General - Current Affairs for February, 2017

General Current Affairs for February, 2017

Month wise coverage of General Current Affairs helps you improve your general knowledge and prepare for all competitive exams like IBPS, Bank PO, SBI PO, RRB, RBI, LIC, Specialist Officer, Clerk, SSC, UPSC, Railway etc. This section is updated daily with the most important events.

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▼ Iran, Russia to produce nuclear fuel   [02-28-17]

Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI) has made the announcement that Russia and Iran have reached an agreement to jointly produce nuclear fuel.

The preliminary, basic agreement with Russia on the joint production of nuclear fuel was reached during the nuclear negotiations between Iran and P5+1 nations (major world powers) in 2015.

Iran has come up with a roadmap for the joint production, which will take two years to be implemented. Besides, it will buy 950 tonnes of uranium from Kazakhstan.

This buying is part of Iran’s international nuclear deal known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Iran and P5+1 nations.

Russia: Know More

  • Capital: Moscow
  • Currency: Russian rouble
  • President: Vladimir Putin
  • Population: 143.5 million (2013) World Bank
  • Prime minister: Dmitry Medvedev

▼ Venezuela, Libya suspended from UNGA voting   [02-27-17]

Venezuela, Libya were suspended from voting in UNGA for the 2016-17 session for not paying dues to the world body.

This is for the second time in two years both countries have been suspended.

Venezuela was to make a minimum $24 million payment under the two-year threshold to get its voting rights restored. While, Libya was to pay minimum payment of $6.5 million.

Besides them other four other countries Papua New Guinea, Sudan, Vanuatu and Cabo Verde also may lose their voting rights for not paying their in past two years .

Libya: Know More

  • Capital: Tripoli
  • Code: +218
  • Currency: Libyan dinar
  • Population: 6.202 million (2013) World Bank
  • Official language: Arabic

▼ Visa signs MoU, to transform Vizag into less cash city   [02-27-17]

Global payments network Visa has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Andhra Pradesh Government to transform Vishakhapatnam into India’s first ‘less cash’ city.

Under this agreement, an initiative has been designed to provide foundation for the city to emerge as India’s ‘Fintech Valley’.

In order to achieve the goal, Visa will focus on driving payments digitisation and help to build the talent pool required in city organisations and in academia on emerging technologies such as blockchain.

It will also provide support to FinTech start-ups by providing access to Visa’s APIs by providing subject matter expertise and participating in boot camps and hackathons.

Through this project, it is aimed to ensure three-fold to five-fold increase on the 6,400 merchants currently accepting digital payments, and to increase customer adoption of electronic payments by 75 per cent to 100 per cent

This is part of Visa's global financial inclusion efforts that aim to provide 500 million underserved with a payment account by 2020.

FinTech Valley will act as a facilitator for information flow - a playground for innovators to disrupt traditional processes with new, more efficient, economically beneficial technologies that will change the way India does business.

Visa: Know More

  • Visa Inc. is an American multinational financial services corporation headquartered in Foster City, California, United States.
  • Stock price: V (NYSE) US$ 88.43 +0.28 (+0.32%)
  • CEO: Alfred F Kelly Jr (since 1 Dec 2016)
  • Headquarters: Foster City, California, United States

▼ Radd ul Fasaad : Pakistani army’s operation against terrorism   [02-27-17]

Pakistan army has launched nationwide military operation named ‘Radd-ul-Fasaad’ to eliminate menace of terrorism and consolidate gains of its counter-terrorism operations.

The operation aims include the elimination of the residual and latent threat of terrorism, consolidating gains of operations made so far and ensuring the security of Pakistan’s borders.

Pakistan Air Force, Civil Armed Forces, Pakistan Navy as well as other security and law enforcement agencies will actively participate and support the efforts of the Pakistan Army.

It will also conduct broad spectrum security and counter-terrorism operations in continuation of ongoing operations across the country and focus on more effective border security management.

▼ PM Modi unveils 112 feet tall Lord Shiva statue on Mahashiv Ratri   [02-27-17]

PM Narendra Modi unveiled a 112-feet-tall Lord Shiva statue on the occasion of Mahashivratri at Isha Foundation in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.

The statue is dedicated to Adiyogi, an incarnation of Lord Shiva who is considered to be the first of yogis.

It is made of steel and weighs 500 tonnes.

On this occasion, PM Modi also released the book ‘Adiyoga: The source of Yoga’, which deals with yogic sciences.

Extolling the ancient Indian discipline of Yoga, the Prime Minister called for efforts to protect nature and mould human activities to bring them in sync with ecological surroundings.

The statue was constructed by The Isha Foundation, which plans to set up similar statues in other parts of the country.

The statue and the foundation are located in the foothills of Velliangiri mountains in the Western Ghats.

It took two and half years to design the 112-foot-statue but its construction took just eight months.

The face of Lord Shiva is made of steel. According to an official, the whole structure is estimated to weigh around 500 tonnes.

▼ India's first hill station bicycle path in Darjeeling   [02-27-17]

India’s first hill station bicycle path was inaugurated in Darjeeling, West Bengal at an altitude of over 2,000 metres.

The 20 km long cycle route runs through dense pine forest and Senchal wildlife sanctuary, one of India’s oldest nature reserves.

The route starts from near Jorebunglow, south of Darjeeling and ends at a small local First Hill Station Bicycle Patheco-village resort in Chatakpur.

Darjeeling is a popular tourist destination in India.

It is famous for its tea industry, awesome views of Kangchenjunga, the world’s third-highest mountain and UNESCO World Heritage Site and Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.

Darjeeling is reportedly the first hill station in the country to get such a trail. It runs through Senchal wildlife sanctuary, one of India’s oldest nature reserves.

A cycle rally, organised by Darjeeling district administration and Off Road Adventure on Sunday, marked the beginning of many adventures to come on Sunday where bikers rode out from Darjeeling to Chatakpur.

The cycling trail opens throughout the day from dawn to dusk and remains off limits only during the monsoon.

Riders can rent mountain bikes from Darjeeling at a price of INR. 800 per day and permits can be bought at INR. 50 for a 30-minute ride from Darjeeling.

Darjeeling: Know More

  • Elevation: 2,042 m
  • Area: 10.57 km²
  • Weather: 9°C, Wind SE at 8 km/h, 72% Humidity
  • Know for: Toy Train

▼ Antyodaya Express: India's first train for unreserved passengers   [02-27-17]

Antyodaya means uplifting of the weakest sections of the society. With this in mind, Indian Railways has unveiled the Antyodaya Express, a new train for the unreserved passengers.

Antyodaya Express was announced as a part of Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu’s Railway Budget 2016 speech and has been envisioned as a long-distance, fully unreserved, superfast train service that will be operated on dense routes.

This is a long-distance, fully unreserved, superfast train service, for the common man to be operated on dense routes.

The exterior of the new train has been given the colour scheme of red and yellow, with a design around the windows of the coaches.

After being impressed by the vinyl-coated colourful coaches of the Humsafar Express, the Railway Board instructed ICF to put patches of vinyl coating on the exterior of Antyodaya Express.

Antyodaya Express is similar to the Deen Dayalu coaches that Indian Railways had introduced in mid-2016.

The train aims to provide enhanced passenger comfort.

The seats of the Antyodaya Express are more comfortable compared to the general sleeper class ones.

Antyodaya Express boasts of modern amenities such as water purifiers, toilet occupation indication display boards, bio-toilets, fire extinguishers with anti-theft arrangement, cushioned luggage racks with coat hooks, LED lights, more mobile charging points and enhanced capacity dustbins.

The LHB-type (Linke Hofmann Busch) coaches have been manufactured at the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai.

The interior panelling of the coaches has been done with aluminium composite panels, similar to Deen Dayalu.

