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- Current Affairs 2017 February
Suresh Prabhu flagged off the first Antyodaya clan of trains
Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu flagged off the fourth Humsafar clan of trains and first Antyodaya clan of trains through video conferencing from Rail Bhawan on February 27, 2017
1.Sri Ganganagar – Tiruchirappalli Humsafar Express (Weekly) (via Krishnarajapuram, Pune, Ahmedabad)
2.Ernakulam – Howrah Antyodaya Express (Weekly) (via Salem, Katpadi, Visakhapatnam)
He also launched the New Catering Policy 2017:
New partnership in Parcel Business with Department of Post and New Catering Policy 2017.
i. The new policy will replace the seven year old policy and has separated food production and food distribution. The policy has been finalised after consultation with all stakeholders.
ii. The onboard catering responsibility has been given to the IRCTC for majority of trains, including all the new ones, while the food will be prepared at state-of-the-art base kitchens.
iii. Railway catering policy-2017 also empowers the IRCTC to fix menu and tariff in consultation with Railway Board.
iv. Stringent guidelines have been incorporated in the policy to set up base kitchens at major junctions and also to restrict IRCTC from outsourcing private licensees outright.
v. According to the new policy 33 percent sub-quota would be provided for women in allotment of stalls at all stations to achieve the social objective.
vi. The new policy envisages that tenure of stalls shall be of five years only. The new policy also encourages e-catering system.
India & Ukraine to strengthen bilateral cooperation through Cinema
i. Minister for Information & Broadcasting M Venkaiah Naidu and Member of the Parliament of Ukraine and Chairman of the National Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine Mr. Iurii Artemenko have agreed to strengthen the bilateral cooperation between the two countries through the medium of Cinema in New Delhi on February 27, 2017
ii. The cooperation would be helpful to showcase films through the medium of Film Festivals and utilizing the Film Facilitation Office platform established by India.
iii. The possibility of translating programs and content and providing subtitles in respective languages of both the countries was also discussed with respect to the Public Broadcasters of both the countries.
♦ Capital: Kiev
♦ Currency: Ukrainian hryvnia
♦ President: Petro Poroshenko
Goa ranks first in having lesser infant mortality rate
i. According to the recent data, infant mortality rate in the country has been registered at 42 deaths of kids per 1000 births while Puducherry was having 11 deaths of children per 1000 babies born said by Director of Health and Family Welfare Services K V Raman on February 27, 2017.
ii. Top 3 states : Goa ranked first, followed by Kerala and Puducherry
iii. Puducherry government hospitals had necessary infrastructures to address the health issues of young children including cardiac surgeries.
iv. The that Union Territory is operating a Medical Relief Society through which assistance was also available to patients to get specialist treatment for critical ailments.
Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) :
♦ The infant mortality rate (IMR) is the number of deaths of infants under one year old per 1,000 live births. This rate is often used as an indicator of the level of health in a country.
Haryana Launches Online Sex Ratio Monitoring System For Panipat
i. The state government of Haryana has set up an online system called the Sex Ratio Monitoring Dashboard to monitor the sex-ratio in Panipat district as part of the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ programme.
ii. The system will have the data of child sex-ratio collected from all villages by the Health and Women and Child Welfare Departments every month.
iii .It will also include the data about the critical villages where more attention was required regarding child sex-ratio and important steps needed to be taken to tackle the problem.
iv. The dashboard had been developed in association with National Informatics Centre (NIC) as a pilot project. It would act as an effective tool for better coordination between the Health Department and the Women and Child Welfare Departments.
Haryana is bordered by Punjab and Himachal Pradesh to the north, Rajasthan to the west and south. The river Yamuna defines its eastern border with Uttar Pradesh. Haryana surrounds the country’s capital Delhi on three sides, forming the northern, western and southern borders of Delhi.
