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Important Current Affairs 20th February 2017 with PDF

Current Affairs 20th Feb 2017

Dear Aspirants,

We bring you the Latest  (Gk)General Knowledge, Daily Current Affairs news, Events, General awareness Today  20th February 2017 Section in FREE PDF (English & Hindi), a section which outlines the latest important news, Events headlines which are hardly covered elsewhere.


Judge Altamas Kabir Passes Away

Altamas Kabir, former Chief Justice of India (CJI), passed away on 19 February 2017 after prolonged illness in Kolkata, West Bengal. He was 68.

●    Kabir served as the 39th Chief Justice of India from September 2012 to July 2013.
●    Altamas Kabir was born in Calcutta in 1948.
●    He graduated in history from Presidency College.
●    Later, he affiliated with the University of Calcutta to study law.
●    He was admitted to the bar in 1973 and practiced civil and criminal law in Kolkata at the district court and the Calcutta High Court, Kolkata.
●    On 6 August 1990, he was made a permanent judge of Calcutta High Court.
●    He assumed the office of acting Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court on 11 January 2005.
●    On 3 January 2005, he became the Acting Chief Justice of the Jharkhand High Court. The elevation was made permanent on 1 March 2005.


Shahid Afridi Retires From International Cricket

 Pakistani all-rounder Shahid Afridi on 19 February 2017 announced his retirement from international cricket. 

●    With the announcement comes an end to his illustrious 21-year career.
●    Afridi had already quit Tests in 2010 and One Day International cricket after the 2015 World Cup. 
●    He still skippered the Pakistan Twenty20 team at the 2016 world championships in India.
●    Shahid Afridi is a former captain of the Pakistan national cricket team.
●    He made his debut on 2 October 1996 against Kenya. However, he did not bat and went wicketless.
●    In his first international innings, he broke the record for fastest century in ODI cricket, reaching his hundred from 37 balls. 
●    With this, he became the youngest player to score an ODI century. 
●    The record was broken by New Zealand cricketer Corey Anderson on 1 January 2014. 
●    At present, South-African cricketer AB de Villiers holds the record for fastest century in ODI.


Footballer Shibaji Banerjee Passes Away

Former Mohun Bagan goalkeeper Shibaji Banerjee passed away at his Kolkata residence after suffering a massive cardiac arrest.

●    A green and maroon legend, Banerjee played for Bagan for 11 years and will always be known for stopping a free kick taken by Pele during the 1977 exhibition match against New York Cosmos.
●    The lasting image from that game was a black and white picture of Banerjee diving to snatch the ball from Pele’s feet.
●    Banerjee also had a brilliant game in an IFA Shield match against top Russian side Ararat. 
●    Legend has it that he was unbeatable on aerial balls that particular day as the game was locked at 2-2.
●    From 1977-1980, he never conceded a goal against arch rival East Bengal.
●    The club’s flag will remain half mast as a mark of respect for the departed soul.


European Space Agency to Collaborate With ISRO in Space Missions 

While the European Space Agency (ESA)'s Gaia satellite mission is on its multi-dimensional space probe, mapping a billion stars in our Milky Way Galaxy, ESA's Senior Scientific Advisor Mark McCaughrean reveals ESA's plan for further collaboration with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in space missions. 
●    On ISRO's historic launch of 104 satellites at one go, he says it's the precision in placing satellites and cost reduction. 
●    In its space mission, ESA has collaborative efforts with 22 countries including the US, Russia, China, India and Japan. It is expected to increase with the commercial launches.
●    Speaking on ESA's plan for 15 space missions, he said Bepe Colombo will be the first probe to Mercury in 2018. 
●    Then, the ambitious Jupiter Icy moons Explorer (JUICE) to Jupiter in 2022. 
●    The explorer will spend at least three years making detailed observations of the giant gaseous planet Jupiter and three of its largest moons - Ganymede, Callisto and Europa.


Health Secretary launches ‘SAATHIYA’ Resource Kit and ‘SAATHIYA SALAH’ Mobile App for Adolescents

Shri C K Mishra, Secretary, Health and Family Welfare launched the SAATHIYA Resource Kit including ‘Saathiya Salah’ Mobile App for adolescents, here today, as part of the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) program. 

●    One of the key interventions under the programme is introduction of the Peer Educators (Saathiyas) who act as a catalyst for generating demand for the adolescent health services and imparting age appropriate knowledge on key adolescent health issues to their peer groups. 
●    In order to equip the Saathiyas in doing so, the Health Ministry has launched the Saathiya Resource Kit. 
●    He emphasized that ‘adolescents are the critical mass of asset which in future would be the biggest dividends to the country’s economy; thereby their health and wellness are of utmost priority’. 
●    To address and cater to the health and development needs of the country’s adolescents, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram in January 2014. 
●    RKSK identifies six strategic priorities for adolescents i.e. nutrition, sexual and reproductive health , non-communicable diseases, substance misuse, injuries and violence and mental health.


MoU signed between NSFDC, M/O SJ&E & Development Commissioner, M/O of Textiles

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation NSFDC, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Ministry of Textiles in the presence of Shri Thaawar Chand Gehlot, Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment and Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani Minister of Textiles.
●    The basic objective of the MoU is to help Scheduled Caste artisans and their families by promoting production and marketing of high value quality Handicrafts products at cluster level in the field of Handicrafts, Cane & Bamboo, Artificial jewellery, Textiles, Dolls & Toys, Stone Carving, Footwear, etc.
●    Handicrafts Sector is the second largest economic activity after agriculture.  There are around 12 lakh scheduled castes artisans in the country.  
●    Most of the Scheduled Caste Artisans are pursuing various Handicrafts such as Cane & Bamboo in Assam, Textiles in Gujarat & Punjab, Metal wares in Uttar Pradesh, Dolls & Toys in Karnataka, Theatre Costumes & Puppets in Andhra Pradesh.


 Shurhozelie Liezeitsu elected new Nagaland CM 

The political crisis in Nagaland is heading for an end with the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) Legislature Party on Monday electing veteran leader and party president Shurhozelie Liezeitsu as its new leader in place of TR Zeliang who had quit on Sunday. 

●    Official sources in Kohima said Shurhozelie would be sworn in as chief minister on Wednesday. 
●    Monday’s decision of the DAN legislature party – all 60 MLAs of the Nagaland House belong to DAN – also brought to an end speculations about former chief minister Neiphiu Rio returning to state politics after the resignation of chief minister TR Zeliang.
●    After political turmoil in Nagaland Dr. Surhojheli Laijhetsu got elected as state's 13th chief minister.
●    He will take oath as Chief Minister on February 22.
●    In 2003 he was elected to the Nagaland Northern-Angami seat.
●    Later he held the post of Minister of State for Urban Development.


World Day of Social Justice observed

 The World Day of Social Justice was observed globally on 20 February 2017 with the theme "preventing conflict and sustaining peace through decent work”. 

●    The day is observed with an aim to recognise the need to promote efforts to tackle several issues like exclusion, unemployment and poverty.
●    On the occasion, several organisations including the United Nations and the International Labour Office make statements on importance of social justice for people. 
●    According to United Nations, social justice is an underlying principle for prosperous and peaceful coexistence within and among nations. 
●    Social justice means removal of barriers that people face in the name of gender, ethnicity, age, religion, disability and culture.
●    United Nations General Assembly created the day in 2007 in accordance with the goals and objectives of the World Summit for Social Development and the 24th session of the General Assembly. 
●    It was created to devote a day, 20 February, as a day to promote national activities in accordance with the objectives and goals of the World Summit.

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Important Current Affairs 19 February 2017 PDF


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National News

 Third National Dam Safety Conference Held

Third National Dam Safety Conference organized by Central Water Commission in association with Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam and IIT Roorkee concluded at Roorkee today. The conference focused on key challenges in dam safety field that are being encountered in the on-going Dam Safety Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) implementation. 
●    Sharing of the knowledge, experience, innovations, novel technologies etc. by different national and overseas experts further helped in reshaping the strategies for effectively managing the uncertainties associated with dam design, construction, operation, and maintenance.
●    The conference received an overwhelming response with over 400 delegates attending and submission of over 70 technical papers from experts within and outside India. About 40 national and overseas organizations  showcased their technologies, products and services through Exposition organized at the conference venue. 
●    The professionals from USA, Australia, Japan, UK, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, and Germany attended this event.
●    The Conference was inaugurated by Dr Amarjit Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development, Govt. of India in the presence of Sh S Ramaswamy, Chief Secretary, Government of Uttarakhand, Sh U P Singh, Director General, NMCG, MoWR, RD&GR, Prof. Ajit Kumar Chaturvedi, Director, IIT Roorkee, as well as other senior Central, State Government and DRIP implementing officials.