The first Antyodaya Express is slated to start plying shortly between Mumbai and Tatanagar. Yet another route that has been identified for the new train is between Ernakulam and Howrah.

The fares of the Antyodaya Express will reportedly be around 10-15% higher than the regular rate.

Indian Railways has said that since the manufacturing cost of the Antyodaya Express coaches, with modern facilities, is higher so special higher fares will be applicable.

Indian Railways: Know More

  • Customer service: 139
  • Headquarters: New Delhi
  • Number of employees: 1,335,000
  • Founded: 16 April 1853
  • Revenue: 1.709 trillion INR (2016–2017)
  • Parent organization: Ministry of Railways

▼ Union WCD Ministry announces compensation fund for child sex crime victims   [02-27-17]

Union Women and Child Development Ministry has announced setting up of a compensation fund to provide financial help to children who are victims of sexual crimes under POCSO Act.

The finances for this fund will be drawn from Nirbhaya Fund.

Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act was formulated in 2012 to address sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children.

At present different states have different victim compensation schemes, many cover rape but not sexual offences against children.

States like Maharashtra, Odisha and Delhi have amended their scheme to include POCSO cases.

Nirbhaya Fund with corpus of INR. 1000 crores was announced by government for empowerment, safety and security of women and girl children.

POCSO Act: Know More

  • The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) 2012 was created in order to effectively address sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children.
  • The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 obtained the President’s assent on 19th June 2012.
  • It was notified in the Gazette of India as on 20th June, 2012.
  • The Act defines a child as any person below 18 years of age.
  • It defines different forms of sexual abuse, including penetrative and non-penetrative assault, as well as sexual harassment and use of child pornography.
  • It deems a sexual assault to be “aggravated” under certain circumstances, such as when the abused child is mentally ill/unwell.
  • It is also aggravated when the abuse is committed by a person in a position of trust or authority like a family member, police officer, teacher, or doctor.
  • The Act also assigns the police in the role of child protectors during the investigative process.

▼ HC of Bombay at Goa pays court fees online   [02-24-17]

The High Court of Bombay at Goa has introduced online payment of court fees through e-payment gateway.

This is in coordination with the Goa Government and National Informatics Centre (NIC), a senior official said.

The Goa Assembly had last year amended the Court Fees (Goa Amendment) Act, 2016 enabling e-payment of the court fees.

The High Court in a notice issued on its official website has said that e-payment of court fees would be available for it (the High Court of Bombay at Goa), District and Sessions Courts as well as all subordinate Courts in the coastal state.

Presently, all the court fees are paid by way of impressed and adhesive stamps.

This facility will be in addition to the existing system of payment of court fees.

The notice mentions that to avail this service and for making electronic payment of court fees, user must have internet banking account, debit/credit card of respective bank specified by payment gateway website.

Necessary user manual to make payment through electronic mode is available on the official website of High Court of Bombay at Goa.

High Court of Bombay: Know More

  • Established: 1862
  • Country: India
  • Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra (Principal Seat) Nagpur, Aurangabad & Panaji (circuit bench)
  • Composition method: Presidential with confirmation of Chief Justice of India and Governor of respective state.

▼ DONER, Tezpur University organise Sampark   [02-24-17]

Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DONER), jointly with the Department of Business Administration, Tezpur University and North Eastern Finance Corporation Limited (NEDFi), is coming up with a Business Idea Challenge to encourage entrepreneurship.

This is in the North-East Region (NER).

The annual industry-academia interface event “Sampark”, which will see the DoNER Ministry’s involvement for the first time, brings the spirit of entrepreneurship in the region.

The event will take place on March 3, 2017 and will be the 17th edition in the series.

Pioneering Business Idea Challenge 2017 is being organized as a part of the event. The contest is open to any student of North Eastern Region, having a business idea.

Sampark 2017 will have different sessions to motivate the students to be addressed by established entrepreneurs, prominent start-ups.

A session on Act East Policy (One of India’s foreign policy effort to cultivate extensive economic and strategic relations with the nations of Southeast Asia) will also feature in the event.

There will be an exclusive interaction where the funding agencies represented by respective heads of the NER will clarify various queries of the prospective entrepreneurs and start-ups.

▼ Government approves plan to double solar capacity   [02-23-17]

The government on 22nd Feb 2017 approved a plan to double the capacity of solar parks and ultra-mega solar power projects (UMSPP) to 40,000 MW from 20,000 mw.

A roadmap would be finalised shortly to set up at least 50 solar parks, each with a capacity of 500 MW except in hilly areas where adequate land is not available.

These smaller parks in Himalayan and other hilly states, where contiguous land may be difficult to acquire in view of the difficult terrain, will also be considered under the scheme.

These solar parks will be set up by 2019-20 with a financial assistance of Rs 8,100 crore from the Centre.

Following completion, the total capacity of all solar parks will generate 64 billion units of electricity per year, saving 55 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emission per year over their life cycle.

State governments will first nominate solar power park developer (SPPD) and also identify land for the project.

They will then send the proposal to the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) for approval along with the name of the SPPD.

The SPPD will then be sanctioned a grant of up to Rs 25 lakh for preparing detailed project report. Thereafter, Central financial assistance of up to INR 20 lakh per MW, or 30% of the project cost, including grid-connectivity cost, whichever is lower, will be released as per the milestones prescribed in the scheme.

The renewable energy ministry is implementing a scheme for development of at least 25 solar parks with an aggregate capacity of 20,000 MW, which was launched in December 2014.

As on date, 34 solar parks with an aggregate capacity of 20,000 mw have been approved and are at various stages of development.

▼ India's first heliport in Delhi's Rohini area   [02-23-17]

India’s first heliport, built by state-owned Pawan Hans in the northern part of the capital, is set to become functional from Feb 28 2017, a year after successfully undergoing trial runs.

The heliport, set up at Rohini area of North Delhi, consists of a terminal building having capacity of 150 passengers, four hangars with parking capacity of 16 helicopters and nine parking bays.

Besides, it has a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility also for the upkeep of Pawan Hans fleet as well as for third-party maintenance work.

Rohini facility is India’s first integrated facility for rotor wing aircraft including their landing and takeoff. It has a terminal building that can cater to 150 passengers per day besides separate air traffic control (ATC), fire and fuelling services.

The commencement of services from here is also expected to reduce congestion at the Delhi Airport, which currently handles about 40-50 helicopter arrivals and departures on an average per day besides the large-scale fixed-wing operations.

Pawan Hans has carried out the Rohini heliport project for the Civil Aviation Ministry.

The heliport will also be used for operating services for disaster management, emergency medical services, law and order surveillance as well as a centre for the skill development of pilots and engineers.

Rohini heliport will also promote regional air connectivity through helicopters in the northern region.

The INR 100-crore project will be inaugurated on February 28 and will be an integrated one with a chopper maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) unit part of the complex at Rohini.

Owned by Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd (PHHL), the hugely-delayed heliport will have a large number of parking bays and an AC passenger terminal building with car parking area for the flyers.

Pawan Hans had successfully carried out the first trial test landing an Eccuriall B3 chopper exactly a year ago to assess standard operating procedures and safety standards. Since then it has carried out many more tests.

This heliport has a terminal building having capacity of hundreds of passengers.

▼ Ensuring sufficiency of stents, government invokes emergency!   [02-22-17]

Moving to ensure there is no shortage of stents due to price control, the government has invoked an emergency provision making it mandatory for manufacturers to maintain production and supply of coronary stents at previous levels for at least six months.

Stent makers and importers have also been directed to submit a weekly report on stents production and distribution to the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), which regulates prices of drugs and medical devices.

Following reports of artificial shortage of stents after it imposed price caps, the NPPA had written to department of pharmaceuticals asking it to invoke the provisions.

