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Current Affairs Today February 8 2018

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Cabinet Approvals on February 08 2018
On February 7, 2018, Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved following initiatives:
i. Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for ratification of Minamata Convention on Mercury and thereby enabling India to become a Party to the Convention.
ii. Cabinet approves changes in the Major Port Authorities Bill 2016
iii. Cabinet approves DSF Policy Bid Round-II for 60 un-monetised discoveries of ONGC and OIL
iv. Cabinet approves placing the new Instrument adopted by International Labour Organization (ILO)
v. Cabinet approves Implementation of ‘Prime Minister Research Fellows (PMRF)’
vi. Cabinet approves rationalization of Autonomous Bodies under Department of Health & Family Welfare…………………………………………Click here to Read more

Cabinet Approvals with Foreign Countries on February 07 2018
On February 7, 2018, Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved following bilateral agreements.
i. Cabinet apprised of an MoU signed between India and Tunisia for cooperation on Youth matters
ii. Cabinet approves Memorandum of Cooperation between India and USA on Law Enforcement Training
iii. Cabinet approves signing of India-Australia MoUs for Secondment Programme
iv. Cabinet approves MoU with United Kingdom and Northern Ireland on Cooperation in Skill Development, Vocational Training
v. Cabinet approves Protocol amending DTAA between India, China……………………..Click here to Read more

Defence Minister appoints panel under Vinay Sheel Oberoi to expedite capital acquisition
Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has formed Raksha Mantri’s Advisory Committee on Ministry of Defence (MoD) Capital Projects (RMCOMP) to monitor and expedite capital acquisition projects for modernisation of armed forces.
Raksha Mantri’s Advisory Committee on Ministry of Defence (MoD) Capital Projects (RMCOMP):
i. The Raksha Mantri’s Advisory Committee on Ministry of Defence (MoD) Capital Projects (RMCOMP) is a 13-member advisory committee.
ii. It will carry out independent review and check the status of ongoing important projects worth over Rs 500 crore. It will also recommend methods to improve the capital acquisition process.
iii. The committee will review various categories of projects like “Buy” (Indian) and “Buy and Make” (Indian).
iv. This committee will be headed by Vinay Sheel Oberoi, former secretary in the government. Tenure of the committee is till end of August 2018.
v. Members of this committee are: former chairman of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd R K Tyagi, former member of Ordnance Factories Board R K Jain, partner head of KPMG’s aerospace and defence division Amber Dubey and special advisor of Ernst & Young LLP R Anand.
vi. The committee will submit initial status report on identified projects to the defence minister by 31 March 2018. It will submit two follow-up corrective Action Taken Reports by 30 April and 31 July 2018.
About Ordnance Factories Board (OFB):
♦ Headquarters – Kolkata
♦ Director General Ordnance Factories & Chairman, OFB – S. K. Chourasia

South Central Railway becomes 1st rail zone with 100% LED lighting at stations
On 7th February 2018, South Central Railway (SCR) announced that, it has become the first railway zone in India to achieve 100 % LED lighting at every station under its jurisdiction.South Central Railway becomes 1st rail zone with 100% LED lighting at stationsSouth Central Railway becomes 1st rail zone with 100% LED lighting at stations:
i. South Central Railway (SCR) chief public relations officer M Umashankar Kumar  said that, SCR has become the first zone in Indian Railways to accomplish 100 % LED lighting in all 733 stations under its jurisdiction.
ii. He also said that, this LED lighting facility would save 32 lakh units of electrical energy amounting to Rs 2.7 crore per year.
About South Central Railway (SCR):
♦ Formed – 1966
♦ Divisions – Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Guntakal, Guntur and Nanded

