1. Health Ministry releases list of dos and donts amid coronavirus outbreak
• Health Ministry has released a list of dos and donts in light of the novel coronavirus outbreak. People have been advised to observe good personal hygeine, and practice frequent handwashing with soap.
• When hands are visibly dirty, people should wash their hands with soap in running water. If hands are not visibly dirty, alcohol-based hand rub would also work. Used tissues should be thrown into the bin immediately and basic etiquette of covering mouth while sneezing or coughing must be followed. People should see a doctor if they feel unwell.
• People have been asked not to spit in public and have close contact with anyone in case of coughing or fever. There should not be any contact with live animals or raw and undercooked meat. Travel to farms, live animal markets or where animals are slaughtered must be avoided.
2. PM Modi not to participate in Hoil Milan programme due to COVID-19 outbreak
• Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said experts across the world have advised to reduce mass gatherings to avoid the spread of COVID-19. In a tweet, Mr Modi said he has therefore decided not to participate in any Holi Milan programme this year.
• BJP President JP Nadda also said that he will neither celebrate Holi or organise Holi Milan. He said the world is battling COVID 19 and the countries and medical fraternity are jointly making efforts to contain its spread.
• Home Minister Amit Shah has also decided not to participate in any Holi Milan celebration this year in the wake of Coronavirus. He also appealed everyone to avoid public gatherings and take a good care of their family.
3. Skill India mission committed to equipping women with market relevant skills
• Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has undertaken several initiatives to achieve women empowerment through skill development. Skill India mission is committed to equipping women with market relevant skills and lead them to a path of self-sufficiency through entrepreneurship.
• Trainings are being conducted for Self Employed Tailor, Beauty Therapist, Customer Care Executive, Hair Stylist, Yoga Trainer, etc. through Pradhan Mantri Mahila Kaushal Kendra. Apart from Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana, the Ministry of Women and Child Development with the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has also been initiating various steps for improving women livelihood and empowering women through skill development.
4. Rajya Sabha adjourned for 3rd consecutive day as opposition demands discussion on Delhi violence
• Delhi violence issue marred the proceedings in the Rajya Sabha for the third day today with the opposition continue to demand immediate discussion on the issue.
• When the House met for the day, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said that he has received a number of notices by the opposition for the discussion. Mr Naidu said the House can take up the discussion on 11th of this month after the Holi. Mr Naidu said that he will discuss with the Leader of the House the relevant rules and procedure under which a discussion can be taken up.
• However, members from Congress, Left, DMK, SP, BSP, TMC and others expressed dissatisfaction over the ruling by the Chair. Some opposition members also trooped into the well of the House raising slogans. As noisy scenes, the Chairman adjourned the House for the day.
• Earlier, the House made an obituary reference on the passing away of a former member Bhadreswar Buragohain of Assam.
5. President of India confers 61st Annual Lalit Kala Akademi Awards
• The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, conferred the 61st annual Lalit Kala Akademi Awards on 15 meritorious artists at a function held at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
• Artists honoured today are: Anoop Kumar Manzukhi Gopi, David Malakar, Devendra Kumar Khare, Dinesh Pandya, Faruque Ahmed Halder, Hari Ram Kumbhawat, Keshari Nandan Prasad, Mohan Kumar T, Ratan Krishna Saha, Sagar Vasant Kamble, Satwinder Kaur, Sunil Thiruvayur, Tejaswi Narayan Sonawane, Yashpal Singh and Yashwant Singh. Artwork of these artists will be on display till March 22, 2020, at the 61st National Exhibition of Art at the Lalit Kala Akademi galleries in New Delhi.
• Lalit Kala Akademi organises art exhibitions and award ceremonies every year to promote art as well as to honour talents. The exhibition brings together the works of brilliance from across the country and also encourages budding art talents to learn new tendencies and mediums in the world of painting, sculpture, graphics, photography, drawing, installation and multimedia etc.
