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Current Affairs Today February 13 2018

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India-Russia Agriculture Business Summit held in New Delhi
On 13th February 2018, India-Russia Agriculture Business Summit was held in New Delhi.
India-Russia Agriculture Business Summit:
i. India-Russia Agriculture Business Summit was organized by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare.
ii. Gajender Singh Shekhawat, Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Sergey Beletskiy, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Agriculture, Russia, spoke at the summit.
iii. Heads of various business associations in agriculture sector of India and Russia attended the summit. This summit would strengthen business ties between India and Russia.
iv. Presentations were made by India and Russia highlighting agricultural trade opportunities.  Discussions were conducted in 4 theme sessions on areas of collaboration and trade in:
1.Agriculture machinery
2.Sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures (plants and animals)
3.Agriculture education and biotechnology
4.Fishery and sea products (feeding, care and processing etc.)
5.Baker’s, dry fruits and coconut products
About Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare:
♦ Minister of Agriculture – Radha Mohan Singh
♦ Ministers of State for Agriculture – Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Parsottambhai Rupala and Krishna Raj

Bihar bans sale of loose cigarettes
On 9th Friday 2018, Bihar government issued a notification announcing ban on the sale of loose cigarettes in Bihar.
Bihar bans sale of loose cigarettes:
i. The notification regarding this ban was issued by Bihar’s health department’s special secretary Lokesh Kumar Singh. Lokesh Kumar Singh is also the executive director of Bihar Health Society.
ii. Bihar has become the 12th state in India to ban the sale of loose cigarettes. The notification specifies that as per Section 7 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2003, pictorial warnings of harmful effects of tobacco consumption should be made on the packets of tobacco products.
iii. Section 20 of COTPA, 2003, mentions that sale, purchase, distribution and promotion of tobacco products without these pictorial warnings is a punishable offence. Since, loose cigarettes don’t contain these pictorial warnings, its sale is banned.
About Socio-Economic and Educational Development Society (SEEDS):
♦ Purpose – involved in anti-tobacco movement in Bihar
♦ Executive Director – Deepak Mishra

Uttar Pradesh launches DASTAK campaign to eradicate Japanese Encephalitis
On 5th February 2018, Uttar Pradesh government in collaboration with UNICEF launched “Dastak Campaign against Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES)”.Uttar Pradesh launches DASTAK campaign to eradicate Japanese EncephalitisDASTAK:
i. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath inauguratred the “Dastak Campaign against Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES)”. Also, he released a CD, sanitary kit and publicity material during the inauguration.
ii. Yogi Adityanath said that, the encephalitis affects children up to 15 years old. He said that 38 districts of Uttar Pradesh are affected with AES and JE.
iii. He said that, in order to control encephalitis, health department has been made the nodal agency.  Departments such as urban development, Panchayati Raj, Women and Child Welfare, Rural Development, Medical Education, Animal Husbandry and basic education departments will work under the health department.
iv. Vaccination against encephalitis will be finished by March-April 2018. A sanitation drive will also be conducted as a part of this campaign.
v. He said that mal-nourishment is also a cause of encephalitis. Hence anganwadi workers will be engaged in providing nutritious food to pregnant women, lactating mothers and infants.
About UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund):
♦ Headquarters – New York City
♦ Executive Director – Henrietta H. Fore

Chandrababu Naidu richest Chief Minister in India, eleven others face criminal cases: ADR Report
As per a report by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW), 35% of incumbent chief ministers in India have criminal cases against them and 81% of them are crorepatis.
Highlights of ADR-NEW Report:
i. The report is based on analysis of self-sworn affidavits of current chief ministers (CMs), filed immediately before the latest elections of respective state assemblies and Union territories.
ii. Out of all 31 chief ministers, whose affidavits were analysed in the report, 11 (35%) have declared criminal cases against themselves.
iii. 25 CMs (81%) , are crorepatis and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu is the richest among all chief ministers. Mr. Naidu has declared assets worth over Rs 177 crore.
iv. Tripura CM Manik Sarkar has the lowest declared assets, worth Rs 27 lakh.
v. The report outlined that there are only three (10 per cent) women Chief Ministers – Mamta Banerjee (West Bengal), Vasundhara Raje (Rajasthan), Mehbooba Mufti (J&K).
vi. Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu (age 35 years) is the youngest Chief Minister.
vii. In terms of educational qualification, 10% of 31 chief ministers are 12th pass, 39% are graduates, 32% are graduate professionals, 16% are post graduates and 3% have doctorates.

