Weekly Current Affairs (28th January 2019 – 02nd February 2019)
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National
1. According to Minister for Railways Piyush Goyal, India’s fastest indigenous train which will run from Delhi to Varanasi has been named as ‘Vande Bharat Express’ (earlier, Train 18).
2. The Southern Railway has bagged the number one position for cleanliness in all the 17 railway zones in the country.
3. Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has launched the National Agricultural Higher Education Project (NAHEP) to attract talent and strengthen higher agricultural education in the country.
4. In commemoration of the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi dedicated grand and iconic ‘National Salt Satyagraha Memorial’ constructed by the Central Public Works Department at Dandi, Gujarat to the Nation.
5. Union Minister Shri Piyush Goyal has launched the report “The Future of Rail” of International Energy Agency (IEA) at an event.
6. Today, The Interim Union Budget 2019-20 presented by the Union Finance Minister Piyush Vedprakash Goyal in Lok Sabha.
7. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has been renamed as the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade with a mandate to deal with matters related to start-ups, facilitating ease of doing business among others.
8. Govt. announced that individual taxpayers with annual income up to ₹5 lakh will not have to pay any Income Tax.
9. On the recommendation of Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, the government constituted a committee under the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) to explore prepaid payments by state electricity distribution companies to power plants.

International
1. India has replaced Japan as the world’s 2nd largest steel producing country, while China is the largest producer of crude steel, accounting for more than 51% of production, according to the World Steel Association.
2. Suman Kumari has become the first Hindu woman in Pakistan to be appointed as a civil judge.
3. The central banks of the UAE and Saudi Arabia have launched a common digital currency called “Aber”.
4. Dubai International Airport (DXB) retained its position as the world’s busiest airport for international customer numbers for the fifth consecutive year with annual traffic for 2018 with Indian travellers emerging as the largest source of traffic for the airport which registered a record footfall of over 89 million.
5. Germany, France and the UK have set up a payment channel with Iran called INSTEX.

Economy and Business
1. Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi stated that GST on Haj has been reduced from 18% to 5% and this will significantly lower the airfare thus saving Haj pilgrims’ 113 crore rupees this year.
2. ICICI Bank terminated the contract of former managing director and CEO Chanda Kochhar for violating the bank’s code of conduct.

Sports
1. Serbian professional tennis player Novak Djokovic (world No.1) defeated Rafael Nadal to win his 7th Australian Open Men’s Singles title at Melbourne.
2. Ace shuttler Saina Nehwal (India) has won the Indonesia Masters women’s singles title after Carolina Marin (Spain) limped out of the final due to a leg injury.
3. French sailor Jean-Luc Van Den Heede (73-years) has won the round-the-world yacht race after 212 days alone at sea without modern instruments.
4. India’s women’s cricket team Captain Mithali Raj (36-year) has become the first woman to play 200 matches in the ODI (One-day Internationals) format when she played against New Zealand in Hamilton.
5. Golfer Vani Kapoor has become the first Indian to grab Australian Ladies PGA Tour (LPGA) after securing 12th Rank tied with three others in the first-ever qualifying tournament at the Ballarat Golf Club in Australia.
6. Midfielder Ki Sung-yueng has announced his retirement from the South Korean national team.

Awards
1. The ‘Numaligarh Refinery Limited’ (NRL) has been awarded the best Miniratna PSU (public sector undertaking) in strategic performance (Financial Category).
2. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research tableau in the Republic Day Parade has won the first prize for its Kisan Gandhi theme.
3. The Union Minister Piyush Goyal received the fourth annual Carnot Prize 2018 by the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design.

