• Current Affair,17th February 2020

    NATIONAL NEWS

     

    1. PM Modi participates in ‘Kashi Ek Roop Anek’ event at Varanasi

     

    • The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today said that government will keep taking decisions to achieve the goal of 5 trillion dollar economy. Addressing a function this afternoon at Varanasi  he said facilitating and strengthening traditional handicrafts workers, artisans and MSME will help in achieving the goal.
    • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi participated in the program namely ‘Kashi Ek Roop Anek’ organized at the Deen dayal upadhyay Trade Facilitation Center, Bada lalpur at Varanasi. During the function he visited an exhibition on  the various products from Kashi and others districts of UP produced by the  weavers and handicraftsmen. He not only inspected the stall of Handloom, Pink Meenakari, Wooden Toys, Chandauli Black Rice, Kannauj’s Perfume, Moradabad’s Metal Crafts, Agra Leather Shoes, Lucknow’s Chikankari, and Azamgarh Black Pottery under the One District One Product but also interacted with artisans and craftsman. He also distributed kits and financial assistance to artisans and craftsman from different crafts.
    • He appreciated the Uttar Pradesh Government for taking several initiatives in creating more opportunities for Indian products in the international market and for providing essentials  such as machines, credit, loans to the weavers and handicraftsmen under several schemes. Prime Minister mentioned that due to UP Government’s programmes like One District One Product programme, exports from UP have been steadily increasing in the last 2 years. PM said the country will benefit from the products of UP, reaching abroad and online market of the world.
    • He said in India each and every district can be identified with some unique art, product such as different varieties of silk, spices etc. This, he said is the biggest inspiration behind ideas like Make in India and One District One Product.
    • He noted that in the last 2 years more than 3500 artisans weavers from 30 districts were supported by UP Institute of Design (UPID). Toolkits were also given to over 1000 workers. He commended the efforts of UPID in extending support to weavers, artisans, handicraftsmen etc.
    • Stressing on the need for refining, improving quality of the products made in India, as per the  demands of 21st century, Prime Minister said it is necessary to provide institutional support, financial assistance, new technology and marketing facilitate to our traditional industries. He said for the past 5 years, we have been making efforts in this direction. We are moving forward with a new approach that focuses on empowering every person in the country.
    • Highlighting several measures taken to facilitate industries and wealth creators,  Prime Minister said this year’s Budget has given utmost thrust to Manufacturing and Ease of Doing Business.  He said National Technical Textile Mission has been proposed with the allocation of Rs 1500 crore. He said provision of Rs 3700 crore has also been made for the Defense Corridor in UP. Small industries will benefit from this corridor, and it would also create new employment opportunities.
    • Prime Minister mentioned that GEM (Government e-Marketplace) has made it easier for small enterprises to sell goods to the government. He said creation of Unified Procurement System would further enable the government to procure goods and services from small industries on a single platform.
    • He said for the first time in the country, National logistics policy is being prepared, which will create single window e logistics, thus making small scale industries more competitive and also helping in employment generation.
    • Prime minister concluded the address by urging everyone to take concerted efforts to make India a manufacturing powerhouse.

     

    1. Shri Siddhant Shikhamani Granth’ Mobile App

    Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, , visited Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. He attended the closing ceremony of the Centenary Celebration of Jagadguru Vishwaradhya Gurukul at Jangamwadi Mutt in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.

    • At the event, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi also released the translated version of ‘Shri Siddhant Shikhamani Granth’ in 19 languages. He also launched the ‘Shri Siddhant Shikhamani Granth’ Mobile App. Addressing the gathering, Prime Minister said, its a coincidence that the centenary celebrations are taking place at the beginning of a new decade, and that this decade will once again establish India’s role in 21st century in the world.
    • He said the digitisation of Shri Siddhant Shikhamani Granth via Mobile App will further strengthen the engagement with the younger generation and will also inspire their lives. He suggested conducting an annual quiz competition on topics related to Granth, via this Mobile app. He said translation of Granth in 19 languages will help in making it accessible to a wider public.
    • Prime Minister said,” Our conduct as a citizen will determine the future of India, will decide the direction of a new India”.  He said following the path shown by the saints, we have to fulfill the aspirations of our lives and continue to cooperate fully in nation building.
    • He appreciated people’s contribution in creating awareness about cleanliness and taking the Swachhta Mission to each and every corner of the country. He urged them to use Made in India products. He also asked everyone to participate in Jal Jeevan mission to make it a success.
    • Prime Minister said a significant and visible improvement was made in cleaning the Ganga River; this, he said could be achieved only because of the public participation.  He said under Namami Gange Programme, projects worth Rs 7000 crores have been completed while work on projects worth Rs 21000 crores is under progress.
    • Prime Minister said the government has recently announced the formation of trust- ‘Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Tirtha Kshetra’ for the construction of Ram temple. This trust will look after the construction of the Shri Ram temple in Ayodhya.  He said  government has also decided to transfer 67 acres of land to the trust.

