Daily Current Affairs February 21 2018

1) Cabinet approves six rail projects in 4 states

  • On February 20, 2018, Union Cabinet approved six rail projects in 4 states for new lines as well as doubling and electrification of tracks
  • Esitamted cost for executing all these projects is Rs 11661. As per Indian Railways, these projects would generate more than 200 lakh person days of employment in Uttar Pradesh and three other states.
  • Projects that have been approved include doubling and electrification projects of 425 km-long Jhansi-Manikpur and Bhimsen-Khairar lines covering districts of Jhansi, Mahoba, Banda, Chitrakut Dham in Uttar Pradesh and Chhatarpur in Madhya Pradesh.
  •  Doubling with electrification of the 116.95 km-long Bhatni-Aurnihar line covering the districts of Deoria, Ballia, Mau and Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh has also been approved.

2) PM Modi inaugurates UP Investors’ Summit 2018

  • On February 20, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated ‘Uttar Pradesh Investors’ Summit 2018’ in Lucknow.
  • This is the first of its kind event in UP, aimed at showcasing business and investment potential across the state.
  • This two-day Summit will be attended by Union ministers, leaders from the corporate world, senior policymakers, academicians and heads of international institutions.
  • Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath has stated that 1045 agreements worth Rs. 4.28 lakh crore have been signed on the very first day of this summit.

3) EPFO Cuts Interest Rate To 8.55% For 2017-18

  • Retirement fund body Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has reduced the interest rate on deposits to 8.55% for 2017-18 from 8.65% for 2016-17 following a general decline in interest rates.
  • The move will affect around 6 crore subscribers and leave EPFO with a surplus of Rs 586 crore against Rs 695 crore in the previous financial year. The decision is significant as the labour ministry estimates that it would add another 3 crore to its subscriber base.

4) India Successfully Conducts Night Trial Of Prithvi-II Missile

  • India successfully conducted a night trial of its indigenously developed nuclear capable Prithvi-II missilewith a strike range of 350 km, from a test range in Odisha.
  • The surface-to-surface missile was test-fired from a mobile launcher from launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur, Odisha. The perfect test launch came after the successful trial of the Agni-5 missile.

5) India International Textiles Expo Begins In Colombo

  • A three –day India International Textiles Expo (IITExpo) of India began in Sri Lankan capital of Colombo. It is being organized by Powerloom Development & Export Promotion Council (PDEXCIL) with the support of Union Ministry of Textiles & Ministry of Commerce & Industry.
  • The event was inaugurated by Sri Lankan minister of Special Assignments Dr. Sarath Amunugama. At the event, about 45 exhibitors from various textile clusters of India displayed variety of fabrics, home textiles, traditional items etc. suitable for apparel, industrial, technical application and general consumers.

6) UGC constitutes four-member Empowered Expert Committee (EEC) under N Gopalaswami

  • On 20th February 2018, the University Grants Commission (UGC) formed a 4 member Empowered Expert Committee (EEC) to perform appraisal of applications in order to shortlist 20 Institutions of Eminence (IoE).
  • Former Chief Election Commissioner of India, N Gopalaswami is the chairperson of the Empowered Expert Committee (EEC).
  • Members of EEC are:
    1.Tarun Khanna, a Jorge Paulo Lemman Professor at Harvard Business School
    2.Pritam Singh, former director of IIM, Lucknow
    3.Renu Khator, Chancellor of University of Houston System
  • The EEC has been formed by UGC after obtaining approval from the central government, according to the UGC (Institutions of Eminence Deemed to be Universities) Regulation, 2017, and UGC (Declaration of Government Educational Institutions as Institutions of Eminence) Guidelines, 2017.

7) Capital First Gets NHB Nod For Merger With IDFC Bank

  • Capital First announced that the regulator National Housing Bank (NHB) has approved the merger of the company along with Capital Home Finance and Capital First Securities Limited with IDFC Bank.
  • The amalgamation is subject to the receipt of approval from the Reserve Bank of India and other statutory and regulatory approvals. The share swap ratio for the merger is fixed at 139:10, meaning IDFC Bank will issue 139 shares for every 10 shares of Capital First. The merger is likely to be completed in the next two-three quarters.

8) India 7th Most Targeted Nation for Web Application Attacks: Report by Akamai

  • As per a report from content delivery network services Akamai Technologies, India has ranked 7th on the list of targeted countries for Web Application Attacks (WAA).
  • The report has been titled “Akamai State of the Internet Security Q4 2017”.
  • It outlined that during 2017, nearly 40 per cent of over 53000 cyber attacks in India occurred in Banking, Financial services and Insurance (BFSI) sector.
  • The attacks were in the form of phishing attempts, website intrusions, defacements, virus and ransomware.
  • A sharp increase in the threat of credential abuse has also been found. Based on analysis of 7.3 trillion bot requests per month, it was found that more than 40 per cent of login attempts were malicious.

9) Avani Chaturvedi Becomes 1st Indian Woman To Fly Fighter Aircraft Solo

  • Flying officer Avani Chaturvedi scripted history by becoming the first  Indian woman to fly a fighter aircraft solo.
  • She flew a MiG-21 bison in her first solo flight from Jamnagar base of Indian Air Force (IAF) in Gujarat.

10) Government appoints new EDs in Canara Bank and Vijaya Bank

  • On 19th February 2018, Debashish Mukherjee and Murali Ramaswami were appointed Executive Directors of Canara Bank and Vijaya Bank respectively.
  • Debashish Mukherjee is currently the general manager of United Bank of India and Murali Ramaswami is the general manager of Vijaya Bank.
  • As per personnel ministry’s order, Debashish Mukherjee’s appointment is for 3 years initially. It can be extended by 2 years after reviewing his performance.
  • Murali Ramaswami’s tenure is till 31st December 2020 i.e. the date of his superannuation.

11) Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh launches 6 new features of National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) platform

  • Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Radha Mohan Singh, launched 6 new features of National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) Platform, aimed to improve its user friendliness.
  • The six new features of e-NAM platform includes-
    1. MIS dashboard for better analysis,
    2. BHIM payment facility by traders,
    3. Mobile payment facility by traders,
    4. Enhanced features on mobile app such as gate entry and payment through mobile,
    5. Integration of farmer’s database, and
    6. e-Learning module.

12) Virat Kohli becomes first Indian to cross 900 points in ICC ODI player rankings

  • On 20th February 2018, ICC (International Cricket Council) announced that, Virat Kohli has become the first Indian to cross 900 points in the ICC ODI player rankings with 909 points.
  • Virat Kohli with a rating of 909 points has become the seventh player in the world to cross 900 points in the ICC ODI player rankings.
  • Virat Kohli is only behind Sir Vivian Richards – 935 points (1985), Zaheer Abbas – 931 points (1983), Greg Chappell – 921 points (1981), David Gower – 919 points (1983), Dean Jones – 918 points (1991) and Javed Miandad – 910 points (1987).
  • Virat Kohli is the second batsman after South Africa’s AB de Villiers to cross the 900 point mark in both Tests and ODIs.

13) International Mother Language Day- 21 February

  • UNESCO has celebrated International Mother Language Day on 21 February. The 2018 theme is- “Linguistic diversity and multilingualism count for sustainable development”.
  • It has been organised for nearly 20 years with the aim of preserving linguistic diversity and promoting mother tongue-based multilingual education.

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