National News

Radha Mohan Singh inaugurates India’s Western Regional Agriculture Fair – 2017 in Bikaner

Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Radha Mohan Singh inaugurated India’s Western Regional Agriculture Fair – 2017 in Bikaner today.
●    Shri Singh, while addressing the people, said that most of the blocks in Rajasthan have gone into dark zones. 
●    In such circumstances, the scientists are to develop such techniques and high yielding varieties of seeds which are adaptable with lesser quantity of water. 
●    He further said that the farmers and agriculture scientists should work together for the utilization of every drop of water in agriculture. 
●    The Minister of Agriculture briefed this today on the eve of inaugural function organized in the complex of Swami Keshwanand Rajasthan Krishi University, Bikaner on the occasion of Indian Western Regional Agriculture Fair 2017.
●    The Minister of Agriculture said that the government has initiated Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana to channelise maximum potential for irrigation and to get rid of the problems related to drought. He added that the scheme aims at water for every farm. 
●    The government has started another ambitious programme titled as Soil Health Card Scheme for the farmers. 
●    Now, the farmers will be capable to get the knowhow of nutritious elements existed in their soil resulting in better production on their farms.

National News

 Aerobatic display teams mark the conclusion of Aero India 2017

To mark the successful conclusion of the Aero India 2017 and to serve as a token of remembrance of fruitful association over the last few days during the airshow, the aerobatic display teams got together today. 
●    Posing in front of the Grumman G-164 A of the Scandinavian team and the Yak-50 of the Yakovlev team, stunt pilots of the Surya Kiran Aerobatic team (SKAT), the Yakovlevs and the Scandinavian along with their three ‘skycats’ provided for a visual treat. 
●    The SKAT pilots, led by Wg Cdr Ajit Kulkarni, looked resplendent in their red flying overalls. 
●    The Scandinvan leader Jacob Hollander’s flying suit matched the colour of his flying machine while the skycats placed themselves atop the yellow and blue airplane for photographs. 
●    The Yakovlev pilots, led by Jez, in their black flying suits gave a very professional look. 
●    After the ‘photo session’ the SKAT daredevils met up with the spectators to shake hands and distribute memorabilia. 


 Vikas Swarup appointed as High Commissioner of lndia to Canada

Vikas Swarup was appointed as the High Commissioner of lndia to Canada. A decision in this regard was taken by the Union Ministry External Affairs (MEA) on 16 February 2017.
●    At the time of elevation, Swarup was working as the Spokesperson of the MEA. Gopal Baglay, the Joint Secretary in the Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan (PIA) Division in the MEA, will succeed Swarup.
●    Vikas Swarup is a 1986-batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer.
●    In his nearly over three-decades long career, he represented India in various positions.
●    In his diplomatic career, Vikas has been posted in various countries such as Turkey (1987-1990), the United States (1993-1997), Ethiopia (1997-2000), the United Kingdom (2000-2003) and South Africa (2006-2009).
●    He served as the Consul General of India in Osaka-Kobe, Japan from 2009 to 2013.
●    He also served as the Director of PAI (Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran) Division in the MEA.
●    The book has been published in 43 languages, including Arabic, French, German and Chinese.
●    In May 2015, he was appointed as the Official Spokesperson of the MEA.


Hindi Scholar and writer Surendra Verma selected for Vyas Samman 2016

Surendra Verma, a well known Hindi scholar and writer, was selected for Vyas Samman 2016. 
●    He was chosen for the prestigious award for his novel Kaatna Shami Ka Vriksha: Padma Pankhuri Ki Dhar Se.
●    The book, Kaatna Shami Ka Vriksha, was published in 2010.
●    Born on 7 September 1941 in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, Verma will be the 26th recipient of the Vyas Samman.
●    In 1993, he was conferred with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.
●    In 1996, he was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award.
●    He has published about fifteen titles of short stories, novels, satires and play.
●    Some other novels and plays (drama) penned down by Verma includes Mujhe Chand Chahiyae, Surya Ki Antim Kiran Se Surya Ki Pahli Kiran Tak, Athwan Sarg and Qaid-e-Hayat among others.
●    His play Surya Ki Antim Kiran Se Surya Ki Pahli Kiran Tak (From Sunset to Sunrise) has been translated into six Indian languages.


 Tata Motors, Microsoft India signed strategic agreement to leverage IoT & AI

Tata Motors and Microsoft India on 16 February 2017 announced the signing of a strategic agreement to redefine connected and personalized driving experiences for Indian customers.
●    The agreement was signed in the presence of Guenter Butschek, CEO & MD of Tata Motors and Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India.
●    The agreement will enable the Tata Motors to traverse the digital and physical worlds and create a highly personalized, smart and safer driving experience across the digital life of a vehicle owner.
●    The first vehicle showcasing these state-of-the art technologies will be unveiled at the 87th Geneva International Motor Show on 7 March 2017.
●    The partnership between the Tata Motors and Microsoft India will benefit vehicle owners in the following ways.
●    Based on their profile and location data, vehicle owners can receive proactive point-of-interest, shopping and route assist recommendations.
●    Pre-emptive service alerts based on vehicle health data will enable owners to avoid costly downtime en-route on planned road trips.
●    Using industry-leading firmware over the air (FOTA) and software over the air (SOTA) technologies, key vehicle settings can be updated remotely over the cloud.


 Indian Panorama Film Festival begins in Port Blair

The Indian Panorama Film Festival commenced on 15 February 2017 in Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
●    The Festival is organised jointly by Andaman and Nicobar Administration and Directorate of Film Festivals, Government of India.
●    The Festival was inaugurated by Anindo Majumdar, Chief Secretary of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. 
●    The inauguration event was followed by the screening of Telugu film Bahubali directed by S.S. Rajamauli.
●    The five-day festival will see screening of about 15 films of different languages and genres. The film festival will conclude on 19 February 2017.
●    On 16 February 2017, Bengali films Bastu Shaap, directed by Kaushik Ganguly, and Sankachil, directed by Goutam Ghose, will be screened at PBMC Auditorium at 10 A.M. 
●    Tamil films titled Radiopetti, directed by Hari Vishwanath, and Irudhi Suttru, directed by Sudha Kongara, will be screened at 2 P.M. at the same venue. 
●    Hindi film Sultan, directed by Ali Abbas Jaffar, will be screened at PBMC Auditorium at 6 P.M.

Reports & Rankings

India ranks 143rd in 2017 Index of Economic Freedom

India ranked a dismal 143rd in 2017 Index of Economic Freedom, which released in the third week of February 2017.
●    The index was released by a top US based Think Tank, The Heritage Foundation. 
●    The Think Tank in its Index of Economic Freedom report stated that despite India sustaining an average annual growth of about 7% over the last five years, growth is not deeply rooted in policies that preserve economic freedom.
●    In its 23rd edition, the Index analyzed economic policy developments in 186 countries. 
●    Countries are graded and ranked on 12 measures of economic freedom that evaluate the rule of law, government size, regulatory efficiency, and the openness of markets.
●    Greater economic freedom is strongly correlated to overall well-being, taking into account factors such as education, environment, health, innovation, democratic governance and societal progress.
●    Global average economic freedom increased by 0.2 point to a record level of 60.9 on the 0–100 scale used in the Index of Economic Freedom.

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Aadhaar Card Mandatory for Central Government Scholarship Schemes for Schools and Colleges

To avail benefits under the Central Sector Scholarship Scheme for College and University students, applicants will now have to furnish proof of possession of Aadhaar card or undergo Aadhaar authentication, the human resource development (HRD) ministry has said.
●    Those receiving these scholarships but who don’t have an Aadhaar card will have to apply for enrolment by June 30 this year, the ministry said in a notification. 
●    This will not be applicable in Jammu & Kashmir.
●    As per another notification issued by the ministry, students who wish to avail the National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme will also have to apply for Aadhaar by June 30, though it exempts the states of J&K, Assam and Meghalaya.
●    However, till the time Aadhaar is assigned to the students, they may get scholarships on the basis of documents like Aadhaar Enrolment ID slip, Aadhaar enrolment application, voter identity card, PAN card etc.
●    Similar provisions have also been made in the notification related to the Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme for schoolchildren.
●    The notification shall come into effect from the date of its publication in all states except Jammu and Kashmir.


India Books ICC Women's World Cup Berth

India thrashed Bangladesh by nine wickets in a qualifying match at Nondescripts Cricket Club ground here on Friday to book their place for the ICC women's World Cup 2017 to be held in England and Wales from June 24.
●    Maintaining their unbeaten run in the ongoing ICC women's World Cup qualifier, the Mithali Raj-led team took their Super Six points tally to eight, including for two wins against other qualifiers from its preliminary league group, points of which are carried over.
●    Pace bowler Mansi Joshi and leg-spinner Devika Vaidya shared five wickets between them to restrict Bangladesh to 155/8 after asking them to bat.
●    Fargana Hoque top-scored for Bangladesh with 50 runs from 107 deliveries.
●    In reply, India got to 158/1 in 33.3 overs with opener Mona Meshram striking a career-best 78 not out with 12 fours and Mithali compiling 73 not out with 10 fours for a 43rd ODI half-century.
●    In other matches, South Africa also booked their place in the ICC women's World Cup by beating hosts Sri Lanka by nine wickets at the P. Sara Stadium while Pakistan also beat Ireland by 86 runs at the Colombo Cricket Club groun.


