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Daily Current affairs for the 26th & 27th Feb 2018 ( English)

1.       Feb 27-  Marathi Bhasha Diwas  was celebrated by Maharashtra on the occasion of the birth anniversary of noted Marathi litterateur VVShirwadkar, popularly known as “Kusumagraj.”
2.       On the occasion of former Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa’s 70th birth anniversary ( 24th Feb,2018) PM Narendra Modi has launched subsidised Amma two-wheeler Scheme meant for working women. The subsidized scooter scheme for working women is an electoral promise of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. Under the scheme, every beneficiary will be given 50% of cost of a two-wheeler or grant of Rs. 25,000. It will cover one lakh working women every year. He also launched 70-lakh tree sapling planting drive.
3.       The Union Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Uma Bharti, launched the Swajal pilot project at  Bhikampura, in Rajasthan. Swajal is a community owned drinking water programme for sustained drinking water supply. 90% of the project cost will be provided by Central Government while remaining 10% of the project cost will be contributed by the local community. This project will not only ensure round the year availability of clean drinking water to every household in Bhikampura, but will also generate employment.
4.       CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography, Goa has announced the discovery of methane gas flares and active cold seeps from the seabed in the Krishna Godavari basin in the Bay of Bengal. High concentrations of hydrogen sulfide, calcium carbonate, unique faunal groups and shallow presence of methane hydrates has been found at these sites. Research is being conducted to establish the economic feasibility of commercial gas extraction from cold seeps. The seep sites are distributed over a water depth of 900 metres to 1900 metres. 
5.       Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has introduced UAN-Aadhaar linking facility for the convenience of members using EPFO Link in UMANG Mobile App.  A new feature to link UAN with Aadhaar online, using biometric credentials has been added to the facility in the e-KYC Portal. For using this facility with UMANG APP, Member will have to provide his/her UAN. An OTP will be sent to the UAN registered Mobile Number. After OTP Verification, member will have to provide Aadhaar details and gender information. Another OTP will be sent on Aadhaar Registered Mobile Number and/or email. After OTP verification, Aadhaar will be linked with UAN where UAN and Aadhaar details are matched. EPFO has also introduced e-Nomination facility for filing nomination form by members. This facility is offered at Member Interface of EPFO Unified Portal (https://unifiedportal-mem.epfindia.gov.in/memberinterface/).
6.       Chilika Lake in Odisha has become the single largest habitat of Irrawaddy dolphins in the world.  155 Irrawaddy dolphins have been identified in the Chilika Lake. This information has been provided by Chilika Development Authority (CDA) official, based on the preliminary report of the first ‘Annual Monitoring’ of the Chilika Lake conducted recently.
7.       The Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation ,Nitin Gadkari has laid the foundation stone for National Technology Centre for Ports, Waterways and Coasts (NTCPWC), at IIT Chennai. NTCPWC is set up under the Sagarmala programme of Ministry of Shipping. It will function as a technology arm of the Ministry of Shipping.  NTCPWC will offer indigenous software and technology, develop technical guidelines and standards and work towards modernization of Indian ports. The cost for setting up NTCPWC is Rs 70.53 crore. This amount is shared by Ministry of Shipping, IWAI and the Major Ports.
8.       The Union Minister of Civil Aviation P Ashok Gajapathi Raju inaugurated a first of its kind Aviation Multi Skill Development Centre at the Chandigarh Old Airport Terminal building. It has been set up in collaboration with the National Skill Development Corporation and is supported by the Aerospace and Aviation Sector Skill Council of India. It will train youth in 8 Aviation job roles over the next three years.
9.       The Union minister of Information and Broadcasting Smriti Irani released the reference annual India 2018 and Bharat 2018. These have been published by Publications Division in English and Hindi. These books are authentic and comprehensive volumes about government's plans and achievements in various sectors and also the basic information about states and UT is also available in these volumes.
