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National – Across the India
1. The Union Government has constituted a committee to consider Scheduled Tribe status to six Communities of Assam.
These six Communities are Koch Rajbongshi, Moran, Matak, Tai Ahom, Chutia and Adivasi (Tea Tribes).
It will be headed by Mahesh Kumar Singla, Special Secretary (Internal Security) Ministry of Home Affairs.
2. The multinational Military Exercise Force Eighteen conducted by Indian Army has started in at Pune, Maharashtra.
It is a seven days exercise, which will last till 8th March, 2016
Over 300 participants from 18 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Plus countries are participating in this exercise.
Exercise Force Eighteen is the largest multinational ground forces exercise to be conducted on Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA) and Peace Keeping Operations (PKO).
It is conducted by India as part of its ambitious Look (Act) East policy and it is one of the largest multi-national military exercises conducted in the country.
3. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched Setu Bharatam Project to make all national highways free of railway crossings by 2019.
This project will be implemented by the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
More than 50 thousand crore rupees will be spent on the project.
4. The Union Government has decided to wind up of National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council (NMCC) with immediate effect as it has fulfilled the mandate.
The decision was taken by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi after it was observed that NMCC has fulfilled the mandate for which it was constituted.
NMCC is to provide a continuing forum for policy dialogue to energize and sustain the growth of manufacturing industry.
5. Delhi has become the first state (UT) in the country to launch the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine as a public health program for school children.
HPV is a DNA virus from the papillomavirus family which is mainly a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that causes genital warts and cervical cancer.
The vaccination program will be completed in the current academic year 2015-16 over two phases.
In the first year, girls studying in Class VI in government schools will be targeted and in the next year girls between the age of 9 and 13 will be targeted.
6. The traditional festival of Chapchar Kut of the Mizos was celebrated across the north-eastern state of Mizoram and also in the Mizo-inhabited areas in the neighboring states.
The festival is estimated to have started in 1450-1700 A.D. in a village called Suaipui.
It is a spring festival celebrated every year in month of March with great fervor and gaiety by Mizos after completion of their Jhum operation (shifting agriculture by clearing jungle by burning and cultivating in remnants of burning).
Mizos celebrate this festival by dressing in their traditional attire and dancers danced to the tune of typical music and songs. Popular Mizo dances including Cheraw, Chheihlam, Sarlamkai and Khuallam are performed by various cultural groups.
7. The first Raisina-Dialogue 2016, a flagship conference on Geopolitics and Geo-economics began in New Delhi.
The theme of Raisina-Dialogue 2016 is “Asia: Regional and Global Connectivity”.
The three day conference is joint initiative of Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and Observer Research Foundation (ORF), an independent think tank based in India.
It will focus on Asia’s economic, physical, human and digital connectivity and shall attempt to discover challenges and opportunities for the region to manage its common spaces.
8. President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated a National conference on ‘Women Legislators: Building Resurgent India’ in New Delhi.
The conference intends to hone the skills of legislators to perform their legislative and non-legislative roles with greater effectiveness.
The two-day conference will provide women legislators a platform to interact with their counterparts from across the country.
International – Across the Globe
1. The 7th edition of India, Seychelles joint military exercise LAMITYE 2016concluded in Victoria, Mahe Island, Seychelles.
The fourteen day exercise was conducted at Seychelles Defence Academy (SDA), Victoria from February 15 to 28, 2016.
The aim of joint bilateral military exercise was to improve interoperability between armies of both countries in jointly fighting Counter Terrorism/ Counter Insurgency.
2. Government of Peru has declared emergency for three weeks after a major oil pipeline burst in the country’s northeast region affecting two rivers Chiriaco and Morona.
Beacuse of this over 3,000 barrels of crude oil spilled into the rivers which are the main source of water and food for several indigenous communities in this region.
The emergency has declared to warn communities not to eat fish from the polluted waters of these rivers.
3. As revealed by Global Energy Architecture Performance Index (GEAPI) Report compiled by World Economic Forum (WEF), India has been ranked at the 90th place in a list of 126 countries on the basis of their ability to deliver secure, affordable and sustainable energy.
Top 10 countries in GEAPI Report are –
New Zealand (9th)
GEAPI Report was prepared in collaboration with Accenture. It has explored the energy architecture of 126 countries. It is based on their ability to provide energy access across three dimensions of energy triangle viz. affordability, security, environmental sustainability and access.
4. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) consistently adopted the toughest sanctions ever imposed on North Korea in response to its fourth nuclear test and rocket launch.
For this the 15-member council passed a resolution drafted by the United States and backed by China.
5. India has filed a complaint against the United States decision to impose high fees L-1 and H-1B categories of temporary working visas in the World Trade Organization (WTO).
US had imposed fees on certain applicants for L-1 and H-1B categories of non-immigrant temporary working visas into the country,
US measure is inconsistent with the global norms and it would impact Indian IT professionals as it makes Indian IT companies less competitive in that market.
These measures appear to be “inconsistent” with the terms, limitations and conditions agreed under the GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services).
1. Car racer Armaan Ebrahimwas awarded the Motorsports Man-of-the-Year Trophy at ceremony organized by the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI).
Ebrahim was presented with the Raymond Gautam Singhania Rolling Trophy and cash prize of 2 lakh rupees for his performance in the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Asia Series.
On the other hand, I. Chandhok received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to motorsports in the country.
2. Rahul Sachdev has won the first All India Open Invitational Snooker Championship 2016 held at Aurangabad in Maharashtra.
Rahul defeated Pushpender Singh of Indian Railways by 5-3 score, In the final match.
It was his maiden title and is considered as major breakthrough in his career after winning this title.
3. Aaron Phangiso, South Africa left-arm spinner has been suspended by International Cricket Council (ICC).
He was suspended after ICC’s Panel of Human Movement Specialists found that his bowling deliveries exceeded the 15 degrees level of tolerance permitted under ICC regulations.
So far he has played 16 one-day internationals (ODIs) and 9 T20s for South Africa.
4. The Mumbai under-23 cricket team has won the Col CK Nayudu Trophy for the season 2015-16 by defeatingMadhya Pradesh under-23 cricket team.
This was Mumbai s second big title of the season after they had won the Ranji Trophy for the 41st time earlier.
Col CK Nayudu Trophy is named after country’s first Test captain Col. Cottari Kanakaiya Nayudu.
5. Ace Indian shooter Jitu Rai has won Gold medal in the 50m Pistol Men final event at the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) World Cup held in Bangkok, Thailand.
Jitu Rai is the winner of the 2014 Asian Games. He is currently ranked 5th in the world in the 50m Pistol Men’s event.
He scored 191.3 points in the final round and beating two of the strongest members of the Chinese Olympic team, Pang Wei and Wang Zhiwei.
6. The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has promoted Hockey India national-level umpire Nepoleon Singh (30) as the International Outdoor Umpire.
The decision was taken by FIH after seeing his performance in the recently-concluded 12th South Asian Games 2016 held at Guwahati, Assam.
Nepoleon started his career as an umpire from Manipur in the 3rd Hockey India Junior Women National Championship 2013 held at Ranchi, Jharkhand.
Now he became one of the young umpires from India who have recently been upgraded to international-level outdoor umpire.
Awards & Recognition
1. Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA)has won three international awards for 2015 year given by the Airports Council International (ACI).
2. Three British scientists have won a prestigious 2016 Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Prize (also known as Brain Prize) for giving vital insight how the human brain remembers, learns and navigates.
These scientists are –
Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Prize largest prize for neuroscience in the world, which is bestowed upon one or more scientists who have distinguished themselves by an outstanding contribution to European neuroscience and who are still active in research.
3. Dr. Bhagwati Lal Vyas, an Eminent poet has been selected for the 2015 Bihari Puraskar for his anthology of Rajasthani poems ‘Katha Sun Aawe Hai Sabad’ published in 2010.
Bihari Puraskar was instituted by the K K Birla Foundation in 1991 and given annually for an outstanding literary work in Hindi or Rajasthani published during last 10 years by a Rajasthani writer.
Vyas’s works reflect the unpleasant changes in human relations, social disparity and loss of human values although positivity and his faith in human life.
His works includes compendium of poems titled ‘Shatabdi Niruttar’ (1977), ‘Footpath Par Chiriya Nachti Hai’ (1984) and a collection of short stories ‘Suraj Leelti Ghatiyan’ stand out.
