Current Affairs - 1st February 2015
1. NASA launches Earth-observing satellite
i. It is on a mission to track the amount of water locked in soil,which may help residents in low-lying regions brace for floods orfarmers get ready for drought conditions.
ii. A Delta 2 rocket carrying Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP)satellite was launched early Saturday from Vandenberg Air Force Baseon Californias central coast.
iii. Besides the satellite, the rocket also carried three researchnanosatellites for JPL, Montana State University and CaliforniaPolytechnic State University.
2. 18th National Conference on e-Governance held inGujarat
i. 18th National Conference on e-Governance was held inGandhinagar, Gujarat from 30 January 2015 to 31 January 2015
ii. The main Theme of the Conference was Digital Governance New Frontiers. The focus sector was Skill Development &Employability.
iii. The conference was organised jointly by Department ofAdministrative Reforms & Public Grievances (DARPG) under Ministryof Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions and Department ofElectronics and Information Technology (DeitY) under Ministry ofCommunications & Information Technology.
iv. Chief Minister of Gujarat Anandiben Patel and the Minister ofState in the Prime Minister Office and Personnel distributed Nationale-Governance Awards for the year 2014-15 in 12 different categoriesconcerning various aspects of e-Governance.
3. Hingis, Paes win
i. The seventh seeds were in their first major outing as a pairingand drew on all their experience to down the third seeds, FrancesKristina Mladenovic and Canadian Daniel Nester, 6-4, 6-3.
ii. Hingis, the holder of five Grand Slam singles titles, now has11 major doubles crowns nine womens and two mixed.
iii.Paes, 41, has won eight mens doubles and seven mixed doubles GrandSlams and said he planned to aim for more, with retirement not on hismind.
4. Railway Minister launched Wi-Fi broadband servicesat Ahmedabad station
i. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on 31 January 2015 inauguratedthe Wi-Fi facility at Ahmedabad Railway Station. With this, AhmedabadRailway station joined the Wi-Fi enabled Railway stations likeBangalore, New Delhi and CST-Mumbai.
ii. Railway Ministry has set a target to provide Wi-Fi facility at400 A-one and A category Railway Stations at the earliest.
iii. On the same occasion, he also flagged off two new longdistance trains from Ahmedabad, namely Ahmedabad - Chennai Expressand Ahmedabad - Darbhanga Jansadharan Express.
5. Filmfare awards announced
i. Vikas Bahl's coming-of-age drama Queen triumphed at the 60thFilmfare awards, winning in key categories including best film, bestdirector and best actress for its lead star Kangana Ranaut.
ii. Vishal Bhardwaj's Shakespearean tale 'Haider' bagged five winswhich includes a black lady for Shahid Kapoor in the best actorcategory and best supporting honours for Tabu and Kay Kay Menon.
iii. Alia Bhatt bagged the best actress (Critics) trophy forHighway and Sanjay Mishra won the best actor (Critics) for hisoutstanding performance in Ankhon Dekhi, which also earneddirector-writer Rajat Kapoor the best story gong.
iv. Ankit Tiwari won best male playback singer for Galiyaan fromEk Villain and Kanika Kapoor was named best female playback singerfor Baby Doll from Ragini MMS 2.
v. Trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy won best music director for their workin 2 States. Best lyrics honour went to Rashmi Singh for Muskuranefrom 'CityLights'
6. Union Government released Commemorative Postagestamps with Swachh Bharat Mission as theme
i. The Commemorative Postage stamps on the theme of Swachh BharatMission were released on 30 January 2015 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhito mark the Martyrdom Day of Mahatma Gandhi.
ii. The stamps were released by the Union Ministry forCommunications & Information Technology.
iii. The design of the stamps was selected through a competitionamong the children on the theme of Swachh Bharat Mission.
iv. The Swachh Bharat Mission was launched by the Prime MinisterNarendra Modi on 2 October 2014, on the occasion of Birth Anniversaryof Mahatma Gandhi.
7. Djokovic wins Australian Open
i. At Melbourne on Sunday, Djokovic won his fifth Australian Opencrown, beating Andy Murray 7-6(5),6-7(4),6-3, 6-0 in an oldfashioned slugfest where the pair went toe-to-toe like two prizefighters before the Serb knocked the Scotsman out.
ii. The only man to win more Australian titles than Djokovic isRoy Emerson, who chalked up six in the 1960s.
iii. Murray put Djokovic under immediate pressure with three breakpoints in the third game of the opening set, played in cool and windyconditions on Rod Laver Arena.
Current Affairs - 2nd February 2015
1. India, China launch Visit India Year in China
i. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and ChineseVice-Premier Wang Yang jointly launched the Visit India Year in Chinaat a function in Beijing.
ii. The initiative is aimed at enhancing the flow of tourists fromChina to India and strengthen the people to people bond.
iii. It is agreed to designate 2015 as Visit India Year in Chinaand 2016 as Visit China Year in India.
iv. Under this, the two sides will carry out a series ofpromotional activities to boost two-way tourism inflow and strengthenpeople to people bonds.
2. Ashok K Agarwal appointed as General Manager ofSouthern Railway
i. Ashok K Agarwal was on 1 February 2015 appointed as GeneralManager of Southern Railway, Chennai with immediate effect. Hisappointment was approved by Union Ministry of Railways.
ii. Agarwal succeeded Rakesh Misra who retired from service on 31January 2015. Ashok K Agarwal will continue to hold the post ofGeneral Manager, Integral Coach Factory.
iii. Agarwal belongs to 1977 batch of Indian Railways Service(IRS) of Mechanical Engineers. Earlier, Agarwal served as ChiefAdministrative Officer of Indian Railways Organisation for AlternateFuels, New Delhi.
iv. He has nearly 37 years of experience in the Indian Railways inthe field of Man & Asset Management, Workshop Management, RailwayOperations, Materials Management, Investment & Budgetary Control,Transfer of Technology and Planning.
3. HIV treatment to be linked to Aadhaar
i. Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) Treatment for HIV/AIDS infectionwill now be linked to Aadhaar.
ii. Even those coming for HIV infection testing will have toproduce their Aadhaar cards. This is to avoid duplication of patientsgoing to several ART Centres for testing.
iii. The National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) has created aspecial software which will identify a patient who goes for testingat different centres and gets registered at all the centres.
4. Australia defeated England to win Tri-Nation ODISeries
i. Australia won the tri-nation One-Day International (ODI) Seriesat Perth, Australia on 1 February 2015. It won the series bydefeating England by 112 runs in the final.
ii. Glenn Maxwell who scored 95 and took 4 for 46 helped Australiato an emphatic win.
iii. The tri-series tournament was played between Australia, Indiaand England from 16 January 1 February 2015.
Final Match report
Australia scored 278 for 8 wickets in 50 over
Englandwhile chasing were bundled out for 166 in 39.1 overs
Man ofthe match: Glenn Maxwell
Man of the Series: Mitchell Starc
5. 5-day conference on wildlife poaching begins inNepal
i. Officials from 13 countries across Asia are beginning afive-day conference in Nepal to discuss wildlife poaching.
ii. Conservationists in the region are battling to save severalendangered species including tigers, rhinos, elephants and snowleopards.
iii. The focus of this regional conference is to explore ways ofending poaching altogether.
6. Reliance teams up with State Bank of India forpayments bank
i. Looking to foray into banking business, Reliance Industries hasteamed up with state-run behemoth SBI to apply for a payments banklicence.
ii. RIL and SBI put in a joint application to the Reserve Bank ofIndia (RBI) to set up a payment bank that can offer services such asremittances and deposits but not loans.
iii. The nation's largest lender SBI, which being a commercialbank could not apply for a payment bank license, will hold 30% in thejoint venture. RIL will be the promoter and hold the balance 70%.
iv. RIL and SBI partnership comes close on the heels of therecently-announced Airtel-Kotak joint venture.
7. Mithileshwar awarded with Shrilal Shukla SahityaIFFCO Award 2014
i. Hindi novelist Mithileshwar was on 31 January 2015 awarded withShrilal Shukla Sahitya IFFCO Award 2014. He is the fourth recipientof this literary award.
ii. Mithileshwar belongs to Bhojpur district and is known for hisinsight into the rural heartland of India. He began writing duringhis student period.
iii. Some of his novels include Prem na Badi Oopjai, Surang meSubah, Yah Ant Nahin, Jhunia (1980),Yuddh Sthal (1981). He hasaccumulated many awards in his career including Akhil BhartiyaMuktiBodh Puraskar in 1976, Yashpal Puraskar by UP Hindi Sansthan in1981.
About Shrilal Shukla Sahitya IFFCO Award
--> The award was instituted by the fertilizer cooperative firmIFFCO in the memory of the great Hindi novelist and writer ShrilalShukla in the year 2011. Shrilal Shuklas literary creations suchas Rag Darbari and some of his other works received national acclaim.
--> The previous winners of the Shrilal Shukla Sahitya IFFCOAward are Vidya Sagar Nautial, Shri Shekhar Joshi and Shri Sanjeev.
--> The Award consists of prize money of 11 lakh rupees,highest in the field of literature.
8. Aditya Birla, Future Group apply for payment banklicences
i. Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd, Future Group and Vakrangee Ltd soughtpermission from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to set up paymentsbanks.
ii. A payments bank licence will allow companies to acceptdeposits of up to Rs.1 lakh and increase payment options, especiallyfor people who have no bank accounts.
iii. Aditya Birla Nuvo will hold 51% stake in the proposedpayments bank and the remaining 49% will be owned by Idea Cellular
iv. The Kishore Biyani-led Future Group, parent of FutureRetail Ltd, also has filed an application for a permit.
9. SIT likely to reinvestigate 1984 anti-Sikh riotscases
i. The government is likely to accept the recommendation of acommittee led by former Supreme Court judge G.P. Mathur to set up aSpecial Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
ii. The riots, which followed assassination of Prime MinisterIndira Gandhi on October 31, 1984, claimed over 3,000 lives, of which2,000 fell prey to violence in Delhi.
Current Affairs - 3rd February 2015
1. Modi govt to bring new scheme to replace JNNURM
i. The existing programme to modernize urban infrastucture will bediscontinued and a new plan will be introduced by the Narendra Modigovernment.
ii. The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM)was introduced by the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA)government in 2005 to improve civic infrastructure and services.
iii. It will focus on spatial planning, liquid and solid wastemanagement and public transport
2. Pakistan successfully test-fired Air Launched CruiseMissile Raad
i. Pakistan on 2 February 2015 successfully test-firedindigenously developed Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) Raad.The missile, also called Thunder in Arabic, has been developed byPakistan's Air Weapons Complex and NESCOM.
ii. The missile gave Pakistan Air Force a strategic standoffcapability on land and at sea indicating that Ra'ad can be launchedat sea-based targets such as ships as well as land-based targets.
iii. Ra'ad was tested for the first time on 25 August 2007.
About Raad missile
The missile is designed to operate with Pakistan Air Force(PAF) aircrafts like Dassault Mirage III ROSE and JF-17 combataircraft.
This low altitude missile is designed to attackfixed enemy installations such as radar posts, command nodes, surfaceto air missile launchers, etc.
High maneuverabilitycapabilities of missile enable it to deliver nuclear and conventionalwarheads with pin-point accuracy.
It has a range of 350 km andcomprises stealth capabilities due to its cruise technology.
The missile can also be armed with a 10-35 kilo tonne nuclearwarhead.
3. RBI doubles forex remittance limit to $250,000
i. The Reserve Bank of India has doubled the eligibility limit forforeign exchange remittances under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme(LRS) to $250,000 per person per year.
ii. This enhancement in limit comes after a review of the externalsector outlook and as a further exercise in macro prudentialmanagement.
iii. RBI had reduced the eligibility limit for foreign exchangeremittances under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) to USD75,000 in 2013 as a macro-prudential measure.
iv. With stability in the foreign exchange market, this limit wasenhanced to USD 125,000 in June 2014.
4. Madhya Pradesh gets national award for excellentwork in MGNREGA
i. Madhya Pradesh has been awarded the 10th national award forexcellent work in Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment GuaranteeAct-MGNREGA.
ii. Union Rural Development Minister Virendra Singh presented theaward to states Panchayats and Rural Development Minister GopalBhargava at the MGNREGA summit held in New Delhi.
iii. 74 percent construction of permanent assets has been donethrough MGNREGA in the state.
5. RBI releases Rs 42,000 crore to fund FY16 growth
i. Banks will have headroom to lend an additional Rs 42,000 crorebecause of Reserve Bank of India's move to bring down by 50 basispoints the statutory liquidity ratio the portion of deposits thatbanks must invest in government bonds.
ii. Rajan left the repo rate the rate at which it lendsovernight funds to banks unchanged at 7.75%. RBI also retainedthe cash reserve ratio the portion of deposits that banks have tomaintain with RBI at 4%.
iii. The central bank expects that economy growth will pick up to6.5% in FY16 which will result in an increased demand for funds inthe banking sector. The cut in SLR is expected to help banks preparetheir cash reserves to fund this growth.
6. Terror charter against Pak at RIC Summit
i. In order to corner Pakistan for sheltering and facilitatingterrorists involved the 26/11 carnage and other attacks in thecountry, India seeks to move a resolution in the UN to punish thosewho shelter and finance terrorism.
ii. China and Russia decided to back India for moving thisproposal at the United Nations that essentially goes against Pakistanon the issue of terrorism.
iii. At the RIC summit - attended by Chinese foreign minister WangYi, his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov and Swaraj - a jointcommunique was issued which "underlined the need to bring tojustice perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors ofterrorist acts".
7. Sergio Mattarella sworn-in as the President of Italy
i. Sergio Mattarella was sworn-in as the President of Italy on 3February 2015. He is the 12th President of Italy since the countrybecame a Republic after World War II.
ii. Sergio Mattarella, 73, a Constitutional Court Judge waselected as the President of Italy on 31 January 2015. He succeededGiorgio Napolitano, 89, who stepped down from the post in January2015 citing signs of fatigue.
iii. He was elected after three inconclusive rounds of voting, inwhich no other candidate secured the two-thirds majority that isneeded to win the election.
iv. He won the election in the fourth round of voting conducted on31 January 2015 that required merely a simple majority of 1009eligible voters to produce result. His vote passed the threshold of505-vote needed to get elected as the President.
v. Presidents position is a ceremonial role in Italy but thePresident reserves the power to appoint a Prime Minister of thecountry. The president's term of office lasts for seven years.
vi. He is the first judge of the Constitutional Court to becomePresident of the country and also is the first President from Sicilyin the history of Italy to become a President
vii.Born on 23 July 1941, Mattarella entered politics in 1983 as amember of parliament from the now-defunct Christian Democrat party,after his elder brother Piersanti, the then island's governor waskilled by Mafia.
8. Andhra Pradesh Government approved reformed Solar,Wind Energy policy
i. Andhra Pradesh Government on 2 February 2015 approved reformedsolar and wind energy policies during the state cabinet meeting.
ii. Single window system, easy permissions and treatment likeindustries for according clearances are some of the salient featuresof the two policies unveiled.
