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National – Across the India
1. Assam Government has launched Chief Minister Samagra Gramya Unnayan Yojana (CMSGUY).
The Yojana was launched to bring about the paradigm shift towards holistic development of villages in the state.
2. A ban on cash transaction of more than Rs. 3 lakh has been proposed in the Budget for 2017-18.
The penalty for doing cash transaction will be steep and the receiver will have to pay an amount equivalent to the cash received.
Supposing you do a transaction of Rs 4 lakh in cash, then the penalty would be Rs 4 lakh.
3. Uber launched UberHIRE that allows customers to hire a taxi for a day to cover several destinations.
The new category aims at targeting senior citizens, business travelers, and tourists.
Presently, UberHIRE works only on cash payments.
4. The Supreme Court directed the central government to register details of the identity of every mobile user within a year.
Phone numbers of subscribers linked to Aadhar card will be made mandatory.
5. The first smart police station of the country inaugurated by CM of Andhra Pradesh N. Chandrababu Naidu in the state.
The Police Station opened at Nagarampalem in the capital region Amaravathi.
It will work on the smart policing system that will make the police process much transparent.
6. India will host the implementation and assessment group meeting of the global initiative to combat nuclear terrorism in New Delhi.
Around 150 delegates will be participating in the three-day event.
The meeting highlights India’s commitment to global nuclear non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
7. Arunachal Pradesh became the first state in the northeast to implement e-Cabinet solution for the state cabinet members.
Using this system, the cabinet members can access the cabinet notes before the meeting.
8. Niti Aayog has decided to rank the States/UTs on the basis of digital transactions.
Niti Aayog had constituted a Committee of Chief Ministers on digital payments which submitted its interim report to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
9. The Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore inaugurated the 17th International Seminar on Counter Terrorism.
It was organized by National Security Guard, in Manesar, Haryana.
10. Gujarat becomes the first state in the country to establish a cashless system for distribution of foodgrains.
Union Minister for Consumer Affairs lauded the efforts of the State Government for installing Aadhaar Enabled Payment System in 17250 FPSs, much before the targeted date of 31st March 2017.
11. The Union Cabinet has approved Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (PMGDISHA) to make 6 crore rural households digitally literate.
The outlay for this project is Rs. 2,351.38 crore to usher in digital literacy in rural India by March 2019.
Under the scheme, 25 lakh candidates will be trained in the FY 2016-17; 275 lakhs in the FY 2017-18; and 300 lakhs in the FY 2018-19.
12. Union Minister of State for Power, Shri Piyush Goyal has launched TAMRA (Transparency, Auction Monitoring, and Resource Augmentation) portal and Mobile Application on 10th February 2017.
TAMRA will be an interactive platform for all the stakeholders to compress the timelines for statutory and other clearances.
TAMRA would help minimize the gestation period for commencing production.
13. The Madhya Pradesh government would spend Rs 86,000 crore during the next five years on the development of cities across the state.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh announced the plans while launching the third phase of ‘Nagar Uday Abhiyan’ at Jabalpur.
14. Aadhaar number would be mandatory for taking food grain through the Public Distribution System (PDS) under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
According to the Aadhaar Act, producing the document for identification is compulsory for any transfers made from the Consolidated Fund of India.
Those who don’t have an Aadhaar number will continue to get their monthly ration quota if they provide proof of having applied for it.
Such persons have to necessarily apply for Aadhaar enrolment by 30th June 2017.
15. The Union Government is not in favor of a new law for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The parliamentary committee has recommended replacing Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946 which governs CBI.
16. Kerala’s Nilambur teak will be added to the list of Kerala produces with the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
It is known internationally for its superior timber quality and elegant appearance.
17. National Productivity Week will be held from 12th to 18th February 2017.
The theme chosen for this year’s observance is “From Waste to Profits-through Reduce, Recycle and Reuse”.
18. The Fairy Queen the oldest surviving functional steam engine in the world is once again ready to haul a heritage train from National Capital Delhi to Rewari, Haryana after a gap of 5 years.
The train will run between Delhi Cantonment Station and Rewari from 11th February 2017 for a single day trip.
19. Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers, Shri Ananth Kumar inaugurated Orientation Programme for the launching of 1000 Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Kendras (PMBJKs).
The workshop was targeted to educate and channelize youth to synergize their efforts for taking ahead of the mission to open 3000 PMBJKs by March 2017.
20. Union Government has constituted an interdepartmental task force to crackdown oBenamimi firms.
It is first major post-demonetization move undertaken by Government for unearthing black money.