All villages to be linked by roads by 2019 under ‘Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna’
Union Minister of State for Rural Development, Ram Kripal Yadav has stated that Central Government is working towards connecting all villages through a road network by next year as part of the ‘Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna’.All villages to be linked by roads by 2019 under 'Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna'Plan to link all villages by roads by 2019:
i. Mr. Yadav added that earlier target of linking all villages by roads by 2022 has been advanced to 2019.
ii. ‘Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna’ is a centrally sponsored scheme launched in December 2000.
iii. Ultimate goal of this scheme is to provide all-weather road connectivity to unconnected villages all over India.

R.K. Singh inaugurates International Conference on Operations and Maintenance held in New Delhi
On February 13, 2018, Union Minister of State (IC) for Power and New and Renewable Energy, R.K. Singh inaugurated the ‘Indian Power Stations 2018’, a three-day International Conference on Operations and Maintenance.
Highlights of ‘Indian Power Stations 2018’:
i. This conference is being held from 13th – 15th February 2018, in New Delhi.
ii. It is being hosted by NTPC Limited to commemorate synchronization of its first Thermal plant at Singrauli Super Thermal Power Station, on February 13, 1982.
iii. Theme of the Conference is “Technological Challenges: Risks and Challenges in Power Generation”
iv. The Conference will serve as a platform for sharing best practices for Operation and Maintenance of power plants. During the course of this conference, discussions will be held on safety measures, strategies for enhancing efficiency and reliability, environment management, renewable generation and other recent technological developments.
v .More than 800 delegates will be attending this 3-day conference.

Nitin Gadkari releases India’s first ever Highway Capacity Manual
On February 12, 2018, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari released India’s first ever Highway Capacity Manual (HCM) which will guide road engineers and policy makers about road expansion.Nitin Gadkari releases India’s first ever Highway Capacity ManualDetails about India’s first ever Highway Capacity Manual (HCM):
i. This manual is known as ‘Indo-HCM’ and has been developed by CSIR-Central Road Research Institute (CRRI).
ii. CRRI was established in 1952 and is a constituent laboratory of India’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.
iii. The manual has been developed on the basis of an extensive, country-wide study of the traffic characteristics on different categories of roads like single lane, two-lane, multi-lane urban roads, inter- urban highways and expressways.
iv. Seven academic institutions including School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, IIT-Roorkee, Mumbai and Guwahati, and Sardar Vallabhai Patel National Institute of Technology, Surat were also involved in the study.
v. ‘Indo-HCM’ contains guidelines as to when and how to expand or manage different types of roads and their intersections and which services should be put in place.


Indian Army contributes 2300 personnel for UN peace keeping mission in South Sudan
On February 12, 2018, Indian Army announced that about 2300 Indian Army personnel are leaving for South Sudan to join the UN peace keeping mission.
i. South Sudan is a war-torn African country.
ii. Indian Army personnel, joining this UN mission, are from Infantry battalion of Garhwal Rifles regiment. 
iii .India is the largest cumulative troop contributor to UN Peacekeeping Operations. Over the past six decades, India has provided almost 200000 troops in nearly 50 of the 71 UN peacekeeping missions.
Facts about United Nations Peacekeeping:
♦ Founded in – 1948
♦ Headed by – Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations

6th World Government Summit (WGS-2018) held in Dubai
6th edition of World Government Summit (WGS) 2018 was held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) from 11th – 13th February, 2018.6th World Government Summit (WGS-2018) held in DubaiHighlights of 6th World Government Summit (WGS-2018):
i. World Government Summit is a platform through which,  prominent leaders from the public and private sectors, international thought leaders and pioneers engage in an inspirational, thought-provoking and future-focused dialogues, aimed to shape the future of governments and help improve the lives of citizens across the world.
ii. This summit was attended by over 4000 participants from 140 countries, including heads of governments and representatives of 16 international organisations.
iii. On February 11, 2018, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered a keynote address at the 6th World Government Summit on the theme: ‘Technology for development’.

Tanzania withdraws from UN refugee programme
On 9th Friday 2018, Tanzanian President John Magufuli announced that Tanzania will withdraw from the UN’s comprehensive refugee response framework.
Tanzania withdraws from UN refugee programme:
i. Reasons for the withdrawal of Tanzania from UN refugee programme  has been stated as security issues and lack of funds. The UN refugee programme provides solutions for refugees and integration into host communities.
ii. In January 2018, Tanzania informed the United Nations High ♦ Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) that it was withdrawing the grant of citizenship to some Burundian refugees. Also, it said that, it would not encourage new asylum applications.
About United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
♦ Established – 1950
♦ United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees – Filippo Grandi


