Current Affairs: 3 February 2017

Amitabh Kant launches India Innovation Index A joint initiative of NITI Aayog, DIPP and CII 

  • To make India an innovation-driven economy, NITI Aayog, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) together launched a mega initiative “India Innovation Index” that will rank states on Innovations through country’s first online innovation index portal that will capture data on innovation from all Indian states on innovation and regularly update it in real time.
  • The India Innovation Index Framework will be structured based on the best practices followed in Global Innovation Index (GII) indicators and additionally by adding India-centric parameters those truly reflect the Indian innovation ecosystem. 
  • This initiative will be the point of reference for all international agencies to collect India’s up to date data points for global indices and analytic.
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31st Surajkund International Crafts Fair (Mela) 2017 begins in Faridabad

  • 31st Surajkund Crafts Fair (Mela) is one of the most famous fairs, organized every year in Surajkund, Haryana, by Haryana Tourism Department to promote handicrafts items. 
  • Many talented artists come from India and across the World to showcase their handlooms, handicrafts, traditional handicraft items of their respective states.
  • Among various famous festivals of Haryana Surajkund Mela is the most artistic one which is organized at Faridabad every year. The term Surajkund means "Lake of the Sun" which is an artificial lake constructed in the backdrop of the Aravalli hills.
  • More than 20 countries from Europe, Africa and South Asia are participating in the fortnight-long mega event fromFebruary 1 to 15.
  • Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Tunisia, Mongolia andSouth Africa will make their debut at the fair this year.

Neeti Mohan to collaborate with UN for women empowerment

  • Noted singer Neeti Mohan has become the first Indian female singer to collaborate with UN for women empowerment
  • She has joined the ranks of Ashton Kutcher, Nicholas Cage, Demi Moore, Ashley Judd, Gillian Anderson for United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund project titled “Music To Inspire – Artists United Against Human Trafficking”.
  • She has composed Udne De as a tribute to all the women and in support of equality for all as a part of this project.
  • Over 60 renowned artists and dignitaries from around the world have collaborated with Rukus Avenue to participate in the “Music To Inspire – Artists UNited Against Human Trafficking” triple album that benefits the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, managed by the UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime).

India to construct multi-ethnic tri-lingual school in Lanka

  • India and Sri Lanka signed an agreement to construct a multi-ethnic tri-lingual school in a north central district of the island nation that would provide opportunities to Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim students to learn in a multi-cultural environment. 
  • The MoU was signed by India's High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh Sandhu and Secretary to the Ministry of Education Sunil Hettiarachchi.
  • The secondary school located in President Maithripala Sirisena's home district Polonnaruwa will be constructed using a grant of SLR 300 million from the Indian Government. 
  • The project envisages construction of class rooms, laboratories and library, as well as procurement of furniture and other equipment. 
  • The project would also contribute to President Maithripala Sirisena's efforts to promote and strengthen reconciliation and unity in Sri Lanka

SAARC programming committee meeting concludes in Kathmandu

  • The two-day meeting of SAARC Programming Committee concluded in Kathmandu. All eight members participated in the meeting.
  • Secretary General of SAARC Arjun Bahadur Thapa highlighted the progress made by the Association since March 2016. The committee discussed various administrative and financial issues related to SAARC Secretariat and its Bodies. 
  • Besides senior officers of member states, Directors of the SAARC Regional Centres and Heads of SAARC Specialized Bodies also participated in the meeting.
  • This was the first senior level meeting of Association since postponement of 19th SAARC Summit in November last year.
  •  The Summit was postponed after four nations Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh and India requested for it following escalation of tension between India and Pakistan.

Kuwait bans visa for 5 Muslim-majority countries, including Pakistan 

  • Kuwait has suspended the issuance of visas for nationals of Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. 
  • After US President Donald Trump's executive order banning seven Muslim-majority countries last Friday, the Kuwaiti government has told would-be migrants from the five banned nations to not apply for visas, as it is worried about the possible migration of radical Islamic terrorists 
  • Kuwait was the only nation to prohibit the entry of Syrian nationals prior to Trump's executive action. Kuwait City previously issued a suspension of visas for all Syrians in 2011. 

U.K. Parliament Clears Brexit Bill with 498 Votes

  • Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May successfully held the first stage of passing the Bill in the Parliament on February 1, 2017 to pull Britain out of the European Union.
  • British MPs approved passing the bill with 498 to 114 votes empowering May to start the process of pulling Britain out of the European Union.
  • The Bill would now allow the government to trigger Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty which the Supreme Court ruled that she could not take that decision alone.
  • The bill could complete the legislative process by March 7. Now the PM may progress to the next and more detailed legislative stage.

India signs Financing Agreement with World Bank for USD 201.50 Million

  • Aiming to enhance quality and improve efficiency of the Engineering Education System, a Financing Agreement for IDA credit of USD 201.50 Million was signed with World Bank for the 'Third Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme' (TEQIP III) 
  • The Agreement was signed by Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, on behalf of the Government of India and Junaid Kamal Ahmad, Country Director, World Bank (India) on behalf of World Bank.
  • The objective of the agreement is to improve the Engineering Education sector in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, along with eight North Eastern States and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • The project has been designed as a disbursement linked one to the effect that the loan will be handed over only on completion of certain fixed outcomes. The closing date of TEQIP III is March 31, 2022.

Godrej Properties elevates Pirojsha Godrej as Chairman, Adi Godrej to be Chairman Emeritus 

  • Godrej PropertiesBSE 0.01 %, the real estate development arm of Godrej Group, has made changes to its leadership team with Chairman Adi Godrej assuming the Chairman Emeritus position. 
  • Pirojsha Godrej, who is currently the Managing Director and CEO of the company, will be the Executive Chairman. 
  • Mohit Malhotra, currently an Executive Director at Godrej Properties, will be the new Managing Director and CEO. 
  • All the aforementioned changes will be effective from April 1st, 2017. 
  • Pirojsha Godrej, who joined Godrej Properties in 2004, has been the Managing Director and CEO of the realty developer since 2012. 

Lakshya Sen reaches World No.1 in BWF junior ranking

  • Young shuttler Lakshya Sen from Uttarakhand on achieved the World No. 1 ranking in the latest BWF World junior ranking.
  • The 15-year-old prodigy, who won the bronze medal at Junior Asian Championships and clinched the All India Senior Ranking Tournament at Arunachal Pradesh last year, jumped one place to reach the numero uno status.
  • Sen, who hails from Almora district in Uttarakhand, has been training under the watchful eyes of 1980 All England champion Prakash Padukone at his Badminton Academy in Bangalore since he was 10.
  • In the senior circuit, Olympic silver medallist P V Sindhu resumed her World No sixth position, while Saina Nehwal, who had clinched the season-opening Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold, was at the ninth spot in women’s singles.
  • In men’s singles, Sameer Verma jumped 10 spots to be placed at 25th position riding on his maiden Grand Prix Gold title at Syed Modi Internationals, but K Srikanth slipped out of the top 20 after suffering a quarterfinal exit at Lucknow in the latest BWF World Ranking.

World Wetlands Day: 2 February

  • World Wetlands Day is annually held on February 2 to celebrate how wetlands, which are lands saturated by water, help maintain biodiversity on Earth.
  • Governments, community groups, and individuals around the world celebrate World Wetlands Day with special campaigns to promote the important value that the wetlands play in our lives. The day is promoted via social media, radio and TV broadcasts, and newspapers.
  • Wetlands are found near the sea or inland and can be seasonal – they are water logged only during parts of the year, or perennial. They play a crucial role in the ecosystem

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