21 February 2017 - Daily Current Affairs

21 February 2017 - Daily Current Affairs

21 February 2017 - Daily Current Affairs

‘International R&D Conclave’ inaugurated in New Delhi 

  • The Union Minister of State (IC) for Power and New & Renewable Energy, R.K. Singh has inaugurated the international R&D Conclave’ in New Delhi. 
  • The two-day conference, organised by Central Electricity Authority (CEA), aimed on Emerging Opportunities and Challenges of R&D in Indian Power Sector.

Crèche Facility to come up at Parliament House

  • The Parliament House is setting up crèche facility on its premises for establishing inclusive and supportive work environment for its women employees.
  • The setting up is in line with provisions of Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017.
  • It aims to bring in visible impact by pushing other private establishments, central and state owned organizations to set up crèche facility, to aid mothers. 
  • It will be 1500 sq-foot centre and guarded by professionals, ensuring all-round development of children and will also have separate feeding room to aid mothers.
  • The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 makes it mandatory for workplaces with more than 50 employees to provide mandatory crèche facility. 

India 12th worst among low-income countries in Newborn mortality rate

  • According to the UNICEF latest report, India has been ranked 12th-worst among 52 low-middle income countries based on the number of children dying within the first month of their birth, which is 25.4 per 1,000 live births.
  • Japan, with an NMR of 0.9 deaths per 1,000 live births, has been ranked the world’s safest country in which to be born followed by Iceland (1) and Singapore (1.1).
  • The US’s NMR stands at 3.7, only slightly better than lower-middle income countries like Sri Lanka and Ukraine, and is ranked 15 among high-income countries.
  • Pakistan is the worst with 45.6 newborn deaths per 1,000 live births.,
  • This is for the first time United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) come out with rankings based on their newborn mortality rate (the number of deaths per 1,000 live births).
  • Unicef says newborn survival is closely linked to a country’s income level.
  • High-income countries have an average NMR of just 3.
  • In comparison, low income countries have an NMR of 27.
  • If every country brought its NMR to the high-income average, or below, by 2030, 16 million newborn lives could be saved.

Google launches Google Pay 

  • Technology giant Google has launched a new payments app called Google Pay in order to take on Apple Pay.
  • Earlier, Google had announced it would combining both of its payment apps, Android Pay and Google Wallet, to make Google Pay.
  • The platform includes features like the ability to pay at checkout counters with a smartphone, or pay for public transportation.

Cabinet approvals

Approves methodology for auction of commercial coal mines to private sector

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved methodology for auction of coal mines/blocks for sale of coal to private sector under Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015 and Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957.
  • It will allow power cement and steel producers to source fuel more efficiently.

Approves Silkyara Bend-Barkot Tunnel in Uttarkhand

  • The CCEA approved construction of 4.531 km long 2-Lane Bi-Directional Silkyara Bend-Barkot Tunnel in Uttarakhand as part of ‘Chardham Mahamarg Pariyojana’.
  • The project will come along NH-134 (old NH-94) in Uttarakhand and will be built under Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Mode. 
  • The total project cost is Rs. 1383.78 crore inclusive of cost towards Land Acquisition & Rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities as well as Maintenance and Operation cost of tunnel for 4 years.
  • The project will be implemented by Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH), through National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd. (NHIDCL). 

Approves India-Morocco Cooperation Agreement in Railway Sector

  • The Union Cabinet approved Cooperation Agreement between India and Moroccan National Railways Office (ONCF) to develop long-term cooperation and partnership in different areas of railway sector.
  • It aims to enable technical cooperation in training and staff development; expert missions, exchange of experience and personnel and mutual technical assistance, including exchanging of experts.

Jaipur’s Gandhi Nagar becomes country’s first all-women railway station

  • The Gandhi Nagar railway station in Jaipur has become the country’s first major railway station to be fully-managed by women.
  • The North Western railways (NWR) has deployed a female employee on every single post in the station, making it the first such station in the country. 
  • This is a step towards empowering women to show that they too are capable of independently handling a major railway station.
  • Gandhi Nagar is important railway station in Jaipur situated on the Jaipur-Delhi rail route with more than 50 trains passing through the station out of which 25 halting at the station.
  • The station has footfall of more than 7,000 passengers every day.

Rajiv Kumar committee to study Brahmaputra and flood control measures in Assam

  • The Union Govt has constituted a committee headed by Rajiv Kumar, the Vice Chairman of the NITI Aayog, to study the Brahmaputra and flood control measures in Assam and neighboring states. 

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri wins the best film award

  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri won the best film award at the 71st British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England.
  • The movie was directed by Martin McDonagh.
  • The movie is about a woman seeking justice for her daughter’s murder.

Star India got the audio-visual production rights of IPL-2018

  • The official broadcaster for the Indian Premier League (IPL), Star India has got the audio-visual production rights of the 11th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL-2018).
  • The 2018 IPL will be held in Mumbai, Maharashtra from April 7 to May 27.
  • The announcement was made when the BCCI opened the bids for the audio-visual production rights for the IPL and the 2018-19 domestic cricket season.

M.S. Anantharaman passes away

  • Noted violinist M.S. Anantharaman, an exponent of Parur style of violin playing, has passed away in Chennai, Tamil Nadu at the age of 94.
  • The Parur School is known for its violin recital by mixing the basic features of Carnatic and Hindustani styles.
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