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7th India Energy Congress begins in New Delhi
7th India Energy Congress focusing on the theme ‘Energy 4.0: Energy Transition Towards 2030’ begun in New Delhi on February 1, 2018.
Highlights of 7th India Energy Congress:
i. India Energy Congress is the flagship event of World Energy Council India (WEC India), which functions under the Union Power Ministry.
ii. 7th India Energy Congress has been jointly organised by Union Ministries of Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy, Petroleum & Natural Gas, External Affairs and Department of Atomic Energy.
iii. On February 1, 2018, Power and New & Renewable Energy Minister addressed the inaugural session of 7th India Energy Congress.
iv. Over the course of this two-day event, around 400 experts will deliberate on five sub-themes viz. Policy and Energy Environment 2030,  Sustainable Mobility, Energy Investments in an Uncertain World, Variable Renewable Energy Integration and Reaching the Last Mile.

AP CM Naidu lays foundation for Universal Peace Retreat Center in Amaravati
On February 1, 2018, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu laid the foundation stone for the Universal Peace Retreat Center of ‘Prajapita Brahmakumari Eswariya University’ in Amaravati.AmaravatiDetails about Universal Peace Retreat Center:
i. This Center will be built on 10 acres of land at Nekkollu village within the Amaravati Capital Region. The land has been allotted by Andhra Pradesh State Government.
ii. Raja yoga and Dhyana will be taught at the Center. Besides, the center will be involved in propagating youth development, women empowerment, child care, and moral values.
iii. Universal Peace Retreat Center will have capacity to provide shelter to 1500 people.
iv. Other amenities that will be set up at the Center include an auditorium with 2000 seating arrangement, meditation hall, a museum, laser show and a housing complex.

Home Ministry allots Rs. 370 crore to strengthen border infrastructure
Union Home Ministry has sanctioned nearly Rs. 370 crore to Border Security Force (BSF) and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) to strengthen border infrastructure along Indo-Pak and Indo-China border.
Funds for Strengthening Border Infrastructure:
i. BSF will use the funds primarily for construction of bunkers and fortifying its border out posts along Indo-Pak border.
ii .ITBP will use the amount for construction of climate-controlled huts and procurement of snow scooter.
iii. It is to be noted that BSF is India’s first line of Defense along the 2526.86-km-long Indo-Pak border (including 237.2 km of the Line of Control) and 4096.7 km of the Indo-Bangladesh border.
iv. ITBP guards the 3488-km-long Sino-India border that runs through five Indian States viz. Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

Punjab govt bans sale of Endosulfan, other insecticides
On January 31, 2018, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh approved a ban on the sale of Endosulfan and 19 other insecticides.Endosulfani. These insecticides have been reported to be harmful for human beings as well as from the environmental sustainability and economic viability aspects.
ii .Recommendation to ban these insecticides was made by Registration Committee, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) and the Punjab State Farmers’ Commission (PSFC).
iii. 19 other insecticides that have been banned include: Phosphamidon, Benfuracarb, Tricholorofon, Dicofol, Thiophanate Methyl, Methomyl,  Bifenthrin, Chlorfenapyr, Dazomet, Diflubenzuron, Carbosulfan, Fenitrothion, Kasugamycin, Ethofenprox (Etofenprox), Metaldehyde, Phorate, Triazophos, Alachior and Monocrotophos
iv. The ban will be effective from February 1, 2018.
Quick Facts about Punjab:
♦ Capital – Chandigarh
♦ Current Chief Minister – Amarinder Singh
♦ Current Governor – V P Singh Badnore
♦ Important River – Sutlej

Centre sanctions Rs 1500 cr for organic farming in Uttarakhand
Central Government has sanctioned Rs 1500 crore to promote organic farming in Uttarakhand.
i. The amount was sanctioned by Union Agriculture Minister, Radha Mohan Singh during his meeting with Uttarakhand  Chief Minister, Trivendra Singh Rawat in New Delhi on January 30, 2018.
ii. The amount of Rs. 1500 crore will be disbursed over a period of three years.
iii.  This decision is to manifest Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to develop Uttarakhand as an organic state.
Quick Facts about Uttarakhand:
♦ Capital – Dehradun
♦ Current Chief Minister – Trivendra Singh Rawat
♦ Current Governor – Krishan Kant Paul
♦ Important National Park – Jim Corbett National Park

Indian Railways set to get 1st high-speed electric locomotive in March 2018
Indian Railways’ first high speed electric locomotive which can run at a maximum speed of 120 kmph will be launched in March 2018 during French President Emmanuel Macron’s Indian visit.RailwayIndian Railway’s 1st high-speed electric locomotive in March 2018:
i. The high-speed electric locomotive has a capacity of 12,000 horsepower and can run at a maximum speed of 120 kmph.
ii. This high-speed electric locomotive has been produced in collaboration with Alstom. The first 12,000 horsepower locomotive has been assembled at Madhepura plant in Bihar. Trials are being conducted now.
iii. This increase in speed will improve line capacity in the rail network. 800 such electric locomotives will be produced in the upcoming 11 years by Indian Railways in collaboration with Alstom.
About Alstom:
♦ Headquarters – Saint-Ouen, France
♦ Chairman & CEO – Henri Poupart-Lafarge