 ‘Science Express Should Reach Out to more than Six Lakh Villages of The Country’

Three Ministers jointly flagged off the 9th phase of Science Express Climate Action Special (SECAS) from Safdarjung Railway Station here today.   
●    While Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Anil Madhav Dave and Union Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Harsh Vardhan were present at the railway station, Union Railway Minister, Shri Suresh Prabhu, joined the flagging off event through video conferencing. 
●    Addressing the gathering, Shri Dave said that in future, the Science Express should reach out to 6.5 lakh villages of the country.  
●    He emphasised that till the train is transformed into a people's’ movement and a vehicle to motivate people to take individual actions and initiatives to fight climate change, it will not succeed in its endeavours on the ground and will only be reduced to becoming a point of discussions in seminars.   
●    Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said that Climate Change is a big threat for the mankind and we can tackle this through collaborative efforts. 
●    Under the leadership of the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, India played a key role in initiating Climate Action Plan during Paris meet. 
●    He also said that Science Express will not just convey the message about climate change, but also generate dialogue and discussion on this burning issue. 
●    Science Express will embark on its journey of over 19000 km to cover 68 locations across India till September 8, 2017 and is expected to attract 30 lakh visitors. 


 756 Crore Sanctioned for Medical Colleges in Assam; 4 New to be Constructed

Union Minister J.P. Nadda, on Friday, announced that furthering the Central Government resolve toward development of healthcare in Assam, the Centre has sanctioned Rs. 756 crore for setting up four new medical colleges in Assam. 
●    Nadda made the announcement at the launch ceremony for the construction of a medical college at Dhubri district in Assam. 
●    He also said that the Central Government has made a National List of Essential Medicines. 
●    The government plans to make these drugs available at AMRIT pharmacies in the state at a fix rate.
●    Union Health Minister is in Assam on a two day visit, during which he is expected to launch construction of another medical college at Nagaon district today. 
●    At the occasion, Nadda said that the Central government plans to provide almost 500 types of medicines, 85 types of tests free of cost at 16 District Hospitals in Assam. 
●    The minister said that in due time these facilities will also be made available at community health centres and primary health centres.
●    The medical college at Dhubri will be built within a budget of Rs. 189 crore on 108 bigha land. 
●    The construction of the medical college will finish in 3 years. 
●    There are plans to attach the medical college with the District and Referral Hospital in Dhubri. The hospital currently can accommodate 200 patients. 


Maximum Possible Marks to Indian NRA in WHO Assessment

WHO has completed the assessment of the status of the Indian vaccine regulatory system against WHO NRA Global Benchmarking Tool (GBT) for benchmarking and measured the maturity of the system. 
●    The assessment has been carried out by a WHO team comprising lead experts in different areas from WHO Headquarters Geneva, WHO India Country Office, experts drawn from the regulators of USA, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Indonesia, Thailand and Egypt. 
●    The assessment has been done in respect of nine different functionalities and Indian NRA has been declared ‘functional’ with a maturity level of 4 i.e. the highest level as per currently evolved definitions in respect of 5 functions, and maturity level 3 in respect of 4 functions. 
●    While, maturity level 4 indicates good results and sustained improvement trends, maturity level 3 reflects systematic process based approach, early stage of systematic improvements, data availability regarding conformance to objectives and existence of improvement trends. 
●    India is one of the main players in the pharmaceutical industry worldwide. The pharmaceutical industry covers conventional as well as biological medicinal products including vaccines, medical devices, and traditional medicines. 
●    India, as a large vaccine producing country, is currently supplying several vaccines to the UN agencies (UNICEF, WHO and PAHO). 


 Shri Kiren Rijiju Lays Foundation Stone of NIDM

The Minister of State for Home Affairs Shri Kiren Rijiju laid the foundation stone of the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM).
●    Shri Kiren Rijiju said that India is a huge country and the world expects India to play a leadership role in handling disasters. 
●    The Minister said that NIDM got its recognition in the year 2003, followed by the statutory status in the year 2005 and now the role of NIDM has become even more crucial in the wake of India’s vulnerability to natural disasters. 
●    He said that NIDM has come a long way due to its hard work and also expressed the hope that NIDM will reach newer heights in the future. 
●    The laying of foundation stone of NIDM is just a beginning, he added. Shri Rijiju said that NIDM is an institute of national importance. 
●    He assured that the Ministry of Home Affairs will provide all the support to NIDM for taking the capacity building forward. 


Project Loon Can Now Predict Weather Systems

Researchers at Google have moved a step closer to rolling out a network of huge balloons to provide Internet connectivity to billions of people around the world, particularly those in difficult-to-reach rural areas.
●    The Project Loon team, part of the company’s X research lab, said it can now use machine learning to predict weather systems.
●    The advance means Google has much more control over where its balloons reach, making it possible to focus on a specific region, rather than circumnavigating the globe.
●    “Real users” will be able to make use of the system in the “coming months”, however, the company did not specify where the initial roll-out would take place.
●    The balloons float in the stratosphere around 18 kilometres high. 
●    By raising or lowering altitude, the balloons can be caught in different weather streams, changing direction.


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Google, Yahoo must remove sex determination content : SC

The Supreme Court on Thursday slammed search engines like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft for not obeying Indian laws by allowing online advertisement on sex determination test which is banned in India.

●    The court directed all companies to immediately constitute in-house expert bodies to identify and block keywords indicative of sex determination.
●    The bench took strong exception to Google's affidavit filed in the court which stated that it is not possible to block information on issues that may be illegal in India.
●    Countering search engines claim that they have blocked such advertisements, advocate Sanjay Parikh, appearing for petitioner Sabu Mathew George claimed that still one can see advertisements and information pertaining to gender determination on such websites.


New Malaria Vaccine Found 100% Effective

A new vaccine for malaria is up to 100% effective when assessed at 10 weeks after last dose, according to the results of a clinical trial.

●    The vaccine called Sanaria PfSPZ-CVac incorporated fully viable not weakened or otherwise inactivated malaria pathogens together with the medication to combat them.
●    Malaria parasites are transmitted by the bite of female Anopheles mosquitoes.
●    The Plasmodium falciparum parasite is responsible for most malaria infections and almost all deaths caused by the disease worldwide.
●    Most of the previous vaccines which have been tried involved the use of individual molecules found in the pathogen. However, they were unable to provide sufficient immunity to the disease.
●    The study by University of Tubingen in Germany in collaboration with the biotech company Sanaria involved 67 healthy adult test persons, none of whom had previously had malaria.
●    The best immune response was shown in a group of nine test persons who received the highest dose of the vaccine three times at four-week intervals.
●    At the end of the trial, all nine of these individuals had 100% protection from the disease. 


 Facebook Page of Hunar Haat Launched

Minister of State for Minority Affairs (Independent Charge) and Parliamentary Affairs Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi launched Facebook Page of second “Hunar Haat” of Minority Affairs Ministry in New Delhi today. 

●    While launching of Facebook page Shri Naqvi said that the second “Hunar Haat”, based on the theme of “Craft Aur Cuisine Ka Sangam”, has been visited by more than 15 lakh people so far. 
●    This “Hunar Haat” is unique in the sense that it is showcasing crafts and traditional cuisines brought from different parts of the country. 
●    It also has a “Bawarchikhana” where the people are enjoying various dishes from across the country.
●    Shri Naqvi said that the Minority Affairs Ministry has been promoting “Hunar Haat” on a large scale. 
●    More than 100 artisans and 30 culinary experts from about all the states and Union Territories are participating at about 130 stalls in the second “Hunar Haat”. 
●    The selected master artisans include several state and national level awardees. They are ftom UP, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat, Manipur, Assam, Odisha and Kerala, Telangana, Bihar etc. 
●    The first “Hunar Haat” was organized from 14th to 27th November at India International Trade Fair in November 2016. 


 43rd Edition of IHGF Delhi Fair Spring 2017 Inaugurated 

Textiles Secretary, Smt. Rashmi Verma inaugurated the 43rd edition of “IHGF- Delhi Fair Spring 2017 in a colourful ceremony at India Expo Centre & Mart, Greater Noida today.  

●    The fair is scheduled to be held from 16 – 20 February, 2017 at the state-of-the art India Expo Centre, Greater Noida. 
●    While inaugurating the fair, the Textiles Secretary congratulated EPCH for helping earn a place for IHGF-Delhi Fair in Limca Book of World Records.  
●    Smt. Verma said that every time she visits the fair, she sees new product lines on display; she said this is the reason that large number of buyers from across the globe visit IHGF to source their requirements.
●    She further said that in order to be competitive, artisans and manufacturers of Indian handicrafts at craft clusters need guidance in creating new products.
●    Through this direct buyer-seller meet, Indian handicrafts can not only grow further in terms of exports, but can also further enhance the image of India in the market of home, fashion, lifestyles and textiles across the world.


Indian Navy Concludes First Contract Under Buy and Make (Indian) Category

A contract between Nova Integrated Systems Ltd and Indian Navy for procurement of Surface Surveillance Radars (SSR) has been concluded today. 

●    This is the first contract concluded under the Buy and Make (Indian) Category, in line with the Government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative. 
●    Nova Integrated Systems Ltd, a fully owned subsidiary of Tata Advanced System Ltd, would indigenously manufacture these state-of-the-art radars in collaboration with Terma, Denmark. 
●    This contract marks the entry of Indian Private Industry in production of hi-tech sensors for the Indian Navy. 
●    Procurement of SSR is a part of Indian Navy’s Plan for modernisation of its Fleets, and these radars would also be installed onboard the ships under construction. 
●    The government’s drive to modernise the Armed Forces and build an Indian Defence Industrial Base with participation of Private Industry gets a major boost with the signing of this contract today.


