Current Affairs February 2019: The General Awareness section of any banking exam has long been ignored and for the wrong reasons. This section, in fact, is the most qualifying section in the paper. With serious preparation, this section can uplift your overall marks. Along with the purpose of aiding you in scoring well in the general awareness section, this article by Embibe will help you in staying up-to-date with the ongoing events as well. This article on Current Affairs February 2019 can be referred to get an insight into Current Affairs for Banking exams like IBPS, SBI, RBI, SSC etc, General Awareness, and General Studies for all the competitive examinations as well as to enhance one’s knowledge of GK.
Current Affairs February 2019
Look below for the latest current affairs of February 2019:
Current Affairs February 2019 | 28th February
National Science Day 2019 observed on 28 Feb
- The National Science Day 2019 was observed across India today to mark the discovery of the Raman Effect by Indian physicist Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman (CV Raman).
- This year celebrations of the Day were organised by the Department of Science & Technology (DST). On the occasion of National Science Day 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will confer the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology for the years 2016, 2017 and 2018 to the awardees.
- The Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize is named after the founder Director of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), Dr Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar.
Infosys Foundation Constitutes Aarohan Social Innovation Awards
- The Infosys Foundation has constituted Aarohan Social Innovation Awards to reward individuals, teams or NGOs developing solutions for the social sector.
- Aarohan Social Innovation Awards are aimed at nurturing the culture of innovation in the social sector to scale positive change across the country and thereby provide a platform to help the solutions scale. The award will also provide winners with an opportunity for residential mentorship at IIT Hyderabad up to 12 weeks at its campus to help them develop their solutions and scale them for social impact.
- Infosys Foundation established in 1996 is a not-for-profit initiative of Infosys Ltd. It aims to support the underprivileged sections of society for building a more equitable society.
RBI Removes three Banks from PCA Framework
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has removed three banks, Dhanlaxmi Bank, Allahabad Bank and Corporation Bank from the PCA framework by moving them out of its weak-bank watchlist.
- The government has infused fresh capital into various banks including some of the banks currently under the PCA framework. As part of the capital infusion, Corporation Bank had received Rs 9086 cr and Allahabad Bank had received 6896 cr.
- In India, PCA kicks in when banks breach any of the three key regulatory trigger points namely capital to risk-weighted assets ratio, net non-performing assets (NPA) and return on assets (RoA).
India successfully test-fires two Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air Missiles
- India has successfully test-fired two indigenously developed Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air missiles (QRSAM) from a test range off the Odisha coast.
- The two missiles tested for different altitude and conditions successfully demonstrated robust control, aerodynamics, propulsion, structural performance and high manoeuvring capabilities.
- The missile is an all-weather, all-terrain missile with electronic countermeasures against jamming by aircraft radars. This was the third test firing of QRSAM. The first test firing was done on June 4, 2017, and the second on July 14, 2018.
Current Affairs February 2019 | 27th February
ISRO to launch electronic intelligence satellite ‘Emisat’
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) would be launching an electronic intelligence satellite Emisat for Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in March 2019.
- In the special mission, ISRO would also be launching 28 third-party satellites and demonstrate its new technologies like three different orbits with a new variant of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket.
- The exact date of the mission has not been specified yet.
India-Bangladesh joint military exercise to be held from March 2
- India and Bangladesh will be conducting a joint military exercise, ‘Exercise Sampriti 2019’ at Tangail, Bangladesh from March 2 to March 15, 2019.
- This will be the eighth edition of the exercise which is hosted alternately by both countries.
- As part of the ongoing India-Bangladesh defence cooperation, Exercise Sampriti is an important bilateral endeavour between India and Bangladesh. The exercise is aimed to strengthen and broaden the aspects of interoperability and cooperation between the Indian and Bangladesh Armies.
Bihar government approves 10 percent quota for weaker sections
- Bihar government has issued a notification to provide 10 percent quota for weaker sections in general category in jobs and educational institutions.
- The reservation is meant for individuals whose annual earning is below Rs 8 lakh and who possess less than 5 acres of agriculture land.
- The quota allocation for weaker sections in general category is expected to help in providing more employment.
National Institute of Design Inaugurated at Bhopal and Jorhat
- The National Institute of Design has been inaugurated at Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh and Jorhat in Assam. The Union Minister for Commerce and Industries Suresh Prabhu inaugurated the Institutions.
- The National Institute of Design was established based on the recommendations of the Eames Report Over the years, the National Institute of Design has emerged as an internationally finest educational and research institutions for Industrial, Communication, Textile and IT Integrated (Experiential) Design.
- The National Institute of Design has been declared ‘Institution of National Importance’ by the Act of Parliament, by virtue of the National Institute of Design Act 2014.
National Water Awards 2018 Presented
- The Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development, and Rejuvenation presented 82 National Water Awards in 14 categories for the year 2018.
- National Water Awards have been resumed after a gap of 12 years.
- The objective of National Water Award is to encourage all stakeholder including the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Gram Panchayats, Urban Local Bodies, Water User Associations, Institutions, Corporate Sector, Individuals etc. for adopting innovative practices of groundwater augmentation by rainwater harvesting.
Government Approves Construction of more than 5 lakh Affordable Houses
- The Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs has approved the construction of another 560,695 more affordable houses for the benefit of urban poor under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban).
- The approval was given by the Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee under the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs.
- The allocation is part of the government’s commitment to ensure housing for all by 2022. Total of 1,243 projects with a project cost of Rs 33,873 crore with central assistance of Rs 8,404 crore has been approved.
2 crore jobs created in 16 months: ESIC
- The Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) payroll data released by the Central Statistical Office (CSO) suggests 2 crore jobs created in 16 months.
- The ESIC data is one of payroll numbers released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) in its reports based on people joining various social security schemes run by Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) and Pension Fund Regulatory Development Authority (PFRDA).
- Around 72.32 lakh new subscribers were added to social security schemes of the EPFO from September 2017 to December 2018.
Current Affairs February 2019 | 26th February
GST council reduces tax rates on housing
- The GST council has decided to slash the tax rate on under-construction residential properties and the affordable housing projects category. It has reduced the GST rate for under construction from the present 12 per cent to 5 per cent.
- The new rates will be applicable from April 2019. This decision of the GST council is expected to push demand and increase sales of under-construction properties.
- In metro areas of Delhi NCR (limited to Delhi, Noida, Greater Noida, Ghaziabad), Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore, the eligibility for affordable housing would be properties worth Rs 45 lakh and 60 sq metre carpet area and in non-metro cities it would be Rs 45 lakh and 90 sq metre.
Kerala gets a new campus of Centre for Marine Living Resources and Ecology
- Union Minister for Earth Sciences, Dr Harsh Vardhan inaugurated Atal Bhavan, the new campus of Centre for Marine Living Resources and Ecology (CMLRE), at Puthuvype, Cochin, in Kerala.
- The Centre for Marine Living Resources & Ecology (CMLRE) under the Ministry of Earth Science is organizing,coordinating and promoting ocean development activities in the country which includes mapping of the living resources, preparing inventory of commercially exploitable living marine resources, their optimum utilization through ecosystem management and R&D in basic sciences on Marine Living Resources and Ecology.
- CMLRE was established at Kochi in 1998 by upgrading the erstwhile Sagar Sampada Cell with exclusive facilities for implementing the Marine Living Resources Programme.
CIPET centre in Tripura inaugurated
- Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers D V Sadananda Gowda inaugurated the centre of the Central Institute of Plastic Engineering and Technology (CIPET) in Tripura. The CIPET in Tripura would produce 1500 skilled workers per annum.
- It was established in 1968 with the assistance of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) at Chennai. CIPET renders Technology Support Service in the areas of design, tooling, plastics processing and testing and quality assurance in India and abroad.
- CIPET is working under the Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers and is focused on Skill Development, Technology Support Services, Academic and Research(STAR).
UNICEF head lauds Poshan Abhiyan
- Unicef Representative in India Yasmin Ali Haque applauded the Abhiyaan. Poshan Abhiyan which focuses on reducing stunting, under-nutrition and anaemia in women and adolescents through direct cash transfers is a massive step towards eradicating malnutrition.
- POSHAN Abhiyan (National Nutrition Mission) is a flagship programme of the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
- The Mission is aimed at improving the nutritional status of Children from 0-6 years, Adolescent Girls, Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers in a time bound manner during the next three years beginning 2017-18.
EVM is ‘information’ under RTI Act says CIC
- The Central Information Commission (CIC) has ruled that the EVM machine is information under the Right to Information Act.
- EVM can be demanded by an applicant from the Election Commission of India on payment of Rs 10.
- The Election Commission has to respond to an RTI application seeking the EVM either by providing it or refusing it under exemption clauses in the Act. The verdict of the Election Commission of India can be contested before the CIC, the highest adjudicating authority in RTI matters.
Current Affairs February 2019 | 25th February
Deloitte Launches Global Initiative in India to Empower 10 Million Girls
- Deloitte has announced the launch of its global initiative ‘World Class’ in India for the empowerment of women.
- The initiative was launched by Deloitte’s Global CEO, Punit Renjen in the presence of Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.
- Deloitte aims to fuel India’s growth story by aiding India to encash its demographic dividend. The initiative aims to support 10 million girls and women by 2030 through education and skills development.
Economic Survey Report for 2018-19 of Delhi
- The government of Delhi has tabled the Economic Survey Report for 2018-19 in Delhi Assembly.
- Delhi witnessed a growth of 8.61% in 2018-19. the GDP increased of Delhi at constant prices (inflation-adjusted) increased to Rs 5,54,908 crore during 2017-18.
- The tax collection registered a growth of 14.07%. The tax collection growth for 2018-19 has been projected at 17.69% over 2017-18. Delhi has maintained its consistent revenue surplus which was Rs 4,913 crore.
Karnataka High Court quashes ED freeze on Greenpeace Bank Accounts
- The Karnataka High Court has quashed the order of Enforcement Directorate (ED) which froze the bank accounts of Greenpeace India.
- The court noted that the validity of the ED order has lost its efficacy on account of efflux of time as the period of 60 days has expired.
- Greenpeace India is the Indian arm of the international NGO Greenpeace. Greenpeace through non-violent, creative confrontation aims to expose environmental problems and to force the solutions which are essential to a green and peaceful future.
NITI Aayog hosts Conference on Future of Indian Banking and Role of Technology Tomorrow
- The Niti Ayog had hosted the conference on Future of Indian Banking and Role of Technology Tomorrow in association with the Foundation for Economic Growth and Welfare (EGROW Foundation) at New Delhi.
- The conference was aimed at increasing and elevating the discourse on the banking sector in India and help in developing insights to inform the continued evolution of the Indian banking sector for optimally supporting the growing credit needs of the Indian economy.
- EGROW Foundation is a non-profit, multidisciplinary public policy organisation engaged in independent high-quality research in the areas of macroeconomic policy, public welfare, national security and diplomacy.
CBIC sets up Working Groups to Facilitate Exports, Curb Tax Evasion
- The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has constituted three working groups to suggest ways to facilitate exports, especially through e-commerce, and improve compliance by way of curbing tax evasion.
- Various mandates have been given to working groups. The Board is the administrative authority for its subordinate organizations, including Custom Houses, Central Excise and Central GST Commissionerates and the Central Revenues Control Laboratory. Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (erstwhile Central Board of Excise & Customs) works under the Department of Revenue under the Ministry of Finance.
India invited as Guest of Honour for 46th OIC Foreign Ministers Meet
- For the first time, India would be attending the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Foreign Ministers Meet. India will attend 46th Session of the OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers to be held in Abu Dhabi from March 1 to 2.