     

     

    1. The Vice President calls terrorism as enemy of humanity, peace and development

     

    • The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu today called terrorism as the common enemy of humanity, peace and development. He also called upon the civil society all over the world to collaborate and create a global consensus at platforms such as UN for strong policy framework against the all forms of terrorism.
    • Addressing the centennial celebrations of Rotary International in India in Kolkata today, the Vice President said that peace is a prerequisite to development and everyone should work to curb the menace of terrorism.
    • The Vice President stressed that India believes in peaceful coexistence and wants peace with all its neighbours. Ours is a country that has never invaded any country in our long history, he said and appealed to all countries to come together to eradicate illiteracy and poverty from the world.
    • Shri Naidu said that NGOs should take lead in the poverty eradication and socio-economic empowerment of the marginalized sections of the society. He asked the civil society organisations to supplement the efforts of the governments for sustainable and inclusive growth.
    • Highlighting that more than 60 percent of Indians still live in villages, the Vice President wanted every livelihood project to factor in this aspect and focus on strengthening the rural economy.
    • “Lack of basic amenities and employment opportunities in rural areas are causing forced migration. We should seriously work towards bridging this rural-urban divide”, he said.
    • Expressing concerns over the declining interest among youth to take up agriculture as profession, Shri Naidu asked the organizations like Rotary to train and skills the youngsters to become agri-entrepreneurs.
    • The Vice President also stressed the need to encourage the farmers to diversify and take up allied activities like poultry, fisheries, and floriculture.
    • “It would it would ensure a regular source of income for them and thus help to withstand the vagaries of nature”, he added.
    • Shri Naidu appreciated the good work being done by the Rotary International in the field of education and health services and appealed to all stakeholders to work for a poverty free India.
    • The Vice President also called upon the NGO community to work towards a 100 percent literate India by providing much needed essential literacy to adults who missed the literacy bus and getting the street children into the formal school structure. He also called for modernizing the classrooms with electronic blackboards and creating Happy Schools by improving the basic infrastructure in the schools. He called upon everyone to make India a Vishwa Guru again.
    • “Teachers, especially in various government schools need constant training”, he said.
    • In addition to promoting literacy, the Vice President suggested NGOs to focus on imparting livelihood skills for youth and women so as to enable them to supplement their families’ income.
    • Calling water conservation as the need of the hour, Shri Naidu appealed to everyone to become a partner in the Government’s efforts for water conservation. Noting that the Jal Shakti Ministry plans build more than one lakh check dams in India in coming five years, he appreciated the Rotary’s move to build more than ten thousand check dams.
    • The Vice President said that share and care is the core of Indian philosophy and since time immortal, Indian society believed in “living together” and “working together”.In the past, it used to be a common practice for the rich to come to the aid of the poor in the villages, he said.
    • Appreciating the role of Rotary in eradicating polio, Shri Naidu said that the history of Polio eradication in India has shown that the government and committed NGOs can forge effective and successful partnerships.
    • “I would like to see more such partnerships for the betterment of the communities at large”, he said.
    • Highlighting need to promote philanthropy in today’s consumer-driven and materialistic world, Shri Naidu called for inculcating compassion and the qualities of sharing and caring from childhood. Children need to develop empathy and not sympathy for the less fortunate, he said.
    • He exhorted the organisations like Rotary to involve schools and colleges in community-service to enable the children to develop the spirit of volunteerism and spiritual values from a young age. He even suggested that the New Education Policy must also seek to promote the spirit of volunteerism among the students and also earmark certain marks for such activities.
    • “together we have to turn the programs like Beti Bachao -Beti Padhao, Swachh Bharat, Fit India, Yoga into people’s movement. We have to create a society which does not discriminat with anybody because of his cast, creed or gender”, Shri Naidu said.
    • The Governor of West Bengal, Shri Jagdeep Dhankar, Minister for Science & Technology and Biotechnology, Govt of West Bengal, Shri Bratya Basu were among the 4000 delegates from 32 countries present at the event.