Main highlights of the policies
To place Andhra Pradesh in the leading position among thestates producing solar energy by 2020.
To generate 5000 MegaWatt (MW) from solar energy by 2020 from the present 127 MW
Togenerate 40000 MW wind energy by 2020 from the present 897 MW
Non-Conventional Energy Development Corporation of Andhra Pradesh Ltd(NEDCAP) will be the nodal agency for the implementation of thepolicies.
Single widow method has been introduced for givingpermissions for solar parks and wind power facilities and they willbe treated on par with industries as far as clearances areconcerned.
Land-related permissions will now be given quicklyfor setting up ventures and no surcharge will be levied if they sellpower within the state.
The power to allocate land in case ofwind power projects is given to the District Collectors.
Current Affairs - 4th February 2015
1. China overtakes US as top investment destination
i. China has overtaken the United States as the top destinationfor foreign direct investment for the first time since 2003.
ii. According to the United Nations Conference of Trade andDevelopment, foreign firms invested 128 billion dollars in China and86 billion in the US last year.
iii. The growth in China's foreign investment benefited theservices sector as manufacturing slowed.
2. Madhusudhan Prasad appointed as Secretary in theUnion MoUD
i. Madhusudhan Prasad was on 3 February 2015 appointed as theSecretary in the Union Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD). Earlier,he served as Special Secretary in the Union Ministry of Commerce.
ii. Madhusudhan Prasad is an Indian Administrative Service (IAS)Officer of 1981 batch belonging to Haryana cadre. Prasad held theposts of Collector of Sirsa district and Principal Secretary (Power)in the state of Haryana.
iii. He was a Director and Joint Secretary in the Department ofEconomic Affairs and Additional Secretary in the Union Ministry ofCommerce.
iv. Moreover, Madhusudhan Prasad also served as EconomicCounsellor in the Indian Embassy in Washington, USA.
3. RBI extends range of collateral for interbanktransactions
i. The Reserve Bank of India extended the range of collateral thatcan be used for repo transactions on the country's interbank marketto include bonds issued by multilateral financial institutions suchas the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.
ii. Currently, such collateral is limited to commercial papers,certificate of deposits, non-convertible debentures, and listedcorporate debt securities of more than one year maturity and rated AAor above.
iii. The move will help develop the corporate debt market.
4. Vijay Kumar won the Gold of 25 metre Centre FirePistol event at the 35th National Games
i. Vijay Kumar on 3 February 2015 won the Gold in 25 metre centrefire pistol event under mens category in shooting competitions ofthe 35th National Games in Kerala.
ii. He won the Gold with a total score of 583 and finished with aclear seven-point lead over Silver medalist Samresh Jung (HimachalPradesh) with a score of 576. Pemba Tamang won the Bronze with ascore of 575.
iii. Vijay Kumar is an army personnel and a silver medalist in therapid pistol event at the 2012 London Olympics.
iv. In the team event, Services team won the Gold with 1733 scorewhile the Silver and Bronze was won by Madhya Pradesh and Haryanarespectively.
5. Bihar to provide free education
i. The Bihar government decided to provide free education toScheduled Castes (SC),Scheduled Tribes (ST) and girl students tillPost Graduation (PG) level in the state.
ii. The government would reimburse the financial loss to suchuniversities/colleges after gathering the actual information aboutit.
iii. According to latest government data, there were 4.05 lakh SC,ST and girl students studying undergraduate courses in the state, butthe figure declines sharply to just 10,870 students belonging tothese categories at the PG level.
6. Cisco Systems picks Visakhapatnam as first smartcity'
i. Visakhapatnam will be the first city to be taken up fordevelopment as a smart city by Cisco Systems, the global ITnetworking major and the implementing company.
ii. Cisco has also evinced interest in working on disastermanagement technologies as the state is hit by at least two cyclonesevery year.
iii. Cisco would focus on setting up a skill development centreand providing training through its global talent tracker. The companyis also keen on working with the state government to digitiseeducation and healthcare.
7. Maharashtra Netball player Mayuresh Pawar diedduring the 35th National Games
i. Mayuresh Pawar, 21-year old netball player of Maharashtra team,died on 2 February 2015 during the Day 2 of the 35th National Games.He died due to drowning while taking bath at Shanghumugham beach inKerala.
ii. He died when the Maharashtra team was returning to the Gamesvillage and made a stopover at the beach.
iii. The team was returning after the match it played againstChandigarh at the Agriculture College Indoor Stadium of Vellayani,Trivandrum of Kerala. Chandigarh team won the match.
iv. Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President N Ramachandranexpressed shock and anguish over the development.
Current Affairs - 5th February 2015
1. 15th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit
i. Environmentalists and policy makers met at the 15th DelhiSustainable Development Summit to set agendas for the 2015 climatechange summit in Paris as India plays an influential role in U.Nclimate talks.
ii. The latest report from the IPCC stressed the risks of globalwarming and tried to make a stronger case for governments to adoptpolicy on adaptation and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
iii. India, along with other developing countries, committed tofulfill the eight Millennium Development Goals by the set deadline of31 December 2015.
2. Goswami removed as home secretary
i. Anil Goswami is removed from the post of home secretary.
ii. Goswami was also summoned for an explanation on why he triedto intervene and prevent the arrest of Matang Sinh, former ministerof state in the Prime Minister's Office, in the Saradha scam.
3. LC Goyal appointed as the Union Home Secretary
i. Union Government on 4 February 2015 appointed LC Goyal as UnionHome Secretary. At the time of his appointment was serving as UnionRural Development Secretary.
ii. The term of Goyal will be for a period of two years from thedate of taking over the charge. Goyal succeeded Anil Goswami whoresigned on 4 February 2015.
iii. Earlier, Goyal had served in the Home Ministry as JointSecretary (Internal Security). He is a 1979-batch IAS officer ofKerala cadre.
4. Government to Decide on Roongta panel report onCPSEs
i. The government is expected to take a decision within a month onRoongta committee recommendations on bringing reforms in centralpublic sector enterprises (CPSEs).
ii. The committee had given as many as 40 suggestions whichinclude better corporate governance, more autonomy to Boards of PSUs,better utilisation of resources and transparency.
iii. It had also suggested fixing tenures of the Chairman &Managing Director (CMD) of state-owned companies.
iv. The report had said that in the absence of adequate successionplan in many CPSEs, several competent executives don't get consideredfor these positions.
5. SMAP: NASAs firstsatellite to collect global soil moisture
i. SMAP: Soil Moisture Active Passive
ii. Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) was in news in fourth weekof January 2015. It is NASAs first Earth satellite designed tocollect global observations of the vital soil moisture.
iii. The satellite was launched aboard United Launch AllianceDelta II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
iv. The satellite is built to measure moisture in the top 2 inches(5 centimeters) of soil. It can measure the moisture content of thesoil from its spot in orbit about 426 miles (685 kilometers) aboveEarth's surface.
v. SMAP is equipped with a 20 feet (6 meters) mesh antenna whichis the largest of its kind that NASA has ever flown in space cancomplete an orbit of the earth once in every 98.5 minutes. Itsantenna is designed to spin at about 14.6 revolutions per minutewhile mounted to the end of a long arm on the satellite's body.
6. HDFC Bank raises close to Rs 10,000 crore
i. HDFC Bank raised Rs 9,880 crore in the largest share sale inthe secondary market by a private entity to overseas and domesticinvestors through a mix of qualified institutional placement andAmerican depository shares.
ii. This is the largest share sale by a private sector entity andthe second largest fund raising through by selling share in thesecondary market after the bumper Rs 22,500 crore Coal India issue bythe government.
iii. Parent HDFC holds 22.47 per cent in the bank, FIIs 33.75 percent, ADRs/GDRs 16.84 per cent and the rest is held by others.
7. World Cancer Day observed across the world
i. World Cancer Day (WCD) 2015 was observed across the world on 4February 2015.
ii. The tagline for the WCD 2015 was Not beyond Us.The tagline signified that solutions do exist across the continuum ofcancer, and that they are within our reach.
iii. The WCD 2015 explored how we can implement what we alreadyknow in the areas of prevention, early detection, treatment andcare. so as to impact the global cancer burden for the better.
8. MahaMobile app launched by Bank for Maharashtra
i. With the perspective to make the bank more efficient andsimpler for the customers, Bank of Maharashtra has rolled out a newmobile application Maha Mobile app for its customers.
ii. The customers using debit card of the bank and having theirmobile number registered with the bank can easily avail this facilitywithout the need of visiting the bank branch.
9. Micromax became Indias biggest and worldsthird largest smartphone vendor
i. Homegrown handset maker, Micromax took over Korean electronicsgiant Samsung and became Indias biggest smartphone vendor andthird largest in the world. This was revealed by a report released byresearch firm Canalys on 4 February 2015.
ii. According to the report, in October-December 2014 (Quarter 4),Micromax controlled 22 percent market share in smartphones shipmentsin India compared to 20 percent market share of Samsung.
iii. The top four players in India by units shipped were Micromax,Samsung, Karbonn and Lava.
iv. Micromaxs flagship line of products very effectivelytargeted the 9000 rupees to 12000 rupees segment with products likeCanvas Nitro and Canvas Hue. This important segment helped Micromaxto achieve the numero uno position.
v. Over the last few quarters, Samsung has gradually lost itsmarket share in India to domestic players like Micromax, Lava,Karbonn as well as global rivals like Motorola and Xiaomi.
vi. Globally too, Samsung has been facing tough competition fromApple and Chinese tech major Xiaomi. Its share in the smartphonemarket has also witnessed a decline in the past couple of years.
vii. In 2014, Samsung had 24.5 percent share of the globalsmartphone market, 31.3 percent in 2013 and 30.3 percent in 2012.
viii. Apple managed to close the gap with rival Samsung afternearly 3 years at number two position in the global smartphone marketas iPhone sales increased in Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC)as well as the US in Q4 of 2014.
Current Affairs - 6th February 2015
1. Tata Communications signs $20 mn deal with KIONGroup
i. Tata Communications has signed a $20 million multi-year dealwith Germany-based KION Group to provide global wide area network(WAN) services to the groups 330 sites across 30 countries.
ii. As part of the deal, Tata Communications will replace the KIONGroups existing stable of multiple WAN providers with a singleglobal network.
iii. The KION Group is the second largest global manufacturer offorklift trucks and warehouse technology.
2. Modi chairs first NITI Aayog meet
i. Ahead of his government's first full year budget, PrimeMinister Narendra Modi today sought ideas from economists to attractinvestments, create jobs and finance infrastructure to put India backon high growth path.
ii. Suggestions were given related to the General Budget for2015-16 paving the high growth roadmap for the Indian economy.
iii. The meeting also discussed suggestions with regard toeffective implementation of several flagship schemes of thegovernment and how poverty levels can be brought down.
iv. Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian, Aayog's full timemembers Bibek Debroy and V K Saraswat, Minister of State for FinanceJayant Sinha, Planning Minister Rao Inderjit Singh, ex-RBI governorBimal Jalan, Subir Gokarn, Ashok Gulati and G N Bajpai were alsopresent in the meeting.
3. 60th Filmfare Awards announced
i. 60th Filmfare Awards were announced on 31 January 2015 at theYash Raj Studios in Mumbai. Shahid Kapoor and Kangana Ranaut won theBest Actor Award for Male and Female category, respectively.
ii. Shahid won the Best Actor (male) award for his role as HaiderMeer in film Haider and Kangana Ranaut won Best Actor (female) awardfor her role as Rani Mehra in film Queen.
iii. Best Film award was given to film Queen, while its DirectorVikas Bahl won the Best Director award. Kamini Kaushal was honouredwith the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award.
Other awards declared on the occasion includes:
Best Actor (male): Shahid Kapoor for film Haider directed byVishal Bhardwaj
Best Actor (female): Kangana Ranaut for filmQueen directed by Vikas Bahl
Best Film: Queen directed byVikas Bahl
Best Director: Vikas Bahl for film Queen
Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award: Kamini Kaushal
Best Film(Critics): Ankhon Dekhi directed by Rajat Kapoor
Best MaleActor (Critics): Sanjay Mishra for film Ankhon Dekhi
BestFemale Actor (Critics): Alia Bhatt for film Highway written anddirected by Imtiaz Ali
Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Male):Kay Kay Menon for film Haider
Best Actor in a Supporting Role(Female): Tabu for film Haider
Best Story: Rajat Kapoor forfilm Ankhon Dekhi
Best Dialogue: Abhijat Joshi and RajkumarHirani for film PK directed by Rajkumar Hirani
BestScreenplay: Rajkumar Hirani and Abhijat Joshi for film PK
BestDirector Debut: Abhishek Varman for film 2 States directed by BhushanPatel
Best Actor Debut (Male): Fawad Khan for film Khoobsuratdirected by Shashanka Ghosh
Best Actor Debut (Female): KritiSanon for film Heropanti directed by Sabbir Khan
Best MusicDirector: Shankar Ehsaan Loy for film 2 States
Best Lyrics:Rashmi Singh for song Muskurane ki wajah of film CityLights directedby Hansal Mehta
Best Playback (Male): Ankit Tiwari for songGalliyan of film Ek Villain directed by Mohit Suri
BestPlayback (Female): Kanika Kapoor for song Baby doll of film RaginiMMS 2
Best Choreography: Ahmed Khan for Jumme ki raat of filmKick directed by Sajid Nadiadwala
Best Background Score: AmitTrivedi for film Queen
Best Action: Sham Kaushal for filmGunday directed by Ali Abbas Zafar
Best Cinematography: BobbySingh and Siddharth Diwan for film Queen
Best Editing: AbhijitKokate and Anurag Kashyap for film Queen
Best ProductionDesign: Subrata Chakraborty and Amit Ray for film Haider
BestSound Design: Anilkumar Konakandla and Prabal Pradhan for filmMardaani directed by Pradeep Sarkar
Best Costume: DollyAhluwalia for film Haider
4. Ajaypal Singh Banga appointed as member of USAdvisory Committee for Trade Policy
i. Indian-American Ajaypal Singh Banga is appointed as the Memberof the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN),a key administration position in the United States (US).
ii. His appointment was announced by the US President BarackObama. Presently, Banga is President and CEO of MasterCard since2009.
iii. Currently, he is also the Chairman of the US-India BusinessCouncil (USIBC) representing more than 300 of the largest globalcompanies investing in India.
5. Twitter, Google signed a deal to make tweetssearchable
i. Twitter and Google on 5 February 2015 have signed a deal tomake tweets searchable. The tweets will be available in Google searchresults which will benefit both companies.
ii. Under the deal, Google will have complete access to tweets onthe social networking site Twitter. The deal will make tweetsavailable outside the Twitter.
iii. The deal will give full access of Twitter's Firehose oftweets to search giant Google. The deal will benefit both companiesas in recent years Google had to search Twitter's site to include itsinformation.
iv. Google and Twitter had signed a similar search deal worked in2009, but the deal was ended in 2011. After this deal, Googlelaunched its own social network competitor Google+, the very sameyear hoping to compete with the likes of Twitter and Facebook.
v. The companies opted not to renew the deal after it lapsed,though Twitter provided its data to Microsoft's Bing and Yahoo.
vi. Dick Costolo is the CEO of Twitter Inc. Larry Page is the CEOof Google Inc.
