Current Affairs February 2016-2017

Current Affairs February 2016

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Current Affairs - 28th & 29th February 2016

1. National Science Day observed with theme Scientific Issues for Development of the Nation


i. National Science Day was observed across India on 28 February 2016.

ii. The theme for the National Science Day 2016 is Scientific Issues for Development of the Nation.

iii. The day is observed annually to mark the discovery of the Raman Effect (phenomenon of scattering of photons) by Indian physicist Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman on 28 February 1928.

iv. Raman was awarded with the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930 for his discovery and this was the first Nobel Prize for India in the field of Science.

v. The first National Science Day was celebrated on 28 February 1987.

2. President declared Kerala as first digital state

i. President Pranab Mukherjee declared Kerala as the first digital state of the country on 27th February,2016.

ii. pinning another feather on the cap of the southern state that boasts of many firsts in the human development index.

iii. It will be the 1st fully digitised state With high e-literacy rate and mobile penetration (32 m connections).

iv. It is also the first to complete the national optic fiber network project which helps to provide high-speed internet in all gram panchayats and remote areas.

v. Many key government offices will be paperless soon. More than 3000 offices in the state, including motor vehicles and land registration departments, have achieved this feat.

3. Oscar Awards 2016 conferred; Film Mad Max: Fury Road won maximum awards

i. 88th Academy Awards, popularly called Oscar Awards, were conferred on 29 February 2016.

ii. The award ceremony was held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles.

iii. Chris Rock hosted the ceremony and Indian Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra made her debut on the Oscars red carpet and presented the award.
 
iv. The Oscar Awards for the year 2016 were presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) in 24 categories.

v. Some of winners of 88th Academy Awards:

Best Picture: Spotlight
Best Director:  Alejandro González Iñárritu for The Revenant
Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant
Best Actress: Brie Larson for Room
Best Animated Short Film: Bear Story
Best Animated Feature Film: Inside Out etc.

4. The Major Highlights/Announcement of the Union Budget 2016-17


i. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presents his third Union Budget. To support the small tax-payer and the small investor, the Minister announced a slew of schemes, and income tax exemptions.

ii. Following are the key highlights :

- Forex reserves are at highest level at $350 billion'
- 2016: Current account deficit seen at 1.4% of GDP'
- 3 schemes to address weaker sections'
- GDP growth has accelerated to 7.6%. CPI inflation has come down to 5.4%.
- FY 16-17 will have the additional burden of implementing the VII pay commission and the defence OROP.
- New scheme for BPL families for gas connections. Staturtory backing for Aadhaar platform to ensure delivery of benefits. etc

5. Dinesh Sharma Appointed As Chairman Of Governing Council Of IFAD


i. Dinesh Sharma, Additional Finance Secretary, Department Of Economic Affairs and India’s Governor to the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) was unanimously elected as the Chairperson of the Governing Council of IFAD for a period of two years in its 39th Session held in Rome, Italy.

ii. IFAD was setup in 1977 as the 13th Specialized Agency of the United Nations and works towards removing poverty and hunger in rural areas all over the world.

iii. India is a founder member of IFAD and a key contributor among the member countries.

iv. IFAD is managed by the two main governing bodies those are Governing Council and the Executive Board.

v. The Governing Council is the highest decision making body and consists of 176 member countries.

6. Vinod Rai Appointed Chairman Of Newly Constituted Banks Board Bureau(BBB)

i. Former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai has been appointed as the first Chairman of Banks Board Bureau (BBB).

ii. His appointment comes after Prime Minister has approved the proposal of the Department of Financial Services for the constitution of the BBB.

iii. He is former Comptroller and Auditor General(CAG) from January 2008 and May 2013.

iv. Last year Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in last 2015 announced that the government is going to set up a Bank Board Bureau for Public Sector Unit (PSU) banks, where each bank would be monitored on the basis of"key performance indicators". Apart from chairman Vinod Rai , the other three members are Anil K. Khandelwal, former CMD of Bank of Baroda, H.N. Sinor, former Joint MD, ICICI Bank and Rupa Kudwa, former MD and CEO, CRISIL.

7. Wawrinka Beats Baghdatis To Win Dubai Title

i. Switzerland Player Stanislas Wawrinka won the battle of the 30-year-olds by defeating Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus 6-4, 7-6 (13) to win the Dubai Tennis Championships title.

ii. He also won the last nine finals he's played, including the 2014 Australian Open and 2015 French Open.

iii. The last final he lost was in 2013.

iv. The victory is Wawrinka's second title of the year.

v. Baghdatis, who was unseeded, has now lost his last seven finals.

8. Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat Programme to be Launched

i. ‘Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat’ programme will be launched to link States and Districts in an annual programme that connects people though exchanges in areas of language, trade, culture, travel and tourism.

ii. Today While presenting the General Budget 2016-17 in Lok Sabha, the Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley said that to strengthen understanding of each other.

iii. it is proposed to create a closer engagement between States and Districts in a structured manner.

9. Naveen Patnaik Has Been Elected As BJD President For The 7th Consecutive Term


i. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was formally declared elected as the president of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) for the 7th consecutive term.

ii. Besides Naveen, 80 others were elected unopposed to the State executive of the party.
 
iii. The election as BJD president was a mere formality as he was the only candidate to file nomination papers for the post.

iv. Naveen Patnaik re-election as the BJD’s president was announced by the State returning officer (SRO) Pratap Keshari Deb at the party’s State council meeting.

v. The party’s organisational poll process was started in the last week of December and it was completed on Sunday in five phases.

Current Affairs - 27th February 2016

1. Ex-DRDO Chairman Dr Avinash Chander received Aryabhata Award 2013


i. Former Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister and ex-DRDO chief Dr Avinash Chander on 25 February 2016 received the prestigious Astronautical Society of India's Aryabhata Award 2013.

ii. He received the award from Dr R Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Adviser to Union Government and Dr A S Kiran Kumar, Chairman ISRO, at ASI-ISRO Awards function held at Space Applications Centre (SAC) in Ahmedabad.

iii. Besides, Dr.Ranganath R Navalgund, Vikram Sarabhai Distinguished Professor, received the Aryabhata Award for the year 2012.

iv. Aryabhata Award was named after the fifth century Indian astronomer and mathematician and also in commemoration of the first Indian Satellite launched on 19 April 1975, Aryabhata. It is presented every year to an individual for outstanding lifetime contribution to the promotion of astronautics in India.

2. Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Ranveer Singh To Get Dinanath Mangeshkar prize


i. Actor Ranveer Singh was on 26 February 2016 selected for Pandit Dinanath Mangeshkar award. The award will be bestowed upon Ranveer by Lata Mangeshkar at a function to be held in Pune.

ii. The award is annually conferred on artists on 24 April to commemorate Pandit Dinanath Mangeshkar’s death anniversary.

iii. Pandit Dinanath Mangeshkar award was instituted in 1999 in the memory of Dinanath Mangeshkar, father of Lata Mangeshkar. Since then it is awarded annually to persons for their outstanding contributions to music and movies.

iv. The award carries monetary award of 101001 rupees, a memento and a citation.

3. ISRO to set up Satellite Centre for in ASEAN countries in Vietnam


i. Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is working to establishment of a Satellite Tracking & Data Reception Station and Data Processing Facility for ASEAN Member countries in Vietnam.

ii. ISRO will set up this satellite centre at the behest of Union Government as part of Space Cooperation between India and Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). This information was provided by the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh in a reply to an unstarred question in Lok Sabha.

iii. This facility is intended to acquire and process Indian Remote Sensing Satellite (IRSS) data pertaining to ASEAN region and disseminate to ASEAN Member countries.

iv. Under this initiative, all 10 ASEAN member countries including Vietnam will be allowed to access processed remote sensing data pertaining to their country.

v. Ground facility is designed in such a way that it will not allow Indian data to be accessed and processed by the system

4. India and UK sign MoU for research in crop science

i. Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology and a consortium of top UK research institutions signed an MoU for establishment of a joint India-UK collaboration programme in crop science.

ii. The aim of the agreement is to enhance collaborative research, promote knowledge exchange, and support capacity building to develop resilience in food security. iii. This collaboration builds on the close links already established between leading researchers in the United Kingdom and India.

iv. This collaboration will create opportunities for leading experts in the UK and India to come together to tackle global challenges in the areas of food security, crop science and biotechnology.

v. All parties agreed on the importance of crop science as an area of enormous potential for scientific collaboration, and of great importance for global food security in India and beyond.

5. Mumbai won Ranji Trophy for the 41st time

i. Mumbai on 26 February 2016 won the Ranji Trophy with an innings and 21 run victory over Saurashtra. It won the trophy for the first time in three seasons.

ii. With this, they have 41 titles in 45 finals with 10 of them being an innings victory. Karnataka stands second in the overall Ranji standings with eight titles. It was a repeat of the 2012-13 final where Mumbai had made short work of Saurashtra with an innings and 125-run victory.

iii. Mumbai made 371 runs in 82.2 overs in their first innings and in reply Saurashtra managed 235 and 115 runs in first and second innings respectively. Mumbai pacer Shardul Thakur shackled opposition batting in the second innings and claimed five wickets for 26 runs in 13.2 overs to took his match tally to eight.

iv. Shreyas Iyer was named man of the match for his 117 runs in Mumbai's only innings of the match. He ended the season as the leading run-getter with 1321 runs at 73.38 including four centuries and seven fifties.

vi. In 2015, the trophy was Karnataka which was their eighth title. In the final, Karnataka defeated Tamil Nadu.

6. IRCTC, OYO Rooms tie up for hotel bookings

i. OYO Rooms has tied up with the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC)The tie-up aims to offer standardised accommodation and a convenient booking platform to rail travellers.

ii. Under the tie-up, OYO Rooms will power the IRCTC hotel-booking page, offering their inventory and standardised amenities to passengers.With this, IRCTC customers will have ready access to hotel accommodations under OYO.

iii. IRCTC-OYO Rooms will offer nearly 45,000 hotel rooms in over 170 cities in India.

iv. The IRCTC portal witnesses 5 to 5.5 lakh bookings a day.

v. The partnership symbolises the growing leverage of synergies between the government and homegrown Indian businesses to drive the next wave of innovation.

7. E-Tourist Visa Scheme extended to 37 more countries

i. The Union Government has extended e-Tourist Visa Scheme to 37 more countries. With this, the total count of countries under the scheme will become 150.

ii. The new countries included in e-Tourist Visa scheme are Austria, Albania, Botswana, Brunei, Bulgaria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Comoros, Cote d’lvoire, Cape Verde,  Czech Republic, Croatia, Eritrea, Denmark, Gabon, Greece, Guinea, Gambia, Ghana,  Madagascar, Malawi, Iceland, Lesotho, Liberia, San Marino, Moldova, Namibia, Romania, South Africa, Swaziland, Switzerland, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, Trinidad & Tobago, Tajikistan, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

iii. Union Government had launched e-Tourist Visa Scheme (as Tourist Visa on Arrival scheme) in November 2014. The e-Tourist Visa Scheme facilitates pre-authorization of Visa i.e. electronic travel authorisation given to foreigners prior to travel.

iv. Under this scheme, an applicant registers for visa online and receives an email authorising him/her to travel to India after it is approved. On arrival, the visitor has to present the authorisation to the immigration authorities who will in turn allow them to enter into the country.

v. The scheme seeks to tap the vast tourism potential of India which still remains untapped and explored.

8. Reliance Capital To Transfer Commercial Finance Business Into Separate Firm


i. Reliance Capital said that it will transfer its all commercial finance division into a separate company to unfold the value through sale of stake post the transfer, Reliance Capital would be apply to the RBI for registering itself as a Core Investment Company (CIC) and this move would  also facilitated the application of banking as license and when the apex bank's policy permits.

ii. According to the scheme the scheme the commercial finance division of Reliance Capital would be merged into Reliance Gilt Securities a wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Capital and this merged entity would be renamed Reliance Commercial Finance.

iii. The company has an aggregate loan portfolio of Rs 15,049 crore at the end of December.

iv. The proposal will enhance management focus on Reliance Commercial Finance and also provide flexibility to the company to unlock value through stake sale.

v. Reliance Life Insurance and Reliance Asset Management, both subsidiaries of Reliance Capital, already have a strategic partner Nippon Life Insurance - with 49% stake.

Current Affairs - 26th February 2016

1. Justice Dinesh Maheshwari Appointed As Chief Justice Of Meghalaya High Court


i. Justice Dinesh Maheshwari has sworn in as the Chief justice of the Meghalaya High Court. He was administered the oath as Chief Justice by state Governor V. Shanmuganathan.

ii. Prior to this appointment he was working in Allahabad High Court.

iii. The post of the Chief Justice of the High Court fell vacant after the retirement of Chief Justice Uma Nath Singh on January 14, 2016. Since then, Justice Sudip Ranjan Singh was serving as the acting Chief Justice of the state high court.

iv. Justice Maheshwari graduated in Law from Jodhpur University in 1980. He enrolled as an Advocate on 8 March 1981. He practiced mainly on civil and constitutional sides.

v. He took oath as judge of Rajasthan High Court on 2 September 2004 than later on he was transferred to Allahabad High Court in 2014.

2. Ratan Tata to Head Indian Railways’ innovation Committee
i. Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Railway has announced Ratan Tata to head the Indian Railway Innovation Committee.

ii. In 2016- 2017 he has announced plans to set up a dedicated cross functional team called Special Unit for Transportation Research and Analytics (Sutra).

iii. The main aim is to carry out detailed analysis leading to optimized investment decisions and operations.

iv. The team would comprise professional analysts and best in class decision support systems and optimization engines.

v. The initiative would be administered by an Innovation Committee comprising reputed investors, representatives from National Academy of Indian Railways, Railway Board and ‘Kayakalp’ headed by Ratan Tata.

3. Jonathon Sinclair Neal appointed CEO of AAE Travel
i. Expedia, the online travel company has appointed Jonathon Sinclair Neal as the Chief Executive Officer of AAE Travel.

ii. AAE Travels is the joint venture between AirAsia and Expedia Inc.Jonathon will be based out of Singapore.

iii. Now, Jonathon will provide strategic direction to the Singapore-based online travel company that drives two key brands, Expedia and AirAsiaGo, across 12 countries including India, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea.

iv. Currently, Jonathon was the Chief Financial Officer of AAE Travel where he was responsible for all aspects of finance as well as corporate strategy and business analytics.

4. India approves $150 million credit line for Iran’s Chabahar port
i. India has approved a $150 million credit line for the development of Iran’s Chabahar port.

ii. The port in southeast Iran is central to New Delhi’s efforts to circumvent arch-rival Pakistan and open up a route to landlocked Afghanistan where it has developed close security ties and economic interests.

iii. Under the agreement signed last year between the two countries, India will equip and operate two berths in the first phase of development at Chabahar Port and extend a credit line of $150 million through its external lending arm. Both berths will commence operations within 18 months of the signing of a final contract.

iv. India and Iran agreed in 2003 to develop Chabahar on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran’s border with Pakistan, but the venture has moved slowly because of the sanctions over Iran’s atomic programme.

v. India will make a capital investment of $85.21 million and annual revenue expenditure of $22.95 million on a ten year lease following which the ownership of equipment will be transferred to Iran.

5. Ashwini Nangia becomes Director of CSIR-National Chemical Lab, Punei. Ashwini Nangia has been appointed as the Director of the CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory, Pune.

ii. He was born in 1960 and an alumnus of the IIT Kanpur is at present with the School of Chemistry at the UoH.After, his Ph.D. (1988), he worked in NOCIL Agrochemicals R&D Centre, Navi Mumbai for a year, and then joined the University in 1989.

iii. He has contributed to the new field of cocrystals and its applications to the pharmaceutical industry.

iv. He is a JC Bose National Fellow and an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, London, Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, Indian National Science Academy, New DelhiHe has over 200 research papers to his credit including several reviews.

v. Nangia has guided over 20 Ph.D. students in the past 25 years at UoH.

6. Rohit Sharma named global ambassador of Nissani. Japanese Carmaker Nissan has named Indian cricketer Rohit Sharma as their new global ambassador.

ii. Nissan also named West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell and New Zealand women's team captain Suzie Bates as its ambassadors.

iii. In addition to an advertising campaign, the ambassadors will be active on social media across the World T20, supporting fan-focused initiatives of Nissan.

iv. Rohit, Russell and Bates join South African pacers Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada in the Nissan cricket family who were recently announced as ambassadors in their home country.

v. Nissan's eight-year sponsorship deal with ICC comprises all tournaments for the period 2016 to 2023. The World T20 will be played in India from March 15 to April 3.

7. India approves $150 million credit line for Iran’s Chabahar porti. India has approved a $150 million credit line for the development of Iran’s Chabahar port.

ii. The port in southeast Iran is central to New Delhi’s efforts to circumvent arch-rival Pakistan and open up a route to landlocked Afghanistan where it has developed close security ties and economic interests.

iii. Under the agreement signed last year between the two countries, India will equip and operate two berths in the first phase of development at Chabahar Port and extend a credit line of $150 million through its external lending arm. Both berths will commence operations within 18 months of the signing of a final contract.

iv. India and Iran agreed in 2003 to develop Chabahar on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran’s border with Pakistan, but the venture has moved slowly because of the sanctions over Iran’s atomic programme.

v. India will make a capital investment of $85.21 million and annual revenue expenditure of $22.95 million on a ten year lease following which the ownership of equipment will be transferred to Iran.

8. India Sports Awards 2015 : Long Distance Runner Lalita Babar Named As The Sports Person Of The Yeari. India's top female Long-distance runner Lalita Babar was named as the Sports Person of the Year in the India Sports Awards 2015 in a ceremony organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) with the support of the Sports Ministry.

ii. The Indian Sports Award were given away in New Delhi at the conclusion of day one of ‘Turf 2015-16'.

iii. The long distance runner Lalita Babar has qualified for Rio Olympics in the 3000 meter steeplechase event and is the current Indian national record holder.

iv. She has also won a bronze medal in 2014 Incheon Asian Games and is the current Asian champion.

v. On the other hand, Gymnast Dipa Karmakar was named as the Breakthrough Sports Person of the Year while Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India was conferred with the Best National Sports Federation recognition.

9. Indian Government appoints 3 new information commissionersi. The Indian Government has appointed three information commissioners in the Central Information Commission (CIC).

ii. They are Amitava Bhattacharyya, Indian Administrative Service, (Gujarat 1980).

iii. Retired Chairman, Staff Selection Commission,Bimal Julka, IAS (Madhya Pradesh:1979).

iv. Retired Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting,Divya Prakash Sinha, Indian Police Service (Manipur-Tripura: 1979), retired Secretary (Security), Cabinet Secretariat.

v. The appointments have been made for a term of five years from the date on which they enter upon their office or till they attain the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier, as per the provisions of the Right to Information Act, 2005.

10. USL appoints MK Sharma as new chairmani. The Diageo-controlled United Spirits USL) has announced the appointment of MK Sharma as its new chairman, a day after the embattled liquor baron Vijay Mallya resigned from the post.

ii. Mallya’s exit from the board of United Spirits ended a long-drawn tussle between him and the majority owner, UK’s Diageo, following allegations of irregularities on loans given to UB Group companies.

iii. USL is now controlled by the world’s largest spirits maker Diageo, which had acquired an additional 26 per cent stake in USL for Rs 11,448.91 crore in July to take its total share in the Indian firm to 54.78 per cent.

iv. Vijay Mallya UB group chairman has stepped down as non-executive chairman  of United Spirits Ltd controlled by Diageo Plc,after striking a sweetheart deal with the UK  firm which  agreed to  drop all charges of irregularities under his watch, and pay him $75 million over five years in return for getting him to go.

Current Affairs - 25th February 2016

1. Rajendra Singh Appointed As First Non-Navy Officer To Head Coast Guard


i. Rajendra Singh appointed as first non-navy officer to head Coast Guard.

ii. This is the 1st time that the force will get a chief from its own internal cadre since it was set up in 1978 as the country's fourth armed force after the Army,

iii. Appointments Committee of Cabinet approved Rajendra Singh's appointment an order from the Department of Personnel and Training.

iv. Rajendra Singh is at present director General of coast  guard

v. This is the first time an officer who is not from the Indian Navy has been elevated to the position also he was Coast Guard cadre to be elevated to three-star officer.

