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Current Affairs Today February 21 2018

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INDIAN AFFAIRS

Cabinet approves New Bill to ban Unregulated Deposit Schemes
In a bid to protect the savings of the investors, Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval to introduce Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2018 and Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2018 in Parliament.
i. Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2018 – Main objective to introduce this bill is to tackle the menace of illicit deposit taking activities across India by plugging the existing regulatory gaps and implement strict administrative measures.
iiChit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2018 – Main objective behind this bill is to facilitate orderly growth of the Chit Funds sector and remove challenges being faced by the Chit Funds industry………………………………………….Click here to Read more

Cabinet approves six rail projects in 4 states
On February 20, 2018, Union Cabinet approved six rail projects in 4 states for new lines as well as doubling and electrification of tracks
Details about Rail Projects approved by Union Cabinet:
i. Esitamted cost for executing all these projects is Rs 11661.
ii. As per Indian Railways, these projects would generate more than 200 lakh person days of employment in Uttar Pradesh and three other states.
iii. Projects that have been approved include doubling and electrification projects of 425 km-long Jhansi-Manikpur and Bhimsen-Khairar lines covering districts of Jhansi, Mahoba, Banda, Chitrakut Dham in Uttar Pradesh and Chhatarpur in Madhya Pradesh.
iv. Doubling with electrification of the 116.95 km-long Bhatni-Aurnihar line covering the districts of Deoria, Ballia, Mau and Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh has also been approved.
v. Approval has also been granted for doubling and electrification projects on the 100.6 km-long Muzaffarpur-Sagauli and 109.7 km-long Sagauli-Valmiki Nagar lines in Bihar.

PM Modi inaugurates UP Investors’ Summit 2018
On February 20, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated ‘Uttar Pradesh Investors’ Summit 2018’ in Lucknow.PM Modi inaugurates UP Investors' Summit 2018Highlights of UP Investors’ Summit 2018:
i. This is the first of its kind event in UP, aimed at showcasing business and investment potential across the state.
ii. This two-day Summit will be attended by Union ministers, leaders from the corporate world, senior policymakers, academicians and heads of international institutions.
iii. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath has stated that 1045 agreements worth Rs. 4.28 lakh crore have been signed on the very first day of this summit.
Major Investment Commitments announced at UP Investors’ Summit 2018:

Company/Business Group Amount of Investment Time Horizon
Adani Group Rs. 35000 crore Over next five years, in various sectors
Aditya Birla Group Rs. 25000 crore Over next five years, in various sectors
Reliance Industries Rs. 10000 crore Over next three years, through Jio

Uma Bharati launches Swajal project in Uttarkashi
On February 20, 2018, Union Drinking Water and Sanitation Minister Uma Bharati launched the Gangotri Swachh Iconic Place project and Swajal, a community owned drinking water programme, in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi district.
Information about Projects launched by Uma Bharti in Uttarakhand:
i. On February 20, 2018, Ms. Uma Bharti also announced ‘Bagori Ganga Gram’ project for Uttarakhand’s Bagori village, which has been declared open defecation free (ODF).
ii. At Bagori, Ms. Bharti also inaugurated a solid and liquid waste management system, set up at cost of Rs 11.88 lakh.
iii. These projects are not only aimed at maintaining cleanliness and providing basic amenities to the people of villages on the banks of the Ganga but would also generate employment.
Quick Facts about Uttarakhand:
♦ Capital – Dehradun
♦ Current Chief Minister – Trivendra Singh Rawat
♦ Current Governor – Krishan Kant Paul
♦ Important National Park – Jim Corbett National Park

Regional conference of southern states on water resources held in Hyderabad
“Regional Conference of Southern States on Water Resources” was held at Hyderabad, Telangana on February 20, 2018.Regional conference of southern states on water resources held in HyderabadHighlights of Regional Conference of Southern States on Water Resources:
i. This conference was organised by Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
ii. It was chaired by Minister of State for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Arjun Ram Meghwal.
iii. Ministers, Principal Secretaies and Engineer-in-Chiefs of Water Resources of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Puducherry attended this conference.
iv. Issues discussed at the conference: Implementation of the latest orders of the Supreme Court on sharing of Cauvery waters, Mullai Periyar Dam, notification of jurisdiction of Krishna and Godavari Management Boards interlinking of rivers like Godavari-Cauvery, Parambikulam Aliyar projects, Pollavaram project and other interstate issues.