6. M.O.Garg appointed as Director General of Council ofScientific & Industrial Research
i. MO Garg was appointed as the Director General of the Council ofScientific & Industrial Research (CSIR). Prior to his presentposting, he was Director in CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP),Dehradun.
ii. Born on 17 September 1954, Garg did B.Tech in ChemicalEngineering from Nagpur University and M.Tech from IIT Kanpur.
iii. He completed his Ph.D. from University of Melbourne,Australia in the area of solvent extraction.
7. Alibaba acquired 25% stake in Paytm
i. Alibaba had signed a deal to buy a 25% stake in Indian mobilepayments and ecommerce platform Paytm owner One97 Communications.
ii. Ant would initially pay around $200 million for the stake andstump up $375 million more in tranches based on the firm meetingperformance milestones.
iii. Paytm is India's largest mobile commerce platform with nearly25 million orders a month and more than 23 million mobile walletusers.
8. CSIR-NCL signed MoU with Security Printing andMinting Corporation of India Ltd
i.CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (CSIR-NCL) signed a Memorandumof Understanding (MoU) with Security Printing and Minting Corporationof India Ltd (SPMCIL).
ii.The MoU is aimed at fostering collaboration on research andexchange of technical expertise in areas of material sciences andtesting capabilities for bank notes, security documents and coins.
iii.The MoU was signed by Sourav Pal, Director of CSIR-NCL andRakesh Kumar, Additional General Manager of SPMCIL.
iv. The MoU seeks to explore printing innovations. It ascertainedthe research projects within the focus areas of SPMCILsrequirements and domain expertise available at CSIR-NCL.
Current Affairs - 7th & 8th February 2015
1. Australian PM survives vote of confidence
i. Australias ruling Liberal Party voted on Monday morning todefeat a leadership spill motion, thereby retaining Tony Abbott inhis role as the party leader and the countrys prime minister.
ii. But the margin of the party-room vote 61-39 was notemphatic enough to ensure Mr. Abbotts long-term future as primeminister.
2. Madras HC directed Tamil Nadu government to banbeauty contests in colleges
i. The Madras High Court on 6 February 2015 directed the stategovernment of Tamil Nadu to issue a circular banning beauty contestsin colleges and other educational institutions of the state.
ii. Justice T S Sivagnanam passed an interim order on a plea andsaid that it is not known as to how walking the ramp would benefit astudent pursuing a course of engineering.
iii. The judge directed the Secretary, Higher Education departmentand the Commissioner of Technical Education Department, to issue acircular to all institutions, Universities, Deemed Universities, andColleges affiliated to various universities in the state to ban ornot to conduct any beauty shows in their Institution or in any eventorganised at Inter-College Level.
3. BAFTA announced
i. The awards went to -
--> Best Film: Boyhood
--> Best British Film: The Theory Of Everything
--> Best Director: Richard Linklater, Boyhood
--> Best Original Screenplay: The Grand Budapest Hotel, WesAnderson
--> Best Lead Actor: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory Of Everything
--> Best Lead Actress: Julianne Moore, Still Alice
--> Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
--> Best Supporting Acterss: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
--> Best Animated Film: The Lego Movie, Phil Lord, ChristopherMiller
--> Best Original Music: The Grand Budapest Hotel, AlexandreDesplat
4. Grammies announced
i. The awards went to -
--> Record of the Year - "Stay with Me," Sam Smith
--> Song of the Year - "Stay with Me" (DarkchildVersion)
--> Album of the Year - Morning Phase, Beck
--> Best Country Album - Platinum, Miranda Lambert
--> Best R&B Performance - "Drunk in Love,"Beyoncé
--> Best Rock Album - Morning Phase, Beck
--> Best Pop Vocal Album - In the Lonely Hour, Sam Smith
--> Best Pop Solo Performance - "Happy," PharrellWilliams
--> Best New Artist - Sam Smith
--> Best Rap/Sung Collaboration - "Monster," byRihanna and Eminem
--> Best Rap Album - The Marshall Mathers LP2, Eminem
--> Best R&B Song - "Drunk in Love," Beyonce
--> Pop duo/group performance - "Say Something", AGreat Big World with Christina Aguilera
--> Best Rock performance - Lazaretto, Jack White
--> Best Children's Album - I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood UpFor Education And Changed The World (Malala Yousafzai)
--> Best Musical Theater Album - Beautiful: The Carole KingMusical,
--> Jessie Mueller, principal soloist; Jason Howland, SteveSidwell & Billy Jay Stein, producers (Carole King, composer &lyricist) (Original Broadway Cast)
5. No change in nuclear liability law: MEA
i. In a press release, the Ministry has answered 19 frequentlyasked questions (FAQs) that make it clear that the government is notmaking changes to the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages Act (CLND)2010.
ii. MEA will read the Act to mean that suppliers liability isnot a mandatory part of the contracts to be signed.
iii. The Ministry of External Affairs makes it clear thatimmediate liability for any incident would be channelled only to theoperator, in this case PSU Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd.(NPCIL).
6. Hurun Report Inc released the Hurun Global Rich List2015
i. The Hurun Report Inc on 3 February 2015 released the HurunGlobal Rich List 2015, a ranking of the US dollar billionairescurrently found in the world. The Hurun Global Rich List 2015 wassponsored by Chinese luxury home builder Star River Property.
ii. The Hurun Global Rich List 2015 ranked 2089 billionaires from68 countries. Around 649 billionaires saw their wealth increase andthere were 341 new faces in the list. Although the list is expandedby 222 individuals, the total wealth dropped by 1.5 percent to 6.7trillion US dollars.
iii. Microsoft founder Bill Gates topped the Hurun Global RichList 2015 followed by Mexican Carlos Slim on second position andWarren Buffett on third position.
iv. In context of India, Mukesh Ambani is the richest Indianholding the Rank 41 followed by Dilip Shanghvi at 53 Rank andPallonji Mistry & family at 60 Rank.
v. In the list, names of 230 billionaires remained unchanged, 869individuals saw their wealth decrease and 95 individuals dropped outof list.
Current Affairs - 9th February 2015
1. Vodafone India appoints Naveen Chopra as ChiefOperating Officer
i. Vodafone India on Monday announced the appointment of NaveenChopra as Chief Operating Officer (COO) with effect from April 1,2015.
ii. Mr. Chopra, currently Director Vodafone Business Services(VBS),will succeed Sunil Sood, who will be the MD and CEO of thecompany.
iii. Naveen has, over the last five years, ably led the VBS intosignificant growth and led our expansion into new customer andproduct segments.
2. First World Ocean Science Congress held in Kochi
i. The First World Ocean Science Congress (WOSC) was held inKochi, Kerala from 5 February 2015 to 8 February 2015.
ii. The focal themes of the WOSC 2015 were Protect Oceans forPosterity and Blue Economy. WOSC -2015 was organised jointly by theSwadeshi Science Movement, Vijnana Bharati, Kerala chapter and theKerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS),Kochi.
iii. The aim of the WOSC was to find sustainable means to utilizethe resources carefully without causing any damage to the oceans andits marine life.
iv. The Congress witnessed presentation of 450 technical papers in13 sessions by 86 Indian institutions and 14 foreign institutions. Itevolved a set of recommendations that will be submitted to PrimeMinister Narendra Modi for further guidelines.
v. The Congress urged the Union Government to form a separateministry to bring all the agencies and institutions working in thefields of ocean research and fisheries research under one roof forthe smooth implementation and management of all the governmentpolicies related to the sectors.
About World Ocean Science Congress
World Ocean Science Congress (WOSC) is designed as a quadrennialevent starting with WOSC-2015. It is expected to serve as a commonplatform for Oceanographers, Environmentalists, Fishing community,Shipping industry, Navigators, Defense establishments.
3. Nitish set to return as Bihar CM as BJP stumbles
i. The Janata Dal United (JDU) replaced their leader Jitan RamManjhi with Nitish Kumar, as the Bharatiya Janata Party put itsweight behind Manjhi but could not coordinate his 'rebellion'.
ii. The leaders including JDU president Sharad Yadav, RashtriyaJanata Dal (RJD) President Lalu Prasad and Congress legislature partyleader Sadanand Singh handed over a list of 130 MLAS and asked theGovernor to administer the oath of office to Kumar.
iii. Manjhi has been expelled from the party on grounds of"anti-party activities", which means he will retain hisseat in the Assembly but will have to ensure two thirds of the JDUsplits to enable him to form a government with the BJP's support.
4. First Robot-staffed Hotel of the World to open inJapan
i. The Nagasaki-based Henn-na Hotel (meaning Strange Hotel) ofJapan in the first week of February 2015 announced to open the firstRobot-staffed Hotel of the World. The hotel will be opened on 17 July2015 and it will significantly reduce the operating costs.
ii. The hotel will come up with a Huis Ten Bosch theme park (aftera town of Netherlands) in Japan's Nagasaki Prefecture.
iii. The hotel in its first-phase will be two-storied hotel with72 rooms. In the second-phase, which will be completed in 2016, 72additional rooms will be added to it.
iv. The hotel has been developed by Japan's Osaka University andmanufactured by the Japanese robotics company Kokoro. Several ofthese Actroid robots resemble like a young Japanese woman.
5. Bengaluru, Chennai, Surat among 100 ResilientCities'
i. In its centenary year in 2013, the Rockefeller Foundationannounced the 100 Resilient Cities project with a $100 millioncommitment to build urban resilience worldwide.
ii. The idea behind choosing is that cities have complexecosystems and have a hard time organising themselves around whattheir key challenges are and the second is that too often the citiesdont access the resources or best practices efficiently enough.
ii. The project consists hiring of a Chief Resilience Officer(CRO) in each city, or a senior person to work in municipalgovernment usually with mayors, or in the Indian context, probablymore with the commissioners with the breadth and gravitas to workacross the sectors and silos and engage with private sector and civilsociety.
6. Swiss leaks: India ranks 16th on leaked HSBC list
i. It is called Swiss Leaks a trove of secret documents fromHSBCs Swiss private banking arm that reveals names of accountholders and their balances for the year 2006-07.
ii. The investigation revealed 1,195 Indian HSBC clients, roughlydouble the 628 names that French authorities gave to the Governmentin 2011.
iii. The new revelation published today as part of a globalagreement is expected to significantly widen the scale and scopeof the ongoing probe by the Special Investigation Team (SIT)appointed by the Supreme Court.
7. Singapore President's visit to India
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Singapore President Tony TanKeng Yam, who is presently in the national capital to commemorate the50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
ii. Indian envoys focussed today on interface of Digitalcommunications and Diplomacy.India-Singapore discussed an agenda ofdevelopment. Skill development, connectivity in North East Indiaprimary focus.
iii. Singapore is one of India's major trade and investmentpartners, with bilateral trade for the financial year 2013-14standing at $19.27 billion.
iv. The year 2015 marks 50 years of the establishment ofIndia-Singapore diplomatic relations.
8. Uttarakhand Government launched Himalaya Darshanprogramme to boost tourism in the State
i. Uttarakhand Government on 7 February 2015 launched HimalayaDarshan programme at Dehradun. The programme was launched as part ofongoing efforts to boost tourism by the State Government.
ii. The chopper was flagged off by Civil Aviation Secretary AkshatGupta to mark the launch of the programme. As part of thecelebrations, a chopper carrying a group of students was flagged offfrom the Sahastradhara Helidrome of Dehradun for a sortie around themountains.
iii. The motto of the programme is to enable common people to flyaround the beautiful mountains of Uttarakhand for 5000 rupees to10000 rupees.
iv. The move is among a slew of measures being taken by the stategovernment to put back on track Uttarakhand's tourism industryderailed by the 2013 calamity.
v. In 2014, the State government launched several schemes. Theseinclude winter time Char Dham yatra and a project named Mere Bujurg,Mere Teerth an initiative to help senior citizens undertake the yatrafor free.
vi.Under the Mere Bujurg, Mere Teerth initiative, the Stategovernment through Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam and Kumaon Mandal VikasNigam provides free food, accommodation and travel for all the yatrisaged 65 years and above.
Current Affairs - 10th February 2015
1. AAP deflates BJP
i. The AAP stunned everyone on Tuesday with an overwhelmingvictory in the Delhi assembly polls, setting up a second stint forArvind Kejriwal as chief minister.
ii. The AAP bagged as many as 67 seats of the 70-member House,going far beyond the most optimistic exit polls.
iii. The BJP was left bruised in a distant second place with winsprojected for it in just three seats. The Congress drew a blank.BJP's CM candidate, Kiran Bedi, lost the elections.
iv. Kiran Bedi lost Krishna Nagar seat which was considered asBJP's pet by a narrow margin, While Arvind Kejriwal won New Delhiseat comfortably.
v. AAP got 54.3% of the total polled votes, while BJP came adistant second with 32.2% of the votes polled.
vi. Arvind Kejriwal will sworn as the Chief Minister of Delhi forsecond successive term on 14th February.
2. 15th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit
i. The 15th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit was held at theTaj Palace Hotel, New Delhi from 5 February 2015 to 7 February 2015.
ii. The summit was organized by The Energy and Resources Institute(TERI). The theme of the summit was Sustainable Development Goals andDealing with Climate Change.
iii. The summit witnessed a pool of distinguished speakers from awide spectrum of backgrounds. Politicians, Diplomats, Corporates,Government Officials, media, NGOs and activists attended the summit.
iv. Issues like the need for mitigation in Energy supply sector,generating finances for projects focusing on Sustainable Development,and educating the youth about sustainable development were discussed.Stress was laid on collective actions of both public and privatesectors in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
v. During the summit, two reports namely, Global SustainableDevelopment Report and Energy Security Outlook were also launched.
3. Amartya Sen wins John Maynard Keynes Prize
i. Economist and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has won the newlyinstituted Charleston-EFG John Maynard Keynes Prize.
ii. In the spirit of John Maynard Keynes work, life and legacy,this new global prize recognises Professor Sens outstandingcontribution to society.
iii. Currently a Professor of Economics and Philosophy at HarvardUniversity, he has been a Professor at the London School of Economicsand until 2004 was Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. His bookshave been translated into more than 30 languages.
4. Facebook rings Reliance Communications for free dataaccess
i. Anil Ambani led Reliance Communications Ltd (RCOM) haspartnered with Facebook to offer free data access to select popularwebsites for all its customers, existing and new ones.
ii. Thirty three popular websites can be accessed free of costthrough internet.org and all the subscriber needs to have is aninternet enabled hand set.
iii. In the first phase this service has gone live in sevencircles of RCOM which include Mumbai, Maharashtra, Gujarat, AndhraPradesh, Tamil Nadu, Chennai and Kerala.
