Current Affairs February 16 2019

We are here for you to provide the important Current Affairs February 16 2019, which have unique updates of all daily events from all newspapers such as The Hindu, The Economic Times, PIB, Times of India, PTI, Indian Express, Business Standard and all Government official websites.

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Current Affairs February 16 2019INDIAN AFFAIRS

13th edition of International Oil & Gas Conference & Exhibition ‘PETROTECH-2019’ held in New Delhi
The 13th edition of PETROTECH-2019 was held at India Expo Mart in Greater Noida,National Capital Region,New Delhi from 10th to 12th February 2019. It was organised by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. (ONGC) in association with the Federation of Indian Petroleum Industries under the aegis of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. The theme of PROTECH-2019 was “Shaping the New Energy World through Innovation & Collaboration”.

  • The Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Shri Dharmendra Pradhan launched the Dealer Owned Dealer Operated (DODO) model for setting up CNG stations.
  • Engineers India Ltd (EIL), a Public Sector Undertaking, under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, and the Government of Mongolia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the PROTECH-2019, for Project Management Consultancy services for construction of an oil refinery plant in Mongolia by EIL………………..Click here to Read more

Government proposed Liberalization of e-Visa regime to make it tourist friendly
Government of India has made a series of amendments in e-visa regime, liberalizing it further and making it more tourists friendly. This step has been taken into consideration by Ministry of Tourism with Ministry of Home Affairs to ease the Visa regime in the country over the period of time.
Key points
i. Duration of stay in India of e-tourists and e-business visas will be from 60 days to 1 year with multiple entry subjects.
ii. There has been removal of restriction of allowing foreigner for a maximum of 3 times.
iii. On e-tourist visa, continuous stay during visit will not exceed 90 days in case of nationals eligible for grant of e-visa except US, UK, Japan and Canada. 
iv.For e-Business Visa, continuous stay during each visit shall not exceed 180 days in case of nationals of all countries who are eligible for grant of e-visa.
v.No registration will be required if the stay is for a period of less than 180 days, in case of e-Business Visa.

Expert committee headed by Anoop Satpath has suggested National Minimum Wage to be Rs. 9,750
An expert committee led by V V Giri National Labour Institute (VVGNLI) Fellow Anoop Satpath appointed by government suggested Rs. 9,750 per month or Rs. 375 per day as National Minimum Wage (NMW) for a worker. The Present NMW is Rs. 4,576.
Key points
i. National minimum wage has been proposed at various regional level in the range of Rs.8,892 to Rs. 11,622 per month, with supplementary house rent allowance of Rs. 1,430 per month for urban workers.
ii. The recommendations could form the basis for a national minimum wage covering all workers irrespective of skills, sectors, occupations and rural-urban areas.
iii. According to Committee’s formula, a family with 3.2 units of consumption requires food of Rs.2400, minimum 50 gm of protein and 30 gm of fat every day.
iv. The Labour ministry has proposed a statutory minimal wage which will be calculated by NMW calculator to address varying economic conditions at state and regional levels through a Code on Wages Bill.

India’s fastest train, Vande Bharat Express, flagged off by PM Narendra Modi
The semi-high-speed Train 18 or Vande Bharat Express was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 15th February 2019, from the New Delhi railway station.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagging off the firsti. Vande Bharat Express will travel from Delhi to Varanasi in 9 hours and 45 minutes, with stoppage points at Kanpur and Allahbad (now Prayagraj).
ii.It can run up to a maximum speed of 160 kmph.
iii.The train had been produced indigenously at the Integral Coach Factory, Chennai in 18 months.

Finance Minister launched ‘Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan’ Scheme
On 15th February 2019, Finance minister has implemented the Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan Yojana which is a pension scheme for the labours, associated in the unorganized sector. It was announced in Budget 2019.

FinancAe Minister launched ‘Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan’ SchemeKey points
i. Under this scheme, workers of unorganized sectors whose monthly income is less than Rs. 15,000 may avail the benefits by contributing Rs. 100 per month to further get Rs. 3000 per month after 60 year of age. An 18 years old worker has to contribute Rs. 55 per month to avail the benefit.
ii. The scheme will facilitate the benefits up to 10 crore workers which include lower class workers, labor, plumber, mechanic, sweeper, construction workers, etc.
iii. An amount of Rs. 500 crore has been allocated for the scheme. The benefits of the scheme will be availed within 5 years.

