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CURRENT AFFAIRS: NATIONAL
MOHUA Hardeep Puri launched Indian Urban Observatory and Video wall at New Delhi
- Hardeep S Puri, Minister of State (I/C) for Housing and Urban Affairs has launched a state-of-the-art India Urban Observatory at Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation in New Delhi. He also inaugurated the Video Wall in New Delhi.
- India Urban Observatory – It is a system to collect and analyze data from cities, both from real-time and archival sources. The Observatory will help in getting reliable, up-to-date information on a meaningful set of indicators over various domains such as transport, health, environment, water, finance, etc and will assist in developing best practices, future strategies and policy interventions as and when required.
- The Video Wall will display the Insights Gained from India Urban Observatory and Various Missions/ Offices Aiming To Proactively Engage with Citizens with an aim of Spreading Awareness
|Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation||Hardeep Singh Puri|
|Constituency||Uttar Pradesh (RajyaSabha)|
CURRENT AFFAIRS: INTERNATIONAL
Marshall Islands to launch digital currency
- The Marshall Islands is gearing to release a digital currency called ‘SOV’ this year, however, the launch date of the currency has not been decided.
- Neema, an Israel-based company, is partnering with the Marshall Islands government to develop the digital currency.
- The Marshall Islands, a tiny Pacific atoll nation with a population of just 55,000, passed legislation a year ago to develop digital currency as legal tender.
|Marshall Islands Capital||Majuro|
|Marshall Islands Currency||US Dollar|
|Marshall Islands President||Hilda Heine|
CURRENT AFFAIRS: BANKING AND FINANCE
PNB sanctions loans worth Rs. 689 crore to 1,600 MSMEs via 59-minute loan portal
- State-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) has sanctioned loans worth Rs 689 crore to over 1,600 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) through the psbloansin59minutes.com
- Under the Mudra Yojana, the bank has offered loan to over 2.69 lakh small entrepreneurs this fiscal (till February 14, 2019).
- In November 2018, Hon’ble Prime Minister announced the launch of the 59-minute loan portal to enable easy access to credit for MSMEs.
- MSMEs through this portal can avail loans of up to Rs. 1 crore in 59 minutes or less than an hour. MSMEs apply for loans using their GST registration as the portal is integrated with GST server at the back-end as well as IT, credit bureaus and banks.
- It is able to quickly score the applicant on individual models of lenders (currently only public sector banks).
- PNB has bagged many awards last month under the Enhanced Access and Service Excellence (EASE) reforms agenda. The bank won the Reforms Excellency Award. It was also declared the winner in the customer responsiveness, responsible banking and credit Off-take category.
- The bank has also figured in the Forbes world’s best bank 2019 report in terms of customer satisfaction ratings.
|Punjab National Bank Headquarters||New Delhi|
|Punjab National Bank CEO||Sunil Mehta|
|Punjab National Bank Tagline||The name you can bank upon|
CURRENT AFFAIRS: STATE
Madhya Pradesh government issues ordinance to give 27% quota to OBCs
- Madhya Pradesh state government has issued an ordinance raising reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBC) to 27 per cent from the present 14 per cent.
- At present, the state provides 20 per cent reservation to Scheduled Tribes (ST), 16 per cent to Scheduled Castes (SC) and 14 per cent to OBCs.
- The announcement was made by the state’s Law and Legal Affairs Minister PC Sharma
|Madhya Pradesh Capital||Bhopal|
|Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister||Kamal Nath|
|Madhya Pradesh Governor||Anandibenpatel|
Jammu and Kashmir government to give monthly stipend and jobs for those who Shun militancy
- Draft on Reintegration proposes a monthly stipend of Rs. 6000 and jobs for those who Shun militancy by the Jammu and Kashmir government.
- The reintegration policy draft proposes a monthly stipend of Rs 6,000 for a militant who surrenders ‘to encourage him to join the mainstream’.
- The new Reintegration policy draft is under the consideration of Jammu and Kashmir administration headed by Governor Sathya Pal Malik.
- Militants found to have been involved ‘in heinous crimes’ won’t get the proposed benefits
|Jammu & Kashmir Capital||Jammu & Srinagar|
|Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister||Vacant|
|Jammu & Kashmir Governor||Satya Pal Malik|
CURRENT AFFAIRS: AWARDS AND HONOURS
President confers Padma Awards
- President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday conferred the Padma awards on 47 of this year’s 112 recipients at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The remaining winners are likely to be conferred the honour on March 16
- Padma Bhushan was presented to Malayalam actor Mohanlal, South African politician PravinGordhan, former Cisco head Jhon Chambers, Parliamentarians Hukumdev Narayan Yadav, Kariya Munda and Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa.
- Renowned journalist Kuldip Nayar was also awarded Padma Bhushan posthumously.
- Padma Shri was conferred on various personalities including Chess player Harika Dronavalli, Table Tennis player Sharat Kamal, Social Workers Bhagirathi Devi and Muktaben Dagli, Actor Prabhudeva, Music Director Shankar Mahadevan, former civil servant S Jaishankar, Agriculturist Rajkumari Devi and BabaulalDahiya, Archaeologist Dilip Chakravarty and Hematologist MammenChandy.