- The host UAE has stated that the friendly country of India has been named as the guest of honour in view of its great global political stature as well as its time-honoured and deeply mysqladmined cultural and historical legacy and its important Islamic component.
- The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) established in 1969 aims to provide a collective voice to the Muslim world and safeguard and protect interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony.
Kelly Knight Craft is the new US ambassador to the UN
- US President Donald Trump has announced the nomination of Kelly Knight Craft as the new US ambassador to the UN.
- Kelly Knight Craft is currently serving as the US ambassador to Canada.
- The US ambassador to the UN represents the United States on the U.N. Security Council and during almost all plenary meetings of the General Assembly.
Current Affairs February 2019 | 23rd & 24th February
Gujarat Launches the Second Edition of Sujalam Sufalam Jal Sanchay Abhiyan
- The government of Gujarat has launched the second edition of the water conservation scheme Sujalam Sufalam Jal Sanchay Abhiyan. The scheme aims to deepen water bodies in the state before monsoon to increase storage of rainwater to be used during times of scarcity. The scheme involves cleaning and desilting of riverfronts and Sprucing up of Irrigation canals.
- The first edition witnessed an increase in the water storage capacity of more than 11,000 lakh cubic feet rainwater through different sources like ponds, reservoirs, check dams, bori bandh and other.
IOC Suspends India from Hosting Global Sporting Events
- The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has suspended all discussions with India regarding hosting of global sporting events in the backdrop of denial of visas to the two Pakistani Shooters.
- The Pakistani shooters were supposed to participate in the 25m rapid fire pistol event in the ISSF World Cup. IOC notes that the Indian government authorities have failed to grant an entry visa for the Pakistani delegation to participate in the ISSF World Cup which was a qualification competition for the Tokyo Olympic Games to be held in 2020.
- The tensions due to Pulwama Terrorist Attack and the alleged role of Pakistan based groups behind the attack has deteriorated the bilateral relations.
Chennai Spartans win the inaugural Pro Volleyball League Title
- The Chennai Spartans have won the inaugural Pro Volleyball League Title. Chennai Spartans defeated Calicut Heroes in the summit clash.
- As a result of the winning the Pro Volleyball League Title, Chennai Spartans have also qualified for this year’s FIVB Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship.
- Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship is an international volleyball competition in Asia and Oceania contested by the men’s clubs of the members of Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC).
Israeli company sends the world’s first Privately Funded Mission to Moon
- SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying Israeli company SpaceIL lunar lander took off from Florida.
- If successful Israel will join the club of countries which includes Russia, the US and China who have made a successful controlled landing on the surface of earth’s nearest neighbour.
- Funded almost entirely by donations, the project is the first privately backed lunar lander mission. The project cost $100 million and named Beresheet the spacecraft weights 585kg.
JSPL wins FICCI CSR Award for Women Empowerment
- The Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) has been honoured with the prestigious ‘FICCI CSR Award’ for Women Empowerment.
- JSPL was awarded for its innovative and high impact women empowerment programmes, implemented by the company’s CSR Arm – JSPL Foundation, across its operational areas in the country.
- FICCI Corporate Social Responsibility Awards were India’s first CSR awards and was instituted in 1999 by FICCI.
FATF keeps Pakistan in Grey List for Failing to Stop Terror Financing
- The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) condemning the Pulwama Terror Attack has decided to continue the ‘Grey’ listing of Pakistan for its failure to stop funding of terrorist groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamat-ud-Dawa.
- Greylist will endanger Pakistan’s handful of remaining banking links to the outside world. This would cause real financial pain to the fragile economy of Pakistan.
- Greylisting would also lead to the downgrading of Pakistan’s debt ratings by international banking and credit rating agencies, making it more difficult to tap funds from international bond markets. Greylisting will also lessen investors confidence in Pakistan and impacts its imports and exports, widening its existing huge current account deficit.
India South Korea signs various Agreements to step-up cooperation
- During the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to South Korea, seven agreements were signed to boost up the cooperation.
- MoU was signed between the Korean National Police Agency and the Ministry of Home Affairs to enhance cooperation between the law enforcement agencies of the two countries and combat trans-border and international crimes.
- A joint agreement was signed to promote collaboration among start-ups and set up a Korea Start-up Centre (KSC) in India to commercialise ideas, technologies and designs of start-up companies.
Textile Minister inaugurates two Silk Projects in Assam
- The Minister of Textiles, Smriti Irani inaugurated two silk projects Soil to Silk Project and Eri Spun Silk Mill in Assam.
- The Eri Silk Development Project has been dedicated for sustainable livelihood for women of Bodoland Territorial Council through tapioca plantation at Kokrajhar
- The Eri Silk Development Project aims to utilize tapioca plantation for dual purpose i.e. the tuber for food and the leaves for Eri silkworm. The project aids the tribal families below the poverty line to utilise the available natural resources to the best advantage of the Eri silkworm rearing and weaving sector.
Dr Divya Karnad receives Future for Nature 2019 Award
- Dr Divya Karnad, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at Ashoka University has been awarded the prestigious Global Future For Nature Award 2019 for her work on marine conservation. Dr Divya Karnad’s project In Season Fish had successfully reduced the unwanted bycatch of endangered sharks along the Coromandel coast of India.
- Future for Nature 2019 Award awarded by Future for Nature foundation celebrates tangible achievements in protecting wild animal and plant species.
- The Award provides the winners international recognition, financial support and reinforced linkages to an international conservation network.
HAL places an order with Thales for Rocket Launchers
- Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has awarded French aerospace and defence company Thales a contract to supply 135 2.75-inch (70-mm) rocket launchers.
- These certified, field-proven, competitive rocket launchers are suitable for use on both light and combat helicopters. The order is aimed to boost the tactical capabilities of the Indian armed forces.
- With these rocket launchers, helicopter crews will see a significant improvement in their tactical capabilities during missions.
BEL unveils Atmospheric Water Generator
- The Defence PSU Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) has unveiled the Atmospheric Water Generator (AWG) at the Aero India 2019. The new product aims to provide an innovative solution to meet the ever-increasing need for drinking water worldwide.
- The Atmospheric Water Generator would generate water straight from the humidity present in the atmosphere through a novel technology. The Generator is integrated with a Mineralisation Unit to add minerals which are required to make the water potable.
- The Atmospheric Water Generator is being manufactured by BEL in collaboration with CSIR-IICT and MAITHRI, a start-up company based in Hyderabad.
India to stop its share of water flowing into Pakistan
- The Minister of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Nitin Gadkari has said that India would fully utilise its share of unused water from rivers Ravi, Beas and Sutlej that has been flowing into Pakistan. The comment was made by the Minister in the backdrop of the Pulwama Terror attack which took the life of 40 CRPF soldiers.
- The step towards utilising the share of India under the Indus water treaty is in the line of the steps taken by the government to corner and pressurise Pakistan to act against the perpetrators of terrorism operating from Pakistan.
Current Affairs February 2019 | 22nd February
India-Saudi Arabia bilateral Meeting
- India and Saudi Arabia held a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the visit of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to India.
- Saudi Arabia reiterated its commitment to meeting India’s growing needs for crude oil and petroleum products and substitute for any shortage that may arise as a result of disruptions from other sources without naming Iran.
- Saudi Arabia also increased India’s Haj quota by about 25,000. India’s Haj quota now stands at 2 lakh. Saudi Arabia has already invested $44 billion in India since the PM’s visit in 2016 and they see an investment opportunity of worth $100 billion in sectors like energy, petrochemicals, and manufacturing.
Lockheed Martin unveils new F-21 Fighter Jet at Aero Show
- US defence giant Lockheed Martin unveiled the F-21 multi-role fighter jet at Asia’s biggest air show Aero India-2019.
- Lockheed Martin will manufacture the plane in collaboration with Tata Advanced Systems under India’s flagship programme Make in India.
- The F-21 fighter jet is specifically configured for the Indian Air Force and will strengthen India’s path to an advanced airpower future. F-21 would fulfil the Indian Air Force’s unique requirements and integrates India into the world’s largest fighter aircraft ecosystem with the world’s pre-eminent defence company.
MOU with Canadian University for Research on Environmental Issues
- The Central government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada to work on various environmental issues including climate change, forest resource management, and wildlife.
- The MoU was signed by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) for the next 10 years to explore opportunities for collaborations in the field of forestry science.
- The areas to be explored for collaboration under the MoU include Collaborative research on wood sciences, forest resource management, adaptation and mitigation to climate change, forest genetics and breeding, wildlife, ecology, remote sensing, insect and disease pests, extension, conservation of flora and fauna, biotechnology, bio-energy, and bio-economy.
Festival of India begins in Nepal
- A month-long Festival of India in Nepal is being held at Nepal. The Festival of India in Nepal is organised by the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Center at the Indian embassy in Kathmandu with support from India’s Ministry of culture.
- The Festival of India in Nepal is aimed at consolidating and strengthening our existing age-old relations, reinforcing sensibilities, affinities and shared cultural bonds between the people of our two countries.
- The Festival aims to contribute towards sustaining and enhancing mutual understanding between India and Nepal.
PM Narendra Modi receives Seoul Peace Prize for 2018
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi received the prestigious Seoul Peace Prize 2018 for his contribution to international cooperation and fostering global economic growth today.
- The committee credited him for his efforts in promoting global peace and harmony through inclusive economic growth and improving quality of life.
- The award was presented to him by Kwon E-hyock, the Chairman of the Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation at a grand ceremony in Seoul, South Korea. A short film on the life and achievements of Prime Minister Modi was also screened at the event.
EPF interest rate hiked to 8.65 per cent
- The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), the retirement fund manager under the Union Labour Ministry, raised the interest rate on Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) accumulations to 8.65 per cent for 2018-19.
- This is a 10 basis point increase from the 8.55 per cent EPF interest rate announced by the retirement fund for 2017-18.
- The Central Board of Trustees (CBT) ratified the amendment in EPF Scheme 1952, as approved in the 141st meeting of Financial Investment and Audit Committee (FIAC) held on February 12, 2019, to enable accounting of Investment in Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) (Equity & Related Investment).
SC appoints Justice DK Jain as ombudsman for BCCI
- The Supreme Court appointed former apex court judge Justice DK Jain as the first court-appointed ombudsman for the BCCI under the terms of the newly approved constitution of the cricket board.
- The role of the ombudsman would be to resolve the disputes relating to the players within the state cricket associations as also financial issues. The Committee of Administrators of BCCI had said there was a need for the appointment of an ombudsman and an ethics officer at the earliest in BCCI.
- The Committee of Administrators was formed by the Supreme Court to monitor the administrative issues of BCCI.
Current Affairs February 2019 | 21st February
Capital Infusion of Rs. 48,239 Crore into 12 State-Run Banks
- The government has approved the capital infusion of Rs. 48,239 Crore into 12 State-Run Banks. The capital inclusion has been undertaken to ensure the lenders are able to maintain regulatory capital requirement and step up lending and boost overall growth.
- The government has now provided Rs 1,00,958 crore out of the Rs 1.06-lakh-crore bank recapitalisation plan. The remaining Rs. 5,000 crore capital infusion would be used as a buffer for any contingency or growth capital for Bank of Baroda which is in the process of merging Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank with itself.
- The capital infusion has been undertaken to ensure that state-run lenders, which have emerged out of the PCA, remain above the triggers and help others such as Indian Overseas Bank, Central Bank, United Bank, and UCO Bank meet minimum regulatory capital requirements.
