1. Prime Minister to Declare Open the First ever Khelo India University Games
• The first-ever Khelo India University Games will take off in Odisha with a mega launch event at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium, Cuttack .
• Honourable Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi will declare open the multi-disciplinary sporting event through video conference.
• The Khelo India University Games are being launched by the Government of India in association with the Government of the State of Odisha.
• The Games will be held from 22 February to 1st March 2020 at Bhubaneswar.
• This is the largest ever competition held at university level in India and will have about 3500 athletes from over 150 universities across the country taking part in it.
• There will be a total of 17 sports namely archery, athletics, boxing, fencing, judo, swimming, weightlifting, wrestling, badminton, basketball, football, hockey, table tennis, tennis, volleyball, rugby and kabaddi. The attempt is to make the Khelo India University Games an aspirational competition for India’s youngsters with twin objectives of helping them find the balance between sport and education.
• Khelo India Programme, a brain child of the Prime Minister was introduced to revive the sports culture in India at the grass-root level by building a strong framework for all sports played in the country and establish India as a great sporting nation.
• Government of India successfully conducted the Khelo India School Games in 2018 and the National Youth Games in 2019 and 2020.
2. Overview of Cabinet approvals
• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) Chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the following proposals on February 19, 2020. The approval in detail are as follows:
• Cabinet has approved the signing of updated Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) agreement between Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and the UK’s (United Kingdom) Financial Conduct Authority(FCA).
• Cabinet approved the upgrading of Gandhinagar (Gujarat ) based Bhaskaracharya Institute of Space Applications and Geoinformatics (BISAG) as Bhaskaracharya National Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics (BISAG(N)).
• Cabinet has approved the Phase II of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen).
• Cabinet approves to raise interest subvention for Dairy processing & Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF) to 5% from 2%.
• Cabinet approves Rs 4,558 crore scheme for dairy sector
• Cabinet approves plan to open 10,000 new FPOs (Farmers Producer Organization) in next 5 years.
• Cabinet clears Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Bill 2020
• Cabinet nod to set up a 12-member Technology Group headed by Principal Scientific Adviser to Government of India (GoI),Prof K. VijayRaghavan.
• Cabinet has allowed to make significant changes to the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) and Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (RWBCIS) in order to address the challenges.
• Cabinet approves formation of 22nd Law Commission of India for a term of 3 years
3. Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) ranked first in the Nature Ranking Index 2020
• Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) ranked first in the Nature Ranking Index 2020. All the institutions are ranked on the basis of total research output from december 01, 2018 to 30th November , 2019.
Numbers in research output
Numbers in research output are designated by total citations in numbers and shares which indicates the sharing percentage per article.
Subjects related with research
• Earth and Environmental Science
• Physical Science
• Life Science
Rank, Share & Count
Rank Institution Share Count
1 Council of Scientific and industrial Research(CSIR) 142 87.74
2 Indian Institute of science (IISC) 211 83.61
3 Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) 232 62.18
Ideas given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi
To research on topics like 5G, artificial intelligence, water conservation, malnutrition, use science and technology for betterment of farmers and manufacture of low cost and durable batteries for renewable energy storage.
Gist of CSIR
It consists of 4600 scientists, 38 laboratories and about 8000 scientific and technical personnel across the country. On a yearly average it files about 200 Indian patents and 250 foreign patents.
4. SBI Card join hands with Landmark group to launch 3 new retail co-branded credit cards
• SBI (State Bank of India) Cards & Payments Services Ltd( previously known as SBI Cards and Payment Services Private Limited), a payment solutions provider in India, has entered into the partnership with Landmark Group, one of the largest retail and hospitality organizations, to launch 3new retail co-branded credit cards namely Lifestyle Home Centre SBI Card, Max SBI Card and Spar SBI Card —with 4 Landmark Group brands – Lifestyle, Home Centre, Max and Spar .
• The co-branded cards are available in three variants. It includes, Base, SELECT and PRIME and cater to the needs of consumers ranging from Value for Money to Premium and Super Premium.
• Cardholders of any of the above said cards can enjoy the same benefits across all participating Landmark brands. In this way, they can get many other benefits along with saving in many categories through the same card.
• From all variants, customers can earn SBI Card reward Points that can be redeemed across all brands of Landmark in India thereby rewarding loyal customers.