- This year, 112 personalities were selected for the Padma awards, which was announced on the eve of Republic Day.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and others were present on the occasion.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: SCIENCE
IIT Madras developed ‘NERO’ for generating potable water from air
- TheIndian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) will develop a device called ‘NERO’ to generate potable water from atmospheric air.
- For this project, IIT Madras has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Teerthaa,a private sustainable technology company.
- The solar thermal energy powered device will produce about 4 to 5 litres of potable water per day.
IIT Kharagpur students created an mobile app to detect fake currency notes
- Students from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur have developed an image processing application which can detect counterfeit currency.
- The application, which can be installed on smartphones, can be used by people at various touch points thus reducing chances of fraud.
- The app would then perform verification of its authenticity with the help of 25 features that have been extracted from both the sides of the note.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: SUMMITS AND CONFERENCE
34thedition of AAHAR – International Food and Hospitality fair-begins in New Delhi
- The 34th edition of AAHAR – the International Food and Hospitality fair – begins at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi
- Minister for Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu inaugurated the fair.
- The fair will feature a wide range of food products, machinery, hospitality and Decoration and Confectionery items from over 560 participants from India and abroad.
- Around 20 countries, including US, Russia, China, UK, Germany, Italy and Singapore will participate in the five-day fair.
- The fair which will showcase new trends in food and beverage, hospitality, culinary technology, retail and new innovations.
CII-EXIM Bank conclave on India-Africa Project Partnerships to be held in New Delhi
- Commerce and Industry Ministry will be organising the 14th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India-Africa Project Partnerships, in association with Confederation of Indian Industry and EXIM Bank of India from March 17-19 in New Delhi.
- The event will mark the deepening of India-Africa economic and business ties and pave the way for a whole range of cross-border project partnerships.
- Since its inception in 2005, the annual conclave brings senior ministers, policy makers, officials, business leaders, bankers, technologists, start-up entrepreneurs and other professionals on a common platform.
|Minister of Commerce and Industry and Civil Aviation||Suresh Prabhu|
|Constituency||Andhra Pradesh, RS|
CURRENT AFFAIRS: APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATION
Anup Kumar Dubey and Sushil Kumar as appointed special directors in the ED
- Senior bureaucrats Anup Kumar Dubey and Sushil Kumar were appointed special directors in the Enforcement Directorate (ED)
- Both Dubey and Kumar are Indian Revenue Service (Income Tax) officers.
- Dubey has been appointed as Special Director, ED in Delhi and Kumar in Chennai
Zinedine Zidane re-appointed as coach of Spanish football club Real Madrid till 2022
- Zinedine Zidane has been re-appointed as the coach of Spanish football club Real Madrid till 2022.
- The Frenchman replaces Santiago Solari, who was sacked after less than five months in charge.
- Former Real midfielder Zidane had resigned from the club after leading it to three consecutive Champions League titles.
Finland’s entire government resigns over failed healthcare reforms
- Finland’s entire government has resigned after it failed to reform the country’s healthcare system, one of its key policies.
- Prime Minister Juha Sipila’s resignation was approved but the president has asked his cabinet to stay on as a caretaker government until a new one is appointed
- Juha Sipila has since 2015 headed a coalition made up of his Centre Party, the conservative National Coalition, and the eurosceptic Blue Reform party
|Finland President||Sauli Niinistö|
India is world’s second largest arms importer: SIPRI Report
- India is the second largest importer of weapons in the world, as per the annual report ‘Trends in International Arms Transfers-2018’released by the think tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
- Saudi Arabia has now become the largest importer of arms in the world
- For more than the last eight years, India was the largest arms importer in the international market.
- According to the report, Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, Australia and Algeria as the five top arms importing countries and the United States, Russia, France, Germany and China as the five top arms exporting nations.
- India accounted for 9.5 percent of the global total imports during 2014-18, while Saudi Arabia accounted for 12 percent of the total imports during the period.
- The US and Russia remain the largest exporters by far, accounting for 36 percent and 21 percent of the total global trade, respectively.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: DEFENCE
Pinaka guided weapons system successfully test fired
- Defence Research and Development organisation, (DRDO) successfully test fired the PINAKA guided weapon rocket system from Pokhran range in Rajasthan.
- The weapon system is equipped with state-of-the-art guidance kit comprising of an advanced navigation and control system. The weapon systems impacted the intended targets with high precision and achieved desired accuracies.
- The indigenously developed Guided PINAKA by DRDO will significantly boost the capability of the artillery to make precision hits.
|DRDO Headquarters||New Delhi|
|DRDO Chairman||G. Satheesh Reddy|
CURRENT AFFAIRS: OBITUARY
Three-time Cycling world champion Kelly Catlin passed away
- American cyclist Kelly Catlin, a three-time world champion and 2016 Rio Olympic runner-up in team pursuit, has died at age 23
- Catlin was part of the US team pursuit squads that captured world titles in 2016, 2017 and 2018 but she withdrew from the American team that failed to defend the title February 27-28 at the 2019 worlds in Poland.