GK Power Capsule – February 2014 (The Hindu Review)
1. Ibrahim Mahlab was sworn in as new Egypt Prime Minister.
2. Dinesh Sarraf appointed as next CMD of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation.
3. Harish Rawat was appointed as the 8th Chief Minister of Uttarakhand. He succeeded Vijay Bahuguna. Harish Rawat was a Union Minister for Water Resources.
4. Manoj Vaish took charge as the MD and CEO of Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd.
5. United Nation appointed India based Vivek Lall as special advisor on cyber security.
7. Former Supreme Court Justice, Ashok Kumar Mathur was appointed as the Chairman of the 7th Pay Commission. Its recommendation would be implemented from 1 January 2016.
8. M Teresa kho was appointed as Asian Development Bank’s new Country Director for India.
9. Satya Nadella was appointed as CEO of Microsoft. Satya Nadella will succeed Steve Ballmer as the third CEO of the Microsoft firm. Bill Gates is the founder and first CEO of Microsoft. Nadella is the first Indian to head the Microsoft in its 38-year history.
10. WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) appointed Marco Lambertini as Director-General of the WWF International.
11. Matteo Renzi sworn-in as Italy’s Prime Minister replacing Enrico Letta, who resigned from the office.
12. Pakistan appointed Abdul Basit as Pakistan’s high commissioner to India. He will replace Salman Bashir.
13. Justice Mukul Mudgal was appointed as the chief of the Broadcast Content Complaints Council (BCCC).
14. Vinod Sawhny was appointed as CEO of Reliance Communications.
15. Jatinder Bir Singh was appointed CMD of Punjab and Sind Bank.
16. R.K.Tiwari was appointed as the new chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes.
17. N Ramachandran was elected President of Indian Olympic Association.
18. Chandi Prasad Bhatt, the noted Gandhian environmentalist and social activist won the Gandhi Peace Prize for the year 2013. Bhatt was one of the pioneers of the Chipko movement.
19. Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor was awarded with Israel’s highest civilian honour, the Israeli Presidential Medal of Distinction.
20. Killa, a Marathi film won the Crystal Bear (Glasernen Bar) for the best film award by the Children’s jury in Generation Kplus section at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival. The film has been directed by Avinash Arun.
21. Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India presented the International Gandhi Award for the year 2013 to Dr. Vijaykumar Vinayak Dongre (VV Dongre) and Prof. Guocheng Zhang.
22. The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee was conferred Award of Honour for the leadership he has provided and the India’s victory over Polio. The award was presented by Ron Burton, President of Rotary International.
23. Bangladesh’s Kamar Ahmad Simon’s documentary Are You Listening won the Golden Conch Award at the Mumbai International Film Festival for Documentary, Short and Animation Films.
24. Arunima Sinha received Amazing Indian Award. She was awarded for scaling Mount Everest despite being physically challenged.
25. Vishwanath Tripathi, the eminent Hindi writer has been selected for the prestigious Vyas Samman for the year 2013. He has been chosen for his memoir 'Vyomkesh Darvesh' that is a biography of the noted Hindi scholar Acharya Hazari Prasad Dwivedi.
26. Malala Yousafzai was nominated for the World Children’s Prize in Sweden for championing education rights for girls.
27. Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian honour was conferred on cricket maestro Sachin Tendulkar and eminent scientist Prof CNR Rao by the President of India. Sachin became the first youngest and sportsperson to be conferred with the honour of Bharat Ratna. Prof CNR Rao (Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao) is the third scientist who has been conferred with the award. He received the honour after CV Raman and APJ Abdul Kalam, the former President of India. Rao is recognized international authority on solid state and materials chemistry.
28. Nathpa Jhakri Hydro Power Station awarded a gold shield for its meritorious performance in 2013-14.
29. Indian Navy Chief Admiral Devendra Kumar Joshi resigned taking moral responsibility of the accident on INS Sindhuratna in Mumbai.
