National Current Affairs
India to stop water flowing from eastern rives to Pakistan
- Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari has announced that India will no longer allow its share of eastern river waters under 1960 Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) to flow into Pakistan.
- This comes as part of punitive measures that can be imposed against Paksitan following Pulwama terror attack in which 40 soldiers were killed. Read more
President gives assent to amend Indian Stamp Act, 1899
- President Ram Nath Kovind gave assent (under Article 111 of constitution) to amend Indian Stamp Act, 1899 to rationalise and harmonise stamp duty and help to curb tax evasion.
- The amendments to this Act were introduced as part of Finance Act 2019 and was approved by Parliament. Read more
Government to conduct All India Citizens Survey of Police Service
- Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will to conduct ‘All India Citizens Survey of Police Services’, a pan-India survey to gauge public perception of police.
- It will be conducted by Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) with the help of National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) in nine months period. Read more
NABH launches HOPE portal
- National Certification Board for Hospitals and Health Service Providers (NABH) has revised entry level certification process to make it simple, quick, digital and user-friendly.
- The revamped certification process will be driven through new launched HOPE portal. HOPE stands for Healthcare Organizations’ Platform for Entry-Level-Certification. Read more
Tripura’s first mega food park inaugurated in Agartala
- Tripura’s first mega food park viz. Sikaria Mega Food Park Pvt Ltd was recently inaugurated at Village Tulakona in state capital Agartala.
- It is 18th of its kind food park in the country set up under Mega Food Park Scheme implemented by Union Ministry of Food Processing Industries. Read more
Banking &Economy Current Affairs
EPF interest rate hiked to 8.65 percent
- Central Board of Trustees (CBT) of Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has hiked interest rate on PF deposits to 8.65% for 2018-19 from 8.55% in the previous financial year.
- This is a 10 basis point increase from the 8.55 percent EPF interest rate announced by the retirement fund for 2017-18. One basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point.
- CBT is the apex decision-making body of EPFO and is headed by Union Labour Minister. It has representatives of employees, employers and government.
- Note: CBT's proposal on interest rate hike will now go to Finance Ministry for approval. The interest rate is credited into the accounts of subscribers after it receives approval of Finance Ministry
NITI Aayog organises Conference on Future of Indian Banking
- NITI Aayog organised the ‘Conference on Future of Indian Banking and role of technology’ in New Delhi. It was inaugurated by NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Dr. Rajiv Kumar.
- It was aimed at increasing and elevating discourse on banking sector in India and help develop insights to inform continued evolution of banking sector in India.
- It saw participation of 200 domestic and international participants, including policy makers, researchers, professionals, academicians and students from various banks, universities and institutes.
4th India-ASEAN Expo Summit held in New Delhi
- The 4th India-ASEAN Expo and Summit was held in New Delhi from 21-23 February 2019. Its theme was “Reviving the Millennial Partnership”.
- It was organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), with the support of Government of India.
- It attended by Ministers, government officials and business delegations from 10 ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam).
- Its aim was to build upon success of previous edition of ASEAN-India Business and Investment Meet and Expo which was held in 2018 as precursor to India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit.
- It provided platform for policy makers, business leaders and industry captains to come together and forge common vision for India and ASEAN’s mutual growth and progress.
FDI inflows to India: April-December 2018
- According to data released by Ministry of Commerce, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows to India declined by 7% to US $ 33.49 billion during April-December in the financial year 2018-19. It was US $35.94 billion during same period in 2017-18.
- Contraction of FDI inflows may have impact on country’s balance of payments (BoP) and also adversely affect value of rupee (resulting in depreciation).
- Sectoral wise breakup of FDI: Services ($5.91 billion), computer software and hardware ($4.75 billion), telecommunications ($2.29 billion), trading ($2.33 billion), chemicals ($6.05 billion) and automobile industry ($1.81 billion).
- Top FDI countries: Singapore ($12.97 billion) followed by Mauritius ($6 billion), Netherlands ($2.95 billion), Japan ($2.21 billion), US ($2.34 billion) and UK ($1.05 billion).