5. Department of Telecommunications Announces ‘5G Hackathon’
• In its endeavour toidentify and promote applications relevant to India in the 5G realm, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has launched ‘5G Hackathon’in association with a number of government, academia& industry stakeholders. Aimed at shortlisting India focussed cutting edge ideas that can be converted into workable 5G products and solutions, the Hackathon will be spread across three phases beginning from February 21, 2020 and culminate in a grand felicitation ceremony at India Mobile Congress on October 16, 2020. Winners of the various phases will share a total prize pool of INR 2.5 Crores, and an unique opportunity to scale and implement their 5G applications to make them market ready with the support of DoT, MeitY and a number of leading industry, academia, Telcos/OEMs.
• 5G technology provides quantum leap over 4G in terms of speed, peak data rate, latency, spectrum efficiency and connection density. Most distinct feature is applications in different economic verticals. 5G Hackathon will convert innovating ideas in to products and solutions in different verticals and develop India specific Use cases around 5G. Various phases of the Hackathon broadly include preliminary submission of ideas, selection of 100 best ideas, mentorship and support from the Hackathon partners, development of solutions/products, selection and testing of 30 best solutions/ products on 5G trial network followed by felicitation of the 3 best ideas during India Mobile Congress (IMC), 2020. Participants can develop 5G solutionsfrom across 10 categories including Healthcare, Education & Governance, AgriTech & Livestock, Environment, Public Safety & Disaster Management Enterprise, Smart Cities & Infrastructure, Cyber Security, Banking, Finance & Insurance, Logistics & Transportation, Multimedia & Broadcast, among others.
• The 5G Hackathon is open to developers, students, start-ups, SMEs, academic institutions & registered companies in India & NRIs. Stakeholders can participate as individuals or as a team to present use cases for the 5G network in the Indian context.
• A jury comprising of academicians, industry leaders and subject experts from around the countrywill be established to facilitate assessment and shortlisting of submissions. The details of Hackathon can be seen on the website www.5ghackathon.in.
6. Foundation stone of Thal Sena Bhawan at Delhi Cantt
• Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh laid the foundation stone of new Army Headquarters ‘Thal Sena Bhawan’ at Delhi Cantt. today. Addressing soldiers on the occasion, Shri Rajnath Singh said, all the departments of the Army as well as the Department of Military Affairs will come under one roof and collectively contribute towards national security, besides effectively dealing with defence-related issues. He added that the new building will play a significant role in saving valuable resources and contribute to administrative efficiency. Raksha Mantri termed the foundation stone of the new building as a ‘source of inspiration that will remind the people of the country about the sacrifices made by our soldiers’.
• Shri Rajnath Singh credited the Armed Forces personnel for making an invaluable contribution towards nation building, saying that India has emerged as one of the most powerful nations due to the sacrifices made by the soldiers. He hoped that the new building will not just be an edifice of Army personnel and civilian defence staff, but will inspire the people to achieve new goals with renewed passion and enthusiasm.
• Raksha Mantri also underlined the importance of greater jointness and integration among the Armed Forces, noting that the appointment of Chief of the Defence Staff and creation of Department of Military Affairs are some of the important steps in that direction. He expressed confidence that this jointness will help in increasing the military capabilities of the country and bring more synergy in handling defence-related issues.
• The new building, proposed in an area of 39 acres, has been conceptualised as a multi-storey green building, adopting Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) norms. Approx. 7.5 lakh square meters of area will be constructed to house the office complex and parking.
• The building, expected to be constructed in five years, will house offices, residential complex for security personnel with basic amenities. More than 1,700 officers both military & civilian and 1,300 sub staff will be accommodated in the new building.
• Presently, Army Headquarters is spread over several pockets i.e. South Block, Sena Bhawan, Hutments Area, RK Puram, Shankar Vihar and other places.
7. Financial Inclusion of Women producers through Business Linkages During Organic Food Festival
• The Organic Food festival would provide an opportunity to women entrepreneurs for capacity building and economic empowerment, said Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Smt Harsimrat Kaur Badal. Inaugurating the 3-day long festival in New Delhi today, the Union Minister highlighted the need for providing such platforms on regular basis for financial inclusion and empowerment of women and said that the Government is planning to hold Organic food festivals more frequently and in different parts of the country depending on unique organic products of particular region.
• The Organic Food Festival was jointly inaugurated by Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Union Minister for Food Processing Industries and Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani, Union Minister for Women and Child Development and Textiles. Shri Rameshwar Teli, Minister of State for Food Processing Industries and Smt. Debasree Chaudhuri, Minister of State for Woman and Child Development were also present. The Organic Food Festival for Women Entrepreneurs is as an outcome of the MoU (which aims at building capacities of women entrepreneurs) signed between the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) and Ministry of Women and Child Development (M/o WCD).
• Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal said India has huge potential for organic produce and market. She added that most of the hilly areas and tribal areas in India are naturally organic. The FPI Minister said that while other parts of world are making special efforts to turn towards organic production, India has natural advantages which must be leveraged. She further said that this organic festival can be of international scale in near future.
• Smt. Smriti Irani said that Ministry of Food Processing Industries can, through the Organic Food Festival, engage with technology groups so that latest technology can be made available to women entrepreneurs.
• Smt. Pushpa Subrahmanyam, Secretary, FPI said that Ministry of FPI will showcase achievements of women entrepreneurs through this festival. She said that Food and Beverage industry in India is fifth largest sector in manufacturing and that, India has the highest number of organic producers in the world.
• Spread over an area of 6000 sqms of space, this is the first such event where 180+ women entrepreneurs and self-help groups are participating from over 25 States and Union Territories with very interesting products on display from across the country. These are indigenous to the geography and are otherwise difficult to access. Kiwi from Arunachal Pradesh, Black wheat, pesto Sauce from Ladakh, chia seeds cookies and apricot oil from Uttarakhand are all available with the exhibitors and the people can relish these healthy products. This festival will strive to provide linkages to women producers to market and supply chains, thereby facilitating their financial inclusion.
• The festival is open to public who can relish numerous varieties of the organic and healthy products of various states. People will also gain knowledge about the organic products grown and produced in different regions of India. The festival is being organized by National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) as the Industry Partner, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi from 21st – 23rd February 2020.
• Training and capacity building of women entrepreneurs and SHGs is another key focus area and trainings on Post harvest management, product innovation, packaging and certification processes are being organized over the 3 days. The efforts are targeted towards helping producers understand importance of each step of the organic value chain and develop competence to cater to a broader consumer base.
• With focus on innovation, a specially curated ‘Innovation Pavilion’ is set up to display innovative organic foods, packaging solutions and machinery. Leading research institutes from the country IIFPT, NIFTEM CFTRI, CIFT, Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology, C-DAC are exhibiting in the pavilion to generate interface with the solutions available and identify solutions that suit the requirement of the entrepreneurs and SHGs to help them diversify their product portfolio. For facilitating business linkages and empowering women entrepreneurs through financial inclusion, over 200 B2B meetings are being facilitated by CII.
• Other interesting elements of the show include interactive session with renowned Chefs on how organic ingredients can be incorporated in our daily diets. There is also an opportunity to hear from successful women entrepreneur led companies that are not only helping farmers grow organic produce but also helping with certification and enabling the buy-back of their produce. These successes and best practices will offer learnings to other entrepreneurs on possible expansion avenues.
• The overall effort is targeted towards strengthening ‘Organic’ Branding for India by enhancing direct linkage of local producers with Buyers, enhancing processing potential of organic output and contribute to India’s vision of enhancing export competitiveness and Create a direct impact to women farmer incomes and in turn empowerment.
• With 9th largest World’s Organic Agricultural land and largest number of producers India is fast growing in the organic food segment( http://apeda.gov.in/apedawebsite/organic/Organic_Products.htm. According to a report by APEDA, India produced around 1.70 million MT (2017-18) of certified organic products which includes all varieties of food products namely Oil Seeds, Sugar cane, Cereals & Millets, Cotton, Pulses, Medicinal Plants, Tea, Fruits, Spices, Dry Fruits, Vegetables, Coffee etc. On the demand side, increasing disposable incomes, increasing awareness around health and wellness and increasing acceptability are driving the growth in the organic food segment which is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10% during the period 2016-21 as per WFI report. The demand for Indian organic food products is on constant increase worldwide with India exporting organic products worth $ 515 million in 2017-18(based on APEDA report). Organic products mainly oil seeds, cereals & millets, sugar, fruit juice concentrates, tea, spices, pulses, dry fruits, medicinal plant products etc. are being exported to USA, European Union, Canada, Switzerland, Australia, Israel, South Korea, Vietnam, New Zealand and Japan.
• Shri Rabindra Panwar, Secretary, WCD, Smt. Reema Prakash, JS, FPI, Dr. Chindi Vasudevappa, Vice Chancelor, NIFTEM, Shri Chandrajit Banerjee, DG CII, were also present during the event.
8. Dr. Harsh Vardhan reviews actions taken and preparedness with senior officials on Novel Coronavirus (COVID 19)
• Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare undertook a review of the status of preparedness and actions taken so far,in handling the situation arising out of outbreak of Novel Coronavirus (COVID19), with the senior officials of the Ministry, here today.
• The Union Health Minister was informed that various precautionary measures have been undertaken in close coordination with the concerned ministries at the central level.Secretary (HFW) also informed that the States have been advised to regularly update the requisite informationpertaining to screening and surveillance accurately and in a timely manner on the web portal which has been put in place as a special surveillance web tool to monitor the cases on a real time basis at the national level.She also added that States/UTs have reported that the protocols and guidelines issued by the Central Government are being followed to avoid any eventuality. She further informed that sufficient stocks for Personal Protection Equipment and masks have been procured. Secretary (HFW) also informed that the preparedness of various States/UTs is being regularly reviewed through Video Conferences with them and the concerned Central GovernmentMinistries/Departments.
• Dr. Harsh Vardhan was also informed that at present, the screening of passengers is being done in all 21 airports, 12 major and 65 non-major seaports and border crossings. In all 3,835 flights and 3,97,148 passengers have been screened so far. As of now, 2,707 samples have been tested of which only 3 samples had earlier tested positive (Kerala) and all the three patients have been discharged from the hospitals and are now in home isolation. All Indian evacuees from Wuhan have tested negative for COVID19 and have gone back to their homes from the quarantine facilities. 21,805 persons are presently under community surveillance in 34 States/UTs through the Integrated Diseases Surveillance Programme (IDSP) network.
• Dr Harsh Vardhan has urged all states again to keep high vigil, even though no new positive case has been reported from the country. He also advised the States to continue enhancing the awareness amongst the masses for prevention through personal hygiene.
9. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw won EY Entrepreneur of the Year award for 2019
• Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairperson and Managing Director (MD) of Bengaluru based biopharmaceutical company Biocon, won Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the year 2019 (for his innovation & affordable life saving medicines), at the 21st edition of the awards held in New Delhi, India.
• About Mazumdar-Shaw: She will also represent India at the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year Award (WEOY) in Monte Carlo between June 4 and 6, 2020. She was also one of the Indian signatories of the Giving Pledge, who dedicated the majority of her wealth to philanthropic causes.
• Adi Godrej, Godrej Group Chairman was conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award.
• Tuhin Parikh, senior managing director (Real Estate), BlackStone India, was the first recipient awarded with “Transformational Impact Person of the Year award” & this category has been newly launched to recognise individuals who have transformed both the industry and ecosystem in India.
• Awards were announced in 9 categories, with the winners coming from both mature industries and unicorns
• Home Minister of Maldives, Mr. Sheikh Imran Abdulla, called on Union Minister for Home Affairs, Shri Amit Shah, in New Delhi .
• During the meeting, the two sides discussed issues of mutual interest in the area of security and law enforcement cooperation. Welcoming the strengthening of India-Maldives Partnership, the Ministers welcomed the expansion of bilateral cooperation between India and Maldives in diverse fields including policing and law enforcement, counter-terrorism, counter-radicalization, organized crime, drug trafficking and capacity building.
• The meeting was also attended by Minister of State for Home Affairs of Maldives, Union Home Secretary and other senior officers from both sides. The delegation also met DG, NIA, Director, NCB, DG, CBI, and Director, ED. Prior to arriving in Delhi, the delegation also visited the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy (SVPNPA), Hyderabad and Gujarat Forensic Sciences University (GFSU), Gandhinagar.
11. FATF decides to retain Pakistan in ‘Grey List
• The global terror financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) today decided continuation of Pakistan in the ‘Grey List’ and warned the country that stern action will be taken if it fails to check the flow of money to terror groups. The decision was taken at the Financial Action Task Force’s plenary in Paris.
• The plenary has noted that Pakistan addressed only a few of the 27 tasks given to it in controlling funding to terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and the Hizbul Mujahideen, which are responsible for a series of attacks in India.
• The FATF said, Pakistan has to swiftly complete its full action plan by June 2020. If Pakistan fails to comply with the FATF directives, there is every possibility that the global body may put the country in the ‘Black List’ along with North Korea and Iran.
• With Pakistan’s continuation in the ‘Grey List’, it will be difficult for the country to get financial aid from the International Monetory Fund, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the European Union, thus further enhancing problems for the nation which is in a precarious financial situation. Pakistan was placed on the ‘Grey List’ by the FATF in June 2018 and was given a plan of action to complete by October 2019 or face the risk of being placed on the ‘Black List’.
• The FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
12. Language Martyrs’ Day ‘Amar Ekushey’ Observed in Bangladesh
• Bangladesh today observed the Shaheed Dibash known as ‘Amar Ekushey’ across the country to pay tribute to the martyrs of language movement.
