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Important Current Affairs of 7th March

National :

Cabinet approves promulgation of Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Ordinance, 2019

• Union Cabinet approved the proposal for promulgation of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Ordinance, 2019. 

• The Ordinance will ensure that the Constitutional provisions of reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and the socially and educationally backward classes in the faculty recruitment will be protected.

• This will ensure that the process of recruitment of faculty is resumed and the vacancies are filled up.

• The decision will allow filling up of more than five thousand vacancies by direct recruitment in Teachers cadre. 

CCEA approves construction of a 3rd railway line between Narayangarh in West Bengal

• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the construction of a 3rd railway line between Narayangarh in West Bengal and Bhadrak in Odisha of 155 kilometres length. 

• The total estimated cost of this project is over Rs 1866 crore and will be completed by 2023-24. 

• This will also help in generating direct employment for about 37 lakh man-days.

Poorest of poor and uneducated women left behind in Integrated Child Development Scheme: Report

• As per a paper published in WHO bulletin recently, the poorest of the poor and uneducated women are not being covered under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS).

• The Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) provides a package of services at anganwadi or child-care centres to young children and pregnant women and lactating mothers.

• These services include supplementary nutrition, referral services, immunisation, health check-up, pre-school non-formal education and health and nutrition education.

• The study also said that mothers without any schooling were the lowest beneficiaries.

PM-STIAC: Nine Science and Technology Missions and other Projects

• The Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government, Prof. K. Vijay Raghvan shared details of the nine national missions guided by the Prime Minister Science, Technology & Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC).

• The PM-STIAC aims to facilitate the process of collaboration and focus needed to solve complex problems in a reasonable time-frame.

• The Union Government is catalysing collaborations across scientific ministries, research institutions and industry partners, through the PM-STIAC, to leverage cutting edge scientific research for societal benefit.

• 4 meetings of the PM-STIAC have been held since October 2018 and key national missions emerged from the discussions. Each mission is being led by a lead Ministry and will engage international and national institutional partners, young scientists and industry.

Prime Minister launches key development projects at Kalaburagi and Kancheepuram

• The Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched key development projects at Kalaburagi in Karnataka and Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu.

• At Kalaburagi in Karnataka, the Prime Minister dedicated the ESIC Hospital and Medical College, Bengaluru to the nation.

• He also inaugurated the Super Specialty Block of KIMS in Hubali, the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal building in Bangalore and the Women’s Hostel for Students from North Eastern Region at Bangalore University.

• At Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu, the Prime Minister launched various National Highway projects, including the foundation stone for the four laning of NH-45C from Vikravandi to Thanjavur and the six laning of Karaipettai – Walajapet section of NH-4.

• He dedicated the 5 MMTPA capacity Ennore LNG Terminal to the nation.

• The Prime Minister also unveiled the statue of Dr MG Ramachandran at Dr. MGR Janaki College of Arts & Science for Women, Chennai.

Uttar Pradesh gets highways projects worth over Rs 1 Lakh Crore

• Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated National Highways projects worth Rs 1, 10, 154 crore in Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh.

• He inaugurated foundation stone for several works under Namami Gange programme worth over Rs 1969.57 crore.

• The National Highways include four-laning of Lucknow-Sultanpur section on NH-56, four-laning of Kursi Road–Ayodhya Road section of Lucknow ring road, four-laning of Ghaghra Bridge to Budhanpur section on NH-233, widening of Sonoli-Gorakhpur section on NH-29E, widening of Barabanki-Jarwal Road Junction on NH-28C, etc.

• The foundation stone for construction of Lucknow-Kanpur Expressway was also laid.

• Several projects under Namami Gange programme were launched including laying of sewerage network of 214.88 km in Prayagraj at a cost of Rs 260.86 crore, laying of sewerage network of 69 km including 2 STPs of 9MLD capacity in Garh Mukteshwar, etc.

Shri Vishwakarma Skill University, National Institute of Technical Teacher’s Training and Research sign MoU

• A Memorandum of Understating (MoU) between Shri Vishwakarma Skill University (SVSU) and National Institute of Technical Teacher’s Training and Research (NITTTR) was signed.

• The MoU will be in force for a period of three years. 

• The collaboration targets to ensure purposeful engagement of Faculty, Experts and Industry Partners for various academic activities.