     

     

    1. Two-day ‘Conference on Combating Drug Trafficking’ for BIMSTEC Partner Nations concludes in New Delhi

    • The BIMSTEC‘Conference on Combating Drug Trafficking’ concluded in New Delhi yesterday. Over two days of extensive deliberations, it provided an important platform for the Partner Nations to share ideas and exchange best practices required to combat the drug menace in the region.
    • The geographical proximity to both Golden Crescent and Golden Triangle, major opium production regions of the world, puts all the BIMSTEC Partner Nations in a very precarious position. India’s position is more vulnerable as we are sandwiched between Golden crescent and Golden Triangle. The bumper harvests of opium in Afghanistan for the last few years have given rise to increased supply of Heroin in all the BIMSTEC Nations. Another major concern for worry is the large number of Methamphetamine manufacturing facilities that are prevalent in some of the BIMSTEC countries. These facilities manufacture a large quantity of Methamphetamine which is further trafficked to all the BIMSTEC countries.
    • Another area of concern is drug trafficking through sea route that affects BIMSTEC Nations. While the Bay of Bengal facilitates trade worth billions of dollars, the drug traffickers also use this vast network to their advantage. Two recent seizures of 371 kg and 1156 kg Methamphetamine by Indian authorities from two vessels in the Bay of Bengal are two glaring examples of this facet. Further, the BIMSTEC region is one of the most thriving centres of pharmaceutical manufacture and trade. It is also in very close proximity to China, which is another leading country in the Pharma sector. This has also made the BIMSTEC region very vulnerable to the diversion and trafficking in Pharmaceutical Drugs.
    • The developments in technologyhave thrown a challenge to the drug law enforcement agencies. The use of darknet is one of the ugly facet of technological use in drug trafficking. The combination of darknet and courier /postal deliveries have made the narco/psychotropic trafficking more anonymous in nature.  Keeping in mind these problems which are common to the BIMSTEC Nations and Indian subcontinent in particular, the various sessions of the conference were designed.
    • The first day of the conference i.e. 13.02.2020 witnessed two thematic sessions. The first session was on Maritime Trafficking of drugs in the Region-Sharing of experiences by the BIMSTEC countries.The session was chaired by Shri Krishnaswamy Natarajan, PTM, TM, Director General, Indian Coast Guard and co-chaired by the representatives from Sri Lanka and Thailand. The session witnessed detailed presentations by all the member Nations. The common factor among all the presentations was the increased trafficking of Heroin in the Bay of Bengal Region. The Chair and the Co-Chairs raised the concern about Methamphetamine and Ketamine trafficking through maritime routes. The recent seizures by the Coast Guarding forces called for more co-ordination and information sharing among the member Nations.
    • The second thematic session of the day was on the Production & Trafficking of Methamphetamine in the Regionchaired by Shri Balesh Kumar, DG, DRI, India and co-chaired by Mr. Ye Win Aung of Myanmar and Police Major Suriya Singhakamol. The presentations and the discussions revolved around the need for regional co-operation to tackle the problem of manufacture and trafficking of Methamphetamine in the region. Emergence of Afghanistan and Iran as major centres for plant based Methamphetamine was also shared by most members.
    • The final day of the conference began with a technical session on Drug Trafficking and Darknet – Courier & Postal Interdictions. This session witnessed the speakers from United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and prominent Indian technocrats. Mr. Sergey Kapinos, UNODC representative for South Asia, highlighted the significance of UNODC as an agency to provide necessary assistance to the member Nations. Shri Jayant Misra, Consultant (UNODC) and former DG, DRI discussed about capacity building measures deployed by UNODC that can be of utility to the member Nations. They envisaged a better intelligence/information sharing platform for the member Nations. The other eminent speakers of the panel were Prof. Ponnurangam Kumaraguru & Dr. Prabhat Kumar. The session was chaired by Dr. Gulshan Rai, Former National Cyber Security Co-ordinator, PMO. He deliberated on the various facets of darknet use and technological solutions for drug law enforcement agencies.
    • Keeping in mind the diversion and trafficking of Pharmaceutical drugs to which the BIMSTEC countries are subject to, the third thematic session on ‘Trafficking of Pharmaceutical Drugs containing Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances’was executed. This session was chaired by Dr. K. Bangarurajan, Joint Drug Controller General of India and co-chaired by representatives from Bangladesh and Nepal. The deliberations were undertaken especially w.r.t. the possible diversion of the lawfully manufactured narco/psychotropic drugs and trafficking of Pharmaceutical drugs. The best practises among the various stakeholders were showcased.
    • The final thematic session of the conference was dedicated towards the demand and harm reduction mechanisms used by the member Nations. This session was chaired by Shri R. Subrahmanyam, Secretary, Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India and co-chaired by Mr. Ugyen Tshering of Bhutan and Mr. Sanjoy Kumar Chowdhury of Bangladesh. The rehabilitation measures and community partnership approach was the main focus of the session. The best practises were shared by the members.
    • The Conference brought out the best practises followed in terms of Drug Law Enforcement in BIMSTEC nations. All the BIMSTEC nations reaffirmed their commitment to increased co-operation.

