20 February 2017 - Daily Current Affairs

20 February 2017 - Daily Current Affairs

20 February 2017 - Daily Current Affairs

Feb 20: World Day of Social Justice

  • The World Day of Social Justice is observed every year on Feb 20 to recognize the need to promote efforts to tackle issues such as poverty, exclusion and unemployment with the theme “Workers on the Move: the Quest for Social Justice”.
  • The day is an opportunity to recognize social and economic injustices in the world — and to find ways to help those affected.
  • It aims to break down the barriers created by gender, class, race, sexuality and religion to create a world that promotes health, opportunity and justice for all. 

India to Host World Environment Day 2018 on June 05

  • India will be the Global Host for World Environment Day (WED) 2018 which is observed annually on June 5 with the central theme ‘Plastic Pollution”.
  • For this, Letter of Intent (LoI) was signed between India and UN Environment in New Delhi. 
  • A week-long environmental awareness campaign and pollution mitigation activities will be planned in Delhi and other parts of the country. 

World Information Technology Congress 2018 inaugurated

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated World Information Technology Congress (WITC) 2018 in Hyderabad, Telangana via video conference with the theme ‘Future Enterprises.’
  • India is hosting WITC 2018 for the first time.
  • The WITC 2018 was hosted by Telangana Govt, in association with country’s top IT body, National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) and global IT organization World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA). 

India’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI) centre in Mumbai

  • The Maharashtra Govt will set up the India’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI) centre in Mumbai.
  • The plan will be launched by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for the institute during the Magnetic Maharashtra Summit and at the Global Economic Conference in Canada in March 2018.
  • The AI institute will give a fresh impetus to the fourth industrial revolution, and promote Mumbai as an investment destination in innovations and data analysis.
  • The main aim of the centre is to integrate artificial intelligence in the field of social development.

National Conference “Agriculture 2022- Doubling Farmers’ Income” 

  • The Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW) has organized a National Conference under the title of “Agriculture 2022 – Doubling Farmers’ Income” at National Agriculture Science Complex (NASC), Pusa, New Delhi. 
  • It aims to identify various critical issues relating to agriculture and farmers’ welfare and finding appropriate solutions.
  • It also aims to build a consensus around appropriate recommendations that will help in shaping and sharpening the vision of the Govt on Doubling Farmers’ Income by 2022 into actionable points. 

PM flags off Palace Queen Hamsafar Express

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the Palace Queen Humsafar Express between Mysuru and Udaipur in Mysuru Railway Station.
  • Both the Mysuru Palace and Udaipur palace are iconic tourist attractions and this special train will create a new tourist circuit connecting North India and the South. 
  • The train between Mysuru and Udaipur will act as a backbone of tourism, an employment generating industry.
  • The electrified Mysuru-Bengaluru Railway Line are also dedicated to the nation by PM.

‘Mission Buniyaad’ to improve learning skills

  • The Delhi govt launched “Mission Buniyaad” for improving learning skills of children studying in state and municipal-run schools.
  • Under the programme which will run from April to June for Class 3 to 5 in MCD and Class 6 to 8 in govt’s schools, children will undergo a reading level assessment based on which they will be enrolled in specialised “Mission Buniyaad” classes.
  • The programme is being designed on the lines of Delhi govt’s ‘Chunauti scheme’.

Cabinet approves creation of National Urban Housing Fund 

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given approval for creation of National Urban Housing Fund (NUHF) for Rs.60,000 crores. 
  • This fund will be situated in Building Materials and Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC), an autonomous body registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
  • The Ministry has so far sanctioned 39.4 lakh houses under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban).
  • NUHF will facilitate raising requisite funds in next four years so that flow of Central Assistance under different verticals i.e. Beneficiary Linked Construction (BLC), Affordable Housing in Parternership (AHP), In-Situ Slum Redevelopment (ISSR) and Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS) is sustained and construction of houses to address the gap in Urban Sector progresses smoothly.

Moody’s, Fitch put PNB ratings under review for downgrade

  • Moody’s Investors Service placed Punjab National Bank’s (PNB) rating under review for downgrade after the lender reported a ₹11,500 crore fraud. 
  • The Viability Rating measures credit worthiness of a financial institution and reflects the likelihood of the entity to fail. 
  • It expects that PNB will need to provide for at least a substantial portion of the exposure. 
  • As a result, the bank’s profitability will likely come under pressure, although the actual impact will depend on the timing and quantum of provisions that need to be made, as well as any prospects for recovery,” it said.
  • Fitch Ratings placed PNB on a Viability Rating of ‘BB’ on Rating Watch Negative (RWN).

