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- Current Affairs 2017 February
Annual 2-day long Liker & Leh Dosmochey Festival Held in Ladakh
i. The centuries old two-day long Liker and Leh Dosmochey festival started in Ladakh Region of Jammu and Kashmir on February 24, 2017.
ii. Dosmochey is the major monastic festival held annually in the Ladakh region during the winter season to mark the destruction of evil spirit.
iii. The main focus of the festival includes mask dances with different monastic religious musical instruments.
iv .Leh Dosmochey is celebrated in Leh Palace. Monks from different monasteries gather together at the yards of the palace to perform “Chams”.
v. The Liker Dosmochey is celebrated by the Liker Monastery in western Ladakh.
Famous Monastic Festivals in Ladakh
♦ Matho Nagrang, Stok Guru Tsechu, Hemis Festival, Thiksey, Karsha and Spituk Gustor, Ladakh Festival, Yuru Kabgyat, Phyang Tsedup
Government Allows Tamil Nadu to Raise Number of Workdays under MGNREGA
i. The Central government has granted permission to raise the number of workdays under the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee scheme in Tamil Nadu from the existing 100 days to 150 days.
ii. The increase in workdays aims to help rural laborers who are facing job loss as a result of the severe drought affecting the state.
iii. The scheme is being implemented in 12,524 villages of Tamil Nadu. Works like desilting of waterbodies in rural areas and maintenance of other rural assets are being undertaken under the scheme.
iv. In 2016, 33.43 crore man-days of employment have been generated so far under the scheme and Rs 4655 crore has been disbursed. With the increase in workdays, 3 crore more man-days would be generated.
PM Narendra Modi Inaugurates 112-foot Shiva Statue in Coimbatore
i. On the occasion of Mahashivratri, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a 112-feet-tall Lord Shiva statue at Isha Foundation in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu on February 24, 2017.
ii. The statue is dedicated to “Adiyogi”, an incarnation of Lord Shiva who is considered to be the first of yogis.
iii .The statue has been funded by The Isha Foundation and constructed by a team of engineers and designers of the foundation in foothills of Velliangiri mountains in the Western Ghats.
iv. The foundation which was founded by the popular yoga guru Jaggi Vasudev has planned to set up similar statues in other parts of the country.
v. The bust of Lord Shiva is made of steel and weighs 500 tonnes. It took 2.5 years to design and eight months to build the statue.
vi. A five-tier security cover was put in place in and around the city and at the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border by police and the Special Protection Group due to the event.
vii. As a part of the occasion, PM Modi also released the book ‘Adiyoga: The source of Yoga’, which deals with yogic sciences.
♦ Mahashivratri is also known as the Great Night of Shiva. It is celebrated annually in remembrance of overcoming darkness and ignorance in life and the world.
♦ It is observed by remembering Shiva and chanting prayers, fasting, practising yoga and meditating on ethics and virtues such as self-restraint, honesty and forgiveness.
Delhi Government Approves 37 Percent Hike in Minimum Wages
i .The Aam Aadmi Party led Delhi government approved a hike of around 37% in the minimum wages for unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled persons on February 24, 2017 in New Delhi.
ii. The Cabinet Committee chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal sanctioned the increase based on the recommendation of a 15-member committee set up by former Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung in 2016.
iii. The minimum wages for unskilled persons has been raised to Rs. 13,350 per month from the existing Rs. 9,724 per month.
iv. For semi-skilled, the wage has been raised from Rs. 10,764 to Rs. 14,698 per month while for skilled persons from Rs. 11,830 to Rs. 16,182 per month
v .Kejriwal government will send the committee’s recommendations to Lt Governor Anil Baijal on February 26, 2017 for final nod so that workers are benefited.
vi. Apart from housing, clothing and food, the committee took into consideration education, electricity and fuel prices before decided on the minimum wage.
School buses must have CCTVs, GPS, speed governors: CBSE
The Central Board of Secondary Education headed by Rakesh Kumar Chaturvedi has issued comprehensive guidelines on safety of children in school buses.
