Current Affairs Today February 15 2018

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CAT February 15 2018

INDIAN AFFAIRS

NITI Aayog, KPIT technologies tie-up to promote innovation in schools
KPIT technologies has made a two-year statement of intent with NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog to promote innovative skills of students.
NITI Aayog, KPIT technologies tie-up:
i. This tie up between NITI Aayog and KPIT aims to improve the innovative skills of senior secondary students as part of the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM).
ii. Through AIM, the Central government would conduct open-ended workshops at Atal Tinkering Laboratories(ATL) to enable students learn through ‘do-it-yourself’ mode. Through this the students would acquire important skills.
iii. This tie up will help students learn concepts of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through robotics, Internet of Things (IoT) and 3D printing.
iv. KPIT will also provide two volumes of ‘Chhote scientists’ booklets to nearly 2500 schools to develop curriculum and teaching aids. Training programs for teachers will also be organized for Atal Tinkering Laboratories.
About KPIT:
♦ Co-founder, Chairman & Group CEO – Ravi Pandit
♦ Co-founder, CEO & MD – Kishor Patil

India’s biggest global pharma conference ‘India Pharma & India Medical Device 2018’: Affordable and Quality Healthcare, begins in Bengaluru
On 15th – 17th February 2018, ‘India Pharma & India Medical Device 2018’: Affordable and Quality Healthcare is held in Bengaluru, Karnataka.India's biggest global pharma conference ‘India Pharma & India Medical Device 20180’- Affordable and Quality Healthcare, begins in BengaluruIndia Pharma & India Medical Device 2018: Affordable and Quality Healthcare:
i. The ‘India Pharma & India Medical Device 2018’ is organized by Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP), Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI).
ii. The theme for ‘India Pharma & India Medical Device 2018’ is: ‘Driving NextGen Pharmaceuticals’.
iii. Union Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers, Ananthkumar inaugurated the conference. This is the 3rd International exhibition and conference on Pharmaceutical & Medical Device sector.
iv. Nearly 300 companies and 50 startups exhibit their products in the conference. A roundtable meeting will be held for pharma and medical devices CEOs with Ananthkumar.
v. Ministerial delegations from CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) and BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) countries are also taking part in the conference.
vi. World Health Organization is conducting a workshop on ‘Regulatory System Strengthening and Prequalification’.
vii. NASSCOM organizes a conference on ‘Digital Transformation through Innovation in Pharmaceutical, Medical Devices and Healthcare Industries’.
viii. India Pharma & India Medical Device Awards will also be announced at the conference.
About Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI):
♦ President – Rashesh Shah
♦ Director General – Dilip Chenoy

India’s first Radio Festival held in Delhi
On 15th February 2018, India’s first Radio Festival was held in New Delhi, commemorating the World Radio Day which was celebrated on 13thFebruary.
India’s first Radio Festival held in Delhi:
i. The Radio festival was organised by International Association of Women in Radio and Television along with UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).
ii. Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Anju Nigam, Director General of AIR Fayaz Sheheryar, Director General of Door Darshan Supriya Sahu and UNESCO representative to India Shigeru Aoyagi spoke at the occasion.
iii. Paralympian Deepa Malik spoke at the inaugural session of the event, on the role of radio in sports.
iv. The Radio Festival featured live performances, panel discussions and an exhibition. It stressed on the World Radio Day 2018 theme: radio and sports.
v. The Radio Festival also assessed the contribution of radio to social change, efforts to improve its creativeness and recalled the journey of music on radio.
About International Association of Women in Radio & Television:
♦ President – Violet Gonda
♦ Purpose – to strengthen initiatives towards ensuring women’s views and values are integral part of programming and to advance the impact of women in media

