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Important Current Affairs 16th February 2019

Committees:

Rajasthan forms committees to review textbooks.

• The Rajasthan government has set up two committees of experts and educationists to review the syllabus of school textbooks from class 1 to 8 and from class 9 to 12.

• The committee to review the syllabus of class 1 to 8 will be coordinated by I V Trivedi.

• The coordinator for the four-member committee for class 9-12 is the former Chairman of Rajasthan State Public Service Commission BM Sharma.

Defense:

IAF gets its first woman flight engineer.

• Flight Lieutenant Hina Jaiswal became the first woman flight engineer.

• She was commissioned in January 2015 to the IAF's engineering branch

• She created history when she was chosen as the first woman candidate to pursue the elite course.

• A flight engineer is a member of an aircraft’s flight crew and requires special skills for constantly monitoring and operating its complex systems.

Vice Admiral SN Ghormade: Takes over as COS.

• He was awarded the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal on 26 Jan 2017 and Nau Sena Medal in 2007 by the President of India.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY:

RBI imposed penalty on 3 PSU banks.

• The monetary penalty was imposed for non-compliance on monitoring of end-use of funds and on the restructuring of accounts.

• A penalty of Rs 1.5 crore was imposed on Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) and Rs 1 crore each on Punjab National Bank (PNB) and Bank of India.

INTERNATIONAL:

India withdraws MFN status from Pakistan.

• India has withdrawn the MFN (Most Favored Nation) status that it had granted to Pakistan.

• It followed the attack in Jammu & Kashmir’s Pulwama that left 37 CRPF personnel dead.

• 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.

PM Modi on 2-day visit to South Korea.

• PM Narendra Modi will pay a 2-day visit to South Korea from February 21 2019.

• He will be conferred with the 2018 Seoul Peace Prize on February 22, in recognition of his national and international contributions.

• He will also hold talks with President Moon Jae-in on a host of issues to strengthen strategic ties.

GOVERNMENT SCHEME:

App launched PMAY (U).

• Hardeep S Puri, Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs launched the PMAY (U) Mobile App on 14 Feb 2019.

• The app will allow beneficiaries to capture and upload high-resolution photographs of completed houses along with their families.

• The PMAY (U) mission was launched on 25th June 2015 with an aim to provide houses to every eligible urban household in India by the year 2022.

PM-SYM scheme implemented.

• Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-dhan (PM-SYM).

• Scheme was implemented by the Ministry of Labor and Employment on 15 Feb 2019.

• The features of the scheme are family pension and minimum assured pension.

• The unorganized workers whose monthly income is Rs 15,000/per month or less and belong to the entry age group of 18-40 years are eligible for the scheme.

• Each subscriber under the PM-SYM shall receive minimum assured pension of Rs 3000/- per month after attaining the age of 60 years.

• 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.

POLITY:

16th Lok Sabha session concluded.

• The last session of 16th Lok Sabha concluded on 14 Feb 2019

• There were a total number of 331 sittings for Lok Sabha. 205 bills were passed and the productivity was 85%.

• For Rajya Sabha, 154 bills were passed and the productivity was 68%

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION:

Bradley Cooper won the best director from PETA.

• Bradley Cooper was awarded the ‘Oscar’ by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

• The animal rights organization awarded the best director award to Cooper for his enlightened decision to cast his own canine companion in ‘A Star Is Born’.

APPOINTMENTS:

B P Sharma: CMD Pawan Hans.

• B P Sharma was re-employed as the CMD of the state-run helicopter manufacturer Pawan Hans.

• He was the CMD of Pawan Hans earlier in March 2015.

• He will be serving for a period of 5 months.

• Pawan Hans has a fleet of more than 50 helicopters.

Sushil Chandra became Election Commissioner.

• 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.

• Ashok Lavasa is the senior-most Election Commissioner.

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

• He will succeed Sushil Chandra, who was recently appointed Election Commissioner.

• 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.

• William Barr was sworn for second time as the Attorney General of US.

• Derrick Pereira is set to become the coach of the Indian Under-23 football team for the upcoming Asian Football Confederation (AFC) qualifiers, to be held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan from 22nd March.

• Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Limited (DHFL) has notified that its CEO Harshil Mehta has resigned from his position with immediate effect on 13th February, 2019.

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Important Current Affairs 15th February 2019

NATIONAL:

Pulwama Attack: MIB issues advisory to all private satellite TV Channels

• The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has issued an advisory to all private satellite TV Channels in view of the terrorist attack in Pulwama District.

• The Ministry in its advisory said that all channels are advised to be particularly cautious with regard to any content which is likely to incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order or which promotes anti-national attitude or contains anything affecting the integrity of the nation.

• The Ministry asked them to ensure that no such content is telecast which is violative of programme and advertising code as prescribed in the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act.

Chandigarh woman becomes IAF's 1st female Flight Engineer

• The Indian Air Force (IAF) inducted flight lieutenant Hina Jaiswal as its first woman Flight Engineer on Friday. Jaiswal, who hails from Chandigarh, studied engineering at Punjab University.

• As a Flight Engineer, Hina will be posted to operational helicopter units of the IAF and routinely called to operate in demanding and stressful conditions.

Train 18 launch despite attack befitting reply to terrorists: Goyal

• Railways Minister Piyush Goyal has said that going ahead with the inauguration of India's fastest train, Vande Bharat Express (Train 18), was a befitting reply to the terrorists who perpetrated the Pulwama attacks.

• He added the decision to continue with the flagging off programme was inspired by the way Mumbai reacted by showing their resilience following the 26/11 attacks.

Security forces given full freedom to take action: PM on J&K attack

• In light of the terror attack on CRPF jawans in J&K's Pulwama on Thursday, PM Narendra Modi said, "Our security forces have been given full freedom.

• We have full faith in their bravery." Thanking all the nations who condemned the attack and showed support to India, PM Modi said, "A strong reply will be given to this attack.

SC asks EC to be flexible in applying 3 years domicile for defence personnel

• The Supreme Court of India has asked the Election Commission to be flexible in applying three-year domicile for defence personnel.

• The apex court noted that though people in services are posted at peace place for three years, there is occasion when they are transferred in two-and-half years.

• A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said it will be open for the Election Commission to prescribe further flexible eligibility criteria to ensure that defence personnel are able to vote.

• The bench said, there was no need to pass any further order. It noted that the Election Commission has taken a decision to allow armed forces personnel to vote at their place of posting which excludes Jammu and Kashmir and Northeastern states.

INTERNATIONAL:

Trump to sign spending bill averting government shutdown

• President Donald Trump has decided to sign a spending bill averting a government shutdown but will also issue an emergency declaration to fund his controversial border wall.

• Declaring an emergency, a rare step, would free Trump to seek to redirect federal funds from elsewhere to help pay for a wall along the US-Mexico border.

• US House of Representative Speaker and Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi expressed disdain for the President's upcoming emergency declaration. She stated that the happening at the border is not an emergency.

William Barr sworn in as US Attorney General

• William Barr was sworn in for second time as the new Attorney General of United States, taking the helm of the Justice Department as special counsel Robert Mueller investigates Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

• Earlier, the Senate voted 54-45 to confirm his appointment. Barr, who also served as the Attorney General from 1991 to 1993 during President George HW Bush’s administration, succeeds Jeff Sessions.

• 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.

NASA declares Mars rover Opportunity officially dead

• NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity was officially declared dead on February 13, 2019, after having contributed almost 15 years of grand services.

• The declaration came after the long wait of eight months after the robot stopped responding to engineers back on earth after the dust storm hit the red planet.

• Setting off for Mars on the night of July 7, 2003, the golf-cart-sized robot has covered the distance of 28 miles since it has landed on the surface on January 25, 2004.

