7 new Earth-like exoplanets discovered, NASA announced

  • Astronomers of NASA have discovered seven Earth-sized planets orbiting a star called TRAPPIST-1. Three of them are in the habitable zone  the happy place where liquid water can exist on the surface of rocky planets, as it’s not too hot or cold. 
  • The space agency calls the discovery of the fascinating solar system record-breaking. The three planets in the habitable zone, also known as the Goldilocks Zone, are called TRAPPIST-1e, f, and g. Exoplanet “e” is about the same size as Earth and even gets around the same amount of star light as we do.

Cabinet approvals: 23 February 2017

  • Cabinet approves MoU between India and Australia for promotion and development of cooperation in civil aviation security.
  • Cabinet approves signing of Air Services Agreement between India and Greece 
  • Cabinet approves signing of an Agreement between India and Poland on cooperation in the field of agriculture and allied sectors.

India's GDP projected to slow to 6.6% due to demonetization Strains: IMF

  • India's growth is projected to slow to 6.6% in 2016-17 fiscal due to the strains that have emerged in the economy as a result of temporary disruptions caused by demonetization.
  • The post November 8, 2016 cash shortages and payment disruptions caused by the currency exchange initiative have undermined consumption and business activity, posing a new challenge to sustaining the growth momentum. India's economy grew at 7.6% in 2015-16.

Govt doubles maternity leave for women workers in industries

  • The government has allowed women working in industries to take six months maternity leave pre-empting parliamentary approval on the maternity benefit amendment bill that is pending in the Lok Sabha.
  • Through an executive order the labour and employment ministry has doubled maternity leave to six months from three for industrial women workers. However the benefit will be restricted to women who make a monthly contribution to the employees’ state insurance corpus from their salaries. This means about 2.9 million women working across various industries will get the benefit.

National Biodiversity Congress 2017 held in Kerala 

  • Third National Biodiversity Congress (NBC) 2017 held in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. To identify practical evidence based case studies at regional level to support the plan of action. 
  • Biodiversity is the lifeline of a nation and to retain pulses is the responsibility of every individual and society with the support of science and technology and through sustainable development CM Pinarayi Vijayan stated. 
  • Theme of National Biodiversity Congress 2017 is “Mainstreaming Biodiversity for Sustainable Development”.

GVA growth to decline by 70 bps to 6.2% in Q3: ICRA

  • The economy based on the gross value added (GVA) is set to slip to 6.2% in the December quarter from 6.9 percent a year ago, and GDP growth will decline to 6.5% from 7.2%, stated by domestic rating agency information and credit rating agency (ICRA).
  • The slippages will be driven by the slowdown in growth of the industry and services, offsetting the healthy agricultural expansion during the period, the agency added.

Bharti Airtel to acquire Telenor India

  • The country's largest telecom services provider, Bharti Airtel (Airtel) has officially announced that it will acquire Telenor India. Although both the companies did not disclose the deal size, internal sources from the companies said it ranges between Rs. 6,500 crore and Rs. 7,000 crore. 
  • According to Telenor, the transaction will not trigger any impairment. As part of the agreement, Airtel will acquire Telenor India’s running operations in seven circles  Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, UP (East), UP (West) and Assam. 

Karnataka Bank bags 2 awards

  • Karnataka Bank has bagged two ‘IBA-Banking Technology’ awards. The bank was the winner in ‘Best financial inclusion initiatives (small bank)’ category, and was runner-up in ‘Best use of digital and channels technology (small bank)’ category. 
  • IBA-Banking Technology award recognises and rewards individuals, professionals and banks who have recorded noteworthy technology and business benefits in 2016.

