Current Affairs – February 09, 2018

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Cabinet approves enhancement of target under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved to enhance of the target of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) from 5 crores to 8 crores with an additional allocation of Rs. 4,800 crore. The decision comes in the wake of the huge response to Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) from the women particularly in rural areas and to cover such households not having LPG connection. The revised target of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) will be achieved by 2020.The Cabinet also approved to expand the Scheme to cover all SC/ST households, beneficiaries of PMAY (Gramin), Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY), Forest dwellers, Most Backward Classes (MBC), Tea and Ex-Tea Garden Tribes, people residing in Islands and rivers etc. in addition to SECC identified households.

Jhulan Goswami becomes the first female cricketer to take 200 ODI wickets

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India’s veteran pacer Jhulan Goswami on 7th February added another feather to her illustrious cap by becoming the first female cricketer to take 200 ODI wickets. Goswami achieved the feat during the second ODI between India and South Africa. The 35-year-old, playing her 166th ODI, dismissed opener Laura Wolvaardt for her 200th scalp. Interestingly, the first male cricketer to pick 200 ODI wickets, was also an Indian – the great Kapil Dev. In May 2017, Goswami became the highest wicket-taker in women’s ODIs, eclipsing the decade-long record held by Australian Cathryn Fitzpatrick. Goswami, hailing from a small town called Chakdaha in Nadia district of West Bengal, made her debut way back in 2002.

Union Cabinet approves Prime Minister Research Fellows (PMRF) Scheme

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The Union Cabinet today approved implementation of ‘Prime Minister’s Research Fellows (PMRF)’ scheme at a total cost of Rs.1650 crore for a period of seven years beginning 2018-19. The Prime Minister has emphasized the importance of innovation and technology for the progress and development of the nation. This fellowship scheme is key to realizing his vision of development through innovation. The scheme has been announced in the Budget Speech 2018-19. Under this scheme, the best students who have completed or are in the final year of B. Tech or Integrated M.Tech or M.Sc. in Science and Technology streams from IISc/IITs/NITs/IISERs/IIITs will be offered direct admission in the Ph.D. programme in the IITs/IISc. Such students, who fulfill the eligibility criteria, and shortlisted through a selection process, as laid down in the PMRF Guidelines, will be offered a fellowship of Rs.70,000/- per month for the first two years, Rs.75,000/- per month for the 3rd year, and Rs.80,000/- per month in the 4th and 5th years.

Shri A.K Prasad Assumes Charge as the New Financial Commissioner, Railway Board

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Shri A.K.Prasad has been appointed as new Financial Commissioner (Railways), Railway Board and ex-officio Secretary to Government of India vice Shri B.N.Mohapatra, who superannuated on 31st January 2018. Shri A.K.Prasad has since assumed charge as the new Financial Commissioner (Railways), with effect from 1st February 2018. Shri Prasad is an officer of Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS) of 1981 batch. He has done his Masters in Economics from Delhi School of Economics in the year 1980. Prior to this assignment, Shri Prasad was Additional Member/Finance in Railway Board.

India successfully test-fires nuclear capable Prithvi-II

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India successfully test-fired its indigenously developed nuclear capable Prithvi-II missile as part of a user trial by the Army from a test range in Odisha, Defence sources said. The trial of the surface-to-surface missile, which has a strike range of 350 km, was carried out from a mobile launcher from launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur, Odisha. Describing the trial as a complete success, they said all mission objectives were met during the test launch. Prithvi-II is capable of carrying 500-1,000 kilogram of warheads and is thrust by liquid propulsion twin engines. The state-of-the-art missile uses advanced inertial guidance system with maneuvering trajectory to hit its target.

Bermuda becomes the first country in world to repeal same-sex marriage

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Bermuda’s governor has approved a bill reversing the right of gay couples to marry in the British overseas territory, despite a Supreme Court ruling authorizing same-sex marriage last year. The decision by Governor John Rankin in the wealthy Atlantic island of 60,000 people represents a rare reversal of a trend among Western countries of legalizing same-sex marriage. Under the Domestic Partnership Act 2017, already passed by Bermuda’s House of Assembly and Senate, any Bermudian will be allowed to form domestic partnerships which the government says will offer equal rights.
Capital: Hamilton
Currency: Bermudian dollar

Arunachal Pradesh gets a Rhododendron Park in Tawang

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Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu recently laid the foundation stone for Rhododendron Park in Tawang. He also carried out plantation drive of different varieties of Rhodos. Tawang is home to 50+ different varieties of Rhodos. He said once Tawang district was home to about 100 species of rhododendron but has been reduced to only 50+ species due to construction activities in border areas. The park will be built in a total area of 1.15 ha and will be partly funded under BADP program. Around 30+ species of rhododendrons will be planted and conserved. Also, terrace cutting will be done to raise the beauty and scenic component. The park will also have modern nursery, information center on rhododendron, resting sheds, vehicle parking facility, public toilet facility, signage and lightings and iron security gate.
Arunachal Pradesh governor- BD Mishra

Defence Ministry constitutes Vinay Sheel Oberoi Committee to expedite capital acquisition

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Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has constituted a 13-member advisory committee to monitor and expedite capital acquisition projects for the modernization of the armed forces. The Defence Ministry said in a statement that under the terms of reference of the committee, it has to undertake an independent review and check the status of ongoing critical projects worth more than Rs 500 crore. The committee would suggest measures to improve the capital acquisition process. The ministry said the Raksha Mantri’s Advisory Committee on Ministry of Defence (MoD) Capital Projects (RMCOMP) had been appointed to expedite capital acquisitions to bolster the preparedness of the armed forces. The committee will be headed by Vinay Sheel Oberoi, the former secretary in the government. It will have a tenure til the end of August 2018, it said.

Paytm Payments Bank Announces Partnership with Mumbai Dabbawalas Association

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Paytm Payments Bank, India’s largest digital bank which provides zero balance accounts and zero charges on digital transactions, has partnered with the Mumbai Dabbawala Association, which has a strong network of dabbawalas who deliver home-cooked food to around 2 lakh Mumbaikars every day. As part of this association, around 5000 dabbawalas will now be able to collect instant payments for their Dabba service through Paytm QR. Additionally, they will also avail an easy access to banking and other financial services by opening their bank accounts with Paytm Payments Bank. These dabbawalas can avail personalized banking by walking into banking outlets ‘Paytm Ka ATM’ for easy cash deposits and withdrawals and start earning 4% in their savings account and up to 6.85% in wealth management accounts. These specially branded outlets will play a key role in bringing banking access by ensuring customers find it easy to locate an access point near them. The addition of Mumbai’s widespread Dabbawala service to the Paytm ecosystem is in line with the bank’s mission of bringing half a billion Indians on to the mainstream economy.
MD & CEO of Paytm Payments Bank: Renu Satti
Founder of Paytm: Vijay Shekhar Sharma
Headquarters of Paytm: Noida, UP

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