5. North Korea test fires homegrown anti-ship shortrange missiles
i. North Korea on 8 February 2015 test fired homegrown anti-shipshort range missiles. The missiles were tested off its east coast.
ii. The missiles hit the sea after about 200 km (120 miles). Thisis the first time the ship and the missiles have been shown by NorthKorean state media.
iii. The homegrown missile was developed by Korean People's Armyfrom a new class of ship. The vessel is an attempt by the NorthKoreans to develop a high-speed stealth ship-killer using a surfaceeffect hulla combination of catamaran and hovercraft.
iv. Surface Effect Ships (SESs) have a pair of rigid outer hullssurrounding a central air-cushion system that allows them to skimalong the surface of the ocean and use more efficient marinepropellers. Earlier, smaller KPA Navy SES patrol craft havereportedly reached speeds of 50 knots (90 kilometers per hour, or57.6 miles per hour) and have incorporated some stealth features,such as faceted hull and superstructure designs intended to reducetheir radar reflection.
6. Vinod Mehta awarded with Yash Bharti Samman 2015 byUP Government
i. Distinguished journalist Vinod Mehta was on 9 February 2015awarded with the Yash Bharti Samman 2015 by Uttar Pradesh (UP)Government.
ii. Vinod Mehta has launched a number of successful publicationssuch as the Sunday Observer, Indian Post, The Independent, ThePioneer (Delhi edition) and Outlook. He has authored a biography ofMeena Kumari (movie actress and poet) and Sanjay Gandhi- The SanjayStory (2012).
iii. His other acclaimed work includes memoir Lucknow Boypublished in 2012, Mr Editor, How Close Are You to the PM? (1999) andBombay: A Private View (1971). Currently, he is editorial chairman ofthe Outlook Group.
7. Govt gives Gauri Shankar additional charge of MD ofPNB
i. Government gave additional charge of Managing Director and CEOof Punjab National Bank to Gauri Shankar, senior most executivedirector at the bank.
ii. The post of full time Managing Director and CEO has beenvacant since November, when the then Chairman and Managing Director KR Kamath failed to get extension from the government.
iii. As per the government rules, the CMD and Directors areappointed in public sector entities for a period of five years or upto the age of 60, whichever is earlier.
8. Damyant Singh appointed as Brand Director of AdidasIndia
i. Damyant Singh was on 8 February 2015 appointed as the BrandDirector of German sportswear brand Adidas Group, India. Hesucceeds Tushar Goculdas who will now be the Brand Director-AdidasEmerging Markets.
ii. As Brand Director, Damyant Singh will be responsible todeliver a strategic roadmap to further sharpen and strengthen theAdidas brand in India.
iii. Prior to this new position, Damyant Singh was the Head ofCategory Marketing for Adidas in India. He became a part of Adidassports marketing team in 2004.
Current Affairs - 11th February 2015
1. NABARD announces Rs 1,14,927 crore credit plan forRajasthan
i. National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)today announced Rs 1,14,927 crore credit plan for agriculture inRajasthan for fiscal 2015-16, encompassing all 33 districts in thestate.
ii. The credit projections will grow by 39 per cent from Rs 82,534crore in the ongoing fiscal (2014-15) to Rs 1,14,927 crore in 2015-16for Rajasthan's agriculture and allied sectors.
iii. NABARD has identified infrastructure gaps in the state with155 projects worth Rs 3,020 crore, which could be financed under RIDFand other channels available with NABARD.
2. ICICI Bank launched India's first digital bank,Pockets
i. ICICI Bank, Indias largest private sector bank, hasannounced the launch of Pockets, Indias first digital bankfor the youth.
ii. Anyone, including those who are not customers of ICICI Bank,can download the e-wallet from Google Playstore, fund it from anybank account in the country and start transacting immediately.
iii. This wallet uses a virtual VISA card which enables the usersto transact on any website or mobile application in India.
3. US closed its embassy in Yemen
i. The State Department of the United States on 10 February 2015confirmed that it has closed its Embassy in Yemen and evacuated itsstaff due to the ongoing political instability and the uncertainsecurity situation.
ii. Yemen has been in crisis for months, with Houthi fightersbesieging the capital Sanaa and then taking control of the state.
iii. After years of crisis, Yemen conflicts grown into afull-blown civil war. The conflicts are of regional, political,tribal and sectarian rivals against each other.
iv. Yemen is home to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, one of themost active branches of the global Sunni Islamist group. Moreover,Yemen shares a long border with top global oil exporter Saudi Arabia.
v. The U.S. Embassy in Yemen is the third in an Arab country thathas closed since the turmoil of the Arab Spring began in December2010. The other two were in Damascus, Syria, which was closed in Feb2012, and Tripoli, Libya, which was closed in July 2014.
vi. The embassy in Yemen was operating with only a small portionof its usual diplomatic staff and had closed to the public for allbut emergency services in January 2015. It had been operating withreduced manpower since September 2014, when the State Departmentordered all nonessential personnel to leave the country.
4. National Games mascot in Limca Book of Records
i. National Games mascot Ammu, the Great Hornbill, hasimmortalised itself by finding a mention in the Limca Book ofRecords.
ii. The mascot found a place in the record books owing to a play,Kalikkunna Kuttikalkkayi Bharatham Kathirikkunnu (India AwaitsChildren Who Play) in which Ammu is featured.
iii. According to the Limca Books 2015 Special LiteratureEdition, it is a play about a mascot which had been staged in mostnumber of schools. The Great Indian Hornbill, had been staged in 147schools.
5. India presses for automatic exchange of taxinformation at G20 meet
i. India has called for expeditious implementation of theautomatic exchange of tax information saying it would help intracking illegal money stashed in foreign banks.
ii. Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha advocated "fulland fast implementation" of Automatic Exchange of Informationwithin the agreed time-frame.
iii. India called for strengthening the IMF through implementingthe 2010 quota and governance reforms and creating an environment formultilateral swaps to overcome such negative impact.
iv. The quota reform, if implemented, will increase India's votingshare in IMF from the current 2.44 per cent to 2.75 per cent,following which the country will become the eighth largest quotaholder at the IMF, up from the 11th position.
6. Israel offers expertise to clean up Ganga
i. In an effort to deepen economic cooperation, Israel has offeredits expertise and technological capabilities to India in itsambitious drive to clean up the Ganga.
ii. A preliminary offer on this was made by Amit Lang,Director-General of the Ministry of Economy, Israel led delegation to continue talks on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA),whichboth countries had initiated in 2007, as well as expand cooperationin the field of water management, waste water treatment.
iii. Israel has made significant technological advancement indesalination and drip irrigation with the worlds largestdesalination plants and recycles 90 per cent of water foragricultural needs.
7. NABARD announces Rs 1,14,927 crore credit plan forRajasthan
i. National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)today announced Rs 1,14,927 crore credit plan for agriculture inRajasthan for fiscal 2015-16, encompassing all 33 districts in thestate.
ii. The credit projections will grow by 39 per cent from Rs 82,534crore in the ongoing fiscal (2014-15) to Rs 1,14,927 crore in 2015-16for Rajasthan's agriculture and allied sectors.
iii. NABARD has identified infrastructure gaps in the state with155 projects worth Rs 3,020 crore, which could be financed under RIDFand other channels available with NABARD.
Current Affairs - 12th February 2015
1. Apple Inc. becomes first company worth over$700 bn in global corporate history
i. US technology giant Apple Inc. became the first company toreach a market value of $700 billion.
ii. Earlier in January 2015, Apple Inc had recorded highestquarterly profit of 18 billion US dollar in corporate historyworldwide after the company sold 74.5 million iPhones in quarterending December 2014.
iii. With its $710 billion market value Apple is far ahead fromthe number two company, oil giant Exxon Mobil, which is worth around$382 billion in terms of market value.
2. Aditya Birla Chemicals to merge with GrasimIndustries
i. The Board of Directors of Grasim Industries Limited on 11February 2015 approved the proposed merger of Aditya Birla Chemicals(India) Limited (ABCIL) with Grasim.
ii. Under the merger proposal, the shareholders of ABCIL will getone share of 10 rupees each of Grasim for every 16 shares of 10rupees each, they hold in ABCIL. 14.62 lakh new shares will be issuedby Grasim, which will help the company to increase its share capitalto 93.31 crore rupees.
iii. The proposed scheme is subject to approval of the high courtand regulatory authorities.
Grasim is a leading manufacturerof caustic soda in India, with an installed capacity of 452500 tonnesper annum. Its plants are located at Nagda in Madhya Pradesh and atVilayat in Gujarat. Caustic soda is inter-alia used as an input inthe manufacturing of Viscose Staple Fibre (VSF),a major business ofGrasim. Grasim is an Aditya Birla Group company.
Aditya Birla Chemicals (India) Limited (ABCIL):
AdityaBirla Chemicals is a leading manufacturer of bulk and specialtychemicals and viscose filament yarn. The business is spread acrossmultiple manufacturing locations in four countries namely India,Thailand, Germany and China.
3. SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched fromFlorida
i. Unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket has been successfully launchedfrom Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida on its third attempt.
ii. It was carrying unmanned Deep Space Climate Observatorysatellite. This satellite will be used by the US National Oceanic andAtmospheric Administration (NOAA) to monitor the Sun.
iii. It will particularly monitor changes in solar wind andprovide warnings on hazardous outbursts from our star to warnforecasters. In turn it will help forecasters to predict changeswhich affect satellites, power grids and communication systems.
4. Himachal Pradesh Government launched Crime andCriminal Tracking Network System Project
i. Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on 11 February2015 launched the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS)project in the state.
ii. This 19 crore rupees project will be completely funded by theUnion Government. It will help in connecting 177 sites and 114 policestations in the state besides 13 district headquarters, 26sub-divisional police officers and three police ranges along withstate crime records bureau.
iii. It will also connect CID crime branch, 14 control rooms,finger print bureau, forensic science laboratory and 16 CCTNStraining centers in the state.
5. ICC World Cup 2015 launched with quirky openingceremony
i. The 11th edition of the ICC World Cup was officially declaredopen after a two-act opening ceremony in Christchurch and Melbourne.The event was a wonderful mix of culture and traditions of the hostnations Australia and New Zealand.
ii. The first match of the tournament will take place at theHagley Oval between New Zealand and Sri Lanka on February 14.
iii. International Cricket Council chief executive DavidRichardson unveiled the Cricket World Cup trophy, saying it was asymbol of the ICC's values of excellence, integrity and inclusion.
6. CSK Ltd. to be owned by one lakh shareholders
i. The Board of India Cements Ltd. (ICL) has cleared the decks fortransfer of IPL franchise rights of Chennai Super Kings to its whollyowned subsidiary, Chennai Super Kings Cricket Ltd.
ii. For the first time in the history of the Indian Premier League(IPL),a cricket franchise will be owned by the shareholders of acompany.
iii. The move will help shareholders of India Cements exercisetheir choice to own only the cement business or the cricketfranchise or both.
7. Indian Navy conducted HADR Exercise in LakshadweepIslands
i. Indian Navy had conducted Humanitarian Assistance and Disasterrelief (HADR) exercise in Lakshadweep Islands (Kavaratti, Aggatti,Kalpeni and Androth).
ii. HADR was Indian Navys large scale exercise to test itsreadiness for handling a tsunami like disasters in order to provideimmediate succour and relief to the affected people.
iii. It involved participation of more than 20 Indian Naval Shipsfrom the Western and Eastern Fleet along with various aircraft of theIndian Navy.
Current Affairs - 13th February 2015
1. World Radio Day observed on 13 February
i. World Radio Day was observed globally on 13 February 2015 withthe theme Youth and Radio.
ii. The day is a global celebration of radio as a forum forentertainment and information, as a bridge of communication forremote communities and its role in empowering people.
iii. United Nations Educational, Scientific, and CulturalOrganization (UNESCO) annually celebrate the World Radio Day byplanning activities with broadcasters, organizations and communitiesaround the world.
iv. UNESCO at its 36th General Assembly on 3 November 2011proclaimed 13 February as World Radio Day. The first World Radio Daywas officially celebrated in 2012.
2. ICC Cricket World Cup started with ceremonies inMelbourne and Christchurch
i. The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 started on 12 February 2015 withinaugural ceremonies held in Melbourne, Australia and Christchurch,New Zealand.
ii. During the inaugural ceremony, the Cricket World Cup trophywas unveiled by International Cricket Council chief executive DavidRichardson saying it was a symbol of the ICC's values of excellence,integrity and inclusion.
iii. Australia and New Zealand are co-hosting 2015 Cricket WorldCup that will see 49 matches spread over 43 days.
3. Ashton Carter confirmed as new US defence secretary
i. Ashton Carter, a close confidant of President Barack Obama anda strong proponent of Indo-US strategic ties, has been confirmed bythe Senate as the next American defence secretary.
ii. He was confirmed to the top Pentagon post with an overwhelming93 to five votes.
iii. Mr. Carter will be the 25th U.S. Secretary of Defence,replacing Chuck Hagel who quit from the post in November last amidreports of differences with Mr. Obama.
4. India ranks 136 in World Press Freedom Index (WPFI)2015
i. In recently released World Press Freedom Index (WPFI),Indiawas placed at 136th rank out of 180 nations surveyed worldwide interms of press freedom in 2015.
ii. In WPFI 2015, India has shown improvement from its rank of 140in 2014. However, Indias absolute score has declined from 40.34 to40.49.
iii. Top 10 countries: Finland (1st),Norway (2nd),Denmark (3rd),Netherlands (4th),Sweden (5th),New Zealand (6th),Austria (7th),Canada (8th),Jamaica (9th),Estonia (10th).
5. Odisha? Chief Information Commissioner resigned
i. The Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) of Odisha? TarunKanti Mishra resigned from his position. He was appointed as theChief Information Commissioner of Odisha by replacing D.N. Padhee.
ii. A 1975-batch IAS officer, Mishra is also is associated withseveral cultural activities besides discharging his duties andresponsibilities as an administrative officer.
iii. Mishra has also written several books and compilation ofshort stories. He was also awarded with the prestigious OdishaSahitya Academy Award for his significant contribution to Odialiterature.
6. Indian-origin scientist Gurpreet Singh wins NationalScience Foundation CAREER award
i. An Indian-origin scientist Gurpreet Singh has won prestigious$500,000 National Science Foundation CAREER award.
ii. He has won this award for his research on Scalableliquid exfoliation processing of ultrathin two-dimensional metaldichalcogenides nanosheets for energy storage devices.
iii. This CAREER award will help him to study large-scaleproduction of ultrathin sheets, a few atoms thick and severalmicrometres wide using transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs).
--> Gurpreet Singh is assistant professor of mechanical andnuclear engineering at Kansas State University.
--> NationalScience Foundation CAREER award is given by US National ScienceFoundation as part of Faculty Early Career DevelopmentProgramme.
