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Important Current Affairs of 7th March

National :

Cabinet approves promulgation of Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Ordinance, 2019

• Union Cabinet approved the proposal for promulgation of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Ordinance, 2019. 

• The Ordinance will ensure that the Constitutional provisions of reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and the socially and educationally backward classes in the faculty recruitment will be protected.

• This will ensure that the process of recruitment of faculty is resumed and the vacancies are filled up.

• The decision will allow filling up of more than five thousand vacancies by direct recruitment in Teachers cadre. 

CCEA approves construction of a 3rd railway line between Narayangarh in West Bengal

• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the construction of a 3rd railway line between Narayangarh in West Bengal and Bhadrak in Odisha of 155 kilometres length. 

• The total estimated cost of this project is over Rs 1866 crore and will be completed by 2023-24. 

• This will also help in generating direct employment for about 37 lakh man-days.

Poorest of poor and uneducated women left behind in Integrated Child Development Scheme: Report

• As per a paper published in WHO bulletin recently, the poorest of the poor and uneducated women are not being covered under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS).

• The Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) provides a package of services at anganwadi or child-care centres to young children and pregnant women and lactating mothers.

• These services include supplementary nutrition, referral services, immunisation, health check-up, pre-school non-formal education and health and nutrition education.

• The study also said that mothers without any schooling were the lowest beneficiaries.

PM-STIAC: Nine Science and Technology Missions and other Projects

• The Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government, Prof. K. Vijay Raghvan shared details of the nine national missions guided by the Prime Minister Science, Technology & Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC).

• The PM-STIAC aims to facilitate the process of collaboration and focus needed to solve complex problems in a reasonable time-frame.

• The Union Government is catalysing collaborations across scientific ministries, research institutions and industry partners, through the PM-STIAC, to leverage cutting edge scientific research for societal benefit.

• 4 meetings of the PM-STIAC have been held since October 2018 and key national missions emerged from the discussions. Each mission is being led by a lead Ministry and will engage international and national institutional partners, young scientists and industry.

Prime Minister launches key development projects at Kalaburagi and Kancheepuram

• The Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched key development projects at Kalaburagi in Karnataka and Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu.

• At Kalaburagi in Karnataka, the Prime Minister dedicated the ESIC Hospital and Medical College, Bengaluru to the nation.

• He also inaugurated the Super Specialty Block of KIMS in Hubali, the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal building in Bangalore and the Women’s Hostel for Students from North Eastern Region at Bangalore University.

• At Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu, the Prime Minister launched various National Highway projects, including the foundation stone for the four laning of NH-45C from Vikravandi to Thanjavur and the six laning of Karaipettai – Walajapet section of NH-4.

• He dedicated the 5 MMTPA capacity Ennore LNG Terminal to the nation.

• The Prime Minister also unveiled the statue of Dr MG Ramachandran at Dr. MGR Janaki College of Arts & Science for Women, Chennai.

Uttar Pradesh gets highways projects worth over Rs 1 Lakh Crore

• Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated National Highways projects worth Rs 1, 10, 154 crore in Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh.

• He inaugurated foundation stone for several works under Namami Gange programme worth over Rs 1969.57 crore.

• The National Highways include four-laning of Lucknow-Sultanpur section on NH-56, four-laning of Kursi Road–Ayodhya Road section of Lucknow ring road, four-laning of Ghaghra Bridge to Budhanpur section on NH-233, widening of Sonoli-Gorakhpur section on NH-29E, widening of Barabanki-Jarwal Road Junction on NH-28C, etc.

• The foundation stone for construction of Lucknow-Kanpur Expressway was also laid.

• Several projects under Namami Gange programme were launched including laying of sewerage network of 214.88 km in Prayagraj at a cost of Rs 260.86 crore, laying of sewerage network of 69 km including 2 STPs of 9MLD capacity in Garh Mukteshwar, etc.

Shri Vishwakarma Skill University, National Institute of Technical Teacher’s Training and Research sign MoU

• A Memorandum of Understating (MoU) between Shri Vishwakarma Skill University (SVSU) and National Institute of Technical Teacher’s Training and Research (NITTTR) was signed.

• The MoU will be in force for a period of three years. 

• The collaboration targets to ensure purposeful engagement of Faculty, Experts and Industry Partners for various academic activities.

• The collaboration seeks to support Vision and Mission of both Institutions related to Technical and Vocational Education, Training and Research.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister lays foundation stone for Doon-Mussoorie ropeway project

• Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat laid the foundation stone for the Dehradun-Mussoorie ropeway project.

• The 300-crore rupees ropeway project is expected to be completed in three years.

• It will be one of the world's longest ropeways, and will shorten the one-hour zigzag drive to just 15 minutes from Purkul village the base camp at Dehradun to Mussoorie.

• Poma, a French company which manufactures cable-driven projects, will provide the technical support to the ropeway which will be built on the PPP mode

Madhya Pradesh: Ancient tribal language Gondi to be taught in tribal districts

• In Madhya Pradesh, ancient tribal language Gondi will be taught in tribal districts.

• Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath decided to include Gondi in the primary education curriculum of the state's tribal-dominated districts.

• The rapid decline in the number of people who speak that tongue is a matter of concern. Hence, the Chief Minister stressed on the need to save it.

Justice SA Bobde nominated as Executive Chairman of NALSA

• President Ram Nath Kovind nominated Justice SA Bobde of the Supreme Court as Executive Chairman of National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).

• The post is currently headed by Justice AK Sikri who retired on March 6, 2019.

• The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) is a statutory body constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to provide free Legal Services to the weaker sections of the society.

• NALSA fulfils the provisions under the Article 39A of the constitution which provides for free legal aid to the poor and weaker sections of the society.

International:

ISRO, French space agency CNES sign agreement on maritime security

• National space agency ISRO and its French counterpart CNES signed an agreement to set up a joint maritime surveillance system in the country.

• The two nations will explore putting up a constellation of low-Earth orbiting satellites that will identify and track movement of ships globally and in the Indian Ocean region where France has its Reunion Islands.

• They will initially share data from their present space systems and develop new algorithms to analyse them.

• The agreement comes a year after the two governments initiated broad collaboration plan during French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit in March 2018.

• The two agencies have put up two climate and ocean weather monitoring satellites Megha-Tropiques (of 2011) and SARAL-AltiKa (2013) that are considered as models.

Malaysia joins the International Criminal Court

• Malaysia ratified the Rome Statute making it the 124th State party to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).

• Even though Malaysia had helped to negotiate the Rome Statute, it has been long been reluctant to ratify it.

• The downing of flight MH17 and the Rohingya crisis have focused Malaysia’s attention on the ICC.

• After the election of Mahathir Mohamad as Prime Minister in May 2018, there has been a significant shift in the relationship between the Malaysian government and monarchy.

• The ratification has also stemmed from ambition to see Malaysia playing a more active role in ASEAN and the United Nations.

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Important Current Affairs 6th March 2019

NATIONAL:

TVS Motor Company won the Green Era Award for Sustainability

• TVS Motor Company won the International Sustainability award Green Era Award for Sustainability in Lisbon, Portugal. Tata Motors also won the Quality and Business Excellence Award in acknowledgment of its endeavor to create new benchmarks in product quality.

Rajnath to inaugurate an electronic surveillance project in Assam

• Home Minister Rajnath Singh is to inaugurate an electronic surveillance project in Dhubri district of Assam, a riverine and highly porous stretch along the Bangladesh border.

• The Home Ministry announced that the smart fencing will be operationalized in the 61 km riverine section of the international border in Dhubri district of Assam, where the Brahmaputra river enters into Bangladesh, in a bid to check illegal immigration and smuggling of arms, ammunition, drugs, and cattle.

Mukesh Ambani secured 13th place in the Forbes list of the ultra-wealthy

•  In the release of the latest Forbes list of the ultra-wealthy, Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries, secured 13th place.

• Jeff Bezos remains the world’s richest person with a wealth of $131 billion. Secondly, Bill Gates ranks second with wealth worth $96.5 billion and Warren Buffett in 3rd position.

Geological Survey of India sets up 22 GPS stations across country

• The Geological Survey of India (GSI) launched 22 permanent global positioning system (GPS) stations across India to identify seismically hazardous zones and encourage mapping activities.

