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Indian Affairs

Archaeologists discovers proof for a 4000 years old Ganga-Yamuna culture

Ancient tools: The copper axes, thought to belong to 2000 BC, from Sakatpur
Ancient tools: The copper axes, thought to belong to 2000 BC, from Sakatpur

Six copper axes and some pieces of pottery discovered in Sakatpur of Saharanpur district in Uttar Pradesh could point to a separate culture that straddled the Ganga and Yamuna, coinciding with the Indus Valley Civilisation. The Archaeological Survey of India is excavating the site at Rampur Maniharan, hoping to discover more artefacts.
Key Points:

  • A parallel culture along with Indus Valley civilisation is thought to have co-existed in the fertile plains between the Ganga and the Yamuna in western Uttar Pradesh.
  • The copper axes and pottery sherds found last week may be related to the Ochre Coloured Pottery (OCP) culture in the doab (plains) of the two rivers in the late Harappan period, around 2000 BC.
  • OCP marked the last stage of the North Indian Copper Age.
  • The first remnants of OCP culture were found in Hastinapur, in Meerut district, in 1951 and later in Atranjikhera in Eta district.

Source: The Hindu

National Family Health Survey-4 Shows Improved Sex Ratio, Decline In Infant Mortality Rate in India

  • A latest survey by the government has shown positive trends in key health indicators, including an improvement in sex ratio at birth and a decline in infant mortality rate during 2015-16.
  • The latest National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4) conducted for year 2015-16 was unveiled by Health Ministry in New Delhi.
  • “Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) declined from 57 to 41 per 1,000 live births between NFHS-3 (2005-06) and NFHS-4. IMR has declined substantially in almost all the states during the last decade.
  • IMR substantially declined over the period from 79 per 1,000 live births in NFHS-1 (1992-93) to 41 per 1,000 live births in NFHS-4.
  • Total Fertility Rate (TFR) too declined to 2.2 children per woman from 2.7 in NFHS-3 moving closer to target level of 2.1.
  • The report stated that the Children within the age of 12-23 months have been fully immunized (BCG, measles and 3 doses each of polio).

Narendra Singh Tomar Launches Swachh Shakti Saptah in Haryana

Union Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, made the national launch of Swachh Shakti Saptaah in Gurugram, Haryana, at a joint event with the Government of Haryana.
Over 1000 women swachhta champions from grassroots in Haryana attended the event. Deputy Commissioners of 11 ODF districts of Haryana were honoured on the occasion.
The launch was done with release of balloons by ground level women leaders, inauguration of a sanitation related exhibition and a series of folk cultural presentation relating to women and Swachhta.
An Aadhaar Enrolment machine was placed in one of the stalls for women who were still not enrolled.
The programmme would have nationwide events including honouring women champions, women sarpanches, ASHA workers, school teachers, young students and senior citizens.
 PM Narendra Modi will take part in closing ceremony of the week long programme on 8th of March at Gandhinagar in Gujarat.

International Affairs

Russia, China Opposes UN resolution to Impose Sanctions on Syria

  • Russia and China have vetoed a UN Security Council resolution backed by Western powers that would have imposed sanctions on Syria over the alleged use of chemical weapons by the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
  • Drafted by Britain, France and the United States, the measure on Tuesday won nine votes in favour, while three countries – China, Russia and Bolivia – opposed it.
  • This was the Russia’s seventh veto to protect the Syrian government from UN Security Council action.
  • Russian president Vladimir Putin described the draft resolution as totally inappropriate which would ultimately harm UN-led peace talks between the warring Syrian parties.
  • UNSC stated that Syrian air force helicopters had dropped chlorine gas on rebel-held areas, twice in March 2015 and once in April 2014. The use of chlorine as a weapon is prohibited under the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention.

