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National – Across the India
1. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has set up a scientific panel to frame final regulations on fortification of foods and prepare strategies to address malnutrition problem.
FSSAI has already issued the draft guidelines on fortification for five food items -salt, milk, wheat flour, rice and edible oil.
The guidelines are issued to boost production and consumption of fortified foods.
2. Delhi International Airport was the 12th busiest airport worldwide for the month of November 2016, as per the report published by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The top 15 airports in the world comprises of major airports like Atlanta, Dubai, Los Angeles and Changi airports.
3. Indian Navy’s survey vessel INS Sarvekshak based in Kochi became the first naval ship to go green by installing a solar power system on board.
It can generate 5.4KW electricity and replacing the ship’s traditional 4.4KW emergency diesel alternator.
4. The Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Radha Mohan Singh has inaugurated Indian Seed Congress – 2017, in Kolkata.
The theme of Seed Congress is “Seed of Joy”.
5. India’s first floating elementary school named Loktak Elementary Floating School was inaugurated in Manipur.
The school has been inaugurated at Langolsabi Leikai of Champu Khangpok village in Manipur.
The first of its kind school aims to provide education to dropout students as well as illiterate adults.
6. The 11th edition of the Aero India 2017 air show which took place in Bengaluru is expected to be one of the largest in recent years.
The prime focus of event is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India initiative.
Around 270 Indian and 279 foreign firms are slated to participate in the event.
7. The Ministry of External Affairs co-hosted the second Gateway of India Geoeconomic Dialogue on 13th- 14th February 2017 in Mumbai.
The event aimed at building synergy between business and foreign policy.
The theme of the event was “Where Geopolitics meets Business”.
8.West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee declares Kalimpong as new district.
220 crore road link project will be taken up to connect Kalimpong with Sikkim via the old Silk Route.
9. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched 104 satellites in one go from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
The PSLV-C37/Cartosat2 Series satellite mission included the primary satellite (Cartosat-2) and 101 International Nano satellites.
Of 104 satellites, 96 belong to USA, 3 from India and 5 from – Israel, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, respectively
10. Union Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan inaugurated International Conference on NexGen Technologies for Mining and Fuel Industries 2017 in New Delhi.
Clean energy initiatives being taken by Government should be perceptible and bring measurable change in the lives of the common man.
11. The Supreme Court has clarified that there is no need to stand inside a cinema hall when the national anthem is featured as a part of a film.
This is second clarification issued by SC on its November 2016 order.
The first clarification directed all persons to stand up when the national anthem is sung or played in a cinema theatre.
12. Sachin Tendulkar has adopted the village of Donja in Maharashtra’s Osmanabad district, under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana.
He has sanctioned over Rs.4 crore for the development of the village from his MPLAD fund.
13. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has opened a South Asia Training and Technical Assistance Centre (SARTTAC) in New Delhi for economic capacity building in South Asia.
The aim is to build human and institutional capacity and implement policies for growth and poverty reduction.
14. Union Minister Mahesh Sharma launches pre-loaded Sim Card for Tourists arriving in India on E-visa.
It will facilitate the foreign tourists in communicating with their acquaintances immediately after their arrival in India.
This initiative has been launched in association with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd., (BSNL).
This facility will be initially available at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (T3 Terminal), New Delhi.
15. The Ministry of Mines has launched Transparency, Auction Monitoring and Resource Augmentation (TAMRA) Portal and Mobile Application.
The app was launched to ensure transparent award of statutory Clearances for mining operations.
16. Thanal, a city-based group in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala has launched a helpline number for waste management.
It provides technical support to treat organic waste and manage non-biodegradable solid waste.
The allotted helpline number for the cause is – 9400147150.
17. Edappadi K Palaniswami was sworn in as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu by Governor Vidyasagar Rao at the Raj Bhavan.
30 ministers of Palaniswami government took oath.
There are four women in Palaniswami’s Cabinet: Valarmathi, Dr. Nilofer Kafeel, D.V Saroja and VM Rajalakshmi.
