Current Affairs February 19 2019

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Current Affairs February 19 2019INDIAN AFFAIRS

Overview Of PM Narendra Modi’s Visit To Bihar And Jharkhand

  • Foundation stone for the Patna Metro Rail Project was laid down by PM Narendra Modi, which is worth more than Rs 13,000 crore (estimated cost Rs 13,365.77crore) and will be completed in the next 5 years. The project will benefit about 27 lakh people of the state.
  • PM Narendra Modi inaugurated the first phase of the River Front Development at Patna and the Patna City Gas Distribution Project(CGD).
  • The PM inaugurated the newly constructed building at the Women’s Engineering College in Ramgarh
  • The prime minister laid the foundation stone for 2,718 Piped Water Supply schemes for the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups and a Tribal Studies Centre at the Hazaribagh-based Acharya Vinoba Bhave University…………………….Click here to Read more

Scrapping of Section 66A of IT Act, SC directs states to sensitise cops
On 15th February 2019, the Supreme Court directed all state governments to make their police personnel aware of the verdict which scrapped Section 66A of Information Technology Act. Sensitising the police will reduce unnecessary arrest of people under their provision.
Key Points
i. Section 66A of IT Act provided jail term for people sending offensive contents in internet. It was scrapped by Supreme Court on March 24, 2015.
ii. Justice R F Nariman and Sanjay Kishan Kaul bench directed all high courts to send a copy of the Supreme Court verdict to all trial courts to ensure that no one is prosecuted or arrested under this Act.
iii. By citing liberty of thought and expression as ‘cardinal’ Supreme Court in 2015 scrapped section 66A. The court also stated that the public’s right to know is affected by this. The Act when in force will attract jail term upto 3 years.

IAF carried out ‘Vayu Shakti’ exercise at Pokhran
On 16th February 2019, Indian Air Force conducted mega exercise ‘Vayu Shakti’ in Pokhran, Rajasthan. The exercise was conducted two days after 40 CRPF personnel killed in a suicide attack in Kashmir’s Pulwama.

Key Points
i. The exercise was carried out day and night where the IAF showcased fire power capability of indigenously developed platforms and efficacy of missiles.
ii. For the first time, the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALP) and the Akash surface-to-air missile were deployed in military exercise. MiG-29 fighter jet also participated in the exercise.
iii. The capability of Griffin Laser Guided Bomb (LGB) a laser-guided bomb system was also showcased in the exercise. It is used to retrofit gravity bombs, making them laser guided smart ammunition.
iv. The honorary group captain of the IAF, Sachin Tendulkar was present during the exercise. He became honorary group captain in 2010 for his achievements in cricket.
About Indian Air Force
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Chief of Air Staff- Air Chief Marshal Birendra Singh Dhanoa

4th Agri leadership Summit 2019 inaugurated by Radha Mohan Singh
Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare,Radha MohanSingh, inaugurated the 4th Agri Leadership Summit 2019 at the India International Horticulture Market (IIHM) in Ganaur, Sonipat district, Haryana. It was a 3-day summit which took place from 15th February 2019 to 17th February 2019.

i. The main objective of the summit was to provide a platform to the progressive farmers,Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO), Agri-input and Agri-produce processing industries of the country to interact with policy-makers, scientists and technologists in order to increase the income and quality of life of the farmers and to attract investments in agriculture related industries of the State.
ii. The theme of the summit was “Entrepreneurship & Agri Business; Agri Allied – A Promising Sector and Agri Service- Direct Marketing”.
iii. Progress Harmony Development Chamber of Commerce and Industry(PHDCCI) was the Institutional Partner at the summit.
iv. President Ram Nath Kovind addressed the closing ceremony of the summit.
v. He launched Digital Kisan Platform.
vi. He also conferred Krishi Ratna Puraskar on Vice Chancellor K. P. Singh for Haryana Agriculture University, Hisar and honoured 9 farmers with the Kisan Ratna Puraskar.
About Haryana
♦ Capital – Chandigarh
♦ Chief Minister – Manohar Lal
♦ Governor – Satyadeo Narain Arya

