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Current Affairs Today February 28 2018

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High-level committee approves Rs 6000 crore for disaster-hit states
On February 26, 2018, a high level committee chaired by Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh approved a central assistance of around Rs 6000 crore for nine states which suffered from natural calamities during 2017-18.
Central Assistance for States that suffered Natural Calamities:
i. Central assistance from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) amounting to Rs 1055.05 crore for Gujarat, Rs 420.69 crore for Uttar Pradesh, Rs 420.57 crore for Rajasthan and Rs 838.85 crore for West Bengal has been approved by the committee. All these states were affected by floods during 2017-18.
ii. The committee has approved assistance of Rs 1711.66 crore for Bihar, which too was affected by floods during 2017-18.
iii. Assistance of Rs 169.63 crore has been approved for Kerala, which was affected by cyclone Ockhi while Rs 133.05 crore has been approved for Tamil Nadu which too was affected by cyclone Ockhi and North East Monsoon.
iv. Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, which were affected by kharif drought, will receive central assistance of Rs 395.91 crore and Rs 836.09 crore respectively.

Cabinet okays proposal to give focused attention to 12 identified Champion Services Sectors
On February 28, 2018, Union Cabinet approved the Commerce Ministry’s proposal to give focused attention to 12 identified Champion Services Sectors for promoting their development and realising their potential.
i. Focused attention on select Service Sector is necessary as services sector as a whole contributes significantly to India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), exports and job creation.
ii. For this purpose, a dedicated fund of Rs 5000-crore has been set up to support initiatives for sectoral Action Plans of the Champion Sectors.
iii. By deploying this fund for various initiatives, productivity and competitiveness of the Champion Service Sectors will increase which will eventually boost exports from these sectors.
12 identified Champion Services Sectors: Information Technology (IT) & IT enabled Services (ITeS), Tourism and Hospitality Services, Transport and Logistics Services, Medical Value Travel, Accounting Services, Financial Services, Audio Visual Services, Communication Services, Legal Services, Construction and Related Engineering Services, Education services and Environmental Services.

Country’s first Aviation Multi Skill Development Centre launched in Chandigarh
On February 28, 2018, Union Civil Aviation Minister, P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju inaugurated a one-of-its-kind aviation multi skill development centre in Chandigarh.Country’s first Aviation Multi Skill Development Centre launched in ChandigarhMore Information about Aviation Multi Skill Development Centre:
i. This aviation multi skill development centre in Chandigarh is a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative of Airports Authority of India (AAI) and has been set up  by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and the Aerospace and Aviation Sector Skill Council of India.
ii. It is equipped with modern training infrastructure to supplement an industry-relevant course curriculum.
iii. Over the next three years, the centre will train (free of cost) nearly 2300 students in eight aviation job roles.
Quick Facts about Airports Authority of India (AAI):
♦ Founded in – 1995
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Current Chairman – Dr. Guruprasad Mohapatra

Government starts process to build India’s first defence ‘Quad’
Union Defence Ministry has started the process to set up India’s first defence industrial ‘Quad’ (quadrilateral corridor) linking Chennai with four other cities of Tamil Nadu to promote industries manufacturing weapons and military equipments.
Details about India’s first defence ‘Quad’:
i. ‘Quad’ project in Tamil Nadu will connect Chennai with Hosur, Coimbatore, Salem and Tiruchirappalli.
ii. Union Defence Ministry is finalising the broad contours of the project and will soon hire a top consultancy firm to prepare a detailed report.
iii. Officials from Defence Ministry along with representatives from defence PSUs – Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, Bharat Electronics Ltd. and Bharat Earth Movers – will soon start interactions with defence manufacturers in Coimbatore, Salem, Chennai and Tiruchirappalli to take their views on the proposed Quad in Tamil Nadu.
iv. In context of this news, it is important to note that while presenting Union Budget 2018, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced that two defence industrial production corridors will be set up in India to promote domestic defence industry.
v. As announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the other defence industrial corridor will come up in the Bundelkhand region which shall bring an investment of Rs 20000 crore.

