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Important Current Affairs 25th February 2020

NATIONAL NEWS

Elections for 55 Rajya Sabha seats Will be on March 26, Schedule released:

• The Election Commission of India (ECI) announcing the schedule of polling for 55 Rajya Sabha seats spread over 17 States set to be vacated in April will be conducted on March 26. According to the schedule for the elections, the notification would be issued on March 6, the last date of filing of nominations would be March 13 and polling would be on March 26, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The votes would be counted at 5 p.m. on the same day.

National Cyber Research Centre : inaugurated by Union Minister:

• Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy inaugurated National Cyber Research, Innovation and Capacity Building Centre at Central Detective Training Institute (CDTI) campus located at Ramanthapur in Hyderabad.

• Reddy pointed out the need for such a centre with the proliferation of Information Technology in our lives. The Government has anticipated cyber threat and has taken several landmark steps in the recent past. A dedicated division was created in October 2017 under the Ministry of Home Affairs, for addressing the cyber security threat in the country.

• The Minister stated that CDTI is one of the seven verticals under Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) and highlights the growing relevance of continuous research and innovation in the fight against cyber crime.

• The Minister also stated that the MHA is also working on setting up Regional Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (R4C) in the States. It is in collaboration with I4C to further strengthen the cyber combat capabilities of the nation. CDTI Hyderabad will prove to be a central hub for entire South India. he added.

First Anniversary of National War Memorial:

• On 25th February 2020, India observed the first anniversary of the iconic National War Memorial. Get full details here.

• As a part of the main ceremony, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat will honour the fallen soldiers today along with veterans from all three wings of armed services.

• CDS Gen Bipin Rawat will lay wreaths and pay homage to the fallen soldiers. Since its inauguration last year, around 21 lakh people have visited the memorial with over 5,000-7,000 people foot-fall at the monument every day.

 ‘UPI Chalega’: NPCI launches campaign for payment mode to gain currency:

• The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) is keen to further popularise its flagship Unified Payments Interface (UPI), which has clocked over 100 crore transactions per month.

• While UPI has already shown robust growth, Rai stated, the objective is to reach out to the next set of users, across geographies, and encourage them to switch from cash. With this in mind, NPCI, along with payment service providers, has co-created an industry campaign ‘UPI Chalega’, to promote it as an easy, safe and instant mode of payment.

• The campaign is aimed to guide users towards the right use of UPI and help create a habitual change, to use UPI in their daily lives. The campaign also focusses on the safety aspects while transacting on UPI-enabled apps.

• The number of UPI transactions touched 130.5 crore last month, and the total amount transacted was at an all-time high of ₹16-lakh crore. As many as 144 banks are on the platform.

• The findings of a pre-campaign study conducted among 12,800 people in four zones, across 36 centres, showed a 60 per cent awareness of UPI, Rai stated.

• She added that early adopters of UPI have come from across geographies — metros and smaller cities — and now the idea is to push it to the next set of users.

• Launched in 2016 as a means to boost digital payments, UPI allows users to transfer money on a real-time basis, across multiple bank accounts, without revealing bank account details to the other party.

About NPCI:

• The National Payments Corporation of India is an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India.

• Headquarters: Mumbai

• Founded: 2008

• Non-Exe Chairman : Biswamohan Mahapatra

• MD & CEO :Dilip Asbe

BANKING, FINANCE AND ECONOMICS

 NABARD sanctions Rs 400 Cr to boost rural infra in J&K:

• The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) recently sanctioned over Rs 400.64 crore for infrastructural development of rural areas of Jammu & Kashmir.

• The funding will be provided under Trench XXV of the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) of NABARD.

• The project includes the construction of roads and bridges which would provide all-weather connectivity to over 450 remote villages of the Union Territory of J&K.

• An amount of 66 crore rupees has been sanctioned for implementation of 38 water supply schemes. The sanction includes augmentation of 27 existing water supply schemes and construction of 11 new water supply schemes.

• These water supply schemes are aimed at providing safe and potable drinking water to rural households. The schemes will benefit over 3.5 lakh people across 86 villages in 17 districts.

About NABARD:

• National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development is an Apex Development Financial Institution in India. The Bank has been entrusted with “matters concerning Policy Planning and Operations in the field of credit for Agriculture and other Economic activities in Rural areas in India.

• Headquarters: Mumbai

• Agency executive: Harsh Kumar Bhanwala (Chairperson)

• Formation: July 12, 1982

ACQUISITIONS, MERGERS, BUSINESS AND MOU’S

India and US have expanded defence cooperation with defence deals worth USD 3 billion:

• India and the United States finalised defence deals worth $3 billion on February 25, 2020. The deals were signed after delegation-level talks between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting US President Donald Trump. The deals are expected to enhance the joint defence capabilities between the two countries.

• The US President made the announcement in a joint statement with PM Modi on Day 2 of his maiden visit to India. Donald Trump said that India has agreed to purchase USD 3 billion worth advanced American military equipment including Apache and MH-60 Romeo helicopters, which are the finest in the world.

• Trump also stated that the US makes the greatest weapons ever made including planes, ships, missiles, rockets, air defence systems, armed and unarmed aerial vehicles and that the nation is now looking forward to providing India with some of its best and most feared military equipment.

Two key defence deals

India and the US finalised two key defence deals on February 25. The deals are as follows:

o Procurement of 24 MH-60 Romeo helicopters by India for $2.6 billion.

o Procurement of six AH-64E Apache helicopters at a cost of $800 million.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Adline Castelino wins Miss Diva Universe 2020:

• Adline Castelino has been crowned as the winner of LIVA Miss Diva Universe 2020 competition. She was crowned by Vartika Singh, the winner of the previous edition at an event held in YRF (Yash Raj Films) Studios, Mumbai, Maharashtra. She hails from Mangalore, Karnataka. She will go on to represent the country at Miss Universe later this year.

• Aavriti Choudhary of Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh crowned as LIVA Miss Diva Supranational 2020 and was crowned by his predecessor Shefali Sood. She will be India’s contender for Miss Supranational pageant 2020.

Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival Awards 2020:

Complete List of Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival Awards 2020 Winners:

S. No.

Award

Award Winner

1

Best Film

Super 30

2

Best Actor

Hrithik Roshan (Super 30)

3

Most Promising Actor

Kiccha Sudeep

4

Best Actor in Television Series

Dheeraj Dhoopar

5

Best Actress in Television

Divyanka Tripathi

6

Most Favourite Television Actor

Harshad Chopda

7

Most Favourite Jodi in Television Series

Sriti Jha and Shabbir Ahluwalia

(Kumkum Bhagya)

8

Best Television Series

Kumkum Bhagya

9

Best Playback Singer Male

Armaan Malik

10

Best Reality Show

Bigg Boss 13

SPORTS

Commonwealth 2022 : India will host Shooting and Archery Championships:

• India will host the Commonwealth Shooting and Archery Championships in January 2022. The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) announced this decision after the Executive Board meeting in London.  The two events will be held in Chandigarh in January 2022, while the Birmingham Commonwealth Games is scheduled from 27th of July to 7th of August, 2022.

• The decision is being considered a big win for India after IOA  threatened to boycott the 2022 Birmingham Games for dropping shooting from the roster in July last year.

ICC bans Omani player Yousuf Abdulrahim Al Balushi for 7 years:

• The International Cricket Council (ICC) banned Oman player Yousuf Abdulrahim Al Balushi from all forms of cricket for 7 years. The player has been reprimanded for breaching the ICC’s Anti-Corruption Code as he was found guilty for breaching various counts in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup qualifiers 2019.

• Al Balushi breached Article 2.1.1 of the Anti-Corruption Code: being party to an agreement or effort to fix or contrive in any way the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of matches. Besides, he also breached Article 2.1.4, Article 2.4.4 and Article 2.4.7: All relating to corrupt practices.

Important

a. Chairman of ICC: Shashank Manohar;

b. Chief Executive: Manu Sahney;

c. Headquarters: Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

OBITUARY

Former Lok Sabha MP Krishna Bose passed away:

• She was the wife of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s nephew Sisir Kumar Bose. She joined politics in the mid-1990s. She was close to Trinamool Congress chairperson and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

• Krishna Bose was elected from the Jadavpur Lok Sabha seat in 1998 and 1999 on TMC ticket. She was elected from the same seat on a Congress ticket in 1996. During her time in the Lok Sabha, she was the Chairperson of the Committee on External Affairs and served as a member in several other important committees. She was the chairperson of the Netaji Research Bureau.

Katherine Johnson, legendary NASA mathematician, dies at 101:

• Katherine Johnson's calculations helped NASA to take humans into space. She was also portrayed in a Hollywood film 'Hidden Figures.'

• Katherine Johnson was an American mathematician, who passed away on February 24, 2020. She was 101. Katherine was famous NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) mathematician who led the American space agency to a new height.

• Her calculations related to space travel played an important role in transporting humans to space. Katherine was one of the first women scientists of NASA who helped humans to reach space. It is believed that the Americans were able to overtake the Soviet Union in the space race because of her contributions.

• Katherine Johnson was a part of NASA's computer pool. This pool was a group of mathematicians. NASA carried out its first successful space mission with the help of data created by this group. Katherine was one of the black women who worked for NASA. She started her career as a teacher.

• Born in 1918 at West Virginia, Katherine was curious to learn math from an early age. According to Katherine’s biography published by NASA, she was one of three black students selected to integrate West Virginia's undergraduate colleges. She did the mapping of the moon before the 1969’s landing and helped to bring Apollo-13 astronauts back to the Earth.

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Important Current Affairs 24th February 2020

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

US to become India’s top trading partner, surpasses China:

• The United States has surpassed China to become India’s top trading partner. According to the Commerce Ministry data, the bilateral trade between the US and India stood at nearly 88 billion dollars in 2018-19 fiscal. During the period, India’s trade with China was at 1 billion dollars.

• Similarly, during April-December 2019-20, the bilateral trade between the US and India stood at 68 billion dollars against a nearly 65 billion dollars trade with China in the same period.

NATIONAL NEWS

ASKDISHA : AI based chatbot launched by Indian Railway:

• Indian Railways had introduced the services of Artificial Intelligence based ASKDISHA chatbot in October 2018 for the benefit of the users of the ticketing website www.irctc.co.in and tourism website www.irctctourism.com of its PSU, Indian Railways Catering & Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC).

• The ASKDISHA Chatbot was initially launched in English language but in order to further enhance the customer services rendered and to further strengthen the services of the chatbot, IRCTC has now powered voice enabled ASKDISHA to converse with customers in Hindi language also in the e-ticketing site www.irctc.co.in. The customers can now ask queries to ASKDISHA in Hindi language by voice as well as text.

• The first-of-its-kind initiative by IRCTC is aimed at facilitating accessibility by answering users’ queries pertaining to various services offered to railway passengers. Since its initial launch, more than 150 million passengers have been benefited by ASKDISHA with 10 billion interactions for seeking help on reservation of tickets, cancellation, enquiry of refund status, fare, PNR search, train running status, enquiry about retiring rooms and tourism products.

• IRCTC plans to launch ASKDISHA in more languages along with many other additional features in the near future.

‘Thal Sena Bhawan’: New Army Headquarters foundation Laid by Rajnath Singh:

• Defence Minister Rajnath Singh laid the foundation stone of a new army headquarters building in Delhi Cantonment recently. This complex will be named as ‘Thal Sena Bhawan’. It will be constructed over 39 acres of land. 

• Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that this army building will represent the Indian soldiers. He also said that these soldiers wanted India to become capable and empowered. Now their sacrifice has made India a powerful country and this building is dedicated to them. He also said that the building was needed for many years.

• This army building, to be built in 7.5 lakh square meters that will have 6014 offices that will include 1684 offices for military and civilian officers and 4330 offices for sub-staff. The new Army headquarters will also provide employment opportunities to the youth of India. It will be constructed as per the Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) norms.

‘Happiness Class’ to be attended by Melania Trump:

• US First Lady Melania Trump along with the US President Donald Trump, on their maiden visit to India, will attend a ‘Happiness Class’ at a Government School based in Delhi. Arvind Kejriwal led AAP Government’s flagship scheme of ‘Happiness Curriculum’ has won commendations from different corners of the globe.

• What is Happiness Curriculum?