• The 22 GPS-Geodetic (pertaining to Geodesy, the science of earth measurement) observatories are located in Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram, Jaipur, Pune, Dehradun, Chennai, Jabalpur, Bhubaneswar, Patna, Raipur, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Gandhinagar Vishakhapatnam, Agartala, Itanagar, Mangan, Jammu, Lucknow, Nagpur, Shillong and Little Andaman.

• Another 13 GPS permanent stations will be operational by March 2020.

• The organization has launched a platform called "Bhuvisamvad" under the Ministry of Mines to facilitate interaction between geo-scientists and university and college students.

Azaadi ke Diwane Museum inaugurated at Red Fort

• Azaadi Ke Diwane’ museum is dedicated to the unsung heroes of the country’s freedom struggle.

• Built by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the museum is the fifth in a series of recently inaugurated ones - the others being:

♦ the Subhash Chandra Bose and  Indian National Army (INA) museum,

♦ the Yaad-e-Jallian museum,

♦ the Museum on 1857 (on the country’s first war of Independence)

♦ the Drishyakala (a museum on Indian Art) — on the sacrifices of India’s freedom fighters.

Coal minister Goyal dedicates 1,000 MW NTPL power project to nation

• The 1,000-MW coal-fired thermal power project of NTPL (Neyveli Tamil Nadu Power Ltd) is a joint venture between NLCIL and TANGEDCO with an equity participation of 89:11.

• Piyush Goyal also dedicated 150-MW solar power projects of NLC India Ltd (NLCIL) in Tamil Nadu.

• Tamil Nadu is the sole beneficiary of the 150 MW renewable power plants of Virudhunagar and Ramanathapuram districts commissioned and dedicated to the nation.

RInfra wins Rs 648 crore contract from AAI to build new airport at Gujarat.

• Reliance Infrastructure (RInra) has bagged a Rs 648 crore contract from the Airport Authority of India (AAI) to build a new greenfield airport at Hirasar, in Rajkotdistrict of Gujarat.

• The new airport is being constructed near National Highway-8B connecting Ahmedabad and Rajkot, nearly 36 km from the existing Rajkot Airport.

• The government recently approved development of the airport at an estimated cost of 1,405 crore.

• The airport must be completed within 30 months from the date of issue of the contract.

Over 93% of rural Indians have toilet access: Govt Survey

• The National Annual Rural Sanitation Survey 2018-19, commissioned by the government has found that nearly 93% of rural India households have access to toilets and of these, 96.5% uses them.

• The survey also re-confirmed the Open Defecation Free (ODF) status of 90.7% villages.

• Since the launch of Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) in October 2014, 50 crore people have stopped defecating in the open.

• Swachh Bharat Abhiyan aims to completely eliminate open defecation in the country by October 2, 2019.

Notun Disha Initiated By Tripura Government.

• The government of Tripura announced ‘Notun Disha’ (New Direction) for assessing the academic level of students in classes III-VIII and then improving their current level.

• It was launched by state Education Minister Ratan Lal Nath.

• Training will be provided by NGOs and educational institutions to 800 teachers.

World Bank to provide 250 Million dollar for NRETP to boost Rural incomes in India

•  The Agreement was signed by Mr. Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of India and Mr. Hisham Abdo, Acting Country Director, World Bank India, in New Delhi.

• The main aim is to promote women-owned and women-led farm and non-farm enterprises across value chains; enable them to build businesses that help them access finance, markets and networks; and generate employment.

• The $250 million loan has a 5-year grace period, and a final maturity of 20 years.

• The National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) which is currently being implemented across 13 states, 162 districts and 575 blocks, has so far mobilised more than 8.8 million women from poor rural households into 7.5 lakh self-help groups (SHGs).

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

RBI fined 7 banks for delayed SWIFT implementation

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed a penalty on 7 Banks for delayed implementation of SWIFT-related operational controls. It fined Rs.4 crore onKarnataka Bank, Rs.3 crore on City Union Bank, Rs.2 crore on DCB Bank and Rs.1 crore on Karur Vysya Bank Ltd., Rs. 4 crore on Indian Bank, Rs.3 crore on IOB and Rs.3 crore onUnited Bank of India for the same violations.

• SWIFT is the global messaging software used for transactions by financial entities. SWIFT stands for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.

• RBI had directed banks on time-bound implementation and strengthening of SWIFT-related operational controls after the Rs.14, 000 crore fraud in Punjab National Bank.

POLICY:

Haryana Cabinet approved the 2019-20 excise policy

• The Haryana Cabinet approved the excise policy for 2019-20, with a revenue target of Rs.7,500 crore. The decision was taken at a meeting under the chairmanship of CM Manohar Lal Khattar.

• The Excise policy emphasizes the launch of Ease of Doing Business (EODB) initiatives involving Application and Grant of Licenses online through the Department's Portal www.haryanatax.gov.in. The Policy also enables liquor manufacturers to market Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) in Tetra Packs (biodegradable) of 180 ML, technically called Nips.

Maharashtra CM Fadnavis unveils states new 5-year industrial policy

• Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis unveiled the state’s new 5-year industrial policy emphasising on high-technology and employment generating businesses.

• The policy which will be effective from 1st of April this year aims to attract investments worth 10 lakh crore rupees.

• The rate of conversion of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) into actual investments was far higher in Maharashtra than the national average.

• The national average of converting Memorandums of Understanding into actual investments, after a period of one year from the agreements being inked, could be pegged at 30-35 per cent

• Maharashtra's average is more than 45 per cent and Magnetic Maharashtra and Make in India in the industrial sector; it has been more than 70 per cent.

• Mr Fadnavis Maharashtra has always been a leader in the industry sector adding that in the last 4-4.5 years, the state has regained its numero uno position.

• Minister for Industries and Mining Subhash Desai said new Industrial Policy aims create nearly 40 lakh jobs by 2023-24.

APPOINTMENTS AND RE-ELCETIVES:

Vedanta has appointed Ajay Kapur as the CEO of its aluminium and power business

• Vedanta has appointed Ajay Kapur as the Chief Executive Officer of its aluminium and power business. He joins Vedanta from Ambuja Cements where he was the MD and CEO for its India business.

• Mr. Kapur brings with him an experience of 31 years across business verticals. He would drive key priorities for the aluminium business, which include a strong focus on volume and cost and improving efficiencies, among others.

Sheikh Ahmad re-elected as President of Olympic Council of Asia

• Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah was officially re-elected for an eighth term as President of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA).

• He won a new five-year term until 2024.

• Tsunekazu Takeda, President of the Japanese Olympic Committee, also retained his position as a vice-president.

INTERNATIONAL:

India to collaborate with 4 countries to increase 3 species of Asian rhinos

•  India is to collaborate with Bhutan, Nepal, Indonesia, and Malaysia to increase the population of three species of Asian rhinos, including the Greater one-horned rhinoceros found in the Indian sub-continent. The five rhino range nations signed a declaration ‘The New Delhi Declaration on Asian Rhinos 2019’ for the conservation and protection of the species at the recently held Second Asian Rhino Range Countries meeting in New Delhi, India.

• The declaration was signed to conserve and review the population of the Greater one-horned, Javan and Sumatran rhinos every four years to reassess the need for joint actions to secure their future.

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Important Current Affairs 5th March 2019

INTERNATIONAL:

Sampriti 2019, joint military exercise between India and Bangladesh, began on 3rd March

• Sampriti 2019, the eight edition of India Bangladesh joint military exercise began on 3rd March 2019. The joint exercise is aimed to increase mutual cooperation between the armies of India and Bangladesh.

Indian Railways celebrate Golden Jubilee of first Rajdhani Express

• The first Rajdhani Express of the Indian Railways network has completed 50 years on March 3, 2019.

• Kolkata’s Howrah Rajdhani Express was the first Rajdhani Express train and the very first fully air-conditioned train introduced by the Indian Railways.

• The Kolkata-New Delhi Rajdhani Express embarked on its maiden journey on March 3, 1969 from Howrah, making it the country's first fully-air conditioned, high-speed train that covered the 1,450 km stretch in 17 hours and 20 minutes.

PM launched 'One Nation One Card' for all modes of travel

• PM Narendra Modi launched the indigenously-developed National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) while inaugurating the first phase of the Ahmedabad metro train service in Ahmedabad.

• Dubbed as 'One Nation One Card' can be used to pay for travelling on any mode of transportation and can also be used to withdraw money and to shop across the country.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurates BOLD-QIT project in Assam

•  Home Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the project BOLD-QIT (Border Electronically Dominated QRT Interception Technique) on India-Bangladesh border in Dhubri District of Assam

• Border Security Force, BSF is responsible for the safeguarding of over four thousand kilometres long International Border with Bangladesh.