Haryana cabinet approves death penalty for rape of victim aged 12 or less
On February 27, 2018, Haryana State Cabinet approved a proposal to bring in legislation for awarding death penalty to those found guilty of raping girls aged 12 years or less.
i. This decision was taken at Haryana State Cabinet Meeting chaired by Chief Minister, Manohar Lal Khattar.
ii. As per the new legislation, individual/s found guilty of rape or gang rape of a girl up to 12 years of age, will be punished with death sentence or rigorous imprisonment of not less than 14 years which may extend to imprisonment for life, that is for remainder period of person’s natural life.
iii. The proposal that has been approved, also contains several amendments in existing criminal laws related to sexual offences. The amendments seek harsher punishments for sexual offences.
Quick Facts about Haryana:
♦ Capital – Chandigarh
♦ Current Governor – Kaptan Singh Solanki
♦ Current Chief Minister – Manohar Lal Khattar
♦ Important National Park – Sultanpur National Park

Indian Railways launch idea competition, SRIJAN to redevelop over 600 stations
On 26th January 2018, ‘SRIJAN’ (Station Rejuvenation through Joint Action), an idea competition, in a move to redevelop nearly 600 major railway stations in India, was announced at MyGov portal.Indian Railways launch idea competition, SRIJANSRIJAN (Station Rejuvenation through Joint Action):
i. SRIJAN (Station Rejuvenation through Joint Action) was launched by Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Limited (IRSDC).
ii. All classes of people from railway passengers to architects, urban planners, engineers can submit their ideas. Last date for submission is 26 March 2018.
iii. Railway Ministry has announced that, the winners will be awarded certificates and good ideas will be considered for implementation in the redevelopment plans for stations.
iv. IRSDC has also launched competitions for logo and tagline at the MyGov portal. Winners of logo and tagline competitions will be awarded Rs 75,000 each. Last date of submission for logo and tagline competitions is also March 26, 2018.
v. An open invitation has been given for all professionals to submit concept master plans for the redevelopment of the railway stations at IRSDC web portal. The last date for submission of entries for stations redevelopment is 9 March 2018.
vi. An ‘Architect-Samvad’ would be held in March 2018 where Minister of Railways will discuss strategy with architects to improve the program.
vii. First round of International Design Competition for Gwalior, Nagpur and Bayappanhalli stations has been finished and second stage will be over by 31.03.2018.
viii. Then, Engineering Procurement Contract (EPC) tenders for the above stations will be invited.
ix. For Chandigarh, Anand Vihar (Delhi), Secunderabad, Bangalore and Pune stations tenders for Integrated Station Management through private parties has been invited.
About Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Limited (IRSDC):
♦ MD & CEO – Mr. S.K. Lohia
♦ Purpose – to develop new stations and redevelop existing Indian railway stations


India ranks 47th on Inclusive Internet Index 2018
India has ranked 47th out of 86 countries on Inclusive Internet Index 2018. This year’s ranking marks a drop of 11 spots as compared 36th rank in 2017.
i. Drop in India’s ranking in Inclusive Internet Index 2018 as compared to previous year has been attributed to low usage and poor quality.India ranks 62nd in Availability, 39th in Affordability, 37th in Relevance and 23rd in Readiness………………………………………….Click here to Read more
Inclusive Internet Index 2018 – Top 5:

Overall RankCountry
3United States
5South Korea

7th meeting of EPG on Nepal-India relations held in Kathmandu
On 24th and 25th February 2018, the seventh meeting of Eminent Persons Group (EPG) on Nepal-India relations was held in Kathmandu, Nepal.7th meeting of EPG on Nepal-India relations held in Kathmandu7th meeting of EPG on Nepal-India relations:
i. Issues like the 1950 Peace and Friendship treaty, trade, environment, border and hydropower were discussed in the meeting.
ii. Nepal coordinator of EPG Dr Bhekh Bahadur Thapa said that, a positive report on the issues discussed in the meeting will be submitted in a few months.
iii. EPG’s next meeting will be conducted in New Delhi. After the meeting, Dr Bhekh Bahadur Thapa and India coordinator of EPG Bhagat Singh Koshiyari said that, a report is being prepared to take bilateral relations to the next level.
About Eminent Persons Group (EPG) on Nepal-India relations:
♦ Formed – February 2016
♦ Purpose – to provide suggestions for updating all existing bilateral treaties and agreements between India and Nepal


India to grow 7.6% in 2018: Moody’s Investors Service
Moody’s Investors Service has stated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is estimated to grow at 7.6% in the calendar year 2018.
India’s Growth Forecast by Moody’s:
i. Moody’s has outlined that Indian economy has started to recover from the negative impact of demonetisation in November 2016 and disruption caused by Goods and Services tax (GST) roll out in July 2017.
ii. Moody’s expects that sentiment in Indian economy will improve on account of measures to stabilise rural economy (announced in Union Budget 2018) and public sector bank recapitalisation plan.
iii. For calendar year 2019, Moody’s has estimated that Indian economy will grow at 7.5%.
iv. In 2018, G20 economies will collectively grow at 3.4 %, up from prior forecasts of 3.2 %.
Quick Facts about Moody’s:
♦ Founded in – 1909
♦ Headquarters – New York, US
♦ Parent Organisation – Moody’s Corporation

EPFO makes online claims must for PF withdrawals above Rs 10 lakh
In a bid to become a paperless organisation, Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has made it mandatory to file online claims for provident fund (PF) withdrawals above Rs 10 lakh.Mandatory online claims for PF withdrawals:
i. Online claims for withdrawals of above Rs 5 lakh under the Employees Pension Scheme 1995 has also been made mandatory.
ii. Claims of only those subscribers will be processed, who have an active universal account number (UAN). Besides, bank account of the subscriber has to be linked and verified in the system before claim settlement.
iii. EPFO currently has more than 5 crore subscribers and manages a corpus of over Rs 10 lakh crore.
Quick Facts about EPFO:
♦ Founded in – 1952
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Central Provident Fund Commissioner – Dr. V P Joy


Roger Federer wins the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year and Comeback of the Year awards at 2018 Laureus Awards
On 27th February 2018, Swiss tennis star Roger Federer won the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year and Comeback of the Year awards at the 2018 Laureus World Sports Awards, in Monaco.Roger Federer wins the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year and Comeback of the Year awards at 2018 Laureus Awards2018 Laureus Awards:
i. Roger Federer had won the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles in 2017. Serena Williams bagged the World Sportswoman of the Year award. She had won her 23rd grand slam in 2017.
ii. List of award winners:

Sportsman of the Year awardRoger Federer (Switzerland; Tennis)
Sportswoman of the Year awardSerena Williams (USA; Tennis)
Team of the YearMercedes-Amg Petronas F1 Team (Germany; Motor Racing)
Breakthrough of the YearSergio Garcia (Spain; Golf)
Comeback of the YearRoger Federer (Switzerland; Tennis)
Sportsperson of the Year with a DisabilityMarcel Hug (Switzerland; Athletics)
Action Sportsperson of the YearArmel Le Cleac’h (France; Sailing)
Best Sporting Moment of the YearChapecoense (Brazil)
Sport For GoodActive Communities Network (UK, Ireland, South Africa)
Sporting InspirationJ. J. Watt (USA)
Exceptional Achievement AwardFrancesco Totti (Italy)
Lifetime Achievement AwardEdwin Moses (USA)

About 2018 Laureus World Sports Awards:
♦ Date – 27 February 2018
♦ Location – Monaco
♦ Host – Benedict Cumberbatch


PNB appoints A K Pradhan as Group Chief Risk Officer
A K Pradhan has been appointed as the Group Chief Risk Officer of Punjab National Bank (PNB).
i. Mr. Pradhan was earlier holding the post of a General Manager.
ii. Although the functions and responsibilities of the Group Chief Risk Officer have not been disclosed by PNB, the decision for this appointment seems to be in wake of Rs 12700 crore fraud unearthed at one its branches.
iii. In response to the PNB fraud, Union Finance Ministry has asked all the state-owned banks to scrutinise all their non-performing accounts (NPAs) of over Rs 50 crore for possible fraud and report it Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
iv. Besides, state-owned banks have also been asked to come up with a pre-emptive risk mitigation action plan within 15 days to check recurrence of frauds.
Quick Facts about PNB:
♦ Founded in – 1894
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Current MD & CEO – Sunil Mehta
♦ Tagline – ‘The name you can bank upon’

Sudhir Tripathy appointed as Jharkhand Chief Secretary
Additional Chief Secretary Sudhir Tripathi has been made the new chief secretary of Jharkhand.Sudhil appointed as CS of JharkhandSudhir Tripathy – Jharkhand Chief Secretary:
i. Sudhir Tripathy replaces Rajbala Verma as Jharkhand Chief Secretary. Rajbala Verma retired from his position on 28th February 2018.
ii. Sudhir Tripathy is a 1985 batch IAS (Indian Administrative Service) Officer. He was the Additional Chief Secretary in the state health department.
Some wildlife sanctuaries in Jharkhand:
♦ Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Hazaribag Wildlife Sanctuary


CMFRI to launch e-com portal and mobile app “marinefishsales” for fishermen
Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) has developed a multivendor e-commerce website and mobile app named ‘marinefishsales’ to help fishermen sell their products and marine catch directly to the customers.
i. The website and mobile app were developed under the National Innovations on Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) project of CMFRI.
ii. This has been done in a move to increase the income of coastal community. CMFRI acts as an administrator for the multi-vendors and consumers interacting through the portal.
iii. Fishermen and fish farmers who are willing to sell their products online can form Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and register on the platform.
iv. The vendor profiles, order status and sales will be monitored by CMFRI. The SHGs can update their stock availability and this will be displayed on both the website and the app.
v. Customers can order either cleaned or raw fish, from the available farmers or fishermen groups. Current only cash-on-delivery mode of payment is available.
vi. Fishermen and fish farmers will be guided to form self-help groups by a team lead by Dr N Aswathy, senior scientist of CMFRI.
vii. CMFRI will manage the eligible self-help groups to maintain the quality of fish.
About Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI):
♦ Director – Dr. A. Gopalakrishnan
♦ Headquarters – Kochi, Kerala

Union Health Ministry launches Viral Load test for People Living with HIV/AIDS
On 26th February 2018, J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, launched the ‘‘Viral Load testing for all People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV),” initiative.Union Health Ministry launches Viral Load test for People Living with HIV AIDSViral Load testing for all People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV):
i. This initiative will offer free of cost viral load testing for 12 lakh people living with HIV/AIDS on treatment in India at least once a year.
ii. J P Nadda said that, regular viral load testing will improve utilization of 1st line regimens. This in turn will prevent drug resistance and increase the life time of people living with HIV.
iii .He also launched the National Guidelines for HIV-1 Viral Load Laboratory Testing, National Operational Guidelines for Viral Load Testing, Standard Operating Procedure for HIV-1 Quant Assay with CBNAAT and Guidelines on Quality Monitoring System for Outsourced Viral Load Tests.
About Ministry of Health and Family Welfare:
♦ Minister of Health – Jagat Prakash Nadda
♦ Ministers of State for Health – Faggan Singh Kulaste and Anupriya Patel


Best-selling British novelist Penny Vincenzi dead at 78
On 25th January 2018, Penny Vincenzi, a popular British novelist, passed away.
Death of Penny Vincenzi:
i. Penny Vincenzi was 78 years old. Cause of her death and other details were not revealed. She started her career as a journalist.
ii. In 1989, she published her first novel “Old Sins”. She has published nearly 17 novels and two story collections. In 2017, she published her last book “A Question of Trust”.
About Press Trust of India (PTI):
♦ Chairman – Viveck Goenka
♦ Head Office – New Delhi

Kanchi seer Jayendra Saraswathi passes away
On 28th February 2018, Kanchi acharya Sri Jayendra Saraswathi died after suffering from breathing problems, at a hospital in Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu.Kanchi seer Jayendra Saraswathi passes awayDeath of Jayendra Saraswathi:
i. Jayendra Saraswathi was 82 years old. He was the 69th head of the Kanchi mutt.
ii. He was considered one of the most influential spiritual leaders of his time. He was born in Irulneeki village of Tiruvarur district, Tamil Nadu in 1935. He became the head of the Kanchi mutt in 1994.
Some National Parks in Tamil Nadu:
♦ Mukurthi National Park
♦ Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park
♦ Guindy National Park

Former SC Judge Ratnavel Pandian passes away
On 28th February 2018, S Ratnavel Pandian, former Supreme Court judge, died following a short term illness in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
Death of S Ratnavel Pandian:
i. S Ratnavel Pandian was 89 years old. He was Supreme Court judge in the 1988 to 1994 period.
ii. After his retirement from Supreme Court, he served as chairperson of the National Commission for Backward Classes.
iii. He hailed from Thirupadaimarudur village in Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu. He was born on 13 February 1929.
iv. He was an advocate for 17 years. In 1971, he was appointed State Public Prosecutor in the High Court of Madras. In 1974, he was promoted as a judge. He served as the acting Chief Justice of the Madras High Court twice.
Some wildlife sanctuaries in Tamil Nadu:
♦ Kanyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary (GSWS) also known as Srivilliputhur Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Cauvery North Wildlife Sanctuary


National Science Day – February 28
On 28th February 2018, National Science Day was celebrated all over India.National Science DayNational Science Day:
i. National Science Day is celebrated all over India every year, to mark the discovery of the Raman effect by Indian physicist Sir CV Raman on 28th February 1928.
ii. Sir CV Raman was honoured with the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930. Raman effect denotes the inelastic scattering of a photon by molecules which are excited to higher vibrational or rotational energy levels.
iii. National Science Day was first celebrated on 28 February 1987. National Science Day is celebrated to highlight the importance of science in daily life.
iv. On this day, students and research institutes display their science and research projects. The theme for National Science Day 2018 is“Science and Technology for a sustainable future.”
About Sir CV Raman:
♦ Born – 7 November 1888
♦ Field – Physics