• The collaboration seeks to support Vision and Mission of both Institutions related to Technical and Vocational Education, Training and Research.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister lays foundation stone for Doon-Mussoorie ropeway project

• Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat laid the foundation stone for the Dehradun-Mussoorie ropeway project.

• The 300-crore rupees ropeway project is expected to be completed in three years.

• It will be one of the world's longest ropeways, and will shorten the one-hour zigzag drive to just 15 minutes from Purkul village the base camp at Dehradun to Mussoorie.

• Poma, a French company which manufactures cable-driven projects, will provide the technical support to the ropeway which will be built on the PPP mode

Madhya Pradesh: Ancient tribal language Gondi to be taught in tribal districts

• In Madhya Pradesh, ancient tribal language Gondi will be taught in tribal districts.

• Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath decided to include Gondi in the primary education curriculum of the state's tribal-dominated districts.

• The rapid decline in the number of people who speak that tongue is a matter of concern. Hence, the Chief Minister stressed on the need to save it.

Justice SA Bobde nominated as Executive Chairman of NALSA

• President Ram Nath Kovind nominated Justice SA Bobde of the Supreme Court as Executive Chairman of National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).

• The post is currently headed by Justice AK Sikri who retired on March 6, 2019.

• The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) is a statutory body constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to provide free Legal Services to the weaker sections of the society.

• NALSA fulfils the provisions under the Article 39A of the constitution which provides for free legal aid to the poor and weaker sections of the society.

International:

ISRO, French space agency CNES sign agreement on maritime security

• National space agency ISRO and its French counterpart CNES signed an agreement to set up a joint maritime surveillance system in the country.

• The two nations will explore putting up a constellation of low-Earth orbiting satellites that will identify and track movement of ships globally and in the Indian Ocean region where France has its Reunion Islands.

• They will initially share data from their present space systems and develop new algorithms to analyse them.

• The agreement comes a year after the two governments initiated broad collaboration plan during French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit in March 2018.

• The two agencies have put up two climate and ocean weather monitoring satellites Megha-Tropiques (of 2011) and SARAL-AltiKa (2013) that are considered as models.

Malaysia joins the International Criminal Court

• Malaysia ratified the Rome Statute making it the 124th State party to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).

• Even though Malaysia had helped to negotiate the Rome Statute, it has been long been reluctant to ratify it.

• The downing of flight MH17 and the Rohingya crisis have focused Malaysia’s attention on the ICC.

• After the election of Mahathir Mohamad as Prime Minister in May 2018, there has been a significant shift in the relationship between the Malaysian government and monarchy.

• The ratification has also stemmed from ambition to see Malaysia playing a more active role in ASEAN and the United Nations.

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Important Current Affairs of 4 March

NATIONAL:

April 2019 to March 2020 declared as Construction Technology year

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared April 2019-March 2020 as Construction-Technology year at the Construction Technology India-2019 Expo-cum-conference in New Delhi.

• Construction-Technology year emphasizes the role of advanced technology to meet the increasing demand for housing in the country. The declaration of Construction year aims to gives the housing sector a new pace by using the latest technologies available in the world. India has even launched the Global Housing Technology Challenge to fast-track the construction of affordable housing and meet the target of constructing 1.2 crore houses by 2022.

Usha Thorat-led task force to ensure stability of external value of rupee

• The Reserve Bank of India constituted an eight-member task force on offshore rupee markets, headed by Usha Thorat former Deputy Governor, to look into issues related to the markets and recommend appropriate policy measures to ensure the stability of the external value of the rupee.

• The terms of reference of the task force include assessing the causes behind the development of the offshore rupee market; study the effects of the offshore markets on the rupee exchange rate and market liquidity in the domestic market; and recommend measures to address concerns, if any, that may arise out of offshore rupee trading.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairs National Security Council meet

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting of the National Security Council on Sunday following heightened tensions with Pakistan

• He Official sources said the meeting was attended by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

• The NSA is tasked with advising the prime minister on matters of national security.

• It was set up by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 1998, with Brajesh Mishra as the first National Security Advisor (NSA).

Sushma Swaraj addresses OIC Foreign Ministers plenary session in Dubai

• External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj addressed the plenary session of the foreign ministers’ meet of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation states in Abu Dhabi.

