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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Union budget 2018-19
On February 1, 2018, Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Arun Jaitley presented Union Budget 2018-19 in Parliament.
i. Focus Areas of Union Budget 2018: To strengthen agriculture, rural development, health, education, employment, Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and infrastructure sectors.
ii. For the year 2018-19, Railways Capital Expenditure has been pegged at Rs.148528 crore.
iii. For 2018-19, allocation on Digital India programme has been doubled to Rs 3073 crore.
iv. India’s defence budget has been hiked by 7.81% to Rs 295511 crore from Rs 274114 crore last year…………………………………………Click here to Read more

Arun Jaitley announces new tunnel at Sela pass in Arunachal Pradesh
Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, in his Budget address on February 1, 2018, announced that government will build a tunnel through the Sela Pass in Arunachal Pradesh.Arun Jaitley announces new tunnel at Sela pass in Arunachal PradeshDetails about Strategic Tunnel through Sela Pass:
i. Sela pass is located at an elevation of 13700 ft  between Tawang and West Kameng districts of Arunachal Pradesh.
ii. From Defence perspective, these districts hold strategic significance as they are located near to India-China Border.
iii .In recent times, Indian Defence officials have raised concerns over China’s growing assertiveness along the nearly 4000 km-long India-China border.
iv. The tunnel will enable the movement of Indian troops in these sensitive areas and will check any unsolicited activities from Chinese side.

Surajkund crafts mela begins, UP is the theme state for the first time
32nd Surajkund International Crafts Mela began on February 2, 2018 in Surajkund, Haryana. It was inaugurated by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
About 32nd Surajkund International Crafts Mela:
i. This event provides a platform for the artists and craftsmen from across the world to showcase their countries’ rich diversity, cuisine and traditions.
ii. It has been organised by the Surajkund Mela Authority in collaboration with Haryana tourism department, Haryana tourism corporation and Union Ministries of Tourism, Textile, Culture and External Affairs.
iii. For this year’s edition, Uttar Pradesh (UP) has been chosen as theme state and will showcase religious tourism circuit in UP,  such as Ayodhya, Mathura, Kashi. It will also showcase UP’s art, culture, and heritage of UP.
iv. This 16-day event will be attended by participants from more than 20 countries and all States/UTs of India.
v. Besides, arrangements have been made to make it ‘child-friendly’ event. The fair will have an exclusive children-friendly space, breastfeeding booths, first aid booths, lost and found centres. Child tracking system through Radio-frequency identification (RFID) tagging will also be implemented.


United Arab Emirates opens world’s longest zip line
On January 31, 2018, world’s longest zip line, measuring 2.83 kilometres in length opened in Ras Al Khaimah, the smallest state of United Arab Emirates.United Arab Emirates opens world's longest zip lineInformation about World’s longest zip line:
i. This 2.83km zip line allows thrill seekers to jump from the peak of Jebel Jais, UAE’s highest mountain.
ii. It created a Guinness World Record for world’s longest zip line.
iii. Jebel Jais mountain in Ras Al Khaimah, is at an elevation of 1934 m. above sea level and is considered the highest point of the United Arab Emirates.
Quick Facts about UAE:
♦ Capital – Abu Dhabi
♦ Currency – UAE dirham
♦ Current President – Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan

India joins Ashgabat agreement
On February 2, 2018, India formally joined Ashgabat Agreement, a Multimodal transport agreement for setting up of an international transport and transit (of goods) corridor, linking Central Asia with the Persian Gulf. 
About Ashgabat agreement:
i. Turkmenistan, Iran, Oman and Uzbekistan (together referred to as founding members) had signed this agreement in April 2011.
ii. India had deposited the instrument of accession with Turkmenistan (depository state of this agreement) in April 2016.
iii. All the founding members have consented to India’s accession. Being a part of this agreement will positively influence India’s trade and commercial ties in the region as it will provide more connectivity options with Central Asia.


Government introduces Bill to amend the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002
Government has made following amendments in the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) through Finance Act 2018 in order to enhance its effectiveness and widen its scope.
Important Amendments to Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002:
i. Definition of “proceeds of crime” has been amended to include “property equivalent held outside the country.
ii. Applicability of bail conditions has been made uniform to all the offences under PMLA.
iii. Section 447 of Companies Act dealing with ‘fraud’ is being included as scheduled offence under PMLA.
iv .90 days more time has been given for investigation to Enforcement Directorate, before prosecution is filed.
v. New sub-section is being introduced to provide clear guidelines to share the information relating to contraventions of other laws noticed during investigation.
vi. Special Court has been permitted to consider the claims of the claimants for the purposes of restoration of confiscated properties even during trial.