2. Facebook launhced Telecom Infra Project

i. Facebook has announced the Telecom Infra Project, which will look at developing new and alternative technologies to build and deploy telecom infrastructure, with partners including Aricent, HCL Technologies, Intel, Nokia and T- Mobile.

ii. The Project is working on providing currently unserved rural communities with wireless network efforts.

iii. A pilot 4G network is already underway in the Philippines, and Facebook has a project in planning for the Scottish Highlands.

iv. TIP will focus on open designs for three areas of telecommunications hardware and software: access points, the backhaul network to connect them, and network core and management systems.

v. Facebook said TIP members will contribute designs in three areas- access, back haul, and core and management. TIP will apply the design principles of the Open Compute Project, which is a Facebook project to share data centre designs.

3. SBI launches new branch for e-commerce loans

i. Banking giant SBI has taken another leap in this space with the launch of SBI e-Smart SME, a working capital loan offering for sellers on ecommerce platforms.

ii. With this development, sellers can apply for the loan online on the e-commerce platform and get instant sanctioning of the loan.

iii. This product uses proprietary platform data and surrogates information from public domain to assess the seller’s creditworthiness for loan sanctioning.

iv. The product was launched in partnership with ecommerce platform Snapdeal in the presence of bank’s chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya & Snapdeal CEO Kunal Bahl.

4. India extends $1 million aid to cyclone-hit Fiji

i. Cyclone-hit Fiji will receive one million dollars as immediate assistance from the Indian Government.

ii. This was announced by Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Vikas Swarup.

iii. Fiji has been struck by “Cyclone Winston” which brought with it wind gusts of 325 kilometres per hour and sea and ocean waves up to 12 metres high.

iv. The area’s crops and several villages have been flattened completely by the natural calamity.

v. So far, 29 people have reportedly died and many others have been shifted to evacuation centres.

5. All About Railway Budget 2016-2017


i. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu presented his second rail budget this year.

ii. He kept the fares unchanged.  In his budget speech, he said that for this budget he owes its inspiration to vision of PM Modi who said: "My vision is to make railways backbone of India’s progress & economic development."

iii. He outlined the 3 pillars of strategy - raise new revenues, raise productivity and efficiency and revamp the processes.

iv. He also said that the Core objective is to become engine of economic growth, create employment and provide customer service.

v. Here are the highlights of the Rail Budget 2016: The Capital plan of Rs 1.21 lakh crore. Operating ratio kept at 92% FY17 as against 90% in current year. To generate revenues of order of Rs.1,84,820 cr next year which is a 10.1% higher than revised target of current year.Railways will get Rs 40,000 crore budgetary support from the government etc.

6. Australia replaces India as world No.1 in ICC Test rankings


i. Australia has replaced India at the top of the world's test rankings in Cricket with a 2-nil test series victory over New Zealand in Christchurch.

ii. Captain Steven Smith and Joe Burns hit fifties on the final day as Australia achieved the target of 201 set by the hosts losing just 3 wickets in their second innings.

iii. Joe Burns was selected as man of the match for his 170 and 65 runs from both innings.

iv. New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum bid farewell test cricket.

v. The 34- years old wicket keeper batsman has scored over 6000 test runs at an average of 39.

7. Afghanistan's National Women’s Cycling Team nominated for 2016 Nobel Peace Prize

i. The Afghanistan’s National Women’s Cycling Team has been nominated by a group of Italian MPs for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for their dedication.

ii. Afghanistan’s National Women’s Cycling Team is among the first Afghan girls to be riding bikes socially.

iii. They face enormous challenges to ride a bike but these women are challenging gender barriers, breaking one of the last taboos in the country for women.

iv. These women have used cycling to promote social justice and social stigma. They are opening the door to allow girls to ride bicycles for transportation.

v. It is the 1st Afghan women's team to compete on the international stage, at the Asian Cycling Championships in Delhi in 2013.

8. INS Arihant – India’s first nuclear submarine ready to operate


i. INS Arihant, India’s first nuclear armed submarine is now ready for full fledged operations.

ii. The submarine has passed several deep sea diving drills as well as weapons launch tests over the past five months.

iii. The formal induction into the naval fleet is only a political call away.
 
iv. The Arihant, which is the first of five nuclear missile submarines or SSBNs planned for induction, has also undergone deep sea dives off Vishakhapatnam where it was build.

v. A Russian diving support ship the RFS Epron that arrived on October has been accompanying the Arihant on its deep sea dives and launch tests.

9. Indian Government to provide wi-fi at 25,000 spots in country


i. The Indian government has planned to set up wi-fi facilities at 25,000 spots in the country by March 2016.

ii. At present, the facilities are available at three hundred spots across India.

iii. The government is exploring to have such more wi-fi spots in near future.

iv. The government is laying optical fibre network in two lakh 50 thousand gram panchayats of the country to provide broadband facilities.

Current Affairs - 24th February 2016

1. Udai Kumar Appointed As Full Time MD And CEO Of MSEI

i. Metropolitan Stock Exchange of India (formerly MCX Stock Exchange) has appointed its interim Managing Director & CEO Udai Kumar as MD & CEO after receiving necessary approvals from securities regulator SEBI.

ii. Prior to this appointment, he was given an interim charge after then MD and CEO Saurabh Sarkar had resigned.

iii. Udai Kumar is a veteran of the capital and financial markets.

iv. He has over two decades of rich experience in stock exchange administration, fund-raising, capital markets, restructuring and merger and acquisition functions.

v. The SEBI approval comes after a stringent short-listing process and interviews by the Selection Committee to select a suitable candidate for the role.

2. Rahul Taneja Appointed As Chief People Officer of Jet Airways

i. India's 2nd largest airline Jet Airways India Ltd named Rahul Taneja as its chief people officer, responsible for shaping the operations and performance of the group.

ii. Taneja previously headed corporate human resources (HR) at Essar Group where he led the strategic redesign of the organization and HR function for global operations across all business portfolios.

iii. He will join the Executive Management Committee that has been tasked by the Board of Directors to drive the company’s growth and future strategy.

iv. Taneja, 47, has over 25 years of experience in diverse industry sectors and has worked in HR leadership positions across leading Indian and international companies.
v. His earlier roles included HR Director at computer giant Dell International and Group HR Head at telecom networks solutions company HFCL.

3. Pakistan Parliament Become 1st In World To Run Entirely On Solar Power

i. Pakistan parliament became the first in the world to completely run on solar power, a venture supported by close ally China with a whopping $55 million funding.

ii. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a simple ceremony switched on solar-powered building of the parliament in capital Islamabad.

iii. It was launched in 2015 when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited and addressed the Parliament.

iv. The first announced of the project was in 2014 by Chinese government as an act of friendship with financial support of 55 million dollars. The solar panels of parliament have installed capacity 80 Mega Watts (MW) of which 62 MW is sufficient for it while remaining 18 MW will be connected to national grid.

v. The project was completed in seven months at a cost of 280.61 million rupees. The solar plant will help the parliament save around 12 million rupees in electricity bills every year.

4. Indian Origin Ismail Mahomed Conferred Knighthood By French Government

i. An Indian-origin art lover and playwright Ismail Mahomed from South Africa has been knighted by the French government for his lifelong devotion to the promotion of arts.

ii. He was bestowed with Knight of the Order of Arts and Literature (The Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres) by French Ambassador Elisabet Barbier in Johannesburg.

iii. Presently, Ismail Mahomed is working as the Artistic Director of the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. He has also received numerous other award in his 30 year career.

iv. In 1999, he was awarded Premier’s Award for developing and promoting the arts and culture sector as an economic enterprise in the South African province of Mpumalanga.

v. He has a long standing relationship with France and has brokered several collaborations between French and South Africa artists.

5. World’s 1st fast-acting Anti-Rabies drug to be launched in Indiai. World’s first fast-acting anti-rabies drug Rabies Human Monoclonal Antibody (RMAb) will be launched in India.

ii. The drug has been developed by Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) and US-based MassBiologics of the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

iii. RMAb drug is a human IgG1 monoclonal antibody that instantly deactivates rabies virus by specifically binding to a conformational epitope of glycoprotein of the virus.

iv. It is 25% cheaper compared to the existing expensive human rabies immunoglobulin (hRIG) treatment.

v. It has advantage of automatically precluding the chances of transmitting blood-borne infections that are present in rabies immunoglobulin vaccines.

6. KN Vyas appointed as Director of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre
i. Distinguished scientist KN Vyas has been appointed as Director of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) for a term of three years.

ii. His appointment was confirmed by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
 
iii. He succeeds Shekar Basu who was appointed as Atomic Energy Secretary and Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) in October 2015.

7. Mortaza Set To Become UNDP’s Goodwill Ambassador
i. Bangladesh limited overs captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza is set to be named as the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) “national goodwill ambassador for youth”.

ii. The appointment will be made official on that day following a signing ceremony, the UNDP said in a statement.

iii. The release stated that UNDP Bangladesh will appoint Mashrafe Bin Mortaza as the UNDP National Goodwill Ambassador for Youth in Bangladesh.

iv. Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, who is currently the ODI and Twenty-20 skipper, said that he had received the proposal a month ago and was extremely excited to receive the opportunity.

v. The UNDP has enlisted the volunteer services and support of prominent personalities from the worlds of art, music, film, sport and literature to highlight key issues and to draw attention to its activities.

8. Vienna Is The World's Best City To Live In : Survey
i. Austria’s capital Vienna is the best place in the world to live, according to an international survey on quality of life that has no Indian city in the top 100.

ii. Baghdad is the worst, and London, Paris and New York do not even make it into the top 35, according to international research into quality of life.

iii. According to the 18th Mercer Quality of Life study which examined socioeconomic conditions of 230 global cities, Vienna, a city of nearly 1.8 million people, is the world’s best city, followed by Zurich, Auckland, Munich and Vancouver.

iv. Among Indian cities, Hyderabad topped the rankings at 139th position, followed by Pune at 144, Bangalore 145, Chennai 150, Mumbai 152, Kolkata 160 and national capital Delhi at 161. According to the World Bank, Austria has one of the highest figures for GDP per head in the world, just behind the US and ahead of Germany and Britain.

v. The study examined social and economic conditions, health, education, housing and the environment, and is used by big companies to assess where they should locate and how much they should pay staff.

9. Naval Exercise IBSAMAR 2016 between India, South Africa, Brazil kicked off in Goa
i.  The fifth edition of IBSAMAR 2016 trilateral naval exercise between Brazil, India and South Africa kicked off in Goa.

ii. IBSAMAR is abbreviated as India-Brazil-South Africa Maritime.

iii. This is the for the first time the exercise is held in India as all the previous editions were held in South Africa since it began in 2006.

iv. This trilateral naval exercise aims at increasing (i) Interoperability among navies of three countries (ii) Common understanding maritime security between them.

v. This edition of IBSAMAR naval exercise will be conducted two phases namely Harbour phase and Sea Phase. During harbour phase, wide range of professional interactions will be undertaken and during Sea Phase diverse range operational activities will be conducted off Goa coast.

Current Affairs - 23rd February 2016

1. Haryana to become the first state in India to have Aquifer mapping


i. With the climate changes in the recent years, the groundwater sources have gone down to a critical level.

ii. To find out the exact location of the Aquifer rocks a new mapping technique is to be introduced in Haryana by May making it as the first state to have such mapping.

iii. Aquifer rock is an underground layer ofwater bearing rock which has groundwater stored in it.

2. Malayalam Film ‘Ottal’ Wins Award At Berlin Film Festival

i. The National award winning Malayalam film 'Ottal' has been named the best children's film at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival and honored with the Crystal Bear award in the 'Generation KPlus' section.

ii. The film is about the story of an old fisherman and his grandson directed by Jayaraj Rajasekharan Nair. Jayaraj is known for adapting literary classic into films.

iii. He has earlier made films based on Shakespeare's works such as "Othello" and "Antony and Cleopatra".

iv. "Ottal" bagged the National Award for best film on Environment Conservation and it set a record at 20th International Film Festival Of Kerala by sweeping all the top awards. It was also screened at the Mumbai Film Festival.

v. This is the third year in a row that Indian films have triumphed in Berlin International Film Festival. Earlier winners were "Killa" 2014 and "Dhanak" 2015.

3. Bihar-The Sixth State To Enter Into Uday Scheme

i. UDAY(Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana) is a tripartite memorandum between Bihar government, state Discoms and the Power ministry for the revival of debt ridden state distribution utilities to save 9000 crores.

ii. Bihar is the sixth state to join this UDAY scheme.

iii. It is the second Non-UPA state after Uttar Pradesh to join this scheme.

iv. It will help the debt ridden distribution system of the state to save 9000 crores in the next 3 years.

4. "Swachh Paryatan" Mobile App Launched By The Centre

i. The Ministry of Tourism in co-ordination with Ministry of Culture has launched the Swachh Paryatan mobile app in order to facilitate general public to communicate their complaints about any unclean area/garbage piles in and around tourist destinations.

ii. According to the Ministry of Tourism the app will be soon available on Android Phones of Apple and Microsoft as well.

iii. The objective is to increase citizens’ participation in the protection and upkeep of heritage monuments in India.

iv. It shall be monitored by the Project Monitoring Unit of Swachh Bharat Mission in Ministry of Tourism.

v. Initially, 25 Adarsh Smarak Monuments such as Red Fort, Taj Mahal, Elephanta Caves, Qutub Minar Complex, among others, have been identified for inclusion in the app, but it would be scaled up to include more monuments as the campaign expands.

5. US Air force tested Minuteman missile from California


i. The US InterContinental Ballistic Missile Minuteman 3 was launched from Vandenberg Air force Base in California.

ii. The missile blasted off at 34 PM towards west base of Los Angeles.

iii. It carried a re-entry vehicle that can target 4200 Miles away to the Marshall Islands of Pacific Ocean.

iv. It involves personnel from Vandenberg’s 576th Flight Test Squadron and the 625th Strategic Operations Squadron at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, and the 91st Missile Wing, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota 30th Space wing Commander of US Air force- Christopher Mos.

6. Dnipro FC Wins 2016 Nagjee International Club Football Tournament

i. Ukraine’s Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk Football Club (FC) has won the 2016 Sait Nagjee International Club Football Tournament in Kozhikode. The goalscorers on the evening were Ihor Kohut (40'), Denys Balanuik (62') and Yuri Vakulko (85').

ii. The Ukrainian FC also created a record in the Sait Nagjee tournament that was brought alive after 21 years with Ronaldinho inaugurating the same, as they scored the most number of goals in the championship (10) and also kept a clean sheet in all their three games.

iii. With this victory, Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk became first European team to win this prestigious Football tournament held in India. In summit clash played at the EMS Corporation stadium at Kozhikode (Kerala), Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk FC defeated Brazilian FC Atletico Paranaense by 3-0 goals.

iv. For the Ukrainian FC, three goals were scored by Ihor Kohut (40th minute), Denys Balanuik (62nd minute) and Yuri Vakulko (85th minute).

v. It was 36th edition of the tournament and the first edition after 1995 when it was stopped. In this edition, total 8 clubs from Latin America, Germany and Europe had participated.

7. Indian-origin Sikh appointed Kuala Lumpur Police Commissioner

i. Amar Singh from Indian-origin Sikh Community has been appointed the Police Commissioner of the Capital city of Malaysia.

ii. A third generation police from his family .He was Deputy Commissioner before being appointed to the post and will replace Tajuudin Mohammed.

iii. He is highest ranked police officer from the Malaysian Sikh community.

iv. Amar Graduated from University of Malaya also did his LLB from University of Buckingham,UK.

8. India remains world’s largest arms importer

i. India continues to remain the world’s largest arms importer, accounting for 14% of the global arms imports in the 2011-2015 time frame.

ii. It was revealed by report on international arms transfers released by a global think-tank, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

iii. Top arms importers are: India (14%), China (4.7%), Australia (3.6%), Pakistan (3.3%), Vietnam (2.9%) and South Korea (2.6%).

iv. India’s arms imports remains three times greater than those of its rivals Pakistan and China.

v. Its biggest suppliers are Russia, United States (US), Israel and France. This indicates India’s failure to build a strong domestic defence-industrial base (DIB) and Indian arms industry has failed to produce competitive indigenously-designed weapons. India has spent over 120 billion dollars on arms acquisitions over the last 15 years most of them from foreign suppliers.

9. Vinay Kumar Singh Appointed As MD Of NCRTC


i. Indian Railway Officer Vinay Kumar Singh has been appointed as Managing Director of National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC).
 
ii. Prior to this appointment, he was working with Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), a railway PSU involved in the study of high speed rail corridors.

iii. He was appointed by the search and selection committee through an interview process.

iv. The committee comprises Urban Development Secretary, Railway Board Member (Staff), an official from the DoPT and an expert from World Bank among others.

v. NCRTC will execute three rapid rail corridors to Panipat, Meerut and Alwar from the capital at an estimated cost of Rs 72,170 crore. The corridors are expected to considerably reduce the travel time.

10. Madhya Pradesh’s Katni To Have India’s Longest Railway Bridge

i. Katni in Madhya Pradesh to have India’s longest railway bridge of 14 km in length which is three and half folds longer than the Vembanad rail Bridge that connects Edappally and Vallarpadam of 4.6 Km in length.

ii. Its total length would be 21 Km included the down line of the bridge would be 7 Km .

iii. This Project has got received clearance from Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) recently along with other railway projects.

iv. Design and survey of the bridge has been completed and it will take 5 years for completion and expected cost be around 600 crore.

v. This comes under West Central Railways (WCR).

Current Affairs - 22nd February 2016

1. Harsh Vardhan Dedicates Ksheer-Scanner Systems


i. The Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences and Vice President, CSIR Dr. Harsh Vardhan dedicated Systems for Detection of Adulteration and analysis of Milk. 

ii. Dr. Harsha Vardhan pointed that our country ranks number one across the world for milk production, contributing to about 18% of the world’s total milk. But it is feared that over 60% of the milk is contaminated due to malpractices in milk supply chain which includes dilution with unsafe water. The milk is otherwise said to be adulterated with contaminants such as urea, salt, detergent, liquid soap, boric acid, caustic soda, soda and hydrogen peroxide which have hazardous health effects.

iii. The CSIR’s ‘Ksheer-Scanner’ instantaneously detects the above-identified adulterants in milk.

iv. It is a low- cost portable system with user-friendly features. It enables detection of contaminants in just 40-45 seconds at the per sample cost of less than 50 paise.

v. The ‘Ksheer Scanner’ system offers automated scanning of raw milk samples at milk collection points. He remarked that it is safe to use and ideal for installation at milk collection centres of milk societies at village and tehsil levels. The system can also be useful for on-the-spot milk testing by food inspectors.

2. Ri Myong Su Appointed As New Military Chief Of North Korea

i. North Korean state media has confirmed the country has a new military chief, following earlier reports in Seoul that the former holder of the post had been executed.

ii. Ri Myong-Su, former People's Security Minister, was referred to as "chief of the Korean People's Army General Staff" when the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on an army exercise guided by leader Kim Jong-un.

iii. Ri Myong-Su was again mentioned in a separate KCNA report on Mr Kim's inspection of an air force exercise.

iv. His predecessor Ri Yong-Gil was reportedly executed early this month in what would be the latest in a series of purges and executions of top officials. Ri Yong-Gil was accused of forming a political faction and corruption.

v. North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test last month and launched a long-range rocket this month, sparking international outrage.

3. PM Inaugurated Rurban Mission In Chhattisgarhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ambitious ‘Rurban Mission' for developing 300 villages across the country as urban growth centres aimed at improving the country’s basic infrastructure, at Dongargarh in Chhattisgarh.

ii. The Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban (rural-urban) project will focus on improving infrastructural facilities such as power lines, shelters, roads, drinking water connections and drainage, and creating community assets such as schools, colleges and health centers.

iii. The other goals of the scheme include ensuring the development of a given area by creating clusters of villages with a population count of 25,000-60,000 and minimizing rural migration to cities through skill development programmes.

iv. Under the ‘Rurban Mission’, the PM said 300 rural centres, catering to at least four adjoining villages each, will be developed as urban clusters with modern facilities. 100 such centers are targeted to be developed this year itself.

v. On the occasion, the PM also launched a ‘Jan Aushadi Bandaar' campaign for providing cheap medication to people. During his visit to the state capital, Modi will also lay the foundation stones for the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana the Prime Minister’s housing scheme and an electronic manufacturing cluster at Naya Raipur.

