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Current Affairs Today February 22 2018

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Uttar Pradesh becomes 1st Indian state to clear projects digitally
Uttar Pradesh (UP) has become the first state in India where business and investment projects can now be cleared digitally, without any human interface.
i. This has become possible with launch of ‘Nivesh Mitra’, a digital platform which will serve as a single-window clearance system. 
ii. ’Nivesh Mitra’ was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the inauguration session of the UP Investors’ Summit in Lucknow.
iii. UP State Government has brought 20 departments under the ambit of ‘Nivesh Mitra’ and application for 70 clearances can be made through this platform.
iv. Any interested investor, sitting anywhere in the world, would only require to submit details of the project, along with required documentation, on the Nivesh Mitra website. Post satisfactory assessment of documents, the respective departments would clear the project file digitally.
v. Nivesh Mitra replaces Udyog Bandhu. Under Udyog Bandhu processes were eased significantly but one would still need to go through at least one government officer.
Quick Facts about Uttar Pradesh:
♦ Capital – Lucknow
♦ Current Governor – Ram Naik
♦ Current Chief Minister – Yogi Adityanath
♦ Important National Park – Dudhwa National Park

Parivartan scheme launched in Haryana
On February 21, 2018, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar launched ‘Parivartan’, a scheme designed to address 10 issues in 46 developmental blocks of the state.Parivartan scheme launched in HaryanaInformation about Haryana Government’s ‘Parivartan Scheme’:
i. 10 Issues to be addresses under ‘Partivartan’ Scheme: facilitation of financing, improving health services, making agriculture profitable and sustainable, implementing Swachh Bharat, engaging the youth, decongesting market areas, checking air pollution, effective policing, ensuring availability of identity-related services and ensuring road order and conduct.
ii. 46 top officials of the state, including those from the IAS, IFS and IPS cadres, have been allotted one block each, wherein they will undertake work related to the above stated 10 issues.
iii. Performance of officials will be based on 38 parameters placed under these 10 issues.
iv. This scheme will not only help in achieving developmental objectives of Haryana State Government but will also provide practical training to employees.
Quick Facts about Haryana:
♦ Capital – Chandigarh
♦ Current Governor – Kaptan Singh Solanki
♦ Current Chief Minister – Manohar Lal Khattar
♦ Important National Park – Sultanpur National Park

NER’s first regional Centre for Agriculture with Israeli collaboration to be inaugurated in Mizoram
Israeli Ambassador to India, Mr Daniel Carmon has stated that a Centre for Agriculture, with collaboration of Israeli expertise, is going to be inaugurated in Mizoram on March 7, 2018.
Details about upcoming Centre for Agriculture in Mizoram:
i. This will be the first such centre in the North East region (NER) of India that is being established with Israeli collaboration.
ii. It has been set up at a cost of Rs 8-10 crore.
iii. This Centre has been set up with the tripartite collaboration of India’s Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of Israel and State Government of Mizoram and is exclusively for processing of citrus fruits. 
iv. Although the Centre is located in Mizoram, it will cater to the whole North East Region (NER) of India.

Telangana, Taiwan sign agreement for better technology partnership
On February 21, 2018, Telangana State Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Taoyuan City of Taiwan for better technology partnership in the state.Telangana, Taiwan sign agreement for better technology partnershipDetails about Telangana-Taiwan MoU:
i. This MoU was signed during World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) 2018, in Hyderabad.
ii. The MoU was signed by Telangana’s Information Technology Principal Secretary Jayesh Ranjan and Taoyuan City Director of the Board, Robert Huang in presence of Telangana’s Minister for Information Technology and Industries, K.T. Rama Rao.
iii. Taoyuan City is home to many firms specialising in emerging technology viz. Internet of Things and robotics.
iv. As per the terms of the MoU, Taoyuan City  and Telangana Sate Government will engage in an economic exchange of technology companies.
Quick Facts about Telangana:
♦ Capital – Hyderabad
♦ Current Governor – E.S.L. Narasimhan
♦ Current Chief Minister – K. Chandrashekar Rao
♦ Important National Park – Mrugavani National Park

