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Important Current Affairs 15th February 2020

National

Nitin Gadkari Inaugurates India’s First Intercity Electric Bus between Mumbai and Pune

• The Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Nitin Gadkari flagged off Mumbai-Pune Electric Bus on 14 February 2020 in Mumbai.

• It is the first Electric Intercity Bus in India.

President Kovind Appoints Kejriwal as new CM of Delhi

• President Ram Nath Kovind has appointed Arvind Kejriwal as the new Chief Minister of the National Capital Territory of Delhi, after his Aam Aadmi Party won the recent Delhi Assembly elections with 62 of the 70 seats.

• The president has also appointed six MLAs as ministers of the Delhi Government namely: Manish Sisodia, Satyender Jain, Gopal Rai, Kailash Gehlot, Imran Hussain and Rajendra Gautam.

Banking and Economy

GIC Re gets license from Bank of Russia for reinsurance biz

• India’s reinsurance company, General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC Re) has received the license from Central Bank of the Russian Federation (Bank of Russia) to commence reinsurance business in Russia.

• The license enables the subsidiary to commence transacting domestic and international reinsurance business in Russia based on the capital invested by the Corporation.

• GIC of India is a state owned enterprise in India. It was the sole reinsurance company in the Indian insurance founded in 22 November 1972. GIC Re has its registered office and headquarters in Mumbai.

Awards

BioAsia 2020 announces Genome Valley Excellence Award

BioAsia, Asia’s largest annual global biotechnology and life sciences forum organised by the Government of Telangana, has announced that the Genome Valley Excellence Award will be bestowed upon Dr Carl H June and Dr Vas Narasimhan for their contributions to life sciences.

Dr. Carl H June will be awarded for his work in immunotherapy, research in development of CAR-T (Chimeric Antigen Receptor- T cells) for treatment of cancer & commercialization of world’s first FDA (Food and Drug Administration, United States)- approved gene therapy.

Science and Technology

ISRO G Narayanan to head space PSU NSIL

• Veteran space scientist G Narayanan has been named the chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation’s newly formed commercial entity New Space India Ltd (NSIL).

• Narayanan, who hails from Kerala’s Palakkad, had earlier worked as first secretary (space) at the Indian embassy in Paris.

• The Indian Space Research Organisation is the space agency of the Government of India and has its headquarters in the city of Bengaluru. Its vision is to “harness space technology for national development while pursuing space science research & planetary exploration”.

• Founder: Vikram Sarabhai

• Founded: 15 August 1969

• Headquarters: Bengaluru

Sports

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju Announces Khelo India Winter Games in Jammu and Kashmir

• Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has announced Khelo India winter games 2020 which will be held in the Union Territory of Ladakh later this month followed by a similar event in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir in March.

• Khelo India Ladakh Winter Games will feature an open ice hockey championship, figure skating, and speed skating, and the competition will be conducted at the block, district, and UT levels with the expected participation of about 1700 athletes.

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Important Current Affairs 9th February 2020

National

National Conference on e-Governance 2020 Held in Mumbai

• The 23rd edition of the National Conference on e-Governance was held at Mumbai, Maharashtra on 7-8 February 2020.

• The theme of the conference was: India 2020: Digital Transformation.

BBIN nations deliberate on MoU for implementation of motor vehicle agreement

• A meeting of the BBIN nations (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal) was held in New Delhi on 8 February 2020 to deliberate on a proposed MoU, to be signed by Bangladesh, India and Nepal, for implementation of the Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA) in these countries.

• Representatives of Bhutan participated in the meeting in an observer capacity. The Indian delegation was led by Vikram Doraiswami, Additional Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs.

DefExpo 2020 Concludes With Over 200 Partnerships at Bandhan Ceremony

• The 11th edition of the biennial DefExpo 2020, concluded in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh on 8 February 2020.

• The theme of the 11th Edition was “India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub”.

• More than 1,000 companies, including 165 offshore enterprises participated in the event.

• Over 200 partnerships involving Signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs), Transfer of Technology (ToTs) , Product launches were concluded during a ceremony titled “Bandhan” at DefExpo 2020.

• Bandhan ceremony witnessed more than 13 product launches, 124 MoUs between Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), private and global defence manufacturing companies.

International

US India’s preferred trade partner in journey to be $5 trn economy: Envoy

• America is India’s preferred trade and business partner in its journey to become a USD 5 trillion economy by 2024, the country’s new envoy to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu has stated.

• Addressing a gathering of American business community at a reception hosted in his honour by US-India Strategic and Partnership Forum, Sandhu stated that the potential for cooperation between the United States and India is limitless.