4. Bill Gates, Microsoft Co-founder has retained the title of the world’s richest person in the Forbes’ 30th annual ranking of the world’s billionaires list (2016 edition).
The Forbes list of billionaires is an annual ranking of the world’s wealthiest people, compiled and published by the American business magazine Forbes.
Gates has topped the list for 17 of the last 23 years, with a net worth of $75 billion.
He was followed by Amancio Ortega (Italy), founder of clothing retail giant Zara was at second place with net worth of $67 billion.
5. Manoj Kumar, veteran Film Actor and Director has been selected for the prestigious 47th Dadasaheb Phalke Award for the year 2015.
Dadasaheb Phalke Award is conferred by the Union Government on person for outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Indian Cinema.
Manoj Kumar was selected by a five member jury consisted of Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Salim Khan, Nitin Mukesh and Anup Jalota.
He is best known for acting in and directing films with patriotic themes. His first patriotic film was Shaheed (1965) based on the life of Bhagat Singh.
He was also awarded with National Film Award (1968) for the film Upkaar, Padma Shri in 1992 and Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999.
Appointments & Resignations
1. Former Chief Justice of India (CJI) HL Dattu took charge as the Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
With this, he becomes the seventh Chairman of the NHRC, highest government institution protecting human rights of citizens.
2. Slovenian high-jumper Rozle Prezelj (36) has been elected the new chairman of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Athletes’ Commission.
3. Hashim Thaci has been elected as the President of Kosovo by the Parliament of the country in the third round.
He will succeed Atifete Jahjaga.
He becomes fourth President of Kosovo after the country had unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008.
He was the first Prime Minister of Kosovo and was in office from January 2008 to December 2014.
4. Vice Admiral Atul Kumar Jain took over as the Chief of Staff of the Visakhapatnam headquartered Eastern Naval Command.
He succeeds Vice Admiral Bimal Verma who has been transferred as Commander-in-Chief of Andaman & Nicobar Command at Port Blair.
He also has commanded missile corvettes Nirghat, Khukri, missile destroyer INS Rajput and indigenously built stealth destroyer INS Mysore
He also served as Director Naval Intelligence (Protocol), Principal Director Staff Requirement at Integrated Headquarters, Ministry of Defence (Navy) and Director Foreign Liaison.
He has been awarded with Vishisht Seva Medal (2009) and Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (2015).
5. Mrugank Paranjape has been appointed as managing director (MD) and chief executive officer (CEO) of Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX), country’s largest commodity exchange.
The MCX is country’s first listed commodity futures exchange that facilitates online trading, and clearing and settlement of commodity futures transactions.
He also worked with Deutsche Bank as Asia Pacific Head of Trust & Securities Services/Cash Management for Financial Institutions.
6. Sunil Sabharwal, an independent Indian-American investor appointed as Alternate Executive Director at International Monetary Fund (IMF).
With this he becomes first Indian-American to occupy a key administration post at the IMF.
He had worked at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development as Principal Banker from 1992 to 1996.
He also served as Senior Vice President of Strategic Investments at First Data Corporation/Western Union from 2003 to 2006.
Economics & Banking GK
1. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the investment arm of the World Bank has launched its first Uridashi Masala Bonds (Japanese bonds).
International Finance Corporation (IFC) is an international financial institution that offers investment, asset management and advisory services to encourage private sector development in developing countries.
Masala bonds are rupee-denominated instruments sold only to offshore investors by Indian corporates for raising money from overseas investors. They do not face currency fluctuation risks.
These masala bonds were launched to mobilize 30 crore rupees from Japanese retail investors and will be sold to Japanese household investors.
Bills – New & Amendments
1. Parliament has passed the Carriage by Air (Amendment) Bill, 2015 to empower Union government to revise the limits of liability for airlines and compensation as per the Montreal Convention which India accepted in 2009.
The bill was first passed by the Lok Sabha in December 2015 and later it was passed by the Rajya in March 2016. Now it will go for the Presidential assent as per Article 111 of Constitution.
The Bill seeks to amend the Carriage by Air Act, 1972 to revise the limits of liability for airlines and compensation in order adhere with the global counterparts.
The Carriage by Air Act, 1972: Regulates carriage by air by giving effect to the Warsaw Convention, 1929 and as amended by Hague Protocol, 1955 and the Montreal Convention, 1999.