Bill passed by Rajasthan Assembly to scrap minimum education qualification for Civic polls
The Rajasthan Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and the Rajasthan Municipality (Amendment) Bill, 2019 have been passed in the Rajasthan Assembly in order to do away with the currently existing minimum education criterion for panchayat and civic poll candidates.
Key points:
i. As per the Rajasthan Panchayati Raj Amendment Bill 2015, a candidate must have passed class X for municipal elections, class VIII for panchayat polls for the post of sarpanch and class X for Zila Parishad elections.
ii. It was stated to be against the basic principles of the constitution and was potentially capable of creating a division in the society on the basis of education.
About Rajasthan
♦ Capital- Jaipur
♦ Chief Minister- Ashok Gehlot
♦ Governor- Shri Kalyan Singh

3 day International Annual Desert Festival begins in Jaisalmer
On 17th February 2019, 40th International Annual Desert Festival kicked off in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. It will exhibit rich cultural heritage of the state and attract thousands of tourists from all over the world to the Golden City.

Key Points
i.The festival was held amidst the beautiful Sam dunes of the Thar Desert. It commences with a procession from the Jaisalmer Fort to the Shahid Poonam Singh Stadium.
ii. On the opening day, the Border Security Force presented a camel tattoo show. The festival is organised by the Rajasthan tourism and district administration.

2 new Districts created in Telangana
On 17th February, 2019, Revenue Department of Telangana has issued a notification stating about the creation of 2 new districts in Telangana– Mulugu and Narayanpet.
Key points
i. With the creation of 2 districts, total number of districts in Telangana has augmented to 33.
ii. District Naraynpet and Mulugi has been carved out of the District Mahabubnagar and Bhupalapally districts respectively.
About Telangana
♦ Capital- Hyderabad
♦ Chief Minister- K. Chandrashekar Rao
♦ Governor- E.S.L. Narasimham.

Kannadigas to be given priority in private sector jobs
A decision has been made by the government of Karnataka to give 100% reservation to Kannadigans in jobs lying under the Group C and Group D category in the private companies, that are getting support from the government.
Key points:
i. The state cabinet has made this decision by making amendments to the Karnataka Industrial Employment (Standing Orders), Rules, 1961 in order to implement the Sarojini Mahishi report.
ii. Also, district-level committees led by deputy commissioners will be established to deal with companies which do not comply with the rules.
iii. In case companies do not follow the rules, their government concessions are liable to be withdrawn.
iv. Kannadiga is a person who has been the resident of the state since the past 15 years and can read, write and speak Kannada reasonably well.
About Karnataka
♦ Capital- Bengaluru
♦ Chief Minister- H.D Kumaraswamy
♦ Governor- VajubhaiVala

Sikkim CM presented the Rs 3,566.29 cr for FY 2019-20
Sikkim’s Chief Minister, Pawan Kumar Chamling,who holds charge of the Finance Department, presented the interim Budget for Financial Year (FY) 2019-20 of Rs 3,566.29 crore in the State Legislative Assembly on the inaugural day of the two-day session.
i. It comprises of Revenue Expenditure of Rs 2,713.88 crore and Capital Expenditure of Rs 852.41 crore for half of the duration of the FY 2019-20.
ii. It will be discussed and voted on by the House on 20th February 2019, the last day of the 9th Legislative Assembly.
Related points
The following 2 bills will also be put to vote on 20th February 2019:

  • The Sikkim Regulation of Transfer of Land (Amendment) Bill, 2019 to ensure protection of land belonging to Limboo community introduced by Pawan Kumar Chamling, who also holds charge of Land Revenue and Disaster Management Department.
  • The Sikkim Prohibition of Beggary (Amendment) Bill, 2019, introduced by the Social Justice, Empowerment and Welfare Department Minister Tulshi Devi Rai which proposes to amend Section 25 of The Sikkim Prohibition of Beggary Act, 2004, which casts stigma on persons suffering from leprosy and also create a disability for them as per the direction given by the Supreme Court in 2018.