• After landing the rover, towards its journey to Endurance Crater, started searching intensively for bedrock and sand dunes.

• In an attempt to get a clue of water in its distant past, the rover studied the Victoria crater between the period of two years (2006 to 2008) and discovered how water had entered and left the region billions of years ago.

SPORTS:

Steyn overtakes Kapil, becomes joint 7th highest Test wicket-taker

• South African pacer Dale Steyn went past former Indian captain Kapil Dev in the list of highest wicket-takers in Test cricket after registering figures of 4/48 against Sri Lanka on Thursday.

• Steyn with 437 wickets to his name in the longest format is now at the joint seventh position in the all-time list of highest wicket-takers in Test cricket.

Saina, Kashyap, Verma enter semifinals of Senior Nationals

• Former champions Saina Nehwal, Parupalli Kashyap and Sourabh Verma advanced to the semifinals of the 83rd Yonex-Sunrise Senior Badminton Nationals in Guwahati on Friday.

• Saina will face 22-year-old Nagpur qualifier Vaishnavi Bhale, while Kashyap will face Lakshya Sen. The 26-year-old Sourabh Verma will meet qualifier Kaushal Dharmamer of Mumbai.

• Shane Warne named brand ambassador of Rajasthan Royals

• Australia spin legend Shane Warne has been named as the new brand ambassador of Rajasthan Royals for the upcoming Indian Premier League.

• Warne, who led Rajasthan Royals to its first and only IPL title in 2008, was the mentor of the side last season.

BUSINESS:

IndiGo to curtail 30 daily flights in February

• The country's largest airline IndiGo announced curtailing around 30 flights daily for the rest of February as it looks to stabilize operations and adjust crew rosters.

• IndiGo, which has more than 41 per cent of domestic market share, said the cancellations represent 2 per cent of its flights and that operation would be normalised completely by March 31, 2019.

• The budget carrier cancelled 49 flights on February 13 and the same has been informed to aviation regulator DGCA. The cancellations were reportedly caused by several factors like anticipated weather conditions and NOTAMS at various airports.

• This resulted in extended duty times which then made it necessary to re-roster the crew and optimise the operations. Therefore, the airlines has decided to curtail its schedule for the remaining period of this month by approximately 30 flights a day.

Appointments

 Ashwani Lohani, a retired bureaucrat, was appointed the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of National carrier Air India, on 13 Feb 2019.

• This will be his second tenure.

• In August 2017, he was named the Chairman to the Railway Board and retired on December 31, 2018.

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Important Current Affairs 14th February 2019

National:

AYUSH Minister launches e-AUSHADHI portal
• Minister of State for AYUSH, Shripad Yesso Naik on February 13, 2019 launched the e-AUSHADHI portal, for online licensing of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy drugs and related matters at New Delhi. 
• The portal aims to increase transparency, improve information management facility, improve data usability and increase accountability. 
• Timelines will be fixed for processing of application through this portal with SMS and e-mail status updates at each step of the process.
• e-AUSHADHI is an acronym for Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy Automated Drug Help Initiative. 

CBDT Chairman Sushil Chandra appointed as Election Commissioner
•    Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman Sushil Chandra has been appointed the third Election Commissioner, completing the team that will oversee 2019 Lok Sabha polls due in April-May. 
•    The three-member body now comprises Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and Election Commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Chandra.
•     An IIT graduate, Chandra is a 1980 batch officer of the Indian Revenue Service

Bihar Government announces universal old age pension scheme-Mukhyamantri Vridhajan Pension Yojna
• The state government of Bihar has announced a universal old age pension scheme called Mukhyamantri Vridhajan Pension Yojna (MVPY) for all people above 60 years of age. 
• The scheme will come into force from April 1, 2019. Except those senior citizens who have retired from government service, all will be eligible for 400 rupees monthly pension irrespective of caste, religion or community. 
• The currently old age pension scheme is applicable to only the BPL category. 
• Besides this, the state’s Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced a pension of Rs 6,000 for journalists above 60 years of age. 

International:

Airbus to stop producing world's largest passenger jet A380
•    European planemaker Airbus has announced it will make its last deliveries of its A380 jet, the world's largest commercial passenger plane, in 2021. 
•    The decision comes after Emirates, the largest customer of the A380, reduced an outstanding order for 53 planes to only 14. The cancellation will affect the jobs of as many as 3,500 Airbus staff

Google to invest $13 billion in US in 2019: CEO Pichai
•    Google aims to invest $13 billion in offices and data centres in the US in 2019, CEO Sundar Pichai revealed. 
•    This will enable Google to hire "tens of thousands of employees" alongside creation of over 10,000 construction jobs, Pichai said. "2019 marks the second year in a row we’ll grow faster outside of Bay Area than in it", he added

Egypt's Parliament to vote on extending president's term
• Egypt's Parliament has begun deliberations over constitutional amendments that could allow President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to stay in office till 2034. 
• The amendments will provide Sissi with 12 more years after his current, second term expires in 2022.
• The 596-seat Egyptian assembly has already given its preliminary approval to the changes last week. 
• The amendments are near certain to be overwhelmingly approved by the legislature, packed with el-Sissi's supporters, but will also need to be put to a national referendum to become law.

Cuba warns of possible US military intervention in Venezuela
• Cuba has warned of possible US military intervention in Venezuela under the humanitarian pretext and called for international efforts to avoid the scenario. 
• A Cuba government statement issued on February 13, 2019 stated that the US intends to create a humanitarian pretext to initiate military aggression against Venezuela. 
• The statement read that US military aircraft had transported troops between February 6 and 10, involving US military bases in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean islands without the consent of local governments. 

ICJ rules that it has jurisdiction to hear Iranian claim against US over frozen assets
• The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled that it has the jurisdiction to hear part of a case brought by Iran against the US, to unfreeze Iranian assets of nearly 2 billion dollars held in the US. 
• The ruling opens the way for the court to hear Iran's case on its merits. Iran filed the case in 2016, based on the 1955 Treaty of Amity between the two nations, from which the US unilaterally withdrew last year.
• The case revolves around assets seized from the Iranian national bank, Bank Markazi, which were taken by the US to compensate victims of a 1983 suicide bombing of a Marine Corps base in Beirut, Lebanon.
• Iran denies involvement in the attack which killed more than 300 and injured many more, most of whom being US military personnel. 

Australia government loses bill blocking sick asylum seekers
• Australian legislators have passed a landmark bill making it easier for asylum seekers, being held on remote Pacific islands, to get medical treatment in the country. 
• This is the first time in decades the government has lost a vote on its own legislation in the lower house as the bill was passed with an opposition amendment. 
• The bill is expected to sail through the upper Senate later this week after which it will become a law. 
• Prime Minister Scott Morrison had strongly opposed the legislation. He said there is no form of the bill that does not weaken Australia's border protection. 
• Under Australia’s offshore detention policy, asylum seekers arriving by boat are sent to detention centres on Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

Sports:


Prajnesh Gunneswaran breaks into men's singles top 100
• India’s 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. 
• With the feat, Gunneswaran has become the third Indian player to break into the top-100 barrier in the past decade after Somdev Devvarman and Yuki Bhambri. 
• He reached the semifinals of the ATP Chennai Challenger last week to ensure his entry into the coveted bracket. If he is able to maintain his rank inside top-100, it will secure him entry into Grand Slam singles main draws. 
• In the doubles, Rohan Bopanna stayed put at 37 and was followed by his partner Divij Sharan at 39. 