Railways to set up coach factory at Latur, Maharashtra
Union Ministry of Railways and Maharashtra State Government have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set up a rail coach factory at Latur, Maharashtra.
More information about proposed coach factory at Latur:
i. The MoU was signed on the sidelines of the Magnetic Maharashtra event in Mumbai.
ii. The coach factory will be set up over a land area of 150 hectares and will entail investment of Rs. 500 crore in the first phase.
iii. This project is expected to generate thousands of direct and indirect employment opportunities in Marathwada, which is one of the most backward regions of Maharashtra.
iv. Besides, it will also create an industrial ecosystem of ancillary units in the region.

Kerala’s New Health Policy makes Vaccination Card mandatory for School Admission
Kerala government has made vaccination cards mandatory for children to obtain first standard admission in schools as per its new health policy.
Vaccination Card Mandatory for School Admission in Kerala:
i. On 20th February 2018, Kerala State Cabinet approved the draft health policy presented by Health Minister KK Shylaja.
ii. Vaccination cards have been made mandatory for school admission after problems were faced in carrying out vaccination programmes due to resistance shown by people towards vaccines in several regions of Kerala.
iii. The new health policy also declares strict legal action for people trying to discourage parents about vaccinating their children.
About national parks of Kerala:
♦ Anamudi Shola National Park
♦ Eravikulam National Park
♦ Mathikettan Shola National Park

PM Modi flags off Palace Queen Hamsafar Express in Karnataka
On 19th February 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the Palace Queen Humsafar Express train at the Mysuru railway station, Karnataka.PM flags off Palace Queen Hamsafar Express in KarnatakaPM flags off Palace Queen Hamsafar Express in Karnataka:
i. Palace Queen Hamsafar Express train will run from Mysuru in Karnataka to Udaipur in Rajasthan.
ii. This train will link the following western states: Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
iii. It covers 30 parliamentary constituencies on its way. It covers a total distance of 2000 km.
iv. Narendra Modi also dedicated a fully electrified railway line of length 140 km from Mysuru to KSR Bengaluru to improve energy efficiency of Indian Railways.
v. The electrification of Mysuru to KSR Bengaluru railway line will cover 4 Karnataka districts: Bengaluru, Ramanagaram, Mandya and Mysuru.
vi. This project costs Rs 220 crore. It will benefit nearly 25,000 passengers daily.
Some stadiums of Karnataka:
♦ Chinnaswamy Stadium – Bengaluru
♦ Mangalore International Cricket Stadium – Mangalore
♦ Rajinder Singh Institute Ground – Bengaluru

UGC constitutes four-member Empowered Expert Committee (EEC) under N Gopalaswami
On 20th February 2018, the University Grants Commission (UGC) formed a 4 member Empowered Expert Committee (EEC) to perform appraisal of applications in order to shortlist 20 Institutions of Eminence (IoE).
Empowered Expert Committee (EEC):
i. Former Chief Election Commissioner of India, N Gopalaswami is the chairperson of the Empowered Expert Committee (EEC).
ii.Members of EEC are:
1.Tarun Khanna, a Jorge Paulo Lemman Professor at Harvard Business School
2.Pritam Singh, former director of IIM, Lucknow
3.Renu Khator, Chancellor of University of Houston System
iii. The EEC has been formed by UGC after obtaining approval from the central government, according to the UGC (Institutions of Eminence Deemed to be Universities) Regulation, 2017, and UGC (Declaration of Government Educational Institutions as Institutions of Eminence) Guidelines, 2017.
iv. The EEC will perform its appraisal and recommend institutions to UGC. The UGC will forward it to MHRD (Ministry of Human Resource Development) within 15 days. MHRD will place orders on selection of institutions.
About University Grants Commission (UGC):
♦ Chairman – D P Singh
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