21. The Union Minister of Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan released the world’s first comprehensive Braille atlas for nearly 50 lakh visually challenged people in New Delhi, India.
This is for the first time that such atlas has been prepared for physically challenged with such minute details.
The Braille Atlas has been prepared by National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organization (NATMO) under Department of Science & Technology.
The Atlas has 20 maps on different themes.
22. The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched Measles Rubella (MR) vaccination campaign in the country at Bengaluru, Karnataka.
The campaign will start from five States/UTs viz. Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Goa and Lakshadweep covering nearly 3.6 crore target children.
Under it all children aged between 9 months and less than 15 years will be given a single shot of Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccination.
The vaccination will be free of cost irrespective of the previous vaccination status or disease status of the children.
International – Across the Globe
1. Qatar Airways launched the world’s longest scheduled commercial service with its inaugural flight from Doha to Auckland.
Flight QR920 left the Qatari capital landed in New Zealand.
The Boeing 777 flight will take 16 hours and 20 minutes, pass over 10 time zones, five countries and travel 14,535 km before reaching Auckland.
2. In an effort to strengthen the bilateral relations between India and UAE, the Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Samudra Pavak made a goodwill visit at the Mina Al Rashid (Dubai Port).
The Indian Ambassador in UAE Navdeep Suri visited the Indian Navy ship.
3. The 17th Session of BIMSTEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) has concluded in Kathmandu, with an understanding to host the summit meeting by the end of 2017.
The SOM meeting represented by senior foreign ministry officials from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka.
Nepal will host the fourth BIMSTEC Summit.
4. Israel’s Parliament has passed a law retroactively legalizing about 4,000 homes built in Area C of the occupied West Bank.
The law was passed by 60 votes to 52.
The new law states that the original Palestinian landowners will be compensated with money or alternative land.
5. The Union Cabinet has been apprised of the Framework Agreement between India and Vietnam.
The agreement was on cooperation in the exploration and uses of outer space for peaceful purposes.
6. Pakistan’s Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif imposed a complete ban on Basant, a festival celebrated to mark the start of the spring season.
Sharif has made it clear that the Punjab government won’t allow such festivals which endanger people’s lives.
7. Nepal government said that free wifi zones would be set up on the Lukla-Everest Base Camp and the Annapurna Base Camp.
This will be done to promote tourism and provide easy flow of information during disasters.
8. The Israeli Embassy said that the Delhi government has decided to employ Israeli technology to clean the Yamuna river for a cleaner environment and water.
Ayala Water and Ecology Ltd. will focus on a stretch of eight km of sewage which drains into Yamuna River.
9. China has released the theme and the cooperation priorities of the 2017 BRICS Summit which is scheduled to begin in September in Xiamen.
The theme for 2017 BRICS Summit is BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future
It will also feature five key priorities such as deepening cooperation, strengthening global governance, carrying out people-to-people exchanges, making institutional improvements and building broader partnerships.
10. India remains near the bottom in an International Intellectual Property (IP) Index by being ranked 43rd out of 45 countries.
The report is published by S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC).
Sports & Athletics
1. Madhurika Patkar and Sharath Kamal won single’s title in National Table Tennis Championship.
Madhurika Patkar won the women’s singles crown for the first time, while veteran A. Sharath Kamal bagged his seventh national crown in the 78th Sports Table Tennis Senior National Championships.
2. The Basketball Federation of India (BFI) announced that India will host two international events in 2017, the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup and FIBA Under-16 Women’s Asian Championship.
The FIBA Women’s Asia Cup will be held from 23rd July to 29th July in Bengaluru.
The FIBA U-16 Women’s Asian Championship will be held from 22nd October to 28th October in Hyderabad.
3. Minister of State (I/C) for Youth Affairs & Sports Shri Vijay laid the foundation of Center of Excellence for Differently Abled Sportspersons at SAI Gandhinagar.
It will be the first ever training centre dedicated to Para-athletes in the country.
4. The Billiards and Snooker Federation of India announced that India would be hosting the World Billiards Championships for the next four years.
The prestigious tournament was held in Bengaluru last year as well and was won by India’s Pankaj Advani.
5. Saurabh Verma and Rituparna Das won the Men’s Single and Women’s Single titles in 81st Senior National Badminton Championship tournament.
Rituparna defeated Reshma Kartik by 21-12 21-14 in the final match.
Saurabh Verma defeated Lakshya Sen by 21-13, 21-12 in the final match.