Business:

Govt may relax FDI norms for single-brand retailers: Report
•    The Cabinet is reportedly considering a proposal to relax mandatory 30% local sourcing norms for foreign single-brand retailers.
•     As per existing FDI norms, 100% foreign investment is permitted but with 30% of the value of the goods sourced from the country. 
•    The proposal also suggests that retailers may sell online before opening a physical store if they invest $200 million

Town with Google, FB billionaires US richest with 3.2cr avg income
•    Silicon Valley suburb Atherton, home to former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, is America's richest community for the third year in a row, according to Bloomberg Richest Places annual index. 
•    Atherton's household income averaged $450,696 (₹3.2 crore as of now) in 2017. Stanford University and Google and Facebook headquarters are a short drive away from Atherton.

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Important Current Affairs 13th February 2019

NATIONAL NEWS

2019 Asia LPG Summit held in New Delhi

Mr. Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister for petroleum and natural gas, inaugurated the 2019 Asia LPG summit in New Delhi. The summit has been organized jointly by the major Indian oil marketing companies (OMCs) Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleumtogether with the World LPG Association (WLPGA) at the Taj Palace Hotel in New Delhi.

  • This two-day event will focus on ‘LPG – Energy for Life.’ India is the 2nd largest consumer of liquified natural gas (LPG) in the world.

Cabinet approves establishment of Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved a proposal seeking the establishment of ‘Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog’ to conserve, protect and develop India’s cattle population. The proposal was first made by Finance Minister Piyush Goyal while presenting the interim Budget on February 1.

  • The Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog will work in collaboration with veterinary, animal sciences or agriculture universities, departments or organisations of the central/state government engaged in the task of research in the field of breeding and rearing of cows, organic manure, and biogas.
  • The creation of Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog for the conservation, protection, and development of cows and their progeny will provide the policy framework and direction to the cow conservation and development programmes in the country and for ensuring proper implementation of laws with respect to the welfare of cows.

Government approves setting up of 12,000 MW solar power projects

The government approved a proposal for setting up of 12,000 MW of solar power projects by state-run producers. The producers will be provided with a viability gap funding support of Rs 8,580 crore for self-use or use by both central and state government entities.

  • The CCEA decided that 12,000 MW or more of grid connected solar PV power projects would be set up by government producers in 4 years i.e. 2019-20 to 2022-23, thereby creating investment of about Rs 48,000 crores.

Smriti Irani launches India Size project in Mumbai

Union Minister of Textiles Smriti Irani launched the India Size project in Mumbai. A first-of-its-kind project in the history of the country, India Size aims to arrive at a standard Indian Size for the ready-to-wear clothing industry, on the lines of the standardized sizes available in countries such as the USA and the UK.

  • India size project will benefit manufacturers, consumers and generate data which will help tap into the potential of the sector. The Minister also launched a Study of Apparel Consumption in India. The report of this study would be ready for release by July 2019.

Maharashtra govt sets up panel to review welfare schemes for tribals

The Maharashtra government has set up a committee to review various schemes being implemented for the welfare of tribals in the state. The 17-member committee, headed by former MLA and Shramjeevi Sanghatna president Vivek Pandit, will undertake study of various works done for providing employment opportunities, minimum wages and proper livelihood to tribals, as per a recent government order.

  • It will suggest measures to ensure that children in tribal regions were not deprived of education.

♦ Industrial production grows at 2.4% in December 2018

  • Industrial output growth remained subdued at 2.4% in December 2018 on account of contraction in the mining segment and poor show by the manufacturing sector.
  • Factory output as measured in terms of the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) had grown by 7.3% in December 2017, according to the data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) on February 12.
  • The industrial growth for November 2018 was revised downwards to 0.3% from the provisional estimate of 0.5% released in January 2019.
  • During April-December 2018, industrial output grew at 4.6% against 3.7% in the same period of the previous fiscal.

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♦ Kusum Scheme to Promote Use of Solar Energy Among Farmers Under Considration

  • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has formulated a Scheme ‘Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM)’. The Scheme is currently under the process of seeking approval.
  • The proposal on KUSUM Scheme provides for :-

(i)   installation of grid-connected solar power plants each of Capacity up to 2 MW in the rural areas;

(ii)   installation of standalone off-grid solar water pumps to fulfil irrigation needs of farmers not connected to grid; and

(iii)   solarisation of existing grid-connected agriculture pumps to make farmers independent of grid supply and also enable them to sell surplus solar power generated to DISCOM and get extra income.

♦ PM to address CREDAI YouthCon-19 Today

  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, will address the CREDAI YouthCon -19, on 13 February 2019, at Talkatora Stadium, New Delhi. The event is organized by the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India (CREDAI).
  • The Prime Minister will also visit the exhibition organized by CREDAI.
  • YouthCon is the annual Youth Conclave of CREDAI, held to bring together the future of the real estate Industry in India.
  • Established in 1999, CREDAI is the apex body representing real-estate developers from over 200 cities in India.

♦ NITI Aayog signs SOI with MSDF to document Systemic Transformation in Education

  • The NITI Aayog and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF) today 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.
  • The SOI was signed in the presence of Mr. Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, by Mr. Alok Kumar, Adviser (HRD), NITI Aayog and Mr. BarunMohanty, Managing Director (International), MSDF.
  • The NITI Aayog was established with the core mandate of promoting cooperative and competitive federalism through evidence-based policy reform and knowledge inputs. Since its inception, NITI Aayog has placed learning outcomes as a key focus area for establishing sustainable education systems.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

NATO’s 70th anniversary meeting to be held in UK in December

NATO’s next meeting of Heads of State and Government will take place in London this December, marking the 70th anniversary of the military pact. Stoltenberg also highlighted that London was home to NATO’s first headquarters, adding that the UK is one of the alliance’s 12 founding members.

  • Extra info.:
    NATO Members: 29
    Headquarters: Brussels, Belgium

Macedonia signs accord to join NATO

Macedonia signed an accord to join NATO to become the 30th member of the US-led alliance. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the admittance of a new member highlighted that all European nations who meet the entrance criteria could join the regional alliance.

  • The Macedonia-NATO accord follows a deal with Greece ending a 27-year-old dispute over Macedonia’s name. The accord must now be ratified by allied governments.
  • Extra info.:
    Macedonia Capital: Skopje
    Currency: Macedonian denar

♦ Fifth International Dam Safety Conference to be Held on 13-14 February at Bhubaneswar

  • The 5th International Dam Safety Conference–2019 is being held during 13 and 14 February 2019 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.
  • 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. Dam professionals, academicians, scientists, as well as industries both from within the country and from around the world to deliberate on all aspects related to dam safety and the solutions that worked best in addressing dam safety concerns.

♦ UAE introduces Hindi as third official language

  • While praising the decision of the UAE court, External Affairs Minister of India, Sushma Swaraj in a tweet said, “We thank Abu Dhabi for declaring Hindi as one of the official languages in their judicial system. This will make the justice delivery system simpler and more accessible to our people.”

Indians, reportedly form the largest immigrant community in the UAE, with more than three million living in Dubai. The landmark decision undertaken by the judicial department will benefit a major chunk of workers, who mostly come from Hindi speaking regions of central and north India, Gulf News reported

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

RBI Policy full text: MPC cuts repo rate by 25 bps to 6.25%

On the basis of an assessment of the current and evolving macroeconomic situation at its meeting, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decided to reduce the policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) by 25 basis points from 6.5 per cent to 6.25 per cent with immediate effect.

  • Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF stands adjusted to 6.0 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate to 6.5 per cent. The MPC also decided to change the monetary policy stance from calibrated tightening to neutral.

Awards and Honors

  • Pat Cummins won the coveted Allan Border Medal at the Australian Cricket Awards on 11 Feb 2019.
  • Glenn Maxwell took the T20I award and Matthew Wade bagged the Domestic Player of the Year award
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Important Current Affairs 12th February 2019

NATIONAL NEWS

PM Modi Inaugurates Visakhapatnam Strategic Petroleum Reserve Facility.