About Sikkim
♦ Capital – Gangtok
♦ Chief Minister – Pawan Kumar Chamling
♦ Governor – Ganga Prasad


NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant led high level delegation visited Saudi Arabia
A high-level delegation comprising of leading Indian CEOs and India’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Ahmad Javed, led by NITI Aayog CEO, Amitabh Kant, visited Saudi Arabia from 16th February to 17th February, 2019 to take part in discussions with the Saudi Centre for International Strategic Partnerships (SCISP) and with Ministerial level representations from 12 Saudi Ministries in Riyadh.

i. Discussions on possible opportunities of joint cooperation and collaboration across sectors like energy, food processing, pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, mining, ICT, tourism, defence etc. were held at the NITI Aayog-SCISP Workshop led by Amitabh Kant and  Dr. Faisal Al Sugair, CEO, SCISP.
ii. Invest India Grid was launched in Saudi Arabia during the workshop, which would be setting up a dedicated team for facilitating Saudi investments in India. NITI Aayog and SCISP agreed to provide continuing momentum to the India-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership.
Related points
Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is scheduled to arrive in India on 19 & 20 February, 2019.
About Saudi Arabia
♦ Capital – Riyadh
♦ Currency – Saudi Riyal
♦ King – Salman

President Donald Trump declared national emergency to build US-Mexico border wall
U.S. President Donald Trump, declared a national emergency at the US-Mexico border to fund construction of his long-sought wall, citing an “invasion of drugs and criminals” as reason for the act.
i. He announced that he will be spending roughly $8 billion on border barriers combining the money approved by Congress with funding he plans to repurpose through executive actions, including the national emergency.
ii. Building a border wall was a key pledge in Mr. Trump’s election campaign.
About U.S.A.
♦ Capital – Washington, D.C.
♦ Currency – U.S. Dollar
♦ President – Donald Trump


Shiv Chhatrapati awards conferred on Uday Deshpande and Smriti Mandhana
Mallakhamb coach,Uday Deshpande and batswoman,Smriti Mandhana,were awarded the Maharashtra State Government’s Shiv Chhatrapati Award by the State’s Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao at an event held at the Gateway of India, Mumbai.

i. Uday Deshpande was awarded with the Shiv Chhatrapati life-time achievement award for dedicating his life to the traditional sport, Mallakhamb.
ii. Shiv Chhatrapati award for players among several others was presented to Smriti Mandhana, opening batswoman of the Indian Women’s Cricket team.
Related points
The recipients of the Shiv Chhatrapati award,Squash player Mahesh Mangaonkar and chess player Saloni Sapale, will be donating the prize money of Rs 1 lakh to the families of the martyrs from Maharashtra, who were killed in the terror attack in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14.
About Maharashtra
♦ Capital – Mumbai
♦ Chief Minister – Devendra Fadnavis
♦ Governor – C. Vidyasagar Rao

Jharkhand’s NGO Yuwa won Laureus Sports for Good Honour
On 17th February 2019, A Jharkhand based NGO Yuwa won the Laureus Sports for Good Award.Yuwa, working for girl empowerment, became the third Indian entry to receive this honour.

Key Points
i .Yuwa prepares girls to break the cycle of poverty permanently. The program has used team sports and education to build character, confidence and courage among girls.
ii. Yuwa was founded in 2009 by Americans Franz Gastler and Rose Thomson. It runs a football program in rural Jharkhand with 450 girls. In 2004, Indian Cricket team and Pakistan counterpart shared Laureus Award for the first time and recently by Magic Bus in 2014.
iii. Legendary footballer and coach Arsene Charles Ernest Wenger kicked football with the young Indian girls of Yuwa before the announcement. Missy Franklin who is a five time Olympic Champion too was inspired by the story of young Indian girls.
About Jharkhand
♦ Capital -Ranchi
♦ CM- Raghubar Das
♦ Governor -Draupadi Murmu

