Current Affairs February 20, 2019

In this post, GKToday presents Current Affairs of February 20, 2019 in Short Notes form for preparation of IBPS, Banking, CLAT, SSC, Railway, UPSC, IAS/PCS, UPPSC, BPSC, MPPSC, RPSC, TNPSC, MPSC, KPSC and all other competitive examinations of India.

1. On 19th Feb, Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the first ever diesel to electric converted locomotive twin engine of ten thousand Horse Power at DLW Varanasi. It's a complete ‘Make in India’ initiative & the conversion is an Indian R& D innovation for the entire world. The Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW) has converted two WDG3A diesel locos into a Twin Electric WAGC3 loco of 10,000 HP. The converted locos will result in less green house gas emissions and better efficient locomotives for the Indian Railways. The feat was achieved in record time with the help of engineers from Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO), Chittaranjan Locomotive Works(CLW), and Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (BHEL). According to railway authorities, the conversion of diesel locomotive into electric engine not only created a history but also proved to be cost effective, as it needed half of the rehabilitation cost of old locos. Besides, it would be environment-friendly with enhanced traction power to double the average speed of goods train.

2. The Government of India (GoI) has launched a pan-India service of the single emergency helpline number ‘112’ for immediate assistance services from police (100), fire (101), health (108) and women (1090). The response time for the emergency helpline is said to be around 10 to 12 minutes. This is expected to come down to 8 minutes within the next 6-8 months. The Emergency Response Support System (ERSS) is now available in 16 states and union territories across India. These are as follows: Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat, Puducherry, Lakshwadeep, Andaman, Dadar Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and Jammu and Kashmir. Apart from emergency response service, the government also launched Investigation Tracking System for Sexual Offences (ITSSO) and the safe city implementation monitoring portal to improve women safety situation in the country.

3. The Andhra Pradesh government has signed a 30 year concession agreement with the UAE-based company “National Central Cooling Company PJSC (DFM: Tabreed)” to offer District Cooling solutions to the greenfield city of Amaravati. The agreement is for a contracted cooling capacity of 20,000 refrigeration tons (RTs) that will build, own, operate and transfer India’s first district cooling system in Amaravati, the new capital of Andhra Pradesh. The cooling services will start from early 2021. Tabreed’s district cooling system is a part of Andhra Pradesh’s vision for Amaravati to create jobs and homes along with a world-class infrastructure and efficient resource management. Compared to other cooling systems, district cooling uses only 50% of the primary energy consumption for cooling urban buildings, thereby reducing CO2 emissions. It also helps in improving the air quality and reducing general noise levels when compared to other traditional air conditioning systems. This will be Tabreed’s first plant outside its Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) market.

4. Abdul Aziz Muhamat, a Sudanese refugee detained on Manus Island, has won the prestigious 2019 Martin Ennals human rights prize for exposing the very cruel refugee policy of the Australian government. Recognized as a true leader, human rights and humanitarian advocate, Muhamat has tirelessly cared for fellow refugees, and eloquently drawn the world’s attention to their plight. It is the first time that the major prize has been awarded to an individual focused on refugee issues and who has been a victim of human rights violations by a Western democracy. Muhamat was stuck in an Australia’s notorious offshore detention centre on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea for over 5 years after his boat was intercepted by Australian authorities in 2013. Mr Muhamat has been permitted to leave the island since being granted a Swiss visa, but hopes to return to Manus to continue his advocacy work. The annual Martin Ennals Awards are named after a Nobel Peace Prize-winning British human rights activist.

5. The book titled ‘Simplicity & Wisdom’ has been authored by famous Industrialist and Philanthropist Dinesh Shahra. It was launched by Keshari Nath Tripathi, Governor of West Bengal, at Parmarth Ashram in the ongoing Kumbh Mela 2019. The book is dedicated to Late eminent Vedanti Swami Pragananandji. The primary aim of the book is to offer saintly wisdom and guidance to lead a content and happy life.

6. Six-time world women boxing champion, MC Mary Kom has been named as a brand ambassador for global sportswear giant PUMA for a two-year period. She will be PUMA India’s new ambassador for the company’s women’s training category and shall represent the brand in marketing campaigns in the country.

7. Yuwa, a Jharkhand-based NGO which works for girl empowerment, has won the prestigious 2019 Laureus Sport for Good Honour at Monaco. The NGO was founded in rural Jharkhand in 2009 by Americans Franz Gastler and Rose Thomson Gastler. They are using football to improve the lives of young girls from disadvantaged communities and from regions where child marriage is prevalent. They are currently covering 450 girls - some amateurs and some who have gone on to become coaches. It was only the third time the honour was coming to India. The first time was in 2004 when the cricket teams of India and Pakistan were jointly declared the winner for resuming the bilateral series despite the political tension between the countries. Then 10 years later, Magic Bus won it for transforming the lives of the underprivileged children in the country.

8. K Dhanya Sanal, a spokesperson for the defence ministry in Thiruvananthapuram, has created history by becoming the first woman to climb the peak of 1,868-metre-high Agasthyarkoodam in January 2019 after the High court removed traditional restrictions on women from scaling the peak. Agasthyarkoodam is a part of the Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve which lies on the border between the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The Kani tribe that lives on the foothills opposes women attempting the trek. The mountain range is considered the holy abode of celibate sage Agastya Muni. The tribe has protested against letting women climb the peak, but has not stopped anyone. Over 100 of them sang folk songs as a mark of protest.

9. A rare Indian snake species - Red Coral Kukri- has recently sighted in the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve (DTR) after a gap of 82 years. The reptile was first sighted in Dudhwa in 1936 and even its zoological name 'oligodon Kheriensis' finds its roots in its Kheri-specific location. According to experts, Red Coral Kukri is a nocturnal non venomous reptile with maximum length of 114 cm. It is known as red coral kukri owing to its red orange colour and its teeth shaped as Nepali 'khukri' to break eggs. The species has been sighted in Terai forests of Kheri and Nepal. The Kheri-location specific snake is generally found in the Terai forest, a lowland region in southern Nepal and northern India.

10. The Gujarat government has formed a special board for the transgender community to provide social security to the community. As a state-run agency, the 'Transgender Welfare Board (TWB)' will have powers to introduce special schemes for the community. It will work for uplift and development of the transgender community. The new board will have the state social justice and empowerment minister as its chairman. It will have 16 other members, including two transgender-women representatives, two male transgenders, two from the eunuch community and two representatives of NGOs. The rest of the members will be government officials. The Supreme Court has recognized transgenders as a third gender in 2014 on a petition filed by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) and had directed all states to form a TWB. The judgment also ruled that ‘third gender’ be included in the Other Backward Classes’ (OBCs) list, hence allowed them to avail education and employment reservation in accordance to this status.

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