India 7th Most Targeted Nation for Web Application Attacks: Report by Akamai
As per a report from content delivery network services Akamai Technologies, India has ranked 7th on the list of targeted countries for Web Application Attacks (WAA).India 7th Most Targeted Nation for Web Application Attacks - Report by AkamaiData on Web Application Attacks in India:
i. The report has been titled “Akamai State of the Internet Security Q4 2017”.
ii. It outlined that during 2017, nearly 40 per cent of over 53000 cyber attacks in India occurred in Banking, Financial services and Insurance (BFSI) sector.
iii. The attacks were in the form of phishing attempts, website intrusions, defacements, virus and ransomware.
iv. A sharp increase in the threat of credential abuse has also been found. Based on analysis of 7.3 trillion bot requests per month, it was found that more than 40 per cent of login attempts were malicious.

BANKING & FINANCE

Capital First gets NHB nod for merger with IDFC Bank
On February 20, 2018, Capital First announced that regulator National Housing Bank (NHB) has approved its merger with IDFC Bank.Capital First gets NHB nod for merger with IDFC BankDetails about IDFC Bank – Capital First Merger:
i. IDFC Bank – Capital First Merger was announced in January 2018
ii. As per the terms of the merger deal, IDFC Bank will issue 139 shares for every 10 shares of Capital First.
iii. Capital Home Finance and Capital First Securities Limited, the subsidiaries of Capital First are also a part of the merger deal.
iv. Post merger, IDFC Bank-Capital First combined entity will have Asset Under Management (AUM) of Rs 88000 crore.
Quick Facts about Capital First:
♦ Founded in – 2012
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra

BUSINESS

Government opens commercial coal mining for private sector
On February 20, 2018, Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs allowed private companies to mine coal for commercial use, thereby ending the monopoly of state-owned Coal India Ltd (CIL).
Commercial coal mining for private sector:
i. This decision is being termed as a major reform in the coal sector since its nationalisation in 1973.
ii. Post nationalisation, only Coal India Ltd. was allowed to sell coal, while private entities were allowed to mine coal for captive use only.
iii. Coal mining would open for all entities through an auction process, wherein the highest bidder will have to pay rupees per tonne on the actual production of coal.
iv. The revenue generated from the auction of coal mines for sale of coal would go to the coal bearing States.

UP Govt signs pact with Amazon India for khadi products sale
On February 20, 2018, Uttar Pradesh’s Khadi and Village Industries Board signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Amazon India for online selling of Khadi products.Details about Uttar Pradesh’s Khadi and Village Industries Board – Amazon India MoU:
i. On behalf of Uttar Pradesh Government, the MoU was signed by Avinash Krishna Singh, the CEO of Khadi and Village Industries Board while Gopal Pillai, the Seller Services Director and GM signed on behalf of Amazon India.
ii. As per the terms of the MoU, Amazon India will educate and train UP’s rural khadi artisans to directly sell their products to Amazon.in customers across India under the brand of UP Khadi.
iii. Items that would be sold on Amazon.in would include khadi shirts, kurtas, dhotis, towels. There is high demand of these items in urban areas.
Quick Facts about Uttar Pradesh:
♦ Capital – Lucknow
♦ Current Governor – Ram Naik
♦ Current Chief Minister – Yogi Adityanath
♦ Important National Park – Dudhwa National Park

Facebook, Andhra Pradesh government to work together
On 20th February 2018, Facebook India announced that, it will work together with Andhra Pradesh government, to carry out innovative pilot projects in Andhra Pradesh.
Facebook, Andhra Pradesh government tie up:
i. Facebook (India) Connectivity Policy Head Aswani Rana and Andhra Pradesh Information and Technology Minister Nara Lokesh decided to work on services like internet facility to every house by means of fiber grid, internet and WiFi. This also includes TV services at a nominal cost of Rs 149.
ii. Nara Lokesh asked the Facebook team to carry out innovative pilot projects in Andhra Pradesh and got a positive response from the Facebook team.
iii. Facebook team said that, they would offer training to women, small scale and cottage industries to help them sell products online.
Some stadiums of Andhra Pradesh:
♦ Andhra Jateva Kalashala Ground – Machilipatnam
♦ Hindustan Zinc Limited Ground – Visakhapatnam
♦ Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy Stadium – Anantapur

