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4 Ordinances including one criminalising practice of triple talaq promulgated by the President
President Ram Nath Kovind promulgated 4 Ordinances, including the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Second Ordinance, 2019, which declares Triple Talaq to be void and punishable with imprisonment up to 3 years and a fine. Following are the 4 Ordinances:
i. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Second Ordinance, 2019
- The aim is to give continued effect to the provisions brought in by the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Ordinance, 2019, which declares the practice of triple talaq to be void and illegal, punishable with up to 3 years imprisonment and fine.
- It will protect the rights of married Muslim women and minimize the practice of divorce by triple talaq (talaq -e -biddat).
- It also provides for payment of subsistence allowance and custody of minor children.
ii. The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Second Ordinance, 2019
- Aimed at giving continued effect to the work already done by the Board of Governors (BOG) as per the provisions of earlier Ordinance.
- It enables the BOG appointed in supersession of the Medical Council of India (MCI) to continue to exercise the powers of MCI for a period of two years or till the Council is reconstituted (whichever is earlier), so as to ensure transparency, accountability and quality in the governance of medical education in the country.
iii. Companies (Amendment) Second Ordinance, 2019
- Promulgated keeping in mind Central Government‘s objective of providing Ease of Doing Business to Law abiding corporate while strengthening the corporate governance and compliance framework enshrined in the Companies Act, 2013.
- It will empower the Central government to allow certain companies to have a different financial year instead of as determined by the Tribunal.
iv. The Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Ordinance, 2019
- Promulgated to haveCentre to tackle the menace of illicit deposits taking activities in the country.
- It ensures a comprehensive ban on unregulated deposit-taking activity and for its effective enforcement.
- It aims at preventing unregulated deposit schemes or arrangements at their inception and makes soliciting, inviting or accepting deposits pursuant to an unregulated deposited scheme as a punishable offence.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh chaired the 5th IDA Meeting held in NewDelhi
Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, chaired the 5th Island Development Agency (IDA) meeting held in NewDelhi to review the progress made towards the “Holistic development of islands” program.i. Bids for private sector participation in 3 tourism-based projects have been invited by the Andaman and Nicobar Administration, which include Eco-Tourism projects in Smith Island and Long Island and Tent City project in Aves Island.
ii. In Lakshadweep, 3 projects have been identified, namely Tourism projects in the islands of Kadmat, Minicoy and Suheli Cheriyakara. Environmental Clearance (EC), Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ)clearance and all other clearances required for these projects are being obtained.
iii. The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce, has issued a notification extending tax incentives for investments made in manufacturing and service sector in islands of Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep which include:
- Central Capital Investment Incentive for access to credit (CCIIAC)
- Central Interest Incentive (CII)
- Central Comprehensive Insurance Incentive (CCII)
- Goods and Services Tax (GST) Reimbursement
- Income Tax (IT) Reimbursement
- Transport Incentive (TI)
- Employment incentive (EI)
iv. 7 Islands have been identified for Seaplane Operation:
- 4 islands in Andaman & Nicobar – Swaraj Dweep, Shaheed Dweep, Hutbay and Long.
- 3 islands in Lakshadweep – Kavaratti, Agatti and Minicoy.
CRZ clearance has been accorded for ‘Middle Strait Bridge’ on Andaman Trunk Road.
v. 10 Deep-Sea Modern Fishing Vessels are being procured by Lakshadweep Administration from Cochin Shipyard Limited for sustainably utilizing the potential of Tuna Fish.
vi. Export of sea food and coconut products is also encouraged to generate more employment opportunities in the islands.
Government signed MoU with Canadian University, UBC, for research on environment issues
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada for next 10 years to explore opportunities for collaborations in the field of Forestry Science and to work on various environmental issues like Climate Change, Forest Resource Management and Wildlife.
The opportunities will be explored by organizations like Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education(ICFRE), Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Forest Survey of India (FSI), Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy and Directorate of Forest Education, Uttarakhand, and UBC, Canada.
NARI decided to drop focus on AIDS and undergo change name
The National Aids Research Institute (NARI) has decided to drop its focus on research into the Acquired Immuno-deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and to undergo a name change in the coming months.
i. It will no longer serve as a single disease centre,after observing a major drop in number of HIV positive cases in the last few years in the country.
ii. It will address other areas of public health too and apply the same knowledge and expertise to other fields of public health as well.
♦ Director – Dr. Samiran Panda
♦ Headquarters – Pune, Maharashtra
Government announces free air travel for CAPF to Jammu & Kashmir
The Ministry of Home Affairs, following the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama which killed 40 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force, approved free air travel of all personnel of the Central Armed Paramilitary Forces (CAPF) moving between Delhi and Srinagar, and Jammu and Srinagar on official duty, transfer, or on leave.
