given to Oliver Nsengimana and Fernanda Abra along with Divya Karnad. It is a prestigious international award that celebrates achievements in protecting wild animals and plant species.

Digital India Awards conferred for Excellence in Web Space

i. The Digital India Awards have been instituted under the ambit of the National Portal of India by National Informatics Centre, MeitY, to promote exemplary initiatives in e-governance using the medium of World Wide Web.

Schemes and Committees 

Odisha To Give Free Sanitary Napkins To 17 Lakh School Girls

i. The Odisha Cabinet approved the ‘Khushi‘ scheme to provide free sanitary napkins to school girls across the state. The scheme will benefit nearly 17.25 lakh school girls from Class VI to XII studying in government and government-aided schools.
ii. The state government will spend INR 466 crore over a period of 5 years to implement the scheme.

Useful Info-

  • Odisha Capital: Bhubaneshwar, CM: Naveen Patnaik, Governor: Ganeshi Lal.

CBDT Set Up Panel To Help Bring Down Tax Litigation

i. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) formed a 4-member committee, headed by income tax commissioner Sanjeev Sharma, to look into the matter of taxation related pain points and submit its final report and recommendations by mid-March.
ii. It will tackle the issue by addressing some current pain points and recommending some steps borrowed from international best practices.

Miscellaneous 

HM Rajnath Singh Inaugurates Waste To Wonder Park In Delhi

i. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated a new park which houses the replicas of seven wonders of the world at South Delhi. The park, which is called the ‘Waste to Wonder Park’, was built by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC).

ii. It is the first-of-its-kind tourist attraction in the world, with the replicas of seven wonders of the world. The replicas of all seven wonders of the world have been built with eco-friendly, self sustainable material, and has its own solar and wind power generation.

World’s Largest Bee Spotted The First Time Since 1981

i. Wallace’s giant bee (Wallace Bee),  the largest bee known on the Earth which was considered to be extinct since 1981 was re-spotted in an Indonesian forest.
ii. Scientists spotted a female bee of the species Megachile pluto and its size is four times the size of the typical European honeybee and has a wingspan of 2.5 inches.

 

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS 22 FEBRUARY 2019

National News

India, Sri Lanka Ink MoU To Establish Business Centre For ICT  Incubators

i. India and Sri Lanka signed an MoU to establish a business center for ICT incubators in Jaffna (a city in Sri Lanka) through the grant of 25 crore Sri Lankan rupees from India.

ii. The MoU was signed by High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Mr. Taranjit Singh Sandhu, and Secretary, Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade Mr. S. T. Kodikara in Colombo in presence of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe.

Useful Info-

  • Sri Lanka Capitals: Colombo, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, Currency:Sri Lankan rupee, Prime minister: Ranil Wickremesinghe.

President Ram Nath Kovind Promulgates 4 Ordinances

i. President Ram Nath Kovind promulgated four Ordinances. These are:

1. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Second Ordinance has been promulgated to give continued effect to the provisions brought in by the earlier ordinance. This Ordinance declares the practice of instant triple talaq to be void and illegal and also to make it an offence punishable with imprisonment up to three years and fine.

2. The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Second Ordinance has been promulgated to give continued effect to the work already done by the Board of Governors as per the provisions of earlier Ordinance.

3. The Companies (Amendment) Second Ordinance, has been promulgated with a view, to empower the Central Government to allow certain companies to have a different financial year instead of as determined by the Tribunal.

4. The Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Ordinance has been promulgated to have central legislation to tackle the menace of illicit deposits taking activities in the country.


BEL Signs Teaming Agreement With Hughes India for Helicopter SATCOM Solutions

i. Navratna Defence PSU, Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Hughes India have entered into a Teaming Agreement for design, development, supply, installation, integration and commissioning of Satellite Communication solutions for helicopters under the Ministry of Defence, Government of India at Aero India 2019, Bengaluru.

ii. Director (Marketing), BEL, Ms Anandi Ramalingam and President, Hughes India Shri Partho Banerjee signed the MoU. 

Useful Info-

  • Hughes India is a majority-owned subsidiary of Hughes Network Systems, LLC, USA (Hughes).
  • Hughes is the world’s largest provider of broadband satellite networks and services.
  • BEL Headquarters in Bengaluru, Karnataka.

NITI Aayog Organized Conference on Future of Indian Banking

i. Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog, inaugurated a conference on “The Future of Indian Banking” with the Foundation for Economic Growth and Welfare (EGROW Foundation).

ii. The conference aims to increase and elevate the discourse on the banking sector in India, and help develop insights to inform the continued evolution of the Indian banking sector for optimally supporting the growing credit needs of the Indian economy.

Useful Info-

  • NITI Aayog: National Institution for Transforming India.
  • NITI Aayog CEO: Amitabh Kant, Vice Chairman: Rajiv Kumar.

Government Launches ‘Operation Digital Board’ To Boost Quality Education

i. The Union Minister of Human Resource Development, Prakash Javadekar launched the ‘Operation Digital Board’ to boost quality education in the country. 

ii. An expert committee has worked out optimum configuration of the Digital Class Rooms under the Operation Digital Board. The Operation Digital Board is a revolutionary step which will make the learning as well as the teaching process interactive and will popularise flipped learning as a pedagogical approach.

CCEA Approves KUSUM Scheme For Farmers’ Welfare

i. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the launch of ‘Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan’ (KUSUM Yojana) with the objective of providing financial and water security to farmers. The Central Government will provide a total financial support of Rs 34,422 crore for the scheme.

ii. Components of KUSUM Yojana: The Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan scheme consists of three components:

 

  • Component-A: 10,000 MW of Decentralised Ground Mounted Grid Connected Renewable Power Plants.
  • Component-B: Installation of 17.50 lakh standalone Solar Powered Agriculture Pumps.
  • Component-C: Solarisation of 10 Lakh Grid-connected Solar Powered Agriculture Pumps.

Defence Ministry Approves Torpedo Acquisition For Naval Submarines

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i. In a major boost for the Navy’s firepower, the Defence Ministry has approved the acquisition of more than 100 heavyweight torpedoes which will be equipped on the force’s six Scorpene-class submarines being built at Mazagon Dockyards in Mumbai.
ii. The French-origin Scorpene submarines are being built in India at Mazagon Dockyards Limited (MDL) and have now been named the Kalvari class. The first boat of the class called INS Kalvari has already been inducted into the Navy and is carrying out operational duties.

International News

List of MoUs Signed Between India and South Korea

  

i. List of MoUs/Documents signed between India and the Republic of Korea during the State Visit of Prime Minister Modi to the Republic of Korea. 

1. MoU on the release of commemorative postal stamp on Queen Hur (Suriratna) for releasing a joint stamp commemorating the legendary Princess Suriratna (Queen Hur Hwang-ok), a legendary Princess of Ayodhya, who went to Korea in AD 48 and married King Kim-Suro. 

Australian Small Brown Rat Becomes World’s First Mammal To Go Extinct Due To  Climate Change

i. small brown rat of bramble cay melomys species lived on a tiny island off northern Australia becomes the world’s first mammal to have become extinct due to “human-induced climate change”.  

ii. The Australian government has officially listed the Bramble Cay melomys as extinct. Extreme high water levels and damaging storm surges, including its sources of food include the reason behind its Extinction.

Sci-Tech News

China’s Xinhua Unveils World’s First Female AI News Anchor

i. Chinese news agency Xinhua unveiled the world’s first female AI news anchor Xin Xiaomeng. She has been developed in collaboration with Sogou Inc, a search engine company.

ii. Earlier, Xinhua also developed Qiu Hao, the world’s first male AI news anchor at the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen held in November 2018, who is capable of mimicking human facial expressions and mannerisms while reading out news-reports.

Pinarayi Vijayan Inaugurated First Humanoid Police Robot KP-BOT In India

i. Kerala Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, inaugurated India’s first Humanoid Police Robot named KP-BOT, ranked as Sub-Inspector (SI), at the Police Headquarters in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. The robot’s gender is declared female keeping in mind women empowerment and gender equality.

ii. In 2018’s Cocoon Cyber Conference it was announced that robots will be included in the police force, after which, the work on the project was started by state police Cyberdome and a Kochi based start-up, Asimov.