6. GST Revenue collection for February, 2020
• The gross GST revenue collected in the month of February, 2020is ₹ 1,05,366crore of which CGST is ₹ 20,569crore, SGST is ₹ 27,348crore, IGST is ₹ 48,503crore (including ₹ 20,745crore collected on imports) and Cess is ₹ 8,947 crore (including ₹ 1,040crore collected on imports). The total number of GSTR 3B Returns filed for the month of January up to 29th February, 2020 is 83.53lakh.
• The government has settled ₹ 22,586 crore to CGST and ₹ 16,553 crore to SGST from IGST as regular settlement. The total revenue earned by Central Government and the State Governments after regular settlement in the month of February,2020 is ₹ 43,155 crore for CGST and ₹ 43,901 crore for the SGST.
• The GST revenues during the month of February, 2020 from domestic transactions has shown a growth of 12% over the revenue during the month of February, 2019. Taking into account the GST collected from import of goods, the total revenue during February, 2020has increased by 8% in comparison to the revenue during February, 2019. During this month, the GST on import of goods has shown a negative growth of (-) 2% as compared to February, 2019.
• The chart shows trends in revenue during the current year. The table shows the state-wise figures of GST collected in each State during the month of February, 2020 as compared to Feb, 2019.
State Feb-19 Feb-20 Growth
Jammu and Kashmir 306 316 3%
Himachal Pradesh 610 621 2%
Punjab 1,100 1,229 12%
Chandigarh 147 172 18%
Uttarakhand 1,237 1,281 4%
Haryana 4,873 5,266 8%
Delhi 3,422 3,835 12%
Rajasthan 2,676 2,932 10%
Uttar Pradesh 5,112 5,776 13%
Bihar 961 1,121 17%
Sikkim 145 183 26%
Arunachal Pradesh 32 48 51%
Nagaland 20 25 27%
Manipur 21 37 77%
Mizoram 22 25 12%
Tripura 46 63 37%
Meghalaya 129 157 21%
Assam 736 924 25%
West Bengal 3,490 3,942 13%
Jharkhand 2,121 2,071 -2%
Odisha 2,374 2,790 18%
Chattisgarh 2,068 2,274 10%
Madhya Pradesh 2,291 2,621 14%
Gujrat 6,507 7,216 11%
Daman and Diu 92 94 2%
Dadra and Nagar Haveli 139 145 5%
Maharastra 14,092 15,735 12%
Karnataka 6,453 7,414 15%
Goa 401 411 2%
Lakshadweep 3 2 -20%
Kerala 1,416 1,754 24%
Tamil Nadu 5,974 6,427 8%
Puducherry 175 159 -9%
Andman and Nikobar Island 25 36 45%
Telangana 3,460 3,667 6%
Andhra Pradesh 2,088 2,563 23%
Other Teritory 141 145 3%
Center Jurisdiction 47 100 114%
Grand Total 74,952 83,581 12%
7. Amit Shah inaugurates the campus of NSG Regional Hub
• Presiding over the inauguration of the National Security Guard (NSG) Regional Hub campus at Kolkata today, Union Minister for Home Affairs, Shri Amit Shah termed this as an important step in the direction of giving adequate facilities to the brave NSG jawans, which are important for them to function unhindered in ensuring the security of the Nation. The Home Minister presided over the inauguration and founding stone laying ceremony of various welfare projects for NSG, amounting to over Rs. 245 crores, across Kolkata, Manesar, Chennai and Mumbai. He said that the various facilities and schemes being inaugurated today, would go a long way in ensuring the boosting of capabilities of the force and raising the morale of the jawans.
• This state-of-the-art regional hub complex at Kolkata, worth over Rs.162 crores, will have Residential and Non Residential Complexes to house 460 persons and families, office accommodation and modern training facilities such as Baffle firing range, indoor shooting range, obstacles, swimming pool, sports complex and artificial rock craft wall etc. This latest NSG complex has become a model regional hub of the NSG, which will help in honing the professional acumen of the NSG commandos and also contribute significantly in capacity building of the first responders, the Police forces of the States. The area of responsibility of this Hub comprises of West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand & the entire North East. The Kolkata hub, hitherto functioning from the Kolkata airport, is the fourth to have permanent infrastructure after Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad.