Government extends anti-narcotics scheme for 3 more years
Central Government has extended the ‘Assistance to States and UTs for Narcotics Control’ scheme for three more years.
Extension of anti-narcotics scheme:
i. Under this scheme, Union Home Ministry provides financial assistance to state governments and Union Territories which are contributing in controlling the inter-state and cross border drug trafficking.
ii. Funds procured under this scheme will be used for strengthening enforcement capabilities of anti-narcotics agencies and for all capacity building activities, including training of personnel.
iii. The scheme has been extended for a period of 3 years, from 2017-18 to 2019-20, with an estimated budget of Rs 21 crore.
iv. Narcotics Control Bureau is the nodal drug law enforcement and intelligence agency of India.
v. It is estimated that currently, there are over 40 lakh drug addicts in India. ‘Ganja’, ‘hashish’, ‘opium’ and ‘heroin’ are the most common drugs abused by the addicts.
vi.’Assistance to States and UTs for Narcotics Control’ scheme was first launched on October 24, 2004 for a period of five years. It was further extended twice in subsequent years.

Government nod to long-term visas for Afghan minorities seeking refuge
Indian government recently cleared the proposal for granting long-term visa (LTV) to minorities from Afghanistan seeking refuge in India.Government nod to long-term visas for Afghan minorities seeking refugei. Besides, visa and residential permit norms for other nationals from Afghanistan have also been liberalised by Union Home Ministry.
ii. So far, there was no clear policy for minorities from Afghanistan and they were dealt on a case-to-case basis.
iii. It is to be noted that there are more than 6000 Hindus and Sikhs in Afghanistan who want to return to India.
iv. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, contained a provision that minorities from neighbouring countries could stay in India without any legal document.
v. As the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 has not been cleared by Parliament till date, Government had to take a decision for granting long-term visa (LTV) to minorities from Afghanistan.
Quick Facts about Afghanistan:
♦ Capital – Kabul
♦ Currency – Afghani
♦ Current President – Ashraf Ghani
♦ Important Rivers – Helmand River, Kunduz River

Bhalupani village in Chhattisgarh gets electricity for first time
Residents of Bhalupani village in Balrampur district of Chhattisgarh finally got electricity connection for the first time after the district administration installed solar panels for every family.
i. Bhalupani village has a population of 150 people. It is located in the Naxal dominated region of Chhattisgarh.
ii. Owing to Naxal dominance, Government developmental initiatives failed to reach the village, and the residents had to spend their lives in darkness for a very long time.
iii. However, Naxal influence has vanished and the village is now getting benefits of Government schemes.
iv. District collector, Avinash Kumar Sharan has stated that apart from the electrification, the village will soon have a proper road facility and Anganwadi centre.
Quick Facts about Chhattisgarh:
♦ Capital – Naya Raipur
♦ Current Governor – Balram Das Tandon
♦ Current Chief Minister – Raman Singh
♦ Important National Park – Guru Ghasidas National Park

Centre to develop Karnataka’s pride Hampi as iconic tourism site
Hampi monuments, regarded as Karnataka’s pride, will be one among 10 tourist destinations across India to be developed as ‘Iconic Tourism Site’ by Central Government.Centre to develop Karnataka’s pride Hampi as iconic tourism sitei. Announcement to develop 10 prominent tourist sites across India into iconic tourism destinations, through a holistic approach, was made by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Union Budget 2018 speech.
ii. The holistic approach involves infrastructure development, deploying technology, attracting private investment, branding and marketing.
iii. List of 10 tourist destinations to be developed as ‘Iconic Tourism Site’ was announced on February 13, 2018 and Hampi Group of Monuments is one of them.
Quick Facts about Hampi Monuments:
♦ Hampi Monuments are located in Hosapete taluk of Ballari district of Karnataka.
♦ There are 57 monuments which were constructed between 1336 AD to 1565 AD during Vijayanagar Rule.
♦ It has been declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Other Sites that have been selected are: Taj Mahal (Uttar Pradesh), Fatehpr Sikri (Uttar Pradesh), Ajanta & Ellora Caves (Maharashtra), Red Fort and Humayun’s Tomb (New Delhi), Qutb Minar and Purana Qila (New Delhi), Khajuraho Temples (Madhya Pradesh), Shore Temple in Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu), Konark Sun Temple (Odisha), Golconda Fort (Telangana).