Current Affairs - 14th February 2015
1. Chhetri and Devi presented with 2014 AIFF Player ofthe Year award
i. Indian mens football team captain Sunil Chhetri and strikerBala Devi on 13 February 2015 were awarded with the All IndiaFootball Federations (AIFF) 2014 Player of the Year trophy in men andwomen category, respectively.
Others to be honoured withAIFF awards, include
2014 Player of the year (Men): Sunil Chhetri
2014Player of the year (Women): Bala Devi
2014 Emerging Player ofthe Year: Sandesh Jhingan
2014 Best Referee: Santosh Kumar
2014 Best Assistant Referee: Sappam Kennedy
Best GrassrootsProgramme: Western India Football Association (WIFA)
Long TimeContribution to Indian Football: Oil and Natural Gas Corporation(ONGC)
2. Arvind Kejriwal sworn in as Delhi Chief Minister
i. AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal took oath as the eighth ChiefMinister of Delhi, promising to make Delhi the first corruption-freestate and act against communal elements.
ii. Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung administered the oath ofoffice and secrecy to Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and five otherministers at the historic Ramlila Ground.
iii. Asim Ahmed Khan, Sandeep Kumar, Satyendar Jain, Gopal Rai andJitender Singh Tomar also took oath of office and secrecy at theceremony.
iv. The AAP had won 67 of the 70 seats in Delhi decimatingCongress and leaving only three seats for the BJP.
3. India successfully test-fires BrahMos supersoniccruise missile
i. India on Saturday successfully test-fired the supersonicBrahMos cruise missile from INS Kolkata, the navy's most powerful andnewest warship, in Arabian sea.
ii. The Indian Navy commissioned INS Kolkata on August 16, 2014.This is the first ship of this class, with two more in the pipeline.
iii. The Universal Vertical Launcher Module (UVLM) being used inthese has a unique design, developed and patented by BrahMosAerospace.
iv. The BrahMos has a range of 290km and can carry a conventionalwarhead of up to 300 kg. It has a top speed of Mach 2.8, which isabout three times faster than the US subsonic Tomahawk cruisemissile.
4. Modis Make in India gets GE boost
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday inaugurated Americanmultinational General Electric's (GE) first manufacturing plant inIndia.
ii. The plant will manufacture a range of diversified products forsectors such as energy, aviation, oil & gas transportation.
iii. To support Mr. Modis Make in India initiative, GEVice-Chairman John Rice announced the second phase expansion of thisunit by saying that it was a testimony of GE's commitment for theIndian market.
iv. In the first phase of the operation, the facility is focusedon products and solutions for the power generation, oil & gas andtransportation industries.
v. In the phase II, the site will include manufacturing capabilityfor new generation aviation engine components and sub assembly forthe latest rail locomotives and diesel engines.
5. Tintu Luka won gold in 800m in 35th National Games
i. Middle-distance runner Tintu Lukka on 13 february 2015 won goldin 800m in 35th National Games.
ii. In 800m race, she broke the 18 years old record of Rosa Kuttyof Kerala. Tintu finished the distance with a time of 2:01.86sec to win gold. The previous record of 2:03.08 sec was in the nameof Rosa Kutty of Karnataka in 2007.
iii. Gomathi Marimuthu of Tamil Nadu finished second with 2:05.09sec to win silver and Kerala Markose won bronze with a timing of2:06.37 sec.
iv. Tintu is a Silver Medal winner in the 800m at the Asian Games2014. A Gold medal winner in 4 X 400 m relay in the 2014 IncheonAsiad.
6. ADP session ends, draft to fight climate changeadopted
i. The six-day session of ADP, United Nations subsidiary bodyon climate change, has concluded here with nearly 200 membercountries adopting the 86-page text as the basis for negotiation onreaching a climate agreement in Paris scheduled to be held inDecember.
ii. During the session, Indias demand for funds from the GreenClimate Fund (GEF) to meet the full cost of IPR ofenvironmentally-sound technologies to address climate change wassupported by many other groups including the Like Minded DevelopingCountries (LMDC) and the Africa Group.
iii. Apart from technology transfer and Intellectual PropertyRights (IPR),finance and loss and damage issues were stronglycontested during the week.
7. New Zealand beats Sri Lanka in the world cup opener
i. New Zealand recorded an authoritative 98-run win over Sri Lankain the World Cups opening game Saturday.
ii. Brendon McCullum and Corey Anderson producing the destructivebatting the cohosts hope will carry them to the title.
iii. While Australia beat England by 111 runs in the second matchof the day.
iv. Aaron Finch scored a brilliant ton and was ably supported witha quick fire half century by Glen Maxwell at the end.
Current Affairs - 15th & 16th February 2015
1. Dr. Tessy Thomas, Geeta Varadan jointly named forNayudamma Award 2014
i. Women scientists Dr. Tessy Thomas and Geeta Varadan on 15February 2015 were jointly named for Dr. Y Nayudamma Memorial Award2014. They have been chosen for the award for their outstandingperformance in the field of science and technology.
ii. Ramon Magsaysay award recipient Prof. Shanta Sinha willpresent the award to Dr. Tessy Thomas and Geeta Varadan at a specialfunction to be held at Tenali in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh on1 March 2015.
iii. This is the first time in the history of the trust that twoeminent women scientists are being concurrently honoured. Therecipients will deliver the 23rd Dr. Y Nayudamma Memorial Lectures onthe themes Make in India-Defence Needs and Initiatives and RemoteSensing Technology for National Needs respectively.
iv. Dr. Tessy Thomas is the Drector, Advanced Systems Laboratoryof the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO),Hyderabad and Geeta Varadan is the Project Director (Mission) of AgniV, and Director, Advanced Data Processing Research Institute at ISRO.
v. World renowned astrophysics scientist and cosmologist JayantVishnu Narlikar was conferred with the Nayudamma Award 2013.
vi. Previous winners of Nayudamma Award are Dr. Lalji Singh Dr.Rajendra Pawar, Dr. V Shanta, Dr. VK Saraswat, Dr. T Ramasami, Dr. ASivathanu Pillai, Dr. Nori Dattatreyudu, Dr. Sam Pitroda, Dr. KotaHarinarayana, Dr. VK Atre, Dr. R Chidambaram, Dr. RA Mashelkar, Prof.JS Bajaj, Dr. K Kasturirangan, Dr. Verghese Kurien, Dr. SZ Qasim andDr. MS Swaminathan.
About the Nayudamma Award
The award was established in 1986 in memory of distinguishedchemical scientist, leather technologist and former Director-Generalof CSIR Yelavarthy Nayudamma. It is conferred annually on persons whohave made important contributions to the development of science andtechnology in the country.
2. Modi, Sirisena hold joint press conference
i. With a promise for a new beginning in India-Sri Lankaties, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena arrived in New Delhi.
ii. While investment will be a key theme, it is learnt that theComprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA),which New Delhihas been pushing for, did not figure in the round of discussions.
Agreements between Both countries
Agreement between Sri Lanka and India on Cooperation in thePeaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy.
Programme of CulturalCooperation between Sri Lanka and India for the years 2015 - 18.
MoU on the Establishment of Nalanda University. The MoU would enableSri Lanka to participate in the Nalanda University Project.
Work-Plan 2014-2015 under the MoU on Cooperation in the field ofAgriculture between India and Sri Lanka.
3. Vanaj 2015, the first National Tribal Festival
i. Vanaj 2015 is a weeklong National Tribal Festival. It was innews as it was inaugurated by the Union Minister of Tribal AffairsJual Oram on 13 February 2015 at the the Indira Gandhi NationalCenter for Arts (IGNCA),New Delhi.
ii. The weeklong festival will showcase the culture of the tribalpeople from across the country and will see several events andactivities like screening of documentary films like Lodha ASylvan Community and Prakriti Ki Santan Mising Tribe.
iii. It will also showcase case the rich diversity of Tribalculture, art, painting, music, dance, tribal medicine, tribal food,and a special attraction- tribal cuisine.
iv. The festival that will end on 18 February 2015 will be held atthree venues in Delhi and they are the Indira Gandhi National Centrefor the Arts, Baba Kharak Singh Marg and Central Park in ConnaughtPlace.
4. 35th National Games concluded in Thiruvananthapuram
i. 35th National Games concluded in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala on14 February 2015. On the final day of the Games on 13 February 2015,hosts Kerala won five Gold medals, five Silver medals and four Bronzemedals.
ii. The concluding ceremony of the 35th National Games was held atthe greenfield stadium at Kariavattom on the outskirts ofThiruvananthapuram.
iii. Kerala Governor Justice P Sathasivam was the chief guest onthe occasion. The concluding ceremony saw a cultural programme titledRivers of India, with the theme protecting the rivers as highlight.
iv. In all the 35th National Games saw disbursal of 1334 medalscomprising of 405 Gold, 406 Silver and 523 Bronze medalsrespectively.
v. Services by topping the medal tally set the record of toppingthe National Games for the third consecutive time. It won the RajaBhalendra Singh Trophy.
vi. The 36th National Games will be hosted by Goa in 2016.
5. Virat Kohli became first Indian cricketer to scorecentury against Pakistan in World Cup
i. Virat Kohli on 15 February 2015 became the first Indiancricketer to score a century against Pakistan in the ICC World Cup.
ii. He scored 107-run off 126-balls at the Adelaide Oval,Australia.
iii. India who scored 300 for seven after electing to bat first inthe 2015 World Cup opener defeated Pakistan with 76-run.
iv. The highest score by an Indian batsman before this match wasSachin Tendulkars 98 in Centurion, South Africa in 2003.
v. With this century, Kohli also became the quickest batsman toscore 22 centuries in ODIs. He had taken just 143 innings to reachthe mark. Previous record of quickest 22 centuries was held by Sachinwho took 206 innings to score it.
vi. Including Kohli, only five batsmen have hit 22 or morecenturies in ODIs and they are Sachin Tendulkar (49 centuries),RickyPonting (30 centuries),Sanath Jayasuriya (28 centuries),and SauravGanguly (22 centuries).
6. BS Ispat wins coal mine in Maharashtra
i. On the third day of the coal auction, BS Ispat won a mine inMaharashtra. BS Ispat gets Marki Mangli 3 at (Rs.) 918 (per tonne).
ii. Three mines on the offer in Mondays auction are MandlaNorth (MP),Marki Mangli III (Maharashtra) and Trans Damodar (WestBengal).
iii. After the Supreme Court cancelled allocation of 204 mines inSeptember, the government decided to auction the blocks. It isputting up 19 blocks on sale in the first tranche.
7. Balasubramaniam Venkataramani appointed as MD &CEO of Multi Commodity Exchange
i. Balasubramaniam Venkataramani was on 13 February 2015 appointedas Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MultiCommodity Exchange (MCX) Limited. He succeeded Manoj Vaish.
ii. Prior to this appointment, Venkataramani was Chief BusinessOfficer of Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).
iii. The post of MD & CEO of MCX was lying vacant since May2014 when the then MD & CEO Manoj Vaish resigned. Since then,Joint Managing Director of MCX PK Singhal was looking after theday-to-day operations of the exchange.
Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) Limited
The MCX is Indias first listed commodity futures exchangefirm that facilitates online trading, clearance and settlement ofcommodity futures transactions.
MCX began functioning inNovember 2003 and operates within the regulatory framework of theForward Contracts Regulation Act, 1952 (FCRA, 1952).
MCXoffers futures trading in bullion, ferrous and non-ferrous metals,energy, and a number of agricultural commodities including cardamom,potatoes, palm oil and others.
Current Affairs - 17th February 2015
1. Indian-origin scientist Professor SrikanthJagabathula received CAREER Award
i. Indian-origin scientist Professor Srikanth Jagabathula receivedFaculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) given by the NationalScience Foundation (NSF) of the United States (US).
ii. He received the award for developing data-driven modelling andlearning techniques to improve the accuracy of operational decisionmaking.
iii. As part of this prestigious award, he will receive a total of500000 US dollar over the next five years to further his research indeveloping data-driven modelling and learning techniques with thegoal of improving the accuracy of operational decision making.
2. Union Government imposes Anti-dumping duty ongraphite electrodes imports
i. Union Ministry of Finance has imposed an anti-dumping duty onimports of graphite electrodes used in steel plants for five years.The imposed duty ranges between $278.19 and $922.03 per tonne.
ii. The decision was taken following the recommendations of theDirectorate General of Anti-Dumping Duty (DGAD).
It is duty imposed by government on imported products whichhave prices less than their normal values or domestic price.
Usually countries initiate anti-dumping probes to check if domesticindustry has been hurt because of a surge in below-cost imports.
Anti-Dumping Duty is imposed under the multilateral WTO regime andvary from product to product and from country to country.
InIndia, anti-dumping duty is recommended by the Union Ministry ofCommerce, while the Union Finance Ministry imposes it.
3. Faisal Siddiqui appointed as South Asia President ofHTC
i. Faisal Siddiqui was on 16 February 2015 appointed as South AsiaPresident of High-Tech Computer Corporation (HTC),Taiwanesesmartphone maker. He succeeded Jack Yang, who left the company citingpersonal reasons.
ii. With this, Siddiqui will lead the company in the region whichincludes India, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Indonesia,Malaysia, Thailand and other emerging markets in Asia.
iii. Currently, Faisal Siddiqui is Vice President and Head of HTCIndia. Siddiqui will continue to retain this position along with thenew one.
iv. Faisal Siddiqui has more than 18 years of experience in theindustry and has been leading HTCs India operations since 2011.
High-Tech Computer Corporation (HTC)
Founded in 1997 by Cher Wang, H.T. Cho, and Peter Chou, HTC isa Taiwanese manufacturer of smartphones and tablets headquartered inNew Taipei City, Taiwan.
HTC built its reputation as thedesigner and manufacturer of most popular OEM-branded mobile deviceson the market.
After initially making smartphones based mostlyon Windows Mobile, HTC expanded its focus in 2009 to devices based onthe Android and Windows Phone.
4. Spectrum auction: Eight telcos apply, SSTL opts out
i. Reliance Jio announced its participation in the auctiontogether with four other operators, whose licences are up for renewalare Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular and RelianceCommunications.
ii. Crisil estimates that operators will shell out over Rs 90,000crore to win spectrum, pointing out that nearly half the Rs 1,20,000crore of annual revenues is at stake for the large operators.
iii. Although the earnest money deposited by the company was notknown, it appears Reliance will bid for all bands of spectrum 800, 900, 1800 and 2100 MHz, focusing more on the 800 MHz band.
5. Saurav Ganguly awarded Honorary Life Membership ofMarylebone Cricket Club (MCC)
i. Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) on 13 February 2015 awardedHonorary Life Membership to the former Indian cricket captain SauravGanguly. He has been a member of the MCC World Cricket committeesince July 2014.
ii. Ganguly, affectionately called Dada and the Prince ofCalcutta, retired from all forms of international cricket in 2012after playing for India for 16 long years.
iii. He debuted for India in 1996 at the Lords against Englandand went on to score 131-run in first innings of his test debut. Theknock at the Lords helped him to etch his name on the famousLords Honours Board in process.
iv. His captaincy during Nat-West series Final at Lords in 2002,in which India defeated England to win the series, is regarded as thegreatest ever match played at Lords.