18. Government of India has organized Indian Panorama Film Festival (Public Screening of films) in Port Blair from 15th -19th February 2017.
About 15 films of different languages and different genre will be screened at two different venues viz. PBMC Auditorium and ITF Ground during the festival.
19. Analysis by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) marked January 2017 as the third warmest January in 137 years of modern record-keeping.
Temperature of January 2017 was 0.20 degrees’ Celsius cooler than the warmest January in 2016.
However, it was 0.92 degrees Celsius warmer than the mean January temperature from 1951-1980.
20. India Vetiver Network (INVN) launched at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University.
About 250 delegates are participating in this conference.
21. Shah Rukh Khan will soon host the Hindi version of popular international show TED Talks.
Star India will air the Indian version – TED Talks India: Nayi Soch.
The show will be a global first Hindi TV talk show created in partnership with TED, the non-profit devoted to ‘ideas worth spreading’.
22. The Indian Navy’s second ocean going sailboat Tarini will be inducted at a ceremony scheduled to be held at the INS Mandovi Boat Pool.
INSV Tarini is a sloop built by M/s Aquarius Shipyard Pvt. Ltd at Divar, Goa.
The sail boat Tarini is slated to be the platform for First Indian All Women Circumnavigation of the Globe expedition of the Indian Navy.
23. Reliance Defence Limited and Dassault Aviation announced the incorporation of Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited (DRAL).
The DRAL is a joint venture between the Reliance Aerostructure Limited (RAL) and Dassault Aviation (DA).
In the DRAL, the French company Dassault Aviation will have 49 per cent shareholding, while the RAL will have 51 per cent shareholding.
24. Science Express train flagged off a seven- month journey that will cover 68 stations across the country to create climate change awareness in India.
The 16-coach train will travel to Tripura and to the north bank of the Brahmaputra for the first time.
25. To avail benefits under the Central Sector Scholarships Scheme for College and University students, Aadhar card will be mandatory for the students.
Those receiving these scholarships but who don’t have an Aadhaar card will have to apply for enrolment by 30th June 2017.
This will not be applicable in Jammu & Kashmir.
26. The two-day South Asian Speakers Summit was inaugurated by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan at Indore in Madhya Pradesh.
The speakers would discuss achieving sustainable goals, including poverty, development, environment and gender concerns in South Asia.
International – Across the Globe
1. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany’s former foreign minister, has been elected as the country’s new president.
Martin Schulz, former president of European Parliament is appointed as new leader of social Democrats.
2. The longest elevated bike path named the winding viaduct in the world has been opened in a city in south-east China.
The route can carry 2,023 cyclists per hour, while 300 hire bikes are available for people who do not have bicycles.
3. The 2017 UNESCO Natural Heritage Festival was held at Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) in Sairopa, Himachal Pradesh.
The fest was held in collaboration with the Wildlife Institute of India (WII).
4. Military Exercise Cobra Gold 2017 Begins in Thailand on 14th February 2017.
It is the 36th edition of the multinational military exercise.
Around 30 nations will take part in the exercise that will continue till 24th February 2017.
5. India is among six nations participating in a conference on Afghanistan’s future in Moscow.
India and particularly Afghanistan objected to being cut out of the discussion.
Moscow agreed to expand its ambit, announcing a six-nation conference of Russia, India, Iran, Pakistan, China and Afghanistan.
Sports & Athletics
1. India defeated Pakistan by nine wickets in the final of the T20 World Cup for Blind to lift their second straight title.
Prakash was adjudged Man of the Match and also won the tournament’s best wicketkeeper award.
Pakistan’s Riasat Khan was adjudged Player of the Series
2. The England and Wales Cricket Board named Joe Root as England’s Test captain who will replace Alastair Cook.
Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes has been named as the vice-captain.
3. Adam Voges, Australian batsman, announced his retirement from international cricket.
He has played 20 Tests, scoring 1485 runs at an average of 61.87 – second highest average in Tests after Don Bradman.
He has also figured in 31 One-Day Internationals and scored 870 runs with an average of 45.78.
Awards & Recognition
1. The 59th Annual Grammy Awards 2017 took place in Los Angeles. Here is the list of winners.
Album of the year: 25 – Adele
Record of the year: Hello – Adele
Song of the year: Hello – Adele
Best new artist: Chance the Rapper
Best music video: Beyonce – Formation
Best country song: Humble and Kind – Tim McGraw
2. The 70th British Academy Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards were held at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Here is the list of winners.
Best film: La La Land
Best Actress: Emma Stone – La La Land
Best Director: La La Land – Damien Chazelle
Best Actor: Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
3. Usain Bolt wins Laureus ‘Sportsman of the Year’ award for the fourth time.
Simone Biles clinched the ‘Sportswoman of the Year’.
Michael Phelps bagged the ‘Comeback of the Year’ award.
Formula One champion Nico Roseberg claimed the ‘Breakthrough of the Year’ award.
4. Kush Bhagat was awarded the title of Candidate Master (CM) by World Chess Federation body, FIDE.
The title comes after a range of admirable performances by him, over the span of last six months.
5. AIIMS, New Delhi, has won the first prize, and a cash reward of Rs.5 crore, for maintaining high standards of sanitation and hygiene under the Governments Kayakalp awards.
North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS), Shillong, received second prize of Rs.3 crore.
6. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved contract awards for 44 small oil and gas fields.
The contract areas include 44 fields, 28 inland and 16 offshore.
7. Surendra Verma, a well-known Hindi scholar and writer, was selected for Vyas Samman 2016.
He was chosen for the prestigious award for his novel Kaatna Shami Ka Vriksha: Padma Pankhuri Ki Dhar Se.
Mergers & Acquisitions
1. Kerala State Cooperatives Consumers’ Federation (Consumerfed) has tied up with IDBI Bank to facilitate cashless purchases for its consumers.
Consumers can now swipe their cards at these outlets.
More than 300 machines have already been installed.
2. Axiscades, an aerospace and defence technologies company, and Virtual Reality Media, a Slovakian firm, have signed an industrial cooperation agreement (ICA) at the Aero India 2017.
Both companies will evaluate opportunities for full flight simulator for the aerospace and defence sector.
The partnership will address the requirements for Russian platforms, such as the Dornier 228 aircraft, and other platforms.
Appointments & Resignations
1. Career diplomat Tehmina Janjua was appointed as Pakistan’s foreign secretary.
Janjua will replace outgoing foreign secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry.
2. Sandeep Jajodia has been elected as the President of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham).
Balkrishan Goenka, Chairman of Welspun Group, and Kiran Kumar Gandhi, Vice-Chairman of GMR Infrastructure, have taken over as senior vice-president and vice-president, respectively.
3. France’s Jean-Pierre Lacroix has been appointed as the Under-Secretary-General for the United Nation’s Peacekeeping Operations.
He has been appointed for the period of one year beginning 1st April 2017.
He will replace Herve Ladsous, who will step down in March 2017 after six years of service.
4. Shri Ravi Shankar has been concurrently accredited as the High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Rwanda, with residence in Kampala (Uganda).
Presently he was High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Uganda.
5. Toshiba chairman Shigenori Shiga has resigned to take management responsibility for the loss in company’s nuclear business.
The company projected a 712.5-billion-yen loss for its nuclear business related to the acquisition of CB&I Stone & Webster by its U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse.
6. Norman Isaac has become the first Indian ever to be promoted by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) as Technical Delegate (TD).
As a TD, he will be assigned to any country except his own and will be responsible for conduct of an entire event.
7. Justice Vikramajit Sen, former Supreme Court Judge took charge of the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA).
He officially took the charge from Justice Mukul Mudgal.
8. Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Vikas Swarup has been appointed the new High Commissioner to Canada.