US President Donald Trump signs order to establish US Space Force
- US President Donald Trump signed an executive order to establish its Space Force as a new armed service within the Department of Air Force.
- The Space Force will include both combat and combat support functions to enable prompt and sustained offensive and defensive space operations in all domains. It will be organized, trained, and equipped to meet and protect the US national interests in the space, consistent with international laws.
- It will organize and train the next generation of warriors to deter aggression and defend the United States.
Mahatma Gandhi Scholarships awarded to 150 Sri Lankan students
- Sri Lanka’s 150 students from all 25 districts were awarded the prestigious Mahatma Gandhi scholarships for study in India. Sri Lankan Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam and Indian High Commissioner Taranjit Singh Sandhu gave the scholarships at a special ceremony in Colombo.
- This is the twelfth year in which India has provided Mahatma Gandhi scholarships to bright students across Sri Lanka.
India’s fighter jet ‘LCA Tejas’ now fully combat-ready
- Landmark day for India’s defence sector, India’s first self-made fighter jet, Light Combat Aircraft Tejas MK I (LCA Tejas) received the Final Operational Clearance for induction into the Indian Air Force (IAF) as a fully-weaponized fighter jet.
- The formal declaration of Final Operational Clearance (FOC) of the aircraft was made by Dr G Satheesh Reddy, Chairman of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Secretary of Defence (R&D). Prior to this, the LCA Tejas was an Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) aircraft.
International Mother Language Day 2019
- International Mother Language Day was observed today to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.
- As 2019 is the International Year of Indigenous Languages, the theme of this year’s Mother Language Day was ‘Indigenous Languages as a factor in development, peace, and reconciliation’.
- UNESCO has been celebrating International Mother Language Day for nearly 20 years with the aim of preserving this linguistic diversity and promoting mother tongue-based multilingual education.
ISSF Shooting World Cup
- Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore inaugurated the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) World Cup in New Delhi. Various events in the world cup will start from February 23 and will end on February 27, 2019.
- The ISSF World Cup is crucial for Indian shooting as it has 16 quotas up for grabs for Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualification. India is fielding a 23-member squad with 11 shooters in the non-competition Minimum Qualification Score category.
4TH India-ASEAN Expo Summit starts from today till 23 February
- The 4th India-ASEAN Expo and Summit started from today and will be on till February 23, 2019, in New Delhi. This is a flagship event of Department of Commerce, being organised with FICCI to carry forward the momentum and to further strengthen India-ASEAN relations under the Act-East Policy.
- The 4th India-ASEAN Expo and Summit will build upon the success of the previous edition of ASEAN-India Business and Investment Meet and Expo which was held in 2018 as a precursor to India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit.
- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) comprises of Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Cambodia and Brunei. India’s relationship with ASEAN is a key pillar of our foreign policy and the foundation of our Act-East Policy.
Current Affairs February 2019 | 20th February
National Rural Economic Transformation Project under DAY-NRLM
- The Union government has proposed a new rural Livelihood Scheme, the National Rural Economic Transformation Project under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM).
- Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) aims to create efficient and effective institutional platforms for the rural poor to increase household income through sustainable livelihood enhancements and improved access to financial services.
- Originally called as Aajeevika – National Rural Livelihoods Mission, the programme was renamed as Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) in 2015. The project would be undertaken with loan assistance from the World Bank and aims to provide interventions to enhance the livelihoods promotion, access to finance and scale-up initiatives on digital finance and livelihood.
Govt clears Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut Regional Rapid Transport System
- The Union Government has cleared the construction of Rs 30,274 crore Regional Rapid Transport System (RRTS) to connect the national capital with Meerut through Ghaziabad. The RRTS would enable to cover the 82 kilometre-stretch in less than 60 minutes by high-speed and green public transit.
- Regional Rapid Transport System (RRTS) is a rail-based high-speed regional transit system. RRTS will be implemented for the first time in India in the New Delhi-Meerut stretch.
- Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS corridor is first of the three prioritized corridors planned for implementation in Phase-1 and other two are Delhi-Gurugram-Alwar and Delhi-Panipat Corridors.
Odisha government launches KALIA Chhatra Bruti scholarship for Farmers Children
- The government of Odisha has launched the KALIA Chhatra Bruti scholarship for the children of farmers. The Scholarship is under the KALIA, Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation, a scheme for financing farmers in Odisha.
- Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) is a support scheme of Odisha whose primary targets are small farmers, cultivators, and landless agricultural labourers.
- KALIA scheme was introduced by the government of Odisha as an alternative to the demand of farm loan waiver.
7th National Photography Awards Presented
- Union Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting and Youth Affairs & Sports, Rajyavardhan Rathore presented the 7th National Photography Awards at National Media Centre in New Delhi.
- A total of 13 awards were given comprising of one Lifetime Achievement Award with a cash prize of Rs.3,00,000; one award each in Professional Photographer of the Year category and Amateur Photographer of the Year category with a cash prize of Rs 1,00,000 and Rs 75,000 respectively.
- The Lifetime Achievement Award was conferred on Ashok Dilwali. SL Shanth Kumar was awarded as the Professional Photographer of the Year; and Gurdeep Dhiman as the Amateur Photographer of the Year. The theme for the Professional category was “Women-led Development”, while the theme for Amateur category was “Fairs and Festivals of India”. National Photography Awards are organised by Photo Division under Ministry of I&B.
Govt relaxes norms for Startups
- The government has relaxed the norms under the definition of Start-Ups. The investment limit of angel investors to seek exemption under the Income Tax Act, 1961 has been increased to Rs 25 crore from 10 Crore.
- An entity shall be considered a start-up up to 10 years from its date of incorporation/registration instead of the previous period of 7 years. An entity would be considered as a startup up to a turnover of Rs 100 crore as against the earlier limit of Rs 25 crore.
- The relaxations are in line with the government’s vision to promote the culture of entrepreneurship and ease of doing business in India.
Commerce Minister launches ‘SWAYATT’ on GeM
- Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu launched SWAYATT initiative to promote Start-ups, Women and Youth Advantage through e Transactions on Government e Marketplace (GeM). This will bring together the key stakeholders within the Indian entrepreneurial ecosystem to Government e-Marketplace.
- The SWAYATT would seek to promote inclusiveness by catapulting various categories of sellers and service providers, take proactive steps to facilitate the training and registrations of such a specific category of manufacturers and sellers.
- On this occasion, Commerce Minister also dedicated ‘GeM Startup Runway’, an initiative of GeM in association with Startup India to facilitate Start-ups registered with Startup India to access the public procurement market.
New company to be established under the Department of Space
- The government has approved setting up of a new company under the Department of Space to commercially exploit the research and development work carried out by Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Centers and constituent units of DOS.
- Constituting a new company together with providing revenues will give a boost to the Make in India campaign.
Cabinet approves National Policy on Electronics 2019; aims to make India global hub in ESDM Sector
- The Union Cabinet approved the National Policy on Electronics 2019 (NPE 2019), proposed by the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
- The 2019 Policy on Electronics proposes to propel the growth of the Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) industry in the country. It replaces the National Policy of Electronics 2012 (NPE 2012).
Operation Digital Board launched to provide better digital education
- The government launched Operation Digital Board on the lines of Operation Blackboard to provide better digital education in schools.
- Under the initiative, 7 lakh classrooms of 9th, 10th and 11th standards and 2 lakh classrooms of colleges and Universities will be equipped with digital boards in the next three years.
- It will improve the quality of education and offer new opportunities and new ways of teaching and learning. It will convert the monologue classrooms into interactive ones. The move will revolutionise the education system in the country with different kinds of digital teaching materials, quality lectures, and other facilities.
Asia’s premier Air show ‘Aero-India’ began in Bengaluru
- The 12th edition of Asia’s premier Air show ‘Aero India-2019’ began at Yelahanka Air Force Station, Bengaluru. 61 aircraft, including HAL’s indigenous products LCA Tejas roared in the city skies.
- The five-day long biennial event, which will showcase India’s air defence prowess, will also act as a platform for aviation companies to forge new alliances and contracts.
- The global event will see the participation of the highest ever aircraft, Airbus 330Neo. The event will see participation from countries like Israel, US, UK, Germany, Russia, and France.
Current Affairs February 2019 | 19th February
Rajnath Singh inaugurates National Cyber Forensic Lab and CyPAD
- Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated a national cyber forensic lab and Cyber Prevention, Awareness & Detection Centre (CyPAD). The National Cyber Forensic Lab (NCFL) is part of the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) initiative and CyPAD is the Delhi Police’s cybercrime unit.
- Both CyPAD and NCFL will assist law enforcers to proactively address cyber threats in coordination with other law-enforcement agencies, national & & international cybersecurity organisation and various online intermediaries.
- CyPAD will deal with crypto-currency frauds, international tech-supported frauds and other cybersecurity related services. The NCFL includes units likes Memory Forensics Labs, Image Enhancement Lab, Network Forensics Lab, Malware Forensics Lab, Cryptocurrency Forensics Lab.
Bhopal to host 79th Indian History Congress for the second time
- The 79th Indian History Congress (IHC) will be held at Barkatullah University in Bhopal Madhya Pradesh from February 26.
- The Indian History Congress will be held at Madhya Pradesh for the second time. Earlier it was held at 2011. Over 1,000 delegates including prominent historians are expected to participate in the IHC in Bhopal.
- Indian History Congress was established in 1935 and it is the largest professional and academic body of Indian historians with over 10,000 members.
New Delhi to get Deen Dayal Antarashtriya Hastshilp Bhawan
- The Union Minister for Textiles, Smriti Zubin Irani laid the foundation stone of a Hastshilp Complex in New Delhi. The complex would be named after Deendayal Upadhyaya as Deen Dayal Antarashtriya Hastshilp Bhawan.
- The construction of the Hastshilp Bhawan is being undertaken by NBCC at a cost of Rs.113.56 crores and the construction is expected to be complete in 18 months.
- The complex will provide space for awardee artisans on a rotation basis and preference will be given to differently abled artisans. The Hastshilp Bhawan will house 23 shops meant for artisans, one showroom for artisans from SAARC countries, one kiosk, five galleries, and one conventional hall.
Dr G C Anupama elected as President of Astronomical Society of India
- Dr G C Anupama has been elected president of the Astronomical Society of India (ASI). Dr G C Anupama was elected to the post in the ASI Executive Council elections for triennium 2019-22.
- She has become the first woman to head the prime association of professional astronomers in the country.Dr G C Anupama at present is the Dean and Senior Professor at the Bengaluru based Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA).
- Astronomical Society of India is the prime association of professional astronomers in India and has close to 1,000 members. It organizes scientific meetings and supports the popularisation of Astronomy and other similar activities.
RBI to give Rs 28,000 cr to Centre as dividend
- 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 December 31, 2018.
- In a statement, the RBI said the decision has been based on a limited audit review and after applying the extant economic capital framework.
- The decision follows the RBI Board meeting held in New Delhi, on February 18, 2019. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley addressed the board. Apart from RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, all the four deputy governors and others attended the meeting.
India, Argentina Sign 10 MoUs and Agreements
- India and Argentina released a Joint Statement after extensive talks between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the President of the Argentine Republic, Mauricio Macri, who is on a state visit to India from February 17-19, 2019.
- President Mauricio Macri is in India at the invitation of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as part of the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Argentine Republic and the Republic of India.
- India and Argentina signed MoU’s on defense cooperation, Tourism, Broadcasting content, and pharmaceuticals.