• At various places, it is not possible to erect Border Fence due to the geographical barriers.

• The 61 kilometres of the Border area in Dhubri District, where River Brahmaputra enters into Bangladesh is consisting of vast char lands and innumerable river channels thus making border guarding in this area, a daunting task especially during rainy season.

• To overcome this problem, in the year 2017, the Ministry of Home Affairs decided to go for a technological solution besides the physical presence of manpower of BSF.

Sanjeev Ranjan to be designated as Secretary at MoRTH

• As a part of a top-level bureaucratic reshuffle affected by the central government according to a Personnel Ministry order, Senior IAS officer Sanjeev Ranjan has been designated as secretary of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH).

• Nagendra Nath Sinha, who is a managing director in National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation will replace Sanjeev Ranjan as the new NHAI chief.

Global Consumer Confidence Survey topped by India

• India ranked first in the Confidence Board Global Consumer Confidence Survey which was conducted in collaboration with a global performance management company Nielsen Holdings.

• India maintained its 1st position from 3rd quarter and in the 4th quarter of 2018 India’s Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) score is 133.

• South Korea has the most pessimistic consumer who are worried about rising inflation, lower wage growth, unemployment, a weak stock market and global trade uncertainties in the world.

• CCI Confidence Board measured optimism towards job prospects, the health of personal finances and spending intentions in the next 12 months for the survey.

President gave assent to Ordinance for voluntary use of Aadhaar as ID proof for bank account and SIM

• President Ram Nath Kovind has given his approval for an Ordinance which allows voluntary use of Aadhaar as ID proof for opening bank accounts and obtaining mobile SIM.

• Rajya Sabha could not approve the Bill even though Lok Sabha has given its assent. In such a situation an ordinance is necessary as per the law.

• The cabinet has approved it with effect to an Ordinance to give changes proposed in Aadhaar and two other legislation.

• The amendment includes stiff penalties for violation of norms which are set for the use of Aadhaar and violation of privacy.

• The amendment also stated that anyone not offering Aadhaar cannot be denied any service.

Abhinandan Varthaman is to be awarded the first Bhagwan Mahavir Ahimsa Puraskar

• Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman has been chosen for the first Bhagwan Mahavir Ahimsa Puraskar constituted by the Akhil Bharatiya Digambar Jain Mahasamiti. The award carries a cash prize of Rs.2.51 lakh, a memento, and a citation.

• It will be presented to Abhinandan Varthaman onApril 17 the Mahavir Jayanti.

• Abhinandan Varthaman, a wing-commander in the Indian Air Force shot into limelight in the ongoing bilateral tensions between Indian and Pakistan aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack. In the dogfight that followed,  he crossed into Pakistan territory wherein he was struck by missiles. He was captured by the Pakistan Military and was later handed over to India as a peace gesture.’

Prayagraj Kumbh Mela 2019 has made into Guinness World Records

• The Prayagraj Kumbh Mela 2019 has made into Guinness World Records in the following three sectors:

(i) Largest traffic and crowd management plan

(ii) Biggest painting exercise of public sites under paint my city scheme

(iii) Biggest sanitation and waste disposal mechanism

ISRO launches 'Yuva Vigyani Karyakram' for school children.

• Indian Space Research Organisation launched “Yuva VIgyani Karyakram”, a “Young Scientist Programme” for the School Children to be studying in the ninth standard.

• ISRO Scientists will impart basic knowledge on Space Technology, Space Science and Space Applications to the young ones with the intent of arousing their interest in the emerging areas of Space activities.

•  “Catch them young” residential training programme will be of around two weeks duration during summer holidays with a proposal to select 3 students from each State and Union Territory, covering CBSE, ICSE and State syllabus.

• Government asked scientific institutions in the country to mentor young minds in the area of basic science.

• It has launched the YUVA programme.

Centre banned Jamaat e lslami of Jammu and Kashmir for 5 years

• The Ministry of Home Affairs has banned the Jamaat-e-lslami of Jammu and Kashmir for a period of 5 years under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The Organisation has been indulging in activities, which are prejudicial to internal security and public order and have the potential of disrupting the unity and integrity of the Country. The decision of banning the outfit was taken to avoid escalation of the secessionist movement in J&K.

SPORTS:

Punia won a gold medal in International wrestling tournament in Bulgaria

• India’s star wrestler Bajrang Punia won a gold medal in the 65kg freestyle final at the Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov International wrestling tournament in Ruse, Bulgaria. Bajrang Punia defeated Jordan Olivier of USA. In the last six international tournaments, this is his 5th win.

• He was ranked the world No.1 wrestler in 65kg category by United World Wrestling (UWW) in November 2018.

• After the win, Bajrang dedicated his gold to Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.

Cricket to be included in 2022 Asian Games

• Cricket is included in the sports programme for the 2022 Asian Games to be held in Hangzhou, China.

• The decision was reportedly taken at the Olympic Council of Asia's (OCA) General Assembly.

• Cricket was omitted from the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia after featuring in 2010 and 2014.

• In India’s absence, Sri Lanka - among men - and Pakistan — among women - had clinched the gold in 2014. In 2010, Bangladesh clinched the men’s title, and Pakistan the women’s title.

Roger Federer wins his 100th career title in Dubai

• Roger Federer is the second man to achieve the feat after America’s Jimmy Connors who ended his career with 109 titles.

• Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships to win his 100th career singles' title.

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Important Current Affairs of 4 March

NATIONAL:

April 2019 to March 2020 declared as Construction Technology year

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared April 2019-March 2020 as Construction-Technology year at the Construction Technology India-2019 Expo-cum-conference in New Delhi.

• Construction-Technology year emphasizes the role of advanced technology to meet the increasing demand for housing in the country. The declaration of Construction year aims to gives the housing sector a new pace by using the latest technologies available in the world. India has even launched the Global Housing Technology Challenge to fast-track the construction of affordable housing and meet the target of constructing 1.2 crore houses by 2022.

Usha Thorat-led task force to ensure stability of external value of rupee

• The Reserve Bank of India constituted an eight-member task force on offshore rupee markets, headed by Usha Thorat former Deputy Governor, to look into issues related to the markets and recommend appropriate policy measures to ensure the stability of the external value of the rupee.

• The terms of reference of the task force include assessing the causes behind the development of the offshore rupee market; study the effects of the offshore markets on the rupee exchange rate and market liquidity in the domestic market; and recommend measures to address concerns, if any, that may arise out of offshore rupee trading.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairs National Security Council meet

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting of the National Security Council on Sunday following heightened tensions with Pakistan

• He Official sources said the meeting was attended by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

• The NSA is tasked with advising the prime minister on matters of national security.

• It was set up by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 1998, with Brajesh Mishra as the first National Security Advisor (NSA).

Sushma Swaraj addresses OIC Foreign Ministers plenary session in Dubai

• External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj addressed the plenary session of the foreign ministers’ meet of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation states in Abu Dhabi.

• She presented a picture of the secular fabric of India and began the speech by saying that she stands as a representative of land that has been for ages a fountain of knowledge, a beacon of peace, a source of faiths and traditions, and home to religions from the world.

Centre, ADB sign 926 million loan agreement to operationalize two lines of Mumbai Metro

• The Union Government on March 1, 2019 signed a 926 million dollar loan agreement to operationalize two of the Mumbai Metro Rail System.

• The move will ease the distress of millions of commuters each day and help provide a cleaner and less congested city. The loan agreement was signed by Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary (Fund Bank and ADB), Department of Economic Affairs, on the behalf of the Indian Government and Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director of ADB's India Resident Mission on behalf of ADB.

• The carriages procured under this project will feature high-level safety features and automation, including surveillance systems, door closing, and train obstacle detectors.

Govt approves Adani Powers Rs 14,000 crore Jharkhand SEZ project.

• The government has approved a Rs 14,000-crore special economic zone (SEZ) project of Adani Power in Jharkhand, which will export the entire power generated in the Unit to Bangladesh.

• It will be ready by the end of 2022.

• The company had sought approval for setting up the project over an area of 425 hectares.

• Two supercritical units of 800 MW each would be set up with an investment of Rs 14,000 crore, which would include setting up of a water pipeline and a power evacuation system.

PM Modi flagged off Tejas Express, fastest train between Chennai and Madurai.