30. Rishang Keishing the oldest Parliamentarian of India decided to retire. He is 94. He joined politics as the member of the first Lok Sabha in 1952 after being elected from Socialist Party. He had served the nation for seven decades. He joined Congress in 1962.
31. Archana Bhargava CMD of the Kolkata-based United Bank of India resigned.
32. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy resigned from the post. He also quitted from the membership of the State Assembly and the Congress Party as a protest to the decision to bifurcate the Andhra Pradesh State.
33. The Telangana Bill, splitting Andhra Pradesh and forming Telangana as 29th State was passed by the Lok Sabha on 18 February 2014 with Congress and BJP coming together on the issue. The Bill will be passed in Rajya Sabha on 19 February 2014.
34. Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi resigned. He resigned following his government failure to muster the support over whether the Jan Lokpal Bill should be presented before the House or not. 42 MLAs voted against the bill whereas only 27 members favoured it.
35. Hamid Ansari, the Vice President of India released a commemorative postage stamp in the honour of Maulana Hasrat Mohani who was a freedom fighter and an eminent poet.
36. The Parliament of Nepal elected Sushil Koirala as next Prime Minister of Nepal. Sushil Koirala is a veteran Nepali Congress leader.
37. President of Israel Shimon Peres set a new Guinness World Record. He delivered the largest online civics class in the world.
38. President of Zanzibar, Dr. Ali Mohamed Shein is on an official visit to India from 1 to 9 February 2014.
39. Save the Children, UK-based NGO released a Report that claimed India alone accounts for a 29 percent of the global deaths of newborns on their very first day of birth.
40. India was ranked 8th in the list of ten countries in terms of digital governance. The list was topped by Singapore.
41. G-4 Director Generals for UNSC reform met on 11 February 2014 in New Delhi. G-4 members are Brazil, Germany, India and Japan.
42. The World famous Khajuraho Dance Festival began at Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh. The Dance Festival will be celebrated from 20 to 26 February 2014.
43. 103 persons were killed in Algeria when a military aircraft C-130 Hercules crashed in the mountains of Algeria.
44. India successfully test-fired indigenously developed surface-to-air Akash Missile with a range of 30 Km from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur in Odisha coast. The missile that was launched targeted a floating object that was supported by Pilotless Target Aircraft (PTA) Lakshya.
45. Indian Navy kicked off its largest exercise with both the western and eastern fleets in the Bay of Bengal for intensive combat maneuvers.
46. 8th Defence Expo was organized at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi from 6 February 2014 to 9 February 2014.
47. Defence Research and Development Organization said that it is in the process of developing Unmanned Arial Vehicles to track down Maoists in naxal hit states including Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. The vehicles will be used by the Central Reserve Police Force to track the locations of the Maoists in even the forests.
48. Central Government constituted one-man expert committee headed by G K Pillai to examine the demand of a separate Bodoland state, which will be carved out from Assam.
49. Union Cabinet approved the setting up of an Equal Opportunities Commission. The proposal for EOC was made by the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs on the recommendations of the Justice Sachar Committee on Social, Economic and Educational Status of Muslim Community in India.
50. The speaker of Lok Sabha, Meria Kumar referred the pepper spray incident in the Lok Sabha to the Privileges Committee. The 15 member Committee headed by senior Congress leader P C Chacko has power to take punitive measures.
51. A music album entitled Raunaq based on the songs composed by music maestro AR Rahman and written by Kapil Sibal was launched.
52. Prime Minister of India inaugurated Indira Paryavaran Bhawan in New Delhi. This Bhawan will house the Ministry of Environment and Forest and is India’s first on site Net Zero Building built by the adoption of Solar Passive design and energy efficient building material.
53. IRCTC launched E-Wallet Scheme in the second week of February 2014. The scheme was launched to make payment process fast and to reduce transaction failures due to bank payment related problems.