Singapore to impose carbon tax from 2019

  • Singapore would impose a carbon tax from next year to cut its greenhouse gas emissions and make companies more competitive as global agreements on climate change take effect. 
  • The tax would be levied on all facilities producing 25,000 tonnes or more of greenhouse gas emissions a year. 
  • The tax, to be applied to all sectors, will be Sg$5.0 ($3.8) per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions from 2019 to 2023, after which the levy will be reviewed and possibly raised to between Sg$10 and Sg$15 per tonne by 2030.
  • Singapore ranks 26th out of 142 countries in terms of emissions per capita based on the latest International Energy Agency data largely due to its small size and dense population.

Govt extends transmission charge waiver to solar, wind power till Mar 2022

  • The Union Power Ministry extended waiver of inter-state power transmission charges and losses for solar and wind power projects commissioned till 31 March 2022 in order to give boost to clean energy sources. 
  • The waiver will be available to solar and wind projects for 25 years from date of commissioning provided developers sign power purchase agreements with entities, including power distribution companies (discoms), for sale of power for compliance of their renewable purchase obligation.
  • The order assumes significance in view of India’s ambitious target of having 175GW of renewable energy capacities (100GW of solar, 60GW of wind energy, 10GW energy from Biomass and 5 GW from Hydel). 
  • At present, India’s installed renewable generation capacity is 62.84 GW excluding large hydro projects above 25 MW.
  • The Union Govt also has planned to auction 40GW of solar energy capacities and 20GW of wind projects in 2018-19 and 2019-20 to meet the tall order. 

NABARD launches Rs 1,918 cr area development plan for Punjab

  • The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) announced area development plans worth Rs 1,918 crore for Punjab to supplement farmers’ income.
  • Under the plan, the activities like dairy, vegetable cultivation, bee keeping, mushroom growing will be promoted in order to provide income to farmers at sustainable basis. 
  • The investment credit growth in Punjab went down from 37 per cent in 2013-14 to 18 per cent in 2016-17 while the overall investment credit growth in India has gone up from 25 to 35 per cent.

Amazon launches its first food retail service in India

  • Amazon has become the first foreign e-commerce firm to start its own food retail venture in India called Amazon Retail, piloting its services in Pune.
  • It will reportedly be available on Amazon India platform and sell locally made and packaged food to the consumers directly.
  • Amazon also has Amazon Now app, which connects retailers with customers for sale of groceries.

PhonePe partners with IOCL

  • The online payment service provider, PhonePe partnered with Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) for adoption of its indigenously-designed Point of Sale (POS) device at IOCL retail outlets. 
  • As part of this partnership, customers can pay using UPI, credit and debit cards, PhonePe wallet and other external wallets like Jio Money & Freecharge for their fuel purchases, through the PoS device at 30 IOCL retail outlets in Bengaluru. 

44th Khajuraho Dance Festival 2018 held in Madhya Pradesh

  • The 44th Khajuraho Dance Festival 2018 held at the temple town in Chhatarpur district in Madhya Pradesh.
  • The fest is being organised by the culture department of the Madhya Pradesh govt.
  • It will showcase classical dances including Kathak, Odissi, Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathakali and Mohiniattam.
  • This year, the Art Mart (which is part of the festival) would showcase paintings of international artists from Germany, France and China among other countries.

Global Digital Health Partnership Summit In Australia

  • The Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, J P Nadda addressed the Global Digital Health Partnership Summit, at Canberra, Australia.
  • The Union Health Minister spoke on the topic: Making Digital Health Services a Priority in Healthcare Reform. 

Magnetic Maharashtra investor summit held in Mumbai

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the ‘Magnetic Maharashtra’ Convergence Summit 2018 at the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) grounds at Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC). 
  • This is Maharashtra’s first Global Investors Summit and is being regarded as one of the biggest such events, especially on the lines of the ‘Make In India’ initiative launched by the Prime Minister in 2016 in Mumbai.
  • The summit is being attended by the top names from India Inc as well as prominent global corporates.