Happiness Curriculum was launched in 2018 as a scheme to reinvent school education sector in Delhi Government Schools. With school education in India primarily focused on competitive testing model, which lays prime emphasis on scoring marks in order to succeed; AAP Government felt the need to provide a more fulfilling education and learning experience. In line with this, Happiness Curriculum was launched which aims at promoting development of cognition, language, literacy, numeracy and the arts. This in turn aids the mental growth well-being and happiness of students.

‘Krishi Maha-Kumbh’ : Chhattisgarh organises agricultural festival to cater to future farming practices:

• A three-day mega agricultural festival organised in Raipur called ‘Krishi Maha-Kumbh’ was inaugurated by Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel. Also known as the National Agriculture Festival, this mela boasted of going beyond the traditional dominant practices of farmers by encouraging the agrarian community to experiment with non-conventional farm activities, adopt modern technologies and secure quality organic produce.

Goa carnival : World famous carnival to begin in Panaji:

•  The world-famous Goa Carnival will begin in the capital Panaji. The festival, which displays Goan art and culture, is celebrated with fun, frolic, pomp and splendor.

• The mood in Panaji city is quite festive and all the preparations are done for the float parade that is going to take place. The floats carry different messages and themes and there is also a band of music and troupes of artists on each float vehicle.

About Goa:

  • Governor: Satya Pal Malik
  • Chief minister: Pramod Sawant
  • Capital: Panaji (Executive Branch)

4 railway stations in Uttar Pradesh get new names:

• A move aimed at reviving the identity of the ancient city, Allahabad Junction will now be Prayagraj Junction, Allahabad City will now be known as Prayagraj Rambag, Allahabad Chhioki has been changed to Prayagraj Chheoki and the name of Prayagghat has been changed to Prayagraj Sangam.

• The names of the stations were changed by the central and the state government.

About Uttar Pradesh (UP)

  • Capital- Lucknow
  • Chief Minister (CM)- Yogi Adityanath
  • Governor- Anandiben Patel

Mobile app for employees  launched by Indian Railways:

• Indian Railways, Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav launched the HRMS (Human Resource Management System) mobile app, in which the employees can see the data related to their service and communicate with the administration for any changes.

• The app has been developed by the Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS).

• The mobile app allows employees to view their historical data since their date of joining, including details related to increments, promotions, awards, transfers, postings, leave, training and retirement benefits.

• Scanned copies of their physical service record are also available in the app, which is an important milestone in computerisation of HR related functionalities in Indian Railways.

About Ministry of Railways:

  • Formed– 16 April 1853
  • Headquarters– New Delhi
  • Union Minister– Piyush Goyal

BANKING, FINANCE AND ECONOMICS

ACQUISITIONS, MERGERS, BUSINESS AND MOU’S

Central government approves merger of Bharti Infratel, Indus Towers: Sources:

• The Department of Telecom (DoT) on approved the merger of the country’s largest mobile tower company Indus Towers with Bharti Infratel,

• The combination of Bharti Infratel and Indus Towers will create a pan-India tower company with over 163,000 towers, operating across all 22 telecom service areas.

• The combined entity will be the largest tower company in the world outside China. Bharti Infratel and Vodafone hold 42 per cent stake each in Indus.

• Vodafone Idea holds 11.15 per cent stake in the mobile tower firm.

• As per the plans, the combined company, which would fully own the respective businesses of Bharti Infratel and Indus Towers, would change its name to Indus Towers Ltd and will continue to be listed on Indian stock exchanges.

Microsoft collaborated with SBI Foundation to upskill youth with disabilities for BFSI jobs:

• Microsoft has collaborated with SBI Foundation to create opportunities in the banking and financial services and insurance (BFSI) sector, for youth with disabilities.

• Under the initiative, the two organisations will upskill 500 youth for BFSI jobs across Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Delhi-NCR. The programme will be driven in collaboration with various government agencies, industry skilling bodies and non-profits. As a part of this effort, both the companies will develop an AI-powered marketplace that will enable the BFSI industry to better connect with people having disabilities (to upskill them).

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Dr. Niti Kumar receives SERB Women Excellence Award-2020:

• Dr. Niti Kumar, Senior Scientist of Molecular Parasitology and Immunology Division, CSIR-CDRI, Lucknow, has received the SERB Women's Excellence Award-2020. She will be awarded by the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind during the National Science Day celebration at Vigyan Bhawan on February 28, 2020.

• The award is given to women scientists under the age of 40, who have received honors from various national academies. Women researchers will be assisted by Science and Engineering Research Board of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, with a grant of Rs 5 lakh per year for 3 years.

• Dr. Niti Kumar’s research group is trying to understand the protein quality control machinery in malaria parasites to explore alternative drugs for malaria. Dr. Niti Kumar has received several awards and honors like Innovative Young Biotechnologist Award (DBT-IYBA 2015), INSA Medal for Young Scientist (2010) by Indian National Academy of Sciences and Marie Curie Early Stage Research Fellowship by European Union under 6th Framework Programme (2005-2006).

• What is SERB?

Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) is a constitutional body works under the Department of Science and Technology (DoST), Government of India. It was established in 2009 through an Act of the Parliament of India.

SPORTS

Shooters now permitted by Home Ministry to keep upto 12 firearms for shooting practice:

• The Union Home Ministry has amended Arms Act, 1959 and the Arms Rules, 2016 to increase the number of firearms and ammunition kept by the Indian shooters for their practice during the year. As per the Home Ministry, shooting is an important Olympic sport in India and Indian shooters have excelled in international competitions.

• Key Amendments in Arms Act, 1959

  • According to the new rules, international medalists and renowned shooters are now allowed to have additional weapons up to a total of twelve under the exempted category. Earlier they were allowed to keep only seven weapons.
  • In case a shooter is renowned in one event, he will be allowed to keep a maximum of eight weapons. If he is renowned in two events then he can keep maximum ten weapons. Earlier, the permit was four and seven respectively.
  • If a shooter is known in more than two events, then he will now be allowed to keep a maximum of twelve firearms unlike earlier seven.
  • For junior target shooters or aspiring shooters, the Home Ministry has decided to amend the rules to allow them to possess two firearms of any category, as against earlier one.
  • The shooters will now also be entitled to possess two firearms as normal citizens under provisions of the Arms Act, 1959.