Tarini to be Inducted into Indian Navy on 18 February 17

The Indian Navy’s second ocean going sailboat Tarini will be inducted at a ceremony scheduled to be held at the INS Mandovi Boat Pool on evening of 18 February 2017. 

●    Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of Naval Staff will also be present on the occasion.  INSV Tarini is a sloop built by M/s Aquarius Shipyard Pvt Ltd at Divar, Goa. 
●    The sail boat Tarini is being inducted into the Navy and is slated to be the platform for First Indian All Women Circumnavigation of the Globe expedition of the Indian Navy.
●    The hull is made of wooden core fiberglass sandwich construction for a better performance than aluminum and steel.  INSV Tarini carries a suite of six sails including a Main sail, Head sails (Genoa and stay sails), Downwind sails and Storm sail.
●    The trials of the newly built INSV Tarini were successfully completed on 30 January 17 and all the learning experience from INSV Mhadei has been incorporated in this vessel right from the start.
●    In order to promote ocean sailing activities and to encourage women empowerment, the Indian Navy conceptualized the idea of the First Indian All Women Circumnavigation of the Globe. 
●    A team of six women Officers led by Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi was selected for this project.


 Union Minister of Finance Sh. Arun Jaitley gives away awards at the 11th Foundation Day celebrations of SPMCIL

Union Minister of Finance Sh. Arun Jaitley gave away awards for excellence at the 11th Foundation Day celebrations of Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Ltd. (SPMCIL) at the National Media Centre, New Delhi. He said that SPMCIL played an important role in the world’s biggest exercise of demonetisation. 

●    The event was also attended by Secretary Economic Affairs, Sh Shaktikanta Das and higher officials from SPMCIL. 
●    The awards were given away to 26 employees of SPMCIL for their excellence in various fields during the year 2015-16. Besides, different units of SPMCIL were also awarded for their work in areas of 1) Productivity – India Government Mint, Mumbai, 2) Energy Conservation – India Security Press, Nashik, 3) Environment & Safety – India Government Mint, Noida, 4) Training and Development – Security Paper Mill, Hoshangabad, 5) Vigilance – Bank Note Press, Dewas, and 6) Official Language (Shri Shankar Dayal Singh Shield) – Currency Note Press, Nashik. 
●    The CMD Cup was awarded to the India Security Press, Nashik. The awards were received by the GM/ AGM of the respective units. 
●    The clients of SPMCIL include the Reserve Bank of India for Currency Notes, State Governments for Non-Judicial Stamp Papers and allied stamps, and Postal Department for postal stationery, stamps, etc. 
●    Security Presses also produce various security items like cheques, railway warrants, income tax return order forms, saving instruments, commemorative stamps etc. for various clients and passports, visa stickers and other travel documents for Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Home Affairs. Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Ministry of Finance is the client for Circulating Coins from the corporation.


Delhi Police celebrates its 70th Raising Day

The Minister of State for Home Affairs Shri Hansraj Gangaram Ahir was Chief Guest at the 70th Raising Day of Delhi Police, which was celebrated here today. The MoS inspected the Guard of Honour on the occasion. 

●    During the occasion, Shri Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said that Delhi is at the centre stage of all political, social, cultural as well as commercial activities happening all over the country and the Delhi Police has to be well prepared to face and control any event at large scale, besides performing it regular duties like maintaining law and order and containing crime. 
●    The Minister cautioned the citizens against internal terrorism but at the same time, he expressed his confidence in Delhi Police force, which is well equipped to fight any kind of contingency. 
●    He stressed upon the friendly police force and said that the interests of women, children and senior citizens should be given top priority. 
●    He highlighted about the enhancement of Nirbhaya Fund by around Rs. 25 Cr and assured that the Home Ministry shall have a positive outlook towards requirements of police force in its efforts in Modernization and Digitization. 
●    The Chief Guest conferred medals on 44 police personnel for Gallantry, President Medal of Distinguished Service and Police Medal for Meritorious Service. 

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Gk and Current Affairs 16th February 2017

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India and 5 Others Attend Meet on Afghanistan in Russia

India along with six other nations participated in a meet held in Moscow on 15 February 2017. The conference was conducted to discuss Afghanistan’s future.

●    In a similar conference held two months earlier, Russia had invited only China and Pakistan, a move that was objected by both India and Afghanistan. 
●    India especially objected its exclusion from the previous conference on Afghanistan, as it has always believed in a close and constructive cooperation for peace and stability in the region.
●    Moscow agreed to expand its circle and hold a six-nation conference including Russia, China, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Iran. 
●    The one-day conclave was led by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov. 
●    While Gopal Baglay represented India at the meet, Pakistan was represented by Mansoor Ali Khan.
●    India has always shared a strong strategic, military, economic and diplomatic relationship with Russia and before that with the Soviet Union.


Kayakalp Awards Felicitate Public Health Facilities

Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare felicitated Kayakalp awards (2016-17) for work in maintaining high standards of sanitation and hygiene in public health facilities. 

●    Referring to the ICT based application ‘Mera Aspataal (My Hospital)’ that captures patients’ feedback about their experience in the health facilities on the services that they received or sought to receive, Shri Nadda said that the Ministry is seeking the feedback of people digitally to improve the quality of services at the health centres.
●    The Health Minister also informed that to complement and leverage the efforts and achievements made so far, MOHFW have launched a joint initiative with the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation- Swachh Swasth Sarvatra. 
●    Under this initiative Community Health Centres (CHCs) in Open Defecation Free (ODF) blocks will be supported to achieve Kayakalp 
certification and Gram Panchayat of Kayakalp Primary Health Centres (PHCs) will be prioritized to become ODF. 
●    The Kayakalp scheme launched in 2015 covered 10 Central Government Institutions and District Hospitals in the year of launch. 
●    This year the scheme expanded coverage to 16 Central Government institutions including 6 new AIIMSs and all Primary Health Centres (PHCs) and Community Health Centres (CHCs). 


TAMRA Portal and Mobile Application to ensure Transparent Award of Statutory Clearances for Mining Operations Launched

With an objective to enhance transparency and accountability as a part of the Ease of Doing Business in the Mining sector, Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, Shri Piyush Goyal launched TAMRA portal and Mobile Application on 10th February, 2017. 

●    Ministers of Mining and senior officers from 12 mineral rich States were also connected through video conferencing.
●    TAMRA will be an interactive platform for all the stakeholders to compress the timelines for statutory and other clearances as it would help minimize the gestation period for commencing production.
●    TAMRA covers block-wise, state-wise and mineral-wise information of the blocks to be auctioned, monitors various statutory clearances, and also highlights the additional resources generated through e-Auction. 
●    In case of delay in obtaining any clearances, TAMRA will send triggers to the concerned authority so that the remedial steps can be taken immediately by those responsible. 
●    The Ministry of Mines will also receive triggers generated by TAMRA and will facilitate in expediting clearances.


 Cabinet Approves Establishment of FLRP at Amlaha by ICARDA 

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Establishment of Food Legumes Research Platform (FLRP) at Amlaha, Sehore, Madhya Pradesh with Satellite Hubs in West Bengal and Rajasthan by ICARDA in the second phase.

●    The establishment of FLRP in India will enable India to harness the best of international science in meeting the emerging food security challenges. 
●    India would be able to rapidly and effectively absorb the research output achieved in the country by FLRP. 
●    A major international R&D institution will make India an even bigger center for agricultural research in the world and this in turn, will attract further research & development investment in the country.  
●    This is a research set up by an international organization. ICARDA has a good track record of innovation, as in climate resilient technologies including suitable food legume varieties for dry-land production systems. 
●    ICARDA will carry out research through a multi-disciplinary team of scientists for enhancing productivity of crops range-land and livestock. 
●    This platform will contribute significantly towards reducing poverty, improving food security, improving nutrition and health, and sustaining the natural resource base.


Cabinet Approves Air Services Agreement Between India and Rwanda

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the signing of Air Services Agreement between India and Rwanda. 

●    The Agreement has the potential to spur greater trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchange between India and Rwanda, bringing it in tune with developments in the civil aviation sector.  
●    It will provide enabling environment for enhanced and seamless connectivity while providing commercial opportunities to the carriers of both the sides ensuring greater safety and security.
●    Rwanda is a sovereign State in the East African Region. It is also one of the smallest countries on the African mainland.
●    Located a few degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
●    India-Rwanda relations are marked by cordiality, convergence of views and cooperation on major international issues.


Cabinet Approves Bill to Bring J&K under Statistics Act, 2008

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved a proposal to introduce a Bill in Parliament to extend the jurisdiction of the Collection of Statistics Act, 2008 to Jammu & Kashmir on statistics relevant to any matters under any of the entries specified in the List-I (Union List) and the List- III (Concurrent List) in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution, as applicable to Jammu & Kashmir under the Constitution (Application to Jammu & Kashmir) Order, 1954. 
●    The Amendment will strengthen data collection mechanism in the State of Jammu & Kashmir.
●    The Amendment will Provide for extending the jurisdiction of the Act to Jammu & Kashmir State in respect of matters not reserved for the State as per the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order 1954;
●    The Amendment will Provide for appointing a nodal officer at the Centre and in each State/Union Territory to effectively coordinate data collection activities and provide consultation to Government Departments for avoiding unnecessary duplication, etc.
●    The Collection of Statistics Act, 2008 was enacted to facilitate the collection of statistics on economics, demographic, social, scientific and environmental aspects etc. 
●    The Act extends to the whole of India, except Jammu & Kashmir.


