India celebrates National Science Day on 28th February of every year to commemorate the discovery of the Raman effect (in 1928) by Indian physicist Sir C.V. Raman.
The objective of the day is to spread the message of the importance of science and its application among the people.
The theme of National Science Day 2019 was “Science for the People and the People for Science”.
Today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi conferred the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology for the years 2016, 2017 and 2018 to the awardees at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi.
The prize comprises a citation, a plaque, and a cash award of Rs 5 lakhs, recipients also get Rs. 15,000 per month up to the age of 65 years.
In 1986 itself, the government designated 28 February as National Science Day.
Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize was instituted in 1958 by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in honour of Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar, its founder director and recognizes excellence in scientific research in India.
Winners list of 2018 in various categories
Dr Ganesh Nagaraju (IISc Bengaluru)
Dr Thomas J. Pucadyil (IISER Pune)
Dr Rahul Banerjee (IISER Kolkata)
Dr Swadhin Kumar Mandal (IISER Kolkata)
Earth, Atmosphere, Ocean and Planetary Sciences
Dr Madineni Venkat Ratnam (National Atmospheric Research Laboratory, Tirupati)
Dr Parthasarathi Chakraborty (CSIR-NIO, Goa)
Dr Amit Agrawal (IIT Bombay)
Dr Ashwin Anil Gumaste (IIT Bombay)
Dr Amit Kumar (IIT Delhi)
Dr Nitin Saxena (IIT Kanpur)
Dr Ganesan Venkatasubramanian (NIMHANS, Bengaluru)
Dr Aditi Sen De (Harish-Chandra Research Institute, Allahabad)
Dr Ambarish Ghosh (IISc Bengaluru)
2. NBT appoints Govind Prasad Sharma as Chairman
The National Book Trust (NBT) has appointed educationist and author Govind Prasad Sharma as its new Chairman.
Sharma has served as the Principal of Government P.G. College, Madhya Pradesh.
Sharma also served as Vice Chairman of Madhya Pradesh Board of Secondary Education.
He is the author of more than six academic books and several research papers and has edited a few collected works.
National Book Trust (NBT) is an autonomous body (founded in 1957) under the Ministry of Education of the Government of India.
NBT publishes reading material in several Indian languages for all age-groups, including books for children and neo-literates.
Now, NBT functions under the aegis of Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India.
3. Assam CM inaugurates PRANAM Commission
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has inaugurated the Assam Employees Parents Responsibility and Norms for Accountability and Monitoring (PRANAM) Commission.
PRANAM bill is an effort from the state government to protect the old parents and divyang siblings in their times of need and give them financial security.
It will benefit 8 lakh parents of 4 lakh state government employees.
PRANAM bill makes mandatory for the employees of the State government to look after their parents and unmarried divyang siblings who do not have their own source of income.
If any such complaint of ignorance of old parents by a state government employee is reported to the commission than 10% or 15% in some cases, of the employee’s salary will be deducted by the government and paid to the aggrieved parents or divyang siblings.
4. Railways start displaying vacant seats online
The Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal has launched the ‘Online Platform for Display and Booking’ of vacant berths after chart preparation in New Delhi.
It will enhance travel experience and bring greater transparency for Indian Railway passengers.
The user-friendly interface will give a graphical representation of the train coaches and berth-wise accommodation status on www.irctc.co.in.
The new feature in the ticketing system is a dynamic system which will keep upgrading itself as the train proceeds for the destination and passengers can see the real-time availability of berths.
Soon, IRCTC will add 30 kitchen base and all kitchen bases will be equipped with cameras for public viewing.
Biodegradable packing of food prepared in these kitchen bases is also being planned so the quality of food is not lost during the transit.
5. Jual Oram launches MSP for Minor Forest Produce, Value Addition Component of Van Dhan scheme
Today, The Union Trible Affairs Minister Jual Oram has launched ‘Minimum Support Price’ (MSP) for Minor Forest Produce and Value Addition Component of Van Dhan Scheme at Dr Ambedkar International Centre in New Delhi.
Now, The Ministry of Tribal Affairs is scaling up the “Van Dhan Scheme” and extend it to all tribal Districts of the Country in phases starting with the Aspirational Districts with substantial tribal population.
The Ministry also expanded the coverage of the Minimum Support Price for Minor Forest Produce Scheme to 50 Minor Forest Produce.
The MSP has also been raised between 30% and 40% in case of each of the Commodities.
The procurement of the Minor Forest Produce will commence in Haat Bazaars, where tribals bring their produce through the facilitation of the State Government Agencies and District Collectors of the concerned Districts.
It is proposed to set up almost 6000 Van Dan Vikas Kendras comprising 300 tribal gatherers each in the Country providing employment to almost 45 Lakh tribals.
6. Rail Minister announces “South Coast Railway (SCoR)” a new Zone of Indian Railways
According to Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, Southern Coast Railway ((SCoR)will be a new zone of the Indian Railways.
This new 18th railway zone of the country will be headquartered at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.
The new zone will comprise the existing Guntakal, Guntur and Vijayawada divisions that currently fall under the South-Central Railway.
The South-Central Railway will then consist of the Hyderabad, Secunderabad and Nanded divisions.
The cost of creating infrastructure for a new zone, according to an internal assessment of the Railways, is more than 205 crore rupees.
The Indian Railways’ operations are currently divided into 17 zones, which are further sub-divided into divisions (73 divisions), each having a divisional headquarter.
In 2002-2003, seven new zones and eight new divisions were created.
Honours & Awards
7. Mahesh Elkunchwar to be honoured with META lifetime achievement award
Eminent Indian playwright Mahesh Elkunchwar has been chosen for this year’s META Lifetime Achievement Award.
The playwright will be conferred upon with the award on 12thMarch, along with the winners of the 14th Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META) festival.
Elkunchwar is critically-acclaimed and widely-known for having experimented with a wide range of drama and is considered a powerful force in both Indian and Marathi theatre scene.
8. Nepal’s Tourism Minister Rabindra Adhikari passes away
Nepal’s Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister Rabindra Adhikari and six others were killed in helicopter crash in Taplejung district of Nepal.
The team had gone for a feasibility study for an airstrip in Chuhandanda in neighbouring Tehrathum.
Nepal has some of the world’s most remote and tricky runways, flanked by snow-capped peaks with approaches that pose a challenge for even accomplished pilots.
Banking and Finance
9. RBI removes Allahabad Bank, Corporation Bank, Dhanlaxmi Bank from PCA
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has taken off Allahabad Bank, Corporation Bank and Dhanlaxmi Bank from the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework allowing them to resume their normal lending activities.
The Board for Financial Supervision (BFS) met to review the performance of banks under PCA and noted that the government has infused fresh capital into various banks including some of the banks currently under the PCA framework.
The Reserve Bank has specified certain regulatory trigger points in terms of three parameters,
(i) capital to risk-weighted assets ratio (CRAR)
(ii) Net non-performing assets (NPA) and
(iii) Return on Assets (RoA), for initiation of certain structured and discretionary actions in respect of banks hitting such trigger points
The PCA framework is applicable only to commercial banks and not extended to co-operative banks, non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and FMIs.
10. ISSF World Cup: Manu, Saurabh clinch 10m Air Pistol Mixed Team gold
Indian duo Saurabh Chaudhary and Manu Bhaker won the Gold medal in 10-metre air pistol mixed team event at the ISSF world cup Shooting in New Delhi.
They shot a total of 483.5 points to finish on top of the podium.
The Chinese duo of Ranxin Jiang and Bowen Zhang won the Silver with 477.7 points.
While the bronze went to the Korean pair of Minjung Kim and Daehun Park who scored 418.8 points.
The tournament offered 14 quota places for the 2020 Tokyo Games.
India jointly topped the standings with Hungary in the ISSF World Cup claiming three gold medals but managed to secure only one Olympic quota.
‘Thoughts of the day’
“In the practice of tolerance, one’s enemy is the best teacher”
GK Quiz (for previous day’s news only) Take the quiz below to find out how well-versed you are in current affairs. You can also go through the Daily GK Update: 27th February 2019 before attempting the quiz.