Karnataka panel proposes 3-colour official state flag
Karnataka committee to analyse possibility of a separate flag for the state has submitted a report, suggesting an official three-coloured flag to replace an unofficial two-coloured flag currently in use.
Karnataka panel proposes 3-colour official state flag:
i. In June 2017, Karnataka’s Kannada and Culture department appointed a committee to study the possibility of having a separate flag for Karnataka.
ii. The committee was headed by G S Siddaramaya, chairman of Kannada Development Authority.  
iii. This committee has recommended a flag in yellow and red colour, with white colour in the middle containing the state symbol.
iv. Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that, this matter will be forwarded for consideration by Karnataka cabinet. Then it will be referred to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for clearance.
v. If this flag is approved by MHA, Karnataka will be the second state to have an official flag after Jammu and Kashmir. Karnataka has an unofficial state flag since 1960s.
Some of the dams in Karnataka:
♦ Tungabhadra Dam – Tungabhadra River
♦ Krishna Raja Sagara Dam – Kaveri River
♦ Linganamakki Dam – Sharavathi River

NHAI to Launch Pilot Project “Pay as You Use” Tolling on Delhi-Mumbai Highway
National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is launching a pilot project on Delhi Mumbai national highway to analyse the feasibility of “Pay as you use” tolling system in India.NHAI to Launch Pilot Project “Pay as You Use” Tolling on Delhi-Mumbai Highway
Pay as you use:
i. The pilot project includes developing a satellite based electronic toll collection system that works on GPS/GSM technology for nearly 500 commercial vehicles on the Delhi Mumbai national highway. This project will be carried out for 1 year.
ii. It will work using mobile telecommunications technology (GSM) and the satellite-based Global Positioning System (GPS).
iii. This system will deduct money from a vehicle account and credit money to the concessionaire in 1 day and open the toll gate.
iv. In case of transaction failure, toll operator will be alerted and money will be collected manually before opening the gate.
v. This project will also try to integrate the new system with the FASTag program. It will also compare distance based tolling and the existing tolling system, and also virtual tolling with normal tolling.
About National Highways Authority of India (NHAI):
♦ Purpose – Development and maintenance of National Highways
♦ Chairman – Deepak Kumar


Prince Charles launches education impact bond for India
Britain’s Prince Charles has launched 10-million-dollar Development Impact Bond (DIB) with an objective to help improve education for over 200000 children in India.
Details about Development Impact Bond (DIB):
i. DIB is the latest fundraising initiative by the British Asian Trust (BAT) and is considered as the largest bond of its type in South Asia.
ii. BAT has launched this bond with the support of the United Kingdom Government’s Department for International Development (DfID), Comic Relief, the Mittal Foundation and the UBS Optimus Foundation.
iii. Funds raised through DIB will be provided to selected local not-for-profit entities in India over four years period for delivering a range of operational models including direct school management, principal and teacher training and supplementary programmes.
iv. Primary school students from marginalised communities in India will be the direct beneficiaries of these activities.
Quick Facts about British Asian Trust:
♦ Founded in – 2007
♦ Founded by – A group of British Asian business leaders at the suggestion of Prince Charles
♦ Focus Areas – Education, Health and Livelihoods

THE World University Rankings 2018: More Indian Universities in Asia’s Top 200
Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay are the only two Indian institutions to feature among Top 50 educational institutes in Asia in TIMES Higher Education (THE) World University Ranking’s. THE World Rankings 2018 - More Indian Universities in Asia’s Top 200THE World University Ranking – Asian Universities:
i. Among Indian institutes, Indian Institute of Science (IISc) ranked highest at 29th.
ii. IISc is followed by IIT, Bombay at 44th.
iii. Total 17 institutes from India featured in the list this year.
iv. Interestingly, although number of Indian institutes featuring in the list has increased, rank of many institutes has dropped as compared to last year.
v.National University of Singapore has been adjudged as Asia’s top university for the third consecutive year.
vi. With 89 universities featuring in the list, Japan is the most-represented nation.