He will replace Vishnu Prakash in Canada.
Gopal Baglay, the present joint secretary in charge of the Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran desk, will be the next spokesperson.
9. T C A Ranganathan and Sunil Mehta were appointed as Non-Official Directors in Indian Overseas Bank and Punjab National Bank respectively.
Mehta’s appointment is subject to a condition that he needs to resign from the board of State Bank of India before joining the new post.
10. The tenure of the next chairman of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Ajay Tyagi, will initially be for three years
The rules allow for a term of five years or up to the age of 65 for the SEBI chairman.
11. Eight Executive Directors (EDs) have been appointed in various public sector banks on the recommendations of Banks Board Bureau. The appointments have been made for three years.
Neelam Damodharan and Atanu Kumar Das: Bank of India.
K Swaminathan: Indian Overseas Bank
Ashok Kumar Pradhan: United Bank of India.
P Ramana Murthy: Central Bank of India
Fareed Ahmed Khan: Punjab and Sind Bank.
M K Bhattacharya: Indian Bank
S Harishankar: Allahabad Bank
Economics & Banking GK
1. Reserve Bank of India showed that Foreign Direct investments made overseas by Indian companies declined 57.3 per cent to $1.82 billion last month.
Of the total overseas direct investment of $1.82 billion, $246.37 million came in the form of equity money; $483.78 million through loans.
While the rest of $1.09 billion was the guarantee issued by the Indian firms in their foreign units.
2. As per the global financial services group – Nomura, the GDP will likely to grow at 5.7 percent in January- March period.
Following subdued growth in the first quarter, a V-shaped recovery is on the cards due to remonetization, wealth redistribution and the lagged effects of lower lending rates.
3. Anil Ambani group led Reliance Defence and Engineering Limited (RDEL) has signed a Master Ship Repair Agreement (MSRA) with the US Navy.
The agreement was signed to provide repair and alteration services for ships of the Seventh Fleet.
Under this agreement, RDEL will maintain the vessels of US Seventh Fleet involving 100 vessels operating in the Indian Ocean.
4. Government has allocated Rs.500 crore to India Post Payments Bank for financial year 2017-18 as it gears up to set up 650 branches across country by September 2017.
Government has allocated Rs.125 crore as “capital infusion into corporate entity and Rs.375 crore as “grant in aid” to India Post Payments Bank (IPPB).
The total paid up equity of the new bank IPPB is Rs.800 crore, of which the government has already infused Rs.275 crore.
5. The Union Cabinet has approved the merger of State Bank of India (SBI) with five of its associate/subsidiary banks.
These five subsidiary banks are State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala and State Bank of Travancore.
6. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will reimburse banks the Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) on debit cards used for payment of tax and non-tax dues to the Government of India.
The reimbursement will be applicable from 1st January, 2017.
7. HDFC life has launched Pragati, a traditional life insurance plan that has been specifically designed to empower low income families.
Pragati makes life insurance easily accessible to every person who wishes to financially secure his family.
With Pragati, HDFC Life wants to offer the dual benefit of systematic savings (with guaranteed premium returns) and wholesome life protection.
8. The Reserve Bank of India doubled the quantum of loan that Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) can give against security of gold/ gold ornaments to ₹2 lakhs with bullet repayment option.
The period of the loan cannot exceed 12 months from the date of sanction.
RRBs are required to maintain a Loan to Value (LTV) ratio of 75 per cent on the outstanding amount of loan.
9. Citi bank has launched instant chat services for customers logged in to Citibank Online (CBOL) in India.
The real-time chat facility focuses on resolving queries instantly, in a safe environment.
10. Flipkart Internet Pvt. Ltd has sold a small stake to media firm Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd (BCCL) for cash and advertising space in the latter’s media properties.
BCCL made a private placement offer of about Rs260 crore to buy a warrant for Class B equity shares in Flipkart.
11. The government has increased the cash credit limit for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to 30 per cent of turnover from the existing 20 per cent.
