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Cabinet approves constitution of empowered Technology Group
The Union Cabinet has approved the constitution of an empowered Technology Group which will advise the Government on priorities and strategies for research on emerging technologies across sectors. The group intends to ensure that India has appropriate policies and strategies for effective, secure and context-sensitive exploitation of the latest technologies for economic growth and sustainable development of the Indian Industry.
This Group is mandated to render timely policy advice on the latest technologies, mapping of technology and technology products, commercialization of dual-use technologies developed in national laboratories and government Research and Development.

Government To Frame Rules, Set Up Authority By April To Implement Consumer Protection Act
The Union government will frame rules and set up an authority to implement the new Consumer Protection Act by April this year, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said while stressing on the regulation of the e-commerce sector with a rise in online transactions.
Parliament last year approved ‘The Consumer Protection Bill 2019’, replacing the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The law seeks to revamp the process of administration and settlement of consumer disputes, with strict penalties, including jail term for adulteration and misleading ads by firms.
The Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) will also have a dedicated wing to conduct an investigation, which will carry out inquiries and investigations in matters relating to consumer rights, unfair trade practices, and misleading advertisements.

Huge locust outbreak in East Africa reaches South Sudan
The worst locust outbreak that parts of East Africa have seen in 70 years has reached South Sudan. In South Sudan, roughly half of the population is already facing hunger after years of civil war. The locusts have been seen in Eastern Equatoria state near the borders with Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. Locusts also have reached Sudan, Eritrea, Tanzania and more recently Uganda.
The situation in those three countries “remains extremely alarming,” said the the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said in its latest report. The number of overall locusts could grow up to 500 times by June, when drier weather begins.

India to host AFC Women’s Asian Cup in 2022
India will host the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup. The Women’s Committee of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced this in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Besides India, Chinese Taipei and Uzbekistan were the other competing candidates.

Kashi Mahakal Express to begin commercial run from Varanasi
The Kashi Mahakal Express, the third private train of IRCTC, will start from February 20. The train service will link the three Jyotirlinga – Omkareshwar near Indore, Mahakaleshwar, in Ujjain and Kashi Vishwanath in Varanasi.
The train will cover 1,131 km between Varanasi and Indore via Lucknow and a distance of 1,102 km between Varanasi and Indore via Prayagraj in approximately 19 hours.

Mahant Nritya Gopal Das elected as President of Ram Mandir Trust
The first meeting of the Ram Mandir Trust to oversee the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya was held in New Delhi. The trust has decided that a Committee will be formed to decide on the construction of the temple. Nripendra Misra, former principal secretary of Prime Minister Modi will be the head of the temple construction committee.
Mahant Nritya Gopal Das was elected as the president of the Trust whereas Champat Rai would be the general secretary. The trust has been mandated by the Central Government to complete the construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya.

Mazumdar-Shaw is EY Entrepreneur of the Year
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chairperson and managing director, Biocon, was named the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 at the 21st edition of the awards. She will now represent India at the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year Award (WEOY) in Monte Carlo between June 4 and 6.
EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2019: Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chairperson and managing director, Biocon
Lifetime Achievement: Adi Godrej, chairman, Godrej Group Category Winners
Start-up: Falguni Nayar, founder and CEO, Nykaa E-Retail
Transformational Impact Person of the Year: Tuhin Parikh, senior managing director (Real estate), Blackstone India
Manufacturing: Arun Bharat Ram, chairman, SRF
Services: Sridhar Vembu, founder and CEO, Zoho Corporation
Financial services: Yashish Dahiya, CEO and co-founder, PolicyBazaar
Consumer Products & Retail: Berger Paints Chairman Kuldip Singh Dhingra, and Vice-Chairman Gurbachan Singh Dhingra
Life Sciences & Healthcare: Dr Lal PathLabs Chairman & Managing Director Arvind Lal and CEO Om Manchanda
Entrepreneurial CEO: K B S Anand, managing director and CEO, Asian Paints
Energy, Real Estate & Infrastructure: Ravi Raheja and Neel Raheja, group presidents, K Raheja Corp

PM Modi and US President Trump to hold extensive talks on Feb 25
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump will hold extensive talks on 25th of this month to deepen cooperation in a range of key sectors including defence and trade. The US President will be accompanied by a high-level delegation on his two day visit to India. Mr Trump is scheduled to visit India on the 24th of February.
The visit will have three legs – Ahmedabad, Agra and New Delhi. President Trump will address the “Namaste Trump” event jointly with Prime Minister Modi at the newly built Motera Cricket Stadium in Ahmedabad.

Reference Annuals India 2020, Bharat 2020 released
Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar released the Reference Annual, India 2020 and Bharat 2020 in New Delhi. E-version of the year books were also released on this occasion. These annuals carry exhaustive and comprehensive information about the country and the activities, progress and achievements of various Central Government Ministries, Departments and Organisations during the year.

Sri Lanka to withdraw from co-sponsorship of UNHRC resolution 30/1
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has confirmed that his government has decided to withdraw from the co-sponsorship of UNHRC resolution 30/1 which called for addressing war crimes and reconciliation efforts with minorities.
PM Rajapaksa said the previous government ended up accepting all the unfounded allegations made against armed forces by various interested parties.

Supratim Bandyopadhyay appointed PFRDA chairperson
Supratim Bandyopadhyay was appointed chairman of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority. He was working as Member (Finance) in the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).
The body regulates the National Pension Scheme subscribed by government and private employees from organised and unorganised sectors.
The PFRDA consists of a chairperson and not more than six members, three of whom shall be whole-time members and appointed by the central government.

UK announces new points-based visa system
UK Home Secretary, Priti Patel has announced the launch of Britain’s new points-based visa system. It aims at attracting the “brightest and the best” from the world, including from India. The new system will cut down numbers of cheap, low-skilled migrating workers coming to the country. The new system will come into force from January 1, 2021, at the end of the transition period after UK’s exit from the European Union (EU) last month.
The new post-Brexit system, which will apply equally to the EU and non-EU countries like India, is based on assigning points for specific skills, qualifications, salaries and professions, with visas only awarded to those who gain enough points.

V K Singh to review progress of Char Dham project
Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways General V K Singh will review the progress of Char Dham project. Gen Singh is visiting Uttarakhand to review the progress of the project with engineers and officials.
Char Dham National Highway connectivity programme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2016. The project aims to improve the connectivity to the Char Dham pilgrimage centres in the Himalayas, making journey to these centres safer, faster and more convenient.
The project comprises of improvement and development of 889 km length of NHs leading to Yamunotri Dham, Gangotri Dham, Kedarnath Dham, Badrinath Dham and part of route leading to Kailash Mansarovar yatra.

Veteran Kannada actor Kishori Ballal, passed away at 82
Veteran Kannada actor Kishori Ballal, who had acted in over 75 movies and left an indelible mark with her role in Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Swades, died at the age of 82. In her five-decade-long career, she worked in over 75 movies across different languages.

Vidit Gujrathi draws 6th round game, stays top in Prague Chess
Indian Grand Master Vidit Gujrathi maintained a one-point lead after settling for a draw against Nikita Vitiugov of Russia in the sixth round of the Prague Chess Festival’s Masters category. Vidit has 4.5 points and is ahead of Vitiugov and top seed Jan-Krzysztof Duda of Poland, both on 3.5 points

Asian Wrestling Championships: Indian wrestlers win three bronze medals in Greco-Roman events
Ashu, Aditya Kundu and Hardeep have won a bronze medal each in their respective weight categories as Indian wrestlers bagged five medals in Greco-Roman events of the Asian Wrestling Championships in New Delhi. While Ashu won a bronze in 67kg category, Aditya and Hardeep also bagged the medals of same colour in the 72kg and 97kg respectively on the second day of the competitions.
India has so far five medals in the championships, after Sunil Kumar’s historic gold in 87kg and Arjun Halakurki’s bronze in 55kg Greco-Roman category.

Barcelona Spain Masters: Saina Nehwal advances to second round
Shuttler Saina Nehwal advanced to the women’s singles second round of the Barcelona Spain Masters. She defeated Germany’s Yvonne Li 21-16, 21-14. Sania took just 35 minutes to beat her opponent in the first round match.
Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Sikki N Reddy also won their mixed doubles first-round match against Denmark’s Mathias Christiansen and Alexandra Boje 10-21, 21-16, 21-17.

BBB for Chinatala as Nabard chief
The Banks Board Bureau (BBB) has recommended G.R. Chinatala as the next chairman of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard). Govinda Rajulu Chintala is presently serving as deputy managing director in NABARD.



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