Tri-service maritime exercise ‘Paschim Lehar’ begins
‘Paschim Lehar’, a tri-service maritime exercise was held off India’s Western Coast from February 12, 2018.
‘Paschim Lehar’:
i. Objective behind conducting this exercise was to build interoperability among Indian Navy, Air Force and Army.
ii. Around 40 ships, submarines and fighter aircrafts from the Western Naval Command of the Indian Navy participated in ‘Paschim Lehar’.
iii. During the course of this exercise, number of weapons including missiles, guns and torpedo were fired.
iv. Besides, the exercise helped in validating and refining the operational plans of the Western Naval Command.

President hosts LPG Panchayat at Rashtrapati Bhavan
On February 13, 2018, President Ram Nath Kovind  hosted the LPG Panchayat at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi.
Information about LPG Panchayat:
i. LPG Panchayat was organised by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
ii. LPG Panchayat serves as a platform for LPG consumers to interact with each other, share experiences and thereby promote mutual learning.
iii. Each LPG Panchayat is attended by about 100 LPG customers residing in area near to the venue.
iv. Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas will be conducting at least 1 lakh LPG Panchayats across India before March 31, 2019.

President Kovind inaugurates international conference ‘Agricon 2018’ in Kanpur
On February 14, 2018, President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated the international conference ‘Agricon 2018’ and ‘Agriexpo 2018’ at Chandrashekhar Azad University of Agriculture & Technology (CSAUT), Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh.President Kovind inaugurates international conference 'Agricon 2018' in KanpurDetails about ‘Agricon 2018’:
i. Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik and Uttar Pradesh Agriculture Minister Surya Pratap Shahi were also present at the inauguration ceremony.
ii. The conference has been organised under the joint auspices of The Society of Agricultural Professionals, Kanpur and Chandra Shekhar Azad University of Agriculture & Technology, Kanpur.
iii. Organisations like National Institute of Agricultural Sciences (referred to as NAAS) and Indian Council of Agricultural Research are partnering in this conference.
iv. During this four-day event, discussions will be held on various themes including Sustainable Farming Systems, Conservation and Utilisation of Genetic Resources and Managing Change in Agriculture.

Health Ministry approved Medical Council of India (MCI) proposal to amend the Screening Test Regulations 2002
Union Health Ministry has made common National Entrance Exam viz. National Eligibility cum Entrance Test mandatory for admission to all medical courses in India.
i. Besides, Union Ministry has approved the proposal of Medical Council of India (MCI) to amend the Screening Test Regulations, 2002, making it mandatory to qualify NEET to pursue foreign medical course.
ii. MCI proposed this norm as it was observed that medical institutions/Universities of foreign countries admit Indian students without proper assessment.
iii. Thus, from May 2018, Indian Citizens/Overseas Citizen of India intending to obtain primary medical qualification from any medical institution outside India, shall have to mandatorily qualify the NEET.
Quick Facts about National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET):
♦ Started in – 2013
♦ Developer/Administrator – Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

India’s defence budget breaks into world’s top 5: UK report
According to the ‘Military Balance 2018’ report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), India overtook the UK as the fifth-largest defence spender in the world in 2017.
Details about India’s Defence Budget:
i. For the year 2017, India’s Defence Budget stood at $52.5 billion, up from $51.1 billion in 2016.
ii. UK’s defence budget fell from $52.5 billion in 2016 to $50.7 billion in 2017.
iii. With $602.8 billion, US had the highest Defence budget during 2017.
iv. India’s neighbour China occupied the second position with $150.5 billion Defence budget – almost three times as compared to India.
v. Third and fourth spots were occupied by Saudi Arabia and Russia respectively.
vi. International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) is a London-based global think tank.

China’s Qingdao city to host SCO summit 2018
On February 14, 2018, China announced that this year’s summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) will be held in the city of Qingdao.Nepal to join Shanghai Cooperation Organisation(SCO)i.China is the founding member of SCO and is currently holding the rotating presidency of the SCO.
ii.India and Pakistan were admitted as full members of SCO in June 2017.
iii.Exact date of the Summit has not been announced. It will tentatively be held in June 2018.
About Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO):
i. SCO is a political, economic, and military organisation comprising China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
ii. Earlier, it was known as Shanghai Five (formed in 1996 in Shanghai). Uzbekistan was not a member of Shanghai Five.
iii. In June 2001, with inclusion of Uzbekistan, the grouping was renamed as SCO.

BANKING & FINANCE

Equitas Bank rolls out “selfeSavings” digital savings account
Equitas Small Finance Bank has rolled out ‘selfeSavings’, an interactive digital savings account.
Information about Equitas Bank “selfeSavings”:
i. This account can be opened with the web-based interactive video form hosted on Equitas’s website by using Aadhaar number, PAN and other basic details.
ii. It allows customers to set up a mobile banking PIN, through which they can start using their account instantly.
iii .There is no minimum balance requirement for selfeSavings account. Balance below Rs. 10 lakh fetches interest at 6 per cent per annum while for Rs. 10 lakh and above, customer gets 6.5 per cent interest.
iv. ’selfeSavings’ account comes with a virtual Visa debit card that can be used to shop online. This account also allows customers to make online money transfers for free.

Yes Bank lists country’s first $600m MTN bond on IndiaINX 
On February 14, 2018, Yes Bank announced the listing of US $600 million bond issue under its maiden US $1 billion medium-term note (MTN) programme on IndiaINX.Yes BankInformation about Yes Bank’s first $600m MTN bond:
i. Medium Term Note (MTN) is a debt note that usually matures or has a payback period of 5 years.
ii.Yes Bank’s debut MTN bonds received an overwhelming response from international investors as it was oversubscribed by more than 1.83 times from over 90 accounts.
iii .Yes Bank had established a Medium Term Note (MTN) programme in December 2017 to raise USD 1 billion post approval from its board’s Capital Raising Committee.
iv.BSE’s IndiaINX is India’s first international exchange located at the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) at GIFT City in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
Quick Facts about Yes Bank:
♦ Founded in – 2004
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Current MD & CEO – Rana Kapoor
♦ Tagline – ‘Experience our Expertise’

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Umang App wins Best M-Government Service award & Aadhar wins Best Emerging Technology award at World Government SummitPM Modi launches UMANG app for government servicesOn 14th February 2018, India’s Umang App won the Best M-Government Service award in the Accessible Government category and Aadhar won the best emerging technology award, at the World Government Summit 2018, in Dubai.
Umang App wins Best M-Government Service award & Aadhar wins Best Emerging Technology award:
i. India had the ‘Guest of Honour’ country status in the World Government Summit.
ii. Umang App won the Best M-Government Service award in the Accessible Government category. The Umang App is a unified platform for government departments and services, easing transactions for citizens.
iii. Aadhar won the best emerging technology award. Aadhaar was named the world’s largest biometric enabled identification programme.
iv. Aadhar covers 1.2 billion Indian citizens with unique identification card with fingerprint, eye-print and other necessary data.
About UMANG -Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance:
♦ Platform for – 185 services, 37 departments, 6 states
♦ Available in – Google Play Store, App Store, Windows Store

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Jacob Zuma steps down as South Africa’s President
On 14th February 2018, Jacob Zuma resigned from his position as South Africa’s President.
Resignation of Jacob Zuma:
i. Jacob Zuma announced his resignation as South Africa’s President in a televised address. He said that he is resigning from his position due to pressure from his own party (African National Congress) to step down.
ii. Jacob Zuma is a former anti-apartheid activist. He became President of South Africa in 2009. His term was supposed to end in 2019.
iii. On 15th February 2018, Cyril Ramaphosa was elected as South Africa’s President by a majority in the parliament.
About African National Congress (ANC):
♦ President – Cyril Ramaphosa
♦ Formed – 1912

KP Sharma Oli named as Nepal’s next Prime Minister
On 14th February 2018, KP Sharma Oli was named the next Prime Minister of Nepal.KP Sharma Oli named as Nepal's next Prime MinisterKP Sharma Oli – Nepal’s next Prime Minister:
i. Two months after the parliamentary elections, the CPN-UML party has named its head KP Sharma Oli as the next Prime Minister of Nepal.
ii. In December 2017, the Left Alliance of CPN-UML party and CPN-Maoist Centre obtained 174 seats in the 275-member Parliament.
iii. It also obtained majority in the upper house of Parliament with 39 seats. This qualified the Left Alliance to form the next government.
iv. KP Sharma Oli is 65 years old. He served as Nepal’s prime minister from 11th October 2015 to 3rd August 2016.
About CPN-UML (Communist Party of Nepal – Unified Marxist–Leninist):
♦ President – KP Sharma Oli
♦ Founded – 1991