• He futher added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set the goal for India to grow from a USD 3 trillion economy to a USD 5 trillion economy by 2024 and a USD 10 trillion economy by 2030.

Philip Barton appointed Britain’s new High Commissioner to India

• Britain appointed career diplomat Philip Barton as its High Commissioner to India to succeed Dominic Asquith.

• Barton will take up his appointment during Spring 2020, a statement from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) stated

Obituary

Padma Shri Winning Indian Author Giriraj Kishore Passes Away

Veteran writer and academician Giriraj Kishore passed away following a prolonged illness. He was 82-years-old.

Giriraj was awarded the Padma Shri by the President of India in the year 2007, for his work Pahla Girmitiya (The Girmitiya Saga).

P Parameswaran passes away in Kerala

• Renowned thinker, writer and the founder-director of Bharatiya Vichara Kendram P Parameswaran has passed away in Ottapalam, Kerala. He was 91.

• Kendram P Parameswaran was awarded Padma Vibhushan in 2018 and Padma Shri in 2004.

Sports

Bangladesh wins ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup 2020

• Bangladesh has won the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup 2020 held in South Africa. Bangladesh Under-19 cricket team defeated India Under-19 team by 3 wickets to win the final of the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup 2020 held at JB Marks Oval, Potchefstroom, South Africa.

• This was the 13th edition of the tournament in which 16 teams participated from all over the world.

• Bangladesh Under-19 cricket team has won the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup for the first time in the tournament history.

Swedish Vaulter Armand Duplantis Breaks World Pole Vault Record

On 8 February 2020, Armand Duplantis, who plays for Sweden, broke the world pole vault record with a jump of 6.17 metres at an indoor meeting in Poland.

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Important Current Affairs 8th February 2020

National

NPCI approves WhatsApp to expand its UPI project 10 million users

• Facebook-owned instant messaging platform WhatsApp has received the approval from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to expand its Unified Payment Interface (UPI) services to 10 million users.

• WhatsApp’s payment feature, named WhatsApp Pay, has developed by the NPCI to run on UPI. It allows users to pay others or do business transactions through their bank accounts.

PFRDA increases minimum net worth for pension fund managers to Rs 50 cr

• The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), the regulator of the National Pension System (NPS), has made certain amendments in the pension guidelines. These are as follows.

• Minimum Net Worth: The regulator has doubled the minimum net worth requirement for pension fund managers to Rs 50 crore from the Rs 25 crore stipulated earlier.

• Validity of License: Provision has also been made for licenses to have indefinite validity. Earlier, the licenses of pension fund managers was granted for a period of five years.

• Equity Acquisition: A pension fund or its sponsor cannot acquire equity stake in another pension fund.

Disha Police Station inaugurated in Andhra Pradesh’s Rajamahendravaram

• The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy on inaugurated the first ‘Disha Police Station’ in Rajamahendravaram city on 8 February 2020, which will exclusively handle cases of crime against women and children.

• In all 18 Disha Police Stations will be set up in all 13 districts of the state, under the Disha Act, enacted by the state government in 2019, to ensure speedy investigation and trial of sexual assault cases.

• The state government has allocated a budget of Rs 21.10 crore for the setting up of these police stations.Each Disha Police station will be headed by a deputy superintendent of police.

International

Astronaut Christina Koch returns to Earth after record stay in space

• Christina Koch, US-astronaut who made record for the longest continuous spaceflight ever undertaken by a female astronaut, returned from the International Space Station (ISS) to Earth on 6th February 2020.

• Koch was accompanied by European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Luca Parmitano and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov on the way to Earth.

• The three boarded a Soyuz capsule docked at the ISS at around 12:50 AM EST, and had a safe landing at around 4:12 AM EST (3:12 PM local time) in Kazakhstan.

• American astronaut Christina Koch joined the NASA’s astronaut corps in 2013 and also led the first ever all-female spacewalk in 2019.

Science & Technology

Indian Army Major develops world's first bulletproof helmet

• Indian Army has developed first bulletproof helmet of the world which can stop an AK-47 bullet round fired from a distance of 10 meters.

• The Ballistic helmet is developed by An Indian Army Major Anoop Mishra.

• The helmet is developed under the Indian Army’s project “Abhedya“.

DRDO inks deal with Russian company for missiles propulsion

• Pune-based DRDO Laboratory, High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL) has signed technology development contract with Rosoboronexport, Russia for development of Advanced Pyrotechnic Ignition Systems.

• The agreement was signed at the DefExpo2020 in Lucknow.The agreement will enable advancement in the field of energetic materials and pyrotechnic technology leading to the development of advanced ignition systems.

• HEMRL works in the development of spectrum of high energy materials required for missiles, rockets and guns.