     

    1. Future of India’s energy sector will be driven by new technology and business models

     

    • Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel Shri Dharmendra Pradhan has said that future of India’s energy sector will be noticeably different from its current avatar, to be driven by new technology and business models. In his inaugural address at the 10th World PetroCoal Congress here today, he said “We are encouraging our oil & gas companies to develop extensive and qualitative engagement with Indian technology and research institutions of excellence. I am happy that seven Indian oil & gas PSUs joined with IIT Bombay last year to set up a Centre of Excellence in oil, gas and energy. Energy transition currently underway can become more manageable only if proactive measures are set in motion. Digital technologies are transforming the energy sector in a profound manner. Industrial Revolution 4.0 is truly at our door step. Indian energy companies will have to quickly adopt and adapt these technologies at a faster pace. We need to create more innovative platforms in India for convergence of leading global technology leaders in the energy sector.
    • Shri Pradhan stressed on the need to achieve the twin objectives of more energy availability at an affordable price and less carbon through a healthy mix of all commercially-viable energy sources. He said that our target to transform India to a USD 5 trillion economy by 2024, requires a gradual and measured energy transition by deploying all sources of energy.
    • Shri Pradhan said that the contours of India’s energy transition are also changing fast in sync with global challenges and opportunities. “Winds of change are evident in the global energy arena. Energy sources, energy supply and energy consumption patterns are changing rapidly. In our pursuit to navigate energy transition, it is natural that we will take advantage of unique synergies that exist within the country. Equally, our efforts will be guided by our global commitments be it under UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of 2030 or those under Paris Climate Summit. ”, he said. The government’s approach to energy policy is based on energy access, energy sustainability, energy affordability, energy efficiency and energy security. All these five enablers will deliver energy justice to our people.
    • The Minister advocated the need to move away from the crude price as the basis for determining the LNG price.  He said “Global gas production and markets have witnessed significant restructuring during the last few years. Global supply of LNG is increasing at a rapid pace, and globally LNG prices are coming down significantly. It is time for our companies to take a relook at the term-contracts with major LNG suppliers. I also believe that the time has come for changing the pricing formulae for purchase of LNG by India. “
    • Shri Pradhan stressed on building sustainable energy infrastructure that can cater to the energy needs of all our citizens.  He said that India is expected to become the largest energy consumer surpassing US and China, in the next decade or so.
    • Talking about the initiatives in transforming India into a gas-based economy, Shri Pradhan said “I consider that the biggest game changer to bring about greater environmental sustainability and flexibility in India’s energy system is through rapid deployment of natural gas. It would serve as a transition fuel in our country. Our Government is working towards increasing the share of gas from 6.2% to 15% in the energy mix by 2030.” Shri Pradhan also spoke about estimated investment of 60 billion US dollars being lined up in the sector, developing a ‘one Nation one Gas Grid’, cross-country pipelines, rapid expansion of the LNG infrastructure in the country, City Gas Distribution (CGD) network expanding to cover more than 70 % of the country’s population, covering 407 districts spread across 28 States and Union Territories. “We are actively encouraging use of LNG, among others, for long-haul trucking along expressways, industrial corridors and inside mining areas, marine applications.  We are also making natural gas easily available at doorsteps for users through mobile dispensing.” he added.
    • The Minister said “Our Government continues to endeavor to ‘Reform, Perform and Transform’ the sector through proactive and far-reaching policy and market reforms in Exploration and Production, Refinery, Marketing, Natural Gas and Global Co-operation. In the last five years, the acreage under exploration has increased from 90,000 Sq KM in 2014 to 2,27,000 Sq KM in  the end of 2019. Our government has carried out 2 D Seismic survey of 48000 line Kilometers in unexplored areas for prospectivity analysis. “
    • Describing alternative fuels like ethanol and bio-diesel being on high priority  in energy mix, he said “We are well on our way to meet the target of 20% blending of ethanol in petrol and 5% blending of bio-diesel in diesel by 2030.  We are advancing our collaboration with countries such as Brazil and US to improve blending technologies in transport sector.” Oil marketing companies have invested over Rs 32,000 crore to upgrade their refinery processes to produce BS –VI grade fuel. Given the abundance of biomass in the country, the use of Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG) will be promoted in a big way in automotive, industrial and commercial uses in the coming years.  SATAT, an important initiative of our government targets to setup 5000 compressed biogas plants mostly by private entrepreneurs who are assured price and offtake guarantee by Oil marketing companies. These plants will not only help tackle the problem of agricultural waste burning but also increase farmers earnings.
    • Shri Pradhan said that India is now leading the global movement in embracing renewable energy sources. The country has an ambitious plan to increase renewable energy capacity to over 175 GW by 2022 and up to 450 GW subsequently. “I wish to emphasize that India needs all kinds of transportation solutions – cleaner diesel and petrol, CNG, LNG, bio fuels and Electric Vehicles. “, he added. He stressed on the need to create new models of business and governance by leveraging technology. Reposing faith in youngsters, the Minister called upon the industry to create a framework to support young employees on driving innovation and creating new business models. He also stressed on urgent need for the Indian Petroleum and Coal sectors to cut cost and reduce risks by accepting state-of-the-art technologies. “Innovative thinking, development of new tools and technology is the need of the hour. At the same time an active commitment to the environment by way of continuous improvement in energy efficiency is required.”, Shri Pradhan added.