• This train will be the fastest in the Chennai-Madurai corridor and is India’s first semi-high speed fully AC luxury train.

• PM Modi also laid the foundation stone for two other projects which will boost rail infrastructure in Tamil Nadu.

• PM laid the foundation stone for the restoration of rail connectivity between Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi. The 17.20 Km railway line project is worth Rs 208 crore.

• Prime Minister also laid the foundation stone for the construction of new bridge Pamban viaduct. This will be India's first ever vertical moving bridge. The cost of this project is Rs 250 crore.

India signed deal with Russian firm to produce 7.5 lakh AK-203 rifles

• For the AK-203 Assault Rifles, the deal was signed between the OFB (Ordnance Factories Board) and the Russian company Concern Kalashnikov.

• The AK-203 rifles, the latest derivative of the AK-47 rifles, will be produced at the Indian Ordnance Factory at Amethi's Korwa.

• The new 7.5 lakh rifles will replace the indigenous INSAS rifles in the Army, Air Force and Navy.

• AK-47, officially known as the Avtomat Kalashnikova, is the most basic model followed by AK 74, 56, 100 series and 200 series.

INTERNATIONAL:

NASA created a deep ocean conditions in lab to study origins of life.

• Scientists from NASA, the U.S. space agency, have reproduced deep ocean conditions in the lab to re-create a life that could have formed on the sea floor four billion years ago.

• The study focuses on how the building blocks of life form in hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor. It could offer clues to how life started on Earth. Hydrothermal vents are places on the seafloor where warm water from under the Earth’s crust mixes with near-freezing seawater. These vents form natural chimneys, which play host to all kinds of ocean life.

• The team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California made their own miniature sea floors by filling beakers with mixtures that mimic Earth’s primordial ocean.

APPOINTMENTS AND RE-APPOINTMENTS:

Macky Sall has been re-elected as the President of Senegal

• Macky Sall has been re-elected as the President of Senegal. He won the re-election with58.27% of votes cast. Under the election system of Senegal if a candidate wins more than 50% votes there would be no second round voting and he would be announced the winner.

Sports:

Shashank Shekhar claimed 10 km Nepals (COAS) Marathon and Run for Fun.

• Shashank Shekhar won the 10-kilometre race of Nepal’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Open Marathon and Run for Fun which was held in Nepal’s Capital- Kathmandu.

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Important Current Affairs of 3 March

National:

7th Guinness Book of World Record Created By DEPwD in Bharuch, Gujarat.

• A National Conference on “Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme (DDRS) was inaugurated by the Union Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot. Mr. Gehlot stated that the “7th Guinness Book of World Record” has been created by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD).

Doordarshan launches Rock the Night, a programme for rock music.

• Doordarshan today launched Rock the Night, a brand new programme for rock music. This programme will air at DD National from 5th of March. DD has envisioned Rock the Night as a platform for indie rock bands to showcase their talent.

• The show is dedicated to the soldiers who keep the nation safe. He also expressed his love for artists like Cliff Richards, The Bee Gees, and Smokie.

• The crept in the Indian indie rock bands. Director General of Doordarshan, Supriya Sahu said, DD is the heartbeat of the nation.

India’s Food grain output in 2018-19 maybe 281.37 MT: Second Advance Estimate.

• The second advance estimates for the production of most of the crops for the agricultural year 2018-19 been released by the Ministry of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare.

• Data on Production of Food Crops:

♦ Food grains  –  281.37 million tonnes.

♦ Rice – 115.60 million tonnes. (record)

♦ Nutri / Coarse Cereals – 42.64 million tonnes.

♦ Maize – 27.80 million tonnes.

♦ Pulses – 24.02 million tonnes.

♦ Tur – 3.68 million tonnes.

♦ Gram – 10.32 million tonnes.

Cabinet approves Rs 1,450 crore for share capital of RBI in NHB.

• The National Housing Bank (NHB) has been set up to operate as the principal agency to promote housing finance institutions in India.

• Up till now, the authorised capital of NHB stands at ₹2,000 crore of which ₹1,450 crore has been subscribed by RBl. Currently, the capital is fully subscribed by RBl.

IIT (BHU) scientist discovered tadpole-like jets on Sun

• Scientists led by IIT (BHU) researcher Abhishek Srivastava have discovered tadpole-shaped jets coming out of regions with intense magnetic fields on the Sun.

• Formally called pseudo-shocks, the "tadpoles" are made entirely of plasma, which accounts for an estimated 99% of the observable universe.

• It could help understand why corona (Sun's upper atmosphere) is over 200 times hotter than its surface.

Swine Flu cases has increased in Gujarat

• Swine Flu in Gujarat has become an epidemic as almost 100 new cases are reported from across the state per day. So far, 3000 cases and 99 deaths in two months has been reported.

• Since January 1st, 2164 people have fully recovered and have been discharged from hospitals while 853 people are under treatment for H1N1 influenza, which has already claimed 99 lives in this year since January 1st. On average, 80-100 cases and 2-3 deaths are being reported per day for the last two weeks.

Delhi Cabinet approved the reimbursement cost of fitting hydraulic lifts in CNG buses

• The Delhi Cabinet approved the reimbursement cost of fitting hydraulic lifts in 1,000 standard-floor Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses that are going to be procured. In a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Transport Department’s proposal was approved to provide efficient and environmental friendly modes of public transport to Delhiites.

• The hydraulic lifts are to be fitted in 1,000 standard-floor buses, enabling them to be used by differently abled people as directed by both Supreme Court and Delhi High Court. The government has made a commitment before the Supreme Court that it will bear the cost of installation of lifts in 1,000 standard-floor buses.

Cabinet approved the Ordinance for arbitration centre

• The Union Cabinet has approved the promulgation of an Ordinance for establishing the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (NDIAC) in an effort to make India a hub of institutionalized arbitration. The establishment of institutionalized arbitration will be to the advantage of the public and public institutions in terms of quality of expertise and costs incurred.

• The NDIAC will be headed by a chairperson who will be appointed by the Centre in consultation with the Chief Justice of India. There will also be two full-time or part-time members. They will be eminent persons having substantial knowledge and experience in institutional arbitration.

• The NDIAC Bill, 2019, could not be taken up for consideration and passing by the Rajya Sabha in the recently concluded session. Therefore, the government, in view of the urgency to make India a hub of institutionalized arbitration and promote ‘ease of doing business’, has decided to promulgate an Ordinance: ‘The NDIAC, 2019’.

SPORTS:

Chris Gayle Becomes First Player To Smash 500 Sixes In International Cricket

• West Indies opener Chris Gayle become the first batsman ever to smash 500 or more sixes in international cricket. In the 4th ODI against England in Grenada, Gayle scored 162 runs.

• His innings contained a staggering 14 sixes and powered the Windiest to their highest-ever ODI score of 389.

Sanath Jayasuriya banned for 2 years after ICC anti-corruption probe

• The former Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya has been banned for two years from all cricket-related activity by the ICC's anti-corruption unit.

• He was punished for refusing to co-operate with investigations concerning corruption in the country.

• Jayasuriya played 110 Tests, 445 one-day internationals and 31 Twenty20s for Sri Lanka and was also a former captain during his illustrious career between 1989-2011.

• He is also a former member of Sri Lanka's parliament and a former deputy minister

BOOKS:

Arun Jaitley to release book titled Mann Ki Baat - A Social Revolution on Radio in New Delhi

• A book titled, 'Mann Ki Baat - A Social Revolution on Radio' was released by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi.

• The book is a compendium encompassing 50 editions of the 'Mann Ki Baat' programme by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on All India Radio.

• The father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi used to communicate in very simple language with people and his Salt Satyagraha had an electrifying effect.

• Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee travelled, he used to carry a small transistor along to listen to Radio News.

APPOINTMENTS:

Ravneet Gill is appointed as MD and CEO of Yes Bank

• Ravneet Gill, Former India chief of Deutsche Bank, took charge as the Managing Director (MD) and chief executive officer of private sector lender Yes Bank. He will have a three-year term.

• Mr. Gill succeeds Rana Kapoor, the co-founder of the bank, whose term ended on January 31, 2019. Mr.Ajai Kumar, one of the board members, was appointed as the interim CEO after Mr. Kapoor’s term ended. Yes Bank decided to search for a new chief executive after the RBI declined to extend Mr. Kapoor’s tenure beyond January 31, 2019, though the board had endorsed a three-year extension.