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Important Current Affairs 7th February 2020

National

First Central Asia Business Council” launched in New Delhi

• The first ever India-Central Asia Business Council meeting was launched in New Delhi on 6th February 2020.

• The programme was organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).From India, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar addressed the meeting.

• The aim of the meeting was to bring together business chambers of India and all five Central Asian states, namely Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to collaborate and strengthen trade and investment partnership.

Jaipur becomes certified UNESCO World Heritage City

• Jaipur “The Pink City” has been certified by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as the World Heritage site.

• The certification was done by the UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay during an event held in Jaipur, Rajasthan.

SAI & Hockey India to Launch 7 High Performance Centres Across the Country

• Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Hockey India have decided to establish High Performance Centres in seven places across the country to provide state-of-the-art facilities to Junior and Sub-Junior players.

• The move is taken in view of 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games, so as to groom the young talent.

• The seven High Performance Hockey Centres will be installed at the following places:

• 1. SAI Centre, Bengaluru, Karnataka (South Zone)

2. Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, New Delhi (North Zone)

3. SAI Sundergarh, Odisha (East Zone)

4. SAI UDMCC, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh (Central Zone)

5. SAI NS NEC, Takyel, Imphal, Manipur (North-East Zone)

6. Balewadi Sports Complex, Pune, Maharashtra (West Zone)

7. SAI Centre, Ranchi and Gomke Jaipal Singh Astroturf Hockey Stadium (East Zone II)

 India’s First Glass Floor Suspension Bridge to Come up in Uttarakhand’s Rishikesh

• The Uttarakhand Government has approved the design of a glass floor suspension bridge, the first of its kind in the country, which will be built across the River Ganga in Rishikesh.

• The bridge is as an alternative to the iconic Lakshman Jhula, almost 94 years old, which was closed in 2019 due to safety reasons

Madhya Pradesh to deploy drones to map villages

• The Madhya Pradesh state government has decided to deploy drones to map villages. This will be the first time that drone technology is used to make maps in the state.

• Till now, all the land survey work in the satet was either done manually or with the help of satellite images.

• The map of the population area will be created on a scale of 1: 500, which will help a clearer picture of the population area. Around 55000 villages have been selected for mapping.

Banking and Economy

RBI to conduct “Financial Literacy Week 2020”

• Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will be organizing Financial Literacy Week (FLW) from February 10 to February 14, 2020.

• The theme for 2020 FLW is “Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs),”

• RBI conducts Financial Literacy Week (FLW) every year since 2016 to propagate financial education messages on a particular theme every year across the country, through a focused campaign.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

IOC signs First Term contract for Russian crude oil

• State-owned Indian Oil Corp has signed a deal with Russian oil and gas company Rosneft for the annual purchase of 2 million metric tonnes of crude oil

• This is the first ever annual oil purchase deal between India and Russia.

• Under the deal India will import up to 2 million tonne of Urals grade crude oil from Rosneft of Russia.

• India is world’s third largest energy consumer. It is 83 percent dependent on imports to meet its oil needs.

• Two-thirds of the imports come from the Middle East, with Iraq being the biggest supplier followed by Saudi Arabia.

• Headquarters of Indian Oil Corp: New Delhi, Mumbai (Registered Office)

• Founded of Indian Oil Corp: 1959.

• Chairman of Indian Oil Corp: Sanjiv Singh.

Resignation

Microsoft-Owned LinkedIn’s Jeff Weiner resigns as CEO

• Jeff Weiner has recently resigned as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Microsoft-owned LinkedIn.

• Jeff Weiner will become Executive Chairman of the company, while Ryan Roslansky who is currently the senior vice-president of product, will become CEO with effect from 1st June 2020.

• LinkedIn is a business and employment-oriented service that operates via websites and mobile apps.

• LinkedIn Corp: Founded: 2002.

• LinkedIn Corp: Headquarters: Sunnyvale, California, United States.

World Bank chief economist Pinelopi Koujianou resigns

• World Bank Chief Eeconomist Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg has announced to step down from the post with effect from 1st March 2020.

• She is resigning to return to teaching at Yale University and create opportunities for the poor young talented economists to the bank.

• The World Bank President David Malpass has announced that the organisation’s research director Aart Kraay would take over as the Chief Economist in place of Goldberg until a new permanent chief economist is hired.

• President of World Bank: David Robert Malpass.

• Managing Director(MD) and Chief Financial Officer(CFO): Anshula Kant.

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Important Current Affairs 6th February 2020

National

Prime Minister inaugurates DefExpo in Lucknow

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 11th edition of the ‘DefExpo’, India’s biennial military exhibition, in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh on February 5, 2020. It will culminate on February 8.