DPIIT launches 2nd edition of Startup Ranking of states
- Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) under Ministry of Commerce & Industry has launched second edition of Startup Ranking for 2019.
- It aims to rank States/UTs for establishing a robust ecosystem for supporting Startups. It also seeks to encourage States/UTs to identify, learn and replicate good practices from each other. Read more
Science & Technology Current Affairs
Hippocamp: New moon of Neptune discovered
- Astronomers have confirmed existence of Hippocamp- a new tiny moon orbiting Neptune. It was discovered using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.
- Hippocamp has diameter of only 20 miles, making it smallest moon yet discovered in orbit around the outermost planet. It is named after mythical half-horse, half-fish sea creature.
- With this discovery, Neptune now has 14 moons. There are seven inner moons (including Hippocamp), and six outer moons.
- Neptune’s largest moon, Triton. It is eighth and farthest known planet from Sun in the Solar System.
First Drone Olympics Competition
- India’s first ever Drone Olympics’ competition for UAV’s was held recently at Air Force Station, Bengaluru alongside Aero India exhibition. It was organized by Ministry of Defence.
- It was aimed at encouraging UAV industry to connect with potential buyers and business partners in the country and also provide opportunity to Armed Forces to assess the capabilities of UAVs.
- The competition was held in two categories: Hybrid Designs and Fixed VTOL, which was further classified into two weight categories- 4 kg and 4-7 kg.
- Besides there were also UAV formation flying challenge and weight-drop challenge. The prize money for the three competition categories ranged between Rs 50,000 and Rs 3 lakh.
Xin Xiaomeng: China unveils world’s first female AI news anchor
- China’s state-run press agency Xinhua has unveiled world’s first female Artificial Intelligence (AI) news anchor named Xin Xiaomeng.
- She has been developed by Xinhua news agency in collaboration with Sogou Inc, a Chinese search engine company. She is modelled after real-life Xinhua news anchor Qu Meng. i.
- Earlier, this news agency also unveiled Qiu Hao, world’s first male AI news anchor at World Internet Conference in Wuzhen held in November 2018.
- This male news anchor is capable of mimicking human mannerisms and facial expressions while reading out news-reports.
KP-Bot: Kerala Police inducts country’s first humanoid robot
- Kerala State Police has inducted first humanoid robot named KP-Bot into force. It makes it world's first and the very first police force in the country to induct humanoid robots.
- It has been designed to provide round-the-clock service, involving public interface and front office administration and overcome human limitations to avoid, to the extent possible, human error. Read more
Defence Current Affairs
BEL signs teaming agreement with Hughes India
- Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) has inked teaming agreement with Hughes India for satellite communication solutions for helicopters.
- This agreement is for design, development, supply, installation, integration and commissioning of Satellite Communication solutions for helicopters.
- It will enable Defence Ministry’s strategic users to get enabled with helicopter-based Satellite Communication links for real-time and assured communications using ISRO's Ku band satellites.
- Hughes India is subsidiary of Hughes Network Systems, US (commonly known as Hughes). Hughes is world’s largest provider of broadband satellite networks and services.
Velayat 97: Iran to conduct navy drill
- Iranian Navy will conduct naval drill Velayat 97 in the waters of Strait of Hormuz, Makran coast, Oman Sea and north of Indian Ocean through which vital global shipping routes passes.
- It is aimed at evaluating navy’s equipment, practice launching weapons and enable the troops to gain readiness for real battle
- The drill also includes missile launches from the vessels. It will also showcase Iran’s warships, submarines, helicopters and drones.
BrahMos NG: New deadlier version of BrahMos Missile
- New smaller and deadlier version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile dubbed as BrahMos NG is under developmental phase.
- Its prototype will be ready for testing in about three years. It is being designed to take down slow moving `force multipliers’ deep within enemy territory. Read more
Awards Current Affairs
PM Narendra Modi awarded 2018 Seoul Peace Prize
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi was conferred 2018 Seoul Peace Prize. He is 14th recipient of this prestigious award.