• She presented a picture of the secular fabric of India and began the speech by saying that she stands as a representative of land that has been for ages a fountain of knowledge, a beacon of peace, a source of faiths and traditions, and home to religions from the world.

Centre, ADB sign 926 million loan agreement to operationalize two lines of Mumbai Metro

• The Union Government on March 1, 2019 signed a 926 million dollar loan agreement to operationalize two of the Mumbai Metro Rail System.

• The move will ease the distress of millions of commuters each day and help provide a cleaner and less congested city. The loan agreement was signed by Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary (Fund Bank and ADB), Department of Economic Affairs, on the behalf of the Indian Government and Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director of ADB's India Resident Mission on behalf of ADB.

• The carriages procured under this project will feature high-level safety features and automation, including surveillance systems, door closing, and train obstacle detectors.

Govt approves Adani Powers Rs 14,000 crore Jharkhand SEZ project.

• The government has approved a Rs 14,000-crore special economic zone (SEZ) project of Adani Power in Jharkhand, which will export the entire power generated in the Unit to Bangladesh.

• It will be ready by the end of 2022.

• The company had sought approval for setting up the project over an area of 425 hectares.

• Two supercritical units of 800 MW each would be set up with an investment of Rs 14,000 crore, which would include setting up of a water pipeline and a power evacuation system.

PM Modi flagged off Tejas Express, fastest train between Chennai and Madurai.

• This train will be the fastest in the Chennai-Madurai corridor and is India’s first semi-high speed fully AC luxury train.

• PM Modi also laid the foundation stone for two other projects which will boost rail infrastructure in Tamil Nadu.

• PM laid the foundation stone for the restoration of rail connectivity between Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi. The 17.20 Km railway line project is worth Rs 208 crore.

• Prime Minister also laid the foundation stone for the construction of new bridge Pamban viaduct. This will be India's first ever vertical moving bridge. The cost of this project is Rs 250 crore.

India signed deal with Russian firm to produce 7.5 lakh AK-203 rifles

• For the AK-203 Assault Rifles, the deal was signed between the OFB (Ordnance Factories Board) and the Russian company Concern Kalashnikov.

• The AK-203 rifles, the latest derivative of the AK-47 rifles, will be produced at the Indian Ordnance Factory at Amethi's Korwa.

• The new 7.5 lakh rifles will replace the indigenous INSAS rifles in the Army, Air Force and Navy.

• AK-47, officially known as the Avtomat Kalashnikova, is the most basic model followed by AK 74, 56, 100 series and 200 series.

INTERNATIONAL:

NASA created a deep ocean conditions in lab to study origins of life.

• Scientists from NASA, the U.S. space agency, have reproduced deep ocean conditions in the lab to re-create a life that could have formed on the sea floor four billion years ago.

• The study focuses on how the building blocks of life form in hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor. It could offer clues to how life started on Earth. Hydrothermal vents are places on the seafloor where warm water from under the Earth’s crust mixes with near-freezing seawater. These vents form natural chimneys, which play host to all kinds of ocean life.

• The team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California made their own miniature sea floors by filling beakers with mixtures that mimic Earth’s primordial ocean.

APPOINTMENTS AND RE-APPOINTMENTS:

Macky Sall has been re-elected as the President of Senegal

• Macky Sall has been re-elected as the President of Senegal. He won the re-election with58.27% of votes cast. Under the election system of Senegal if a candidate wins more than 50% votes there would be no second round voting and he would be announced the winner.

Sports:

Shashank Shekhar claimed 10 km Nepals (COAS) Marathon and Run for Fun.

• Shashank Shekhar won the 10-kilometre race of Nepal’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Open Marathon and Run for Fun which was held in Nepal’s Capital- Kathmandu.

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Important Current Affairs 27th February 2019

National News

Government cuts airfare for Haj pilgrims after withdrawing subsidy

• The move is part of the Centre’s “empowerment without appeasement” policy Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas said.

• He said airfare reduction will end the exploitation caused under UPA regime.

Delhi gets streetlights with CCTV, Wi-Fi, pollution monitors

• The “smart poles” will be operational by the end of March.

• The NDMC is aiming to install a total of 55 such poles of which 32 have been installed.