Cabinet Approves Acquisition of Subsidiary Banks of SBI

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the acquisition by the State Bank of India of its subsidiary banks namely State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala and State Bank of Travancore. 

●    The Cabinet also approved the introduction of a Bill in Parliament to repeal the State Bank of India (Subsidiary Banks) Act, 1959 and the State Bank of Hyderabad Act, 1956.
●    The merger is likely to result in recurring savings, estimated at more than Rs. 1,000 crore in the first year, through a combination of enhanced operational efficiency and reduced cost of funds.  
●    Existing customers of subsidiary banks will benefit from access to SBI’s global network.  
●    The merger will also lead to better management of high value credit exposures through focused monitoring and control over cash flows instead of separate monitoring by six different banks.
●    The acquisition under Section 35 of the State Bank of India Act, 1955 will result in the creation of a stronger merged entity.  
●    This will minimize vulnerability to any geographic concentration risks faced by subsidiary banks.  
●    It will create improved operational efficiency and economies of scale.  It will also result in improved risk management and unified treasury operations.


CCEA Approves Awards for 44 Small Oil and Gas Fields

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today gave its approval to award contract in 31 contract areas (44 fields - 28 onland and 16 offshore) of discovered small fields of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Oil India Limited (OIL).  

●    These areas were discovered long back but these discoveries could not be monetized due to various reasons such as isolated locations, small size of reserves, high development costs, technological constraints, fiscal regime etc. 
●    For early monetization of these fields, in September, 2015, Cabinet approved 69 marginal fields for offer under Discovered Small Fields Policy.  
●    Out of these, 67 Discovered Small Fields were clubbed into 46 contract areas and put on offer through online international competitive bidding.  
●    A total of 134 e-bids were received for 34 contract areas. 
●    A total of 47 companies submitted their bid, out of which 43 are Indian Companies and rest 04 are foreign companies.

On This Day

On February 16, 1659 the 1st known cheque (£400) was dated. It is now on display at the Westminster Abbey in London. By the 17th century, bills of exchange were being used for domestic payments in England. Cheques, a type of bill of exchange, then began to evolve. Initially they were called drawn notes, because they enabled a customer to draw on the funds that he or she had in the account with a bank and required immediate payment. These were handwritten, and one of the earliest known still to be in existence was drawn on Messrs Morris and Clayton, scriveners and bankers based in the City of London, and dated 16 February 1659.

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India Tops List of Countries in Ozone Pollution Deaths

India's deepening pollution problem, which hit home with a vengeance after Diwali last year as Delhi and NCR woke up enveloped in smog that refused to lift for days, has a death toll second only to China's, and together the two nations account for over half the world's deaths from pollution.

●    According to the State of Global Air 2017 report, released in Boston on Tuesday, as many as 2.54 lakh deaths occurred in 2015 on account of exposure to ozone and its impact on chronic lung disease.
●    India accounts for the highest number of premature deaths due to ozone pollution, its toll 13 times higher than Bangladesh's, and 21 times higher than Pakistan's.
●    An interactive website on the report also highlights that 92% of the world's population lives in areas with unhealthy air.


SC Verdict - Not Necessary to Stand for National Anthem Played in Film

Audience in cinema halls do not have to stand up for the National Anthem if it is being played in the movie as a part of the its story line. 

●    Supreme Court has modified its order that audience need not stand when National Anthem is played as a storyline in a film, newsreel or documentary.
●    Discussion about whether or not it's necessary for a viewer to stand up every time the National Anthem is being played within a film has been going around since the time SC made it compulsory to play the anthem inside the theaters before a movie screening begins.
●    On November 30, SC ordered all cinema halls across the country to play the National Anthem before the screening of a movie. The court had stated that everyone present in the cinema halls must rise and pay respect to the National Anthem.
●    The decision was also appreciated by Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Venkaiah Naidu who claimed it to be a very good decision.


Two Indians Win Grammy Awards 2017

 Indian tabla player Sandeep Das on 13 February 2017 won the 59th annual Grammy Award for the Best Global Music category. 

●    He won the award for Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble ‘Sing Me Home’. Yo-Yo Ma’s ‘Sing Me Home’ features tunes composed by different artists at global level.
●    The album ‘Sing Me Home’ was released as a part of the documentary on Ma’s project titled ‘The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble’.
●    Apart from Sandeep Das and Yo-Yo Ma, there were other musicians as well who contributed to the album including the New York-based Syrian clarinet player Kinan Azmeh. 
●    Azmeh was recently stranded overseas when US President Donald Trump imposed a ban on travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries.
●    Born and brought up in India, Das started playing at the age of 16. 
●    He learned the intricacies of the instrument from Kishan Maharaj in Banaras and made his debut with Pandit Ravi Shankar.


Bolt Wins Laureus Sportsman of the Year for the Record 4th time

Usain Bolt and Simone Biles, the 2016 Rio Olympic champions won top awards of ‘Sportsman of the Year’ and ‘Sportswoman of the Year’ at the Laureus World Sports Awards 2017, held in Monaco.

●    Bolt was conferred with the top honour for the fourth time, equalling the record set by tennis legends Roger Federer and Serena Williams and surfer Kelly Slater, who are all four-time Laureus winners. 
●    He received his award from one of the world’s greatest sprinters, Michael Johnson.
●    Also for the first time, sports fans were given a chance to voice their choice in a brand new category – ‘Best Sporting Moment of the Year’ award, which was conferred to Barcelona’s under -12 team.
●    The ceremony was hosted by popular actor Hugh Grant.


FSSAI Sets Up Guidelines for Fortified Foods

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on 14 February 2017 formed a scientific panel on food fortification and nutrition.

●    The scientific panel was mandated to identify critical nutritional gaps in the Indian diet in general as well as in specific target groups based on diet surveys and credible scientific evidence.
●    The panel includes 11 distinguished scientists and experts in the field of nutrition. Apart from these 11 experts, members of scientific panels dealing with fortification of food such as wheat flour, refined flour, rice, milk, edible oil and salt will also be a part of this panel.
●    In addition, following agencies will be working with this panel.
●    Union Ministry of Women and Child Development
●    Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
●    Department of Biotechnology
●    Indian Council of Medical Research


 India Joins UN Network to Halve Maternal, Newborn Deaths

India on 14 February 2017 joined the United Nations Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health with an aim to reduce maternal and newborn deaths by half.

●    On this occasion, eight other countries, including Bangladesh, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda joined the multilateral initiative along with India.
●    About Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health
●    It is a multinational network for improving quality of care for maternal, newborn and child health.
●    The network will bring together officials from ministries of health, health care professionals and bilateral and multilateral development partners.
●    The network has three goals. They are –
●    Reduce maternal and newborn mortality in health facilities in the target country districts by 50 per cent over five years
●    Reduce avoidable morbidity due to severe post-partum haemorrhage by 50 per cent
●    Improve experience of healthcare.


Adam Voges retired from international Cricket

Australian Cricketer Adam Voges on 14 February 2017 announced his retirement from international cricket. Voges, who will lead the Prime Minister’s XI against the visiting Sri Lankans in Canberra, said that this will be his last game against the international team.

●    He will continue to play for Middle sex. He had not played a single Test match since November 2016, when he suffered a concussion during Western Australia's Sheffield Shield match against Tasmania.
●    The 37-year-old will end his cricket career with the second highest Test average (61.87 from 31 innings) of all time behind Australian great Sir Donald Bradman. Bradman's career average is 99.94 from 52 Tests.
●    Adam Charles Voges has played for the Australian national team at Test, One Day International (ODI), and Twenty20 International (T20I) level. At present, he captains Western Australia and Perth Scorchers in domestic cricket.
●    Earlier in 2016, he was included in the 2016 ICC Test Match Team of the Year. 

On This Day

On February 15, 1915, the Indian soldiers launched the first large-scale mutiny of World War I. Some 800 soldiers in the Indian army’s 5th Light Infantry Brigade broke out of their barracks on the afternoon of February 15 and killed several British officers before moving on to other areas of the city. By the time the revolt was quashed, several days later, by British, French and Russian troops, the mutineers had killed 39 Europeans—both soldiers and civilians. British soldiers executed 37 of the mutiny’s ringleaders by gunfire. The Singapore Mutiny was intended by its organizers to be part of a general uprising being engineered by Sikh militants in neighboring India against British colonial rule. The rebels in India were betrayed in March 1915 by a police spy, and the leaders were arrested before they could signal the start of the revolt. Eighteen were hanged.

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15 FIRs Ordered Against Dainik Jagran by EC  for Posting UP Exit Polls 

Election Commission (EC) on Monday ordered the District Election Officers (DEOs) of 15 districts in Uttar Pradesh to lodge separate criminal cases against the editors of Dainik Jagran newspaper for running an exit poll on the first phase of polling held in the state last week.