Useful Info-

  • Kerala CM: Pinarayi Vijayan, Governor: Palaniswamy Sathasivam.

Appointments

Ajay Singh Appointed As The Head Of AIBA Elite Foundation

i. Ajay Singh, president of the Boxing Federation of India has been selected as the president of the Foundation Board for Better Boxing of AIBA (International Boxing Association).

ii. AIBA formed the Foundation Board for Better Boxing in the last meeting of its Executive Committee to formulate an action plan for global development of the sport in future.

Useful Info-

  • AIBA President: Gafur Rahimov.

SC Appoints Former Judge Justice D.K. Jain as BCCI Ombudsman

i. The Supreme Court appointed a retired judge of the court Justice D.K. Jain as the first ombudsman under the new BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) Constitution approved by the court in a judgment.
ii. Bringing a quietus to the quibbling between the Committee of Administrators (CoA) which runs the BCCI and the State bodies that form the Board, a Bench of Justices S.A. Bobde and A.M. Sapre decided to take things into their own hands on the advice of amicus curiae and senior advocate P.S. Narasimha.

Economy News

EPFO Hikes Interest Rates On EPF By 0.1%

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i. Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation has hiked interest rate on employees’ provident fund to 8.65% from 8.55% for the 2018-19 fiscal year. The announcement was made by Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar.

ii. The proposal would now go to the Finance Ministry for approvalg. The Central Board of Trustees (CBT) headed by Labour Minister is the apex decision making body of the EPFO which finalises rate of interest on PF deposits for a financial year.


Awards 

PM Modi Conferred With Seoul Peace Prize in South Korea

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was conferred with the Seoul Peace Prize during his two-day visit to South Korea. The award was first announced by the Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation in October 2018.

ii. Former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are among previous recipients of the award.

 

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS 21 FEBRUARY 2019

National News

List of MoUs Signed During Visit of Prince of Saudi Arabia to India

i. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was on a one-day state visit to India. He met PM and President of India. 

Operation Digital Board Launched By HRD Ministry

i. The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry launched Operation Digital Board on the lines of Operation Blackboard to provide better digital education in school.

ii. The government has aimed at equipping 9 lakh classrooms in schools and colleges across the country (7 lakh classrooms of 9th, 10th and 11th standards and 2 lakh classrooms of colleges and Universities) with digital facilities for teaching by 2022.


MoU Between Environment Ministry and University of British Columbia on Forestry Science

i. An MoU was signed between Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada for next 10 years in New Delhi. 

ii. The MoU will help in exchange of students, researchers, and faculty, developing research projects, livelihood opportunities and augment income of the forest-based communities and also assist the industries to optimize the utilization of forest-based resources with access of technology to different stakeholders by the respective organizations.

Useful Info-

  • Dr. Harsh Vardhan is the Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change.

Tele-law Mobile App, Nyaya Bandhu Launched By Department of Justice

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i. A tele-law mobile application ‘Nyaya Bandhu’ was launched by the Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. 

ii. The application will benefit 73,000 paralegal volunteers (PLVs) of National Legal Service Authority and State Legal Services Authorities (SLSA) in the country who will be associated under Tele-Law service.

‘KALIA Chhatra Bruti’ Scholarship Launched In Odisha

i. ‘KALIA Chhatra Bruti’ scholarship for the children of farmers benefited under the KALIA scheme was launched by the Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in BhubaneshwarOdisha.

ii. It aims at providing financial assistance for technical and professional education to farmers’ children by creating a provision for the State government to bear all expenses involved in various levels of education.

Useful Info-

  • Odisha Capital: Bhubaneshwar, CM: Naveen Patnaik, Governor: Ganeshi Lal.

Summits and Conferences

Regional Conference on ‘Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation scheme’ Organised At Kolkata

i. A regional conference on ‘Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme (DDRS)’ was organised in Kolkata, West Bengal. DDRS is a scheme implemented by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.

ii. DDRS was established in 1999 by the Government of India. It is a central government scheme.

‘International Vision Zero Conference’ To Promote Occupational Safety And Health Held in Mumbai

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i. Heeralal Samariya, Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment inaugurated the three days Conference on the VISION ZERO and its relevance to Occupational Safety and Health was held in Mumbai.

ii. The Conference has been organized by Directorate General Factory Advice and Labour Institutes (DGFASLI), Ministry of Labour and Employment, German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV), Germany.

Useful Info-

  • The concept of Vision Zero is based on four fundamental principles viz. life is non-negotiable, humans are fallible, tolerable limits are defined by human physical resistance, and people are entitled to safe transport and safe workplaces.

8th World CSR Congress 2019 Held in Mumbai

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i. World Corporate Social Responsibility Congress (World CSR Congress 2019) promotes Entrepreneurship, Social Responsibility, Sustainability and Social Development. The 8th World CSR Congress was held in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

ii. The theme of the year 2019 is ‘Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs)’ to focus on corporate strategies, innovation, and strategic alliances. Dr. Soumitro Chakraborty won ‘CEO of the year’ award. 

4th India-ASEAN Expo Summit Begins in New Delhi

i. The 4th India-ASEAN Expo and Summit started in New Delhi. This is a flagship event of Department of Commerce, being organized with FICCI to carry forward the momentum and to further strengthen India-ASEAN relations under the Act-East Policy.

ii. The Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) comprises of Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Cambodia and Brunei. 

Useful Info-

  • India-ASEAN trade and investment relations have been growing steadily, with ASEAN being the second largest trading partner of India, after China, with a total bilateral merchandise trade of USD 81.33 billion.

International News

PM Modi On 2-Day Visit To South Korea 

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i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Seoul on a two-day visit to South Korea. Mr Modi will hold bilateral talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and receive the Seoul Peace Prize in recognition of his dedication to international cooperation, global growth and human development.

ii. Besides summit meeting with President Moon Jae-in, Prime Minister Modi will also have a number of engagements with the Korean leadership, businesses and Indian Community. 

Useful Info-

  • South Korea Capital: Seoul, Currency: South Korean won, President: Moon Jae-in.

‘Festival of India’ Begins In Kathmandu

i. A month-long ‘Festival of India’ began in Kathmandu, Nepal, to familiarise the new generation of the country about the similarities between the two countries.

ii. Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari and Indian Ambassador to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri jointly inaugurated the event.th its robotic arm and is equipped with 5 night-vision cameras to relay the scenario underneath.

Important Days

International Mother Language Day: 21 February

i. International Mother Language Day has been observed every year on 21st February since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.

ii. This year, International Mother Language day 2019 will be framed by the International Year of indigenous languages 2019 (IYIL19) around the theme “Indigenous languages matter for development, peace building and reconciliation”.


Banking News

Government To Infuse Rs 48,239 crore in 12 Public Sector Banks

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i. The government has approved recapitalization of Rs 48,239 crore in 12 public sector banks in this fiscal to help them maintain regulatory capital requirements and finance growth plans.

ii. The government will infuse over nine thousand crore rupees in Corporation Bank and six thousand 896 crore rupees in Allahabad Bank. Besides, four thousand 638 crore rupees will be provided Bank of India and 205 crore rupees to Bank of Maharashtra. These banks have recently come out of the regulatory supervisory framework PCA of the RBI.


Awards 

Laureus World Sports Awards 2019 Announced: Complete List of Winners

i. The Laureus World Sports Award for Sportsman of the Year is an annual award honoring the achievements of individual men from the world of sports. 

ii. Novak Djokovic was named World Sportsman of the Year and United State gymnast Simone Biles was named Sportswoman of the Year at the 2019 Laureus World Sports Awards, while Tiger Woods won the World Comeback of the Year award.

Obituaries


Veteran Film Producer Raj Kumar Barjatya Passes Away

i. Veteran Bollywood producer and father of filmmaker Sooraj Barjatya, Raj Kumar Barjatya passed away in Mumbai.

ii. He was popularly and affectionately known as Raj Babu and helmed several Bollywood hit films including ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’, ‘Hum Aapke Hain Koun’, ‘Vivah’, ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’, ‘Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon’ among others. All these films were directed by his son Sooraj.