• The Theme of the Expo is ‘India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub’ with main focus on ‘Digital Transformation of Defence’

• Delegates from 70 countries and 172 foreign military manufacturers and as many as 856 Indian defence firms will attend the exhibition to showcase their products on new technologies and solutions on a single platform.

President Kovind inaugurates Annual Rashtrapati Bhavan Udyanotsav 2020

• President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the annual ‘Udyanotsav’ at the Mughal Gardens of Rashtrapati Bhavan on 4th February 2020.

• The 15-acre Mughal Gardens at Rashtrapati Bhavan will be opened for the general public from February 5 to March 8, 2020 between 10 am to 4 pm.

Reliance General launches health insurance plan "Infinity"

• Reliance General Insurance Company Limited has launched a comprehensive health insurance plan named "Reliance Health Infinity".

• The policy offers 90 days pre and 180 days post hospitalization cover, along with sum insured ranging from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 1 crore, and free restore benefits.

India’s HAL & Dynamatics Technologies To Build Israel Aerospace Drones

• Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the 1st time, will sign a partnership pact with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) at the DefExpo 2020 in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.

• This pact is signed for manufacture advanced Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs) in India.

Five more IIITs to receive Institute of National Importance status

• The Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved to confer five of the Indian Institute of Information Technology with the Institute of National Importance status.

• The IIIT’s which will be given the Institute of National Importance status include the Indian Institute of Information Technology Surat Bhopal, Bhagalpur, Agartala, and Raichur.

• These institutions will now be able to use the Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) or the Master of Technology (M.Tech) or the Ph.D degree.

Cabinet approves setting-up country’s 13th major port at Vadhavan in Maharashtra

• The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its in-principle approval for setting up a new Major Port at Vadhavan near Dahanu in Maharashtra.

• The projected cost of the Vadhavan Port is over Rs 65,000 crore. The new Major Port will be established on the basis of land lord model. 

• After the development of this new Major Port at Vadhavan in Maharashtra, India is expected to enter the list of countries with top 10 container ports in the world.

International

WHO calls for USD 675m in donations to fight novel coronavirus

• The World Health Organization has called for 675 million US dollar in donations for a plan to fight the novel coronavirus, mainly through investment in countries considered particularly "at risk".

• WHO chief Tedros Adhanom said at a news conference in Geneva today that they are launching a strategic preparedness and response plan and requesting 675 million dollar  to fund the plan for the next three months. 

International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation

• International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation is a United Nations-sponsored annual awareness day that takes place on February 6 every year since 2003 to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM).

• 2020 Theme: Unleashing Youth Power.

Banking and Economy

RBI keeps repo rate unchanged at 5.15%

The Reserve Bank of India’s Monetary Policy Committee has released its 6th Bi-monthly Monetary Policy 2019-20. The Reserve Bank of India’s MPC has decided to keep the policy repo rate unchanged to 5.15%.

The key decisions taken in the 6th Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Committee meeting are:

• The repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) left unchanged to 5.15%.

• The reverse repo rate under the LAF stands same i.e. 4.90%.

• The marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate also remains same i.e. 5.40%.

• RBI has increased the real GDP growth for fiscal year 2020-21 from 5% to 6%.

Moody’s Projects India’s growth at 4.9% in FY20, 5.5% in FY21

• Moody’s Investors Service has projected India’s GDP growth during the current fiscal ending 31 March 2020 at 4.9 percent (unchanged).

• For the fiscal 2020-21, GDP growth is estimated at 5.5 percent compared to December 2019 estimate of 6.3 percent.

• And for 2021-22 fiscal, GDP growth is estimated at 6 percent from 6.7 percent projected earlier.

Ranking

India slips to 40th position in Intellectual Property Index

• India slips to 40th position in International Intellectual Property (IP) Index. This information has been given in the report of the Global Innovation Policy Centre of the American Chamber of Commerce.

• This index measures the intellectual property environment of 53 economies of the world. Last year, India was ranked 36th.

• The United States, Britain, Sweden, France and Germany are present on the first five positions.

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Important Current Affairs 4th February 2020

National 


14-day joint military exercise by Indian, Bangladesh armies begin
•    The 9th edition of the annual joint military training exercise by Indian and Bangladesh armies named ‘SAMPRITI-IX’ was flagged off on 3rd February 2020 in Umroi in Meghalaya.
•    The 14-day log exercise is an important bilateral defence cooperation endeavour between India and Bangladesh, hosted alternately by the two countries, enabling both armies to familiarise each other in various tactical drills and procedures.