About 7,80,000 personnel of the CAPF in the ranks of constable, head constable and ASI, who were previously ineligible, will be benefitted by this step. Previously, only officers were given air travel facility.
About Indian Army
♦ Chief – General Bipin Rawat
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
BANKING & FINANCE
Capital Infusion of Rs. 48,239 Crore into 12 State-Run Banks
On 19th February 2019, the Finance Ministry announced a capital infusion of Rs 48,239 crore in 12 public sector banks (PSBs).
i. This has been done to enable them to meet their regulatory capital requirements and to increase the availability of credit for stronger lenders.
ii. The largest beneficiaries of this infusion are:
- Corporation Bank- Rs. 9086 crores
- Allahabad Bank- Rs. 6896 crores
- Bank of India- Rs. 4,638 crores
- Bank of Maharashtra- Rs. 205 crores
- Punjab National Bank- Rs. 5,908 crores
- Union Bank of India- Rs. 4,112 crores
- Andhra Bank- Rs. 3,256 crores
- Syndicate Bank- Rs. 1,603 crores
- Central Bank of India, United Bank, UCO Bank and Indian Overseas Bank- Rs. 12,535 crores
iii. This infusion takes the total government infusion to Rs 1,00,958 crore out of the total of Rs 1.06-lakh crore capitalisation programme of PSBs for this financial year.The remaining Rs. 5,000 crore capital infusion would be used as buffer for any financial uncertainty or as a growth capital for the merger of BoB (Bank of Baroda), Dena Bank, Vijaya Bank.
EPFO recommended to raise interest rate to 8.65% from 8.55%
Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has recommended to increase the interest rate on Employees’ Provident Fund for 2018-19 to 8.65% from 8.55% benefitting 6 crore EPFO subscribers
i. All members of the Central Board of Trustees (CBT),EPFO of have agreed to the increase the interest rate and the proposal would now go to the Finance Ministry for approval.
ii.The EPFO provided a five-year-low rate of interest of 8.55% for FY18. The interest rate was 8.65% in FY17, 8.8% in FY16 and 8.75% interest in FY14 and FY15. The rate of interest was 8.5% in FY13.
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
FDI reduced by 7% to USD 33.49 bn during Apr-Dec 2018-19
According to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Foreign direct investment (FDI) into India fell by 7% to USD 33.49 billion during April-December in the current fiscal as Foreign Fund Inflows during this period stood at USD 35.94 billion.
i. The key sectors that received the maximum foreign investment during the period are:
- Services (USD 5.91 billion),
- Computer software and hardware (USD 4.75 billion)
- Telecommunications (USD 2.29 billion)
- Trading (USD 2.33 billion)
- Chemicals (USD 6.05 billion)
- Automobile industry (USD 1.81 billion)
ii. Singapore was the largest source of FDI during this period USD 12.97 billion inflow, followed by Mauritius (USD 6 billion), the Netherlands (USD 2.95 billion), Japan (USD 2.21 billion), US (USD 2.34 billion), and the UK (USD 1.05 billion).
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
TCS ranked as global Top Employer for fourth year in a row
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has been ranked by the Top Employers Institute as global Top Employer for the fourth year in a row. TCS the only firm among the top 10 IT services brands which has received this certification.
i. TCS has the most employee-friendly workplace policies, good work culture and has done large investments for the skill development of its 4.17 lakh employees globally.
ii. It has also been tagged as the number one top employer in four regions- North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East and as a top employer in 29 other nations.
iii. TCS provides mentorship to various famous global firms by its Business 4.0 transformation journeys which are a result of the talented and updated workforce.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Additional charge as Secretary of Department of Fisheries given to Tarun Shridhar
On 20th February 2019, the PM administration gave Secretary of Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Tarun Shridhar the additional charge of Secretary of Department of Fisheries.Department of Fisheries is a newly created department under Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
i. Tarun Shridhar is an IAS officer from 1984 batch Himachal Pradesh cadre.
ii. Also, J Balaji, an IAS officer from 2001 batch of Assam-Meghalaya cadre was appointed as the Joint Secretary of Department of Fisheries.Earlier, he was serving as Joint Secretary of Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries.
iii. These appointments follow the Cabinet approval of creation of one post of Secretary and one post of Joint Secretary in the new department.