 

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS 20 FEBRUARY 2019

National News

PM Modi Flagged Off 1st Ever Diesel To Electric Conversion Locomotive

i. Under ‘Make in India’ initiative, Indian Railways has created history by converting a diesel locomotive into electric locomotive for the first time in the world. This all new converted energy-efficient electric locomotive has been flagged off by PM Narendra Modi in Varanasi.

ii. In a first of its kind notable initiative, the diesel locomotive which has been converted to electric locomotive by the Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW) in Varanasi. The entire project is an Indian R&D innovation for the entire world, says Indian Railways.

Saudi Becomes 73rd Nation To Sign International Solar Alliance

i. Saudi Arabia became the 73rd nation to sign the International Solar Alliance. ISA was unveiled by PM Narendra Modi and former French President Francois Hollande in 2015. 

ii. The move came at Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visit to India.


Tourism Minister K.J. Alphons Inaugurated ‘Eco Circuit’ Project in Kerala 

i. K.J. Alphons, Union Minister for Tourism inaugurated the project ‘Development of Eco Circuit: Pathanamthitta – Gavi – Vagamon – Thekkady’ under the Swadesh Darshan scheme of Ministry of Tourism at Vagamon, Kerala.

ii. This Eco Circuit project was sanctioned in December 2015 for Rs. 76.55 crores. Major works carried out under the project includes Eco Adventure Tourism Park at Vagamon, Cultural Centre at Kadamanitta.

Textiles Minister Launched 4 Projects in North-East For Development Of Silk Sector

i. Union Minister of Textiles, Smriti Zubin Irani, launched four projects in North East for the development of silk sector through video conference in New Delhi. 

ii. Smriti Zubin Irani inaugurated Muga silk seed production centre in Tura, Meghalaya, silk printing and processing unit in Agartala, Tripura, Eri spun silk mill in Sangaipat, Imphal and development of sericulture in Mamit, Mizoram.

Useful Info-

  • Assam is the 1st state nationalized (1950) in India among North-East states.

Commerce Minister Launched ‘SWAYATT’ on GeM

i. Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, launched SWAYATT in New Delhi. SWAYATT is an initiative to promote Start-ups, Women and Youth Advantage Through eTransactions on Government e Marketplace (GeM). 

ii. On this occasion, Commerce Minister also dedicated GeM Start-up Runway-an initiative of GeM in association with Start-up India to facilitate Start-ups registered with Start-up India to access the public procurement market and sell innovative products and services to government buyers.

Useful Info-

  • Radha Chauhan is the CEO of Government e Marketplace (GeM).

Development Projects Worth Rs. 3350 crores Unveiled by PM in Varanasi

i. The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi unveiled development projects worth Rs. 3350 crores for VaranasiUttar Pradesh. These projects pertain to various sectors of Health, Sanitation, Smart City, Connectivity, Power, Housing and others.

ii. He released commemorative postage stamp on completion of 100 Years of IIT BHU. He also inaugurated BHU Cancer Centre and Bhabha Cancer Hospital, Lahartara.

Useful Info-

  • Governor of UP: Ram Naik, CM of UP: Yogi Adityanath.

Important Cabinet Approvals: 19th February 2019

i. The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given the following set of approvals. The important Cabinet Approvals are given as follows:
ii. The Cabinet has approved- 
1. Promulgation of the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Ordinance, 2019.
2. The release of an additional instalment of DA to Central Government employees and DR to Pensioners, due from 1.1.2019.

Sci-Tech News

India’s First Hi-Tech Forensic Lab NCFL and CyPAD Inaugurated In New Delhi

i. Cyber Prevention Awareness and Detection (CyPAD) Centre and the National Cyber Forensic Lab (NCFL) were inaugurated by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and LG Anil Baijal in Dwarka, New Delhi.

ii. To spread awareness among school students and teachers, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has started a popular Twitter handle @CyberDost.

Bandicoot-A Drainage-Cleaning Robot Introduced In Chennai

i. Bandicoot, a drainage-cleaning robot, has been introduced for the first time in India at the Kumbakonam city corporation as part of efforts to rid of manual scavenging at the cost of Rs 18 lakh in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

ii. It is a semi-automatic robot can enter manholes for cleaning sewage lines with its robotic arm and is equipped with 5 night-vision cameras to relay the scenario underneath. 

Business/Banking News

HDFC ERGO Launched 1st-of-its-kind Trip Protector’ Policy

i. HDFC ERGO General Insurance Company, India’s third-largest non-life insurance provider in the private sector, announced the launch of ‘Trip Protector’ insurance policy, a pioneering policy in the non-life insurance segment in India.

ii. In the event of a cancellation, either a flight or hotel booking, Trip Protector insurance policy will safeguard travelers financially against the cost of cancellation levied by Hotels or Airlines. 

Useful Info-

  • HDFC ERGO General Insurance Company is a 51:49 joint venture between the Housing Development Finance Corporation Ltd. (HDFC) and ERGO International AG.

Government Relaxes Angel Tax Norms For Start-ups From 7 Years To 10 Years

i. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry in an attempt to provide relief to and boost investments into start-ups in India has decided to simplify the process for them to get exemptions under the Income Tax Act, 1961.

ii. It will now recognize an entity as a start-up up to 10 years from the date of its incorporation or registration instead of the existing duration of 7 years. It will also recognize an entity as a start-up if its turnover for any of the financial years since its incorporation or registration does not exceed Rs 100 crore unlike the previous amount of Rs 25 crore.


Important Days


World Day of Social Justice: 20 February

i. The World Day of Social Justice is celebrated annually all over the world on 20 February

ii. The theme for WDSJ 2019 is “If You Want Peace & Development, Work for Social Justice”.


Awards 

7th National Photography Awards Announced: Complete List of Winners

i. Union Minister of State (IC) for Information & Broadcasting and Youth Affairs & Sports Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore presented the 7th National Photography Awards in a function organized at National Media Centre in New Delhi. 

ii. The theme for the Professional category was “Women led Development”, while the theme for Amateur category was “Fairs and Festivals of India”.

iii. The list of the Award winners is as under:

  1. Lifetime Achievement Award – Shri Ashok Dilwali
  2. Professional Photographer of the Year – Shri SL Shanth Kumar
  3. Amateur Photographer of the Year – Shri Gurdeep Dhiman
  4. Special Mention Awards (Professional) – Shri Arun Sreedhar, Shri P.V. Sunderrao, Shri Kailash Mittal, Shri Mihir Singh, Ms. Ranita Roy.
  5. Special Mention Awards (Amateur) – Shri V. Ravi Kumar, Ms. S. Neelima, Shri Manish Jaisi, Shri Mahesh Balasaheb Lonkar, Shri Avijit Datta.

Sports News

Squash Great Nicol David Announces Retirement

i. Malaysia’s 8-time World Champion Nicol David has announced that she will call time on her record-breaking career at the end of the 2018/19 season. 

ii. The 35-year-old from Penang is one of the most successful squash players of all time and spent an unprecedented 9 years at World No.1 between 2006-2015.

Obituaries


Noted Hindi Writer Namvar Singh Passes Away

i. Noted Hindi writer Namvar Singh passed away in New Delhi. He was 92. Singh was the first chairman of JNU’s Centre of Indian Languages.

ii. He has authored over dozen books including ‘Kavita Ke Naye Pratiman’, ‘Chhayavad‘ and ‘Dusri Parampara Ki Khoj’ among others. He received Sahitya Academy Award for literary criticism in 1971 for ‘Kavita Ke Naye Pratiman’.

‘Badge of Honor’ Military Novelist, W.E.B. Griffin Passes Away

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i. American military veteran and novelist, William E. Butterworth III, better known as W.E.B. Griffin (his pen name), passed away at the age of 89. He joined the army at the age of 17 and has served in the Korean War.

ii. He wrote more than 200 books under the pen name W.E.B. Griffin and various other names and sold millions of copies. 

 

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS 19 FEBRUARY 2019

National News

IAF Carried Out ‘Vayu Shakti’ Exercise At Pokhran

i. Indian Air Force conducted mega exercise ‘Vayu Shakti’ in PokhranRajasthan. The exercise was carried out day and night where the IAF showcased firepower capability of indigenously developed platforms and efficacy of missiles.

ii. For the first time, the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALP) and the Akash surface-to-air missile were deployed in the military exercise. MiG-29 fighter jet also participated in the exercise. 