10.   Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao announced five lakh rupees health-cum-life insurance scheme for farmers in the state while addressing the regional conference of Farmers’ Coordination Committees in Karimnagar, Telanagana. Over 70 lakh farmers across Telangana will be covered under this scheme. Rs. 500 crore has been allocated for implementation of this scheme. Entire premium for the insurance will be borne by the Telangana State Government. In case of death of farmer, amount will be paid to families of farmers. Health insurance will be provided in case of hospitalisation.
11.   Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan (GOBAR-DHAN) scheme was launched by the Union Ministry. It was first announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during his 2018-19 budget speech. The scheme will be hugely beneficial for country as India is home to highest cattle population in world (around 300 million in number) which produces around 3 million tonnes of dung. The scheme focuses on managing and converting cattle dung and solid waste in farms to useful compost, biogas and bio-CNG. It will also help in keeping the village clean while increasing income of farmers and cattle herders.
12.   The 21st National Conference on e-Governance was held in Hyderabad, capital city of Telangana with the theme ‘Technology for accelerating Development’ by Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG), along with Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeITY) in.association with Telangana The inaugural session of conference was followed by 3 Plenary Sessions based on themes Building User Experience, Universalization and Replication and Governing e-Governance. The Conference  showcased best practices, innovative technologies and ICT solutions. The National e-Governance Awards recognising and promoting excellence in implementation of e-Governance initiatives by various government departments and also initiatives of PSUs and Non- Government Institutions were given.
13.   SRIJAN (Station Rejuvenation through Joint ActioN), an idea competition for development of 635 railway stations was launched on MyGov portal by Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Limited (IRSDC). IRSDC has taken up massive redevelopment of around 600 major Railway stations across the country. In this mega exercise, it will take assistance and  involve all stakeholders i.e. railway passengers, urban planners, architects, engineers. For this, it has extended pen invitation for developing concept and master plans for redevelopment of stations firms & professionals interested for Station Development. The winners in the SRIJAN competition will get certificates and worthy ideas will be incorporated in the designs.
14.   The National Green Tribunal appointed court commissioners to verify allegations made in a plea regarding illegal sand mining in Jodhpur district of Rajasthan. A bench headed by Justice Jawad Rahim appointed advocates Gaurav Bansal and Rahul Khurana as court commissioners in the case and directed them to submit the inspection report by 30 March.
15.   ‘Viral Load testing’ for all People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) was launched by the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare JP Nadda. The viral load test measures amount of HIV in blood and number of copies of HIV RNA in millilitre of blood. Viral Load testing initiative for PLHIV will provide free of cost viral load testing for 12 lakh PLHIV on treatment in country at least once year. It will help to monitor effectiveness of treatment of patients taking lifelong Antiretroviral Therapy (ART). It will also help in strengthening ‘Mission Sampark’ in tracking LFU (Loss to Follow Up) PLHIV and achieve India’s commitment to global 90-90-90 target by 2020. According to UNAIDS, India has third largest population of PLHIV after South Africa and Nigeria.
16.   Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), introduced a ‘Baal Aadhaar’ card ( Blue color card)for children below the age of five years. No biometric details will be needed for ‘Baal Aadhaar’. However, when the child turns five, a mandatory biometric update will be required, which is to be done by taking the child to any nearby Aadhaar centre. Aadhhar Card is not mandatory for children in this age group. However, it is required if he/she wants to avail government scholarships and also attending educational programmes overseas.
17.   India and Canada signed following six pacts in New Delhi, in presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau  for co-operation in the fields of science, technology and innovation, Information Communications Technology and Electronics, higher education, sports, Intellectual Property Rights, India-Canada Ministerial Energy Dialogue.
18.    An MoU was signed with Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) for research collaboration in various fields by the Union government. It envisages ‘programme based research support’ in handling current and future global and local developmental challenges.