• Apart from the inaugurating Regional Hub, Kolkata the Home Minister also inaugurated the 120 family quarters at Training Centre, Manesar; Explosive Magazine built at NSG Hyderabad Hub; and laid foundation stones for the construction of family quarters at Regional Hub Chennai and Mumbai. This newly created infrastructure will improve the housing satisfaction and enhance Operational as well Training capabilities.
• Addressing the gathering, Shri Shah assured the force that under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, all expectations of NSG from the Central Government would be fulfilled in the next 5 years. The government would put in place an efficient system that would fulfil all the needs of the force, whether it is related to the training modules for the officers for keeping them abreast with latest technology available globally and modus operandi of terrorist organizations; provision of modern technology, arms and equipments; family welfare, among others. Government of India wants to keep NSG two steps ahead in the current global scenario and this vision would be achieved in the near future, he said.
• Shri Shah said that since its inception, NSG jawans have given supreme sacrifices to secure the Nation from all terrorist threats and have been successful in instilling confidence in the people. The NSG commando has become synonymous with a ‘sense of security’ for the citizens of India, by dedicating each second of his valuable life for securing the Nation. Shri Shah appreciated the preparedness levels of the NSG to keep up PM’s vision of zero tolerance towards terrorism and eliminating them with minimum collateral damage. He also encouraged the force to keep evolving with the changing threat scenario, update its skills and capabilities continuously, so as to bring down the response time towards any challenge. Stressing on the importance of bringing down the duration of eliminating a threat, he said that there is a need to bring a positive change in the training policy, infrastructure, response strategy, technology and the priority of the jawans in the training. Shri Shah said that the mere presence of NSG must be a deterrent enough for those who think of spreading terror and harm the unity and integrity of the Nation.
• “Historically, India has never been an aggressor; we want world peace, yet we would not allow anyone to disturb India’s peace, unity and integrity”, Shri Shah said. He mentioned that after the surgical srtike and the Balakot airstrikes the world recognises the fact that India has a bold leadership that would not let even a drop of its soldiers’ blood go waste. Under the leadership of Shri Narendra Modi, Indian security forces have displayed their capability to strike deep inside enemy territory to avenge any act of terror against the country, which hitherto was only displayed by US and Israel. This government has given the country a long awaited and well-defined proactive security policy that is distinct from its foreign policy.
The Home Minister reassured the force that it is a prime priority of the Modi government to ensure the welfare of the soldier and his family. He also mentioned that since the Modi government came to power, it has initiated various schemes for the welfare of the security forces, like one rank one pension, which has led to improvement in the satisfaction ratio of the security personnel. The government is putting in place a well designed policy that will ensure that the jawans spend at least 100 days in a year with their family. A time bound programme is to be implemented to upgrade the facilities for the jawans at the place of their posting, which is being monitored by the Home Minister. He promised that the determination of the jawans in securing the Nation would be reciprocated in letter and spirit by the Modi government through securing their family’s future, he added. Concluding his address, the Home Minister saluted each soldier and their families for dedicating their lives for the Nation.
• In his welcome address, DG NSG, Shri Shri Anup Kumar Singh welcomed the Chief Guest and informed that NSG has conducted joint exercises with USA and France as part of its capacity building efforts. The force has countered 115 terrorists and has been awarded 3 Ashok Chakras, 2 Keerti Chakras, 4 Shourya Chakras, 115 Police medals, which stand as a testimony to the NSG’s competence. NSG is a world class ‘zero error’ force and can counter any kind of attack in minimum response time. NSG which comprises of Indian Army and CAPFs, has multi-dimensional responsibility of countering terrorist attacks/hijack attempts and also providing proximate security. He said that the NSG Hub has state of the art training facilities to train State Police Forces thereby helping in increasing their professional capabilities.
8. ‘Chintan Baithak’ – Ports Review Meeting with Chairpersons of All Major Ports of India Concludes
• Minister of State for Shipping (I/C), Shri Mansukh Mandaviya chaired three day Ports Review Meeting – ‘Chintan Baithak’ in Mamallapuram, Tamilnadu which concluded today. Chairpersons of all Major Ports of India, senior officials of the Ministry of Shipping, and other officials of Major Ports attended the meeting.