4. Brendon McCullum Scores Fastest Hundred In Test History
i. Brendon McCullum has blasted the fastest century in Test history in his 101st and final match for New Zealand before retiring.

ii. Brendon McCullum has , a 54-ball effort that broke the record jointly held by Viv Richards and Misbah-ul-Haq.

iii. McCullum celebrated to a standing ovation from the crowd at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, raising his bat to all parts of the venue in his adopted home-town.

iv. His effort was two balls faster than the previous record 56-ball century scored by Richards against England in Antigua in 1985-86, which was equalled by Misbah-ul-Haq against Australia in Abu Dhabi in 2014-15.

v. McCullum was the captain of the new Zealand test team.

5. PM Inaugurated Rurban Mission In Chhattisgarh
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ambitious ‘Rurban Mission' for developing 300 villages across the country as urban growth centres aimed at improving the country’s basic infrastructure, at Dongargarh in Chhattisgarh.

ii. The Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban (rural-urban) project will focus on improving infrastructural facilities such as power lines, shelters, roads, drinking water connections and drainage, and creating community assets such as schools, colleges and health centers.

iii. The other goals of the scheme include ensuring the development of a given area by creating clusters of villages with a population count of 25,000-60,000 and minimizing rural migration to cities through skill development programmes.

iv. Under the ‘Rurban Mission’, the PM said 300 rural centres, catering to at least four adjoining villages each, will be developed as urban clusters with modern facilities. 100 such centers are targeted to be developed this year itself.

v. On the occasion, the PM also launched a ‘Jan Aushadi Bandaar' campaign for providing cheap medication to people. During his visit to the state capital, Modi will also lay the foundation stones for the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana the Prime Minister’s housing scheme and an electronic manufacturing cluster at Naya Raipur.

6. Ricoh India wins Rs 344 crore contract to supply computer hardware to Odisha schools
i. Printing and IT solutions firm Ricoh India has bagged an order worth Rs 344 crore from Kerala State Electronics Development Corporation to supply computer hardware to 2,000 government schools in Odisha.

ii. Ricoh India, a subsidiary of Ricoh Group, Japan, had said it is eyeing 55% growth in revenues this fiscal.

iii. The company said it has also planned investments of about Rs 300 crore over the next one or two years for expanding its data centres.
iv. At present, Ricoh India has two data centres - one each in New Delhi and Kolkata.

v. At 1406 hours, the shares of Ricoh India were trading down 0.39% or Rs 2.25 at Rs 571.00 per scrip on the BSE.

7. 42nd Khajuraho Dance Festival Begins In MP

i. The 42nd Khajuraho Dance Festival began in the temple town of Khajuraho, Chhattarpur district in Madhya Pradesh. The world famous dance festival began with Odissi group dance of Ranjna Gauher and others.

ii. The festival will showcase classical dances, including Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Odissi and Kuchipudi, depicting the ancient tales like Mahishasur Mardini' and 'Krishna Rasa,' an official said. Madhumita Roy and Madhuri Majumdar gave presentation of Kathak-Kuchipudi and Purvadhanashree presented Bharatnatyam.

iii. State Fine Arts Awards were given away to ten artists on this occasion.

iv. The festival is being organized by Department of Culture, Madhya Pradesh, will be held against the backdrop of iconic Khajuraho temples, built by Chandela dynasty between 950 and 1050 AD, world-wide know for erotic sculptures.

v. The festival has gained international recognition with a world heritage site being its venue. Khajuraho temples witness the maximum footfalls of foreign tourists in Madhya Pradesh.

Current Affairs - 21st February 2016

1. ISRO successfully test cryogenic engine of GSLV Mark 3 rocket

i. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully conducted hotbed test of the indigenously developed high-thrust cryogenic engine (CE20) of the GSLV Mark 3 (LVM3) rocket for the upper stage.
 
ii. The long-duration test was conducted at ISRO Propulsion Research Centre at Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu and lasted for 640 seconds. It  was conducted with Mixture Ratio Controller (MRC) in a closed loop mode.

Key facts

* The CE20 uses Liquid Hydrogen at -253 degrees C and Liquid Oxygen at -193 degrees C as propellants and generates power of approximately 2 MW.

* It has been developed indigenously by Mahendragiri based Liquid Propulsion System centre (LPSC).

2.  Christine Lagarde appointed as MD of IMF for a second term
i. Christine Lagarde (60) from France has been appointed as the Managing Director (MD) of the International Monetary Fund for a second five-year term.

ii. She was sole candidate nominated for the post and was re-nominated by IMF’s Executive Board decision taken by consensus. Her new term will start on 5th July 2016 till 2021.

iii. Ms. Lagarde for first time was appointed MD in 2011 after IMF Board had initiated selection process on merit-based and transparent process. She was first woman to head the top post of IMF since its inception in 1944.

About Christine Lagarde
* Prior to her appointment at the IMF in 2011, she had served as Minister of Finance and Minister for Foreign Trade of France.

* She is anti-trust and labour lawyer and had served as partner with the international law firm of Baker & McKenzie.

3.  Faustin Archange Touadera wins 2016 Presidential election of Central African Republic

 i. Faustin Archange Touadera has won the 2016 Presidential election of Central African Republic (CAR) held on 14 February 2016.
 
ii. He had contested as an independent candidate in this election and secured 62.7 percent or 695,000 valid votes.

iii. He defeated Georges Anicet Dologuele of Union for Central African Renewal Party who had obtained just over or 37.3 percent or 413,000 votes.

iv. Faustin Archange Touadera is well-respected former mathematics professor. He had served as former Prime Minister of ex-president Francois Bozize from January 2008 to January 2013.

v. Central African Republic is one of the world’s most chronically unstable countries. In early 2013, it had suffered the worst crisis in its history when mainly Muslim Seleka fighters in a coup had toppled President Francois Bozize.

4. MP, Rajasthan set up SPV for implementation of Smart City Plans
i. Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan Government have set up Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV) for the implementation of Smart City Plans.

ii. SPVs have been set up for five cities – Jabalpur, Indore and Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh and Jaipur and Udaipur in Rajasthan.

iii. These cities are among the first batch of 20 winners of Smart City Challenge Competition held by the Union Ministry of Urban Development. The Ministry will release 200 crore rupees for each of the 20 selected cities only after SPVs are set up.

Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV)

* SPVs must be registered under the Companies Act, 2013 to ensure timely, cost-effective and efficient execution of smart city projects with operational freedom.

* They will ensure that the qualities of the outcomes of these smart city projects are benchmarked against global standards.

* SPVs shall have 50:50 equity that will held by the states and respective urban local bodies. Private equity is also allowed but the management control will rest with the Governments only. SPVs will be headed by a CEO and shall approve, sanction and execute the projects besides mobilizing resources from various sources. 

5. Vibrant North East event concludes in Guwahati


i. The three-day long Vibrant North East event concluded in Guwahati, Assam.

ii. It was inaugurated on 18 February 2016 by Union Minister Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur.

iii. It was the second edition of the event jointly organized by the Centre for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD) and ASSOCHAM.

6. Faustin Archange Touadera wins 2016 Presidential election of Central African Republic

i. Faustin Archange Touadera has won the 2016 Presidential election of Central African Republic (CAR) held on 14 February 2016.

ii. He had contested as an independent candidate in this election and secured 62.7 percent or 695,000 valid votes.

iii. He defeated Georges Anicet Dologuele of Union for Central African Renewal Party who had obtained just over or 37.3 percent or 413,000 votes.

iv. Faustin Archange Touadera is well-respected former mathematics professor. He had served as former Prime Minister of ex-president Francois Bozize from January 2008 to January 2013.

v. Central African Republic is one of the world’s most chronically unstable countries. In early 2013, it had suffered the worst crisis in its history when mainly Muslim Seleka fighters in a coup had toppled President Francois Bozize.

7. Triple jumper Renjith Maheswary won silver in Asian Indoor Athletics Championships

i. Triple jumper Renjith Maheswary on 21 January 2016 won silver medal at the 7th Asian Indoor Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar. His silver helped India to increase its medal tally to five in the championships.

ii. Maheswary had a modest jump of 16.16 metres. Gold went to Kazakhstan’s Roman Valiyev with 16.69m and Rashid Ahmed Al Mannai won the bronze with 15.97m.

8. Ronnie O'Sullivan defeated Neil Robertson to win 2016 Welsh Open


i. Ronnie O'Sullivan on 21 February 2016 won seven frames in a row to beat Neil Robertson 9-5 and win 2016 BetVictor Welsh Open title held at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales.

ii. O'Sullivan met Robertson in the final. Despite trailing 3–5 after the afternoon session, O'Sullivan won all six frames played in the evening session to defeat Robertson 9–5 and equal John Higgins' record of four Welsh Open titles.

iii. It was O'Sullivan's 28th ranking title, which put him in joint second place with Higgins and Steve Davis for the number of career ranking titles.

Current Affairs - 20th February 2016

1. Kalikho Pul sworn in as Arunachal CM


i. Dissident Congress leader Kalikho Pul, 46, has sworn in as the ninth Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh with the support of 18 rebel Congress MLAs, and two Independents and 11 BJP MLAs who gave outside support.

ii. Pul’s swearing-in came a day after the Supreme Court vacated its interim order to maintain status quo in the Arunachal Pradesh assembly, paving the way for government formation.

iii. The Centre had revoked President’s Rule in the state before Governor J P Rajkhowa administered the oath of office to Pul.

iv. Pul, a five-time MLA and former finance minister, had led a delegation of 31 MLAs and met Rajkhowa in Itanagar to stake claim to form the government.

v. Pul has the support of only 18 of the 45 Congress MLAs in the assembly. But 13 opposition MLAs two Independents and 11 from the BJP — have given in writing to the Governor that they back him.

2. Skype Launches Group Video Calls On iOS & Android Phones And Tablets


i. Microsoft has announced that they're going to begin rolling out an update to Skype for iOS and Android that will support group video calling.

ii. The feature is not new though, as many smartphone users are familiar with such apps and websites that offer group video chat.

iii. Skype began a preview program for the feature back in January.

iv. Tens of thousands of people registered, providing "invaluable feedback". They've also added a number of features, such as increasing the number of people that can be involved in the group call from five to 25 people. There's also a flexible interface.

v. The user can choose a grid or a focus view, which automatically focuses on the person that's speaking.

3. Playing It My Way enters Limca Book of records

i. Cricket Legend and Rajya Sabha MP Sachin Tendulkar’s autobiography, Playing It My Way, has entered the Limca Book of Records in the category of best-selling books across both fiction and non-fiction categories with 1,50,289 copies sold on order subscriptions.

ii. The book has been published by Hachette India in the year 2014 with Boria Majumdar as the co-author of the book.

iii.The book’s orders, on day one, already saw it pulling ahead of both pre-order and lifetime sales of the world’s top adult hardbacks Dan Brown’s Inferno, Walter Issacson’s Steve Jobs and JK Rowling’s Casual Vacancy.

4. Government Of India Approves Highway Contracts Worth Rs. 6000 Crore


i. GOI has approved eight highway projects worth Rs 6,000 crore for six states - Punjab, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Odisha.

ii. With this approval, the number of projects cleared by Road Transport and Highways Ministry this month so far has swelled to 37, entailing a total investment of about Rs 34,000 crore.

iii. The total length of the projects is around 350 km. Out of these eight, six will be implemented in EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) mode and two in hybrid annuity mode.

iv. These projects won't require cabinet clearance as their construction cost is less than Rs 1,000 crore, the limit up to which the road transport and highways ministry can approve projects on its own. Most of these projects are in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.

v. The government has a target of awarding road contracts of 10,000 kms for this fiscal.

5. Renowned Novelist Harper Lee Passes Away


i. Harper Lee, the author of the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird, has died in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, US.

ii. The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer was 89.

iii. Her famous novel about a young girl’s experience of racial tensions in a small Southern town has sold tens of millions of copies and been translated into dozens of languages.

iv. The author receded from the spotlight, long resisting offers to write more novels. Her magnum opus was adapted to film in 1962. The movie won Academy Awards for Best Actor (Gregory Peck), Best Adapted Screenplay (Horton Foote) and Best Art Direction.

v. It was nominated for five other awards, including Best Picture, which was ultimately won by Lawrence of Arabia. George Bush awarded her the presidential medal of freedom in 2007.

6. Aditya Birla, Idea form JV for Payments Bank


1. Aditya Birla Nuvo, one of the eleven entities that have received in-principle approvals from the RBI to set up payments banks, said it has incorporated a new subsidiary for the same purpose.

ii. The new entity, Aditya Birla Idea Payments Bank Ltd, is a 51:49 joint venture (JV) between it and Idea Cellular, its telecom subsidiary in which it owns 23.26%.

iii. As per the norms issued by RBI, a payments bank can accept deposits up to Rs 1 lakh from individual customers, issue ATM and debit cards, offer payments and remittance services, and act as a distributor of simple financial products such as mutual funds units and insurance products.

iv. The central bank, however, barred payments banks from undertaking lending activities.

7. Amit Mitra Appointed As New Chairman Of GST Committee


i. West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra has been appointed as the Chairman of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers on Goods and Services Tax (GST).

ii. He will succeed Kerala Finance Minister K M Mani who had to resign in November over corruption charges.

iii. He was elected at the meeting of State Finance Ministers that was also attended by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

iv. With this, he becomes second chairman of the committee which is tasked to frame rules for rolling out of the ambitious GST regime in the country.

v. Amit Mitra is an economist by profession, he had served as Secretary General of industry association FICCI before joining politics in 2011.

8. Prasar Bharati Signs Historical MoU With EBC

i. Prasar Bharati has signed a MoU with Empressa de Brazil Communicacao (EBC) in connection with several broadcast related activities including exchange of news, programmes and co-production.

ii. The MoU was signed between Prasar Bharati Chief Executive Officer Jawhar Sircar and EBC Vice President Mr Mario in Brasilia, Brazil.

iii. The MoU includes long list of Indian programmes to be broadcast on EBC network including documentaries, science programs, serials and Portuguese programs from Goa.

iv. Mr. Sunil Lal, the honorable ambassador of India in Brazil facilitated the negotiations between two public service broadcasters.

v. Prasar Bharati has already signed similar MoUs with Russia and China in that realizing of the importance of BRICS.

9. World Bank to support Rajasthan on energy reformsi. The World Bank has decided to lend support to the Rajasthan government on energy reforms.

ii. The decision was taken at a meeting between World Banks country director in India, Onno Ruhl and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.
 
iii. The Rajasthan CM underlined the importance of ongoing projects on rural development, including the Jal Swablamban Abhiyan, and other new technologies in Agriculture, Skill Development and Tourism, and urged the WB official to provide support to these schemes too.

10. Japan launched astronomy satellite ASTRO-H
i. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on 17 February 2016 successfully launched astronomy satellite ASTRO-H from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture.

ii. The satellite was launched on-board the H-IIA rocket, which was previously known as the New X-ray Telescope (NeXT), and is expected to operate in low Earth orbit for three years.

Features of ASTRO-H Mission
* ASTRO-H is the eye to study the hot and energetic universe. The ‘H’ refers to the word Japanese word Hitomi that means pupil or entrance window of the eye.

* The mission involves the 2700-kilogram satellite that is equipped with 4 telescopes and 6 detectors, allowing it to study both “hard” and “soft” x-rays and gamma rays.

* The high-energy astronomy mission primarily seeks to study x-rays emanating mainly from black holes and galaxy clusters.

* The mission was led by the JAXA in partnership with the NASA, European Space Agency, Canadian Space Agency, Netherlands Institute for Space Research and universities in Japan, Europe and North America.

11. Sameer Anjaan entered Guinness Book of Records for writing 3524 songs
i. Bollywood lyricist Sameer Anjaan on 17 February 2016 was officially recognised by Guinness World Records as the Most prolific Bollywood lyricist ever who has composed 3524 different songs as of 15 December 2015.

ii. Sameer has written 3524 songs in 650 Bollywood movies, and is now the first Guinness Record possessor in this particular category.

iii. Sameer was presented with a certificate during a celebration ceremony held in Mumbai.

Current Affairs - 19th February 2016

1. Alok Kumar Verma to be next Delhi Police Chief
i. Senior IPS officer Alok Verma will be the next Delhi Police Commissioner.

ii. Mr. Verma will succeed incumbent Delhi Police Chief B S Bassi who will retire on 29th of this month.

iii. Mr. Verma is currently serving as Director General of Tihar prison.

iv. He will serve as the top police officer in Delhi for 17 months.

2. Tata unveils first ever India-made Robot ‘Brabo’
i. TAL Manufacturing Solutions, a Tata Group company, is expected to launch first ever India-made robot before May 2016.

ii. Dubbed ‘Tata Brabo’, the robot has been showcased in the Make in India week in Mumbai.

iii. Brabo has been developed in-house by a team of six engineers whose average age is 24 years, led by Anil Bhingurde, chief operating officer of TAL Manufacturing Solutions.

iv. The development cost is reported to be about Rs 10 crore.

v. The design of the robot was done in-house at TAL, styling was done at Tata Elxi, and manufacturing of some parts at Tata AutoComp, while Tata Capital provided the finance.

3. Make In India Week Concludes In Mumbai
i. The week long Make in India concluded in Mumbai.

ii. It was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 13, 2016. The event has secured investment commitments worth Rs 15.2 lakh crore, with host state Maharashtra alone accounting for Rs 8 lakh crore. Besides, it received investment enquiries worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore.

iii. The Make in India was country’s biggest show of manufacturing sector that had successfully brought manufacturing, design and innovation to the centre-stage.

iv. 102 countries were represented in the mega expo and more than 8 lakh people visited the expo and other events, out of which 49,74 were registered delegates.

v. A total of 150 events were organized under the banner of this event and more than 25 thousand people had participated in seminars.

4. SBI Opens "Japan Desk" In New Dehi
i. India’s Banking Giant State Bank of India (SBI) has launched ‘Japan Desk’, a single window for inbound Japanese investments in India and vice-versa.

ii. This is a first-of-its-kind initiative that seeks to facilitate Japanese corporate looking to invest in India with banking and advisory services.

iii. This SBI Japan Desk will also serve as an one-point comprehensive and reliable information support source for India-bound investments of Japanese companies.

iv. It will also facilitate establishment of banking relationship with Japanese corporates and Japanese nationals and provide information on industries, sectors etc.

v. In future, SBI is planning to set up another dedicated Japan Desk at Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

5. Warren Richardson An Australian Photographer Wins World Press Photo of 2015

i. The World Press Photo of the Year honors the photographer whose visual creativity and skills made a picture that captures or represents an event or issue of great journalistic importance in the last year.

ii. The jury of the 59th annual World Press Photo Contest has selected an image by Australian photographer Warren Richardson as the World Press Photo of the Year 2015.

iii. Richardson is a freelance photographer, currently based in Budapest, Hungary.

iv. His picture which also won first prize in the Spot News category shows refugees crossing the border from Serbia into Hungary, near Horgoš (Serbia) and Röszke (Hungary). Taken at night on 28 August 2015, this man and child were part of the movement of people seeking to cross into Hungary before a secure fence on the border was completed.

v. The jury gave prizes in eight categories to 41 photographers from 21 countries.

6. India And Myanmar Sign Standard Operating Procedure On Joint Patrol

i. The 4th edition of India-Myanmar Coordinated Patrol (IMCOR) was conducted jointly by ships of both navies along the International Maritime Boundary Line in the Andaman Sea since 2013.

ii. Indian Navy ships Saryu and Bitra along with Union of Myanmar ships Aung Zeya and FAC 563 participated in the patrol.

iii. Naval Component Commander from the Tri-Service HQs in Port Blair Cmde Girish Garg was embarked onboard INS Saryu.

iv. During the Ceremony of 4th IMCOR, the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for IMCOR was also signed between Indian Navy and Myanmar Navy.

v. Cmde Atul Anand VSM from Indian Navy and Cmde Aung Zaw Hlaing from Myanmar Navy signed the document in the presence of H.E Gautam Mukhopadhaya, the Ambassador of India to Myanmar.

7. Rio Haryanto Becomes Indonesia’s First Formula1 Driver

i. Rio Haryanto will become Indonesia’s first Formula One driver after signing a deal with Manor Racing.

ii. The 23-year-old will make his F1 debut at the Australian Grand Prix on 20 March after testing in Barcelona next week.

iii. Haryanto replaced the Briton Will Stevens, who failed to score a point in 18 starts last year.

iv. Haryanto will join the German rookie Pascal Wehrlein, a former Mercedes reserve driver, at Manor.