After due deliberations on the current situation and alternatives available with the government to resume normal supply of the coronary stents, it has been decided to invoke the powers of Section 3 (i) of DPCO, 2013.

Withdrawal of any brand having got a license earlier without NOC (No objection Certificate) from NPPA shall be dealt firmly.

Last week, NPPA had fixed prices of bare metal stents at Rs 7,260, whereas both drug eluting stents (DES) and biodegradable stents were capped at Rs 29,600.

Section 3 of DPCO

  • Under Section 3 (i) of DPCO, 2013, the government can regulate distribution.
  • It can also direct any manufacturer to increase production and sell products to institutions, hospitals or any agency as the case may be in case of emergency.
  • This is also in circumstances of urgency or in case of non-commercial use in public interest.

▼ India largest importer of major arms: SIPRI   [02-21-17]

India is the world’s largest importer of major arms in the last five years and its overseas procurement is far greater than that of China and Pakistan.

According to the latest report of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), India accounted for 13 percent of the total global arms import between 2012–16 which is highest among all the countries.

Saudi Arabia was the second largest arms importer in 2012-16, with an increase of 212 percent compared with 2007–11. Arms imports by Qatar went up by 245 percent.

According to the report, Russia accounted for a 23 percent share of global exports in the period 2012–16 and 70 percent of its arms exports went to India, Vietnam, China and Algeria.

SIPRI/ Stockholm International Peace Research Institute: Know More

  • Formation: 6 May 1966
  • Purpose: provides data, analysis and recommendations, based on open sources, to policymakers, researchers, media and the interested public
  • Website:

▼ IoT units to grow to 1.9b in 2020   [02-20-17]

The number of units under Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to grow exponentially to 1.9 billion units in India by 2020 or about USD 9 billion, says a report.

A rapidly growing hub for IoT solutions, the country's IoT market size in this area is expected to increase about 7 times - from USD 1.3 billion last year to USD 9 billion by 2020.

This is as per consultancy firm Deloitte in its TMT Predictions 2017.

IoT refers to the devices, other than computers and smartphones, connected to the Internet.

Deloitte estimates the current number of such devices in the country to be around 60 million.

The report said IoT solution deployment for digital utilities or smart cities and in the manufacturing, transport and logistics and automotive industries would drive the demand for industrial IoT applications going forward.

By 2020, the company believes industries such as utilities, manufacturing, automotive, transportation and logistics are expected to see highest adoption levels of IoT in India.

The government's planned investment of about USD 1 billion for 100 smart cities, over the next five years, is expected to be a key enabler for IoT adoption across these industries.

Additionally, industries such as healthcare, retail, and agriculture are also expected to make significant progress in IoT adoption.

India needs to continue to build capabilities across technology areas of sensors to adapt to rugged climate, terrain along with network infrastructure, standards and augmented intelligence and behaviour.

While telecom operators would be initially focusing on providing SIMs for IoT devices and solutions, the report expects that in the next two years, telcos would unveil new IoT strategies or stretch the existing one to have higher level of participation in the overall end-to-end IoT ecosystem and economy.

Leading operators would make significant investments to extend their IoT capabilities by providing data analytics and storage and in some cases for more specialised areas operators would enter into partnerships with companies.

Companies would provide cheaper sensors, cloud data storage, analytics, visualisation platforms providing remote monitoring, dashboards and reports.

They offer field service platforms providing automated maintenance tickets and technical assistance.

▼ Malaysian foreign ministry summons N. Korea ambassador   [02-20-17]

Malaysia's foreign ministry summoned North Korea's ambassador on 20th Feb 2017 over allegations he had made over the Southeast Asian country's handling of the investigation into the murder in Kuala Lumpur of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's half-brother.

Malaysia also recalled its envoy from Pyongyang "for consultations", the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said the North Korean ambassador Kang Chol was summoned for an explanation on the accusations he made against the Government of Malaysia in his press conference on 17 February 2017.

In his press conference, the Ambassador insinuated that the Malaysian Government had 'something to conceal'.

The Ambassador also alleged that Malaysia was 'colluding and playing into the gallery of external forces,' the statement also added.

Malaysia: Know More

  • Capital: Kuala Lumpur
  • Code: +60
  • Currency: Malaysian ringgit
  • Prime minister: Najib Razak
  • Official language: Malaysian

▼ NRAI given maximum WHO rating for vaccine regulation   [02-20-17]

National Regulatory Authority of India (NRAI) has been given the maximum ratings by global health body World Health Organisation for vaccine regulations.

WHO completed the assessment of the status of the Indian vaccine regulatory system against WHO NRA Global Benchmarking Tool (GBT) and measured the maturity of the system in India.

The assessment has been done in respect of 9 different functionalities and Indian NRA has been declared ‘functional’ with a maturity level of 4 which is the highest level as per currently evolved definitions in respect of 5 functions, and maturity level 3 in respect of 4 functions.

While, maturity level 4 indicates good results and sustained improvement trends, level 3 reflects systematic process based approach, early stage of systematic improvements, data availability regarding conformance to objectives and existence of improvement trends, it said.

A fully functional NRAI is a pre-requisite for WHO prequalification of vaccines and one of the requirements to become eligible and retain prequalification status is to have the National Regulatory Authority (NRA) assessed as functional against the WHO published NRA indicators.

WHO Prequalification Programme, as such, facilitates access to vaccines that meet the unified standards of quality, safety and efficacy as well as programme needs.

A WHO-led team of global experts from several countries came to this conclusion at the end of comprehensive review from 13-17 February 2017.

The NRAI and affiliated institutions meet WHO Global Benchmarking Tool requirements for a functional vaccine regulatory system.

Indian Health Ministry and its affiliated institutions – Central Drugs Standards Control Organization (CDSCO), Central Drugs Laboratory, Kasauli, Pharmacovigilance Programme and Immunization Division, and other relevant institutions are engaged in the regulation, control and testing of vaccines.

India is one of the largest manufacturers and exporters of vaccines world-wide.

▼ HAL signs agreement with CPWD   [02-20-17]

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited on 18th Feb 2017 signed a MoU with Central Public Works Department, CPWD for execution of infrastructure development works at HAL’s new Greenfield helicopter facility at Tumakuru.

The MoU was signed at Aero India 2017.

The project spread over 615 acres of land allotted by the Government of Karnataka will house infrastructure for production and testing facilities, self-sufficient manufacturing capabilities of a wide range of helicopters of 3-ton to 12-ton class.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone for HAL’s new helicopter manufacturing facility at Biderehalla Kaval, Gubbi Taluk, Tumakuru last year on January 3, 2016.

Under this collaboration, HAL and CPWD are set to execute stage 1 construction.

HAL: Know More

  • Headquarters: Bengaluru
  • Founder: Walchand Hirachand
  • Founded: 1940, Bengaluru
  • Revenue: 177.5 billion INR (2014)
  • Number of employees: 32,108 (March 2014)
  • Motto: Asia's Premier Aerospace Complex
  • Aircraft designed: HAL Dhruv

▼ Canara Bank signs MoU With MHRD   [02-20-17]

Canara Bank has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to operationalise the Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA).

It will allow MHRD and Canara Bank to jointly promote HEFA with an authorised capital of INR. 2,000 crore.

HEFA is a special purpose vehicle that aims to give a major push for the creation of high quality infrastructure and capital assets in premier educational institutions.

It will leverage equity to raise up to INR. 20,000 crore for funding infrastructure and development projects for setting up world class Labs in IITs/IIMs/NITs and such other institutions.

It will also mobilise CSR funds from corporates/PSUs which will in turn be released for promoting research and innovation in these institutions on a grant basis. Read more: HEFA??

▼ Pakistan launches strikes against terrorists for the first time   [02-20-17]

Pakistan has launched "strikes" against militant bases in Afghanistan, hours after the army said it had found links that terrorists from across the border were behind a suicide bombing.

The terror attack at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar killed 88 people.

Pakistan claimed the attack was planned in militant sanctuaries in Afghanistan. This can renew hostility between Kabul and Islamabad.

4 camps of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar terror group were targeted in the strikes across the border of Pakistan's Khyber and Mohmand tribal agencies.

Security forces neutralised several training centres of Omar Khalid Khorasani, the head of the Jamaat-ul Ahrar group.

Islamabad has often warned Kabul authorities to prevent the use of their soil for terror activities in Pakistan.

Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa told General John Nicholson, the top US commander in Afghanistan, that terrorist activities test current cross-border restraint".

General Qamar Javed Bajwa

  • Born: 11 November 1960 Karachi, Pakistan
  • Unit: Baloch Regiment
  • Service/branch: Pakistan Army
  • Education: National Defence University, Pakistan, Canadian Army Command and Staff College, Naval Postgraduate School

▼ India revives three aircraft programmes   [02-17-17]

The transport aircraft fleet will see India revive three aircraft programmes, all being designed in Bengaluru, including the re-engined and modified version of the ambitious 14-seater Saras aircraft.

The National Laboratories Limited (NAL), which first conceived Saras as a civil aircraft has been pushing for a military certification in the past two years.

Saras, the Light Transport Aircraft has presently been handed over to the Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment of IAF, and NAL is hopeful of having the first flight in about 45 days.

Manufacturing of two Limited Series Prototypes will require INR 400 crore to INR 500 crore.

Saras will boast of multi-role capabilities like feeder line aircraft, air ambulance, executive aircraft, troop transport, reconnaissance, aerial survey and light cargo transport.

The Saras programme had come crashing down after a 2009 accident.

The original design included a maximum take-off weight of 6,100kg and a maximum payload of 1,232kg.

The first prototype which completed its maiden flight on May 29, 2004, was overweight at 5,118kg compared to the 4,125kg design specifications.

The 70-seater aircraft programme has been relaunched given the renewed emphasis on regional connectivity.

Further, NM5-100, the 5-seater aircraft jointly developed by NAL and Mahindra Aerospace, testing of which was being done in Australia since 2011-12.

Saras: Know More

  • NAL Saras is the first Indian multi-purpose civilian aircraft in the light transport aircraft category as designed by the National Aerospace Laboratories.
  • In January 2016, it was reported that the project has been cancelled.
  • Top speed: 750 km/h
  • Wingspan: 15 m
  • Length: 15 m
  • First flight: May 29, 2004
  • Manufacturers: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, National Aerospace Laboratories

▼ FSSAI unveils food fortification logo   [02-17-17]

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has unveiled a Logo for fortified foods which may be used by food businesses.

The logo comprises of a square encompassing an F with a ‘+’ sign with a ring around it, signifying addition of additional nutrition and vitamins to daily meals to provide good health, protection for active life.

Several food businesses across the country have already started using this logo.

Food fortification or enrichment is the process of adding micronutrients i.e. essential trace elements and vitamins into the food.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has also constituted a Panel on Food Fortification and Nutrition to identify critical nutritional gaps in the Indian diet in general and also in specific target groups.

The 11 member panel will frame final regulations on fortification of foods and prepare strategies to address malnutrition problem.

▼ India joins global health network   [02-16-17]

India has joined Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, an international health network focused on improving the quality of care for new mothers and babies.

The network is supported by World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other partners.

India is among nine countries that will be part of the network. Other countries are Bangladesh, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda.

Under this network, countries will work to improve the quality of health care facilities to mothers and babies.

They will boost national efforts to end preventable deaths of pregnant women and newborns by 2030.

Under it, counties will build and strengthen their national institutions, identify quality of care focal points at all levels of the health system.

They will also accelerate and sustain the implementation of quality-of-care improvement packages for mothers, newborns and children.

They will strengthen capacity and motivation of health professional to plan and manage quality improvement, improve data collection and increase access to medicines, equipment, clean water and supplies.

The network will also build a community of health practitioners from facility level and develop evidence-based strategies to improve quality of care, harvest implementation ideas, and collect information and experiences about what is working.

Maternal and Child Health

  • As per World Health Organisation (WHO), the period around childbirth is the most critical for saving mothers and newborns, and preventing stillbirths.
  • Every year, around 303 000 women die during pregnancy and childbirth worldwide.
  • 2.7m babies die during the first 28 days of life and 2.6m babies are stillborn.
  • Many of these deaths can be prevented with quality care during pregnancy and childbirth.

▼ J&K government launches e-Prison project   [02-15-17]

J&K government launches e-Prison project

The project will enumerate jail inmates in the State, where numbers of detainees keep swelling during unrest.

This project automates prison department of the state to avoid delays in processing the information and manage all the jails efficiently.

Under it, 25 district jails will be digitised along with two Central jails and one sub-jail in the state in the first phase.

In the second phase, the project will focus on videoconferencing between jails and prison headquarters, tele-medication, e-court in jails.

J&K Government: Know More

  • Governor: Narinder Nath Vohra
  • Chief Minister: Mehbooba Mufti (JKPDP)
  • Deputy Chief Minister: Nirmal Kumar Singh (BJP)
  • Legislature: Bicameral (87 + 36 seats)
  • Parliamentary constituency: Rajya Sabha 4; Lok Sabha 6

▼ Now, get PAN in minutes!   [02-15-17]

Now, get permanent account number in minutes and also pay income tax through your smartphone.

As part of its drive to make life easy for taxpayers, the Central Board of Direct Taxes is working on issuing PAN on a real-time basis using Aadhaar's e-KYC facility.

This allows an individual to verify his or her details such as address using biometric identification features like thumb impressions.

If a SIM can be issued through e- KYC, then the same can be done for PAN, said an officer.

He added that the process may be crunched to five-six minutes from two-three weeks at present.

While the number will be issued, the card will be delivered later.

The CBDT and the ministry of corporate affairs have already tied up to issue PAN to new companies incorporating through a combined form in four hours. T

The idea, again, is to move to real-time issuing of PAN, which will also become the business identification number for companies.

Separately, the tax department is developing an app that will help you pay taxes online and perform a host of other services such as apply for PAN or track your returns.

While the department is offering several services online through its portal, the app is expected to make life simpler for seniors as well as young taxpayers.

The two projects are being done in-house with the directorate of systems coordinating with CBDT.

CBDT: Know More

  • Residence: North Block, Secretariat Building, New Delhi
  • Appointer: Finance Minister of India
  • The CBDT Chairperson is usually the senior most IRS officer of the senior most batch.
  • The appointee for the office is approved by Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister
  • Term length: No fixed tenure is imposed on the office but term can be extended
  • Formation: 1944

▼ China's elevated bike path longest in the world   [02-14-17]

The port city on Xiamen Island is known for being home to the world's longest elevated bike path.

The installation of the world’s longest elevated bike path, resembling a winding viaduct and stretching almost five miles to connect cyclists to all five of the Xiamen’s residential areas.

At its highest point, the bicycle path rises 16 feet above the ground, but it is actually protected by an even higher road, where Xiamen’s rapid transit bus lanes are accommodated.

With a speed limit of 15 miles an hour, the path can potentially handle 2,023 bikes at one time.

The longest suspended cycle path in the world, it also conveniently has 11 exits, which connect to 11 bus stations and two subway stations.

Privately-owned bikes are welcome, and there are also over 300 for-hire bikes available for sharing.

In addition to the bike-share docking stations, the path also has plenty of space for bike parking, and some bike-centric service pavilions.

Elevated Cycling Skywalks in The World

  • Award-winning Cykelslangen, or Cycle Snake, an elevated orange bike lane that spans Copenhagen’s harbour.
  • Melbourne, Australia, where a plan for a $100 million ‘sky bike’ super highway is being considered.
  • In the U.K., a project dubbed “SkyCycle” is the dream of Norman Foster for London. The huge highway in the sky would be suspended on pylons above the city’s existing train tracks, 49 feet wide with over 200 access points, allowing for up to 12,000 cyclists per hour.
  • European bike-friendly cities include Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Berlin.

▼ Now, dine at world's first scuba restaurant   [02-14-17]

The restaurant awaits diners, five meters (16 feet) below the surface.

"The Pearl" is a two-meter wide white sphere tethered close to the pool's floor.

The diners jettison their weighted belts before swimming underneath and up into the pod that looks like a cross between a lunar landing craft and a giant spaceman's helmet.

Food is served by expert scuba divers who deliver foie gras, lobster salad and champagne in waterproof cases before leaving the diners peering out of the portholes.

John Beernaerts, who founded the NEMO33 pool in the Belgian capital a decade ago, has pioneered this eatery.

The restaurant, where an underwater meal costs 99 euros (USD106) per person, took more than a year to build and multiple attempts were needed to perfect the design, mechanics and food delivery system.

▼ FSSAI sets up panel for fortification of food   [02-14-17]

Food regulator FSSAI has set up a scientific panel to frame final regulations on food fortification and prepare strategies to address malnutrition problem.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has already issued the draft guidelines on fortification for five food items - salt, milk, wheat flour, rice and edible oil - to boost production and consumption of fortified foods.

The draft rules were operationalised in October 2016.

FSSAI sought comments from stakeholders before finalising the final regulations.

Fortification involves deliberately adding or increasing the content of essential micro nutrients in food items to improve quality.

Standards have been set for fortification of salt with iodine and iron; of vegetable oil and milk with vitamin A and D; wheat flour and rice with iron, folic acid, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin A and some other micro nutrients

FSSAI has set up a new Scientific Panel on ‘Food Fortification and Nutrition’ to address issues related to fortification of food the regulator indicated in a statement.

The panel has 11 experts and scientists :

  • Ambrish Mithal from Medanta;
  • CS Pandav and R K Marwaha (Retd) from AIIMS;
  • Anura Kurpad from St John’s Medical College;
  • Yogeshwar Shukla from CSIR - Indian Institute of Toxicilogy Research,
  • HPS Sachdev from Sita Ram Bharatia Institute of Science and Research;
  • KM Nair from NIN;
  • P Ramachandran from Nutrition Foundation of India;
  • Sumit Arora from NDRI;
  • Sirimavo Nair from the MS University, Baroda, and
  • Harsulkar from Bharati Vidyapeeth.
Members from Scientific Panels dealing with food fortifying vehicles such as wheat flour, refined flour, rice, milk, edible oil and salt will also be a part of this committee.

The Panel will identify critical nutritional gaps in the Indian diet in general as well as in specific target groups based on diet surveys and reliable scientific evidence.

It will define strategies to address nutritional needs of the general population and vulnerable groups, besides reviewing the standards for all suitable food fortifying vehicles.

The panel will also address regulatory and related technological issues, review proposals from industry using modern risk assessment methods, and prescribe standard sampling and test methods for effective monitoring, surveillance and enforcement of the relevant regulations.

FSSAI had earlier brought out Draft Regulations for fortified food - Food Safety and Standards (Fortification of Food) Regulations, 2016 which were operationalised in October, 2016.

FSSAI: Know More
  • Formed: August 2011
  • Jurisdiction: India
  • Headquarters: New Delhi
  • Chairman: Ashish Bahuguna
  • CEO: Pawan Kumar Agarwal
  • Parent agency: Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India
  • Website:

▼ Sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik breaks Guinness record   [02-14-17]

Famous sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik on 11th Feb 2017 created a Guinness World Record by building the world’s tallest sand castle which is 48 feet and 8 inch (14.84 metre) at the Puri beach in Odisha.

Sudarsan has broken the record of 45 feet and 10 inch sand castle which was created in USA, a Guinness World Records official said.

After verifying all the criteria of the sand castle, the official of Guinness World Records Swapnil Dangarikar presented a certificate to Sudarsan for the achievement.

Sudarsan and his 45 students took about 9 days to prepare this sculpture. The sand sculpture was built with theme of “World Peace.”

The previous Guinness record was reserved in the name of American artist Ted Siebert, who had built a 13.97 metre high (45 ft) sand castle at Miami beach in 2015.

39-year-old Sudarsan, a Padma Shri awardee, achieved the rare fete in just four days whereas the previous record holder had completed his art in seven days, official sources said.

Sudarsan along with his 45 students started chasing the coveted record from February 7.

Previously, Pattnaik had already created 23 world records registered in the Limca Book of Records.

In 2008, he won world sand art championship in Berlin.

He has also broken his own records almost every year by making sand arts on different themes, mostly spreading the message of world peace,

All About Guinness World Records

  • Editor: Craig Glenday
  • Cover artist: Simon Jones
  • Subject: World Records
  • Genre: Reference
  • Publisher: Jim Pattison Group
  • Publication date: November 10, 1951–present
  • Published in English: 1955 - present
  • Media type: Book, Television

▼ First Indigenous AEW&C in IOC Configuration out soon   [02-14-17]

The first indigenous Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C) in IOC configuration shall be handed over to the Indian Air Force (IAF), on 14th February during Aero India 2017.

This is at the Yelahanka Air base in Bengaluru.

This was announced by Chairman DRDO and Secretary Department of Defence (R&D), Dr. S. Christopher while addressing the media in Bengaluru, during the curtain raiser on DRDO’s participation in Aero India-2017.

The Airborne Surveillance System is a game changer in air warfare.

The AEW&C System is a system of systems populated with state-of-the art:

  • Active Electronically Scanned Radar,
  • Secondary Surveillance Radar,
  • Electronic and Communication Counter Measures,
  • LOS (Line of Sight) and beyond LOS data link,
  • voice communication system and self protection suite.
It is built on an Emb-145 platform, having an air to air refuelling capability to enhance surveillance time.

A Complex tactical software has been developed for fusion of information from the sensors, to provide the air situation picture along with intelligence to handle identification/classification threat assessment.

Battle management functions are built in house to work as a network centric system of Integrated Air Command & Control System (IACCS) node.

This system has been developed and evaluated through collaborative efforts between DRDO and the IAF, with coordination for certification clearance and quality assurance by CEMILAC and DGAQA.

The AEW&C system has undergone all weather and environmental trials and has been accepted by the IAF for induction.

▼ Great Himalayan National Park accorded UNESCO Heritage Site Status   [02-13-17]

The Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh was accorded the Unesco World Heritage Site status.

The Unesco World Heritage Site Committee at Doha in Qatar granted the status to the park under the criteria of “exceptional natural beauty and conservation of biological diversity.”

The GHNP has now come in the league of Indian World Heritage Sites (WHS) such as the Taj Mahal, Ellora, Kaziranga National Park, Keoladeo National Park, Manas National Park, Nandadevi Biosphere Reserve and the Sunderbans.

UNESCO: Know More

  • Formation: 16 November 1945
  • Type: Specialized agency
  • Legal status: Active
  • Headquarters: Place de Fontenoy, Paris, France
  • Membership: 195 member states
  • Head: Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO

▼ US, Japan carry out missile tests   [02-13-17]

The United States and Japan successfully concluded a flight test of a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA off the west coast of Hawaii on February 3, the U.S. Missile Defence Agency (MDA) announced recently.

According to the MDA, a next-generation SM-3, launched from a US warship, destroyed an incoming ballistic missile target.

A medium-range ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kauai, Hawaii.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones “detected and tracked the target missile with its onboard AN/SPY-1D(V) radar using the Aegis Baseline 9.C2 weapon system. Upon acquiring and tracking the target, the ship launched an SM-3 Block IIA guided missile which intercepted the target.”

This was the third flight test and the first intercept test of a SM-3 Block IIA, the most advanced version of the SM-3 “hit-to-kill” interceptor.

The missile interceptor is designed to destroy short- to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats and can be deployed at land-based Aegis Ashore sites and Aegis-equipped warships.

The latest of different variants of the SM-3 features a larger rocket motor and a larger kinetic warhead.

▼ Dadaab - World's largest refugee camp remains open   [02-10-17]

The order comes as a relief to Somalia as over 2 lakh Somalis are housed there.

A Kenyan court ruled on Thursday that the government must not close the world’s largest refugee camp and send more than 2,00,000 people back to war-torn Somalia.

This is a decision that eases pressure on Somalis who feared the camp would close by the end of May.

Kenya’s Internal Security Minister abused his power by ordering the closure of Dadaab camp, the court said.

Rights groups Amnesty International, Kituo cha Sheria and the Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights had challenged the government’s order to close the camp.

The judge called the order discriminatory, saying it goes against the Kenyan constitution as well as international treaties that protect refugees against being returned to a conflict zone.

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government has not proved Somalia is safe for the refugees to return, the judge has said, also calling the orders to shut down the government’s refugee department “null and void.”

Al Shabab & Somalia's Largest Camp: Know More

  • Somalia remains under threat of attacks from homegrown extremist group Al-Shabab.
  • United States President Donald Trump’s temporary ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Somalia, had put added pressure on the Dadaab refugees.
  • 140 of the Somali refugees, who had been on the brink of resettling in the U.S. were sent back to Dadaab instead.
  • Said Abuka, a community leader in Nairobi and a refugee for 22 years, said the court ruling would help the Somali refugees.
  • Newborn babies could not be registered as refugees because of the shutdown of Kenya’s refugee department, he said.
  • Al-Shabab has carried out several attacks on Kenya, which sent troops to Somalia in 2011 to fight the militants.
  • The attacks, include the September 2013 attack on Westgate mall that killed 67 people and the 2015 attack on Garissa University that killed 148 people, mostly students.

▼ 17th International Seminar on Counter-IED strategy held   [02-10-17]

The two-day 17th International Seminar on “Counter- Improvised Explosive Device (IED) strategy”, organized by the National Security Guard (NSG), concluded on 9th Feb 2017.

33 International delegates from 12 countries and 225 delegates from various states of India participated in the seminar.

The theme of the seminar was “Synergising the National and International special forces to meet challenges of terrorism and IED".

Discussions were held on IEDs with various experts from within the country as well as from Australia, UK, USA, Japan, Russia and Israel throwing light on various facets of the issue.

Besides, demonstrations on IED, simulation of IED blasts and futuristic IEDs were also organized.

▼ FLOTUS makes it to Merriam Webster   [02-9-17]

FLOTUS, face-palm, net neutrality along with terms from recent advances in science - such as CRISPR - are among over 1,000 new words added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

This is for the first time since 2014.

The new entries include borrowings from foreign languages as well as words from tech, medicine, pop culture, sports.

In some cases, terms have been observed for years and are finally being added; in others, the fast rise and broad acceptance of a term has made for a quicker journey.

‘Seussian’ relating to or suggestive of the works of Dr Seuss is now in the online dictionary, along with ‘conlang’ - an invented language like Klingon - and ‘prosopagnosia.'

New tech terms such as net neutrality, abandonware, and botnet have also been included in the list of new words.

The word ghost now has a new meaning - to abruptly cut off all contact with someone, such as a former romantic partner, by no longer accepting or responding to phone calls, instant messages.

Supercentenarian, EpiPen and urgent care are among the words added from the field of medicines.

New words from the ever-expanding vocabulary of cooking and food include arancini, EVOO and macaron, as well as sharp tools of the kitchen santoku and chef’s knife.

Political terms include ‘town hall’ and ‘truther’ as well as ‘SCOTUS’ and ‘FLOTUS’.

All of these words have been observed, collected, and researched, with many examples in context used to write definitions that explain both basic meanings and specific usage.

About Merriam-Webster

  • In 1831, George and Charles Merriam founded the company as G & C Merriam Co. in Springfield, Massachusetts.
  • In 1843, after Noah Webster died, the company bought the rights to An American Dictionary of the English Language from Webster’s estate.
  • The company adopted its current name in 1982.

▼ Contempt of court proceedings against HC judge, in a first   [02-8-17]

In a step without previous precedents, Chief Justice of India JS Khehar decided on Feb 7, 2017 to initiate contempt of court proceedings.

This is against sitting Calcutta high court judge C S Karnan for continuously levelling allegations against the Madras HC chief justice and other judges.

The case will be heard by a bench headed by the CJI and comprising six other senior judges -Dipak Misra, J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur, P C Ghose and Kurian Joseph.

This is the first time that a constitutional court has initiated contempt of court proceedings against a judge of the SC or HC.

There have been times when the CJI, after receiving inquiry reports against a sitting judge, has recommended to Parliament to initiate proceedings for the removal of the erring judge.

Karnan had plunged Madras HC into a major crisis in 2015 by threatening contempt of court proceedings against Chief Justice Sanjay K Kaul.

Kaul had been recommended by the collegium to be appointed as a judge of the SC.

Karnan had accused Kaul of interfering in his judicial work and sought a CBI probe into the alleged forged educational qualification of another HC judge.

The controversial judge has also alleged that he was a victim of caste bias as he was a Dalit and had accused the Madras HC chief justice of harassing him.

Subsequently , when he was transferred, Karnan "stayed" the order of the SC, advising the CJI not to interfere in his "jurisdiction", before relenting and accepting his transfer.

Constitutionally, the only process for sacking a judge of the SC or HC is through a removal motion passed by a two-thirds majority in each House of Parliament.

Till date, no judge has been removed by Parliament though such motions were initiated thrice.

Apart from the contempt of court action against Kaul, Karnan had also threatened to ask the National Commission for Scheduled Castes to initiate a detailed inquiry against the HC chief justice.

Previous Precedents: HC Judge Removal

  • A removal motion against Justice V Ramaswami was defeated in Parliament in May 1993.
  • This was with the help of abstaining Congress MPs.
  • Sikkim HC Chief Justice P D Dinakaran resigned in July 2011 ahead of the initiation of a removal motion against him in the Rajya Sabha.
  • Justice Soumitra Sen of the Calcutta HC argued his case unsuccessfully before the Rajya Sabha which passed the motion for his removal.
  • Sen resigned before the LokSabha could take up the motion.

▼ China surpasses Germany as world's largest solar energy producer   [02-8-17]

China has surpassed Germany to become the world’s largest producer of solar energy after nearly doubling its installed photovoltaic capacity in 2016.

With the increased capacity, China generated 66.2 billion kilowatt-hours of energy last year.

This however accounted for only 1% of its electrical output.

The country further plans to double its current solar energy capacity by 2020.

National Energy Administration (NEA) noted that the nation officially claimed the title after doubling its installed photovoltaic (PV) capacity last year.

By the end of 2016, China’s capacity hit 77.42 gigawatts, and while this is great in terms of raw numbers, it’s a lot less impressive relative to the country’s massive population.

China is to devote more and more of its attention towards clean energy.

The NEA says that China will seek to add more than 110 gigawatts within the next three years, which could help the nation up the proportion of its renewable energy use to 20 percent by 2030.

Today, it stands at 11 percent.

China’s geography certainly lends itself to large solar energy farms.

Last year, Shandong, Xinjiang, and Henan provinces enjoyed the greatest increase in their solar capacity.

Xinjiang, Gansu, Qinghai, and Inner Mongolia ended up with the most overall capacity at the end of 2016.

Weaning itself off of fossil fuels will require quite a hefty investment.

According to a Reuters report, the nation will be pouring some 2.5 trillion yuan ($364 billion) into renewable power generation by the end of the decade.

This dedication to environmentally friendly energy sources could put pressure on other nations around the world to do the same.

Already, Ireland has passed a bill that would make it the first country to divest from fossil fuels. And some countries are finding increasingly creative ways of moving away from fossil fuels.

Iceland is drilling the world’s largest well for geothermal energy.

▼ India to host key GICNT meet, highlighting commitment to nuclear non profileration   [02-7-17]

India will be hosting the Implementation and Assessment Group Meeting of the GICNT. GICNT stands for Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.

This is a key meet on nuclear security in February 8-10, 2017.

It is being hosted by MEA in coordination with DAE.

Around 150 delegates from 100 partner countries and international organisations will participate in the event.

This highlights India's commitment to global nuclear non proliferation and peaceful use of nuclear energy and overall engagement with global community on national security issues.

GICNT: Know More

  • GICNT was launched in 2006 by Russia (Vladmir Putin) and the US (George W. Bush)
  • Members: 86
  • Observers: 5 organisations
  • It has held several multilateral activities in support of its Statement of Principles.
  • GICNT partner nations organize and host workshops, conferences, and exercises.
  • It aims to share best practices for implementing the Statement of Principles.
  • The GICNT also holds Plenary meetings to discuss improvements and changes to the partnership.

▼ India's first social innovation centre launched   [02-7-17]

The Telangana government has launched India’s first social innovation centre - The ‘Kakatiya Hub For Social Innovation’ in Nizamabad on Feb 5, 2017.

Telangana IT Secretary Jayesh Ranjan made this announcement at the one-day Development Dialogue, an international social entrepreneurship ecosystem conference hosted by Kakatiya Sandbox.

Jayesh Ranjan said the ‘Kakatiya Hub For Social Innovation’ funded by the Telangana government and implemented through Kakatiya Sandbox will function as a rural incubator to encourage entrepreneurship at the grassroots level.

Problems are to be solved in rural areas and the people who are familiar with them should be in the best position to solve the problems.

However, rural entrepreneurs need a structured guidance and an incubator is the best way of providing a necessary ecosystem and support to them.”

Rural incubator in Telangana will be run exactly in the same as any other high-end incubator like the T-Hub, the country’s biggest, located in Hyderabad.

Indian-American entrepreneur Raju Reddy, co-founder of Kakatiya Sandbox, Dr. ‘Desh’ Deshpande, founder of Deshpande Foundation, Redbus founder Phanindra Sama, who is also the co-founder of Kakatiya Sandbox, welcomed the government’s decision.

Dr. ‘Desh’ Deshpande, founder of Deshpande Foundation introduced the Sandbox concept in India 10 years ago.

▼ Tripartite MoU signed for promoting tourism in Jammu and Kashmir    [02-7-17]

A Tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for implementation of Tourism projects in Jammu and Kashmir was signed among Ministry of Tourism, M/s NPCC & NBCC and Government of Jammu and Kashmir on 6th Feb 2017.

The MoU was signed in the presence of Shri Vinod Zutshi, Secretary, M/o Tourism and the signatories for the MoU included

- Shri. Suman Billa, Joint Secretary , Ministry of Tourism ;

- Shri. Shamim Ahmad Wani, Managing Director, J&K Cable Car Corporation ;

- Shri. K K Sharma, Executive Director, M/s NPCC ; and

- Shri. Alok Rastogi, Chief General Manager (BD), M/s NBCC

The Prime Minister announced the Development Package (Reconstruction Plan) for Jammu and Kashmir on 7.11.2015.

The details of all proposals included in the Development Package for Tourism are as under:

  • Log Huts,
  • Heliports,
  • Open air theatre,
  • Walking trail,
  • Landscaping,
  • Solar lighting,
  • Solid waste management & public amenities etc.

▼ Queen Elizabeth, world's longest reigning living monarch, celebrates Sapphire Jubilee   [02-6-17]

Queen Elizabeth, the world's longest-reigning living monarch, celebrated her Sapphire Jubilee on 6th Feb 2017.

This is commemorating 65 years since she took the British throne.

A 41-gun royal salute will take place in central London to mark the occasion.

The queen's office released a 2014 portrait showing her wearing a suite of sapphire jewellery she received from King George VI as a wedding gift in 1947.

The Queen, 90, has cut back on international tours but still regularly performs official duties around Britain.

In December she said she would reduce the number of her patronages, passing on her role at dozens of charities, academic institutions and sporting groups to other members of the royal family.

She will spend the day at her residence in Sandringham, eastern England.

Queen Elizabeth II: Know More

  • Born: 21 April 1926, Mayfair, London, United Kingdom
  • Spouse: Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (m. 1947)
  • Siblings: Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon
  • Parents: Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, George VI

▼ BCCI still opposes ICC!   [02-6-17]

Despite the change of guard at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the Indian board continued to oppose the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) new changes.

This include to the financial model and governance structure on 04th February 2017.

The ICC Board on Saturday met to discuss the changes pertaining to revenue model where India, England and Australia were supposed to get the major share of revenue as the ‘Big Three’ - a move that was opposed by other Test playing nations, and also by England and Australia themselves.

Limaye who had the first look at the official ‘base document’, expressed his apprehension terming it a financial model based on “faith and equity”.

Although the BCCI was expected to still gain in excess of INR 2000 crore, it can be surely said that the commercial hub of cricket faced stiff opposition from majority of the board members.

While seasoned investment banker Limaye, in between now and April, can spot the anomalies in the official base document, it is unlikely that the ICC board led by Manohar would accept those changes.

ICC: Know More

  • Abbreviation: ICC
  • Motto : Great Sport Great Spirit
  • Formation: 15 June 1909
  • Type: Federation of national associations
  • Headquarters: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • Membership: 105 members
  • Chairman: Shashank Manohar
  • President: Zaheer Abbas
  • CEO: David Richardson
  • Website:

▼ World's oldest emoji uncovered   [02-6-17]

Scientists have found what they believe is the world's oldest emoji. This is a smiley face scrawled in a legal document dating back to 1635.

A lawyer reviewing municipal account documents in a village next to the Strazov Mountains of Slovakia, signed his go-ahead by drawing a small circle with two dots and a line.

This is an image recognized today as a smiley-face emoji.

The discovery makes it the world's oldest known emoji.

This emoji certainly one of the oldest in the Trencin region, according Peter Brindza, head of the National Archives in Slovakia.

Previously, the oldest known smiley face was in a 1648 poem, "To Fortune" by Robert Herrick, from England in 1648.

The new find beats that by 13 years.