India ranks 47th on inclusive Internet Index: Facebook

• India has been ranked 47th out of 86 countries by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

• The scores on the index is based on the scores of Availability, Affordability, Relevance and Readiness categories.

International News

Maldives decline India’s invite for naval exercise ‘Milan’.

• This comes amid the state of emergency in Maldives after the government refused a SC order to release political prisoners.

• India had said it is important that Maldives returns to the path of democracy.

China may overtake US as biggest producer of nuclear power

• China is expected to triple its nuclear capacity in the next 20 years.

• The International Energy Agency said that lesser investment in nuclear energy and no lifetime extension of the existing plants threatened the US’ position as the global leader in nuclear power.

Michelle Obama announces memoir

• Her memoir titled ‘Becoming’ will be published on November 13, 2018.

• The book will be published in 24 languages worldwide

Business News:

Goldman Sachs-backed start up buys crypto exchange Poloniex

• The start-up Circle acquired the crypto exchange Poloniex

• Poloniex, which was founded in 2014, is within the top 20 largest crypto exchanges by trading volume.

PNB reveals additional Rs.1, 300 cr fraud in Nirav Modi case

• PNB said that the fraudulent amount is Rs.1, 300 crore more than the current estimate of Rs.11, 400 cr.

• The amount of over Rs.12, 700 cr is nearly 10 times PNB’s 2016-17 net profit.

Iran plans its own crypto currency to beat US sanctions

• The crypto currency would help Iran evade the potential US sanctions.

• This comes after Venezuela, also hit by US sanctions, launched its own oil-backed crypto currency ‘Petro’.

Sports News:

Karnataka defeat Saurashtra to win Vijay Hazare Trophy

• Karnataka won the tournament for the 3rd time.

• Karnataka put up a total of 253/10 before Saurashtra were bowled out for 212 in 16.2 overs.

Usain Bolt to play charity football match at Man Utd’s home.

• Eight time Olympic gold medal winning sprinter Usain Bolt will lead the ‘World XI’ team against team ‘England’.

• The match will be held on June 10th.

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Important Current Affairs 22th February 2019

National News

Civil services marks cannot be disclosed under RTI: SC

• The SC ruled that Civil Services examination marks cannot be revealed under the Right to Information Act.

• The court added that revelation of marks would compromise on the integrity of the exams.

IAF Officer becomes 1st Indian woman to fly fighter jet solo

• Avani Chaturvedi has become the 1st Indian woman to fly a fighter jet solo as she operated the Russian made MiG21 aircraft.

• She is one of the 3 women inducted into IAF fighter stream in 2016.

SC allows withdrawal of cops send during Gorkhaland protests

• Central forces were deployed in the region during violent protests demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland.

• The Calcutta High Court had earlier barred the Centre from withdrawing the forces stating that normalcy had not been established.

International News

Trump suggests arming teachers to prevent school shootings

• Trump made the comment while meeting the students who survived the recent Florida school shooting which claimed 17 lives.

• Trump also called for the implementation of strict background checks for gun purchases in the country.

250 civilians killed in Syrian shelling in 2 days

• Continuous shelling by Syrian govt forces in eastern Ghouta has killed around 250 civilians.

• Nearly 5 lakh people have been killed in the Syrian war.

N Korea envoys’ visit cost more than athletes’ training

• The International Olympic Committee paid around $50,000 for the training of 22 N Korea athletes who participated in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

• S Korea spent around 346% more than the amount spent on the athletes’ training.

Business News

Vijay Mallya’s Rs.300 cr Mumbai house to be auctioned

• Mallya entered into an agreement allowing him to acquire up to 13 domestic properties from USL within a limited time frame after his resignation.

• The company has decided to sell after Mallya failed to buy them back last year.

Gitanjali shares drop 58%

• The company has lost Rs.435.41 cr from its market capitalisation in the last seven days.

• This comes after PNB accused Choksi and jeweller Nirav Modi of defrauding the bank of $1.77 bn.

Brace for difficult times ahead : Aircel CEO

• Aircel CEO Kaizad Heerjee has warned 5k employees to brace for difficult times.

• Aircel, which has 85 mn customers, recently stopped services in six circles to focus on the better performing ones.

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Important Current Affairs 19th February 2019

AWARDS AND HONORS:

President Kovind presents Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony.