♦ Governor: Kaptan Singh Solanki ♦ Capital: Chandigarh
♦ Chief Minister: Manohar Lal Khattar ♦ Largest city: Faridabad
Iran and Russia Agrees Roadmap to Jointly Produce Nuclear Fuel
i. Russia and Iran have agreed a roadmap to jointly produce nuclear fuel. The announcement was made by the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation (AEOI), Ali Akbar Salehi on February 25, 2017.
ii. A preliminary agreement with Russia on the joint production of nuclear fuel was reached during the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the major world powers in 2015.
iii.Besides, Iran also plans to buy 950 tonnes of uranium ore (yellow cake) from Kazakhstan over the next three years which is part of Iran’s international nuclear deal known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
iv. Nearly 650 tons of the yellow cake shipment will arrive in Tehran directly in two batches of shipment during two years. The remaining 300 tons of this shipment will arrive in Tehran over the third year.
v. The JCPOA is an international agreement reached in Vienna on July 14, 2015 between Iran with the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council: China, France, Russia, Britain, the US plus Germany and the European Union.
vi. Under the agreement Iran agreed to scale back its nuclear activities to a considerable degree in return for the lift of international sanctions.
♦ Capital: Tehran
♦ Currency: Iranian rial
♦ President: Hassan Rouhani
2017 Mobile World Congress (MWC) Begins in Barcelona
i. The 2017 Mobile World Congress (MWC) began in Mobile World Capital Barcelona on February 27, 2017 and will conclude on March 2, 2017.
ii. MWC is the world’s largest gathering for the mobile industry, organised by the GSMA. The global tech industry gathers to get participate in new smartphone launches, VR and AR developments, chipsets and wearables.
iii. The GSMA Mobile World Congress is a combination of the world’s largest exhibition for the mobile industry and a conference featuring prominent executives representing mobile operators, device manufacturers, technology providers, vendors and content owners from across the world.
iv. Some of the leading industry participating in the event includes BlackBerry, Motorola, Google, Nokia, HTC, Huawei, LG, Samsung, Sony, ZTE among others.
v. During the event, Nokia re-introduced the iconic Nokia 3310 handset in a new design along with the Snake game at the Mobile World Congress (MWC). Besides, it also re-launched Nokia 5 and 3.
Australia and Indonesia Restore Full Military Ties
i. Australia and Indonesia restored their full military ties on February 26, 2017 during the visit of Indonesian President Joko Widodo to Australia to boost ties with the country.
ii. The announcement was made by Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Earlier in January 2017, Indonesia’s military suspended cooperation with Australia after insulting training material was found at a special force’s base in the west Australian city of Perth.
iii. The material allegedly ridiculed Indonesia’s founding principles known as Pancasila, and its military.
iv .The two nations agreed for full restoration of defense cooperation, training exchanges and activities. Both were also committed to concluding a free trade deal in 2017.
v. The two leaders also witnessed the signing of an agreement on maritime cooperation that includes strengthening maritime security and border protection as well as combating crime and improving efficiency of shipping.
♦ Capital: Canberra ♦ Capital: Jakarta
♦ Currency: Australian dollar ♦ Currency: Indonesian rupiah
♦ Prime minister: Malcolm Turnbull ♦ President: Joko Widodo
BANKING & FINANCE
Government Issues Sovereign Gold Bonds 2016-17-Series IV
The Government of India launched the 7th tranche of the Sovereign Gold Bonds on February 27, 2017 and it will be the last offering for 2016-17.The Sovereign Gold Bonds 2016-17–Series IV will be issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on behalf of Government of India.
♦ Applications for the bond will be accepted from February 27, 2017 to March 03, 2017 and the Bonds will be issued on March 17, 2017.
♦ The Bonds will be sold through banks, Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited (SHCIL), designated post offices, National Stock Exchange of India Limited and Bombay Stock Exchange.
Features of the Bond
i. The bonds will be issued in denominations of one gram of gold and multiples thereof and be available in both demat and paper form.
ii .Minimum investment in the bonds shall be 1 gram per person while maximum limit of 500 grams per person per fiscal year.
iii. Price of the bonds shall be fixed in Indian rupees on the basis of simple average of closing price of gold of 999 purity as published by the India Bullion and Jewellers Association Limited (IBJA) for the week preceding the subscription period. The issue price shall be Rs 50 per gram less than the nominal value.
iv. The bonds shall bear a fixed interest rate of 2.50 percent per annum on the amount of initial investment.
v. Payment shall be accepted in Indian rupees through cash up to a maximum of Rs 20,000 or demand drafts or cheque or electronic banking.
vi .The holding period of the bond has been fixed for a period of 8 years. Pre-mature redemption of the bond is also permitted from 5th year of the date of issue on the interest payment dates.