•     Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated to the nation the 13.3 million metric ton capacity Visakhapatnam Strategic Petroleum Reserve facility at Guntur in Andhra Pradesh
•    He also inaugurated Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited’s Vashishta and S1 development project located in the Krishna-Godavari Offshore Basin.
•    Mr. Modi also laid the foundation stone for setting up of a new terminal of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) at Krishnapatnam.


Centre allocates Rs 59 crore for Asiatic Lion conservation in Gujarat's Gir.


•    The Ministry of Environment launched a three-year Asiatic Lion Conservation Project in collaboration with the state of Gujarat. The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) allocated Rs 59 crores, which will focus on better management of the lion habitat, disease control and veterinary care for them.
•    Gujarat government also implemented Rs 80 crore that will be spent on specialised veterinary hospitals and full-fledged ambulances for lions.


Himalayan Cloud Observatory Set Up In Tehri.
•    A Himalayan Cloud Observatory is set up in Tehri district of Uttarakhand with a motive to forecast and monitor cloudburst incidents in the Himalayan region and help to minimize the damage.
•    The Observatory is established in the SRT campus, in Tehri and is in the testing period. This is the second observatory in the country to monitor cloud activities by the Indian Science and Technology Department and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur that can function in high-altitudes.

 Great Indian Bustard Announced As The New Mascot For COP-13.
•    Union Environment Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, announced the Great Indian Bustard (GIB) as the mascot for the 13th Conference of Parties (COP) of the UN Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) to be held in Gujarat in 2020. He also revealed that the bird has been fondly named by the ministry as 'Gibi'.
•    CMS-COP 13 is a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory species and their habitats. It has over 120 participating countries.

 Dharmendra Pradhan Inaugurated 13th PETROTECH 2019 In Greater Noida.
•    The 13th International Oil and Gas Conference – PETROTECH – 2019 got underway at India Expo Mart, Greater Noida. Over 95 Energy Ministers from partner countries are expected to participate in the three day Conference.
•    The theme of the conference is 'Collaborating For Sustainable and Secure Energy Access for all'. 

 Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Lays Foundation Stone of Mega Food Park in Mathura.
•    Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal laid the foundation stone of a Mega Food Park at Chhata-Barsana road in Mathura. The Park will provide direct and indirect employment to five thousand persons and benefit about 25,000 farmers.
•    The Mega Food Park is being set up in over 57 acre of land at a cost of around 121 crore rupees. The Centre has also approved financial assistance of 50 crore rupees to the project. 

MOU Signed Between EIL and Mongolia for Project Management Consultancy for Oil refinery.
•    A MoU was signed between Engineers India Limited (EIL) and Mongolia for Project Management Consultancy for oil refinery. EIL is a PSU under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. 
•    The agreement was signed on the sidelines of PETROTECH-2019 event at Greater Noida, UP. The MoU is for Project Management Consultancy services for construction of an oil refinery plant in Mongolia by EIL. 

INTERNATIONAL

ADB Debuts in Offshore Philippine Peso Bond Market.
•     The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has raised 5.2204 billion Philippine pesos ($100 million) from a new issue of local currency bonds in the international market. Currency-linked bonds are denominated in the local currency but settled in US dollars. 
•    The bonds pay a fixed interest rate of 5.25% and have a final maturity of 4 years. ADB issued bonds in the Philippine domestic capital market in 2005 and 2007 but this issue is the first time it has mobilized Philippine peso funding from international investors through a currency-linked structure.

INS Trikand Participates In Exercise ‘Cut class Express 2019’.
•    INS Trikand, the frontline warship of the Indian Navy, participated in a multi-national training exercise ‘CUTCLASS EXPRESS 2019’. The annual Exercise Cutlass Express is sponsored by U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) and conducted by Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF).
•    It is the eighth iteration of the annual multinational maritime exercise and was held in the vicinity of Djibouti, Mozambique and Seychelles.

Hindi Included As 3rd Official Court Language in Abu Dhabi.
•    Abu Dhabi has decided to include Hindi as the third official languageused in its courts, alongside Arabic and English, as part of a move designed to improve access to justice.
•    The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) announced that it has extended the adoption of interactive forms of statement of claims filed before courts by including Hindi.


Multinational Maritime Exercise ‘Aman 19’ Commenced In Karachi.
•    The 5-day multinational maritime exercise ‘AMAN-19’ in which 46nations participated from all over the world was formally commenced at Pakistan Navy Dockyard, with a colorful flag hoisting ceremony.
•    Principal aim to conduct this exercise is to facilitate a forum of understanding of each other’s maritime concepts and operation cultures and to produce ways and means to confront common threat at sea.


AWARDS

Yes Bank Wins The Aegis Graham Bell Award 2018.
•    Aegis Graham Bell Award 2018 announced Yes Bank as the winner in ‘Innovation in Data Science’ category for their industry-first project ‘Yes EEE (Engage Enrich Excel)’ at Panaji, Goa.
•    It was hosted by the Government of Goa. Aegis Graham Bell Awards (AGBA) Promotes innovations and entrepreneurship in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) domain.

BAFTA Awards 2019 Announced: Complete List Of Winners.
•    Netflix drama 'Roma' won the top prize at the 72nd edition of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts or BAFTA awards. 
•    However, with seven BAFTAs in its kitty, director Yorgos Lanthimos's The Favourite emerged the top winner in 2019.

Deepa Mehta to Be Feted With Lifetime Achievement Award.
•     Acclaimed Indo-Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta will be given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. Mehta is best known for her Elements Trilogy - 'Fire', 'Earth' and 'Water'.
•    The Canadian Screen Awards are awards given annually by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television recognizing excellence in Canadian film, English-language television, and digital media productions.

Grammy Awards 2019 Announced: Complete List of Winners.
•    The 61st Annual Grammy Awards ceremony was held at Staples Center in Los Angeles. 
•     The show was hosted by Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys.

Appointments:


Ruchira Kamboj Appointed India's Ambassador to Bhutan.
•    Ruchira Kamboj was appointed as the Ambassador of India to Bhutan. She is serving as the High Commissioner of India to South Africa since 2017.
•    Kamboj has previously served as the Ambassador/PR to Permanent Delegation of India to UNESCO, Paris.


Egypt’s President El-Sissi Elected as Chairman of African Union.
•    Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has been elected as the chairman of the African Union at the continental body’s summit in Ethiopia.
•    El-Sisi’s election brings an end the one-year chairmanship of Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame.


BANKING

RBI Doubles The Limit Of Bulk Deposits From Rs. 1 Crore To Rs 2 Crore.
•     Reserve Bank of India decided to treat deposits to over Rs.2 crore as ‘bulk’ as they doubled the limit for the same from the earlier Rs.1crore.This move will enhance the operational freedom of Banks.
•    According to current RBI rules, last reviewed in January 2013, banks have the option of not permitting premature withdrawals of ‘large rupee term deposits’ of INR 1 crore and above. National Federation of Urban Cooperative Banks and Credit Societies Limited (NAFCUB)has suggested this proposal.

SPORTS

Corentin Moutet Clinched Chennai Open ATP Challenger Title.
•     In Tennis, France’s Corentin Moutet has clinched the Chennai Open ATP Challenger tournament title after beating Andrew Harris of Australia in the singles final.
•    It was the second Challenger title for Moutet, who received 80 ATP points, while Andrew got 48 ATP points.

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Important Current Affairs 11th February 2019

NATIONAL


Rajnath Singh inaugurates first of its kind spoken Sanskrit center.
•    Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has launched the Centre for learning Sanskrit language in Gujarat University, Ahmedabad. 
•    The center will offer a six-month course for people on how to speak the language. The coordinator of the course, Atul Unagar stated it was possibly the first such course launched in India.

