Uma Bharti launches 2nd project of Swajal Yojana in Rajasthan
On February 27, 2018, Union Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Uma Bharti, launched the Swajal pilot project at Village Bhikampura, in Rajasthan.
Details about Swajal Project in Rajasthan:
i. Swajal is a community owned drinking water programme for sustained drinking water supply. 90% of the project cost will be provided by Central Government while remaining 10% of the project cost will be contributed by the local community.
ii. Budget of Rs. 54.17 lakh has been allocated for Swajal Project at Bhikampura.
iii. Bhikhampura village faces scarcity of drinking water and villagers have to walk at least 3 km to collect it. Under the Swajal Project, four reservoirs will be constructed in the village and common tap connection will be given to all the households.
iv. This project will not only ensure round the year availability of clean drinking water to every household in Bhikampura, but will also generate employment.
India-Korea Business Summit 2018 held in New Delhi
On February 27, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the 2nd India-Korea Business Summit in New Delhi.Highlights of India-Korea Business Summit 2018:
i. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Union Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu and Minister of Electronics and IT, Ravi Shankar Prasad, also addressed the summit.
ii. Theme of India-Korea Business Summit 2018 was “India-Korea: Scaling up the Special Strategic Relationship through Trade and Investments”.
iii. The summit brought together top business leaders and the government officials from India and Korea to create the framework for an open and action-oriented dialogue.
iv. Discussions at the Summit focused on exploring opportunities in Infrastructure, Information Communication Technology, Power, Smart Cities and Manufacturing sectors.
v. Over 200 business delegates, including representatives of leading Korean business conglomerates and Government officials participated in this Summit.
MEA to set up India corner in educational institutes abroad
Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is planning to set up “India corners” at educational institutes abroad, which will provide authentic reference material for students who wish to know more about India.
More Information about proposed ‘India Corner’:
i. Union Ministry of External Affairs is in the process of identifying libraries in the institutes abroad where ‘India Corner’ can be set up.
ii. India corner will comprise a set of books carrying information on different aspects of India. Such books will be provided to the selected library by Ministry of External Affairs.
iii. Above stated information was provided by Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, Raveesh Kumar while responding to questions under #Askthespokesperson series.
Nitin Gadkari lays foundation stone for National Technology Centre for Ports, Waterways and Coasts (NTCPWC) at IIT Chennai
On 26th February 2018, Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, laid the foundation stone for National Technology Centre for Ports, Waterways and Coasts (NTCPWC), at IIT Chennai.National Technology Centre for Ports, Waterways and Coasts (NTCPWC):
i. An MoU was signed between the Ministry of Shipping and IIT Chennai at the occasion.
ii. NTCPWC is set up under the Sagarmala programme of Ministry of Shipping. It will function as a technology arm of the Ministry of Shipping.
iii. NTCPWC will offer engineering and technological inputs and support for Ports, Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) and other institutions.
iv. The cost for setting up NTCPWC is Rs 70.53 crore. This amount is shared by Ministry of Shipping, IWAI and the Major Ports.
v. Ministry of Shipping will fund for development of facilities like Field Research Facility (FRF), Sedimentation and Erosion Management Test Basin and Ship/Tow Simulator.
vi. NTCPWC will become self-sustainable in 3 years. It will handle industry consultancy projects for Indian and global ports.
vii. NTCPWC will offer indigenous software and technology, develop technical guidelines and standards and work towards modernization of Indian ports.
About Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI):
♦ Chairperson – Nutan Guha-Biswas
♦ Headquarters – Noida, Uttar Pradesh
Telangana CM announces five lakh rupees health-cum-life insurance scheme for farmers
On February 26, 2018, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao announced five lakh rupees health-cum-life insurance scheme for farmers in the state.
Details about health-cum-life insurance scheme for farmers:
i. Announcement in this regard was made by K Chandrasekhar Rao while addressing the regional conference of Farmers’ Coordination Committees in Karimnagar, Telanagana.
ii. Over 70 lakh farmers across Telangana will be covered under this scheme. In case of death of farmer, amount will be paid to families of farmers. Health insurance will be provided in case of hospitalisation.
iii. Entire premium for the insurance will be borne by the Telangana State Government. Rs. 500 crore has been allocated for implementation of this scheme.
Quick Facts about Telangana:
♦ Capital – Hyderabad
♦ Current Governor – E.S.L. Narasimhan
♦ Current Chief Minister – K. Chandrashekar Rao
♦ Important National Park – Mrugavani National Park
RBI raises currency derivative trade limit to USD 100 mn
On February 26, 2018, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) raised the exposure limit under exchange traded currency derivatives (ETCD) for residents and foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) to USD 100 million across all currency pairs.Currency Derivatives Exposure Limit:
i. As of now, four currency pairs, viz. USD/INR, EUR/INR (Euro), GBP/INR (Great British Pound) and JPY/INR (Japanese Yen) are traded on Indian exchanges.
ii. This instrument is primarily used by Indian exporters and importers and foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) to hedge their risk against currency price fluctuations.
iii. Earlier exposure limit set by RBI was USD 15 million for USD-INR contracts and USD 5 million for other currency pairs.
iv. Increasing exposure limit will help the participants to better manage their risk and will also improve the liquidity in the instrument.
v. However, onus of keeping the exposure within the new prescribed limit rests with participants. Besides, it is a combined limit across all exchanges.
vi. Participants who breach this limit may face action as per the provisions of Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 and the regulations and directions related to the subject.
