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Current Affairs Today February 25 2018

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Govt. ropes in IIFT, ICAI for improving ‘Doing Business’ ranking
Union Commerce and Industry Ministry has appointed four institutes, to interact with stakeholders and suggest measures to push up India’s ranking in ease of doing business index.
i. Four institutes that have been roped in for this purpose are Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), National Institute of Construction Management and Research (NICMAR) and Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI).
ii. These four institutes will ascertain views of stakeholders on the parameters which determine the ranking on the ease of doing business index and will share the same with concerned ministries.
iii. ICAI would ascertain views on ‘taxes’ parameter. ICSI and IIFT would look into ‘starting a business’ and ‘trading across borders’ parameters respectively, while NICMAR would get feedback on ‘dealing with construction permits’.
iv. In context of this news, it is important to note that in Budget speech, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that Government has identified 372 action points to improve ease of doing business.
About ‘Ease of Doing Business’ Index:
♦ Prepared by: World Bank (since 2003)
♦ Parameters: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.
♦ India’s Rank in latest Ranking: 100 out of 190 countries
♦ Indian Government’s Target: To figure within top 50 in the coming years

PM Modi Launches Amma 2 Wheeler Scheme in Tamil Nadu
On February 24, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Launched ‘Amma’, subsidised 2 Wheeler Scheme for working women in Tamil Nadu.PM Modi Launches Amma 2 Wheeler Scheme in Tamil NaduAbout Amma 2 Wheeler Scheme:
i. This scheme was launched to mark 70th birth anniversary of Jayalalithaa , the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
ii. Under ‘Amma’ 2 Wheeler Scheme, every year, one lakh working women in Tamil Nadu will be given 50% of the cost of a two- wheeler or a grant of Rs. 25000.
iii. PM Modi launched this scheme in presence of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami.
iv. On February 24, 2018, PM Modi also launched a drive to plant 70 lakh tree saplings in Tamil Nadu.
Quick Facts about Tamil Nadu:
♦ Capital – Chennai
♦ Current Governor – Banwarilal Purohit
♦ Current Chief Minister – K Palaniswami
♦ Important National Park – Mudumalai National Park

15th edition of BioAsia 2018 held in Hyderabad
15th edition of BioAsia, the annual flagship event of the Government of Telangana, was held from 22nd – 24th February, 2018 in Hyderabad.
Highlights of BioAsia 2018:
i. BioAsia is a preeminent technology and bio-business convention in Asia for Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and healthcare which brings together all the national as well as international stakeholders of Pharma and Life Sciences sector.
ii. Theme of BioAsia 2018 was “RIGHT TIME, RIGHT NOW” focusing on strategies to keep up with pace of change and innovative ways to develop new models for distribution & healthcare delivery.
iii. The event was attended  by 1500 delegates from over 55 countries.
iv. Ireland, Netherlands and South Africa were the International Partners while Gujarat, Assam and Rajasthan were the partner states for this event.


Saudi Arabia hosts its first ever jazz festival in Riyadh
On 22nd to 24th February 2018, Saudi Arabia conducted the Groovz Jazz Festival, its first ever jazz festival, at the Riyadh Intercontinental Hotel, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.Saudi Arabia hosts its first ever jazz festival in RiyadhGroovz Jazz Festival:
i. The Groovz Jazz Festival was conducted for 3 days. Nearly, 2,000 people attended this festival.
ii. The concert was organized by Time Entertainment. A divided seating arrangement was provided separately for men and women. Family areas were also provided.
iii. Both local and international artistes performed at the festival. Bands from Riyadh, Beirut and New Orleans performed at the festival.
iv .Apart from musical performances, food trucks, a vintage car display etc. were also featured in the Groovz Jazz Festival.
Some stadiums in Saudi Arabia:
♦ King Fahd International Stadium – Riyadh
♦ King Abdullah Sports City Stadium – Jeddah
♦ King Abdul Aziz Stadium – Mecca


State Bank of India set for UK restructuring
State Bank of India (SBI) will be undertaking a major restructuring of its business in the United Kingdom (UK) from April 2018.
i. From April 1, 2018, SBI’s UK operations will operate as SBI’s subsidiary under the name of State Bank of India UK Limited.
ii. This transformation has been planned in order to comply with specific capital requirement norms of Bank of England (the Central Bank of UK).
iii. Post transformation, all retail branches of SBI in the UK will function under a new UK-incorporated banking entity. Currently, the status of SBI branches in UK is that of overseas branches of the Indian entity.
iv. SBI has 12 retail branches in UK, out of which, 7 are located in London.
Quick Facts about State Bank of India (SBI):
Renamed in – 1955
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Current Chairman – Rajnish Kumar


EESL Signs MoUs of Rs 3,730 Crore Projects in Andhra Pradesh
On February 24, 2018, government-run Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) signed memorandum of understanding (MoUs) with Andhra Pradesh State Government to invest Rs 3730 crore in the state.
More Information about EESL – Andhra Pradesh Government MoU:
i. The MoUs envisage supply of 10000 electric cars and 4000 chargers to various departments of Andhra Pradesh through Non-conventional Energy Development Corporation of Andhra Pradesh Limited (NREDCAP). 
ii. Other MoUs were related to supply of approximately 17 lakh smart energy meters to two power distribution companies in Andhra Pradesh viz. – Andhra Pradesh Eastern Power Distribution Company Ltd. (APEPDCL), and Andhra Pradesh Southern Power Distribution Company Limited (APSPDCL).
iii. MoU for  establishment of small solar PV-based power projects in phases was also signed.
iv. These MoUs were signed in presence of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and EESL Managing Director Saurabh Kumar during the course of CII Partnership Summit in Visakhapatnam.
Quick Facts about EESL:
♦ Launched in – 2009
♦ Formed by – Union Ministry of Power
♦ Joint Venture of – NTPC Limited, Power Finance Corporation, Rural Electrification Corporation and POWERGRID

Government Slaps Anti-Dumping Duty on Ceramicware from China
In a bid to protect domestic producers, India has imposed anti-dumping duty on import of ceramic tableware and kitchenware from China.Government Slaps Anti-Dumping Duty on Ceramicware from ChinaAnti-Dumping Duty on Ceramicware from China:
i. The anti-dumping duty has been imposed by Revenue Department in the Union Finance Ministry based on a probe by Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD), in response to allegations by All India Pottery Manufacturers Association (AIPMA) and the Indian Ceramic Society.
ii. Ceramic tableware and kitchenware shipped in from China will attract  Anti-dumping duty of USD 1.04 per kg for a period of five years starting from June 2017.
iii. A protectionist tariff imposed by domestic government on below-cost foreign imports, to protect domestic producers is referred to as anti-dumping duty.

Tamil Nadu Govt, Microsoft tie-up to accelerate cloud technology adoption
On February 23, 2018, Tamil Nadu State Government announced an agreement with Microsoft to improve the integration of technology in teaching and learning across the state.
Details about Tamil Nadu Govt. – Microsoft tie-up:
i. The agreement aims at reforming education, build tech capacity and enhance digital literacy across all levels.
ii. As per the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will adopt seven schools identified by Tamil Nadu State Government and will train their teachers and students in inculcating skills such as critical thinking, app development, creative coding & gaming, robotics and entrepreneurship.
iii. All educators in primary, secondary, vocational and tertiary education across Tamil Nadu will be offered Microsoft Innovative Educator Program.
iv. Besides, Microsoft will also train and provide a digital literacy certification to District Education Officers (DEOs) in Tamil Nadu.
Quick Facts about Microsoft:
♦ Founded in – 1975
♦ Headquarters – Washington, US
♦ Current CEO – Satya Nadella


BNP Paribas acquires ABN Amro’s Luxembourg unit
French international banking group BNP Paribas has announced that it is acquiring the Luxembourg-based wealth management and insurance business of ABN Amro.BNP Paribas acquires ABN Amro’s Luxembourg uniti. BNP Paribas has stated that this acquisition is part of its efforts to improve private banking assets in Europe.
ii. This acquisition is expected to help BNP Paribas to strengthen its position not just in Luxembourg, but in the expanding worldwide wealth market.
iii. Post the sell-off of Luxembourg unit, ABN Amro will focus on investing in and integrating its existing wealth management business.
Quick Facts about BNP Paribas:
♦ Functioning as BNP Paribas since – 2000
♦ Headquarters – Paris, France


DRDO successfully carries out test flight of indigenous Rustom-2 drone
On February 25, 2018, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully flew its Rustom 2, a medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle, at its Aeronautical Test Range at Chalakere in Chitradurga district of Karnataka.
More Information about Rustom 2:
i. Rustom 2 or TAPAS-BH-201 has been developed by India on the lines of the American Predator drones, which are used by the United States Air Force (USAF) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) not just for aerial reconnaissance but also for offensive operations.
ii. Rustom 2 is a combat aerial vehicle as it can not only conduct sustained surveillance but can also carry weapons.
iii. It can fly for 24 hours at stretch.
Quick facts about DRDO:
♦ Formed in – 1958
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Current Chairman – S Christopher


