Current Affairs Today
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the U.S. space agency said that the Parker Solar Probe has begun its second orbit of the sun. It is on track for its closest approach to the sun. Just 161 days after its launch, the Parker probe completed its first orbit of the sun on January 19.
The spacecraft has now begun the second of 24 planned orbits, on track for its second perihelion, or closest approach to the sun, on April 4. Parker Solar Probe entered full operational status on January 1. The craft has been sending data back home ever since. The Parker probe’s 2nd perihelion or closest approach to the sun will once again bring it about 15 million miles from the sun.
Greenpeace reported that there are 139 Indian cities that breach air pollution standards but are not included in the Centre's National Clean Air Programme (NCAP). Airpocalypse III, as the Greenpeace report is titled, analyses air pollution data of 313 cities and towns for the year 2017.
The NCAP was launched by the government earlier this month and is an Rs.300 crore initiative to reduce particulate matter (PM) pollution by 20-30% in at least 102 cities by 2024. The National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), which was formally unveiled is envisaged as a scheme to provide the States and the Centre with a framework to combat air pollution.
The Centre approved the release of Rs.7,214.03 crore to 6 States and a Union Territory for damage caused by natural calamities during the kharif season 2018-19 from the National Disaster Relief Fund. The announcement was made by the Home Ministry.
Among the sanctioned amount, Rs. 4,714.28 crore will be given to Maharashtra for drought, Rs.949.49 crore to Karnataka for drought, Rs.900.4 crore to Andhra Pradesh for drought, Rs.317.44 crore to Himachal Pradesh for flood and landslips, Rs.191.73 crore to Uttar Pradesh for flood, Rs.127.60 crore to Gujarat for drought and Rs.13.09 crore to the Union Territory of Puducherry for cyclone.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) plans to transfer the technology for manufacturing Lithium-ion cells developed by the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thumba. It has named 10 companies to manufacture the Li-ion cells. The Li-ion cells are developed for use in launch vehicles and satellites, this ISRO spin-off will now fuel India's electric vehicle boom.
The shortlisted private-owned (majority) companies are the following: Amara Raja Batteries Ltd, Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh; Bharat Electronics Ltd, Pune; Carborundum Universal Ltd, Kochi; Exicom Tele-Systems Ltd, Gurgaon; GOCL Corporation Ltd, Hyderabad; Jyoti CNC Automation Ltd, Rajkot; National Aluminium Company Ltd (NALCO), Bhubaneswar; Sukhbir Agro Energy Ltd, New Delhi; Tata Chemicals Ltd, Mumbai, and Thermax Ltd, Pune.
Telangana High Court said the State government can acquire Bison Polo ground in Secunderabad. The ground is presently owned by the Union Ministry of Defence. The Centre had “in principle agreed” to give away the land to the State government.
The judgment comes after the PILs filed by three different persons. A division bench of the HC comprising Thottathil B.Radhakrishnan and Justice A.Rajasheker Reddy said observed and approved the proposal by Telangana government to acquire Bison Polo ground.
The petitions were posted as the Additional Advocate General J. Ramchandra Rao during the previous hearing appealed to the bench to expedite their hearing since it got the Centre’s consent to secure that land. The AAG said the government is ready to give whatever clarifications the petitioners wanted on the matter. The matter was posted to February 12 for next hearing.
George Mathew Fernandes, former Union Minister, passed away. He was an Indian trade unionist, politician, journalist, freethinker, and member of Rajya Sabha from Bihar. He was a key member of the Janata Dal and the founder of the Samata Party. He held ministerial portfolios including communications, industry, railways, and defence.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed the State governments of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Delhi to submit a performance guarantee of Rs.10 crore each within a month as it was dissatisfied with the Yamuna cleaning project. A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel directed the state governments to furnish a performance guarantee with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to ensure there was no further lapse in this regard. The fine was imposed as the NGT was dissatisfied over the cleaning of the Yamuna.
National Green Tribunal (NGT):
♦ Chairperson: Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel
♦ NGT is to handle the expeditious disposal of the cases pertaining to environmental issues.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Surat and Dandi in Gujarat .
During the daylong visit, Prime Minister Modi will lay the Foundation Stone for the extension of Terminal building at Surat Airport and attend the New India Youth Conclave.
He will also inaugurate a hospital in Surat.
The Surat Airport Terminal building will be constructed at a cost of Rs.354 Crore in 25,500 square meters area. It will be an eco-friendly sustainable building, using solar energy and LED lighting.
Reserve Bank of India it will inject Rs 37,500 crore into the system through the purchase of government securities in February to increase liquidity.
Reserve Bank of India has been monitoring the evolving liquidity conditions and durable liquidity requirements of the system.
The government to conduct the purchase of government securities under Open Market Operations (OMOs) for an aggregate amount of Rs 375 billion in the month of February 2019 through three auctions of Rs 125 billion each during the 2nd, 3rd and 4th week.
The Central government allocated Rs.900 crore to the State towards drought relief package to Andhra Pradesh for the 2018-19 Kharif season. The fund allocation is a part of the relief package worth Rs.6,680 crore earmarked for Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Karnataka.
Andhra Pradesh got Rs.900 crore. Maharashtra has got an allocation of Rs.4700 crore, while Karnataka will get Rs.950 crore and Gujarat Rs.130 crore.
Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers' Welfare:
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ Minister: Radha Mohan Singh
♦ Its formulation and administration of the rules and regulations and laws related to agriculture in India
Tamil Nadu has bagged the Best State Award for its active participation in the Swasth Bharat Yatra, a pan-India cyclothon. It aimed at promoting the concept of ‘eating right for a healthy life’. The movement is to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi from October 2018 to January 2019. It is organized by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
FSSAI promotes the message of ‘Eat Healthy’ to prevent non-communicable diseases, ‘Eat Safe’ to prevent food-borne diseases and ‘Eat Fortified’ to prevent micronutrient deficiencies. The Tamil Nadu Food Safety Department made the arrangements to organize the events to create awareness.
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI):
♦ Formed on: August 2011
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ Chairperson: Preeti Sudan
♦ CEO: Pawan Kumar Agarwal
♦ Parent Organization: Ministry of Health & Family Welfare
♦ It is established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006
♦ It is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the regulation and supervision of food safety
Uttarakhand’s first tulip garden will come up over 50 hectares of forest land in Pithoragarh district at a cost of Rs 50 crore.
The state government has obtained the Centre’s nod for development of the garden.
To be developed by the ONGC, under its corporate social responsibility programme, the proposed tulip garden will be the country’s second after the one located in Srinagar (J&K).
Suman Kumari becomes the first Hindu woman to have been appointed as a civil judge in Pakistan after passing an examination for induction of judicial officers.
Kumari, who hails from Qambar-Shahdadkot, will serve in her native district.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced “Jiban Sampark” project in partnership with UNICEF India to generate awareness about the development and welfare initiatives of state government among the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups of the state.
The announcement was made after Patnaik inaugurated the annual tribal fair popularly known as “Adivasi Mela”.
The Jiban Sampark’s focus areas will include skill development, empowering communities, cooperation, and innovation among the groups of 75 tribal communities in the country, 13 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups residing in remote and far off areas of 12 district in Odisha.
India received the Award of Excellence for ‘Best in Show’ at the New York Times Travel Show 2019, the largest travel show in North America.
India was honored during the Closing Bell Ceremony at the New York Stock Exchange.
The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India participated as the ‘Presenting Partner’ in the New York Times Travel Show (NYTTS 2019) organised at Jacob K Javits Centre, New York with a view to scale up its tourism promotional efforts in the US, enhance India’s visibility and to increase its share of US Outbound travel market.
India replaced Japan as the world’s 2nd largest steel producing country, while China is the largest producer of crude steel, accounting for more than 51% of production, according to the World Steel Association.
The global steel body, in its latest report, stated that China’s crude steel output jumped 6.6% to 928.3 million tonnes in 2018 from 870.9 MT in 2017.
China’s share increased from 50.3 percent in 2017 to 51.3% in 2018.
India’s crude steel production in 2018 was at 106.5 MT, up 4.9% from 101.5 MT in 2017.