Nitin Gadkari Releases India’s 1st Ever Highway Capacity Manual.
•    The Minister of Road Transport & Highways Mr Nitin Gadkari released India’s first ever Highway Capacity Manual (HCM) in New Delhi.
•    The manual is also known as Indo-HCM and it has been developed by CSIR – CRRI on the basis of an extensive, country-wide study of the traffic characteristics on different categories of roads like a single lane, two-lane, multi-lane urban roads, and the associated intersections on these roads.
 

INTERNATIONAL


Mumbai 12th Richest City Globally, New York Tops: New World Wealth Report.
•    Mumbai, India's financial capital is the 12th richest city in the world with a total wealth of $950 billion, according to a report by New World Wealth. The list was topped by New York as the richest city in the world.
•    Total wealth refers to the private wealth held by all the individuals living in each city. It includes all their assets (property, cash, equities and business interests) less any liabilities. The top 2 richest cities in the list are- 
1. New York ($3 trillion).
2. London ($2.7 trillion).


PM Modi 3 Nation Visit- India and Palestine sign 6 MoUs.
•    India and Palestine have signed six Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) s worth USD 40 million.  This was welcomed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. 
•    During the term of this Government, the President of India made the first ever visit to Palestine in 2015.


PM Modi 3 Nation Visit- India, Oman Sign 8 MoUs.
•     India and Oman have signed eight MoUs in different areas during PM Narendra Modi’s maiden visit to the Gulf nation. The fields in which the agreements were inked include defense, health and tourism.

•    A MoU on legal and judicial co-operation in civil and commercial matters was also signed. The agreements were inked after Mr Modi held delegation-level talks with the Sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said al Said in Muscat.

PM Modi 3 Nation Visit- India-UAE Ink 5 Agreements.
•    Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed al Nahyan held bilateral talks at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi, the UAE.
•    PM Modi also laid the foundation stone of the first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi. The two sides inked 5 agreements related to energy & railway sectors, manpower and financial services.

•    The 5 MoUs signed between the two nation are as follows-
•    1. MoU between a consortium led by ONGC and Abu Dhabi national oil company for acquisition of 10% stake in offshore concession was inked.

•    2. MoU aiming to institutionalize employment of Indian workers in UAE to safeguard their interests was also signed.
•    3. MoU aiming at technical cooperation in rail sector between Ministry of railways and Federal transport authority and maritime of UAE signed.

•    4. In the area of financial services, MoU between BSE and Abu Dhabi Securities exchange was also inked.
•    5. MoU between Government of Jammu and Kashmir and DP World was also signed to establish multi-modal logistics park and hub in Jammu comprising warehouses and specialized storage solutions.
 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY


PM Modi 3 Nation Visit- ONGC Videsh, Partners Acquire 10% Stake in Abu Dhabi Oilfield
•    ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation) Videsh Ltd and its partners have acquired a 10% in a large offshore oilfield Abu Dhabi National Oil Co.’s (ADNOC) in Abu Dhabi for $600 million. It is the first time any Indian company has set foot in oil-rich Emirate.
•    The current production of this field is about 400,000 barrels of oil per day (20 million tonnes per annum) and Indian consortium’s annual share shall be about 2 million tonnes. The contract for the concession was signed in Abu Dhabi in presence of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.


SBI Wrote off Bad Loans worth over Rs 20,000 crore Last Fiscal.
•    The country’s largest lender SBI wrote off bad loans worth Rs 20,339 crore in 2016-17, the highest among all the public sector banks, which had a collective, write off of Rs 81,683 crore for the fiscal. The data pertains to the period when the associate banks of SBI were not merged with it.
•    Besides SBI, Punjab National Bank had a write-off of Rs 9,205 crore in 2016-17, followed by Bank of India (Rs 7,346 crore), Canara Bank (Rs 5,545 crore) and Bank of Baroda (Rs 4,348 crore).


Direct tax collections rise 19.3% in April- January.
•    Direct tax collections grew by nearly 20% between April and January this year with strong growth in both corporate and personal income tax receipts. According to official data released, net direct tax collections grew by 19.3% up to January 2018 to Rs 6.95-lakh crore.
•    While net corporate income tax grew by 19.2%, personal income tax receipts rose by 18.6% in January this year. Gross tax collections also grew at a robust 13.3% to Rs 8.21-lakh crore between April 2017 and January 2018.
 

SPORTS


Sharmila Nicollet, 1st Indian Golfer to Qualify for China LPGA Tour.
•    Sharmila Nicollet has become the first Indian golfer to qualify for the China Ladies PGA Tour. The 26-year-old Bengaluru golfer fought her way back into the tournament in the last two rounds to earn a card for the Tour.
•    Sharmila had played on the Ladies European Tour before losing her full card, played her three rounds in the CLPGA Tour Qualifying School.


Rohan More Becomes 1st Asian to Swim Across Ocean Seven.
•    Pune-based swimmer, Rohan More became the first Asian as well as the first Indian to swim across the Ocean Seven. He is the youngest to complete it. He swam across the Cook Strait between North and South Islands of New Zealand in 8 hours and 37 minutes.
•    With this, more becomes only the ninth person in the world to complete it. He has received the Tenzing Norgay Award from the Indian Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. The award was presented by President Ram Nath Kovind.
 

OBITUARIES


Pakistani Activist Asma Jahangir Passes Away.
•    Asma Jahangir, Pakistan’s renowned human rights lawyer, social activist and an outspoken critic of the country’s powerful military establishment, passed away of cardiac arrest. She was 66.
•    She was the first woman to serve as the president of Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan.


Golden Globe Award Winner Musician Johann Johannsson Passes Away.
•    Acclaimed Icelandic musician and Oscar-nominated composer Johann Johannsson has passed away aged 48
•    In 2014, he was nominated for BAFTA, Grammy and Oscar awards for his score for ‘Theory of Everything,’ and won the Golden Globe award, making him one of the most well-known composers Iceland has produced
 

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Important Current Affairs 10th February 2019

NATIONAL


Great Indian Bustard (GIB) announced as the new mascot for the 13th UN Convention on the CMS COP-13.
•    Union Environment Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, on Friday announced the Great Indian Bustard (GIB) as the mascot for the 13th Conference of Parties (COP) of the UN Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) to be held in Gujarat in 2020.The Government also launched a website for the COP-13.
•    CMS-COP 13 is a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory species and their habitats. It has over 120 participating countries. So far, 12 COPs (Conference of Parties) have been convened.
•     COP-13 will be held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat from 15 – 22 February, 2020

Union Minister Suresh Prabhu launches two schemes in Mumbai.
•    On February 9, 2019, Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu launched two schemes, the Hirkani Maharashtra chi and District Business Plan Competition in Mumbai.
•    OVER VIEW OF SCHEMES:
    Under Hirkani Maharashtra chi, women’s SHGs will display their business plan at taluka level. Ten groups will be selected from each taluka and Rs. 50,000 will be given to each SHG to implement their idea. Five SHGs at district level will be selected and Rs. 2 lakh will be given to each SHG to take the idea forward.
    Under District Business Plan Competition, competitors at district level will display ideas, out of which five ideas will be selected from agriculture, social service, education and Work order worth Rs. 5 lakh will be given to the 5 selected ideas to implement the same.

Health Ministry conducts 8th round of National Deworming Day campaign.
•    On February 8,2019,The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) conducted its eighth round of National Deworming Day (NDD) with an objective to reduce the prevalence of Soil Transmitted Helminths (STH) or parasitic intestinal worms so that there will be no longer be public health problem.
•    The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) envisioned an open-defecation-free India which holds the capacity to reduce the overall worm burden in a community.