• President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday said each region in the country has a distinct cultural identity but this does not divide but unites and harmonizes all of India.

• President made the statement after presenting the Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony here on Monday. He remarked that the award is a celebration of Indian tradition of culture.

• Remembering Rabindranath Tagore, President Kovind said, "Gurudev was a remarkable genius, who became the first Indian Nobel laureate. Gurudev Tagore is remembered every day as a poet who gave India its national anthem. He belongs to the entire world as he was a nationalist as well as an internationalist."

Sudanese refugee wins major human rights award.

• Sudanese refugee, Abdul Aziz Muhamat, who spent 5 years in the Australian detention center on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea, was given the Martin Ennals Award 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland, for exposing “the very cruel asylum seeker policy of the Australian Government”.

• It is sometimes referred to as the “Nobel Prize for human rights”. Abdul Aziz Muhamat’s podcast “The Messenger”, created from more than 4,000 WhatsApp messages Muhamat sent from the detention center, had won best radio/audio feature at Australia’s Walkley Awards in 2017.

Sunil Chhetri receives 'Football Ratna' award.

•Talismanic Indian striker Sunil Chhetri was awarded the first-ever ‘Football Ratna’ by Football Delhi, the State Association governing the sport in Delhi. Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran, President, Delhi Football presented the honor a function at the majestic Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

• Chhetri, who was recently named as the 6th Indian Footballer in the elite Padma Shri list, said: “I am honored by the kind gesture of Football Delhi for recognizing me with the Football Ratna award.”

•“My support will always be there for the development of football in Delhi. I am sure the current management is working hard to develop football, and make Delhi a model football state in India. My best wishes to everyone associated with the sport in Delhi,” he added.

NATIONAL:

Infosys launches InfyTQ app for engineering students.

• Infosys has announced the launch of a digital platform offering learning and engagement experiences for engineering students.

•“InfyTQ is a free platform open to all engineering students in their third and fourth year. The platform encourages holistic development by imparting technical as well as professional skills and helps them become industry ready,” said a statement from Infosys.

• InfyTQ will be available on both mobile and desktop and is equipped with a plethora of content, courses and news to establish talent readiness at an industry level through online assessments and certification.

During his Jharkhand visit, PM Narendra Modi to inaugurate several development projects.

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone for hospitals in Hazaribagh, Dumka and Palamau in Jharkhand on Sunday and inaugurate a host of development schemes during his visit to the state, an official statement said.

• The prime minister will lay the foundation stone online for four 500-bedded hospitals in Hazaribagh, Dumka, Palamau and Jamshedpur.

• This apart, he will lay foundation stone for Hazaribagh urban line water supply scheme and rural drinking water supply - four schemes for Hazaribagh and two for Ramgarh.

Banned Punjabi Poem On Jallianwala Massacre To Be Published In English After 99 Years.

• A poem on the Jallianwala Bagh massacre by acclaimed Punjabi writer Nanak Singh, which was banned by the British after its publication in 1920, has now been translated into English.

• Singh was present at Jallianwala Bagh on April 13, 1919. He was 22 years old at the time.

• The name of the poem is ‘Khooni Vaisakhi'

SPORTS:

Vidarbha won Irani Cup.

• Vidarbha defended its Irani Cup title on 16 Feb 2019 at the Jamtha Stadium in Nagpur.

• The Irani Cup tournament was conceived during the 1959-60 season to mark the completion of 25 years of the Ranji Trophy championship.

National Championship: Saina Nehwal beats PV Sindhu to clinch second successive title.

• Saina Nehwal defeated PV Sindhu for the second year running as she claimed the senior national title in women's singles once again with a 21-18, 21-15 win in Guwahati on Saturday.

• Saina had defeated Sindhu in the final in the previous edition of the nationals in November 2017 and the two-time Commonwealth Games gold medalist was at it again.

Qatar Open: Elise Mertens beats Simona Halep to win her biggest tour title.

• Elise Mertens has claimed the biggest title of her career by beating top seed Simona Halep to win the Qatar Open.

• Mertens, 23, recovered from a set and a break down - losing 18 points in a row at one stage in the second set - to beat the world number three 3-6 6-4 6-3.

• World number 21 Mertens also overcame a lengthy medical time-out for a back issue in the first set.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS:

JP Morgan: first to create crypto currency.