●    The EC asked for 15 separate FIRs to be lodged against Resource Development International (I) Pvt. Ltd, the agency that conducted the poll, and the editorial head of the Hindi daily under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) read with Section 126A and 126B of Representation of People (RP) Act, 1951. 
●    Offences under Section 188 of IPC are cognisable, which means the police have the authority to make an arrest without either a warrant or the permission of a court.
●    Section 126A(1) of RP Act prohibits the conduct and publicising of an exit poll through print or electronic media during the period specified by the poll watchdog. 
●    An offence under this section is punishable by imprisonment of up to two years or with fine or both. 
●    For the ongoing assembly elections in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Goa and Manipur, the EC, through a notification on January 27, banned exit polls from February 4 to March 8, which is the last day of voting.


West Bengal gets a new district carved out of Darjeeling - Kalimpong

Kalimpong became West Bengal's 21st district.

●    Carved out of Bengal's northernmost hill district of Darjeeling, Kalimpong district is spread over 1,056 square kilometers and with a population of just under 50,000, is also densely populated Bengal's least populated district.
●    The dream for a separate district for a region that was for 152 years under the Bhutanese rule and then annexed by British during the Anglo-Bhutanese war of 1864, gained momentum after former Gorkha Janamukti Morcha leader Harka Bahadur Chhetri formed his own party Jan Andolan Party (JAP) on January 27 last year that came close with ruling Trinamool Congress. Kalimpong was made part of Darjeeling district in 1866.
●    Though the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) did not openly oppose the new district, party insiders revealed that GJM chief Bimal Gurung is worried over the weakening of the party in the new district, which is a bastion of JAP. The JAP defeated GJM in student council election held in Kalimpong college recently.


Govt Allocates Rs. 13000 crore to DoT for BharatNet, NFS

Government has allocated Rs 13,000 crore to the Department of Telecom (DoT) to roll out broadband network across gram panchayats and building alternate communications network for Defence, as per the Output-Outcome Framework for Schemes 2017 issued today.

●    The government has allocated Rs 10,000 crore for rolling out optical fibre-based broadband network across “One lakh fifty thousand cumulative GPs” in 2017-18.
●    The government has set a target to provide high speed broadband connectivity across one lakh gram panchayats (GPs) by March 2017 and in rest of the 1.5 lakh panchayats by 2018.
●    Government has also allocated Rs 3,000 crore for laying of OFC and Procurement of equipment for the Network For Spectrum (NFS) project in 2017-18.
●    The Cabinet, in July 2012, had approved an outlay of Rs 13,334 crore for the project, which includes OFC-based network for Army, Navy and Tri-services backbone.


Virat Kohli, First Indian Captain to bag 6 Consecutive Test Series Wins

India on 13 February 2017 won the one-match Test series against Bangladesh 1-0. In the match played at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad, India defeated Bangladesh by 208 runs.

●    Chasing a target of 459, the visitors were bundled out for 250, just before a tea break on the final day of the match.
●    Spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja continued their magic with the ball as they bagged 4 wickets apiece in the second innings. 
●    Pacer Ishant Sharma took two. Earlier, Bangladesh had resumed their second innings at the overnight score of 103 for 3.
●       Earlier on 12 February 2017, India had declared their second innings at 159 for 4, after bundling out Bangladesh for 388. 
●    In the first innings, the hosts had posted a mammoth 687 for 6 declared after opting to bat. The win is India's sixth successive series victory.


Government Confirms ISRO Mission to Mars, Venus

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning its maiden mission to Venus and its second one to the Red planet.

●    The same is confirmed by the newly allotted budget to the department of space, which shows a 23% increase. 
●    The Budget also mentions some provisions under its space sciences section for ‘Mars Orbiter Mission II and mission to Venus’.
●    The Mars mission is tentatively scheduled for 2021-22.
●    ISRO may also attempt to put a robot on the Red planet’s surface this time.
●    Mangalyaan was ISRO’s first interplanetary mission, which made it the 4th agency to reach Mars after Soviet space program, NASA and the European space agency.
●    The mission also made India the first Asian nation to reach Mars orbit and the first one in the world to do so in the first attempt.


 DRDO Young Scientists Meet 2017 Inaugurated

DRDO Young Scientists Meet (YSM) 2017 was inaugurated today by Dr. S Christopher, Secretary, DDR&D and Chairman DRDO at Yelahanka, Bengaluru on the sidelines of Aero India Seminar. 

●    For the first time the event has been planned during Aero India to provide an opportunity for the young scientists to witness the biennial mega event. 
●    YSM is a two-day technical event with participation of young scientists coming from DRDO laboratories all over India. 
●    The program emphasizes on making participants to enthusiastically take part in various open competitions and team building activities. 
●    During the meet eminent experts and speakers from inside and outside DRDO deliver their talk to motivate the young minds. 
●    The meet offers young scientists from DRDO an opportunity to share and exchange scientific experience, present their work before the head of the organization and unleash their creative and innovative potential. 
●    The organizing team comprising young scientists under the age of 35 is given complete autonomy by DRDO headquarters to conduct the event right from the inception and planning to execution of the event.


India’s first floating elementary school inaugurated in Manipur

India’s first floating elementary school named Loktak Elementary Floating School was on 13 February 2017 inaugurated at Langolsabi Leikai of Champu Khangpok floating village on Loktak Lake in Manipur.

●    This first of its kind school was set up with an aim to provide education to dropouts students as well as illiterate adults. 
●    It will provide education to around 40 children from Class I-III by engaging two local teachers. 
●    It was built under the initiative undertaken by All Loktak Lake Fishermen's Union with the support of an NGO People Resources Development Association (PRDA). 
●    The school was established to control the sudden high dropout rate of children living in the Champu Khangpok floating villages who were rendered homeless due to the recent evacuation of phumdis.

On This Day

On 14 February 1929, Sir Alexander Fleming, then a young bacteriologist, made an accidental discovery that led to one of the great developments of modern medicine on this day. Having left a plate of staphylococcus bacteria uncovered, Fleming noticed that a mold that had fallen on the culture had killed many of the bacteria. He identified the mold as penicillium notatum. Fleming thus introduced his mold by-product called penicillin to cure bacterial infections.


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India wins the WCT20 for the Blind 

India on 12 February 2017 won the ICC T20 Blind World Cup. In the final clash played at Bengaluru’s M Chinnaswamy stadium, India defeated Pakistan by 9-wickets.
●    Successfully defending their title in the T20 Blind World Cup, India achieved the victory target of 198-runs in the 18th over in the final of the tournament.
●    Pakistan had scored 197 for 8 in their 20 overs. The team had won the previous edition by defeating the same rivals in the final in 2012.
●    India made to the finals with eight victories of the nine games. It lost its only match against Pakistan in the group stages at Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi. 
●    Pakistan also ended as runners-up to India in the 2012 edition of the game. In 2012, which was the inaugural session of the tournament, India defeated Pakistan by 29 runs.
●    Pakistan scored 197 for 8 in 20 overs. The main scorer was Badar Muni (57)
India scored 200/1 in 17.4 overs. Main scorers were Prakasha Jayaramaiah (99 not out), Ajay Kumar Reddy (43)


BAFTA 2017

The American musical-drama film ‘La La Land’ swept the top five awards at the 70th British Academy Film Awards, BAFTA. 
●    The film directed by Damien Chazelle had Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as the lead characters.
●    The winning streak displayed by the film 'La La Land' up until BAFTA is expected to continue further, especially since it has 14, a record number of nominations at the upcoming 89th Academy Awards ceremony (Oscars) that is scheduled to be held on 26 February 2017. 
●    Outstanding British film - Daniel Blake
●    Best film - La La Land
●    Best director - Damien Chazelle -La La Land
●    Best actor - Casey Affleck - Manchester by the Sea
●    Best actress - Emma Stone -La La Land
●    EE Rising Star award - Tom Holland
●    Best original music - La La Land


Peugeot Buys 'Ambassador' for Rs. 80 crore

Hindustan Motors on 11 February 2017 sold out Ambassador car brand to French automaker Peugeot SA for Rs 80 crore.
●    This deal will help Peugeot to enter into the Indian car market by using Hindustan Motors' existing manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu.
●    In this regard, Hindustan Motors signed an agreement with Peugeot SA for the sale of the Ambassador brand including the trademarks for a consideration of Rs 80 crore.
●    Since 1958, when the Ambassador, based on Britain’s Morris Oxford, started being manufactured in India, it was the emblem of high social standing. 
●    It was the first diesel car of India and was the longest produced auto brand that was manufactured between 1958 to 2014.
●    Since 1958, there have been seven models of the Ambassador beginning with Mark 1 to Encore.
●    The first Ambassador model costs Rs 14000 while the last one costs Rs 5 lakh.


BHIM App for iOS Launched

Indigenous digital payments app BHIM, which the government has developed for fast and secure cashless transactions, has been launched for the iOS platform.
●    The Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) app was available on Android platform till now.
●    On December 30, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the BHIM app for fast and secure cashless transactions using mobile phones.
●    BHIM is a platform designed to make payment through UPI and USSD modes simpler.
●    Last month, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the number of downloads for BHIM app has crossed the 1-crore mark.
●    The BHIM app downloads, which have shot up in a matter of a few days, "show 

how India is changing" with regard to adoption of digital payments and cashless transactions, the Minister had pointed out.
Digital payments channels like mobile wallets, USSD and RuPay have seen massive uptake and rise in transactions post demonetisation.