19.   A multinational mega event ‘MILAN 2018’ will be hosting by Indian Navy’s Andaman & Nicobar Command with the theme  ‘Friendship Across the Seas’ from 6th – 13th March, 2018 at Port Blair The main objective is to foster co-operation through naval exercises and professional interactions. Inaugural address at this event will be delivered by Chief of the Naval Staff of the Indian Navy, Admiral Sunil Lanba. Countries that will participate in MILAN 2018: Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Cambodia, Kenya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Thailand. Countries that will participate for first time: Brunei, Mozambique, Papua New Guinea, Oman, South Africa, Timor Leste and Vietnam. Professional exercises, seminars, social events and sporting fixtures will be conducted during the course of this event.
20.    ‘Run for New India’ marathon in Surat, Gujarat was flagged off  by PM Modi.  CM of Gujarat Vijay Rupani was also present on the occasion. It was organized by the Surat Nagrik Samiti. It is divided  into 4 categories which included 41 KM full marathon. It aims  to create awareness about social causes and call upon youth to resolve to build a New India.
21.   Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched various development projects worth Rs 1000 crores in Daman & Diu.  He distributed certificates to beneficiaries of programs and addressed a public meeting at the Daman college ground. He flagged off Pawan Hans helicopter services from Daman to Diu through a video link. The Prime Minister inaugurated Air Odisha's flight connecting Ahmedabad with Diu under the UDAN scheme. 

22.   Indian Railways has inducted two Digitally Enabled Locomotives in collaboration with General Electric (GE) based on state of art insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) technology. The two HHP prototypes locomotives were wholly designed in India under Make in India program and manufactured under Public Private partnership (PPP).
23.   September 22  will be observing as Rhino Day by the Assam government to generate public awareness on protection of one-horned rhinoceros (pachyderm).It was announced at the 10th meeting of State Board for Wildlife chaired by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. State government is also launch State Rhino Project in line with National Rhino Project for protecting them from threats of poaching. The day will be dedicated to approximately 2,500 rhino population in state. Kaziranga National Park hosts two-thirds of the world’s Great One-horned rhinoceros (68% of worldwide population). It has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. They are found in Kaziranga, Orang, Pobitara, Jaldapara (in Assam), Dudhwa (UP) National Park.
24.   The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) will get largest chunk of loans on offer under Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE), new funding model scheme for all centrally-run institutes. RISE scheme was announced in Union Budget 2017-18. It aims to lend low-cost funds to government higher educational institutions. Under it, all centrally-funded institutes (CFIs), including central universities, IITs, IIMs, NITs and IISERs can borrow from a Rs 1,00,000 crore corpus over next 4 years to expand and build new infrastructure. It will be financed via restructured Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA), a non-banking financial company.
25.   An MoU was signed between Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) and  Indian Ocean Rim Association’s (IORA’s) Regional Centre for Science and Technology Transfer (RCSTT) for designating Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Lucknow (CSIR-CIMAP) as Coordinating Centre on Medicinal plants. It will establish database on important medicinal plants, their value added products, related experts and industries of IORA member states. The IORA is association of 21 countries and 7 dialogue partners which have identified six areas of cooperation including medicinal plants. IORA is headquartered in Tehran, Iran.
26.   The two day international conference on Sustainable Biofuels jointly being organized by Department of Biotechnology and Biofuture platform was held in New Delhi. The conference also aimed to provide clear understanding of development in bio-economy made by participating countries, increase awareness of policy makers about challenges faced by industry-investor for commercial scale up of advanced biofuels. It also focused on concerns of private sectors to speed up large scale production of sustainable biofuels.
27.   The 2nd India-Korea Business Summit was held  in New Delhi with the theme “India-Korea: Scaling up the Special Strategic Relationship through Trade and Investments”. Over 200 business delegates, including representatives of leading Korean business conglomerates and Government officials participated in this Summit. he Summit focused on exploring opportunities in Infrastructure, Information Communication Technology, Power, Smart Cities and Manufacturing sectors.
28.   Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is planning to set up “India corners” which will provide authentic reference material for students who wish to know more about India at educational institutes abroad. India corner will comprise a set of books carrying information on different aspects of India. Such books will be provided to the selected library by Ministry of External Affairs.
