Current Affairs Current Affairs February 2020

 Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the new Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) Production Hangar at Helicopter Division in Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Complex at Bengaluru, Karnataka. LCH is a 5.5-tonne class combat helicopter designed and developed by HAL. It is powered by two Shakti engines and inherits many technical features of the Advanced Light Helicopter. LCH has the distinction of being the first attack helicopter to land in forwarding Bases at Siachen, 4,700 mts above sea level with 500kg load. India has made significant progress towards manufacturing military equipment indigenously under the ‘Make in India’ initiative. The defence industry plays a major role in the economic development of the country. Defence Public Sector Undertaking (DPSU) that has helped India leapfrog six places to become the fifth-largest economy in the world.

  The International Cricket Council (ICC) banned Oman player Yousuf Abdulrahim Al Balushi from all forms of cricket for 7 years. The player has been reprimanded for breaching the ICC’s Anti-Corruption Code as he was found guilty for breaching various counts in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup qualifiers 2019. Al Balushi breached Article 2.1.1 of the Anti-Corruption Code: being party to an agreement or effort to fix or contrive in any way the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of matches. Besides, he also breached Article 2.1.4, Article 2.4.4 and Article 2.4.7: All relating to corrupt practices. Under the provisions of the code, Al Balushi chose to admit the charges and agreed on the sanction with the ICC in lieu of an Anti-Corruption Tribunal hearing.

  South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar has been sworn in as first vice president. He is formally rejoining the government in the latest effort to bring peace to a nation ravaged by war. The rebel leader returns as first vice president in a transition government which will serve for 36 months. President Salva Kiir hailed the official ending of the war.

  National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has sanctioned 400.64 crore rupees to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. This sanction is for giving a boost to the infrastructure in the rural areas of J&K. An amount of 143.66 crore rupees has been sanctioned for implementation of 38 water supply schemes. The sanction includes augmentation of 27 existing water supply schemes and construction of 11 new water supply schemes. These water supply schemes are aimed at providing safe and potable drinking water to rural households. The schemes will benefit over 3.5 lakh people across 86 villages in 17 districts. An amount of 47.11 crore rupees has been sanctioned towards improving the Animal and Sheep Husbandry sectors. It includes the construction of Cattle Breeding Farm at Chatha Jammu. NABARD has also sanctioned 209.87 crore rupees for construction of 82 rural roads and 3 bridges earlier this year. The construction of roads and bridges would provide all-weather improved connectivity to 461 remote villages. The funding is a part of the NABARD’s Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) which is aimed at augmenting rural infrastructure.

  Central Excise Day is celebrated every year on February 24 across India. The day is being celebrated to honour the service of Central Board of Excise and Custom (CBEC) to the country. The day is celebrated to honour the officers associated with CBEC and their services. This is done to encourage the officers to carry out their duties with utmost sincerity. The officers, every year perform checking of corruption in goods from manufacturing sector. The day is celebrated to commemorate the legislation of Central Excise and Salt act in 24 February, 1944.
  • About Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs
The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs is formerly known as the Central Board of Excise and Customs. The Customs and Central Excise/ Central GST department was established to administer customs laws. Now the department is under the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance which deals with the policy formulation concerning levy and collection of Customs, Central Excise duties, Central Goods & Services Tax and IGST, prevention of smuggling and administration of matters relating to Customs, Central Excise, Central Goods & Services Tax, IGST and Narcotics to the extent under CBIC’s purview. The Board is the administrative authority for its subordinate organizations, including Custom Houses, Central Excise and Central GST Commissionerates and the Central Revenues Control Laboratory.

  Jiya Rai, the 11-year-old girl created a world record by becoming the youngest and the fastest specially-abled girl to swim 14 kilometres in open water in 3 hours 27 minutes and 30 seconds. This record creates under the supervision of the Swimming Association of Maharashtra. Jiya’s achievement has qualified for registration in the India Book of Records, Asia Book and Limca Book of Records. She was felicitated with a Certificate and Trophy for this record-breaking achievement. The young champion has come a long way since she was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Delay in Speech at a tender age of about two years.

 Guinness World Records has named a South African restaurant Gibson’s Gourmet Burgers & Ribsas the official titleholder for ‘Most Varieties of Milkshakes Commercially Available’. With a total of 207 varieties on their menu, Gibson’s Gourmet Burgers and Ribs have a milkshake to satisfy every sugarholic. Fat-free, vegan and adults-only alcoholic options are also available.

 The United States has surpassed China to become India’s top trading partner. According to the Commerce Ministry data, the bilateral trade between the US and India stood at nearly 88 billion dollars in 2018-19 fiscal. During the period, India’s trade with China was at 87.1 billion dollars. During April-December 2019-20, the bilateral trade between the US and India stood at 68 billion dollars against a nearly 65 billion dollars trade with China in the same period. The countries will finalise a free trade agreement (FTA), then the bilateral trade would reach different levels. FTA with the US will be very beneficial for India as the US is the biggest market for domestic goods and services. India’s exports, as well as imports, are increasing with the US, while with China both are declining. America is one of the few countries with which India has a trade surplus. On the other hand, India has a huge trade deficit with China. The data showed that China was India’s top trading partner since 2013-14 till 2017-18.

  Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has announced his resignation over political issues. He will act as an interim PM. It is not clear who will be the next prime minister. He has submitted his resignation to the king. He has also resigned from Bersatu, the political party of which he was chairman. Bersatu had been part of the governing Pakatan Harapan alliance, which he joined in 2018 together with Mr Anwar, and which won the 2018 vote, ending more than six decades of rule by the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition. Mahathir was Malaysia’s prime minister from 1981 to 2003. He became premier again after winning the 2018 general elections against the coalition he once led, Barisan Nasional.

  On February 24, 2020, the Government of India launched SPICe+, a web form that integrates 10 services of various ministries and departments. This will help boost Ease of Doing Business in India. It was launched by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. India ranked 63rd in Ease of Doing Business ranking published by World Bank.
  • Highlights
The Simplified Proforma for Incorporating Company Electronically Plus provides 10 services thereby saving time, cost for starting a business in India. It offers 10 services namely DIN allotment, issue of PAN, TAN, EPFO. ESIC registration, opening bank account for a company, allotment of GSTIN, issue of Profession Tax, etc. The service will help to improve Ease of Doing Business in the country, especially for a startup.
  • Ease of Doing Business Ranking
In 2019, the World Bank placed India at the 136th rank for Ease of Starting Business. It was provided the 154th and 115th ranks for paying taxes and enforcing contracts respectively. Therefore, it is essential for initiatives such as SPICe+ to improve India’s position globally.


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