54. The G-20 Meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors held at Sydney, Australia. The official theme of the meeting is restoring global growth. G-20 members in Sydney meeting agreed to start automatic sharing of tax information by end 2015. The G20 nations set the target to increase global growth by at least two percentage points over the next five years that is by 2019.
55. Corporate social responsibility will take effect from 1 April, under which Indian companies and foreign companies registered in India would need to spend a minimum 2 per cent of net profit for the benefit of the society. They will apply to companies with at least Rs 5 crore net profit, or Rs.1,000 crore turnover or Rs.500 crore net worth.
56. Japan-based Mt Gox, which was the world's largest bitcoin exchange filed for bankruptcy. Mt Gox has admitted to have lost 7.5 lakh bitcoins of its customers and one lakh of its own.
57. India is home to the fifth largest group of billionaires in the world and Mukesh Ambani is the country's richest man with a personal fortune of USD 18 billion. According China-based research firm Hurun's 2014 global rich list, Mukesh Ambani was ranked 41st in the list that was topped by Bill Gates with USD 68 billion.
58. India is the second-most cyber attacks on mobile devices prone country with a major chunk of these intrusions designed for phishing and stealing banking details, a report by security software maker Kaspersky said. Russia topped the list.
59. Government increased the workdays under MNREGA from 100 to 150 for tribals from 1 April. Those tribals who have received land rights under the Forest Rights Act, 2006 will be eligible for additional 50 days of wage employment.
60. India's Current Account Deficit (CAD) is expected to be around two per cent of GDP during the current fiscal, Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) Chairman C Rangarajan has said. Finance Minister P Chidambaram had said while tabling the interim budget that CAD will be contained at USD 45 billion this financial year, well below the USD 88 billion level in FY'13.
61. IMF estimated India's GDP growth at 4.6% for FY14 and at 5.4% for FY15.
62. The government cleared Rs 6,400 crore FDI proposal of global healthcare company GlaxoSmithKline to acquire additional 24.33 per cent stake in its India arm.
63. Government said there is a noticeable decline in below poverty line population in the country between 2004 and 2012. Percentage of population below poverty line in urban areas has declined from 25.5 per cent in 2004-05 to 13.7 per cent 2011-12.
64. Finance Minister P Chidambaram retained the 10 per cent surcharge on those earning over Rs 1 crore annually. The government also decided to continue a 5 per cent surcharge on domestic companies with total annual income of more than Rs 1 crore but less than Rs 10 crore. Those with income exceeding Rs 10 crore will pay a surcharge of 10 per cent.
65. The government's dependence on debt has come down from 27 paise in the previous Budget to 25 paise in the coming year. On the expenditure side, central plan allocation has been reduced sharply from 21 paise to 10 paise in 2014-15. However, the interest payment would go up to 20 paise as compared to 18 paise in the 2013-14. Defence allocation has been maintained at 10 paise. As the single largest source of revenue income, the collection from corporate tax has been maintained at 21 paise as a percentage of every rupee earned.
66. Finance Minister P Chidambaram proposed to infuse Rs 11,200 crore in public sector banks to enhance their capital in the next financial year.
67. Defence Ministry was allocated Rs 2, 24,000 crore by FM P. Chiambaram's interim Budget 2014, marking a 10 per cent increase over the last Budget.
68. Finance Minister announced a reduction in excise duty to 10 per cent from 12 per cent on a range of goods till June 30.
69. India's exports are expected to grow by 6.3 per cent to USD 326 billion during the current fiscal.
70. Finance Minister P Chidambaram allocated an additional Rs 1,000 crore to the Nirbhaya Fund for the safety and empowerment of women. In January, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved a Rs 1,405-crore project to track and monitor public transport. The project involves setting up closed-circuit television (CCTVs) and GPS in public transport vehicles. The government set a deadline of February 20, 2014.
71. Finance Minister P. Chidambaram while presenting Budget 2014 said the fiscal deficit for the current financial year will be contained at 4.6 per cent of GDP.