Air Marshal Raghunath Nambiar takes over as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Western Air Command

• Air Marshal Raghunath Nambiar, who played a prominent role in the Kargil Operations has taken over as the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Western Air Command of the Indian Air Force.

• The Air Marshal is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy and was commissioned in the Flying Branch of the Air Force as a Fighter Pilot in June 1981.

• The Air Marshal reviewed a ceremonial Guard of Honour yesterday and outlined his vision for the Western Air Command. He exhorted all personnel to work with zeal and enthusiasm so as to enable Western Air Command to fulfil the objectives of the IAF and the nation at large.

• The Air Marshal is an Experimental Test Pilot and has flown about 42 types of aircraft.

INTERNATIONAL:

South Korea to help U.S. and North Korea reach a deal

• South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in announced that South Korea will work with the U.S. and North Korea to ensure they reach agreement on denuclearisation, a day after talks between the U.S. and North Korean leaders collapsed over sanctions.

• A second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in Vietnam, was cut short after they failed to reach a deal on the extent of sanctions relief North Korea would get in exchange for steps to give up its nuclear programme.

• South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in has been an active supporter of efforts to end confrontation on the Korean peninsula, meeting Mr. Kim three times last year and trying to facilitate his nuclear negotiations with the U.S.

OBITURIES:

Sitting Judge of Delhi HC Justice Valmiki J Mehta passed away

• Mehta, who was 59 years old, had assumed office as an Additional Judge of Delhi high court on April 15, 2009.

• Mehta got enrolled with the Bar Council of Delhi in 1982 and began his career in law by practising in the Delhi High Court, district courts and various tribunals in civil matters.

• He was appointed a Senior Advocate at the age of 42, on September 22, 2001.

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Important Current Affairs of 2 March

NATIONAL:

Union Bank of India reduced the MCLR by 10 basis points

• Union Bank of India, the State-run lender, said it had reduced the Marginal Cost of funds-based Lending Rate (MCLR) by 10 basis points across all tenors.

• The lender has reduced its one-year MCLR or the minimum lending rate, against which most of the consumer loans are benchmarked, to 8.60% from 8.70% earlier. The bank has set the new six-month MCLR at 8.50% and two-year at 8.70%.

RBI has formed a task force on the offshore rupee market

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has formed a task force on the offshore rupee market. It will be headed by former Deputy Governor Usha Thorat and will recommend steps for ensuring the stability of the currency.

• The task force shall examine the issues relating to the offshore rupee markets in depth and recommend appropriate policy measures that also factor in the requirement of ensuring the stability of the external value of the rupee. The committee would submit its report by the end of June 2019.

• The task force will assess the causes behind the development of the offshore rupee market, and study the effects on the exchange rate and market liquidity in the domestic market. It would also recommend measures to address concerns arising out of offshore rupee trading.

Growth Rate in the Core Sector witnessed decline

• The data from the Ministry of Commerce and Industries reported that the growth rate eight core sectors which include coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilizers, steel, cement, and electricity witnessed a decline. The core sector which had witnessed a 6.2% growth in January 2018 witnessed a growth rate of 1.8% in January.

• The decline in the output of crude oil, refinery products, and electricity pulled down the growth of eight core sectors to 1.8%. Production of crude oil, refinery products, and electricity contracted 4.3%, 2.6%, and 0.4%, respectively. Coal and cement output slowed to 1.7% and 11% in January as against 3.8% and 19.6% in January 2018, respectively. Natural gas, fertilizers and steel output grew 6.2%, 10.5%, and 8.2 % respectively. The core sector growth would impact the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) as these segments account for about 41 percent of the total industry output.

Tata Steel has been recognised as one of World’s Most Ethical Companies

• Tata Steel has been recognised as one of World's Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere Institute for 2019. Ethisphere Institute is a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices. For the eighth time, Tata Steel has got the recognition in the 'Metals, Minerals and Mining' category. Tata Steel is one of the only two honourees in the 'Metals, Minerals and Mining' industry.

• 128 companies are recognized for exemplifying and advancing corporate citizenship, transparency and the standards of integrity in the year 2019. The honourees are from 21 countries and 50 industries.

• The companies are listed World's Most Ethical Companies based on 5 factors:

♦ Leadership and Reputation

♦ Ethics Compliance Programme

♦ Culture of Ethics

♦ Corporate Citizenship

♦ Responsibility Governance

DCB Bank launches Open Banking Platform for next generation banking solutions.

•  Creating a collaborative ecosystem with enterprises, fintech and app developers, and enhancing customer-service delivery, DCB Bank announced the launch of its Open Banking Platform.

• More than 20 start-ups, fintech, merchants, enterprises and developers are set to partner with DCB Bank for access to its Open Banking Platform APIs (Application programming interface) and collaborate on innovation and customer centric products.

Mainamati Maitree Exercise 2019 held between BSF and BGB.

• Border Security Force (BSF) and Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) concluded a three-day Mainamati Maitree Exercise 2019 as a part of confidence-building measures between the two border guards. The exercise was held in Comilla district of Bangladesh.

• The objective of Mainamati Maitree Exercise 2019 was to plan and conduct anti-smuggling and anti-criminal activity related operations with an aim to achieve better joint operational efficiency and border management in the area. The exercise involved joint patrolling, anti-smuggling drills, and simulated raids on suspected places in both the countries and checking of goods and identity at international check posts.

PNB bank ranks highest in implementation of Reforms Agenda

• Punjab National Bank (PNB) secured top spot among all public sector banks in the implementation of ‘Reforms agenda’.

• PNB topped the list with a score of 78.4 out of 100 in the EASE-index which is followed by BoB (77.8), SBI (74.6), and Oriental Bank of Commerce (69).

• The EASE (Enhanced Access and Service Excellence) report shown significant enhancement in PSB performance on the back of Government’s 4 R's strategy- recognition, recovery, recapitalisation and reforms.

Cabinet approves setting up of 22nd AIIMS at Manethi, Haryana

• The new All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Manethi, District Rewari, and Haryana will be established at a cost of Rs 1,299 crore.

• Like other AIIMS in the country, the AIIMS Rewari will also be set up under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY).

• The new AIIMS will add 100 Undergraduate (MBBS) seats and 60 B.Sc (Nursing) seats.

IRCTC launched its own digital payment gateway 'IRCTC iPay'.

• With a view to promote Government’s Digital India initiative,  the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation(IRCTC) has launched its much awaited own payment aggregator system called "IRCTC iPay”.

• The new system will provide payment options like Credit Card, Debit card, Unified Payment Interface (UPI) and International card.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONAS:

Ajay Narayan Jha became Member of the 15th Finance Commission.

• Shri Ajay Narayan Jha joined the 15th Finance Commission as its Member in place of Shri Shaktikanta Das resigned as a Member of the Commission after being appointed as Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

• A 1982 batch IAS officer of Manipur cadre, he was the Finance Secretary to the Government of India and served as Secretary to the 14th Finance Commission, headed by former RBI Governor, Shri Y.V. Reddy.

• The 15th Finance Commission was constituted by a Presidential Order in November 2017 under the Chairmanship of Shri N. K. Singh to decide the formula for devolution of revenue between Centre and States.

Naresh Goyal agreed to step down as Jet Airways chairman

• This comes weeks after reports suggested that the cash-strapped Jet airline has agreed to most of the conditions set by its second-largest shareholder Etihad for its revival.

• Etihad had agreed to invest in Jet Airways if Goyal stepped down from the board.

• Etihad Airways owns a 24% stake in Jet Airways

• Jet  airline had a gross debt of ₹8,411 crore as of September-end, including aircraft debt of ₹1,851 crore

AGREEMENTS:

RBI have signed a bilateral swap agreement with the Bank of Japan

• Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have signed a bilateral swap agreement with the Bank of Japan. The Swap agreement will provide India access to 75 billion US dollars against the 50 billion dollars under earlier BSA.

• The bilateral swap agreement will provide India to access the reserves if at any point of time when the need arises. The currency swap makes it easier to improve liquidity conditions. Currency swap agreements help when the economic crisis arises.

• The swap agreements also contribute towards stabilizing the country's balance of payments (BOP) position. The agreement aids in improving confidence in the Indian market.

POLICY:

India’s first policy to protect bank locker launched by IFFCO Tokio General Insurance.

•  IFFCO Tokio General Insurance launched ‘bank locker protector policy’, the first stand-alone bank locker cover offered by any insurance company with a plan to protect the contents of a bank locker such as jewellery, title documents, and other valuables.

