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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 14th February 2020

National

E-Cigarettes Banned Across All Indian Airports and Aircrafts – Aviation Security Regulator

• The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), under the Ministry of Civil Aviation of India, has issued a circular that Electronic-Cigarettes and all forms of Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS) will not be allowed in both domestic and international flights as well as at airports.

• Under the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Act which is passed in December 2019.

International

Narayana Murthy’s son-in-law appointed as UK’s new Finance Minister

• Rishi Sunak has been appointed as the Finance Minister of the United Kingdom. He will replace Pakistani Chancellor Sajid Javid.

• Now three Indian origin Members of Parliament are a part of Britain’s most diverse cabinet led by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

• Along with Rishi Sunak, Priti Patel has been appointed as the Home Minister and Alok Sharma has been appointed as the Business Secretary in the British Cabinet.

Banking and Economy

IndusInd Bank tops list of ‘Highest increase in brand value’

• According to ‘The Banker’s Top 500 Banking Brands 2020’ report, IndusInd Bank has topped the list of ‘Highest increase in brand value’ among global banks.

• As a part of the report, the list “Top 50 By Total Brand Value by Country” has been topped by China, followed by United States (US) at 2nd position while Canada and the United Kingdom (UK) ranked at 3rd and 4th spots. Japan has moved up to the fifth spot. India ranked 8th in this list in comparison to 10th place in 2019.

• The brand value of Induslnd Bank has increased by 122% over the past 12 months, making it the highest placed for growth in brand value, across the globe.The bank reported total assets of Rs 3.1 lakh crore at the end of Q3 FY20.

• Managing Director & CEO of IndusInd Bank: Romesh Sobti

• Headquarter of IndusInd Bank: Mumbai, Maharashtra.

• The tagline of IndusInd Bank: We Make You Feel Richer.

EIU lowers global growth forecast for 2020

• The Economist Intelligence Unit has revised downwards its global growth forecast for 2020 to 2.2% from 2.3%.

• This impact because of Novel coronavirus outbreak in China and also the virus starts spreading globally.

• The virus originated in Wuhan, a city of around 11.3 million people in central Hubei province, China, and has spread to most provinces in mainland China and overseas.

• EIU also revised China’s growth downwards by lowering the real GDP (Gross Domestic Product) forecast for China in 2020 to 5.4 per cent from 5.9 per cent earlier.

About Economist Intelligence Unit :

• Managing Director (MD): Robin Bew.

• headquarters: London, England.

• founded: 1946.

SEBI introduces a system to track client securities

• The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has developed the in-house capabilities to track the movement of client securities collected by the broker as collateral online.

• It will raise alerts with exchanges if diversion of clients’ securities is noticed.

• So far, three ‘mismatch reports’ has been forwarded to the stock exchanges for reconciliation with members.

SEBI: The Securities and Exchange Board of India is the regulator for the securities market in India owned by the Government of India. It was established in 1988 and given Statutory Powers on 30 January 1992 through the SEBI Act, 1992.

• Founded: 12 April 1992

• Sector: Securities market

• Jurisdiction: India

• Headquarters: Mumbai

• Type: Statutory corporation

• Chairperson: Ajay Tyagi

Summits and Mou’s

India, Portugal sign seven agreements

• India and Portugal have signed seven agreements to boost cooperation and bilateral ties. The agreements were signed during the state visit of Portugal’s President.

• This is President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa’s first visit to India. PM Modi had visited Portugal in June 2017.

Science and Technology

Scientists discovered the nearest known planet “2MASS 1155-7919 b”

• The scientists from Rochester Institute of Technology has discovered the nearest-known ‘baby giant planet’ which is named as “2MASS 1155-7919 b”.

• The scientists has used the data from Gaia space observatory to find the baby giant planet.The newly discovered baby giant planet which is named as “2MASS 1155-7919 b” lies about 330 light-years from our solar system.

• The planet is closer to Earth and is located in the Epsilon Chamaeleontis Association.This planet orbits a star that is about 5 million years old. The planet has only ten times the mass of Jupiter.

Obituary

Noted fashion designer and Padma Shri awardee Wendell Rodricks passed away.

• Wendell Rodricks was awarded the Padma Shri in 2014 and was a recipient of Chevalier de I’Ordre des Arts et Lettres (Knight of the order of arts and letters) in 2015.

• Rodricks made his mark in the fashion industry with his first collection from Goa that earned him the title ‘Guru of Minimalism’.

Sports

FIH honours Manpreet Singh with FIH Men’s Player of the Year 2019 award

• Manpreet Singh won the International Hockey Federation’s (FIH) Men’s Player of the Year award.