2. South Korea’s Parliament has passed the country’s first anti-terror bill that was first proposed 15 years ago in 2001 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in US.
This law defines terror as an act that can put national security and citizens’ safety at risk including disturbance of national, regional and foreign government exercising its authority.
Those found guilty under this law can face capital punishment of life imprisonment or over 10 years’ incarceration and those who join a foreign terrorist group can face over 5 years imprisonment.
3. Uttar Pradesh Assembly passed the UP Revenue Code (Amendment) Bill 2016 replacing an ordinance issued by the Governor Ram Naik.
The Bill allows Dalits of the state to sell their land to non-Dalits in the state without approval of the administration even if their remaining holding is less than 3.5 acres.
The bill has provisions for setting up of a new judicial cadre that will look after land revenue disputes in order to end disputes especially in cases of partnership.
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
1. The MS Swaminathan Research Foundation has signed a MOU with Bhubaneswar-based Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) to establish a Research Chair.
The Chair will be named after MS Swaminathan, father of Indian Green Revolution for promoting knowledge and skill for empowerment for less privileged children in India.
This is the first-ever initiative of the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation to establish a Research Chair in any private institute in the country.
2. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between Union Government, Madhya Pradesh government and the World Bank have signed $300 million credit agreement for Madhya Pradesh Higher Education Quality Improvement Project (MPHEQIP).
MPHEQIP’s objective is to improve student outcomes especially of disadvantaged groups in selected Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).
The credit will be provided by the International Development Association (IDA), World Bank’s concessionary lending arm with a maturity of 25 years, including a five-year grace period.
Science & Technology
1. Researchers from France have found first evidence that mosquito-borne Zika virus might cause a severe neurological disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS).
GBS is a rare condition in which the body’s immune system attacks a part of the nervous system that controls muscle strength leading to muscle weakness in the legs and arms.
The study was carried out using blood samples from 42 patients who became ill in a previous outbreak of virus.
It was found that patients developed the neurological problems around six days after Zika infection making the virus main culprit of severe neurological disorder.
2. The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has cleared a proposal to purchase two Phalcon Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS), surveillance aircrafts from Israel.
It was decided in CCS meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
This defence deal will cost India 7,500 crore rupees as per a tripartite agreement signed with Israel and Russia.
AWACS are advanced radars mounted on an aircraft to give an ability to see deep inside enemy territory and 360 degree coverage to detect incoming aircraft and missiles at long ranges.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) already had three such AWACS platforms that comprise of Israeli-made radars mounted on Russian heavy transport planes IL-76.
1. Legendary Tamil Comedian Kumari muthupassed away in Chennai, Tamil Nadu due to some age-related ailments. He was 77.
He was known for his comic roles and had starred in nearly 50 films in his career spanning over three-decades. He was best known for his signature laugh.
2. US actor George Kennedy passed away in the city of Boise, Idaho. He was 91.
3. Martin Crowe, former New Zealand cricket captain passed away in Auckland, New Zealand after a long battle with cancer.
He was 53 and was suffering from lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system.
He was widely regarded as one of New Zealand’s best ever batsman and had represented the country from the early 1980s until his retirement in 1996.
In his cricket career, he had played 77 Test matches, 143 One Day Internationals (ODIs) and 247 First-class matches. He was right-handed batsman.
4. Purno Agitok, former Lok Sabha Speaker passed away after suffering a heart attack in New Delhi. He was 68.
He was a 9 time member of Lok Sabha and the Speaker in the 11th Lok Sabha from 1996 to 1998.
He had played significant role in the development of the North East.
He had served as Cabinet Minister for Information and Broadcasting and Minister of State of Home Affairs, Labour, Commerce and Coal. He served as the Chief Minister of Meghalaya from 1988 to 1990.
He was one of the founding members of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). In January 2013, he had formed the National People’s Party.
5. Paramesh Krishnan Nair, India’s pioneering film archivist and film scholar passed away in Pune, Maharashtra. He was 82.
He had won the epithet of ‘celluloid man’ for his lifelong dedication towards the acquisition and preservation of cinematic heritage of the country.
He was founder and director of Pune based National Film Archive of India (NFAI) in 1964.
He was often regarded as the Henri Langlois (French film archivist and cinephile) of India because of his lifelong dedication towards the preservation of films in India.