     

    1. Nagpur District Developed as Cluster for Orange by APEDA

    • First consignment of Nagpur oranges was flagged off to Dubai on 13thFebruary 2020 from Vashi, Navi Mumbai.Total 1500 crates were loadedin the refrigerated container from Vanguard Health Care(VHT) facility.Nagpur mandarin in one of the best mandarins in the world. Production of this fruit crop in central and western part of India is increasing every year. Mrig crop (monsoon blossom), which matures in February – March, has great potential for export since arrivals of mandarin fruit in international market are less during this period. According toMaharashtra State Agriculture Department 40 lakh hectare. land is under orange cultivation in Nagpur District and major orange growing pockets are Warud, Katol, Saoner, Kalameshwar and Narkhed in Nagpur and Amravatidistricts. In the whole region only one variety Nagpur Mandarin is grown.
    • For the implementation of the Agriculture Export Policy, (AEP) Nagpur District is being developed as a cluster for Nagpur Orange by APEDA. The APEDA officer in Mumbai has been nominated as a nodal officer for implementation of AEP and cluster development of Nagpur orange.
    • The first meeting was held on 30thOctober 2019 last year under the chairmanship of District Collector, Nagpur. After the meeting a cluster development committee of stakeholders was constituted consisting of APEDA,National Research Centre for Citrus(NRC), Nagpur, Agri Department of Nagpur District, VANAMATI Nagpur, Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board(MSAMB), Dr.PanjabraoDeshmukhKrishiVidyapeeth(Dr. PDKV), Nagpur MSME, Plant Quarantine Nagpur and MAHA Orange.
    • Subsequently a Buyer-Seller Meet cum Training programme on Nagpur Orange cluster was held on 5thDecember 2019 at VANAMATI, Nagpur. Around 150 farmers from Nagpur District, Farmer Producers companies and seven exporters attended the training programme.Technical sessionsand interactions between farmers and exporters was conducted in the training programme. The main focus of the training programme was to increase the exports of Nagpur orange in the Middle East countries and to brand Nagpur orange in the Middle East. It was also explained to all exporters the importance of labelling each fruitand crates of Nagpur orange while exporting.
    • A field visit was organised on 6thDecember last year with APEDA, MCDC, State Agriculture Department and exportersto orange growing area at Warud, Katol, Kalameshwar of Nagpur and Amravati districts. After the field visit exporters showedinterest for exporting of Nagpur orange.The interested exporters again visited the same orange growing pockets in the month of January this year.
    • One of the exporter procured oranges directly from the farmers of Warud Taluka and brought them to APEDA funded VHT Facility at Vashi, Navi Mumbai. At VHT pack house the orangeswere graded and sorted. New plastic crates were designed and developed by the exporter to carry 10 kgs per crate.
    • The International Trade in 2018 for orange was USD 10183 million. India produced 8781 thousand tons of orange in 2018-19 (orange includes Mandarin, clementine).

     

     

     

