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Current Affairs Today – February 20 2016

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First phase of Kerala’s smart city project inaugurated

The first phase of Kerala’s dream project i.e. SmartCity project has been jointly initiated by state’s CM Oommen Chandy and UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs Mohammad Al Gergawi. The project includes Rs 400 crore 6.5 lakh sq ft information technology tower.

  • The project is a joint venture of Dubai Holding and Kerala government which is pegged to provide 5,500 knowledge based jobs.

Amendments to the Delimitation Act, 2002- approved by Cabinet

The Union cabinet headed by PM  Narendra Modi on February 17 gave its assent to the Amendments of Delimitation Act,2002.This is in continuation of Constitution (100thAmendment)Act, 2015 and it further allows the introduction of Election laws amendment bill in 2016.

  • In a historically important pact signed between Bangladesh and India on 31st July 2015, it was agreed to exchange 51 Bangladesh enclaves and 111 Indian enclaves

Government nods clearance for 8 Highway projects

The government on Friday gave its approval for clearance of 8 highway projects worth 6000 crores.The total length of the project is about 350 kms.

  • 2 Project has to be based on Hybrid-annuity model and remaining six under EPC method
  • The major benefiters of the highway project are Maharastra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab ,Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh

Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana’s guidelines released at Kisan Mela

To underline the Govt’s initiative for the development of the agriculture sector and welfare of farmers, PM Narendra Modi addressed farmers at a Kisan Kalyan Mela at Sehore in Madhya Pradesh.

  • During the occasion, PM also released guidelines for operationalisation of the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, a scheme for crop insurance.

Now, tricolour to fly high at all central universities

In the aftermath of meeting called by Human Resource Ministry led by Smiriti Zubin Irani Now, tricolour to fly high at all central universitiesattended by 42 Vice Chancellors it is unanimously decided that central place in all central universities which comes under the ambit of Union Government Indian National Flag will be flown.

  • Unfolding Nation Flag will instilling the spirit of nationalism most of the VCs said in the meeting held at Surajkund in Haryana.

All central universities to fly national flag on a 207 Feet high mast their campuses.

India and Armenia Sign MoU on Agriculture Cooperation

India and Armenia ratified MoU on Agricultural Cooperation which emphasizes not only trade and investment prospects also sharing Knowledge that both countries gained erstwhile.

  • The meeting held in Indian Capital attended by Union Agricultural Minister Mr. Radha Mohan Singh and his counterpart Mr. Sergokarapetyan of Armenia.
  • The MoU has envisaged several priority sectors such as plant-breeding, Buffalo-breeding and so on. It provides for Establishment of Joint Working Group and Preparation of Work plans, The MoU valid for five years and will be extended further.

Quick Facts about Armenia:

  • Capital: Yerevan
  • President: Serzh Sargsyan
  • Prime Minister: Hovik Abrahamyan
  • Currency : Dram

Make In India Week ends on a High Note

The Make In India week launched by PM Narendra Modi  in Mumbai between February 13-18 ended on a high note attracting huge industrial investments.


  • Organized by DIPP and attracted a total investment of 2 Trillion
  • Maharashtra holds half of the investments
  • More than 9000 Indian companies and 2000 foreign companies participated representing 20 countries and 29 states
  • 30% investment made under FDI
  • To create 3 million jobs in Maharashtra

DIPP secretary- Amitabh kant

BHEL commissioned 270 MW unit of GVK power plant in Punjab

Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd has commissioned a 270-MW coal-based thermal power project of GVK Power & Infra Ltd in Tarn Taran District of Punjab.The second unit of the project is expected to be commissioned shortly of same capacity.

  • BHEL has also commissioned four Hydel power units of 82.5 MW each at Alaknanda Hydro Power project in Uttarakhand earlier this fiscal.
  • These thermal power sets of 270 MW rating have been improvised in house output of 210-250 MW which have been performing much above the national Average and International benchmarks.
  • BHEL has substantial notable in the state Hydro sector which accounts around 95% in Punjab State Power Corporation Limited.

Maharashtra to set up Green Corridor to transport Organs

Maharashtra government has decided to formulate policy on Green Corridor to transport organs within the stipulated time.

  • The government also mooted the proposal to appoint a nodal officer to oversee the hurdles faced by the police over jurisdiction issues.
  • The window period for transport of organs is about five to six hours .The time not sufficient to transport of organs by road in case of farther cities to sort out these issues Government is proposing more than one organ at the same time to the significant cost reduction.
  • The government is planning to waive 20 % state taxes levied on airlines for air ambulances.


Indian Cleantech Sector receives 300 crores sanction from Ontario Govt

During a recent mission, the Ontario(Canada) delegates inked various agreements with India in diversified fields prominently the cleantech sector. It is told by a Ontario official that around 13 agreements have been signed.

Features of the agreement

  • Objective:   To enhance renewable and other clean technologies                        Investment: CAD 59.4 million (300 crores)
  •  Agreement with: Tech Mahindra, HPSEBL, Smart Grid India forum

Key strategy – To utilize the huge renewable energy potential of India and employ the clean technologies to bridge the energy gap

Key points

  • Ontario premier- Kathleen wynne

Prasar Bharati signs historical MoU with EBC

India’s largest Public Broadcasting Agency Prasar Bharati has signed a MoU with Empressa de communicacao to the broadcast related endeavors Exchange of News Programmes and co-production.

  • The MoU signed between Prasar Bharati Chief Executive Director Jawhar Sircar and EBC Vice President Mr. Mario and the event held in Brazil.
  • MoU includes sharing of Documentaries, Science programs Serials and Portuguese programs from Goaprasar bharati
  • Prasar Bharati Earlier signed similar MoUs with Russia and China as it is emphasizing the presence of BRICS Nations in Information Exchange. This is a historical as Prasar bharati ratifying MoU with South American nation.