• The policy offers a cover against various risks including fire, earthquake, burglary, and holdup, infidelity by a bank staff or any act of terrorism.

• Important documents kept in a locker can also be insured under the policy as an add-on cover.

• The policy can be sold both as a retail and a group policy for banks

SPORTS:

Deepak Singh Wins Gold At Makran Cup In Boxing

•  National Boxing champion Deepak Singh (49kg) is the only Indian boxer who won gold medal at Makran Cup in Boxing held at Chabahar, Iran.

The five others claimed silver medals in the Makran Cup in Chabahar, Iran P. Lalitha Prasad (52kg), Commonwealth Games silver-medallist Manish Kaushik (60kg), Duryodhan Singh Negi (69kg), Sanjeet (91kg) and Commonwealth Games silver-medallist Satish Kumar (+91kg) claimed silver medals.

INTERNATIONAL:

Russia, China blocked a US resolution on Venezuela in the UN

• Russia and China vetoed a US resolution at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on addressing the crisis in Venezuela.

• Russia's draft resolution -- which urged a settlement "through peaceful means" and insisted that all humanitarian aid be agreed by Maduro's government -- won only four votes: Russia, China, South Africa and Equatorial Guinea.

• Seven countries including the United States, European countries and Peru opposed the Russian measure and there were four abstentions.

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Important Current Affairs of 1st March

INTERNATIONAL:

India and Sweden intend to increase cooperation on AMR

• Swedish Minister for Health and Social Affairs, Lena Hallengren, who was on a visit to India from 22nd to 25th February 2019, met with Union Health Minister J P Nadda and discussed about Anti-microbial resistance (AMR) which poses a dangerous challenge globally.

• Anti-microbial drugs, when overused, AMR develops as microorganisms such as bacteria, virus and fungi that become resistant to drugs.

• India and Sweden signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate in the field of various issues, including AMR, communicable diseases and public health, in February 2009.

NITI Aayog partnered with Adobe to enhance digital literacy

• NITI Aayog's Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and software major Adobe has signed a Statement of Intent to collaboration enhancing digital literacy and creativity skills.

• Under the agreement, Adobe would implement the Adobe Digital Disha Programme across 100 schools under Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL) initiative. Teachers and Children across these 100 schools would benefit from the creative learning resources via free access to Adobe Spark premium.

Tamil Nadu is the first State in the country to introduce TAVI

• Tamil Nadu is the first State in the country to introduce Tran’s catheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI) in the government sector. The TAVI was launched at the Tamil Nadu Government Multi Super Specialty Hospital (TNGMSSH), Omandurar Estate, in November 2018.

• Tamil Nadu State government entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Heart Team India to perform the procedure for patients at the TNGMSSH. The procedure costs Rs.20 lakh to Rs.25 lakh in the private sector, while it is done free in the government sector.

• Conventionally, open heart surgery is performed for replacing the aortic valve for treating aortic stenosis. But not all patients such as the elderly are fit to undergo open heart surgery. This is where TAVI helps as in this procedure the valve is replaced through a keyhole procedure from the groin.

Government may offer up to Rs 2.5 lakh subsidy for 60,000 e-cars

• To promote green fuel in India via a Rs 10,000-crore package, government has reportedly proposed a subsidy of up to 2.5 lakh on around 60,000 electric cars in India, whereas hybrid cars may get 20,000 over the next three years.

• For electric buses, the subsidy would be up to Rs 60 lakh.

• This subsidy will come into effect in April.

Punjab Govt seeks Rs 412 crore for dam to stop water to Pakistan

• Punjab government has urged the central government to release Rs 412 crore for the construction of a dam at Makora Pattan on the confluence of Ravi and Ujh rivers in Gurdarpur district by considering it as a national project for stopping India’s river water flow into Pakistan.

• The construction of the dam at Makora Pattan would stop about 600 cusecs of river water flowing into Pakistan and Punjab could use this water for irrigation purposes.

• With this project, Punjab government would also be able to provide clean drinking water to 100 villages and six townships.

New railway zone, named Southern Coast Railway to be headquartered in Visakhapatnam

• Railway Minister Piyush Goyal announced a new railway zone for Andhra Pradesh.

• Railway, which will be headquartered in Visakhapatnam, will be the 18th zone in the country.

• The new zone will comprise the existing Guntakal, Guntur and Vijayawada divisions that currently fall under the South Central Railway.

POLICY:

Cabinet approved the National Mineral Policy 2019 on 28th February

• The Union Cabinet approved the National Mineral Policy 2019 on 28th February 2019. The policy is aimed at bringing about more effective regulation to the sector as well as a more sustainable approach while addressing the issues of those affected by mining.

• The policy will also provide a more effective, meaningful and implementable policy that brings in further transparency, better regulation, and enforcement, balanced social and economic growth as well as sustainable mining practices.

• It also aims to increase the share of Indian software products in global market by tenfold, pitches for nurturing of 10,000 technology start-ups in software product industry, including 1,000 such startups in tier-II and tier-III towns.

Union Cabinet approved the National Policy on Software Products

• The Union Cabinet approved the National Policy on Software Products 2019 that aims to help the industry grow at CAGR of 40% to reach $70-80 billion by 2025 while creating employment opportunities for 3.5 million people.

• The policy aims to adopt a shift in strategy so that IT products also contribute equitably and significantly to the industry along with IT services. The government’s initial outlay of Rs.1, 500 crore is being planned for various schemes under in policy in the next seven years.

• Further, the policy proposes to create a Rs.5, 000 crore fund with industry participation to promote emerging technology such as the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Block chain, Big Data, and robotics. Of this, government contribution will be Rs.1, 000 crore.

SCHEME:

HRD launched STARS scheme on 28th February

• The Union Human Resource Minister Prakash Javadekar launched the STARS scheme on National Science Day that is 28th February. STARS are abbreviated as Scheme for Translational and Advanced Research in Science.

• The Ministry has allocated Rs.250 crores for the implementation of the scheme. Under the scheme 500 science projects will be funded whose selection will be made based on competition. Indian Institute of Science (IISC) will be the coordinator of the scheme.

HRD Ministry Launches SHREYAS Scheme

• Union Human Resources Development Minister, Shri Prakash Javadekar, launched the “Scheme for Higher Education Youth in Apprenticeship and Skills (SHREYAS)”.

• Main aim to provide industry apprenticeship opportunities to the general graduates exiting in April 2019 through the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) in New Delhi.

• The program will enhance the employability of Indian youth by providing ‘on the job work exposure’ and earning of stipend.

AGREEMENTS AND MOUS:

India and Brunei signed an agreement to exchange information on tax and banking matters

• India and Brunei signed a pact for exchange of Information and Assistance in Collection with respect to taxes in order to curb tax evasion and tax avoidance in New Delhi.

• This agreement will facilitate both the countries to exchange information, including banking and ownership information for tax purposes and will also avail mutual assistance in collection of tax revenue claims.

AWARDS:

Mahesh Elkunchwar is to receive META Lifetime Achievement Award.

• Mahesh Elkunchwar, an eminent Indian playwright, has been chosen for Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META) Lifetime Achievement Award 2019.

• The award would be conferred on March 12 during the Mahindra Theater Festival.

• Mahesh Elkunchwar is regarded as one of the progressive playwrights of the country and is critically-acclaimed and widely-known for having experimented with a wide range of drama and is considered a powerful force in both Indian and Marathi theatre scene. He has over 30 plays and essays to his credit including works like 'Sultan', 'Holi', 'Garbo', Yatanaghar', and 'Atmakatha'.

CZPDC Bhopal And WZPDC Indore Honoured With Saubhagya Award

• The Central Zone Power Distribution Company (CZPDC), Bhopal and West Zone Power Distribution Company (WZPDC),

• Indore was conferred with the “Saubhagya Award” under Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana at the National Conference of Energy Ministers by the Union Minister of State for Energy, R.K. Singh.

INTERNATIONAL:

India and Sweden intend to increase cooperation on AMR.

• Swedish Minister for Health and Social Affairs, Lena Hallengren, who was on a visit to India from 22nd to 25th February 2019, met with Union Health Minister J P Nadda and discussed about Anti-microbial resistance (AMR) which poses a dangerous challenge globally.

• Anti-microbial drugs, when overused, AMR develops as microorganisms such as bacteria, virus and fungi that become resistant to drugs.