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Government appoints new EDs in Canara Bank and Vijaya Bank
On 19th February 2018, Debashish Mukherjee and Murali Ramaswami were appointed Executive Directors of Canara Bank and Vijaya Bank respectively.
New EDs in Canara Bank and Vijaya Bank:
i. Debashish Mukherjee is currently the general manager of United Bank of India and Murali Ramaswami is the general manager of Vijaya Bank.
ii. As per personnel ministry’s order, Debashish Mukherjee’s appointment is for 3 years initially. It can be extended by 2 years after reviewing his performance.
iii. Murali Ramaswami’s tenure is till 31st December 2020 i.e. the date of his superannuation.
About Canara Bank:
♦ MD & CEO – Rakesh Sharma
♦ Headquarters – Bengaluru

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh launches 6 new features of National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) platform
Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Radha Mohan Singh, launched 6 new features of National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) Platform, aimed to improve its user friendliness.Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh launches 6 new features of National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) platform6 new features of e-NAM platform:
i. e-NAM’s objective is to offer competitive price to farmers for their products by means of online competitive bidding process.
The new features of e-NAM are as follows:
e-NAM Mobile App:
1.This mobile app has been made multilingual.
2.Now, Mandi operators can perform Gate Entry directly from e-NAM Mobile App.
3.Also, farmers can see the progress of their lot that is traded.
4.They can also view real time bidding progress of price.
5.During trade, assaying certificate can be viewed through the app.
6.Online payment by trader can also be done from the app.
7.SMS alert to farmers will be sent when payment is received in their bank account.
ii. BHIM payment facility: Unified Payment Interface (UPI) has been facilitated through BHIM for making the payment process easy for farmers.
iii. New and improved Website with eLearning Module:
1.A new website has been unveiled that provides live status of markets of e-NAM based on gate entry, information on latest events, dynamic training calendar etc.
2.e-Learning module in Hindi language is made available in the website.
iv. MIS Dashboard:MIS Dashboard based on Business intelligence offers performance information of each Mandi on the basis of arrival and trade.
v. Grievance Redressal Management System for Mandi Secretaries:
1.Through this system, Mandi Secretary can raise technology issues linked to portal/ software and its operation.
2.They can also track the status of their query online.
vi. Integration with Farmer Database:e-NAM has been integrated with Central Farmer Database to make the registration process easier.
About Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare:
♦ Minister of Agriculture – Radha Mohan Singh
♦ Ministers of State – Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Parsottambhai Rupala, Krishna Raj

SARAS completes the second test-flight successfully
On 21st February 2018, SARAS, indigenous light transport aircraft of India, successfully finished its second test flight.
SARAS completes the second test-flight successfully:
i. Wing Commander U.P. Singh, Group Captain R.V. Panicker and Group Captain K.P. Bhat of Indian Air Force- Aircraft and System Testing Establishment, commanded the test flight.
ii. This was the second out of the 20 test flights that was planned for SARAS PT1N before freezing the production version.
iii. SARAS was designed and developed by CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL). NAL has said that, the production model design would be ready by June-July 2018.
iv. CSIR-NAL is planning to get military and civil certification for SARAS-Mk 2. The improved version of CSIR-NAL would be a 19-seater aircraft.
v. Science & Technology Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said that, the unit cost of SARAS will be nearly 40-45 crores. He added that, SARAS has more than 70 % indigenous content.
vi. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is decided as the production agency for military version of SARAS. Production of civil version of SARAS will be handed to private industries.
vii. Dr Girish Sahni, Director General of CSIR, said that, the development and certification cost of SARAS Mk2 will be nearly Rs. 600 crores. The time taken for development and certification will be 2 to 3 years.
About Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR):
♦ Director General – Dr Girish Sahni
♦ Chairman – Prime Minister Narendra Modi

