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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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ICICI Life Gets SEBI Approval for Biggest IPO in 6 Years


ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Co. has received capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (Sebi) approval to raise an estimated Rs.5,000 crore through an initial public offering, the first by an insurer in India and the biggest in nearly six years.
•    The company, which filed the draft red herring prospectus with the Sebi on 18 July, got the regulator’s approval on 2 September, as per the latest update. 
•    The insurer is a venture between banking major ICICI Bank and UK’s Prudential Corporation Holdings. 
•    Singapore’s Temasek and PremjiInvest are also shareholders.
•    ICICI Bank has around 68% stake in the insurer, while Prudential has 26%.
•    The public offer comprises 181.34 million equity shares of ICICI Prudential Life, representing about 12.65% of its equity share capital for cash, through an offer for sale by ICICI Bank, as per the draft papers.
•    Prudential will not dilute its stake in the IPO of ICICI Prudential Life, while ICICI Bank will be selling its 12.65% stake.

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