Useful Info-

  • Chief of Air Staff: Air Chief Marshal Birendra Singh Dhanoa.

4th Agri Leadership Summit 2019 Held At Sonipat, Haryana

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i. Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare, Radha Mohan Singh, inaugurated the 4th Agri Leadership Summit 2019 at theIndia International Horticulture Market (IIHM) in Ganaur, Sonipat district, Haryana. It was a 3-day summit.
ii. The theme of the summit was “Entrepreneurship & Agri-Business; Agri Allied – A Promising Sector and Agri Service- Direct Marketing”.

Useful Info-

Haryana Capital: Chandigarh, Chief Minister: Manohar Lal, Governor: Satyadeo Narain Arya.

3. International Annual Desert Festival Held In Jaisalmer

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i. The 40th International Annual Desert Festival held on the sand dune in Jaisalmer with thousands of tourists participating in the colourful event.
ii. It had interesting events like Mr. Desert and Ms. Moomalcompetitions, mustache competitions, turban tying, musical and cultural performances, among others. Folk artists also gave their enthralling performance.

Rajasthan Assembly Passes Bills Scrapping Minimum Qualification For Local Polls

i. The Legislative Assembly of Rajasthan passed the Rajasthan Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and the Rajasthan Municipality (Amendment) Bill, 2019 to end the minimum education criterion for panchayat and civic polls candidates
ii. The previous BJP government had introduced the minimum qualification of class 10 for Zila Parishad/Panchayat member election, and class 5 or 8 class for the post of sarpanch.

Useful Info-

  • Rajasthan Capital: Jaipur, CM: Ashok Gehlot, Governor: Shri Kalyan Singh.

India’s First ‘Fulldome 3D Digital Theatre’ Inaugurated In Kolkata

i. Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma inaugurated India’s very first ‘Fulldome 3D Digital Theatre’ at the Science City in Kolkata, West Bengal.
ii. It is fully funded by the Ministry of Culture at a cost of Rs 20 crore. The Science City is operated by the National Council of Science Museums under the Ministry of Culture.

Rajnath Singh Launches Pan-India Number 112 For Women Safety

i. Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi launched a range of citizen safety initiatives in New Delhi.
ii. Persons in distress can dial a pan-India number: 112. Under this system, all the states have to set up a dedicated Emergency Response Centre, ERC

International News

Iran’s First Semi-Heavy Missile-Equipped Submarine Fateh Unveiled

i. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani unveiled the first Iranian madesemi-heavy submarine named ‘Fateh’ (‘Conqueror’ in Persian), capable of being fitted with missiles, as per the reporting on Iran’s state TV.

ii. It has subsurface-to-surface missiles with a range of about 2,000 km (1,250 miles) and is capable of reaching Israel and U.S. military bases in the region.

Useful Info-

  • Iran Capital: Tehran, Currency: Rial, President: Hassan Rouhani.

Sci-Tech News

AntBot, The First Walking Robot To Navigate Without GPS, Developed

i. AntBot is the first walking robot to have navigational capabilities without GPS or mapping. It has been designed by Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and Aix-Marseille University researchers at ISM, on lines similar to desert ants who use polarised lights and UV radiation to navigate in space.

ii. Weighing only 2.3 kg, this robot has six feet for increased mobility, allowing it to move in complex environments, precisely where deploying wheeled robots and drones can be complicated.

Israel To Launch Its First Moon Mission

i. Israel is to launch its first moon mission, sending an unmanned spacecraft to collect data to be shared with NASA. According to a report, the 585-kilogram Beresheet (Genesis) spacecraft is to lift off atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida. 

ii. Mission control will be in Yehud, near Tel Aviv.

Useful Info-

  • Israel Capital: Jerusalem, Currency: Israeli new shekel.


Economy News


RBI To Pay Rs 28,000 Crore As Interim Dividend To Government

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i. The Reserve Bank has announced that it will transfer an interim surplus of 28,000 crore rupees to the central government for the half-year ended 31st December 2018. The central bank follows a July-June financial year and usually distributes the dividend in August after annual accounts are finalised.

ii. With this interim transfer, the government will get a total of Rs 68,000 crore from the central bank in the current fiscal. The RBI had transferred Rs 40,000 crore to the government in August 2018.

iii. This will be the highest receipt from RBI in a single financial year for the government, exceeding the Rs 65,896 crore it received in FY16 and Rs 40,659 crore in FY18


Awards 

Jharkhand’s NGO Yuwa Won Laureus Sports For Good Honour

i. Jharkhand based NGO Yuwa won the Laureus Sports for Good Award. Yuwa works for girl empowerment and became the third Indian entry to receive this honour. 

ii. Yuwa was founded in 2009 by Americans Franz Gastler and Rose Thomson. It runs a football program in rural Jharkhand with 450 girls. In 2004, Indian Cricket team and Pakistan counterpart shared Laureus Award for the first time and recently by Magic Bus in 2014.

Useful Info-

  • Jharkhand Capital: Ranchi, CM: Raghubar Das, Governor: Draupadi Murmu.

Shiv Chhatrapati Awards Conferred On Uday Deshpande And Smriti Mandhana

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i. Mallakhamb coach, Uday Deshpande, and batswoman, Smriti Mandhana, were awarded the Maharashtra State Government’s Shiv Chhatrapati Award by the State’s Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao at an event held at the Gateway of India, Mumbai.

ii. Among the other award recipients are hockey player Suraj Karkera, paddler Sanil Shetty, track and field athlete Siddhant Thingaliya, who specialises in 110 metres hurdles, runner Monika Athare and squash player Mahesh Mangaonkar.

Useful Info-

  • Maharashtra Capital: Mumbai, CM: Devendra Fadnavis, Governor: C. Vidyasagar Rao.

Appointments 

Arun Jaitley Resumes Charge As Finance Minister

                                

i. Arun Jaitley resumed charge as the finance minister after a gap of over a month, which was the second break within a year that he had to take to undergo medical treatment.

ii. The President of India, as advised by the prime minister, has directed to assign the portfolios of the Minister of Finance and Minister of Corporate Affairs to Arun Jaitley. 

Sports News

Elise Mertens Beats Simona Halep To Win Qatar Open

i. Elise Merten, world number 21 from Belgium beat world number 3, Simona Halep to win the Qatar Open held in Doha, Qatar. 

ii. This is her first WTA Premier-level crown and fifth title of her overall career. Mertens’ triumph over the Romanian was her third win over a top 10 player in Doha.

Obituaries


Climate Scientist Wallace Smith Broecker Passes Away

i. Climate scientist Wallace Smith Broecker, who popularised the term “global warming” has passed away in New York. Eighty-seven-year-old Columbia University professor breathed his last at a New York City hospital.

ii. Broecker was also first to recognize what he called the Ocean Conveyor Belt, a global system of ocean currents circulating water and nutrients.

 

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS 18 FEBRUARY 2019

National News

India’s First District Cooling System To Be Built In Amravati

i. United Arab Emirates (UAE) based international cooling provider,National Central Cooling Company PJSC (Tabreed) entered into a 30-year concession with Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) to build India’s first district cooling system in Amaravati.

ii. The agreement is for a contracted cooling capacity of 20,000Refrigeration Tons (RTs) and will cater to the State’s Assembly, High Court, Secretariat and other Government buildings currently being constructed, for which cooling services will start in early 2021.

Useful Info-

  • UAE Capital: Abu Dhabi, Currency: UAE Dirham.

International News

J P Morgan Became First US Bank With Cryptocurrency

i. JP Morgan rolled out the first US bank cryptocurrency. The currency is designed to be decentralized so that no one has control over transactions being sent over the network. 

ii. Cryptocurrencies are used successfully to move money between the bank and a client which usually runs on a blockchain technology. The cryptocurrency, called “JPM Coin,” is intended for the bank’s wholesale payments business that moves $6 trillion around the world daily and not for retail customers. 

Awards 

Sunil Chhetri Given First Ever Football Ratna Award

i. Sunil Chhetri, the all-time leading scorer for India in international football, has been conferred the first ever Football Ratna honour by Football Delhi, the association governing the sport in Delhi.

ii. He is popularly known as Captain Fantastic. He has scored the 2nd highest number of goals in international matches among active players after Cristiano Ronaldo.