8. Robin Chaurasiya Nominated For ‘Global Teacher Prize’

i. Robin Chaurasiya, an Indian teacher who runs a non-profit school in Mumbai for girls from the city’s red light areas has been named in the top 10 short-list for a global prize for teachers.

ii. Robin Chaurasiya, founder of Kranti, will compete with teachers from the UK, US, Nairobi, Palestine, Japan, Finland, Australia and Pakistan to win the $1-million Global Teacher Prize 2016.

iii. The prize was created last year as a kind of Oscars for the teaching profession by the U.K.-based Varkey Foundation.

iv. The Global Teacher Prize was set up to recognize one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession as well as to shine a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society.

v. The top ten have been narrowed down from 8,000 nominations and applications from 148 countries from around the world.

9. Karnataka Bank bags IBSA Banking Technology Award

i. Karnataka Bank Ltd has won the IBA Banking Technology Award’ in the category of ‘Best Risk and Fraud Management Initiative - Runner Up’ amongst small banks.

ii. The award was announced as part of Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) Technology Conference, Expo and Awards 2016.

iii. Mahabaleshwara MS, Chief General Manager of the bank has received the award from HR Khan, Deputy Governor of RBI and Ashwani Kumar, Chairman of IBA in Mumbai.

10. Union Cabinet approves LIGO-India research project on gravitational waves

i. The Union Cabinet has given an in-principle approval to the LIGO-India mega science proposal for research on gravitational waves.

ii. The proposal is piloted by the Department of Atomic Energy and the Department of Science and Technology.

iii. It will establish a state of the art gravitational wave observatory in India in collaboration with the LIGO Laboratory in the US run by Caltech and MIT.

iv. The gravitational waves were detected by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) — a system of detectors in Washington and Louisiana.

Current Affairs - 18th February 2016

1. Fashion Designer Manish Arora Awarded Knight Of The Legion Of Honour : France’s Highest Honour


i. Fashion designer Manish Arora will be conferred with the Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour), France's highest civilian honour.

ii. This award comes in recognition of his inspired creations and significant contribution to the fashion world as well as his longstanding ties with France.

iii. He was presented with this award by French Ambassador to India Francois Richier for his contribution to the fashion world.

iv. Manish Arora was awarded the Best Women’s Pret Designer at the first ever Indian Fashion Awards in 2004.

v. He also had participated in the Miami Fashion Week in 2005 where he had won designer’s choice for Best Collection Award.

2. Renowned Indologist David Shulman awarded Israel Prize
i. Renowned Indologist Professor David Shulman has been selected for the prestigious Israel Prize for his breakthrough studies in fields like philosophy and religion.

ii. He was chosen for this award for his studies on the religion, literature and culture of southern India and has command over Indian languages like Sanskrit, Tamil, Telegu and Malayalam.

iii. He is US born professor currently teaching Hebrew language at University of Jerusalem.
 
iv. He has been awarded with Emet Prize by the Isreali Prime Minister’s Office for excellence in academic and professional achievements.
 
v. In 1987, he had won prestigious MacArthur Fellowship becoming 1st Israeli to win it.

3. Arun Jaitley Releases ‘India-2016’ And ‘Bharat-2016’ Year Books


i. Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting Arun Jaitley released ‘Bharat 2016’ and ‘India 2016’ year books.

ii. These books give comprehensive information about the country and various States and Union Territories including functioning of the Government and the economy.

iii. It also provides detailed information on various schemes and projects of Government and its various departments.

iv. The electronic version for both the yearbooks were also launched simultaneously with the print version for the first time.

v. The book deals with all aspects of development from rural to urban, industry to infrastructure, science and technology, art and culture, economy, health, defense, education and mass communication.

4. Jayant Misra Appointed As DG Of DRI
i. Senior IRS officer Jayant Misra has been appointed as Director General of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI).

ii. The move comes two days after a Special Investigation Team (SIT) asked the DRI to verify if USD 505 billion was transacted out of the country between 2004-2013 as part of trade-based money laundering.

iii. Misra is currently DG (Systems) at the Directorate General of Systems and Data Management.

iv. Najib Shah, who is now Chairman of Central Board of Excise and Customs, was holding the charge of DG DRI.

v. Shah was in May last year appointed Member in the board, apex policy making body for indirect taxes.

5. Cabinet Approves Trade Facilitation Agreement
i. The Union Cabinet has approved a proposal to notify the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to keen on projecting India as a business friendly destination.

ii. Decision in this regard was taken by Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

iii. To facilitate both domestic coordination and implementation of the agreement, it also approved setting up of a National Committee on Trade Facilitation that would be chaired jointly by the Commerce and Revenue Secretaries.

iv.  The TFA is the WTO’s first-ever multilateral accord that aims to simplify customs regulations for the cross-border movement of goods.
 
v. The agreement includes provisions for Lowering import tariffs and agricultural subsidies, Abolish hard import quotas and Reduction in red tape at international borders.

6. Lyricist Sameer Anjaan Enters Guinness Book Of World Records
i. Bollywood’s popular lyricist Sameer Anjaan has made into the Guinness Book of World Records this year.
 
ii. He was rewarded for writing the most number of songs for Bollywood films.

iii. The official record states that Sameer wrote 3,524 songs for 650 Bollywood movies, as verified on December 15, 2015.

iv. Sameer was included as a Guinness World Record holder under a new category titled ‘Most prolific Bollywood lyricist’.

v. Sameer, who has been penning songs for the last 30 years, is also the first lyricist to bag this honor.

7. Nitin Seth To Join Flipkart As Chief People Officer
i. India's biggest online marketplace Flipkart has announced the appointment of Nitin Seth as its Chief People Officer.

ii. In Flipkart, Seth will lead the human resource function and partner with the leadership team.

iii. Nitin Seth the new CPO of Flipkart will report to Binny Bansal, CEO and co-founder of Flipkart.

iv. He replaced Mekin Maheswari who was associated with the company since its inception.

v. Earlier to this appointment, Seth was the Managing Director and Country Head for Fidelity International in India.

8. Uber Signs MoU With The Maharashtra Government
i. Uber has signed a MoU with the  Maharashtra government’s Skill Development & Entrepreneurship Department (SDED) to help create 75,000 entrepreneurship opportunities across the state over the next 5 years.

ii. Uber has also committed to the promotion of equality of jobs with a focus on training women and people from marginalized sectors.

iii. This aims to promote an equal and fair opportunity for all to earn sufficient income as independent entrepreneurs on the platform.

iv. Uber was launched in 2009 and has presence in over 361 cities in 66 countries.

v. Uber Technologies Inc. is an American multinational mobile ride hail company headquartered in San Francisco, California. Uber was founded as "UberCab" by Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp.

Current Affairs - 17th February 2016

1. World's Cheapest Smartphone Is Going To Be Launch By Ringing Bells

i. Noida based Ringing Bells is all set to launch the world's cheapest 3G smartphone at just Rs 251 in India today.

ii. It is a move to disrupt the surging smartphone market in India, which recently became the world's second largest market after China, surpassing the US.

iii. The smartphone with a 4-inch WVGA resolution display, features a 1.3 Ghz quad-core processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB total storage space and a 3.2 megapixel camera on the back. It will have 0.3 megapixel camera on the front and has a 1450 mAh battery. This is dual-SIM 3G capable phone.

iv. Bookings for the Freedom 251 will start from Thursday 18 February from 6.00 am in the morning and will close on 21 February at 8.00 pm.

v. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikkar will launch the smartphone ‘Freedom 251’ on February 17.

2. 3rd US-Asean summit session begins in California

i. The summit between leaders from the Associations of Southeast Asian Nations and The United States has began in California.

ii. The agenda of 2 day meeting includes Maritime security in the South China sea.

iii. The focus will also be around innovation and entrepreneurship.

3. HCL Tech To Buy Volvo Group's External IT Business
i. HCL technology, 4th Largest software services giant has acquired Volvo group's external IT business and signed a deal for 5 year outsourcing with Volvo.

ii. HCL Technology has closed it in  $1 billion-plus.

iii. HCL claims that the deal is one of the largest IT deals signed by any Indian IT company and definitely the largest in HCL's history so far.

iv. The relationship will enable HCL to create an automotive Centre of Excellence in Gothenburg, Sweden, based on the domain expertise of the Volvo team, to serve HCL’s global automotive and manufacturing customers.

v. Volvo’s IT business is an important addition of HCL’s portfolio, as it brings in an annual billing of about USD 200 million.

4. India's 1st Lightest Gun "Nidar" Launched

i. India’s first indigenously developed lightest revolver (gun) Nidar weighing merely 250 grams was successfully launched to boost the "Make In India" initiative.

ii. It has been designed and manufactured by the state-run Rifle Factory Ishapore located in West Bengal.

iii. The Nidar is lightest revolver ever made in India with cheapest price tag of Rs 35,000 only.

iv. The revolver is capable of firing eight rounds loaded in a revolving chamber.  

v. It has a range 7 meters with precise accuracy.

5. Union Government Has Launched Non Tax Receipt Portal
i. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has launched Non-Tax Receipt Portal (NTRP) to electronically collect over Rs.2 trillion annually in non-tax receipts.

ii. It was launched as part of Union Government’s flagship Digital India campaign.

iii. Currently, non-tax revenues are collected by physical instruments such as bank draft or cheque or cash. This portal will reduce a lot of manual work now.

iv. NTRP has been developed by the Office of Controller General of Accounts (CGA) and the Union Finance Ministry.

v. It provides a one-stop platform to citizens or corporate or other users to make online payment of non-tax receipts to the Union government.

6. 58th Grammy's Award 2016
i. The 2016 Grammy Awards were held on February 15, 2016, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
 
ii. The ceremony recognizes the best recordings, compositions and artists of the eligibility year, which was from October 1, 2014, to September 30, 2015.

iii. It was the sixteenth Grammy ceremony.

Best album of the year : 1989 - Taylor Swift
Best record of the year:Uptown Funk- Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars
Best song of the year: Thinking Out Loud- Ed Sheeran & Amy Wadge
Best new artist : Meghan Trainor

7. Badminton Asia Cup: India beats Singapore, enters quarterfinals
i. India sailed into the quarterfinals of Badminton Asia Team Championship with a comprehensive 5-0 victory over Singapore in Hyderabad.

ii. To begin with, Kidambi Srikanth scored a comfortable 21-16, 12-21, 21-13 win over Zi Liang Derek Wong in the first singles match at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium.

ii. India’s doubles players, too, came up with an impressive performance and won the two matches quite easily.

iii. Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy beat Yong Kai Terry Hee-Kean Hean Loh 21-15, 21-14.

iv. While the duo of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Akshay Dewalkar trounced Danny Bawa Chrisnanta and Hendra Wijaya 21-14, 21-13 in the second doubles match.

v. In the other men’s matches, Japan trounced Sri Lanka 5-0, Malaysia defeated Nepal 5-0 and Hong Kong China beat Philippines 4-1.

8. Former UN Secretary General Boutros Ghali passes away

i. Former United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali passed away in Cairo, Egypt.

ii. He was 93. Mr. Boutros-Ghali was Egyptian politician and diplomat who had served as sixth UN Secretary-General from 1992 to 1996.

iii. He was first United Nations’ first secretary-general from Africa.

iv. Prior to joining UN, he had worked in the administrations of Egyptian Presidents Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak.

v. He also had served as first Secretary General of La Francophonie, an organisation of French-speaking nations from 1997 to 2002.

9. Prithvi II Missile Successfully Test Fired
i. India test-fired its indigenously developed Prithvi-II missile.

ii. This missile is capable of carrying 500 kg to 1000 kg of warheads.

iii. Prithvi II missile tested as part of a user trial by the army from a test range at Chandipur.

iv. It was conducted by the Strategic Force Command (SFC) and was monitored by the scientists from Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

v. The missile test was carried out from a mobile launcher from launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR).

Current Affairs - 16th February 2016

1. LAMITYE 2016 : A Joint Military Exercise Between India And Seychelles

i. LAMITYE 2016 , The 7th edition of India, Seychelles joint military exercise has begun in Victoria, Seychelles.

ii. The fourteen day exercise has been conducted at Seychelles Defence Academy (SDA), Victoria till February 28, 2016.

iii. In 2016 exercise, the Indian contingent will comprise of an Infantry platoon and representatives from the Special Forces.

iv. The Seychelles People’s Defense Forces (SPDF) will be represented by 20 personnel from Tazar (Special Forces Unit) and 32 from Seychelles Infantry.

v. The concluding phase of the exercise will incorporate a tactical exercise will be witnessed by senior military officers from both the countries.

2. Mahamagam festival celebrated in Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu

i. The Mahamagam festival in Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu is underway and thousands of devotees are taking a holy dip in the Mahamagam tank.

ii. The festival that comes once in 12 years is often termed as equivalent to the grand religious event in Allahabad.

iii. The festival began with the hoisting of flags in the 7 Saivite pilgrim centres in the temple town of Kumbakonam.

iv. In the five prominent Vaishnavite temples, flag hoisting was made as part of the festival.

v. The lakhs of devotees are expected to take the holy dip during the ten-day Mahamagam festival period.

3. U.K. Sinha Gets Extension As SEBI Chairman
i. UK Sinha will continue to lead India's capital and commodities market regulator for one more year. ii. The government extended Sinha's term as the chairman of Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) till March 01, 2017.

iii. The Bihar-cadre IAS officer becomes the second-longest serving chief in Sebi's over two-decade history after DR Mehta.

iv. Sinha took over as Sebi chairman in 2011 with a three-year term. After that he was given a two-year extension.

4. Homeo Vision 2016 - Inaugurated At Nagpur
i. The twenty fourth National Homoeopathic Congress Homeo-Vision 2016 was inaugurated by the Minister of State for AYUSH (Independent Charge) and Health and Family Welfare, Shri Shripad Yesso Naik in Nagpur.

ii. Indian Institute of Homeopathic Physician (IIHP), Maharashtra State Branch, Nagpur has organized this two-day National conference (13th and 14th February, 2016) to discuss the recent advances in technology, innovative research and quality education in Homeopathy.

iii. The objective of Ministry of AYUSH to develop the four core areas such as education, research, drug development and health care delivery.
 
iv. The International professional body of Homeopaths, Liga Medicorum Homoeopathica Internationalis (LMHI) has proposed to organize the World Homeopathy Day, 2016 (10th April 2016) in New Delhi.

5. President Pranab Mukherjee Conferred Infosys Prize 2015
i. President Pranab Mukherjee has conferred Infosys Prize 2015 on six winners for their outstanding contribution in the research fields in New Delhi.

ii. The awards were received by Prof Umesh Waghmare, Prof Jonardon Ganeri, Dr Amit Sharma, Prof Mahan Mj, Prof G Ravindra Kumar and Dr Srinath Raghavan.

iii. The Prize were given across five categories: Engineering and Computer Science, Life Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Physical Sciences and Social Sciences and the Humanities.

6. Jharkhand First Mega Food Park
i. Union Food Processing and Industry Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Chief Minister Raghubar Das inaugurated the first mega food park at Village Getalsud, Ranchi in Jharkhand.

ii. The food park costing Rs.114.73 crore is spread over 51.50 acres.

iii. It will have the facilities of multi-chamber cold storage, dry warehouse, vegetable dehydration line, modern quality control and testing laboratory and other processing facilities for fruit and vegetables.

iv. The Mega Food Park is expected to provide direct and indirect employment to about 6000 people and benefit about 25,000-30,000 farmers in its catchment area.

7. Sri Srinivasan : To Become The 1st Indian American Judge Of US Supreme Court
i. Sri Srinivasan to become the first Indian-American Judge of the U S Supreme Court to replace Justice Antonin Scalia after his unexpected death.

ii. Srinivasan is born in Chandigarh and 48 years old.

iii. He originally from a village near Tamil Nadu's Tirunelveli.

iii. His family migrated to the US in the 1960s and settled in Lawrence, Texas.

iv. He made history in 2013 when he became the first Asian American and Indian American to serve in the Court of Appeals in the D.C. Circuit, long cited as the stepping stone to the uppermost echelon, the Supreme Court.

v. He mostly defended views other than his own, arguing for both Republicans and Democrats.

8. Prof. Yogesh Tyagi : New Vice Chancellor Of Delhi University
i. President Pranab Mukherjee appointed Yogesh Tyagi, dean of the law faculty at South Asian University (SAU), as the new Vice Chancellor of Delhi University (DU).

ii. The HRD ministry appointed Tyagi for a term of five years after his name was chosen from a panel of four persons by President Pranab Mukherjee, who is the Visitor of all central universities.

iii. The appointment of the Delhi University Vice Chancellor had been pending for three months since Singh left that office on October 28 last year and Sudheesh Pachauri was the acting Vice Chancellor.

9. Apple To Setup Its 1st Technology Center In India
i. Apple has confirmed its 1st technology centre in India at Hyderabad, at a cost of $25 million.

ii. Spread across 2,50,000 square feet, the centre will help Apple develop maps and make them available in its iPhones and Mac systems.

iii. It is set to open by June, becoming fully operational by the end of the year.

iv. The facility is projected to create 4,500 jobs

Current Affairs - 15th February 2016

1. Bollywood Actress Vidya Balan Awarded With The Pride Of Kerala Award


i. Bollywood actress Vidya Balan has been awarded the 'Pride of Kerala' award by the World Malaya lee Council and Kairali TV.

ii. National Award-winning actress Vidya Balan, who hails from Kerala, is 38 year old.

iii. National award winner had made her debut in Bollywood in 2005 in Parineeta.

iv. The Bollywood actress has already received many awards and honors like National Film Award for Best Actress - for The Dirty Picture (2011). Padma Shri Award in 2014. She also has won five Filmfare Awards in Best Female Debut for Parineeta (2005), Best Actress for Paa (2009), The Dirty Picture (2011) and Kahaani (2012) and Critics Award for Best Actress for Ishqiya (2010).

2. Devaraja Reddy elected as the new ICAI President


i. The CA Institute has a new President in M Devaraja Reddy.Devraja Reddy

ii. He belongs to Hyderabad and is a fellow member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) with more than 28 years of professional standing.

iii. He was the Vice-President of ICAI for the council year 2015-16.

iv. Nilesh S Vikamsey is the new Vice President of the CA Institute for the term 2016-17.

3. Tata Steel wins TIME's best in class for manufacturing award


i. American publishing company, Time Inc has announced the winners of the inaugural TIME India awards, honouring leaders for manufacturing excellence in India.

ii. McKinsey & Company is the knowledge partner for the awards.

iii. The awards encompassed three categories:Best in class manufacturing,manufacturing innovator of the year andYoung maker of the year.

iv. Tata Steel won the award for best in class for manufacturing, while Hero MotoCorp was named the manufacturing innovator of the year and Yogesh and Rajesh Agrawal of Ajanta Pharma Limited were declared winners of the TIME India Young Maker of the Year.

v. The finalists were announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

4. Andhra Pradesh Government Signs Agreement With USTDA

i. The US Trade and Development Agency has signed MoU with the Department Of Municipal Administration of Andhra Pradesh on funding for drawing up the master plan for Visakhapatnam Smart City and a consortium of three US companies, comprising AECOM, KPMG and IBM.

ii. The MoU was signed by Principal Secretary (Municipal Administration) Karikal Velavan and Country Manager of USTDA Heather K Lanigan in the presence of Chief Minister and Director of USTDA Leocadila I Zak.

5. Facebook India's Managing Director Kirthiga Reddy Steps Down


i. A day after closing down its controversy ridden free basics programme in India, Facebook India Managing Director Kirthiga Reddy has stepped down from her current role and will relocate to the United States.

ii. She would be moving to Facebook's headquarters in the US in the next 6 to 12 months. Facebook started looking for her successor in India.

iii. Facebook has shut down ' Free Basics' in India, days after telecom regulator TRAI barred operators from charging discriminatory rates for internet access based on content.

iv. Free Basics was offered in India in partnership with Reliance Communications and was earlier known as Internet.org.