 Voter verification and Information Programme was launched by Election Commission.
•    On 8th February 2019, Election Commission of India (ECI) launched a Voter Verification and Information Programme (VVIP) for citizens to verify their details, change the details, new registration and corrections. The programme focus on 2019 General Election.
•    The ECI has set up helpline centres in all districts in India. The voter helpline number is 1950 and they are well equipped with to help callers with latest information.
•     VVIP technology was launched during 2day training cum workshop on the use of Information and Communication Technology which was held in New Delhi.
•    ECI also launched a ‘PwD app’ to enable Persons with Disabilities (PWD) to request to change in address, change in particulars and new registration by using mobile application.
•     Voter Helpline app was also launched which will help voters to check their names in electoral roll, submit online forms, application status checking and complaints filing.

Two day Bengal Global Summit held in Kolkata.
•    On February 7, 2019, the fifth edition of West Bengal Global Business Summit was inaugurated by state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. It is a two day summit held in Rajarhat, Kolkata.
•    West Bengal bagged over Rs. 40,000 crore worth of investment proposals from Reliance, Group, ITC and others multinational companies on the first day of the business summit.
•     The summit came to an end with West Bengal government signing 86 agreements entailing business proposals worth 2.84 lakh crore.
•    West Bengal with a Gross State Domestic Product of USD 155.32 billion is the 4th largest contributor to India’s GDP and 6th contributor to India’s manufacturing GDP.

Assam’s Finance Minister presented 1,193 crore Deficit Budget.
•    Assam’s Finance Minister, Himanta Biswas has presented the fourth Deficit Budget of the state for the fiscal year 2019-20 in the legislative assembly which amounts to 1,193 crore.
•    This budget is the 2nd digital budget of the state
•    The total revenue of the budget in comparison with previous has increased by 20% and the total expenditure has crossed 70,000 crore.
•    The budget mainly focuses on dimensions of social security and capital expenditure.
•    Brides will be given one tola gold belonging to families having income of less than Rs. 5 lakh per annum.
•    Students who passes in 12th class examination with first division will be given e-bike
•    Widows below 45 years will be given immediate support of Rs. 25,000.
•    Rice would be sold at Rs.1 per kg to benefit poor families.
 

INTERNATIONAL


Multinational Maritime Exercise ‘Aman 19’ commenced in Karachi.
•    The 5-day multinational maritime exercise ‘AMAN-19’ in which 46 nations participated from all over the world was formally commenced at Pakistan Navy Dockyard, with a colourful flag hosting ceremony.
•    Pakistan’s Naval Chief, Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi welcomed the participations of Exercise AMAN-19, the 6th episode of the AMAN initiative.
•    Principal aim to conduct this exercise is to facilitate a forum of understanding of each other’s maritime concepts and operation cultures and to produce ways and means to confront common threat at sea.
•    Commander Pakistan fleet, Vice Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi genially welcomed the eminent participating nations for a mutual resolve with motto “Together for Peace”.
•    The exercise will have 2 phases- Harbour phase and sea phase.
 

BANKING AND FINANCE


Asian Development Bank raised $100 million in international market.
•    On 8th February 2019, The Asian Development Bank raised $100 million from peso-linked bonds in the international market. It was their maiden issue of Philippine peso.
•    The move will help to reduce foreign exchange risk for ADB’s borrowers and support its growing local currency lending operations in Philippines.
•    J P Morgan was the sole lead manager and bonds were fully placed with institutional investors in Asia, Europe and the Americas.
•    Earlier in 2005 and 2007 ADB issued bond in the Philippine domestic capital market but it was the first time to mobilize Philippine peso funding from international investors through a currency linked structure.
•    ADB is an international development finance institution and a regional development bank with a motto to fighting poverty in Asia and the Pacific.


RBI Doubles the limit of bulk deposits from Rs. 1 crore to Rs 2 Crore.
•    On 7th February 2019, Reserve Bank of India decided to treat deposits to over Rs.2 crore as ‘bulk’ as they doubled the limit for the same from the earlier Rs.1crore. This move will enhance operational freedom of Banks.
•     RBI also proposed banks would maintain their bulk deposits interest rate cards in the core banking system for supervisory review.
•    The right to offer differential rate of interest in bulk deposits as per their requirements and Asset Liability Management (ALM) projections is vested with banks.
•     For a similar maturity period interest rate on bulk deposits are marginally higher than smaller amount fixed deposits.
•    National Federation of Urban Cooperative Banks and Credit Societies Limited (NAFCUB) has suggested this proposal.
•    The decision in proposal for setting up an Umbrella Organization (UO) for urban cooperative banks in pending with RBI.


RBI fines Allahabad Bank Rs 1.5 crore for not monitoring fund use, fraud reporting delay.
•    On Feb. 8 2019, Allahabad Bank said the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed a penalty of Rs 1.5 crore on them for not monitoring end use of funds, delay in classification and reporting of fraud and non-adherence with RBI guidelines during restructuring of accounts in respect of one of its borrowers.
 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY


Himachal’s growth rate projected at 7.3% in current financial year.
•    Economic Survey Report for 2018-19 has projected the growth rate in Himachal Pradesh to be around 7.3% for the current financial year, 2018-19, while the per capita income is estimated at Rs 1, 76,968. Economic growth was 6.5% in the last fiscal, highest in last 3 years.
•    Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) in current fiscal has increased to Rs 1, 36,542 crore and estimated to be about Rs 1, 51,835 crore in 2018-19.
 

AWARDS AND RECOGNIZATION


Yes Bank wins the Aegis Graham Bell Award 2018 for ‘Innovation in Data Science’.
•    On Feb. 1 2019, Aegis Graham Bell Award 2018 announced Yes Bank as winner in ‘Innovation in Data Science’ category for their industry-first project ‘Yes EEE (Engage Enrich Excel)’ at Panaji, Goa. It was hosted by the Government of Goa.

Sena Medals awarded to 92 army men, including Lance Naik Wani.
•    Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh, GOC-in-C (General Officer Commanding), Northern Command, presented Gallantry and Distinguished Service Awards to army officers, other ranks and next of kin (for posthumous awards).
•    The army commander presented 1 Bar to Sena Medal (Gallantry), 76 Sena Medals (Gallantry), 7 Sena Medals (Distinguished) and 8 Vishist Seva Medals.
•    Lance Naik Wani was conferred with the Bar to Sena Medal (Gallantry), received by his wife on his behalf. The brave soldier had sacrificed his life while combating terrorists at Batagund Village in Jammu & Kashmir in November 2018.
•    20 units were also awarded for their overall outstanding performance in the Command Theatre in the year 2018.
 

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATION


Radheyshyam Julaniya to replace Rahul Bhatnagar as Union Sports Secretary.
•    IAS officer (Madhya Pradesh cadre), Radheyshyam Julaniya will replace Rahul Bhatnagar as the Union Sports Secretary.
•    Bhatnagar has been released by the Sports Ministry and is set to join the Ministry on Panchayati Raj.
•    Notable achievements of the Sports Ministry during the tenure of Mr. Rahul Bhatnagar include opening of the National Sports University, Khelo India Youth Games, hosting international tournaments like Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneshwar and World Women’s Boxing Championship in New Delhi.
 

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY


Helicopter-launched anti-tank missile ‘Helina’ test-fired in Balasore, Odisha.
•    India test-fired Helina, a helicopter-launched version of the Nag anti-tank guided missile, with a hit range of 7-8 km, from the Odisha Coast on Friday.
•    Helina was launched from an Army chopper and the weapon system was tested for its full range at 12:55 PM near the Integrated Test Range in Chandipur in the Balasore District of Odisha.
•    Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Helina is said to be one of the most advanced anti-tank weapons in the world. It is guided by an Infrared Imaging Seeker (IIR) operating in the lock-on-before-launch mode.
 