De Goede, Van Doren Win 2018 FIH Player Of The Year Awards

i. Eva de Goede from Netherlands and Arthur van Doren of Belgium were titled the International Hockey Federation’s Players of the Year for 2018. 

ii. Eva de Goede, 29, was named the Female Player of the Year and Arthur van Doren, 24, won the Male Player of the Year award for the second year in a row.

Appointments 

UN Appoints C Ramanathan As Controller And ASG For Programme Planning, Budget and  Finance

                                     

i. Chandramouli Ramanathan has been appointed as Controller, Assistant Secretary-General for Programme Planning, Budget and Finance in the management strategy, policy and compliance department. 

ii. He succeeds Bettina Tucci Bartsiotas of Uruguay.

Useful Info-

  • United Nations Headquarters: New York, United States, Secretary General: Antonio Guterres.

Banking and Economy News

India Boosts Customs Duty To 200% On Goods Imported From Pakistan

i. India with immediate effect has boosted the Customs Duty on all the goods imported from Pakistan to 200% followed by the day after India repealed Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status from Pakistan. 

ii.  This 200% tariff rate is higher than the average bound rate of 113.5% for agriculture products and 34.6% for non-agriculture products. The MFN applied rates are 32.8% and 10.7%, respectively for farm and non-farm products.

Useful Info-

  • Pakistan Capital: Islamabad, PM: Imran Khan, President: Arif Alvi.

Government Raised Rs.10000 Crore From Bharat-22 ETF Offering

i. The government of India gets Rs.10000 crore from Bharat-22 Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) by additional offering. The government has absorbed approximately Rs.46000 crore by way of disinvestment with the successful offering of Bharat-22 ETF.
ii. Bharat-22 is an Exchange Traded Fund ( ETF) which will closely track the performance of Bharat-22 index. It was launched by Government of India in November 2017ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund AMC will manage the fund.

Useful Info-

  • ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund Headquarters: Mumbai, MD and CEO: Nimesh Shah.

RBI Lifts Cap On FPI Investments In Corporate Bonds

i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) withdrew the 20% limit on investments by FPIs in corporate bonds of an entity with a view to encourage more foreign investments.
ii. As part of the review of the FPI investment in corporate debt undertaken in April 2018, it was stipulated that no FPI should have an exposure of more than 20% of its corporate bond portfolio to a single corporate (including exposure to entities related to the corporate).

Useful Info-

  • RBI 25th Governor: Shaktikant Das, Headquarters: Mumbai, Founded: 1 April 1935, Kolkata.


Sports News

Vidarbha Clinches The Irani Cup Title

i. Vidarbha became the only 3rd team in Indian Domestic Cricket history after Bombay and Karnataka to defend their Irani cup titles at Jamtha Stadium in Nagpur by defeating rest of India.

ii. Vidarbha chased a target of 280 runs on the day and young Karnewar was the Player of the match.

Chris Gayle Announces Retirement From One-day Internationals

i. West Indian batsman Chris Gayle has announced that he will retire from One-day Internationals after the forthcoming World Cup.  The 39-year old left-hander has scored 9,727 ODI runs, second only to the legendary Brian Lara among West Indians in 284 matches.

ii. Gayle has scored a Windies record of 23 ODI hundreds, including the first-ever World Cup double century against Zimbabwe 4 years ago.

Useful Info-

  • The World Cup will be held in England and Wales from 30th May till 14th July.

 

Defence News


Hina Jaiswal Becomes The First Indian Woman Flight Engineer

i. Flight Lieutenant Hina Jaiswal from Chandigarh, became the First Indian Woman Flight Engineer of the Indian Air Force(IAF).
ii. She was commissioned in the IAF’s engineering branch in 2015 and completed the 6-month Flight Engineer course from the 112 Helicopter Unit attached to the Air Force Station in Yelahanka, Bengaluru.

Useful Info-

  • IAF Chief: Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa.

Books and authors 

‘Simplicity & Wisdom’ Authored By Mr. Dinesh Shahra Launched

i. A book ‘Simplicity & Wisdom’ written by Dinesh Shahra was launched at Parmarth Ashram in Kumbh Mela. 

ii. Launched by the Governor of West Bengal– Keshari Nath Tripathiand Swami Chidanand Saraswati, Head of Parmarth Ashram, this book is dedicated to Late Vedanti Swami Pragananandji.               

 Science and Technology News

Infosys Unveils A Learning App ‘InfyTQ’ For Engineering Students

i. Infosys, the country’s 2nd largest IT firm has launched a next-generation digital platform ‘InfyTQ’ to facilitate engineering students with best learning experiences by imparting technical and professional skills.

ii. InfyTQ is a free platform available on both mobile and desktop, featured with always-on, anytime, anywhere learning catered through a continuous transfer of digital skills.

Useful Info-

  • Infosys CEO: Salil Parekh.

Obituaries 

Best-selling British Author ‘Andrea Levy’ Passed Away

i. The best-selling British author Andrea Levy, who explored the experience of Jamaican British people in a series of novel over 20 years, has died from cancer at the age of 62.

ii. She was known for penning books ‘The Long Song’ and ‘Small Island’. She was conferred with Orange prize for fiction, Whitbread book of the year, Commonwealth writers prize and many more.

 

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS 17 FEBRUARY 2019

NATIONAL NEWS

Argentina President Mauricio Macri arrived in Delhi on 3-day official visit to India

Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri arrived in New Delhi on a three-day India visit during which he will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to enhance cooperation in key sectors such as economy, nuclear technology and space. President Macri was received at the airport by Information and Broadcasting Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore.

  • This visit will provide opportunity to the two sides to review progress in bilateral ties and to explore new avenues of cooperation. 
  • Extra info.:
    Argentina Capital: Buenos Aires
    Currency: Argentine peso

Country’s 1st semi high-speed train Vande Bharat Express leaves Delhi for Varanasi on first commercial run

Country’s first semi high speed train Vande Bharat Express left Delhi for Varanasi on its first commercial run. Tickets of the train have already been sold out for the next two weeks. The train, which has been designed and built in India, is running between New Delhi and Varanasi via Kanpur and Prayagraj. It will cover the distance between New Delhi and Varanasi in 8 hours. 

UAE’s Tabreed to build India’s first district cooling system in Amaravati

UAE-based international cooling provider has entered into a 30-year concession with Andhra Pradesh government to build, own, operate and transfer India’s first district cooling system in the state’s new capital Amaravati.

  • The agreement between the National Central Cooling Company (Tabreed) and Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) is for a contracted cooling capacity of 20,000 refrigeration tonnes and this will be the company’s first plant outside itsGulf Cooperation Council (GCC) market.
  • Extra info.:
    UAE Capital: Abu Dhabi
    Currency: Dirham

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Measles cases nearly doubled in 2018: WHO

A total of 229,068 cases of measles were reported in 2018, nearly double the number of infections contracted in the previous year, the WHO has said. The World Health Organization (WHO) has appealed to the Member States to close gaps in vaccine coverage. The appeal follows its previous announcement that an estimated 110,000 people died from the highly infectious but easily preventable disease in 2017.

  • Extra info.:
    WHO Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

SPORTS

De Goede, Van Doren win 2018 FIH player of the year awards

India continued to draw a blank as Netherlands’ Eva de Goede and Arthur Van Doren of Belgium were named as the International Hockey Federation’s (FIH) Players of the Year for 2018. Since the inception of the awards in 1998, no Indian hockey player has managed to bag the coveted awards.

  • While de Goede was named the Female Player of the Year, world champions Belgium’s Van Doren was picked up as the Male Player of the Year for a second consecutive time.
  • Extra info.:
    International Hockey Federation Headquarters: Lausanne, Switzerland

Sourabh Verma claims men’s singles title in National Badminton Championship

Sourabh Verma completed a hat-trick of titles at the Senior Badminton Nationals, claiming the men’s singles crown after defeating young Lakshya Sen in straight games, in the 83rdedition of the tournament in Guwahati. 

  • The 26-year-old, who had won the title in 2011 and 2017, showed great composure and tactical brilliance to outdo the 17-year-old Lakshya, an Asian junior champion, 21-18 21-13 in a lop-sided contest.