SPORTS

Virat Kohli becomes first Indian to cross 900 points in ICC ODI player rankings
On 20th February 2018, ICC (International Cricket Council) announced that, Virat Kohli has become the first Indian to cross 900 points in the ICC ODI player rankings with 909 points.Virat Kohli becomes first Indian to cross 900 points in ICC ODI player rankings:
i. Virat Kohli with a rating of 909 points has become the seventh player in the world to cross 900 points in the ICC ODI player rankings.
ii. Virat Kohli is only behind Sir Vivian Richards – 935 points (1985), Zaheer Abbas – 931 points (1983), Greg Chappell – 921 points (1981), David Gower – 919 points (1983), Dean Jones – 918 points (1991) and Javed Miandad – 910 points (1987).
iii. Virat Kohli is the second batsman after South Africa’s AB de Villiers to cross the 900 point mark in both Tests and ODIs.
About International Cricket Council (ICC):
♦ Chairman – Shashank Manohar
♦ CEO – David Richardson

OBITUARY

Uttar Pradesh BJP MLA Lokendra Singh dies in road accident
On 21st February 2018, Lokendra Singh, BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) MLA, passed away in a road accident, in Uttar Pradesh.
Death of Lokendra Singh:
i. Lokendra Singh was an MLA from Bijnor’s Noorpur in Uttar Pradesh. His car collided with a truck in Sitapur, while he was travelling to attend the ‘Investors Meet’ in Lucknow.
ii. Lokendra Singh was 45 years old. His gun men Brijesh Mishra and Deepak Kumar and the truck driver also died in the accident.
Some dams of Uttar Pradesh:
♦ Dhanraul Dam – Ghaghar River
♦ Dhurwara Dam – Betwa River
♦ Matatila Dam – Betwa River

Renowned cardiologist, Padmashri awardee, Dr BK Goyal passes away
On 20th February 2018, Dr BK Goyal, a reputed cardiologist, died after suffering from cardiac arrest, at the Breach Candy Hospital, in Mumbai.Renowned cardiologist, Padmashri awardee, Dr BK Goyal passes awayDeath of Dr BK Goyal:
i. Dr B K Goyal served patients at the Bombay Hospital since 1966. He was the head of cardiology. In 1980, he was made the Sheriff of Bombay.
ii. He received Padma Shri in 1984, Padma Bhushan in 1989 and Padma Vibhushan in 2005.
iii. He was one among the youngest doctors to become the president of Cardiological Society of India. He also served at the JJ Hospital in an honorary position.
Some stadiums in Maharashtra:
♦ Akola Cricket Club Ground – Akola
♦ Ambajhari Ordinance Factory Ground – Nagpur
♦ Bandra Kurla Complex Ground – Bandra

Eminent Malayalam writer Kunhiraman Panoor passes away
On 20th February 2018, Kunhiraman Panoor, author and civic rights activist, passed away due to age related ailments, in Kerala.
Death of Kunhiraman Panoor:
i. Kunhiraman Panoor was 91 years old. He started his career as an official in the revenue department.
ii. His popular book is ‘Keralathile Africa’. He had received Kerala Sahithya Akademi honour in 2006.
iii. He retirement as deputy collector, and later served as the registrar of Malayala Kalagramam, in New Mahe. He had fought for various human right causes.
Some dams of Kerala:
♦ Malampuzha Dam – Malampuzha River
♦ Parambikulam Dam – Parambikulam River
♦ Solaiyar Dam – Chalakkudi River

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Mother Language Day – February 21
On 21st February 2018, International Mother Language Day was celebrated all over the world.International Mother Language DayInternational Mother Language Day:
i. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) first announced about International Mother Language Day in 1999. It was welcomed by the UN General Assembly later.
ii. International Mother Language Day has been celebrated annually since February 2000. It aims to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.
iii. The theme for International Mother Language Day 2018 is: Linguistic diversity and multilingualism count for sustainable development.
About United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO):
♦ Director-General of the UNESCO – Audrey Azoulay
♦ Headquarters – Paris, France