Rajnath Singh announces special package for strengthening security in Arunachal Pradesh
On 20th February 2018, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh announced that, the Central Government has sanctioned a special package to strengthen security in 3 eastern districts of Arunachal Pradesh: Tirap, Changlang and Longding.
Special package for strengthening security in Arunachal Pradesh:
i. The special package for strengthening security has been sanctioned to handle the prevailing insurgency problem in Arunachal Pradesh.
ii. This special package also includes creation of new posts, purchasing of vehicles and equipment for police. Rajnath Singh made this announcement at the 31st Arunachal Pradesh statehood day programme.
iii. He ensured that funds from the government will be dispensed at the earliest for the construction of 20 police stations in the three districts. He also ensured that a forensic science laboratory will be sanctioned for Arunachal Pradesh.
Some wildlife sanctuaries of Arunachal Pradesh:
♦ Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Talley Valley Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Kamlang Wildlife Sanctuary

Gandhi Nagar station in Jaipur becomes India’s first all-women railway station
On 19th February 2018, Jaipur’s Gandhi Nagar railway station became India’s first major railway station to be completely managed by women personnel.Gandhi Nagar station in Jaipur becomes India’s first all-women railway stationJaipur’s Gandhi Nagar station – India’s first all-women railway station:
i. The all-women railway station was inaugurated by North Western Railway Zone general manager TP Singh.
ii. Gandhi Nagar station is located on the Jaipur-Delhi rail route. It has over 50 trains passing through and 25 trains halting there. It handles 7,000 passengers on a daily basis.
iii. Women staff have been appointed in various posts like point women (who change the tracks), station manager, chief reservation supervisor, assistant reservation supervisor, inquiry counter and reservation clerk, ticket checker etc.
iv. Sanitary napkin vending machine has been installed at the station. Women employees have been trained to function independently. CCTV cameras have been installed for security purposes and real time monitoring.
About North Western Railway:
♦ Established – 2002
♦ Divisions – Jaipur Division, Bikaner Division, Jodhpur Division, Ajmer Division

PM announces Rs 20,000 crore Defence Industrial Corridor in Bundelkhand
On 21st February 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that a defence industrial production corridor worth Rs 200 billion will be established in Bundelkhand.
Rs 20,000 crore Defence Industrial Corridor in Bundelkhand:
i. Bundelkhand is a region located between Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Narendra Modi said that, out of the two defence industrial production corridors announced in the union budget, one will be built in Bundelkhand.
ii. He made this announcement in the ‘Investors Meet’ at the Indira Gandhi Pratishthan in Lucknow.
iii. He said that, this project will bring an investment of Rs 200 billion. It will generate employment opportunities for 2,50,000 people. This corridor will connect Agra, Aligarh, Lucknow, Kanpur, Jhansi and Chitrakoot.
iv. The first out of the two defence industrial production corridors is built between Chennai and Bengaluru. It will link Kattupalli port, Chennai, Tiruchirapalli, Coimbatore and Hosur.
Some national parks in Madhya Pradesh:
♦ Mandla Plant Fossils National Park
♦ Madhav National Park
♦ Bandhavgarh National Park


India ranks 81st in global Corruption Perceptions Index
India has ranked 81st out of 180 countries in the global Corruption Perceptions Index 2017, released by Transparency International.India’s ranking at 81st spot marks a drop by two places as compared to 79th rank in 2016.However, India’s score in 2017 remained unchanged at 40……………………………………………Click here to Read more
Top 5 – Least Corrupt Countries:

1New Zealand89

India gives $1 million for rehabilitation work in cyclone-hit Tonga
India has contributed USD 1 million for the rehabilitation works in Tonga, after the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Gita.India gives $1 million for rehabilitation work in cyclone-hit TongaIndia gives $1 million for rehabilitation work in cyclone-hit Tonga:
i. United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation has stated that, the Tonga Government will identify the rehabilitation projects to be supported by the India-UN Development Partnership Fund.
ii. India has allocated USD 500,000 in the India-UN Development Partnership Fund for rehabilitation purpose and USD 500,000 will be given for immediate relief assistance.
iii. The India-UN Development Partnership Fund is led and supported by Indian Government. It is managed by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation.
About India-UN Development Partnership Fund:
♦ Established – 2017
♦ Purpose – supports Southern-owned and led, demand-driven, transformational sustainable development projects in the developing nations


RBI sets up committee under YH Malegam to monitor bad loans, rising cases of frauds, audits
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has constituted an expert committee under the chairmanship of YH Malegam to look into a range of issues relating to classification of bad loans, rising incidents of frauds and effectiveness of audits.
RBI Committee to monitor bad loans, rising cases of frauds, audits
i. Y H Malegam is a former member of the Central Board of Directors of RBI.
ii. Other member of the Committee: Bharat Doshi – Member of Central Board of RBI, S Raman – Former Chairman and MD of Canara Bank and Nandkumar Saravade – Chief Executive Officer of Reserve Bank Information Technology Pvt Ltd (ReBIT). A K Misra – Executive Director of RBI will be the Member-Secretary of the committee.
iii. The committee will look into the reasons for high divergence observed in asset classification and provisioning by banks as compared to revelations from  RBI’s supervisory assessment. It will also recommend steps to prevent it.
iv. Factors leading to an increasing incidence of frauds in banks and the measures needed to prevent it will also be examined by the committee.
v. Besides, the committee will examine the role and effectiveness of various types of audits conducted in banks in mitigating such divergence and frauds.

EPFO lowers interest rate to 8.55 pc for 2017-18
On February 21, 2018, Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) declared that rate of interest on employees’ provident fund for 2017-18 will be 8.55 per cent.i. This marks 0.10 per cent reduction as compared to 8.65 per cent for 2016-17.
ii. This is the second consecutive year, that EPFO has decreased the interest rates for its subscribers. 8.65 per cent for 2016-17 was 0.15 per cent lower as compared to 8.8% for 2015-16.
iii. As per the prevailing norms, all units employing 20 or more employees are mandatorily covered under the social security schemes run by the EPFO.
iv. EPFO currently has more than 5 crore members and manages a corpus of over Rs 10 lakh crore.
Quick Facts about EPFO:
♦ Founded in – 1952
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi


Odisha approves long-term linkage policy for bauxite
On February 21, 2018, Odisha State Cabinet approved long-term bauxite linkage policy that would help Vedanta’s Lanjigarh alumina refinery to source bauxite from government-owned Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC).
Rationale behind Odisha’s long-term linkage policy for bauxite:
i. Vedanta, which has invested more than Rs 50000 crore in two smelters, refinery and power plants in Odisha has been facing constraints in ore supply as it has no captive blocks in Odisha.
ii. Due to raw material crunch, Vedanta had set a target to produce only 1.25 million tonnes in 2017-18.
iii. As per Odisha State Cabinet’s decision, 70 per cent of the total production by OMC will now be available for long-term linkage.
Quick Facts about Odisha:
♦ Capital – Bhubaneswar
♦ Current Governor – S.C. Jamir
♦ Current Chief Minister – Naveen Patnaik
♦ Important National Park – Bhitarkanika National Park

India notifies revised tax treaty with Kenya
On 19th February 2018, Indian government notified the revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between India and Kenya.India notifies revised tax treaty with KenyaIndia notifies revised tax treaty with Kenya:
i. It has been stated that, the revised DTAA will enhance transparency in tax matters, control tax evasion, and eliminate double taxation. It will also improve the flow of investment, technology and services between India and Kenya.
ii. The revised DTAA offers reduction in withholding tax rate on dividend and interest to 10 % from 15 %.
iii. The withholding tax rate on royalties, and fees for management, professional, technical services has been decreased to 10 % from 20 % and 17.5 % respectively..
iv. The revised DTAA issues a new Article on Limitation of Benefits to provide treaty benefits to bona-fide residents of India and Kenya. It will also prevent treaty abuse by third country residents. It will enable domestic law to prevent tax evasion.
v. The revised DTAA has been upgraded to the latest international standard to make available exchange of information to the maximum extent.
vi. Also a new Article on Assistance in Collection of Taxes has been issued to provide assistance in collection of tax revenue claims between India and Kenya.
About Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA):
♦ Established – 1985
♦ Participating Countries – India & Kenya


BAFTA Awards 2018 – Gary Oldman bags Leading Actor Award
71st British Academy Film Awards ceremony, popularly referred to as BAFTA Awards 2018 was held on February 18, 2018 in London, United Kingdom.The ceremony was hosted by English actress Joanna Lumley.
i. Drama film, ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri’ got the most awards (in 5 categories), while ‘The Shape of Water’ was credited with most nominations (in 12 categories).
ii. English Actor, Gary Oldman won the Leading Actor Award for playing British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the film “Darkest Hour.”…………………………………Click here to Read more