• In ‘Chintan Baithak’, detailed contemplation on various matters for improving the performance of the Major Ports, strengthening Major Ports to directly compete with private or non-major ports,port modernisation,implementing e-governance to make ports faceless and paperless, developing India as ‘trans-shipment hub’ and Vision-2030 for Maritime Sector was done.
• On the second day of Chintan Baithak , Vice President of India Shri M Vankaiah Naidu interacted and motivated the officials. He said that India needs to develop ports at par with other global ports. A world-class infrastructure at ports is important for India to march from USD 2.5 trillion economy to USD 5 trillion.Shri Naidu remarked that Coastal community development is an essential component of port-led development. There is a need to take care of local communities by providing skills to local youth so that they grab employment opportunities.
• During the Chintan Baithak, Shri Mansukh Mandaviya actively interacted with the Chairpersons, Officials and gave a vision of ‘Smart, Sustainable and Safe Ports of India’. Chairpersons of all Major Ports presented their respective Ports Performance with innovative measures , significant achievements , overall financial condition, future planning for the development of Ports. During the Ports Review Meeting, Chairpersons also apprised the Minister of Shipping about the issues in which Ministry level interventions are required.Shri Mandaviya solved various challenges faced by the ports in the meetings and assured all necessary support for the development of Ports. Shri Mandaviya encouraged Ports to implement the best practices followed worldwide in the Maritime Sector.
9. Pusa Krishi Vigyan Mela-2020
• The Union Minister for Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar has called for retention of talent in Agriculture. Inaugurating the Pusa Krishi Vigyan Mela-2020 here today, he said India has a vast pool of agricultural scientists and specialists graduating from universities every year. “Government can provide funds, subsidies and incentives, but there has to be an interest in farming. For this agriculture has to be made a profitable venture; it should fulfil the nation’s needs, its share in GDP and exports should rise,” he added.
• “Your purpose in career does not end with securing a cushy job or just remain engaged in education and research, but you should be a successful farmer in your area. Even those agriculturists retiring every year should remain involved in farming and inspire others. The farmer should remain alive in you. You may engage in farming in your kitchen garden in your spare time. It will keep you connected with agriculture as a profession,” said Shri Tomar.
• Shri Tomar said the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given priority to agriculture and set a target of doubling farmers’ income by 2022. In this direction, the Government has ensured one-and-a-half times MSP of input costs to farmers, assured Rs.6,000 annually to farmers covered under the PM-KISAN scheme and a loan of Rs.1,60,000 under Kisan Credit Card. The Prime Minister has ensured transparency in disbursal of benefits to farmers and now there is no role for middlemen and brokers. Besides, there will be no shortage of funds and budgetary support for agriculture, he said.
• Shri Tomar said the Prime Minister yesterday launched the registration of 10,000 new Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) in order to promote cooperative farming. Budgetary provision of Rs. 6,600 crore has been made to provide each FPO a sum of Rs. 15 lakh for all farming related activities ranging from sowing, harvesting to distribution and marketing. For this purpose a Credit Guarantee Fund of Rs.1,500 crore has been created jointly by NABARD and NCDC.
• Shri Tomar said geographic divisions and climate change pose a challenge to our agriculture community. He said the Ministry is in the process of organising a big conference in each of the eight zones. The Minister said field exhibitions on the patterns of Pusa Krishi Vigyan Mela should also be organised simultaneously. The Prime Minister has directed that a study on Pesticides be included as part of Agriculture curriculum.
• Speaking on the occasion, the Minister of State for Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Shri Parshottam Rupala called for organising such Farmers’ Fairs in every state. He urged the Agriculture Institutes and scientists to ensure that superior seeds are provided to farmers at reasonable rates. Pointing out that the Government and the Agriculture Institutes are committed to promoting Agriculture, MoS (Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare) Shri Kailash Choudhary hoped a day will come when the farmer is no longer a borrower but becomes creditor.
10. Ministry of HRD to celebrate International Women’s Day in Schools and Colleges Across the Country
• Union Human Resource Development Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhrial ‘Nishank’ has said that to take forward the momentum of empowerment of girls and women through education, the Ministry of HRD will celebrate the International Women’s Day (IWD) in schools and colleges across the country. He further said that the Government has launched a special theme-based focused campaign from 1st-7th March in the run up to the International Women’s Day on 8th March this year with Education being the theme on 1st March. Shri Pokhriyal further said that as a tribute to women, the celebration by HRD Ministry will continue throughout the year.
• The HRD Minister has said that the Government has taken several game changing initiatives since 2014 for the education of the girl child. This is one of the reasons for the success of the scheme of Beti Bachao Padhao whereby the Gross Enrolment Ratio of girls across all levels of education is now higher than boys. At elementary level, GER is 94.32 % as against 89.28% for boys. At Secondary level, it is 81.32 % as compared to 78 %.
• He has said that the HRD Ministry has decided to take further various activities to encourage female students to excel in their lives and establish that their gender is never a hindrance to excellence. UGC will conduct round table discussions and take up several other programmes on women empowerment on various themes in about 40 Central Universities around the country among several other activities to be taken up.
• He exhorted the educational institutions to focus on women achievers during classroom instruction. Shri Nishank informed that to nurture the leadership qualities and confidence in girl students, the Ministry has decided to designate a girl student as class monitor “Main Hoon Monitor” for at least half of the academic school session of the year 2020-21 and beyond.
• He further informed that a Self-Defence Olympiad will be organised for girls at school level on the lines of Yoga Olympiad. To ensure safety and security of girls, Self defence training is imparted to girls of class VI to XII belonging to Government Schools.
• The Culture and Theatre Clubs in Colleges and Universities will be encouraged to organise nukkad natak, mime shows etc shows on women’s issues. The Minister also emphasized that all Colleges and Universities will prominently display Women Helpline Numbers at different places on their respective campuses.
• Shri Nishank said that to motivate girl students, special morning assemblies will be organised once a week in schools throughout the year. He added that in these assemblies, talks on women achievers in different fields, role play, thought of the day, group songs on women empowerment, awards/recognition to the girl students who have performed well in different fields such as academics, sports, dance, music, arts, social service and novel areas will be included.
• The Minister informed that the schools are also being requested to honor women faculty members and staff for their distinguished service for the organization. Educational institutions will also organize essay writing contests on prominent/inspirational women of the district where they are located. He added that in higher educational institutions, the Gender Studies Cells in coordination with UGC will conduct seminars on gender bias and stereotyping, gender equality and women’s right.
• Ministry of HRD is continuously working to provide secure and conducive environment for girls’ education under Beti Bachao Beti Padhao movement of Government of India.To encourage enrollment of girl students in the schools Ministry of HRD constructed gender segregated toilets in elementary and secondary schools within one year from 15.08.2014 to 15.08.2015 under Swachh Vidyalaya initiative. Now all government schools have gender segregated toilets for girls and boys.
• Beside this Ministry of HRD has taken various steps to promote education among girls.
• Under the newly launched Integrated Scheme of School Education-Samagra Shiksha, effective from the year 2018-19, provision has been made to upgrade the existing Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs) from upper primary level upto senior secondary level in convergence with the erstwhile Girls Hostel Scheme. KGBVs are residential schools for girls belonging to disadvantaged groups such as SC, ST, OBC, Minority and Below Poverty Line (BPL). As on December, 2019, 4881 KGBV were operational as compared to 3593 on 30th September,2014. KGBVs currently have an enrolment of 6.18 lakh girls while enrolment stood at 3.52 lakh girls as on 30th September, 2014.
• The University Grants Commission (UGC) in association with WCD Ministry has decided to establish ten (10) Chairs in different universities in the name of Eminent Women personalities in various fields. Women Studies Centres with special focus on most marginalised and disadvantaged women in the society are being set up in Universities and Colleges.
• For supporting single girl child in higher education , Swami Vivekananda Single Girl Child Scholarship for Research in Social Science was started in 2014-15.
• UGC has provided support for eight exclusive women universities.