• Key Amendments in Arms Rules, 2016

  • The Home Ministry has amended the provision under Rule 40 of the Arms Rules, 2016, as per which, the quantity of ammunition that can be purchased by the shooters for practice during a year has been increased considerably.
  • Under the amended provisions, the quantity of ammunition that shooters can purchase for .22 LR rifle/pistol has been increased to 5000 instead of 1000, for Pistol/Revolver the quantity has been increased to 2000 instead of 600 and for shotgun calibers, the quantity has been increased to 5000 instead 500.
  • The Ministry has also made other necessary amendments in the Arms Rules, 2016 by amending the Arms Act, 1959, under the Arms (Amendment) Act, 2019.
  • The amendments clarify that no license will be required for Indian citizens for acquisitions and possession of small arms falling under the category of curio.
  • However, the shooters will be required to carry appropriate licenses, as prescribed to use, carry or transport such small arms. No ammunition can be sold for use without the endorsement of such firearms in the prescribed license of the owner.
  • Further, the maximum number of firearms to be possessed by any person has been reduced to two from earlier three.
  • Those who have three firearms have been given the facility to retain any two of them and deposit the remaining firearm by December 13, 2020.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad resigns:

• Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad Resigns: Mahathir Mohamad – the Prime Minister of Malaysia, submitted his resignation to the country’s king, Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah on February 24, 2020, as per media reports.

• Mahathir’s PPBM has also pulled out of the ruling Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) coalition, throwing the country into renewed political turmoil. The resignation of 94-year-old veteran politician and two-time Prime Minister comes following an on-going rift with his presumptive successor Anwar Ibrahim. Following his resignation as the PM, Mahathir also resigned as the chairman of PPBM.

• Resignation of Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad comes in the wake of long going battle in the ruling coalition which comprises many stakeholders. The key parties in the Pakatan Harapan coalition include Mahathir’s Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia i.e. PPBM or United Indigenous Party of Malaysia; Anwar Ibrahim‘s Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and Democratic Action Party (DAP) which commands ethnic Chinese as its vote bank.

USIBC appoints Vijay Advani as new Chairman of Global Board:

• The US-India Business Council (USIBC) has appointed Vijay Advani as new Chair of its Global Board of Directors. Prior to this, he served as Executive Chairman of the Board in January 2020. The council also announced two new members of the Global Board of Directors Lockheed Martin International Senior Vice President Tim Cahill and GE South Asia President & CEO Mahesh Palashikar. US India Business Council (USIBC) represents top global companies operating across the United States, India, and Indo-Pacific.

• Important:

  • Headquarters of US-India Business Council: Washington, D.C., United States.
  • US-India Business Council founded: 1975.

IMPORTANT DAYS

24 February – Central Excise Day:

• Central Excise Day is observed in India on 24 February every year to encourage the employees of the excise department to carry out the central excise duty in a better way to prevent corruption in the manufacturing business and to carry out the best possible exercise services in India.

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Important Current Affairs 22nd February 2020

National

Department of Telecommunications launches '5G Hackathon'

• The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has launched the ‘5G Hackathon’ in association with the government of India, academia and industry stakeholders.

• The aim of 5G Hackathon is shortlisting India’s focused cutting edge ideas that can be converted into workable 5G products and solutions.

• The 5G technology provides quantum leap over 4G in terms of speed, peak data rate, latency, spectrum efficiency, and connection density. The Hackathon will convert innovating ideas into products and solutions in different verticals and develop India specific use cases around 5G.

• The 5G Hackathon is open to developers, students, start-ups, SMEs, academic institutions and registered companies in India and Non-resident Indians (NRIs). All Stakeholders can participate as individuals or as a team to present use cases for the 5G network in the Indian context.

Swachh Bharat Mission II phase to cost Rs 52,000 crore, gets cabinet nod

• The Centre has approved the second phase of Swachh Bharat Mission (Rural), which will be implemented on a mission mode between 2020-21 and 2024-25.

• An estimated budget of Rs 52,497 crore has been allocated for the project, to be shared between the centre and the state.

• The Phase II will focus on Open Defecation Free Plus (ODF Plus), which includes ODF sustainability and solid and liquid waste management (SLWM).

• Fund sharing pattern between the Centre and States will be respectively as given below:

o 90:10 for North-Eastern States and Himalayan States and UT of J&K

o 60:40 for other States

o 100:0 for other Union Territories

Union Cabinet Approves Constitution of 22nd Law Commission of India

• The Union Cabinet under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved the 22nd Law Commission of India for a period of three years, from its date of official constitution.

• Role and Responsibility of the Law Commission:Undertake research in law and review of existing laws in India for making reforms therein and enacting new legislations.

Banking and Economy

RBI Approves Appointment of Sunil Gurbaxani as MD and CEO of Dhanlaxmi Bank

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has approved the appointment of Sunil Gurbaxani as Managing Director and CEO of Dhanlaxmi Bank.

• Sunil Gurbaxani will be appointed for a period of three years from the date of taking charge. Currently Gurbaxani is working with Axis Bank.

Summits and Mou’s

HDFC Bank, Mastercard & SAP concur associate for T&E Tech

• HDFC Bank, Mastercard and SAP Concur have joined hands for spending management services for the corporate sector.

• HDFC Bank will offer a corporate credit card for business travellers, providing a one-stop solution for payment and expense management during business trips.

• The card is supported by Mastercard. SAP Concur is a travel, expense, and invoice management solutions provider.

• The corporate credit card will enable the seamless integration of all business-related to spend into SAP Concur offerings, enhancing the employee experience, increasing visibility, saving money, and improving corporate efficiency.

Awards

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw wins EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2019

• Dr. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chairperson and Managing Director, Biocon, has been named as the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2019 on 19 February 2020, at the 21st edition of the EY Entrepreneur of The Year India awards.

• Godrej Group Chairman Adi Godrej was conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award.

• She will now represent India at the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year Award (WEOY) in Monte Carlo from 4–6 June 2020.

Sports

Ross Taylor becomes first player to play 100 matches in all three formats

• Veteran New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor today became the first player in the world to play 100 matches in all three formats of cricket.

• The landmark achievement came as he took the field against India in the opening Test at Basin Reserve in Wellington. The ongoing match is also his 100th Test.