Flying Officer Avani Chaturvedi becomes 1st Indian woman to fly fighter aircraft solo
On 19th February 2018, Flying Officer Avani Chaturvedi became the first Indian woman to fly a fighter aircraft solo.Flying Officer Avani Chaturvedi becomes 1st Indian woman to fly fighter aircraft soloFlying Officer Avani Chaturvedi becomes 1st Indian woman to fly fighter aircraft solo:
i. Avani Chaturvedi achieved this feat by flying a MiG-21 “Bison”. She took off the MiG-21 “Bison” from the Jamnagar base of Indian Air Force (IAF).
ii. She already has the credit of being one of the first three women to undergo fighter pilot training in the Indian Air Force. The other two women are Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh.
iii .Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh were commissioned as flying officers into the fighter stream after finishing basic training in June 2016, on experimental basis  for 5 years initially.
About Indian Air Force (IAF):
♦ Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) – Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi


India successfully conducts night trial of Prithvi-II missile
On 21st February 2018, India successfully conducted a night trial of Prithvi-II, an indigenously developed nuclear capable missile, from a test range in Odisha.Prithvi II missileSuccessful night trial of Prithvi-II missile:
i. Prithvi-II was test-fired from a mobile launcher from launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur, as part of a user trial by the Indian Army.
ii. Prithvi-II is a surface-to-surface missile with a strike range of 350 km. It has the ability to carry 500 to 1,000 kg of warheads. It uses liquid propulsion twin engines.
iii. The launch activities were carried out by the specially formed Strategic Force Command (SFC) of the Army. It was monitored by the scientists of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as part of training exercise.
About Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO):
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Chairman DRDO & Secretary Department of Defence R&D – Dr S Christopher


New shark species “Atlantic sixgill shark” discovered in Atlantic Ocean
A new shark species named “Atlantic sixgill shark” was discovered in the Atlantic Ocean.
Atlantic sixgill shark – Hexanchus vitulus:
i. Through genetic testing it has been proved that, the new shark species named “Atlantic sixgill shark” is different from the similar ones found in Indian and Pacific Oceans.
ii. Hence they have not been associated with the existing species Hexanchus nakamurai. This new species is named Hexanchus vitulus.
iii. The findings have been published in the journal Marine Biodiversity. The “Atlantic sixgill shark” is up to 6 feet long.
iv. They feature unique, saw-like lower teeth and six gill slits. They date back to nearly 250 million years ago and are one of the oldest creatures on Earth.
Some museums in India:
♦ HAL Aerospace Museum – Bangalore
♦ Asutosh Museum of Indian Art – Kolkata
♦ Salar Jung Museum – Hyderabad


India bag gold medal at 5th Commonwealth Nations Bridge Championship
Indian “A” team won gold at the 5th Commonwealth Nations Bridge Championship held in Gold Coast, Australia, between 14 and 18 February 2018.
India bag gold medal at 5th Commonwealth Nations Bridge Championship:
i. The Indian “A” team was headed by Kiran Nadar. The team members were Keyzad Anklesari, B. Satyanarayana, Rajeshwar Tewari, Jaggy Shivdasani and Sunit Chokshi.
ii. The Indian “A” team defeated the Australian team with a score of 103-65. Indian “A” team won gold in the 5th Commonwealth Nations Bridge Championship.
About 5th Commonwealth Nations Bridge Championship:
♦ Dates – 14 – 18 February 2018
♦ Location – Gold Coast, Australia
♦ Teams – 36


Rajasthan BJP MLA Kalyan Singh Chouhan passes away
On 20th February 2018, Kalyan Singh Chouhan, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA from Nathdwara, died after fighting cancer for a long time, in Udaipur, Rajasthan.
Death of Kalyan Singh Chouhan:
i. Kalyan Singh Chouhan entered politics in 1988. He joined the Congress Party and became sarpanch from Kotharia gram panchayat in Rajsamand district.
ii. He was Khamnor Pradhan from 1998 to 2000 and Up-Zila Pramukh in the 2000 to 2005 period. Later Kalyan Singh Chouhan joined BJP. He became MLA twice.
About National Parks of Rajasthan:
♦ Darrah National Park
♦ Desert National Park
♦ Ranthambore National Park

Renowned violinist MS Anantharaman passes away
On 19th February 2018, M S Anantharaman, a popular violinist, passed away due to age-related ailments, at his residence in Mylapore, Chennai.Renowned violinist MS Anantharaman passes awayDeath of MS Anantharaman:
i. MS Anantharaman was 94 years old. He was born in Parur, Kerala.
ii. He was taught to play violin when he was just six years old. He was associated with the Parur School of Music.
iii. His father was Sundaram Iyer, a great violinist. His brother M S Gopalakrishnan was also a violinist. He familiarised the Parur bani along with his brother.
Some National Parks in Tamil Nadu:
♦ Guindy National Park
♦ Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park
♦ Anamalai Tiger Reserve