Current Affairs February 2019 | 18th February
India raises customs duty on all goods imported from Pakistan
- India increased customs duty on all goods originating from or imported from Pakistan to 200 per cent with immediate effect. Pakistan’s exports to India include fresh fruits, cement, petroleum products, bulk minerals and ores, finished leather, processed minerals, inorganic chemicals, cotton raw, spices, wool, rubber product, alcoholic beverage, medical instruments, marine goods, plastic, dyes, and sports goods.
- It is not very clear whether this will affect the third-country trade which is going on between the two countries through places such as Dubai in the UAE and Singapore.
- Pakistan exported just $500 million of goods in 2017-18 to India, representing 1.5 percent of its exports. However, it is believed to have exported goods worth about 3-4 times as much through third countries.
Chris Gayle announces retirement from One-day Internationals
- Veteran West Indies batsman Chris Gayle has announced that he will retire from One-day Internationals after this year’s World Cup in England and Wales.
- 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. He needs 677 more runs to surpass Lara as the West Indies’ all-time record ODI run-scorer, a feat he will be hoping to achieve during his fifth World Cup.
CRPF to add more security features to make its convoy movement in J&K safer
- The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has decided to add new security features to its convoy movement in Jammu and Kashmir making its passage more safe and secured.
- The new features in the Standard Operative Procedure for the movement of the force will soon be added.
- Apart from traffic control, the timing of the convoy movement and their midway halts and other procedures will be added and some of them will be recalibrated.
InfyTQ App Launched
- IT giant, Infosys has launched the app InfyTQ app to offer learning and engagement experiences for engineering students who are in their third and fourth year.
- InfyTQ encourages holistic development by imparting technical as well as professional skills and helps them become industry ready.
- InfyTQ which is available on both mobile and desktop is equipped with a plethora of content, courses, and news to establish talent readiness at an industry level through online assessments and certification. The InfyTQ is a step forward in building the employability skills of the Indian Engineering students.
NITI Aayog, SCISP agree to provide continuing momentum to India-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership
- NITI Aayog and Saudi Centre for International Strategic Partnerships (SCISP) have agreed to provide continuing momentum to the India-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership.
- A high-level delegation, led by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, held extensive discussions with SCISP in Riyadh. Talks were also held with senior representatives from 12 Saudi ministries during the two-day visit.
- The visit assumes significance as Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is scheduled to arrive in India today.
Current Affairs February 2019 | 16th & 17th February
Minimum Selling Price of Sugar Increased by Rs 2/kg
- The Central government has increased the minimum selling price (MSP) of sugar by Rs. 2 per kg to Rs. 31.
- Minimum Selling Price is the rate below which the mills cannot sell sugar in the open market to wholesalers and bulk consumers like beverage and biscuit makers.
- The decision to increase the minimum selling price has been taken keeping in mind the debt burden of the industry. The increase in the minimum selling price is expected to help millers to make the payment to sugarcane farmers.
Amaravati to get India’s First District Cooling System
- India’s First District cooling system will come up in Amravati, capital of the Andhra Pradesh.
- The government of Andhra Pradesh has entered into a 30-year concession with UAE-based international cooling provider.
- The agreement between the National Central Cooling Company (Tabreed) for the District Cooling System at Amaravati. District cooling system at Amaravati is part of Andhra Pradesh government’s vision to create jobs and homes along with a world-class infrastructure at Amaravati.
Government extends CLCS-TUS Scheme for MSMEs
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved a three-year extension of the Credit Linked Capital Subsidy and Technology Upgradation Scheme (CLCS-TUS) for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) with a total outlay of 2,900 crores on 13th February 2019.
- This scheme will continue beyond the 12th Five Year Plan for three years from 2017-18 to 2019-20.
- Under this scheme, an upfront capital subsidy of 15 per cent will be provided to the MSMEs on institutional finance of up to Rs 1 crore availed by them. It will also focus on improving the quality of products and enhancement in productivity.
Wholesale Price Index Inflation Hits 10-Month Low
- The Union Ministry of Commerce and Industries has released the data on WPI Inflation. The WPI Inflation fell to a 10-month low of 2.76 per cent in January owing to softening prices of fuel and some food items.
- The wholesale based price inflation for ‘fuel and power’ segment fell sharply to 1.85 per cent as against 8.38 per cent in December 2018, due to easing in prices of motor fuel and LPG.
- It is expected that the decrease in inflation may provide further head-room to the RBI to cut interest rate (repo) in the coming months.
FIH Player of the Year Awards declared
- The International Hockey Federation (FIH) Player of the Year Awards are the annual awards for the best men’s and women’s player in international hockey in a given calendar year as determined by a peer and public vote.
- FIH Player of the Year, Men was given to Arthur van Doren (Belgium) and Women award to Eva de Goede (Netherlands).
- FIH Player of the Year Awards was established in 1998 and have been awarded annually ever since.
NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity Concluded
- The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced that its Mars Mission, Opportunity has come to an end. This marked the conclusion of the 15-year saga. The decision to end the mission was made after all the efforts to restore contact with the Opportunity Mars rover didn’t yield desired results.
- The opportunity was the second of the twin Mars Exploration Rovers to land on Mars in January 2004 and landed 90 days after its twin rover Spirit landed.
- NASA expected 90-day lifetimes for the rovers. Both Opportunity and Spirit far exceeded their expected lifetime. Spirit’s mission ended in May 2011 after travelling eight kilometres and Opportunity had logged 45 kilometres before losing contact in June 2018.
LADIS Portal Launched by IWAI
- The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) launched a new portal LADIS – Least Available Depth to aid in ensuring of optimum use of National Waterways.
- LADIS will better facilitate the day to day operations of inland vessels plying on National Waterways and avoids any hindrance in service and operation.
- LADIS will enhance the credibility and efficiency of information sharing to achieve seamless operations on National Waterways, besides pre-empting problems that may occur during the movement of vessels.
Sushil Chandra appointed new Election Commissioner
- The President has appointed Sushil Chandra as the new Election Commissioner. Sushil Chandra’s appointment fills the vacancy caused after the retirement of O.P. Rawat, as Chief Election Commissioner (CEC).
- Sushil Chandra will join other two members of the Commission, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora and Election Commissioner (EC) Ashok Lavasa.
- Sushil Chandra is currently serving as the chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT). He is the second Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer to be appointed to the Commission.
Hina Jaiswal -The First Woman Flight Engineer of IAF
- Flight Lieutenant Hina Jaiswal broke the glass ceiling and became the first woman flight engineer of IAF which was till now an exclusive men’s club. The flight engineer branch was opened to women officers in 2018.
- Flight Lieutenant Hina Jaiswal Commissioned into the IAF’s engineering branch in January 2015. She had created history by becoming the first woman candidate to pursue the elite course.
- Flight Lieutenant Hina Jaiswal will serve at IAF’s operational helicopter units and serve in demanding and stressful conditions from the icy heights of the Siachen glacier to the seas of the Andamans.
Swachh Shakti 2019
- The Swachh Shakti 2019, a convention of Women Sarpanches was held at Kurukshetra in Haryana. The Prime Minister inaugurated the event and distributed the Swachh Shakti 2019 awards.
- Swachh Shakti is a national event which aims to bring in to focus the leadership role played by rural women in Swachh Bharat Mission
- The Swachh Shakti convention aims to showcase how at the grass mysqladmin level, rural women champions are acting as a change agent to mobilize the community and lead from the front women taking initiatives for a Swachh Bharat.
Guidelines issued on Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure
- The government has issued a set of guidelines to upgrade the charging infrastructure in the country to boost the electric vehicles.
- A public charging station should be on both sides of the highways or roads on every 25 km and for long range and heavy-duty electric vehicles, there should be at least one station on each side of the highway every 100 kilometres.
- The centre estimates that 25 per cent of the total vehicles on roads will be electric vehicles by 2030. This necessitates the erection of robust electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure across the country.
Chandramouli Ramanathan appointed as new Controller & ASG
- The United Nations has appointed Indian official Chandramouli Ramanathan to one of the topmost positions in the Department of Management Strategy, Policy, and Compliance (DMSPC). Chandramouli Ramanathan will take over as the Controller, Assistant Secretary-General for Programme Planning, Budget, and Finance in the management strategy, policy and compliance department from Bettina Tucci Bartsiotas of Uruguay.
- The Department of Management, Strategy, Policy, and Compliance (DMSPC) launched on 1 January 2019 aims to provide strategic policy leadership in all areas of management through a clear, integrated global management strategy and policy framework.
- Ramanathan has served as the Assistant Auditor General, India (1993-1995), and Director of Accounts for the Auditor General of India (1989-1993).
RBI revokes 20% limit cap on investments by FPIs
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has withdrawn the earlier order which stipulated a 20% limit on investments by FPIs in Corporate Bonds
- During the review of the FPI investment in corporate debt in April 2018, the limit was introduced to incentivize the FPIs to maintain a portfolio of assets. But the market feedback suggested contrary.
- As a result, to encourage a wider spectrum of investors to access the Indian corporate debt market, RBI has decided to withdraw the 20% limit on investments by FPIs in Corporate Bonds. Foreign Portfolio Investment consists of securities and other financial assets passively held by foreign investors. FPI does not provide the investor with direct ownership of financial assets.
Trump Declares National Emergency in the USA
- The US president Donald Trump on 15th February 2019 had declared a national emergency to fund the US-Mexico border without congressional approval. This step has been described by the Democrats as unconstitutional and they have vowed to challenge it.
- The National Emergencies Act (NEA) 1976 formalizes the emergencies powers of the President. The Act empowers the President to activate special powers during a crisis but imposes certain procedural formalities when invoking such powers.
- President Trump had promised to construct a wall along the USA-Mexico border to stop illegal migration if voted to power. The declaration of the National emergency by President Trump would enable him to divert money from elsewhere from the federal budget, including funds for the U.S. military for the purpose of the construction of the wall along the border.
India Inks Security Protection Agreement with Sweden
- India and Sweden signed a security protection agreement that will enable the two countries to share classified information with each other. The agreement was signed during the visit of the Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to Sweden.
- The agreement will regulate how sensitive information is to be handled, processed and protected.
- The pact will provide a framework for greater cooperation on the high end and cutting edge technology and manufacturing.
Exercise Vayu Shakti-2019 held at Pokhran
- A mega exercise, EXERCISE VAYU SHAKTI-2019 involving 140 fighter jets and attack helicopters, in a firepower demonstration was held close to the border with Pakistan at Pokhran in Rajasthan.
- The IAF showcased firepower capability of indigenously-developed platforms like Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and efficacy of Akash surface-to-air missile and Astra air-to-air missile.
- A total of 137 aircraft including Sukhoi-30s, Mirage 2000s, Jaguars, Mig-21 Bison, Mig-27, Mig-29, IL 78, Hercules and AN-32 aircraft participated in this mega exercise.
Raigarh Municipal Corporation of Chhattisgarh won the “Swachhata Excellence Awards 2019”
- The Raigarh Municipal Corporation of Chhattisgarh has won the “Swachhata Excellence awards 2019”.
- The municipal corporations of Ambikapur of Chhattisgarh and Kumbakonam of Tamil Nadu have bagged the second and third prizes respectively.
- Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation has been awarded the first prize for the Million Plus Cities.
- These Awards were given by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) as part of the Shehri Samriddhi Utsav.
Current Affairs February 2019 | 15th February
India Withdraws MFN Status of Pakistan
- After the Pulwama terror attack on 14th February 2019, India has taken a stern step of withdrawing the Most Favoured Nation or MFN Status of Pakistan. This move would enable India to increase customs duty on goods coming from Pakistan.
- The decision was taken in the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) that took place today.