Catholic Syrian Bank ties up with Celebrus Capital for online trading services
Catholic Syrian Bank Ltd (CSB) has partnered with Celebrus Capital Ltd (Celebrus), to offer online equity trading and demat services to its customers.
More information about Catholic Syrian Bank – Celebrus Capital tie-up:
i.As per the terms of the tie-up, CSB’s customers will be able to open a Celebrus trading account free of cost. Besides, customers opening trading accounts will enjoy preferred rates on brokerage charges and Annual Maintenance Charges (AMC) on the demat account.
ii. The customers will be able to execute their trades through Celebrus’ mobile trading and investment platform – LEAP, which has been created in association with Thomson Reuters.
iii. Catholic Syrian Bank – Celebrus Capital tie-up envisages a seamless integration between deposits, demat and trading accounts.
Quick Facts about Catholic Syrian Bank:
♦ Founded in – 1920
♦ Headquarters – Thrissur, Kerala
♦ Current Chairman – T.S. Anantharaman
IndusInd Bank and Ripple tie-up for cross border remittances
IndusInd Bank has announced its partnership with Ripple, the blockchain solution provider to facilitate cross border remittances into and out of India.Details about IndusInd Bank – Ripple tie-up:
i. Through this tie-up, IndusInd Bank will leverage Ripple platform based on blockchain technology for global payments as it lowers both costs and transfer time for customers.
ii. IndusInd Bank will use the platform for settling payment of its retail remitters, recipients as well as institutional partners across the world.
iii. In context of this news, it is important to note that for 2017, inward remittances in India stood at $65 billion.
Quick Facts about IndusInd Bank:
♦ Founded in – 1994
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Current Chairman – R. Seshasayee
CSIR inks MoU with IORA-RCSTT
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indian Ocean Rim Association’s Regional Center for Science and Technology Transfer (IORA-RCSTT) for designating Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP) in Lucknow as the coordinating centre on medicinal plants.
i. This MoU was signed by Anil Kumar Tripathi, the Director of CIMAP and A Sedrpousan Director of IORA-RCSTT, in Iran.
ii. As per the terms of the MoU, a database on the important medicinal plants, their value added products, related experts and industries of the IORA member states will be established at CIMAP.
iii. IORA is an association of 21 countries and 7 dialogue partners. ‘Medicinal plants’ is one of the 6 areas of cooperation identified by IORA.
Quick Facts about CIMAP:
♦ Established in – 1959
♦ Located in – Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
♦ Current Director – Anil Kumar Tripathi
Mountaineer Samina Baig appointed as UNDP National Goodwill Ambassador for Pakistan
On 26th February 2018, mountaineer Samina Baig was appointed the National Goodwill Ambassador for Pakistan by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).Samina Baig – UNDP National Goodwill Ambassador for Pakistan:
i. Samina Baig is the first Pakistani woman who had climbed Mount Everest. As UNDP National Goodwill Ambassador for Pakistan, she will work towards creating awareness about the Sustainable Development Goals, especially the ones related to climate change, environmental protection, youth and women’s empowerment.
ii. Ambassador of Austria, Her Excellency Dr Brigitta Blaha, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Neil Buhne, and UNDP Pakistan Country Director, Ignacio Artaza attended the signing ceremony.
iii. Samina Baig was born in Gilgit-Baltistan. She became the first Pakistani woman to climb Mount Everest at the age of 22 years.
About United Nations Development Programme (UNDP):
♦ Administrator – Achim Steiner
♦ Headquarters – New York
K S Dwivedi appointed as DGP of Bihar
KS Dwivedi has been named the new Director General of Police (DGP) of Bihar.
KS Dwivedi – Director General of Police (DGP) of Bihar:
i. KS Dwivedi will take charge as Director General of Police (DGP) of Bihar on 1st March 2018. He will replace PK Thakur. PK Thakur will retire from his post on 28th February 2018.
ii. KS Dwivedi is an Indian Police Service (IPS) Officer of 1984 batch. His current position is Director General (training) in Bihar. His appointment as DGP of Bihar was made by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Some wildlife sanctuaries of Bihar:
♦ Kanwar Lake Bird Sanctuary
♦ Kaimur Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Bhimbandh Wildlife Sanctuary
ISRO plans to build ‘igloos’ on Moon for astronauts
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has started work on building igloos (referred to as lunar habitats) on the Moon.Overview of ISRO’s Plan to build igloos on moon:
i. These lunar habitats will be built by sending robots and 3D printers to the Moon. It will be built from lunar soil and other material.
ii. Scientists, have already designed five prototypes of the lunar habitat.
iii. These lunar habitats will serve as outpost on the Moon just like the ones that have been built in Antarctica.
iv. Objective behind building lunar habitats is to help the astronauts to spend more time on the moon.