• The day is observed as Shaheed Dibash to commemorate the martyrs who were killed in firing by the Pakistani police on 21 February 1952 in Dhaka.
• The students were agitating to establish Bangla as the state language of Pakistan. Bangladesh was part of the then Pakistan which had declared Urdu as the only state language for both West Pakistan and East Pakistan which became Bangladesh after the liberation war of 1971.
• Later in 1956 Pakistan was forced to recognise Bangla as one of the state languages but the agitation did not stop. It subsequently galvanised people into waging a victorious war of liberation against Pakistan in 1971. India played a key role in the liberation war of Bangladesh.
• President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh paid tribute to the language martyrs by placing wreath at the Shaheed Minar in Dhaka immediately after midnight. The national flag of Bangladesh flew at half mast on all official buildings.
• A large number of dignitaries including the Speaker of Parliament Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, , chiefs of three armed forces, leader of the Opposition in Parliament Begum Raushan Ershad, ministers and dignitaries paid tributes at the Shaheed Minar.
• Throughout the day huge number of people including students from schools and colleges and common people thronged the Shahid Minar area in Dhaka University to play floral tributes to the language martyrs.
• Tight security measures have been enforced in and around the Central Shaheed Minar. CCTV cameras have also been installed in the surrounding areas of the Shaheed Minar.
13. Thai court dissolves Future Forward party over illegal loan
• In Thailand, the anti-military Thai party was dissolved today and its key members banned from politics for a decade over a six million US dollars loan by its founder. The nine-member Constitutional court today dissolved the Future Forward Party (FFP), ruling the loan by its founder, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit breached the law governing political parties.
• A judge said the loan exceeded the 315,000 US dollar limit on donations to parties by an individual. The judge said, 16 party executives, including founder Thanathorn, were also banned for running for political office for 10 years. Thanathorn has been a fierce critic of military involvement in politics in a country whose history is peppered with coups.
• Thailand’s current Prime Minister led the 2014 coup against the elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra. The FFP emerged from nowhere in March last year to become Thailand’s third-biggest party in the first elections since a 2014 coup. The party’s calling for full democracy, an end to conion and the removal of the army from politics and business.
14. ESPN Multi-Sport Annual Awards 2019
• Entertainment and Sports Programming Network(ESPN)Multi-Sport Annual Awards 2019 announced PV Sindhu & Saurabh Chaudhary as ‘sportsperson of the year 2019 female & male’. PV Sindhu received this ‘Sportsperson of the year’(Female) award for the third consecutive time. Dutee Chand was named as the first winner of the ESPN India courage award.
• The Award acknowledges individuals and teams based on 10 categories. Based on the vote by a 16 member panel the winners are selected. Cricket is not covered as it is already included in ESPNcricinfo’s Annual Awards.
ward Category Winner’s Name Sport Name
Lifetime Achievement Award Balbir Singh Senior Hockey
Sportsperson of the Year(Female) PV Sindhu Badminton
Sportsperson of the Year(Male) Saurabh Chaudhary Shooting
Comeback of the year Koneru Humpy Chess
Emerging Sportsperson of the Year Deepak Punia Wrestling
Team of the Year Manu Bhaker – Saurabh Chaudhary Shooting
Differently-abled Athlete of the year Manasi Joshi Athlete
Moment of the Year PV Sindhu Badminton
The Courage Award Dutee Chand Spinter
Coach of the Year Pullela Gopichand Badminton
15. Sakshi Malik enters gold medal round at Asian Wrestling c’ship
• On the 4th day of the Asian Wrestling Championship in New Delhi today, Rio Olympic bronze medallist, Sakshi Malik made it to the gold medal round of 65-kilogram category. She lost her opening round 1-2 to Naomi Ruike from Japan, but later overcame Korea’s Ohyoung Ha and Uzbekistan’s Nabira Esenbaeva to enter the final.
• India won two more medals today. Vinesh Phogat who lost the gold medal race in 53 kg to Japanese Mayu Muakida, won a bronze, defeating Thi Ly Kieu of Vietnam 10-0. Anshu Malik also won a bronze in the 57 kg category, beating Sevara Eshmuratova from Uzbekistan. Sonam Malik will fight for bronze in 62 kg category against Aisuluu Tynbekova later this evening. In the non-olympic 72 kg category, Gursharanpreet Kaur is in bronze medal contention. She will be up against Mongolia’s Tsevegmed Enkhbayar.
• Yesterday, India had a great haul of four medals, including three golds. Sarita Mor, Pinki and Divya Kakran were crowned as new Asian champions while Nirmala Devi finished with a silver medal.