• India and Sweden signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate in the field of various issues, including AMR, communicable diseases and public health, in February 2009.

International Digital Health Symposium inaugurated by Anupriya Patel in New Delhi

• Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Smt. Anupriya Patel inaugurated the International Digital Health Symposium and an exhibition on Digital Health as a part of the Symposium at New Delhi.

SUMMITS:

The 4th Global Digital Health Partnership Summit held at New Delhi.

• The 4th Global Digital Health Partnership Summit being held at New Delhi was inaugurated by the Union Health Minister J P Nadda in the presence of Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad Union Minister of Information Technology. The summit provides an opportunity to support governments and health system reformers in improving the health and well-being of their citizens through digital technologies.

• The Global Digital Health Partnership Summit is being hosted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Digital Health Partnership (GDHP).

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Important Current Affairs 28th February 2019

National :        

Piyush Goyal launched 'Rail Drishti Dashboard' To Track Train Information.

• Minister of Railways and Coal, Piyush Goyal has launched Rail Drishti dashboard, to promote transparency and accountability of Indian Railways.

• Rail Drishti Dashboard is an online portal containing information related to passenger and freight trains and links to live feeds of IRCTC kitchens.

First Indian made Centaur rocket was successfully launched at Thumb, Kerala.

• The first Indian-made Centaur rocket was successfully launched from the Thumba equatorial rocket station, Kerala on 26th February 2019 to the great jubilation of a large number of scientists.

• Dr.Vikram Sarabhai, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and Indian National Committee for Space Research, described that the flight of the two-stage sounding rocket as very satisfactory

• It was a hailed as a momentous event. India is now on the path to long-range development of superior rockets, which will take us to the goal of satellite launching in five years.

Centre brought 42 nonscheduled cancer drugs under price control.

• Centre announced that it had brought 42 non-scheduled anti-cancer drugs under price control, capping trade margin at 30%,which would reduce their retail prices by up to 85%.

• The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has invoked extraordinary powers in public interest, under Para 19 of the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, (DPCO) 2013 to bring 42 non-scheduled anti-cancer drugs under price control through trade margin rationalization. Department of Pharmaceuticals (DOP) directed manufacturers to fix their retail price based on the price at first point of sale of a product of the non-scheduled formulations containing any of the 42 drugs.

• The NPPA currently fixes prices of drugs placed in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) under Schedule-I of the DPCO. So far, around 1,000 drugs have been brought under price control under the initiative. Non-scheduled drugs are allowed an increase of up to 10% in prices every year, which is monitored by the NPPA.

Union Textile Minister inaugurated Titanwala Museum in Rajasthan.

• Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani inaugurated the ‘Titanwala Museum’ that showcases the hand block printing of the Chhipa community in Bagru.

• Bagru printing is one of the traditional techniques of printing with natural color followed by the chippas of Rajasthan.

• Suraj Narayan Titanwala took the initiative of setting up the museum.

India has successfully tested fired 2 indigenously developed QRSAM.

•  India has successfully test-fired two indigenously developed Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air missiles (QRSAM) from a test range at Chandipur in Odisha's Balasore district.

• The missile is an all-weather, all-terrain missile with electronic countermeasures against jamming by aircraft radars. QRSAM uses solid-fuel propellant.

•  The missile is an all-weather, all-terrain missile with electronic countermeasures against jamming by aircraft radars

• QRSAM uses solid-fuel propellant and has a range of 25-30 km

• QRSAM has been developed by the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) in association with Bharat Electronics Limited and Bharat Dynamics Limited as a replacement to Osa-AK and Kvadrat missile systems.

Mukesh Ambani becomes world's 8th richest with USD 54 bn wealth.

• As per Hurun Global Rich List 2019, Reliance Industries' 61-year-old Chairman Mukesh Ambani is the world's eighth-richest person with a net worth of $54 billion.

• He is the only Asian among the top 10.

• Amazon's Jeff Bezos topped the list for the second consecutive year with a net worth of USD 147 billion.

• With a wealth of USD 96 billion, Microsoft founder Bill Gates ranks second, followed by Warren Buffett with net worth of USD 88 billion.

Govt detects Rs 20,000 crore GST evasions in April-Feb FY19.

• The government detected Goods and Services Tax (GST) evasion of around Rs 20,000 crore between April 2018 and February 2019.

• Out of this, 10,000 crore has been recovered.

• Currently, GST has 4-tier slab of 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent, while essential items are zero rated.

DAC approved purchase of defense equipment worth Rs 2,700 crore

• Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) granted approval for procurement of three cadet training ships for the Indian Navy, which would be utilized to provide basic sea training for officer cadets including women officer under trainees.

• DAC meeting was chaired by Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

• DAC is the highest decision-making body for defense purchases.

 LAUNCHES:

Assam Launches PRANAM Commission To Protect Parents Of State Government Employees

•  28 February 2019 Current Affairs: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal launched the PRANAM Commission, which is a panel set up to look after the issues concerning a Bill brought in for the protection of parents of state government employees.

Dr. H Chaturvedi’s Book On Quality, Accreditation & Ranking Launched In New Delhi

• 8 February 2019 Current Affairs: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu launched the book titled ‘Quality, Accreditation, and Ranking – A Silent Revolution in the Offing in Indian Higher Education’

• The book is edited by Education Promotion Society for India’s (EPSI) Alternate President Dr. H Chaturvedi in New Delhi.

• On this occasion, the UGC Chairman, Dr. DP Singh, and Management Guru Padma Shri Dr. Pritam Singh were present as the guest of honor.

ISRO to launch defense satellite 'Emisat' in March for DRDO.

• In the special mission, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) will also launch 28 third-party satellites and will demonstrate its new technologies like three different orbits with a new variant of 'Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle' (PSLV) rocket in March, 2019.

• Electronic intelligence satellite 'Emisat' of Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) weighs about 420 kg.

• After launching Emisat at an altitude of 763 km, the PSLV rocket will be brought down to put the remaining 28 satellites into orbit at an altitude of 504 km.

SCHEMES:

Karnataka launched a major water conservation scheme Jalamrutha.

• Karnataka State government launched a major water conservation scheme titled‘Jalamrutha’, which focuses on drought-proofing measures, including protection and rejuvenation of water bodies. The scheme was initiated by the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department and was cleared by the State Cabinet. Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy launched the scheme in Bengaluru.

• Jalamrutha will deploy scientific approaches to water budgeting, water harvesting, and water conservation through the use of geospatial data, satellite imagery, topographical and geological data.

• The scheme will be implemented by key line departments of the government, Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and private sector institutions. It will operate on a four-tier institutional structure with planning and execution committees being set up at village, taluk, district and State levels.

MCCs budget includes Mysuru Yogalakshmi scheme

• The Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) presented the budget with an outlay of Rs.775 crore for the year 2019-20. MCC introduced new schemes that included Rs.25, 000 for each girl child born in government hospitals in the City, pink toilets for the benefit of women, besides placing dust bins in buses and autorickshaws

• Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Taxation, Finance and Appeals, Shobha presented the MCC Budget 2019-20. She announced the Mysuru Yogalakshmi scheme for the benefit of girl children born to residents of the city in government hospitals. The scheme will come into force from April 1, 2019.

• Under the scheme, Rs.25, 000 will be deposited in the form of a bond in a nationalized bank in the name of each girl child born in a government facility. Rs.2.5 crore has been set aside in the Budget for the scheme. The scheme aimed at helping the girls pursue higher education and become financially independent.

 APPOINTMENTS:

Govind Prasad Sharma is appointed as the Chairman of NBT

• Educationist and Author Govind Prasad Sharma has been appointed as the Chairman of National Book Trust (NBT). Govind Prasad Sharma has served as the Principal of Government P.G. College in Madhya Pradesh and in other Educational sectors previously.

• National Book Trust National Book Trust (NBT) is an apex body established by the Government of India in the Year 1957 under the Department Of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development.

AWARDS:

Telanganas 4 ULBs bagged Swachh Survekshan 2019 awards.

• Telangana’s four Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) bagged Swachh Survekshan-2019 awards. Siddipet, Sircilla, Boduppal, and Peerzadiguda are the four Urban Local Bodies. The awards would be presented by President Ram Nath Kovind and others at a ceremony to be held in Delhi on March 6.

• Every year, cities and towns across India are awarded the title of 'Swachh Cities' on the basis of their cleanliness and sanitation drive as a part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan that was launched in 2014. 