6. Delhi batsman Mohit Ahlawat has become the first batsman to score a triple hundred in a T20 match at any level.
Ahlawat, who has represented Delhi in Ranji Trophy, scored an unbeaten 300 off 72 balls in a local T20 tournament at Delhi’s Lalita Park.
He smashed 39 sixes and 14 fours in his knock.
7. The official mascot of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 ‘Kheleao’ was unveiled at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi.
Sports Minister Vijay Goel and AIFF president Praful Patel, introduced a clouded leopard called Kheleo, to hundreds of football fans.
8. Mission XI Million, the biggest school sports outreach programme was launched by the Minister of State (I/C) for Youth Affairs and Sports Shri Vijay Goel.
It will encourage children to play football, gain healthy habits and learn important life lessons in teamwork and sportsman spirit.
9. Virat Kohli became the first batsman to score four double-centuries in four straight series.
Kohli scored his fourth double century for India against Bangladesh in Hyderabad.
He became the second captain to score four double centuries for his country.
Awards & Recognition
1. Indian-origin British sculptor Anish Kapoor was named the winner of a prestigious USD 1 million Genesis prize by Israel.
The head of the committee acknowledged Kapoor as one of the most influential and innovative artists of his generation.
2. Dr. P Raghu Ram, president of Association of Breast Surgeons of India, has won the prestigious Dr. B C Roy National Award.
He won the award for outstanding service in the field of socio-medical relief for 2016.
3. An Indian-origin neurosurgeon Dr. Shawna Pandya has been shortlisted by NASA for its 2018 space mission under the Citizen Science Astronaut (CSA) programme.
She may join the league of Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams.
Books & Authors
1. Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu released the annual year book ‘India-2017’ and ‘Bharat-2017’ at a function in New Delhi.
These books give comprehensive information about the country and various States and Union Territories.
It also provides detailed information on various schemes and projects of Government and its various departments.
2. The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh released the book titled ‘Veerappan, Chasing the Brigand’.
The book was written by K. Vijay Kumar, Senior Security Adviser, Ministry of Home Affairs.
Mergers & Acquisitions
1. Bank of Maharashtra has partnered with insurance company Cigna TTK Health to market the insurer’s products in the bank’s branches across the entire country.
Under the agreement, the bank will offer all the Cigna TTK’s heath care products to its 2 crore customers.
The tie-up will boost penetration of health insurance in the country.
2. India’s third largest private bank, Axis Bank has tied up with Earthport Plc, a cross-border payment network.
It will enable faster outbound cross-border payments for its customers through Earthport’s state-of-the-art global payments network.
Through this, the bank can send payments seamlessly to almost any bank account in the world on behalf of their clients.
3. Federal Bank has collaborated with leading online data and information portal Commodity Online.
The partnership was done for the distribution of loans against warehouse receipts and collateral management services across the country.
Commodity Online will roll out an Agri commodity financing platform through its flagship portal commodityonline.com
Appointments & Resignations
1. KPMG India board has elected Arun M Kumar as Chairman and CEO to lead the Indian operations of the consulting and accounting major.
He succeeds Richard Rekhy, who stepped down in November last year.
Rekhy had been re-elected for a four-year term earlier in January 2016.
2. The AIADMK has elected Sasikala Natarajan as the leader of its legislative party in the Tamil Nadu Assembly.
Sasikala is all set to become the Next Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
Panneerselvam had resigned and proposed her name at the meeting of AIADMK legislators.
3. Balesh Sharma will replace Naveen Chopra, the current Chief Operating Officer of Vodafone Group.
The change was made to better tackle competitive pressures triggered by the entry of Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RIJL).
Sharma will take over from Chopra from 1st April 2017.
4. The Senate confirmed education secretary Betsy DeVos as the nation’s 11th Education secretary.
US Vice-President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote to secure her cabinet role, splitting the chamber 50-50.
It was the first time ever that a vice-president has interceded in such a way for a cabinet secretary.
5. Jovenel Moise was sworn as Haiti’s new President in a brief ceremony in Parliament.
Moise took the oath of office in a Parliament chamber surrounded by Haitian lawmakers and foreign dignitaries.
He won with nearly 56 percent of the votes cast in the November 20 election.
6. Former Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has been declared Somalia’s new president.
He will succeed Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who conceded defeat after two rounds of voting.
7. The US Senate confirmed Republican Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to become US President Donald Trump’s attorney general.
Republicans voted in favor of their fellow Senator while all but one Democrat voted against nominating Sessions.
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange has been appointed to temporarily fill the vacant Senate seat left by Jeff Sessions
8. The Centre appointed three part-time non-official directors on the Reserve Bank of India’s Central Board for a four-year term.