♦ This guidelines should be followed by all affiliated schools
New guidelines :
i. The Board divided the guidelines into seven broad categories which include exterior and interior of the bus, manpower and facilities on the bus, permits, arrangements by school authorities and advisory to parents.
ii. Speed governors with 40 km per hour, GPS and CCTV mandatory for school buses.
iii. The word ‘School bus‘ should be written prominently on the back and front of the vehicle
iv. The driver’s name, address, licence number, badge number and the telephone number of the school or the bus owner and transport department’s helpline numbers should be displayed at prominent places inside and outside the bus in contrast colour.
v. The windows to be fitted with horizontal grills and mesh wire, and doors of the bus to be fitted with reliable locks that can be locked
vi. One mobile phone number should be written in each school bus and ensure that the buses are not permitted to overtake any four-wheeler while carrying the school children.
India’s First Hill Station Bicycle Path Unveiled in Darjeeling
i. India’s first hill station bicycle path was inaugurated in Darjeeling on February 25, 2017.
ii. The 20 km long cycle route is developed at an altitude of over 2,000 metres and runs through thick pine forest and Senchal wildlife sanctuary. The path also provides a view of the third-highest mountain in the world, Kanchenjunga.
iii .The route starts from near Jorebunglow, south of Darjeeling and ends at a small local eco-village resort in Chatakpur.
iv. Riders can rent mountain bikes from Darjeeling at a price of Rs. 800 per day and fees of Rs. 70 rupee to enter the biking area.
v. The path was opened in response to growing interest from both national and foreign tourists and will attract bike-loving travelers.
♦ Darjeeling is a town and a municipality in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is also a popular tourist destination in India.
♦ It is noted for its tea industry, spectacular views of Kangchenjunga, the world’s third-highest mountain, and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Online payment of court fees introduced in Goa
i. The High Court of Bombay has joined hands with Goa Government and National Informatics Centre (NIC) has launched online payment of court fees through e-payment gateway in Goa.
ii. An e-payment of court fees would be available for District and Sessions Courts as well as all subordinate Courts in the coastal state.
iii. Now all the court fees are paid by way of impressed and adhesive stamps.
Festivals of Goa :
Carnival, Shigmotsav, Sabado Gardo, Beach Bonanza, Konkani Drama Fest, Chavoth, Diwali, Christmas, Easter, Shigmo, Dasehra
India and Germany Ratify 2011 Agreement on Social Benefit
i. India and Germany ratified a comprehensive Social Security Agreement (SSA) on February 24, 2017 to improve investment flows between the two countries.
ii. The SSA which was signed on October 12, 2011 while the instruments of ratification were exchanged on February 24 will be effective from May 2017.
iii. The agreement is expected to reduce the operational costs of Indian and German companies operating in either of the countries.
iv. The agreement will provide the rights and obligations to Nationals of both countries for their equal treatment and unrestricted payment of pensions even in case of residence in the other contracting state.
v. Till now India has signed and operationalized similar agreements with 18 countries including Australia, Canada, France, Germany and Japan.
♦ Capital: Berlin
♦ Currency: Euro
♦ President: Joachim Gauck
India Signs MoU with Bangladesh to provide financial assistance of Taka 240 mn for development of Sylhet city
i. India has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bangladesh on February 24, 2017 to provide financial assistance to Bangladesh for the sustainable development of Sylhet, a north-eastern Bangladeshi city.
ii. Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) three development projects would be taken up in Sylhet. The total cost of the project would be Taka 240 million.
iii .The MoU was signed between Shah Md Aminul Haque, Additional Secretary of the Economic Relations Division, Enamul Habib, CEO of Sylhet City Corporation and Indian High Commissioner in Sylhet, Harsh Vardhan Shringla.
iv .The three development projects to be undertaken include: construction of a five-storey Kinder Garten and High School Building; a six-storey cleaner colony building; and for some development work in Dhupa Dighirpar area.
v. The signing was the follow-up of an earlier MoU which was signed by India and Bangladesh in April 2013 for the implementation of sustainable development projects in socio- economic sectors of Bangladesh.