Appointments
1. On 27 January 2019, Poonam Khetrapal Singh was appointed as the South-East Asia Regional Director of the World Health Organisation (WHO) for a second five-year term.
2. Kerala based private sector lender Federal Bank has appointed Dilip Sadarangani as the part-time chairman.
3. Senior IPS officer (1987-batch) Gupteshwar Pandey has taken charge as the new Director General of Police (DGP) of Bihar.
4. Rajiv Nayan Choubey took the Oath of office and Secrecy as Member of Union Public Service Commission on Feb 1, 2019.
5. Yes bank Senior group President and head of retail and business banking, Pralay Mondal resigned from his post. He will serve his notice until 31st March 2019.
6. Ministry of External Affairs announced that Sanjiv Ranjan has been appointed as new Ambassador to the Republic of Colombia.
7. Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led panel has appointed former Madhya Pradesh Director General of Police (DGP) Rishi Kumar Shukla as the new CBI Director for a period of two years.

Important Days
1. The Council of Europe had launched a Data Protection Day to be celebrated each year on 28 January, the date on which the Council of Europe’s data protection convention, known as “Convention 108”, was opened to the signature.
2. The ‘Anti-Leprosy Day’ being observed every year on the Martyrdom Day of Mahatma Gandhi to make people aware of the real need to fight the infectious disease.
3. India is paying homage to Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi on his 71st death anniversary on 30th January, 2019.
4. The United Nations has announced, 2019 as the International Year of the Periodic Table of the Chemical Elements to highlight its first publication in 1869.
5. World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on the 2nd of February to raise global awareness on the value of wetlands for humanity and the planet.

Science and Tech
1. The first time, Scientists have created an artificial intelligence (AI) based system that directly translates thoughts into intelligible, recognisable speech.

Defence
1. Lt Gen Rajeev Chopra assumed the appointment of Director General of NCC (DGNCC).
2. Vice Admiral MS Pawar, AVSM, VSM assumed charge as Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff on 30th January, 2019.

Obituaries
1. Oscar-winning French composer Michel Legrand (86-years) passed away on 28th January 2019
2. Former Defence Minister George Fernandes passed away in Delhi at the age of 88.
3. Former Planning Commission member and ex-director of IIMC Hiten Bhaya passed away in Delhi.

States
1. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath announced the launch of the ‘Yuva Swabhiman Yojana’ for youths from the economically weaker sections in urban areas.
2. A 5.1-km long cable-stayed bridge named ‘Atal Setu’ on the Mandovi river was inaugurated in Goa on 27 January 2019.
3. On 25 January 2019, Kerala Governor P. Sathasivam announced that the Kerala government will soon launch a ‘Pravasi Dividend Pension Scheme’.
4. Uttarakhand Government has obtained the permission to develop the Tulip garden in Pithoragarh district.
5. Nagaland CM Neiphiu Rio inaugurates state’s first Astro Turf Football Pitch at Indira Gandhi Stadium in Kohima on the occasion of 100th Birth Anniversary of the legendary footballer, Dr. T. Ao
6. The Telangana government has decided to form a ‘State Tiger Protection Force’ to save the Tiger (Big Cat) population in the State.
7. The Maharashtra government has launched a special scheme to curb infant deaths.
8. The Union Civil Aviation minister Suresh Prabhu has inaugurated country’s first Geographical Indication (GI) Store at International Airport at Dabolim, Goa.
9. The Telangana government has declared 2nd February as ‘appointing day’ for the newly elected Sarpanches of the Gram Panchayats in the state.
10. The Bihar Cabinet on Friday approved the 10% reservation in government jobs and educational institutes for economically weaker section in the general category in the state.

Miscellaneous
1. The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Ropar has developed an Android app ‘Roshni’ that would help the Visually Impaired to recognise currency notes in Chandigarh.
2. Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Road Transport & Highways and Shipping, Shri Nitin Gadkari launched travelogue show “Rag Rag Mein Ganga” on Doordarshan in New Delhi.

Agreement

1. The Union HRD Ministry signed an agreement with Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on January 28, 2019.
2. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) announced entering into agreements worth $93 million this for providing Naval Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missile (MRSAM) systems to India.

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