Elise Mertens wins Qatar Open title beating Simona Halep

Belgium’s Elise Mertens has claimed the biggest title of her career by beating top seed Simona Halep 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 to win the Qatar Open. This is world number 21 Mertens’ first-ever WTA Premier-level crown, and the fifth title of her career overall.

APPOINTMENTS

William Barr sworn in as US Attorney General

William Barr was sworn in for his second stint as the US attorney general, taking the helm of the Justice Department as special counsel Robert Mueller investigates Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. 

  • As the country’s chief law enforcement officer, Barr will oversee the remaining work in Mueller’s investigation into potential coordination between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign and decide how much Congress and the public know about its conclusion. 

Indian-origin global negotiator appointed director of renowned academic institution in South Africa

An Indian-origin global negotiator has been appointed as the director of a renowned academic institution in South Africa. Professor Faizel Ismail will take charge as the director of the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance from Professor Alan Hirsch. 

  • Ismail is known for his role in negotiating major agreements for South Africa, including with the Southern African Customs Union as well as the Trade and Development Agreement with the European Union.

AWARDS

Abdul Aziz Muhamat, a Manus Island refugee, wins international human rights prize

Abdul Aziz Muhamata Sudanese refugee who has been held in Australia’s notorious offshore Manus Island processing centre for over five years, has won the prestigious Martin Ennals human rights prize, the UN refugee agency UNHCR has said.

  • It is the first time that the major prize has been awarded to an individual focused on refugee issues and who has been a victim of human rights violations by a Western democracy.

Chhattisgarh’s Raigarh municipal corporation wins “Swachhata Excellence awards 2019

Chhattisgarh’s Raigarh municipal corporation won the “Swachhata Excellence awards 2019”. The municipal corporations of Ambikapur and Kumbakonam bagged the second and third prizes respectively. Nagar Palika Parishad of Jashpur Nagar, Malappuram Municipality, and Nagar Palika Parishad Surajpur have claimed the prizes in the “Statutory Towns” category.

OBITUARIES

Actor Bruno Ganz passes away

Legendary actor Bruno Ganz, who played Adolf Hitler in the film ‘Downfall’, passed away. He was 77. He also played Jonathan Harker in ‘Nosferatu the Vampyre’ and an angel in Wim Wenders’ ‘Wings of Desire’ and its sequel ‘Faraway, So Close!’

Former Goa Deputy Speaker and writer, Vishnu Wagh passes away

Veteran writer and former deputy speaker of Goa Legislative Assembly Vishnu Wagh passed away in South Africa. He was 53. Wagh has written over 20 plays in Marathi, three sangeet nataks, 18 Konkani plays and 16 one-act plays.

  • He has directed over 50 plays in Konkani and Marathi. Some of his critically-acclaimed plays include “Tuka Abhang Abhang”, “Suvari”, “Teen Poishancho Tiatro”, “Dharmashree”, and”Pedru Poddlo Baient”. He has also written six volumes of poetry.

 

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS 16 FEBRUARY 2019

National News

Expert Committee Recommends Rs 9,750 Monthly National Minimum Wage

i. The Expert Committee led by Anoop Satpathy, Fellow of V. V. Giri National Labour Institute (VVGNLI), submitted its report on “Determining the Methodology for Fixation of the National Minimum Wage” to the Government.

ii. It recommended the fixation of need-based National Minimum Wage (NMW) for India at Rs 375 per day or Rs 9,750 per monthirrespective of sectors, skills, occupations and rural-urban locations for a family comprising of 3.6 consumption units. The Present NMW is Rs. 4,576.

India’s First Agromet Forecast Centre Inaugurated  In Karnataka

i. Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences, Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, inaugurated the North Karnataka Agromet Forecasting and Research Centre (NKAFC), India’s first agromet forecast centre, at University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) in Dharwad, Karnataka.

ii. The main objective of the centre is to give accurate reports on the weather which would enable the farmers to protect the crops and get a good yield. 

Useful Info-

  • Karnataka CM: H. D. Kumaraswamy, Governor: Vajubhai Vala.

International News

5th India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Committee Meeting Held In New Delhi

i. The 5th India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Committee Meeting, co-chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Foreign Affairs Minister of Bangladesh Dr. Abdul Momen was held in New Delhi.

ii. The last Joint Consultative Committee Meeting between the two countries was held in October 2017 at Dhaka. Earlier, Mrs. Swaraj held a bilateral meeting with Mr. Momen.

Useful Info-

  • Bangladesh PM: Sheikh Hasina, Capital: Dhaka, Currency: Taka.

Ranks & Reports

‘World Employment and Social Outlook Trends 2019’ Report Released By ILO

i. The International Labour Organization released World Employment and Social Outlook Trends 2019 report. As per the report, unemployment rates will fall to 4.9% in 2019 and remains steady in 2020.

ii. Among the age group 15-24 the global unemployment stood at 11.8% which is much higher than it is among other age groups. In the global labor market, 2 billion out of 3.3 billion people worked keeping their economic security at risk in informal employment.

Useful Info-

  • ILO Headquarter: Geneva, Switzerland, Director General: Guy Ryder, Formed: 1919.

Summits and Conferences

World Sustainable Development Summit 2019 Held At New Delhi

i. World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS) 2019, the flagship event of ‘The Energy and Resources Institute’ (TERI), was inaugurated by Vice President Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.

ii. The theme of WSDS 2019 was ‘Attaining the 2030 Agenda: delivering on our promise’. Frank Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji was honoured with the Sustainable Development Leadership Award 2019 for his outstanding contributions towards sustainable development in Fiji.

Useful Info-

  • TERI Director-General: Dr. Ajay Mathur, Headquarters: New Delhi.

Early Ed Asia 2019 Held In Jaipur

i. Early Ed Asia 2019, the two-day event which is Asia’s largest conference on Early Childhood, was held at the City Palace in Jaipur, Rajasthan. The motto of the event was ‘Our Children. Our Future’.
ii. It was the first time such a conference was held in India with over 6000 eminent early childhood educators, policy-makers, researchers and other stakeholders from India and foreign countries.

Useful Info-

  • Rajasthan Capital: Jaipur, Chief Minister: Ashok Gehlot, Governor: Kalyan Singh.

Science and Technology

NASA To Launch SPHEREx Mission To Investigate Universe

i. NASA has announced a new space telescope mission dedicated to understanding the origins of life and the universe. It’s called the Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer or SPHEREx, for short. The space agency is aiming for a 2023 launch.

ii. Once SPHEREx is in orbit, it will observe and collect data on over 300 million galaxies, some as far as 10 billion light-years away from Earth, and 100 million stars in our own Milky Way every six months.

Miscellaneous

IWAI Launched Portal ‘LADIS’ For Real Time Information

i. Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) launched a new portal Least Available Depth Information System (LADIS) for real-time data on available depth on stretches of National Waterways.
ii. It will ensure real-time data on ship and cargo owners on which they can undertake transportation on National Waterways (NW) in a more planned way. It is a step towards ensuring optimum use of National Waterways.

Amazon Launched ‘Amazon Pay UPI’ For Android Users In India

i. Amazon launched “Amazon Pay Unified Payments Interface (UPI)” for Android users in partnership with Axis Bank to issue UPI IDs to its customers in India.
ii. With this, users would be able to use their Amazon Pay UPI ID to shop on Amazon.in, make payments for their daily purchases, including recharge and bill payments, without entering bank account or debit card credentials.

Useful Info-

  • UPI is an instant real-time payment system developed by National Payments Corporation of India processing inter-bank transactions.

 

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS 15 FEBRUARY 2019

National News

India Withdraws Most Favoured Nation Status To Pakistan

i. Following the attack in Jammu & Kashmir’s Pulwama that left 44 CRPF personnel dead, India has withdrawn the MFN (Most Favoured Nation) status that it had granted to Pakistan.

ii. The decision was taken during the Cabinet Committee on Security meeting held in New Delhi. India had granted the status to Pakistan in 1996, a year after WTO’s formation.

Universal Old Age Pension Scheme Announced By Bihar Government

i. Bihar Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar announced a Universal Old Age Pension scheme, named Mukhya Mantri Vriddha Pension Yojana(MMVPY), irrespective for all caste, community, religion, except for those who are retired from government organizations.

ii. The scheme facilitates the amount of Rs. 400 monthly pension for all in the state above the age of 60 who are not getting a pension from the government. The Chief Minister also announced a pension of6,000 rupees for journalists above 60 years of age.