6. AAP to launch 'Jai Kisan Abhiyan' in Haryana
i. senior Aam Aadmi Party leader Yogendra Yadav on Tuesdaydeclared that a Jai Kisan Abhiyan would be launched across theState from February 21.
ii. The AAP national spokesperson said the four things which haveimpacted the farmers of Haryana are shortage of urea, their notgetting the promised minimum support price for their produce, changesbrought about in the Land Acquisition Bill through an ordinance andthe Haryana Governments lowering of the acquisition rates througha notification issued on November 4.
7. Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan: Government builds 7.1 lakhtoilets in January
i. Construction of toilets under Prime Minister Narendra Modi'sdream project, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, has gained momentum with 7.1lakh individual household toilets being built in January.
ii. According to data, a total of 31.83 lakh toilets have beenbuilt between April 2014 and January 2015, which is 25.4% of thetarget for 2014-15.
iii. The programme entails an investment of nearly Rs 2 lakh croreover the next five years to construct 12 crore toilets in India.
iv. In the 12th Five-Year Plan, an outlay of Rs 37,159 crore wasset aside for rural sanitation under the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan,launched by the previous UPA government.
Current Affairs - 18th February 2015
1. Croatias first female president KolindaGrabar-Kitarovic sworn-in
i. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic sworn in as the President of Croatia.She is Croatias first female President and overall fourthPresident since Croatia gained independence from Yugoslavia in 1991.
ii. Kitarovic had secured 50.5% of the votes while her predecessorIvo Josipovic had secured 49.5% votes.
About Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
--> Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic is member of Croatiaspolitically conservative Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party, whichhad played in the countrys independence.
--> She was also the first woman appointed as AssistantSecretary General for Public Diplomacy at NATO and was in office from2011 until 2014.
--> Prior to this Kitarovic was also the Minister of ForeignAffairs of Croatia from 2005 to 2008 and Croatias Ambassador tothe United States from 2008 to 2011.
2. 5th India-Myanmar Joint Trade Committee meet held inNay Pyi Taw
i. The 5th India-Myanmar Joint Trade Committee (JTC) meeting washeld in Nay Pyi Taw in Myanmar on 17 February 2015.
ii. Indias Minister of State for Commerce & Industry(Independent Charge) Nirmala Sitharaman co-chaired the meet withMyanmars Union Minister of Commerce U Win Myint.
iii. During the meeting, the two nations committed towardsstrengthening mutually beneficial relationship especially in field ofpromoting two-ways investment, infrastructure developmentparticularly to promote border trade, connectivity, agriculture,energy, skill and entrepreneurial development, pharmaceutical andpeople-to-people contacts.
3. China proposes triangular partnership with India,Sri Lanka
i. Beijing has proposed at triangular partnership with India andSri Lanka, ahead of a month-end visit to Beijing of the Sri LankanForeign Minister Mangala Samaraweera.
ii. Chinas new strategic construct of inclusive ties with Indiaand Sri Lanka follows its advocacy of the 21st century Maritime SilkRoad (MSR),where India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan arevisualized as partner countries in South Asia.
iii. India is connected to the MSR through theBangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor.
4. Jawed Usmani sworn-in as Chief InformationCommissioner of Uttar Pradesh
i. Former IAS officer Jawed Usmani was on 17 February 2015sworn-in as Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) of Uttar Pradesh(UP). The oath of office and secrecy was administered by UP GovernorRam Naik at Raj Bhavan, Lucknow.
ii. He was sworn-in to the office after he took voluntaryretirement as Chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Board of Revenue.
iii. Jawed Usmani was appointed as UP Chief InformationCommissioner in November 2014. But during this appointment, he wasthe Chairman of Uttar Pradesh Board of Revenue which was not inconformity with the Right to Information Act, 2005.
iv. According to the Right to Information Act, 2005, any personcannot be appointed to this statutory post while he/she is ingovernment service.
v. Jawed Usmani is a 1978 batch Indian Administrative Service(IAS) officer and he had served as Secretary in Union Coal Ministryand also served as Joint Secretary to several Prime Ministersincluding HD Deve Gowda, IK Gujral, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and ManmohanSingh.
vi. In 2012, he had served as Chief Secretary in Uttar Pradesh.
5. Aero India 2015
i. The Air Force Station at Yelahanka in the IT city hosts the10th edition of the biennial five-day international edition of theaerospace and aviation exhibition.
ii. the exhibition will also see participation of over 600companies, including 295 Indian and 328 foreign companies. The USwith 64 companies will have the biggest presence at the event.
iii. France will be the second biggest participant with 58companies, followed by the UK with 48, Russia with 41, Israel with 25and Germany with 17.
iv. foreign military aircraft on display will be two F-15CEagles, two F-16C Fighting Falcons, one Boeing KC-135 tanker, oneC-17 Globemaster III and a P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillanceaircraft. Three Rafale fighters of French giant Dassault.
6. Snapdeal acquires Exclusively to create Indiasfirst online luxury mall
i. Snapdeal.com today announced the acquisition of Exclusively.com(formerly Exclusively.in),the definitive online destination forpremium and luxury fashion.
ii. Exclusively will complement Snapdeals existing ecosystemand will provide a consolidated offering for the luxury and lifestyleshopper, making it Indias first online luxury mall.
iii. Luxury products and services is a $14 bn market in India andit is growing at 30 per cent YoY, according to a recent KPMG-ASSOCHAMreport.
7. Mashable partners India.com for local website
i. US news portal Mashable and India.com have partnered to launchMashable India, which will have a local editorial team to generateoriginal domestic content.
ii. Mashable claims to have 42 million unique visitors a month and21 million social media followers.
iii. India.com is a joint venture of Penske Media Corp. (PMC) andZee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd.
Current Affairs - 19th February 2015
1. Rashad Hussain appointed as US Special Envoy andCoordinator
i. Indian-American Rashad Hussain has been appointed as theSpecial Envoy and Coordinator for Strategic Counter-terrorismCommunications.
ii. According to the state department of US, the appointment willexpand the global engagement and partnerships of the US in order tocounter violent extremism.
iii. Hussain is currently the US special envoy to Organization forIslamic Countries (OIC).
iv. In January 2009, Hussain was appointed as the Deputy AssociateCounsel to US President Barack Obama, whose role was to focus onnational security, new media and science and technology issues.
v. In January 2013, he received the Distinguished Honor Award foroutstanding service to the agencies of the US Government which hasmarked national or international significance.
2. Bharti Airtel Ltd tied-up with UNICEF to provideeducation content in 17 African countries
i. Indian telecom major Bharti Airtel Limited on 18 February 2015tied-up with United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) to providehealth, education and youth-focused content to its customers in 17African countries.
ii. In this regard, Bharti Airtel limited and UNICEF signed apartnership agreement. Their partnership is aimed at improvingAfrican populations access to health and education-relatedinformation from various innovative projects supported by UNICEF.
iii. The partnership extends across 17 countries in Africaincluding Kenya, Malawi, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania,Uganda, Zambia, Burkina Faso, Chad, DRC, Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Niger,Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
3. Nuclear capable Prithvi-II missile test-fired
i. India on Thursday successfully test-fired nuclear weaponscapable, surface-to-surface Prithvi-II missile for a shortened rangeof 250 km as against its full range of 350 km from Chandipur inBalasore district, Odisha.
ii. The indigenously-developed missile was launched by personnelof Strategic Forces Command (SFC) from a road mobile launcher ataround 9.15 am.
iii. Carrying a dummy payload weighing 500 kg, the missile met allthe mission objectives. The entire mission was carried out by SFCpersonnel as part of regular training.
iv. Prithvi-II is the first missile to have been developed by theDRDO under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme(IGMDP) and has been inducted into the SFC in 2003.
4. Bihar announces 35% reservation for women innon-gazetted govt jobs
i. Bihar government has announced 35% reservation for women innon-gazetted government jobs in group C and D grade.
ii. This decision was taken at state cabinet meeting presided byChief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi.
The cabinet meeting also took following decisions
--> Hiked Member of Legislative Assembly Development Fund(MLADF) from the present Rs. 2 crore in a year to Rs. 3 crore fromthe next financial year.
--> Proposal to pay 13 months salaryin place of 12 months to policemen upto inspector rank.
-->Hiked the daily wage of home guards to Rs. 400 from Rs. 300 atpresent.
--> Enhance the payment of agricultural advisors toRs. 7,000 per month from Rs. 6,000 per month at present.
5. Hindalco bags Gare Palma coal mine
i. Aditya Birla group firm Hindalco Industries has won the GarePalma IV/5 mine in Chhattisgarh by outbidding companies like BALCO,Sesa Sterlite, Ambuja Cements, which were also vying for the sameblock.
ii. Gare Palma IV/5 mine was won by Hindaco Industries at Rs 3,502per tonne.
iii. States, including Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal,are set to get over Rs 50,000 crore from the coal blocks sold in theongoing auction.
iv. The government is auctioning the coal blocks after the SupremeCourt cancelled allocation of 204 mines in September last year. Ithas put 19 mines on block in the first tranche.
6. Kalyani Group announces joint venture with RafaelDefence System
i. The Kalyani Group has announced a joint venture with RafaelAdvanced Defence System of Israel. This joint venture company will bebased in India.
ii. The initiative is in line with the governments Make inIndia policy and will enable the development and production ofhigh-end technology in the country, said the company.
iii. The joint venture will be a 51:49 partnership, with KalyaniGroup holding 51 per cent stake as per the new FDI norms. Recently,the government had raised the FDI cap in defence to 49 per cent.
iv. The Kalyani Group claimed the joint venture will be among thefirst such ventures under the new FDI limits.
Current Affairs - 20th February 2015
1. Manjhi quits ahead of floor test, Nitish to aworn inas CM
i. Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi resigned ahead of a trustvote in the State Assembly.
ii. Hours ahead of the trust vote, Manjhi submitted hisresignation to Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi.
iii. Nitish Kumar appologized to the people of Bihar on hisprevious decision to leave the post of the choef minister of Bihar.
iv. Nitish Kumar will sworn in as the CM of Bihar on 22nd Februaryin Patna.
2. Shanghvi, The richest Indian
i. 59-year old Gujarat born Shanghvi, by virtue of his over 63%holding in three group companies Sun Pharma, Sun Pharma AdvancedResearch and Ranbaxy Labs is worth about Rs 1.46 lakh crore($23.42 billion at an exchange rate of 62.34 to the dollar).
ii. In comparison Mukesh Ambani holds only 45% holdings in his twocompanies RIL and Reliance industries Infrastructure which isworth only Rs 1.32 lakh crore ($21.2 billion).
iii. If the 23% stake in the wind energy major Suzlon thatShanghvi and his family is in the process of acquiring is addedthen his wealth would almost come close to Rs 1.48 lakh crore ($23.7billion).
iv. if the global indexes are to be noted then according toBloomberg Billionaire Index Mukesh Ambani is still the richest Indian(33rd globally) with a net worth of $21.9 billion and Shanghvi standsat the second position (39th globally) with a net worth of $19.7billion.
3. Rs 50k-cr naval project gets Cabinet nod
i. The Cabinet Committee on Security on Tuesday sanctioned thecountry's biggest naval project, the construction of seven stealthfrigates for Rs 45,381 crore.
ii. Mazagon Dock Ltd (MDL),Mumbai , will build four of these,while Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, Kolkata (GRSE),.
iii. This project, dubbed Project 17A, follows on from the earlierProject 17, in which MDL built three 5,600-tonne frigates: INSShivalik, Satpura and Sahyadri.
iv. The Project 17A frigates, while superficially similar to thosebuild under Project 17, will pack significantly more punch with moreadvanced weaponry. The new vessels will be fitted with BrahMos cruisemissile for land attack, and the new Indo-Israeli Long RangeSurface-to-Air Missile (LR-SAM) that can shoot down incominganti-ship missiles.
4. PM Modi launches Soil Health Card scheme targeting14 crore farmers
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched a SoilHealth Card scheme, under which the Centre plans to target over 14crore farmers in the next three years to check the excess use offertilisers.
ii. The card, to be issued after testing soil, would help farmerssave up to Rs 50,000 in 3 acres of land.
iii. Niti Aayog and the states have been asked to constitutehigh-powered expert committees on agriculture to boost farm growth.
5. Telangana woos aerospace majors to invest in SEZnear Hyderabad
i. A day after Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidumade a strong pitch for investment from aerospace and defence majorsat Aero India.
ii. The Hyderabad Aerospace SEZ is the first exclusive park foraerospace companies in the country.
iii. Under the new policy all mega projects (with investment of Rs200 crore) will get clearance in 15 days.
6. Samsung acquired US-based mobile wallet startupLoopPay
i. Samsung Electronics Co on 19 February 2015 acquired US-basedmobile wallet startup LoopPay. The acquisition is aimed at launchinga smartphone payments service to compete with Apple Pay of Apple Inc.
ii. Samsung had also invested in LoopPay, along with Visa Inc andSynchrony Financial, before its acquisition.
iii. LoopPay's technology is different from Apple Pay as it worksoff existing magnetic-stripe card readers at checkout, changing theminto contactless receivers. About 90 percent of checkout countersalready support magnetic swiping.
iv. On the other hand, Apple Pay allows iPhone users to pay at thetap of a button. Moreover, more than 2000 banks now support it andthe US government will accept Apple Pay by the end of year 2015.
Current Affairs - 21st February 2015
1. In a first, women join Sarang team
i. For the first time, two women are part of the Sarang team ofthe Indian Air Force, a show-stopping helicopter-formation team thatis performing at the Aero India show.
ii. In a major policy shift in 2010, the IAF allowed women pilotsto fly twin-engine medium to heavy-lift helicopters.
iii. Deepika Misra is the Squadron Leader and Sandeep Singh anengineering officer, is the Flight Lieutenant.
2. India signs loan agreement with ADB to boost powergeneration capacity in Assam
i. India has signed loan agreement with Asian Development Bank(ADB) for 50 Million dollars to boost power generation capacity inAssam.
ii. The loan agreement was signed for the second Assam powersector investment programme.
iii. This programme aims to build up the capacity of powergeneration and distribution systems in state to meet the growingenergy demand.
iv. This programme is expected to be completed by 31 December2018.