The increment is done to encourage such ventures conduct businesses digitally.
Bills – New & Amendments
1. Union Cabinet has approved bill to amend Collection of Statistics Act, 2008 to Jammu & Kashmir.
It will strengthen data collection mechanism in the state of Jammu & Kashmir.
2. Karnataka Assembly has passed Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Bill, 2017.
The Bill was passed to allow kambala, the traditional buffalo race and bullock-cart racing.
The Bill seeks to exempt kambala and bullock-cart racing from the ambit of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960.
3. Tata Motors has signed Strategic Technological Agreement with Microsoft.
The agreement was signed to collaborate on the technology front for making driving a more personalized experience for the customers.
As per the agreement, Microsoft will make use of its IoT (internet of things), AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning technologies to develop a highly personalized, smart vehicle for the customers.
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
1. Airbus signed an MoU with Telangana government for setting up center of excellence in Hyderabad.
The Centre will train candidates ranging from high school graduates to experienced aviation personnel on aircraft manufacturing, logistics etc.
The Centre will offer short-term refresher modules as well as long-term certificate and diploma courses.
2. The Publications Division and Sasta Sahitya Mandal (SSM) signed a MoU in New Delhi.
The MoU facilitates joint publication of books on heroes of the Indian freedom struggle, cultural leaders and other eminent personalities who worked towards nation development.
The MoU includes joint publication of a set of 20 books out of which 10 books will be selected through each other’s catalogue.
3. Thailand-based airliner Air Asia signed a MoU with the Odisha government.
The MoU is signed in connection with beginning of two-ways direct flights from Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur to Odisha capital Bhubaneswar.
The airline will begin its flight service from the Biju Patnaik International Airport by end of next month.
Science & Technology
1. Scientists have developed novel rubber like material nicknamed thubber which has high thermal conductivity and elasticity.
It is an electrically insulating composite material that exhibits an unprecedented combination of metal-like thermal conductivity.
It has application in developing wearable computing and soft robotics etc.
2. Scientists have found high levels of human-made pollutants, including chemicals that were banned in the 1970s.
These chemicals are found in the tissues of marine creatures dwelling in the deepest oceans of the Earth.
Scientists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) created a high-quality graphene, world’s strongest material, using soybean.
3. Graphene is a carbon material that is one atom thick. The research was published in the journal Nature Communications.
The scientists developed a novel “GraphAir” technology, which does not require a highly-controlled environment.
4. Scientists have successfully mapped three-dimensional molecular structure of EptA protein that shields superbugs from antibiotics.
The EptA protein causes multi-drug resistance by masking bacteria from both the human immune system and important antibiotics.
1. World Radio Day is celebrated annually on 13th February to celebrate radio as a medium to promote and access information.
The theme for the 2017 edition of World Radio Day is “Radio is You”.
In 2011, the Unesco General Conference had proclaimed 13th February as World Radio Day.
Recent Notable Deaths
1. Veteran journalist T.V. Parasuram, who served for long as the Washington correspondent of the Indian Express, died on in Maryland. He was 93.
Parasuram, who won a Harvard Niemen Fellow in journalism, was known to take shorthand notes at 170 words per minute and would type almost as fast in the typewriter era.
Important Abbreviations used in this Article
|FSSAI||Food Safety and Standards Authority of India|
|ICAO||International Civil Aviation Organization|
|SARTTAC||South Asia Training and Technical Assistance Centre|
|TAMRA||Transparency, Auction Monitoring and Resource Augmentation|
|NASA||National Aeronautics and Space Administration|
|INVN||India Vetiver Network|
|DRAL||Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited|
|BAFTA||British Academy Film and Television Arts|
|CCEA||Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs|
|ASSOCHAM||Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India|
|FIBA||International Basketball Federation|
|DDCA||Delhi and Districts Cricket Association|
|SEBI||Securities and Exchange Board of India|
|MSMEs||Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises|
|MPLAD||Members of Parliament Local Area Development|
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