Current Affairs – February 20, 2018

PM Modi launches Nasscom’s ‘FutureSkills’ platform        


Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 19th February launched Nasscom’s platform – FutureSkills – for skill development in eight varied technologies. Modi launched the platform via video conference during the inaugural session of the World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT)-2018. Nasscom also inked an agreement with the Ministry of Electronics and IT for strengthening re-skilling initiatives. “We aim to skill and up-skill about two million technology professionals and skill another two million potential employees and students over the next few years,” Nasscom President R Chandrashekhar said. “The platform offers to skill and upskilling in Artificial Intelligence (AI), virtual reality, robotic process automation, Internet of Things, big data analytics, 3D printing, cloud computing and social and mobile,” Chandrashekhar said.

 

India could be the first country to get Hyperloop One, Mumbai-Pune travel time to come down to 25 minutes


In a historic agreement with Virgin Hyperloop One, the state government of Maharashtra has flagged off an ambitious project to build the country’s first ever Hyperloop route between Mumbai and Pune. With the announcement of the framework agreement to begin the development of the route, the deal was signed by Virgin Group Founder and Virgin Hyperloop One Chairman, Sir Richard Branson in the presence of both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, during the ‘Magnetic Maharashtra’ investment summit on 18th February. The planned 100 percent electric hyperloop route will link central Pune, Navi Mumbai International Airport, and Mumbai. It is claimed that it will cut the travel time between these locations to 25 minutes. The project once commenced, will play a significant role in not just easing expressway congestion but also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 150,000 tons annually.

 

Amazon becomes first foreign e-commerce firm to enter food retail venture in India


Amazon has rolled out its own food retailing business in India with a pilot in Pune, becoming the first foreign e-commerce firm to stock and sell food items directly to consumers. “Amazon is now a vendor on Amazon.in and is currently operating in Pune,” said a person familiar with the development. The products are sold by Amazon Retail India Pvt. Ltd. It said that it will take “at least a quarter” for the e-commerce major to roll out its food retailing business nationwide. Amazon had last year secured the government’s permission to invest $500 million in a wholly-owned venture to retail locally produced and packaged food products through offline and online channels. It is the only global entity to have applied for the food-only retailing business, an area where the government allowed 100% overseas investment in 2016 to help producers and generate employment.

 

MHA organises Watan Ko Jano programme to take 200 Kashmiri youths, children on nationwide tour     


More than 200 youths and children, who were hit by militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, are on a country-wide tour to familiarise with India’s rich cultural and historical heritage. The Home Ministry sponsored programme, Watan Ko Jano, is being organised to give exposure to the youth and children of Jammu and Kashmir about the cultural and socio-economic development taking place in other parts of the country, an official statement said. The youths and children hit by militancy and from weaker sections of the society were identified for the purpose and taken on a visit to different places of the country from 11 to 20 February, it said. While meeting some of the youths here today, Home Minister Rajnath Singh expressed happiness that the youths could visit various parts of the country. Singh said the youths from the state are an inseparable part of the country. He also expressed happiness over the fact that one more group of 500 students will also visit various parts of the country after this group.

 

National Banana Festival 2018 begins in Kerala      


National Banana Festival, a confluence of researchers in the field of banana cultivation and banana farmers from across the country, began at Vellayani Temple Ground in Kalliyoor grama panchayat recently. Inaugurating the fest, Union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh said that the government aims to double the production of bananas by 2025. Kerala government had declared 32 special agricultural zones.  Radha Mohan Singh said that the state’s efforts is going to help increase the productivity of crops native to those regions, in turn improving the state’s agriculture sector. Banana is one of the oldest fruits known to mankind and is one of the most widely consumed fruits in the world. Availability, affordability, varietal range, taste, nutritive and medicinal value make it the favourite fruit among all classes of people. Our country stands first in banana production in the world. In fact, bananas we have today are the products of thousands of years of careful selection for specific traits by our farmers. This precious diversity has to be protected in the contest of dominating market driven monocultures.

 

Saudi Arabia has finally allowed women to have their own business

Women in Saudi Arabia can now start their own businesses without the consent of a husband or relative, after the kingdom seeks to expand the rapidly growing private sector, according to France press. “Women can now start their own businesses and take advantage of (governmental) e-services without having to prove the consent of a (male) guardian,” said a statement on the website of the Ministry of Trade and Investment. According to the guardianship system in Saudi Arabia, women must provide evidence of permission from a male “guardian” – usually a husband, father or brother – to do any bureaucracy, travel or enrol in school. The prosecutor’s office announced last month that it would be the first time that women’s investigators would start work. The Kingdom opened 140 posts for women at airports and border crossings – 107,000 women applied for the appointment.

Capital: Riyadh
Currency: Saudi Riyal

 

Shoaib Akhtar appointed as PCB brand ambassador        

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Najam Sethi on Friday announced that former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar will be appointed as the new PCB brand ambassador. In a tweet, he also mentioned that the former seamer will also be given the position of advisor to chairman on cricket affairs. “Shoaib Akhtar has been appointed Advisor to Chairman on Cricket Affairs/Brand Ambassador PCB,” he said in a tweet. The 42-year old, who was regarded as one of the best bowlers of his time, was quick to respond and said that he is honoured to be selected for the positions. The former right-hand bowler played 46 Tests for Pakistan in which he took 178 wickets at an average of 25.69. He also played 163 ODIs for the side in which he took 247 wickets at an average of 24.97.

 

Maharashtra honours Ratan Tata with top industrial award

Tata Group patriarch Ratan Tata was today felicitated by Maharashtra government with a special award for his contribution to the development of the state. Tata, who served as the chairman of the salt-to-software conglomerate for over three decades across two stints, was presented the Mahaudyog Sanman, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on his twitter handle late this evening. Fadnavis presented the award to Tata during a special awards ceremony to recognise his contributions to industrial development at the second day of the ongoing Magnetic Maharashtra investor summit.

 

 

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