Union Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan inaugurated the North Karnataka Agromet Forecasting and Research Centre (NKAFC) in Dharwad, Karnataka
Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences, Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, inaugurated the North Karnataka Agromet Forecasting and Research Centre (NKAFC), India’s first agromet forecast centre, at University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) in Dharwad, Karnataka.

Union Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan inaugurated the North Karnataka Agromet Forecasting and Research Centre (NKAFC) in Dharwad, Karnatakai. The main objective of the centre is to give accurate reports on weather which would enable the farmers to protect the crops and get good yield. It will also educate farmers on how to manage the crops in different weather conditions and help them anticipate and plan their actions in advance.
ii. About 25 lakh farmers in the region would be kept updated with information via various platforms like WhatsApp, SMS, social networking sites and community radio stations.
Related News
More of such agromet forecast centres are planned to be set up in Karnataka at UAS Bengaluru, UAS Raichur, University of Horticultural Sciences, Bagalkot and University of Agricultural & Horticultural Sciences, Shivamogga.
About Karnataka
♦ Capital – Bengaluru
♦ Chief Minister – H. D. Kumaraswamy
♦ Governor – Vajubhai Vala

Dera Baba Nanak land post designated as Immigration checkpoint for Kartarpur corridor
On 11th February 2019, Union Home Ministry issued a notification designating Dera Baba Nanak’s land post located in Gurdaspur district of Punjab as an authorized immigration check point to enter and exit Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan.
Key Points
i. The founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev spend more than 18 years of his life in Kartarpur which is located in Shakargarh in Narowal district of Pakistan’s Punjab.
ii. Vice President, Venkaiah Naidu laid foundation stone of Dera Baba Nanak – Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on November 26, 2018 at Mann village in Gurdaspur district.

EU-India to fund 7 Projects to deal with Water challenges
On 14th February 2019, India and the European Union have made a decision to mutually invest up to 40 Million Euros(Rs.323 Crore) on 7 Research and Innovation projects to tackle and handle immediate water challenges in the country.
Key points
i. The projects which are selected will develop or adapt the most acceptable existing creative and affordable solutions for Indian conditions, both in rural and urban areas, to facilitate solutions to cope up with water challenges.
ii. ‘Horizon 2020’, EU’s programme and Indian government will invest together on projects for average duration of 4 years.
iii. The main areas of the projects are to improve the quality of drinking water, waste water management system and real-time monitoring and control systems.
iv. The project will brace India’s Ganga rejuvenation initiative and also transfer European technologies to India to suit Indian needs.
v. The 7 projects which are selected includes India-H20, LOTUS, PANI WATER, SAEASWATI 2.0, SPRING, PAVITR.

New Delhi hosted ‘India US CEO Forum’ and ‘India US Commercial Dialogue’
On 14th February, 2019, India and the United States conducted the India-US CEO Forum and India-US Commercial Dialogue in New Delhi. The meeting was chaired by Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Shri Suresh Prabhu.

New Delhi hosted ‘India US CEO Forum’ and ‘India US Commercial Dialogue’Key points
i. Ramesh Abhishek (Secretary of Department for promotion of Industry and Internal Trade) and Kenneth Juster (US Ambassador in India) represented the sides respectively for India and US.
ii. The forum marked the issues that affect business entities,identified areas for amalgamation for mutual benefit of both the economies, and also decided to establish working groups on financial services, healthcare and defense to accelerate trade and investment between the 2 countries.
iii. The dialogue shared the repercussions of 2018 Dialogue work plan including standards, business climate & investment and travel & tourism. Both the countries will also negotiate a trade package to boost bilateral commerce.
iv.’Trade Winds’, an initiative has taken by the US Department of Commerce to bring in a lot of SMEs having interest in India in May 2019.
v. Both the countries greeted the development on cooperation between the Indian National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and the US.
vi.MoU signed between National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (NABCB) of India and ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB) of the United States for cooperation in matters related to accreditation.
About USA
♦ Capital- Washington, D.C.
♦ President- Donald Trump
♦ Currency- US Dollar

5th India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Committee Meeting held in New Delhi
The 5th India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Committee(JCC) Meeting, co-chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Foreign Affairs Minister of Bangladesh Dr Abdul Momen was held in New Delhi.