Useful Info-

  • Bihar CM: Nitish Kumar, Governor: Lalji Tandon.

India Signed Deal With US To Procure 72,400 Assault Rifles

i. The Indian Government has signed a deal with the US under Fast Track Procurement (FTP) to avail the Indian Army with 72,400 new ‘Sig Sauer Assault Rifles’ which will overhaul the army’s inventory of frontline rifles.

ii. These Sig Sauer Assault rifles are 7.62*51 mm which are compact, robust, advance in technology and easy to maintain in field conditions. These new rifles will come at a cost of around Rs. 700 Crore and will be used by the army troops deployed along the 3,600 km China’s border.

Useful Info-

  • US President: Donald Trump, Capital: Washington, D.C, Currency: US Dollar.

India-U.S. Commercial Dialogue And CEO Forum Held in New Delhi

i. India and the United States held India-U.S. Commercial Dialogueand India-U.S. CEO Forum in New Delhi. Union Minister for Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, chaired the meeting.

ii. The CEO Forum was co-chaired by Chairman, Tata Sons, N. Chandrasekaran and President and CEO of American Tower Corporation, Mr. James D.

iii. The MoU was signed between National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (NABCB) of India and ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB) of the United States for cooperation in matters related to accreditation.

Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-Dhan Implemented In India

i. Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-dhan (PM-SYM) was rolled out by the Ministry of Labour and Employment from 15 February 2019. The scheme announced in the Interim Budget was notified by the Ministry recently.

ii. Following are the Salient Features of PM-SYM:

1. Minimum Assured Pension: Each subscriber under the PM-SYM, shall receive minimum assured pension of Rs 3000/- per month after attaining the age of 60 years.

2. Family Pension: During the receipt of pension, if the subscriber dies, the spouse of the beneficiary shall be entitled to receive 50% of the pension received by the beneficiary as family pension. Family pension is applicable only to spouse.

Appointments

P C Mody Appointed As Chairman of CBDT

i. Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) has appointed senior IRS officer Pramod Chandra Mody as chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).

ii. He will succeed Sushil Chandra, who was recently appointed Election Commissioner. He is 1982 batch Indian Revenue Service (Income Tax cadre). 

iii. Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT)

  1. It is nodal policy-making body of Income Tax (IT) department functioning under Department of Revenue, Union Ministry of Finance.
  2. It is a statutory authority established under The Central Board of Revenue Act, 1963.
  3. It is supreme body in India for framing policies related to direct taxes and is also tasked to enforce direct tax laws in the country.

CBDT Chief Sushil Chandra Appointed As Election Commissioner

i. President Ram Nath Kovind appointed Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman Sushil Chandra as an Election Commissioner. The post had fallen vacant after the appointment of the then Election Commissioner Sunil Arora as Chief Election Commissioner on superannuation of his predecessor O.P. Rawat in December 2018.
ii. Former bureaucrat Ashok Lavasa is the first and senior-most Election Commissioner. A 1980-batch Indian Revenue Service (IRS) official, Mr. Chandra is an IIT graduate. His appointment comes weeks ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

International News

NASA Announces The End Of Opportunity

i. NASA announced that its Opportunity Rover mission is complete after the rover failed to respond despite repeated trials since August 2018. The space agency inferred that a planet-encircling dust storm cut off communications with Opportunity on June 10, 2018, disabling its solar panels from storing power. 

ii. The robotic rover, which wandered the surface of the red planet for over 15 years, was launched by NASA in July 2003 as a part of its Mars Exploration Rover program. It is survived by NASA’s Curiosity rover,which is now the only active robot on Mars.

India Signs Legal Agreements With The World Bank

i. The Government of India, Government of Himachal Pradesh (GoHP)and the World Bank signed a $40 Million Loan Agreement to help bring clean and reliable drinking water to the citizens of the Greater Shimla area, who have been facing severe water shortages and water-borne epidemics over the last few years.

ii. The Shimla Water Supply and Sewerage Service Delivery Reform Programmatic Development Policy Loan 1 is expected to improve water supply and sanitation (WSS) services in and around the iconic hill city of Shimla

Useful Info-

  • World Bank Headquarters: Washington, D.C., United States

 

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS 14 FEBRUARY 2019

National News

India’s 1st Aqua Mega Food Park Commissioned in Andhra Pradesh

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i. Union Minister of Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal commissioned Godavari Mega Aqua Food Park at Tundurru Village in Bhimavaram Mandal, West Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh through video conferencing.

ii. The park is promoted by Godavari Mega Aqua Food Park Pvt. Ltd. It will be the first Mega Aqua Food Park operationalised exclusively for fish and marine products processing in the state of Andhra Pradesh. 

Useful Info-

  • Andhra Pradesh CM: Chandrababu Naidu, Governor: ESL Narasimhan.
  • The Godavari Mega Aqua Food Park Pvt. Ltd has been set up in 57.81 acre of land at a cost of Rs. 122.60 crores.


Important Cabinet Approvals: 14th February 2019

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i. The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given the following set of approvals. The important Cabinet Approvals are given as follows:

ii. The Cabinet has approved- 

1. MoU between India and Morocco for setting up of a Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism.

2. Proposal for leasing out of 1.61 acres of land at Alipur, Delhi, owned by Delhi Milk Scheme to Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium for setting up of Kisan Mandi.

16th Lok Sabha Session Concludes

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i. The last session of 16th Lok Sabha came to an end on 13th of February 2019. Giving the details for the tenure of 16th Lok Sabha, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Narendra Singh Tomar informed that there were a total number of 331 sittings for Lok Sabha. 205 bills were passed and the productivity was 85%. 

ii. For Rajya Sabha, 154 bills were passed and the productivity was 68%. The just-concluded Parliament session provided 10 sittings spread just-concluded of 14 days. The productivity of Lok Sabha was 89% and that of Rajya Sabha was 8%. 

Useful Info-

  • Sumitra Mahajan is the present Speaker of Lok Sabha.

AYUSH Ministry Launched e-AUSHADHI Portal

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i. Minister of State (IC) for AYUSH, Shripad Yesso Naik launched thee-AUSHADHI portal, for online licensing of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy drugs and related matters at New Delhi.

ii. This e-AUSHADHI portal is intended for increased transparency, improved information management facility, improved data usability and increased accountability. 

Indian Army Carried Out The Annual Exercise Named ‘Exercise Topchi’

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i. Indian Army showcased its artillery firepower by using ultralight Howitzers and indigenous Swathi weapon-locating radar at the annual “Exercise Topchi”. The exercise was held at Deolali Camp near Nashik

ii. There were a showcase of display of rockets, missiles, surveillance, and target acquisition radars, remotely piloted aircraft and hi-tech equipment in addition to gunfire.

Useful Info-

  • Chief of the Army Staff – General Bipin Rawat.

International News

Macedonia Officially Changed Its Name to North Macedonia

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i. The country, formerly known as the Republic of Macedoniaofficially changed its name to the Republic of North Macedonia, on paper ending a decades-long dispute that should pave the way for NATO membership. 

ii. The freshly named country celebrated the event with a flag-raising ceremony marking its prospective – and long-awaited – accession to NATO.

Useful Info-

  • North Macedonia Capital: Skopje, Currency: Macedonian denar.

Awards

Bradley Cooper Wins Best Director From PETA for ‘A Star Is Born’

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i. Bradley Cooper has been awarded the ‘Oscat’ by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

ii. The animal rights organisation awarded Cooper “for his enlightened decision to cast his own canine companion in ‘A Star Is Born’ rather than using one supplied by a notorious animal exhibitor”.

Siddhartha Lal Wins The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year For 2018 

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i. Siddhartha Lal, managing director and chief executive officer, Eicher Motors, has been awarded the EY Entrepreneur of the Year for 2018. Lal will now represent India at the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year Award (WEOY) in Monte Carlo from 6 – 8 June 2019.

ii. The other EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 winners are:

1. Lifetime Achievement Award: Azim Premji, Chairman of Wipro.
2. Start-up: Byju Raveendran, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Think & Learn (BYJU’S).