• He created a record as he became the first Indian hockey team player to win the awards since its inception in 1999.

• He won the award ahead of Arthur van Doren of Belgium and Lucas Vila of Argentina, who finished second and third respectively.

FIH: The Fédération Internationale de Hockey, commonly known by the acronym FIH, is the international governing body of field hockey and indoor field hockey. Its headquarters are in Lausanne, Switzerland and the president is Narinder Batra.

• Headquarters: Lausanne, Switzerland

• President: Narinder Batra

• Founded: 7 January 1924

• CEO: Thierry Weil

• Abbreviation: FIH

• Membership: 137 national associations

Appointments and Resignations

Former IAS officer Rajiv Bansal appointed as CMD of Air India

• Former IAS officer Rajiv Bansal was recently appointed as the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Air India.

• Bansal is currently serving as Additional Secretary in Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

Former India all-rounder Robin Singh appointed UAE’s Director of Cricket

• The Emirates Cricket Board has appointed former Indian cricketer Robin Singh as the new director of cricket.

• Robin Singh’s appointment was announced after Emirates Cricket Board fired head coach Dougie Brown.

Books and Authors

Book titled “Messages from Messengers” by Priti K Shroff

• “Messages from Messengers” book launch by Priti K Shroff at the prestigious Bombay Stock Exchange, Mumbai.

• MD and CEO of the Bombay stock exchange, Ashish Chauhan was the chief guest.

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Important Current Affairs 13th February 2020

National News

Union Cabinet approves Pesticide Management Bill 2020

•   Union Cabinet has approved the Pesticide Management Bill 2020. Briefing reporters in New Delhi , Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar stated, the legislation will promote organic pesticides in the country.

•  Major Ports Authority Bill to enhance overall efficiencies of the ports was cleared by the Cabinet.Cabinet has also approved changes in the Direct Tax Vivad se Vishwas Bill, 2020.

Supreme Court orders parties to publish criminal records of all candidates

•   The Supreme Court recently directed all the political parties to publish the criminal records of all the candidates, if any, within the next 48 hours.

•  These records need to be published on the official websites of these political parties as well as on their social media handles such as Facebook and Twitter.

•  The apex court also asked the parties the reason behind allotting the election tickets to candidates with a criminal record.

Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996 amended to make arbitration process user friendly

•  The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 was amended by the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2015 in order to make arbitration process user-friendly, cost-effective and ensure speedy disposal and neutrality of arbitrators

•  The Amendment Act seeks to a new Part to the Act of 1996 for the establishment and incorporation of an independent body namely, the Arbitration Council of India (ACI) for the purpose of grading of arbitral institutions and accreditation of arbitrators, etc.

• As per the Act, ACI will be headed by a Chairperson, who has been a Judge of the Supreme Court or a Chief Justice or Judge of a High Court or an eminent person, having special knowledge and experience in the conduct or administration of arbitration, to be appointed by the Centre in consultation with the Chief Justice of India.

Banking and Economy

Nasscom’s IT revenue grows at 7.7 per cent in FY20

•  The National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) projected the Indian IT sector to grow 7 per cent to reach $191 billion in FY20, with exports reaching $147 billion, and headcount addition accelerating from the previous year.

•   This is a marginal improvement over its prediction of 2018,  when it said that the IT sector will only grow by 6.1 per cent but the sector is still ‘cautiously optimistic’ about FY21, the industry body pointed out.

•  While the global economy has been moving at a sluggish pace, Indian economy only grew at 8 per cent and exports stood at $644 billion.

Awards

President Kovind presents President’s "Colour" to INS Shivaji

•    President Ram Nath Kovind presented ‘President’s Colour’ to the INS Shivaji at a ceremony in Lonavala, Maharashtra.

•   The Presentation of Colour or Standards by the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces is an acknowledgement of the unit’s meritorious service.

Appointments and Resignations

G Narayanan appointed as head of New Space India Ltd

• ISRO’s senior space scientist G Narayanan has been appointed as the chairman of the commercial entity of ISRO New Space India Limited (NSIL).

• Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) named him for this post because he earlier worked as deputy director at the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) of ISRO.

• New Space India Limited (NSIL) was established in March 2019 to meet the demands of ISRO’s various space programs. The NSIL will manufacture small and lightweight satellites.

Days

World Radio Day

World Radio Day is celebrated on 13 February World Radio Day 2020 celebrates the radio as a method for teaching individuals, giving data, and promoting the opportunity of expression across cultures.