• The objective of the survey is to encourage large scale citizen participation, ensure sustainability of initiatives taken towards garbage free and open defecation free cities, provide credible outcomes which would be validated by third-party certification, institutionalize existing systems through online processes and create awareness amongst all sections of society about the importance of working together towards making towns and cities a better place to live in.

INTERNATIONAL:

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un held second summit in Vietnam

• US President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un have begun their high-profile second summit in Vietnam's capital, Hanoi.

• The main focus of the summit is to discuss denuclearization amid claims from Michael Cohen ahead of public hearing.

• US may announce a formal end to the Korean War during the summit.

Muhammadu Buhari re-elected as Nigerian President.

• Buhari, of the ruling All Progressives Congress party, secured 56 percent, or 15.2 million votes, in the February 23 polls.

• His main opponent, former vice president Atiku Abubakar of the People's Democratic Party (PDP), received 41 percent or 11.3 million votes.

• Muhammadu Buhari, 76-year-old, has been re-elected for a second four-year term.

• He was first elected president in 2015, becoming the first opposition candidate to defeat an incumbent and win the presidency.

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Important Current Affairs 27th February 2019

National News

Government cuts airfare for Haj pilgrims after withdrawing subsidy

• The move is part of the Centre’s “empowerment without appeasement” policy Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas said.

• He said airfare reduction will end the exploitation caused under UPA regime.

Delhi gets streetlights with CCTV, Wi-Fi, pollution monitors

• The “smart poles” will be operational by the end of March.

• The NDMC is aiming to install a total of 55 such poles of which 32 have been installed.

India ranks 47th on inclusive Internet Index: Facebook

• India has been ranked 47th out of 86 countries by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

• The scores on the index is based on the scores of Availability, Affordability, Relevance and Readiness categories.

International News

Maldives decline India’s invite for naval exercise ‘Milan’.

• This comes amid the state of emergency in Maldives after the government refused a SC order to release political prisoners.

• India had said it is important that Maldives returns to the path of democracy.

China may overtake US as biggest producer of nuclear power

• China is expected to triple its nuclear capacity in the next 20 years.

• The International Energy Agency said that lesser investment in nuclear energy and no lifetime extension of the existing plants threatened the US’ position as the global leader in nuclear power.

Michelle Obama announces memoir

• Her memoir titled ‘Becoming’ will be published on November 13, 2018.

• The book will be published in 24 languages worldwide

Business News:

Goldman Sachs-backed start up buys crypto exchange Poloniex

• The start-up Circle acquired the crypto exchange Poloniex

• Poloniex, which was founded in 2014, is within the top 20 largest crypto exchanges by trading volume.

PNB reveals additional Rs.1, 300 cr fraud in Nirav Modi case

• PNB said that the fraudulent amount is Rs.1, 300 crore more than the current estimate of Rs.11, 400 cr.

• The amount of over Rs.12, 700 cr is nearly 10 times PNB’s 2016-17 net profit.

Iran plans its own crypto currency to beat US sanctions

• The crypto currency would help Iran evade the potential US sanctions.

• This comes after Venezuela, also hit by US sanctions, launched its own oil-backed crypto currency ‘Petro’.

Sports News:

Karnataka defeat Saurashtra to win Vijay Hazare Trophy

• Karnataka won the tournament for the 3rd time.

• Karnataka put up a total of 253/10 before Saurashtra were bowled out for 212 in 16.2 overs.

Usain Bolt to play charity football match at Man Utd’s home.

• Eight time Olympic gold medal winning sprinter Usain Bolt will lead the ‘World XI’ team against team ‘England’.

• The match will be held on June 10th.

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Important Current Affairs 26th February 2019

National News

PM Modi Inaugurated 40-Acre National War Memorial in New Delhi

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated a new National War Memorial, situated in the India Gate complex in New Delhi, to the nation.

• The National War Memorial, spread over 40 acres in the India Gate complex behind the canopy, is dedicated to soldiers killed during the Indo-China War in 1962, Indo-Pak Wars in 1947, 1965 and 1971, Indian Peace Keeping Force Operations in Sri Lanka and in the Kargil Conflict in 1999, and also those in the UN peacekeeping missions.

FAGMIL Signs MoU with Himachal Pradesh to Establish India's 4th White Cement Plant Project

• Under its diversification programme, FCI Aravali Gypsum and Minerals India Limited (FAGMIL) has taken up a project to establish a white cement plant near village Nohra Dhar in Himachal Pradesh, at a project cost of approximately Rs. 605 crores.

• It will be the 4th white cement plant in the country. The installed capacity of the plant would be 0.3 million tonnes per annum and it will generate the direct employment of approximately150 persons.

Madhya Pradesh Government Launched ‘Mukhyamantri Yuva Swabhiman Yojana’

• Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath launched the State Government’s flagship scheme ‘Mukhyamantri Yuva Swabhiman Yojana’ that guarantees 100 days of employment every year to urban youth from economically weaker sections.

• Under the scheme, Rs 4,000 stipend per month during 100 days period, would be given to the youth and they will also be given skill development training in order to become independent. (Only those youths, whose family’s annual income is less than Rs 2 lakh and who are in the age group of 21-30 years, are eligible for the scheme).

INTERNATIONAL

India strikes back: IAF jets destroy Jaish terror camps across LoC

• In retaliation to the deadly Pulwama terror attack, the Indian Air Force fighter jets crossed the line of control in the early hours of February 26, 2019 and attacked Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camps in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

• The same was confirmed by the Indian Foreign Secretary, Vijay Gokhale during a press conference in New Delhi on the same day. The Foreign Secretary revealed that India has struck the biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot.

• The Indian Air Force used Mirage-2000 jets to drop 1000 kg of laser-guided bombs causing an estimated casualty of 200-300. In the intelligence led operation, India struck the biggest training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot, Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa.

Awards

President Conferred 'Gandhi Peace Prize'

• President Ram Nath Kovind conferred the Gandhi Peace Prize for 2015, 16, 17 and 18 at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi.

• The award comprises a cash award of one crore rupees, a citation in a scroll, a plaque and a traditional handicraft item.

• Here are the awardees that were facilitated at the occasion:

1. For 2015: Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari was given the award for its contribution in Rural Development, Education and Development of natural resources.

2. For 2016: Jointly to Akshaya Patra Foundation for its contribution in providing mid-day meals to millions of children across India and Sulabh International for its contribution in improving the condition of sanitation in India and emancipation of manual scavengers.

3. For 2017: Ekal Abhiyan Trust for its contribution in providing Education for Rural and Tribal Children in remote areas pan India, Rural Empowerment, Gender, and Social Equality.

4. For 2018: Japan's Yohei Sasakawa for his contribution in Leprosy Eradication in India and across the world.

Lifetime Achievement Award For G.R. Karthikeyan

•  G.R. Karthikeyan, father of India’s first Formula One driver Narain Karthikeyan, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement award at the FMSCI annual awards function.

•  FIA president Jean Todt was the chief guest and handed over the awards.

Appointments

 Indra Nooyi Joins Amazon’s Board of Directors

• PepsiCo’s India-born former CEO Indra Nooyi has joined Amazon’s board of directors, the online retail giant. Starbucks executive Rosalind Brewer has also joined the Amazon Board.

• She was Pepsico CEO from October 2006 to October 2018, where she also served as the Chairman of its board of directors from May 2007 to February 2019.

Sports News

Afghanistan Scores Highest Ever T20 International Score

• Afghanistan scored 278 for the loss of three wickets from their allotted 20 overs, to register the highest-ever total in T20s at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Dehradun, Uttarakhand.

• Hazratullah Zazai scored 162 runs from just 62 balls. Zazai became the first player from Afghanistan to score 150 or more runs, and his 236-run opening stand with Usman Ghani became the highest partnership in T20Is.  

Sri Lanka Becomes 1st Ever Asian Team To Win Test Series In South Africa

• Sri Lanka cricket team became the first Asian side to win a Test series in South Africa after winning the series by 2-0.

• Kusal Perera was given the Man of the Series award. Before Sri Lanka, only Australia and England have defeated South Africa in a Test series at home.

Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta Wins Cannes International Open Trophy

• Indian Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta lifted the Cannes International Open trophy. He took an easy draw with Pier Luigi Basso of Italy in the ninth and final round.

• Abhijeet won the tournament with 7.5 points. It is his first solo International tournament victory.

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