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Important Current Affairs 13th February 2019

NATIONAL NEWS

2019 Asia LPG Summit held in New Delhi

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

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

Cabinet approves establishment of Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog

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

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

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

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

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

Smriti Irani launches India Size project in Mumbai

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

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

Maharashtra govt sets up panel to review welfare schemes for tribals

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

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

♦ Industrial production grows at 2.4% in December 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

♦ PM to address CREDAI YouthCon-19 Today

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

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

  • The NITI Aayog and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF) today signed a Statement of Intent (SOI) to codify, document and share best practices to improve learning outcomes in public school education through systemic reforms, based on their collective experiences of working with various state governments in India.
  • The SOI was signed in the presence of Mr. Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, by Mr. Alok Kumar, Adviser (HRD), NITI Aayog and Mr. BarunMohanty, Managing Director (International), MSDF.
  • The NITI Aayog was established with the core mandate of promoting cooperative and competitive federalism through evidence-based policy reform and knowledge inputs. Since its inception, NITI Aayog has placed learning outcomes as a key focus area for establishing sustainable education systems.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

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

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

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

Macedonia signs accord to join NATO

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

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

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

  • The 5th International Dam Safety Conference–2019 is being held during 13 and 14 February 2019 in Bhubaneswar as a joint initiative of the Government of India, Government of Odisha and the World Bank under aegis of the ongoing World Bank assisted Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) as a part of institutional strengthening.
  • Dam Safety Conferences are being organized as an annual event in different DRIP States in collaboration with the Implementing Agencies and leading academic institutes to provide a common platform for all stakeholders including non-DRIP States. Dam professionals, academicians, scientists, as well as industries both from within the country and from around the world to deliberate on all aspects related to dam safety and the solutions that worked best in addressing dam safety concerns.

♦ UAE introduces Hindi as third official language

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

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

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

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

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

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

Awards and Honors

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

NATIONAL


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

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

INTERNATIONAL


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY


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


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


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

SPORTS


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


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

OBITUARIES


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


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

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Important Current Affairs 10th February 2019

NATIONAL


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

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

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


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

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

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

INTERNATIONAL


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

BANKING AND FINANCE


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


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


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

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY


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

AWARDS AND RECOGNIZATION


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

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

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATION


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

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY


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

SPORTS


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


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

OBITUARY


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

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Important Current Affairs 9th February 2019

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY


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

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY


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

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


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

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

AWARDS AND HONORS


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

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

APPOINTMENTS


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

NATIONAL


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

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

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Important Current Affairs 8th February 2019

AGREEMENTS AND MOUS


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


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

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

NATIONAL


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

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


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

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

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

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY


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

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

SUMMITS AND CONFERENCES


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

INTERNATIONAL


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

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Important Current Affairs 7th February 2019

National News

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


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


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

International News

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


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

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

Space News

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

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Important Current Affairs 6th February 2019

National News

India becomes 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.
Import of LPG
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 at second place behind China. The exporters of LPG to India include Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Iran.


Delhi to Launch Zero Fatality Corridor (
Delhi Government has launched 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.
About the Zero Fatality Corridor
The important facts related to the Zero Fatality Corridor are:
•    A 3km stretch between Bhalswa chowk and Burari chowk on the outer ring road has been chosen as a case study in this regard.
•    The selected stretch has four blackspots namely Burari chowk, Bhalswa chowk, Mukundpur chowk, and Jahangirpuri bus stand.
•    This 3km stretch will be observed for scientific assessment of accidents, road engineering, road-user engagement.


Know India Programme 
Know India Programme (KIP) is a flagship initiative for Diaspora engagement. The programme aims to familiarize Indian-origin youth (18-30 years) with their Indian roots and contemporary India.
Features of the Programme
The important features of the Know India Programme are:
•    Know India Programme is a three-week orientation programme for diaspora youth.
•    The programme aims to promote awareness on different facets of life in India and the progress made by the country in various fields e.g. economic, industrial, education, science & technology, communication & information Technology and culture.
•    The programme provides a unique forum for students & young professionals of Indian origin to visit India, share their views, expectations & experiences and to develop closer bonds with contemporary India.