    1. Vice President calls upon the youth to come up with innovative ideas to address the problems faced by the country

    • The Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu today called upon the youth to come up with innovative ideas to address the problems faced by the country.
    • Addressing the students and faculty of the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Design & Manufacturing (IIITDM), Jabalpur today the Vice President said that youngsters should come up with ideas on how to best use technology for easing people’s lives and bring transparency in governance.
    • He further said that our aim should be to build an inclusive society in which every person feels integrated in nation’s development.
    • Exuding confidence that India was well on way to become the five trillion-dollar economy, Shri Naidu called upon the youth to develop positive outlook towards life.
    • “It is very important to succeed in life as it gives you new energy and dynamism”, he said.
    • The Vice President said that technology is changing by day and there is increased digitization in every field.
    • However, he expressed concern over the low levels of digital literacy, specially in rural India. He called for sustained efforts to increase digital literacy and suggested special focus at the school/college level.
    • Shri Naidu also called for creating more digital content in Indian languages.
    • “If the benefit of digital technology and e-governance have to reach the last man, it has to be in Indian languages”, he said and exhorted the students and academia to work for creating more digital content in Indian language, terming  it as their ‘Digital Social Responsibility’ towards the society and nation.
    • The Vice President also said we should gradually move towards education and research in mother tongue.
    • Shri Naidu also called for making cyber security an inalienable part of all our digital literacy programs. This would help in faster adoption of technologies, he said.
    • Discussing various challenges and opportunities on the economic front, the Vice President expressed concerns that India despite being world’s fifth largest manufacturer, share of manufacturing in our GDP has remained around 16 percent.
    • “Our aim is to increase this share to 25 percent of GDP”, the Vice President said while listing various government initiatives to promote manufacturing such as Make in India, Start-up India, MUDRA and Stand-up India, easy availability of credit to MSMEs and setting up of industrial corridors.
    • Shri Naidu said that MSMEs face more challenges as compared to bigger corporations in adoption of new technologies and exhorted theinstitutions such as IIITDMto address thisby creating professionals who specialize in ‘Smart Manufacturing’.
    • Asking universities to prepares the youth for 21stcentury industry needs, he said that with right skills, Indian youth can not only increase the pace of economic growth in India but also would be available to other countries in the world.
    • “With 65 percent of population below the age of 35 years, India has the right demographic capital to emerge as skill capital of the world”, he said.
    • However, the Vice President cautioned that mere degrees and diplomas will not make a person employable and emphasized the need for skilling to take full advantage of the opportunities in the globalised and liberalized economic environment.
    • “Skilling and schooling should go together”, he said.
    • Expressing disappointment over the fact that none of the Indian universities figures in the top 100 global institutions, he called for concerted efforts to improve the teaching methods and the learning outcomes.
    • Exuding confidence that India was well on path to becomethe five trillion-dollar economy, VP said that incentivizing the research and innovation would be key to achieve this target.
    • Praising thegovernment’s move to set up more than 5400 Atal Tinkering Labs in schools across the country, he called uponall educational institutionsto promote the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship among the students.
    • Shri Naidu also stressed the need to take the students out of the classrooms and provide them exposure to real life working environment in the industry.
    • “There should be more industry-academia linkage to enable this”, he said.
    • Stressing the need to raise the expenditure on Research and Development, VP appealed to the private sector to spend reasonable share on research and development and join hands with the Universities. He even called for the creation of a separate corpus by the corporate sector to promote cutting edge research in higher education institutions and universities.
    • Commenting on the behavior of the people’s representatives in the Parliament and state legislatures, Shri Naidu asked them to raise the level of debates in the House and set the example for others.
    • “Discuss, debate and decide in true spirit of democracy”, he advised the Parliamentarians.
    • Union Minister of State for Tourism and Culture, Shri Prahlad Singh Patel, Finance Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shri TarunBhanot, Member of Parliament, Shri Rakesh Singh and Director if IIITDM, Shri Sanjeev Jain were among the dignitaries who graced the occasion.

     

    1. 47 Squadron of Indian Air Force Celebrates Diamond Jubilee

     

    • 47 Squadron of Indian Air Force currently stationed at AF Station, Adampur, completed 60 years of its glorious service to the nation. To commemorate the occasion, Diamond Jubilee celebrations were organised at Air Force Station Adampur on 14-15 February 2020. On this historic occasion, the aerial display by the Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team, IAF vintage Flight, Air Devils and performance by the Air Warriors Drill Team enthralled the audience. A large number of serving officers, dignitaries and veterans were part of the celebrations.
    • The Squadron was formed on 18 December 1959 at Air Force Station Halwara. It has operated Toofani, MiG-21 FL and MiG-29 fighter aircraft. The crest of the unit is a figure of a kneeling ‘BLACK ARCHER’with a drawn bow, depicting poised readiness. The motto of the unit, “Karmani Vyapurutham Dhanuhu” is translated as “My bow is always stretched for its task”.
    • The Squadron took part in both 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars and won numerous accolades. The Squadron continues to maintain its operational edge and has actively participated in Op Safed Sagar, Op Parakram and the operations post Balakot Strike in Northern sector. The Black Archers are the proud recipients of the Presidents Standards in 2009 and are ever ready to face any challenge, to achieve greater heights in service to the nation.