Indian Railways to set up Coach Factory in Maharashtra
Railways Minister Piyush Goyal said that, a coach factory will be set up by the Indian Railways in Latur district, Maharashtra.
Coach Factory in Maharashtra:
i. Decision regarding this was taken at a meeting between Piyush Goyal and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
ii. This coach factory will produce Electric Multiple Units (EMUs) for suburbantrains and coaches for metro trains.
iii. Work regarding this project will be carried out with high priority and all approvals will be done in a fast track pace. The Maharashtra government has provided concessions in land, taxes, etc. for this project.
About Integral Coach Factory (ICF):
♦ Purpose – manufacturer of rail coaches
♦ Location – Chennai, Tamil Nadu
♦ Established – 1952


Rwanda becomes first poor country to provide eye care for all
Rwanda has become the first low-income country in the world to provide universal eye care for its 12 million citizens.Rwanda becomes first poor country to provide eye care for allRwanda – first poor country to provide eye care for all:
i. Rwanda government has partnered with Vision for a Nation (VFAN), a UK-based charity organization, to train 3,000 eye care nurses in 502 local health centres.
ii. They would prescribe glasses to patients and direct them to national clinics in case of serious eye problems.
iii. The most common eye problem in Rwanda is short sightedness. Coffee bean sorting is one of the major means of income for Rwanda women. Their eye sight deteriorates as they reach 45 years, and hence their livelihood and means of income are affected.
About Vision for a Nation Foundation (VFAN):
♦ Purpose – supports health ministries to provide local eye care services
♦ Established – 2011
♦ Founder – James Chen


India’s GDP growth fell to 7.1% in 2016-17 from 8.2% in 2015-16: CSO
According to the CSO’s revised estimates of national income released on January 31, 2018, gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate for 2015-16 stood at 8.2% from the earlier estimates of 8% while for 2016-17, revised GDP growth remained unchanged at 7.1%.
i. For 2015-16, this is the second revised estimate, while for 2016-17, this is the first revised estimate.
ii. Revised estimates are arrived at by taking into consideration a wider range of numbers, including employment data.
iii. Second revised estimate for 2015-16 has been arrived at by incorporating latest available data on agricultural production, industrial production and Government expenditure.
iv. First revised estimates for 2016-17 have been arrived at by using industry-wise/institution-wise detailed information.
Quick Facts about Central Statistics Office (CSO):
♦ Established in – 1951
♦ Located in – Delhi
♦ Functioning under – Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India


Magahi writer Anand Madhukar awarded Sahitya Akademi’s Bhasha Samman award
On 31st January 2018, Magahi writer Shesh Anand Madhukar was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Bhasha Samman award.SammanAnand Madhukar – Bhasha Samman award:
i. Shesh Anand Madhukar is the second Magahi writer to be awarded the Sahitya Akademi’s Bhasha Samman award
ii. Sahitya Akademi President Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari presented this award to Shesh Anand Madhukar. The award consisted of a cheque for Rs 1 lakh and a memento.
iii. Bhasha Samman award recognizes the languages that are equally spoken in different parts of India.
iv .Shesh Anand Madhukar has created various remarkable literary works in both Magahi and Hindi. He started his literary creations in 1960.
v. His books are present in the graduate and post-graduate syllabus of Vinoba Bhave University, Hazaribagh.
About Sahitya Akademi:
♦ Headquarters – Rabindra Bhawan, Delhi
♦ President – Dr. Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari


UPA government’s spokesperson Neelam Kapoor appointed as SAI DG
On 31st January 2018, Neelam Kapoor was appointed as Director General (DG) of Sports Authority of India (SAI).
Neelam Kapoor – DG of Sports Authority of India (SAI):
i. Neelam Kapoor is an Indian Information Service officer (IIS) of 1982 batch. She is currently the Principal Director General of the Directorate of Field Publicity (DFP).
ii. She has been appointed as the Director General (DG) of Sports Authority of India (SAI) until her superannuation on 31 July 2019.
iii. In 2009, she became the Principal Director General of the Press Information Bureau. This is the first time an IIS officer has been appointed as DG of SAI. Usually this post is held by an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer.
About Sports Authority of India (SAI):
♦ Formed – 1984
♦ Headquarters – Delhi

Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen appointed as Vice Chairman of USISPF Board
Shantanu Narayen, CEO of Adobe, has been named the Vice Chairman of US-India Strategic and Partnership Forum (USISPF) Board.
Shantanu Narayen – Vice Chairman of (USISPF) Board:
i. Shantanu Narayen is an Indian-American. USISPF was formed to improve trade ties between India and the US. Now the USISPF Board has 31 board members.
ii. Other members who have joined the USISPF Board recently are: Ajay Singh, chairman and managing director of Spice Jet Limited and John Kern, senior vice president of Supply Chain Operations at Cisco.
About US-India Strategic and Partnership Forum (USISPF):
♦ President – Dr. Mukesh Aghi
♦ Managing Director – Nivedita Mehra

IOA Joint Secretary Vikram Singh Sisodia named Chef-de-Mission for CWG
On 30th January 2018, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) named Vikram Singh Sisodia as the Chef-de-Mission for Commonwealth Games (CWG) that will be held in Gold Coast, Australia from April 4 to 15, 2018.
Vikram Singh Sisodia – Chef-de-Mission for CWG:
i. Vikram Singh Sisodia is currently the joint secretary of Indian Olympic Association (IOA). He is also the president of Chhattisgarh State Tennis Association.
ii. IOA has also appointed three team managers: Namdev Shirgaonkar, Modern Pentathlon Federation of India General Secretary; Ajay Naarang, Asian Sailing Federation official and V A Shiyad, Andaman and Nicobar Olympic Association Secretary General.
About Indian Olympic Association (IOA):
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ President – Dr. Narinder Dhruv Batra


Google seals $1.1billion deal to acquire HTC’s talent
Google has announced its deal of USD 1.1 billion with HTC, and its acquisition of HTC talent.Google HTCGoogle – $1.1billion deal to acquire HTC’s talent:
i. According to the deal, Google has acquired nearly 2,000 HTC engineers. The engineers are mostly from the smartphone R&D team. These engineers will shift to Google, and will work in Taiwan.
ii. This team of engineers has already worked closely with Google in the Pixel and Pixel 2 projects.
iii.This move has been made with the idea of expanding Google in the hardware sector and in the Asia Pacific region.
About HTC Corporation:
♦ Headquarters – New Taipei City, Taiwan
♦ Chairperson & CEO – Cher Wang


Google forays into hyperlocal news through ‘Bulletin’ app
Google has launched “Bulletin” app that allows anyone to submit stories related to their local communities.
i. Bulletin is a free app. It has been launched as a pilot project in Nashville, Tennessee and Oakland, California.
ii. Using this app users in the respective areas can sign up and contribute their stories with photos, vi deos and text. Users can do this easily with their phone and it will be published straight away in the web. Google has not mentioned how it will verify the authenticity of the content.
About Google:
♦ Headquarters – California, U.S.
♦ CEO – Sundar Pichai

Health-tech startup mCURA launches India’s first integrated mobility platform ‘Smart OPD’
On 31st January 2018, mCURA, a Health-tech startup, launched ‘Smart OPD’, India’s first integrated mobility platform that reduces waiting time in counters and provides e-prescriptions.
Smart OPD:
i. ‘Smart OPD’ helps patients to escape long queues at admission and billing counters, labs, pharmacies and hospitals.
ii. Labs, pharmacy, doctors and patients are integrated through the mobile platform. By carrying the ‘Smart OPD’ card, patients can experience fast and smooth movement in the hospitals.
iii. Patients can avail Near-field communication (NFC) based “Tap and Pay” card (registration plus cash card) at the registration counter. They will be instructed to download the patient app.
iv. This app contains medical records, medical bills, payment transactions, etc. Using “Tap and Pay” card patients can pay for all hospital services without waiting in queues.
About Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR):
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Secretary & Director General – Soumya Swaminathan


Ottanthullal artist Kalamandalam Geethanandan passes away
On 28th January 2018, Kalamandalam Geethanandan, famous Ottanthullal artist, died while he was performing at a temple in Irinjalakkuda, Kerala.OttanDeath of Geethanandan:
i. Geethanandan was 58 years old. As he collapsed during the performance, he was taken to hospital. But he was declared dead.
ii .He has performed in nearly 5,000 stages all over India. He was also a tutor of Ottanthulal at Kerala Kalamandalam.
iii. He has received Sangeet Nataka Academy Award, Kalamamdnal award etc. He has also acted in more than 30 malayalam films. He was the first artist to perform thullal at Paris.
About Kerala Kalamandalam:
♦ Location – Thrissur District, Kerala
♦ Established – 1930
♦ Founder – Vallathol Narayana Menon


Indian Coast Guard (ICG) celebrates 41st Foundation Day
On 1st February 2018, the Indian Coast Guard celebrated its 41st Foundation Day.Indian Coast GuardIndian Coast Guard (ICG)’s 41st Foundation Day:
i. The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) was established in 1978. It was started with only 7 ships.
ii. It was formed to enforce National Laws in the Indian waters and safeguard life and property at sea.
iii. They help and protect Indian fishermen. They also investigate foreign fishermen entering Indian waters.
About Indian Coast Guard (ICG):
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Director General – Rajendra Singh