The Central Government has nominated Rajiv Kumar, Dr. Ashok Gulati, and Shri Manish Sabharwal as directors on the Central Board of the RBI.
The Cabinet also approved the proposal by the Department of Financial Services for the appointment of three members on the local board of the RBI.
These include Prasanna Kumar Mohanty (Southern Local Board), Vallabh Roopchand Bhanshali (Western Local Board) and Sunil Mitra (Eastern Local Board).
9. The government has appointed senior bureaucrat Ajay Tyagi as the new chairman of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
He will have a tenure of 5 years or until the age of 65 years or until further orders.
He will succeed UK Sinha whose term ends on 1st March 2017.
Prior to this appointment, he was Additional Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, handling the capital market division.
10. Hemant Bhargava has been appointed as the managing director of Life Insurance Corporation of India.
Presently Bhargava is the zonal manager (I/C) in Delhi.
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has appointed him as managing director up to 31st July 2019 or until further orders.
Economics & Banking GK
1. The UK’s CDC Group-backed Ujjivan Small Finance Bank is going to open its first set of branches for a public transaction.
The bank will start rolling out branch network across India from next fiscal.
Ujjivan Managing Director Samit Ghosh said that the bank will test all the technical and connectivity issues over the next one month as a preparation before going full throttle.
2. Industry body Assocham has said that Reserve Bank of India should cut interest rate 75 per cent in view of dismal credit growth as well as subdued demand.
RBI Monetary Policy Committee will meet on 7th-8th February for next bi-monthly credit policy.
Assocham has impressed upon the central bank and the Finance Ministry to ensure adequate transmission of cuts in the interest rates.
3. The 2017 Brand Finance Banking 500 report said that for the first time, a non-western brand tops the ranking.
Chinese banks brand value growth has been rapidly outpacing that of European and North American competitors.
The world’s biggest bank by assets, ICBC’s brand value has grown 32% year on year to a total of $47.8 billion.
Three Indian banks- SBI, HDFC Bank and ICICI are in hundred most valuable banks, ranked 51st, 74th and 86th respectively.
4. The tax department will withhold refund in scrutiny cases only in exceptional circumstances from next financial year.
To, address the concerns of assesses in genuine cases, the Finance Bill 2017 has relaxed the norms for refunds for scrutiny cases.
CBDT Chairman Sushil Chandra said that Income Tax refund will not be withheld simply because the case has been selected for scrutiny.
5. The Reserve Bank of India will remove limits on cash withdrawals from saving bank accounts in two phases since it expects cash supply to improve by next month.
In the first phase, the withdrawal limit will be raised to Rs 50,000 from Rs 24,000 a week.
The limits on cash withdrawals from savings bank account will be withdrawn completely from March 13.
At present, there is no limit on current account and there is a cap of Rs 50,000 for farmers a week and Rs.2.5 lakh for marriage.
6. RBI Governor Urjit Patel cut the economic growth forecast to 6.9 percent for the current fiscal from 7.1 per cent.
The Reserve Bank kept key interest rates unchanged.
Growth is expected to recover sharply in 2017-18 on account of several factors.
7. The highlights of the sixth bi-monthly monetary policy announced by RBI.
Policy repo rate unchanged at 6.25%.
Reverse Repo rate at 5.75%.
Cash Reserve ratio at 4%.
Statutory Liquidity Ratio at 20.50%.
Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) rate at 6.75%.
Bank Rate at 6.75%.
Inflation projected in the range of 4—4.5% in the first half of 2017—18 and 4.5—5% in the second half.
8. The government raised Rs 6,700 crore through sale of 2 per cent stake in tobacco-to-FMCG firm ITC, held through Specified Undertaking of the Unit Trust of India (SUUTI).
The transaction took place through block deals with Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC).
SUUTI, which was created to take over part of the assets and liabilities of the now-defunct Unit Trust of India, held 11.17 per cent stake in ITC.
9. Global analyst firm Gartner said that IT spends by domestic banks and securities firms will grow nearly 10 per cent to USD 8.9 billion in 2017.
This includes total enterprise IT spending for internal spending and spending data on data center systems, devices, software, IT services and telecom services.
The spends on IT services will grow at a faster clip of 13.8 percent, as the companies invest more in business processes.
10. Hindustan Motors sells iconic Ambassador car brand to French carmaker Peugeot.
The C K Birla Group-owned Hindustan Motors formalized the deal for Rs.80 crore.