SPORTS


Rohit Sharma becomes 1st Indian to smash 100 sixes in T20 Cricket.
•    Indian opener Rohit Sharma became the first man from his country to smash a century of sixes in T20I cricket in the second T20 between India and New Zealand held in Eden Park in New Zealand.
•    He made his T20I debut against England but played his first innings against South Africa in 2007 T20I.
•    Rohit Sharma surpassed Martin Guptill to become the highest scorer in T20 Internationals with 102 sixes.


Ricky Ponting has been appointed the assistant coach of Australia for 2019 World Cup.
•    On 8th February 2019, Cricket Australia appointed Ricky Ponting as assistant coach for Australia’s cricket team for 2019 World Cup. He had won world cup for three times.
•    The main coach for Australian Cricket team is Justin Langer. Ponting was appointed after David Saker’s resignation from the post.
•    Ricky Ponting worked as assistant for Australia’s T20 in 2017 and 2018. The current batting coach for the team is Graeme Hicks.
•    ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Scheduled to be hosted by England and Wales from 30th May to 14th July 2019.
•    Ponting play 375 ODI’s and 168 tests for Australia. He won the World Cup for the 1st time in 1999 before captaining and in 2003 and in 2003 and 2007.
 

OBITUARY


British actor Albert Finney, five time Oscar nominee died at age of 82.
•    On February 9, 2019, five time Oscar nominated actor Albert Finney died at the age of 82 due to chest infection in London.
•    The veteran actor was best known for his roles in Tom Jones, Erin Brockovich and Annie.
 

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Important Current Affairs 9th February 2019

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY


NASA: 2018 4th warmest year on record.
•    The global surface temperatures on the Earth in 2018 were the 4th warmest since 1880.
•    This was found in an independent analysis by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
•    The global temperatures in 2018 were 0.83 degree Celsius
2018’s temperatures rank behind those of 2016, 2017 and 2015.
 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY


IRDAI imposes fine on United India Insurance.
•    Imposed a fine of Rs 9 lakh on state-owned United India Insurance Co Ltd for violating certain procedures.
•    3 violations were found during the inspection, of which 2 attracted the fine.
•    UIIC is headquartered in Chennai, while IRDAI is in Hyderabad.

SBI fined by RBI.
•    RBI slapped Rs 1 crore penalty on SBI, country's largest lender on 7th Feb 2019 for violating norms.
•    RBI levied the penalty in the exercise of powers conferred under Section 47 A of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949.
•    SBI was charged for not monitoring the end use of funds in respect of one of its borrowers.


RBI Monetary Policy of February.
•    RBI cuts key lending rate (repo) by 0.25 pc to 6.25 pc
•    Reverse repo rate cut to 6pcs, bank rate to 6.5pc, CRR unchanged at 4pc
•    Headline inflation estimates revised down to 2.8 pc in Q1, 3.2-3.4 pc in first half of next fiscal
•    Projects GDP growth to accelerate to 7.4 pc next fiscal, from 7.2 pc in 2018-19
 

Suresh Prabhu addresses interactive session.
•    An interactive session on the Indo-Africa Strategic Economic Co-operation was held in New Delhi on 6th Feb 2019.
•    It was organised by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
•    The bilateral trade between Africa and India has increased from $7 billion in 2001 to $78 billion in 2014 and then $60 billion in 2017.
•    Suresh Prabhu is the Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation.
 

AWARDS AND HONORS


Yes Bank wins Data Science Innovation Award.
•    Yes, Bank was announced as the winner of the 9th edition of Aegis Graham Bell Award 2018 for its ‘Yes Engage Enrich Excel (EEE)’ project in data science.
•    Its EEE program is an industry-first analytics tool that aids the Bank’s relationship managers with top 3 talking points to engage with their customers.
•    Aegis Graham Bell Award promotes innovations and entrepreneurship in the ICT domain.

Sanjiv Chadha awarded in UK.
•    The State Bank of India’s UK Chief Mr Sanjiv Chadha has been honoured with the ‘Freedom of the City Of London’.
•    The award was given by the city of London Corporation in recognition of his contribution to promoting bilateral relations
•    The previous Indian recipient of the honour is Jawaharlal Nehru, the first PM of India. Other recipients include author J K Rowling and actor Dame Judi Dench.
 

APPOINTMENTS


Pradeep Singh became Civil Aviation Secretary.
•    The government appointed Air India Chief Managing Director and Chairperson Pradeep Singh Kharola as the secretary of the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
•    Kharola will take over from Rajiv Nayan Choubey.
•    He is an IAS officer of Karnataka cadre from the 1985 batch, who was named chairperson of Air India in November 2017.

NATIONAL


Nitin Gadkari laid foundation of NH project.
•    Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, laid the foundation for 5 National Highway projects of length 632 km in Ayodhya on 8 Feb 2019
•    The estimated cost is Rs. 7195 crore and the project will establish direct connectivity from Ayodhya to Ambedkar Nagar and Chitrakoot.
•    He will also visit Prayagraj to inaugurate Phase 2 of River Information System on National Waterway-1.

Ujjwala Utsav observed by Oil industry.
•    Ujjwala Utsav was observed by the Oil industry in New Delhi on 7th Feb 2019
•    It was observed to celebrate the stellar role played by all stakeholders in making PMUY scheme a success.
•    PMUY anthem - 'Ujjwala Bharat Ujjwala' composed by Kailash Kher was also launched on the occasion.
 

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Important Current Affairs 8th February 2019

AGREEMENTS AND MOUS


MoU approved between India and Namibia
•    The Union Cabinet approved the MoU between India and Electoral Tribunal of Panama and Electoral Commission of Namibia on 6th Feb 2019.
•    It would promote bilateral cooperation, aimed at building technical assistance/ capacity support for the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) and with Electoral Tribunal of Panama (ETP).
•    The Cabinet was chaired by PM Narendra Modi.


Cabinet Approvals: February 2019
•    MoU between India and Malaysia for Mutual Cooperation in the field of Company Secretary Ship.
•    MoU between India and Norway on India-Norway Ocean Dialogue
•    MoU between India and Brazil on cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy.
•    MoU between India and Maldives for Establishing Mutual Cooperation to Improve the Ecosystems for Agribusiness.
•    MoU between India and the UAE on Development cooperation in Africa
•    Signing of Agreement between India and Ukraine for cooperation in Agriculture and Food Industry
•    The revised Office Memorandum pertaining to the Cabinet Note on “Amendment of Constitution to provide for reservation for Economically Weaker Sections”
•    MoU between India and Finland in the field of Biotechnology
•    MoU between India and Uzbekistan for promoting bilateral cooperation in the area of e-Governance.
•    Proposal for higher allocation of power to Home State from Under Construction Projects of NTPC Ltd.
•    Introduction of National Institutes of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management Bill, 2019 in the Parliament.
•    Establishment of a unified authority for regulating all financial services in International Financial Services Centres (IFSCs) in India through International Financial Services Centres Authority Bill, 2019.
•    Establishment of Circuit Bench of Calcutta High Court at Jalpaiguri.
•    Establishment of Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog for Conservation protection and development of cows and their progeny.

Indian Coast Guard signed MoU with AAI.
•    Indian Coast Guard and the Airport Authority of India signed a Memorandum of Understanding at Coast Guard Regional Headquarters in Port Blair.
•    It is signed for coordination in the aeronautical, maritime search and rescue operations
•    The MoU with AAI is aimed at strengthening mutual interactions, interoperability, and validating procedures during the conduct of search and rescue operations.
 