- The MFN status is given under WTO’s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). It is given to an international trade partner to ensure non-discriminatory trade amongst all the members of WTO. India had granted MFN status to Pakistan in 1996, a year after the formation of WTO.
LS Passes Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill 2018
- The Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill, 2018 was passed in Lok Sabha. Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Act, 1951 provided for the erection of a National Memorial in memory of those killed or wounded on April 13, 1919, in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar.
- The 2018 amendment bill removes the President of the Indian National Congress as a Trustee.
- The government claimed that the bill was brought in to address various deficiencies in the management of the National Memorial and to ensure that the Trust is an apolitical entity.
PM Modi launches India’s first semi-high speed train- Vande Bharat
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off India’s first Semi High-Speed Train, ‘Vande Bharat Express’ on New Delhi-Kanpur-Allahabad-Varanasi route from the New Delhi Railway Station.
- With a maximum speed of 160 kmph, Vande Bharat Express or Train-18 offers travel classes like Shatabdi Train but with better facilities with totally new travel experience to passengers.
- Vande Bharat Express is regarded as a successor to the 30-year-old Shatabdi Express. Shatabdi was introduced in 1988 and is presently running on over 20 routes connecting metros with other important cities.
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.
- The Australian went on to captain Rajasthan Royals for four seasons until 2011, after which he retired from all forms of cricket.
- Warne said it was important for the Rajasthan Royals to retain the established values but at the same time develop a new and modern identity. The team has decided to change its jersey colour from blue to pink in the 2019 IPL edition.
Trump to sign spending bill averting a 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 happening at the border is not an emergency.
Current Affairs February 2019 | 14th February
Dera Baba Nanak Land Post Designated as Immigration Centre for visiting Kartarpur Sahib
- The notification issued by the Union Home ministry has designated Dera Baba Nanak land post located in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district as an authorised immigration checkpoint to exit and enter for visiting Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan.
- The Kartarpur Sahib Corridor connects Kartarpur Gurdwara in Pakistan with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district.
- The proposed corridor was institutionalised to facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims between Kartarpur Gurdwara in Pakistan and Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India.
Ghumot to be declared as Goa’s heritage musical instrument
- The Art and Culture Minister of Goa, Govind Gaude has announced that Ghumot, an indigenous earthen drum will soon be notified as a heritage instrument of Goa.
- Ghumot is an indigenous earthen drum fashioned as a designed clay pot, with the skin of the monitor lizard stretched taut across the pot’s mouth, forming a drumhead.
- Ghumot is a percussion instrument widely played during Ganesh Chaturthi Aartis.
Rajasthan Assembly Passes Bill to Scrap Minimum Education Qualification for Civic Polls
- 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.
- During the assembly elections in 2018, the Congress Party had included in its manifesto that it would abolish the minimum education criterion for panchayat and civic polls candidates if it comes to power.
- As per the Rajasthan Panchayati Raj Amendment Bill 2015, Candidates were required to have passed Class X for contesting municipal elections, Class VIII for contesting panchayat polls for the post of a sarpanch, and Class X for contesting Zila Parishad or Panchayat Samiti elections.
Cabinet approves the introduction of Registration of Marriage of NRI Bill
- The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the introduction of Registration of Marriage of Non-Resident Indian (NRI) Bill, 2019 to create more accountability to Indian citizens living abroad.
- The bill mainly seeks to offer more protection against the exploitation of Indian citizens, mostly Indian women by their NRI partners.
- It provides for amendment of the legal framework to act as a deterrent to the erring NRI spouses and creating more accountability and offer protection against exploitation of Indian Citizens, especially women married to NRIs.
Bihar Government announces 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 for 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.
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.
World Employment and Social Outlook Trends 2019
- The International Labour Organisation has released the annual World Employment and Social Outlook Trends for the year 2019. Unemployment rates were anticipated to fall to 4.9% in 2019 and are expected to hold steady into 2020. The report lamented the fact that it had taken nine years to recover from the shock of the 2007/8 global financial crisis.
- The report presents concerns about the female workforce participation rate. The much lower labour force participation of women at 48%, compared with 75% for men means that around three in five of the 3.5 billion people in the global labour force were men.
- The report also notes that around 114 million children aged between 5-14 involved in the global labour market and 73 million of them were working in hazardous conditions, according to data from 2016.
Current Affairs February 2019 | 13th February
National Cancer Institute Inaugurated in Haryana
- Prime Minister, Narendra Modi inaugurated National Cancer Institute (NIC) at Badhsa in Jhajjar district of Haryana. It is the first Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) Medical College and hospital in North India.
- It includes the facilities of surgical oncology, radiation oncology, medical oncology, anesthesia, palliative care, and nuclear medicine. There are 6 existing ESIC medical colleges at Kolkata, Faridabad, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bengaluru, and Gulbarga.
- Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) was established by the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948(ESI Act), Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India. It manages the funds of all employees earning ₹21,000 or less per month.
‘Exercise Topchi’ held
- Indian Army showcased its artillery firepower by using ultralight Howitzers and indigenous Swathi weapon-locating radar at the annual “Exercise Topchi”.
- There were a display of rockets, missiles, surveillance, and target acquisition radars, remotely piloted aircraft and hi-tech types of equipment in addition to gunfire.
- Howitzer M777 is a towed 155 mm artillery piece that is used by the ground forces of Australia, Canada, India, and Saudi Arabia. It was inducted in the Indian Army on November 9, 2018. Swathi Weapon Locating Radar is mobile artillery locating phased array radar developed by India.
Siddhartha Lal Named EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2018– India
- The CEO and Managing director of Eicher Motors, Siddhartha Lal has been named the EY Entrepreneur of the Year for 2018. He was responsible for a huge turnaround of the Eicher Motors after he had taken over the reins in 2006.
- The EOY is held annually in India to honour entrepreneurs who emerged as Builders of a better India with their creative ideas and exceptional enterprises. This year was the 20th year of the EOY India Awards program.
- The EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year Forum is organized each year and hosts a unique gathering of disruptive entrepreneurs and global business leader from more than 50 countries to find innovative approaches to accelerate growth. This program was started in the US since the year 1986.
National Productivity Week being celebrated from February 12-18
- National Productivity Council (NPC) is celebrating National Productivity week from February 12th to 18th, 2019. This year, the theme is “Circular Economy for Productivity & Sustainability”. This theme will help NPC to meet its zero waste goal.
- The theme is decided by looking into the different national objectives of sustainable growth and commitments with respect to different sectors.
- Circular Economy is based on the model of Make, Use and Return. It controls the finite stocks and reuses them by recycling and thus balances the resource flow. It increases the product life span through improved design and servicing and relocating wastes from the end of the supply chain to the beginning.
Procurement of 111 Naval Helicopters for Indian Navy begins
- The Defence Ministry issued Expression of Interest to shortlist potential Indian strategic partners and foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) for the procurement of 111 Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH) for the Indian Navy at an estimated cost of over Rs 21,000 crore.
- These Naval Utility Helicopters will replace Chetak Helicopters and will be utilised for albeit SAR, CASEVAC (Casualty evacuation), Low-Intensity Maritime Operations (LIMO), passenger roles and torpedo drops. The procurement of the helicopters was approved by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) on August 25, 2018.
Parliament passes Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill 2019
- The Parliament passed the Personal Laws (Amendment Bill), 2018 that seeks to remove leprosy as a ground for divorce. The bill was passed after the upper house of the Parliament Rajya Sabha approved it without discussion.
- The lower house of the Parliament, Lok Sabha had passed the bill on January 7, 2019. Leprosy is being removed as a ground for divorce as it is now a curable disease as against the earlier notion of it being incurable.
- The bill seeks to amend five personal laws- the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act 1939, Divorce Act (for Christians) 1869, Special Marriage Act 1954 and the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act 1956– to remove leprosy as a ground for divorce.
Education gets the highest allocation in Bihar Budget
- Bihar Chief Minister and Finance Minister Sushil Kumar Modi presented the Rs 2,00,501 crore state budget in the Bihar Assembly with focus on education, rural development, and energy sectors.
- The Bihar budget 2019 has a revenue surplus of Rs 21,516.99 crore during 2019-20 which is 3.76 percent of GSDP. GSDP is estimated at Rs 5,72,827 crore for 2019-20.
- It allocated Rs 34,798 crore for the education sector; Rs 15,699 crore for rural development sector; and Rs 8,894.32 crore for the energy sector.
PM Modi addresses CREDAI YouthCon -19
- The Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the CREDAI YouthCon -19 on February 13, 2019, at Talkatora Stadium, New Delhi. The event was organised by the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India (CREDAI).
- YouthCon is the annual Youth Conclave of CREDAI which is 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.
Indo-US CEO Forum to be held in New Delhi on 14 February
- The Indo-US Commercial Dialogue and the Indo-US CEO Forum will be held on February 14, 2019, in New Delhi.
- The Indian side will be headed by Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation Minister, Suresh Prabhu, and the US side will be led by Mr. Wilbur Ross, US Commerce Secretary. The two Ministers will co-chair the India-US Commercial Dialogue.
- Representatives of the US and Indian Governments will share outcomes of the 2018 commercial dialogue work plan, including the three work streams: standards, business climate, and investment and travel and tourism.
Current Affairs February 2019 | 12th February
Sanjay Subrahmanyam wins the Dan David Prize
- Indian historian Sanjay Subrahmanyam has won prestigious Dan David Prize of Israel for the year 2019 for his work on inter-cultural encounters between Asians, Europeans and people of North and South America during the early modern era.
- Sanjay Subrahmanyam shares the award in the category of ‘past time dimension’ with Prof Kenneth Pomeranz of the University of Chicago.
- The Dan David Prize is a joint international award given by the Dan David Foundation headquartered at Tel Aviv University. The award was instituted by late Dan David, an international businessman, and philanthropist who envisioned a project that would extend beyond traditional academic categorisations.
Defence Innovation Hubs for the Defence sector
- The Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) framework under the Defence Ministry is envisaging setting up of independent Defence Innovation Hubs (DIHs) where innovators can get information about needs and feedback from the Armed Services directly and create solutions for India’s major defence platforms. Defence Innovation Hubs are aimed at attracting more innovators to work for the defence sector in India.
- Innovations for Defence Excellence scheme aims to create an ecosystem to foster innovation and technology development in Defence and Aerospace by engaging Industries including MSMEs, Startups, Individual Innovators, R&D institutes and Academia and provide them grants/funding and other support to carry out R&D which has good potential for future adoption for Indian defence and aerospace needs.
National Gas Grid
- The Union Government has envisaged the development of the National Gas Grid. The objectives of the National Gas Grid is to remove regional imbalance within the country with regard to access for natural gas and provide clean and green fuel throughout the country.
- The government is implementing various projects of about 14,239 Km gas pipelines which would add to the existing 16,788 Km natural gas pipeline.
- The National Gas Grid together with providing gas connections to households will provide better infrastructure for automobiles using gas. It will also aid in renewing of the fertilizer sector and also give a boost to the Power and Automotive sector.
Himachal’s First Mega Food Park inaugurated
- The Union Minister of Food Processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal inaugurated the Cremica Food Park in Una which is the first mega food park of Himachal Pradesh.
- The mega food park set up at a cost of Rs 107.34 crore will benefit people of Una district and nearby districts of Kangra, Hamirpur, and Bilaspur. The Mega Food park provides facilities such as bulk aseptic packaging (24 MT/ hour), Frozen storage (1,000 MT), Deep Freeze, Dry Warehouse, QC Laboratory, and other food processing facilities.