The Ambassador brand was introduced seven decades ago when Hindustan Motors launched the Morris Oxford series II (Landmaster) in a new avatar with minor changes.
Bills – New & Amendments
1. The Lok Sabha has passed the Payment of Wages (Amendment) Bill, 2017.
The Bill was passed to enable employers to pay wages to workers through cheque or directly crediting to their accounts.
The bill will replace the Ordinance promulgated by the President in December 2016 to amend the Payment of Wages Act, 1936.
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
1. A Tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for implementation of Tourism projects in Jammu and Kashmir was signed among Ministry of Tourism, NPCC & NBCC and Government of J&K.
The two projects sanctioned are – Integrated Development of Tourist facilities at Gulmarg and Integrated Development of Tourist facilities.
Major components sanctioned under the projects are Yoga centre, wellness SPA, Log Huts, heliports, Open air theatre etc.
2. The Union Cabinet has been apprised of the signing of the MoU on Cooperation in the field of Science and Technology and innovation between India and France.
The MoU was signed between India’s Technology Development Board (TDB), Department of Science & Technology and France’s public Investment Bank Bpifrance.
The agreement will ensure exchange of best practices and set up of coordinated measures to foster technological exchanges.
3. The Union Cabinet has approved signing a MoU between India and Senegal in the field of Health and Medicine.
Both countries will set up a Working Group to further elaborate the details of cooperation and to oversee the implementation of this MoU.
The main areas of cooperation under MoU Integrated Disease Surveillance. Medical Research. Hospital Management and other areas of mutual interest.
4. IFFCO and Bank of Baroda signed MoU to launch co-branded debit cards for farmers as part of the strategy to promote cashless transactions in the rural area.
The pact was signed by Yogendra Kumar, General Manager, IFFCO and GB Panda, General Manager, Bank of Baroda.
IFFCO and Bank of Baroda would pool their resources to promote market and make accessible organized finance facility at competitive interest rates.
5. India and United Kingdom (UK) have signed a MoU to ease restrictions on the number of scheduled flights between the two countries.
The MoU was formally signed by Union Minister of Civil Aviation Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi Raju on behalf of India and Lord Tariq Ahmad of UK during his visit to India.
Limits on flights from key Indian cities including Chennai and Kolkata have been scrapped.
Science & Technology
1. Helium has been confirmed to form a stable compound (Na2He) with sodium under high pressure.
The research shows that the presence of He atoms causes strong electron localization and makes this material insulating.
It also predicts the existence of Na2HeO with a similar structure at pressures above 15 GPa.
2. Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile dubbed as Ashwin was successfully test-fired from launching complex-IV of Dhamara Abdul Kalam defence base off Odisha coast.
The success of test has boosted India’s position in the exclusive club of AAD countries the United States, Russia, and Israel.
The interceptor missile is a 7.5-metre-long single stage solid rocket propelled guided missile.
1. The International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation is a United Nations (UN) campaign held on 6th February 2017 to stop genital mutilation to girls and women.
The theme for 2017 is: Building a solid and interactive bridge between Africa and the world to accelerate ending FGM by 2030.
The programme currently focuses on 17 African countries and also supports regional and global initiatives.
2. United Nations International Day of Women and Girls in Science was observed on 11th February 2017.
The day is an opportunity for all to take a stand for girls and women in science.
The United Nations adopted this day to achieve full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls and attain gender equality.
Recent Notable Deaths
1. Racharla Samrajyam, a veteran freedom fighter, passed away following an age-related illness at Vishakhapatnam.
She was inspired by the Quit India Movement.
2. Colonel Nizamuddin, a close confidant of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, passed away at his residence in Dhakwa area of Mubarakpur, Azamgarh. He was 116.
He served as Bose’s driver between 1943 and 1945.
He reportedly last saw the leader on 20th August 1947 in Burma. He could never meet Netaji thereafter.
3. Renowned physicist and Nobel laureate Sir Peter Mansfield passed away in London, England. He was 83.
Mansfield, along with Paul Lauterbur, had won the 2003 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for developing Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
He also served as a professor at the University of Nottingham.
Important Abbreviations used in this Article
|CMSGUY||Chief Minister Samagra Gramya Unnayan Yojana|
|TAMRA||Transparency, Auction Monitoring, and Resource Augmentation|
|PMBJKs||Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Kendras|
|ICGS||Indian Coast Guard Ship|
|SEBI||Securities and Exchange Board of India|
|PDS||Public Distribution System|
|NFSA||National Food Security Act|
|DSPE||Delhi Special Police Establishment|
|GIPC||Global Intellectual Property Center|
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