Current Affairs Daily Digest – February 13 2019

1.India signs contract with U.S. firm for 72,400 assault rifles

After repeated attempts to equip the infantry soldier with a basic rifle, the Army signed a contract with Sig Sauer of the U.S. for 72,400 SIG 716 assault rifles for the frontline soldier deployed in operational areas.

Of the 72,400 rifles, 66.400 are for the Army, 2,000 for the Navy and 4,000 for the Indian Air Force. The broad parameters for the assault rifle are an effective range of 500m and weigh less than 3kg. The entire quantity would be delivered within 12 months from the date of signing the contract.

2.ICC Women’s T20I Rankings: Jemimah Rodrigues, Smriti Mandhana climb charts

Jemimah Rodrigues and Smriti Mandhana have both made impressive gains among batswomen in the latest ICC Women’s T20I Player Rankings despite seeing India go down 3-0 to New Zealand. Meanwhile, Windies all-rounder Deandra Dottin has grabbed the top spot among all-rounders in the latest update . Windies beat Pakistan 2-1 in a historic away trip to the sub-continent.

Rodrigues’s 132 runs in the three-match series has lifted her four places to second position while Smriti Mandhana, who grabbed the top spot in ODIs last week, has moved four spots to reach sixth position after finishing as the leading run-getter in the series with an aggregate of 180.

3.Shane Warne joins Rajasthan Royals in new role, named brand ambassador

Australia spin legend Shane Warne was named as the brand ambassador of Rajasthan Royals for the upcoming Indian Premier League. Warne, who led Rajasthan Royals to its first and only IPL title in 2008, was the mentor of the side last season. But this year the Australian will be associated with the team in a new role.

Besides, Rajasthan Royals has also decided to change its jersey colour from blue to pink this year. “Jaipur is known as the pink city, Jodhpur is famous for pink sandstone and Udaipur produces pink marble. Pink, therefore, is best suited as the official colour of Rajasthan Royals, which will also help the fans identify and celebrate their team,” the franchise said in a statement.

4.I&B Ministry to organize First Annual Conference of Media Units

Ministry of Information & Broadcasting is organizing the First Annual Conference of Media Units under the Ministry on at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. The opening session of the Conference will be chaired by Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore, Union Minister of State (IC) for Information & Broadcasting and Youth Affairs & Sports.

The Conference aims to give a unique platform to the officers of the Indian Information Service working under different Media Units to converge at an All-India level where they can discuss and deliberate upon the emerging areas of the evolving communication paradigm. Through the Conference, the Ministry aims to strengthen synergy between the Media Units in order to ensure last mile delivery, while simultaneously brainstorm the use of new technology in communication.

5.PM Modi to address CREDAI’s YouthCon event in Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India, CREDAI YouthCon -19 at the Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi today. He will also visit the exhibition organized by Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India, CREDAI. An official release said, the annual conference will bring together the next generation of real estate builders and developers to enlighten their young minds and share their thinking and approach.

CREDAI YouthCon is the annual Youth Conclave of CREDAI, held to bring together the future of the real estate Industry in India. The CREDAI Youth Wing or CYW was formed to bring together the next generation of real estate builders and developers in order to nurture them to become better professionals

Established in 1999, CREDAI is the apex body representing real-estate developers from over 200 cities in the country.

6.February 13: World Radio Day

World Radio Day is an observance day held annually on 13 February to celebrate radio as a medium. It was proclaimed on 3 November 2011 by UNESCO’s 36th General Conference after originally being proposed by the Kingdom of Spain.

World Radio Day 2019 starts 13 February around the theme of “Dialogue, Tolerance and Peace.”

More events were held in more than 80 countries around the world to mark the Day, with radio stations from around the world coming to UNESCO Headquarters in Paris to gain hands-in experience of radio production, as we celebrate the impact of radio in the pursuit of a more peaceful and tolerant world.

7.NFDC Declared Winner Under Miniratna Category by Ministry of MSME

National Film Development Corporation of India has been declared winner under the Miniratna Category (Category II) by Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).This is part of endeavour by Ministry of MSME to felicitate select CPSEs inrecognition of their exemplary work for the promotion of SC/ST entrepreneurs. The performance parameters were procurement from SC/STentrepreneurs,number of vendor development programmes for SC/ST and number of SC/ST entrepreneurs benefitted as per data uploaded on Sambandh Portal.

National Film Development Corporation Ltd. (NFDC), incorporated in the year 1975, (100% owned Central Public Sector Undertaking) was formed by the Government of India with the primary objective of planning and promoting an organized, efficient and integrated development of the Indian film industry.

8.NITI Aayog signs SOI with MSDF to document Systemic Transformation in Education

The NITI Aayog and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF) signed a Statement of Intent (SOI) to codify, document and share best practices to improve learning outcomes in public school education through systemic reforms, based on their collective experiences of working with various state governments in India.

As a part of this push, the School Education Quality Index (SEQI) is being developed to rank states/UTs on educational outcomes, with a high weightage to learning outcomes. Further, NITI is implementing the Sustainable Action for Transforming Human Capital in Education (SATH-E) initiative to induce systemic transformation in Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Odisha.

Under this latest partnership, the NITI Aayog and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation will document the reforms pursued by various state governments that have initiated systemic reforms in education and have begun to see improved learning outcomes over the past few years. Altogether, nearly 30 million children have been positively impacted across India through the systemic reforms in education in different states.

