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Important Current Affairs 29th February 2020

NATIONAL NEWS

Food processing ministry approves Rs 162 cr under Operation Greens scheme

• Centre has approved Rs 162 crore under ‘Operation Greens’ scheme that has an outlay of Rs 500 crore to stabilize the supply of ‘TOP’ crops i.e. tomato, onion and potato. This will ensure their availability throughout the year without price volatility.

• The scheme that was announced in the budget 2018-19 aims at improving value realization for cultivators by targeted interventions to strengthen production clusters & Farmer Producer Organizations and linking them with the market.

• Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Food Processing Minister stated that 5 projects have been sanctioned in the country and more were lined up for approvals. She stated, The total outlay of the projects is Rs 426 crore and the grant we would give is Rs 162 crore.

SPICe+ Web form, new rules for company incorporation & DIN launched by MCA

• Ministry of Corporate Affairs has been launched ‘SPICe+’ Web Form (pronounced ‘SPICe Plus’) to offer 10 services by 3 Central Government Ministries/ Departments and of State Government of Maharashtra in a single web form.

• The three department/govt ministries are the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Ministry of Labour & Department of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance. Apart from this, the forms of Maharashtra State Government would also be available on the SPICe+ web form. Registration for EPFO and ESIC shall be mandatory for all new companies to be incorporated through SPICe+ and no EPFO & ESIC registration nos. shall be separately issued by the respective agencies.

NITI Aayog and NASSCOM roll out AI modules in Indian schools

• The National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom), in collaboration with Niti Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), launched an artificial intelligence (AI) based module for students of Indian schools.

• The AI-Base Module will be implemented across 5,000 Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL), empowering 2.5 million students. The module contains activities, videos and experiments that enable students to work through and learn the various concepts of AI. This is the first-ever industry-government academia initiative on such a scale to keep the school students abreast of latest technologies. It has been estimated that by 2030, the global AI market is likely to be in the range of $15-15.5 trillion, out of which India’s share will be close to $1 trillion.

Important:

• NITI Aayog: National Institution for Transforming India.

• NITI Aayog CEO: Amitabh Kant, Vice Chairman: Rajiv Kumar.

• Chairman of NASSCOM: Keshav Murugesh.

 PM to launch 10,000 FPOs for farmers, lays foundation stone of Bundelkhand Expressway today

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch 10 thousand Farmer Producer Organizations, FPOs all over the country from Chitrakoot in Uttar Pradesh.

• These FPOs will help in collectivization of small, marginal and landless farmers to give them strength to deal with issues like lack of access to technology, quality seed, fertilizers and pesticides including requisite finances.

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also lay the foundation stone for the Bundelkhand Expressway at The Uttar Pradesh Government is constructing the Expressway which will pass through the districts of Chitrakoot, Banda, Hamirpur and Jalaun.

• It will link the Bundelkhand area to the national capital Delhi through Agra-Lucknow expressway and Yamuna expressway and play a vital role in the development of Bundelkhand region.

• India has huge defence equipment requirements spanning from land systems, ships and submarines to fighter aircraft, helicopters, weapons and sensors.The requirements are worth over 250 billion dollars by 2025. In order to fulfill the requirements, the government had announced setting up of Defence Industrial Corridor in Uttar Pradesh during the Investors Summit on 21st February 2018 at

• The 296-kilometre long Bundelkhand Expressway will pass through the districts of Chitrakoot, Banda, Hamirpur and Jalaun.

NITI Aayog selects J&K for UNDP pilot project

• NITI Aayog has selected Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir for first pilot project among all States and UTs on Sustainable Developmental Goals. It would get a chance to work with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

• The programmes would work like that of district indicator framework wherein information would be sought from respective District Commissioners and ranking would be done by setting certain parameters.

• He stated under the Public Outreach Programme, Lieutenant Governor is touring various parts of the UT and taking firsthand accounts of the issues faced by people and ensuring redressal within the shortest possible time frame.

About Niti Aayog:

• Formed: 1 January 2015

• Objectives: Foster involvement and participation in the economic policy-making process by the State Governments of India

• Headquarters: New Delhi

• Chairperson: Narendra Modi

• Rajiv Kumar(economist), (Vice Chairperson)

• CEO : Amitabh Kant.

Marathi language compulsory for all schools: Maharashtra Assembly passes law

• Maharashtra government has made Marathi compulsory in schools affiliated with all boards with a fine of Rs 1 lakh for institutions that fail to comply with the directive.

• Maharashtra Assembly unanimously approved a bill making Marathi a compulsory subject in all schools of the state.