India successfully test-fires nuclear capable Agni-II

  • India successfully test-fired its medium range nuclear capable Agni-II missile with a strike range of 2,000 km from Abdul Kalam Island off Odisha coast.
  • The trial of the surface-to-surface missile was conducted from a mobile launcher at the Launch Complex-4 of the integrated test range.
  • The Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile has already been inducted into the services.
  • The 20-mt-long Agni-II ballistic missile has a launch weight of 17 tonne and can carry a payload of 1,000 kg over a distance of 2,000 kms.
  • Agni-II, a two-stage missile, equipped with advanced high accuracy navigation system and guided by a unique command and control system was propelled by solid rocket propellant system.
  • It was developed by the Advanced Systems Laboratory along with other DRDO laboratories and integrated by the Bharat Dynamics Limited, Hyderabad.
  • The missile is part of the Agni series of missiles which includes the Agni-I with a 700 km range, Agni-III with a 3,000 km range, Agni-IV and Agni-V both having long range capabilities.

UK and India upgrade joint research on clean water and clean energy

  • United Kingdom and India launched joint research projects on ‘Water Quality Research’ and ‘Energy Demand Reduction in Built Environment’.
  • The ‘Water Quality Research’ programme has 8 projects and ‘Energy Demand Reduction in Built Environment’ programme has 4 projects, with total joint investment of up to £15 million. 
  • It aims to deliver mutual benefits and research solutions not only to UK and India but also to address shared global sustainable development goals – clean water and clean energy. 
  • It aims to equip local communities, policymakers, regulators and businesses with information and solutions they need to secure provision of clean water, rejuvenate rivers and restore ecosystems. 

Saudi Arabia allows women to open their own businesses without male consent

  • Saudi Arabia has allowed women to open their own businesses and benefit from govt e-services without having to prove consent from husband or male guardian.
  • The expansion of female employment is under Saudi Arabia’s new reform plan for a post-oil era. 
  • Earlier, under guardianship system, women were required to present proof of permission from husband, male guardian, father or brother, to do any government paperwork, travel or enrol in classes.
  • Waiver of this requirement is a significant move on part of Saudi government’s initiative to create gender-neutral society. 

Milkbasket recognised as ‘Startup of the Year’ 2017

  • Milkbasket, India’s first and largest micro-delivery platform has been recognised as ‘Startup of the Year’ 2017 at the 7th Small Business Awards. 
  • The startup of the year award is dedicated to young SMEs, aged 7 years or less, with great potential to become big in local/international markets.
  • It was organised by Franchise India Group.
  • Anant Goel is the CEO of Milkbasket.

Arvind P. Jamkhedkar named new Chairman of ICHR

  • Archaeologist and historian, Arvind P. Jamkhedkar named the new Chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR).
  • He will replace Prof. K. Sudershan Rao, whose term as ICHR chief was mired in controversy.

Federer Wins Rotterdam for 97th Title

  • The Swiss star, Roger Federer won his 97th career title by cruising past Grigor Dimitrov in the Rotterdam Open final. 
  • The 36-year-old is now the oldest player to ever be world No 1. And Federer’s Rotterdam title means he beats Nadal to another achievement.
  • The veteran is now the first man to win 20 ATP 500 World Tour titles.

Australia’s most-capped female player Blackwell retires

  • Australia’s most-capped female player and vice-captain Alex Blackwell has announced her retirement from international and state cricket. 
  • She made her debut for Australia in a one-day international against England in 2003, and went on to play 251 matches across all three formats for her country.
  • She became just the fourth female Australian to pass 5,000 runs when she batted in the Test, Twenty20 and One-Day arenas, compiling 5,250 runs.

Gundu Hanumantha Rao passes away

  • Gundu Hanumantha Rao, the noted Telugu film comedian, passed away in Hyderabad, Telangana.
  • He is known for his roles in Pellaniki Premalekha Priyuraliki Subhalekha (1992), Rajendrudu Gajendrudu, Mayalodu, Jodi No.1, Nenu Seetamahalakshmi, Kedi No.1, etc. 

Didier Lockwood passes away

  • The noted French jazz violinist, Didier Lockwood passed away in Paris.
  • He was known for his use of electric amplification and experimentation on different sounds on the electric violin.
  • Lockwood was a disciple of the late Stephane Grappelli.

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