6. R D Mathur promoted to the rank of Air Marshal


i. Air vice Marshal Rajiv Dayal Mathur, promoted to the rank of Air Marshal on 15 Feb 16.

ii. Perior to this, He had been Assistant Chief of Air Staff in charge of the Indian Air Force's Air Warfare Strategy Cell besides its space, cyber, Air Traffic Services and Media & Public Relations Directorates.

iii. He had earlier served as Air Defence commander at Ho Eastern Air Command and commanded a frontline Air Force Station and a Fighter aircraft squadron.

7. Dr. Vilas A. Tonapi Appointed As New Director Of IIMR

i. Dr. Vilas A. Tonapi has been appointed as Director of Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR), Rajendranagar.

ii. Prior to this appointment, he was working as the Principal Scientist at Seed Science and Technology of the IIMR.

iii. Earlier Dr. Vilas A. Tonapi had served as Head, Division of Seed Science and Technology at New Delhi based Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI).

8. BAFTA Awards : 69th British Academy Film Awards


i. The 69th British Academy Film Awards held on 14 February 2016 in London.

ii. It has taken place in Central London at the Royal Opera House.

iii. The British Academy Film Awards are presented in an annual award show hosted by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA).

iv. The Revenant' scooped the best film, best actor and best director awards at the 69th edition of the biggest film awards outside the U.S.

v. The other award of BAFTA's are as follow :

Outstanding British Film: Brooklyn.
Best Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu (The Revenant).
Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant).
Best Actress: Brie Larson (Room).
Most awards: The Revenant (5 wins).
Most nominations: Bridge of Spies and Carol (9 nominations each).

9. Sania Mirza-Martina Hingis win St. Petersburg Title

i. Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza and her Swiss partner Martina Hingis extended their winning streak to 40 after clinching the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy.

ii. The top-seeded pair continued their imperious form as they swept aside the Russian-Czech pair of Vera Dushevina and Barbora Krejcikova 6-3, 6-1 in the finals of the women’s double event that lasted for an hour.

iii. With the win, the Indo-Swiss pair bagged their 13th women’s double titles. Earlier this year, the Indo-Swiss duo won their third consecutive women’s doubles Grand Slam title by lifting the Australian Open trophy.

10. DIAL launches mobile application 'DIAL Cargo'


i. Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) has launched a mobile application 'DIAL Cargo' for cargo operations to reduce paperwork and track movement of shipments on real time basis.

ii. DIAL runs the international airport in the national capital.

iii. The mobile application would aid in electronic clearance of cargo through the customs Department.

iv. Delhi airport handled 7 lakh tonnes of cargo in 2014-15.

11. Chad appoints Albert Pahimi Padacke as its new prime minister

i. President Idriss Deby has appointed MP Albert Pahimi Padacke as new Prime Minister of the Central African country Chad.

ii.His appointment came after the resignation of his predecessor, just two months ahead of presidential elections.

iii. No reason was given for the departure of Kalzeube Pahimi Deubet earl. He had served as Prime Minister for more than two years.

Current Affairs - 14th February 2016

1.  Tamar Hahn appointd as Director of United Nations Information Centre


i. Tamar Hahn from Israel has been appointed as the Director of United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

ii. She took the charge of the office after she was appointed to this post by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

iii. Prior to this appointment, she was the Regional Adviser for Resource Mobilization and Partnerships at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Regional Office for the Caribbean and Latin America in Panama City (Panama).

2.  World Radio Day observed with theme Radio in Times of Emergency and Disaster

i. World Radio Day was observed globally on 13 February 2016 with the theme Radio in Times of Emergency and Disaster.

ii. To mark the occasion, various activities conducted across India celebrating importance of radio in the day to day life.

iii. In Odisha, a two-day annual international event Outreach International Radio Fair 2016 was inaugurated in Bhubaneswar.

3. 1st Mega Food Park in Madhya Pradesh inaugurated at Panwa

i. 1st Mega Food Park (MFP) of Madhya Pradesh was on 12 February 2016 inaugurated at Panwa village in Kasarwad tehsil of Khargone district.

ii. The MFP, named after Indus, was inaugurated by Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Union Minister of Food Processing Industries.

Details related to the Mega Food Park

* It was set up by M/s Indus mega Food Part Pvt. Ltd at an estimated cost of 127.70 crore rupees in an area of 53.78 acres.
* It has a Central Processing Centre at Khargone and three Primary Processing Centres are being set up at Bedia, Ratlam and Ujjain to provide strong backward linkages.
* It is expected to provide direct and indirect employment to about 6000 people and benefit about 25000 to 30000 farmers in its catchment area.
* It will have facilities of 3000 MT Cold Storage, 9000 MT Dry Warehouse, Instant Quick Freeze (IQF) 5 MT per hour, modern Quality Control lab and other processing facilities for fruits and vegetables.
* It will create a modern infrastructure for arresting post-harvest losses of horticultural and non-horticultural produce and provide impetus to the growth of food processing sector in Madhya Pradesh.
* It will help in providing better prices to farmers, reduce wastage of perishables and add value to agricultural produce.
* It will help in creating huge opportunities for entrepreneurship and employment for the youth of the State.
* It will benefit the people of Khargone district and the people of nearby districts of Indore, Ratlam, Ujjain, Dhar, Khandwa, Dewas&Barwani as well.

4.  Neem extract may help treat Pancreatic Cancer: Study

i. A new study has claimed that a natural extract derived from the neem tree can potentially be used to treat pancreatic cancer without harming normal, healthy cells.

ii. The study was conducted by scientists from the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso). The findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Key facts

* Scientists have tested nimbolide, a compound found in neem leaves against pancreatic cancer in cell lines and mice.
* The results have showed that this natural compound can stop pancreatic cancer’s growth and metastasis without harming healthy, normal cells in vitro and in vivo experiments.
* In the tests, it was also observed that nimbolide was able to reduce the migration and invasion capabilities of pancreatic cancer cells by 70 per cent.
* It was also found that after Nimbolide was induced cancer cells, it reduced the size and number of pancreatic cancer cell colonies by 80 per cent.

5.  Banaras Hindu University turns 100 years


i. Banaras Hindu University (BHU) founded by Freedom fighter Pt Madan Mohan Malviya has turned 100 years on 13th February 2016.

ii. BHU was founded as important seat of higher education in 1916. During time of its establishment it was first university in India that was the result of a private individual’s efforts.

iii. After its formation, BHU had played an important role in the freedom movement of India.

iv. It main purpose was to build a bridge between India’s past and modernising world system in the areas of social sciences, humanities particularly in evolving non colonial history as a discipline.

Celebrations

* To mark this occasion, University had organised a centenary seminar on higher education and contribution of BHU where Supreme Court Judge Pinaki Chandra Ghosh will be the Chief Guest.
* Earlier in September 2014, Union Government had released special coins of Rs 100 (commemorative) and Rs 10 (released in the market) to commemorate the 100th year of establishment of BHU. Postal Department also had issued a special commemorative stamp to mark the occasion.
* Currently, BHU has about 140 departments organised into 6 institutes besides one Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and an Institute of Medical Sciences. It is Asia’s largest residential university with more than 15,000 students from different parts of country are presently studying in it. BHU has been listed in the list of Institutes of National Importance.

6. Jnanpith Award-winning poet O N V Kurup died


i. Noted Malayalam poet and lyricist O N V Kurup passed away in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. He was 84.

ii. He was popularly known as “ONV”, Ottaplakkal Nambiyadikkal Velu Kurup and had made significant contributions to the Malayalam film music. He was also was part of the progressive movement in Kerala.

Current Affairs - 13th February 2016


1. Ashok Chawla Appointed As Chairman Of TERI


i. TERI's governing council appointed Ashok Chawla as its new chiarman.

ii. Chawla is the former Union Finance Secretary and former Chairman of the Competition Commission.

iii. The Council decided after the elevation of climate scientist R.K. Pachauri indicted in a sexual harassment case to the post of Executive Vice Chairman on Monday, received widespread criticism from the media and women’s rights lawyers.

iv. The Research and Resources Institute (TERI) re announced that the new Director General, Ajay Mathur, as a Member of the Council will operate with full executive powers. Mr. Mathur was brought in to replace Mr. Pachauri on DG's post.

2. International Radio Fair 2016 Hosted By Bhubaneswar


i. International Radio Fair 2016 is to be held at Bhubaneswar.

ii. The fair will start on the occasion of World Radio Day i.e. 13th of February and close on 14th.

iii. Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan and eminent news reader Upendra Pahadsingh have given their consent join the Radio Fair this year among others.

3. 13 February : World Radio Day

i. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is celebrating World Radio Day on 13 February.

ii. This year, the UNESCO theme for World Radio Day is “Radio in Times of Emergency and Disaster”.

iii. It was proclaimed on 3 November 2011 by UNESCO's 36th General Conference after originally proposed by the Kingdom of Spain.

4. MOU Signs Between NRDC & IICB To Promote Entrepreneurship

i. To promote start-ups and entrepreneurship, the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (IICB) and National Research Development Corporation (NRDC).

ii. Both arms of the DSIR, have signed an MoU to facilitate industry-institute partnership.

iii. The MoU have been signed by Dr H. Purushotham, CMD  of NRDC and Director, CSIR-IICB Prof. Samit Chattopadhyay in the presence of the Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of S&T and Earth Sciences and Dr Rabiranjan Chattopadhyay, West Bengal Minister  for Science, Technology & Biotechnology.

5. Lionel Messi Named La Liga Player Of Month

i. FC Barcelona forward Lionel Andres Messi has been named Liga BBVA Player of the Month for January, for the first time.

ii. The award has been given out since the beginning of the 2013-14 Primera División season but the five-times Ballon d’Or winner had not won it until now.

iii. Messi is the only football player in history to win the FIFA Ballon d'Or five times, four of which he won consecutively, and the first player to win three European Golden Shoes.

6. Oracle To Setup Its Campus In Bengaluru


i. The computer giant Oracle is planning to set up a campus in Bengaluru and start an initiative to help more than half a million students in India develop computer science skills.

ii. This was conveyed by Oracle's Global CEO Safra Catz to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

iii. Oracle is of the view that the plans are likely to boost Mr. Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, and strengthen India’s position as a world-class design and manufacturing hub.

7. Kavita Raut Clinched Gold In SAG Marathon

i. India long distance runner Kavita Raut  clinches gold in marathon.

ii. The 30 year old Raut easily clinched the marathon gold in 2 hours 38 minutes and 38 seconds to become the 4th Indian women to have qualified for Rio Games women’s marathon.

iii. Nashik girl Raut is the lone athlete to have qualified for the Olympics from the 12th SAG.

iv. With these two gold and one bronze, India ended the athletics competition with 28 gold, 22 silver and 9 bronze, medals thereby establishing their unrivalled superiority in the South Asian region.

8. Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award 2015


i. Chief Executive Officer Vinita Gupta  and managing director Nilesh Gupta, Lupin Ltd have been chosen the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2015.

ii. Ms. Vinita and Mr. Nilesh Gupta will now represent India at the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year Award (WEOY) in Monte Carlo from 7-12 June 2016.

iii. An 11-member jury led by Adi Godrej selected the winners.

iv. F. C. Kohli, former Vice-Chairman of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), has been honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his pioneering contribution towards the Indian software industry and nation-building.

9. Discovery Of The Centuary : Gravitational Waves

i. Scientists have observed a stunning discovery in their quest to fully understand gravity.

ii. They have observed the warping of space time generated by the collision of two black holes more than a billion light-years from Earth.

iii. The scientist team says the first detection of these gravitational waves will usher in a new era for astronomy.

iv. The gravitational waves were predicted by Albert Einstein in his general theory of relativity 100 years ago in 1915. The gravitational waves were detected on September 14, 2015 by LIGO detectors, located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington, USA.

Current Affairs - 12th February 2016

1. Indian Origin Lawyer Davinder Singh Appointed As Vice - Chairman Of ICC

i. A top Indian origin lawyer has been named as Vice-Chairman of the Paris based International Chamber of Commerce Commission (ICC) on Corporate Responsibility and Anti-corruption.

ii. Davinder Singh, 58, is one of the top Indian origin lawyer in Singapore. He is the only Singaporean lawyer to be appointed to the leadership of one of 13 Policy Commissions under the ICC.

iii. Currently he is the chief executive of the Singapore based law firm Drew & Napier. He was the member of Singapore Parliament from 1988-2006.

2. Amazon To Invest In Westland ( A Tata Group Company )

i. Ecommerce company Amazon has made an investment in Westland, a Trent Ltd subsidiary ( Tata Group ) in support of its publishing business.

ii. The investment will help to expand its international  reach and scale its physical and digital book businesses.

iii. Westland had also signed a two-month exclusive deal with Amazon to sell the book through its online platform.

3. Anirban Lahiri wins Hilton Asian Tour Golfer of the Year award

i. The Indian triumphed at the Maybank Malaysian and Hero Indian Open before going on to finish tied fifth at the PGA Championship last year.

ii. He also became the first Indian to feature at The Presidents Cup and ended the year by winning the Asian Tour Order of Merit title and finishing in 40th place in the world rankings.

iii. Lahiri won the award ahead of Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee, Malaysia's Danny Chia and Philippines' Miguel Tabuena.

4. NATO & EU Signed Agreement On Cyber Defense Cooperation

i. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU) have signed an agreement to improve cooperation in cyber defense.

ii. The technical agreement signed at NATO headquarters at Brussels.

iii. Belgium will help the two in countering the modern forms of hybrid warfare.

iv. It was signed between NATO Computer Incident Response Capability (NCIRC) and the Computer Emergency Response Team – European Union (CERT-EU)

5. India And UAE Signed 9 Agreements To Boost Bilateral Cooperation

i. India and the United Arab Emirates signed 9 bilateral agreements across various sectors. These agreements were signed during the second day of the three day visit to India of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

ii. These nine agreements are covering cooperation in the fields of currency swap, culture, investments in the infrastructure sector, renewable energy, space research, insurance supervision, cyber security, skill development and commercial information sharing.

Those Agreements are as follow :- 

1. MoU on Technical Cooperation in Cyber Space and Combating Cyber Crime.
2. MoU on Establishing a Framework for Facilitating the Participation of U.A.E institutional investors in Infrastructure Investments.
3. General Framework Agreement on Renewable Energy Cooperation.
4. MoU between Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the United Arab Emirates Space Agency on Cooperation in the Exploration and use of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes.
5. MoU for bilateral cooperation between Insurance Regulatory Authority of India (IRDA) and the Insurance Authority of UAE.
6. Executive Programme for Cultural Cooperation (EPCC).
7. Letter of Intent between the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE).
8. MoU between Dubai Economic Council (DEC) and Export-Import bank of India.
9. MoU on Indian Rupee (INR)/UAE Dirham (AED) Bilateral Currency Swap Arrangements.


6. Wipro To Buy US Healthcare Services

i. Global software major and India's 3rd largest exporter Wipro has made an announced buying "HealthPlan Service" business in the US for $460 million (Rs.3,150 crore).

ii. HealthPlan Services is a leading independent technology and Business Process as a Service (BPaaS) provider in the US health insurance market that offers solutions to health insurance firms.

iii. By partnering with HealthPlan, Wipro will have first-mover advantage in the high growth public and private exchange space for individual, group and ancillary markets.

iv. With this acquisition, Wipro is looking to give its healthcare business a major fillip.

v. This is Wipro’s overall 4th acquisition in the in calendar year 2015 . The acquisition process is likely to be completed within the next three months.

7. Chhattisgarh And Railway Signed Joint Venture For Infrastructure Development

i. Indian Railway signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Chhattisgarh Government to establish a joint venture ( JV ) for laying tracks and expedite implementation of railway projects in the state.

ii. With this Chhattisgarh became 5th state to join hands with the Indian Railways for speedy execution of rail projects through JV route.

iii. Under this MoU, state government will have 51% share and Indian Railways will have remaining 49% share in the JV company. The joint venture will focus on project development and implementation, resource mobilization, land acquisition and monitor the progress of critical rail projects in the state.

8. India's 1st National Deworming Day Launched

i. India launched its 1st Deworming Day on 10th February.

ii. It was launched by The Ministry Of Health & Family Welfare to combat parasitic worm infections among preschool and school age children across India.

iii. Jagat Prakash Nadda, Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare inaugurated the Deworming national programme, in Jaipur, Rajasthan, together with Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.

iv. National Deworming Day is a groundbreaking initiative focused on reducing the threat of parasitic worm infections, a widespread health issue affecting over 241 million children in India alone.
v. India has the highest burden of soil transmitted parasitic worms in the world.

Current Affairs - 11th February 2016

1. India Ranks 37 on USCC IP Index

i. India has ranked 37 out of 38 countries for its intellectual property rights environment in the annual IP index released by the United States Chamber of Commerce (USCC).

ii. These 38 countries bench marked in the 2016 index accounts for nearly 85% of the global GDP.

iii. Venezuela ranked lowest below India at 38th position with 6.42 points on the index.

iv. This index is based on six key parameters like rights and limitations of the patent, copyright and trademark regimes, trade secrets, enforcement and ratification of international treaties.

2. Mukesh Bansal & Ankit Nagori To Quit Flipkart

i. Mukesh Bansal, the head of commerce and advertising business and Ankit Nagori, Chief Business Officer of Flipkart has put in his papers.

ii. Mr. Nagori quit the firm to start an entrepreneurial venture in the sports domain.

iii. Bansal, who joined Flipkart when the online marketplace acquired fashion retailer Myntra in 2014, will continue to be an adviser to the company.

iv. Binny Bansal will now directly oversee the commerce and advertising platforms.   

3. Siachen Avalanche Survivor Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Passes Away

i. Lance Naik Hanamanthappa, who had been battling for life at the Army’s Research & Referral hospital, breathed his last on Today morning. “Really sorry to inform everyone that LNk Hanamanthappa is no more. He breathed his last breath at 11:45 a.m. today,” Army officials said on Today.

ii. He was 33.

iii. Hanamanthappa, hailed from Koppal in Karnataka. He belonged to a farming family in Betadur village in Kundagol taluk of Dharwad district.

4. The 6th National Science Film Festival Begins In Mumbai

i. The 6th National Science Film Festival & Competition (NSFF) has begun at Nehru Science Center in Mumbai.

ii. The festival has been jointly organised by Nehru Science Centre and Vigyan Prasar. Vigyan Prasar is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Science and Technology.

iii. The event was chaired by veteran director Shyam Benegal and science film maker Dr Mike Panday.iv. The winners will be chosen among the 35 short-listed entries by a jury of eight people chaired by Shyam Benegal.

5. Kala Committee : Draft National Wildlife Action Plan


i. The National Wildlife Action Plan (NWAP) 2017-2031 unveiled by the environment ministry accords special emphasis to rehabilitation of threatened species of wildlife.

ii. While conserving their habitats which include inland aquatic, coastal and marine eco-systems.

iii. The Ministry Of Environment Forest and Climate Change has been implementing the National Wildlife Action Plan.

iv. It envisages on 17 key areas includes new area linking wildlife planning to climate change and  Mitigation of human wildlife conflict, coastal and marine ecosystem.

6. R K Verma : New Secretary Of Railway Board

i. A 1980 batch officer of Indian Railway Services Of Engineers Mr. R K Verma has assumed the charge as Secretary, Railway Board.

ii. Earlier he has served as Adviser (Public Grievance) to the Minister of State (MoS) for Railways.

iii. In his previous assignments, he has worked with various railways, including Southern, North-East Frontier Eastern and Western comprising of Indian Railways Institute of Civil Engineering.

iv. He also has Life Fellowship of Institution of Engineers (India), Institution of Permanent Way (India) and Indian Institute of Bridge Engineers.

7. India's 1st Aviation Park To Come Up In Gujarat

i. The state government has planned to set up the country’s first-ever Aviation Park in Gujarat near Bagodara village in Ahmedabad to strengthen the aviation sector.

ii. State government has given this task to Gujarat State Aviation Infrastructure Company Ltd (GUJSAIL) to carry out the project.

iii. The first ever Aviation Park will have the facilities including an airstrip, training school, helipad and space for setting up small manufacturing units among others.

iv. In the later stages, this park will have small manufacturing units to produce spare parts for aircraft and also in planning to develop this park on Public Private Partnership (PPP).

8. PM Shram Awards Announced For The Year 2014

i. The Government of India has announced the Prime Ministers Shram Awards for the year 2014.

ii. The award will be awarded to 54 workers employed in the Departmental Undertakings and Public Sector.

iii. The award has been given in recognition of their distinguished performances, innovative abilities, outstanding contribution in the field of productivity and exhibition of exceptional courage and presence of mind.

iv. This year, 9 nominations for the Shram Bhushan Award, 19 nominations for Shram Vir/Shram Veerangana and 26 nominations for Shram Shree / Shram Devi Awards have been selected.

Current Affairs - 10th February 2016

1. Maharashtra Has Topped In Internet Readiness Index

i. As per the report compiled and published by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and Indicus Analytics Maharashtra has topped in terms of the overall Internet readiness index.

ii. Maharashtra ranks at the top in terms of Internet readiness with a strong position in areas like e-infrastructure, eGovernance, IT services and consumer participation.

iii. Karnataka, Gujarat, Telengana and Tamil Nadu followed in the tally.

iv. The report, titled 'Index of Internet Readiness of Indian States', said Delhi has emerged as the leader among the smaller states, followed by Puducherry and Goa.

v. North East states, They have not even figured among the smaller states indicating that much more needs to be done in the form of investment and infrastructure development in the region.

2. India, China Hold First Joint Tactical Drill On Border In Jammu & Kashmir

i. The border troops of India and China have held their first joint tactical exercise codenamed Sino-India Cooperation 2016 in Chushul-Moldo area along with the northern border in Jammu and Kashmir.

ii. It is the part of ongoing initiatives taken by India and China to ensure greater interaction between troops stationed along the Line of Actual Control, and thereby ensure peace and tranquility along the border.

iii. As previously agreed by both countries, the exercise focused on actions to be coordinated to tackle jointly aspects of humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

3. Union Government Releases Hydrocarbon Vision 2030

i. Union Ministry of  state for Petroleum and Natural gas (MoPNG) has released the Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 for north-east India.

ii. The Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 outlines steps to leverage the hydrocarbon sector for social and economic development of the north-east region.

iii. The states covered under it are Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, Sikkim, Mizoram and Tripura.

iv. The objectives of the plan are to leverage the region’s hydrocarbon potential, enhance access to clean fuels, improve availability of petroleum products, facilitate economic development and to link common people to the economic activities in this sector.

4. Lord's To Host Women's World Cup Final In 2017

i. The hallowed Lord's will host the final of the Women's Cricket World Cup in 2017.

ii. The ICC has announced, Derbyshire, Gloucestershire, Leicestershire, Somerset and Lord's in London will host the matches from June 26 to July 23.

iii. The 28-day tournament will feature 31 games.

iv. It will be the first time the tournament will be held in England since 1993 when the home side beat New Zealand in the final at Lord's.

5. 3rd Edition Of Taj Literature Festival In Agra

i. The 3rd edition of the Taj Literature Festival scheduled to begin in Agra (UP).

ii. The 3-day long festival beginning on February 26, will not have any particular theme.

iii. This edition will accommodate 16 different categories ranging from music, theater, politics, women cooking and comedy among others etc.

6. UAE Crown Prince Is On 3 Day India Visit

i. United Arab Emirates leader and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan is on 3 day India visit along with seven ministers.

ii. The visit is expected to witness signing of a landmark civil nuclear cooperation pact among agreements across sectors, including a deal on security and information sharing to combat terrorists.

iii. The two countries are expected to sign about 16 agreements, including one on civil nuclear agreement.

7. Union Government Releases Hydrocarbon Vision 2030

i. Union Ministry of  state for Petroleum and Natural gas (MoPNG) has released the Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 for north-east India.

ii. The Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 outlines steps to leverage the hydrocarbon sector for social and economic development of the north-east region.

iii. The states covered under it are Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, Sikkim, Mizoram and Tripura.

iv. The objectives of the plan are to leverage the region’s hydrocarbon potential, enhance access to clean fuels, improve availability of petroleum products, facilitate economic development and to link common people to the economic activities in this sector.

8. Indian Government Sanctions Rs. 580 Crore For Railway Link With Bangladesh

i. The Indian government has sanctioned Rs.580 crore for the vital rail link.

ii. As it expected to complete the work on the 15-km-long rail line to connect Agartala with Akhaura in that country by 2017. Of the 15 km railway track, 10 km falls in the Bangladesh side and the rest in India.

iii. The entire project cost would be borne by the Center and over Rs 1,000 crore was sanctioned for completion of the track in Bangladesh side.

iv. The 1,700 km distance between Agartala and Kolkata through Chicken Neck near Siliguri would be reduced to 350 km.

v. Currently, India and Bangladesh have four rail links with West Bengal.

Current Affairs - 8th & 9th February 2016

1. R.K. Pachauri Appointed As Executive Vice Chairman And Mathur As New DG Of TERI

i. Pachauri headed TERI, which works in the field of sustainable development, energy and climate change, for the past 35 years.

ii. Mathur is a former Director General of Bureau of Energy Efficiency, an institution under the Power Ministry.

iii. Not-with-standing allegations of sexual harassment by a former colleague, TERI Chief RK Pachauri was on Monday appointed Executive Vice Chairman of the green body after new Director General Ajay Mathur took over the charge from him. "Dr. Ajay Mathur has joined as Director General of TERI. The Governing Council of TERI has appointed Dr. R K Pachauri as the Executive Vice Chairman with immediate effect," a TERI official said.

iv. In February last year, a junior colleague had accused him of sexual harassment following which he had to proceed on leave but joined work in July with a court quashing the internal committee report that found him guilty of misconduct.v. He was removed as chairman of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change and also from the international body of scientists that makes periodic assessment of climate change science.

2. India will host its first global maritime summit

i. According to PM Modi, India will host the first-ever global maritime summit in April 2016.

ii. He made the announcement at a function to thank the personnel of the Indian Navy for making the International Fleet Review (IFR) a “success”.

iii. He also quoted that “Oceans are lifelines of global prosperity. They present us with enormous economic opportunities to build our nations”.

3. Brijbhushan Sharan Singh Appointed As The President Of SAWF

i. Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brijbhushan Sharan Singh has been appointed as the president of the South Asian Wrestling Federation (SAWF).

ii. Tabiur Rehman from Bangladesh was also unanimously elected Secretary General.

iii. Ajgar of Pakistan, U.H. Neville Pdmashri from Sri Lanka and Raj Mohammed Ansari of Nepal were elected vice presidents.

iv. In April 2012, Brijbhushan was elected unopposed as the president of the WFI as no other candidate filed nomination for the post.

4. France became first country in the world to ban supermarket food waste

i. The French Senate on 3 February 2016 unanimously passed a law to ban large food stores from throwing away food that is approaching its expiration date. The National Assembly, France's other legislative chamber, had unanimously voted on the same measures in December 2015.

ii. With this, France has become the first country in the world to ban supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food, forcing them instead to donate it to charities and food banks.

iii. The law came into being after a petition was launched by anti-poverty campaigners led by Councillor Arash Derambarsh.

Key highlights of the new law

* With the new law, supermarkets are bound to make donations to charities and food banks, failing which they face a fine of 75000 euros and a jail term of 2 years.
* Stores of 400 square metres and above will have to sign contracts promising that they will give unsold food due to be thrown away before its best before date to charities and food banks.
* The law also prohibits stores from pouring bleach over food items.

5. New Zealand cricket team won Chappell-Hadlee Trophy

i. New Zealand on 8 February 2016 won the three-match Chappell-Hadlee Trophy of cricket against Australia, 2-1.

ii. In the third and final match played at Seddon Park, Hamilton, the Black Caps defeated Australia by 55 runs.

iii. This win of the Black Caps can be termed as the best farewell gift for Brendon McCullum who retired from One-Day International (ODI) cricket after the match. They also retained the Chappell-Hadlee trophy by putting tremendous bowling and fielding display.

6. Coast Guard To Induct 38 Aircraft And Helicopter By 2020

i. The Indian Coast Guard has proposed to induct 38 more aircraft and helicopters into its fleet by 2020. The CG at present has a fleet strength of 62 airplanes and helicopters.

ii. To boost its surveillance and search, and rescue capabilities. In this regard, the maritime security will sign a contract with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to procure 16 Advanced Light Helicopters (ALHs) in the next three - four months.

iii. It is also exploring options to buy 14 twin-engine heavy helicopters and 6 more Maritime Multi-mission Surveillance Aircraft.

7. New Zealand cricketer Brendon Barrie McCullum retired from One-Day Internationals

i. Brendon Barrie McCullum (New Zealand) on 8 February 2016 retired from One-Day Internationals (ODIs). However, He announced his retirement on 22 December 2015.

ii. He made his debut in ODIs as a 20-year-old batsman in 2001 against Australia at Sydney and he played his against the same side in 2016.

iii. He made his test debut against South Africa in 2003 and has played 99 tests so far and would retire from tests after playing two tests against Australia in February 2016.

iv. He played 260 ODIs and scored 6083 runs matches. They include 5 centuries and 31 half-centuries.

8. Vishal Mehta appointed as President of International Grown Diamond Association

i. Vishal Mehta on 4 February 2016 was appointed as the President of the newly- formed International Grown Diamond Association (IGDA).

ii. Mehta is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of IIa Technologies, which grows diamonds at its state-of-the-art facility in Singapore.

About Vishal Mehta

* Prior to setting up IIa Technologies, Mehta joined his mother’s jewellery business, which operated in West Asia.
* He studied at the Cathedral and John Connon School.
* During his undergraduate programme, he trained at Star Gems for about a year.
* He then went to the US and qualified to be a gemologist with the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

9. First joint tactical exercise Sino-India Cooperation 2016 held in Chusul-Moldo area along LoAC

i. India and China on 6 February 2016 held first joint tactical military exercise Sino-India 2016.

ii. The one-day long exercise was held in Chusul-Moldo area that is located along the Line of Actual Control (LoAC) in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.

Details related to Sino-India 2016 exercise

* The exercise is part of the ongoing initiatives taken by India and China to ensure greater interaction between troops stationed along the LoAC.
* The focus of the exercise was on joint actions to tackle aspects of humanitarian aid and disaster relief.
* It was participated by 30 border troops each from both the countries.
* It complements the Hand-in-Hand series of India-China joint exercises which started in 2007.

10. Joshna Chinappa clinched squash individual gold at the South Asian Games

i. Joshna Chinappa on 8 February 2016 clinched the gold in women's individual squash after beating Maria Toorpaki Wazir of Pakistan at the South Asian Games.

ii. Top seed Chinappa recovered from one set down to beat second seeded Wazir 10-12 11-7 11-9 11-7 at the R G Baruah Sports Complex in Guwahati.

About Joshna Chinappa

* Joshna Chinappa reached a career-high world ranking of World No. 13 in December 2015.
* She was the first Indian to win the British Squash Championship title in 2003 in the under 19 category and was also the youngest Indian women's national champion.
* She is the first beneficiary of Mittal Champions Trust.
* At the 2014 Commonwealth Games, she along with Dipika Pallikal won the squash women’s doubles gold medal, making it India's first ever Commonwealth Games medal in the sport.

Current Affairs - 7th February 2016

1.  Project Sunrise launched for prevention of AIDS in NE states

i. Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda has launched Project Sunrise on for prevention of AIDS specially among people injecting drugs in the 8 North-Eastern states.

ii. The AIDS prevention special project aims to diagnose 90 per cent of such drug addicts with HIV and put them under treatment by 2020.

Key facts

* Project Sunrise aims at bringing the people living with HIV/AIDS into the national mainstream and create more awareness about the disease in these N-E states.
* It will be implemented in the North East in addition to the existing projects of the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO).
* The project has been sponsored by US based Centre for Disease Control and would be implemented by Family Health International 360.
* It will cover one lakh people living with HIV/AIDS by giving them treatment and care facilities free of cost.
* Other initiatives to be covered it include enhancing capacity of state-level institutions in high burden areas, community mobilization, intervention among females injecting drugs.

2.  International Fleet Review 2016 kick starts in Vizag

i. The International Fleet Review (IFR) 2016, an international military exercise hosted and conducted by Indian Navy was inaugurated in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.

ii. Theme of this edition on IFR is “United through Oceans” and its objective is to enhance mutual trust and confidence with neighbouring navies by inviting their ships to participate in the event.

iii. The last IFR conducted by the Indian Navy in 2001 in Mumbai, Maharashtra in which navies of 29 countries from across the globe had participated.

3. Zimbabwe's President declared a state of disaster in rural parts of the country

i. Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe on 5 February 2016 declared a state of disaster in rural parts of the country hit by a drought.

ii. The announcement comes days after the European Union urged Mugabe to declare a state of disaster. This declaration of disaster will allow international donors to raise money quickly to provide food aid to the nation.

iii. An estimated 2.4 million people are now in need of food aid, more than a quarter of the population. The government also urged Zimbabweans not to panic, as it is importing maize from neighbouring Zambia.

iv. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in January 2016 said some 14 million people face hunger in southern Africa because of a drought that has been exacerbated by the El Nino weather phenomenon. South Africa, Namibia and Botswana have also been badly hit.
v. It seems that the worst drought in a quarter of the century is expected to increase the problems of the southern African nation, which is struggling to overcome a steep 1999-2008 recession that saw its economy contract by nearly 50 percent.

4.  In a first, NDRF trains 160 dogs for disaster response

i. In a maiden initiative, a squad of 162 dogs is being raised by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to aid its personnel in rescuing people trapped under debris in the aftermath of natural calamities like earthquake.

ii. The NDRF, which was involved in disaster rescue operations like the deluge in Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir and Chennai and the earthquake that struck Nepal last year, has undertaken the exercise on a ‘mission mode’

iii. The force is training a batch of 162 dogs for their specialised Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) tasks under which the NDRF teams have to sift through mounds of rubble to look for life trapped beneath.
iv. A number of them have finished their regime and are being subjected to drills and field exercises where they are made to sniff out life in a collapsed concrete structure.

5. Sushma Swaraj inaugurated Rise of Digital India Exhibition in Colombo

i. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on 6 February 2016 inaugurated the Rise of Digital India Exhibition in Colombo. The exhibition was a part of Sangam -The Festival of India in Sri Lanka 2015-16.

ii. Swaraj was on a two day visit to Sri Lanka to co-chair the 9th session of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission meeting along with her Sri Lankan counterpart, Mangala Samaraweera.

iii. The Rise of Digital India exhibition showcases the initiative of Indian government to take the benefits of Information Technology to the common man. The exhibition is a part of six month long Festival of India celebrations in Sri Lanka.

6.  Union Govt to set up Natioanl Organic Farming Reearch Institute in Sikkim

i. The Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has decided to set up the National Organic Farming Research Institute (NOFRI) in Sikkim.

ii. Decision in this regard was taken by Union Agriculture Minister Radhamohan Singh after he met Sikkim Agriculture Minister Som Nath Paudyal in New Delhi.

iii. The NOFRI will be established by upgrading the existing Gangtok based Regional Centre of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

iv. Apart from this, Union Government also has assured State Government to help in sustaining the organic farming and also in marketing of the State’s organic products.

7. Noted cartoonist Sudhir Tailang died

i. Famous political cartoonist Sudhir Tailang, passed away in Gurgaon, Haryana after battling with brain cancer for a long time. He was 56.

ii. He was known for his political cartoons that chronicled contemporary Indian politics with wit and humour. 

Current Affairs - 6th February 2016

1. PM Modi Inaugurates Petrochemical Project In Dibrugarh


i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a petrochemical project in Lepetkata in Dibrugarh, which is the first such project of North-East.
 
ii. The project has been named as Brahmaputra Cracker and Polymer Ltd (BCPL).

iii. It has been built at cost of 10000-crore rupees and shall be producing raw material for manufacturing plastic.

iv. Prime Minister also dedicated wax producing unit in Numaligarh Refinery Limited to the nation. It is India’s highest wax producing unit and shall be using indigenous technology.

2. Corporation Bank inks pact with Universal Sompo for accident death coverage

i. Corporation Bank has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Universal Sompo General Insurance Co Ltd for providing accident death coverage to its savings bank account holders under Corp Signature, Corp Super and Corp Saral category.

ii. According to this pact the bank provides free personal accident death cover of ?10 lakh to its Corp Signature and ?5 lakh to its Corp Super account holders.

iii. The MoU was signed in the presence of Jai Kumar Garg, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Corporation Bank, and VV Vendhen, Head (Bancassurance), Universal Sompo General Insurance Co Ltd.

3. ICICI Academy aims to impart skills training to one lakh youth by 2017

i.The academy and the RSETIs will train close to 45,000 candidates in the 2017 fiscal and take the total number of trained youth to over a lakh.

ii. The academy has in the last two years (since inception in 2013) trained 25,200 youths (of which 32 per cent were women) belonging to the economically weaker sections.

iii. It has set up 22 centres across the country (including 10 centres exclusively for training of women).

iv. The centre has trained 2,880 individuals so far and secured 100 per cent placement. It currently offers residential courses to 638 students in six disciplines such as electrical and home appliances repair, refrigeration and AC repair, pumps and motor repair, central air-conditioning repair, two and three-wheeler service technician and selling skills.

v. It has tied up with industry partners such as Schneider Electric India Foundation, Blue Star, Crompton Greaves, Voltas, Godrej, Perfect Engineers, Best Engineers, Ramdev Motors, Aquasyb, Geethanjali Electricals, Energy Control Corporation, TVS Training and Services, Global Innova, Axis Bank, Muthoot Fincorp and Reliance Communication. It has also set up practical training laboratories to facilitate practical orientation.

4. Union Government to set up National Organic Farming Research Institute in Sikkim

i. The Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare on 5 February 2016 decided to set up the National Organic Farming Research Institute in Sikkim.

ii. The decision to this effect was taken by the Union Agriculture Minister Radhamohan Singh and Sikkim Agriculture Minister Som Nath Paudyal in New Delhi.

iii. The institute will be established by upgrading the existing Regional Centre of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in Gangtok.

iv. The setting up of the institute is of primary importance for Sikkim as it was declared as the first organic farming State in the country in January 2016 by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

5. 12th South Asian Games inaugurated in Guwahati

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 5 February 2016 declared the 12th South Asian Games 2016 open at the Indira Gandhi Athletics Stadium in Guwahati, Assam.
 
ii. In his address, Modi said that the South Asian Games demonstrate 3-Ts and they are Team Work, Togetherness and Talent.

iii. Earlier the players of all 8-participating nations marched past a crowd of thousands who cheered for them with applause. Squash Player Gaurav Ghoshal was the flag bearer of the 521-member Indian contingent.

6.Centre Approves Heritage Development Projects In Andhra & Telangana

i. The Union Ministry of Urban Development approved projects worth more than Rs.12 crore for improving tourist infrastructure in heritage locations in Amaravati in Andhra Pradesh and Warangal in Telangana.

ii. An official press release said an Inter-Ministerial National Empowered Committee for the Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) approved the projects, which include a heritage park in Amaravati and developmental works at the 1000 Pillar Temple and Kazipet Durgah and rejuvenation of pondat Padmakshi Temple in Warangal city.

iii. Amaravati and Warangal are among the 12 cities included in the HRIDAY scheme for improving the social, cultural and economic ecosystems by augmenting necessary infrastructure with the objective of conserving the rich cultural heritage and enabling better facilities for tourists and pilgrims. More projects will be approved for Amaravati and Warangal in the near future.

7. Indian Origin Singaporean Is Diamond Trade Body’s New President

i. Vishal Mehta, A 34-year-old Indian-origin man based in Singapore was today appointed President of the newly- formed International Grown Diamond Association (IGDA).

ii.Vishal Mehta, CEO of a Singapore-based company which makes lab diamond, was named President of the IGDA, a platform of more than 10 leading grown diamond producers, distributors and retailers.

iii. Mehta is the Chief Executive Officer of Singapore-based IIa Technologies which grows diamond from its state-of-the-art facility in the city state.

Current Affairs - 5th February 2016

1. Gurdeep Singh named Chairman and MD of NTPC

i. Gurdeep Singh has taken charge as the Chairman and Managing Director of NTPC.

ii.Singh, who was earlier Managing Director of Gujarat State Electricity Corporation Ltd.

iii. He replaces Arup Roy Choudhury, who retired from the post on August 31, 2015. In the interim, AK Jha, Director (Technical) at NTPC was given additional charge as the Chairman and Managing Director.

iv. Singh is a mechanical engineer and has 28 years of experience in the power generation sector, NTPC said in a statement. He started his career with NTPC before joining companies such as Powergen, CLP Power, IDFC, CESC and others.

2. Meet on `Make in India' in Mangalore

i. The Mangaluru-based MSNM Besant Institute of Postgraduate Management Studies will conduct a conference on ‘Make in India’ on February 5.

ii. Narayan K, Director of the institute, said the objective of the conference is to understand the ground realities of the ‘Make in India’ programme.

iii. Deepak Ishwarbhai Amin, Director, Central Board of State Bank of India, will inaugurate the conference and deliver the keynote address.

iv. MD Mallya, former Chairman and Managing Director of Bank of Baroda, will deliver the valedictory address.

3. Finance Ministry gets a dedicated YouTube channel

i. Finance Ministry now has an official YouTube Channel, which is expected to disseminate information about the official events.

ii. The Channel will feature videos on the major schemes, events, meetings, press conferences and other exclusive videos relating to the Ministry.

iii. Although most of the activities are in public domain, yet to make it easier for the world outside to know about the same, this YouTube official channel of the Ministry would be a useful platform.

iv. The youtube channel is launched by Arun Jaitley.

4. CAMS launches Aadhaar-based eKYC for setting up MF account instantly

i. CAMS, the leading services solutions provider for fund houses, has launched Aadhaar-based eKYC (know your customer) using OTP (one-time password) authentication to make mutual fund (MF) account opening and transactions a paperless and presence less process through myCAMS at www.camsonline.com .ii. CAMS, the transfer agency for most MFs, is also in the process of integrating the websites of AMCs (asset management companies) with eKYC module where it is the registrar.

iii. This is in line with market regulator SEBI's vision to ease the KYC process and facilitate MF online account opening and transactions, CAMS said.

iv. SEBI has recently enabled Aadhaar based e-KYC service offered by UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) for KYC verification on authorisation by the client using biometric or OTP (one-time password) authentication on a voluntary basis.

v. Investors, who wish to use their Aadhaar number and PAN for KYC compliance, can now complete KYC process in just three simple steps using Aadhaar-based eKYC and set up a MF account instantly without having to submit forms, documents and do in-person verification (IPV) either physically or virtually.Investors can voluntarily submit Aadhaar and mobile numbers for validation with Aadhaar/UIDAI database. On successful authentication through OTP, investors can complete KYC and start investing in MFs through myCAMS at www.camsonline.com. SEBI currently permits investment of Rs 50,000 in a financial year per MF for investors using Aadhaar-based eKYC using OTP based authentication.

5. B2B meet for SMEs begins in Kochi

i. Manufacturers in Kerala should come out with more value-added products if they want to compete in the global market, Minister for Public Works VK Ebrahim Kunju has said.

ii. Inaugurating the three-day Kerala Business-to-Business Meet 2016 at the CIAL Trade Fair & Exhibition Centre in Nedumbassery.

iii. The meet will provide the SMEs in Kerala greater exposure to businesses outside Kerala and even India, he said.

iv. ‘12% industrial growth’Unveiling the Buyer and Seller Directories on the occasion, the State Fisheries and Excise Minister K Babu said Kerala has witnessed around

v. The government has been focussing on five key areas – manpower, raw materials, capital, favourable political climate and marketing – for the promotion of industrial growth in the State, he added. As many as 200 SMEs from Kerala and nearly 480 buyers from 21 countries and 18 States are participating in the meet.

6. Ananda Shankar to address India Conference in Harvard

i. Renowned dancer-choreographer and speaker Dr Ananda Shankar Jayant will address the high-profile India Conference at Harvard in USA this week.

ii. Ananda is a Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee and a motivational speaker with a popular talk at TED. She is a career Indian Railway Services Officer.

iii. The city-based Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi exponent will talk on February 7 as part of the ‘Inspire’ series of the two-day conference at Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts. Padma Shri Ananda Shankar said, “I am humbled to be part of this exciting event.”

iv. The other speakers at the February 6-7 conference include Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, film personalities Kamal Haasan and Karan Johar, banker Chanda Kochhar, writer Shashi Tharoor, MP, and diplomat Nirupama Rao.

7. Dravid in ICC's Anti-Corruption Oversight Group

i. Batting great Rahul Dravid has been named in ICC’s newly appointed Anti-Corruption Oversight Group as part of the recommendation from its Integrity Working Party of  the parent body.

ii. The oversight group will include the chairman of the executive committee (under whose area of responsibility this function rests) and will also include former India captain Rahul Dravid, legal expert Louis Weston and independent anti-corruption advisor John Abbott, who was the Chairman of the Integrity Working Party. The Chairman of the Anti-Corruption Unit, Sir Ronnie Flanagan, and ICC Chief Executive, David Richardson, will also be ex-officio members of the group,” said the ICC in a statement.

iii. Dravid is currently coaching the Indian team in the ongoing U-19 World Cup, which is being held in Bangladesh.

8. SEBI forms task force to review risk management norms for commexes

i. Capital market regulator Sebi has set up a task force to review the risk management norms for national-level commodity bourses following the suspension of futures trading for castor seed on NCDEX.

ii. A source said that after recent developments witnessed in castor seed futures contracts, Sebi has established a task force to relook at the existing norms related to risk management, delivery mechanism, and other related issues.

iii. The task force has been asked to submit the report in three weeks. Based on the report, the risk management norms for national-level commodity derivatives exchanges will be further tightened.

iv. Meanwhile, Sebi has sought explanation from the exchange for suspending futures trade in castor seeds.v. Last year, Sebi laid down risk management norms for regional commodity bourses. At present, there are three national-level commodity derivative exchanges — MCX, NCDEX and NMCE — and six regional ones.

Current Affairs - 4th February 2016

1. Sarangi maestro Pandit Ram Narayan gets Bhimsen Joshi Award

i. Sarangi maestro Pandit Ram Narayan has been chosen for the prestigious Bharat Ratna Pandit Bhimsen Joshi classical music award for 2015-2016, Maharashtras Cultural Affairs Minister Vinod Tawde announced on Wednesday.

ii. The annual award, instituted by the Maharashtra government, is given to individuals who have excelled in classical vocal or instrumental music, the minister said.

iii. Pandit Ram Narayan, 88, has been playing the sarangi since his childhood, and over the years acquired global acclaim for his music for which he was conferred Indias second higest civilian honour, Padma Vibhushan, in 2005. Pandit Ram Narayan popularized the bowed instrument sarangi as a solo concert instrument in Hindustani classical music and became the first internationally successful sarangi player.

iv. In 1944, All India Radio, Lahore, hired him as an accompanist for vocalists. He became a concert solo artist in 1956. He recorded solo albums and began to tour America and Europe in the 1960s.

2. SBI, Thomas Cook team up for 'inflation-proof' holidays

i. State Bank of India has tied up with Thomas Cook to offer online customers a recurring deposit that helps them save toward an `inflation proof' holiday. Availing the holiday on maturity of the recurring deposit is optional as customers can choose either to travel or redeem their savings. For those who stay on, Thomas Cook will top up the last instalment to pay for their holiday.

ii. "Customers will be offered an inflation-proof holiday as they pay for a future holiday at today's prices while earning interest on the linked e-recurring deposit," SBI said in a statement. The holidays are all inclusive packages in the domestic and international circuit.

iii. According to Rajnish Kumar, md, SBI besides helping people save for vacations this scheme would compel them to plan ahead and avail of lower prices. "We find that people don't plan their holidays in advance and end up taking last minute loans to finance the same. Also, they could've have saved on the cost of the holiday had they booked early," he said.

iv. Madhavan Menon, chairman, Thomas Cook India, said that the tie up with SBI will enable Thomas Cook extend its reach to over 2.5 crore online customers of SBI. "The unbeatable advantage of paying for a future holiday at today's prices, ensures SBI's customers inflation-proof holiday while enjoying attractive interest rates, a zero exit clause and a free top up from Thomas Cook on the 13th month!" Mr Menon added.

3. DJ Pandian appointed Vice President of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

i. Former chief secretary of Gujarat DJ Pandian was appointed vice-president and chief investment officer of the newly-created Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) on 3 February 2016.

ii. His appointment as vice-president and chief investment officer was approved by AIIB. The retired 1981-batch IAS officer of Gujarat cadre had worked on deputation with the World Bank in Washington. He was also the MD of Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC).

iii. The Beijing-based 100 billion dollar multi-lateral lender, AIIB was set up in Beijing on 25 December 2015. It was established to boost lending for infrastructure projects such as energy, transportation, urban construction and logistics as well as education and healthcare.

iv. China had nominated its former finance minister Jin Liqun as the first president of AIIB.

v. The three largest shareholders of the bank are China (30.34 percent), India (8.52 percent) and Russia (6.66 percent). Their voting shares are calculated at 26.06 percent, 7.5 percent and 5.92 percent, respectively.

4. World Bank Expert Mr. Iyer To Lead Swachh Bharat Mission

i. The government has appointed World Bank’s water and sanitation specialist, Parameshwaran Iyer, as the new Secretary of the Drinking Water and Sanitation Department.

ii. Ignoring the case of serving bureaucrats, Iyer, World Bank's Practice Manager for Water for the South Asian region , has been given the post by PM Narendra Modi for two years to steer the Swachh Bharat Mission.

iii. 56-year-old Iyer is a key architect of the framework of the $1,500 million proposed loan from World Bank for the Swach Bharat Mission which is pending Cabinet approval.

iv. Iyer's appointment is expected to create more synergy between the Swachh Bharat Mission and the objectives of the World Bank project . An IAS officer of the UP cadre, who launched Jal Suraj program here, Iyer took voluntary retirement in 2009 and joined the World Bank.

v. Before that, he worked with the UN World Food Programme (UNWFP) for nearly a decade till 2006 as a Senior Rural Water Sanitation specialist on foreign assignment. He was then served a show-cause notice by the Indian government to return and he quit in 2009.

5. Aruna Sethi appointed as first women head of Indian Cost Accounting Service

i. Aruna Sethi, the Principal Adviser (Cost), on 1 February 2016 took over charge as the head of Indian Cost Accounts Service (ICoAS). With this appointment, she became the first woman to occupy the post.

ii. Prior to the present elevation, Aruna, a 1985 batch ICoAS officer, held important portfolios in Government of India including Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Defence etc.

iii. Indian Cost Accounts Service is one of the six organized accounting services of the Government of India. It is comparatively young accounting service constituted in 1978.

iv. The ICoAS Officers have the requisite skill by virtue of their professional background and experience gained in managing the multifarious and complex issues relating to financial and cost management matters.

v. Office of Chief Adviser Cost is one of the divisions functioning in the Department of Expenditure. It is a professional body staffed by qualified Cost/ Chartered Accountants.

vi. This Office is responsible for advising the Ministries and Government Undertakings on cost accounts matters and to undertake cost investigation work on their behalf.

6. Manipuri documentary Phum-Shang won Golden Conch Award at MIFF 2016

i. Manipuri documentary film Phum-Shang on 3 February 2016 bagged the prestigious Golden Conch Award for the best documentary film at the 14th Mumbai International Film Festival for Documentary, Animation and Short Films (MIFF 2016).

ii. The film is directed by Haobam Paban Kumar, an alumnus of the Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute, Kolkata. The 52-minute film critically examines the serious environmental problems faced by the Loktak lake, the largest freshwater lake in northeast India. The lake is characterised by its unique floating biomass, known as Phumdi, which is the primary source of livelihood for fishermen who live on huts built on the Phumdis.

iii. Paban Kumar was presented with the Golden Conch Award and a cash prize of 3 lakh rupees by the Governor of Maharashtra Chennamaneni Vidyasagar Rao and State Cultural Minister Vinod Tawde at a ceremony in Mumbai.

iv. Swiss film My Name Is Salt and an Indian film Placebo shared the Golden Conch Award for the best feature length documentary film.My Name Is Salt is directed by Farida Pacha, It is a film about the journey of thousands of families to the Rann of Kutch to extract the whitest salt in the world. The film also won the award for best cinematography.

v. The story of Placebo revolves around the stress and pressure faced by medical students due to intense competition.

7. Budget session to commence on Feb 23, Union Budget on Feb 29

i. The Budget Session of Parliament will commence on February 23 that will focus largely on the financial business of the government, which will present the General Budget on February 29.

ii. But there will be no curtailment of the session or the recess period on account of Assembly elections in five states due shortly. This was decided at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs, chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

iii. “The Budget Session of Parliament will commence on February 23. The Rail Budget will be presented on February 25, the pre-Budget Economic Survey on February 26 and the General Budget on February 29. “The first part of the Budget session will end on March 16 and the second part will be convened from April 25 to May 13,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu told presspersons after the meeting of the CCPA.

iv. He said there were suggestions for curtailing the recess period due to Assembly elections in five states but the government as well as political parties wanted a full session.

v. “In 2011, the then government had decided not to refer bills to Standing Committees in the Budget Session when states were going to polls and there were demands to curtail the session. “But the government today decided that bills will be referred to standing committees for examination during the recess period,” Naidu said.

8. India to participate in Cobra Gold 2016 military exercise in Thailand

i. The term Cobra Gold was in news on 3 February 2016 as India confirmed its participation in the annual amphibious military exercise in 2016. The decision in this regard was conveyed to Thailand, the host country, during Vice President Hamid Ansari’s visit to the country.

ii. It is the largest Asia-Pacific military exercise and held in Thailand every year. It is among the largest multinational military exercise in which the United States participates.

iii. As of 2014, Cobra Gold has three distinct activities, namely, the Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise (CALFEX), Command Post Exercise (CPX) and activity related to assisting the local Thai population.

iv. It was first held in 1982 to improve coordination between the armed forces of the USA and Thailand in both hostile military and humanitarian efforts. As of 2015, the exercise expanded to include 26 nations - Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, and other South Asian and Pacific Ocean countries among others.

v. China was admitted to the exercise for the first time in 2015. The exercise was proven effective in improving coordinated military response to natural disasters, including the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2011 T?hoku tsunami, and disaster relief provided to the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan struck in November 2013.

9. BSE, IFC jointly develop corporate governance scorecard

i. BSE and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) have partnered to develop a corporate governance scorecard. The scorecard seeks to help companies assay their corporate governance performances against national or international-benchmarked practices.

ii Using the scorecard, companies can identify areas of further improvement and track progress over time. It can be used to make board processes more efficient, improve strategy, aid decision-making, and manage risks. Companies can better understand the way in which governance affects their operations.

iii. Improved governance frameworks result in development of efficient capital markets and increased access to capital enables new investments, improves economic growth, and creates jobs.

iv. The scorecard can be used by a wide range of stakeholders, including regulators, promoters, and investors. Ashishkumar Chauhan, MD & CEO, BSE said, “The collaboration with IFC to develop the scorecard is a revolutionary step towards benchmarking companies in India. The scorecard will result in increased transparency and boost investor confidence.

v. IFC is implementing a South Asia Regional Corporate Governance Project with donor support from Japan’s Ministry of Finance. This five-year project provides advisory services to individual firms and partners with local institutions, such as the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, to strengthen sector-level work on corporate governance.

Current Affairs - 3rd February 2016

1. Jai Kumar Garg appointed as MD and CEO of Corporation Bank

i. The Union Government appointed Jai Kumar Garg as Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Corporation Bank for a period of three years.

ii. Garg took charge of the public sector bank on 1 February 2016, succeeding S R Bansal, who superannuated from services as CMD on 31 January 2016.

iii. Garg is a chartered accountant and also associate member of Indian Institute of Banking and Finance. Prior to his appointment at Corporation Bank, he worked as executive director in UCO Bank.

2. Samariya given additional charge as CPFC

i. HL Samariya, a 1985 batch IAS officer from the Telangana cadre, has been given additional charge as Central Provident Fund Commissioner (CPFC), for three months or till the appointment of a regular incumbent or till further orders, a release said.

ii. Samariya is currently Additional Secretary in the Labour Ministry.The additional charge of Secretary, Department of Agriculture, has been given to Ashok Kumar Angurana, a 1980 J&K cadre officer.

3. TCS Rated World's Most Powerful Brand in IT Services: Report

i. India's top multinational IT company Tata Consultancy Services has been rated as the world's most powerful brand in Information Technology Services by a leading global brand valuation firm, the company said on Wednesday.

ii. Brand Finance's 2016 annual report evaluated thousands of the world's top brands to determine which are the most powerful and the most valuable. Scoring highly on a wide variety of measures such as familiarity, loyalty, staff satisfaction and corporate reputation, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) emerged as the IT services industry's most powerful brand with a score of 78.3 points - earning it an AA+ rating.

iii. "TCS' customer focus has been central to its recent success, but a closer look at our data shows strong and improving scores for brand investment and staff satisfaction too," said David Haigh, CEO, Brand Finance.

iv. "It has emerged as a dominant force in the IT services industry and is the strongest brand in the sector. Its brand power is indisputable," Haigh said. Across all industries, Disney was rated as the most powerful brand and Apple as the most valuable brand for 2016. According to the report, TCS is also the fastest growing brand within its industry over the last 6 years.

v. The company's overall brand value has increased from $2.34 billion in 2010 (when the first evaluation of the TCS brand was conducted) to $9.4 billion in 2016.

4. Kerala emerges as winner of 61st National School Athletics championship

i. The National School Athletics championship began on January 29 and concluded yesterday, i.e on February 2. Kerala emerged as the overall winner for the 19th consecutive time. The national School Athletics championship was held at Olympian Rahman Stadium in Kozhikode, Kerala.

ii. According to newspaper reports, Kerala, the host of the championship got 306 points winning 39 gold, 29 silver and 17 bronze medals. On the other hand, Tamil Nadu stood at second position with 116 points winning 11 gold, 8 silver and 13 bronze medals.

iii. Maharashtra with 101 points obtained the third position. The venue of this event of Athletics is at the Olympian Abdurrahman Stadium in Medical College Ground at Kozhikode, Kerala.The School Games Federation of India hosted the 61st National Schools Athletics Championship 2016 (SGFI 2015-16) at Kozhikode (Calicut). As many as 3,000 athletes representing 36 teams are took part in the five-day meet.

iv. Ten of the Kerala athletes won meet records. Kerala could not overcome their 46 gold record score in 2009 this year as well. State Education Minister P K Abdu Rubb presented the prize at the concluding session. Kerala's Anumol Thampi won the Junior Girls section 3000m with a record breaking effort of 9:47.19 seco, eclipsing the meet mark of 10:00.03s by Ritu Dinakar of Uttar Pradesh in 2008 in Kolkata.

v. In the Junior Boys 3000m, P N Ajith (Ker) claimed the first spot finishing the race in 8:46.54s and Karthik Kumar (UP) came second with 8:47.69s. Vidya Bharathi's Shyam finished third with 8:49.37s.

5. Invest Karnataka 2016

i. Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah today urged the global investor community at 'Invest Karnataka 2016' to consider Karnataka as their partner for growth.

ii. Citing the Global Startup Eco-system Ranking Report 2015, Siddaramaiah pointed out that Bengaluru is the only Indian city to be ranked amongst the 20 Startup Eco- systems in the World.

iii. At the 'Invest Karnataka 2016' meet, Siddarmaiah said, "Karnataka is being put on a high growth trajectory. Our focus is to ensure economic growth for each and every person in the State. Our goal is to make our state highly prosperous. Our government is working towards propelling Karnataka to contribute to India's growth in a significant way."

iv. He claimed that ever since the Congress took over the office, Karnataka has received Foreign Direct Investment worth USD 5.2 Billion. "We rank as the state with the Second highest FDI in India. We have cleared more than 500 projects worth over USD 20 Billion".

v. He said,"Our goal is to make Karnataka the growth engine of India".

6. Titli became first Indian film to win Best First Foreign Film award by FSCC

i. Indian film-maker Kanu Behl directorial Titli on 1 February 2016 bagged the Best First Foreign Film Award conferred by the French Syndicate of Cinema Critics 2016 (FSCC).

ii. Titli has earlier won at various international film festivals at places like Bordeaux, Hawaii, New York, Turkey and Spain.

iii. The story of the movie revolves around Titli, the youngest member of a violent car-jacking brotherhood, who plots a desperate bid to escape the family business.