Sovereign Gold Bond
♦ Sovereign Gold Bonds (SGBs) are government securities which are denominated in grams of gold. They are issued as a substitute for holding physical gold.
♦ The SBG scheme was launched in November 2015. It provides investors a choice to diversify portfolio without the need to buy the metal in physical form.
♦ The investors have to pay the issue price in cash and the bonds will be redeemed in cash on maturity.
SIDBI sanctions Rs.1,112 crore this Fiscal to Startups
i. An expert committee set up by SIDBI, Venture Capital Investment Committee (VCIC) has sanctioned Rs 300 crore to fund managers who would invest in startups, thus taking the total sanctions in 2016-17 to over Rs 1,100 crore.
ii. In its 7th meeting on the February 11, VCIC examined requests from 11 fund managers and cleared sanction requests from 9 Funds aggregating Rs 300 crores.
iii .SIDBI’s VCIC comprises of former Infosys CFO Mohandas Pai, former Nasscom chief Kiran Karnik, Indian Angel Network Founder Saurabh Srivastava, Founder ofInfo EdgeSanjeev Bikhchandani, among others..
iv. During fiscal year 2014-15 sanctions were made to 11 funds (Rs 314 crores) while in 2015-16 sanctions were made to 16 funds (Rs 607 crores).
v. During the current financial year, till date Rs 1,112 crores has already been sanctioned to 30 funds
Small Industries Development Bank of India
♦ Small Industries Development Bank of India is an independent financial institution aimed to aid the growth and development of micro, small and medium-scale enterprises in India.
♦ Founded: 2 April 1990
♦ Headquarter: Lucknow
♦ CEO: Dr. Kshatrapati Shivaji
Apollo Munich and Dena Bank Enters Into Bancassurance Tie-Up
i. In order to expand its business across the country, Apollo Munich Health Insurance Company has tied up with Mumbai-based Dena Bank on February 27, 2017 to provide its insurance product to the large customer base of the bank.
ii .Under the tie-up the bank will distribute customised Apollo Munich Health insurance and personal accident policies to the bank’s 20 million customers across India.
iii. Apollo Munich Health has also developed specialised health insurance solutions with distinctive benefits exclusively for Dena Bank customers.
iv .The health insurance policies will be available in the form of individual, as well as family floater plans beginning with Rs. 2 lakh up to a limit of Rs. 10 lakhs.
v .The customized, comprehensive plan will include benefits such as in-patient hospitalization, pre and post hospitalization, daycare procedures, domiciliary treatment, Ayush benefit and various customer friendly features.
vi. Based on the type of insurance chosen by the customer, an equal amount of Personal Accident cover would also be offered under the plan.
Apollo Munich Health Insurance Company Ltd
♦ Apollo Munich Health Insurance Company Ltd. is a private sector health insurance company in India. It is a joint venture between the Apollo Hospitals group and Munich Health.
♦ CEO: Antony Jacob
♦ Founded: 2007
♦ Founded: 26 May 1938
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Chairman and Managing Director: Ashwani Kumar
Paytm Unveils Online Shopping App Paytm Mall
i .Leading E-Commerce firm, Paytm launched its new application on Android under the name Paytm Mall and a website called paytmmall.com on February 27, 2017.
ii. The Paytm Mall app aims to offer a combination of the Mall and Bazaar concepts to Indian consumers for online shopping.
iii. Paytm Mall will focus on structured categories and brand authorised stores. It will also be focusing on electronics, top fashion brands and FMCG categories.
iv. Paytm Mall would also have a section called Paytm ‘Bazaar’ that will focus on fashion, home furnishing and goods from small sellers.
v. Paytm Mall will feature 68 million products across categories such as fashion, electronics, consumer durables and home furnishings from about 140,000 sellers.
vi. Only trusted sellers passing strict quality guidelines and qualification criteria will be allowed on the ‘Mall’.
vii. Paytm Mall is an One97 Communications entity in which Alibaba will own more than 40 percent stake and making way for direct entry into the local online retail market.
HPE Ties with Tata Communications to Roll-Out its LoRa Network
i. American IT MNC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has announced its partnership with Tata Communications on February 27, 2017 at the World Mobile World Congress 2017 organized in Barcelona.
ii. Under the partnership, Tata Communications will support Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to roll-out its Internet of Things platform, “the LoRa network”.
iii. Tata Communications will also provide HPE with a range of domestic and cross-border IoT connectivity and management services particularly for applications requiring elements of mobility, such as connected cars, fleet management and transportation services.
iv .LoRa is a wireless communication technology dedicated to the Internet of Things (IoT) / Machine to Machine (M2M) communications network. The network under LoRa technology would require low-power, be secure, bi-directional which organisations can use to connect objects.
v. The first phase of the project is set to be launched in Tier 1, 2, 3 and 4 cities in India covering over 400 million people. Tata Communications plans to expand the LoRa network to 60 cities by the end of 2017.
vi. It would connect devices, applications and other IoT solutions over the LoRa network in smart buildings, campus, utilities, fleet management, security and healthcare services in nearly 2,000 communities.
Tata Communications Limited
♦ Tata Communications Limited is a global Telecom company of Indian business conglomerate Tata Group. The company’s infrastructure includes sub-sea, terrestrial communications networks, data centers and it provides fixed line and wireless services.
♦ CEO: Vinod Anand Kumar
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Complete List of the 89th Academy Award (Oscar Award)
i. The 89th Academy Awards commonly referred to as Oscar took place on February 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles.The award presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), honored the best films of 2016 in 24 categories.
ii. La La Land won the most number of awards at the ceremony totaling to six after being nominated into 14 categories.
iii. It was followed by Arrival and Moonlight with each being nominated in eight categories.
iv. Mahershala Ali won the Academy Award for best supporting actor for his portrayal of a drug dealer in Moonlight. With this he became the first Muslim to be nominated and awarded a golden statuette for acting.
Kohli named captain of the year at ESPNcricinfo Awards
i. Indian international cricketer Virat Kohli has named as the ‘Captain of the Year‘ at the 10th annual ESPNcricinfo Awards.
ii. Kohli led India to nine wins out of 12 Tests in the year 2016.
|‘Captain of the Year||Virat Kohli|
|Test Batting Performance of the Year||Ben Stokes|
|Test Bowling Performance of the Year award||Stuart Broad|
|ODI Batting Performance of the Year||Quinton de Kock|
|ODI Bowling Performance of the Year award||Sunil Narine|
|T20 Batting Performance of the Year award||Carlos Brathwaite|
|T20 Bowling Performance of the Year award||Mustafizur Rahman|
|Batting Performance of the Year award||Hayley Williams|
|Bowling Performance of the Year award||Leigh Kasperek|
ESPNcricinfo awards :
♦ The ESPNcricinfo awards honour the best batting and bowling performances across the international formats of the game in the preceding calendar year.
♦ This year ESPNcricinfo introduced awards for women’s cricket across all three international formats.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Birender Singh Yadav concurrently accredited as the Ambassador of India to the Republic of Togo
i. Birender Singh Yadav has been concurrently accredited as the Ambassador of India to the Republic of Togo, with residence in Accra (Ghana).
ii. Yadav is presently working as the High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Ghana
♦ Capital: Lomé
♦ Currency: CFA franc
Kabir Bedi appointed honourary brand ambassador of Sightsavers
i. India’s most famous international actors Kabir Bedi was appointed as the honourary brand ambassador of Sightsavers India to prevent avoidable blindness by RN Mohanty, CEO of Sightsavers on February 17, 2017
ii. Kabirs’s association would help the organisation towards a focused journey with amplified impact in the coming days.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
ZTE launches world’s first 5G IT baseband unit (BBU) in partnership with Intel
i. Chinese multinational telecommunications equipment company ZTE made an announcement that it has launched a next generation 5G IT baseband unit (BBU). The announcement was made at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona on 26 February 2017.
ii. ZTE has partnered with Intel Corporation for this technology. The architecture of this technology has been provided by Intel. This is the world’s first software-defined network (SDN) or network function virtualisation (NFV) 5G radio access network (RAN) solution.
iii. This IT BBU is compatible with all 2G, 3G and 4G platform. It also supports cloud-radio access networks (C-RAN) and distributed-RAN (D-RAN). These technologically advance feature makes a space for future development. Due to the highly advanced algorithms and mechanisms used in the system, the energy consumption will also be reduced.
iv. The Chinese smartphone giant ZTE also unveiled first Gigabit phone at MWC which is capable of achieving download speeds of up to 1 Gbps.