♦ Capital: Dhaka
♦ Currency: Bangladeshi taka
♦ Prime minister: Sheikh Hasina
♦ President: Abdul Hamid
Pakistan and Turkey Signs 10 Agreements to Enhance Bilateral Ties
i. Pakistan and Turkey has signed 10 agreements to enhance bilateral cooperation in various fields, including exchange of financial intelligence relating to money laundering, hydrocarbon and defence cooperation.
ii. The agreements and MoUs were signed during the visit of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Turkey from 22-24 February, 2017 to co-chair the 5th Session of Pakistan-Turkey High Level Strategic Cooperation Council (HLSCC)
iii. At the conclusion of the 5th Session of HLSCC, the two countries signed 10 Agreements/MOUs in a number of areas of bilateral cooperation including the Joint Declaration.
iv. The different areas in which agreements and MoUs were signed includes hydrocarbons, environment, forestry, information, exchange of financial intelligence relating to money laundering and exchange of armed forces personnel.
v. The two countries agreed to prioritize cooperation in the energy sector, increase bilateral trade and investment, enhance collaboration in the banking and finance sectors, promote cooperation between the higher education institutions; enhance collaboration in the fields of communications and railways and promote culture and tourism.
vi. The two sides also agreed to expeditiously complete the work on developing a comprehensive, long-term and forward-looking framework for defence cooperation and enhance partnership between the defence industries of the two countries.
vii. A joint declaration on Turkey-Pakistan Strategic Relationship for Peace and Prosperity was issued at the end of the meeting resolved to fight against terrorism
viii. The HLSCC was established in 2009 and consists of six Joint Working Groups (JWGs). So far 60 agreements and MoUs have been signed under the HLSCC framework in various areas.
♦ Capital: Ankara
♦ Currency: Turkish lira
♦ President: Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Venezuela & Libya Suspended from voting in UNGA over Dues Debts
i. Venezuela and Libya have been suspended from voting in the UN General Assembly in for the second time in two years due to huge sum of unpaid dues by the nations to the UN Body.
ii. The UN General Assembly has barred six countries from casting votes in the 2016-2017 session because they are over two years in indebtedness.
iii .Dues vary according to factors including national income. As of January, the most recent figures available,
iv. As per the data, Venezuela would have to make a minimum USD 24 million payment to get under the two-year threshold for getting its voting rights restored. On the other hand Libya has to make a minimum payment of USD 6.5 million.
v. Other nations suspended include Papua New Guinea, Sudan, Vanuatu and Cabo Verde, formerly called Cape Verde. The dues for these countries range from $265,000 to less than $12,000.
United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)
♦ The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the UN.
♦ Its powers are to oversee the budget of the United Nations, appoint the non-permanent members to the Security Council, receive reports from other parts of the United Nations and make recommendations in the form of General Assembly Resolutions
♦ Formation: 1945
♦ President: Peter Thomson
BANKING & FINANCE
Government to Provide Rs. 3000 crore Bailout Package to IDBI Bank
i. The government has announced to bailout IDBI Bank with Rs. 3,000-crore capital infusion to enable the bank to have better capital-adequacy ratio and further enhance credit growth.
ii. The financial assistance will help the bank to maintain stability.
iii. IDBI Bank’s lending portfolio is mostly in corporate segment and that is one of the major reasons for increase in its bad loans.
iv. In December quarter of 2016, IDBI had a net loss of Rs.2,255 crore against Rs.2,184 crore in December quarter 2015.
v. Similarly, the Gross Non-Performing Assets (GNPAs) rose to Rs. 35,245 crore at December end 2016 from Rs. 30,134 crore in the previous quarter.