RBI rolls out new stressed assets framework to tackle bad loan problem
On February 12, 2018, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) tightened norms for bad loan resolution by setting timelines for resolving large Non-performing assets (NPAs).
i. Along with setting new norms to be followed for identifying, reporting and resolving stressed assets, RBI has also withdrawn the existing resolution frameworks and the Joint Lenders’ Forum (JLF)
ii. Now onwards, Banks will have to classifying stressed assets as Special Mention Accounts (SMA), immediately on default……………………………………..Click here to Read more

Citi India ban use of debit/credit cards to buy bitcoins
Citi Bank, India has issued an email notification to its customers stating that credit and debit cards cannot be used to purchase cryptocurrencies.No MDR charges on debit card payments up to Rs 2000 for 2 years from Jan 2018Restrictions on buying/selling cryptocurrencies:
i. In the email notification, Citi Bank India has cited global and local concerns (including from the Reserve Bank of India) about dealing in cryptocurrencies (including Bitcoin) and  has cautioned its customers that such transactions involves potential economic, financial, operational, legal, customer protection and security related risks.
ii. Earlier, in January 2017, RBI had warned banks about cryptocurrencies and had directed them to step up scrutiny of financial transactions by companies and exchanges involved in the trade of Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies.
iii. Cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin are decentralised digital currencies which are not backed by any Sovereign Government, Central Bank or monetary authority.
Quick Facts about Citibank India:
♦ Founded in – 1902
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra

Bank of Baroda to exit South Africa by March-end
On February 12, 2018, Bank of Baroda, an Indian public sector bank, announced that will shut down its operation in South Africa.
i. BoB has been operating in South Africa since past 21 years. As per the official announcement, BoB will stop taking new/incremental deposits and disbursing loans in South Africa with effect from March 1, 2018 and will cease to operate and conduct the business of a bank with effect from March 31, 2018.
ii. Earlier, BoB had stated that South African Reserve Bank is investigating allegations regarding compliance lapses in Bank’s South African Operations.
iii. In context of this news, it is important to note that BoB was banker a to Indian origin Gupta family in South Africa, who reportedly took undue advantage of their connections with the South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma.
Quick Facts about Bank of Baroda:
♦ Founded in – 1908
♦ Headquarters – Vadodara, Gujarat
♦ Current MD & CEO – P. S. Jayakumar
♦ Tagline – ‘India’s International Bank’



JNPT, Kamarajar and Vizag get good grades in new ‘Port Performance Index’
Jawaharlal Nehru Port (Maharashtra), Kamarajar Port (Tamil Nadu) and Visakhapatnam Port (Andhra Pradesh) have received ‘Good’ score in a new ‘Port Performance Index’ compiled by Dun & Bradstreet.India’s first mega Coastal Economic Zone to come up at JNPT in Maharashtra‘Port Performance Index’:
i. ‘Port Performance Index’ bench-marks performance of 13 Indian ports which handle around 67% of country’s maritime trade.
ii. It has been compiled on basis of a study conducted by Dun & Bradstreet and was handed over to Union Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu on February 12, 2018.
iii. The study looked into the issues and challenges pertaining to the ports sector in India by seeking feedback (on qualitative and quantitative aspects) from 700 respondents including government officials, trade associations, exporters/importers, cargo handling agents and freight forwarders.
iv. The index score has been arrived at by combining qualitative perception of stakeholders with quantitative outcome based data.
‘Port Performance Index’ – Scores:

Jawaharlal Nehru Port, Kamarajar Port and Visakhapatnam Port‘GOOD’
Cochin, Kandla, Paradip, Chennai, Mormugao, New Mangalore and V.O.Chidambaranar Port‘AVERAGE’
Haldia, Kolkata and Mumbai Port‘POOR’


Tata Steel bags ‘most ethical company’ award
Tata Steel has been honoured as the World’s Most Ethical Company for the year 2018 by Ethisphere Institute.
Tata Steel – Most ethical Company 2018:
i. Tata Steel has been conferred with the Most ethical Company award for the sixth time in the ‘Metals, Minerals and Mining’ category. The award will be presented to Tata Steel on 13th March 2018.
ii. The World’s Most Ethical Company assessment is done with reference to the Ethisphere Institute’s Ethics Quotient (EQ) framework. This year about 135 entities from 23 countries are honoured.
iii. The companies are ranked based on:
1.Ethics and compliance program (35%)
2.Corporate citizenship and responsibility (20%)
3.Culture of ethics (20%)
4.Governance (15%)
5.Leadership, innovation and reputation (10%)
About Tata Steel:
♦ CEO and Managing Director – T V Narendran
♦ Founder – Jamsetji Tata