9.Fifth International Dam Safety Conference to be Held on 13-14 February at Bhubaneswar

The 5th International Dam Safety Conference–2019 is being held during 13 and 14 February 2019 in Bhubaneswar as a joint initiative of the Government of India, Government of Odisha and the World Bank under aegis of the ongoing World Bank assisted Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) as a part of institutional strengthening.

Dam Safety Conferences are being organized as an annual event in different DRIP States in collaboration with the Implementing Agencies and leading academic institutes to provide a common platform for all stakeholders including non-DRIP States. The basic objective of these annual events is to give exposure to non-DRIP States as well as other stakeholders across the Country and World, to the best global practices and technological advancements to address the emerging dam safety challenges. As these events are being organised in various regional centres of Country, it also make aware the overseas delegates with c
ulture and traditions of India.

Globally India ranks third after China and the USA in terms of the number of large dams with 5264 large dams in operation and 437 large dams under construction. The total storage capacity of the impounded water by these dams is about 283 billion cubic meters (BCM).

10.Steel Ministry participates in Safeguard inquiry in Canada

A delegation led by Additional Secretary Steel visited Canada recently to participate in the safeguard inquiry on Stainless Steel Wire (SSW) and Energy Tubular Products (ETP).

Canada has imposed provisional safeguard measures in the form of Tariff Rate Quota against the imports of seven product categories of steel. Canada has also initiated safeguard inquiry and requested submissions from interested parties. Since Indian exporters have a huge stake in two product categories, namely SSW and ETP, Ministry of Steel decided to participate in the inquiry.

Governments of Korea, Thailand, Mexico, Romania and Brazil also submitted their oral arguments in the safeguard inquiry of ETP.

It is expected that the tribunal will come out with the report along with recommendations on 3rd April 2019.

11.Major Ports register positive growth of 3.11%

The major ports in India have recorded a growth of 3.11% and together handled 578.86 Million Tonnes of cargo during the period April to January, 2019 as against 561.39 Million Tonnes handled during the corresponding period of previous year. For the period from April’18- January 2019, Nine Ports Kolkata (incl. Haldia), Paradip, Visakhapatnam, Kamarajar, Chennai, Cochin, New Mangalore, JNPT and Deendayal have registered positive growth in traffic.

The highest growth was registered by Kamarajar Port (15.56%), followed by Kolkata [inc. Haldia] (9.86%), Cochin (8 %), JNPT (7.46%) and Paradip(6.4%)
Kamarajar Port growth was mainly due to increase in traffic of Container (21.7%), Other Misc. Cargo (41.23%), Other Liquids (11.63%),POL(9.14%) and Thermal & Steam Coal (5.18%).

12.Kusum Scheme to Promote Use of Solar Energy Among Farmers Under Considration: Shri R. K. Singh

The Government is formulating a Scheme ‘Kisan Urja Suraksha evamUtthaanMahabhiyan (KUSUM)’ which inter-alia aims to promote use of solar energy among the farmers. The proposed scheme provides for:

  • setting up of grid-connected renewable power plants each of 500KW to 2 MW in the ruralarea;
    installation of standalone off-grid solar water pumps to fulfil irrigation needs of farmers not connected to grid;and
  • solarization of existing grid-connected agriculture pumps to make farmers independent of grid supply and also sell surplus solar power generated to Discom and get extraincome.

The Scheme is under consideration of the Government and therefore, detailed provisions are yet to be finalized.

13.Special National Standards Conclave Held in Mumbai

A Special National Standards Conclave was organized by the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India in Mumbai, in association with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Export Inspection Council (EIC), Centre for Research in International Trade (CRIT) and National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (NABCB). Commerce Secretary, Shri Anup Wadhawan inaugurated the conclave.

The conclave deliberated INSS for the effective implementation on the first day and the market access and industry aspect of utilising this strategy on the second day.

14.Third Indo-German Environment Forum held in New Delhi

Third Indo-German Environment Forum with the theme “Cleaner Air, Greener Economy:” is being held in New Delhi. The one-day event through panel discussions and parallel sessions focuses on challenges, solutions and necessary framework conditions of air pollution control, waste management and circular economy as well as implementation of NDCs and SDGs based on Paris Agreement and Agenda 2030 of UN respectively.

The Federal Environment Minister from Germany Svenja Schulze said that progress and implementation of 2030 agenda is slow and window of opportunity for low carbon economy is dwindling and Government, Industry and Society should do more.

15.Rajasthan assembly passes Bill to grant 5% quota to Gujjars, 4 other castes

The Congress government in Rajasthan passed a bill earmarking 5 per cent reservation for Gujjars in jobs and education amid a huge protest by the community, which has paralysed road and rail traffic since last week in parts of the state. Rajasthan has already touched the 50 per cent ceiling on reservation placed by the Supreme Court.

Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have crossed fifty per cent quota. Also, parliament has just given 10 per cent quota to the Economically Backward Classes.

16.AYUSH Minister launches e-AUSHADHI portal for Online Licensing System of AYUSH Medicine

Minister of State (IC) for AYUSH, Shri Shripad Yesso Naik launched the e-AUSHADHI portal, for online licensing of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy drugs and related matters today at New Delhi. Addressing the gathering Shri Naik said that this e-AUSHADHI portal is intended for increased transparency, improved information management facility, improved data usability and increased accountability.

The Minister informed that timelines will be fixed for processing of application through this portal with SMS and e-mail status updates at each step of the process. He said that such an initiative of the Ministry of AYUSH is a reflection of our Government’s commitment towards e-governance, ease of doing business and Make in India.

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