Coronavirus: Kerala declares 'state calamity'

Kerala government has declared ‘state calamity’ after 3 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the state. The Central Government recently constituted a High-Level Group of Ministers (GoM) to review the preparedness of concerned authorities to deal with Coronavirus in India. Till date, Coronavirus has led to the death of over 400 people in China.

Banking and Economy


Paytm launches Android POS device for SMEs & merchant partners

•    Paytm has launched an Android POS device for small and medium businesses (SMEs) & merchant partners. The android based device will enable the merchants to accept payments in various ways like debit and credit cards, Paytm Wallet, UPI-based apps and cash. 
•    The device provides the merchants with the facility of producing GST compliant bills, to manage transactions and settlements through ‘Paytm for Business’ app. 
•    These services will increase the importance of digital payments in the business of small and medium businesses (SMEs) & merchant partners and will also bring to them the advantages of the digital economy.

RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das Named Central Banker of the Year 2020
•    The Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Shaktikanta Das, has been named as the ‘Central Banker of the Year 2020 for the Asia-Pacific region’ by ‘The Banker’ magazine, owned by London-based Financial Times (FT).
•    The Banker‘s Central Banker of the Year 2020 awards celebrate the officials that have best managed to stimulate growth and stabilise their economy.

Awards


21st IIFA Awards to be held in Indore in March 2020
•    The 21st edition of the International Indian Film Academy Awards (IIFA Awards) 2020 will be held in Indore, Madhya Pradesh from March 27-29, 2020.
•    This will be the second consecutive year that the event is being organised in India. Last year it was held in Mumbai.
•    Till 2019, the events were organised in cities outside the country.
•    The IIFA awards are presented annually since 2000 for Excellence in cinematic achievements for Bollywood.


BAFTA 2020 Film Awards
•    The 73rd edition of the annual British Academy Film Awards, also known as BAFTA, was held on 2 February 2020 in London,
•    The award is presented by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, to honor the best national and foreign films of 2019 of any nationality that were screened at British cinemas in 2019.
•    The Film ‘1917’ received the highest number of awards at 7 with nominations in 9 categories.

Obituary

Former Karnataka Minister D Manjunath Passes Away
•    Former Karnataka Minister D Manjunath passed away at the age of 93 after prolonged illness.
•    Manjunath joined the Janata Party in 1977 and had served in different capacities including as Chairperson of Legislative Council and Minister in various governments.


Appointment


Ajay Bisaria Appointed Indian High Commissioner to Canada
•    Ajay Bisaria, a 1987 batch IFS officer, has been appointed as the next High Commissioner of India to Canada.
•    Currently, he is India’s High Commissioner to Pakistan.
Albin Kurti Appointed New Prime Minister of Kosovo
•    Kosovo’s parliament has approved Albin Kurti as the new prime minister of the country on 3rd February 2020.
•    Albin Kurti, leader of the political party Vetëvendosje, will serve as the fourth Prime Minister of Kosovo.

Days


World Cancer Day: February 4
•    World Cancer Day is organized every year on 4 February by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to raise awareness and education about cancer, and pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action against the disease.
•    World Cancer Day 2019-21 theme: ‘I Am And I Will’
 

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Important Current Affairs 3rd February 2020

National

Union Government sets up task force to restrict Novel Coronavirus

• The Union Government has set up a task force which has a target to restrict the Novel Coronavirus in India.

• The task force consists of Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy and Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri.

• The task has a prime aim of stopping the Novel Coronavirus outspread in India.

International

Bangladesh’s PM Sheikh Hasina inaugurates “Ekushey Book Fair”

• Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the annual Ekushey Book Fair in Dhaka on 1st February 2020.

• Ekushey Book Fair is a month-long biggest and longest book fair of Bangladesh organised every year by Bangla Academy from February 1 to 28.

• This event commemorates the martyrs, of the language movement, who laid down their lives on 21 February 1952 for establishing Bangla as the official language of the then East Pakistan.

Maldives rejoins Commonwealth

• The Maldives has once again joined the Commonwealth. The Maldives was officially inducted into the Commonwealth recently.

• Maldives separated from the Commonwealth about three years ago due to the issues of Human Rights.

Banking and Economy

Fitch Predicts India’s GDP Growth for FY20 at 4.6 pc and FY21 at 5.6 pc

• US-based rating agency Fitch Ratings Inc. has projected GDP growth of India for the next financial year 2020-21 at 5.6 percent.

• For the current fiscal 2019-20, GDP is projected at 4.6 percent.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

India and Maldives sign four MoUs to establish Addu Tourism Zone

• India and Maldives signed 6 MoUs, which included 5 MoUs in the field of tourism and 1 MoU for setting up bottled water plant in Maldives.

• The MOUs were signed between the High Commissioner of India Sunjay Sudhir, Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid and Addu City Council.

• Under the Tourism sector, USD 2.49 million MoUs were signed for establishing the Addu Tourism zone in five islands of Addu atoll.

Awards

Madhya Pradesh wins award for implementation of PMMVY

• Madhya Pradesh has bagged the first position for the implementation of Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY).

• The Madhya Pradesh Minister for Women and Child Development Imarti Devi and Principal Secretary Anupam Rajan received the award from the Union Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani on 3rd February 2020 in New Delhi.

• Also, Indore district of Madhya Pradesh has bagged the first place for better performance of the scheme.

Appointment

Pramod Agrawal Takes Charge as Chairman of Coal India Ltd.

• A 1991 batch IAS officer Pramod Agrawal assumed charge as the new Chairman and Managing Director of Coal India Ltd (CIL) on 1st February 2020.

• He succeeds A K Jha who on January 31, 2020.

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Important Current Affairs 2nd February 2020

National

India’s First Fruit Train Flagged Off From Andhra Pradesh to JNPT

• In another major milestone achievement for the Indian Railways, a first-of-its-kind ‘Fruit Train’ was flagged off from Tadipatri Railway Station in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh to the Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Mumbai, from where the consignment will be exported to Iran.

• This is the first time that an entire train carrying a load of 980 tonnes of locally grown bananas is being sent to the gateway port (JNPT) for export.

• These bananas will be exported under the brand name ‘Happy Bananas’.

Mumbai’s Iconic ‘Kala Ghoda Arts Festival’ Begins from 1st Feb

• The 21st edition of the 9-day Kala Ghoda Arts Festival (KGAF) 2020, one of the biggest open street arts and cultural festival of India, has begun in Mumbai from 1st February 2020.

• The Kala Ghoda Festival is one of the most-awaited art and cultural festivals which takes place in the Kala Ghoda area of South Mumbai since 1999 in early February and attracts a wide range of crowd from all across the world.

• The theme for 2020 KGAF is “PAST FORWARD.”

Union Govt plans to raise funds through LIC IPO

• Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman that union government plans to sell a partial stake in LIC through IPO or an initial public offer.

• The union budget she proposed that the government will sell its stake in IDBI Bank to private investors and also amend the Banking Regulation Act to strengthen co-op banks.

• The finance minister that the deposit insurance coverage against bank failure will be increased to ₹5 lakh from ₹1 lakh.

Indian Railways Demands Setting Up Pension Fund To Deal With Rs 50,000 Crore Burden

• Indian Railways Demands Setting Up Pension Fund To Deal With Rs 50,000 Crore Burden Rs 50,000 crore outgo as pension to more than 15.5 lakh former railway employees, the railways asked the Finance Ministry to set up the pension fund.

• About 25 percent of the railway's earnings go into paying the pensions to the former railway employees.

• Last year, the operating rate for the railways was 97 percent, while this year it has gone up to 98.44 percent. The operating ratio is a measure of expenditure against revenue, and it shows how efficiently the national transporter.

Sports

Novak Djokovic and Sofia Kenin Clinches Australian Open 2020 Tennis Tournament

• The 2020 Australian Open was the 108th edition of the annual Australian Open tennis tournament and the first Grand Slam of the year. It was held from 20 January to 2 February 2020.

• The winners are as follows:

o Men’s Single: Novak Djokovic (Serbia) beat Dominic Thiem (Austria)

o Women’s Single: Sofia Kenin (US) beat Garbine Muguruza (Spain)

o Men’s Double: Rajeev Ram (US) / Joe Salisbury (UK)

o Women’s Double: Tímea Babos (Hungary) / Kristina Mladenovic (France)

o Mixed Double: Barbora Krejčiková (Czech Republic) / Nikola Mektić  (Croatia)

Ayonika Paul won the women's 10m Air Rifle T1 event

Olympian Ayonika Paul won the women's 10m Air Rifle T1 event Vijayveer Sidhu won the men's 25m Pistol T2 event in the National Shooting trials at Thiruvananthapuram.

She came to a quality eight-woman field, which had the likes of Tokyo 2020 quota holders Apurvi Chandela and Anjum Moudgil among competitors.

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Important Current Affairs 1st February 2020

Union Budget 2020-21 is being presented by FM Nirmala Sitharaman

Union Budget 2020 presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to revive economic growth and boost people's income. The Budget is based on three themes :
Aspirational India
Economic development
Caring society

Union Budget 2020 was presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharamanin, a bid to revive economic growth and boost people's income. The Budget is based on three themes - aspirational India, economic development for all, and caring society. The Finance Minister began her speech by saying that the Budget 2020-21 is for boosting income and improving the purchasing power of people. The fiscal deficit is estimated at 3.8 percent(revised estimate for 2019-20)of the gross domestic product in the current financial year, and the government aims to lower it to 3.5 percent (budget estimate for 2020-21) in the fiscal year ending March 2021. She proposed Rs 69,000 crore to the healthcare sector and Rs 12,300 crore to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's flagship cleanliness program Swachh Bharat Mission. Finance Minister earmarked another Rs 3.6 lakh crore towards the supply of piped water to households.

Highlights Of Union Budget 2020:
The income tax for those earning between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 7.5 lakh will be cut to 10 percent from 20 percent. The income tax for those earning between Rs 7.5 and Rs 10 lakh will be cut to 15 percent from 20 percent. The income tax for those earning between Rs 10 and Rs 12.5 lakh will be cut to 20 percent from 30 percent.The income tax for those earning between Rs 12.5 lakh and Rs 15 lakh will be cut to 25 percent from 30 percent. 30 percent tax rate will still be applicable for those earning above Rs 15 lakh. There will be no tax for those earning Rs 5 lakh and Rs 690 billion will be spent on healthcare spending.


Village Storage Scheme
•    Women, SHGs to regain their position as Dhaanya Lakshmi.NABARD to map and geo-tag agri-warehouses, cold storages, reefer van facilities, etc.
•    Warehousing in line with Warehouse Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA) norms:
•    State governments who undertake the implementation of model laws (issued by the Central government) to be encouraged.
•    Livestock:
o    Doubling of milk processing capacity to 108 million MT from 53.5 million MT by 2025.
o    Artificial insemination to be increased to 70% from the present 30%.
o    MNREGS to be dovetailed to develop fodder farms.
o    Foot and Mouth Disease, Brucellosis in cattle and Peste Des Petits ruminants (PPR) in sheep and goat to be eliminated by 2025.


Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana 
Around 0.5 crore households mobilized with 58 lakh SHGs for poverty alleviation.

Education and Skills
•    New Education Policy to be announced soon.
•    National Police University and National Forensic Science University proposed for policing science, forensic science, and cyber-forensics.
•    Degree level full-fledged online education program by Top-100 institutions in the National Institutional Ranking Framework.
•    Up to 1-year internship to fresh engineers to be provided by Urban Local Bodies.
•    The budget proposes to attach a medical college to an existing district hospital in PPP mode.
•    Special bridge courses to be designed by the Ministries of Health, and Skill Development

TRANSPORT
•    100 more airports are planned by 2024
•    Over 6,000 km of highways in 12 lots will be monetized by 2024
•    One major airport will be privatized


16-POINT ACTION PLAN FOR FARMERS
The government is committed to doubling farmers' income by 2022 to allocate Rs 2.83 lakh crore for agriculture and rural sectors such as irrigation.
•    Schemes that encourage manufacturing of mobile phones, electronic equipment, and semiconductor packaging be introduced
•    Private sector to build Data Centre Parks throughout the country will be encouraged
•    80 billion rupees over five years to be provided for quantum technologies and applications
•    Milk processing capacity to be doubled by 2025.

National 

ISRO readying for low cost satellite launch vehicles

•    The Indian Space Research Organisation is readying low-cost satellite launch vehicles costing about Rs 30-35 crore each, which can put into orbit satellites weighing 500 kg.
•    The first such launch from the country is expected to take place in the next four months.
Flame-Throated Bulbul ‘Rubigula’ Unveiled as Official mascot for National Games 2020 in Goa
•    The 36th edition of the National Games of India will be held from 20 October to 4 November 2020 in Goa.
•    The official mascot for the Goa 2020 National Games was unveiled on 01 February 2020 by the Chief Minister of Goa Pramod Sawant in the presence of Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju.
•    The Flame-Throated Bulbul under the name ‘Rubigula’ has been unveiled as the mascot for the event.
•    The Flame-Throated Bulbul is the state bird of Goa.

International


WHO declares coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency
•    World Health Organization has declared an international emergency over the novel coronavirus from China. The organization has declared an emergency as the disease has spread to 18 other countries apart from China where it originated.
•    Also, the disease is spreading through human-to-human contact. According to WHO, there are more than 7,711 confirmed cases and 12,167 suspected cases all over the world.


Appointment

M Ajit Kumar Appointed as New Chairman of CBIC
•    The Central government has appointed M Ajit Kumar as the Chairman of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) on 31 January 2020. Mohammad Allawi Named as new PM of Iraq
•    The President of Iraq Barham Saleh has named former Communication Minister,

Mohammad Allawi as the country’s new Prime Minister on 1st February 2020.