Ramesh Sippy to get inaugural Raj Kapoor Award
On 12th February 2018, it was announced that filmmaker Ramesh Sippy will be awarded the first ‘Raj Kapoor Award for Excellence in Cinema’.Ramesh Sippy to get inaugural Raj Kapoor AwardRamesh Sippy to get inaugural Raj Kapoor Award:
i. The ‘Raj Kapoor Award for Excellence in Cinema’ is instituted by the Asian Centre for Entertainment Education (ACEE) along with international organisations like World Bank, UNICEF, USC Annenberg Normal Lear Cenre, Hollywood Health and Society, Cinepolis Foundation and CMS.
ii. These awards are given in memory of film maker Raj Kapoor. Ramesh Sippy will be presented with the ‘Raj Kapoor Award for Excellence in Cinema’ at the ‘Elevate 2K18’ in Mumbai.
iii. ‘Elevate 2K18’ is a two-day conclave. It will be conducted bi-annually. Ramesh Sippi’s popular work is “Sholay”. He is a recipient of Padma Shri award.
About Asian Centre for Entertainment Education (ACEE):
♦ Co-founder and Director – Augustine Veliath
♦ Co-Founder – Vinta Nanda


Chandrashekhar Kambar elected as President of Sahitya Akademi
On 9th February 2018, Chandrashekhara Kambar was elected as the president of Sahitya Akademi.Chandrashekhar Kambar elected as President of Sahitya AkademiChandrashekhar Kambar – President of Sahitya Akademi:
i. Chandrashekhar Kambar is a Kannada writer. He has also received the Jnanpith award. Madhav Koushik, a Hindi poet, has been elected as the vice-president of Sahitya Akademi.
ii. Chandrashekhar Kambar has become the third Kannada writer to be the President of Sahitya Akademi.
iii. He obtained 56 out of 89 votes and surpassed his competitors Odiya writer Prathibha Ray and Marathi writer Bhalachandra Nemade.
iv. Chandrashekhar Kambar was the former vice president of Sahitya Akademi. He was also the first vice-chancellor of Kannada University in Hampi.
About Sahitya Akademi:
♦ Founded – 1954
♦ Purpose – promotion of literature in the languages of India


Radio Umang: India’s first online radio station launched
Radio Umang, claimed to be India’s first online radio station, was launched recently.Radio Umang-India's first online radio station launchedRadio Umang:
i. Users can listen to Radio Umang through web streaming or by downloading the mobile app. Radio Umang app is available in Google Play Store. It will be soon made available for Appstore also.
ii. It provides programmes for 24 hours. It has gained a good reach in Hindi speaking states of India and in more than 60 countries.
iii. Theme of Radio Umang is love, peace and happiness. It features various talk shows apart from music. Vidhi Maheshwari has been made Creative Director of Radio Umang.
About Prasar Bharati:
♦ Chairman – Dr. A. Surya Prakash
♦ CEO & MD – Shri Shashi Shekhar Vempati
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi


World’s first robot ski competition held in South Korea
On 13th February 2018, world’s first robot ski competition “The Edge of Robot: Ski Robot Challenge” was held near PyeongChang at Welli Hilli ski resort in South Korea.World's first robot ski competition held in South KoreaWorld’s first robot ski competition in South Korea:
i. Eight humanoid robots from universities and other organisations participated in this robot ski competition.
ii. The robots had sensors, batteries and deep learning algorithms to move and ski on their own. Prize money of the competition was said to be $10,000.
About International Ski Federation:
♦ Headquarters – Oberhofen am Thunersee, Switzerland
♦ President – Gian-Franco Kasper


‘Darwin Week’ kicks off in Kolkata
On 12th February 2018, Darwin Week began in Kolkata.
Darwin Week:
i. The Darwin Week is observed by the India March for Science Organising Committee, Kolkata and Breakthrough Science Society, West Bengal Chapter.
ii. The Darwin Week will spread awareness about Darwin’s contributions to the science of evolution. It will also work to clear confusions about his theories.
iii .Seminars and discussions will be held as part of this event. The Darwin week will be conducted till 18th February 2018.
About Charles Darwin:
♦ Occupation – naturalist, geologist and biologist
♦ Fields – Natural history, geology

World Radio Day – February 13
On 13th February 2018, World Radio Day was celebrated all over the world.World Radio Day 2018World Radio Day:
i. UNESCO proposed the observation of World Radio Day. Later, UN General Assembly, adopted a resolution to make 13 February as World Radio Day marking the day on which United Nations Radio was established in 1946.
ii. The World Radio Day is celebrated to spread awareness among public about the importance of radio and to promote the use of radio in various sectors.
iii. The theme for World Radio Day 2018 is: Radio and Sports. UNESCO has asked all radio stations to highlight the importance of sports as per this year’s theme.
About United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO):
♦ Director-General of the UNESCO – Audrey Azoulay
♦ Headquarters – Paris, France