• The All India Council for Technical Education is implementing the PRAGATI scholarship scheme for assistance of girls pursuing technical education.
• The Government has decided to increase female enrolment in B. Tech. Programmes of IITs from the current 8% to 14% in 2018-19, 17% in 2019-20 and 20% in 2020-21 by creating supernumerary seats.
• The Government has also decided to increase female enrolment from existing 14% to 20% over a period of 2-4 years by creating supernumerary seats in undergraduate programmes of National Institute of Technology and Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur.
• Accordingly, 835 supernumerary seats were created in IITs in the year 2018-19 and 1122 seats in 2019-20. 673 supernumerary seats were created in NITs and IIEST in the academic year 2018-2019.
11. Massive demonstration against Pakistan Army’s genocide
• In Geneva, Pashtun activists held a massive demonstration against Pakistan Army’s genocide in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA during the ongoing session of UN Human Rights Council. They were holding black and white flags symbolising peace and denouncing terrorism. They were seeking urgent intervention by the UN to save Pashtun identity and their culture. The protestors raised slogans like “Pakistan Stop Pashtun Genocide” and “Pashtun Nation Wants Justice”.
• Recently, the Pakistan Army has arrested Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) leader Manzoor Pashteen for raising issues of Pashtun people. He was later released after massive demonstrations by the activists the world over. The Pashtuns, who have gathered from parts of Europe and the US, also held a conference at a special tent in front of the United Nations.
12. United States-Taliban agreement
• US President Donald Trump spoke to deputy Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and discussed progress towards achieving peace in Afghanistan, White House said.
• This was the first known call between an American president and the terror group.
• During the call, Trump emphasised the need to continue the reduction in violence, which made possible the signing of the historic United States-Taliban agreement on February 29. After 18 years of war, the US and the Taliban signed the peace deal in Doha on Saturday to facilitate intra-Afghan dialogue in Oslo this month and the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Afghanistan in 14 months.
13. US: 25 killed as tornado strikes Nashville & central Tennessee
• In United States, 25 people were killed and several others injured when a tornado struck parts of Nashville and central Tennessee yesterday. Officials said, tens of thousands of households and businesses have been left without power.
• The deaths occurred in at least four counties, including Davidson, where Nashville is, and Putnam, Benton and Wilson. The carnage in Tennessee marked the most deadly tornado event in the United States since 23 people were killed in Lee County, Alabama, exactly one year ago, on March 3, 2019.
• Schools, courts, transit lines, an airport and the state Capitol were closed. President Donald Trump said he would visit Tennessee later this week.
14. Indian-American Seema Verma named as key member of coronavirus task force in US
• Leading Indian-American health policy consultant Seema Verma has been appointed as one of the key members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force constituted by US President Donald Trump to combat the deadly disease that has claimed six lives in the country and infected over 90 others.
• The task force led by Secretary, Health and Human Services Alex Azar, was created by President Trump on January 30 to lead his administration’s response to the deadly virus that emerged in China and has wreaked havoc across the globe.
• US Vice President Mike Pence announced the appointment of Seema Verma, Administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and Robert Wilkie, Secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs, to the task force.
15.Shafali Verma at top spot in ICC women’s T20I rankings
• Shafali Verma, the teenage Indian batting sensation, has gained the top spot in the ICC women’s T20 International rankings, riding on her stellar run at the ongoing World Cup.
• She has become only the second India batter after Mithali Raj to top the women’s T20 International rankings, according to an ICC statement. The 16-year-old Shafali has replaced New Zealand’s Suzie Bates, who had been at the top of batting charts since October 2018.
• During the ongoing ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, Shafali has scored 161 runs in four innings demonstrating an explosive batting performance at the top of the order. Another Indian batting star Smriti Mandhana has slipped a couple of places to sixth rank in the latest list.
• Among the Indian bowlers, Poonam Yadav moved up four places, to eighth rank, after a good run in the ongoing World Cup. In the all-rounders’ rankings, India’s Deepti Sharma has advanced nine places to seventh rank, the first time that she is among the top 10 in the all-rounders’ list.