Appointments and Resignations

Former IAS officers Bhaskar Khulbe, Amarjeet Sinha appointed advisors to PM

• Retired IAS officers Bhaskar Khulbe and Amarjeet Sinha have been appointed as Advisors to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

• The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the appointments in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) in the rank and scale of Secretary

Ranking

India ranks 35th in 2019 WEFFI list

• The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) published Worldwide Educating for the Future Index (WEFFI) 2019. India jumped five ranks and secured 35th rank in the list.

Worldwide Educating for the Future Index (WEFFI) 2019:

♦ WEFFI ranked countries that are based on their abilities to equip students with skill-based education.

♦ It analyzed the education system from the perspective of skill-based education in areas like problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration, leadership, creativity and entrepreneurship, and digital and technical skills.

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Important Current Affairs 16th February 2020

National

Arvind Kejriwal takes oath as CM of Delhi for third time

• Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday took oath as the chief minister of Delhi, for the third time, at the Ramlila Maidan.

• The Aam Aadmi Party registered a massive majority in the recently concluded Delhi Assembly election with 62 seats in its kitty.

• Arvind Kejriwal was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal.

• Manish Sisodia, who was the deputy chief minister of Delhi in AAP government's previous term, also took oath as minister in Arvind Kejriwal's cabinet.

PM Modi Inaugurates ‘Kashi Ek Roop Anek’ Event at Varanasi

•rime Minister Shri Narendra Modi visited his Lok Sabha Constituency Varanasi on 16 February 2020 to attend various events and inaugurate several programmes.

•Inaugurated a cultural arts and handicrafts exhibition named ‘Kashi Ek Roop Anek’ organized at the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Trade Facilitation Center, at Varanasi.

•Unveiled the 63 feet Statue of Deendayal Upadhyay (largest statue of the leader in the country) and dedicated to the nation the Deendayal Upadhyay Memorial in Varanasi.

•Flagged off the third corporate train ‘Kashi Mahakal Express’ which links 3 Jyotirling Pilgrim Centres – Varanasi, Ujjain and Omkareshwar.

International

World Defence Spending Rose by 4% in 2019, Highest in 10 Years: IISS Report

• The global Defense spending rose by 4% in 2019 compared to the previous year, as per a new report titled “Military Balance” published by the London-based think tank International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

• As per the international think tank, this global rise is the highest annual increase in 10 years.

Banking and Economy

SEBI Constitutes Municipal Bonds Development Committee

• Markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has constituted a municipal bonds development committee

• The committee will be headed by the Executive Director of SEBI, Mr Sujit Prasad and comprise of representatives from municipal corporations, lawyers, professionals and market practitioners.

15th Finance Commission Constitute Panel on Defence and Internal Security Funding

• The Fifteenth Finance Commission has constituted a 5-member group on Defence and Internal Security.

• The panel will be headed by the Chairman of the commission, Shri N.K. Singh. Home Secretary, Defence Secretary, Finance Secretary and a member of Commission will be the other members of the group.

Sports

India clinches 3 medals in 2020 World SnowShoe Championship

• Three Indian athletes from Kashmir, have won medals in their respective categories at the 2020 World SnowShoe Championship held at Myoko, Japan from 15 to 16 February 2020.

• Participants from 17 countries of different continents participated in the championship.

• It is first time ever in the history of SnowShoe sport that Indian athletes bagged medals in the World Championship.Indian contingent included nine members, of which three athletes bagged one silver and two bronze medals.

Days

9th World Pangolin day 2020

• World Pangolin Day is celebrated on the third Saturday of February every year.

• In 2020, the world is celebrating the 9th edition of the annual World Pangolin Day. It was celebrated on 15 February 2020

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Important Current Affairs 15th February 2020

National

Nitin Gadkari Inaugurates India’s First Intercity Electric Bus between Mumbai and Pune

• The Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Nitin Gadkari flagged off Mumbai-Pune Electric Bus on 14 February 2020 in Mumbai.

• It is the first Electric Intercity Bus in India.

President Kovind Appoints Kejriwal as new CM of Delhi

• President Ram Nath Kovind has appointed Arvind Kejriwal as the new Chief Minister of the National Capital Territory of Delhi, after his Aam Aadmi Party won the recent Delhi Assembly elections with 62 of the 70 seats.

• The president has also appointed six MLAs as ministers of the Delhi Government namely: Manish Sisodia, Satyender Jain, Gopal Rai, Kailash Gehlot, Imran Hussain and Rajendra Gautam.

Banking and Economy

GIC Re gets license from Bank of Russia for reinsurance biz

• India’s reinsurance company, General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC Re) has received the license from Central Bank of the Russian Federation (Bank of Russia) to commence reinsurance business in Russia.

• The license enables the subsidiary to commence transacting domestic and international reinsurance business in Russia based on the capital invested by the Corporation.

• GIC of India is a state owned enterprise in India. It was the sole reinsurance company in the Indian insurance founded in 22 November 1972. GIC Re has its registered office and headquarters in Mumbai.

Awards

BioAsia 2020 announces Genome Valley Excellence Award

BioAsia, Asia’s largest annual global biotechnology and life sciences forum organised by the Government of Telangana, has announced that the Genome Valley Excellence Award will be bestowed upon Dr Carl H June and Dr Vas Narasimhan for their contributions to life sciences.

Dr. Carl H June will be awarded for his work in immunotherapy, research in development of CAR-T (Chimeric Antigen Receptor- T cells) for treatment of cancer & commercialization of world’s first FDA (Food and Drug Administration, United States)- approved gene therapy.

Science and Technology

ISRO G Narayanan to head space PSU NSIL

• Veteran space scientist G Narayanan has been named the chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation’s newly formed commercial entity New Space India Ltd (NSIL).

• Narayanan, who hails from Kerala’s Palakkad, had earlier worked as first secretary (space) at the Indian embassy in Paris.

• The Indian Space Research Organisation is the space agency of the Government of India and has its headquarters in the city of Bengaluru. Its vision is to “harness space technology for national development while pursuing space science research & planetary exploration”.

• Founder: Vikram Sarabhai

• Founded: 15 August 1969

• Headquarters: Bengaluru

Sports

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju Announces Khelo India Winter Games in Jammu and Kashmir

• Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has announced Khelo India winter games 2020 which will be held in the Union Territory of Ladakh later this month followed by a similar event in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir in March.

