Today Current Affairs 27th February 2017

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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) plans to send its first robotic spacecraft to the Sun in 2018. The Solar Probe Plus mission, which is going to be NASA’s first to the Sun, is expected to get within six million kilometres of the Sun to probe its atmosphere.The Sun is about 149 million kilometres from the Earth. According to Eric Christian, a NASA research scientist at the Goddard Space Flight Centre, though the spacecraft would not be able to get to the surface of the Sun it would definitely get close enough to answer three very important questions. Why is the Sun’s surface, which is called photosphere, not as hot as its atmosphere? What accelerates the speed of the solar wind? Why does the Sun occasionally emit high-energy particles that pose a danger to unprotected astronauts and spacecraft? Christian explained the queries by saying that according to the data collected by NASA, the surface temperature of the Sun is only 5500 degrees Celsius but the temperature of its atmosphere is about two million degrees Celsius and generally the farther away you go from the heat source, the colder it gets but with the Sun, it’s the opposite. Further, he added that the Sun blows a stream of charged particles in all directions at a million miles an hour however, it is not clear from where it gets that much speed. Features of the spacecraft : It will have a 11.4 centimetres carbon-composite shield that has been designed by NASA to withstand temperatures outside the spacecraft of 1370 degrees Celsius. The spacecraft will also have special heat tubes called thermal radiators, which will radiate the heat that permeates the heat shield to open space so that it does not reach the instruments that are sensitive to heat.

Second-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on 26 February 2017 defeated Frenchman Lucas Pouille 6-4, 6-4 to win the 2017 Open 13. The final, played in Marseille, France, was Tsonga's ninth victory in a row. He executed seven aces against Pouille and managed to maintain his serve without a break. Wilfried Tsonga : Born on 17 April 1985, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is a French professional tennis player. As of 27 February 2017, he is ranked World No. 7. His career-high singles ranking is world No. 5, which he achieved in February 2012. He won his first ATP Masters Series championship at the 2008 Paris Masters. He also reached the final of the 2011 ATP World Tour Finals, where he lost to Roger Federer. He achieved his second Masters Series win at the 2014 Canadian Open. He has reached the quarterfinal stage of all four Grand Slams.  He is also the first and one of only three players (the others being Tomas Berdych and Stan Wawrinka) to have Grand Slam wins against each of the Big Four (namely Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray). Open 13 : The Open 13 is an annual men's tennis tournament. It is played in Marseille, France.The tournament is an ATP World Tour 250 series event on the Association of Tennis Professionals tour. It is played on indoor hard courts at the Palais des sports de Marseille.In 2016, the tournament was won by Nick Kyrgios.

The Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Raghubar Das announced on 26 February 2017 that his government would soon ban the use of polythene bags in the State. The announcement was made by the Chief Minister after laying the foundation of Navjeevan Kust Ashram (Lepers colony) at Deonagar and the Chakulia Urban Water project. The final decision on the imposition of the ban would be taken during the state’s next cabinet meeting. The main objective behind the ban is to develop Jharkhand as “Clean Jharkhand, Green Jharkhand and Swach Jharkhand“. Polythene bags have been found responsible for the death of cows in many cases in the state.  The bags have also lead to the choking of drains in many areas.  After the imposition of the ban, those found holding or using polythene bags would face a jail term. Further, the government plans to provide clothes to Mahila Sakhis Mandals to make bags. Besides this, the state government of Jharkhand has also signed a MoU worth over ₹63 crore with Jamshedpur Utility Services Company (Jusco), a subsidiary of Tata Steel, for Deonagar and Chakulia Urban Water project as well as for the maintenance and renovation for the Birsanagar Bagunhatu Water Project in East Jamshedpur. According to the Jharkhand Urban Development Minister, C P Singh, the work for implementing the water projects in all municipal areas of the state has either taken off or is about to get started.

The world’s largest annual food event, Gulfood 2017 was officially inaugurated by the Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) on 26 February 2017. The five-day exhibition, which will continue till 2 March 2017, is expected to witness participation from over 90,000 food professionals from 150 countries across the world. Highlights : Among the exhibitors are 64 Indian exporters dealing in a range of Agriculture and Processed Food products. The exporters are participating under the banner of the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA). The organisation falls under the Indian Ministry of Commerce & Industry.The APEDA pavilion was inaugurated by Commerce Secretary, Rita Teaotia. APEDA is responsible for the promotion and development of the export of various Agricultural products. Hence, Gulfood 2017 is a significant event for the body, as UAE poses as a potential market for several Indian food products including fresh fruits & vegetables, basmati rice, buffalo meat, processed fruits, wheat, cereals and dairy products. India is one of the largest food producers in the world. It exports agricultural products to more than 80 countries across the globe. During the years 2015 and 2016, the country’s exports stood at USD 16.19 billion. Gulfood :  The event is the world’s largest annual food and beverage exhibition. This year, it is celebrating its 22nd edition. Launched as a biennial event in 1987, the exhibition has grown to encourage food and beverage trade between more than 120 countries annually. It enables over 5000 providers of raw ingredients and materials to showcase the innovations, tastes and trends, which are shaping the future of food and beverage consumption globally. The business to business trade exhibition is managed and hosted by the Dubai World Trade Centre.

The Indian Navy’s Annual Theatre Level Readiness and Operational Exercise (TROPEX 17) concluded on 23 February 2017. The Exercise, which commenced on 24 January 2017, was conducted on the Western Seaboard. More than 45 ships from the Western and Eastern Naval Commands of the Indian Navy, including the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, 5 submarines including the nuclear powered Chakra, 50 Naval aircraft, 11 ships from the Coast Guard, troops from the Army and 20 aircraft from the Air Force including Su 30s, Jaguars and AWACS, participated in the exercise. The aim of the exercise was to test the various facets of war-fighting and joint combat capabilities of the armed forces to respond to given threat situations. The exercise was conducted in phases.  The Joint Work Up Phase saw several weapon firings by ships, submarines and aircraft from the Indian Navy and the Air Force. The 2017 edition of TROPEX also included the conduct of large scale ‘Out of Area Contingency’ in island territory, which saw participation of all three services and their special forces.  The TROPEX 2017 concluded with Tactical Phase conducted over 10 days, and witnessed intense action by both the opposing forces. The month-long exercise provided an apt-opportunity to test the combat capability of the Indian Navy, Indian Army, Indian Air Force and Coast Guard. In addition, it also strengthened their inter-operability and joint operations in complex conflict situation.

Chandra Shekhar Azad, the Indian revolutionary freedom fighter, was in news on 27 February 2017. He came in news on his 86th martyrdom day. On this occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid homage to Chandrashekhar Azad. In his tweet, Modi said, we can never forget his valour and ultimate sacrifice for our nation. Chandra Shekhar Azad : Born on 23 July 1906 in Bhabara village in the Alirajpur district, Madhya Pradesh, Azad was an Indian revolutionary. In December 1921, Chandra Shekhar, then a 15-year-old student at Kashi Vidyapeeth, Banaras, became the part of the Mahatma Gandhi’s Non-Cooperation Movement. Later, he was arrested for being a part of the movement. On being produced before a magistrate, he gave his name as "Azad" (The Free), his father's name as "Swatantrata" (Independence) and his residence as "Jail". From that day he came to be known as Chandra Shekhar Azad among the people. After suspension of the non-cooperation movement in 1922 by Gandhi, Azad became a member of the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA), a revolutionary organisation. HRA was formed by another revolutionary Ram Prasad Bismil. He reorganised the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) under its new name of Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA). The association was reorganized under the new name after the death of its founder, Ram Prasad Bismil, and three other prominent party leaders, Roshan Singh, Rajendra Nath Lahiri and Ashfaqulla Khan. Azad was involved in  In 1925, the Kakori Train Robbery. In 1926, the attempt to blow up the Viceroy's train  In 1928, the shooting of JP Saunders at Lahore (to avenge the killing of Lala Lajpat Rai). Azad, died on 27 February 1931 at Allahabad’s Alfred Park by shooting himself just to evade arrest by the British police. His Colt pistol is kept on display at the Allahabad Museum. Motto of his life was “Dushman ki goliyon ka hum saamna karenge, Azad rahein hain, azad hi rahenge!

The 89th Academy Awards, popularly called Oscar Awards, were conferred on 26 February 2017 (27 February 2017 as per Indian time). The award ceremony was held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles. Comedian Jimmy Kimmel hosted the awards ceremony. The Oscar Awards for the year 2017 were presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) in 24 categories. The nominees for the 89th Oscar Awards were announced on 24 January 2017, via global live stream from the Academy. Movie La La Land received the most nominations with a record-tying fourteen. Major wins at the 89th Academy Awards Award Winner Best Picture  Moonlight Best Actor Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea Best Actress Emma Stone for La La Land Best Director Damien Chazelle for La La Land Best Supporting Actor Mahershala Ali for Moonlight Best Supporting Actress Viola Davis for Fences Best Animated Feature Film Zootopia Best Foreign Language Film The Salesman (Iran) in Persian Best Documentary – Feature O.J.: Made in America Best Animated Short Film Piper Best Documentary – Short Subject The White Helmets Best Live Action Short Film Sing Best Sound Editing Sylvain Bellemare for Arrival Best Sound Mixing Kevin O'Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie and Peter Grace for Hacksaw Ridge Best Production Design La La Land Best Costume Design Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Best Visual Effects The Jungle Book Best Cinematography La La Land Best Original Score La La Land Best Original Song "City of Stars" from La La Land    

 Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin surpassed India’s former legendary allrounder Kapil Dev to become the highest wicket-taker in a home Test season Ashwin has scored 67 wickets from 10 Tests in 2016-17 season played in India. Former Indian captain Kapil Dev took 63 wickets from 13 matches in the 1979-80 season. Ashwin achieved the feat when he dismissed Mitchell Starc of Australia in their first innings on the second day of the ongoing first Test against Australia in Pune at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium on February 24, 2017. Meanwhile, Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan holds both the No.3 and No.4 spots with 54 wickets in 2001-02 and 2003-04 seasons respectively.

Fifth Harmony star from USA, Normani Kordei has been named a global ambassador for the American Cancer Society on February 26, 2017 To raise awareness about breast cancer screenings and HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccines. American Cancer Society : The American Cancer Society is a nationwide voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer.

Japan has unveiled the world’s first robot table tennis tutor FORPHEUS (Future Omron Robotics Technology for Exploring Possibility of Harmonised aUtomation with Sinic Theoretics) which has the ability to play the game better than humans. It has been listed in the Guinness World Record for being the First robot table tennis tutor for its unique technological intelligence and educational capabilities. The robot has been developed by the team led by Taku Oya from Omron Corporation. The FORPHEUS aims to create a harmonious environment between humans and robots through teaching the game of table tennis to human players. The machine has been equipped with sensors and cameras that will help the robot to detect the movement of the ball during the match to better guide as a coach. It also allows human student to see a projected image as to where the return ball will land so that they may improve their skills.

India’s largest software services firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has been rated as one of the top three most-valuable brands in the information technology (IT) service sector by Brand Finance, the leading global brand valuation firm. However, the overall global position of the company dropped down by one spot to 25th from 2016 when it was 24. TCS was also rated as Tata Sons highest brand strength of AA+ and generates 69 percent of the total revenue of the parent company. Other Indian origin IT services companies that made it to the top 10 of the brand value list are Infosys at number 6 and HCL Tech at number 8. The global top 3 most valuable brands in the list includes Google, Apple and respectively.

Food technology start-up Gorb has partnered with online cab aggregator Ola on February 24, 2017 to offer food to consumers at discounted rates in Mumbai. Under the deal, with every booking of Ola cab, the rider will receive a code via SMS and mail which can be availed on the Gorb app or website to order food at discounted rate. The offer will be valid till April 30. Under it a discount of Rs 100 would be provided on a minimum order value of Rs 200. The aim of the partnership is to make available the meals at affordable prices to consumers in Mumbai. Gorb is a food-tech startup launched in 2016 with a tagline ‘Jaisa Mood Waisa Food’.  

According to the New World Wealth report released on February 21, 2017, Mumbai, the financial capital of India has been named as the Richest Indian city with a total wealth of $ 820 billion. The South Africa-based market research group, New World Wealth has reported that Mumbai is home to 46,000 millionaires and 28 billionaires Mumbai is followed by Delhi at second place with a total wealth of $ 450 billion and having 23,000 millionaires and 18 billionaires. Besides, Bengaluru stands at third place with a total wealth of $ 320 billion and houses 7,700 millionaires and 8 billionaires. The report estimated about 11,000 millionaires moved to Australia in 2016 which marks the highest such inflow in any country. Besides, 10,000 moved to the US and 3,000 moved to the UK.  

The government has announced to bailout IDBI Bank with Rs. 3,000-crore capital infusion to enable the bank to have better capital-adequacy ratio and further enhance credit growth. The financial assistance will help the bank to maintain stability. IDBI Bank’s lending portfolio is mostly in corporate segment and that is one of the major reasons for increase in its bad loans. In December quarter of 2016, IDBI had a net loss of Rs.2,255 crore against Rs.2,184 crore in December quarter 2015. Similarly, the Gross Non-Performing Assets (GNPAs) rose to Rs. 35,245 crore at December end 2016 from Rs. 30,134 crore in the previous quarter.

Venezuela and Libya have been suspended from voting in the UN General Assembly in for the second time in two years due to huge sum of unpaid dues by the nations to the UN Body. The UN General Assembly has barred six countries from casting votes in the 2016-2017 session because they are over two years in indebtedness. Dues vary according to factors including national income. As of January, the most recent figures available, As per the data, Venezuela would have to make a minimum USD 24 million payment to get under the two-year threshold for getting its voting rights restored. On the other hand Libya has to make a minimum payment of USD 6.5 million. Other nations suspended include Papua New Guinea, Sudan, Vanuatu and Cabo Verde, formerly called Cape Verde. The dues for these countries range from $265,000 to less than $12,000.

Pakistan and Turkey has signed 10 agreements to enhance bilateral cooperation in various fields, including exchange of financial intelligence relating to money laundering, hydrocarbon and defence cooperation. The agreements and MoUs were signed during the visit of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Turkey from 22-24 February, 2017 to co-chair the 5th Session of Pakistan-Turkey High Level Strategic Cooperation Council (HLSCC) At the conclusion of the 5th Session of HLSCC, the two countries signed 10 Agreements/MOUs in a number of areas of bilateral cooperation including the Joint Declaration.  The different areas in which agreements and MoUs were signed includes hydrocarbons, environment, forestry, information, exchange of financial intelligence relating to money laundering and exchange of armed forces personnel. The two countries agreed to prioritize cooperation in the energy sector, increase bilateral trade and investment, enhance collaboration in the banking and finance sectors, promote cooperation between the higher education institutions; enhance collaboration in the fields of communications and railways and promote culture and tourism. The two sides also agreed to expeditiously complete the work on developing a comprehensive, long-term and forward-looking framework for defence cooperation and enhance partnership between the defence industries of the two countries. A joint declaration on Turkey-Pakistan Strategic Relationship for Peace and Prosperity was issued at the end of the meeting resolved to fight against terrorism The HLSCC was established in 2009 and consists of six Joint Working Groups (JWGs). So far 60 agreements and MoUs have been signed under the HLSCC framework in various areas.  

 The High Court of Bombay has joined hands with Goa Government and National Informatics Centre (NIC) has launched online payment of court fees through e-payment gateway in Goa. An e-payment of court fees would be available for District and Sessions Courts as well as all subordinate Courts in the coastal state. Now all the court fees are paid by way of impressed and adhesive stamps.

India’s first hill station bicycle path was inaugurated in Darjeeling on February 25, 2017. The 20 km long cycle route is developed at an altitude of over 2,000 metres and runs through thick pine forest and Senchal wildlife sanctuary. The path also provides a view of the third-highest mountain in the world, Kanchenjunga. The route starts from near Jorebunglow, south of Darjeeling and ends at a small localeco-village resort in Chatakpur. Riders can rent mountain bikes from Darjeeling at a price of Rs. 800 per day and fees of Rs. 70 rupee to enter the biking area. The path was opened in response to growing interest from both national and foreign tourists and will attract bike-loving travelers.  

The Aam Aadmi Party led Delhi government approved a hike of around 37% in the minimum wages for unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled persons on February 24, 2017 in New Delhi. The Cabinet Committee chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal sanctioned the increase based on the recommendation of a 15-member committee set up by former Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung in 2016. The minimum wages for unskilled persons has been raised to Rs. 13,350 per month from the existing Rs. 9,724 per month. For semi-skilled, the wage has been raised from Rs. 10,764 to Rs. 14,698 per month while for skilled persons from Rs. 11,830 to Rs. 16,182 per month Kejriwal government will send the committee’s recommendations to Lt Governor Anil Baijal on February 26, 2017 for final nod so that workers are benefited. Apart from housing, clothing and food, the committee took into consideration education, electricity and fuel prices before decided on the minimum wage.  

The Central government has granted permission to raise the number of workdays under the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee scheme in Tamil Nadu from the existing 100 days to 150 days. The increase in workdays aims to help rural laborers who are facing job loss as a result of the severe drought affecting the state. The scheme is being implemented in 12,524 villages of Tamil Nadu. Works like desilting of waterbodies in rural areas and maintenance of other rural assets are being undertaken under the scheme. In 2016, 33.43 crore man-days of employment have been generated so far under the scheme and Rs 4655 crore has been disbursed. With the increase in workdays, 3 crore more man-days would be generated.

The centuries old two-day long Liker and Leh Dosmochey festival started in Ladakh Region of Jammu and Kashmir on February 24, 2017. Dosmochey is the major monastic festival held annually in the Ladakh region during the winter season to mark the destruction of evil spirit. The main focus of the festival includes mask dances with different monastic religious musical instruments. Leh Dosmochey is celebrated in Leh Palace. Monks from different monasteries gather together at the yards of the palace to perform “Chams”. The Liker Dosmochey is celebrated by the Liker Monastery in western Ladakh.

Dena Bank has introduced Radio Frequency Identification Card, (RFID) enabled banking cards. With the help of this card a branch/relationship manager can identify a valued client entering a branch with the card. Once the client enters the branch, complete information about the customers will pop up on the manager’s desktop. The customer holding the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) card completes the transaction and leaves the bank branch, the system will capture his/her exit, indicating that transactions have been completed. This information will go into an analytics system that allows the bank to evaluate how long a customer waited before being helped and how much time the customer spent in completing the transactions and other details of his transactions.  

Kolkata-based United Bank of India (UBI) has launched a railway ticket booking facility by having a direct tie-up IRCTC. The facility was launched on February 21. Post the introduction of this facility, UBI customers can now book railway tickets seamlessly through IRCTC website using the bank’s debit card

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje inaugurated a medical project Rajasthan Heart Attack Treatment programme (RAHAT) to provide people timely treatment during heart attacks in remote and rural areas.  She also flagged off RAHAT ambulance fitted with equipment and trained paramedical staff required for treatment of heart disease.  With this, Rajasthan became the second state in the country after Tamil Nadu to launch health programme against Heart Diseases. RAHAT project was launched by Eternal Heart Care Centre Hospital, a private hospital based in capital city Jaipur. It will provide emergency ambulance service and telemedicine service to the patients facing heart attack through the hospitals.  The project is a ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI), a very serious type of heart attack, management telemedicines platform. It can capture and transmit patient’s EKG (electrocardiogram) along with clinical history from remote geographical locations to heart command centre hub.  It will provide patient basic treatment in the ambulance on the way to the nearest Heart Hospital through telemedicine with help of team of expert cardiologists.

According to data released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), India attracted $46 billion foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2016. It shows that, India’s FDI grew by 18% in 2016 as compared to $39.32 billion FDI inflows in 2015. The main sectors which attracted the highest FDI inflows included services, telecom, trading, computer hardware and software and automobile. Bulk of the FDI came in from Singapore followed by Mauritius, Netherlands and Japan. Foreign investments are considered crucial for India as it needs around 1 trillion dollars for overhauling its infrastructure sector such as ports, airports and highways to boost growth.  Strong inflow of foreign investments mainly helps to improve the country’s balance of payments (BoP) situation and also strengthen the rupee value against other global currencies, especially dominant US dollar.  To attract inflow of foreign investments, the central government has announced several measures including liberalisation of FDI policy and improvement in business climate.  In the Budget 2017-18, Finance Minister further announced relaxation of foreign investment norms and also abolished Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).

India and Germany have ratified a comprehensive Social Security Agreement (SSA) to improve investment flows between the two countries.  The agreement was signed in October 2011 and its instruments of ratification were exchanged in February 2017. It will come into force from May 1, 2017. The SSA establishes the rights and obligations of nationals of both countries and provides for equal treatment and unrestricted payment of pensions even in case of residence in the other contracting state.  It also integrate the provisions of the 2008 social insurance pact and is expected to reduce the operational costs of companies on both countries active in either of the countries.  Under it, requirements to be entitled to pension can be met by aggregating periods of insurance completed in India and Germany, whereby each country only pays pension for insurance periods covered by its laws.  This comprehensive SSA will favorably impact the profitability and competitive position of Indian and German companies with foreign by reducing their cost of doing business abroad. It will also help promote more investment flows between the two countries. India and Germany had earlier signed an Agreement on Social Insurance in October 2008. It exempted detached workers of the two countries from making social security contributions in either countries as long as they were making such contributions in their respective countries.  Later, both countries, negotiated for a wider encompassing SSA including totalisation of benefits and was signed in October 2011. So far, India has signed and operationalised similar agreements with 18 countries, including Australia, Canada, France, South Korea, Belgium and Japan  

According to Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) scientist, pests eat away about 30-35% of the annual crop yield in India.  Such large-scale crop-loss is having an adverse effect on the agricultural biosafety which is paramount to food security of the country.  Among such pests, nematodes (microscopic worms many of which are parasites) have emerged as a major threat to crops in the country.  They have caused loss of 60 million tonnes of crops annually. They are causing loss of crops to the tune of almost 60 million tonnes or 10-12 % of crop production every year.  Indian farmers are still not fully aware about these potential crop-destroyers. In the past particular kind of nematode had affected plants such as potatoes and tomatoes in India. The Potato Cyst Nematode was first discovered in Nilgiris and now has spread to various parts of the country. Nematodes are microscopic worms many of which are parasites consisting of roundworms, threadworms and eelworms.  They have successfully adapted to nearly every ecosystem from marine (salt or brackish water) to fresh water, to soils, and from the tropics to the harsh polar regions, as well as the highest to the lowest of elevations.  Depending on the species, a nematode may be beneficial or detrimental to plant health. The predatory nematodes breed by soaking a specific recipe of leaves and other detritus in water. Crop rotation of agricultural plants with nematode-resistant species or varieties is one of the simplest way of managing parasitic infestations of nematodes.

As part of the 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' programme, the Haryana government on 26 February 2017 established an online system for monitoring the sex-ratio. The online system that will be known as the sex ratio monitoring dashboard was established for Panipat. The system will have the data on child sex-ratio, which will be collected from all villages by the Health and Women and Child Welfare Departments every month. The dashboard developed in association with the National Informatics Centre (NIC) as a pilot project will help the state government to generate data on critical villages with towards twisted child-sex-ratio. This information/data will help the government to take needed steps towards managing the ratio in those villages. The system will act as an effective tool by enhancing ground-level coordination between the Health and Women and Child Welfare Departments. Besides, the Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar also decided to simplify the grievances redressal mechanism. He would also implement new schemes like to have permanent cattle markets on public-private partnership (PPP) mode.  