Bermuda becomes first country in world to repeal same-sex marriage
On 7th February 2018, Bermuda has become the first country in the world to legalise and then repeal same-sex marriage, as Legislation replacing same-sex marriage with domestic partnerships was signed by Governor John Rankin.Bermuda becomes first country in world to repeal same-sex marriageBermuda becomes first country in world to repeal same-sex marriage:
i. Now, couples in a registered domestic partnership will have equivalent rights as those in heterosexual marriage. This also includes the right to make medical decisions on behalf of their partner.
ii. The same-sex marriages that were done in Bermuda in the in-between period, when they were legalized by a court order in May 2017 and then repealed, are recognized by the new law.
About Bermuda:
♦ Monarch – Elizabeth II
♦ Governor – John Rankin

India ranks 44 out of 50 nations in Global IP Index; US tops the list
On 8th February 2018, India has ranked 44 out of 50 countries in the international Intellectual Property (IP) index released by the US Chambers of Commerce.
International Intellectual Property (IP) index:
i. As per the annual report of Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) of the US Chambers of Commerce, India’s overall score has increased from (8.75 out of 35) last year to 30 per cent (12.03 out of 40) in the latest edition.
ii. India ranked 43rd out of 45 countries last year and this year it ranks 44 out of 50 countries.
iii. The Index is topped by the US with 37.98 points. Second position is occupied by United Kingdom with 37.97 points and third spot by Sweden with 37.03 points.
iv. This report studies the intellectual property (IP) climate in 50 countries based on 40 indicators like patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secrets protection.
About United States Chamber of Commerce (USCC):
♦ President and CEO – Thomas J. Donohue
♦ Location – Washington, D.C.


RBI to link base rate with MCLR from April 1
From April 1, 2018, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will link the base rate for loans given by banks to the Marginal Cost of Funds based Lending Rates (MCLR).
Details about Compulsory Migration to MCLR:
i. MCLR system was introduced by RBI on April 1, 2016 to avoid the problems of the Base Rate regime.
ii. MCLR is the minimum interest rate of a bank, below which it cannot lend. It serves as an internal benchmark for the bank. Interest rate on corporate and retail loan products is fixed above this rate.
iii. As compared to base rate, MCLR is more sensitive to changes in key policy rates made by RBI. It increases or decreases in tandem with policy rates.
iv. Even after nearly two years since introduction of MCLR, large portion of corporate and retail loan portfolio of banks have still not migrated to MCLR regime.
v. Due to this, RBI received several complaints from borrowers that they did not get any benefit/or got only partial benefit, when RBI had resorted to cutting policy rates in the past.
vi. Thus by linking Base Rate to MCLR, banks will mandatorily have to pass the benefits of rate cuts to borrowers.

IndusInd Bank launches Sonic Identity
IndusInd Bank launched its new Sonic Identity – MOGO, a musical logo, as a part of branding initiatives taken by the bank.IndusInd Bank launches Sonic IdentityIndusInd Bank launches MOGO:
i. The Sonic Identity has been introduced by IndusInd Bank to build its brand image through music and sound for brand experiences and audience connection.
ii. This music piece was developed by Rajeev Raja, Founder of brandmusiq. The musical logo is named MOGO™ (short for musical LOGO).
iii. MOGO™ is a short, 4 note piece of 2-3 seconds. Surrounding this there is a longer (90 second piece) called the MOGOSCAPE™.
iv. The sonic identity will be used in ATMs, net banking, mobile apps, TV, radio, social media etc. It has also introduced games and contests to attract users. It has also created a microsite to highlight the importance of sonic identity.
About IndusInd Bank:
♦ Chairman – R.Seshasayee
♦ CEO – Romesh Sobti


Rear Admiral Mukul Asthana takes over as Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Air)
Rear Admiral Mukul Asthana has been appointed as the Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Air) at New Delhi.
Rear Admiral Mukul Asthana – Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Air):
i. Mukul Asthana was commissioned in the Executive Branch of Indian Navy in 1986. He commanded INS Rajali from August 2009 to December 2010. He commanded the 21 Mine Counter Measure Squadron and the Guided Missile Destroyer INS Rana.
ii. He has held positions like Command Aviation Officer at Headquarters Eastern Naval Command Visakhapatnam, Chief Staff Officer (Air) at Headquarters Naval Aviation, Goa and Principal Director Naval Air Staff at the Naval Headquarters, New Delhi.
iii. He was elevated to Flag rank in January 2016. He is a recipient of the prestigious Nausena Medal, Tenzing Norgay National Award etc. He was involved in the commands of INS Nashak, INS Tarangini etc.
About Indian Navy:
♦ Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) – Admiral Sunil Lanba
♦ Motto – May the Lord of the Water be auspicious unto us