NATIONAL


Amitabh Bachchan stars in national campaign
•    The Swachh Bharat Mission launched the 'Darwaza BandPart 2' campaign on 6th Feb 2019 in Mumbai.
•    The campaign was produced by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation was launched in the presence of iconic actor Amitabh Bachchan.
•    The campaign focuses on sustaining the open defecation free status of village across the country.

Textile Minister launched project India Size
•    Smt. Smriti Irani, the Union Minister of Textiles launched the India Size project in Mumbai on 6th February 2019.
•    It aims to arrive at a standard Indian size for the ready-to-wear clothing industry.
•    A size chart will be developed which will be specific to Indian consumer’s measurements.
•    The project is undertaken by the Ministry of Textiles.


Swine flu claimed 226 lives across the country
•    Swine flu has claimed 226 lives across the country, with the worst hit in Rajasthan claiming 85 deaths.
•    2,263 patients have been found positive with influenza as per the NCDC report.
•    A meeting was held on 6th February 2019 by the Ministry of Health headed by Preeti Sudan to take action to deal with it.
•    Swine flu is caused by H1N1 virus and has symptoms similar to the regular flu.

PM to flag off Vande Bharat Express.
•    Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag-off Vande Bharata Express on 15th February, 2019 from the New Delhi Railway Station.
•    It is India's first engineless train.
•    The train has been manufactured by the Integral Coach Factory, Chennai and has become India's fastest train.
•    It hit the speed of over 180 kmph during a trial run at the Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani route.
•    Earlier, it was named Train 18.

CCEA approves 12,000 MW power projects.
•    The CCEA chaired by PM Narendra Modi approved the proposal for setting up 12,000 MW Solar PV Power Projects
•    The proposal was by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy for the implementation of the CPSU scheme Phase-II for setting up these projects.
•    The power projects will be set up in 4 years at a cost of Rs. 48,000 crores.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY


Sixth Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2017-18 by Dr.Urjit Patel.
•    Reduce the policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) by 25 basis points from 6.5% to 6.25% with immediate effect.
•    The reverse repo rate under the LAF stands adjusted to 6.0%, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate to 6.5%.
•    The first advance estimates (FAE) has placed the growth of real gross value added (GVA) at 7.0% in 2018-19 as compared with 6.9% in 2017-18.

The Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA )approves creation of Agri-Market Fund
•    The Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs chaired by PM Narendra Modi approved the creation of Agri-Market Infrastructure Fund (AMIF) on 6th Feb 2019.
•    It is being created for the up-gradation and development of agricultural marketing infrastructure in Regulated Wholesale Markets and Gramin Agricultural Markets.
•    A corpus of Rs. 2000 crore has been approved for the creation of the fund.
 

SUMMITS AND CONFERENCES


Dr Jitendra Singh delivers keynote.
•    Dr Jitendra Singh, Minister of the DoNER (The Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region), delivered a keynote address at the 'Parmanu Tech 2019' conference on 6th February 2019 at New Delhi .
•    It was organized by the Ministry of External Affairs and Department of Atomic Energy.
•    The conference also discussed issues related to Radiation Technologies and Nuclear Energy.
 

INTERNATIONAL


India-Germany join hands for cooperation.
•    The 3rd Indo-German Working Group for water and waste management concluded on 6th February 2019 in New Delhi.
•    Delegates from both the sides met and discussed potential cooperation in the field of water and waste management.
•    The Indian delegation was headed by Shri Anil Kumar Jain.
•    Third Indo-German Environment Forum will meet in New Delhi on February 13, 2019.

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Important Current Affairs 7th February 2019

National News

Textiles Minister launches Project "India Size”
The Union Minister for Textiles Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani launched the India Size project in Mumbai today. A first-of-its-kind project in the history of India, India Size aims to arrive at a standard Indian Size for the ready-to-wear clothing industry, on the lines of the standardized sizes available in countries such as the USA and the UK. A size chart that is specific to Indian consumers' measurements will be developed. 
This will help Indian apparel manufacturers to tailor their cuts closer to the actual body measurements of consumers. This will benefit consumers, manufacturers and the industry as a whole. The project is being undertaken by the Ministry of Textiles, in collaboration with The Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI).


Cabinet approves establishment of Circuit Bench of Calcutta High Court at Jalpaiguri 
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the establishment of Circuit Bench of Calcutta High Court at Jalpaiguri. It will have jurisdiction over four districts namely Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar.
          The decision comes in the backdrop of the decision of the Calcutta High Court Full Court Meeting in 1988, Cabinet Decision on 16-6-2006 which approved the setting up of Circuit Bench of Calcutta High Court at Jalpaiguri and the visit by a team of Judges led by Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court to the proposed site of the Circuit Bench at Jalpaiguri on 30-08-2018 to assess the progress regarding the infrastructure facilities there.


Sanjiv Ranjan appointed as the Ambassador of India to the Republic of Colombia 
Ministry of External Affairs appointed Sanjiv Ranjan as the Ambassador of India to the Republic of Colombia. Presently he is the Ambassador of India to Argentina. Ranjan who is a 1993 batch Indian Foreign Service officer Ministry of External Affairs.
External Affairs: Formed: September 1946 Headquarters: Raisina Hill, New Delhi Minister: Sushma Swaraj The Ministry is responsible for the conduct of foreign relations of India Colombia: Capital: Bogota Official languages: Spanish President: Ivan Duque Currency: Peso (COP)
 

International News

India-Germany join hands for cooperation on ‘Water& Waste Management 
The 3rd Indo-German Working Group for cooperation on (i) water and (ii) waste management concluded in New Delhitoday.Delegations from both the ministries –   The Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India and The Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU), Germany – have met and discussed potential cooperation areas in the field of water and waste management.
Though, India-Germany bilateral economic cooperation has been robust and India’s priorities in most areas match with German expertise, but bilateral co-operation in the field of Environment got further strengthened when both the environment ministries organized Second Indo-German Environment Forum during January 2015 wherein these two working groups were constituted, which concluded its third meeting today.


Cabinet approves MoU between India and Malaysia for Mutual Cooperation in the field of Company Secretaryship 
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between India and Malaysia for Mutual Cooperation to raise the status and prestige of the Practicing Company Secretary in both countries, and to facilitate the movement of the Company Secretaries across borders in the Asia-Pacific Region.
Point-wise details
Approval of the Cabinet is in respect of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the "Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI)" and "Malaysian Association of Company Secretaries (MACS)" to strengthen cooperation and to raise the status and prestige of the Practicing Company Secretary in both jurisdictions and to facilitate the movement of the company secretaries across borders in the Asia Pacific region.

Cabinet approves MoU between India and the UAE on Development cooperation in Africa
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and the United Arab Emirates on Development Cooperation in Africa. The MoU entails setting up of a framework of cooperation between the two countries for implementing development partnership projects and programmes in Africa.
Benefits:
The proposal will help strengthen political and economic linkages between India and the countries of Africa and serve our broader strategic interests.
 

Space News

India’s communication satellite GSAT-31 launched successfully from French Guiana 
India’s latest communication satellite, GSAT-31 was successfully launched from the Spaceport in French Guiana during the early hours today.
The launch vehicle Ariane 5 VA-247 lifted off from Kourou Launch Base, French Guiana at 2:31 am (IST) carrying India’s GSAT-31 and Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4 satellites, as scheduled.
After a 42-min flight, GSAT-31 separated from the Ariane 5 upper stage in an elliptical Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit with a perigee (nearest point to Earth) of 250 km and an apogee (farthest point to Earth) of 35,850 km, inclined at an angle of 3.0 degree to the equator.
 

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