Maharashtra Approves Rs. 250 crore Cloud Seeding Programme:

The state government of Maharashtra has approved a Rs. 250 crore Cloud Seeding Programme to experiment whether cloud seeding produces sufficient rain. Seeding is a technique which involves spraying chemicals into clouds.

Under the programme, the weather scientists will fly airplanes loaded with silver iodide over clouds above Solapur, Maharashtra during the monsoon 2017 beginning with a three year initial investigation. The programme is coordinated by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology and will deal to address the frequent drought in Vidarbha.

PM’s maternity benefits promise hits roadblock:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi of giving maternity benefits to all women has hit a roadblock because of lack of funds and will benefit only those who have their first child under the programme. As per the scheme, pregnant and lactating mothers are provided a cash incentive of Rs 6,000 upon fulfilling several preconditions. Though a fund of Rs 2,700 crore was set aside for maternity benefit scheme, according to the ministry this fund would be insufficient.

Drones keep surveillance during polls in Odisha:

For the first time, unmanned aerial vehicles or drones were used for surveillance of polling booths in the Maoist-infested Malkangiri district during the fourth phase of panchayat polls in the State on Sunday. Flying at a height of 300 to 500 metres, the drones were able to provide detailed information about movements in the remote jungle terrain around the remote hypersensitive booths in Maoist-infested regions.

Sonowal aims to make Assam cleanest State by October 2:

No toilet, no nikah. Maulvis and muftis in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab have decided not to solemnise marriage in a house where there is no toilet. Maulana Mahmood A Madani, secretary general of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, said having a toilet has been made a mandatory condition for Muslim marriage in the three States and will be soon be applied in all other States in the country.

300 delegates to participate in Digital India conference:

Computer Society of India, Vizag Chapter, chairman and RINL director DN Rao said that elaborate arrangements were being made for the two-day international conference DIGITS-2017 (Digital India in Global IT Spectrum) to be held from February 24 in the city. The CSI in association with Visakahpatnam Steel Plant is organising the event with the theme of Innovate, Integrate and Transform.


India Approves USD 340 million Loan to Nepal for Development Programmes

India has sanctioned a soft loan of US dollar 340 million to Nepal for various infrastructure development programmes on February 19, 2017. The approval paper was handed over by the Indian Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae to Physical Infrastructure and Transport Minister of Nepal Ramesh Lekhak in the Nepal.

Capital: Kathmandu

Currency: Nepalese rupee

Prime minister: Pushpa Kamal Dahal

President: Bidhya Devi Bhandari


India Vetiver Network (INVN) has been launched at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in Coimbatore:

INVN is a not-for-profit scientific network to promote vetiver in India. Vetiver has worldwide application to tackle many environmental issues like soil erosion, mitigation of soil and water pollution. Promotion of research in vetiver-identification of varieties, improved production technologies and distillation techniques.

NASA to create Space Technology Research Institutes for Deep Space Exploration:

In order to focus on deep space missions, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has proposed to set up of two multi-disciplinary, university-led research institutes that will work to develop technologies having potential to extend human presence deeper into the solar system. The Space Technology Research Institutes (STRIs) will be created in the two institutes namely Centre for the Utilization of Biological Engineering in Space (CUBES) and Institute for Ultra-Strong Composites by Computational Design (US-COMP) with expected outcome within 5 years.

Scientists Discovers Lost Continent Zealandia Hidden Submerged in Pacific Ocean:

A Lost Continent that sunk about 100 million years ago has been discovered underneath New Zealand by the scientists. Zealandia, a lost continent submerged in the southwest Pacific Ocean, is large enough to be recognized as a separate continent. Journal of the Geological Society of America. Zealandia covers nearly 5 million sq. km (1.9 million sq miles) out of which 94 percent is under water and surrounds New Zealand, New Caledonia, Norfolk Island, the Lord Howe Island group and Elizabeth and Middleton reefs.

India’s only Volcano in Andaman & Nicobar Island Active Again:

A team of scientists led by Abhay Mudholkar, from CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography (CSIR-NIO) in Goa on February 17, 2017 informed that India’s only live volcano in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands has started erupting smoke and lava again.

The volcano of Barren Island last erupted in 1991 after lying dormant for 150 years. Again the volcano has started showing sporadic activity in small intervals of 5-10 minutes.


Akhil and Jitender Kumar Signs Deal to Turn Professional Boxers

Following the path of Indian boxing sensation Vijender Singh, Olympic quarterfinalists boxers Akhil Kumar and Jitender Kumar are also stepping up to enter professional boxing. The former Melbourne Commonwealth Games gold medalist boxer Akhil Kumar and Asian medallist Jitender Kumar signed a multi-year deal with IOS Boxing Promotions on February 18, 2017 confirming turning professional boxers. IOS Boxing Promotions also manages Vijendra Singh’s pro boxing career.

Haryana’s Sandeep Kumar Breaks his Own Record to Win Gold in 50km Race Walk

Athelete Sandeep Kumar of Haryana won the gold medal in the Men’s 50km event of the National Race Walking Championships held in New Delhi. Both these sprinters have also booked their berths for the London Championship for which the entry standard for the men’s 50km race walk is 4:06:00.Sandeep was given a cash prize of Rs 50,000, while Jitender and Chandan got Rs 30,000 and Rs 20,000 respectively as prize money. A total of Rs 4 lakh was kept as prize money by the sponsors Max Bupa.