29.   China-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has approved USD 1.5 billion in loans to India for infrastructure-related projects in 2018. The funds would be used for investment in India's energy, roads and urban development projects.
30.   Russia vetoed a UN draft resolution presented by Britain on Feb 26, 2018 that would have pressured Iran over its failure to block supplies of missiles to Yemen's Huthi rebels. It was strongly supported by the United States, won 11 favourable votes at the 15-member Security Council but was blocked by Russia's veto. China and Kazakhstan abstained, while Bolivia also voted against the measure. No vetoes from the five permanent council members - Britain, France, China, Russia and the United States. The adoption of a resolution at the UN Security Council requires 9 votes.  After the veto, the council unanimously adopted a Russian-drafted measure that extended the sanctions regime against Yemen for one year, but that text made no mention of Iran.
31.   Saudi King Salman suspended the Military Chief General Abdul Rahman bin Saleh al-Bunyan and a number of other top commanders in a series of royal decrees issued on February 26, 2018.  The series of royal decrees also saw the appointment of new governors, deputy governors of provinces across the kingdom as well as new ministers to several posts. Fayyad al-Ruwaili was appointed as replacement of General Abdul Rahman bin Saleh al-Bunyan. 
32.   China was elected as vice chair of Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global body mandated to combat terror financing and money laundering. In its plenary meeting in Paris, FATF had placed Pakistan under “grey list” subject to direct monitoring and intense scrutiny by International Cooperation Review Group till June 2018 for compliance of Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Finance of Terrorism regulations. Pakistan was on the same list from 2012 to 2015.
33.   20th Conference of the Commonwealth Education Ministers (20CCEM) was held in Nadi, Fiji from 19th – 23rd February 2018. With the theme  “Sustainability and Resilience: Can Education Deliver?”. Indian delegation to this conference was led by Dr. Satya Pal Singh, Minister of State, Ministry of Human Resource Development.
34.   ISRO has started work on building igloos (referred to as lunar habitats) on the Moon. The objective is to help the astronauts to spend more time on the moon. Scientists have already designed five prototypes of the lunar habitat. These lunar habitats will be built by sending robots and 3D printers to the Moon. It will be built from lunar soil and other materials. These lunar habitats will serve as outpost on the Moon just like the ones that have been built in Antarctica.
35.   The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has carried out first successful test-flight of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) Rustom-2 in user configuration with higher power engine. The flight was conducted at its Aeronautical Test Range at Chitradurga in Karnataka and all its parameters were normal. It is medium-altitude long-endurance drone (MALE). It can fly up to an altitude of 22,000 feet and has endurance of over 20 hours. It is capable of carrying payloads for electronic and signal intelligence missions.
36.   Reserve Bank of India (RBI) raised the exposure limit to USD 100 million across all currency pairs.under exchange traded currency derivatives (ETCD) for residents and foreign portfolio investors (FPIs). Earlier exposure limit set by RBI was USD 15 million for USD-INR contracts and USD 5 million for other currency pairs. Increasing exposure limit will help the participants to better manage their risk and will also improve the liquidity in the instrument. Participants who breach this limit may face action as per the provisions of Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 and the regulations and directions related to the subject.  As of now, four currency pairs, viz. USD/INR, EUR/INR (Euro), GBP/INR (Great British Pound) and JPY/INR (Japanese Yen) are traded on Indian exchanges.
37.   Catholic Syrian Bank Ltd (CSB) has partnered with Celebrus Capital Ltd (Celebrus), to offer online equity trading and demat services to its customers. As per the terms of the tie-up, CSB’s customers will be able to open a Celebrus trading account free of cost.
38.   IndusInd Bank has announced its partnership with Ripple, the blockchain solution provider to facilitate cross border remittances into and out of India.
39.   Sterlite Techologies announced that it has received a Rs 3500-crore advance purchase order to design, build and manage communications network of the Indian Navy. This system integration project will provide an advanced digital communications network to the Indian Navy. Once the project is completed, it will link multiple Indian naval sites and India-administered islands.