• Khelo India Ladakh Winter Games will feature an open ice hockey championship, figure skating, and speed skating, and the competition will be conducted at the block, district, and UT levels with the expected participation of about 1700 athletes.

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Important Current Affairs 9th February 2020

National

National Conference on e-Governance 2020 Held in Mumbai

• The 23rd edition of the National Conference on e-Governance was held at Mumbai, Maharashtra on 7-8 February 2020.

• The theme of the conference was: India 2020: Digital Transformation.

BBIN nations deliberate on MoU for implementation of motor vehicle agreement

• A meeting of the BBIN nations (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal) was held in New Delhi on 8 February 2020 to deliberate on a proposed MoU, to be signed by Bangladesh, India and Nepal, for implementation of the Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA) in these countries.

• Representatives of Bhutan participated in the meeting in an observer capacity. The Indian delegation was led by Vikram Doraiswami, Additional Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs.

DefExpo 2020 Concludes With Over 200 Partnerships at Bandhan Ceremony

• The 11th edition of the biennial DefExpo 2020, concluded in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh on 8 February 2020.

• The theme of the 11th Edition was “India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub”.

• More than 1,000 companies, including 165 offshore enterprises participated in the event.

• Over 200 partnerships involving Signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs), Transfer of Technology (ToTs) , Product launches were concluded during a ceremony titled “Bandhan” at DefExpo 2020.

• Bandhan ceremony witnessed more than 13 product launches, 124 MoUs between Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), private and global defence manufacturing companies.

International

US India’s preferred trade partner in journey to be $5 trn economy: Envoy

• America is India’s preferred trade and business partner in its journey to become a USD 5 trillion economy by 2024, the country’s new envoy to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu has stated.

• Addressing a gathering of American business community at a reception hosted in his honour by US-India Strategic and Partnership Forum, Sandhu stated that the potential for cooperation between the United States and India is limitless.

• He futher added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set the goal for India to grow from a USD 3 trillion economy to a USD 5 trillion economy by 2024 and a USD 10 trillion economy by 2030.

Philip Barton appointed Britain’s new High Commissioner to India

• Britain appointed career diplomat Philip Barton as its High Commissioner to India to succeed Dominic Asquith.

• Barton will take up his appointment during Spring 2020, a statement from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) stated

Obituary

Padma Shri Winning Indian Author Giriraj Kishore Passes Away

Veteran writer and academician Giriraj Kishore passed away following a prolonged illness. He was 82-years-old.

Giriraj was awarded the Padma Shri by the President of India in the year 2007, for his work Pahla Girmitiya (The Girmitiya Saga).

P Parameswaran passes away in Kerala

• Renowned thinker, writer and the founder-director of Bharatiya Vichara Kendram P Parameswaran has passed away in Ottapalam, Kerala. He was 91.

• Kendram P Parameswaran was awarded Padma Vibhushan in 2018 and Padma Shri in 2004.

Sports

Bangladesh wins ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup 2020

• Bangladesh has won the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup 2020 held in South Africa. Bangladesh Under-19 cricket team defeated India Under-19 team by 3 wickets to win the final of the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup 2020 held at JB Marks Oval, Potchefstroom, South Africa.

• This was the 13th edition of the tournament in which 16 teams participated from all over the world.

• Bangladesh Under-19 cricket team has won the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup for the first time in the tournament history.

Swedish Vaulter Armand Duplantis Breaks World Pole Vault Record

On 8 February 2020, Armand Duplantis, who plays for Sweden, broke the world pole vault record with a jump of 6.17 metres at an indoor meeting in Poland.

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Important Current Affairs 8th February 2020

National

NPCI approves WhatsApp to expand its UPI project 10 million users

• Facebook-owned instant messaging platform WhatsApp has received the approval from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to expand its Unified Payment Interface (UPI) services to 10 million users.

• WhatsApp’s payment feature, named WhatsApp Pay, has developed by the NPCI to run on UPI. It allows users to pay others or do business transactions through their bank accounts.

PFRDA increases minimum net worth for pension fund managers to Rs 50 cr

• The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), the regulator of the National Pension System (NPS), has made certain amendments in the pension guidelines. These are as follows.

• Minimum Net Worth: The regulator has doubled the minimum net worth requirement for pension fund managers to Rs 50 crore from the Rs 25 crore stipulated earlier.

• Validity of License: Provision has also been made for licenses to have indefinite validity. Earlier, the licenses of pension fund managers was granted for a period of five years.

• Equity Acquisition: A pension fund or its sponsor cannot acquire equity stake in another pension fund.

Disha Police Station inaugurated in Andhra Pradesh’s Rajamahendravaram

• The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy on inaugurated the first ‘Disha Police Station’ in Rajamahendravaram city on 8 February 2020, which will exclusively handle cases of crime against women and children.

• In all 18 Disha Police Stations will be set up in all 13 districts of the state, under the Disha Act, enacted by the state government in 2019, to ensure speedy investigation and trial of sexual assault cases.

• The state government has allocated a budget of Rs 21.10 crore for the setting up of these police stations.Each Disha Police station will be headed by a deputy superintendent of police.

International

Astronaut Christina Koch returns to Earth after record stay in space

• Christina Koch, US-astronaut who made record for the longest continuous spaceflight ever undertaken by a female astronaut, returned from the International Space Station (ISS) to Earth on 6th February 2020.

• Koch was accompanied by European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Luca Parmitano and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov on the way to Earth.

• The three boarded a Soyuz capsule docked at the ISS at around 12:50 AM EST, and had a safe landing at around 4:12 AM EST (3:12 PM local time) in Kazakhstan.

• American astronaut Christina Koch joined the NASA’s astronaut corps in 2013 and also led the first ever all-female spacewalk in 2019.

Science & Technology

Indian Army Major develops world's first bulletproof helmet

• Indian Army has developed first bulletproof helmet of the world which can stop an AK-47 bullet round fired from a distance of 10 meters.

• The Ballistic helmet is developed by An Indian Army Major Anoop Mishra.

• The helmet is developed under the Indian Army’s project “Abhedya“.

DRDO inks deal with Russian company for missiles propulsion

• Pune-based DRDO Laboratory, High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL) has signed technology development contract with Rosoboronexport, Russia for development of Advanced Pyrotechnic Ignition Systems.