Rabindranath Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony awarded by the President
President Ram Nath Kovind presented the Rabindranath Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony for the year 2014, 2015 and 2016 at the Pravasi Bhartiya Kendra, New Delhi.

i. The awardees were:

  • Shri Rajkumar Singhajit Singh for the year 2014
  • Chhayanaut (a cultural organization of Bangladesh) for the year 2015
  • Shri Ram Sutar Vanji for the year for 2016

ii. The Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony was instituted by the Government of India for promoting values of Cultural Harmony from 2012 and it is awarded annually and carries an amount of Rs 1 crore.
iii. Pandit Ravi Shankar was the first to receive the award in 2012 followed by Maestro Zubin Mehta in 2013.

Dhanya became the First woman to climb Kerala’s Agasthyarkoodam peak
On 17th February 2019, Bureaucrat Dhanya Sanal K. became the first woman to climb Agasthyarkoodam peak in Kerala. There was an unofficial ban for women to trek the peak which was swept aside by Kerala High Court.
Key Points
i. Agasthyarkoodam peak is a 1868 metre high mountain peak within Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala. It lies on Kerala and Tamil Nadu border.
ii. It is a pilgrimage centre of Hindu Puranas for the devotees of Agasthya. Agasthya is considered as the father of Tamil language and Malayalam language.


Faizel Ismail appointed director of South Africa’s Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance
Indian-origin global negotiator, Professor Faizel Ismail, was appointed as the director of South Africa’s Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance.
i. He is a professor at the University of Cape Town (UCT)’s School of Economics and has served as an Ambassador to the World Trade Organisation and a Senior Advisor to the Minister of Trade and Industry in the past. He has also chaired the International Trade and Administration Commission from 2015 to 2018, and was reappointed for a five-year term till 2023.
ii. He is known for his role in negotiating major agreements for South Africa, including the Southern African Customs Union and Trade& Development Agreement with the European Union.
iii. Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance was established in 2011 and has trained 1,400 students from across Africa in leadership and academic programmes.

CBIC appoints Sandeep Mohan Bhatnagar and Ashok Kumar Pandey as its members
Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC)appointed 2 senior Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officers, Sandeep Mohan Bhatnagar and Ashok Kumar Pandey as its members.
i. Ashok Kumar Pandey is a 1983-batch Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise) officer and Sandeep Mohan Bhatnagar is a 1984-batch IRS officer.
About CBIC:
CBIC chairman – Pranab K. Das

Mary Kom designated as women’s training Ambassador of PUMA
On 18th February, 2019, German sports and lifestyle brand PUMA has appointed the 6 time world champion woman M C Mary Kom as its new brand ambassador.

Key points
i. Mary Kom is now PUMA India’s new ambassador for their women’s training category and will be representing the brand in marketing campaigns.
ii. Mary Kom will steer brand’s advertising campaign #DoYou that aims to motivate women across the nation to be strong and accomplish their goals.
iii. The association was facilitated by IOS sports and Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. which primarily entitles Mary Kom.


India’s first ‘Fulldome 3D Digital Theatre’ inaugurated by Mahesh Sharma
Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma inaugurated India’s very first ‘Fulldome 3D Digital Theatre’ at the Science City in Kolkata, West Bengal.

i. It has a 23-metre tilted dome to offer a fully immersive experience to the visitors and is capable of screening high resolution, full dome, and digital 2D/3D content by utilising 6 high-end projectors in a 23-meter diameter dome using Ulteria Seam technology.
ii. It is fully funded by the Ministry of Culture at a cost of Rs 20 crore.

AntBot, the first walking robot to navigate without GPS, developed
AntBot is the first walking robot to have navigational capabilities without GPS or mapping. It has been designed by French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and Aix-Marseille University researchers at ISM, on lines similar to desert ants who use polarised lights and UV radiation to navigate in space.
Key points:
i. It consists of an optical compass which determines its movements by the help of a polarised light.
ii. An optical movement sensor directed to the sun is used to measure the distance covered.
iii. It provides a precision of up to 1 cm after covering a total distance of 14 metres.
iv. It is lightweight, weighing only around 2.3 kgs.
v. It has six feet to enhance mobility and facilitate movements in complex environments.
vi. Celestial compass is used to measure its heading with precision by cloudy or clear weather.