Implementation of PMJAY 
Pradhan Mantri – Jan Arogya Yojana (PM JAY) is a scheme of the government under Ayushman Bharat to reduce the financial burden on poor and vulnerable groups arising out of catastrophic hospital episodes and ensure their access to quality health services.
Implementation of PMJAY
The following steps have been undertaken for the effective implementation of the PM JAY:
•    The State Governments have been given the flexibility to implement PM JAY either through insurance companies, or directly through trust/society, or in a mixed mode. 
•    National Health Agency (NHA) has been set up by the Government to implement PM JAY through State level Health Agencies.
•    A robust IT system has been put in place for effective implementation of the Scheme.
•    Central Grievance Redressal Management System has been set up for receiving grievances. A system has been put in place to acknowledge, record, escalate & resolve grievances as per well-defined process through a three-tier grievance redressal structure.


Asia LPG Summit 
The second edition of the Asia LPG Summit was inaugurated by Union Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas at New Delhi. The two-day summit with the theme ‘LPG – Energy for Life’ will deliberate over series of subjects including how India’s successful Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana can become a viable model for other countries to replicate particularly those striving to provide clean cooking fuel to its people.

The summit has been organized jointly by the major Indian oil marketing companies (OMCs) Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum together with the World LPG Association (WLPGA).

SBI UK chief honoured ‘Freedom of the City of London’ 
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.
Sanjiv Chadha and His contributions
Sanjiv Chadha took up the position at the helm of the 98-year-old London office of the State Bank of India in 2014. He was instrumental in expanding the bank’s presence across the UK, and in boosting wider bilateral ties in financial services.
Sanjiv Chadha was an excellent voice leading the Indian banking community and overseeing significant investment into the City.
 

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Important Current Affairs 2nd February 2019

National news

New Long Range Missile by Iran 
•    Iran unveiled a new cruise missile with a range of 1,300 km (800 miles).
•    Reason behind choosing the day: the Middle Eastern country displays its achievements during celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
•    Specifications of missile:
1.    Need short time for preparedness
2.    Can fly at low altitude
•    1979 Islamic revolution :
Iran is marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the shah and ended centuries of monarchy in the country.


Indian embassy in US opens 24/7 hotline to assist Indian students arrested by American authorities 
•    The Indian embassy in the US has opened a 24/7 hotline to assist Indian students arrested by the American authorities for alleged immigration rules violation. As many as 129 Indians are among the 130 foreign students arrested for allegedly enroling at a fake university to remain in the US.
•    India said it is monitoring the situation arising out of detention of Indian students closely and have impressed upon the US Government the need to address the situation at the earliest.
•    Indian ambassador to US: Harsh Vardhan Shringla (He is a career diplomat and a member of the Indian Foreign Service since 1984.)


Kumbh Mela to take place on Mauni Amavasya on 4th Feb 
•    The third main holy bath Shahi Snan Parv of Mauni Amavasya at on-going Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj will be observed on Monday,4th February at Sangam.
•    Kumbh Mela: 
is a mass Hindu pilgrimage of faith madhav singh kunwargather to bathe in a sacred Kumbh Melas: the Prayagraj Kumbh Mela, Haridwar Kumbh Mela, the Nashik-Trimbakeshwar Simhastha, and Ujjain Simhastha. These four fairs are held periodically at one of the following places by rotation: Allahabad (Prayagraj), Haridwar, Nashik district (Nashik and Trimbak), and Ujjain. The main festival site is located on the banks of a river: the Ganges (Ganga) at Haridwar; the confluence (Sangam) of the Ganges and the Yamuna and the invisible Sarasvati at Allahabad; the Godavari at Nashik; and the Shipra at Ujjain.

PM Narendra Modi to launch two Railway projects at Durgapur in West Bengal
•    Mr Modi  will dedicate to the nation, the Railway electrification of 294 kilometre long Andal- Sainthia-Pakur-Malda  and Khana- Sainthia Sections.
•    Advantages : 
1.    Ease of transportation of coal, 
2.    Stone chips and ballast to North and North East India
•    Durgapur:
Durgapur is the 3rd largest urban agglomeration after Kolkata and Asansol in West Bengal and happens to be the 2nd planned city in India after Chandigarh. It is the only city in Eastern India to have an operational dry dock.

National Road Safety Week to be Launched on Monday
•    Union Home Minister will inaugurate the 30th National Road Safety Week, 2019 in New Delhi on Monday, the 4th of February.
•    It will be attended by a host of school children, NGOs, and stakeholders in road safety from Government and industry.
•    A Motorcar Rally will also be flagged off on the occasion to commemorate the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
 

Environment

India has wealth of wetland ecosystems : NITI Aayog
•    2nd February is marked as World’s Wetlands day.
•    The day marks adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2nd February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on shores of the Caspian Sea.
•    The theme of this year is “Wetlands and Climate Change”.
•    The theme highlights the importance of healthy and intact wetlands to one of the most pressing challenges of climate change.
•    Speaking at an event organized to mark the occasion, NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Dr Rajiv Kumar stressed on convergence between various Ministries and also between Centre and States to save wetlands in the country.
 

National Income

To provide an assured income support to small and marginal farmers Govt. is launching Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman 
•    To provide an assured income support to the small and marginal farmers, Government is launching a historic programme namely “Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN)”.
•    Specifications of Scheme:
Under this programme, vulnerable landholding farmer families, having cultivable land upto 2 hectares, will be provided direct income support at the rate of Rs 6,000 per year. This income support will be transferred directly into the bank accounts of beneficiary farmers, in three equal installments of Rs 2,000 each. This programme will be funded by Government of India. Around 12 crore small and marginal farmer families are expected to benefit from this.
•    Need of the scheme:
1.    Reduced income from farming
2.    Small and fragmented land holding on account of repeated divisions has also contributed in decline in the income of the farmer family.
3.    Declining prices of agricultural commodities in the international market.
 

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Important Current Affairs 31st January 2019

National News

Govt embarks on ambitious programme to ensure 100% electrification of Railways grid in next 5 years 
•    Government has embarked on an ambitious programme to ensure 100 per cent electrification of Railways grid in the next five years.
•    The step will help reduce carbon emissions and supplement the efforts to fight climate change. Mr Goyal was speaking in New Delhi today after he was conferred with Carnot Prize by a US-based Centre for Energy Policy.
•    The award recognizes role of exceptional leaders in advancing mission of cultivating energy policy innovation.


PM Modi dedicates National Salt Satyagraha Memorial to the nation
•    Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated National Salt Satyagraha Memorial to the nation at Dandi village, situated in South Gujarat on Arabian sea coast.
•    At the memorial site, he also unveiled statues of Mahatma Gandhi and 80 Satyagrahis who had marched with him during the historic Dandi Salt March in 1930.
•    A dedication ceremony on Bapu’s death anniversary has acquired special significance as Dandi village is to receive a big push from the government to be developed as a place of national importance and tourist interest like Statue of Unity.


India's 1st Geographical Indication Store opened in Goa
•    Union Civil Aviation minister Suresh Prabhu on Monday inaugurated India's 1st Geographical Indication store at Goa International Airport in Dabolim.
•    The store is located on the first floor on Departure Terminal, and jointly set up by Airports Authority of India and The Cashew Export Promotional Council of India.
•    Union Minister informed that currently there are 270 GI registered products in the country and the store will be a boon for the global tourists.


CBI books Chanda Kochhar, Venugopal Dhoot 
•    The CBI has booked former ICICI Bank CEO and MD Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar and Videocon group MD Venugopal Dhoot in connection with alleged cheating and irregularities in loans sanctioned by the bank to the group in 2012.
•    It is alleged that Videocon promoter Venugopal Dhoot allegedly invested crores of rupees in Nupower months after the Videocon group got Rs 3,250 crore as loan from the ICICI Bank in 2012.
 

International News

US, China begin trade talks in Washington 
•    Top trade officials from the US and China have begun talks in Washington for defusing the escalating tariff war. 
•    The Chinese delegation is headed by Chinese Vice Premier Lie, while the American side is led by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
•    The White House said, US welcomes the Chinese delegation and US President Donald Trump will meet them at the end of the two-days talks.
•    US and China have just a month remaining in a 90-day truce declared in December. Should the talks fail, US import duties on 200 billion dollars in Chinese imports are due to more than double on 2nd March.


South Korea bans single-use plastic bags in supermarkets 
•    The South Korean government ban on the use of disposable plastic bags at big supermarkets came into effect on January 1 in a bid to protect the environment and encourage recycling.
•    The revised law affects about 2,000 supermarkets over 165 square metres in size, all of which used to provide disposable plastic bags for free.
 