5th India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Committee Meetingi. It was the first high-level visit from a Bangladesh since the victory of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s in the parliamentary elections in December 2018. It was also the first visit of Dr. Abdul Momen to India as Foreign Minister.
ii. Four MoUs were signed during this meeting:

  • MoU between National Centre for Good Governance (NCGG), Mussoorie and Ministry of Public Administration (MOPA), Bangladesh on Training and Capacity building Programme for Bangladesh Civil Servants.
  • MoU between the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) and the Ministry of Health of Bangladesh on cooperation in the field of medicinal plants.
  • MoU between Anti-Corruption Commission of Bangladesh and Central Bureau of Investigation of India(CBI) for cooperation in the fight against graft.
  • MoU between Hiranandani Group and Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority to facilitate investments in the Indian Economic Zone in Mongla, Bangladesh.

About Bangladesh
♦ Capital – Dhaka
♦ Currency – Taka
♦ Prime Minister – Sheikh Hasina

World Sustainable Development Summit 2019 held at New Delhi
World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS) 2019, the flagship event of ‘The Energy and Resources Institute(TERI), was inaugurated by Vice President Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. It saw the presence of more than 2000 delegates in the fields od sustainable development, energy and environment sectors.

World Sustainable Development Summit 2019 held at New Delhii. The theme of WSDS 2019 was ‘Attaining the 2030 Agenda: delivering on our promise
ii. Frank Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji, was honoured with the Sustainable Development Leadership Award 2019 for his outstanding contributions towards sustainable development in Fiji.
iii. TERI will set up Resource Efficiency Cell to enable inter-ministerial and inter-departmental synergy in promoting material resource efficiency in India.
About TERI
♦ Director-General – Dr. Ajay Mathur
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi

Narendra Singh Tomar inaugurated 58th Meeting of Central Geological Programming Board (CGPB) in New Delhi
On 15th February 2019, Union Minister of Mines, Narendra Singh Tomar inaugurated the 58th meetings of Central Geological Programming Board (CGPB) held at Pusa in New Delhi. CGPB is under the nodal department of Geological Survey of India (GSI).
Key Points
i. During the session 20 mineral exploration reports worth Rs.79560 crore handed over to Odisha, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.
ii. GSI declared the launch of its freely downloadable base line data (geological, geochemical and geophysical) from their web portal from March 1, 2019.
iii. For search of mineral deposits GSI launched 2nd round of multi – sensor National Aero-geophysical data acquisition in 4 sectors within obvious Geological Potential (OGP) zones.
iv. Under National Landslide Susceptibility Mapping (NLSM) programme3.22 lakh Km shall be checked for landslide susceptibility by March 2019. The total target is 4.27 lakh Km by 2020.
v. GSI in collaboration with Geoscience Australia is currently working in two transects under the “UNCOVER” project to locate concealed mineral deposits.

Bhubaneshwar held the 5th International Dam Safety Conference 2019
State Water Resources minister Niranjan Pujari and Union Water Resources & Ganga Rejuvenation Secretary U.P. Singh inaugurated the 5th International Dam Safety Conference 2019 in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha.

5th International Dam Safety Conference 2019i. Discussions regarding the measures to be taken for Structural safety and operational efficiency of decade old dams, were held.
ii. The conference was a part of the Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) assisted by World Bank envisages rehabilitation of 223 dams in seven States. 26 large dams in Odisha are covered under DRIP for rehabilitation including construction of an additional spill way for the Hirakud dam at Rs 600 crores.
About Odisha
♦ Capital – Bhubaneshwar
♦ Chief Minister – Naveen Patnaik
♦ Governor – Ganeshi Lal

Early Ed Asia 2019, Asia’s largest early childhood conference, held in Jaipur
Early Ed Asia 2019, the two-day event,which is Asia’s largest conference on Early Childhood, was held at the City Palace in Jaipur, Rajasthan.

Early Ed Asia 2019i. The first-of-its-kind conference in India, saw the participation of 6000 eminent early childhood educators, policy-makers, researchers and other stakeholders from India and foreign countries.
ii. The latest trends in teaching and research were discussed to provide a stronger foundation to the children.
iii. The motto of the event was ‘Our Children. Our Future’. It was presented by Princess Diya Kumari, the Royal Family of Jaipur in association with ScooNews and Early Childhood Association (E.C.A).
About Rajasthan
♦ Capital – Jaipur
♦ Chief Minister – Ashok Gehlot
♦ Governor – Kalyan Singh

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Security Protection Agreement signed between India and Sweden
On 14th February 2019, Union Minister of Defence, Nirmala Sitharaman signed a Security Protection agreement between India and Sweden during her visit to Sweden which will enable both the countries to share classified information each other.
Key Points
i. India and Sweden have been signing MoU on cooperation in the area of defence since 2009 and conducted number of bilateral meetings.
ii. The agreement will provide a facilitating framework for greater cooperation on the high end and cutting edge technology and manufacturing.
iii. The agreement will boost ‘Make in India’ initiative by the Government of India‘Make in India’ is a type of Swadeshi movement launched by Government of India on 25th September 2014.
About Sweden
♦ Capital: Stockholm
♦ Currency: Krona
♦ Prime Minister: Stefan Lofven

“World Employment and Social Outlook Trends 2019” report released by International Labour Organization
On 14th February 2019, The International Labour Organization released World Employment and Social Outlook Trends 2019 report. The report says unemployment rates will fall to 4.9% in 2019 and remains steady in 2020.
Key Points
i. The report says that it took 9 years to recover from the shock of 2007-08 global financial crisis.
ii. Progress on closing the gender gap in participation rates has stopped after a period of rapid improvement which tasted to 2003.
iii. Among the age group 15-24, the global unemployment stood at 11.8% which is much higher than other age groups.
What report says about global labour market?

  • In the global labour market, 2 billion out of 3.3 billion people worked in informal employment, thus risking their economic security.
  • The participation of women labour force is only 48%, in comparion to 75% for men.
  • 114 million children aged between 5-14 involved in the global labour market and 73 million of them were working in hazardous conditions.

About International Labour Organization
♦ Headquarter: Geneva, Switzerland
♦ Director General: Guy Ryder
♦ Formed: 1919

India Withdrawn ‘Most Favoured Nation’ Status from Pakistan
On 15th February 2019, India has withdrawn ‘Most Favoured Nation’ or MFN to Pakistan just a day after the terror attach in Pulwama, Jammu & Kashmr in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CPRF) personal lost their lives.
Key Points
i. MFN is a status or level of treatment accorded by one state to another in international trade to ensure non-discriminatory trade between all partner countries of the WTO.
ii. MFN status makes sure that any country with this status avoids any disadvantageous situation in comparison to the other partners in trade.
iii. It was in 1996 India granted MFN status to Pakistan. Decades of conflict, mistrust and war has resulted,withdrawal of Pakistan from in the MFN status.

BANKING & FINANCE

$40 million loan agreement signed between Centre, Himachal Pradesh and World Bank for Shimla water supply
A loan agreement of $40 million (4 crore INR) was signed between the Government of India, Government of Himachal Pradesh  and World Bank, for bringing clean and reliable drinking water to the citizens of Greater Shimla area, who have been facing severe shortages of water and water-borne epidemics in the last few years.
i. Shimla Water Supply and Sewerage Service Delivery Reform Programmatic Development Policy Loan 1 is expected to improve Water Supply & Sanitation (WSS) services in and around Shimla.
ii. Loan agreement was signed by Mr. Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of India and Mr. Junaid Kamal Ahmad, Country Director, World Bank India, on behalf of the World Bank.
iii. Project Agreement was signed by Mr. Prabodh Saxena, Principal Secretary, Urban Development Department, on behalf of the Government of Himachal Pradesh and Mr. Junaid Kamal Ahmad, Country Director, World Bank India, on behalf of the World Bank.
Reason for agreement:
The reason behind this agreement is not meeting the current requirement of 56 million litres daily (MLD), as the capacity of Shimla’s water supply infrastructure is 40 MLD.
About Himachal Pradesh
♦ Capital – Shimla
♦ Chief Minister – Shri Jai Ram Thakur
♦ Governor – Acharya Dev Vrat
About World Bank
♦ CEO and interim President – Kristalina Georgieva
♦ Headquarters – Washington D. C., United States

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Amazon launched ‘Amazon Pay UPI’ in collaboration with Axis Bank for Indian android users
On 14th February 2019, Amazon in partnership with Axis Bank launched ‘Amazon Pay Unified Payment Interface (UPI)’ to facilitate secure payments and financial transactions on its platform.