• This law will be applicable to all boards like CBSE, CISCE, IB, IGSCE, NIOS

• Marathi language shall be taught as a compulsory subject from classes 1-10 in all schools in the state in a phased manner starting the academic year 2020-21

• The language shall be introduced at class 1 and 6 from the academic year 2020-21 and shall be extended to further classes progressively

• The law also states that no restrictions shall be imposed on speaking Marathi in schools in the state, directly or indirectly

• Marathi teaching and assessment of students in Marathi will be a mandatory condition for granting the government’s no-objection certificate for schools

• The person responsible for the management of school affairs violating provisions of this act shall be liable to pay a penalty of up to Rs 1 Lakh

National Parks in Maharashtra

• Chandoli National Park

• Gugamal National Park

• Pench National Park

• Sanjay Gandhi National Park

• Tadoba National Park

• Navegaon National Park

Offshore patrol vessel ICGS Varad commissioned

• The Indian Coast Guard's Offshore Patrol Vessel, ICGS Varad was commissioned into service by Union Shipping Minister Mansukh Mandaviya at a function held at Chennai Port on February 28, 2020. The Director-General of the Coast Guard, K Natarajan was also present on the occasion.

• The ICGS Varad will be deployed at Paradip in Odisha, under the operational control of the North-Eastern Region’s Coast Guard. Commanded by Commandant Pintu Bag, the coast guard vessel will be manned by 11 officers and 91 personnel.

ICGS Varad: Key Features

• The Offshore Patrol Vessel, ICGS Varad has been designed and built by Larsen and Toubro at its shipyard in Kattupalli, near Chennai.

• The vessel is the first major defence ship to clear all the sea trials in one single sea sortie, creating a record of sorts in the Indian shipbuilding industry.

• The 98m-long vessel is fitted with advanced navigation and communication equipment, machinery and sensors. It also comprises 30 mm and 12.7 mm guns.

• Besides this, the vessel has special features including a platform management system, integrated bridge system, high power external fire-fighting system and automated power management system.

• The ship also has the capacity to carry four high-speed boats and a twin-engine helicopter for search and rescue operations and law enforcement and maritime patrol. The vessel can also carry pollution response equipment in case of an oil spill at the sea.

• Further, the vessel propelled by two 9100kw diesel engines can attain a maximum speed of 26 knots. It can operate for almost 5000 nautical miles at a stretch without refueling.

BANKING, FINANCE AND ECONOMICS

India GDP Growth At 4.7% In Q3, Weaker Than Revised Estimates For Q2

• The Indian economy grew 4.7 per cent in the third quarter ended December 31, 2019, the National Statistics Office

• Core sector grows by 2% in January as power generation picks up

• The first quarter GDP growth for this fiscal has been revised upwards to 5.6 per cent, from the 5.1 per cent estimated earlier. The second quarter GDP growth for the current fiscal has also been revised upwards to 5.1 per cent from 4.5 per cent announced earlier.

About NSC:

• The National Statistical Commission (NSC) of India is an autonomous body which formed in June 2005. The NSC is currently headed by Bimal K. Roy, who was appointed as Chairperson of the Commission on 15th July 2019 for a period of three years. Dr. Kiran Pandya, Shri Pulak Ghosh and Dr. Gurucharan Manna are other members of the Commission.

• Shri Amitabh Kant, current CEO of NITI Aayog is the ex-officio Member and Shri Pravin Srivastava, Chief Statistician of India and Secretary, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation is Secretary to the Commission

• Formed :July 12 2006

• Headquarters: New Delhi

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

 Assam’s forest man to be conferred with Swami Vivekananda Karmayogi Award

• Assam’s eminent environmental activist Jadav Payeng will be awarded with Swami Vivekananda Karmayogi Award for his efforts in creating a man-made forest through reforestation.

• The award ceremony will be organized by My Home India, an NGO which aims at bringing emotional integration between people from different parts of India.

• The award will be handed to Payeng by union environment minister Prakash Javadekar on Saturday.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

 Abhishek Singh, India’s next Ambassador to Venezuela

• Abhishek Singh has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. He is currently serving as Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of India in Kabul, Afghanistan. He will succeed Rajiv Kumar Napal, who passed away recently. He is a 2003-batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer.

Important:

• Capital of Venezuela: Caracas.

• Currency of Venezuela: Petro Bolivar Soberano.

• President of Venezuela: Juan Gerardo Guaido Marquez.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Providence opens Global Innovation Centre in Hyderabad

• Providence, a US-based healthcare systems provider, inaugurated its global innovation centre in India with plans to invest up to $100 million and induct more than 2,000 technologists.

• This is, the $26 billion-company’s first development centre outside the US. It plans to start with 350 techies within a year and gradually ramp it to over 2,000 centre within 3-4 years.

• Murali Krishna, Senior Vice-President and Country Manager, Providence India, who joins from Microsoft, will head the global innovation centre. The centre will focus on engineering, data intelligence, digital innovation, professional services, cyber security, application development and tech support.

• The teams will build and innovate with Big Data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, Oracle Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Web Development, Natural Language Processing, Analytics, and other emerging technologies.