     

    INTERNATIONAL NEWS

     

     

    1. India- Myanmar

     

    • Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of the Naval Staff, Indian Navy is visiting Myanmar from 17 to 20 February 2020. The visit is intended to consolidate and enhance the bilateral maritime relations between India and Myanmar.
    • During his visit, the CNS will hold bilateral discussions with Admiral Tin Aung San, C-in-C Myanmar Navy and also call on H.E. Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, C-in-C Defence Services, and other senior Government officials.
    • CNS will interact with the trainees of National Defence College in Nay Pyi Taw, and also visit the Naval Dockyard and Training Command of the Myanmar Navy in Yangon.
    • Myanmar Navy is a member of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) and participates in the activities conducted under the IONS construct.
    • Indian Navy regularly interacts with Myanmar Navy through the medium of Staff Talks, Joint Working Group Meeting on Maritime Cooperation and other operational interactions which include Port visits, Coordinated Patrols, Bilateral Exercises, Training, and Hydrography etc.
    • In addition, both the Navies also interact during maritime activities such as Admiral’s Cup, Goa Maritime Conclave and Exercise MILAN.

     

     

    1. India-Norway

     

     

    • India marks the beginning of super year of Biodiversity with the hosting of the 13th Conference of Parties (COP) of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), an environmental treaty under the aegis of United Nations Environment Programme, from 17th to 22nd February 2020 at Gandhinagar in Gujarat.
    • Addressing a press conference, Union Environment Minister Shri Prakash Javadekar said that the year 2020 is a super year of Environment and will set the tone and tenor for the decade ahead. Highlighting the urgent nature of global environment issues including marine plastic litter, plastic pollution and microplastics, the Union minister said the issues cannot be solved by any one country alone.
    • On the side-lines of the COP, the Union Minister met a delegation led by Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment, H.E. Mr. Sveinung Rotevan. India and Norway today agreed to jointly tackle concerns related to oceans, environment and climate matters.

    India – Norway Joint Statement on Climate and Environment

    1. Meeting at the beginning of the ‘2020 Super Year’ for the environment, the Ministers stressed that they will do their share to ensure that the 2020s will be a decade of rapid action on climate and environment.

     

    1. The two sides expressed interest to continue and strengthen the mutually beneficial cooperation on environment and climate between the two countries, including on ocean affairs.

     

    1. Actions that target climate change and air pollution at the same time pose a win-win situation. The two sides recognized that such actions should be stepped up, and agreed to work together to raise this agenda.

     

    1. The Ministers recognized that the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol for phasing down use of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) could prevent up to 0.40C of warming by end of the century, Further, noting that universal ratification of Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol shall allow realization of its full potential.

     

    1. The Ministers noted the results of the projects supported by Norway on issues / aspects related with phase down of HFCs. It was agreed to continue such projects for facilitating a smooth transition towards energy efficient solutions and technologies while phasing down HFCs.

     

    1. If managed properly, the ocean holds the key to meeting many of the Sustainable Development Goals. Integrated ocean management is central to achieving a sustainable blue economy. In 2019 Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Solberg welcomed the signing of the MoU on India-Norway Ocean Dialogue and the establishment of the Joint Task Force on Blue Economy for Sustainable Development. The two Ministers were pleased with the progress that has been made under this MoU, including the establishment of the Marine Pollution Initiative. They were particularly satisfied that Norway and India will sign a Letter of Intent on integrated ocean management including sustainable Blue Economy initiatives.

     

    1. The Ministers also noted the importance of delivering concrete, scalable solutions for ocean health and wealth at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon on June 2020.

     

    1. The Ministers further noted the importance of sustainable management of chemicals and waste and welcomed the cooperation between India and Norway on the implementation of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and on the minimisation of discharge of marine litter.

     

    1. The Ministers emphasized a shared understanding of the global and urgent nature of marine plastic litter and microplastics and underlined that this issue cannot be solved by any one country alone. They are committed to supporting global action to address plastic pollution and exploring the feasibility of establishing a new global agreement on plastic pollution.

     

    1. The Ministers agreed to support and work together with other political leaders to prompt a global and effective response to curb the direct and indirect drivers of biodiversity loss. They agreed to work together to deliver an ambitious, strong, practical and effective global biodiversity framework at COP15 of CBD to be held in Kunming, China, in 2020.

     

    1. The Ministers further discussed the conservation of migratory species of wild animals. The Ministers recognized the importance of integrating ecological connectivity into the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

     

    1. The Ministers stressed that international supply chains and finance must de-invest from deforestation and destruction of nature and invest in companies and projects that improve smallholder livelihoods while promoting sustainable production and consumption. They agreed to continue the discussion on forests and deforestation free supply chains.