Bangladesh elects Abdul Hamid as president for second consecutive term
On 7th February 2018, Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid was re-elected unopposed for another five-year term.Bangladesh elects Abdul Hamid as president for second consecutive termBangladesh elects Abdul Hamid as president for second consecutive term:
i. Abdul Hamid has been re-elected as Bangladesh President for a second 5 year term  as no one else contested for the President post. Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda made this announcement.
ii. The Awami League had nominated Abdul Hamid as Presidential candidate. Abdul Hamid is 74 years old. He was first elected as President of Bangladesh in 2013. He has 60 years of experience in politics.
Presidents of various countries:
♦ Afghanistan – Ashraf Ghani
♦ Albania – Ilir Meta
♦ Algeria – Abdelaziz Bouteflika

Hardayal Prasad appointed as SBI Card MD & CEO
On 5th February 2018, Hardayal Prasad was appointed as Managing Director and CEO of SBI Card.
Hardayal Prasad – Managing Director and CEO of SBI Card:
i. Hardayal Prasad replaces Vijay Jasuja. Vijay Jasuja retired on 31st January 2018. Hardayal Prasad’s appointment as MD and CEO came to effect from 1st February 2018.
ii. Hardayal Prasad joined State Bank of India in 1983 as a Probationary Officer. He has worked in various locations in different circles and countries. He has vast experience in many areas of banking.
About State Bank of India (SBI):
♦ Chairman – Rajnish Kumar
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai


Jhulan Goswami 1st woman in the world to take 200 ODI wickets
On 7th February 2018, India’s Jhulan Goswami became the first female cricketer to score 200 ODI (One Day International) wickets.Jhulan Goswami 1st woman in the world to take 200 ODI wicketsJhulan Goswami 1st woman in the world to take 200 ODI wickets:
i. Jhulan Goswami made this record at the second ODI against South Africa in the ICC Women’s Championship at Kimberley, South Africa.
ii. She is 35 years old. She hails from Nadia district of West Bengal. She started her cricketing career in 2002.
iii. It was her 166th ODI. She dismissed opener Laura Wolvaardt and gained her 200th ODI wicket.
iv. She also became the highest wicket-taker in women’s ODIs in May 2017. She has won ICC Women Cricketer of the Year in 2007.
v. The first male cricketer to get 200 ODI wickets was India’s Kapil Dev.
About International Cricket Council (ICC):
♦ Purpose – international governing body of cricket
♦ CEO – David Richardson


Ex-BJP chief of Arunachal Kangir Jamoh passes away
On 7th February 2018, Kangir Jamoh, former president of BJP Arunachal Pradesh unit, died after a long time illness, at a hospital in Guwahati, Assam.
Death of Kangir Jamoh:
i. Kangir Jamoh was also president of Adi Baane Kebang, a high level body of the Adi tribe. He was president of BJP Arunachal Pradesh unit from 1998 to 2003.
ii. He was 67 years old. He is survived by his wife, three sons and two daughters.
Some wildlife sanctuaries in Arunachal Pradesh:
♦ Talley Valley Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Kamlang Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary

Kathakali maestro Madavoor Vasudevan Nair passes away
On 6th February 2018, Kathakali maestro Madavoor Vasudevan Nair died while he was performing on stage, at Agasthyacodu Mahadeva Temple, Anchal, in Kerala.Kathakali maestro Madavoor VasDeath of Madavoor Vasudevan Nair:
i. Madavoor Vasudevan Nair collapsed during a stage performance. He was taken to a hospital where he was declared dead. He was 89 years old.
ii. He was the principal of the Kalabharathi performing art institute. He had received various awards like Padma Bhushan, Sangeet Nataka akademi award and Kerala Kalamandalam award.
iii. He is a native of Madavoor in Thiruvananthapuram. He is survived by his wife Savithri Amma, son Madhu, and daughters Mini and Ganga.
Some wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala:
♦ Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary