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FEBRUARY 2019 CURRENT AFFAIRS


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February 2019 month current affairs
 February 1 :
National News :
·       Government Renames DIPP as Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade : The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has been renamed as the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade with a mandate to deal with matters related to start-ups, facilitating ease of doing business among others. The newly-named department under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry will look into matters related to promotion of internal trade, including retail trade, welfare of traders and their employees, facilitating ease of doing business and start-ups.
·       Punjab Government Approves ‘Smart Village Campaign’ Worth Of Rs 385 Crores : The Punjab government approved a rural development scheme worth Rs 384.40 crore to supplement the ongoing works to build village infrastructure and provide essential amenities. Named 'Smart Village Campaign', the scheme would be financed with funds from the 14th Financial Commission and MGNREGA works. The SVC is aimed at improving the condition of rural areas by supplementing the ongoing government schemes for building infrastructure and providing essential amenities.
·       DAC Approves Indigenous Construction of 6 Submarines Worth Rs40000 cr : The Defence Acquisitions Council, DAC chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman approved indigenous construction of six submarines worth 40 thousand crore rupees. It is the second project under the Ministry’s ambitious strategic partnership model aiming to boost the government’s Make in India’ program. DAC has also approved the acquisition of about five thousand MILAN Anti Tank Guided Missiles for the Army.
International News:  
·       2019 Announced As The International Year Of The Periodic Table : The United Nations announced 2019 as the International Year of the Periodic Table of the Chemical Elements to highlight its first publication in 1869. The periodic table was first designed by the Russian scientist Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev. The announcement by the United Nations will help to raise the profile of how chemistry can provide solutions to global challenges in agriculture, education, energy and health. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the first publication of the periodic table by Mendeleev.
Banking/Business/Economy News :  
Interim Budget 2019: Complete Highlights : Finance minister Piyush Goyal will present the Interim Budget for 2019-20 amid heightened expectations that he will announce an income support scheme for distressed farmers who have seen their incomes stagnate because of plunging prices, barely enough to pay for loans and input costs. The budget, the last before April-May Lok Sabha elections, will be keenly watched for cues about the government’s intent on creating jobs, in the face of the latest set of data showing four-decade high unemployment rates, stirring up the political cauldron.
Important Highlights: 
·        Current Fiscal Accounts to be contained to 2.5%.
·        Fiscal deficit has been brought down to 3.4% in FY19.
·        Rs 60,000 crore allocated for MGNREGA under PM gram sadak yojana for a year.
·        Rs 19,000 crore allocated for rural roads under Gram Sadak Yojana.
·        PM Kisaan Samman Nidhi announced at Rs 75,000 crore.
·        Farmers owing 2 hectares land will get Rs6,000 per year.
·        Ayushman Bharat has treated 1 million people so far.
·        22nd AIIMS to come up soon.
·        Gokul Scheme allocation increased to Rs 750 crore.
·        decided to set up ‘Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog’ for implementation of policies and schemes for welfare of cows.
·        For workers and labourers, a new pension scheme will come up to ensure an increase in centre’s contribution by four percent. The pension has been increased from Rs 3,500 to Rs 7,000. Gratuity payment limit has been increased from 10 lakh to 20 lakh.
·        2%- 5 % Interest subvention of farmers struck by natural calamities.
·        For workers who receive grievous injuries, they will now get Rs 6 lakh from Rs 2.5 lakh through EPFO.
·        Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog to be set up.
·        NITI  Aayog to set up a committee to identify Nomadic and semi-nomadic communities
·        Govt launches mega pension scheme for social security coverage of unorganised labour.  Unorganised labour to get Rs3,000 per month after age of 60 under mega pension scheme.
·        Pradhanmantri Shramyogi Mandhan yojna to be launched for poor people with 500cr INR.
·        Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan launched to provide assured monthly pension of 3000 rupees per month, with contribution of 100 rupees per month, for workers in unorganized sector after 60 years of age.
·        Government will set up a national centre for artificial intelligence to look into AI programmes.
·        8 crore free LPG connections under the Ujjwala Yojana has been distributed.
·        Loans worth Rs 7.23 lakh cr have been given under Mudra Yojana.
·        Govt projects to source 25% material from SMEs, 3% from only women-owned SMEs
·        defence budget increases to over Rs 3 lakh crore.  Additional funds for defence  will be provide  if needed
·        Rs 64,587 crore allocated to Railways for FY20. 
·        1 lakh digital villages to be set up soon
·        Railway operating ratio is 96.2 % in FY19 Vs 95% in FY 18
·        allocation for north eastern states increases to 21%.
·        Direct tax collection at 12 lakh Cr INR in FY19 from 6.30 INR Lakh Cr in 2014.
·        Average monthly tax collection in current year under GST is Rs 97,000 crore per month.
·        Anti-black money measures have brought undisclosed income of Rs 1.3 lakh crore back in circulation
·        Allocation for the northeastern region has been proposed to be increased to Rs 58,166 crore
·        Businesses with less than Rs. 5 crore annual turnover, comprising over 90% of GST payers, will be allowed to return quarterly returns
·        All income tax returns will now be processed in 24 hours and refunds issued simultaneously. Within next 2 years, returns chosen for scrutiny will also be done digitally with anonymity.
·        FY22 fiscal deficit target 3 %.
·        18% increase in direct tax collections in 2017-18, 1.06 crore people included in the tax base.
·        Fiscal deficit pegged at 3.4% of GDP for FY20
·        Capital expenditure for FY20 is Rs 3.36 lakh crore
·        FY20 total expenditure seen at Rs. 27.84 trillion.
·        fiscal deficit target as a proportion of GDP – 3.4% for the coming year
·        Rs 56,619 crore made in budget estimate 2018-19 for welfare of SCs and STs, increased to Rs 62,474 crore in revised estimate 2018-19 has been further increased to Rs 76,800 crore in budget estimate 2019-20
·        Announced Tax Exemption for Income upto Rs 5 lakh per Year. 
·        standard deduction limit increased to INR 50, 000 from INR 40,000 earlier
·        TDS threshold on rental income raised from Rs 1,80,000 to Rs 2,40,000
·        No tax on bank interest upto INR 40,000
·        INR 90,000 crore disinvestment target for next  FY.
Highlights of Rural Outreach:
·       Govt to allocate Rs 75,000 crore per year to support farmers’ incomes.
·        Impact of Rs 20,000 crore in current fiscal year.
·        Vulnerable farmers to receive Rs 6,000 per year in three equal installments.
·       Government to allocate Rs 60,000 crore for UPA’s flagship MNREGA in 2019/20.
·       Allocation of Rs 19,000 crore for construction of rural roads in 2019-20
.
·       Ujjivan Small Finance Bank Launches Kisan Suvidha Loan : ‘Kisan Suvidha loan’ for small and marginal farmers has been launched by Ujjivan Small Finance Bank. The scheme will attempt to reach the bottom of the pyramid with products and services. Kisan Suvidha loan can be used by farmers for both agriculture and allied activities. It provides loans to individuals with an amount ranging from Rs. 60000 to Rs. 2 Lakh to fulfill the customized needs of the mass market segment.
·       Paytm Acquired Hotel Booking Platform, Night Stay : Paytm has launched hotel bookings on its platform and acquired Night Stay, which offers deals on last-minute bookings at luxury hotels, as the Alibaba-backed payments and e-commerce company expands its travel business. Paytm plans to invest Rs 500 crore in scaling up its travel operations and has partnered with more than 5,000 hotels across the budget, luxury and business segments
·       3 Public Sector Banks Freed From PCA Framework : Bank of India, Bank of Maharashtra and Oriental Bank of Commerce have been allowed to exit the PCA framework fully. The three lenders were part of 11 government-owned banks put under the framework in 2017 and 2018.  In December, the government had announced a capital infusion of Rs 10,000 crore for Bank of India, Rs 5,500 crore for Oriental Bank of Commerce and Rs 4,500 crore for Bank of Maharashtra, which helped the banks coming out of the framework..
Ranks and Reports:
·       India’s Unemployment Rate Hit 4 Decade High Of 6.1% In 2017-18, NSSO : As per the National Sample Survey Office’s (NSSO’s) periodic labor force survey (PLFS) India’s unemployment rate hit a 45 year high of 6.1% in 2017-18. It is the first comprehensive survey on employment conducted by a government agency after demonetization. Unemployment is higher in urban areas which is 7.8% as compared to 5.3% in rural areas of the country. The unemployment rate is at its highest level as in 1972-73. The rate of jobless rural males rose to 17.4% from 5% and among rural jobless females, the rate became 13.6% from 4.8%.
February 2
Appointments:
·       Sanjiv Ranjan Appointed As The Ambassador of India To The Republic Of Colombia :   Ministry of External Affairs announced that Sanjiv Ranjan has been appointed as new Ambassador to the Republic of Colombia. Ranjan, who is the current Ambassador to Argentina, is expected to take up the assignment shortly. Ranjan who is a 1993 batch Indian Foreign Service officer holds a bachelors in Economics from Delhi University and an M.A. in International Relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University.
·       Yes Bank Senior Group President Pralay Mondal Resigns : Yes bank Senior group President and head of retail and business banking, Pralay Mondal resigned from his post. He will serve his notice until 31st March 2019. Pralay Mondal joined Yes Bank in 2012. The bank recently named Ravneet Gill as its new MD and CEO. Former CEO Rana Kapoor has demitted office and Ajai Kumar will be the interim chief till Gill takes over.
Schemes and Committes:
·       Government Sets Up Committee To Explore Prepaid Payments By Discoms To Generator Companies : On the recommendation of Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, the government constituted a committee under the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) to explore prepaid payments by state electricity distribution companies to power plants. The formed committee, consist of the chairman of distribution companies of Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, and representatives from Union power ministry and power associations to look into problems of delayed payments from distribution companies to power generators.
Sports :
·       Mithali Raj Becomes First Woman To Play 200 ODIs : India captain Mithali Raj has become the first woman cricketer to play 200 ODIs, adding another achievement to her illustrious career. The 36-year-old is also the highest run-getter in ODIs with 6622 runs at an average of 51.33, including 7 hundreds.  Mithali made her ODI debut way back in 1999. She has also played 10 Tests and 85 T20s.
·       Qatar Defeat Japan To Win Their First-Ever Asian Cup Title In Football : Qatar defeated four-time champions Japan 3-1 in the final to win their first ever Asian Cup. Qatar forward Almoez Ali broke the record of most goals in a single Asian Cup after netting his ninth goal. This was the first time that Japan lost in an Asian Cup final.
·       South Korean Footballer Ki Sung-yueng Announces Retirement : Midfielder Ki Sung-yueng has announced his retirement from the South Korean national team. The midfielder though decided to retire after the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia yet decided to compete in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.
·       Vani Kapoor Becomes First Indian To Grab Australian LPGA Card : Golfer Vani Kapoor has become the first Indian to grab Australian Ladies PGA Tour (LPGA) after securing 12th Rank tied with three others in the first-ever qualifying tournament at the Ballarat Golf Club in Australia. Total 81 players participated in the Qualifying tournament out of which top-20 earned the card for LPGA.
·       INS Dronacharya Wins Kochi Area Boat Pulling Regatta 2019 : The INS Dronacharya team won the Regatta trophy in the Kochi Area Pulling Regatta 2019 of the Southern Naval Command (SNC) held in the Ernakulam Channel.  Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) School & Diving School secured the runners up position. The Boat Pulling Regatta is one of the most prestigious and traditional naval sporting activities conducted by the Navy. 
Important Days:
·       World Wetlands Day: February 2 : World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on the 2nd of February to raise global awareness on the value of wetlands for humanity and the planet. The theme of World Wetlands Day 2019 is 'Wetlands and Climate Change'.
Obituaries :
·       Former IIMC Director Hiten Bhaya Passes Away : Former Planning Commission member and ex-director of IIMC Hiten Bhaya passed away in Delhi. Bhaya was 98. Bhaya was a member of the Planning Commission in the Rajiv Gandhi government and had also served as director of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) and chairman of Hindustan Steel.

February 3 & 4
National News:
·       PM Laid Foundation Stone For Various Development Projects in Leh : Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated and laid the foundation stone for various development projects, worth nearly 12,000 crore rupees, at Leh. He laid the foundation stone for a 480 crore rupee Terminal Building at Leh Airport. Mr Modi inaugurated the 9-megawatt Dah hydroelectric project. The Prime Minister also dedicated to the nation the 220 KiloVolt Srinagar-Alusteng-Drass-Kargil-Leh transmission system. Mr Modi also launched the University of Ladakh, the first-ever in the state's region. He also visited Jammu and Srinagar. He inaugurated and laid the foundation stones of various projects, including two new All India Institute of Medical Sciences and 624 MW Kiru Hydroelectric project in Kishtwar.
·       'ICT Academy Bridge 2019' Conference Inaugurated in Tamil Nadu : Dr M. Manikandan, Minister for Information Technology of Tamil Nadu inaugurated 'ICT Academy Bridge 2019' conference in the city that witnessed more than 1,000 participants from government, industry and academia. Organized by ICT Academy, the 37th edition of the conference is the largest Industry-Institute Interaction Event of Asia. The conference was organized under the theme "Fostering India for Industry 4.0". 
·       India-Monaco Business Forum Held in New Delhi : Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu has inaugurated the Indo-Monaco Business Forum in New Delhi. Bilateral trade between India and Monaco in 2017-18 was USD 3.01 million, and there is immense potential to scale up the bilateral trade between the two nations. Monaco is ranked 106th among foreign direct investor in India (since April 2000 to June 2018) with USD 2.51 million FDI equity inflow.
Ranks and Reports:
·       India’s Tourism Sector Registers 19% Growth In 2018 : Union Tourism Minister KJ Alphons has announced that the country’s tourism sector fetched revenue of 234 billion US Dollar in 2018, registering a growth of over 19%. This revenue was contributed by 87% domestic and 13% foreign tourists. He made the announcement at the 2nd ASEAN-India Youth Summit in Guwahati. The country is ranked third in the tourism sector, according to the 2018 report of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).
·       Railways Minister Launched IEA’s 'The Future of Rail' Report : Minister of Railways, Piyush Goyal launched the “The Future of Rail” report of the International Energy Agency (IEA). The Future of Rail is the first-of-a-kind report that analyses the current and future importance of rail around the world through the perspective of its energy and environmental implications. The report reviews the impact of existing plans and regulations on the future of rail and explores the policies that could help to realise an enhanced future of the railways.
Economy News:
·       New e-Commerce Policy Comes Into Effect: All You Need To Know : India’s new e-commerce policy came into effect From February 1, 2019. A new set of policy rules had been formed for the e-commerce companies. Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (previously DIPP) gave them a 60-day window period for aligning themselves to the government’s modified foreign direct investment (FDI) rules.
Important Highlights:
1       Bars online retailers from selling products through vendors in which they have an equity interest.
2. Also bars them from entering into exclusive deals with brands for selling products only on their platforms.
3. All online retailers will be required to maintain a level playing field for all the vendors selling their products on the platform, and it shall not affect the sale prices of goods in any manner.
4. Disallows e-commerce players to control the inventory of the vendors. Any such ownership over the inventory will convert it into inventory based model from marketplace based model, which is not entitled to FDI.
5. The e-commerce retailer shall be deemed to own the inventory of a vendor if over 25% of the purchases of such a vendor are through it.
6. Restricts marketplaces from influencing prices in a bid to curb deep discounting. With this, special offers like cashback, extended warranties, faster deliveries to some brands will be prohibited, with the view to provide a level playing field.
Appointments:
·       Rishi Kumar Shukla Appointed As New CBI Director : Rishi Kumar Shukla, 1983 batch IPS officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre, was appointed as the new chief of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). He will be serving for a fixed term of two years. Shukla's appointment to the post was approved by a high-level committee chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
·       Former Law Minister of Nepal Nilambar Acharya Appointed Country's Ambassador to India : Former Law Minister of Nepal Nilambar Acharya has been appointed as country's ambassador to India.President Bidya Devi Bhandari administered the oath of office and secrecy to Mr Acharya in Kathmandu. He has been appointed on the recommendation of the cabinet. The position of Nepalese ambassador to India was lying vacant after Deep Kumar Upadhyay resigned in October 2017 to join politics.
Important Days:
·       World Cancer Day: 4th February : World Cancer Day is being observed observed globally on 4th February. This year, Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), which organizes World Cancer Day, is launching a new 3-year (2019-2021) campaign with the theme: “I Am and I Will.” 
Sports :
·       Sana Mir Becomes 1st Asian Woman To Play 100 T20Is : Former captain of the Pakistan women team Sana Mir has become tShe achieved the feat when she took the field against West Indies in the third and final T20I in Karachi. he first Asian woman to play hundred T20Is. Mir, 33, is one of Pakistan’s most senior women cricketers and has been representing the country since 2005.
·       Haryana Beat Defending Champions Punjab Royals To Lift PWL 4 Title : Haryana Hammers won the fourth edition of the Pro Wrestling League (PWL) as they outclassed Punjab Royals 6-3 in the summit clash at the Gautam Buddha University indoor stadium, Greater Noida. 
·       Smriti Mandhana Becomes World No.1 Women's ODI Batter : Indian women's cricket team opener Smriti Mandhana has become the top-ranked batter in women's ODI cricket, as per the latest rankings released by the ICC. The 22-year-old moved up three spots in the batters' rankings to reach the top spot. In the 15 ODIs Smriti has played since the beginning of 2018, she has scored two centuries and eight half-centuries.
February 5:
National news:
·       National Road Safety Week Begins : External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari flagged off Suraksha Yatra – a motor car rally from Rajghat in New Delhi to commemorate the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.  he rally will travel through places historically associated with Gandhiji, both in India, as well as in Bangladesh and Myanmar. The flag off was also part of an event to launch the 30th National Road Safety Week.
·       Ministry of Coal Signs an MoU With Ministry of Energy, Poland : Ministry of Coal of India entered into an MoU with the Ministry of Energy, Republic of Poland. The MoU has been signed between Sh. Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary, Minister of State for Coal and Mines and Mr Grzegorz Tobiszowski, Secretary of State, Ministry of Energy, Republic of Poland. The objective of this MoU is to foster relations in the field of coal mining and clean coal technologies through the already established Joint Coal Working Group as well as research institutes and academia between the two countries
·       Kala Ghoda Festival 2019 Begins In Mumbai : The Kala Ghoda festival, India’s largest multi-cultural street festival begins in Mumbai to celebrate its 20 yearsof art and culture through cinema, theatre, dance, literature, and sculpture. Maneck Davar is Chairman of Kala Ghoda Association. The festival hosted the exhibition at the Jehangir Art Gallery to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and some rich history of Mumbai. To underscore KGAF’s two-decade run, the theme for this year is A Measure of Time.
·       ‘Sopan 2019’ Held At New Delhi : The 6-day long music and dance festival 'Sopan 2019', to encourage young artists to take up traditional art took place in New Delhi. It was Organised by Sahitya Kala Parishad and the New Delhi government, in partnership with New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC).
·       Kerala Becomes 1st State To Set Up Price Monitoring And Research Unit : Kerala has become the first State to set up a Price Monitoring and Research Unit (PMRU) to track violation of prices of essential drugs and medical devices under the Drugs Price Control Order (DPCO). The move comes more than five years after the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) proposed such a system for the States and the Union Territories.
·       Shehri Samridhi Utsav Launched Across The Country : Shehri Samridhi Utsav, an initiative of Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA), aims to extend the outreach of Deendayal Antyodaya Mission – National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM), to the most vulnerable, showcase its initiatives and facilitate access of Self-Help Group (SHG) members to the other government schemes. A major highlight of Shehri Samridhi Utsav is theNational Exhibition cum sale of SHG products and National Street Food Festival being organized in New Delhi.
·       ISRO Sets Up Human Space Flight Centre for Gaganyaan Mission in Bengaluru: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) unveiled its Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC) at ISRO Headquarter campus in Bengaluru, Karnataka for its maiden manned space mission 'Gaganyaan'. The space flight centre was inaugurated by K Kasturirangan, former ISRO Chairman. ISRO is gearing up for its maiden manned mission Gaganyaan, which is planned for 2021-end. The plan is to have the first unmanned mission in December 2020 and the second one in July 2021.
Banking/Business/financial News:
·       Two RRBs To Be Merged To Form Tamil Nadu Grama Bank : Two regional rural banks (RRBs) - Pallavan Grama Bank and Pandyan Grama Bank - will be merged to form the Tamil Nadu Grama Bank as per the Finance Ministry notification. The integration will be effective from April 1. The new Tamil Nadu Grama Bank will be under the sponsorship of Indian Bank with head office in Salem. Originally the Pallavan Grama Bank was sponsored by Indian Bank and the Pandyan Grama Bank by Indian Overseas Bank.
·       NBHC Releases Kharif Crop Estimates For The Year 2018-19 : National Bulk Handling Corporation (NBHC) has released Kharif Crop estimation for the year 2018-2019.According to the report, the basmati rice production is expected to decline by 9.24% to 5.18 million metric tonnes. The total oilseeds production is estimated to be 19.87 million metric tonne which is 5.36 % lower as compared to the year 2018. The pulses production is projected to be dropped to 9.10 million tonnes.
·       Swiggy Acquihires Bengaluru-Based AI Startup Kint : Food delivery startup Swiggy has acquihired Bengaluru-based AI startup Kint.io for an undisclosed amount. As part of the deal, Kint.io's founding members Pavithra Solai Jawahar and Jagannathan Veeraraghavan will join the Swiggy team.  Acqui-hiring refers to buying out a company or an entity primarily for the skills and expertise of its staff, rather than for its products or services.
·       ADB Buys 14% Stake In Annapurna Finance : The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has bought a 14% stake in micro-financier Annapurna Finance for Rs 137 crore, reinforcing the belief that India’s microfinance sector is on course to attract long-term funds from global lenders and investors. ADB has backed MFIs to help achieve its broader objective of reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific. The investment by ADB will expand Annapurna’s net worth to Rs 580 crore.
·       Assam Tops In Budgetary Practices Followed By States: Transparency International : Assam occupied the top slot in the ranking of best practices followed by states in the Budget formulation,followed by Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, as per a survey by Transparency International. The survey is based on 4 parameters which include public disclosure, budgetary process, post-budget fiscal management and efforts to make the budget more transparent and citizen-friendly. The states which figured lower in the ranking were Meghalaya, Manipur and Punjab.
·       Fitch Group Arm Projects Fiscal Deficit To Slip To 3.6% In 2019-20 : Fitch Solutions, the research arm of Fitch Group, projected the government's fiscal deficit to overshoot the budgeted target by 0.2% to 3.6% of GDP in 2019-20 fiscal. It stated that 2019-20 Budget appears to show a strong populist bent in the run-up to the General election due by May 2019. Accordingly, Fitch Solutions revised its forecast for the central government fiscal deficit to come in at 3.6% of GDP in FY 2019-20, from 3% previously, which reflects our expectation for a wider fiscal deficit in FY 2019-20 versus FY2018-19.
Appointments:
·       P V Bharathi Appointed As CEO Of Corporation Bank : The former executive director of Canara Bank, P V Bharathi assumed charge as Chief Executive Officer (CEO)of the Corporation Bank. P V Bharati became the first woman CEO of the bank. Bharathi has been executive director of Canara Bank since September 2016 and served as the firm's general manager in the risk management wing. She has more than 37 years of experience in the banking industry. Despite the post of executive director of Canara Bank, she also held the post of non-executive director of Can Fin Homes Limited and also a director board member of Canbank Venture Capital Limited.
February 6:
National News:
·       Maharashtra Sets Up Panel To Review Welfare Schemes For Tribals : The Maharashtra government has set up a committee to review various schemes being implemented for the welfare of tribals in the state. The 17-member committee, headed by former MLA and Shramjeevi Sanghatna president Vivek Pandit, will undertake the study of various works done for providing employment opportunities, minimum wages and proper livelihood to tribals.
·       Transport Minister Launches Highway Projects In Odisha : The Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari laid the foundation stone of three major highway projects with an investment worth Rs 2,345 crores in Odisha. The projects are aimed at ensuring speedy development in the state. The three highway projects are expected to considerably improve connectivity of mineral-rich Angul and Dhenkanal districts with the rest of Odisha. The three national highway projects will have a total length of 132 km.
·       Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) App Launched : Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) App has been launched on Google play store. Ayushman Bharat Yojana or Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) is a centrally sponsored scheme; which was launched in the year 2018, under the Ayushman Bharat Mission of MoHFW in the country. This scheme aims at making interventions in primary, secondary and tertiary care systems, covering both preventive and promotive health, to address healthcare holistically. Moving ahead to digitalisation this app is now available on Google Play store.
·       Punjab Government Constitutes 5 Member Committee To Promote Dairy Farming : Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh announced a high-powered 5-member committee to prepare a comprehensive action plan to boost the dairy sector with the aim of supplementing the income of farmers in a result-oriented manner. The committee would consist of Chairman State Farmers Commission, Director Animal Husbandry,  Director of Dairy Development, a representative of Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU).
Awards:
·        President Presents Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards to 42 for the year 2017: President Ram Nath Kovind presented the Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards for the year 2017 to 42 noted artists in five categories. The awards were presented at a special function held at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi. 10 eminent artistes received awards in the field of music: Lalith J Rao (Hindustani vocal), Umakant and Ramakant Gundecha (Hindustani vocal), Yogesh Samsi (tabla), Rajendra Prasanna (shehnai/flute), MS Sheela (Carnatic vocal), Suma Sudhindra (veena), Tiruvarur Vaidyanathan (mridangam), Shashank Subramanyam (flute), Madhurani and Haimanti Sukla (Sugam Sangeet) and Gurnam Singh (Gurbani).
9 artists were presented awards for their contribution in the field of dance: Rama Vaidyanathan (Bharatanatyam), Shobha Koser (Kathak), Madambi Subramanian (Kathakali), LN Oinam Ongbi Dhoni Devi (Manipuri), Deepika Reddy (Kuchipudi), Sujata Mohapatra (Odissi), Ramkrishna Talukdar (Sattriya), Janmajay Saibabu (Chhau) and Aashit Desai (music for dance).
9 noted artistes were facilitated for their contribution to theatre: They were Abhiram Bhadakamkar (playwriting), Sunil Shanbagh (direction), Bapi Bose (direction), Hema Singh, Deepak Tiwari, Anil Tickoo (acting), Nuruddin Ahmed (stage-craft), Avtar Sahani (lighting) and Shougrakpam Hemanta Singh (Shumang Leela, Manipur).
10 artists received awards for their contribution in the field of traditional art forms including folk and tribal music, dance, theatre, and puppetry: Anwar Khan Manganiyar (Rajasthan), Ramchandra Majhi (Bihar), Parvathy Baul (West Bengal), Saravjit Kaur (Punjab), K C Runremsangi (Mizoram) and Mukund Nayak (Jharkhand) were felicitated for folk music, while Prakash Khandge (folk arts, Maharashtra), Jagannath Bayan (traditional music, Khol, Assam), Rakesh Tiwari (folk theatre, Chhattisgarh) and Sudip Gupta (puppetry, West Bengal), were awarded for traditional, folk, tribal music, dance, theatre and puppetry. Furthermore, Vijay Verma (scholarship) and Sandhya Purecha (overall contribution in dance) were felicitated in the field of performing arts.
·       NFDC Declared Winner For Promotion of SC/ST Entrepreneurs: National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) of India has been selected as Winner under the Miniratna Category (Category II) by Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME). This has been done as part of an endeavour by Ministry of MSME to felicitate select CPSEs to recognize their exemplary work towards promotion of SC/ST entrepreneurs.
Banking News:
·       RBI Slaps Penalty on Syndicate Bank and Axis Bank: The Reserve Bank of India has slapped an Rs1-crore penalty on Syndicate Bank and Rs20 lakh on Axis Bank for violating norms. The penalty on Syndicate Bank is due to non-compliance with the directions regarding frauds and risk management systems. Axis Bank was fined for contravention of the directions on detection and impounding of counterfeit notes and installation of note sorting machines.
Appointments:
·       Dinesh Bhatia Appointed As The Ambassador of India To The Republic Of Argentina : The government has appointed Dinesh Bhatia, the present Consul General, Consulate General of India at Toronto as the next Ambassador of India to Argentina. The MEA stated that present India's envoy to Argentina Sanjiv Ranjan has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Colombia.
Sports News:
·       Ramit Tandon Wins Seattle Open : Indian squash player Ramit Tandon defeated Egyptian Mohamed El Sherbini in the finals to win the Seattle Open, a PSA challenger squash Tour event. The top-seeded Indian, who rose to his career high ranking of 58 in the latest February list, won his first PSA title in the new year and fourth title overall in his career.
Science & Technology News:
·       ISRO Launches GSAT 31 From French Guiana: India’s 40th communication satellite GSAT-31 has been launched successfully from French Guiana. The Ariane-5 rocket lifted off with it from Kourou Launch Base, and in 42-minutes, placed it in the intended Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit. It was immediately taken control by Indian Space Research Organization ISRO scientists from its Hassan facility in Karnataka. GSAT-31 will provide transponder capacity for DTH television and connectivity to services like VSATs for ATMs, stock-exchanges, Digital Satellite News Gathering DSNG and e-governance applications.                                                                                                                     About GSAT 31 in brief: The satellite GSAT-31 has the footprint over both mainland India and her island territories. It has an operational life of over fifteen years, offering seamless services by replacing the ageing INSAT-4CR satellite. GSAT-31 is India’s 40th communication satellite. GSAT-31 had a lift-off mass of 2536 kg.
Obituaries:
·       Veteran Marathi Actor Ramesh Bhatkar Passes Away : Veteran Marathi actor Ramesh Bhatkar passed away aged 70 after battling cancer for over one and a half years. During his career, spanning over 30 years, the actor starred in several Marathi films and television series including 'Aai Pahije' and 'Commander'. The actor also featured in Hindi films like 'The Accidental Prime Minister' and 'Bhavesh Joshi Superhero'.
February 7
National News:
·       India And Germany Join Hands On Water And Waste Management: India and Germany have joined hands for cooperation on Water and Waste Management. During the meeting of 3rd Indo-German Working Group for cooperation on water and waste management which concluded in New Delhi, both sides discussed potential cooperation in this area. Both sides decided to work on developing reference documents for the textile sector, Water Governance, Marine Litter, waste to energy landfill sites, water quality management, training and capacity building of local bodies and Circular Economy.
·       2019 Asia LPG Summit Held In New Delhi : MrDharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister for petroleum and natural gas, inaugurated the 2019 Asia LPG summitin New Delhi. The summit has been organized jointly by the major Indian oil marketing companies (OMCs) Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum together with the World LPG Association (WLPGA) at the Taj Palace Hotel in New Delhi. This is the second edition of the Asia LPG Summit, with the first one having been held in 2017. This two-day event will focus on ‘LPG – Energy for Life.’ India is the 2nd largest consumer of liquified natural gas (LPG) in the world.
·       Indian Coast Guard Signs MoU With AAI For Maritime Search And Rescue: Indian Coast Guard and the Airport Authority of India (AAI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding at Coast Guard Regional Headquarters in Port Blair in the presence of Inspector General Maneesh Vishal Pathak, Commander Coast Guard Region (Andaman and Nicobar Islands) for coordination in the aeronautical and maritime search and rescue operations. The MoU with AAI) is aimed at strengthening mutual interactions, interoperability and validating procedures during conduct of search and rescue operations jointly by the Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) Kolkata, Airport Authority of India (AAI) and Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Port Blair, the PRO of Indian Coast Guard said in a press release.
·       ‘Darwaza Band Part 2’ Campaign Launched by Swatch Bharat Mission Grameen: 'Darwaza Band- Part 2' campaign launched by Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen focuses on sustaining the open defecation free status of villages across the country. Earlier Darwaza Band campaign was launched in 2017. The campaign launched by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation in Mumbai in the presence of actor Amitabh Bachchan.
·       2nd Joint Secretary Level Meeting To Review India-Nepal Trade Treaty Begins: The second joint secretary level meeting to review the India-Nepal Trade Treaty begun in Pokhara, Nepal. The Indian delegation is headed by Bhupinder Singh Bhalla, Joint Secretary (South Asia), Department of Commerce, while Ravi Shankar Saiju, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies is leading the Nepalese side. During the two day meeting, India will respond to Nepal's proposal of updating treaty submitted in the first meeting held in August last year. 
International News:
·       Macedonia Signs Accord To Join NATO: Macedonia signed an accord to join NATO to become the 30th member of the US-led alliance. At a formal signing of the NATO accession protocol, Macedonia’s Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov hailed the moment as showing that the country will never walk alone once in the alliance. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated the admittance of a new member highlighted that all European nations who meet the entrance criteria could join the regional alliance.
Banking/Businees/Finance News:
·       IBA Issued Advisory To Waive Off Various Charges For Kisan Credit Card: Indian Banking Association has issued advisory requesting banks to waive off the processing, documentation, inspection and all other service charges for Kisan Credit Card and crop loans up to 3 lakh rupees. The Kisan Credit Card Scheme aims at providing adequate and timely credit support from the banking system to the farmers to meet the short term credit requirements for cultivation of crops, investment credit requirements for agriculture and allied activities and other needs.
·       6th Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Statement Released: Repo Rate Reduced to 6.25% : RBI has released 6th Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Statement. On the basis of an assessment of the current and evolving macroeconomic situation at its meeting, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decided to: Reduce the policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) by 25 basis points from 6.5% to 6.25%with immediate effect. Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF stands adjusted to 6.0%, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate to 6.5%.  On the supply side, the FAE has placed the growth of real gross value added (GVA) at 7.0% in 2018-19 as compared with 6.9% in 2017-18. Inflation: Retail inflation declined from 3.4% in October 2018 to 2.2% in December, the lowest print in the last eighteen months. Inflation in the fuel and light group fell from 8.5% in October to 4.5% in December. CPI inflation excluding food and fuel decelerated to 5.6% in December from 6.2% in October.
·       Fino Payments Bank Partners With Suryoday SFB To Offer Sweep Account Facility: Fino Payments Bank (FPB) has announced the launch of a sweep account facility in association with Suryoday Small Finance Bank (SSFB). This partnership will help FPB address the issue of deposit limits that all the payment banks face at the moment. As per the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), payment banks can only take deposits upto Rs1 lakh per account. 
Appointments:
·       Air India Chairperson Pradeep Singh Kharola Appointed Civil Aviation Secretary: The government appointed Air India chief managing director and Chairperson Pradeep Singh Kharola the secretary of the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Kharola will take over from Rajiv Nayan Choubey. Kharola, an Indian Administrative Services officer of Karnataka cadre from the 1985 batch, was named chairperson of Air India in November 2017. 
Awards:
·       SBI UK Chief Honoured ‘Freedom of the City of London’: The State Bank of India’s Uk chief Mr. Sanjiv Chadha has been honored with the ‘Freedom of the City Of London’ by the city of London Corporation in recognition of his contribution to promoting the bilateral relations. Sanjiv Chadha took up the position in 2014 and he will be succeeded by Sharad Chandak. Pt. Jawaharlal Nehruwas the previous Indian recipient of this award and other recipient includes author JK Rowling and actor Dame Judi Dench.
Sports:
·       Smriti Mandhana Scores India’s Fastest-ever T20I Fifty: Indian opener Smriti Mandhana hammered the fastest fifty for India in Women’s T20Is. The left-handed batswoman struck a half-century in just 24 balls in the 1st T20I against New Zealand at Westpac Stadium in Wellington. New Zealand’s Sophie Devine holds the record of the quickest half-century in women’s T20Is. She set the record in 2005 against India when she hammered an 18-ball fifty.
February 8
National News
·       GeM And CCI Sign MoU For Fair Environment In e-Marketplace: Government e Marketplace (GeM) and Competition Commission of India (CCI) entered into an MoU to enable a fair and competitive environment in the e-Marketplace. Chairman CCI, A.K. Gupta, CEO GeM, S. Radha Chauhan were present on the occasion. GeM is a state-of-the-art national public procurement platform of Ministry of Commerce and Industries, that has used technology to remove entry barriers for bonafide sellers and has created a vibrant e-marketplace with a wide range of goods and services. Competition Commission of India is a statutory body of the Government of India, responsible for enforcing the Competition Act, 2002 throughout India and to prevent activities that have an adverse effect on competition.
·       Parmanu Tech 2019-Nuclear Energy Conference Held In New Delhi: Ministry of External Affairs and Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) organized Parmanu Tech 2019 in New Delhito discuss the issues related to Nuclear Energy and Radiation Technologies. The main motive of this conference is to showcase India’s capabilities in Nuclear Energy with environmental responsibility. Dr. Jitendra Singh delivered the keynote address at the conference.
·       Chennai Police Launches Mobile App 'Digicop': Actor Vijay Sethupathi launched the mobile App ‘DigiCop’ of the Chennai police department at the Commissioner’s office. Using the App, people can track the status of stolen two-wheelers and cell phones. The details of 18,000 stolen mobile phones are stored in the App. Using DigiCop App, people can verify IMEI, report lost two-wheelers and phones, know the nearest police station, police news, and traffic alerts.
·       5th India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Committee Meet Held in New Delhi: The 5th India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Committee Meeting was held in New Delhi. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Foreign Affairs Minister of Bangladesh Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen co-chaired the meeting. It is the first high-level visit from Bangladesh since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s victory in the parliamentary elections in December 2018. Dr Momen briefed the Prime Minister on recent developments in the bilateral relationship.
·       American Members of US-India CEO Forum Announced: US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has announced the names of the American private sector members of theUS-India CEO Forum among who are MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga and Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf. The first meeting of the forum will be held in New Delhi on February 14. The US CEOs serve two-year terms and are selected from respondents to a Federal Register Notice calling for CEO-level applicants to the US Section of the Forum.
International News:
·       India Pavilion Inaugurated At 69th Berlin International Film Festival: The India Pavilion at the Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) 2019 was inaugurated by Mr Matthijis Wouter Knol, Director European Film Market (EFM). The poster of IFFI 2019 was also inaugurated by the dignitaries during the inaugural ceremony. Ministry of I&B, in collaboration with Confederation of Indian Industry, is participating in the Berlin International Film Festival being held from 7th – 17th February, 2019 at Berlin, Germany. 
Rank and Report:
·        India Jumps 8 Place To 36th On International IP Index 2019: India has jumped eight places to 36th position on the International Intellectual Property (IP) Index, which analyses the IP climate in 50 global economies, this year. The US, the UK, Sweden, France and Germany remained the top five economies on the intellectual property index in 2019 retaining their spots from the last year. The index brought out by the US Chamber of Commerce's Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) ranks countries based on 45 indicators that are critical to an innovation-led economy supported by robust patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secrets protection.
Awards:
·       Francois Laborde Conferred France's Highest Civilian Honour: Father Francois Laborde, a 92-year-old priest, was conferred the Légion d'Honneur (Legion of Honour), the highest civilian award of France, in recognition of his work for specially-abled children. He was entitled by the French Ambassador to India, Alexandre Ziegler. Father Laborde had set up Howrah South Point, an organisation working for the development of specially-abled children, the destitute and the most deprived sections of the society.
Sports News:
·       Mirabai Chanu Notched Up Gold At EGAT Cup in Thailand: World champion Indian weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu notched up a gold medal at the EGAT Cup in Thailand. Chanu won the 48kg category gold with an effort of 192 kg in the silver level Olympic qualifying event. Making a strong comeback from the lower back injury that kept her out of action for nearly nine months, the 24-year-old Manipuri lifted 82 kg in snatch and 110 kg in clean and jerk to finish on top of the podium.
Obituaries:
·       Longest-Serving US Congressman John Dingell Passes Away: John Dingell, the longest-serving congressman in US history, has passed away aged 92. He was first elected in 1955, serving in the House of Representatives for the next 59 years. He retired in 2015. Mr. Dingell served through the terms of 11 US presidents.
February 9
National News:
·       India And Bangladesh Signed MoU for Training 1800 Bangladesh Civil Servants: India and Bangladesh have signed an MOU for training 1800 Bangladesh Civil Servants at the National Centre for Good Governance (NCGG) an institute under the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DAR&PG), Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Govt. of India, over the next 6 years. The MOU was signed between the NCGG and the Ministry of Public Administration, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh during the visit of the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh.
·       India To Host 13th Conference of Parties of Convention On Conservation of Migratory Species: The 13th Conference of Parties (COP) of the Convention on the conservation of migratory species of wild animals (CMS), an environmental treaty under the aegis of United Nations Environment Programme, is going to be hosted by India during 15th to 22nd February 2020 at Gandhinagar in Gujarat. Representatives from 129 Parties and eminent conservationists and international NGOs working in the field of wildlife conservation are expected to attend the COP.
·       J&K Government Grants Divisional Status to Ladakh Region: The State Government of Jammu and Kashmir issued a notification of creation of Ladakh as 3rd Division in the state. Divisional status would facilitate this region in a great way to progress. Routine administrative clearances for Leh and Kargil can be obtained at Divisional headquarters in Leh. Apart from that, new Division also brings opportunities of employment of different levels in various departments for the locals.
·       Smriti Irani Launches India Size Project in Mumbai: Union Minister of Textiles Smriti Irani launched the India Size project in Mumbai. A first-of-its-kind project in the history of the country, India Size aims to arrive at a standard Indian Size for the ready-to-wear clothing industry, on the lines of the standardized sizes available in countries such as the USA and the UK. India size project will benefit manufacturers, consumers and generate data which will help tap into the potential of the sector.
·        2nd ASEAN-India Youth Summit Held in Guwahati: Union Minister of State for Tourism KJ Alphons and Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal inaugurated the 2nd ASEAN-India Youth Summit at Hotel Taj Vivanta in Guwahati. Over 100 youth delegates from Vietnam, Laos, Brunei, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and Indonesia took part in the summit tag-lined Connectivity: Pathway to Shared Prosperity, organised by India Foundation and the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.
·        ICAI Signs Pact With Invest India To Promote Foreign Investment: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) announced that it has signed a pact with Invest India to promote foreign investments in the country and Indian investments abroad. The MoU was signed by ICAI President Naveen N D Gupta and Invest India MD and CEO Deepak Bagla. The objective of the MoU is to provide necessary guidance and advice to the potential inbound and outbound investors and promote India as an investment-friendly destination.
Awards:
·       PMAY (U) Awards Instituted For Implementation & Innovation: In a bid to recognize the outstanding performance and to promote a healthy competition by States/UTs, Urban Local Bodies, Beneficiaries and Housing Finance Corporations (under CLSS), Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has instituted the ‘PMAY (U) awards for Implementation and Innovation’ under the Mission. The overarching purpose of the PMAY (U) Awards is to identify and reward the “Top Performers” in different categories, to encourage others to compete and attain the goal of ‘Housing for All’ in a sustained manner.
Banking/Economy News:
·       RBI Slaps Fine of Rs 1 crore on SBI: RBI in the exercise of powers conferred under Section 47 A of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 has levied a penalty of Rupees one crore on the State Bank of India (SBI) for not monitoring the end use of funds in respect of one of its borrowers.
·       RBI Raised Collateral-Free Farm Loan Limit From Rs. 1 Lakh To Rs. 1.6 Lakh: The Reserve Bank of India raised the limit of collateral-free agricultural loans to Rs. 1.6 lakh from the current Rs. 1 lakh with a view to help small and marginal farmers. The Union Budget had also announced measures to boost the farming sector in addition to annual payment of Rs. 6,000 to small and marginal farmers. Currently, the banks are mandated to extend collateral-free agricultural loans up to Rs. 1 lakh. This limit was fixed in the year 2010.
Obituaries:
·       Oscar-nominated British Actor Albert Finney Passes Away: Oscar-nominated British actor Albert Finney passed away peacefully after a short illness. He aged 82. He was a five-time Oscar nominee who began his career at the Royal Shakespeare Company before making his mark in film. His big film break came as “angry young man” Arthur Seaton in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.
February 10 & 11
National News:
·       PM Modi Inaugurates Visakhapatnam Strategic Petroleum Reserve Facility: Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated to the nation the 1.33 million metric ton capacity Visakhapatnam Strategic Petroleum Reserve facility at Guntur in Andhra Pradesh. He also inaugurated Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited’s Vashishta and S1 development project located in the Krishna-Godavari Offshore Basin. Mr Modi also laid the foundation stone for setting up of a new terminal of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) at Krishnapatnam.
·       Centre allocates Rs 59 crore for Asiatic Lion conservation in Gujarat's Gir: The Ministry of Environment launched a three-year Asiatic Lion Conservation Project in collaboration with the state of Gujarat. The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) allocated Rs 59 crores, which will focus on better management of the lion habitat, disease control and veterinary care for them. Gujarat government also implemented Rs 80 crore that will be spent on specialised veterinary hospitals and full-fledged ambulances for lions.
·       Himalayan Cloud Observatory Set Up In Tehri: Himalayan Cloud Observatory is set up in Tehri district of Uttarakhand with a motive to forecast and monitor cloudburst incidents in the Himalayan region and help to minimize the damage. The Observatory is established in the SRT campus, in Tehri and is in the testing period. This is the secondobservatory in the country to monitor cloud activities by the Indian Science and Technology Department and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur that can function in high-altitudes.
·       Great Indian Bustard Announced As The New Mascot For COP-13: Union Environment Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, announced the Great Indian Bustard (GIB) as the mascot for the 13th Conference of Parties (COP) of the UN Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS)to be held in Gujarat in 2020. He also revealed that the bird has been fondly named by the ministry as 'Gibi'. CMS-COP 13 is a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory species and their habitats. It has over 120 participating countries. 
·       Dharmendra Pradhan Inaugurated 13th PETROTECH 2019 In Greater Noida: The 13th International Oil and Gas Conference – PETROTECH – 2019 got underway at India Expo Mart, Greater Noida. Over 95 Energy Ministers from partner countries are expected to participate in the three day Conference. The theme of the conference is 'Collaborating For Sustainable and Secure Energy Access for all'. 
·       Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Lays Foundation Stone of Mega Food Park in Mathura: Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal laid the foundation stone of a Mega Food Park at Chhata-Barsana road in Mathura. The Park will provide direct and indirect employment to five thousand persons and benefit about 25,000 farmers. The Mega Food Park is being set up in over 57 acre of land at a cost of around 121 crore rupees. The Centre has also approved financial assistance of 50 crore rupees to the project. 
·       MOU Signed Between EIL and Mongolia for Project Management Consultancy For Oil refinery: An MoU was signed between Engineers India Limited (EIL) and Mongolia for Project Management Consultancy for oil refinery. EIL is a PSU under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. The agreement was signed on the sidelines of PETROTECH-2019 event at Greater Noida, UP. The MoU is for Project Management Consultancy services for construction of an oil refinery plant in Mongolia by EIL. 
International News:
·       ADB Debuts In Offshore Philippine Peso Bond Market: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has raised 5.2204 billion Philippine pesos ($100 million) from a new issue of local currency bonds in the international market. Currency-linked bonds are denominated in the local currency but settled in US dollars. The bonds pay a fixed interest rate of 5.25% and have a final maturity of 4 years. ADB issued bonds in the Philippine domestic capital market in 2005 and 2007 but this issue is the first time it has mobilized Philippine peso funding from international investors through a currency-linked structure.
·       INS Trikand Participates In Exercise ‘Cutclass Express 2019’: INS Trikand, the frontline warship of the Indian Navy, participated in a multi-national training exercise ‘CUTCLASS EXPRESS 2019’. The annual Exercise Cutlass Express is sponsored by U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) and conducted by Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF). It is the eighth iteration of the annual multinational maritime exercise and was held in the vicinity of Djibouti, Mozambique and Seychelles.
·       Hindi Included As 3rd Official Court Language in Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi has decided to include Hindi as the third official language used in its courts, alongside Arabic and English, as part of a move designed to improve access to justice. The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) announced that it has extended the adoption of interactive forms of statement of claims filed before courts by including Hindi.
·       Multinational Maritime Exercise ‘Aman 19’ Commenced In Karachi: The 5-day multinational maritime exercise ‘AMAN-19’ in which 46 nations participated from all over the world was formally commenced at Pakistan Navy Dockyard, with a colorful flag hoisting ceremony. Principal aim to conduct this exercise is to facilitate a forum of understanding of each other’s maritime concepts and operation cultures and to produce ways and means to confront common threat at sea.
Awards:
·       Yes Bank Wins The Aegis Graham Bell Award 2018: Aegis Graham Bell Award 2018 announced Yes Bank as the winner in ‘Innovation in Data Science’ category for their industry-first project ‘Yes EEE (Engage Enrich Excel)’ at Panaji, Goa. It was hosted by the Government of Goa. Aegis Graham Bell Awards (AGBA) Promotes innovations and entrepreneurship in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) domain.
·       BAFTA Awards 2019 Announced: Complete List Of Winners: Netflix drama 'Roma' won the top prize at the 72nd edition of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts or BAFTA awards. However, with seven BAFTAs in its kitty, director Yorgos Lanthimos's The Favourite emerged the top winner in 2019. Actress Olivia Colman picked best actress BAFTA for her portrayal of Queen Anne in The Favourite. Roma, for which director Alfonso Cuaron also picked a trophy, rounded off with four BAFTAs while Bohemian Rhapsody – the Golden Globes favourite – went home with just one BAFTA for lead actor Rami Malek.
Sl. No.
Category
Winner
1.
Best Director 
Alfonso Cuaron, Roma
2.
Best Film
Roma
3.
Best Actress
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
4.
Best Actor
Rami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody
5.
Best Supporting Actress
Rachel Weisz – The Favourite
6.
Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali – Green Book
7.
Outstanding British Film
The Favourite
8.
Best Animated Film
Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse
9.
Best British Short Animation
Roughhouse
10.
Best British Short Film
73 Cows
11.
Best Documentary
Free Solo
12.
Outstanding Debut By A British Writer, Director Or Producer
Beast – Michael Pearce (writer/director), Lauren Dark (producer)
13.
Best Film Not In The English Language
Roma
14.
Best Costume Design
The Favourite
15.
Best Make Up & Hair
The Favourite
16.
Best Production Design
The Favourite
17.
Best Editing
Vice
18.
Best Cinematography
Roma
19.
Best Special Visual Effects
Black Panther
20.
Best Original Screenplay
The Favourite – Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara
21.
Best Adapted Screenplay
BlacKkKlansman – Spike Lee, David Rabinowitz, Charlie Wachtel, Kevin Willmott
22.
Best Sound
Bohemian Rhapsody
23.
Best Original Music
A Star Is Born
24.
Outstanding British Contribution To Cinema
Number 9 Films (Elizabeth Karlsen and Stephen Woolley)
25.
EE Rising Star Award (voted for by the public)
Letitia Wright
26.
BAFTA Fellowship
Thelma Schoonmaker
·       Deepa Mehta To Be Feted With Lifetime Achievement Award: Acclaimed Indo-Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta will be given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. Mehta is best known for her Elements Trilogy - 'Fire', 'Earth' and 'Water'. The Canadian Screen Awards are awards given annually by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television recognising excellence in Canadian film, English-language television, and digital media productions.
·       Grammy Awards 2019 Announced: Complete List of Winners: The 61st Annual Grammy Awards ceremony was held at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The show was hosted by Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys.
Sl. No.
Category
Winner
1.
Album Of The Year
Golden Hour, Kacey Musgraves
2.
Record Of The Year
“This Is America,” Childish Gambino
3.
Best New Artist
Dua Lipa
4.
Best Rap Album
Invasion Of Privacy, Cardi B
5.
Best R&B Album Winner
H.E.R., H.E.R.
6.
Best Rap Song
“God’s Plan,” Drake
7.
Best Country Album
Golden Hour, Kacey Musgraves
8.
Song Of The Year
“This Is America,” Childish Gambino
9.
Best Rock Album
From The Fires, Greta Van Fleet
10.
Best Rock Song
“Masseduction” St. Vincent
11.
Best Dance/Electronic Album
Woman Worldwide, Justice
12.
Producer Of The Year, Classical
Blanton Alspaugh
13.
Best Music Video
“This Is America,” Childish Gambino
14.
Best Country Song
“Space Cowboy,” Kacey Musgraves
15.
Best Folk Album
All Ashore, Punch Brothers
16.
Best Comedy Album
Equanimity & The Bird Revelation, Dave Chappelle

Appointments:
·       Ruchira Kamboj Appointed India's Ambassador to Bhutan: Ruchira Kamboj was appointed as the Ambassador of India to Bhutan. She is serving as the High Commissioner of India to South Africa since 2017. Kamboj has previously served as the Ambassador/PR to Permanent Delegation of India to UNESCO, Paris.
·       Egypt’s President El-Sissi Elected As Chairman of African Union: Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has been elected as the chairman of the African Union at the continental body’s summit in Ethiopia. El-Sisi’s election brings an end the one-year chairmanship of Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame.
Banking News:
·       RBI Doubles The Limit Of Bulk Deposits From Rs. 1 Crore To Rs 2 Crore: Reserve Bank of India decided to treat deposits to over Rs.2 crore as ‘bulk’ as they doubled the limit for the same from the earlier Rs.1crore. This move will enhance the operational freedom of Banks. According to current RBI rules, last reviewed in January 2013, banks have the option of not permitting premature withdrawals of ‘large rupee term deposits’ of INR 1 crore and aboveNational Federation of Urban Cooperative Banks and Credit Societies Limited (NAFCUB) has suggested this proposal.
Sports News:
·       Corentin Moutet Clinched Chennai Open ATP Challenger Title: In Tennis, France’s Corentin Moutet has clinched the Chennai Open ATP Challenger tournament title after beating Andrew Harris of Australia in the singles final. It was the second Challenger title for Moutet, who received 80 ATP points, while Andrew got 48 ATP points.
·       Ricky Ponting Appointed As Assistant Coach Of Australia For 2019 World Cup: Cricket Australia appointed Ricky Ponting as the assistant coach for Australia’s cricket team for 2019 World Cup.Ponting was appointed after David Saker’s resignation from the post. Ricky Ponting worked as the assistant for Australia’s T20 in 2017 and 2018. The main coach for the Australian Cricket team is Justin Langer. The current batting coach for the team is Graeme Hicks. 
February 12
National News:
·       PM Modi launches dedicated channel ‘DD Arunprabha’ for Arunachal Pradesh: Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a dedicated 24x7 Satellite channel, ‘DD Arunprabha’ for Arunachal Pradesh during his visit to Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, and Tripura. DD Arunprabha is the Doordarshan’s second channel for the northeastern region; DD Northeast was the first one. 
·       Meghalaya Government To Rename Dikkibandi Stadium After P A Sangma: The Meghalaya Cabinet has decided to rename the Dikkibandi stadium in Tura town after former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno A Sangma. The state Cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma approved the recommendations received from the state naming authority tasked with the job to name roads, and institutions after personalities. Purno A Sangma is also a former chief minister of Meghalaya.
·       3-Day Long Krishi Kumbh Held In Bihar: In Bihar, Governor Lalji Tandon and Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh jointly inaugurated the three-day Krishi Kumbh in Motihari. Over fifteen thousand farmers from different states and about two hundred agricultural scientists are participating in the Kumbh. The objective of Krishi Kumbh is to promote modern techniques and diversification in agriculture that could help in doubling farmers income. 
·       India and Norway Launched Initiative To Combat Marine Pollution: The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change signed a Letter of Intent establishing the India-Norway Marine Pollution Initiative together with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Earlier, the Indian and Norwegian governments agreed to work more closely on oceans by signing a MoU and establishing the India-Norway Ocean Dialogue during the Norwegian Prime Minister’s visit to India in January. 
·       Indian Historian Sanjay Subrahmanyam Wins Israel's Dan David Prize 2019: Indian historian Sanjay Subrahmanyam won the prestigious Dan David Prize 2019 for his work on inter-cultural encounters between Asians, Europeans and people of North and South America during the early modern era. He won Israel's prestigious USD 1 million dollar award in the category of ''Past Time Dimension'' for his work in macro-history.
Banking News:
·       NTPC Signs Pact With SBI For Rs 5000 crore Term Loan: State-owned power giant NTPC has announced that it has signed a term loan agreement for Rs 5,000 crore with State Bank of India. The loan facility is extended at an interest rate linked to 3-Month MCLR of the Bank. This loan has a door to door tenure of 15 years and will be utilised to part finance the capital expenditure of NTPC.
Important Days:
·       International Day Of Women And Girls In Science,11 February: 11 February is celebrated as International Day of Women and Girls in Science to recognize the critical role women and girls play in science and technology. 2016 is the first time it was celebrated. The idea behind this day is to ensure equal participation and involvement of women and girls in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
Sports News:
·       Jamie Chadwick Becomes The First Female Driver To Win MRF Challenge Title: Jamie Chadwick from England made history by becoming the first female driver to win the MRF challenge titleafter scoring a triple win in the final round in Chennai. The 20-year-old became the first woman to win the coveted prize after an incredible performance. In August, Chadwick became the first woman to win a British F3 race.
·       Senior National Badminton Championships Begins in Guwahati: The 83rd edition of Senior National Badminton Championships has begun in Guwahati. Defending champion Saina Nehwal and last edition’s runner-up PV Sindhu will be the biggest attractions in Women’s Singles. The Men’s Singles will be without defending champion HS Prannoy and runners-up Kidambi Srikanth who are suffering from injuries. This is the first time the Nationals is returning to the North-East since Guwahati last hosted it in 2010.
Obituaries:
·       Actor Mahesh Anand Passes Away: Noted actor Mahesh Anand, best known for playing the villain in several Bollywood films in the late 1980s and 1990s has passed away at the age of 57. The actor has worked in many hit movies like 'Kurukshetra', 'Swarg', 'Coolie No 1', 'Vijeta', 'Shahenshah' and more.
February 13
National News:
·       PM Modi Launched Several Development Projects for Haryana: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated and laid foundation stones of several development projects at Kurukshetra in Haryana. Mr Modi dedicated to the nation the National Cancer Institute at Bhadsa in Jhajjar district. The institute is the state-of-the-art tertiary cancer care-cum-research centre constructed at the AIIMS Jhajjar campus. Mr Modi also inaugurated Employees’ State Insurance Corporation’s (ESIC) medical college and hospital in Faridabad. This will be the first ESIC medical college and hospital in north India. The Prime Minister also laid the foundation stone of National Institute of Ayurveda in Panchkula which is being set up at Shri Mata Mansa Devi Temple Complex. Foundation stone of Sri Krishna Ayush University, Kurukshetra was also be laid by Mr Modi. It will be the first university related to Indian system of medicine in Haryana as well as the first of its kind in India.
·       1st Annual Conference of Media Units Under I&B Ministry Organized in New Delhi: The First Annual Conference of Media Units working under I&B Ministry was organized at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. Union Minister of State (IC) for Information & Broadcasting and Youth Affairs & Sports Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore chaired the Conference. The focus of the Conference was on ensuring synergy between the Media Units in their day to day functioning.
·       1st LAWASIA Human Rights Conference 2019 Held In New Delhi: LAWASIA, in association with the Bar Association of India, hosted its 1st LAWASIA Human Rights Conferencein New Delhi with a motive to explore a broad range of human rights issues of relevance in the Asia Pacific region. This theme of the conference was “State Power, Business and Human Rights: Contemporary Challenges”. 
·       CREDAI's Event 'YouthCon-19' Held In New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the CREDAI YouthCon -19 in New Delhi’s Talkatora Stadium. The event is organized by the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India, CREDAI. The theme for this YouthCon is 'Next Generation'.  The annual conference will bring together the next generation of real estate builders and developers to enlighten their young minds and share their thinking and approach. 
·       NITI Aayog Signs SoI with MSDF to Document Systemic Transformation in Education: The NITI Aayog and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF) signed a Statement of Intent (SOI) to codify, document and share best practices to improve learning outcomes in public school education through systemic reforms, based on their collective experiences of working with various state governments in India. The SOI was signed in the presence of Mr. Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, by Mr. Alok Kumar, Adviser (HRD), NITI Aayog and Mr. Barun Mohanty, Managing Director (International), MSDF.
·       5th International Dam Safety Conference Starts In Bhubaneswar: The 5th International Dam Safety Conference–2019 is being held in Bhubaneswar as a joint initiative of the Government of India, Government of Odisha and the World Bank under aegis of the ongoing World Bank assisted Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) as a part of institutional strengthening. Dam Safety Conferences are being organized as an annual event in different DRIP States in collaboration with the Implementing Agencies and leading academic institutes to provide a common platform for all stakeholders including non-DRIP States.
·       'Exercise Rahat' Concluded In Jaipur: Joint Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Exercise `Exercise Rahat´ concluded in Jaipur, Rajasthan. It was demonstrated in Jaipur, Kota, and Alwar in Rajasthan. Indian Army was represented by Jaipur based Sapta Shakti Command. Representatives from Armed Forces, National Disaster Management Response Mechanism (NDMRM), SDMA Rajasthan and DLMAs participated in the exercise.
·       National Conference on Unani Medicine Concluded in New Delhi: The two-day National Conference on Unani Medicine organized by the Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine (CCRUM) as a part of 3rd Unani Day Celebration in New Delhi concluded with the note that integration and synergy of all medical systems is the need of the hour to address the health challenges we are facing today. The conference was inaugurated by Dr. Najma Heptulla, Governor of Manipur. The conference witnessed exchange of MoU for scientific collaboration in Unani Medicine between the CCRUM and Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi.

International News:
·       World Government Summit’s 7th Session Held In Dubai : The seventh session of the World Government Summit held in DubaiUnited Arab Emirates (UAE). More than4,000 people from 140 countries participated in the event. The main objective of the summit is to shape the future generation of governments, by bringing the public and private sectors together to collaborate with world-renowned experts, it seeks to help create a positive impact for citizens worldwide.

Important Days:
·       World Radio Day, 13 February: 13 February is celebrated as World Radio Day by UNESCO all over the world. The theme of WRD 2019 is “Dialogue, Tolerance and Peace”.

Awards:
·       NFDC Declared Winner Under Miniratna Category by Ministry of  MSME: National Film Development Corporation of India has been declared winner under the Miniratna Category (Category II) by Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME). The performance parameters were procurement from SC/ST entrepreneurs, number of vendor development programmes for SC/ST and number of SC/ST entrepreneurs benefitted as per data uploaded on Sambandh Portal.

Sports News:
·       Prajnesh Gunneswaran, 3rd Indian To Reach Top-100 of Men’s Singles Tennis Rankings: Prajnesh Gunneswaran has made it to the top-100 of Men’s Singles Tennis rankings with a jump of six places that took him to 97. Prajnesh is the third Indian player to break into the top-100 barrier in the past decade after Somdev Devvarman and Yuki Bhambri. In the doubles, Rohan Bopanna stayed put at 37 and was followed by his partner Divij Sharan at 39. In the Women’s Tennis Association charts, Ankita Raina continues to be country’s top singles player at number 165.

February 14
National News:
·       India’s 1st Aqua Mega Food Park Commissioned in Andhra Pradesh: Union Minister of Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal commissioned Godavari Mega Aqua Food Park at Tundurru Village in Bhimavaram Mandal, West Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh through video conferencing. The park is promoted by Godavari Mega Aqua Food Park Pvt. Ltd. It will be the first Mega Aqua Food Park operationalised exclusively for fish and marine products processing in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
·       The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modihas given the following set of approvals. The important Cabinet Approvals are given as follows:
·       The Cabinet has approved- 
·       MoU between India and Morocco for setting up of a Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism.
·       Proposal for leasing out of 1.61 acres of land at Alipur, Delhi, owned by Delhi Milk Scheme to Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium for setting up of Kisan Mandi.
·       MoU between India and Finland on Cooperation in the field of peaceful uses of outer space
·       Proposal for allotment of land measuring 30 acres to Pasteur Institute of India for the establishment of New Viral Vaccine Manufacturing Unit at Coonoor, Tamil Nadu.
·       Extension of tenure of the National Commission for SafaiKarmacharis beyond 31.3.2019 for three years.
·       Introduction of Registration of Marriage of NRI Bill 2019.
·       Signing of MoU between India and Argentine in tourism.
·       Revision in the list of Scheduled Tribes of Chhattisgarh.
·       Signing of MoU between India and Saudi Arabia on establishing a mechanism for Investment Infrastructure in India.
·       MoU between India and Saudi Arabia on cooperation and Mutual Assistance in Customs matters.
·       Signing of MoU between India and Saudi Arabia in the field of tourism.
·       Partial modification of CCEA’s earlier decision for allowing all eligible Central Public Sector Enterprises and private sector entities to participate in the bidding for the Strategic Disinvestment of Engineering Projects (India) Limited.
·       Continuation of sub-schemes under “Umbrella programme for development of Scheduled Tribes” for the period till March, 2020.
·       Minimum Support Price for Raw Jute for 2019-20 season hiked to Rs.3950/- from Rs.3700/- per quintal by the Cabinet. Continuation of Credit Linked Capital Subsidy and Technology Up-gradation Scheme (CLCS-TUS) beyond 12th Plan for three years from 2017-18 to 2019-20.
  • 16th Lok Sabha Session Concludes: The last session of 16th Lok Sabha came to an end on 13th of February 2019. Giving the details for the tenure of 16th Lok Sabha, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Narendra Singh Tomar informed that there were a total number of331 sittings for Lok Sabha. 205 bills were passed and the productivity was 85%. For Rajya Sabha, 154 bills were passed and the productivity was 68%. The just-concluded Parliament session provided 10 sittings spread just-concluded of 14 days. The productivity of Lok Sabha was 89% and that of Rajya Sabha was 8%. 
·       AYUSH Ministry Launched e-AUSHADHI Portal: Minister of State (IC) for AYUSH, Shripad Yesso Naik launched the e-AUSHADHI portal, for online licensing of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy drugs and related matters at New Delhi. This e-AUSHADHI portal is intended for increased transparency, improved information management facility, improved data usability and increased accountability. 
·       Indian Army Carried Out The Annual Exercise Named ‘Exercise Topchi’: Indian Army showcased its artillery firepower by using ultralight Howitzers and indigenous Swathi weapon-locating radar at the annual “Exercise Topchi”. The exercise was held at Deolali Camp near Nashik. There were a showcase of display of rockets, missiles, surveillance, and target acquisition radars, remotely piloted aircraft and hi-tech equipment in addition to gunfire.

International News:
·       Macedonia Officially Changed Its Name to North Macedonia: The country, formerly known as the Republic of Macedonia officially changed its name to the Republic of North Macedonia, on paper ending a decades-long dispute that should pave the way for NATO membership. The freshly named country celebrated the event with a flag-raising ceremony marking its prospective – and long-awaited – accession to NATO.

Awards:
·       Bradley Cooper Wins Best Director From PETA for ‘A Star Is Born’: Bradley Cooper has been awarded the ‘Oscat’ by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). The animal rights organisation awarded Cooper "for his enlightened decision to cast his own canine companion in 'A Star Is Born' rather than using one supplied by a notorious animal exhibitor".
·       Siddhartha Lal Wins The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year For 2018 : Siddhartha Lal, managing director and chief executive officer, Eicher Motors, has been awarded the EY Entrepreneur of the Year for 2018. Lal will now represent India at the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year Award (WEOY) in Monte Carlo from 6 – 8 June 2019.
The other EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 winners are:
1.     Lifetime Achievement Award: Azim Premji, Chairman of Wipro.
2.     Start-up: Byju Raveendran, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Think & Learn
3.     Business Transformation: Kishore Biyani, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Future Group.
4.     Manufacturing: Nirmal K Minda, Chairman and Managing Director, Minda Industries.
5.     Services: Ritesh Agarwal, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Oravel Stays (OYO Hotels and Homes).
6.     Financial Services: Sanjay Agarwal, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, AU Small Finance Bank.
7.     Consumer Products & Retail: Rajesh Mehra, Promoter and Director, Jaquar Group.
8.     Life Sciences & Healthcare: Binish Chudgar, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Intas Pharmaceuticals.
9.     Entrepreneurial CEO: Bhaskar Bhat, Managing Director, Titan Company.
10.  Energy, Real Estate & Infrastructure: Atul Ruia, Chairman and Managing Director, The Phoenix Mills.

Books and Authours:
·       P Chidambaram’s Book “Undaunted: Saving the Idea of India” Launched: Former Vice President Hamid Ansari launched the new book of former Finance Minister P Chidambaram named “Undaunted: Saving the Idea of India” at Nehru Memorial Museum, New Delhi. The book is a collection of essays on the country’s atmosphere of fear and how the constitutional values are being threatened.

Sports News:
·       ‘Clouded Leopard’ To Be Mascot For National Games 2022: The Sports and Youth Ministry in the meeting of Executive Committee of the National Games 2022 has chosen the Smiling Clouded Leopard to be the Mascot for the National Games 2022. Meghalaya will host the 2022 National Games, which is coinciding with its 50 years of statehood. Clouded Leopard is among the wild cats that live throughout the forests of Garo, Khasi, and Jaintia Hills.

Obituaries:
·       Chemistry Nobel Prize Winner Manfred Eigen Passes Away: German scientist Manfred Eigen, who jointly won the 1967 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, passed away aged 91. Eigen had won the prize for working on a method to calculate speeds of extremely fast chemical reactions,effected by disturbing the equilibrium by means of short energy pulses. 
·       Legendary Goalkeeper Of England, Gardon Banks Passed Away: One of the world’s most famous goalkeeper Gordon Banks passed away at the age of 81 in England. Gordon Banks was named as FIFA (The Federation Internationale de Football) Goalkeeper of the year six times and earned 73 caps for England between 1963 and 1972. He won World Cup in 1966. 

February 15
National News:
·       India Withdraws Most Favoured Nation Status To Pakistan: Following the attack in Jammu & Kashmir's Pulwama that left 44 CRPF personnel dead, India has withdrawn the MFN (Most Favoured Nation) status that it had granted to Pakistan. The decision was taken during the Cabinet Committee on Security meeting held in New Delhi. India had granted the status to Pakistan in 1996, a year after WTO's formation.
·       Universal Old Age Pension Scheme Announced By Bihar Government: Bihar Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar announced a Universal Old Age Pension scheme, named Mukhya Mantri Vriddha Pension Yojana (MMVPY), irrespective for all caste, community, religion, except for those who are retired from government organizations. The scheme facilitates the amount of Rs. 400 monthly pension for all in the state above the age of 60 who are not getting a pension from the government. The Chief Minister also announced a pension of 6,000 rupees for journalists above 60 years of age.
·       India Signed Deal With US To Procure 72,400 Assault Rifles: The Indian Government has signed a deal with the US under Fast Track Procurement (FTP) to avail the Indian Army with 72,400 new ‘Sig Sauer Assault Rifles’ which will overhaul the army’s inventory of frontline rifles. These Sig Sauer Assault rifles are 7.62*51 mm which are compact, robust, advance in technology and easy to maintain in field conditions. These new rifles will come at a cost of around Rs. 700 Crore and will be used by the army troops deployed along the 3,600 km China’s border.
·       India-U.S. Commercial Dialogue And CEO Forum Held in New Delhi: India and the United States held India-U.S. Commercial Dialogue and India-U.S. CEO Forum in New Delhi. Union Minister for Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, chaired the meeting. The CEO Forum was co-chaired by Chairman, Tata Sons, N. Chandrasekaran and President and CEO of American Tower Corporation, Mr. James D. The MoU was signed between National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (NABCB) of India and ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB) of the United States for cooperation in matters related to accreditation.
·       Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-Dhan Implemented In India: Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-dhan (PM-SYM) was rolled out by the Ministry of Labour and Employment from 15 February 2019. The scheme announced in the Interim Budget was notified by the Ministry recently. Minimum Assured Pension: Each subscriber under the PM-SYM, shall receive minimum assured pension of Rs 3000/- per month after attaining the age of 60 years. Family Pension: During the receipt of pension, if the subscriber dies, the spouse of the beneficiary shall be entitled to receive 50% of the pension received by the beneficiary as family pension. Family pension is applicable only to spouse.

Appointments:
·       P C Mody Appointed As Chairman of CBDT: Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) has appointed senior IRS officer Pramod Chandra Mody as chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT). He will succeed Sushil Chandra, who was recently appointed Election Commissioner. He is 1982 batch Indian Revenue Service (Income Tax cadre). 
·       CBDT Chief Sushil Chandra Appointed As Election Commissioner: President Ram Nath Kovind appointed Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman Sushil Chandra as an Election Commissioner. The post had fallen vacant after the appointment of the then Election Commissioner Sunil Arora as Chief Election Commissioner on superannuation of his predecessor O.P. Rawat in December 2018. Former bureaucrat Ashok Lavasa is the first and senior-most Election Commissioner. A 1980-batch Indian Revenue Service (IRS) official, Mr. Chandra is an IIT graduate. His appointment comes weeks ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

International News:
·       NASA Announces The End Of Opportunity: NASA announced that its Opportunity Rover mission is complete after the rover failed to respond despite repeated trials since August 2018. The space agency inferred that a planet-encircling dust storm cut off communications with Opportunity on June 10, 2018, disabling its solar panels from storing power. The robotic rover, which wandered the surface of the red planet for over 15 years, was launched by NASA in July 2003 as a part of its Mars Exploration Rover program. It is survived by NASA's Curiosity rover, which is now the only active robot on Mars.
·       India Signs Legal Agreements With The World Bank: The Government of India, Government of Himachal Pradesh (GoHP) and the World Bank signed a $40 MillionLoan Agreement to help bring clean and reliable drinking water to the citizens of the Greater Shimla area, who have been facing severe water shortages and water-borne epidemics over the last few years. The Shimla Water Supply and Sewerage Service Delivery Reform Programmatic Development Policy Loan 1 is expected to improve water supply and sanitation (WSS) services in and around the iconic hill city of Shimla.

February 16
National News:
·       Expert Committee Recommends Rs 9,750 Monthly National Minimum Wage: The Expert Committee led by Anoop Satpathy, Fellow of V. V. Giri National Labour Institute (VVGNLI), submitted its report on “Determining the Methodology for Fixation of the National Minimum Wage” to the Government. It recommended the fixation of need-based National Minimum Wage (NMW) for India at Rs 375 per day or Rs 9,750 per month irrespective of sectors, skills, occupations and rural-urban locations for a family comprising of 3.6 consumption units. The Present NMW is Rs. 4,576.
·       India’s First Agromet Forecast Centre Inaugurated  In Karnataka: Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences, Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, inaugurated the North Karnataka Agromet Forecasting and Research Centre (NKAFC), India’s first agromet forecast centre, at University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) in Dharwad, Karnataka. The main objective of the centre is to give accurate reports on the weather which would enable the farmers to protect the crops and get a good yield. 

International News:
·       5th India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Committee Meeting Held In New Delhi: The 5th India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Committee Meeting, co-chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Foreign Affairs Minister of Bangladesh Dr. Abdul Momen was held in New Delhi. The last Joint Consultative Committee Meeting between the two countries was held in October 2017 at Dhaka. Earlier, Mrs. Swaraj held a bilateral meeting with Mr. Momen.

Ranks & Reports:
·       'World Employment and Social Outlook Trends 2019' Report Released By ILO: The International Labour Organization released World Employment and Social Outlook Trends 2019 report. As per the report, unemployment rates will fall to 4.9% in 2019 and remains steady in 2020.  Among the age group 15-24 the global unemployment stood at 11.8% which is much higher than it is among other age groups. In the global labor market, 2 billion out of 3.3 billion people worked keeping their economic security at risk in informal employment.

Summits and Conferences:
·       World Sustainable Development Summit 2019 Held At New Delhi: World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS) 2019, the flagship event of ‘The Energy and Resources Institute’ (TERI), was inaugurated by Vice President Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. The theme of WSDS 2019 was ‘Attaining the 2030 Agenda: delivering on our promise’. Frank Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji was honoured with the Sustainable Development Leadership Award 2019 for his outstanding contributions towards sustainable development in Fiji.
·       Early Ed Asia 2019 Held In Jaipur: Early Ed Asia 2019, the two-day event which is Asia’s largest conference on Early Childhood, was held at the City Palace in Jaipur, Rajasthan. The motto of the event was ‘Our Children. Our Future’. It was the first time such a conference was held in India with over 6000 eminent early childhood educators, policy-makers, researchers and other stakeholders from India and foreign countries.

Science & Technology:
·       NASA To Launch SPHEREx Mission To Investigate Universe: NASA has announced a new space telescope mission dedicated to understanding the origins of life and the universe. It's called the Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer or SPHEREx, for short. The space agency is aiming for a 2023 launch. Once SPHEREx is in orbit, it will observe and collect data on over 300 million galaxies, some as far as 10 billion light-years away from Earth, and 100 million stars in our own Milky Way every six months.

Miscellaneous:
·       IWAI Launched Portal ‘LADIS’ For Real Time Information: Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) launched a new portal Least Available Depth Information System (LADIS) for real-time data on available depth on stretches of National Waterways. It will ensure real-time data on ship and cargo owners on which they can undertake transportation on National Waterways (NW) in a more planned way. It is a step towards ensuring optimum use of National Waterways.
·       Amazon Launched ‘Amazon Pay UPI’ For Android Users In India: Amazon launched "Amazon Pay Unified Payments Interface (UPI)" for Android users in partnership with Axis Bank to issue UPI IDs to its customers in India. With this, users would be able to use their Amazon Pay UPI ID to shop on Amazon.in, make payments for their daily purchases, including recharge and bill payments, without entering bank account or debit card credentials.

February 17 & 18
National News:
·       India’s First District Cooling System To Be Built In Amravati: United Arab Emirates (UAE) based international cooling provider, National Central Cooling Company PJSC(Tabreed) entered into a 30-year concession with Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) to build India’s first district cooling system in Amaravati. The agreement is for a contracted cooling capacity of 20,000 Refrigeration Tons (RTs) and will cater to the State’s Assembly, High Court, Secretariat and other Government buildings currently being constructed, for which cooling services will start in early 2021.

International News
·       J P Morgan Became First US Bank With Cryptocurrency: JP Morgan rolled out the first US bank cryptocurrency. The currency is designed to be decentralized so that no one has control over transactions being sent over the network. Cryptocurrencies are used successfully to move money between the bank and a client which usually runs on a blockchain technology. The cryptocurrency, called “JPM Coin,” is intended for the bank’s wholesale payments business that moves $6 trillion around the world daily and not for retail customers.

Awards: 
·       Sunil Chhetri Given First Ever Football Ratna Award: Sunil Chhetri, the all-time leading scorer for India in international football, has been conferred the first ever Football Ratna honour by Football Delhi, the association governing the sport in Delhi. He is popularly known as Captain Fantastic. He has scored the 2nd highest number of goals in international matches among active players after Cristiano Ronaldo.
·        De Goede, Van Doren Win 2018 FIH Player Of The Year Awards: Eva de Goede from Netherlands and Arthur van Doren of Belgium were titled the International Hockey Federation’s Players of the Year for 2018. Eva de Goede, 29, was named the Female Player of the Year and Arthur van Doren, 24, won the Male Player of the Year award for the second year in a row. Men’s Goalkeeper of the Year: Vincent Vanasch. Male Rising Star of the Year: Arthur de Sloover. Male Coach of the Year: Shane McLeod. Female Coach of the Year: Alyson Annan. Female Goalkeeper of the Year: Maddie Hinch.
·        Abdul Aziz Muhamat Wins International Human Rights Prize: Sudanese refugee, Abdul Aziz Muhamat, who spent 5 years in the Australian detention centre on Manus Islandin Papua New Guinea, was given the Martin Ennals Award 2019 in GenevaSwitzerland, for exposing “the very cruel asylum seeker policy of the Australian Government”.

Appointments:
·        UN Appoints C Ramanathan As Controller And ASG For Programme Planning, Budget and  Finance: Chandramouli Ramanathan has been appointed as Controller, Assistant Secretary-General for Programme Planning, Budget and Finance in the management strategy, policy and compliance department. He succeeds Bettina Tucci Bartsiotas of Uruguay.
·        MOUs/Agreements Signed During State Visit Of President Of Argentina To India

Banking and Economy News:
·        India Boosts Customs Duty To 200% On Goods Imported From Pakistan: India with immediate effect has boosted the Customs Duty on all the goods imported from Pakistan to 200%followed by the day after India repealed Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status from Pakistan. This 200% tariff rate is higher than the average bound rate of 113.5% for agriculture products and 34.6% for non-agriculture products. The MFN applied rates are 32.8% and 10.7%, respectively for farm and non-farm products.
·        Government Raised Rs.10000 Crore From Bharat-22 ETF Offering: The government of India gets Rs.10000 crore from Bharat-22 Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) by additional offering. The government has absorbed approximately Rs.46000 crore by way of disinvestment with the successful offering of Bharat-22 ETF.  Bharat-22 is an Exchange Traded Fund ( ETF) which will closely track the performance of Bharat-22 index. It was launched by Government of India in November 2017ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund AMC will manage the fund.
·        RBI Lifts Cap On FPI Investments In Corporate Bonds: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) withdrew the 20% limit on investments by FPIs in corporate bonds of an entity with a view to encourage more foreign investments. As part of the review of the FPI investment in corporate debt undertaken in April 2018, it was stipulated that no FPIshould have an exposure of more than 20% of its corporate bond portfolio to a single corporate (including exposure to entities related to the corporate).

Sports News:
·        Vidarbha Clinches The Irani Cup Title : Vidarbha became the only 3rd team in Indian Domestic Cricket history after Bombay and Karnataka to defend their Irani cup titles at Jamtha Stadium in Nagpur by defeating rest of India.Vidarbha chased a target of 280 runs on the day and young Karnewar was the Player of the match.
·        Chris Gayle Announces Retirement From One-day Internationals: West Indian batsman Chris Gayle has announced that he will retire from One-day Internationals after the forthcoming World Cup.  The 39-year old left-hander has scored 9,727 ODI runs, second only to the legendary Brian Lara among West Indians in 284 matches.  Gayle has scored a Windies record of 23 ODI hundreds, including the first-ever World Cup double century against Zimbabwe 4 years ago.
·        Senior Badminton Nationals: Saina Nehwal Wins Women’s Singles Title: In badminton, Saina Nehwal won her fourth title at the Yonex-Sunrise 83rd Senior Nationals. She defeated P.V.Sindhu in the finals in Guwahati. Sourabh Verma completed a hat-trick of titles, claiming the men’s singles crown after defeating young Lakshya Sen in straight games. Earlier, the pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Chirag Shetty outclassed top seed duo Arjun M.R and Shlok Ramachandran in straight games to clinch the Men’s Doubles title.

Defence News:
·       Hina Jaiswal Becomes The First Indian Woman Flight Engineer: Flight Lieutenant Hina Jaiswal from Chandigarh, became the First Indian Woman Flight Engineer of the Indian Air Force(IAF). She was commissioned in the IAF’s engineering branch in 2015 and completed the 6-month Flight Engineer course from the 112 Helicopter Unit attached to the Air Force Station in Yelahanka, Bengaluru.

Books and Authors:
·       ‘Simplicity & Wisdom’ Authored By Mr. Dinesh Shahra Launched: A book ‘Simplicity & Wisdom’ written by Dinesh Shahra was launched at Parmarth Ashram in Kumbh Mela.  Launched by the Governor of West Bengal– Keshari Nath Tripathi and Swami Chidanand Saraswati, Head of Parmarth Ashram, this book is dedicated to Late Vedanti Swami Pragananandji.
Science and Technology:
·       Infosys Unveils A Learning App ‘InfyTQ’ For Engineering Students: Infosys, the country’s 2nd largest IT firm has launched a next-generation digital platform ‘InfyTQ’ to facilitate engineering students with best learning experiences by imparting technical and professional skills. InfyTQ is a free platform available on both mobile and desktop, featured with always-on, anytime, anywhere learning catered through a continuous transfer of digital skills.
Obituaries:
·       Best-selling British Author ‘Andrea Levy’ Passed Away: The best-selling British author Andrea Levy, who explored the experience of Jamaican British people in a series of novel over 20 years, has died from cancer at the age of 62. She was known for penning books ‘The Long Song’ and ‘Small Island’. She was conferred with Orange prize for fiction, Whitbread book of the year, Commonwealth writers prize and many more.
·       Swiss Actor Bruno Ganz Passed Away: 77 years old Swiss actor, Bruno Ganz who is famous for his role of German dictator, Adolf Hitler in the Oscar-nominated film Downfall, passed away in Zurich, Switzerland due to Colon Cancer. Bruno Ganz was born in 1941 and he was active in German theatre, film, and television for more than 50 years. He was honoured with European Film Academy Lifetime Achievement award and David di Donatello for Best Actor.
February 19
National News:
·       IAF Carried Out ‘Vayu Shakti’ Exercise At Pokhran: Indian Air Force conducted mega exercise ‘Vayu Shakti’ in PokhranRajasthan. The exercise was carried out day and night where the IAF showcased firepower capability of indigenously developed platforms and efficacy of missiles. For the first time, the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALP) and the Akash surface-to-air missile were deployed in the military exercise. MiG-29 fighter jet also participated in the exercise. 
·       4th Agri Leadership Summit 2019 Held At Sonipat, Haryana: Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare, Radha Mohan Singh, inaugurated the 4th Agri Leadership Summit 2019 at the India International Horticulture Market (IIHM) in Ganaur, Sonipat district, Haryana. It was a 3-day summit. The theme of the summit was “Entrepreneurship & Agri-Business; Agri Allied – A Promising Sector and Agri Service- Direct Marketing”.
·       International Annual Desert Festival Held In Jaisalmer: The 40th International Annual Desert Festival held on the sand dune in Jaisalmer with thousands of tourists participating in the colourful event. It had interesting events like Mr. Desert and Ms. Moomal competitions, mustache competitions, turban tying, musical and cultural performances, among others. Folk artists also gave their enthralling performance.
·       Rajasthan Assembly Passes Bills Scrapping Minimum Qualification For Local Polls: The Legislative Assembly of Rajasthan passed the Rajasthan Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and the Rajasthan Municipality (Amendment) Bill, 2019 to end the minimum education criterion for panchayat and civic polls candidates. The previous BJP government had introduced the minimum qualification of class 10 for Zila Parishad/Panchayatmember election, and class 5 or 8 class for the post of sarpanch.
·       India’s First ‘Fulldome 3D Digital Theatre’ Inaugurated In Kolkata: Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma inaugurated India’s very first ‘Fulldome 3D Digital Theatre’ at the Science City in Kolkata, West Bengal. It is fully funded by the Ministry of Culture at a cost of Rs 20 crore. The Science City is operated by the National Council of Science Museums under the Ministry of Culture.
·       Rajnath Singh Launches Pan-India Number 112 For Women Safety: Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi launched a range of citizen safety initiatives in New Delhi. Persons in distress can dial a pan-India number: 112. Under this system, all the states have to set up a dedicated Emergency Response Centre, ERC
International News:
·       Iran’s First Semi-Heavy Missile-Equipped Submarine Fateh Unveiled: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani unveiled the first Iranian made semi-heavy submarine named 'Fateh' ('Conqueror' in Persian), capable of being fitted with missiles, as per the reporting on Iran’s state TV. It has subsurface-to-surface missiles with a range of about 2,000 km (1,250 miles) and is capable of reaching Israel and U.S. military bases in the region.
Sci-Tech News:
·       AntBot, The First Walking Robot To Navigate Without GPS, Developed: AntBot is the first walking robot to have navigational capabilities without GPS or mapping. It has been designed by Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and Aix-Marseille University researchers at ISM, on lines similar to desert ants who use polarised lights and UV radiation to navigate in space. Weighing only 2.3 kg, this robot has six feet for increased mobility, allowing it to move in complex environments, precisely where deploying wheeled robots and drones can be complicated.
·       Israel To Launch Its First Moon Mission: Israel is to launch its first moon mission, sending an unmanned spacecraft to collect data to be shared with NASA. According to a report, the 585-kilogram Beresheet (Genesis) spacecraft is to lift off atop a Falcon 9 rocketfrom Cape Canaveral, Florida. Mission control will be in Yehud, near Tel Aviv.
Economy News:
·       RBI To Pay Rs 28,000 Crore As Interim Dividend To Government: The Reserve Bank has announced that it will transfer an interim surplus of 28,000 crore rupees to the central government for the half-year ended 31st December 2018. The central bank follows a July-June financial year and usually distributes the dividend in August after annual accounts are finalised. With this interim transfer, the government will get a total of Rs 68,000 crore from the central bank in the current fiscal. The RBI had transferred Rs 40,000 crore to the government in August 2018. This will be the highest receipt from RBI in a single financial year for the government, exceeding the Rs 65,896 crore it received in FY16 and Rs 40,659 crore in FY18
Awards:
·       Jharkhand’s NGO Yuwa Won Laureus Sports For Good Honour: Jharkhand based NGO Yuwa won the Laureus Sports for Good Award. Yuwa works for girl empowerment and became the third Indian entry to receive this honour. Yuwa was founded in 2009 by Americans Franz Gastler and Rose Thomson. It runs a football program in rural Jharkhand with 450 girls. In 2004, Indian Cricket team and Pakistan counterpart shared Laureus Award for the first time and recently by Magic Bus in 2014.
·       Shiv Chhatrapati Awards Conferred On Uday Deshpande And Smriti Mandhana: Mallakhamb coach, Uday Deshpande, and batswoman, Smriti Mandhana, were awarded the Maharashtra State Government’s Shiv Chhatrapati Award by the State’s Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao at an event held at the Gateway of India, Mumbai. Among the other award recipients are hockey player Suraj Karkera, paddler Sanil Shetty, track and field athlete Siddhant Thingaliya, who specialises in 110 metres hurdles, runner Monika Athare and squash player Mahesh Mangaonkar.
Appointments:
·       Arun Jaitley Resumes Charge As Finance Minister: Arun Jaitley resumed charge as the finance minister after a gap of over a month, which was the second break within a year that he had to take to undergo medical treatment. The President of India, as advised by the prime minister, has directed to assign the portfolios of the Minister of Finance and Minister of Corporate Affairs to Arun Jaitley. 
Sports News:
·       Elise Mertens Beats Simona Halep To Win Qatar Open: Elise Merten, world number 21 from Belgium beat world number 3, Simona Halep to win the Qatar Open held in Doha, Qatar. This is her first WTA Premier-level crown and fifth title of her overall career. Mertens' triumph over the Romanian was her third win over a top 10 player in Doha.
Obituaries:
·       Climate Scientist Wallace Smith Broecker Passes Away: Climate scientist Wallace Smith Broecker, who popularised the term "global warming" has passed away in New York. Eighty-seven-year-old Columbia University professor breathed his last at a New York City hospital. Broecker was also first to recognize what he called the Ocean Conveyor Belt, a global system of ocean currents circulating water and nutrients.
February 20:
National News:
·       PM Modi Flagged Off 1st Ever Diesel To Electric Conversion Locomotive: Under ‘Make in India’ initiative, Indian Railways has created history by converting a diesel locomotive into electric locomotive for the first time in the world. This all new converted energy-efficient electric locomotive has been flagged off by PM Narendra Modi in Varanasi.  In a first of its kind notable initiative, the diesel locomotive which has been converted to electric locomotive by theDiesel Locomotive Works (DLW) in Varanasi. The entire project is an Indian R&D innovation for the entire world, says Indian Railways.
·       Saudi Becomes 73rd Nation To Sign International Solar Alliance: Saudi Arabia became the 73rd nation to sign the International Solar Alliance. ISA was unveiled by PM Narendra Modi and former French President Francois Hollande in 2015. The move came at Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visit to India.
·       Tourism Minister K.J. Alphons Inaugurated ‘Eco Circuit’ Project in Kerala: K.J. Alphons, Union Minister for Tourism inaugurated the project ‘Development of Eco Circuit: Pathanamthitta – Gavi – Vagamon – Thekkady’ under the Swadesh Darshan scheme of Ministry of Tourism at Vagamon, Kerala. This Eco Circuit project was sanctioned in December 2015 for Rs. 76.55 crores. Major works carried out under the project includes Eco Adventure Tourism Park at Vagamon, Cultural Centre at Kadamanitta.
·       Textiles Minister Launched 4 Projects in North-East For Development Of Silk Sector: Union Minister of Textiles, Smriti Zubin Irani, launched four projects in North East for the development of silk sector through video conference in New Delhi. Smriti Zubin Irani inaugurated Muga silk seed production centre in Tura, Meghalaya, silk printing and processing unit in Agartala, Tripura, Eri spun silk mill in Sangaipat, Imphal and development of sericulture in Mamit, Mizoram.
·       Commerce Minister Launched ‘SWAYATT’ on GeM: Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, launched SWAYATT in New Delhi. SWAYATT is an initiative to promote Start-ups, Women and Youth Advantage Through eTransactions on Government e Marketplace (GeM). On this occasion, Commerce Minister also dedicated GeM Start-up Runway-an initiative of GeM in association with Start-up India to facilitate Start-ups registered with Start-up India to access the public procurement market and sell innovative products and services to government buyers.
·       Development Projects Worth Rs. 3350 crores Unveiled by PM in Varanasi: The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi unveiled development projects worth Rs. 3350 crores for VaranasiUttar Pradesh. These projects pertain to various sectors of Health, Sanitation, Smart City, Connectivity, Power, Housing and others. He released commemorative postage stamp on completion of 100 Years of IIT BHU. He also inaugurated BHU Cancer Centre and Bhabha Cancer Hospital, Lahartara.
Sci-Tech News: 
·       India’s First Hi-Tech Forensic Lab NCFL and CyPAD Inaugurated In New Delhi:  Cyber Prevention Awareness and Detection (CyPAD) Centre and the National Cyber Forensic Lab (NCFL)were inaugurated by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and LG Anil Baijal in Dwarka, New Delhi. To spread awareness among school students and teachers, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has started a popular Twitter handle @CyberDost.
·       Bandicoot-A Drainage-Cleaning Robot Introduced In Chennai: Bandicoot, a drainage-cleaning robot, has been introduced for the first time in India at the Kumbakonam city corporation as part of efforts to rid of manual scavenging at the cost of Rs 18 lakh in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. It is a semi-automatic robot can enter manholes for cleaning sewage lines with its robotic arm and is equipped with 5 night-vision cameras to relay the scenario underneath. 
Business/Banking News:
·       HDFC ERGO Launched 1st-of-its-kind Trip Protector' Policy: HDFC ERGO General Insurance Company, India's third-largest non-life insurance provider in the private sector, announced the launch of ‘Trip Protector' insurance policy, a pioneering policy in the non-life insurance segment in India. In the event of a cancellation, either a flight or hotel booking, Trip Protector insurance policy will safeguard travelers financially against the cost of cancellation levied by Hotels or Airlines.
·       Government Relaxes Angel Tax Norms For Start-ups From 7 Years To 10 Years: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry in an attempt to provide relief to and boost investments into start-ups in India has decided to simplify the process for them to get exemptions under the Income Tax Act, 1961. It will now recognize an entity as a start-up up to 10 years from the date of its incorporation or registration instead of the existing duration of 7 years. It will also recognize an entity as a start-up if its turnover for any of the financial years since its incorporation or registration does not exceed Rs 100 crore unlike the previous amount of Rs 25 crore.
Important Days:
·       World Day of Social Justice,20 February: The World Day of Social Justice is celebrated annually all over the world on 20 February. The theme for WDSJ 2019 is "If You Want Peace & Development, Work for Social Justice".
Awards:
·       7th National Photography Awards Announced: Complete List of Winners: Union Minister of State (IC) for Information & Broadcasting and Youth Affairs & Sports Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore presented the 7th National Photography Awards in a function organized at National Media Centre in New Delhi. The theme for the Professional category was “Women led Development”, while the theme for Amateur category was “Fairs and Festivals of India”. The list of the Award winners is as under:                                                             
·        Lifetime Achievement Award – Shri Ashok Dilwali
·       Professional Photographer of the Year – Shri SL Shanth Kumar
·       Amateur Photographer of the Year – Shri Gurdeep Dhiman
·       Special Mention Awards (Professional) – Shri Arun Sreedhar, Shri P.V. Sunderrao, Shri Kailash Mittal, Shri Mihir Singh, Ms. Ranita Roy.
·       Special Mention Awards (Amateur) – Shri V. Ravi Kumar, Ms. S. Neelima, Shri Manish Jaisi, Shri Mahesh Balasaheb Lonkar, Shri Avijit Datta.

Sports News:
·       Squash Great Nicol David Announces Retirement: Malaysia’s 8-time World Champion Nicol David has announced that she will call time on her record-breaking career at the end of the 2018/19 season. The 35-year-old from Penang is one of the most successful squash players of all time and spent an unprecedented 9 years at World No.1 between 2006-2015.

Obituaries:
·       Noted Hindi Writer Namvar Singh Passes Away: Noted Hindi writer Namvar Singh passed away in New Delhi. He was 92. Singh was the first chairman of JNU's Centre of Indian Languages.He has authored over dozen books including 'Kavita Ke Naye Pratiman', 'Chhayavad' and 'Dusri Parampara Ki Khoj' among others. He received Sahitya Academy Award for literary criticism in 1971 for 'Kavita Ke Naye Pratiman'.
·       ‘Badge of Honor’ Military Novelist, W.E.B. Griffin Passes Away: American military veteran and novelist, William E. Butterworth III, better known as W.E.B. Griffin (his pen name), passed away at the age of 89. He joined the army at the age of 17 and has served in the Korean War. He wrote more than 200 books under the pen name W.E.B. Griffin and various other names and sold millions of copies. 

February 21:
National News:
·       List of MoUs Signed During Visit of Prince of Saudi Arabia to India: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was on a one-day state visit to India. He met PM and President of India. 
S. No.
Name of Agreement/ MoUs
Exchanged on Indian side by
Exchanged on Saudi Arabia side by
1.
MoU on investing in the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Smt. Sushma Swaraj,
Minister of External Affairs
H.E. Khalid Al Falih,
Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources
2.

MoU on Cooperation in the field of Tourism between the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of India and the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Shri T S Tirumurti,
Secretary(ER)
H.E. Mr. Adel Al-Jubeir,
MOS for Foreign Affairs
3.
MoU between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of Saudi Arabia for Cooperation in the Field of Housing
Shri Ahmad Javed,
Ambassador of India to Saudi Arabia
H.E. Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi,
Minister of Commerce & Investment
4.
Framework Cooperation Program between Invest India of the Republic of India and Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Enhancing Bilateral Investment Relations
Shri Ahmad Javed,
Ambassador of India to Saudi Arabia
H.E. Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi,
Minister of Commerce & Investment
5.
MoU for Cooperation on Broadcasting between Prasar Bharati, New Delhi, India and Saudi Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), Saudi Arabia for Exchange of Audio Visual Programme.
Shri Ahmad Javed,
Ambassador of India to Saudi Arabia
H.E. Dr. Turki Abdullah Al-Shabanah,
Minister of Media
·       Operation Digital Board Launched By HRD Ministry: The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry launched Operation Digital Board on the lines of Operation Blackboard to provide better digital education in school. The government has aimed at equipping 9 lakh classrooms in schools and colleges across the country (7 lakh classrooms of 9th, 10th and 11th standards and 2 lakh classrooms of colleges and Universities) with digital facilities for teaching by 2022.
·       MoU Between Environment Ministry and University of British Columbia on Forestry Science: An MoU was signed between Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada for next 10 years in New Delhi. The MoU will help in exchange of students, researchers, and faculty, developing research projects, livelihood opportunities and augment income of the forest-based communities and also assist the industries to optimize the utilization of forest-based resources with access of technology to different stakeholders by the respective organizations.
·       Tele-law Mobile App, Nyaya Bandhu Launched By Department of Justice: A tele-law mobile application ‘Nyaya Bandhu’ was launched by the Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. The application will benefit 73,000 paralegal volunteers (PLVs) of National Legal Service Authority and State Legal Services Authorities (SLSA) in the country who will be associated under Tele-Law service.
·       ‘KALIA Chhatra Bruti’ Scholarship Launched In Odisha: ‘KALIA Chhatra Bruti’ scholarship for the children of farmers benefited under the KALIA scheme was launched by the Odisha Chief Minister NaveenPatnaik in BhubaneshwarOdisha. It aims at providing financial assistance for technical and professional education to farmers’ children by creating a provision for the State government to bear all expenses involved in various levels of education.

Summits & Conference: 
·        Regional Conference on ‘Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation scheme’ Organised At Kolkata: A regional conference on ‘Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme (DDRS)’ was organised in Kolkata, West Bengal. DDRS is a scheme implemented by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment. DDRS was established in 1999 by the Government of India. It is a central government scheme.
·       'International Vision Zero Conference’ To Promote Occupational Safety And Health Held in Mumbai:  Heeralal Samariya, Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment inaugurated the three days Conference on the VISION ZERO and its relevance to Occupational Safety and Health was held in Mumbai. The Conference has been organized by Directorate General Factory Advice and Labour Institutes (DGFASLI), Ministry of Labour and Employment, German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV), Germany.
·       8th World CSR Congress 2019 Held in Mumbai: World Corporate Social Responsibility Congress (World CSR Congress 2019) promotes Entrepreneurship, Social Responsibility, Sustainability and Social Development. The 8th World CSR Congress was held in Mumbai, Maharashtra.  The theme of the year 2019 is ‘Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs)’ to focus on corporate strategies, innovation, and strategic alliances. Dr. Soumitro Chakraborty won ‘CEO of the year’ award.
·       4th India-ASEAN Expo Summit Begins in New Delhi: The 4th India-ASEAN Expo and Summit started in New Delhi. This is a flagship event of Department of Commerce, being organized with FICCI to carry forward the momentum and to further strengthen India-ASEAN relations under the Act-East Policy. The Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) comprises of Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Cambodia and Brunei. 
·       PM Modi On 2-Day Visit To South Korea: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Seoul on a two-day visit to South Korea. Mr Modi will hold bilateral talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and receive the Seoul Peace Prize in recognition of his dedication to international cooperation, global growth and human development. Besides summit meeting with President Moon Jae-in, Prime Minister Modi will also have a number of engagements with the Korean leadership, businesses and Indian Community. 
·       'Festival of India' Begins In Kathmandu: A month-long ‘Festival of India’ began in Kathmandu, Nepal, to familiarise the new generation of the country about the similarities between the two countries. Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari and Indian Ambassador to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri jointly inaugurated the event.th its robotic arm and is equipped with 5 night-vision cameras to relay the scenario underneath.
Important Days:
·       International Mother Language Day has been observed every year on 21st February since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. This year, International Mother Language day 2019 will be framed by the International Year of indigenous languages 2019 (IYIL19) around the theme “Indigenous languages matter for development, peace building and reconciliation”.

Banking News:
·       Government To Infuse Rs 48,239 crore in 12 Public Sector Banks: The government has approved recapitalization of Rs 48,239 crore in 12 public sector banks in this fiscal to help them maintain regulatory capital requirements and finance growth plans. The government will infuse over nine thousand crore rupees in Corporation Bank and six thousand 896 crore rupees in Allahabad Bank. Besides, four thousand 638 crore rupees will be provided Bank of India and 205 crore rupees to Bank of Maharashtra. These banks have recently come out of the regulatory supervisory framework PCA of the RBI.

Awards:
·       Laureus World Sports Awards 2019 Announced: Complete List of Winners: The Laureus World Sports Award for Sportsman of the Year is an annual award honoring the achievements of individual men from the world of sports. Novak Djokovic was named World Sportsman of the Year and United State gymnast Simone Biles was named Sportswoman of the Year at the 2019 Laureus World Sports Awards, while Tiger Woods won the World Comeback of the Year award.

Obituaries:
·       Veteran Film Producer Raj Kumar Barjatya Passes Away: Veteran Bollywood producer and father of filmmaker Sooraj Barjatya, Raj Kumar Barjatya passed away in Mumbai. He was popularly and affectionately known as Raj Babu and helmed several Bollywood hit films including ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’, ‘Hum Aapke Hain Koun’, ‘Vivah’, ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’, ‘Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon’among others. All these films were directed by his son Sooraj.

February 22:
National News:
·       India, Sri Lanka Ink MoU To Establish Business Centre For ICT  Incubators: India and Sri Lanka signed an MoU to establish a business center for ICT incubators in Jaffna (a city in Sri Lanka) through the grant of 25 crore Sri Lankan rupees from India. The MoU was signed by High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Mr. Taranjit Singh Sandhu, and Secretary, Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade Mr. S. T. Kodikara in Colombo in presence of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe.
·       President Ram Nath Kovind Promulgates 4 Ordinances: The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Second Ordinance has been promulgated to give continued effect to the provisions brought in by the earlier ordinance. This Ordinance declares the practice of instant triple talaq to be void and illegal and also to make it an offence punishable with imprisonment up to three years and fine. The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Second Ordinance has been promulgated to give continued effect to the work already done by the Board of Governors as per the provisions of earlier Ordinance.The Companies (Amendment) Second Ordinance, has been promulgated with a view, to empower the Central Government to allow certain companies to have a different financial year instead of as determined by the Tribunal.The Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Ordinance has been promulgated to have central legislation to tackle the menace of illicit deposits taking activities in the country.
·       BEL Signs Teaming Agreement With Hughes India for Helicopter SATCOM Solutions: Navratna Defence PSU, Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Hughes India have entered into a Teaming Agreement for design, development, supply, installation, integration and commissioning of Satellite Communication solutions for helicopters under the Ministry of Defence, Government of India at Aero India 2019, Bengaluru. Director (Marketing), BEL, Ms Anandi Ramalingam and President, Hughes India Shri Partho Banerjee signed the MoU. 
·       NITI Aayog Organized Conference on Future of Indian Banking: Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog, inaugurated a conference on “The Future of Indian Banking” with the Foundation for Economic Growth and Welfare (EGROW Foundation). The conference aims to increase and elevate the discourse on the banking sector in India, and help develop insights to inform the continued evolution of the Indian banking sector for optimally supporting the growing credit needs of the Indian economy.
·       Government Launches 'Operation Digital Board' To Boost Quality Education: The Union Minister of Human Resource Development, Prakash Javadekar launched the ‘Operation Digital Board’ to boost quality education in the country. An expert committee has worked out optimum configuration of the Digital Class Rooms under the Operation Digital Board. The Operation Digital Board is a revolutionary step which will make the learning as well as the teaching process interactive and will popularise flipped learning as a pedagogical approach.
·       CCEA Approves KUSUM Scheme For Farmers' Welfare: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the launch of‘Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan’ (KUSUM Yojana) with the objective of providing financial and water security to farmers. The Central Government will provide a total financial support of Rs 34,422 crore for the scheme. The components are;
·       Component-A: 10,000 MW of Decentralised Ground Mounted Grid Connected Renewable Power Plants.
·       Component-B: Installation of 17.50 lakh standalone Solar Powered Agriculture Pumps.
·       Component-C: Solarisation of 10 Lakh Grid-connected Solar Powered Agriculture Pumps.
·        Defence Ministry Approves Torpedo Acquisition For Naval Submarines: In a major boost for the Navy's firepower, the Defence Ministry has approved the acquisition of more than 100 heavyweight torpedoes which will be equipped on the force's six Scorpene-class submarines being built at Mazagon Dockyards in Mumbai. The French-origin Scorpene submarines are being built in India at Mazagon Dockyards Limited (MDL) and have now been named the Kalvari class. The first boat of the class called INS Kalvari has already been inducted into the Navy and is carrying out operational duties.
International News:
·       PM Modi 2-Day Visit To South Korea: Complete Highlights:
Ø  PM Modi holds delegation level talks with South Korean President: In a one to one talk with Korean President Moon Jae In in Seoul, Prime Minister Modi stated that Special strategic partnership between both the countries is very significant not only for India but also for the world.  
Ø  PM Modi addresses Indian Community in Korea:Addressing the Indian community in Korea Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked the Indian community in Seoul for the warm welcome they had accorded him. The Prime Minister referred to the age-old links between India and Korea, and recalled Queen Suryaratna who travelled thousands of kilometres from Ayodhya, and married a Korean King.
Ø  PM Modi unveils bust of Mahatma Gandhi in Seoul:Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a bust of Mahatma Gandhi at the Seoul Campus of the Yonsei University which is one of the premier universities of South Korea.
Ø  PM Modi addresses India-Korea business symposium:Prime Minister launched the India-Korea Startup Hub at the India Korea Business Symposium. India has introduced the flagship program Start-up India with 1.4 billion Dollars fund for four years.
Ø  PM Modi Conferred with the 2018 Seoul Peace Prize:Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation had announced the decision to award Prime Minister Modi with this prestigious Prize in October 2018.
Ø  List of MOU’s signed with South Korea:
S. No.
Name of Document
Objectives
1.
MoU on release of commemorative postal stamp on Queen Hur (Suriratna)
For releasing a joint stamp commemorating the legendary Princess Suriratna (Queen Hur Hwang-ok), a legendary Princess of Ayodhya, who went to Korea in AD 48 and married King Kim-Suro
2.
MOU on Extension of Korea Plus
To continue operations of Korea Plus- an organization that facilitates investments by Korean companies in India.
3.
MoU on Start-up Cooperation
To promote collaboration among Start-ups and to set up of a Korea Start-up Centre (KSC) in India
4.
MoU between Korean National Police Agency and MHA on Combating Transnational Crime And Developing Police Cooperation
To enhance cooperation between the law enforcement agencies of the two countries and combat trans-border and international crimes.
5.
MoU between Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) and Prasar Bharti on Cooperation in Broadcasting
To facilitate the broadcast of DD India Channel in South Korea and KBS World Channel in India.
6.
MoU between National Highways Authority of India and Korea Expressway Corporation
To promote bilateral cooperation in road and transport infrastructure development projects of India

·       Australian Small Brown Rat Becomes World’s First Mammal To Go Extinct Due To  Climate Change: small brown rat of bramble cay melomys species lived on a tiny island off northern Australia becomes the world’s first mammal to have become extinct due to “human-induced climate change”. The Australian government has officially listed the Bramble Cay melomys as extinct. Extreme high water levels and damaging storm surges, including its sources of food include the reason behind its Extinction.
·       China’s Xinhua Unveils World’s First Female AI News Anchor: Chinese news agency Xinhua unveiled the world’s first female AI news anchor Xin Xiaomeng. She has been developed in collaboration with Sogou Inc, a search engine company. Earlier, Xinhua also developed Qiu Hao, the world’s first male AI news anchor at the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen held in November 2018, who is capable of mimicking human facial expressions and mannerisms while reading out news-reports.
·       Pinarayi Vijayan Inaugurated First Humanoid Police Robot KP-BOT In India: Kerala Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, inaugurated India’s first Humanoid Police Robot named KP-BOT, ranked as Sub-Inspector (SI), at the Police Headquarters in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. The robot’s gender is declared female keeping in mind women empowerment and gender equality. In 2018’s Cocoon Cyber Conference it was announced that robots will be included in the police force, after which, the work on the project was started by state police Cyberdome and a Kochi based start-up, Asimov.
Appointments:
·       Ajay Singh Appointed As The Head Of AIBA Elite Foundation: Ajay Singh, president of the Boxing Federation of India has been selected as the president of the Foundation Board for Better Boxing of AIBA (International Boxing Association). AIBA formed the Foundation Board for Better Boxing in the last meeting of its Executive Committee to formulate an action plan for global development of the sport in future.
·       SC Appoints Former Judge Justice D.K. Jain as BCCI Ombudsman: The Supreme Court appointed a retired judge of the court Justice D.K. Jain as the first ombudsman under the new BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) Constitution approved by the court in a judgment. Bringing a quietus to the quibbling between the Committee of Administrators (CoA) which runs the BCCI and the State bodies that form the Board, a Bench of Justices S.A. Bobde and A.M. Sapre decided to take things into their own hands on the advice of amicus curiae and senior advocate P.S. Narasimha.

Economy News:
·       EPFO Hikes Interest Rates On EPF By 0.1%: Employees' Provident Fund Organisation has hiked interest rate on employees' provident fund to 8.65% from 8.55% for the 2018-19 fiscal year. The announcement was made by Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar. The proposal would now go to the Finance Ministry for approvalg. The Central Board of Trustees (CBT) headed by Labour Minister is the apex decision making body of the EPFO which finalises rate of interest on PF deposits for a financial year.

Awards:
·       PM Modi Conferred With Seoul Peace Prize in South Korea: Prime Minister Narendra Modi was conferred with the Seoul Peace Prize during his two-day visit to South Korea. The award was first announced by the Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation in October 2018. Former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are among previous recipients of the award.

February 23:
National News:
·       UP CM Launches Scheme For Adolescent Girls: In Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath launched Scheme for Adolescent girls (SAG). The scheme focuses on girls aged between 11 to 14 years who have left studies and will take steps for proper nutrition and special care for them. The state government also decided to observe Adolescent girls day on 8th of every month at Anganwadi centres across the state.
·        First Mega Food Park Of Tripura Inaugurated  In Agartala: Union Minister of State for Food Processing Industries, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, inaugurated Tripura’s first mega food park named Sikaria Mega Food Park Pvt Ltd at Village Tulakona in Agartala. It has been set up by Kolkata-based Sikaria Mega Food Park Private Ltd. on 50 acres land provided by Tripura Industrial development corporation Ltd.

International News:
·       President Bashir Declares Year-Long State Of Emergency In Sudan: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has declared a year-long state of emergency, dissolving his cabinet and local governments throughout the country. Omar al-Bashir in a televised address called on Sudan's parliament to postpone constitutional amendmentsthat would allow him to run for another term in a presidential election in 2020.

Awards:
·       Divya Karnad Becomes First Indian Woman To Receive Future For Nature Award: 33-year-old Ashoka University teacher and Wipro Sustainable Fellow, Divya Karnad became the First Indian Woman to be honoured with the 'Future for Nature Award' for her work on marine conservation. The award is given to 3 people annually, and this year it was given to Oliver Nsengimana and Fernanda Abra along with Divya Karnad. It is a prestigious international award that celebrates achievements in protecting wild animals and plant species.

Schemes and Committees:
·       Odisha To Give Free Sanitary Napkins To 17 Lakh School Girls: The Odisha Cabinet approved the 'Khushi' scheme to provide free sanitary napkins to school girls across the state. The scheme will benefit nearly 17.25 lakh school girls from Class VI to XII studying in government and government-aided schools. The state government will spend INR 466 crore over a period of 5 years to implement the scheme.
·       CBDT Set Up Panel To Help Bring Down Tax Litigation: The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) formed a 4-member committee, headed by income tax commissioner Sanjeev Sharma, to look into the matter of taxation related pain points and submit its final report and recommendations by mid-March. It will tackle the issue by addressing some current pain points and recommending some steps borrowed frominternational best practices.

Miscellaneous:
·       HM Rajnath Singh Inaugurates Waste To Wonder Park In Delhi: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated a new park which houses the replicas of seven wonders of the world at South Delhi. The park, which is called the 'Waste to Wonder Park', was built by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC).  It is the first-of-its-kind tourist attraction in the world, with the replicas of seven wonders of the world. The replicas of all seven wonders of the world have been built with eco-friendly, self sustainable material, and has its own solar and wind power generation.
·       World’s Largest Bee Spotted The First Time Since 1981: Wallace’s giant bee (Wallace Bee),  the largest bee known on the Earth which was considered to be extinct since 1981 was re-spotted in an Indonesian forest. Scientists spotted a female bee of the species Megachile pluto and its size is four times the size of the typical European honeybee and has a wingspan of 2.5 inches.

February 24 & 25:
National News:
·        India Hosts ‘4th Global Digital Health Partnership Summit’: J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare inaugurated the ‘4th Global Digital Health Partnership Summit’ in New Delhi, in the presence of  Ravi Shankar Prasad Union Minister of Law & Justice and Electronics & Information Technology. The global intergovernmental meeting on digital health is being hosted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Digital Health Partnership (GDHP). 
·       Bihar Becomes The 1st State To Deploy Dog Squad To Check Liquor Smuggling: Bihar has become the first state to deploy specially-trained dogs to check smuggling of liquor which continues to take place inspite of the total ban imposed in the state for the last 3 years. 20 liquor-tracker dogs were trained rigorously for nine months in Hyderabad, Telangana. They were trained at Hyderabad-based Integrated Intelligence Training Academy. Patna will witness deployment of 4 such dogs.
·       Tamil Nadu Becomes 1st State in Mainland to Get 2 Coast Guard Districts: Tamil Nadu became the first state in the country to get a second Coast Guard district headquarters - Thoothukudi. The first district headquarters is Chennai. Inaugurated by state Governor Banwarilal Purohit, the Thoothukudi district headquarters has been set up with an aim to augment security mechanism on the eastern coast and the state in particular.
·       Indian Government Launched Rail Drishti Dashboard: Railway Minister Piyush Goyal launched Rail Drishti Dashboard in New Delhi. The dashboard has been launched to keep people informed about the work going on in the Railways across the country.

International News:
·       Zimbabwe Starts Trading New Currency RTGS dollar: Zimbabwe started to trade its new currency, the RTGS dollar, two days after the central bank announced measures to try and resolve a chronic monetary crisis. The new currency replaces electronic bank savings called digital dollars and the bond notes and was named after the real-time gross settlement system that banks use to transfer money between each other.
·       Women’s Livelihood Bond Launched By World Bank, UN And SIDBI: World Bank, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), and Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) launched new social impact bonds exclusively for women, called Women’s Livelihood Bonds (WLBs), with an initial corpus of Rs 300 crore. It will enable individual women entrepreneurs in sectors like food processing, agriculture, services, and small units to borrow around Rs 50,000 to Rs 3 lakh at an annual interest rate of around 13% to 14% or less and have a tenure of 5 years. They will be unsecured, unlisted bonds and offer a fixed coupon rate of 3% per annum to bond investors.
·       India To Attend OIC Meet for 1st Time in Abu Dhabi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has been invited to deliver an address at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Abu Dhabi. This is the first time that a leader of the non-Muslim country has been invited to the OIC conference. Mrs Swaraj will be the Guest of Honour and address the inaugural plenary of the 46th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of OIC on the 1st and 2nd of March.
·       Donald Trump Signs SPD-4 To Create US Space Force: US President Donald Trump signed Space Policy Directive-4 (SPD-4), ordering the Pentagon to establish the Space Force as the 6th branch of the United States military, to go along with the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, in order to secure and extend American dominance of the space domain. Donald Trump signs SPD-4 to create US Space Force SPD-4, as the name suggests, is Mr. Trump’s 4th space policy directive.
·       Cobra Gold Military Exercises Held In Thailand: Thailand and the United States hosted the annual Cobra Gold military exercise, the biggest activity of its type in the Asia-Pacific region with 29 nations taking part as participants or observers. Apart from the 2 countries, 7 countries who participated in the exercise were India, Singapore, Japan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korea. The Indian Army participated in the military training exercise with a 14-member contingent. India participated in this exercise for the first time in the ‘Observer Plus’ category in 2016 alongside China.


Awards:
·       Oscar Awards 2019 Announced: Complete List Of Winners: The 91st Academy Awards (Oscars) has been announced at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, the USARami Malek was named Best Actor in a Leading Role for ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, while Olivia Colman won Best Actress Oscar for ‘The Favourite’ at the 91st Academy Awards. India-based ‘Period. End of Sentence.’ has won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject. The film was directed by 25-year-old Iranian-American filmmaker Rayka Zehtabchi and co-produced by Guneet Monga, who is known for producing films like ‘Masaan’ and ‘The Lunchbox’.                                               
Sl. No.
Category
Winner
1.
Best Picture
Green Book
2.
Best Actress in a Leading Role
Olivia Colman for The Favourite
3.
Best Actor in a Leading Role
Rami Malek for Bohemian Rhapsody
4.
Best Directing
Alfonso Cuarón for Roma
5.
Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali for Green Book
6.
Best Supporting Actress
Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk.
7.
Best Original Score
Ludwig Goransson for Black Panther
8.
Best Original Song
Lady Gaga, Mike Ronson, Anthony Rossomondo and Andrew Wyatt for A Star Is Born
9.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee for Blackkklansman
10.
Original Screenplay
Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly for Green Book
11.
Best Live Action Short
Skin
12.
Best Visual Effects
Paul Lambert, Ian Hunter, Tristan Myles and J.D. Schwalm for First Man
13.
Best Animated Short
Domee Shi and Becky Neiman-Cobb for Bao
14.
Best Documentary Short
Rayka Zehtabchi and Melissa Berton for Period. End of Sentence
15.
Best Animated Feature
Spiderman: Into the Spider Verse
16.
Best Film Editing
John Ottman for Bohemian Rhapsody
17.
Best Foreign Language
Roma
18.
Best Cinematography
Alfonso Cuarón for Roma
19.
Best Sound Editing
John Warhurst and Nina Hartstone for Bohemian Rhapsody
20.
Best Sound Mixing
Paul Massey, Tim Cavagin and John Casali for Bohemian Rhapsody
21.
Makeup & Hairstyling – Vice
Makeup & Hairstyling – Vice
22.
Best Costume Design
Ruth Carter for Black Panther
23.
Best Production Design
Hannah Beachler (Production Design); Jay Hart (Set Decoration) for Black Panther
24.
Best Documentary Feature
Free Solo
·       Manpreet Singh Honoured With AHF’s Player Of The Year: The Asian Hockey Federation has honored Indian skipper Manpreet Singh with the 2018 Player of the Year award. Women team’s striker Lalremsiami has bagged the Rising Player of The Year prize. Manpreet led the Indian team to an unbeaten streak at the Asian Champions Trophy in Muscat where the team was declared joint winners with Pakistan.
  • Economy News: GST Council Reduces GST Rate on Real Estate Projects: The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council met for its 33rd meeting and slashed GST rate on under-construction residential properties and the affordable housing projects. The revised rates will be applicable from April 1, 2019. The decision was based on recommendations of a Ministerial Panel headed by Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel.  In case of non-affordable houses, the GST rate for under-construction flats and houses has been brought to 5% without Input Tax Credit (ITC), down from the present 12%.In case of affordable houses, the GST rate has been reduced to 1% without ITC from 8%.
February 26
National News:
·       PM Modi Inaugurated 40-Acre National War Memorial in New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated a new National War Memorial, situated in the India Gate complex inNew Delhi, to the nation. The National War Memorial, spread over 40 acres in the India Gate complex behind the canopy, is dedicated to soldiers killed during the Indo-China War in 1962, Indo-Pak Wars in 1947, 1965 and 1971, Indian Peace Keeping Force Operations in Sri Lanka and in the Kargil Conflict in 1999, and also those in the UN peacekeeping missions.
·       FAGMIL Signs MoU With Himachal Pradesh To Establish India's 4th White Cement Plant Project: Under its diversification programme, FCI Aravali Gypsum and Minerals India Limited (FAGMIL) has taken up a project to establish a white cement plant near village Nohra Dhar in Himachal Pradesh, at a project cost of approximately Rs. 605 crores. It will be the 4th white cement plant in the country. The installed capacity of the plant would be 0.3 million tonnes per annum and it will generate the direct employment of approximately150 persons. 
·       Madhya Pradesh Government Launched  'Mukhyamantri Yuva Swabhiman Yojana’: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath launched the State Government’s flagship scheme ‘Mukhyamantri Yuva Swabhiman Yojana’ that guarantees 100 days of employment every year to urban youth from economically weaker sections. Under the scheme, Rs 4,000 stipend per month during 100 days period, would be given to the youth and they will also be given skill development training in order to become independent. (Only those youths, whose family’s annual income is less than Rs 2 lakh and who are in the age group of 21-30 years, are eligible for the scheme). 
Awards:
·       President Conferred 'Gandhi Peace Prize': President Ram Nath Kovind conferred the Gandhi Peace Prize for 2015, 16, 17 and 18 at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi. The award comprises a cash award of one crore rupees, a citation in a scroll, a plaque and a traditional handicraft item. For 2015: Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari was given the award for its contribution in Rural Development, Education and Development of natural resources. For 2016: Jointly to Akshaya Patra Foundation for its contribution in providing mid-day meals to millions of children across India and Sulabh International for its contribution in improving the condition of sanitation in India and emancipation of manual scavengers. For 2017: Ekal Abhiyan Trust for its contribution in providing Education for Rural and Tribal Children in remote areas pan India, Rural Empowerment, Gender, and Social Equality. For 2018: Japan's Yohei Sasakawa for his contribution in Leprosy Eradication in India and across the world.
·       Lifetime Achievement Award For G.R. Karthikeyan: G.R. Karthikeyan, father of India’s first Formula One driver Narain Karthikeyan, was honored with theLifetime Achievement award at the FMSCI annual awards function. FIA president Jean Todt was the chief guest and handed over the awards.
Defense News:
·        India-Bangladesh Joint Military Exercise 'Sampriti 2019' in Tangail: As part of the ongoing India Bangladesh defence cooperation, a joint military exercise Sampriti-2019 will be conducted at Tangail, Bangladesh from 02 March to 15 March 2019. Exercise Sampriti-2019 is an important bilateral defence cooperation endeavor between India and Bangladesh and this will be the eighth edition of the exercise which is hosted alternately by both countries.
Appointments:
·       Indra Nooyi Joins Amazon’s Board of Directors: PepsiCo’s India-born former CEO Indra Nooyi has joined Amazon’s board of directors, the online retail giant. Starbucks executive Rosalind Brewer has also joined the Amazon Board. She was Pepsico CEO from October 2006 to October 2018, where she also served as the Chairman of its board of directors from May 2007 to February 2019.
Sports:
·       Afghanistan Scores Highest Ever T20 International Score: Afghanistan scored 278 for the loss of three wickets from their allotted 20 overs, to register the highest-ever total in T20s at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. Hazratullah Zazai scored 162 runs from just 62 balls. Zazai became the first player from Afghanistan to score 150 or more runs, and his 236-run opening stand with Usman Ghani became the highest partnership in T20Is. 
·       Sri Lanka Becomes 1st Ever Asian Team To Win Test Series In South Africa: Sri Lanka cricket team became the first Asian side to win a Test series in South Africa after winning the series by 2-0. Kusal Perera was given the Man of the Series award. Before Sri Lanka, only Australia and England have defeated South Africa in a Test series at home.
·       Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta Wins Cannes International Open Trophy: Indian Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta lifted the Cannes International Open trophy. He took an easy draw with Pier Luigi Basso of Italy in the ninth and final round. Abhijeet won the tournament with 7.5 points. It is his first solo International tournament victory.
February 27
National News:
·        Rising India Summit 2019 Held In New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed Network-18 Rising India Summit, held in New Delhi and laid out his vision for a ‘New India‘. The theme of the summit was, 'Beyond Politics: Defining National Priorities'. The Prime Minister discussed various topics including income tax and GDP numbers, India’s global standing, Jan Dhan accounts, and unemployment.
·       Assam Launches PRANAM Commission To Protect Parents Of State Government Employees: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal launched the PRANAM Commission, which is a panel set up to look after the issues concerning a Bill brought in for the protection of parents of state government employees. The Parents Responsibility and Norms for Accountability and Monitoring (PRANAM) Bill, stated to be the first-of-its-kind bill in the country, aims to protect elderly parents of government employees in their times of need.
·       Odisha Cabinet Approves State Film Policy 2019: With an aim to promote Odia films and create a conducive eco-system for production of films in the region, Naveen Patnaik-led state cabinet gave its nod to the Odisha State Film Policy-2019. The policy will promote quality Odia films, facilitate film tourism in the state, establish Odisha as a destination for film shooting and improve screen density in the state.
·       Muhammadu Buhari Re-Elected Nigerian President: Muhammadu Buhari was re-elected Nigeria's President, results showed, after a delayed poll that angered voters and led to claims of rigging and collusion. Buhari, 76, took an unassailable lead of more than four million votes as the last states were yet to be declared, making it impossible for his nearest rival, Atiku Abubakar, to win.
Awards:
·       Playwright Mahesh Elkunchwar To Be Honoured With META Lifetime Achievement Award: Eminent Indian playwright Mahesh Elkunchwar has been chosen for this year's META Lifetime Achievement Award. The playwright will be conferred upon with the award on March 12, along with the winners of the 14th Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META) festival.
Banking News:
·       BoB Ties Up With German KfW for USD 130m to Refinance Solar  Units: State-run Bank of Baroda has tied up with Germany's KfW Development Bank for funding of USD 113 million to refinance solar projects. The tie-up is part of an Indo-German Solar Energy Partnership signed in 2015.
·       RBI Removes Allahabad Bank, Corporation Bank, Dhanlaxmi Bank From PCA: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has taken off Allahabad Bank, Corporation Bank and Dhanlaxmi Bank from the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework allowing them to resume their normal lending activities. The Board for Financial Supervision (BFS) met to review the performance of banks under PCA and noted that the government has infused fresh capital into various banks including some of the banks currently under the PCA framework. 
Agreements:
·       IWAI and IOCL Signed MoU On Fuel Needs for National Waterways: Inland Waterways Authority of India (WAI) and Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) signed an MoU for jointly developing infrastructure for fuels, lubricating oil, LPG, Natural Gas and any other related fuel and gasfor meeting the requirement of National Waterways. The MoU will provide for an understanding over general modalities of mutual cooperation leading to addressing futuristic demand of any form of energy for Inland Waterways and associated services.
Books and Authors:
·       Dr. H Chaturvedi's Book On 'Quality, Accreditation & Ranking' Launched In New Delhi: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu launched the book titled 'Quality, Accreditation, and Ranking - A Silent Revolution in the Offing in Indian Higher Education' edited by Education Promotion Society for India's (EPSI) Alternate President Dr. H Chaturvedi in New Delhi. On this occasion, the UGC Chairman, Dr. DP Singh, and Management Guru Padma Shri Dr. Pritam Singh were present as the guest of honor. The book launch function was organized by EPSI, BIMTECH and Bloomsbury Pvt Ltd.
Sports News:
·       Manu Bhaker, Saurabh Chaudhary Win Gold In 10m Air Pistol Mixed Team: Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary clinched the gold medal in the 10m Air Pistol Mixed Team event at the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi. Ranxin Jiang and Bowen Zhang of China won silver while the Republic of Korea pair Minjung Kim and Daehun Park got the bronze.
February 28
National News:
·       HRD Ministry Launches SHREYAS Scheme: Union minister Prakash Javadekar launched 'Scheme for Higher Education Youth in Apprenticeship and Skills' (SHREYAS) for providing industry apprenticeship opportunities to fresh graduates. This scheme is a programme basket comprising the initiatives of three central ministries, including the HRD, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, and the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
Appointments:
·       IDBI Bank Appoints LIC's Hemant Bhargava As Non-Executive Chairman: IDBI Bank has appointed Hemant Bhargava as non-executive, non-whole time chairman. Bhargava is currently the Chairman (in-charge) and Managing Director of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC). The bank stated that Bhargava has been appointed for 3 years or until he continues in his position at LIC. The life insurer is now the majority shareholder in IDBI Bank with a 51% stake.
Awards:
·       CZPDC Bhopal And WZPDC Indore Honoured With Saubhagya Award: The Central Zone Power Distribution Company (CZPDC), Bhopal and West Zone Power Distribution Company (WZPDC), Indore were conferred with the “Saubhagya Award” under Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana at the National Conference of Energy Ministers by the Union Minister of State for Energy, R.K. Singh. The award includes a cash prize of Rs 100 crore each. The PM Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana- Saubhagya was implemented by the Central Government in September 2017, and intends to provide electricity to all Below Poverty Line (BPL) houses of rural and urban areas.
·       PM Narendra Modi Conferred The National Youth Parliament Festival 2019 Awards: The National Youth Parliament Festival 2019 awards were given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. The winners from the national level competition are, 1st position- Shweta Umre from Maharashtra., 2nd position- Anjanakshi M.S from Karnataka, 3rd position- Mamta Kumari from Bihar.
Banking/Economy News:
·       RBI, Bank of Japan Sign Bilateral Swap Arrangement: Reserve Bank of India and Bank of Japan have signed a Bilateral Swap Arrangement (BSA). The BSA was negotiated between India and Japan during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Tokyo in October 2018. The BSA provides for India to access 75 billion US dollars whereas the earlier BSA had provided for 50 billion dollars.
Ranks and Reports:
·       India Ranked 47th In The 'Inclusive Internet Index 2019': India ranked 47th in the ‘Inclusive Internet Index 2019’ which is prepared by the ‘Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) for Facebook. The index was expanded to include 100 countries which will represent 94% of the world’s population and 96% of global GDP.  Sweden topped the index whereas Singapore ranked 2nd and the USA ranked 3rd. India maintained its previous year rank.
·       Mukesh Ambani World's 8th Richest With Net Worth Of $54 bn: With a net worth of $54 billion, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani has broken into the global top 10 richest billionaire list compiled by Hurun Research. The Hurun Global Rich List 2019 is topped by Amazon chief Jeff Bezos for the second year in a row, while the senior Ambani is placed 8th with a network of Rs 3.83 trillion. Ambani is the only Asian among the top 10.
Summits and Conference:
·       BioAsia 2019 Held In Hyderabad: The 16th edition of BioAsia 2019 Asia’s largest biotechnology and life-sciences forum was conducted in HyderabadTelangana. It was inaugurated by the Governor of Telangana E.S.L Narasimhan. The theme of the conference was 'Life Sciences 4.0 – Disrupt the Disruption'. ‘Life Sciences 4.0: transforming health care in India’ was launched by EY. The report discusses the disruptive impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) on the health care ecosystem in India.
·       'Aviation Conclave 2019' Organised By Civil Aviation Ministry: The Ministry of Civil Aviation organised a conclave on the theme 'flying for all' where more than 200 delegates including industry leaders and regulators deliberated on issues and opportunities in the sector.  Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu stated that the Conclave was about the future of Indian aviation, bringing together industry leaders, government and regulators for setting the tone and propelling us to realize our Vision-2040.
Important Days:
·       National Science Day, 28 February: National Science Day is celebrated across India on February 28. Famous Indian scientist Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman or CV Raman discovered the Raman Effect on this day in 1928. For his discovery, Sir CV Raman was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930.  In honour of this discovery and as a mark of tribute to the scientist, National Science Day was marked for the first time on February 28, 1987. This year the theme for the National Science Day is 'Science for people and people for science'.
Miscellaneous News:
·       Union Minister Smriti Irani Inaugurated 'Titanwala Museum' In Rajasthan: Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani inaugurated the ‘Titanwala Museum’ that showcases the hand block printing of the Chhipa community in Bagru. Bagru printing is one of the traditional techniques of printing with natural color followed by the chippas of Rajasthan. The Bagru hand-block printing has a history of over 1000 years.
·       West Bengal Launches 'Banglar Shiksha' Portal: West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee inaugurated a web portal, 'Banglar Shiksha', which is set to provide real-time data on state-run and aided schools. The portal, banglarshiksha.gov.in, will be up and running in two months' time, the minister stated. A statement issued by the school education department stated that the portal will store real-time data of 1.5 crore students, 5 lakh teachers and 1 lakh schools.
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