Chronology of events
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers. Founded in 1977, the group owns the National Rail Museum building and has had, as its primary purpose, the preservation of railroad history, both prototype and models.
To augment income of farmers, budget has proposed setting-up of a Dairy Processing and Infrastructure Development Fund with a corpus of Rs 8,000 crores over three years.
As the Mughal Gardens at Rashtrapati Bhavan reopen first time for visitors will see roses named after the Indian President and his wife, growing next to ‘ Abraham Lincoln’, ‘Christian Dior’ and ‘Queen Elizabeth’.
‘President Pranab’, a crossbred variety of rose which was planted last month along with another variety of rose named ‘Suvra Mukherjee’, will blossom in spring. The President’s wife passed away in August 2015.
Latvia has completed the first stages of protecting EU borders after erecting a 14-mile fence along the Russian border to stop illegal migrants entering the European Union. The construction was started back in 2015, and planning to finish it by 2019.
NDMC has renamed Dalhousie Road as Dara Shikoh Road. Dara Shikoh was the elder brother of Mughal emperor Aurganzeb and the proposal to rename Dalhousie Road was put forward to the NDMC by BJP MP from New Delhi Meenakshi Lekhi.
An Integrated Underwater Harbour Defence and Surveillance System was inaugurated by Vice Admiral Girish Luthra, Flag Officer Commanding- in-Chief, Western Naval Command. The system will enhance the security of valuable assets against asymmetric threats.
The Government of India has decided to establish a National Marine Police Training Institute (MPTI) at Pindara Village, District Devbhoomi Dwarka, Gujarat for which, Government of Gujarat has provided land admeasuring 100 hectares (250 acres).
The world’s longest commercial flight landed in New Zealand with the arrival of Qatar Airways’ Boeing 777-200LR flight QR920 after completing record journey of 14,535 km between Doha and Auckland.
The Chief Secretary of Maharashtra, Shri Swadhin Kshatriya has conveyed to the Centre that the State will be declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) by March 2018.
The National Maritime Foundation (NMF) is conducting its Annual Maritime Power Conference-2017 at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) Auditorium, Development Enclave, New Delhi, on 09-10 February 2017, with the theme ‘The Blue Economy: Concept, Constituents and Development’.
Delhi-based not-for-profit legal services organisation, Software Freedom Law Centre on 9th Feb 2017 launched '', a portal to track instances where blanket bans on Internet services, either mobile or fixed line, were imposed in India.
Legal experts, Democrats and some Republicans criticised Mr. Trump’s remarks as jeopardising the independence of the judiciary and attempting to use political influence to sway the courts.
Judge Neil Gorsuch described the president’s comments about the judiciary as “demoralising and disheartening.”
A group backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that works on India’s immunisation programmes will now be funded by the health ministry, a government official said.
Elahiganj in Murshidabad district has become the first village in Bengal to ban sale and consumption of alcohol and narcotics within its limits and impose a stiff fine for those flouting the rule.
The U.S., the U.K., Germany, Japan, Sweden, France, Switzerland, Singapore, South Korea and Italy completed the top 10 ranks.
India and Austria signed a Protocol amending the existing Convention between the two nations for Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income
Prasad Erande from Pune travelled 14,576 kilometres on a cycle across India, establishing a Guinness World Record for the ‘longest journey by bicycle in a single country’.
Kerala’s Nilambur teak known internationally for its superior timber quality and elegant appearance will be added to the list of Kerala produces with the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile called as Ashwin was successfully test-fired from launching complex-IV of Dhamara Abdul Kalam defence base off Odisha coast.
The DPO will be a vertical under the Union Defence Ministry. It will simplify the defence purchase procedure by integrating procurement processes.
The Pakistan Navy has kicked of its biannually-held multinational AMAN 2017 naval exercise in Karachi, Pakistan. 37 countries are participating in the international event.
The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has planned to develop large deposits of uranium found in Meghalaya to tap its potential to generate substantial nuclear fuel for atomic power plants in the country.
A White House official and a senior Canadian government official said the two countries plan to launch a new task force called the United States Canada Council for the Advancement of Women Business Leaders-Female Entrepreneurs.
The 11th biennial edition of the International Aerospace and Defence exhibition Aero India began at the Air Force Station, Yelahanka in Bengaluru, capital city of Karnataka on 14th Feb 2017.
Seeking investments from India in areas like automation, smart electronics and biotech, Thailand Board of Investment has said that the country provides tax holidays and an investor-friendly environment.
Titled ''TED Talks India: Nayi Soch,'' which translates to ''new thinking,'' the talks will feature speakers sharing big ideas in TED's signature format of short, powerful presentations of 18 minutes or less to be broadcast and will also feature Shahrukh Khan.
The International Coin Fair was inaugurated at Kanakakunnu Palace in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala by the Kerala state Minister for Tourism, Cooperation and Devaswoms Kadakampally Surendran on 13th Feb 2017.
The Haryana government has notified that no person shall consume liquor at a place which has not been licensed or authorised under the Punjab Excise Act, 1914, except at one’s dwelling.
Airbus has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for establishing a Centre of Excellence for aerospace skill development in Hyderabad, together with the Telangana government, National Skill Development Corporation India and AEROCAMPUS France.
The United States and Thailand will launch the 2017 iteration of the annual Cobra Gold military exercises, Asia’s largest multinational drill.
Science Express Climate Action Special train was flagged off to spread awareness about climate change across the country. It is collaborative efforts of ministries of Railways, Environment and Science and Technology.
Indian Navy’s second ocean-going sailboat INSV Tarini was inducted at the INS Mandovi Boat Pool on 18th Feb 2016 in Goa.
The Cochin Shipyard has delivered the 13th of the series of 20 Fast Patrol Vessel - ICGS Anmol - under construction for the Indian Coast Guard. The vessel will be operated from the Coast Guard station at Haldia
The Health Ministry has ordered all of its 23 government hospitals to use only Khadi products. The Health Ministry has ordered all of its 23 government hospitals to use only Khadi products.
US based defence technology and research firm Raytheon Company has signed MoU with Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Sons to co-produce Stinger air defence missile components in India.
The two-day South Asian Speakers Summit was held at Indore in Madhya Pradesh. It was inaugurated by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
India’s only live volcano which had started showing activity in 1991 after lying dormant for over 150 years has again started spewing ash, the researchers at Goa-based National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) have said.
To commemorate the 25th year of the ASEAN India relations, TEPC (Telecom Equipment and Services Export Promotion Council) is organising an inter-ministerial meeting between telecom ministers of ASEAN countries and India in New Delhi on 20th February, 2017.
Third National Dam Safety Conference organised by Central Water Commission in association with Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam and IIT Roorkee concluded at Roorkee today. The conference focused on key challenges in dam safety field that are being encountered in the on-going Dam Safety Rehabilitation and Improvement Project ( DRIP) implementation.
India signed an agreement with Japan last week on enhancing railway safety in the Indian Railways with focus on railway track and rolling stock safety,as per a statement released 21st Feb 2017.
The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has released the new format for recording and reporting road accident data.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has declared 2017 as ‘Year of Apple’ in a major bid to promote the famed Kashmiri apples in domestic and foreign markets.
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu inaugurated the Composite Regional Centre at Itanagar Banquet Hall, Arunachal Pradesh.
The Government of India and the State of Sikkim signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) under the Scheme Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) on 24th Fev, for operational improvement of the State’s Power Distribution Department. With the signing of MoU, the total number of States covered under UDAY has reached 22.
Punjab Government has banned the manufacture, sale, storage or distribution of gutkha, pan masala, flavoured/ processed/processed/scented chewing tobacco and any other food products containing nicotine or tobacco for one year.
The National Biodiversity Congress (NBC) 2017 was held in Thiruvananthapuram, capital of Kerala. The event is hosted by the Kerala State Biodiversity Board.
An INR 17,000 crore deal has been cleared by the government for jointly developing with Israel a medium-range surface-to-air missile (MR-SAM) for the army, reflecting India’s fast-growing defence ties with the Jewish nation.
Regulator SEBI is in favour of a major overhaul of the way boards of listed firms discharge their duties, including for appointment and removal of directors, and also wants their audit committee to be empowered to identify future risks.
Prior to that, FPIs had invested over INR 20,000 crore in the capital market in September 2016.
European Union member states have approved visa-free travel for Georgia. The proposal now requires formal signature by the 28 member states of EU and European Parliament.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands’ Radhanagar beach has featured among the top 10 beaches of the World. The list was released by TripAdvisor, an American travel website company.