♦ ZTE Corporation, commonly shortened to ZTE, is a Chinese multinational telecommunications equipment and systems company. ZTE operates in three business units: carrier networks, terminals and telecommunication.
♦ Headquarters: Shenzhen, China
♦ Founded: 1985
Pests Destroys 35% of India’s Total Crop Yield: ICAR scientist
i. As per the data by Indian Council of Agricultural Research scientists, over 30-35 percent of the annual crop yield in India is destroyed because of pests.
ii. Among these pests, the major threat to the crops in India is posed by nematodes which have caused loss to about 60 million tonnes of crops annually or 10-12 percent of crop yield each year.
iii. The huge crop loss is having an adverse effect on the agricultural bio-safety as it forms a vital portion of Indian food security.
iv. The researcher cited that Potato Cyst Nematode, a particular kind of nematode had affected plants such as potatoes and tomatoes. It was first discovered in the Nilgiris and had now spread to various parts of the country.
♦ Nematodes are microscopic worms consisting of roundworms, threadworms and eelworms, many of which are parasites.
♦ Nematodes have successfully adapted to nearly every ecosystem from marine (salt water) to fresh water, to soils, and from the polar regions to the tropics, as well as the highest to the lowest of elevations.
♦ Depending on the species, a nematode may be beneficial or detrimental to plant health. Some nematodes kills garden pests while other attacks plants.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Outclasses Frenchman Lucas Pouille to win 2017 Open 13
i. Second-seeded French tennis player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeated his fellow mate Lucas Pouille 6-4, 6-4 to win the finals of Open 13 Marseille in France on February 26, 2017.
ii. This was his 14th career title at the indoor event and 2nd title of the year 2017. Earlier on February 20, 2017 he won the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam by defeating David Goffin.
iii. With this win, the 11th-ranked Tsonga has climbed 4 spots in the ranking to be placed in the top 10 at number 7.
iv. Besides, for Tsonga it was his ninth victory in a row and his 3rd Open 13 Marseille title. He claimed the Open 13 Marseille title in 2009 and 2013 as well.
Kalinga Lancers beat Dabang Mumbai to Clinch Maiden Hockey India League
i. Bhubaneswar-based team Kalinga Lancers beat Dabang Mumbai 4-1to win their maiden Hockey India League title in Chandigarh Hockey Stadium on February 26, 2017.
ii. Kalinga Lancers captain Moritz Fuerste from Germany converted two penalty corners in the 30th minute and 58th minute while Australian forward Glenn Turner struck a field goal in 18th minute.
iii. Kalinga Lancers were rewarded prize money worth Rs 2.5 crore and the runners-up received Rs 1.25 crore.
iv. Earlier, Kalinga Lancers defeat Uttar Pradesh Wizards via penalty shootout in the semi-finals 4-3 to enter the finals.
v. Fuerste Moritz was awarded as the ‘Man of the Match’. Last year Kalinga Lancers lost in finals to Jaypee Punjab Warriors
Former Union Minister P Shivshankar Passes Away
Former Union Minister P. Shiv Shankar passed away in Hyderabad on February 27, 2017. He was 89
About P.Shivshankar :
i. Shivshankar contested the by-election to the Secunderabad Lok Sabha constituency in 1979 on the Indian National Congress party ticket for the first time
ii. He won the election and went on to retain the seat in 1980 too. He became Law Minister in the Indira Gandhi Cabinet in 1980.
iii. He represented the Congress as Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat from 1985 to 1993
iv. He has served as External Affairs and Human Resource Development Minister. He first became Governor of Sikkim in 1994 and later was shifted to Kerala in 1995.
v. In 1998, he won on the Congress ticket from the Tenali Parliamentary constituency, defeating Telugu actor Sharada of the Telugu Desam Party.
vi. In 2004, he developed differences with the Congress high command and levelled allegations about the selection of candidates. After lying low for some time, in 2008 he joined the Praja Rajyam Party floated by actor Chiranjeevi.