     

    1. The Ministers stressed that the fifth United Nations Environment Assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme offers a good opportunity to call for greater international action on several environmental issues, in particular strengthening action for nature to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

     

    1. Minister Rotevatn thanked Minister Javadekar for the great hospitality extended to him and his delegation during the visit. He invited Minister Javadekar to visit Norway and the Arctic, to further strengthen the collaboration between India and Norway on climate and environment.

     

    1. Norway and India will explore areas of cooperation in forestry and linking the same with climate change

     

     

    1. Press Release Closing Ceremony Joint Military Exercise Sampriti-IX

       

     

    • Over the past two weeks, with effect from 03 February to 16 February 2020, Armies of India and Bangladesh participated in joint military exercise SAMPRITI-IX at Umroi, Meghalaya. As the 9th edition of the joint Exercise SAMPRITI reached its culmination day on 16 February 2020, the Head of Observer Delegations from both sides conveyed their appreciation for both the participating contingents for successfully achieving the objectives of the Exercise.  The exercise was aimed at strengthening the military relations between the two countries, which allowed the two armies to understand each other’s tactical drills and operating techniques. The exercise provided an ideal platform for the personnel of the two countries to share their experiences on counter insurgency, counter terrorism operations and providing aid to civil authorities for disaster management especially in jungle and semi-urban terrain.
    • SAMPRITI series of joint exercise is a very important military & diplomatic initiative between both the nations and the edifice of the trust and friendship between India & Bangladesh which has been nurtured with the sweat and toil of Officers and soldiers of contingents participating in each edition. Besides training, both contingents also participated in a number of activities including friendly volleyball and basketball matches. A magnificent parade and the customary exchange of mementos marked the successful completion of Indo-Bangladesh joint exercise. The joint exercise was undoubtedly an unprecedented success. Besides promoting understanding and interoperability between the two armies, it further helped in strengthening ties between India and Bangladesh.

     

    1. Japan economy suffers worst drop in over five years

     

     

    • Japan’s economy suffered its worst quarterly contraction in more than five years at the end of 2019 after a tax hike and typhoons.
    • According to official data today, the nation’s gross domestic product in the three months to December shrank 1.6 percent from the previous quarter, before the novel coronavirus outbreak in China hit Japan. The drop was much worse than the one-percent contraction economists had expected.
    • The disappointing data snapped four quarters of expansion and was the biggest contraction since the second quarter of 2014 when the economy shrank 1.9 percent after the first sales tax hike in 17 years was introduced.

     

     

    1. Ties between India and US are unshakeable

     

    • A top American diplomat has said, the ties between India and the US are unshakeable. In a tweet, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Alice Wells asserted that the Trump administration looks forward to an even warmer relationship as Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosts President Donald Trump later this month.
    • Trump will pay a state visit to India on February 24th and 25th at the invitation of Prime Minister Modi.
    • Wells said, the US and India enjoy a close partnership that grows stronger day by day. She said, India is at the heart of the Indo-Pacific region and plays an increasingly prominent role on the world’s stage. She added that the US looks forward to partnering with India at every step of the way.

     

     

     

    SPORTS NEWS

     

    1. Haryana govt announces Rs six crore to those winning gold medals at Olympics

    • Haryana government has decided to give 6 crore rupees to players of the state that bag gold medals at the Olympic Games. State Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said, 3 crore rupees will be given to those winning gold medals at Asian Games and 1.5 crore rupees to the winners of yellow metal at Commonwealth Games.
    • An amount of 15 lakh rupees will be given to each player participating in the Olympic Games so that the players can make the state, as well as the country, proud. Mr Khattar said, the move is aimed at promoting sports in the state and encouraging youths to excel in the field. He said, the state government will also provide employment to the sportspersons in addition to the cash incentive. The Chief Minister was addressing the concluding function of the four-day 46th Junior National Kabaddi Competition at Maharishi Dayanand University in Rohtak.

     

    1. Vidit Gujrathi continues to lead standings in Masters category of Prague Chess Festival

    • Indian Grandmaster Vidit Gujrathi continued to lead the standings in the Masters category of the Prague Chess Festival, after sharing a point with Swedish GM Nils Grandelius in the fourth round.
    • Gujrathi, the second-ranked Indian chess player behind Viswanathan Anand, was forced to draw against Grandelius, the lowest-rated player in the field, in a 35-move game.
    • P Harikrishna, the other Indian in the 10-player field, held Sam Shankland of the USA to a draw.
    • He had suffered a defeat in round three at the hands of the world’s top junior Alireza Firouzja.
    • Gujrathi will take on Firouzja in the fifth round while Harikrisha will battle it out against Russian Nikita Vitiugov.

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