1. COVID-19 may impact growth, IMF warns G20
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that the CoVID-19 outbreak would hurt the already fragile global economy. The warning came at a time when financial chiefs from the G20 countries met to discuss the ramifications of the outbreak on the world economy.
“The COVID-19 — a global health emergency — has disrupted economic activity in China and could put the recovery at risk,” IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said.
2. Ahmedabad glitters to welcome Trump
Ahmedabad gets ready to welcome US President Donald Trump with huge arrangements and decorations. The American president begins his two-day India trip with ‘Namaste Trump’, a mega event which is to mirror the grandeur of ‘Howdy Modi’. The event will be held at the Motera stadium in Ahmedabad.
US President Donald Trump’s flight, the Air Force One will touch down at the Ahmedabad airport at 11.55 am where he and his delegation will be received by Mr. Modi. He will then also halt briefly at the Sabarmati Ashram and attend a roadshow from the airport to the ‘Namaste Trump’ event.
He will deliver a speech with Prime Minister Modi addressing a crowd of over 1 lakh people who would be brought from across Gujarat. In a 3-hour long programme, there will be public interactions and cultural programmes before and after the speeches of the respective prime minister and President. Kailash Kher, a renowned Bollywood singer will be the top-billed entertainer for the evening, alongside many other famous Gujarati singers and performers.
To ensure that everything happens smoothly, the event organisers and the government had conducted a mock security drill on February 23, to cross check the security arrangements.
Trump's visit will focus on sharpening the Indo-pacific military ties and can prove out to be a trade booster for both the countries. He is the 7th US president to visit India.The first one to visit India was Dwight D Eisenhower in 1959 followed by Richard Nixon in 1969 and Jimmy carter in 1978. Bill Clinton had visited India in 2000, followed by George W Bush in 2006. Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama had visited India twice in 2015.
3. Pro and anti - CAA groups clash in Delhi.
Two groups of people protesting against and in favour of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) clashed with each other in Delhi, the capital city and threw stones at each other in the Jafrabad area in North-East Delhi. The police intervened to control the spread of violence.
This is the most recent incidence of violence which has been seen over the controversial law, which came into existence in December last year.
After the two groups clashed underneath the Jafrabad metro station, where anti-CAA protestors had created a blockade, the Delhi Police resorted to tear gas shells and batons in order to bring the situation under control.
The blocked Jafrabad road runs underneath the Jafrabad metro station. When the violence took place, metro authority DMRC shut their entry gates for the metro station.
Protests against the CAA and NRC (National Register of Citizens) have been going on in country since its inception and enactment into the law on December 12, 2019. These protests began in Assam, Delhi, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura initially. Later, these protests spread through the whole country. The major protest however have taken place at the universities of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI or Jamia) and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) till now.
Till now, these pro and anti-CAA protests have resulted in thousands of arrests and 27 deaths. So far at least 8 states have announced that they will not implement the act or NRC, while one state and two union territories have refused to implement the CAA.
4. 3,000 artists to line Agra roads to honour U.S President Trump
On his two-day India visit, US President Trump will also visit Agra in the evening of February 24, for a trip to the world wonder, the Taj Mahal. He will be welcomed by the Uttar Pradesh GovernorAnandiben Patel and Chief Minister Yogi AdityaNath after he disembarks on the Kheria Airport.
Agra, home to one of the most beautiful wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal, has been decked up to welcome the US president. The route from the airport to the site has been spruced up aesthetically and the US and India flags have been put up to give the area a festive look.
In a show of hospitality, 3000 artists have lined up on the 13-km long convoy route, to perform while his entourage is taken to the site. In fact, 250 artists will conduct a special performance for him at the airport, to showcase the beauty and culture of the state.
The performers on the convoy route will showcase their expertise in myraid Indian dance forms like Brij, Awadh and other regions like Krishna Leela, dances themed on Radha and other cultural forms of the region.
5. 4,000-year-old crafts village unearthed
A team of archieological surveyors from the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) has unearthed a nearly 4000-year-old urban settlement in Babhaniyav village, 13 kms from Varanasi. They have found evidence and remains of a temple and pottery at the website.
The university’s Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology, which conducted a preliminary survey of the site in Babhaniyav village, said they had linked it to mentions of a craft village in ancient texts about the city of Varanasi.
They have dated a temple on the site to the 5th century through eighth century, 2000-year-old walls and 4000-year-old potteries.“On the basis of the surface materials we can say the structure is anywhere between 3,500 to 4,000 year old,” said AK Dubey, a BHU professor who is part of the team which will start excavation at the site from February 23.
This site is important as it would age Varanasi to be nearly 5000-year-old, rather than the modern estimate of 3000 years. Dubey said the site could have been a satellite or feeding town for Varanasi, which later grew as an urban town.
6. PIB - India Awaits Your Arrival, Says Prime Minister Modi to US President Donald Trump
Ahead of US President Donald Trump’s 2-day visit to India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted a welcome note to the American premier. He wrote, ”India Awaits Your Arrival @POTUS realDonaldTrump”
In the message, PM Modi said, “Your visit is definitely going to further strengthen the friendship between our nations. See you very soon in Ahmedabad.”
In his Indian trip, Trump would land in Ahmedabad today and attend the Namaste Trump Event at the Motera Stadium. He would also visit the Sabarmati Ashram.
In the evening, he would arrive in New Delhi, where he would hold wide-ranging discussions with the Prime Minister on various national and international issues.
7. PIB - PM-KISAN Scheme completes one year on February 24, 2020
The Pradhan Mantra Kisan Samman NIdhi (PM-Kisan), scheme which seeks to augment farmers’ income celebrates its first anniversary on Feb 24. The scheme, which covers 8. 46 crore farmers nationally, provides Rs 6000 per year to farmers in three- four monthly installments, paid directly into their bank accounts.
The scheme, which had been launched by PM Modi in Gorakhpur, UP last year had states and union territories compile a list of beneficiaries, who were eligible for these financial benefits. They identified people who owned cultivable land upto 2 hectares, though affluent farmers were excluded from the list, based on their income tax declarations. In fact, even professionals who earned at last Rs 10000 per month were excluded from the scheme.
The Central Government has already released more than Rs 50,850 crores under the scheme till now. They wish to cover 14 crore farmers under this scheme, which is based on the data from the Agricultural Census of 2015.
8. PIB - First-ever Khelo India University Games see 3500 athletes show their worth
Inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi in a video conference, the first-ever Khelo India University Games are being held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Cuttack. From Feb 22 to March 1, 2020, the Games are seeing 3500 athletes participate from over 150 universities.
The largest-ever university level sports meet in India, Khelo India will see athletes prove their mettle in 17 sports - archery, athletics, boxing, fencing, judo, swimming, weightlifting, wrestling, badminton, basketball, football, hockey, table tennis, tennis, volleyball, rugby and kabaddi.
Khelo India University Games is aimed to develop as an aspirational competition for India’s youth and help them balance sports with education. It will build a strong framework for all sports played in the country and establish India as a great sporting nation.
Earlier, the government had organised Khelo India School Games in 2018 and the National Youth Games in 2019 and 2020.
9. PIB - Department of Telecommunications Announces ‘5G Hackathon’
Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has launched ‘5G Hackathon’ to identify and promote 5G apps relevant to India and focus on ideas which can be converted into workable 5G products and solutions.
The Hackathon will be spread in three phases - the first of which began on Feb 21, 2020. It will end with a grand felicitation ceremony at the India Mobile Congress on October 16, 2020.
The hackathon would include submission of ideas, selection of top 100 ideas, mentorship and support from hackathon partners, development of 30 best solutions and their testing and then felicitation of the top 3 ideas at the India Mobile Congress.
Participants can choose to base their ideas in a range of fields, including Healthcare, Education & Governance, AgriTech & Livestock, Environment, Public Safety & Disaster Management Enterprise, Smart Cities & Infrastructure, Cyber Security, Banking, Finance & Insurance, Logistics & Transportation, Multimedia & Broadcast, among others. They can be developers, students, start-ups, SMEs and academic institutions as well as companies.
Winners at the hackathon will share a prize pool of Rs 2.5 crore and an opportunity to scale and implement their 5G applications to make them market ready with the support of DoT, MeitY and a number of leading industry, academia, Telcos/OEMs.
10. PIB - Railway chatbot ‘AskDisha’ upgraded to converse with Railway customers in Hindi
In a bid to resolve queries from railway passengers on the internet, the IRCTC chatbot ‘AskDisha’ is now equipped to handle them in Hindi language. The AI-interface had been launced in October 2018 on the ticketing website IRCTC and tourism website for IRCTC tourism.
Initially launched in English, the voice-enable ASKDISHA chatbot is now receiving 3000 queries in Hindi on a daily basis. These numbers are on the rise day by day, showing how it is gaining acceptability from customers.
The chatbot is designed to stimulate conversations with users online and has recorded more than 10 billion interactions with 150 million plus passengers. It offers aid on reservation of tickets, cancellation, enquiry of refund status, fare, PNR search, train running status, enquiry about retiring rooms and tourism products.
IRCTC now plans to add more languages to ASKDISHA’s capabilities, along with many other additional features.
All The Best To All The UPSC 2020 Aspirants !