 Zoom Air to begin Commercial Operations from Feb 15

Zoom Air on Sunday flew its inaugural flight from the national capital and will start commercial operations from February 15.
●    The CRJ 200 LR plane landed at the Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport, Durgapur, at 1339 hours, where it was accorded the traditional water canon salute.
●    Zoom Air has become the 12th operational domestic carrier. The airline would start commercial services from February 15 with a flight to Durgapur via Kolkata from New Delhi.
●    Promoted by Zexus Air Services, the carrier would also operate flights to Amritsar, Surat and Bhavnagar from Delhi in the first phase of its operations with a fleet of three dry-leased CRJ 200LR planes.
●    Zoom Air's entry is expected to intensify competition in the domestic aviation market, which is seeing over 20 per cent growth over the last two years.
●    Around Rs. 20 crore has been already invested in the carrier, he said, adding that the airline plans to raise Rs. 20-25 crore in 3-6 months, preferably through equity funding.


Feb 13 : World Radio Day

World Radio Day was celebrated across the world on 13 February 2017. 
●    Themed ‘Radio is You’, this year the day calls for a greater participation of both the audiences and communities in the policy and planning of radio broadcasting.
●    Irina Bokova, the Director General of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said that at such a time when turbulence is high in the society, radio provides an ideal platform to bring communities together.
●    She further added by saying that radio, as a popular communication medium, is a force for human rights and dignity and also a powerful enabler of solutions to the challenges faced by the society.
●    World Radio Day was celebrated for the first time in 2012, following its establishment during the UNESCO General Conference in the same year.
●    It was later adopted by the United Nations General Assembly as an International Day.
●    Every year, UNESCO commemorates the day by planning activities with organisations, broadcasters and communities from around the world.


Sand Artist Sudarsan’s new sand castle creates Guinness World Record

Sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik created a Guinness World Record on 10 February 2017 by sculpting a 48.8 feet tall sand castle at Odisha’s Puri beach.
●    The world’s tallest sand castle carries a message of world peace and features sculptures of legendary leaders and preachers of peace such as Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Gautama Buddha.
●    Patnaik achieved the huge feat in just four days.
●    He along with his 45 students started work on the sculpture on 7 February. They worked for nearly 12 hours a day.
●    The artwork would be exhibited on the Puri beach for two more days.
●    The official announcement about Patnaik’s feat was made by Guinness authorities in the presence of the state’s chief secretary Aditya Padhi and other senior officers.
●    American artist Ted Siebert was the previous record holder. He had built a 13.97 metre high (45 10 feet) sand castle at Miami Beach, USA in 2015 in seven days.
●    The 39-year-old Odisha-born sand artist is a Padma Shri awardee. He was conferred the prestigious award on 2014.


RBI to set up separate Enforcement Department

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 8 February 2017 announced that a separate department would be set up to develop a sound framework and process for enforcement action.
●    The proposed department is expected to further strengthen the banking structure and enhance the efficacy of the payment and settlement systems.
●    The Enforcement Department will become operational on 1 April 2017.
●    The Enforce Department (ED) will speed up regulatory compliance of banks.
●    The ED will primarily deal with the issues related to penalties imposed on banks for violation of norms.
●    At present, the penalties are decided by the banking and non-banking supervision departments of the Reserve Bank of India. 

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Important Current Affairs - 12 February 2017 with PDF

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We bring you the Latest General Knowledge, Current Affairs daily news, Events, General awareness Today  12th February 2017 Section in FREE PDF (English & Hindi), a section which outlines the latest news, Events headlines which are hardly covered elsewhere.


 Arunachal Pradesh becomes first North-East state to implement e-Cabinet solution 

Arunachal Pradesh on 7 February 2017 became the first state in the northeast to implement e-Cabinet solution for the state cabinet members.

●    With the e-Cabinet solution, the Arunachal Pradesh Government plans to streamline its decision-making process.
●    The e-Cabinet solution facilitates the cabinet members to access the cabinet notes before the meeting. 
●    Moreover, the entire business of the Cabinet can be conducted using the system.
●    Once the state adopts the e-Cabinet system completely, the average length of the cabinet meetings will go down from 4-5 hours to just 30-90 minutes.
●    It will also help the government to eliminate the need to print and deliver thousands of pages of documents.
●    The e-Cabinet solution is a multi-user secure solution that keeps relevant information organised and updated in real time. 


Nobel laureate Sir Peter Mansfield passes away

 Renowned physicist and Nobel laureate Sir Peter Mansfield passed away on 8 February 2017 in London, England. He was 83.

●    Mansfield, along with Paul Lauterbur, had won the 2003 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for developing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
●    Sir Peter Mansfield was an English physicist. He also served as a professor at the University of Nottingham.
●    Born on 9 October 1933 in London, he developed an interest in rocketry at the age of 18.
●    He took up a job with the Rocket Propulsion Department of the Ministry of Supply in Westcott, Buckinghamshire. 
●    Eighteen months later, he was called up for National Service.
●    In 1959, he earned a BSc from Queen Mary's.


 Official Mascot unveiled for FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017

The Official Mascot of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 was unveiled on 10 February 2017 at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.

●    The Official Mascot is a clouded leopard called Kheleo. 
●    The clouded leopard is a vulnerable wild cat whose habitat extends from the Himalayan foothills to mainland Southeast Asia.
●    Kheleo will participate in several activities in the run-up to the first FIFA tournament to be hosted by India. 
●    The tournament will be played from 6 to 28 October 2017.
●    The 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup will be the 17th edition of the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
●    The FIFA U-17 World Cup is a biennial international men's youth football championship contested by the U17 national teams of the member associations of FIFA.


UK’s House of Commons passes Brexit bill

House of Commons, the lower house of British Parliament passed legislation on 8 February 2017, authorising Prime Minister Theresa May’s government to initiate Brexit talks with the European Union.

●    The historic legislation witnessed 494 Members of the Parliament voting in favour of Brexit and just 122 against. 
●    Among the MPs who voted against the bill, 52 were labour MPs,  the leading opposition party, who went against their party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s orders of backing the bill.
●    Few of the pro- European legislators even whistled European Union’s anthem, Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ while the votes were being tallied.
●    Though the members of the lower house had already shown overwhelming support to the bill in its initial reading, the final votes were cast following a seven-hour debate on amendments.
●    The bill was passed with no changes.


Hemant Bhargava appointed LIC MD

Hemant Bhargava was today appointed Managing Director of state-owned Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India.

●    He is at present LIC’s Zonal Manager, Delhi.
●    The Appointments Committee of Cabinet has approved Bhargava’s appointment to the post till his superannuation, i.e., July 31, 2019, an order issued by the Personnel Ministry said.
●    The top LIC management consists of the Chairman and three Managing Directors.
●    Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) is an Indian state-owned insurance group and investment company headquartered in Mumbai. 
●    The Life Insurance Corporation of India was founded in 1956 when the Parliament of India passed the Life Insurance of India Act that nationalised the private insurance industry in India. 
●    Over 245 insurance companies and provident societies were merged to create the state owned Life Insurance Corporation.


Ola appoints Badri Raghavan as Chief Data Scientist

The country’s largest online cab aggregator Ola has put together a data science team which will be headed by Dr. Badri Raghavan, an industry veteran, who earlier worked with FirstFuel Software, a leading energy and utilities analytics firm based out of Boston.

●    Ankit Bhati, CTO and co-founder at Ola, said the company was moving towards a much larger scale towards building technology based on deep insight into the Indian psyche, and for this Big Data is a must. 
●    Raghavan’s key responsibilities will include leading a data science team with cutting edge training in Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Decision Analysis, Pattern Recognition and related areas. 
●    The team will work across various business units and departments, to gain operational and business efficiencies, ranging from demand and supply prediction, driver behaviour and performance management and location Intelligence, among others.


 World’s first ‘solar panel road’ opens in France

The world’s first solar road is here, in the small village of Tourouvre-au-Perche in Normandy, France. 

●    The 1 kilometer road was opened yesterday by French Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal and could generate enough electricity to power the street lights.
●    That might not sound very impressive for 30,000 square feet of solar panels — and it kind of isn’t, especially for its $5.2 million price tag. 
●    The panels have been covered in a silicon-based resin that allows them to withstand the weight of passing big rigs, and if the road performs as expected, Royal wants to see solar panels installed across 1,000 kilometers of French highway.
●    Colas, the company that installed the road, hopes to reduce the cost of the panels going forward and it has around 100 solar panel road projects in progress around the world.
●    Solar Roadway is another company looking at building roads with solar panels, and it installed a small number of panels at the Route 66 Welcome Center in Conway, Missouri earlier this year.


Veerappan, Chasing the Brigand authored by K Vijay Kumar

The Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on 8 February 2017 released the book titled - Veerappan, Chasing the Brigand.

●    The book was written by K Vijay Kumar, Senior Security Adviser in the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
●    The book is considered as an authoritative narrative as the author K Vijay Kumar spearheaded the Tamil Nadu Special Task Force (STF) that planned and executed the Veerappan’s encounter in 2004.
●    The book is a lucid and incisive account of the rise and fall of India’s most dreaded forest brigand.
●    The book narrates various incidents that shaped Veerappan’s life - whether it is his birth in Gopinatham in 1952 or his death in 2004 in a shootout in Padi.
●    The book describes ruthless killings and high-profile kidnappings masterminded by Veerappan in a fascinating detail. 