Amazon launched ‘Amazon Pay UPI’ for Android users in IndiaKey Points
i. Amazon Pay UPI will be exclusively for Android users,where every customer will be able to use their Amazon Pay UPI ID to shop on Amazon.in, make payments including recharges and bill payments without entering bank credentials.
ii. Transactions held on Amazon is secured through mobile verification as well as with UPI pin. Customers can link their bank account with UPI pin.
iii. It will help Amazon customers in adopting BHIM UPI as a digital payment method, there by helping the Indian government’s Initiative of ‘Cashless India’.
About UPI:
UPI is an instant real-time payment system developed by National Payments Corporation of India processing inter-bank transactions.
About Amazon
♦ Headquarter: Seattle, Washington, US
♦ Founder, Chairman and CEO: Jeff Bozos

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNS

Union Minister Arun Jaitley resumed charge as Finance Minister
Union Minister Arun Jaitley has resumed the charge as Minister of Finance and Minister of Corporate Affairs. He was on three weeks break, from January 23 to February 14, due to health reasons.
Key Points
i.In his absence, the charge of both ministries was assigned to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.
ii.In this regard, Piyush Goyal had presented the 6th and final budget of National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government on February 1,2019.
iii.Piyush Goyal was also assigned as Minister of Corporate Affairs.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Hardip Singh Puri launched the PMAY-U Mobile Application
Union Minister of State (I/C) for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri launched the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna – Urban (PMAY-U) mobile application at New Delhi.

Hardip Singh Puri launched the PMAY-U Mobile Applicationi. The app will allow the beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna(Urban) to capture and upload high resolution photographs of completed houses along with their families and 30 – 60 seconds video clips to share their stories about owning a house under the scheme. Selected beneficiaries from all States/UTs would be invited as special guests at the anniversary celebration of PMAY (U).
ii. The PMAY(U) was launched with an aim to provide houses to every eligible urban household in India by the year 2022 and has achieved a milestone of approving over 73 lakh houses from about 1 crore validated demand.

IWAI launched portal ‘LADIS’ for real time information
On 15th February 2019, Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) launched a new portal ‘LADIS’ for real time data on available depth on stretches of National Waterways.

IWAI launched portal ‘LADIS’ for real time informationKey Points
i. Least Available Depth Information System (LADIS) will ensure real time data for ship and cargo owners on which they can undertake transportation on National Waterways (NW) in a more planned way.
ii. It is a step towards ensuring optimum use of National waterways. For smooth movement of vessels is required for an assured depth of waterways.
iii. The portal is hosted on IWAI’s website www.iwai.nic.in. LAD information initially will be available for NW-1, NW-2, Indo-Bangladesh protocol route and NW-3. It will be expanded to other NWs.

NASA to launch SPHEREx mission to investigate Universe
NASA is all set to launch, SPHEREx, a space telescope mission, with an aim to understand the origins of life and the universe, in 2023. The word SPHEREx is the abbreviation of Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer.
Key Points:
i.The outlay of the project is $242 million and duration of mission will be 2 years.
ii.The main goal of the upcoming space telescope is the exploration of water and organic molecules within the Milky Way (a galaxy containing our Solar System).
iii.It will also collect data on 300 million galaxies, which are 10 billion light-years away from Earth.

OBITUARY

Former Goa Deputy Chief Minister Francis D’Souza passed away
On 14th February 2019, Former Goa Deputy Chief Minister and BJP Lawmaker, Francis D’Souza died in Healthway hospital in Old Goa at the age of 64. Mr. Francis was undergoing treatment after undergoing surgery for cancer at a hospital in the US.He was born in Mapusa.

Former Goa Deputy Chief Minister Francis D’SouzaKey Points
i. Mr. Francis was elected to Goa Legislative assembly in 1999 as a candidate of Goa Rajiv Congress party.
ii. Further, he shifted to BJP to get elected in 2002, 2007, 2012 and 2017’s state legislative assembly from Mapusa constituency.
iii. Mr. D’souza was appointed as Deputy Chief Minister of Goa when BJP formed a govt. in 2012 under Manohar Parrikar’s leadership. He also had the designation of Urban Development Minister.
About Goa
♦ Capital- Panaji
♦ Chief Minister- Manohar Parrikar.
♦ Governor- Mridula Sinha

WWE legend Pedro Morales dies aged 76
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) hall of famer, Pedro Morales, passed away at the age of 76.

WWE legend Pedro Moralesi. He hailed from Puerto Rico and died after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
ii. He had a career lasting more than 30 years and was inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame in 1995.
iii.He was the first Latino WWE world heavyweight champion.
iv.He was also the First ever WWE Triple Crown Champion, as he won US heavyweight, intercontinental and tag titles in the then WWWF and WWF.

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