Bharat Financial Inclusion Ltd launches instant microloan facility

  • Hyderabad based non-banking finance company Microfinance institution Bharat Financial Inclusion Ltd launched an instant loan approval at a village near Bassi in Jaipur district, Rajasthan. 
  • The objective of this initiative to help rural areas embrace cashless transactions. The loan amount will be  deposited directly to the loanees bank account.The loan facility based on a three-step verification process of Aadhar-based eKYC, credit bureau authentication and e-Sign and non collateral loans up to Rs 60,000 for one year to rural women. 
  • It will be rolled out by June 2017 in all microfinance company's nationwide network with several being in Rajasthan, Bihar and Delhi.

Nasscom signs MoU with ITAC Japan 

  • The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) with the IoT Acceleration Consortium (ITAC) Japan.
  • To collaborate to address digital technology shifts and accelerate IoT (Internet of Things) adoption at a global level across the industry.

AAI, IATA launch e-billing solution SKYREV360 for airport operators

  • The state run Airports Authority of India, along with International Air Transport Association (IATA) launched its e-billing solution for airport operators and air navigation services providers across the world.
  • The e-billing solution, SKYREV360 developed by in-house experts the electronic billing solution for data, e-invoicing and collection of tariff from the airlines is being used by the AAI for several years now.

N Chandrasekaran elected chairman of Indian Hotels

  • N Chandrasekaran has been elected as the Chairman of its board of directors. N Chandrasekaran has been elected as the Chairman of the board of directors of the company with effect from February 22, 2017 vide a written resolution of the Board.
  • He was initially appointed as a Member of the board on January 27, 2017 Chandrasekaran had taken over as Chairman of Tata Sons on February 21, becoming the first non Parsi Chairman of the USD 103 billion Tata Group after heading its crown jewel TCS for years.

FreeCharge CEO Govind Rajan Quits

  • The chief executive officer of Jasper Infotech-owned digital payments platform FreeCharge, Govind Rajan has submitted his resigned.
  • Snapdeal’s chief strategy and investment officer, Jason Kothari will oversee the business operations of FreeCharge.

Suresh Prabhu unveils Antyodaya Express for common man

  • i. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu unveiled Antyodaya Express for common man Equipped with cushioned seats, aluminium composite panels, and LED lights, the Antyodaya Express, a new fully unreserved train for the common man with specially designed colourful coaches.
  • ii. The first Antyodaya Express will be launched between Mumbai and Tatanagar, and the second will be between Ernakulam and Howrah shortly

WTO's trade facilitation agreement comes into effect

  • The WTO's trade facilitation agreement, which seeks to ease customs norms, came into effect from with its two-thirds members ratifying the pact. The TFA, which has been ratified by India, will give a boost to the global trade, which has been impacted due to slowdown in the world economy. 
  • According to experts, the agreement comes at a time when India's efforts to improve exports are gaining momentum.The 164-member World Trade Organisation (WTO) in a statement stated that a major milestone for the global trading system was reached as the first multilateral deal concluded in the 21-year history of the multi-lateral trade body entered into force.

Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin dead at 64

  • Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin has died in New York City. He was 64.
  • Churkin has been Russia’s envoy at the United Nations for a little over a decade and was considered Moscow’s great champion at the UN.

Mithali, Harmanpreet in top-10 of ICC rankings

  • India’s one day captain Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur were placed 2nd and 10th in the ICC batswomen’s rankings released after the World Cup qualifier that ended recently. 
  • Meg Lanning of Australia leads the charts with 804 points while Raj with 733 points is second in the list. Harmanpreet, known for her towering sixes has 574 points. 

Adidas Ties Up With FIFA U-17 World Cup For Mission XI Million

German Sportswear giant Adidas announced its ties up with FIFA U-17 World Cup Local Organizing Committee for the Mission XI Million programme. 

India to host 2019 Combined World Cup for shooting

  • The National Rifle Association of India(NRAI) announced that India will be hosting the Combined World Cup for shooting in 2019 during the meeting held in New Delhi.
  • Combined World Cup will a qualifying event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It will comprises all the three categories shotgun, rifle and pistol.
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