- The mega food park will also provide direct and indirect employment to 5,000 persons and benefit about 25,000 farmers.
Various schemes launched to improve Research Ecosystem in India
- The central government has launched the following schemes to improve the research ecosystem in India :
Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship is being initiated to attract the bright and meritorious students into research within the country. Students selected for the fellowship are given fellowship for 5 years – Rs.70,000/– per month for the first two years, Rs. 75,000/- per month in the third year and Rs.80,000 per month in 4th and 5th year with an annual research grant of Rs. 2 lakh.
- IMPRINT India scheme aims to provide solutions to the most relevant engineering challenges and translating knowledge into viable technology in ten selected technology domains.
- Uchhatar Avishkar Yojana has been launched to promote innovation of a higher order that directly impacts the needs of the Industry and thereby improves the competitive edge of Indian manufacturing.
- Smart India Hackathons are organized on yearly basis since 2017 to find out digital solutions to various problems faced by the people and gives hands-on working and research opportunity for engineering students.
First LAWASIA Human Rights Conference 2019 organized
- The first LAWASIA Human Rights Conference was organised by LAWASIA, in association with the Bar Association of India. The LAWASIA Human Rights 2019 was held between 9 – 10 February 2019.
- The conference aims to provide a unique opportunity for lawyers and associated professional members to exchange insights and expertise on topics of significant importance to all.
- The theme of the LAWASIA Human Rights Conference 2019 was “State Power, Business and Human Rights: Contemporary Challenges”.
Current Affairs February 2019 | 11th February
- ASCEND 2019 is an ambitious initiative of the Kerala government to position the state as an investment hotspot. ASCEND 2019 aims to make Kerala a top investment destination and empower entrepreneurs to launch their enterprises in a speedy and hassle-free manner.
- The two-day conclave aims to bring into focus governance that is simplified, efficient and transparent and facilitates business and investments by clipping a plethora of irksome bureaucratic procedures. KSWIFT (Kerala Single Window Interface for Fast, Transparent Clearances) and IBPMS (Intelligent Building Plan Management System) will be displayed on the two-day conclave.
- KSWIFT is an online clearance mechanism designed by the Kerala government to simplify and speed up the issuance of clearances from Departments / Agencies for launching enterprises in the state.
India tests Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet Propelled Missile
- India has successfully undertaken the demonstration of the indigenously developed propulsion technology. The successful demonstration of indigenous technology is a step forward in the development of long-range air-to-air missiles.
- The Defence Research Development Laboratory (DRDL) at Hyderabad was the lead agency for the collaborative mission project. The first test of this indigenous technology was carried out in May 2018.
- During the test flight, the missile was guided to high altitude to simulate aircraft release conditions and subsequently the nozzle-less.
The first batch of 4 Boeing heavy-lift helicopters arrives in India from the US.
- The first batch of four Boeing heavy-lift Chinook Helicopters, CH-47F (I), arrived at the Mundra airport in Gujarat on February 10, 2019.
- Procured from the United States, the Chinook Helicopters are expected to provide impetus to the heavy-lift capabilities of Indian Air Force (IAF) and strengthen the defence ties with the United States. Manufactured by Boeing, the CH-47F (I) will be stationed at Chandigarh air base of the Indian Air Force.
- The Chandigarh airbase takes care of providing necessary items to Siachen and Eastern Ladakh sectors.
Abu Dhabi adds Hindi as the third official court language
- The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) has added Hindi as the third official language to be used in the city’s courts, alongside Arabic and English.
- The move is aimed at helping foreigners to learn about litigation procedures, their rights, and duties without a language barrier, in addition to facilitating registration procedures through unified forms available through the judicial department’s website.
Current Affairs February 2019 | 9th & 10th February
Most advanced Anti-tank Missile Helina Flight Tested
- The Helicopter-launched anti-tank missile Helina was successfully test fired from the Integrated Test Range in Chandipur in Balasore district of Odisha.
- Helina is the indigenously designed and built missile system and is the air-launched variant of the Nag, a fire-and-forget ATGM with an estimated range of 4 kilometres.
- Helina’s range is estimated at between 7 to 8 kilometres. It is one of the most advanced anti-tank weapons in the world. The production and induction of the Helina missiles are likely to happen in 2019.
Government to set-up a Unified Authority to Regulate Entities in IFSC
- The Union Cabinet has approved setting up of a unified authority for regulating all financial services in international financial services centres (IFSCs) in the country. The government has set up a bill to set up a unified regulator.
- IFSCs set-up to bring back the financial services and transactions that are currently carried out in offshore financial centres by Indian corporate entities and overseas branches or subsidiaries of financial institutions (FIs) to India.
- The first IFSC in India was set up at GIFT City in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The banking, capital markets and insurance sectors in IFSCs are regulated by multiple regulators like the RBI, SEBI, and IRDAI respectively.
MOU signed between India & Bangladesh to Train Civil Servants
- During the ongoing visit of the Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, India, and Bangladesh signed an MoU for training 1800 Bangladesh Civil Servants.
- The MoU was signed between India’s National Centre for Good Governance (NCGG) and the Ministry of Public Administration of Bangladesh. The NCGG would be training the Bangladesh civil servants for the second time. 1500 Bangladesh Civil Servants have already been trained in NCGG under the first MOU signed 5 years ago.
- The civil servants from Bangladesh would be trained at the NCGG an institute under the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances(DAR & PG).
Book on Justice P N Bhagwati’s Approach Launched
- The book named “Law, Justice and Judicial Power – Justice P N Bhagwati’s Approach” written by Mool Chand Sharma was launched by the Chief Justice of India, Shri Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
- The book is a collection of 24 essays celebrating Justice P N Bhagwati’s judicial work and landmark judgments as well as his work towards introducing public interest litigation in India.
- Justice Bhagwati has been referred to as the father of public interest litigation in India. He imparted idealism and simplicity to the highest court in the country wherein even a petition filed on a postcard was taken into consideration.
Great Indian Bustard is the Mascot for COP-13 on Migratory Species
- The Union Government has 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 next year.
- The logo, mascot and the website for the 13th Conference of Parties (COP) were launched by the Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Harsh Vardhan. The mascot for the event, Great Indian Bustard has been fondly named as ‘Gibi’.
- CMS is an international treaty under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It is also known as the Bonn Convention.
CMS aims to conserve terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species throughout their range. CMS is only global and UN-based intergovernmental organization established exclusively for conservation and management of terrestrial, aquatic and avian migratory species throughout their range.
PM Narendra Modi lays the foundation for Sela Tunnel
- PM Narendra Modi laid Foundation Stone for the Sela Tunnel Project in Arunachal Pradesh across Sela Pass. Sela Pass is a high-altitude mountain pass located on the border between the Tawang and West Kameng Districts of Arunachal Pradesh. The pass connects Tawang for rest of India.
- The Sela pass tunnel will be constructed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO). Project costs Rs. 687 crore and is expected to be completed in the three years. The project once completed will reduce the travelling time from Tezpur to Tawang by more than one hour.
Indian Foreign Exchange Reserves increased by $2.063 billion- RBI
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) shows that the Foreign Exchange Reserves of India increased by $2.063 billion to $400.24 billion in the week to February 1. The foreign exchange reserves had increased by USD 1.497 billion to reach USD 398.178 billion in the previous week corresponding to January 25.
- The increase in the value of the Foreign Exchange Reserves is attributed to the increase in foreign currency assets. In the reporting week, the gold reserves also increased by $764.9 million to $22.686 billion. Foreign Exchange Reserves are used to back liabilities on their own issued currency as well as to influence monetary policy.
- These reserves act as a buffer during the challenging times to the economy.
New Policy for Overseas Borrowings
- The Reserve Bank has come out with a new policy for overseas borrowings.
- The RBI has rationalized the earlier policy in consultation with the Government of India.
- The new policy allows all eligible borrowers to raise External Commercial Borrowings (ECB) up to $750 million or equivalent per financial year. The minimum average maturity period (MAMP) has been kept at three years for all ECBs, irrespective of the amount of borrowing except the borrowers specifically permitted in the circular to borrow for a shorter period.
- The list of eligible borrowers has been expanded to include all entities eligible to receive foreign direct investment (FDI). The recent changes that have been brought out in the ECB policy are likely to help the wider set of eligible borrowers.
Health and Wellness Centres- Ayushman Bharat- An overview
- PMJAY- Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana is a health insurance scheme for 10.74 crore families identified through SECC database. Health and Wellness Centres are set up to deliver the comprehensive Primary health care through Health and Wellness centres covering prevention promotion and ambulatory care at the primary level.
- To expand access to Comprehensive Primary Health Care (CPHC), Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs), Sub Health Centres (SHCs) and Primary Health Centres (PHCs) are being strengthened as Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) under the Ayushmann Bharat Scheme.
- The services in HWCs will be provided through a Mid-level Health Care Provider (MLHP)/Community Health Officer (CHO) who is required to undergo a Certificate in Community Health through IGNOU or public university.
February 10, 2019 – World Pulses Day
- February 10, 2019, was celebrated as the first World Pulses Day.
- The Year 2016 was celebrated as International Year of Pulses to highlight the contribution of Pulses to sustainable food production and towards food security and nutrition.
- Building on the positive momentum of the International Year of Pulses, the UN General Assembly passed the resolution to celebrate 10 February as World Pulses Day.
International Labour Organisation Centenary Celebrations Launched
- International Labour Organisation Centenary Celebrations in India were inaugurated by Union Minister of State (I/C) for Labour and Employment Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar at V.V. Giri National Labour Institute, Noida.
- India being a founding member has played an active role in every field of the organization. India has ratified 47 out of 189 ILO conventions during the century which includes all eight core conventions.
- International Labour Organisation (ILO) is a tripartite organisation where representatives from the government, employers, and employees openly debate and create labour standards. ILO is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2019.
MEA to facilitate silk promotion in Global Markets
- The Ministry of Textiles in association with Central Silk Board had organized an event, Surging Silk – Accomplishment and way forward on 9th February at New Delhi.
- The External Affairs Minister urged the Textile Ministry to increase the production to capture the growing market. The silk production capacity of India is expected to increase to 38,500 tonnes by 2020 from the current level of 32,000 tonnes.
- Increasing production will help in reducing import as India is the second largest producer of silk after China and the largest consumer of silk.
Meghalaya govt to rename Dikki Bandi stadium after P A Sangma
- The government of Meghalaya will rename the Dikki Bandi stadium after P A Sangma. The decision was made by the state cabinet as per the recommendations made by state naming authority tasked with the job to name roads and institutions after personalities.
- Purno Agitok Sangma has served as the Speaker of the Lok Sabha and the Chief Minister of Meghalaya from 1988 to 1990. PA Sangma died from cardiac arrest in New Delhi on 4 March 2016 at the age of 68.
Exercise Cutlass Express 2019 completed
- The annual multinational maritime exercise Cutlass Express was held from 27 Jan to 06 Feb 19. The exercise is aimed to improve law enforcement capacity, promote regional security and progress interoperability between the armed forces of the participating nations for the purpose of interdicting illegal maritime activity in the Western Indian Ocean.
- The annual Exercise Cutlass Express is sponsored by U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) and conducted by Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF).
- Exercise Cutlass Express 2019 is the eighth iteration of the annual multinational maritime exercise and was held in the vicinity of Djibouti, Mozambique, and Seychelles.
- The Indian Navy was represented in the exercise through INS Trikand.
Gujarat government announces Asiatic Lion Conservation Project
- The Asiatic Lion Conservation Project was announced by the Centre and the Gujarat government at a cost of Rs 97.85 crore.