72. Wholesale Price Index inflation in January eased to an eight-month low of 5.05 per cent, helped by a moderation in food prices.
73. The central board of trustees (CBT) of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation endorsed a comprehensive amendment to the EPF Act to hike the wage ceiling for mandatory PF coverage to R15,000 per month from R6,500 and guarantee a minimum pension of R1,000 per month.
74. The number of poor in the country declined to 27 crore in 2011-12, from 40.74 crore in 2004-05. As per the estimates, Uttar Pradesh had the highest number of poor people living below the poverty line at 5.98 crore in 2011-12, followed by Bihar at 3.58 crore.
75. The Bimal Jalan panel, which scrutinised applications for new bank licences submitted its report along with shortlisted entities to the Reserve Bank of India. The last day for applications was July 1. The RBI received 27 applications and subsequently, Tata Sons Ltd and Value Industries Ltd withdrew. At present India have 27 public sector banks, 22 private sector banks and 56 regional rural banks.
76. RBI has given in-principle approval to setting up of a new payment system that will facilitate fund transfers from bank account holders to those without accounts through automated teller machines (ATMs).
77. Several small and mid-size public sector banks (PSBs) are expected to face capital adequacy trouble in the near future as bad loans surge and profits fall. In the December quarter, United Bank posted a net loss of Rs 1,238.08 crore. The bank's net worth declined and its capital adequacy ratio (CAR) fell to a little over 9%.
78. RBI has removed the 26% cap on the interest rate that a microfinance company can charge its borrowers. RBI has said that MFIs can arrive at their lending rate by calculating their cost of funds and adding the prescribed margin.
79. In a major setback to gay rights activists, the Supreme Court declined to review its December 11 judgment, holding that homosexuality or unnatural sex between two consenting adults was illegal.
80. The Aam Aadmi Party Government recommended an audit of the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS) by the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India.
81. Ukraine’s Prime Minister Mykola Azarov tendered his resignation in order to facilitate “peaceful settlement” of the political crisis.
82. The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution allowing European troops to use force in the Central African Republic.
83. The Aam Aadmi Party Government in Delhi announced its intentions to form a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
84. The latest Education for All Global Monitoring Report (GMR) — released worldwide by the UNESCO — acknowledges that India currently has the largest population of illiterate adults in the world with 287 million. This is 37 per cent of the global total.
85. A former Norwegian Minister nominated whistleblower Edward Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize.
86. The Indian Railways is gearing up to roll out next-generation e-ticketing from April this year, marking a ‘paradigm shift’ in technology, customer-friendliness and speed.
87. Three Australians of Indian origin Sadanandan Nambiar, Radhey Shyam Gupta and Pratish C. Bandopadhayay have received one of the most prestigious honours for their contribution to Australian society.
88. The Union Cabinet approved amendments to the Central List of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) to include or delete 115 castes from 13 States and three Union Territories.
89. The Supreme Court stayed the execution of Devender Pal Singh Bhullar, sentenced to death for a bomb attack on former Indian Youth Congress president Maninderjeet Singh Bitta in 1993, and decided to examine his case afresh.
90. The family of the late Chief Justice of India, Justice J.S. Verma, has declined to accept the Padma Bhushan conferred on him.
91. Maruti Alto 800, Tata Nano, Ford Figo, Hyundai i10 and Volkswagen Polo, have failed crash tests, showing high risk of life-threatening injuries in road accidents.
92. Meghalaya’s oldest voter and the first Padma Shri awardee from the State, Silverine Swer, passed away.
93. As many as 37 candidates from 12 States have already been declared elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha.
94. Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his New York apartment.
95. China has rejected reports suggesting it was planning to set up an air defence zone over the disputed South China Sea. In November, China established its first Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) over parts of the East China Sea, amid an increasingly tense stand-off with Japan over the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku islands.
96. The Delhi Government recommended to President Pranab Mukherjee that the “strictest possible action” be taken against former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit for distributing “provisional regularisation certificates to unauthorised colonies in Delhi” ahead of the 2008 Assembly elections.