Quick Facts about ISRO:
♦ Established in – 1969
♦ Headquarters – Bengaluru, Karnataka
♦ Current Chairman – K. Sivan
CSIR-NIO Goa announces discovery of methane gas flares in Krishna Godavari basin in Bay of Bengal
CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography, Goa has announced the discovery of methane gas flares and active cold seeps from the seabed in the Krishna Godavari basin in the Bay of Bengal.
Discovery of methane gas flares in Krishna Godavari basin in Bay of Bengal:
i. The seep sites discovered by CSIR-NIO are distributed over a water depth of 900 metres to 1,900 metres.
ii. High concentrations of hydrogen sulfide, calcium carbonate, unique faunal groups and shallow presence of methane hydrates has been found at these sites.
iii. Gas hydrates are a potential source of alternate energy. Research is being conducted to establish the economic feasibility of commercial gas extraction from cold seeps.
Quick facts about National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Goa:
♦ Established in – 1966
♦ Headquarters – Dona Paula, Goa
♦ Operating Agency – Council of Scientific and Industrial Research
New facilities for UAN-Aadhaar linking introduced by EPFO
Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has introduced new facilities to link Universal Account Number (UAN) with Aadhaar.
New facilities for UAN-Aadhaar linking:
i. Now UAN can be linked with Aadhaar through EPFO Link in UMANG Mobile App. This has been introduced in addition to the existing facility available at EPFO’s website: www.epfindia.gov.in >> Online Services >> e-KYC Portal>> LINK UAN AADHAAR.
ii. A new feature to link UAN with Aadhaar online, using biometric credentials has been added to the facility in the e-KYC Portal.
iii. EPFO has also introduced e-Nomination facility for filing nomination form by members. This facility is offered at Member Interface of EPFO Unified Portal (https://unifiedportal-mem.epfindia.gov.in/memberinterface/).
iv. Members who have activated and Aadhaar seeded UAN, can utilise this facility. This facility is independent from employer. This will soon be made available on UMANG app also.
About Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO):
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Central Provident Fund Commissioner – Dr. V P Joy
Chilika Lake becomes largest habitat of Irrawaddy dolphins globally
Chilika Lake in Odisha has become the single largest habitat of Irrawaddy dolphins in the world.Chilika Lake becomes largest habitat of Irrawaddy dolphins globally:
i. A Chilika Development Authority (CDA) official said that, 155 Irrawaddy dolphins have been identified in the Chilika Lake.
ii. This information has been provided based on the preliminary report of the first ‘Annual Monitoring’ of the Chilika Lake conducted recently.
iii. The ‘Annual Monitoring’ was performed to count the number of marine mammals and to analyse the hydrological impacts of removal of pen culture.
About Chilika Development Authority (CDA):
♦ Chief Executive – Susanta Nanda
♦ Location – Odisha
Gopi Thonakal and Monika Athare retain New Delhi Marathon titles
On 25th February 2018, Gopi Thonakal and Monika Athare won titles in the men’s and women’s category respectively, at the IDBI Federal Life Insurance New Delhi Marathon and retained the titles they won last year.IDBI Federal Life Insurance New Delhi Marathon:
i. Gopi Thonakal finished in 2 hours, 15 minutes and 16 seconds and won the title in men’s category. But he missed qualification for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, for which the Athletics Federation of India has set a 2:12:50 qualification standard.
ii. Nitendra Singh Rawat finished second in 2:24:55 and Bahadur Singh Dhoni finished third in 2:24:56 among men.
iii. In the women’s category, Monika Athare won the title with a timing of 2:43:46. She was followed by Jyoti Gawte in second position with 2:50:12 and Monica Raut in the third position with 2:55:02.
iv. The marathon was flagged off at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium by Sachin Tendulkar. Nearly 65 elite Indian athletes participated in the full marathon of 42.195km.
About IDBI Bank:
♦ MD & CEO – Mr. Mahesh Kumar Jain
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai
Eminent Odia writer Kanakalata Mohanty passes away
On 26th February 2018, Odia writer Kanakalata Mohanty passed away after suffering from old age related ailments at a private hospital in Odisha.
Death of Kanakalata Mohanty:
i. Kanakalata Mohanty was 82 years old. She has authored 12 novels and over 100 short stories.
ii. Her important novels are Ete Andhara, Kete Jwala and Anuradha. She was associated with the All India Radio as a lyricist. She sang devotional songs and was also a popular speaker on Odia language.
Some dams in Odisha:
♦ Hirakud Dam – Mahanadi River
♦ Indravati Dam – Indravati River
♦ Mandira dam – Sankh river
Veteran CPI leader Prabodh Panda passes away
On 27th February 2018, Prabodh Panda, former MP and State Secretary of West Bengal for Communist Party of India (CPI), died due to heart attack, at his residence in Kolkata.Death of Prabodh Panda:
i. Prabodh Panda was 72 years old. He served as national President of the All India Kisan Sabha.
ii. He was a three-time MP from Midnapore. He was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 2001. Then he was re-elected in 2004 and 2009.
About Communist Party of India (CPI):
♦ General Secretary – S. Sudhakar Reddy
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi