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Govt body sets up mechanism for tech transfer to small-scale industries
Union Science and Technology Minister, Harsh Vardhan has stated that Government has set up a mechanism in the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for regular interface with small-scale industry (SSI) for transfer of technologies from CSIR laboratories to industries.
Information about mechanism for tech transfer to small-scale industries:
i. A nodal officer has been appointed in CSIR, tasked with the responsibility to coordinate with the small-scale industry and the CSIR labs for appropriate technology required by them.
ii. This decision has been taken in response to concerns raised by leaders of Laghu Udyog Bharati that there was a “disconnect between CSIR and the small-scale industries and it should be addressed”.
iii. SSI sector holds lot of significance within Indian economy, as it is the largest employment provider, next to agriculture and contributes almost 40% of the gross industrial value.
Quick Facts about Laghu Udyog Bharati:
♦ Functioning since – 1994
♦ Type – Registered all India organization of Micro and Small Industries
♦ Membership – Spread across more than 400 District of India
First-ever Pelican Bird Festival held at Atapaka Bird Sanctuary
On 4th February 2018, ‘Pelican Bird Festival-2018’ was held at the Atapaka Bird Sanctuary on Kolleru Lake, in Andhra Pradesh.Pelican Bird Festival-2018:
i. The Pelican Bird Festival-2018 was jointly organised by the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Authority (APTA) and Krishna district administration.
ii. Andhra Pradesh Tourism minister Bhuma Akhila Priya and Krishna District collector B Lakshmikantham inaugurated the Pelican Bird Festival-2018.
iii. A rally was organized from Kaikaluru town to Atapaka bird sanctuary during the festival. Thousands of artists, students and officials of the tourism department participated in the rally.
iv. A musical night was also arranged as a part of the Pelican Bird Festival. Various film stars took part in the musical night.
About Andhra Pradesh Tourism:
♦ Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Tourism, Telugu Language and Culture – Bhuma Akhila Priya
♦ Director – Tourism, Government of Andhra Pradesh – Himanshu Shukla
Ministry of Railways signs MoU with Ministry of Ayush to augment Ayush services in Railway hospitals
On February 6, 2018, Ministry of Railways signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Ministry of Ayush in New Delhi to scale up Ayush services in Railway’s Zonal hospitals.
Details about Ministry of Railways – Ministry of Ayush MoU:
i. As per the MoU, Ayush Services will be augmented at B. R. Singh Hospital (Kolkata) in Eastern Railway, Perambur Railway Hospital (Chennai) in Southern Railway, Central Hospital (New Delhi) of Northern Railway, JR Hospital (Mumbai) in Western Railway and the Central Hospital of Northeast Frontier Railway (Guwahati).
ii. The MoU was signed in presence of Minister of State of Railways – Manoj Sinha, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for AYUSH – Shripad Yesso Naik, Minister of State of Railways – Rajen Gohain and Chairman of Railway Board – Ashwani Lohani.
iii. Logistics and infrastructure including land & building, equipments, furniture, AYUSH medicines and consumables as well as manpower will be provided by Ministry of Railways while Ministry of AYUSH will provide technical inputs for propagating Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) for wellness of Railway employees.
Indian Railways adopts General Conditions of Contract for Services
For the first time, Indian Railways has introduced new General Conditions of Contracts (GCC) for Services.Indian Railways – General Conditions of Contract for Services:
i. GCC for services defines terms & conditions for contractors engaged in service contracts for non-operational areas such as Facilities Management, Housekeeping, Consultancy etc.
ii. Under the new policy of GCC for Services, concepts of Digital Labour Management System and stepped Performance Guarantee in place of Security Deposit, have been introduced for the first time.
iii. As per digital management labour system, a contractor has to compulsorily maintain a data base of all workers including their attendance data and salary details.
iv. The concept of stepped performance guarantee (which replaces Security Deposit) reduces the financial burden on the contractor. However it emphasises service delivery by having a provision of confiscation of part performance guarantee in case of unsatisfactory output.
v. Above stated measures have been recommended by a committee of Executive Directors of Railway Board, that was formed for ushering simplification and improvement of service contracts with an aim to improve the quality of services and service contract management.
BANKING & FINANCE
India FY2019 fiscal deficit to come in at 3.5% of GDP: Report
According to the report by BMI Research, India’s fiscal deficit in financial year 2018-19 is expected to come in at 3.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Fiscal Deficit forecast for 2018-19 by BMI Research:
i. Situation wherein, a government’s total expenditures exceeds the revenue that it generates is referred to as fiscal deficit.
ii. BMI’s projection is higher than Government’s fiscal deficit target of 3.3 per cent of GDP, announced in Union Budget 2018.
iii. BMI has justified its projection by highlighting that as per overall expenditure quantum announced in Union Budget 2018, Indian Government looks keen to promote economic growth during 2018-19, which may reduce its pace of fiscal consolidation.
Quick Facts about BMI Research:
♦ Founded in – 1984 as Business Monitor International
♦ Provides – Macroeconomic, industry and financial market analysis covering 200 countries
♦ Has Presence in – London (UK), New York (US), Singapore, Dubai (UAE) and Pretoria (South Africa)
♦ Parent Organisation – Fitch Group
Assam govt, Ola sign MoU for river taxi service in Guwahati
On February 5, 2018, Assam State Government and cab aggregator Ola entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to pilot an app-based river taxi service in Guwahati.Details about Assam Govt. – Ola MoU:
i. In context of this news, River Taxi refers to machine-operated boats.
ii. The machine operated boats are faster and are considered safer than conventional boats.
iii. As per the MoU, Ola will pilot rivers taxis from Lachit Ghat and Machkhowa in Guwahati to North Guwahati across the river.
iv. River taxis will reduce commuting time between these points to two to five minutes as compared to 45 minutes by road.
Quick Facts about Ola:
♦ Founded in – 2010
♦ Headquarters – Bengaluru, Karnataka
Nepali tea receives int’l trademark after 154-year cultivation
Nepalese tea has finally received its own brand logo or trademark in the international market after 154-year long cultivation.
Brand Logo/Trademark of Nepali Tea:
i. The logo has been developed and registered by National Tea and Coffee Development Board under Nepal’s Ministry of Agricultural Development.
ii. The trademark has an image of mountains with “Nepal Tea: Quality from the Himalayas” written below it. It will be formally unveiled during the 3rd International Tea Festival in Nepal in March 2018.
iii. Nepali tea producers, who were so far using respective companies names or logos for exporting tea, would now sell the tea in international market with a common logo, representing their national identity.
iv. Tea cultivation is spread across 27688 hectares of land in 44 districts of Nepal. It has been exporting tea to various countries including India.
Quick Facts about Nepal:
♦ Capital – Kathmandu
♦ Currency – Nepalese Rupee
♦ Current Prime Minister – Sher Bahadur Deuba
♦ Neighbouring Countries – India and China
Google launches #SecurityCheckKiya campaign to protect data, devices
On February 5, 2018, Google launched a public initiative “#SecurityCheckKiya” to create awareness around Internet safety and to protect young and first-time web users from account hijacking, safeguard Android devices from malicious mobile applications and secure their personal data.More Information about Google’s ‘#SecurityCheckKiya’ campaign:
i. On account of easy access to internet, large number of first time Internet users have now come online.
ii. These users typically lack technical alertness to safeguard themselves in online environment and are thus vulnerable to bad actors and abuse on the web.
iii. Google has made related information available on its homepage and is encouraging users to take the first step of Security Check on Safer Internet Day (February 6).
iv. Users have been advised to use “Google Security”, “Google Play protect” and “Find My Device” app in order to ensure basic level security for their accounts and mobile devices.
Quick Facts about Google:
♦ Founded in – 1998
♦ Headquarters – California, US
♦ Current CEO – Sundar Pichai
♦ Parent Organisation – Alphabet Inc.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
CSE ranked Top Environment Policy Think Tank in India
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has been ranked the number one environment policy think tank in India.CSE ranked Top Environment Policy Think Tank in India:
i. The ranking was done by The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) of the Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania.
ii. In the world level, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has obtained 16th position. It has improved 2 positions compared to last year.
iii. A research is conducted by TTCSP to study the role played by policy institutes in governments and civil societies.
iv. CSE has ranked 2nd in India and 38th in world-level in the ‘Energy and Resource Policy Think Tanks’ category.
v. CSE has ranked 6th in India and 123rd in the world-level in the ‘Best Independent Think Tanks’ category.
About Centre for Science and Environment (CSE):
♦ Sunita Narain – Director General
♦ Location – New Delhi
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant gets extension till June 30, 2019
On 5th February 2018, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant was given an extension till 30th June 2019.NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant gets extension till 30th June 2019:
i. Amitabh Kant was appointed the Chief Executive Officer of NITI Aayog on 17th February 2016 for a two-year term.
ii. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved extension of Amitabh Kant as CEO of NITI Aayog till 30th June 2019.
iii. Amitabh Kant is a 1980 batch IAS officer of Kerala cadre. Earlier, he was Secretary in Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion.
About NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog:
♦ Chairman – Prime Minister Narendra Modi
♦ Vice Chairman – Rajiv Kumar
Murugappa Group appoints MM Murugappan as executive chairman
On 5th February 2018, Murugappa Group announced that, it has appointed M.M. Murugappan as its executive chairman.
MM Murugappan – Executive Chairman of Murugappa Group:
i. M M Murugappan replaces A Vellayan as Executive Chairman of Murugappa Group. A Vellayan was the executive chairman since November 2009.
ii. Earlier, M M Murugappan was the vice-chairman of Murugappa Group. He is also on the board of Mahindra & Mahindra, Cyient Ltd, IIT-Madras, etc.
iii. As Murugappa Group vice-chairman, M M Murugappan led technology, innovation and environment, health and safety (EHS) initiatives.
About Murugappa Group:
♦ Founded – 1900
♦ Headquarters – Chennai
♦ Executive Chairman – M M Murugappan
Jerome H. Powell sworn in as 16th chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
On 5th February 2018, Jerome H. Powell became the 16th Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, in the United States.Jerome H. Powell – Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System:
i. Jerome H. Powell replaces Janet Yellen. Janet Yellen is the first woman chairman of Federal Reserve in its 100-year history.
ii. Jerome H. Powell has been a member of the Fed board since 2012. He was chosen for this position by US President Donald Trump.
iii. The Senate has approved his nomination as chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for a four-year term. His term as a Fed board member ends by January 31, 2028.
About Federal Reserve System:
♦ Purpose – central bank of the United States
♦ Vice Chair for Supervision – Randal K. Quarles
♦ Headquarters of Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System – Washington, D.C
ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS
Capgemini to buy LiquidHub for about 400 million euros
On 5th February 2018, Capgemini said that, it will acquire LiquidHub to enhance its digital-consulting capabilities in North America.
Capgemini to buy LiquidHub for about 400 million euros:
i. The cost of acquisition is estimated to be nearly 400 million euros. This amount is said to be twice that of LiquidHub’s 2017 revenue.
ii. Capgemini said that, the transaction would be closed in the next 2 months. LiquidHub is a digital technology services company.
About Capgemini Group:
♦ Chairman and CEO – Paul Hermelin
♦ Headquarters – Paris, France
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Nuclear-capable Agni-I missile test fired successful
On February 6, 2018, India successfully flight-tested the indigenously developed Agni-I ballistic missile from a test range off the Odisha coast.About Agni-I missile test:
i. The test involved 18th version of Agni-I and was conducted by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of Indian Army with logistic support from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for a range of about 900 km.
ii. The test was conducted from launch pad-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Abdul Kalam Island in Balasore, Odisha and achieved all parameters within the stipulated time period.
iii. Agni-I which was inducted into service in 2004 is a single stage, surface-to-surface short range ballistic missile (SRBM), powered by solid propellants. It is 15-metres-long and weighs 12 tonnes.
iv. Initially, Agni-I had a strike range is 700 km. It is capable of carrying conventional as well as nuclear payload up to 1000 kg.
v. Agni-I’s last trial was successfully conducted on November 22, 2016 from the same place.
Indian Golfer Shubhankar becomes World No. 72, surpasses Anirban Lahiri
On February 5, 2018, 21-year old Indian golfer Shubhankar Sharma was elevated from 193 to 72, in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR).Golfer Shubhankar’s Accomplishments:
i. Standing at 72nd position in OWGR, Shubhankar is now the highest-ranked Indian in the world surpassing Olympian Anirban Lahiri, who is currently placed 76th.
ii. Shubhankar’s meteoric rise started in December 2017, with his first European Tour win at the Joburg Open.
iii. Joburg Open win catapulted him from 462 to 226. His ranking further improved on account of second European Tour triumph at the Maybank Championship in Malaysia on February 4, 2018.
iv. His last victory placed him in exclusive club of Indians who have achieved two wins in the same European Tour season. Jeev Milkha Singh accomplished this feat in 2006 while Anirban Lahiri did it in 2015.
Five Indian Golfers in OWGR top-200:
London to host new World Cup Event
On 5th February 2018, British Athletics announced that, London will host a new World Cup at the London Stadium on 14th and 15thJuly 2018.
London to host new World Cup Event:
i. The following 8 countries will participate in the new World Cup: Britain, the United States, Poland, China, Germany, France, Jamaica and South Africa.
ii. One male and one female athlete from each country will be selected for every field event and each track race up to 1500 metres.
iii. Total prize money for the event is fixed at $2 million. It will be conducted as a two day event.
About International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF):
♦ Headquarters – Monaco
♦ President – Sebastian Coe
International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation – 6 February
On 6th February 2018, International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation was observed all over the world.International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation:
i. Female genital mutilation (FGM) means removing or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons. This practice is considered as a violation of girls’ and women’s rights all over the world.
ii. UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) and UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) are organizing a world-level programme to eliminate FGM. Its main focus is on 17 African countries.
iii. Nearly 200 million girls and women living at present have undergone FGM. It is mainly practiced in 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East. It is also followed in certain countries of Asia and Latin America.
About UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund):
♦ Executive Director – Dr. Natalia Kanem
♦ Established – 1969
♦ Headquarters – New York City, United States