97. The Canara Bank submitted a draft scheme to the Karnataka High Court for taking over the specified assets and liabilities of the troubled Amanath Cooperative Bank.
98. The Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) has issued an advisory to banks to ensure business continuity after Microsoft ends support for its popular Windows XP operating system on April 8.
99. As Facebook celebrates its 10th anniversary.
100. The decision of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to downgrade India to Category 2 under its International Aviation Safety Assessment programme will have cascading effect on Indian carriers though Air India and Jet Airways, which fly to the U.S, would be affected immediately.
101. The Union government constituted a committee chaired by M.P. Bezbaruah to look into the problems faced by people from the Northeast living in other parts of the country, especially in metropolitan cities, and suggest remedial measures. The move follows the recent death of Nido Taniam, an 18-year-old student from Arunachal Pradesh, after an argument with some shopkeepers in a South Delhi market.
104. As part of a major reform travellers arriving in India from up to 180 countries can avail of the “visa on arrival’’ facility in the near future.
105. Indian Railways has decided to launch an all-India security helpline number for passengers soon. Although it will be managed by a professional call centre, complaints will be monitored by a DIG and four inspectors.
106. ISPO will launch four more foreign satellites for earth observation with its PSLV rocket between the year-end and 2015-end. ISRO’s commercial wing, Antrix Corporation, signed a contract with Singapore’s ST Electronics (Satcom & Sensor Systems) Pte Ltd. for putting in space its 400-kg TeLEOS-1 satellite, and entered into agreements with DMC International Imaging for launching three 350-kg DMC-3 disaster monitoring satellites.
107. India was among key players in generic drug market with eight of its companies figuring among the top 25 companies in the world that accounted for 28 per cent of global generics market.
108. President Jacob Zuma announced that South Africa will hold its 5th democratic general election on May 7.
109. RBI working paper has warned banks of further strains on their asset quality. Gross NPA ratio could rise to 4.4 per cent by end-March 2014. This ratio could go up to 7.6 per cent under the severe risk scenario.
110. RBI has issued Certificate of Authorisation to Tata Communications Payment Solutions Ltd., Prizm Payment Services Pvt. Ltd., Muthoot Finance Ltd., and Vakrangee Ltd. for setting up and operating white label ATMs. Of these, three have already launched their services.
111. SEBI Chairman U. K. Sinha has got a two-year extension till 2016 to continue.
112. Secretary of State John Kerry vowed that the United States would defend Japan against attack including over islands claimed by China as tensions boil between the Asian powers.
113. The Chinese Navy has conducted rare exercises in the Lumbok Strait in the Indian Ocean near Indonesia.
114. Civil service aspirants will get two additional attempts for UPSC examination along with a relaxation of 02 years in the upper age limit.
115. Penguin India has agreed to withdraw American Indologist Wendy Doniger’s book The Hindus: An Alternative History from the Indian market following an out-of-court settlement with Delhi-based complainants, who had moved the court alleging “distortion” aimed at “denigrating Hindu traditions.”
116. The International Olympic Committee lifted the suspension of the Indian Olympic Association after an ad-hoc meeting of its Executive Board in Sochi.
117. The Mars Orbiter spacecraft completes 100 days in space (Feb. 12), or roughly a third of its journey towards the Red Planet.
118. Indian National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon and Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi held a “very constructive” two-day meeting, which discussed additional confidence-building measures such as early implementation of the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) as well as the core issue of a framework agreement for sorting out the border issue.
119. Nissan has displaced Maruti to become the second-largest passenger car exporter from India. Hyundai remains the number one car exporter.
120. Lakshmi Swaminthan, who hails from Chennai, has been elected as the President of the Administrative Tribunal of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
121. A Parliamentary panel rejected the Bill on micro finance institutions, which sought to empower the Reserve Bank of India to regulate them and fix interest rates ceiling on loans to be provided by MFIs.
122. Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, Petroleum Minister M. Veerappa Moily, former Minister Murli Deora and former Director-General of Hydrocarbons V.K. Sibal have been named in an FIR registered by the Anti-Corruption Branch of the Delhi government over alleged collusion in fixing natural gas prices and hoarding in the KG-D6 basin. The complaint alleges that gas prices will be doubled from April 1 to $8.4 (Rs.524.20) per mbtu as against $4.2 (Rs.262.25) per mbtu because of collusion between RIL and UPA-II government servants. The hike would cost the country a minimum of Rs.54,500 crore a year and allow RIL to make a windfall of Rs.1.2 lakh crore, the complaint alleged.
123. President Pranab Mukherjee has given his nod for the nomination of P.P. Rao, senior advocate, as jurist member of the selection committee of the Lokpal, the anti-corruption ombudsman, despite objections from Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj.
124. Italy has petitioned the U.N. over the trial of two of its marines in India under a strict anti-piracy law, for allegedly shooting down two fishermen off the Kerala coast and has vowed to exercise all options to bring back the naval personnel.
125. The Ministry of Rural Development directed the States not to deny workers job cards under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act for non-possession of either bank/post office account numbers or the Aadhaar card. The directives follow an affidavit filed by activist Jean Dreze in the Supreme Court.
126. Consumer Price Index inflation fell for the second consecutive month, and eased to a 24-month low of 8.79 per cent in January mainly due to a drop in food prices.
127. Washington ended its nine-year hands-off policy on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi when U.S. Ambassador Nancy J. Powell met him in Gandhinagar.
128. The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill envisages Hyderabad as the common capital. The Andhra Pradesh Governor will be Governor for both successor States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Centre shall form expert committee to suggest a new capital of Andhra Pradesh within 45 days. 25 Lok Sabha seats to be allocated to residuary Andhra Pradesh and 17 Lok Sabha seats to Telangana. Residuary Andhra Pradesh will get 175 Legislative Assembly seats and Telangana 119. The High Court at Hyderabad will be common for both States till a separate High Court is set up for residuary Andhra Pradesh.
129. China plans to build the world’s longest underwater tunnel beneath the Bohai Sea by 2026, connecting the port cities of Dalian in Liaoning province and Yantai in Shandong province.
130. Honda Cars India has moved upwards to grab the position of India’s third largest car brand after Maruti and Hyundai from 6th position a year ago.
131. Securities and Exchange Board of India will hike the minimum net worth requirement for asset management companies (AMCs) from Rs.10 crore to Rs.50 crore.
132. The Election Commission of India will allow candidates contesting Lok Sabha elections to electronically file their nominations as well as affidavits containing financial, educational, and legal information on their backgrounds.
133. The Chinese film ‘Bai Ri Yan Huo’ (Black Coal, Thin Ice) has won the Golden Bear for best picture at the 64th Berlin international film festival.
134. Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said in his interim Budget speech that Rs.4,909 crore was being spent on modernisation of all 1.55 lakh post offices, and the project would be completed by 2015.
135. Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram announced a farm growth of 4.6 per cent in the current year. He set agriculture credit target of Rs. 8 lakh crore for 2014-15, against Rs.7.35 lakh crore expected this year. Mr. Chidambaram exempted the loading, unloading, packing, storage and warehousing of rice from service tax.
136. Under National Skill Development Corporation, Mr. Chidambaram said the National Skill Certification and Monetary Reward Scheme launched last August had been widely hailed as a success. He proposed another Rs. 1,000 crore next year to scale up the programme rapidly.
137. Finance Minister said the government was fully committed to Aadhar under which 57 crore unique numbers had been issued so far.
138. The Supreme Court got its full strength of 31 judges with the swearing-in of Justices Rajesh Kumar Agrawal and Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana by Chief Justice of India P. Sathasivam.
139. Centre has informed the Supreme Court that Kachatheevu could not be retrieved from Sri Lanka as demanded by DMK party president, M. Karunanidhi.