Cochin Shipyard Limited signs MoU with Russian firm for development of vessels
Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), Russia to collaborate and engage in Design, Development and Execution of contemporary, State-of-Art vessels for Inland and Coastal Waterways.Cochin Shipyard Limited signs MoU with Russian firm for development of vesselsDetails about CSL – USC MoU:
i. The MoU was signed by Madhu S Nair – Chairman & Managing Director, Cochin Shipyard Limited and Mr Alexey Rakhmanov – President, United Shipbuilding Corporation, in the presence of Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources – Nitin Gadkari in New Delhi.
ii. Under the MoU both entities will collaborate for development of High-Speed Vessels, Passenger Vessels, River-Sea Cargo Vessels, Dredgers and other watercrafts for inland waterways and coastal shipping. 
iii. USC is the largest shipbuilding company in Russia incorporating about 40 enterprises including shipyards. It has 300 years of experience and has played an instrumental role in growth of inland waterways in Russia.
Quick Facts about Cochin Shipyard Limited:
♦ Founded in – 1972
♦ Headquarters – Kochi, Kerala
♦ Current Chairman & Managing Director – Madhu Nair

DoT to set up 5G development centre in tie-up with IIT Chennai
On 1st February 2018, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, announced that, the Department of Telecom (DoT) in partnership with IIT, Chennai, will set up a development centre for 5G technologies.
DoT, IIT Chennai – to set up 5G development centre:
i. The development centre to be set up by Department of Telecom in collaboration with IIT, Chennai will work on the development of 5G technologies.
ii. 5G technology will help to provide applications like Internet of Things and Machine-to-Machine internet.
iii. A similar tie up had already been made between Ericsson and IIT Delhi. Under this tie up, a Center of Excellence for 5G will be established.
About Department of Telecommunications (DoT):
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Chairman of Telecom Commission and Telecom Secretary – Aruna Sundar Rajan


Shabnam Asthana wins Times Power Woman 2017 award
Dilip Kamble, Minister of State for Social Justice and Special Assistance in the Government of Maharashtra, presented the ‘Times Power Woman 2017′- Pune for Global PR award to Shabnam Asthana.Shabnam Asthana wins Times Power Woman 2017 awardShabnam Asthana – Times Power Woman 2017 award:
i. The Times Group celebrated the Times Power Woman 2017 (Pune) awards recently to honour the achievements of women who have also been sources of inspiration.
ii. These awards were presented to the women of Pune. 34 women with power, supremacy, command and control were awarded.
iii. The awardees have contributed for socio economic, art, health, education, fashion, scientific improvement, etc.
About Times Group:
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai
♦ Chairperson – Indu Jain
♦ CEO – Raj Jain

Nobel Prize Series – India 2018 begins in Goa
On February 1, 2018, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar inaugurated the 2nd edition of ‘Nobel Prize Series India 2018’ in Panaji, Goa.
About Nobel Prize Series – India 2018:
i. ’Nobel Prize Series – India 2018’ consist of a month-long ‘Nobel Science Exhibition and the India Science Exhibition: Ideas Changes the world’. During the course of this event, Nobel laureates will interact with school children and teachers.
ii. This event has been jointly organised by Department of Bio-Technology under Union Ministry of Science and Technology, Goa State Government and Nobel Media, Sweden.
iii. Theme of Nobel Prize Series India 2018’ is  ‘Science Impacts Life’.
iv. The first edition of ‘Nobel Prize Series in India’ was held in Gujarat in January 2017.


Lt. Gen. AK Bhatt takes charge as the 47thCorps Commander of Chinar Corps
On 1st February 2018, Lt Gen A K Bhatt took charge as the 47thCorps Commander of the Chinar Corps of Indian Army.Lt. Gen. AK Bhatt takes charge as the 47thCorps Commander of Chinar CorpsLt Gen A K Bhatt – Corps Commander of Chinar Corps:
i. Lt Gen A K Bhatt replaces Lt Gen J S Sandhu. The Chinar Corps is also known as 15 Corps. It is based in Srinagar.
ii. Lt. Gen. Sandhu will take charge as Military Secretary (MS) in New Delhi. Lt. Gen. A K Bhatt was Director General Military Operations (DGMO) at Army Headquarters.
iii .Lt Gen A K Bhatt had worked with regiment of 9thGorkha Rifles. He had also represented India as deputy Force Provost Marshal in Lebanon.
About 9 Gorkha Rifles:
♦ Formed – 1817
♦ Size – 5 Battalions
♦ Regimental Centre – Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

Alphabet names board veteran John Hennessy as chairman
On 1st February 2018, John Hennessy was appointed as Chairman of Alphabet’s Board.
John Hennessy – Chairman of Alphabet’s Board:
i. John Hennessy succeeds Eric Schmidt. Eric Schmidt was Executive Chairman of Alphabet’s Board for a long time.
ii. John Hennessy is former president of Stanford University. He is 65 years old. He joined Google’s board in 2004.
iii. John Hennessy has held the post of lead independent director at Google and Alphabet since 2007.
iv. Eric Schmidt still remains as a board member and adviser on technical and science issues.
About Alphabet:
♦ Headquarters – California, U.S.
♦ CEO – Larry Page