- He was awarded for his contribution to international cooperation and fostering global economic growth and promoting global peace and harmony through inclusive economic growth and improving quality of life of people in India. Read more
Sushma Swaraj awarded Spain’s Grand Cross of Order of Civil Merit
- Government of Spain has conferred Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj with its state order (prestigious award)-Grand Cross of Order of Civil Merit.
- It was bestowed upon her in recognition of India's support in evacuating 71 Spanish nationals through Operation Maitri from Nepal during disastrous earthquake in April 2015.
- Grand Cross of Order of Civil Merit: It honours extraordinary service by Spanish and foreign citizens for the benefit of Spain. It was as established by King Alfonso XIII of Spain in 1926.
Festival of India organized in Nepal
- It was organized by Swami Vivekananda Cultural Center at Indian embassy in Kathmandu (capital of Nepal) with support from Union Ministry of Culture.
- The month-long festival will host cultural performances, exhibition on Mahatma Gandhiji and seminar on Sanskrit.
- Its objective is to consolidate and strengthen existing age-old relations between both countries, reinforce sensibilities, affinities and shared cultural bonds between people.
- It also seeks to contribute towards sustaining and enhancing mutual understanding between both neighbouring countries.
Waste to Wonder Park inaugurated in South Delhi
- It was inaugurated by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh under South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC).
- Its main attractions is “Seven Wonders Park” which has different sized tall replicas of all seven wonders of world viz. Taj Mahal, Eiffel Tower, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Great Pyramid of Giza, Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer statue, Rome’s Colosseum and New York’s Statute of Liberty.
- These replicas have been made with total 150 tonnes of scrap and waste comprising of automobile parts and other metal waste like rods, iron sheets, nut- bolts, bicycle and bike parts etc.
Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha
- President Ram Nath Kovind recently unveiled statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha (DBHPS) in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
- DBHPS is national organisation that aims to improve Hindi literacy among non-Hindi speaking people of South India.
- It was established by Mahatma Gandhi in 1918 to prorogate Hindi languate in South India.
- Its main purpose is to unite northern and southern states of the country in greatest interest of integration of the nation.
- Gandhiji was its founder president. Its first Pracharak was Devadoss Gandhi, son of Mahatma Gandhi.
- It is divided into four divisions one each for south states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh (includes Telagnana), Kerala and Tamil Nadu. In 1964, it was declared Institutes of National Importance.
Shisht Bharat Campaign
- Shisht Bharat campaign was launched by NGO in New Delhi to inculcate public civic sense.
- Its aim was to strengthen moral character of citizens by sensitizing them about values of morality, civic sense, politeness, decorum and dignity.
- Its theme was to discuss importance of moral science education in schools and colleges and include moral science as subject in educational curriculum.
- It brought together policy-makers, NGOs, media personalities, RWAs, Delhi traffic police, corporate houses and multinationals together for promotion of the cause.
International Vision Zero Conference
- It was held in Mumbai, capital of Maharashtra from 18-20 February 2019 to promote Occupational Safety and Health.
- It was organized by Directorate General Factory Advice and Labour Institutes (DGFASLI), IIT Bombay and German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV).
- It provided platform for promoting safety and health at work by exchanging knowledge, practices and experience.
- It saw participation of more than 1200 national and international delegates comprising of occupational safety and health professionals from manufacturing, mining and construction sectors.
- Vision Zero concept: It is based on four fundamental principles viz. life is non-negotiable, humans are fallible, tolerable limits are defined by human physical resistance and people are entitled to safe transport and safe workplaces.
- It is based on principles of controlling risks, ensuring safety and health in machines, equipment and workplaces and skill upgradation of workforce.
Sports Current Affairs
SC appoints Justice DK Jain as ombudsman for BCCI
- Supreme Court has appointed former apex court judge Justice DK Jain as ombudsman for Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
- He is first person to be appointed as ombudsman for BCCI (though court-appointed) under terms of newly approved constitution of the cricket board.
- Ombudsman’s role will be to resolve disputes relating to players within state cricket associations and also financial issues.