- Asiatic Lion Conservation Project would use modern information and communication technology for conservation and protection efforts of the Great Gir Region. The project will include GPS-based animal and vehicle tracking, automated sensor grid with movement sensors, night vision capability, and real-time monitoring and report generation.
- The project will also have a dedicated veterinary institute, “lion ambulances”, and back-up stocks of vaccines that may be required.
Current Affairs February 2019 | 8th February
GSAT-31, India’s 40th Communication Satellite Launched By ISRO
- India’s communication satellite GSAT-31 was successfully launched through launch vehicle Ariane 5 VA-247 from the Spaceport in French Guiana. It would be placed at Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit and will augment the Ku-band transponder capacity in Geostationary Orbit.
- GSAT-31 will provide DTH Television Services, connectivity to VSATs for ATM, Stock-exchange, Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG) and e-governance applications.
Father Francois Laborde from Bengal conferred with Légion d’Honneur
- Father Francois Laborde a 92-year-old priest from Bengal was conferred with Légion d’Honneur (Legion of Honour) in recognition of his work for specially-abled and destitute children. Father Laborde has his mysqladmins in France and is now a citizen of India.
- The priest has set up an organisation called Howrah South Point which works for the development of specially-abled children, the destitute and the most deprived sections of the society.
- Légion d’Honneur (Legion of Honour) officially National Order of the Legion of Honour was instituted by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 as a general military and civil order of merit conferred without regard to birth or religion provided that anyone admitted swears to uphold liberty and equality.
Banks Liable for Unauthorised Withdrawals
- The Kerala High Court has said that banks cannot be absolved from the liability to the loss caused to a customer on account of unauthorised withdrawals made from his/her account, merely on the ground that the customer did not respond promptly to the SMS alert given by the bank.
- A bank has a duty to its customers to take necessary steps to prevent unauthorised withdrawals from their accounts. Hence if a customer suffered a loss on account of transactions not authorised by him, the bank was liable to the customer for the loss.
- It is the obligation of banks to create a safe electronic banking environment to combat all forms of malicious conduct, which result in the loss to their customers.
Macedonia to join NATO
- Macedonia takes a major step on road to NATO membership. The conflict over the name with Greece had become a damper in its membership to NATO. With the conflict with Greece taken to logical end with the conclusion of Prespa Agreement, Macedonia has signed accession papers with NATO
- The signing of accession papers allows Macedonia to take part in NATO ministerial meetings as an invitee. To acquire full membership, all 29 current members must ratify the accession protocol.
- North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is a military and political alliance established through the Washington Treaty. NATO aims to promote democratic values and enables members to consult and cooperate on defence and security-related issues to solve problems, build trust and, in the long run, prevent conflict.
RBI cuts Repo Rate, Reverse Repo Rate in Sixth Bi-monthly Monetary Policy
- The Reserve Bank of India in its Sixth Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement 2018-19 reduced Repo Rate by 25 basis points to 6.25 percent. RBI’s six-member Monetary Policy Committee also brought down Reverse Repo Rate to 6 percent.
- The repo rate is the rate at which the Reserve Bank lends short-term money to the banks, while the reserve repo rate is the rate at which the central bank borrows money from commercial banks. It was the first policy review by the RBI after the appointment of its Shaktikanta Das as Governor in December 2018.
- The inflation had fallen to an 18-month low of 2.19 percent in December 2018 and was expected to remain in the range of 3.2 – 3.4 percent in April – September 2019. The GDP growth rate is expected to be at 7.4 percent in fiscal 2019-20.
India ranks 36th in 2019 International Intellectual Property Index
- India climbed eight places in the 2019 International Intellectual Property (IP) Index, ranking at 36th position among 50 countries. India’s overall score has increased from 30.07 percent in 2018 to 36.04 percent in 2019.
- In 2018 International Intellectual Property Index, India was ranked 44th out of 50 countries. The seventh edition of the International Intellectual Property Index, “Inspiring Tomorrow” was released by the Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) of U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
US-India CEO Forum to be held on February 14
- US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced the names of the American private sector members of the US-India CEO Forum. MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga and Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf are among the members of the US-India CEO Forum.
- The first meeting of the US-India CEO Forum under the US President Donald Trump Administration will be held in New Delhi on February 14, 2019. The meeting will be co-chaired by US Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross and Union Minister of Commerce and Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu.
Current Affairs February 2019 | 7th February
Zero Fatality Corridor to be launched by Delhi Government
- Delhi Government has launched the Zero Fatality Corridor with an aim to curb the number of accidents. The announcement was made by the Minister of Transport, Delhi during the opening ceremony of the Road Safety Week.
- The initiative is a collaborative approach of the transport, health, education, public works department, together with Delhi traffic police to ensure that road fatalities in Delhi are reduced.
- After evaluating the impact of the initiative, the government aims to replicate this model in other parts of the city.
India becomes the Second Largest LPG Consumer and Importer
- India is now the second largest consumer and importer of the LPG in the world. This is attributed to government initiatives to push for cleaner alternatives to traditional cooking fuels such as firewood and cow dung.
- The import of LPG grew by 12.5 per cent over the past five years to 12 million metric tons (13 million tons) in 2018-19.
- India now stands at the second position when it comes to the import of LPG surpassing Japan. India is in second place behind China.
- The exporters of LPG to India include Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Iran.
Parmanu Tech Conference 2019
- The Parmanu Tech conference was organised by the Ministry of External Affairs and Department of Atomic Energy (DAE). The keynote address at the ‘Parmanu Tech 2019’ conference was delivered by Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of State for Atomic Energy and Space.
- India has achieved a unique place in the international community for progress in space technology as well as nuclear energy. During the conference sector-specific sessions were held on Health care: Nuclear Medicine and Radiation therapy, Food Preservation, Agricultural & Industrial Applications.
- The Parmanu Tech conference is aimed at showcasing the societal applications that the Department of Atomic Energy is pursuing.
Smriti Irani launches India Size project
- The 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 standardised sizes available in countries such as the USA and the UK.
- The 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.
BPRD organized 2nd National Conference of Micro Missions of National Police Mission
- The Bureau of Police Research and Development organised the 2nd National Conference of Micro Missions of National Police Mission in New Delhi.
- The two day Conference will discuss the issues of Skills and Competence at the grass-mysqladmin level, attitudinal changes in police, gender sensitisation, harnessing technology and community policing.
- A mega-d version of National Police Mission Compendium on the projects developed by the Mission will also be released. National Police Mission Awards will be given to 9 officers for their contribution in Micro Missions and successful preparation of the implementable projects.
- The National Police Mission Division of BPRD strives to transform the Police Forces of the country into an effective instrument for the maintenance of Internal Security.
Cabinet approves the abolition of Ombudsman for Direct and Indirect taxes
- The Union Cabinet headed has approved the abolition of institutions of Ombudsman for income tax and indirect tax.
- The office of Income-Tax Ombudsman was set up in 2003 to deal with grievances of public related to the settlement of complaints relating to income tax.
Amendment to the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2018
- The Union Cabinet has approved the amendments to the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2018. The amendments introduced based on the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Finance strengthen its objective to effectively tackle the menace of illicit deposit-taking activities in the country, and prevent such schemes from duping poor and gullible people of their hard earned savings
- The Bill bans Deposit Takers from promoting, operating, issuing advertisements or accepting deposits in any Unregulated Deposit Scheme.
- The Bill ban unregulated deposit-taking activities altogether, by making them an offence. The Bill creates three different types of offences, namely, running of Unregulated Deposit Schemes, fraudulent default in Regulated Deposit Schemes, and wrongful inducement in relation to Unregulated Deposit Schemes.
Current Affairs February 2019 | 6th February
India’s GSAT-31 launched from French Guiana
- Indian Space Research Organisation’s latest communication satellite, GSAT-31 was successfully launched by Arianespace aboard its launch vehicle Ariane 5 from the spaceport in French Guiana. GSAT-31 is a telecommunications satellite designed and manufactured by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
- It is India’s 40th communication satellite and derives its heritage from ISRO’s earlier INSAT/GSAT satellite series. It will provide continuity to operational services on some of the in-orbit satellites.
- It will also help bridge the digital divide in the Indian subcontinent as part of an ambitious Indian space program, whose objectives are to develop India while pursuing scientific research and planetary exploration.
Trump proposes new missile treaty with India
- US President Donald Trump has proposed a new nuclear missiles treaty that could possibly include India as he delivered the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress.
- Defending his decision to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia, he said in a speech, “perhaps we can negotiate a different agreement, adding China and others, or perhaps we can’t, in which case, we will outspend and out-innovate all others by far.”
Survey of all agricultural households in India
- The government has decided to conduct a survey of all agricultural households in the country to assess the plight of farmers for the current crop year (July-June).
- The survey called the ‘Situation Assessment Survey of Agricultural Households’ will be conducted during the 77th round of the National Sample Survey in the current calendar year.
- It aims to provide a comprehensive assessment of the situation of agricultural households in the country, including their income, expenditure, and indebtedness.
Price Monitoring and Research Unit set up in Kerala
- Kerala became the first State to set up a Price Monitoring and Research Unit (PMRU) to track violation of prices of essential drugs and medical devices under the Drugs Price Control Order (DPCO).
- The move comes more than five years after the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) proposed such a system for the States and the Union Territories.
- It would provide technical help to the state drug controllers. It will help the NPPA to monitor notified prices of medicines, detect violation of the provisions of the DPCO, look at price compliance, collect test samples of drugs, and collect and compile market-based data of scheduled as well as non-scheduled formulations.
The government allows biofuels export from SEZ , EoU’s
- The government allowed export of biofuels from Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and export-oriented units (EoUs) with certain conditions. In August 2018, the government imposed restrictions on the export of bio-fuels for non-fuel purposes.
- After this restriction, exporters operating from SEZs and EoUs made representations to remove this prohibition stating they only use imported material for export of the final product.
- They also informed government authorities that SEZ units have been granted the letter of approval for export of bio-fuels and EoU units have obligations to fulfill under an export promotion scheme. SEZs and EoUs are export-oriented units outside the ambit of domestic customs laws.
Schemes of National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation
- The National Minority Development Finance Corporation (NMDFC) is implementing various schemes for the socio-economic development of the ‘backward sections’ amongst the notified minorities.
- The schemes are being implemented through the State Channelising Agencies (SCAs) nominated by the respective State Governments/UT Administration.
- The NMDFC categorises the beneficiaries under two categories that is Credit Line-1, it is for those with the annual family income 98,000 for rural areas & Rs.1.20 lacs for urban areas and Credit Line-2 for those with higher annual family income eligibility criterion of up to Rs.6.00 Lacs.
Exercise Rahat to take place
- The disaster relief exercise ‘Exercise Rahat’ will be demonstrated in Jaipur, Kota, and Alwar in Rajasthan on Feb 11-12.
- On behalf of the Indian Army, Jaipur based Sapta Shakti Command will conduct the Joint Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Exercise, Exercise Rahat.
- Exercise Rahat is being conducted in coordination with NDMA to synergise efforts for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.
- The joint exercise will see participation from Armed Forces, National Disaster Management Response Mechanism (NDMRM), State Disaster Management Authority of Rajasthan and District LMAs.The exercise will be conducted simultaneously in three places, beginning at Jaipur in the form of a tabletop exercise and at Kota and Alwar.
RBI penalises UCO Bank for Non-Compliance
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed Rs 2 crore penalty on UCO Bank. It is due to non-compliance of instructions issued by RBI on the collection of account payee instruments and those on frauds-classification and reporting.