Facts about Brazil:

  • Capital: Brasilia
  • President: Dilma Rousseff
  • Currency:  Brazilian Real


OECD: Indian economy sharply to grow at 7.4% next fiscal

In accordance with the Paris headquartered Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), India will go on with durable growth at 7.4% in the next financial year in comparison with earlier 7.3% forecasted in November 2015.

  • India will continue to grow robustly by 4% in 2016 and 7.3% in 2017.
  • On global front, economy is anticipated to expand 3% and accelerate to 3.3% in 2017 showing a sharp trim from November 2015 when it estimated at 3.3%.

Alliance Between Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd And Idea Cellular For Payment Banks

RBI’s move to deepen financial inclusion by opening payment banks have gathered an over whelming response with top private companies eager to obtain license. Now this has gained importance with the alliance formed between Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd and Idea Cellular to obtain payment bank license.

Major contenders: RIL, UAE exchange, dewan housing finance, Airtel,  Videocon, Aditya Birla, Reliance

  • Share: Aditya Birla- 51% & Idea- 49%
  • Other ventures: SBI and Reliance Industries Limited


Indian Nominated For Global Teacher Award

Global Teacher Prize

It is happy to know that Robin Chaurasia the founder of NGO kranti has made it to the top 10 finalist for Global teacher award for her efforts to provide education to children of sex workers.

Points to Know

  • She was born in Los Angeles, worked with US Air force and later resigned and started NGO kranti in 2011 in Mumbai which provides education for children of sex workers
  • The $1 million award is aimed at recognizing the works of teachers who have made outstanding contributions to the society.
  • The award was initiated by UK based Varkey Foundation in 2015.
  • The other nominees are from Palestine, Pakistan, United States, Britain, Finland, Australia, Kenya, and Japan.
  • This years’ winner will be announced at a ceremony in Dubai on March


Kalikho Pul sworn in As 9th CM of Arunachal Pradesh

The political imbalance in the state of Arunachal Pradesh followed by the president’s rule has come to an end with Kalikho pul taking oath as 9th Chief Minister.

  • The 46 year old congress rebel was previously the Health minister under the Nabam tuki government
  • President’s rule  was imposed in the state in January

Kajol named part-time member of Prasar Bharati board

Actress Kajol and Head of an online media company Shashi Shekharwere appointed as part time members of Prasar Bharati Board. The independent body should have six part time members headed by the Chairman.

  • It is expected that appointed members will be the part of the meeting to be held on February 24 to discuss the appointment of DGs of doordarshan and All India Radio presently theses bodies led by interim chiefs.
  • This comes after interim chief of Doordarshan C Lalrosanga who submitted his papers mentioning personal reasons.


Cipla acquires two U.S. generic drug companies

Mumbai based Multinational Pharmacy company Cipla has acquired two US Drug companies namely InvaGen and Exelan pharmaceuticals for $550 million this deal announced last September .

  • The combined revenue of these companies in 2015 was $230 million and this deal increase the market revenue to 20 % over next few years of present 8%.
  • This move comes in pipeline to increase the presence of Cipla in largest Pharmaceuticals market and also to introduce new products in oncology and diabetes


Cryo CE 20 engine successfully hot tested by ISRO

Indian space agency Indian Space Research Organisation has successfully hot tested “Cryo CE 20” Engine for flight duration of 640 seconds at ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) at Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu.

  • It is being tested to power the upper stage of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk III.


Mumbai Girl Creates A New Record In Chess

Suhaania lohi created history when she was ranked 6 among her co-players in chess.

Key pointsMumbai girl makes it to world’s top six

  • She is from Mumbai. Her points is 1156
  • The other 5 includes 2 Iranian, 1 Danish and 2 Russians.
  • She won a Silver medal in the National Chess Championship in Nagpur
  • She enters into the top league in girl’s category under 7


Polish Film Director Passes Away at 75

Andrzej Zulawski, Polish director who spent most of his professional life in France  died on Feb. 17 after a long struggle with cancer. He was 75.

Points to Know

  • He was born in Ukraine but later moved to poland
  • He studied cinema in France
  • His films include “Fidelity,” “Cosmos,” “Love”, “The third party”
  • Cosmos bagged best director award last year

Harper Lee ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ author, dead at 89 

Harper Lee 'To Kill a Mockingbird' author, dead at 89

Harper Lee American novelist whose first novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ passed away at 89. She had survived by her nephew when she passed away

  • The Novel To Kill a Mockingbird about a racial injustice sold more than 40 million copies and became one of the most beloved and most taught works of fiction ever written by the American
  • Later in 1960 she had won Pulitzer Prize for the Fiction .the Film version of the novel released in 1962 which gained massive popularity.

About Pulitzer Prize:

  • Recognized Fields: Newspaper and online journalism, literature, and musical composition
  • Presented By: Colombia University – United States


My Biography Is Honest And Transparent

“Anything but Kamosh: The biography of Shatrughan Sinha” was released on 20th February .On this release day the actor cum politician Shatrughan Sinha told that his biography was more honest and transparent as it has the criticisms left unedited

Points to note :

  • It is a 338page book
  • It is a 7 year research work consisting of 37 interviews, 200 taped conversations from family members


World Day of Social Justice

World Day of Social Justice is annually observed on February 20 every year from the proclamation of the day United Nations since February 20, 2007.

  • Social Justice a key principle for peaceful and prosperous relationships among member countries
  • Many events organized on behalf of this day UN Nations member countries emphasizing poverty eradication and the promotion of full employment, Decent work and gender equality.

Theme: A Just transition –environmentally sustainable economies and societies.