FIH Hockey Stars Awards 2016 were conferred on 23 February 2017 in Chandigarh. This was the first time in the history of Hockey that the ceremony was held to honour the best players, rising stars, goalkeepers, umpires and coaches. Belgium captain John-John Dohmen and Netherlands' Naomi Van were named as male and female International Hockey Federation's (FIH) Player of the Year (2016) awards respectively. The Olympic silver medallists Dohmen and Naomi were handed these awards at a ceremony hosted in Chandigarh. Other awards and awardees are Hockey Stars 2016 female Goalkeeper of the Year: Won by Great Britain's Olympic gold medallist Maddie Hinch. Hockey Stars 2016 male Goalkeeper of the Year: won by Ireland's David Harte. He won the award for the second year in a row.  Male Rising Star of the Year (2016): Belgium's Arthur Van Doren Female Rising Star of the Year (2016): Argentina’s Maria Granatto Coach of Year awards male: Great Britain’s Danny Kerry Coach of Year awards female: Great Britain’s Karen Brown  Umpire of the Year award male: Germany’s Christian Blasch Umpire of the Year award female: Belgium’s Laurine Delforge Indians in the fray for the award who returned empty-handed were Harmanpreet Singh (Rising Star of the Year) and captain and goalkeeper PR Sreejesh (for Goalkeeper of the Year). Hockey legend Balbir Singh Senior, 92, gave away the award to David Harte, while the Player of the Year, both in men’s and women’s category was given by the FIH President Narinder Batra. Details of the winners   Naomi Van: Dutch attacking ace Van, who was the joint winner of the FIH Player of the Year Award in 2009, was superb throughout 2016. During the year, she produced top class performances as the Netherlands took silver medals at both the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the Hockey Champions Trophy in London. John-John Dohmen: Dohmen, the captain of Belgium, as the midfielder produced a string of flawless displays his team won the silver medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Maddie Hinch: Her shoot-out against the Netherlands in the final at the Rio Olympics helped the Great Britain to clinch the gold medal. David Harte: He helped the hockey team of Ireland to make return to Olympic after 100 years. Earlier, he was judged as the 2015 Hockey Stars Goalkeeper of the Year. Maria Granatto: She was named as the Best Junior player at that event for scoring three times during Argentina’s title success at the Hockey Champions Trophy in London. Arthur Van Doren: Doren, the Olympic silver medallist from Belgium, has shown throughout 2016 that he is a world-class defender with composure beyond his years.  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 24 February 2017 unveiled the 112-foot bust of ‘Adiyogi’ or Lord Shiva at the Isha Yoga Center in Coimbatore. The statue is located in the foothills of Velliangiri Mountains in the Western Ghats. The bust was unveiled on the occasion of the Maha Shivaratri, a Hindu festival celebrated annually in honour of the god Shiva. The bust of the Adiyogi was built in eight months by an NGO Isha Foundation. The foundation said the iconic 112-ft face of the first yogi was consecrated in celebration of the 112 methods that Lord Shiva offered towards self-transformation. Before inaugurating the metallic statue face of Lord Shiva, Modi visited the Isha yoga centre and attended the Pancha Bhuta Aradhana function. While addressing the gathering, PM Modi lauded the practice of yoga and said that the practice has transcended from generations and is popularly known that the journey of man from soul to Shiva is Yoga. He said, it is old, yet new. Though static, it is always evolving. He called for to protect nature and mould our activities in sync with the ecological surroundings. Besides, before unveiling the Adiyogi bust, Modi released the book 'Adiyoga: The source of Yoga', which deals with yogic sciences.

61 CAVALRY on 24 February 2017 bagged the Army Polo Championship. In the finals played in New Delhi, 61 CAVALRY defeated Army Service Corps. The famous Army Polo Championship that commenced on 31 January 2017 saw participation from Corps of Artillery, Remount and Veterinary Corps and Armored Corps. Army has dominated Equestrian Sports for a long time producing a large number of Asian Games medalists, World Cup players, Padam Shree and Arjuna awardees and is pursuing it as part of its Mission Olympics programme. At the same time, the 61 CAVALRY regiment has a polo playing tradition and has produced some of India's best polo players. Lt Gen RV Kanitkar, Quarter Master General, presented the Army Polo Championship Trophy to 61 CAVLARY in the presence of a big audience including many senior officers. Army Polo Championship : The Army Polo Championship was re-instituted in year 2015 after a gap of ten years. Since its re-inception, the championship has witnessed the participation of some of the renowned players in the Indian Polo Circuit like Col Navjit Singh Sandhu and Lt Col Ravi Rathore playing at +2 and +5 handicaps respectively. Lt Col Ravi Rathore who is the highest handicapped polo player in Indian Army has also played four World Cups for the Indian Polo Team. 61 Cavalry Regiment : The 61 Cavalry Regiment of the Indian Army is the largest non-ceremonial horse-mounted cavalry unit remaining in the world. As per reports, the regiment recruits Rajputs, Marathas and Kaimkhanis in equal numbers. This ratio was established on the instructions of the former Prime Minister Jawarharalal Nehru. In recent times, the 62st Cavalry is among the limited unmechanised mounted cavalry regiments in the world. Few other unmechanised mounted cavalry regiments across the world include the 11th Cavalry Regiment of the Moscow Military District and the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment. Primarily employed for ceremonial occasions, the 61 CAVALRY regiment can be deployed for internal security or police roles if required. Last time, the regiment saw active military service when it undertook mounted patrol work during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.