New plant species from West Bengal named after former President Abdul Kalam
Indian scientists have discovered a new plant species named “Drypetes kalamii” in Jaldapara and Buxa National Parks in West Bengal.New plant species from West Bengal named after former President Abdul KalamDrypetes kalamii:
i. Drypetes kalamii was discovered by the scientists of Botanical Survey of India. It is a small shrub. It grows up to a length of 1 metre.
ii. This new plant has been named after former President of India Abdul Kalam. This finding has been published in the journal Phytotaxa.
iii. This new species is seen in wet, shaded areas of subtropical moist semi-evergreen forests, at an altitude of 50-100 m.
iv. It bears pale yellow flowers in clusters and produces bright orange to red fruits. Scientists have declared this plant species as “Critically Endangered”.
About International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN):
♦ Headquarters – Gland VD, Switzerland
♦ Director General – Inger Andersen


Parupalli Kashyap wins Austrian Open International Challenge (badminton)
On 25th February 2018, India’s Parupalli Kashyap won the men’s singles title of the Austrian Open International Challenge, in Vienna, Austria.
Parupalli Kashyap wins Austrian Open International Challenge:
i .Parupalli Kashyap defeated Malaysia’s June Wei Cheam 23-21 21-14 in the men’s singles final and won the Austrian Open International Challenge.
ii. This is Parupalli Kashyap’s first international title in more than three years. He is a former National badminton champion.
About Badminton World Federation (BWF):
♦ President – Poul-Erik Høyer
♦ Headquarters – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Aruna Budda Reddy becomes 1st Indian to win individual medal at Gymnastics World Cup
On 24th February 2018, Aruna Budda Reddy became the first Indian gymnast to win an individual medal at the Gymnastics World Cup by bagging a bronze medal in the women’s vault event, in Melbourne, Australia.Aruna Budda Reddy becomes 1st Indian to win individual medal at Gymnastics World CupAruna Budda Reddy – 1st Indian to win individual medal at Gymnastics World Cup:
i. Aruna Budda Reddy scored 13.649 in the women’s vault event and finished in the third position. She won the bronze medal in the women’s vault event.
ii. Slovania’s Tjasa Kysslef won gold medal and Australia’s Emily Whitehead won silver medal. Another Indian woman Pranati Nayak scored 13.416 and finished in the sixth position.
iii .Aruna Budda Reddy will also participate in the final round of the floor event on 25th February 2018. India’s Rakesh Patra finished in the fourth position in the men’s rings event.
iv. Aruna Budda Reddy is 22 years old. She hails from Hyderabad. She is a former black belt and a Karate trainer.
v. A total of 16 countries are taking part in the Gymnastics World Cup in Melbourne.
About Gymnastics World Cup 2018:
♦ Dates – 22 – 25 February 2018
♦ Location – Melbourne, Australia


RSS founder member Bhanu Shashtri dies
On 24th February 2018, Bhanu Kumar Shashtri, founder member of Bharatiya Jana Sangh and former MP, passed away after a long term illness in Udaipur, Rajasthan.
Death of Bhanu Kumar Shashtri:
i. Bhanu Kumar Shashtri was 93 years old. He was chairman of the Khadi Board.
ii. He also became an MP from Udaipur. Bharatiya Jana Sangh was the political arm of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
About RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh):
♦ Founded – 1925
♦ Founder – Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewa

Veteran Actress Sridevi passes away
On 24th February 2018, Bollywood star Sridevi died due to cardiac arrest in Dubai.
Death of Sridevi:
i. Sridevi was 54 years old. She had been to Dubai with her family to attend her nephew’s wedding.
ii. Her family and fellow actors are in shock due to her sudden death. She was a versatile and renowned actress.
iii. She started her career as a child artiste in a Tamil movie in 1969. Later, she acted in several Tamil movies. She had also acted in other South Indian languages like Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada.
iv. She made her Bollywood debut in 1978 and had acted in numerous films afterwards. She was awarded Padma Shri award in 2013.
About Sridevi:
♦ Born – 13 August 1963 in Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu
♦ Occupation – Actress


Central Excise Day – February 24
On 24th February 2018, Central Excise Day was observed all over India.Central Excise DayCentral Excise Day:
i. The Central Excise Day is celebrated every year on 24th February to mark the enactment of the Central Excise and Salt Act, 1944.
ii. This day is celebrated by conducting seminars, workshops, trade interactions, cultural events etc. organized by Central Excise officers across India.
iii. This day is celebrated to encourage the excise department employees to perform their duties in a better manner and honour their contributions.
About Central Board of Excise and Customs:
♦ Chairman – Mrs. Vanaja N. Sarna
♦ Functions under – Ministry of Finance
♦ In Union Budget 2018-19 it was announced that the name of Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) will be changed to Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC)