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February 29, 2016

29th February 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • The Italian city of Verona has banned the opening of any new kebab or fried fast food shops in an attempt to preserve its "traditional appearance". 
  • Swiss voters today rejected a plan that called for the automatic expulsion of foreigners from the country for minor offences like speeding. 
    • Under the plan, foreigners could be deported immediately for major crimes and also for their second minor offence in 10 years.
National Affairs
  • India’s poorest district, Nabarangpur of Odisha today launched a 45-day campaign, called 'Jyoti', to train 4,400 traditional healers as the number of tribal children falling victim to local healing practices in the district has increased. 
  • Maharashtra government today announced a 5% reservation for Mumbai's mill workers, women and kin of state martyrs in procuring autorickshaw permits to ensure greater participation of locals.
  • According to a report by Delhi government, breathing the air of the national capital has adverse effects on lungs which are worse than smoking cigarettes
    • The report added that the lungs of 36.7% people , who have been living in Delhi for over two decades were found affected, when compared to those who had been living for 5 - 9 years.
  • The Gurgaon administration has issued an advisory saying that an FIR will be filed against the residents if they waste water
    • Note : Following the Jat agitation in Haryana, 60% areas in Gurgaon are facing low water supply. 
  • The Delhi Government has decided to aid the DMRC with a ₹1,546 crore interest-free loan to speed up the development process of the metro rail. 
    • Currently, the DMRC has to pay VAT on all its purchases, which, however, is later reimbursed.
    • Noe : he DMRC is on to Phase IV of its metro expansion project, expected to be completed by 2021.
    • DMRC - Delhi Metro Rail Corporation
  • The government has come out with draft rules on emission standards for Bharat Stage VI (BS-VI) for various categories of vehicles manufactured on or after April 1, 2020. 
    • Note : The Centre had in January decided to directly implement BS-VI (equivalent to Euro VI norms) from the current BS-IV, for the supply of cleaner fuel. BS-VI grade fuel contains 10 ppm sulphur.
  • Punjab government today imposed a ban on the sale of army uniforms across the state
    • Note : Punjab had witnessed terror attacks in Pathankot and Gurdaspur in the recent past where militants had disguised themselves in the army fatigues.
New Appointments
  • Senior IPS officer Alok Kumar Verma today took charge as Delhi Police Commissioner.
    • He is going to replace BS Bassi who was at loggerheads with the AAP government on a range of issues in the last one year.
    • Mr Verma, a 1979 batch IPS officer of the AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory) cadre, was serving as the Director General of Tihar jail.
  • Former Chief Justice of India, HL Dattu today joined as the Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission of India
    • He will be seventh Chairperson of the Commission. 
    • He was the Chief Justice of India from September 28, 2014 to December 2, 2015. 
    • He also served as the standing counsel of the Income Tax Department from 1992 to 1993.
Business & Economy
  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today presented the Union Budget for the year 2016-17. 
    • Some of the Highlights are :
      • Higher allocation for agriculture, infrastructure and social sectors.
      • No change in Income Tax rates; Relief to small tax payers up to 5 lakh rupees; Surcharge hiked from 12 to 15 % above the income of one crore rupees; Dividend above 10 lakh rupees to attract to 10%.
      • Concealed Income Disclosure Scheme from 1st June to September.
      • Sovereign gold bonds and Gold monetization to get tax benefit.
      • Half percent Krishi Kalyan Cess on Service Tax to promote agriculture.; Interest subvention to farmers continue.
      • Incentives to affordable housing and new home buyers.
      • Upto 49% FDI allowed in insurance and pension sectors.
      • Electronic items, machinery, paper, footwear to cost less.
      • Industrial solar heater, imitation jewellery to cost more.
      • Fiscal deficit pegged at 3.5 percent.
      • Note
        • As the Union Budget for 2016-2017 was declared today, no hard copies of the same were handed out by the government, in a bid to 'go green and save trees'. 
        • As per the tradition followed till date, several booklets including details of the hundreds of pages of budget were given to journalists after it was presented in the Lok Sabha.
      • Download Pdf Version of Union Budget 2016 Highlights from here
  • The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) is going to raise ₹10,000 crore corpus for ‘Stand Up India' fund from the Reserve Bank of India. 
    • The fund will be used to refinance the loans extended by the banks to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and women entrepreneurs. 
    • Note : The 'Stand Up India' scheme was announced by the Centre earlier in January.
Science & Technology
  • A S Kiran, the Chief of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), has announced that India is ready to conduct its second moon mission, Chandrayaan II
    • A completely indigenous mission, Chandrayaan II was earlier slated to launch in 2013, but was rescheduled to 2016 due to technical difficulties. 
    • Note : Chandrayaan I, India's first lunar probe, was launched in October 2008.
  • Socialist leader and former Maharashtra Minister Nihal Ahmed Maulavi Mohammed Usman  passed away.
    • Popularly known as Nihalbhai,  Ahmed was the former Maharashtra Minister of technical and higher education, state president of Janata Dal (Secular) and former legislator in the state Assembly for nearly three decades.
  • Legendary Tamil comedian Kumarimuthu (77) passed away.
    • He acted more than 500 films in Kollywood and did a variety of roles through his humorous acts.
    • Some of his popular films are Oomai Vizhigal, Idhu Namma Aalu, Pudhu Vasantham, Idhayam, Sahadevan Mahadevan and Aanazhagan.
New Appointments
  • Hashim Thaci today elected as the President of Kosovo, the disputed territory and partially recognised state of Southeastern Europe.
    • He is going to replace Atifete Jahjaga as head of state after winning the required simple majority in voting held in Pristina.
  • Additional Finance Secretary Dinesh Sharma has been elected as the Chairperson of the Governing Council of International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD).
    • Sharma, who is India's governor to Rome-based IFAD was unanimously elected as the chairperson of the Governing Council for a period of two years in 39th session held in Rome on February 17-18.
Awards & Honors
  • The 88th Academy Awards ceremony (commonly referred as Oscars 2016) honoring the best films released in the year 2015 was held at  Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles. 
    • Mad Max: Fury Road has won maximum number of awards (6). 
    • Leonardo DiCaprio has won the Best Actor award for his film "The Revenant". 
    • Alejandro G. Iñárritu has won the Best Director award for the same picture. 
    • Brie Larson has won the Best Actress award for her movie "Room". 
    • Check the complete list of winners from here
  • Sataparna Mukherjee, a class 12 student from Kamduni, is one of five scholars from across the world chosen for NASA’s prestigious Goddard Internship Programme
    • In April 2015, a paper written by her on the Black Hole Theory, and how it could be used to create a time machine, caught NASA's attention.
    • She will study at the Oxford University.
  • Actress Shraddha Kapoor has featured in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list
    • Note : This list is Forbes' inaugural edition and also features cricketer Virat Kohli.
  • Slovenian high-jumper Rozle Prezelj has been elected the new Chairman of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Athletes' Commission.
    • The 36-year-old, a three-time Olympian and a European Under-23 champion in 2001, will replace Namibian Frank Fredericks with immediate effect.
  • In the second and final day of the 3rd edition of the National Race Walking Championships,  Bahadur Rana won the Gold medal in the 50 km walk. 
  • In the fifth match of the 2016 Asia Cup, hosts Bangladesh defeated Sri Lanka by 23 runs at Mirpur today.

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