Banking and Finance

SEBI Plans to Tighten Algo Trading Regulations

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) plans to further tighten the regulations for algorithmic trading to minimise instances of misuse of such systems.
  • The market watchdog is looking to further strengthen the norms so that instances of flash crashes that have happened overseas, and also in India a few times.
  • India is one of the very few countries in the world which have some mechanism for controlling the misuse of algo. SEBI has been able to come out with some minimal regulations on algos.
  • Algorithmic trading refers to the use of software programmes to execute trading strategies at a much faster pace. On the National Stock Exchange (NSE), algo trades accounted for close to 16% of all trades.

India & World Bank Signs USD 63 Million Financing Agreement for Tejaswini: Socio-Economic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Young Women Project

  • The World Bank signed a financing agreement for IDA credit of USD 63 million (equivalent) for ‘Tejaswini’, which is a socio-economic empowerment of adolescent girls and young women project.
  • The project seeks to empower the adolescent girls with basic life skills and thereafter provide further opportunities to acquire market driven skill training or completion of secondary education, depending on the inclination of the beneficiary.
  • The project will be delivered in 17 Districts of Jharkhand, and it includes three main components, which includes expanding social, educational and economic opportunities, intensive service delivery and state capacity-building and implementation support.
  • About 680,000 adolescent girls and young women in the project Districts are expected to benefit from the program.

Government Notifies Law to Make Possession of Demonetized Note as Punishable Offence

The government has notified the law that makes holding of more than 10 scrapped notes punishable with a minimum fine of Rs 10,000.


  • Possession of more than 10 pieces of old notes will be a criminal offence.
  • Holding of more than 10 scrapped notes will attract a fine of Rs 10,000.
  • Rs 50,000 fine for false declaration by those who were abroad during note ban period.

Reliance General Insurance, Catholic Syrian Bank announced tie up

Reliance General Insurance has tied up with Catholic Syrian Bank to expand its distribution network, aimed at boosting the companys topline by up to 15 per cent.
RGI will offer its general insurance products to Catholic Syrian Bank’s 1.5 million customer base spread across its 430 branches in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.
Catholic Syrian Bank :
Headquarters: Thrissur
MD & CEO: C.V.R. Rajendran
Motto: Support all the way

Awards and Recognition

Indian Film Lipstick Under My Burkha Wins Audience Award at Glasgow Film Festival

Indian Film Lipstick Under My Burkha Wins Audience Award at Glasgow Film Festival
Indian Film Lipstick Under My Burkha Wins Audience Award at Glasgow Film Festival
  • Indian filmmaker Alankrita Shrivastava’s Lipstick Under My Burkha, which has been denied a certificate by the country’s movie censor board, has bagged the Audience Award at the Glasgow Film Festival 2017.
  • Scottish actor David Tennant presented Shrivastava with the award, which was voted for by the festival’s audience.
  • The Prakash Jha production, starring Konkona Sen Sharma and Ratna Pathak Shah, chronicles the secret lives of four women of different ages in a small town in India as they search for different kinds of freedom.

Appointments & Resigns

Nand Kumar Sai Assumes Charge as Chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes

Nand Kumar Sai Assumes Charge as Chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes
Nand Kumar Sai Assumes Charge as Chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes
  • Senior tribal leader from Chhattisgarh and ex parliamentarian Shri Nand Kuamr Sai assumed charge as the chairman of National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST)
  • Born on January 1, 1946 at village Bhagora of Jaspur District in Chhattisgarh Shri Sai studied at NES college Jashpur and obtained Post Graduate degree in Political Science from Pt. Ravi Shankar Shukla University, Raipur.
  • Shri Sai was elected to MP legislative assembly in 1977, 1985 and 1998. He was elected to Chhattisgarh legislative assembly in 2000 and was the first leader of opposition in the assembly.