BFI President Ajay Singh appointed as the head of AIBA Elite Foundation
On 19th February 2019, Ajay Singh,President of the Boxing Federation of India was selected as the President of the Foundation Board for Better Boxing of AIBA (International Boxing Association).He has been elected to the post for a tenure of four years.
Other members of the foundation are-
- Gafur Rahimov, President, AIBA
- Franco Falcinelli, Vice-President, AIBA & President, European Boxing Confederation (EUBC)
- Sidi Mohamed Moustahsane, Vice-President, AIBA & President, African Boxing Confederation
- Tom Virgets, Executive Director, AIBA.He has also been elected as the Secretary.
i. AIBA formed the Foundation Board for Better Boxing in the last meeting of its Executive Committee to formulate action plan for global development of the sport in future.
Former Judge, Justice D.K. Jain, appointed as First BCCI ombudsman by SC
The Supreme Court appointed its former judge, Justice D K Jain as the first ombudsman for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
i. Bench comprising Justices SA Bobde and A. M. Sapre appointed Justice D. K. Jain as the ombudsman after getting a consent of the parties and their suggestions to do so.
ii. The ombudsman will be resolving any issue that comes with regards to the players, as also financial issues.
The apex court in its August 9, 2018 verdict had recommended the appointment of ombudsman.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated first humanoid police robot in India, KP-BOT
Kerala Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, inaugurated India’s first Humanoid Police Robot named KP-BOT, ranked as Sub-Inspector (SI), at the Police Headquarters in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
i. With this, the Kerala State Police Headquarters has become the first police department in the country to use a robot for police work.
ii. The robot’s gender is declared female keeping in mind women empowerment and gender equality.
iii. She will perform Front Office duties of the police headquarters like receiving visitors and direct them as required.
iv. Visitors can directly interact with her and she is capable of tasks like fixing appointments with officers, provide ID cards and open new files based on the grievances. She can also identify higher officials and greet them with a salute.
v. In 2018’s Cocoon Cyber Conference it was announced that robots will be included in the police force, after which, the work on the project was started by state police Cyberdome and a Kochi based start-up, Asimov.
China’s Xinhua unveils world’s first female AI news anchor
On 19th February 2019, Chinese news agency Xinhua unveiled the world’s first female AI news anchor Xin Xiaomeng. She has been developed by Xinhua in collaboration with Sogou Inc, a search engine company.She was modelled after real-life Xinhua news anchor Qu Meng.
i. She is expected to make a debut in March, during the upcoming meetings of China’s national legislature.
ii. Earlier, Xinhua also developed Qiu Hao,the world’s first male AI news anchor at the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen held in November 2018, who is capable of mimicking human facial expressions and mannerisms while reading out news-reports.
India’s LCA Tejas gets clearance for induction into IAF
On 19th February 2019, Final Operational Clearance(FOC) was granted by the Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (Cemilac), to Tejas– India’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) for induction into the Indian Air Force (IAF). It will be inducted as a weaponised fighter jet.
The announcement was made at Aero India 2019 in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
i. Tejas is India’s first indigenously made fighter jet.
ii. It performed air-to-ground attacks and air-to-air refuelling at IAF’s Vayu Shakti air display at Pokhran in Rajasthan on February 16.
iii. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd(HAL) plans to deliver 16 Tejas LCA by the end of the year.
Lockheed Martin unveiled new F-21 fighter jet to be made in India
US defence firm,Lockheed Martin,unveiled the F-21 multi-role fighter jet at Asia’s biggest air show Aero India-2019, which will be manufactured in India, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s flagship programme ‘Make in India’.
i. It is specifically configured for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and provides a host of Make in India opportunities and strengthens India’s path to an advanced airpower future.
ii. It will be produced by Lockheed Martin and Tata Advanced Systems.
About Lockheed Martin
♦ It is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 1,05,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.
♦ It had earlier offered its F-16 fighter to India.
♦ Chief – Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
Rare frog species discovered in Arunachal Pradesh
A rare frog species was found by Scientists at Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) in Lower Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh.The team was led by senior ZSI scientist Bikramjit Sinha.The research findings have been published in the journal “Records of the Zoological Survey of India“.
i. The Crimson coloured, Convex-Vented Horned Species (Megophryspachyproctus), was collected from Tale Valley Wildlife Sanctuary of the district in 2017.It is native to Xizang in China.
About Arunachal Pradesh
♦ Capital – Itanagar,Guwahati (Judiciary)
♦ Chief Minister – Pema Khandu
♦ Governor – Dr. B. D. Mishra
Important Wildlife Sanctuary/National Parks
♦ Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Kamlang Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Pakke Tiger Reserve
Tortoise feared extinct for 100 years spotted on Galapagos island
A species of tortoise- Fernandina Giant Tortoise, labelled by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically endangered and possibly extinct for the last 100 years, was rediscovered in Galapagos Island of Fernandina.