140. The Faisalabad government of Pakistan has proposed to develop Bangay, freedom fighter Bhagat Singh’s village, as a heritage site with a budget of Rs two crore as part of a plan to restore places of historical importance. Bangay would be developed with five other historical villages in the district.
141. The Union Ministry of Tourism has declared Sikkim the best State in the implementation of rural tourism projects.
142. Russia and Estonia have signed a border pact that took the two countries 23 years to negotiate.
143. Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N .Security Council plus Germany began talks in Vienna on reaching a comprehensive nuclear deal.
144. China emerged as the largest buyer of gold in the world in 2013 having bought 1,066 tonnes. Indian gold demand grew to 974.8 tonnes in 2013.
145. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s promise to free seven convicts serving life sentences for the assassination of the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The Supreme Court directed the Tamil Nadu government not to release till March 6.
146. The first-ever night user trial of the nuclear-weapons capable Agni-1 surface-to-surface ballistic missile on Wheeler island, off the Odisha coast, was postponed for a second time due to a “technical glitch.
147. The Union Cabinet approved Odia as a classical language. Now Odia has become the sixth language in the country to get classical language status after Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam.
148. India and Bahrain signed three agreements to expand cooperation in key areas, including trade and business. The agreements were signed in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in New Delhi.
149. China said the economic corridor that it is planning to construct to link its western Xinjiang region to Pakistan, through parts of the disputed Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), was not directed at “a third party” and would not pose any “detriment” to India’s concerns on the Kashmir issue.
150. Sudipta Sen the chairman and managing director of the Saradha Group that was involved in a massive Ponzi scheme scam was sentenced to three years in imprisonment.
151. Popular music director Bappi Lahiri has been appointed the goodwill ambassador of Unesco Nepal’s “Education For All” in a unique honour.
152. U.S. President Barack Obama welcomed Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama to the White House defying China, which said the meeting would “seriously impair” ties between the two countries.
153. Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with New India Assurance Company to deliver three unique innovative health insurance policies for women account holders of the bank. The policies — BMB-Sakhee, BMB-Nirbhaya and BMB-Parivar Suraksha — provide customised health insurance package for women.
154. The Uttar Pradesh Government approved the proposal for establishing a tiger reserve in Pilibhit.
155. Foreign exchange reserves surged by $1.46 billion to $293.79 billion in the week ended February 14 on account of increase in the currency assets, the Reserve Bank of India said.
156. Archaeological Survey of India has decided to make efforts to renovate the Red Fort in such a manner that the earlier grandeur of the Mughal-era is revived.
157. The Whistleblowers’ Protection Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha. The Bill seeks to provide for “adequate protection to persons reporting corruption or wilful misuse of discretion which causes a demonstrable loss to the government, or commission of a criminal offence by a public servant.”
158. The attempt to capture the non-Congress, non-BJP electoral space began in earnest with leaders of seven regional parties joining the Left Front in issuing a joint declaration, offering the electorate a “democratic, secular, federal and pro-people development agenda.”
159. President Barack Obama told his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai he is now planning a full U.S. troop withdrawal, but did not rule out making a deal on a post-2014 mission with the next Kabul government.
160. The Food and Civil Supplies Department and the World Food Programme (WFP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for modernising the public distribution system and for implementing the end-to-end computerisation project.
161. The Supreme Court ordered the arrest of Sahara chief Subrata Roy for his failure to appear before it in connection with the Rs.19,000-crore deposits his company has not refunded to its investors.
162. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi launched a 130-MW solar power plant at Bhagwanpur in Neemuch in Madhya Pradesh. This is the largest solar power plant in India set up at a cost of Rs. 1,100 crore on 305 hectares of land, will supply power at Rs. 8.05 a kWh.
163. Delhi Police launched on line complain facility for lodging a complaint about a lost article. The application is currently available on Android phones. It will be made available on Windows and Apple phones soon.