Books and Authors

P Chidambaram’s Book “Undaunted: Saving the Idea of India” Launched

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i. Former Vice President Hamid Ansari launched the new book of former Finance Minister P Chidambaram named “Undaunted: Saving the Idea of India” at Nehru Memorial Museum, New Delhi. 

ii. The book is a collection of essays on the country’s atmosphere of fear and how the constitutional values are being threatened.

Sports News

‘Clouded Leopard’ To Be Mascot For National Games 2022

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i. The Sports and Youth Ministry in the meeting of Executive Committee of the National Games 2022 has chosen the Smiling Clouded Leopard to be the Mascot for the National Games 2022.

ii. Meghalaya will host the 2022 National Games, which is coinciding with its 50 years of statehood. Clouded Leopard is among the wild cats that live throughout the forests of Garo, Khasi, and Jaintia Hills.

Useful Info-

  • Meghalaya Capital: Shillong, Chief Minister: Conrad Sangma, Governor: Tathagata Roy.

Obituaries

Chemistry Nobel Prize Winner Manfred Eigen Passes Away 

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i. German scientist Manfred Eigen, who jointly won the 1967 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, passed away aged 91. 

ii. Eigen had won the prize for working on a method to calculate speeds of extremely fast chemical reactions, effected by disturbing the equilibrium by means of short energy pulses. 

Legendary Goalkeeper Of England, Gardon Banks Passed Away

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i. One of the world’s most famous goalkeeper Gordon Banks passed away at the age of 81 in England. Gordon Banks was named as FIFA (The Federation Internationale de Football) Goalkeeper of the year six times and earned 73 caps for England between 1963 and 1972.

ii. He won World Cup in 1966. 

 

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS 13 FEBRUARY 2019

National News

PM Modi Launched Several Development Projects for Haryana

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i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated and laid foundation stones of several development projects at Kurukshetra in Haryana.

ii. The important events are enlisted as follows:

1. Mr Modi dedicated to the nation the National Cancer Institute at Bhadsa in Jhajjar district. The institute is the state-of-the-art tertiary cancer care-cum-research centre constructed at the AIIMS Jhajjar campus.

2. Mr Modi also inaugurated Employees’ State Insurance Corporation’s (ESIC) medical college and hospital in Faridabad. This will be the first ESIC medical college and hospital in north India.

3. The Prime Minister also laid the foundation stone of National Institute of Ayurveda in Panchkula which is being set up at Shri Mata Mansa Devi Temple Complex.

4. Foundation stone of Sri Krishna Ayush University, Kurukshetra was also be laid by Mr Modi. It will be the first university related to Indian system of medicine in Haryana as well as the first of its kind in India.

Useful Info-

  • Haryana CM: Manohar Lal Khattar, Governor: Satyadev Narayan Arya.

1st Annual Conference of Media Units Under I&B Ministry Organized in New Delhi

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i. The First Annual Conference of Media Units working under I&B Ministry was organized at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. Union Minister of State (IC) for Information & Broadcasting and Youth Affairs & Sports Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore chaired the Conference.

ii. The focus of the Conference was on ensuring synergy between the Media Units in their day to day functioning.

1st LAWASIA Human Rights Conference 2019 Held In New Delhi

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i. LAWASIA, in association with the Bar Association of India, hosted its 1st LAWASIA Human Rights Conference in New Delhi with a motive to explore a broad range of human rights issues of relevance in the Asia Pacific region.

ii. This theme of the conference was “State Power, Business and Human Rights: Contemporary Challenges”.

  • Useful Info-
    President of LAWASIA:
     Mr. Christopher Leong, President Bar Association of India: Dr. Lalit Bhasin.

CREDAI’s Event ‘YouthCon-19’ Held In New Delhi

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i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the CREDAI YouthCon -19in New Delhi’s Talkatora Stadium. The event is organized by the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India, CREDAI. The theme for this YouthCon is ‘Next Generation’. 

ii. The annual conference will bring together the next generation of real estate builders and developers to enlighten their young minds and share their thinking and approach.

  • Useful Info-
    Established in 1999, CREDAI is the apex body representing real-estate developers from over 200 cities in the country.

NITI Aayog Signs SoI with MSDF to Document Systemic Transformation in Education

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i. The NITI Aayog and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF) signed a Statement of Intent (SOI) to codify, document and share best practices to improve learning outcomes in public school education through systemic reforms, based on their collective experiences of working with various state governments in India.
ii. The SOI was signed in the presence of Mr. Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, by Mr. Alok Kumar, Adviser (HRD), NITI Aayog and Mr. Barun Mohanty, Managing Director (International), MSDF.

Useful Info-

  • NITI- National Institution for Transforming India.
  • NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman- Rajiv Kumar, CEO- Amitabh Kant.

5th International Dam Safety Conference Starts In Bhubaneswar

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i. The 5th International Dam Safety Conference–2019 is being held in Bhubaneswar as a joint initiative of the Government of India, Government of Odisha and the World Bank under aegis of the ongoing World Bank assisted Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) as a part of institutional strengthening.
ii. Dam Safety Conferences are being organized as an annual event in different DRIP States in collaboration with the Implementing Agencies and leading academic institutes to provide a common platform for all stakeholders including non-DRIP States.

Useful Info-

  • Globally India ranks third after China and the USA in terms of the number of large dams with 5264 large dams in operation and 437 large dams under construction.

‘Exercise Rahat’ Concluded In Jaipur

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i. Joint Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Exercise `Exercise Rahat´ concluded in Jaipur, Rajasthan. It was demonstrated in Jaipur, Kota, and Alwar in Rajasthan.
ii. Indian Army was represented by Jaipur based Sapta Shakti Command. Representatives from Armed Forces, National Disaster Management Response Mechanism (NDMRM), SDMA Rajasthan and DLMAs participated in the exercise.

  • Useful Info-
    Rajasthan Capital-
     Jaipur, Chief Minister – Ashok Gehlot, Governor– Kalyan Singh.

National Conference on Unani Medicine Concluded in New Delhi

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i. The two-day National Conference on Unani Medicine organized by the Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine (CCRUM) as a part of 3rd Unani Day Celebration in New Delhi concluded with the note that integration and synergy of all medical systems is the need of the hour to address the health challenges we are facing today.
ii. The conference was inaugurated by Dr. Najma Heptulla, Governor of Manipur. The conference witnessed exchange of MoU for scientific collaboration in Unani Medicine between the CCRUM and Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi.

Useful Info-

  • Shripad Yesso Naik is the Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH).

International News

World Government Summit’s 7th Session Held In Dubai 

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i. The seventh session of the World Government Summit held in DubaiUnited Arab Emirates (UAE). More than 4,000 people from 140 countries participated in the event.

ii. The main objective of the summit is to shape the future generation of governments, by bringing the public and private sectors together to collaborate with world-renowned experts, it seeks to help create a positive impact for citizens worldwide.


Important Days


World Radio Day: 13 February

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i. 13 February is celebrated as World Radio Day by UNESCO all over the world.

ii. The theme of WRD 2019 is “Dialogue, Tolerance and Peace”.

Awards

 

NFDC Declared Winner Under Miniratna Category by Ministry of  MSME

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i. National Film Development Corporation of India has been declared winner under the Miniratna Category (Category II) by Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).
ii. The performance parameters were procurement from SC/ST entrepreneurs, number of vendor development programmes for SC/ST and number of SC/ST entrepreneurs benefitted as per data uploaded on Sambandh Portal.

Useful Info-

  • National Film Development Corporation Ltd. (NFDC), incorporated in the year 1975, (100% owned Central Public Sector Undertaking) was formed by the Government of India with the primary objective of planning and promoting an organized, efficient and integrated development of the Indian film industry.

Sports News

Prajnesh Gunneswaran, 3rd Indian To Reach Top-100 of Men’s Singles Tennis Rankings

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i. Prajnesh Gunneswaran has made it to the top-100 of Men’s Singles Tennis rankings with a jump of six places that took him to 97. Prajnesh is the third Indian player to break into the top-100 barrier in the past decade after Somdev Devvarman and Yuki Bhambri.

ii. In the doubles, Rohan Bopanna stayed put at 37 and was followed by his partner Divij Sharan at 39. In the Women’s Tennis Association charts, Ankita Raina continues to be country’s top singles player at number 165.