• US investment bank, JP Morgan Chase became the first US bank to offer its own crypto currency.

• The crypto currency, called 'JPM Coin' will always have a value equivalent to one US dollar.

• It will be initially used internally between JPMorgan Chase's wholesale business clients.

RBI lifts cap on FPI investments.

• The Reserve Bank of India withdrew the 20% limit on investments by FPIs in corporate bonds of an entity

• It was stipulated in April 2018 that no FPI should have an exposure of more than 20% of its corporate bond portfolio to a single corporate.

•This has been done with a view to encourage more foreign investments.

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Important Current Affairs 16th February 2019

Committees:

Rajasthan forms committees to review textbooks.

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

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

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

Defense:

IAF gets its first woman flight engineer.

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

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

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

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

Vice Admiral SN Ghormade: Takes over as COS.

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

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY:

RBI imposed penalty on 3 PSU banks.

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

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

INTERNATIONAL:

India withdraws MFN status from Pakistan.

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

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

• The decision was taken during the Cabinet Committee on Security meeting held in New Delhi.

• India had granted the status to Pakistan in 1996, a year after WTO’s formation.

PM Modi on 2-day visit to South Korea.

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

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

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

GOVERNMENT SCHEME:

App launched PMAY (U).

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

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

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

PM-SYM scheme implemented.

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

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

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

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

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

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

POLITY:

16th Lok Sabha session concluded.

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

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

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

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION:

Bradley Cooper won the best director from PETA.

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

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

APPOINTMENTS:

B P Sharma: CMD Pawan Hans.

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

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

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

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

Sushil Chandra became Election Commissioner.

• President Ram Nath Kovind appointed Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman Sushil Chandra as an Election Commissioner.

• The post had fallen vacant after the appointment of the then Election Commissioner Sunil Arora as Chief Election Commissioner.

• Ashok Lavasa is the senior-most Election Commissioner.

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

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

• The Government of India, Government of Himachal Pradesh (GoHP) and the World Bank signed a $40 Million Loan Agreement to help bring clean and reliable drinking water to the citizens of the Greater Shimla area.

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

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

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

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Important Current Affairs 15th February 2019

NATIONAL:

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

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

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

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

Chandigarh woman becomes IAF's 1st female Flight Engineer

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

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

Train 18 launch despite attack befitting reply to terrorists: Goyal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

INTERNATIONAL:

Trump to sign spending bill averting government shutdown

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

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

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

William Barr sworn in as US Attorney General

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

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

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

NASA declares Mars rover Opportunity officially dead

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

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

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

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

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

SPORTS:

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

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

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

Saina, Kashyap, Verma enter semifinals of Senior Nationals

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

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

• Shane Warne named brand ambassador of Rajasthan Royals

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

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

BUSINESS:

IndiGo to curtail 30 daily flights in February

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

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

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

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

Appointments

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

• This will be his second tenure.

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

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Important Current Affairs 14th February 2019

National:

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

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

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

International:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sports:


Prajnesh Gunneswaran breaks into men's singles top 100
• India’s Prajnesh Gunneswaran has made it to the top-100 of Men's Singles Tennis rankings with a jump of six places that took him to 97. 
• With the feat, Gunneswaran has become the third Indian player to break into the top-100 barrier in the past decade after Somdev Devvarman and Yuki Bhambri. 
• He reached the semifinals of the ATP Chennai Challenger last week to ensure his entry into the coveted bracket. If he is able to maintain his rank inside top-100, it will secure him entry into Grand Slam singles main draws. 
• In the doubles, Rohan Bopanna stayed put at 37 and was followed by his partner Divij Sharan at 39. 


Business:

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

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

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Important Current Affairs 13th February 2019

NATIONAL NEWS

2019 Asia LPG Summit held in New Delhi

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

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

Cabinet approves establishment of Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog

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

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

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

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

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

Smriti Irani launches India Size project in Mumbai

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

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

Maharashtra govt sets up panel to review welfare schemes for tribals

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

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

♦ Industrial production grows at 2.4% in December 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

♦ PM to address CREDAI YouthCon-19 Today

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

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

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

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

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

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

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

Macedonia signs accord to join NATO

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

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

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

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

♦ UAE introduces Hindi as third official language

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

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

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

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

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

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

Awards and Honors

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