Jang wins Australian Open; Aditi joint 52nd:

South Korea’s Jang Ha-Na stormed to a three-shot victory in the Australian Open at Royal Adelaide with a blistering eagle-birdie finish on Sunday. Jang, 24, conjured a remarkable finish with an eagle from long range at the 17th followed by a brilliant birdie at the 18th to reach 10-under 282. Jang defeated Denmark’s Nanna Madsen on seven under 285. India’s Aditi Ashok finished tied 52nd.


Nagaland Chief Minister Zeliang resigns:

Nagaland chief minister TR Zeliang has resigned but the political and social unrest in the state is far from over. Zeliang, accompanied by several of his senior Cabinet colleagues, submitted his resignation to the Governor of Nagaland P.B. Acharya. The NPF Legislature Party meeting will be followed by a meeting of ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland Legislature Party at the same venue. DAN enjoys the support of all 60 members in the House – 48 from NPF, four from BJP and eight independents.

Pakistan all-rounder Afridi announces retirement from international cricket:

Legendary Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi today announced his retirement from international cricket, ending an illustrious and sometimes controversial 21-year career. The 36-year-old star had already quit Test and ODI cricket but still skippered the Pakistan Twenty20 team at the 2016 world championships in India. He stepped down as captain after the tournament but retained hopes of continuing his career in the sport’s shortest format as a player.


Sakshi Malik, Sardar Singh, Babita Phogat get top Haryana sports award:

The Haryana government decorated 42 sports persons with top state sports honour. Those who got the prestigious Bhim award also include former Indian Hockey captain Sardar Singh and wrestler Babita Phogat. Those who won the Bhim awards for the year 2016-17 also include Ankur Mittal (Shooting) Sakshi Malik and Babita Phogat (Wrestling), Sandeep Kumar (Athletics), Saurav (Taekwondo), Pankaj (Cycling), Meena Kumari (Shooting), Ritu (Handball), Gauri Sheoran and Vishwajeet Singh (Shooting) Jaideep(Para athletics) and Ranveer Singh Saini (Golf /Special Olympics).

Raj Kummar Rao-starrer Newton wins Art Cinema honour at Berlinale:

Raj Kummar Rao and Anjali Patil-starrer political satire Newton, which had its world premiere at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival (also called Berlinale), has won the International Federation of Art Cinemas (CICAE) award in its Forum segment. Rao shared the news on Twitter by congratulating the entire team of the Amit Masurkar-directed movie.

Pliskova ‘dreams’ of Grand Slam title:

US Open finalist Karolina Pliskova said it was her “dream” to win a Grand Slam after she enhanced her growing reputation by winning the Qatar Open on Saturday. She said she was targeting the Wimbledon and US Open to be her breakthrough moment.


Oriental Bank of Commerce Launches Mobile Wallet ‘Batuaa’:

The Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) launched a series of digital offerings for its customer which also marks the 75th Foundation Day of the bank. The OBC bank introduced a new version of mobile banking in the form of mobile app under the name ‘Oriental Batuaa’ to provide banking services through app. Besides, OBC also launched two new RuPay cards, Oriental Premium card and Oriental Prepaid Card.

Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC)

Headquarters: Haryana

CEO: Animesh Chauhan

GST Council Approves Law to Compensate States for Revenue Loss:

The GST Council approved a law to compensate states for any loss of revenue from the implementation of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) in the first five years, on February 18, 2017 at the 10th GST Council Meet at Udaipur. The compensation bill will be taken to Parliament in 2nd half of Budget Session to be held from March 9, 2017.

Srinagar Airport Gets Its First Foreign Airline Service:

AirAsia became the first foreign airline to begin its operations from Srinagar international airport in Jammu and Kashmir on February 19, 2017. Srinagar has The Sheikh-ul-Alam International Airport since last five years, but no foreign airlines had yet operated services from there. The Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti waved the flag to clear the landing for the AirAsia flight at Srinagar airport in presence of Tourism department officials and top management of AirAsia India operations.

Finance Ministry kickstarts listing process of IRCTC and other rail PSUs

The Union Budget announcement, the Finance Ministry today started the process of listing three rail PSUs, IRCTC, IRFC and IRCON. The government is considering divesting a portion of the paid-up equity share capital through an IPO and has sought Expression of Interest (EoI) from merchant bankers by March 16.

The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) is scouting for merchant bankers to manage the initial public offering (IPO) of the three PSUs, which is under the administrative control of the Rail Ministry. The government currently holds 100 per cent stake in these three companies.

HSBC, UBS stop issuing participatory notes:

With regulatory and enforcement agencies tightening the screws on misuse of offshore derivative instruments, commonly known as participatory notes (P-notes), a number of foreign investors including HSBC and UBS have stopped issuing these instruments.

P-note is an instrument by which a foreigner can invest in Indian stock markets. While non-resident Indians cannot use P-notes under the laws, many experts have pointed out that the SEBI has also shared with the government another list of the investors having parked large amounts of money, each worth $100 million, through these instruments. This is often flouted and Indians use this route launder their ill-gotten wealth.


Former Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir Dies at the age of 68:

Former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Altamas Kabir passed away on February 19, 2017 in Kolkata at Apollo Hospital after suffering from kidney ailment. He was 68. He was the 39th Chief Justice of India who held office from September 29, 2012 to July 18, 2013.

Richard Lewis died at an age 78:

Richard Lewis, who has died aged 78, was a distinguished television producer and director, who worked for BBC Wales for more than 25 years. He was one of a new breed of broadcasting professionals who grasped the opportunity presented by still-rudimentary television in the 1960s, and made it into a medium by which the Welsh nation could become better known to its neighbours, and to itself.