Iran’s first semi-heavy missile-equipped submarine unveiled
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani unveiled the first Iranian made semi-heavy submarine named “Fateh” (“Conqueror” in Persian), capable of being fitted with missiles.

i. It has subsurface-to-surface missiles with a range of about 2,000 km (1,250 miles) and is capable of reaching Israel and U.S. military bases in the region.
ii. A homegrown defence industry has been developed by Iran, since 1992, which produces light and heavy weapons ranging from mortars and torpedoes to tanks and submarines.
About Iran
♦ Capital – Tehran
♦ Currency – Rial
♦ President – Hassan Rouhani


83rd edition of the Senior National Badminton Championship begins in Guwahati
The 83rd Yonex Sunrise Senior Badminton Nationals was held at Guwahati, Assam.

i. Saina Nehwal retained her women’s singles crown after defeating PV Sindhu.
ii. Sorabh Verma defeated Lakshya Sen to win the men’s singles crown for the third time (after 2011 and 2017).
iii. The team of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Chirag Shetty claimed the men’s doubles title after beating Arjun MR and Shlok Ramachandran.

Elise Mertens beats Simona Halep to win Qatar Open
Elise Merten, world number 21 from Belgium beat world number 3,Simona Halep to win the Qatar Open held in Doha, Qatar. This is said to be the biggest title of her career.

i. She won 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, braving an eight-minute medical timeout for back pain in the second set which made her lose 18 points in a row at one stage.
ii. This was her third victory over a top ten player in Doha in the current week and second over Grand Slam Championship. Her splendid current record includes defeating Angelique Kerber and Kiki Bertens despite being knocked out of the tournament in the first-round last year.
iii. This is her first WTA Premier-level crown and fifth title of her overall career.
About Qatar
♦ Capital- Doha

India Win Team Event At Mallakhamb World Championship in Mumbai
First Mallakhamb World Championship was held in Shivaji Park in central Mumbai in which India became the winner.

i. This sport involves athletes performing various yogic and gymnastic poses while hanging from a rope or on a pole.
ii. 15 countries participated in the event- Spain, Germany, Czech Republic,Italy, USA, Iran, Norway, England, France, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Vietnam, Bahrain, and India.
iii. An audio-visual presentation about the workshops and practice of the ancient Indian sport held in Germany was given by Ruth Anzenberger, German team coach.
About Maharashtra
♦ Capital- Mumbai
♦ Chief Minister-Devendra Fadnavis
♦ Governor-C. Vidyasagar Rao

Ethiopian teenager Samuel Tefera broke a 22-year-old indoor world record in the 1,500 meters
A 22-year old men’s indoor world record in 1,500 metres was broken by Samuel Tefera, an Ethiopian teenager. He broke the record at the Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix by finishing the race in 3 minutes, 31.04 seconds
He achieved this by defeating Yomif Kejelcha in final bend by 0.54 seconds and 200m.
About Ethiopia
♦ Capital- Addis Ababa
♦ Currency- Bir
♦ President- Sahle-Work Zewde
♦ Prime Minister-Abiy Ahmed

Chris Gayle announces retirement from ODI
On 18th February 2019, West Indies batsman Chris Gayle has announced his retirement from One Day Internationals (ODIs) after the forthcoming World Cup in England and Wales.

Key Points
i. He has scored 9727 ODI runs which is only 677 runs less than the highest scorer Brian Lara.
ii. Chris Gayle, a Jamaican cricketer who plays International cricket for the West Indies was born in September 21, 1979. His ODI debut was in 1999 against India.
iii. He had the first ever World Cup double century against Zimbabwe 4 years ago. Gayle hit 23 ODI centuries in his career.

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