Abidali Neemuchwala Steps Down as CEO and MD of Wipro
•    The chief executive officer (CEO) and managing director (MD) of Wipro, Abidali Z Neemuchwala has quit the post, giving “family commitments” as the reason behind the decision. Indian-origin Arvind Krishna to Succeed Ginni Rometty as IBM Chief

Indian-origin Arvind Krishna has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of American multinational IT company International Business Machines Corporation (IBM).
•    The 57-year-old will succeed long time CEO Ginni Rometty.
 

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Important Current Affairs 31st January 2020

National 


Economic survey likely to peg India’s FY21 growth at 6-6.5%: Report
•    India’s economic survey is seen projecting growth of 6 to 6.5 per cent in the next year starting April 1, boosted by a series of fiscal measures to revive demand that the government is likely to announce in the budget.
•    India faces its worst economic slowdown in a decade. Growth slipped to 4.5 per cent in the July-September quarter, imperilling job prospects for millions of young people entering the workforce each year.
•    The government has estimated gross domestic product expansion at 5 per cent for the financial year ending on March 31, which would be the slowest pace since the global financial crisis of 2008/09.
•    An economic survey by chief economic adviser Krishnamurthy Subramanian will be officially announced later in the day and the government will present its budget

India-Bangladesh Joint Exercise ‘SAMPRITI-IX’ to Begin in Meghalaya from February 3
•    The ninth edition of the bilateral joint military training exercise between India-Bangladesh named SAMPRITI-IX will be held at Umroi, Meghalaya from February 3 to February 16, 2020.
•    The annual exercise is hosted alternately by both countries to get familiar with each other’s organizational structure and tactical drills, besides strengthening military trust and cooperation between two nations.

Govt aims to achieve objective of Housing for All by 2022 under PMAY-G
•    Union Government aims to achieve objective of Housing for All by 2022 under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Grameen.
•    A total of over one crore 50 lakh rural houses have been completed in the last five years.
•    Ministry of Finance stated, the eligible beneficiaries will get one crore 95 lakh houses in the second phase of the scheme. Government has set a target of 60 lakh houses for the current financial year.

A special Supreme Court bench to frame issues about gender inequality at religious places

The apex court recently announced that a nine-judge bench will frame issues related to the discrimination against women in different religious places in India. The court will consider issues like restriction on Muslim women to enter into mosques. The court will also hear issues related to female genital mutilation in Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community.

Indian railways to equip over 3.5 lakh coaches with RFID tags

Indian Railways will make its coaches smarter and safer with radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags.

The ministry of Railway of India has recently announced that all freight and passenger coaches will be equipped with RFID tags. These RFID tags will help the ministry to locate and monitor coaches. At present, about 20,000 coaches have already equipped with RFID tags.

Banking and Economy


FICCI survey projects FY20 GDP growth at 5%, to improve to 5.5% in FY21
•    Industry body FICCI stated its Economic Outlook Survey has projected the country’s annual median GDP growth for 2019-20 at 5 per cent, in line with the projections made by the National Statistical Organisation (NSO).
•    The survey has put the median growth forecast for agriculture and allied activities at 2.6 per cent for 2019-20, the industry and services sector at 3.5 per cent and 7.2 per cent, respectively, during the current year.
•    Growth is likely to improve to 5 per cent in 2020-21 as per the projections, the survey stated.
About FICCI:
•    Headquarters location: New Delhi
•    Founded: 1927
•    President Sangita Reddy
•    Senior Vice-President : Uday Shankar
•    Vice President: Sanjiv Mehta

Obituary


Padma Shri awardee Tushar Kanjilal passes away
Famous social worker, environmentalist, educationist & writer Tushar Kanjilal passed away. The Government of India awarded Tushar Kanjilal the 4th highest civilian honour of Padma Shri in 1986.  


Sports


India hockey captain Rani Rampal named 2019 World Games Athlete of the Year
•    Rani Rampal wins the World Games Athlete of the Year 2019. The long wait is over! The Indian women's hockey team captain Rani Rampal has been voted as the 'World Games Athlete of the Year'. 
•    Toppling all the 25 athletes, the Indian skipper won with a massive 199,477 votes.

 
Ranking


ICICI Bank Launches a unique self-service delivery facility ‘iBox’ for customers
•    The private lender ICICI Bank has launched a first-of-its-kind, unique self-service delivery facility, called ‘iBox’, that will enable its customers to collect their deliverables such as debit card, credit card, cheque book and returned-cheques, in a hassle free manner, anytime any day.
•    This facility is especially useful for customers who are not available at home to receive their package during working hours.
•    The Bank has introduced the iBox facility at over 50 branches in 17 cities in the country.

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