Sudeep Lakhtakia appointed NSG Director General
On 1st February 2018, Sudeep Lakhtakia took charge as the Director General (DG) of National Security Guard (NSG).Sudeep Lakhtakia appointed NSG Director GeneralSudeep Lakhtakia – Director General of NSG:
i. Sudeep Lakhtakia has replaced S P Singh as the Director General (DG) of National Security Guard (NSG). S P Singh retired on 31st January 2018.
ii. Sudeep Lakhtakia was working as a Special DG in the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) headquarters.
About National Security Guard (NSG):
♦ Formed – 1984
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦  Minister responsible – Rajnath Singh

Thanglura Darlong appointed as Ambassador of India to Romania
Thanglura Darlong has been appointed as Indian Ambassador to Romania.
Thanglura Darlong – Indian Ambassador to Romania:
i. Thanglura Darlong is an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) Officer of 1988 batch. He is currently the CLO (Chief Liaison Officer) in the South Asian University in New Delhi.
ii. He has been appointed as the next Indian Ambassador to Romania. He will soon take charge as the Indian Ambassador to Romania.
About South Asian University:
♦ Established – 2010
♦ President – Kavita A. Sharma
♦ Location – Delhi


Sixth interceptor boat V-410 for Coast Guard launched
On February 1, 2018, V-410, an interceptor boat, built for the Indian Coast Guard, was launched in Mangaluru, Karnataka by Bharati Defence and Infrastructure Limited (BDIL).Sixth interceptor boat V-410 for Coast Guard launchedV-410 Interceptor Boat for Indian Coast Guard:
i. V-410 is the sixth in the series of 15 interceptors for which BDIL had been given a contract.
ii. It will be commissioned into the Indian Coast Guard at its Kochi station and post commissioning, it would be christened ICG 162.
iii. V-410 is powered by two main engines, each of 1650kW capacity.
Quick Facts about Indian Coast Guard:
♦ Established in – 1978
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Current Director General – Rajendra Singh


SpiceJet India Open Boxing Tournament: Mary Kom Clinches Gold, India Bag 10 Medals
On 1st February 2018, M C Mary Kom won gold medal at the SpiceJet India Open International Boxing tournament at the Thyagraj Indoor Stadium in New Delhi.
Mary Kom – Gold at India Open International Boxing tournament:
i. India’s M C Mary Kom defeated Filipino Josie Gabuco 4-1 in the finals of the women’s 48kg category and won the gold medal.
ii. India’s Pinki Rani defeated Jargalan Ochirbat in the finals of fly (48-51 kg) category and won gold medal.
iii. India’s Shiva Thapa won a bronze medal in the 60 kg category. India’s Pwilao Basumatary defeated Thailand’s Sudaporn Seesondee 3-2 and won gold medal in the women’s 64 kg category.
iv .India’s Lovlina Borgohain defeated India’s Pooja and won gold in the women’s welterweight (69kg) category.
v. India’s L Sarita Devi lost to Finland’s Mira Potkenon in the women’s 60kg category and won a silver medal.
vii. India’s Sanjeet defeated Uzbekistan’s Sanjar Tursunov 3-2 in the men’s 91kg category and won a gold medal.
viii .India’s Manish Kaushik won gold medal in the 60 kg category for men. Satish Kumar won silver medal in the +91kg category for men.
ix .India’s Dinesh Dagar won silver medal in the men’s welterweight 69kg category. India’s Manisha won a gold medal in the women’s 54kg category.
About AIBA (International Boxing Association):
♦ Headquarters – Lausanne, Switzerland
♦ President – Dr Wu Ching-kuo

Saurav Ghosal becomes the highest-ranked Indian squash player in PSA rankings
India’s Saurav Ghosal with rank number 14 became the highest ranked Indian in the Professional Squash Association (PSA) rankings released on 2nd February 2018.Saurav Ghosal becomes the highest-ranked Indian squash player in PSA rankingsSaurav Ghosal – Highest-ranked Indian squash player in PSA rankings:
i. Saurav Ghosal has moved 5 places up and obtained the 14th rank. He has surpassed Joshna Chinappa who is currently at 17th position.
ii. Dipika Pallikal is at rank 20. Harinder Pal Sandhu is at 49th position. Mahesh Mangaonkar ranks 64. Vikram Malhotra is ranked 68.
iii. Also, Sunayna Kuruvilla ranks 89 and Sachika Ingale at 96.
About Professional Squash Association (PSA):
♦ Founded – 1975
♦ President – Ali Farag (Men), Jenny Duncalf (Women)
♦ Location – Leeds, England, United Kingdom


World Wetlands Day – February 2
On 2nd February 2018, World Wetlands Day was observed all over the world.World Wetlands Day - February 2World Wetlands Day:
i. The theme for World Wetlands Day 2018 is: “Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future”.
ii. On 2nd February 2018 every year, the World Wetlands Day is celebrated. On the same day in 1971, the Convention on Wetlands was adopted in Ramsar, Iran.
iii. The Convention on Wetlands is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands.
iv. The World Wetlands Day is celebrated to increase public awareness on wetlands and to highlight the value of wetlands.
About United Nations (UN):
♦ Headquarters – New York City
♦ Secretary‑General – Antonio Guterres