♦ A bailout is a situation in which a business, an individual or a government offers money to a failing business to prevent the consequences that arise from the business’s downfall. Bailouts can take the form of loans, bonds, stocks or cash.
♦ IDBI Bank is an Indian government-owned financial service company, formerly known as Industrial Development Bank of India,
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai
♦ CEO: Kishor Kharat
♦ Founded: 1964
Dena Bank Unveils RFID-Enabled Cards For Better Customer Service
i. Dena Bank has unveiled a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) enabled banking card on February 23, 2017 at its Mumbai branch.
ii. The RFID card will help the branch manager to identify a valued customer entering the bank having RFID card by displaying the complete information about that customer on the managers desktop.
iii .The facility will help the bank branch to take better care of the client’s requirement and offer the services promptly.
iv. Once the customer with RFID Card leaves the bank branch with his work completed, the system will again capture the client’s exit and indicate transaction as completed on manager desktop.
v .The system will provide the basic information regarding the waiting time taken by customer in the branch and the time customer spent in completing the transactions and other details of his transactions.
vi. The RFID card is being introduced in select branches of Dena bank with the first branch with RFID enabled technology has been launched at the Dena Bank JVPD branch, Mumbai.
♦ Founded: 26 May 1938
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Chairman and Managing Director: Ashwani Kumar
UBI ties up with IRCTC to launch railway booking facility
i. Public sector banks United Bank of India (UBI) has signed agreement with Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation(IRCTC) for railway ticket booking facility.
ii. This new facility was available from February 21 2017
iii. Now UBI customers can now book railway tickets seamlessly through IRCTC website using the bank’s debit card.
♦ Headquarters: Kolkata
♦ Founded: 1950
♦ MD & CEO: Pawan Kumar Bajaj
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Vivek Chaand Sehgal, Chairman Motherson Sumi Systems Named EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016
i. Vivek Chaand Sehgal, Chairman of auto parts maker Motherson Sumi Systems Ltd, has been named as the Indian Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 by consulting firm, EY formerly known as Ernst & Young.
ii. Sehgal will now represent India at the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year Award in Monte Carlo from June 7-11 2017 where he will compete with business leaders from around the world.
iii. Besides, Infosys Ltd co-founder Nandan Nilekani was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award for heading the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) for the Aadhaar project.
John-John Dohmen & Naomi Van named Best Hockey Players of 2016 by FIH
i. Belgium’s Hockey Captain and Olympic silver medalist John-John Dohmen was awarded the Best Male Player of the Year Award (2016) by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) at the gala FIH Hockey Stars Awards Ceremony on February 23, 2017 in Chandigarh.
ii. In the Women’s category, Netherlands’ Naomi van As won the International Hockey Federation’s (FIH) Best Female Player of the Year (2016) awards.
61 Cavalry Defeats Army Service Corps to win Army Polo Championship
i. The 61 Cavalry won the Army Polo Championship on February 24, 2017 by defeating Army Service Corps (ASC).
ii .The Army Polo Championship was started on January 31, 2017 and concluded on February 23, 2017 at the Delhi Cantt’s Army Equestrian Centre Polo Ground.
iii. Lt Gen RV Kanitkar, the Quarter Master General, presented the Army Polo Championship Trophy to 61 CAVLARY.
iv. The Championship saw participation from Corps of Artillery, Remount, Veterinary Corps and Armoured Corps.
India Bags All Three Medals At 6th Asian Para-Road Cycling Championship
i .India made historic start at the sixth Asian Para-Road Cycling Championship by winning all the three medals in the 12.8 Km Individual Time Trial on the opening day of the tournament at Bahrain on February 25, 2017.
ii. Abhishek from Chandigarh won the gold medal, Divij Shah from West Bengal won silver and Harinder Singh from BSF bagged the bronze medal.
iii. Total nine members of Indian Para Cycling team are participating in the event under the aegis of Cycling Federation of India.
iv. The players has been trained and sponsored by Aditya Mehta Foundation, Hyderabad.