- The UCO Bank which is under the prompt corrective action (PCA) framework of RBI has reported a net loss of Rs 633.88 crore for the first quarter of this financial year.
Measures for the protection of Sentinelese Tribe
- The Sentinelese Tribe are indigenous people inhabiting North Sentinel Island in the Bay of Bengal in India. They are considered one of the world’s last uncontacted peoples.
- They are considered as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG). The major steps taken towards protection of their interests include: The entire North Sentinel Island along with 5 km coastal sea from high water mark is notified as a tribal reserve.
- The Sentinelese tribe is at the verge of extinction. The 2011 census estimates their numbers at a mere 50.
‘Freedom of the City of London’ awarded to Sanjiv Chadha
- The State Bank of India’s UK head Sanjiv Chadha has been honoured with the ‘Freedom of the City of London’ award in recognition of his contribution to promoting the bilateral relations. Sanjiv Chadha was nominated for the honour by Lord Mayor of London Peter Estlin and Sheriff Vincent Keaveny.
- Freedom of the City is an honour bestowed by a City of London Corporation upon a valued member of the community, or upon a visiting celebrity or dignitary. The honour enabled recipients to carry out their trade. The previous Indian recipient of the honour is Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India.
Current Affairs February 2019 | 5th February
Road Safety Week 2019
- The Road Safety Week was initiated by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways. The aim is to raise public awareness about traffic rules and ultimately reduce casualties due to road accidents.
- India is celebrating 30th Road Safety Week from 04th February to the 10th of February. Charitable Organizations, Non-Government Organizations, and Private firms across the country join hand with the government to provide logistic support to the Road Safety Week Campaign.
- The Road safety week is observed annually to make people more aware of the traffic rules and to persuade them to follow rules while on road.
2nd ASEAN-India Youth Summit
- The government of India (MEA) have organized the second leg of ASEAN-India Youth Summit in Guwahati from 3rd to 7th February 2019, on the theme “Connectivity: Pathway to Shared Prosperity.”
- Youth delegates from India, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines have taken part in the summit. The ASEAN-India Youth Summit aims to provide a platform for youth leaders of both India and ASEAN to engage with each other to develop a resilient and symbiotic relationship between countries.
Judicial Complex Inaugurated at Amaravati
- The Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu inaugurated the judicial complex in Amaravati.
- The judicial complex will house the interim High Court for Andhra Pradesh.
- The construction of new high court was necessitated after the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014. The High Court which was common for both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana till 2018 The Judicial Complex in Amravati was built by Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority within a short span of eight months.
Braille Voter Slips for Visually Impaired and Blind in upcoming LS Elections- ECI
- The Election Commission of India will be issuing Braille voter slips for the visually impaired and blind voters in the Lok Sabha elections due this year.
- The Braille voter slips were already issued during the recently held assembly polls. The initiative is part of the strategic framework for ‘accessible elections.’
- The Election commission of India also plans to provide Braille election photo identity cards. The Electronic voting machines already have the Braille feature. The ballot paper pasted on the machine with name and symbol of candidates is Braille enabled.
- Braille is a script with raised dots that can be read with the fingers by people who are blind or who have low vision.
President Ram Nath Kovind to confer Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards for the Year 2017
- The President, Ram Nath Kovind will confer the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards for the year 2017 on February 6, 2019, at Rashtrapati Bhawan during a special investiture ceremony.
- The General Council of the Sangeet Natak Akademi selected 42 artists from the field of Music, Dance, Theatre, Puppetry and Overall contribution/scholarship in the Performing Arts for the Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards 2017 at its meeting in Imphal, Manipur that was held on June 8, 2018. These 42 artists include one joint award.
Current Affairs February 2019 | 3rd & 4th February
Mithali Raj Becomes First Woman Cricketer to Play 200 ODIs
- India’s One-day International (ODI) captain Mithali Raj has become the first woman to play 200 ODI matches with her appearance in the match against New Zealand. The record for largest number of games played by a Woman Cricketer was already in the name of Mithali Raj.
- Mithali Raj had achieved the milestone when she played her 192 ODI of the career, going past Charlotte Edwards’ record of 191 appearances.
Sri Lanka celebrates its 71st Independence Day today
- Sri Lanka celebrated its 71st Independence Day on February 4, 2019, in Colombo.
- Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih was the guest of honour at the main function held in Colombo.
- The three branches of military performed an impressive parade along with the display of defence equipments. Artistes and students showcased the major dance forms of the country including Kandyan and Bharatnatyam.
Pope visits Abu Dhabi, becomes 1st pontiff to visit the Arabian peninsula
- Pope Francis visited Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), becoming the first pontiff to visit the Arabian peninsula.
- He was received at the airport by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed. The Pope visited the UAE on the invitation of the Crown Prince to take part in an interfaith Conference.
- An estimated 700 participants from different faith are expected to participate in the Human Fraternity Conference, which includes representatives of the Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and Sikh faiths.
- Pujya Brahmvihari, who is backing the construction of the Hindu Temple in Abu Dhabi is also one of the keynote speakers at the Conference.
Maharashtra Cabinet approves 10% reservation for EWS
- Maharashtra Cabinet approved 10 percent reservation in education and employment opportunities for economically weaker sections (EWS).
- Maharashtra has now become the seventh state in India to give reservation to weaker sections of general category. Gujarat was the first state to implement the 10 percent reservation.
- After Gujarat, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Assam, and Maharashtra have approved the bill to implement the reservation.
US, Russia suspend the INF Treaty
- After the formal announcement by the United States about the withdrawal from the INF treaty, Russia has followed the suit and declared the suspension of the treaty.
- Defence analysts fear about the arms race due to the suspension of the treaty.
- The treaty prohibited the United States and the Soviet Union from possessing, testing and deploying ground-launched cruise and ballistic missiles of ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometres (300 to 3,400 miles).
- The treaty covers all types of ground-launched cruise and ballistic missiles whether their payload is conventional or nuclear.
- The treaty exempted the air-launched and sea-based missile systems in the same range. Under the treaty, both US and Russia had destroyed 846 and 1,846 missiles respectively.
Refugee wins Australia’s richest literary prize
- Behrouz Boochani, an Iranian asylum-seeker detained in Papua New Guinea under Australian asylum laws has won the Victorian Prize for Literature.
- Behrouz Boochani was awarded for his work “No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison.”
- The astonishing fact is that Boochani wrote the work on his phone and sent it to Omid Tofighian bit-by-bit in text messages. Omid Tofighian is the book’s translator who worked with Boochani over five years to bring the stories to life.
- The book “No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison” narrates experiences and fear Boochani felt in the guarded camp, which was shuttered last year after a local court ruling and the asylum-seekers moved elsewhere on the island.
Surajkund International Crafts Mela-2019
- The Surajkund International Crafts Mela is organized every year by the Surajkund Mela Authority & Haryana Tourism in collaboration with Union Ministries of Tourism, Textiles, Culture, and External Affairs.
- The state of Maharashtra is the Theme State and Thailand is the Partner Nation Country for the Surajkund International Crafts Mela-2019.
- The Mela also aims to be a custodian of the heritage crafts involving the use of traditional skills that are fading away due to cheap machine-made imitations, and a special section is earmarked for showcasing of these heritage crafts.
Current Affairs February 2019 | 1st & 2nd February
Appointment of Cooperatives to enhance agribusiness in Maharashtra
- The Cooperatives Department of Maharashtra has decided to appoint managers at six major cities across the country. This is to enhance agribusiness between cooperatives in Maharashtra and other States.
- Maharashtra has a surplus of products such as onion, tomato, grapes, pomegranate, mangoes, and raisins.
- These are traded in other states and in the process the traders accumulate the huge profits while the farmers are paid low due to the surplus production in the state.
- To bridge the mismatch and ensure a better price for farmers and reduced burden on consumers, the Maharashtra government would appoint Managers at the cities Guwahati, Kolkata, Chennai, New Delhi, Chandigarh and Jaipur to look for business opportunities in other States.
Iran Trade Promotion Plan
- INSTEX the acronym of Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges is a project of the three governments of UK, France, and Germany to bypass US sanctions on Iran.
- INSTEX is a special payment system which will help to save the Iran nuclear deal by allowing Tehran to keep trading with EU companies despite Washington re-imposing sanctions.
- INSTEX is registered at Paris with an initial 3,000 Euros in the capital and a supervisory board with members from France and Germany and chaired by the UK.
2 February observed as World Wetlands Day
- World Wetlands Day was celebrated on February 2nd with the theme of “Wetlands and Climate Change.” The theme signifies the importance of healthy and intact wetlands to one of the most pressing challenges of our times, climate change.
- The theme Wetlands and Climate Change is aimed at increasing awareness of the importance of wetlands, such as swamps, marshes, mangroves or peatlands, to help us cope with and mitigate global warming.
Rishi Kumar Shukla appointed as the new CBI Director
- IPS officer Rishi Kumar Shukla has been appointed as the chief of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The tenure is fixed for two years.
- Rishi Kumar Shukla is currently serving as the chairman of Madhya Pradesh Police Housing Corporation in Bhopal.
- The CBI Director search committee has the Chief Justice of India and the Leader of Opposition as members as well.
Resolution 2454 approved by UNSC
- The United Nations Security Council resolution 2454 has been adopted unanimously. They extend the sanctions against the Central African Republic (CAR) for a year.
- The resolution renews an arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze till January 31, 2020. The mandate of the panel of experts to implement the sanctions has been extended until Feb 29, 2020.
Indian Foreign Exchange Reserves notices a high
- The RBI data shows that Indian Foreign Exchange Reserves have been increased by USD 1.497 billion to reach USD 398.178 billion for the week to January 25.
- This increase has been attributed to a jump in core currency assets.
- The Foreign Exchange Reserves are expressed in terms of the US dollars are subject to variations due to the appreciation/depreciation of non-US currencies such as the euro, pound, and yen held in the reserves.
- Foreign Exchange Reserves are the reserve assets held by a central bank in foreign currencies.
- They are used to back liabilities on their own issued currency as well as to influence monetary policy.
- These reserves act as a buffer during the challenging times to the economy.
4 February- World Cancer Day is observed across the world
- The World Cancer Day 2019 is observed across the world today.
- The aim is to unite the world’s population in the fight against cancer.
- The day is observed every year with an aim to save millions of preventable deaths by raising awareness and education about the disease, pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action.
- World Cancer Day was proclaimed by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), a leading international non-governmental organisation.
- It was established to support the goals of the World Cancer Declaration written in 2008.
- The primary goal of the day is to significantly reduce illness and death caused by cancer by 2020. It also aims at raising awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment.
Startup India-WhatsApp Grand Challenge
- The Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp has announced Startup India-WhatsApp Grand Challenge to encourage entrepreneurs and small businesses in India.
- The challenge is being hosted in association with Invest India. The top 5 winners would receive a cash prize worth $250,000 (roughly Rs. 1.8 crores).
- The challenge is aimed at encouraging the entrepreneurs who have innovative ideas, business models that solve for a local India problem, making a large scale socio-economic impact.
- The themes for this Start-up challenge are healthcare, rural economy, financial and digital inclusion, education and citizen safety.
Defence Ministry approves the acquisition of Milan-2T Anti-Tank Missiles
- The Defence Acquisition Council headed by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has approved the acquisition of the Rs 1,200 crore Milan-2T anti-tank missiles.
- While the requirement was of 70,000 different types of anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) and 850 different launchers, the DAC has approved the purchase of 5,000 Milan 2T anti-tank guided missiles from France.
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