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GA- 12 Feb 2018(February 13, 2018)

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GA- 12 Feb 2018

Feb 12: National Productivity Day

  • National Productivity Day (NPD) has been observed across India on Feb 12 by the National Productivity Council (NPC) and National Productivity Week is being observed from Feb 12 to Feb 18.
  • This year is the 60th Anniversary of the National Productivity Council (NPC) and celebrated the day as Diamond Jubilee Year.
  • 2018 National Productivity Week Theme – “Industry 4.0 Leapfrog Opportunity for India”.

PM Modi lays foundation stone of first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his second visit to the Gulf country laid the foundation stone for the construction of first traditional Hindu temple in Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi, the capital city of United Arab Emirates (UAE).
  • The UAE Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan had allocated land for the temple during PM Modi’s first visit to the gulf country in 2015. 
  • The first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi will come up on 55,000 square metres of land.
  • The first traditional Hindu stone temple in the Middle East will be hand-carved by Indian temple artisans and assembled in the UAE.
  • The temple design and structure is along the lines of the Akshardham temple in Delhi and other places. 
  • It will include idols of Lord Krishna, Lord Maheshwara, Lord Ayyappa and more.
  • It will be completed by 2020, and open to people of all religious backgrounds.

Niti Aayog bats for setting up independent debt management office

  • NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman, Rajiv Kumar made a strong case for setting up independent Debt Management Office for better servicing of loans that will lead to substantial reduction in India’s interest payment.
  • At present, govt debt, including market borrowing, is managed by Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • Independent Debt Management Office will help to resolve issues relating to conflict of interest as RBI decides on key interest rates as well as undertakes buying and selling of govt bonds. 
  • According to the Budget document, India’s total debt is estimated at Rs 66.68 lakh crore at end of March 2018, which is likely to go up to Rs 72.51 lakh crore by March 2019.
  • The interest payment on public debt is estimated to rise from Rs 5.3 lakh crore in 2017-18 to Rs 5.75 lakh in 2018-19.
  • In his Feb 2015 Budget speech, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had proposed to set up independent Public Debt Management Agency (PDMA) within the Finance Ministry.

India, Oman sign 8 MoUs

  • India and Oman have inked eight Memoranda of Understandings (MoUs) during PM Narendra Modi’s maiden visit to the country in different areas including defence, health and tourism.
  • The MoUs were signed after delegation-level talks between PM Modi and Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said in Muscat.
  • Oman was the last leg of PM Modi’s visit to three west Asian countries viz. Palestine, UAE and Oman. 
  • MoU on Cooperation in the field of health
  • Annexure to the MoU on Military Cooperation.
  • MoU on Cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.
  • MoU in the field of Tourism cooperation between India and Oman.
  • Agreement on Legal and Judicial Cooperation in Civil and Commercial matter
  • Agreement on mutual visa exemption for holders of diplomatic, Special, service and official passports
  • MoU on Cooperation between Foreign Service Institute, Ministry of External Affairs, India and Oman Diplomatic Institute.
  • MoU on Academic and Scholarly cooperation sectors between National Defence College Sultanate of Oman and the Institute for Defence Studies and the Analyses. 

Centre for learning Sanskrit language launched in Gujarat University

  • The Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh has launched the Centre for learning Sanskrit language in Gujarat University in Ahmedabad.
  • The first-of-its-kind spoken Sanskrit centre will offer a six-month course for people on how to speak the language.
  • The classes will be held on Saturday and Sunday. The fees have been fixed at Rs 500.

ONGC acquires 10 per cent stake in UAE’s Zakum oilfield

  • The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC)-led consortium of Indian state oil firms acquired 10% stake in Abu Dhabi’s offshore Lower Zakum Concession for $600 mn.
  • The acquisition is part of deal inked in the presence of PM Narendra Modi and Abu Dhabi crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi. 
  • The Lower Zakum Oil Field is owned and developed by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.
  • Indian oil and gas companies with this deal for the first time acquired stake in development of Abu Dhabi’s hydrocarbon resources. 
  • The deal has term of 40 years.

Bihar Govt bans sale of loose cigarettes

  • The Govt of Bihar has banned sale of loose cigarettes in the state to deterrent to kids and youngsters who start smoking by buying loose cigarettes.
  • State health department has issued notification under Section 20 of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2003.
  • With this, Bihar becomes the 12th state in the country to bring such a ban into effect after Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Delhi and others. 
  • Section 20 of COTPA, 2003 makes sale, distribution, purchase, display and advertisement of tobacco products without essential pictorial warnings a punishable offence.
  • As the loose cigarettes don’t have pictorial warnings, thus its sale, distribution, purchase, display and advertisement is banned under COTPA, 2003. 

Tanzania withdraws from UN refugee programme

  • Tanzania announced its withdrawal from United Nation’s “Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework” citing security reasons and lack of funds.
  • Earlier in Jan 2018, Tanzania had informed United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) that it was suspending granting of citizenship to some Burundian refugees and that it will discourage new asylum applications. 

Mumbai 12th richest city globally: Report

  • According to the report published by New World Wealth, India’s financial capital, Mumbai ranked 12th richest city globally with a total wealth of US $950 billion.
  • The list of 15 wealthiest cities was topped by New York with total wealth of US $3 trillion followed by London ($2.7 trillion) and Tokyo ($2.5 trillion).
  • Total wealth, refers to private wealth held by all individuals living in each city.
  • Among the 15 richest cities listed, San Francisco, Beijing, Shanghai, Mumbai and Sydney are fastest growing in terms of wealth growth over the past 10 years.
  • Mumbai is economic hub of India having 12th largest stock exchange in the world, Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

Three new eel species discovered in Bay of Bengal

  • Scientists from Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) have discovered three new species of eel along northern Bay of Bengal coast.
  • Dark brown with white dots on the dorsal side, Gymnothorax pseudotile was discovered at the Digha coast of the Bay of Bengal. The other two species, Gymnothorax visakhaensis (uniformly brown) and Enchelycore propinqua(reddish brown body mottled with irregular creamy white spots), were discovered from the Visakhapatnam coast of the Bay of Bengal.
  • Bay of Bengal coast has yielded at least 5 new species of eel.  

RSPB lifts 2018 Senior National Women’s Hockey Championship 2018

  • The Railway Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) has lifted the 8th edition of Senior National Women’s Hockey Championship 2018 by defeating Madhya Pradesh 4-0.
  • In the bronze medal match, Haryana beat home team Jharkhand 2-0.

Pakistan’s renowned human rights lawyer, Asma Jilani Jahangir passes away

  • Asma Jilani Jahangir, Pakistan’s renowned human rights lawyer, social activist and an outspoken critic of the country’s powerful military establishment, passed away in Lahore at the age of 66.
  • She was the first woman to serve as the President of Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan. 


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