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Zippserv launches ‘PricePoint’: India’s first-ever platform for transparent pricing in real estate
Zippserv has launched – ‘PricePoint’, a platform for transparent pricing in real estate.
PricePoint:
i. PricePoint enables users in Bengaluru to access the latest registered sale transactions on nearly 1600 highly searched for apartment projects.
ii. PricePoint is said to be India’s first transparent platform for pricing in real estate.
iii .PricePoint uses Google map service. This enables users to look properties within 1 to 2 km radius. It provides details like super built up area, floor, number of car parks, terrace area, etc.
iv. PricePoint benefits people trying to buy a new property and sellers trying to sell used properties. It also features inbuilt analytics engine that processes guidance value, amenities, similar properties etc.
About Zippserv:
♦ Co-founder and CEO – Sudeep Anandapuram
♦ Co-founder and COO – Debashish Hota

SPORTS

Tamil Nadu wins maiden senior national football championship in 23rd Senior Women’s National Football Championship
On 14th February 2018, Tamil Nadu won the 23rd Senior Women’s National Football Championship title, at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack, Odisha.Tamil Nadu wins 23rd Senior Women’s National Football Championship title:
i. Tamil Nadu defeated Manipur 2-1 in the finals of the 23rd edition of the Senior Women’s National Football Championship. Tamil Nadu women’s team won its first senior national football championship title.
ii. Tamil Nadu team’s Indumathi was named the Player of the Final and also the Tournament. AIFF vice-president, Subrata Dutta was the chief guest at the finals.
About AIFF (All India Football Federation):
♦ President – Praful M Patel
♦ Purpose – governing body of association football in India

Odisha government to sponsor Indian National Hockey teams for 5 years
On 15th February 2018, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced that Odisha government will sponsor the Indian National Hockey teams for the next 5 years.
Odisha government to sponsor Indian National Hockey teams for 5 years:
i. Naveen Patnaik made this announcement while launching new jersey for the teams for the upcoming Hockey World Cup in Odisha.
ii. Odisha hosted the Hockey World League in November 2017. It is also the sponsor for the upcoming Men’s Hockey World Cup in 28 November to 16 December 2018.
Some stadiums in Odisha:
♦ Barabati Stadium – Cuttack
♦ Kalinga Stadium – Bhubaneswar

Cristiano Ronaldo becomes first player in Champions League history to score 100 goals for one club
On 14th February 2018, Cristiano Ronaldo become the first player in history to score 100 Champions League goals for the same club.Cristiano Ronaldo wins fifth Ballon d'Or AwardCristiano Ronaldo – first player in Champions League history to score 100 goals for one club:
i. Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 100th and 101st Champions League goals for Real Madrid against PSG (Paris Saint-Germain) at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Spain. It was his 116th goal in total.
ii. He is followed by Lionel Messi who has scored 97 goals for Barcelona club and Raul who has scored 66 goals for Real Madrid club.
About Cristiano Ronaldo:
♦ Age – 33
♦ Nationality – Portugal

OBITUARY

Longest-serving Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers dies at 78
On 14th February 2018, Ruud Lubbers, the longest-serving prime minister of Netherlands passed away in Rotterdam, Netherlands.Longest-serving Dutch premier Ruud Lubbers dies at 78Death of Ruud Lubbers:
i.Ruud Lubbers was 78 years old. He had been ill for some time. He was born on 7th May 1939 in Rotterdam.
ii.He served as economics minister from 1973 to 1977. He served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 1982 to 1994. He also served as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from 2001 to 2005.
About Ruud Lubbers:
Political Party – Christian Democratic Appeal
Occupation – Politician, diplomat, economist, businessman

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