40.   Bharti Airtel announced that it has joined ‘Seamless Alliance’, a new global collaboration to bring high-speed and uninterrupted in-flight data connectivity to mobile customers. Along with Bharti Airtel, OneWeb, Airbus, Delta and Sprint are the other founding members of this alliance. 
41.   KS Dwivedi has been appointed as the new Director General of Police (DGP) of Bihar. He will replace PK Thakur who retires from his post on 28th February 2018.
42.   Samina Baig (mountaineer) was appointed the National Goodwill Ambassador for Pakistan by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). she will work towards creating awareness about the Sustainable Development Goals, especially the ones related to climate change, environmental protection, youth and women’s empowerment.
43.   Veteran footballer Bhaichung Bhutia resigned from the Trinamool Congress. He resigned from all the official and political posts of TMC and is no longer associated with any political party.
44.   Michael McCormack was elected new Deputy Prime Minister of Australia after being selected as the leader of the country's National Party. He replaces former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce who was forced to resign amid public anger over an extramarital affair with his former press secretary.
45.   Rahul Mahajan was appointed as the new Editor-in-Chief of Rajya Sabha Television.
46.   Sajeev Krishnan was appointed as Additional Director on the Board of Dhanlaxmi Bank.
47.  Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu honored 338 workers with Prime Minister’s Shram Awards. 194 prestigious Awards for the Year 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 were given away by the Vice President at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. The Awardees are employed in Public Sector Undertakings of the Central and State Government and Private Sector Units with 500 or more workers. 
48.  Inclusive Internet Index (III) 2018- India was ranked 47th out of 86 countries. India has slipped by 11 positions compared to 36th rank in 2017 III report due to low internet usage and poor quality. It provides rigorous benchmark of national-level Internet inclusion across four categories: Availability, Affordability, Relevance and Readiness. India was ranked 62nd in Availability, 39th in Affordability, 37th in Relevance and 23rd in Readiness categories. Singapore, Canada, Poland and Malaysia have topped in respective categories. The report was commissioned by Facebook in 2017 and is conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
49.  Gopi Thonakal and Monika Athare retained the titles they won last year in the men’s and women’s category respectively, at the IDBI Federal Life Insurance New Delhi Marathon.The marathon was flagged off at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium by Sachin Tendulkar. Nearly 65 elite Indian athletes participated in the full marathon of 42.195km.
50.  India’s Vikas Krishan has won a gold medal by defeating USA’s Troy Isley in the middle-weight (75kg) finals and won the gold medal. He was also named the best boxer of the tournament at the 69th Strandja Memorial boxing tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria. Amit Panghal (49kg) also won a gold medal in the tournament. M C Mary Kom (48kg), Seema Poonia (+81kg) and Gaurav Solanki (52kg) won silver medals. Meena Kumari Devi (54kg), L Sarita Devi (60kg), Saweety Boora (75kg) and Bhagyabati Kachari (81kg) are the women who won bronze medals. Mohammed Hussamuddin (56kg) and Satish Kumar (+91kg) won bronze medals among men.
51.  Indian Olympic Association (IOA) announced that it has partnered with Edelweiss Financial Services Limited as sponsor of the Indian team for 2018 Commonwealth Games, the 2018 Asian Games and the 2020 Olympic Games and National Games 2018 and 2019. Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance, provides a Rs 50 lakh life Insurance cover for Indian athletes participating in the 2018 Commonwealth Games. IOA has also declared Raymond as its official styling partner and Shiv Naresh Sports as its official sports apparel partner for the Commonwealth Games that is to be conducted in Gold Coast, Australia, from 4-15 April 2018.
52.  The book ‘Hari Singh Nalwa: Champion of the Khalsaji (1791-1837)’ was authored by Dr Vanit Nalwa
53.  Odia writer Kanakalata Mohanty passed away  on 26th Feb 2018 after suffering from old age related ailments at a private hospital in Odisha.
54.Former Cabinet secretary TSR Subramanian has passed away.

Prepared by 
Sarala Dhavamanoharan

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