3. Maheshwar Sahu appointed as Independent Director onboard of RIL
i. Maheshwar Sahu was on 20 February 2015 appointed as anIndependent Director on the board of Mukesh Ambani led RelianceIndustries Limited (RIL). He is a retired IAS officer.
ii. With this appointment, Sahu joins RIL as one of the eightindependent directors on its 14-member board.
iii. Sahu is famously known as the man behind the success of PrimeMinister Narendra Modis brainchild event- Vibrant Gujarat Summit.
iv. He holds more than 23 years of experience in civil service and15 years of practical experience in industries including that of morethan 5 years in Union Government.
v. Sahu was Additional Chief Secretary (Industries and Mining) inGujarat government. He has also served as Vice Chairman &Managing Director of Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation.
vi. He had also worked as Joint Secretary in Department of Telecomin Union Government and in Union Ministry of Environment & Forestas Joint Secretary.
4. Tapan Misra appointed as Chief of ISROs SpaceApplication Centre
i. Eminent scientist Tapan Misra has been appointed the Chief ofISROs Space Applications Centre (SAC),Ahmedabad Gujarat.
ii. He will succeed A S Kiran Kumar, who was appointed as theChairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in January2015.
iii. He was awarded Hari Om Ashram Prerit Vikram Sarabhai researchAward (2004),ISRO Merit award (2008),Sir JC Bose National TalentSearch (JBNSTS) Scholarship (1981).
iv. He has 2 granted patents, 6 pending patents, 5 copyrights andmany research papers to his credit.
5. State Bank of India to finance small tea growers inNE
i. State Bank of India(SBI) will provide finance totaling Rs 100crore benefiting 3,000 small tea growers in the North East.
ii. Finance will be provided to tea growers who have proper basicdocuments of their existing garden as per Tea Board of India norms.
iii. The benefit is not only for Assam, but also for new teagarden growing states such as Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland andMeghalaya which will also be covered under a similar scheme .
6. PDP, BJP finalise deal on J&K governmentformation
i. BJP and PDP agreed on forming the government in Jammu andKashmir, both the parties confirmed that the two have finalized thedeal.
ii. Sources said the status quo is likely to continue on Article370 and there will be no re-looking on the controverial Armed ForcesSpecial Powers Act as of now.
iii. PDP will have chief minister's post for full term and BJPdeputy chief minister's post which is expected to be given to stateBJP leader Nirmal Singh.
iv. PDP, has 28 MLAs and BJP has 25 MLAs after results for thestate Assembly were declared on December 23.
Current Affairs - 22nd & 23rd February 2015
1. Oscar Awards 2015
i. 87th Academy Award, popularly called Oscar Awards, wasconferred on 22 February 2015. The award ceremony was held at theDolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles.
ii. The Oscar Awards for the year 2015 were presented by theAcademy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) in 24 categories.
iii. The awards were produced by Neil Meron and Craig Zadan anddirected by Hamish Hamilton. Actor Neil Patrick Harris hosted theceremony for the first time.
The list of winners of 87th Academy Awards
--> Best Picture: Birdman
--> Best Director: AlejandroGonzalez Inarritu for Birdman
--> Best Actor: Eddie Redmaynefor The Theory of Everything
--> Best Actress: Julianne Moorefor Still Alice
--> Best Supporting Actor: JK Simmons forWhiplash
--> Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette forBoyhood
--> Achievement in Costume Design: Milena Canonero forThe Grand Budapest Hotel
--> Achievement in Makeup andHairstyling: Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier for The Grand BudapestHotel
--> Best Foreign Language Film: Ida directed by PawelPawlikowski
--> Best Live Action Short Film: The Phone Call
-->Best Documentary Short Subject: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
-->Original Screenplay: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone,Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo for Birdman
--> Achievement inSound Mixing: Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins, Thomas Curley for Whiplash
-->Achievement in Sound Editing: Alan Robert Murray Bub Asman forAmerican Sniper
--> Achievement in Visual Effects: Ian Hunter,Scott Fisher, Andrew Lockley and Paul Franklin for Interstellar
-->Best Animated Short Film: Feast directed by Patrick Osborne andKristina Reed
--> Best Animated Movie: Big Hero Six 6
-->Achievement in Production Design: Adam Stockhausen and Anna Pinnockfor The Grand Budapest Hotel
--> Achievement in Cinematograph:Emannuel Lubezki for Birdman
--> Achievement in Film Editing:Tom Cross for Whipalsh
--> Best Documentary Feature: CitizenFour directed by Laura Poitras
--> Best Original Song: JohnStephens and Lonnie Lynn for Glory
--> Best Original Score:Alexandre Desplat for The Grand Budapest Hotel
--> Best AdaptedScreenplay: Graham Moore for The Imitation Game
2. PM flags off Hazaribagh-Koderma DMU train
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday flagged offHazaribagh-Koderma DMU train after inaugurating Hazaribagh townrailway station.
ii. The project, which started 16 years ago, is the first stage ofthe Hazaribagh-Koderma-Barkakana-Ranchi railway line of theEast-Central Railway.
iii. The decision to set up the line was taken by the Atal BihariVajpayee government.
3. Environmental loss in Sundarbans worth Rs. 1290Crore: World Bank Report
i. As per World Banks recently released report BuildingResilience for Sustainable Development of the Sundarbans,environmental damage in the climate change-hit islands of Sundarbansis costing India Rs. 1,290 crore each year.
ii. This report was jointly prepared by World Bank incollaboration with the West Bengal government.
iii. Annually the cost of environmental damage associated withecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss is about Rs. 670 crore.While, the cost of health effects due to poor environment isestimated at Rs. 620 crore.
iv. Sundarbans is an archipelago of 54 islands and is home toabout 44 lakh people. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
4. Budget session of Parliament started
i. The budget session of Parliament began today with PresidentPranab Mukherjee's addressing joint session of both houses.
ii. Here are the highlights of what the President said:
--> My government has been of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas'
-->Within a span of 9 months my govt has embarked on a comprehensivestrategy for unleashing the economy
--> My govt has worked forthe welfare of the poor, the marginalized & the vulnerablesections of the society
--> Swachhta Abhiyan launched for aclean & open defecation free India by 2019
--> My govt hasattached highest impotrance to sustainable socio-economic growth ofrural India
5. Himachal Pradesh to present Indias firstpaperless budget
i. Himachal Pradesh is set to become the country's first state topresent a 'paperless' budget on March 11.
ii. Since the state already has the country's first greenassembly, all documents related to budget estimates would be madeavailable online and only around 10 budget copies would be printedfor record.
iii. Running the proceedings on e-Vidhan would save the stateexchequer Rs 15 crore annually.
6. India-Nepal joint military exercise - Surya Kiran8th
i. A combined military training exercise between India and Nepalbegins on Monday.
ii. The exercise called "Surya Kiran 8th" is beingconducted in the foothills of Salaj-handi in Nepal and is a part ofongoing defence cooperation India and Nepal.
iii. It will simulate a scenario, where both nations will worktogether in a counter insurgency and counter terrorism environment inmountainous and jungle terrain.
iv. The exercise will make both sides familiar with each other'sorganisational structure, weapons, equipment, confidence training andtactical drills.
7. Mohamed Nasheed arrested in Male under anti-terrorlaw
i. Former President of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed was arrested underanti-terrorism laws after a court said that he might flee the countryto avoid hearings on terrorism charges.
ii. He is facing criminal charges over his order to arrest aCriminal Court judge Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012.
iii. Nasheed is a leader of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) andwas the first democratically elected President of Maldives. Hestepped down as the President of Maldives in 2012.
8. Somdev Devvarman retained the Delhi Open title ofTennis
i. Somdev Devvarman on 22 February 2015 retained the Delhi Opentitle of tennis. The Delhi Open was held in New Delhi.
ii. He won the title by defeating Yuki Bhambri by 3-6, 6-4, 6-0.With this, he won the 100000 US dollar ATP Challenger Delhi Opentitle for second time in a row.
iii. The doubles title was won by Egor Gerasimov of Belarus andAlexander Kudryavtsev of Russia. They defeated Riccardo Ghedin ofItaly and Toshihide Matsui of Japan 6-7(5) 6-4 10-6 in the final.
9. Anirban Lahiri won Indian Open title of Golf
i. Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri on 22 February 2015 won the IndianOpen title at the Delhi Golf Club. To clinch the title, Lahiridefeated SSP Chowrasia on the first playoff hole.
ii. Chowrasia finished as runner-up for the fourth time in thetournament.
iii. Lahiri who started the final day seven strokes behindChowrasia and five shots off defending champion BangladeshsSiddikur Rahman found himself tied at seven-under with Chowrasia whobogeyed the 16th hole. Pars followed for both players and the tie atseven-under 277 led to a playoff.
iv. Earlier on 8 February 2015, Lahiri had won Malaysian Opentitle.
Current Affairs - 24th February 2015
1. Ram Niwas Goel elected as Speaker of DelhiLegislative Assembly
i. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Ram Niwas Goel was on 23 February2015 unanimously elected as the Speaker of the Delhi LegislativeAssembly. While AAP legislator Bandana Kumari was elected as theDeputy Speaker of the House.
ii. In the Delhi Assembly election 2015, Ram Niwas Goel waselected from Shahdara constituency of Delhi. He defeated BhartiyaJanta Partys Jitender Singh Shunty by a margin of over 11000votes.
iii. Bandana Kumari is an AAP MLA from Shalimar Bagh constituency.In Delhi assembly election 2015, she defeated BJPs Rekha Gupta bya vote margin of 10978.
iv. Their appointment was announced by pro-tem Speaker Fateh Singhwho presided the session of assembly for electing Speaker and DeputySpeaker of the Delhi Legislative Assembly.
2. Salaries in PSU Banks increased by 15%
i. Employee unions of public sector banks withdrew their strikecall following an agreement with the management on 15 per cent wagehike.
ii. The bank unions had threatened to go on 4-day nation-widestrike from February 25 demanding 19 per cent hike in wages. The wagehike was due from November 2012.
iii. The bank employees will now also get holidays on twoSaturdays in a month. The banks, however, will work full-day onremaining Saturdays instead of the current practice of half-day.
3. Modi government accepts Finance Commissionrecommendations
i. The Modi government said on Tuesday that it has accepted therecommendation of Finance Commission to raise the share of states incentral taxes to 42 per cent from current 32 per cent.
ii. As per the increased devolution suggested in the report of the14th Finance Commission, the states will get Rs 3.48 lakh crore in2014-15 and Rs 5.26 lakh crore in 2015-16.
iii. PM Modi said that while the Finance Commission was in favourof all state plans being met through the resources being devolved,the Centre will continue to support national priority projects likepoverty elimination, MNREGA, education, health, rural development,agriculture and a few others.
4. Rana Bhagwandas first Hindu Chief Justice ofPakistan passes away
i. First Hindu Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Rana Bhagwandaspassed away in Karachi, Pakistan.
ii. He was the first Hindu and the second non-Muslim to head ofthe Supreme Court of Pakistan.
iii. In 2005 for first time he was appointed as acting ChiefJustice of Pakistan (CJP) for few days and again in 2006 during theabsence of then CJP Iftikhar Chaudhry.
iv. During the Pakistans judicial crisis of 2007, he was againappointed as acting Chief Justice.
5. Indian Army and State Bank of India inked MoU
i. The Indian Army and State Bank of India (SBI) signed aMemorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Defence Salary Package.
ii. The MoU is tailor-made to suit the requirements of servingsoldiers, pensioners and families.
iii. The signing ceremony was chaired by the Adjutant General, LtGen Rakesh Sharma.
iv. The revised MoU has incorporated a number of additionalfacilities and basic features of the MoU include the following
--> Number of free/concessional services like free drafts, freecheque books, free funds transfers to any bank in India through RTGS/ NEFT, free ATM cards and others
--> The provision alsoincludes the Nepal Express Remittance Scheme which enables instantfund transfers to Nepal for the benefit of the Nepali Domicile GorkhaSoldiers serving in the Indian Army.
--> Personal AccidentInsurance (PAI) was enhanced and was linked to the Savings accountinstead of the debit card.
--> Exemption percentage of marginmoney for house and car loans was enhanced while the processingcharges on the loans were waved off.
6. Chris Gayle hits first-ever World Cup double hundred
i. West Indies opener Chris Gayle became the first batsman toscore a double century in a World Cup innings when he reached thelandmark against Zimbabwe in a Pool B clash.
ii. It was also only the fifth double century in all ODI cricketand the first by a non-Indian, with Rohit Sharma (two),SachinTendulkar and Virender Sehwag the only other batsmen to achieve thefeat.
iii. The West Indian coincidentally scored his double centuryexactly on the day when master blaster hammered first ever ODI doubleton five years ago in 2010 against South Africa in Gwalior.
iv. Records broken by Chris Gayle:
--> First batsman to score a double hundred at World Cup.
-->Fastest ODI double hundred off 138 balls. Virender Sehwag was theprevious fastest off 140 balls.
--> Fourth batsman to score ODIdouble hundred.
--> Equals the record for most sixes an innings- Rohit Sharma and AB de Villiers'
7. ONGC director Shashi Shankar suspended
i. The government has suspended Shashi Shankar,the director of thecountry's biggest oil producing company, Oil & Natural GasCorporation Ltd.
ii. Shankar is the youngest director on the board of the nationsmost profitable oil company.
iii. He was appointed Director (Technical and Field Services) onFebruary 1 last year.
Current Affairs - 25th February 2015
1.Rajendra K Pachauri resigned as Chairperson ofIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
i. Dr Rajendra Kumar Pachauri stepped down as Chairperson of theIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Pachauri in aletter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that he was unable toprovide strong leadership to the organisation.
ii. The organisation will now be led by acting chair Ismail ElGizouli until the election for a new chairperson is conducted.Pachauri had chaired the IPCC since April 2002 and his second termwas due to end in October 2015.
iii.. At present, Pachauri is serving as the Director General ofThe Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and is also a member of thePrime Ministers Council on Climate Change.
2. DK Pandey appointed as Director General of Police ofJharkhand
i. DK Pandey is appointed as the Director General of Police (DGP)of Jharkhand. He is a 1984 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer.
ii. He succeeded Rajeev Kumar who was posted as the DGP(Training). Kumar is an IPS officer of 1981 batch.
iii. Prior to his posting as DGP of Jharkhand, D K Pandey was theAdditional Director General (ADG) of Central Reserve Police Force(CRPF).
3. Rajya Sabha passed Constitution (Scheduled Castes)Orders (Amendment) Bill, 2014
i. Rajya Sabha on 24 February 2015 unanimously passed theConstitution (Scheduled Castes) Orders Amendment Bill, 2014 by avoice vote.
ii. The bill seeks to modify the list of Scheduled Castes in threestates- Haryana, Karnataka, Odisha and one Union Territory- Dadra andNagar Haveli.
Provisions of the bill
It amends the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 andthe Constitution (Dadra and Nagar Haveli) Scheduled Castes Order,1962.
It adds new communities to the list of Scheduled Castesin Haryana, Karnataka, Odisha, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
It updates the name Uttaranchal to Uttarakhand in this list.