• The agreement was signed at the DefExpo2020 in Lucknow.The agreement will enable advancement in the field of energetic materials and pyrotechnic technology leading to the development of advanced ignition systems.

• HEMRL works in the development of spectrum of high energy materials required for missiles, rockets and guns.

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Important Current Affairs 7th February 2020

National

First Central Asia Business Council” launched in New Delhi

• The first ever India-Central Asia Business Council meeting was launched in New Delhi on 6th February 2020.

• The programme was organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).From India, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar addressed the meeting.

• The aim of the meeting was to bring together business chambers of India and all five Central Asian states, namely Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to collaborate and strengthen trade and investment partnership.

Jaipur becomes certified UNESCO World Heritage City

• Jaipur “The Pink City” has been certified by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as the World Heritage site.

• The certification was done by the UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay during an event held in Jaipur, Rajasthan.

SAI & Hockey India to Launch 7 High Performance Centres Across the Country

• Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Hockey India have decided to establish High Performance Centres in seven places across the country to provide state-of-the-art facilities to Junior and Sub-Junior players.

• The move is taken in view of 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games, so as to groom the young talent.

• The seven High Performance Hockey Centres will be installed at the following places:

• 1. SAI Centre, Bengaluru, Karnataka (South Zone)

2. Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, New Delhi (North Zone)

3. SAI Sundergarh, Odisha (East Zone)

4. SAI UDMCC, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh (Central Zone)

5. SAI NS NEC, Takyel, Imphal, Manipur (North-East Zone)

6. Balewadi Sports Complex, Pune, Maharashtra (West Zone)

7. SAI Centre, Ranchi and Gomke Jaipal Singh Astroturf Hockey Stadium (East Zone II)

 India’s First Glass Floor Suspension Bridge to Come up in Uttarakhand’s Rishikesh

• The Uttarakhand Government has approved the design of a glass floor suspension bridge, the first of its kind in the country, which will be built across the River Ganga in Rishikesh.

• The bridge is as an alternative to the iconic Lakshman Jhula, almost 94 years old, which was closed in 2019 due to safety reasons

Madhya Pradesh to deploy drones to map villages

• The Madhya Pradesh state government has decided to deploy drones to map villages. This will be the first time that drone technology is used to make maps in the state.

• Till now, all the land survey work in the satet was either done manually or with the help of satellite images.

• The map of the population area will be created on a scale of 1: 500, which will help a clearer picture of the population area. Around 55000 villages have been selected for mapping.

Banking and Economy

RBI to conduct “Financial Literacy Week 2020”

• Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will be organizing Financial Literacy Week (FLW) from February 10 to February 14, 2020.

• The theme for 2020 FLW is “Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs),”

• RBI conducts Financial Literacy Week (FLW) every year since 2016 to propagate financial education messages on a particular theme every year across the country, through a focused campaign.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

IOC signs First Term contract for Russian crude oil

• State-owned Indian Oil Corp has signed a deal with Russian oil and gas company Rosneft for the annual purchase of 2 million metric tonnes of crude oil

• This is the first ever annual oil purchase deal between India and Russia.

• Under the deal India will import up to 2 million tonne of Urals grade crude oil from Rosneft of Russia.

• India is world’s third largest energy consumer. It is 83 percent dependent on imports to meet its oil needs.

• Two-thirds of the imports come from the Middle East, with Iraq being the biggest supplier followed by Saudi Arabia.

• Headquarters of Indian Oil Corp: New Delhi, Mumbai (Registered Office)

• Founded of Indian Oil Corp: 1959.

• Chairman of Indian Oil Corp: Sanjiv Singh.

Resignation

Microsoft-Owned LinkedIn’s Jeff Weiner resigns as CEO

• Jeff Weiner has recently resigned as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Microsoft-owned LinkedIn.

• Jeff Weiner will become Executive Chairman of the company, while Ryan Roslansky who is currently the senior vice-president of product, will become CEO with effect from 1st June 2020.

• LinkedIn is a business and employment-oriented service that operates via websites and mobile apps.

• LinkedIn Corp: Founded: 2002.

• LinkedIn Corp: Headquarters: Sunnyvale, California, United States.

World Bank chief economist Pinelopi Koujianou resigns

• World Bank Chief Eeconomist Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg has announced to step down from the post with effect from 1st March 2020.

• She is resigning to return to teaching at Yale University and create opportunities for the poor young talented economists to the bank.

• The World Bank President David Malpass has announced that the organisation’s research director Aart Kraay would take over as the Chief Economist in place of Goldberg until a new permanent chief economist is hired.

• President of World Bank: David Robert Malpass.

• Managing Director(MD) and Chief Financial Officer(CFO): Anshula Kant.

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Important Current Affairs 6th February 2020

National

Prime Minister inaugurates DefExpo in Lucknow

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 11th edition of the ‘DefExpo’, India’s biennial military exhibition, in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh on February 5, 2020. It will culminate on February 8.

• The Theme of the Expo is ‘India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub’ with main focus on ‘Digital Transformation of Defence’

• Delegates from 70 countries and 172 foreign military manufacturers and as many as 856 Indian defence firms will attend the exhibition to showcase their products on new technologies and solutions on a single platform.

President Kovind inaugurates Annual Rashtrapati Bhavan Udyanotsav 2020

• President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the annual ‘Udyanotsav’ at the Mughal Gardens of Rashtrapati Bhavan on 4th February 2020.

• The 15-acre Mughal Gardens at Rashtrapati Bhavan will be opened for the general public from February 5 to March 8, 2020 between 10 am to 4 pm.

Reliance General launches health insurance plan "Infinity"

• Reliance General Insurance Company Limited has launched a comprehensive health insurance plan named "Reliance Health Infinity".

• The policy offers 90 days pre and 180 days post hospitalization cover, along with sum insured ranging from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 1 crore, and free restore benefits.

India’s HAL & Dynamatics Technologies To Build Israel Aerospace Drones

• Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the 1st time, will sign a partnership pact with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) at the DefExpo 2020 in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.

• This pact is signed for manufacture advanced Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs) in India.

Five more IIITs to receive Institute of National Importance status

• The Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved to confer five of the Indian Institute of Information Technology with the Institute of National Importance status.