7. Reliance Entertainment, Neeraj Pandey join hands to form film production venture

i. Billionaire Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Entertainment today announced a joint venture with film-maker producer duo Neeraj Pandey and Shital Bhatia’s Friday Filworks for production of movies.

ii. Akshay Kumar starrer ‘Rustom’ will be the first movie under the banner, Plan C Studios. Plan C Studios will be an equal partnership joint venture between the two, the company said in a statement.

iii. Neeraj Pandey won acclaim with his very first film ‘A Wednesday’ in 2008, which went on to win the National Award. Subsequently, he directed ‘Special 26’ in 2013, and ‘Baby’ in 2015. Neeraj is currently on the floors with ‘MS Dhoni -The Untold Story’, one of the most anticipated films of the year.

iv. “We are delighted to partner with creative minds like Neeraj and Shital. This relationship is in line with our continuing strategy in the media and entertainment business, of partnering with like minded and successful individuals, while playing the role of supportive investors on our part,” Amitabh Jhunjhunwala, Group Managing Director, Reliance Group, said.

v. Commenting on the partnership, Neeraj Pandey said: “The partnership with Reliance Group is very significant and welcome, as it enables us to further raise the bar on our continued strategy of developing cutting edge commercial content. We like to keep pushing the envelope, and this partnership will greatly expand our vision.”vi. Reliance Entertainment has produced, distributed and released more than 170 films in multiple Indian languages, including Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Bengali. Internationally, it has partnered with iconic film producer and director Steven Spielberg.

8. Amitabh Bachchan conferred with lifetime achievement award

i. Amitabh Harivansh Bachchan was on 2 February 2016 presented with the lifetime achievement award in New Delhi.

ii. He received the honour at NDTV Indian of the Year Awards for his contribution to the film industry.

About Amitabh Harivansh Bachchan

* He was born on 11 October 1942.

* He is an Indian film actor. He first gained popularity in the early 1970s as the angry young man of Hindi cinema.

* He started his career in 1969 film Saat Hindustani followed by Anand, Guddi, Zanjeer, Sholay among others.

* He also made his Hollywood debut with Baz Luhrmann's film The Great Gatsby, in which he played a Jewish character.

* He won numerous major awards in his career, including three National Film Awards as Best Actor.

* He shares a record with Kamal Hassan and Mammootty.

* He won a number of awards at international film festivals and award ceremonies and fifteen Filmfare Awards.

* He is the most-nominated performer in any major acting category at Filmfare, with 39 nominations overall.

* Apart from National Film Awards, Filmfare Awards and other competitive awards which he won for his performances throughout the years, he has been awarded several honours for his achievements in the Indian film industry.

9. Maharashtra announced Babasaheb Ambedkar Special Collective Incentive Scheme

i. Maharashtra Cabinet on 2 February 2016 announced Bharatratna Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Special Collective Incentive Scheme for the economically backward Dalit entrepreneurs.

ii. The scheme was launched to celebrate the 125th birth anniversary of Dr BR Ambedkar.

iii. Under this scheme, special facilities would be given to Dalit entrepreneurs besides the present Collective Incentive Scheme 2013. Businessmen in Commodities and Service sector would be able to avail the benefits of this scheme.

Major highlights of the Scheme* Dalit and tribal communities will be allowed to set up their businesses on lands provided by Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC). These lands will be offered at cheaper rates.
* The government will set aside a portion of land in every integrated town for businessmen belonging to lower class.

* Tribal entrepreneurs will be also included under this new scheme.

* Only one member of the family will be eligible for loan under this scheme and start up Unit till get an additional 10 pc incentive

* A single window (Maitri Kaksha) was initiated for giving all permissions required starting business.

* Online Wallet would be made available for those wanting to apply for industrial permissions and all scrutiny and processing fees for would be paid through this and application tracking be available online.


Current Affairs - 2nd February 2016

1. Archana Ramasundram became 1st woman to head paramilitary force

i. Tamil Nadu Cadre IPS officer Archana Ramasundram on 1 February 2016 was appointed as the Director General of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) that guards India's frontiers with Nepal and Bhutan.

ii. With this appointment, Ramasundram became the first woman to head a paramilitary force. 58-year-old Ramasundram is currently the Director of National Crime Records Bureau.

iii. An order issued by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said that she has been appointed to the post till the date of her superannuation, that is, 30 September 2017.

iv. Besides, IPS officer K Durga Prasad was appointed as Director Generals of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). Another IPS officer K K Sharma will be new Chief of the Border Security Force (BSF). They will take over after the incumbent chiefs of these forces retire on 29 February 2016.

v. Paramilitary forces in India are Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF), Central Industrial Security Force and Indo Tibetan Border Police.

2. Modi to open ayurveda meet at Kozhikode

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive at Kozhikode early this afternoon to open the 'vision conclave’ of the Global Ayurveda Fest.

ii. The ayurveda fest, being held from January 31 to February 4, is showcasing the ayurvedic tradition of healing, a major Kerala heritage, to the world. The show also aims to jack up export of ayurvedic products, especially to Europe.

iii. This is the first time Modi is visiting Kozhikode after taking over as Prime Minister. More than 1,000 police personnel are being deployed in Kozhikode to give a security cover to Modi.

3. National Pension System has 1.15 crore subscribers now

i. The National Pension System now has 1.15 crore subscribers, each with an average ? 95,000 of assets under management. “The total assets under management are worth ?1,09,140 crore while assets under management per subscriber is ?95,000 on an average,” said the Finance Ministry on Tuesday, adding that the total corpus of the National Pension System (NPS) is ?90, 327 crore.

ii. The scheme has 16,11,020 Central government employees as subscribers, amounting to 14.1 per cent of its total member base. They have a total corpus of ?34,754 crore.

iii. Meanwhile, 28,59,094 State government employees are members of the NPS, amounting to quarter of it total subscribers and having a corpus of ?45,486 crore. The NPS for private citizens has 5,76,993 subscribers --- 4,48,509 members from the corporate sector and 1,28,484 from the unorganised sector.

iv. The largest chunk of subscribers to the retirement saving scheme comes from NPS Lite, which has 44,63,637, constituting 39 per cent of the total membership. It has now been discontinued and replaced with the Atal Pension Yojana that has 19,48,811, subscribers or 17 per cent of the total members.

4. Saroj Kumar Jha appointed Senior Director for Fragility, Conflict and Violence Group at World Bank

i. An Indian national Saroj Kumar Jha was in news as he was appointed as the Senior Director for the Fragility, Conflict and Violence Group at the World Bank on 1 February 2016.

ii. He was appointed to provide strategic leadership to address the challenge of fragility, conflict and violence, working across the Bank Group and in close collaboration with partnes.

iii. The WB President Jim Young Kim assigned him the new role. Earlier to this, he was the World Bank Regional Director for Central Asia based in Almaty, Kazakhstan since February 2012. He also worked as the World Bank's Global Manager for Disaster Risk Management Practice.

iv.  He is an Indian national and holds a dual degree in civil engineering and development economics from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, India. He joined the World Bank in 2005 as a Senior Infrastructure Specialist in the Sustainable Development Network.

v. He had significant experience with the Government of India and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) as a senior executive in the field of public sector management, infrastructure financing, natural resources management, natural disaster prevention and environmental sustainability.

5. WHO declared Public Health Emergency of International Concern over Zika virus outbreak

i. World Health Organisation (WHO) on 1 February 2016 declared Public Health Emergency of International Concern over the explosive spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which is linked to birth defects in the Americas.

ii. The UN health agency convened an emergency meeting of independent experts in Geneva to assess the outbreak of the virus. The meeting was convened after noting a suspicious link between Zika's arrival in Brazil in 2015 and a surge in the number of babies born with abnormally small heads.

iii. This was the first meeting of the Emergency Committee (EC) convened by the Director-General under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR 2005).

iv. Zika virus (ZIKV) is a member of the virus family Flaviviridae and the genus Flavivirus, transmitted by daytime-active Aedes mosquitoes, such as A. aegypti. In case of humans, the virus cases mild illness known as Zika fever (Zika or Zika disease). It has been occurring since the 1950s within a narrow equatorial belt from Africa to Asia.

v. In 2014, the virus spread eastward across the Pacific Ocean to French Polynesia, then to Easter Island and in 2015 to Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America, where the Zika outbreak has reached pandemic levels.

vi. Earlier in last week of January 2016, WHO estimated that there could be up to 4 million cases of Zika in Americas by 2017 but no recommendations didn’t issued travel restriction or trade.

6. Rishabh Pant slams fastest fifty in huge India win

i. India Under-19 opener Rishabh Pant had the fastest recorded U-19 international century comfortably in his sights when he was dismissed for 78 off 24 balls, having blown Nepal Under-19 away in a small chase.

ii. Pant did break the record for the fastest recorded U-19 fifty though, getting there in 18 balls, one faster than the previous mark.

iii. He added 124 in 9.1 overs with his captain Ishan Kishan, who scored 52 off 40 balls. India eventually chased down Nepal's score of 169 with 179 balls to spare in Mirpur.

iv. His strike rate of 325 meant that had he scored 22 more runs in singles Pant would have still broken the record for the fastest u-19 hundred by seven deliveries.

7. Saroj Kumar Jha appointed Senior Director for Fragility, Conflict and Violence Group at World Bank

i. An Indian national Saroj Kumar Jha was in news as he was appointed as the Senior Director for the Fragility, Conflict and Violence Group at the World Bank on 1 February 2016.

ii. He was appointed to provide strategic leadership to address the challenge of fragility, conflict and violence, working across the Bank Group and in close collaboration with partnes.

iii. The WB President Jim Young Kim assigned him the new role. Earlier to this, he was the World Bank Regional Director for Central Asia based in Almaty, Kazakhstan since February 2012. He also worked as the World Bank's Global Manager for Disaster Risk Management Practice.

iv.  He is an Indian national and holds a dual degree in civil engineering and development economics from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, India. He joined the World Bank in 2005 as a Senior Infrastructure Specialist in the Sustainable Development Network.
v. He had significant experience with the Government of India and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) as a senior executive in the field of public sector management, infrastructure financing, natural resources management, natural disaster prevention and environmental sustainability.

8. Alphabet officially dethrones Apple as the world’s most valuable company

i. Alphabet, the company that owns Google, has overtaken rival Apple in Monday’s extended trading to become the highest valued company in the world. Alphabet now comes before Apple atop the list of the world’s most valuable companies.

ii. Operating income from its core businesses rose 23% in 2015. Investors liked what they saw and shares spiked 8% in after-hours trading. The Mountain View, Calif. firm generated $21.3 billion in revenue, beating Wall Street estimates of $20.8 billion. Earnings were $8.67 per share, beating estimates of $8.09 per share. The company attributed its strong revenue growth to search ads, YouTube and programmatic advertising.

iii. By changing its name and structure last year, Alphabet Chief Executive Officer Larry Page has put the focus on the company’s main web business while giving more insight into investments in new areas such as artificial intelligence, self-driving cars, health technology and fast Internet access. Even though Apple has also been building expertise in cars and AI, the secretive company has kept much of that under wraps.

iv. Google and Apple have worked to improve mobile computing, and their competition has seen Apple’s iOS smartphone operating system fight out against Google’s own Android for dominance since the latter emerged on the market in 2008 and became the system of choice for Samsung. The South Korean tech giant is in turn Apple’s major competitor in smartphone production, and the two are involved in litigation over patent infringement.

Current Affairs - 1st February 2016


1. Bihar CM Nitish Kumar selected for K Veeramani Award for Social Justice

i. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on 29 January 2016 was selected for the prestigious K Veeramani Award for Social Justice 2015. Kumar is chosen for the award for his contribution towards social justice as Chief Minister.

ii. The award is given away by Periyar International, a Chicago-based voluntary organisation. However, the date and venue of the award function are yet to be decided.

iii. The K Veeramani Award for Social Justice was instituted by the non-resident Indian (NRI) followers of Periyar E. V. Ramasami, the great social reformer of India, living all over the world. This award is instituted in Dr. K. Veeramani's name to recognize his contributions in creating a mass awareness in India on social equality and respect for human dignity.

iv. This international award is awarded every year to an individual who has or an institution that has contributed immensely to the cause of social justice. The award recognizes a single event or a lifetime contribution that is responsible for the emancipation of a section of the society from the oppressions of social injustice.

v. Constituted in 1996, the award recipients include former Prime Minister V P Singh, former Uttar Pradesh CM Mayawati, former Tamil Nadu CM M Karunanidhi, former Maharashtra deputy CM Chhagan Bhujbal and former AICC president Sitaram Kesri. In 2014, Professor Dhaneswar Sahoo was honoured with the award.

2. TCS, Infosys, Wipro join Obama's 'computer science for all' plan

i. Three major Indian IT companies — Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro — have joined US President Barack Obama's ambitious 'computer science for all' initiative as part of a public-private collaboration, pledging thousands of dollars in grants.

ii. Obama announced his 'Computer Sciences for All' plan in his weekly address on Saturday as he emphasized on the need for teaching the subject as a "basic skill" to all children across schools in the country in a changing economy.

iii. While Infosys has pledged a $1 million in donation, Tata Consultancy Services is providing support in the form of grants to teachers in 27 US cities, the White House said in a fact sheet, also issued on Saturday.

iv. Wipro announced a $2.8 million grant for multi-year project in partnership with the Michigan University to involve over a hundred school teachers, with the aim of nurturing excellence in science and mathematics.

v. According to White House, the TCS and Infosys pledge is part of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) effort to collaborate with the private sector to support high-school CS teachers.

vi. "Infosys Foundation USA will be a founding member of this public-private collaboration with a $1 million philanthropic donation, and, as an initial participant, Tata Consultancy Services is providing additional support in the form of grants to teachers in 27 US cities.

3. 30th Surajkund International Crafts Mela started at Faridabad

i. The 30th edition of the Surajkund International Crafts Mela began at Surajkund in Faridabad, Haryana on 1 February 2016. The event that will continue till 15 February 2016 was inaugurated by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

ii. Telangana was selected as the Theme State and will showcase its unique culture and rich heritage and about 300 artistes from the state will perform different folk arts. Chhattisgarh was chosen as the Theme State for the 29th Surajkund International Crafts Mela-2015. At least 23 countries will be part of the Mela, with China and Japan being the two focus countries.

iii. The first edition of the Surajkund Crafts Mela was hosted in 1987. The Mela is organized by the Surajkund Mela Authority and Haryana Tourism in collaboration with Union Ministries of Tourism, Textiles, Culture and External Affairs.

iv. Traditional craftsmen (artists, painters, weavers and sculptors) from all parts of the country participate in this annual mela and showcase some of the most exquisite handlooms and handicrafts of India and culture. Handmade fabrics soaked in ethnic colours make an eye catching display for the visitors.

v. Every year a theme State and a Partner Nation is chosen. Theme State is chosen with a view to promote and focus the art, craft and cuisine of the theme State whereas Partner Nation is chosen to showcases the best of that nation’s art, culture, traditions and heritage.

4. Datta Padsalgikar appointed as Commissioner of Police of Mumbai

i. Senior IPS officer Datta Padsalgikar was on 30 January 2016 appointed as the Commissioner of Police of Mumbai with effect from 31 January 2016. He succeeds Ahmed Javed, who was appointed as Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

ii. With this, Padsalgikar became the 40th Police Commissioner of Mumbai. He was on deputation to the Union Government in the Intelligence Bureau (IB) for the past few years, but was repatriated in January 2016 in preparation for his new charge.

iii. Born on 26 August 1958, Padsalgikar is an IPS Officer of 1982 Batch. Padsalgikar has vast experience in terror and counter-terror operations and had been playing a critical role in gathering evidence against the Pakistani non-state actors who directed the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks of November 2008.

iv. He has also worked as an Assistant Superintendent of Police in Nagpur and Karad (Satara). He served as Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Detection in the crime branch, DCP in Economic Offences Wing, DCP in South Mumbai and DCP of the Bandra-Jogeshwari stretch.

v. In the Intelligence Bureau (IB), he has worked in Nagaland, New Delhi and Washington (US).

5. Naresh Bedi honoured with V Shantaram Award Life Time Achievement Award

i. Veteran wildlife filmmaker Naresh Bedi on 28 January 2016 was honoured with the V Shantaram Lifetime Achievement Award at the 14th edition of the Mumbai International Festival for Documentary, Short and Animation Films (MIFF 2016).

ii. Bedi was honoured for his outstanding contribution to wildlife filmmaking. He is also credited with filming several rare wildlife moments. Naresh Bedi is the eldest of the Bedi Brothers and a member of the second generation of three generations of Wildlife photographers and filmmakers.

iii. He is the first Asian to receive a Wildscreen Panda Award, popularly known as the Green Oscars, for his cinematography for the documentary, The Ganges Gharial. He is also the first Indian to receive a nomination for the British Academy Film Awards.

iv. He was honoured by the Government of India in 2015 with Padma Shri, the fourth highest Indian civilian award. He is a recipient of the Earth Watch Award of National Geographic Society and Eastman Kodak Award.

6. Pietro Fittipaldi won 2015-16 MRF Challenge Formula 2000

i. Brazilian racing driver Pietro Fittipaldi on 31 January 2016 clinched the 2015-16 MRF Challenge Formula 2000 at Madras Motor Racing Track in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu.

ii. Fittipaldi won two of the four races which earned him the required points to clinch the title with a tally of 244 points while Colombian Tatiana Calderon finished second (199), just eight ahead of Nikita Troitckii of Russia (191).

iii. Pietro Fittipaldi da Cruz is the grandson of two time Formula 1 champion Emerson Fittipaldi. He began his racing career in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, winning the track championship at Hickory Motor Speedway in 2011.

iv. In 2013, he moved to Europe to pursue a career in open-wheeled racing. In 2014, he won the Protyre Formula Renault Championship, clinching the title with one race remaining. In October 2014, he was one of four drivers to be invited to join the Ferrari Driver Academy.

7. Aditya Mehta won 83rd Senior National Snooker Championship

i. Aditya Mehta on 31 January 2016 won the 83rd Senior National Snooker Championship in Indore, Madhya Pradesh.

ii. To win the title, he defeated Manan Chandra 6-3 in the final that was held as part of the National Billiards & Snooker Championship 2016.

iii. In another event, Vidya Pillai won the National Snooker Championship in the women’s category by defeating Amee Kamani 4-2. For 38-year-old Vidya, it was her ninth national title.

iv. The women’s billiards title was won by 19-year old Keerath Bhandaal by defeating Arantxa Sanchis of Maharashtra 3-1. Keerath is a student of Economics at the Jesus and Mary College in Delhi.

8. Novak Djokovic won the 2016 Australian Open Men's Singles Title

i. World Number One Novak Djokovic on 31 January 2016 won the Australian Open Men’s Singles title. In the final played at Melbourne, the Serbian defeated Andy Murray of Britain in straight sets 6-1, 7-5, 7-6. 

ii. With this, Djokovic retained his title and also equalled the record of Roy Emerson's record of six Australian Open Singles titles.

iii. On the other hand, the defending champion also kept his record against Murray in Australian Open final by defeating the Briton for the fourth time in Men’s singles at the year’s first Grand Slam championship.

iv. Murray succumbed to his fifth loss in five Australian Open finals. Djokovic claimed his 11th grand slam title to match the totals of Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg.

v. Earlier on 30 January 2016, Germany’s Angelique Kerber won the Australian Open Women’s Singles title by defeating defending champion Serena Williams in three sets 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. This was maiden Grand Slam Tennis title for 7th seed Kerber. 

vi. While on 29 January 2016, Sania Mirza and her Swiss partner Martina Hingis won the 2016 Australian Open title of tennis in the women’s doubles category.

9. Anti-Leprosy Day observed on 30 January 2016

i. Anti-Leprosy Day was observed on 30 January 2016 nationwide to focus attention on the disease which is also known as the Hansen’s disease.

ii. Annually, the day is celebrated in the memory of Mahatma Gandhi, who attained martyrdom on 30 January 1948, in order to re-memorize his selfless efforts and care for the people affected by the infectious disease leprosy.

iii. Leprosy also known as Hansen's disease (HD), is a chronic infection caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepromatosis. Initially, infections are without symptoms and typically remain this way for 5 to as long as 20 years.

iv. Symptoms that develop include granulomas of the nerves, respiratory tract, skin, and eyes. This may result in a lack of ability to feel pain and thus loss of parts of extremities due to repeated injuries. Weakness and poor eyesight may also be present.

v. A drug Chaulmoogra oil was used for leprosy treatment until Dapsone was discovered with anti-leprosy effects during 1940s.

vi. It was in 1970s when multi drug therapy (MDT) consisting of Rifampicin, Clofazimine and Dapsone were identified as cure for leprosy which came into wide use from 1982 following the recommendations of WHO.

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