It adds the following communities to the list of ScheduledCastes:
--> Haryana: Kabirpanthi Julaha
--> Karnataka: Od, Odde, Vaddar, Waddar, Voddar, Woddar, Bovi (Non Besta),Kalluvaddar, and Mannuvaddar
--> Odisha: Rajak, Rajaka, AdhuriaDom, Adhuria Domb, Khatia, Sapua Kela, Nalua Kela, Sabakhia Kela,Matia Kela, Gaudia Kela, Khadal, Khodal and Betra
--> Dadra andNagar Haveli: Rohit
4. AAP Government's First Decisions: Cheaper Power,Free Water, Demolition Ban
i. The Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi has jump-started itsplan to slash electricity bills and provide free water. AAPGovernment announced a 50 per cent subsidy on power consumption up to400 units on the existing Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission(DERC) rates in Delhi.
ii. As per the Cabinet decision, no subsidy would be given todomestic consumers on power consumption above 400 units.
iii. The three-day-old government has also asked the Delhi JalBoard to work on distributing up to 20,000 litres free water a monthto every home.
5. Uttar Pradesh budget 2015-16
i. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav presented Rs 3.02lakh crore annual budget of state on 24 February 2015.
ii. In annual budget state government has given main thrust onagriculture, education, power, health, roads and infrastructuredevelopment.
Key facts from budget
The budget also contains the fiscal deficit of 2.96% of thetotal GDP of the state. Whereas the states debt is expected to bearound 27.5% of its GDP.
Taxes: For 2015-16 no new taxes havebeen levied in the budget.
Agriculture: State government hasdeclared year 2015-16 as the Farmers year. In this regard 1000 Agricentrs will be established to promote agriculture as a good mean oflivelihood among young farmer entrepreneurs.
GovernmentSchemes: State government has included new schemes of over Rs 9388crores in the budget. For farmers accident insurance scheme, Rs600 crores have been allocated.
For women empowerment, Rs. 100crore Mahila Samman Kosh has been created. For free laptop formeritorious students scheme, state government has allocated Rs 100crores.
Power sector: Rs 25764 crores have been allocated forpower up gradation and line maintenance in the state.
Health:State government of built state of the art cancer Institute inLucknow with a cost of Rs 854 crores. for In proposed budget Rs 111crores have been allocated.
Infrastructure: State governmentallocated Rs 3000 crores to Lucknow Agra Express way. It will longestelevated expressway in India on completion.
6. Madhya Pradesh governor Ram Naresh Yadav resigns
i. The Madhya Pradesh governor Ram Naresh Yadav tendered hisresignation to the Centre
ii. This comes immediately after the Centre asked him step downfollowing a registration of a first information report (FIR) againsthim in a recruitment scam.
iii.. Yadav was named in an FIR registered by a special task force(STF) probing the multi-crore Madhya Pradesh professional examinationboard (MPPEB) or Vyapam scam under various sections of IPC, including420 for cheating.
7. Ranchi Rays wins Champions of Hero Hockey IndiaLeague 2015
i. Ranchi Rays won the third edition of Champions of Hero HockeyIndia League (HHIL) 2015. In the final match they defeated JaypeePunjab Warriors by score of 3-2 in the penalty shootout after 2-2 tiein regular time match.
ii. With this Jaypee Punjab Warriors took second position followedby Delhi Waveriders in third position.
Awards from the Hero Hockey India League (HHIL) 2015:
Hero Goal of the Day- Barry Middleton of Ranchi Rays.
Man-of the-Match- Tyler Lovell of Ranchi Rays.
Hero MostValuable Player of the Tournament- Ashley Jackson of Ranchi Rays
8. Abdul Jabbar sentenced to life imprisonment for warcrimes in Bangladesh
i. Former Jatiya Party lawmaker Abdul Jabbar was sentenced to lifeimprisonment on 24 February 2015 by the International CrimesTribunal-1 in Bangladesh. He was also fined 10 lakh taka in absentia.Jabbar has been absconding since the trial started.
ii. He was sentenced for crimes committed during the LiberationWar in 1971. The tribunal chaired by Justice M Enayetur Rahim in itsverdict said that if Jabbar fails to submit the fine then his jailterm would be extended by two years.
iii. Jabbar was sentenced for several charges apart from genocide.The tribunal sentenced him on charges of killing 36 people, forcedconversion of 200 Hindus at Phuljhuri, looting 557 houses and arsonduring the 1971 Liberation War.
iv. Jabbar was elected a law maker in 1964 and was the chairman ofMathbaria Peace Committee in Pirojpur in 1971.
Current Affairs - 26th February 2015
1. Pan-India MNP from 3rd May, TRAI amends regulation
i. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India amended the mobilenumber portability (MNP) regulations yesterday to allow users tochange their service provider in any part of the country whileretaining the number.
ii. At present, number portability within a telecom circle ispossible.
iii. In a statement, TRAI said, it has issued the sixth amendmentto the Telecommunication Mobile Number Portability Regulation, 2009,which will facilitate nationwide portability with effect from May 3.
2. India bans ISIS under UAPA
i. Dreaded terror group ISIS and all its affiliate organisations,responsible for series of savage attacks and killings in Iraq andSyria, have been banned in India under the Unlawful Activities(Prevention) Act.
ii. The Islamic State/Islamic State of Iraq and Levant/ IslamicState of Iraq and Syria/Daish and all its manifestations have beendeclared as outlawed in India under UAPA.
3. Forbes released Asias 50 Power Businesswomen 2015list
i. Forbes on 26 February 2015 released Asias 50 PowerBusinesswomen 2015 list. The list features six Indian women CEO andManaging Director (MD).
ii. The Asia's 50 Power Businesswomen list showcases a year ofaccomplishments by the region's female entrepreneurs and executives.
The list includes following Women from India
Arundhati Bhattacharya, CMD, State Bank of India
ChandaKochchar, CEO, ICICI Bank,
Akhila Srinivasan, MD/Non-ExecutiveDirector, Shriram Life Insurance/Shriram Capital
KiranMazumdar Shaw, Founder, Chairman and MD, Biocon
Shikha Sharma,CEO and MD, Axis Bank
Usha Sangwan, MD, Life Insurance Corp.of India
4. Apple Ordered to Pay $553 Million
i. US Tech giant Apple Inc has been fined $553 million for threepatent infringements owned by patent licensing firm Smartflash LLC.
ii. This verdict was given by federal Jury in US District Courtfor the Eastern District of Texas.
iii. The Jury in its verdict found out that Apple Incs iTunessoftware has infringed three patents owned by Smartflash LLC.
iv. The federal jury in its verdict also held that Apple had notonly used Smartflashs patents without permission, but also usedthem willfully.
5. World's first 3D-printed jet engine developed inAustralia
i. In a breakthrough, researchers in Australia have developed theworld's first 3D-printed jet engine that could pave the way forcheaper, lighter and more fuel-efficient aircraft.
ii. Researchers from Monash University, aided by staff from theCSIRO and Deakin University, have printed two engines and put one ofthem on display at the International Air Show in Avalon, Victoria.
Significance of this development
It opens the door for engineers to make and test parts of jetengines in days instead of months.
It will also help engineersto manufacture cheaper, lighter and more fuel-efficient jet engines.
6. Clemson University honoured Ratan Tata withDoctorate of Automotive Engineering
i. Ratan Tata was honoured on 26 February 2015 with an honoraryDoctorate of Automotive Engineering by the Clemson University at theSouth Carolina Automotive Summit.
ii. He was awarded for his contributions to the global automotiveindustry.
iii. Ratan Tata is the ex-chairman of the Tata Group. He was namedChairman of Tata Industries In 1981, where he was responsible fortransforming it into a group strategy think tank and a promoter ofnew ventures in high technology businesses.
iv. Ratan Tata serves on the board of directors of Alcoa andMondelez. He is also on the international advisory boards ofMitsubishi Corp., JP Morgan Chase, Rolls-Royce, Temasek Holdings andthe Monetary Authority of Singapore.
7. Government to give digital boost to MGNREG scheme
i. Government will roll out a pilot project to give a digitalboost to the flagship rural job scheme MNREGA in gram panchayats toensure its better implementation through mobile monitoring system.
ii. a total of 35,000 gram panchayats will be covered which wouldbe given a mobile/tablet.
iii. An amount of Rs 35 crore have been sanctioned as eachmobile/tablet would be costing Rs 10,000.
iv. If the the pilot project turns out to be a success, the schemewill be extended to all 2.65 lakh gram panchayats in the country,which will cost the Centre about Rs 265 crore.
8. Railway Budget 2015-16: Highlights
i. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on 26 February 2015 presentedthe Railway Budget 2015-16 in the Lok Sabha. In his first RailwayBudget, Prabhu outlined a plan to invest over 8 lakh crore rupeesover 5 years.
ii. The size of the Plan Budget has gone up by 52 percent from65789 crore rupees in 2014-15 to 100011 crore rupees in 2015-16.
9 thrust areas of the Budget includes:
Indian Railway to become prime mover of economy once again
Resource Mobilization for higher Investments
Decongestion ofheavy haul routes and speeding up of trains: emphasis on gaugeconversion, doubling, tripling and electrification
Transparency& System Improvement
Railways to continue to be thepreferred mode of transport for the masses
Four goals for Indian Railways to transform over next fiveyears:
To deliver a sustained and measurable improvement in customerexperience.
To make Rail a safer means of travel.
Toexpand Bhartiya Rails capacity substantially and moderniseinfrastructure: for this purpose daily passenger carrying capacitywill be increased from 21 million to 30 million. Track length willalso be increased by 20 percent from 114000 km to 138000 km. Annualfreight carrying capacity will be grown from 1 billion to 1.5 billiontonnes.
To make Bhartiya Rail financially self-sustainable.
Current Affairs - 27th & 28th February 2015
1. Justice Amitava Roy sworn in as Supreme Court judge
i. Justice Amitava Roy was sworn in as a judge of the SupremeCourt (SC) on 27 February 2015. Prior to this, he served as the ChiefJustice of Odisha High Court.
ii. With his elevation, the strength of the SC judges has gone upto 29. SC has a sectioned strength of 31 judges.
iii. He will have tenure of three years.
iv. Amitava Roy born in Kolkata in 195, served as a member ofAssam Law Commission and became a Judge of the Gauhati High Court on4 February 2002.
v. On 2 January 2013, he was appointed as Chief Justice of theRajasthan High Court.
vi. Article 124 of Constitution of India says that the judge of SCshall be appointed by the President.
vii. Any citizen of India who has been a judge of one high courtor more, for at least five years or an advocate there, for at leastten years, or a distinguished jurist, in the opinion of thepresident, is eligible to be appointed as a judge of the SupremeCourt.
2. Kshatrapati Shivaji appointed as CMD of SmallIndustries Development Bank of India
i. Kshatrapati Shivaji was on 27 February 2015 appointed as theChairman and Managing Director (MD) of Small Industries DevelopmentBank of India (SIDBI). Shivaji was appointed on deputation basis fora period of three years.
ii. Shivaji, a 1986 batch IAS officer, is currently the PrincipalSecretary (Expenditure),Finance Department in Maharashtragovernment.
iii. Prior to this, Shivaji served as Director of state-runmanganese-ore mining firm, MOIL Limited until March 2013. Earlier, heserved as Principal Secretary of Industries at Government ofMaharashtra and as a Chairman and Managing Director at MaharashtraState Financial Corporation.
iv. Shivaji also served as Director of Sicom Limited.
3. Union Budget 2015 highlights
i. No merit in going ahead with Direct tax Code as it existstoday. Net impact of tax proposals Rs.15,068 crore.
ii. Yoga to be included under charitable activites.
iii. Indiviual taxpayer can get benefits up to Rs. 4,44,200.
iv. Transport allowance exemption to be increased to Rs. 1,600 permonth.
v. Rs. 50,000 contribution to new pension scheme. "To makeIndia a pensioned society."
vi. Additional deduction of Rs. 25,000 for differently abledpersons.
vii. Increase in limit of deduction of health insurance premium ofRs. 15,000 to Rs. 25,000. For senior citizens, limit will be Rs.30,000. Very senior citizens - Rs. 30,000 deduction on expensesincurred.
viii. 2 per cent cess on services for Swachch Bharat.
ix. 100 per cent deduction for contribution to Swachch Bharat andClean Ganga schemes.
x. Service Tax rate increased to 14 per cent.
4. 28 February observed as National Science Day
i. Every year February 28 is celebrated as the National ScienceDay i.e. Rashtriya Vigyan Diwas (???????????????? ????).
ii. In 2015, the theme of the day is Science for NationBuilding. This years theme has been chosen for thepurpose of raising public appreciation on scientific issues for thedevelopment of nation.
iii. This day marks the epoch-making discovery of Raman Effect byIndian physicist Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman (CV Raman) on February28, 1928.In 1930, for this discovery he was awarded with the NobelPrize in Physics.
5. Three-point action plan to realise Make in Indiadream
i. The non-controversial response lies in improving the businessenvironment by making regulations and taxes less onerous, buildinginfrastructure, reforming labour laws, and enabling connectivity.
ii. The next response could be in the form of industrialpolicy. This could focus on promoting manufacturing by providingsubsidies, lowering the cost of capital, and creating specialeconomic zones (SEZs) for manufacturing activity.
iii. This could focus on promoting manufacturing by providingsubsidies, lowering the cost of capital, and creating specialeconomic zones (SEZs) for manufacturing activity.
6. Farmers open to Khet Heen Kisan
i. There was positive response from the farming community to theproposed Khet Heen Kisan initiative, with a majority of farmersstating that it would do wonders if implemented successfully.
ii. This scheme is for the financial assistance to those farmerswho do not own their lands.
iii. Organising farmers into groups and extending financialassistance to them through NABARD to take up farming will yield goodresults provided the government backs every group till results areachieved.
7. Indian Navy concluded TROPEX Exercise 2015
i. Indian Navy on 27 February 2015 concluded its Theatre LevelReadiness and Operational Exercise (TROPEX)-2015. The eventencompassed all dimensions of maritime warfare.
ii. TROPEX-2015 was a month long exercise aimed at validating theIndian Navys Concept of Operations and the area of operationsspanned across the Arabian Sea and Northern Indian Ocean.
Key facts about TROPEX-2015
In TROPEX-2015, around 50 ships and submarines participatedalong with 70 aircrafts from the three Naval Commands.
It sawthe participation of units from the India Air Force and the IndianCoast Guard.
Indian Navy deployed two Carrier Task Forcessimultaneously at sea.
It saw participation of both INS Viraatand INS Vikramaditya with their integral flights in an operationalscenario.
It witnessed extensive deployment of the nuclearsubmarine INS Chakra, the recently inducted P8I Long Range MaritimeReconnaissance aircraft.
Recently commissioned guided missiledestroyer Kolkata and Anti-Submarine Warfare corvette Kamorta alsotook part in it.
TROPEX-15 provided a reinforce platform forIndian Navys offensive capabilities across all dimensions. Itincluded Network Centric Operations (NCO) by using satelliteRukmani.
The exercise also reinforced the Navy's ability toserve in different roles with relative ease, when it exercised aHumanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) mission.