• The IIIT’s which will be given the Institute of National Importance status include the Indian Institute of Information Technology Surat Bhopal, Bhagalpur, Agartala, and Raichur.

• These institutions will now be able to use the Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) or the Master of Technology (M.Tech) or the Ph.D degree.

Cabinet approves setting-up country’s 13th major port at Vadhavan in Maharashtra

• The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its in-principle approval for setting up a new Major Port at Vadhavan near Dahanu in Maharashtra.

• The projected cost of the Vadhavan Port is over Rs 65,000 crore. The new Major Port will be established on the basis of land lord model. 

• After the development of this new Major Port at Vadhavan in Maharashtra, India is expected to enter the list of countries with top 10 container ports in the world.

International

WHO calls for USD 675m in donations to fight novel coronavirus

• The World Health Organization has called for 675 million US dollar in donations for a plan to fight the novel coronavirus, mainly through investment in countries considered particularly "at risk".

• WHO chief Tedros Adhanom said at a news conference in Geneva today that they are launching a strategic preparedness and response plan and requesting 675 million dollar  to fund the plan for the next three months. 

International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation

• International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation is a United Nations-sponsored annual awareness day that takes place on February 6 every year since 2003 to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM).

• 2020 Theme: Unleashing Youth Power.

Banking and Economy

RBI keeps repo rate unchanged at 5.15%

The Reserve Bank of India’s Monetary Policy Committee has released its 6th Bi-monthly Monetary Policy 2019-20. The Reserve Bank of India’s MPC has decided to keep the policy repo rate unchanged to 5.15%.

The key decisions taken in the 6th Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Committee meeting are:

• The repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) left unchanged to 5.15%.

• The reverse repo rate under the LAF stands same i.e. 4.90%.

• The marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate also remains same i.e. 5.40%.

• RBI has increased the real GDP growth for fiscal year 2020-21 from 5% to 6%.

Moody’s Projects India’s growth at 4.9% in FY20, 5.5% in FY21

• Moody’s Investors Service has projected India’s GDP growth during the current fiscal ending 31 March 2020 at 4.9 percent (unchanged).

• For the fiscal 2020-21, GDP growth is estimated at 5.5 percent compared to December 2019 estimate of 6.3 percent.

• And for 2021-22 fiscal, GDP growth is estimated at 6 percent from 6.7 percent projected earlier.

Ranking

India slips to 40th position in Intellectual Property Index

• India slips to 40th position in International Intellectual Property (IP) Index. This information has been given in the report of the Global Innovation Policy Centre of the American Chamber of Commerce.

• This index measures the intellectual property environment of 53 economies of the world. Last year, India was ranked 36th.

• The United States, Britain, Sweden, France and Germany are present on the first five positions.

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Important Current Affairs 4th February 2020

National 


14-day joint military exercise by Indian, Bangladesh armies begin
•    The 9th edition of the annual joint military training exercise by Indian and Bangladesh armies named ‘SAMPRITI-IX’ was flagged off on 3rd February 2020 in Umroi in Meghalaya.
•    The 14-day log exercise is an important bilateral defence cooperation endeavour between India and Bangladesh, hosted alternately by the two countries, enabling both armies to familiarise each other in various tactical drills and procedures.

Coronavirus: Kerala declares 'state calamity'

Kerala government has declared ‘state calamity’ after 3 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the state. The Central Government recently constituted a High-Level Group of Ministers (GoM) to review the preparedness of concerned authorities to deal with Coronavirus in India. Till date, Coronavirus has led to the death of over 400 people in China.

Banking and Economy


Paytm launches Android POS device for SMEs & merchant partners

•    Paytm has launched an Android POS device for small and medium businesses (SMEs) & merchant partners. The android based device will enable the merchants to accept payments in various ways like debit and credit cards, Paytm Wallet, UPI-based apps and cash. 
•    The device provides the merchants with the facility of producing GST compliant bills, to manage transactions and settlements through ‘Paytm for Business’ app. 
•    These services will increase the importance of digital payments in the business of small and medium businesses (SMEs) & merchant partners and will also bring to them the advantages of the digital economy.

RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das Named Central Banker of the Year 2020
•    The Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Shaktikanta Das, has been named as the ‘Central Banker of the Year 2020 for the Asia-Pacific region’ by ‘The Banker’ magazine, owned by London-based Financial Times (FT).
•    The Banker‘s Central Banker of the Year 2020 awards celebrate the officials that have best managed to stimulate growth and stabilise their economy.

Awards


21st IIFA Awards to be held in Indore in March 2020
•    The 21st edition of the International Indian Film Academy Awards (IIFA Awards) 2020 will be held in Indore, Madhya Pradesh from March 27-29, 2020.
•    This will be the second consecutive year that the event is being organised in India. Last year it was held in Mumbai.
•    Till 2019, the events were organised in cities outside the country.
•    The IIFA awards are presented annually since 2000 for Excellence in cinematic achievements for Bollywood.


BAFTA 2020 Film Awards
•    The 73rd edition of the annual British Academy Film Awards, also known as BAFTA, was held on 2 February 2020 in London,
•    The award is presented by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, to honor the best national and foreign films of 2019 of any nationality that were screened at British cinemas in 2019.
•    The Film ‘1917’ received the highest number of awards at 7 with nominations in 9 categories.

Obituary

Former Karnataka Minister D Manjunath Passes Away
•    Former Karnataka Minister D Manjunath passed away at the age of 93 after prolonged illness.
•    Manjunath joined the Janata Party in 1977 and had served in different capacities including as Chairperson of Legislative Council and Minister in various governments.


Appointment


Ajay Bisaria Appointed Indian High Commissioner to Canada
•    Ajay Bisaria, a 1987 batch IFS officer, has been appointed as the next High Commissioner of India to Canada.
•    Currently, he is India’s High Commissioner to Pakistan.
Albin Kurti Appointed New Prime Minister of Kosovo
•    Kosovo’s parliament has approved Albin Kurti as the new prime minister of the country on 3rd February 2020.
•    Albin Kurti, leader of the political party Vetëvendosje, will serve as the fourth Prime Minister of Kosovo.

Days


World Cancer Day: February 4
•    World Cancer Day is organized every year on 4 February by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to raise awareness and education about cancer, and pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action against the disease.
•    World Cancer Day 2019-21 theme: ‘I Am And I Will’
 

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