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Important Current Affairs 30th January 2019

National News

NGMA to organize 1st edition of Night at the Museum 
•    National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) New Delhi will today organize the first edition of Night at the Museum.
•    The event will be organised in collaboration with the India Art Fair from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM.
•    NGMA will conduct guided tour of its prestigious permanent collection which is on display at the permanent gallery.
•    Highlight objects include works of art of Rabindranath Tagore, Amrita Sher-Gil, Raja Ravi Verma, Nandalal Bose and Jamini Roy.


Four highway projects worth over Rs 3000 cr launched in Rajasthan
•    In Rajasthan, Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of four National Highway projects worth over 3 thousand 237 Cr. rupees.
•    These include three projects in Bikaner and one in Nagaur District.
•    24 thousand Km Highways will be constructed in first phase of Bharatmala Project.
•    Foundation stone of two projects were laid down in the function, which include National Highway from Raisinghnagar to Poogal and Khajuwala to Poogal and Poogal to Naukha-Bap sections of NH-911.


All religion prayer organized at Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram in Gujarat
•    Gujarat is paying rich tribute to its son of soil father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi on his death anniversary today.
•    All religion prayer has been organized at Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram this morning. 
•    Several functions have been organized at Kirti Mandir in Porbandar- the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi.
•    People will also observe two minutes silence at 11 am in respect to the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi.


India improves its global corruption ranking in 2018: Study
•    India has improved its ranking on a global corruption index in 2018 by three points and moved to 78th position with a score of 41.
•    In the list of 180 countries, China and Pakistan lagged far behind at 87th and 117th position, respectively.
•    According to the rankings released by an anti-corruption watchdog, Denmark is the least corrupt country followed by New Zealand while Somalia, Syria and South Sudan are the most corrupt countries in the world.


Obituary

Former Defence Minister George Fernandes passes away in New Delhi 
•    Former Defence Minister and Anti-Emergency Crusader George Fernandes passed away in New Delhi. He was 88.
•    One of the most prominent leaders of the socialist movement in the 1970s, George Fernandes was a senior Janata Dal leader before he founded the Samata Party. 
•    He was elected to the Lok Sabha 9 times and once to the Rajya Sabha.
•    He also served as Union Minister for Railways, Communications and Industry. 
•    George Fernandes was also a trade unionist, agriculturist, and journalist. As President of the All India Railwaymen's Federation he led the Railway strike involving 1.5 million workers in 1974, resulting in thousands being sent to jail.


International News

UAE, Saudi central banks launch common digital currency called 'Aber' 
•    The central banks of the UAE and Saudi Arabia have launched a common digital currency called "Aber", which will be used in financial settlements between the two countries through Blockchains and Distributed Ledgers technologies.
•    It will establish an additional means for the central financial transfer systems of the two countries and enable banks to directly deal with each other in conducting financial remittances.
•    Through this digital currency, both the United Arab Emirates Central Bank (UAECB) and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) are studying the impact on the improvement and reduction of remittance costs and the assessments of risks.


Myanmar parliament approves step toward charter change
•    Myanmar's parliament has voted to create a committee to propose amendments to the country's military-enacted constitution, which grants the armed forces the power to block any change.
•    The proposal to form the committee was presented by a member of the ruling National League for Democracy party of leader Aung San Suu Kyi, which took power in 2016 after more than five decades of military or military-backed rule.
•    The 2008 constitution gives the military control of national security ministries and 25 per cent of legislative seats, enough to prevent any constitutional changes, which require the support of more than 75 per cent of lawmakers.


Awards

Hindi writer Chitra Mudgal among 24 honoured with Sahitya Akademi Award 
•    Renowned Hindi writer Chitra Mudgal, Dogri writer Inderjeet Kesar, Kannada writer KG Nagarajappa and Kashmiri story writer Mushtaq Ahmad Mushtaq were among 24 writers, who were honoured with the Sahitya Akademi Award 2018.
•    President of the Sahitya Akademi Chandrasekhar Kambar presented these awards at a function in New Delhi.
•    The awards were given for 24 different languages. The award was given to Chitra Mudgal for her book 'post box no 203 Nalla Sopara', which was based on the life of a transgender.
•    Inderjeet Kesar got the award for his Dogri novel- Bhagirath based on challenges faced by human beings. 
•    K. G Nagarajappa bagged the award for Anushreni- Yajamanike which is a collection of Kannada essays. 
•    Mushtaq Ahmad Mushtaq received the award for his collection of 18 Kashmiri short stories - Aakh.
 

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