The theme of World Radio Day 2020 is “Radio and Diversity”.

Sarojini Naidu's 141st Birth Anniversary observed as National Women's Day

India on February 13, 2020 observed Sarojini Naidu's 141st Birth Anniversary as National Women's Day 2020. Naidu was the first woman governor of India’s United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh).

 She was popularly known as 'Nightingale of India' for her collection of poems. She was also actively involved in the Indian National Movement

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Important Current Affairs 12th February 2020

National

15 crore loans extended to women under PMMY till Jan 2020, TN tops

• Over 15 crore loans, amounting to Rs 4.78 lakh crore, have been disbursed to women borrowers under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY), stated Anurag Singh Thakur, Union Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs

• “As on 31.01.2020, over 15 crore loans have been disbursed to women borrowers, since inception of the scheme, amounting to Rs 4.78 lakh crore under PMMY.”

PSU Survey 2019: ONGC, IOC, NTPC top three profitable PSUs

• According to the PSU Survey 2018-19, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Indian Oil Corporation and NTPC were three the top profitable companies of India.

• Their total profits were 15.3%, 9.68% and 6.73% respectively. On the other hand, Air India, BSNL and MTNL suffered the most losses.

• According to the survey, 70 government companies were at a loss during this period. About 10 companies were accounted for more than 94% of the total losses.

Bhupesh Baghel inaugurates Gaurela-Pendra-Marwahi as Chhattisgarh’s 28th district

• Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel inaugurated Gaurela-Pendra-Marwahi as the 28th district of the state.

• The new district, carved out of Bilaspur, has three tehsils and three development blocks namely Gaurela, Pendra and Marwahi.

• It comprises 166 gram panchayats, 222 villages and two nagar panchayats, with an area of 1,68,225 hectares.

International

Covid-2019 is official name for disease caused by new coronavirus says WHO

The World Health Organization on February 11, 2020 official renamed Coronavirus as ‘COVID-19’. So far, the deadly coronavirus has caused over 1000 deaths in China, which is more than the number of deaths caused by the SARs outbreak of 2003. Coronavirus originated in China; however, the virus has now spread in various countries. India has also reported 3 cases of Coronavirus from Kerala.

About WHO:

• Head: Tedros Adhanom

• Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

• Founded: 7 April 1948

Banking and Economy

Government to introduce new One Rupee Currency Note

The Central Government recently announced to introduce new Re 1 currency note with security features. The all-new one rupee note will have several watermarks. The value of the currency note will be mentioned in 15 different Indian languages. The note will contain an image of ‘Sagar Samrat’, the oil exploration platform.

Facebook to provide digital literacy training to one lakh women in seven Indian states

• Facebook launched its ‘We Think Digital’ programme, under which the social media giant will provide digital literacy training to 1 lakh women across seven states, including Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar.

• In partnership with National Commission for Women (NCW) and Cyber Peace Foundation, the program aims to provide digital literacy training to one lakh women across seven states through the year. The programme will start with the state of Uttar Pradesh and expand to other states including Assam, West Bengal Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand and Bihar, it added.

Infosys to acquire US-based Simplus for $250 million to step up cloud biz

• Bengaluru-based IT services major Infosys stated it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire US-headquartered Simplus, a major Salesforce platinum partner, in a bid to strengthen its cloud business.

• The acquisition, expected to be complete within a month, will incur a cost of up to $250 million, Infosys said in a filing with stock exchanges.$200 million, including contingent consideration to be paid for the acquisition of shares, subject to closing adjustments.

Appointment

Arvind Kejriwal to take oath as Delhi CM on February 16 at Ramlila Maidan

• After resounding victory in Delhi assembly elections, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will take oath for the third time on February 16.

• The swearing-in ceremony will take place at the historic Ramlila Maidan — similar to that of last two times.

Ducati appoints Bipul Chandra as new head of Indian operations

• Italian super bike maker Ducati stated it has appointed Bipul Chandra as the new Managing Director of its India operations.

• Chandra replaces Sergi Canovas who is moving to an international role within the company.

About Ducati:

• Parent organization: Lamborghini

• Founded: 4 July 1926, Bologna, Italy

• CEO: Claudio Domenicali

Ranking

India ranks 17th among countries at risk of coronavirus import

• Of the countries most at risk of importing coronavirus cases, India ranks 17th, researchers have found on the basis of a mathematical model for the expected global spread of the virus that originated in China’s Wuhan area in December 2019.

• The top 10 countries and regions at risk of importing coronavirus cases are: Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, USA, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Cambodia, according to the model.

• While Thailand’s national import risk is 2.1 per cent, it is 0.2 per cent for India, found the research.

Days

National Productivity Day observed globally on 12 February

• National Productivity Day is observed on 12 February. The day is celebrated by the National Productivity Council (NPC) to promote productivity culture in India. Also, National Productivity Week is celebrated from 12-18 February 2020. The day aims to propagate productivity, quality, competitiveness, and efficiency.

• NPC was established in 1958. The autonomous organization functions under the Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

• Chairman of National Productivity Council: Guruprasad Mohapatra.

• Director-General of National Productivity Council: Arun Kumar Jha.

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

• The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution A/RES/70/212 on December 2015, declaring Feb.11 as the International Day of Women & Girls in Science.

• Theme:“Investment in Women and Girls in Science for Inclusive Green Growth”.

World Unani Day

• The World Unani Day is observed every year on February 11.

• The day commemorates the birth anniversary of great Unani scholar and social reformer Hakim Ajmal Khan.

• Defence Minister Shri Rajnath Singh was the chief guest of the 4th Unani day function organized by AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) Ministry, New Delhi, India.

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Important Current Affairs 10th February 2020

National

Indian Army develops world’s cheapest gunshot locator

• Indian Army has recently developed the cheapest gunshot locator of the world ‘Parth’. This device has been developed by the Army's College of Military Engineering.

• A private firm also helped the Indian Army to develop this device. According to the media report, its cost is about Rs. 3 lakh. It will save a lot of money as imported device costs about Rs. 65 lakhs.

• The device ‘Parth’ was recently showcased at DefExp0 2020. Earlier, the Indian Army developed a bullet-proof helmet that can stop an AK-47 bullet.

Hyderabad Metro Becomes Second Largest Metro Rail Network In India

•           Hyderabad Metro Rail, the world’s largest public-private partnership project, is now the 2nd-largest operational metro network in the country covering 69.2 km.

•           With the launch of another 11-km stretch, Hyderabad Metro Rail has become the second-largest metro rail network in the country after Delhi.

NCL sets up R&D centre for sustainable coal mining

•           The Northern Coalfields Ltd (NCL) has established a research and development centre, named ‘Science and Applied Research Alliance and Support (SARAS)’.

•           This research and development centre focuses on the sustainable model for development in coal mining.

•           Chairman and Managing Director of the NCL: PK Sinha.

Uttarakhand's First Heli Services Under UDAN Flagged Off

•           Under the Regional Connectivity Scheme “Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN)” of Government of India, Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has operationalized the first ever helicopter services in the state of Uttarakhand.

Uttar Pradesh Govt to launch internship scheme for school college students

•           Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh has announced an internship scheme for the tenth, 12th and graduate students of the state to brighten employment prospects.

•           During the internship of a period of six months or a year, each participating youth will be given 2500 rupees as honorarium every month. Out of this, rupees 1500 will be given by the Central Government and 1000 rupees by the State Government.

International

African Union Summit 2020 held

• African Union Summit 2020 held in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa. African leaders discussed about rising terrorism in Africa.

• The theme of African Union Summit 2020 was ‘Silencing the Guns’. It has adopted the eight resolutions including ‘Agreement with United Nations for funding in peace operation’.

Oscars Award 2020 winners

92nd Academy Awards, also known as Oscars 2020, announced. The awards were presented at a ceremony held at Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, USA. The film “Parasite” became the first foreign-language film ever to win the Best Picture award at Oscars 2020. Actor Brad Pitt won the Oscars for ‘Best Supporting Actor’ for his film 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'.

Awards

Kamya Karthikeyanbecomes youngest climber to conquer Mount Aconcagua

• Kamya Karthikeyan (12-year-old) from Mumbai has become the youngest girl to climb Mount Aconcagua, the highest mountain in South America.

• She studies in 7th grade at Navy Children School in Mumbai. She holds the record by climbing the highest mountain in the Andes mountain range as the youngest girl to climb this mountain.

• Kamya Karthikeyan trekked in various high altitude areas of the Himalayan region. She aims to complete "Explorers Grand Slam" by 2021.

Science & Technology

Astronomers Find Ultramassive Galaxy From The Early Universe That Suddenly Died

•           The International team of astronomers led by scientists at the University of California, United States(US) have discovered an Ultramassive monster galaxy dubbed as XMM-2599.

•           This galaxy existed around 12 billion years ago just 1.8 billion years after the formation of the universe.

Sports

Armand Duplantis breaks Pole Vault World Record

•           Armand Duplantis, a 20-year-old Louisiana native who has been as shrewd in choosing the nation he represents as he has been in choosing his fiberglass poles, broke the world record in the pole vault on Saturday with a jump of 20 feet 2 ¾ inches, or 6.17 meters.

Important Day

World Pulses Day observed globally on 10 February

World Pulses Day proclaimed on February 10 of each year since 2019. World Pulses Day is a designated United Nations global event to recognize the importance of pulses (chickpeas, dry beans, lentils, dry peas and lupins among others) as a global food.

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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 5th February 2020

National

India’s biggest rural technical festival ‘Antahpragnya 2020’ held in Telangana

• Collector of Nirmal inaugurated National Level India’s Biggest Rural Technical Festival titled Antahpragnya 2020 in the state of Telangana at Rajiv Gandhi University of Knowledge Technologies-Basar (RGUKT-Basar).

• Rural areas cannot afford to miss the development bus. Most of the developments in the two lakh years have taken place in the last century.

• The fest showcases 300 prototypes, working models, exhibits and technologies such as automatic switch for water, homemade electricity, smoke absorber, automatic street lighting system, smart dustbins, zero budget farming, automatic irrigation and others.

India hosts Defence dialogue between India and South Korea

• Ministerial-level Defence dialogue between India and South Korea was held in New Delhi today. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister of National Defence of South Korea Jeong Kyeong-doo held the meeting.

• The theme of DefExpo-2020 in Lucknow is ‘Digital Transformation of Defence’ and India and South Korea recognize the influence of Artificial Intelligence and digital technology in defence sector.

Indian Government unveils new vaccine to control classical swine fever

• The government of India unveiled a new indigenously developed vaccine for controlling classical swine fever (CSF). CSF is a highly contagious fatal pig disease.

• The new vaccine, developed by Uttar Pradesh-based Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)-Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), will be much cheaper than the existing one.

 Banking and Economy

Union Cabinet Approves Amendments to Banking Regulation Act to regulate co-operative banks

• The Union Cabinet has given its approval to bring cooperative banks under the regulatory mechanism of Reserve Bank of India.

• The cabinet approved amendments to the Banking Regulation Act on February 5, 2020, thus allowing multi-state cooperative banks to come under the regulation of the RBI.

• The announcement was made by Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadkar after a cabinet meeting.

• The 1,540 cooperative banks with 8.6 crore depositors’ money, with around Rs. 5 lakh crore deposits in the country and the proposed amendment will protect the depositors.

• a. The Banking Regulation Act, 1949 is legislation in India that regulates all banking firms.

b. Shaktikanta Das is the 25th governor of the Reserve Bank of India.

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 Rs 5 lakh from Rs 1 lakh.

• She proposed to expand exchange-traded funds by floating a Debt ETF, consisting primarily of government securities.

LIC: Life Insurance Corporation of India is an Indian state-owned insurance group and investment corporation owned by the Government of India. The Life Insurance Corporation of India was founded in 1956 when the Parliament of India passed the Life Insurance of India Act that nationalised the insurance industry in India.

Headquarters: Mumbai

Owner: Government of India (100%)

Founder: Government of India

Founded: 1 September 1956

Awards

Vinod Shukla bags first Mathrubhumi Book of the Year award

• Noted Hindi poet-novelist and Sahitya Akademi honouree Vinod Kumar Shukla has bagged the inaugural Mathrubhumi Book of the Year award for his translated book “Blue Is Like Blue“.

• The stories in “Blue Is Like Blue”, translated into English by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra and Sara Rai, deal with common people and their daily struggles.

Obituary

Veteran Odia poet Rabi Singh passes away

• Renowned Odia poet Rabi Singh passed away. He was 89.

• The revolutionary poet had received many awards for his contribution to Odia literature.

• He received Atibadi Jagannath Das Samman in the year 2017.

Sports

Sourav Ganguly will be the 'Goodwill Ambassador' of India in the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020

• The recently appointed BCCI President, Sourav Ganguly has been invited by the Indian Olympic Association to be the 'Goodwill Ambassador' of India in the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020.

•  Sourav Ganguly, known in his hometown as the Prince of Calcutta is one of the most respected sports icons in the entire country

Appointment

Amitabh Bhatt the New CEO (Bangalore Complex) at HAL

• Amitabh Bhatt has taken over as Chief Executive Officer of Bengaluru-headquartered safeguard PSU, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s Bangalore Complex.

• Prior, he was serving as Executive Director of Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) venture in HAL.

• Bhatt is a Post Graduate in Management and earlier served in SKF India Limited for a long time before joining Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

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