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Important Current Affairs - 11th February 2017 with PDF

Important Current Affairs 11th Feb 2017 with PDF

Dear Readers,

We bring you the Latest General Knowledge, Current Affairs daily news, Events, General awareness Today  11th February 2017 Section in FREE PDF (English & Hindi), a section which outlines the latest news, Events headlines which are hardly covered elsewhere.


Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi inaugurates “Hunar Haat” showcasing rich & exquisite skills of Master Artisans

Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs (Independent Charge) and Parliamentary Affairs Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi inaugurated the second edition of “Hunar Haat”. It is being organized by the Minority Affairs Ministry to encourage, promote and provide national and international market to master artisans/craftsmen belonging to the Minority communities from across the country.With the theme “Craft Aur Cuisine Ka Sangam”, the second “Hunar Haat” is being organized from 11th to 26th February, 2017 at State Emporia Complex, Baba Kharak Singh Marg, Connaught Place. 
●    For the first time in this exhibition very exquisite pieces of Handicraft & Handloom work like Makrana Marble products, Bandhej from Sikar, Mojri from Rajasthan, Banjara Embroidery from Telangana, Handmade Locks & Door Handles along with Phool-Patti works from Aligarh, Cocoon decorated products from Nagaland, Mizoram Traditional Crafts, etc are being showcased and sold. 
●    Different cuisines from 13 states are being brought by culinary experts for this second “Hunar Haat”. Awadhi Mughlai foods from Lucknow, Dal Bati Churma & Thali from Rajasthan, Sandesh & Rasogolla from West Bengal, Malabari food from Kerala, Litti-Chokha of Bihar, Puran-Poli from Maharashtra, Dhokla & Jalebi from Gujarat, Kashmiri Wazwan from J&K, Bhutte Ki Khees, Sabudana-Kheer & Khichri from Madhya Pradesh, etc. 
●    Shri Naqvi expressed confidence that just like the first “Hunar Haat”, which was organized in November last year at Pragati Maidan, the second “Hunar Haat” at Baba Kharak Singh Marg will also showcase rich and beautiful art/skills of master artisans. The selected master artisans/craftsmen belong to states such as UP (29), Rajasthan (9), Jammu and Kashmir (9), Gujarat (6), Manipur (3), Assam (2), Odisha (2) and Kerala, Telangana and Bihar etc. In “Bawarchikhana”, the people can enjoy food from states such as UP (3), Jammu and Kashmir (3), West Bengal (2), Gujarat (2) and Bihar, Maharashtra, Rajasthan etc.


India Successfully Test Fires Exo-Atmospheric Interceptor Missile 

 At 0745 hrs today, India successfully conducted a test wherein an incoming ballistic missile target was intercepted by an exo-atmospheric interceptor missile off the Bay of Bengal. 
●    With this commendable scientific achievement, India has crossed an important milestone in building its overall capability towards enhanced security against incoming ballistic missile threats. 
●    It has entered an exclusive club of four nations with developing capabilities to secure its skies and cities against hostile threats. 
●    Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar lauded the efforts of the DRDO and all the scientists involved for their dedicated efforts in this significant achievement.


‘India Pharma 2017’ & ‘India Medical Device 2017’ International Conference inaugurated

Union Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers and Parliamentary Affairs, Shri Ananthkumar inaugurated the 2nd edition of India Pharma & India Medical Device International Conference in Bengaluru today. 
●    The three day event, with the Vision - ‘For Responsible Healthcare’, is being organized by the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) from 11th-13th February, 2017.
●    Talking about the achievements of the Pharma sector, the Minister congratulated the industry for achieving a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of over 15% and expressed confidence that the sector would be worth $55 billion by 2020 from the present $32 billion. 
●    The Minister also said that India accounts for around 20% of the World’s generic medicine supply chain, exporting to over 250 countries globally. Indian Pharma Industry provides over 60% of global vaccines.
●    Further, Shri Kumar informed that in this fiscal year, the Indian Pharma sector has received Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) close to $14 billion and has generated employment for over 2.5 million people across India.


Second National Conclave on Mines and Minerals to be held in the National Capital on 15 February 2017

The Ministry of Mines organized the first National Conclave on Mines & Minerals on 4-5 July 2016 at Raipur jointly with the Govt. of Chhattisgarh. It was an astounding success, owing to overwhelming support of all stakeholders of the mining industry. All the participants expressed great satisfaction on the organization and outcome of the conclave.
●    After the first Conclave, several new initiatives have been taken by the Ministry of Mines, such as - launch of Star Rating Scheme, Mining Surveillance System, scheme to attract private explorers, etc. 
●    The implementation of these initiatives requires harmonization of understanding of the regulatory bodies and the mining industry. This called for intensive and wide interaction between all stakeholders.
●    The Prime Minister had launched ‘Make in India’ program encompassing all vital areas in the manufacturing sector of the economy. The mining sector has a pivotal role to play in the ‘Make in India’ vision of the Prime Minister. 
●    The great success, and immense utility of 1st National Mining Conclave on Mines & Minerals to gather solidarity in approach for addressing the issues in the mining sector, the Ministry of Mines is organising 2nd National Mining Conclave on Mines & Minerals in New Delhi in Convention Hall, Hotel The Ashok, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi  on 15th February, 2017. 


National Productivity Week Celebrations from Feb 12-18, 2017

National Productivity Council, an autonomous body under Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India was established on 12th February, 1958, with the objective of stimulating and promoting productivity and quality consciousness across all sectors in the country. 
●    With the Government’s focus on Make in India, the need for accelerated growth through higher productivity and quality has never been felt more. 
●    The ongoing process of liberalization and globalization of the Indian economy makes it imperative to re-double our efforts towards enhancing productivity for competitiveness and making it a mass-movement.
●    12th-18th February is celebrated as the ‘National Productivity Week’ every year. The theme chosen for this year’s observance is “From Waste to Profits-through Reduce, Recycle and Reuse”. 
●    Departmental Secretaries, PSU’s, Industry Associations, Autonomous Bodies, Universities, Local Productivity Councils & NPC Regional Directorates have been requested to actively organize workshops, essay/painting/slogan competitions, debates, training programs, etc.  during the week to spread the message of productivity amongst all stakeholders.


Union Minister For Science & Technology And Earth Sciences Dr. Harsh Vardhan released Braille Atlas for Visually Impaired

The Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Dr. Harsh Vardhan released the Special Edition of “Atlas for Visually Impaired (India)” in English Braille today in New Delhi. This Braille Atlas has been prepared by National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organisation (NATMO) under Department of Science & Technology.
●    The Minister expressed happiness at the production of these Atlases. He said these atlases will be distributed to various schools across the country for educating the students with visual challenges.
●    Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that all departments of Government will work to implement this. Efforts are being made to make these atlases more cost effective than the current price of Rs.600/- per atlas with 20 maps now. Silkscreen printing used to prepare these atlases is unique to India, he added.
●    About 20 maps on different themes of physical, socioeconomic and cultural aspects such as river system, natural vegetation, Metropolitan cities, Roads and Railways, Food crops and cash crops have been incorporated in the atlas with write-ups on every map as ready reference. 
●    This Atlas has been bestowed with National award for S&T intervention in empowering the physically challenged by the Prime Minister on 3rd January, 2017 in Indian Science Congress held in Tirupati. 


 Thaawarchand Gehlot Inaugurates ‘2ND Workshop to Train Professionals as Master Trainers for using INCLEN Tools’

Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment inaugurated the “2nd workshop to train Professionals as Master Trainers for using INCLEN Tools” organized by the National Trust, a statutory body under the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment here today. 
●    Shri Gehlot wished all the professional Master Trainers a bright future ahead. Shri N.S. Kang, Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment and Shri Mukesh Jain, CEO, National Trust and many dignitaries were present.
●    The 1st National Workshop was organized  form 31st August to 2nd September, 2016 in Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi in which 78 professionals in the field of Pediatrics, Clinical Psychologist & Psychiatrists from 18 states were trained.
●    The children affected by ASD will be certified by using the INCLEN tools for diagnosis and ISAA tools for severity scoring. 
●    The aim of the proposed workshop is to train and empower healthcare professionals (pediatricians, psychologists, psychiatrists) to diagnose, certify and thus take the first step to manage children with ASD appropriately. 
●    The purpose of training the professionals as Master Trainers is that every State, through its Master Trainers, will train other professionals in using INCLEN and ISAA tools which becomes base in issuing the certificates for Autism. This will solve the problem of issuing certificate for Autism is in the State.


Gujarat becomes first State to establish cashless system for distribution of food grains

Gujarat in the first week of February 2017 became the first State in the country to establish a cashless system for distribution of food grains.
●    An announcement in this regard was made by the Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan, who congratulated the Government of Gujarat for this achievement.
●    The Government of Gujarat installed Aadhaar Enabled Payment System in 17250 Fair Price Shops (FPSs), much before the targeted date of 31 March 2017.
●    Under this new system, the beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act, 2013 will need to carry only Aadhaar cards for getting their food grains.
●    This will help in establishing the identity of beneficiaries, help in stopping the leakages of grains at shop level and eradicating corruption in the Public Distribution System (PDS).

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