Gopal Baglay appointed as new spokesperson of External Affairs Ministry

Gopal Baglay appointed as new spokesperson of External Affairs Ministry
Gopal Baglay appointed as new spokesperson of External Affairs Ministry
  • Joint secretary Gopal Baglay was appointed the spokesperson of theMinistry of External Affairs.
  • Gopal Baglay is replaced by Vikas Swarup.
  • He  joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1992 and has served as the deputy high commissioner to Islamabad from 2011 to 2014.
  • He has also served as joint secretary (States) from October 2014 to December 2015

Shri Sudeep Lakhtakia to hold additional charge as DG CRPF

Shri Sudeep Lakhtakia to hold additional charge as DG CRPF
Shri Sudeep Lakhtakia to hold additional charge as DG CRPF

Consequent upon the retirement of superannuation of Shri K.Durga Prasad, IPS (TG:81) DG,CRPF today, the Competent Authority in this Ministry has approved that Shri Sudeep Lakhtakia, IPS (TG:84), Additional DG, CRPF will hold the additional charge of the post of Director General, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) w.e.f. tomorrow till the appointment and joining of regular successor.

R Subramania Kumar to hold additional charge of MD & CEO of IOB


  • R Subramania Kumar was given additional charge of the post of Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Indian Overseas Bank for three more months.
  • Kumar is at present Executive Director in the IOB.
  • He was in November last year given additional charge of the post of MD and CEO of the bank for three months.


India’s GDP grows at 7% during the period of Oct-Dec 2016

  • The report was released by The Ministry of Statistics. The gross domestic product growth for the October-December quarter came in at 7 percent, whereas the estimate for the full year (2016-17) was 7.1 percent.
  • The demonetization drive was announced on 8th of November 2016 by PM Narendra Modi which invalidated the 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, which in turn constituted 86 percent of currency in circulation.
  • Most economists predicted the growth to be anywhere between 6.2 to 6.5

CBDT Signs 10 Unilateral APAs With Indian Taxpayers

  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has signed 10 more unilateral advance pricing agreements (APAs) with Indian taxpayers as it looks to reduce litigation by providing certainty in transfer pricing.
  • The 10 APAs signed in the past one week pertain to sectors like telecom, pharma, banking and finance, steel, retail and information technology.
  • Two of these 10 agreements are Bilateral APAs with the United Kingdom and Japan. Seven of these agreements have rollback provisions in them, a finance ministry statement said.
  • With this, the total number of APAs entered into by the CBDT has reached 140. This includes 10 Bilateral APAs and 130 Unilateral APAs.
Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT)
The scheme of APA was incorporated in 2012 in the Income-Tax Act and the provisions for ‘rollback’ were introduced in 2014. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) is a statutory authority under the Department of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance formed under Central Board of Revenue Act, 1963.
The main purpose of the scheme is to provide certainty to taxpayers in the area of transfer pricing by mentioning the ways of pricing and setting in advance the prices of foreign transactions. The CBDT provides inputs for policy and planning of direct taxes in India, and is also responsible for administration of direct tax laws through the IT Department.
Chariperson: Sushil Chandra

India’s Core Sector Growth Slows Down to 3.4% in January 2017

  • The growth of eight core sectors slowed down to a five-month low of 3.4% in January, mainly due to contraction in output of refinery products, fertiliser and cement.
  • The growth rate of eight infrastructure sectors of coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel,cement and electricity was 5.7% in January 2016.
  • Infrastructure sectors’ expansion in January this year is the lowest since August 2016, when the segments had recorded a growth of 3.2%. It is also lower than that of 5.6% seen in December 2016.
  • The core sectors, which contribute 38% to the total industrial production, expanded 4.8% in April-January this financial year, compared to 2.9% growth in the same period the previous financial year.
  • The output of refinery products, fertiliser and cement contracted by 1.5%, 1.6% and 13.3%, respectively, during the month.
  • Both coal and electricity expanded at 4.8% in January, against 7.9% and 11.6% expansion, respectively, in January 2016.
  • However, crude oil, natural gas and steel output reported positive growth.
  • Crude oil output grew by 1.3% in January 2017, against 4.7% contraction in the same month of previous year.
  • Similarly, natural gas and steel output rose by 11.9% and 11.4%, respectively, during the month.