An adult female Chelonoidis phantasticus, also called Fernandina Giant Tortoise, was spotted in a joint expedition of the Galapagos National Park and the U.S.-based Galapagos Conservancy, Ecuador.
Australian small brown rat becomes World’s first mammal to go extinct due to climate change
i. A small brown rat of bramble cay melomys species lived on a tiny island off northern Australia and becomes the world’s first mammal to have become extinct due to “human-induced climate change”.It was found only on a small sand island near the coast of Papua New Guinea.
ii. The rat was not seen since 2009 and scientist thought that the mammal might become extinct in 2014.
Reason behind its Extinction:
Extreme high water levels and damaging storm surges,including its sources of food.
Overview of the 2019 Qatar ExxonMobil Open and 2019 Qatar Total Open
The 2019 Qatar Open, also known as 2019 Qatar ExxonMobil Open, is a Men’s Tennis Tournament played on outdoor Hard Courts.It was the 27th edition of the Qatar Open, and part of the ATP World Tour 250 series of the 2019 ATP World Tour, played from December 31, 2018 to January 5, 2019.
i. The 2019 Qatar Total Open is a professional Women’s Tennis Tournament played on Hard Courts. It was the 17th edition of the event and a Premier tournament on the 2019 WTA Tour played between 11 and 16 February 2019.
ii. Both the events took place at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash complex in Doha, Qatar.
Results of 2019 Qatar ExxonMobil Open
|Men’s Singles||Roberto Bautista Agut (Spain)||Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic)|
|Men’s Doubles||David Goffin (Belgium) / Pierre-Hugues Herbert (France)||Robin Haase(Netherlands) / MatweMiddelkoop(Netherlands)|
Results of 2019 Qatar Total Open
|Women’s Singles||Elise Mertens (Belgium)||Simona Halep (Romania)|
|Women’s Double||Chan Hao-ching (Chinese Taipei)/ Latisha Chan (Chinese Taipei)||Anna-Lena Gronefeld (Germany) / Demi Schuurs (Netherlands)|
Chris Gayle broke Shahid Afridi’s record for “Most Sixes in International Cricket”
West Indies’ batsman, Chris Gayle, broke the record for “Most Sixes in International Cricket” by achieving a feat of 477 international sixes at the 1st ODI between West Indies and England at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados. It was his 444th match.
i. With this he broke the record held by Shahid Afridi who had a total of 476 sixes in international cricket in 524 matches.
ii. He hit the 477th six in the 15th over bowled by Moeen Ali of England.
♦ Chris Gayle has announced that he will retire at the end of 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup.
Shreyas Iyer slams 55-ball 147, highest ever T20 score by an Indian
Shreyas Iyer slammed a 55-ball 147 in Syed Mustaq Ali Trophy 2019 Group C match against Sikkim in Indore. This is the highest ever T20 score by an Indian cricketer.It comprises of 7 boundaries and 15 sixes.
i. It is the 12th highest score in the cricket history of T20.
ii. With this score, he has broken his Delhi Capital’s teammate Rishabh Pant‘s record of 128*(63) as the highest T20 score by an Indian.
Bengali singer Pratik Choudhury passed away at the age of 55
Bengali singer Pratik Choudhary passed away in Kolkata, West Bengal due to cardiac arrest.
i. He’s popular for songs like Sakhi Tumi Kar (1980), Ek Je AachheKanya (2001) and Patalghar (2003) and has performed with famous singers in various concerts.
ii. He hailed from West Bengal.
Hum Aapke Hain Koun Producer Rajkumar Barjatya Passes Away
On 21st February 2019, popular Bollywood film producer Rajkumar Barjatya passed away in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
i. He was the producer of popular films like Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo (2015), Hum Saath Saath Hain (1999), Hum Aapke Hain Koun (1994) and Maine Pyar Kiya (1989) etc. He owned a production house- Rajshri Films.
ii. He was born in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
International Mother Language day observed on February 21,2019
International Mother Language day is observed annually on February 21 since 2000. It is observed to promote linguistic diversity and multilingual education.
Theme for the year 2019- “Indigenous languages matter for development, peace building and reconciliation”.
The idea of celebrating International Mother Language day came from Bangladesh and WestBengal,which celebrates this day as “Bhasha Shahid Dibash/Matri Bhasha Dibash/Language Martyrs’ Day” as a commemoration of Bangladeshis war to recognize the Bangla language.