Government Bans BBC from 50 tiger reserves for FIVE years

  • National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has banned the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and its South Asia Correspondent Justin Rowlatt from filming across any tiger reserves in India for “breach of trust” during the shoot of its controversial documentary on Kaziranga Tiger Reserve.
  • It has also advised the External Affairs Ministry to revoke the visa issued to Rowlatt and his crew and take “appropriate action to prevent their further entry into India, for a period of not less than five years”.

India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicts “above normal” temperatures across most part of India

The hill stations in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir or hill-station States popular among tourists are expected to be above 1 degree C above their normal summer temperatures.
Key Details:

  • Punjab, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha and Telangana are other States in the “core heat zone”
  • The weather agency blames global warming. “Studies indicate increasing trends in the frequency and duration of heat waves over the country.”
  • 2016 was the warmest year in a century, according to the IMD, with the country 0.91 C warmer than the 1961-1990 average. The summer months of March-May last year were 1.36 C higher than the historical average, making it the second-warmest since 1901.

Source: The Hindu

Science and Technology

DRDO test-fires homegrown supersonic interceptor missile; gives major boost to defence indigenisation

DRDO interceptor missile
DRDO interceptor missile
  • The interceptor is a 7.5-meter long single stage solid rocket propelled guided missile equipped with a navigation system, a hi-tech computer and an electro-mechanical activator.
  • The interceptor missile had its own mobile launcher, secure data link for interception, independent tracking and homing capabilities and sophisticated radars.

How was the test conducted?

  • The target (Prithvi) missile was launched at about 10.10 hours from Chandipur, Odisha
  • The interceptor was engaged against a target which was a Prithvi missile launched from launch complex 3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur near Balasore, taking up the trajectory of a hostile ballistic missile.
  • After about four minutes the interceptor, Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile positioned at Abdul Kalam Island in the Bay of Bengal, getting signals from tracking radars, roared through its trajectory to destroy the incoming hostile missile in mid-air, in an endo-atmospheric altitude.


Rio Open 2017 Winner List
The 2017 Rio Open was a professional men’s tennis tournament played on outdoor clay courts between  February 20 and February 26, 2017 at the Jockey Club Brasileiro in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
It was the 4th edition of the tournament and is a part of the ATP World Tour 500 series of the 2017 ATP World Tour.

Title Winner Runner Score
Men’s Single Dominic Thiem (Austria) Pablo Carreno Busta (Spain) 7–5, 6–4
Men’s Double (Spain) Pablo Carreno Busta/Pablo Cuevas (Uruguay) Juan Sebastián Cabal / Robert Farah (Colombia) 6–4, 5–7, 10–8

India to host women’s Youth World Boxing Championship in November 2017

India will host the World Women’s Youth Boxing Championship in November this year – the first major international event to be held in the country since 2010.
AIBA signed Memorandum of Understanding with the Sports Ministry to set up the International Boxing Academy could be set up at the IG Stadium in New Delhi.
The International Boxing Association(Association Internationale de Boxe Amateur) or AIBA is a sport organization that sanctions amateur (Olympic-style) boxing matches and awards world and subordinate championships.

Formation: 1946
Headquarters: Lausanne, Switzerland
President: Dr Wu Ching-kuo
Tarak Mehta


Playwright Padma Shri Taarak Mehta passes away

  • Died at the age of 87 after prolonged illness in Ahmedabad
  • He was an Indian columnist, humorist, writer and playwright. He garnered huge popularity for his column Duniya Ne Undha Chasma in Gujarati language.
  • In 2008 SAB TV began a show Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah which draws its content from his column Duniya Ne Undha Chasma.
  • He used to write for Gujarati dailies like Divya Bhaskar, and other publications like Chitralekha.

Senior Congress leader & RS MP Haji Abdul Salam passes away

  • Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Haji Abdul Salam passed away last night following a brief illness at age of  69.
  • Haji Abdul Salam was the first Manipuri Muslim to be a member of RS from Manipur. He had been repressenting the state in the upper house since 2014.
  • He was elected to the 3rd, 6th and 8th Manipur Legislative Assembly from Wabagai assembly constituency.

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