Current Affairs 17 February, 2020


1. Singapore firm wins bid to buy India’s longest road tunnel.

  • Singapore-based infrastructure investment platform Cube Highways has won the bid to acquire India’s longest road tunnel - the 9.2-km Chenani-Nashri project in Jammu & Kashmir - for Rs 3,929 crore.
  • The IL&FS board has declared Cube Highways as the highest bidder (H1), and invited lenders to vote for the sale through the e-voting process.
  • The tunnel project has a debt of around Rs 5,454 crore and a sale of the asset will help bring down the overall debt position of the company.
  • Cube Highways, a platform floated by I Squared Capital and backed by International Finance Corp and ADIA, operates 1,700 km of highways in India.
  • In October 2019, The government has renamed Chenani-Nashri tunnel on national highway 44 in Jammu & Kashmir as Dr.Syama Prasad Mookerjee Tunnel.

Foot Notes:
Capitals: Jammu Cantonment (Winter), Srinagar (Summer)
Governor: Satya pal Malik

2. PM flagged off third corporate train Kashi Mahakal Express.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the latest religion-themed train, the Kashi Mahakal Express that connects, for the first time, places related to three jyotirlingas- Omkareshwar near Indore, Mahakaleshwar in Ujjain, and Kashi Vishwanath in Varanasi.
  • Railway PSU Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will be running this as the third “corporate” train after two Tejas Express trains.
  • The train will cover 1131 km between Varanasi and Indore via Lucknow and a distance of 1102 km between Varanasi and Indore via Prayagraj (Allahabad) in approximately 19 hours.
  • The overnight train is also IRCTC’s first overnight, long-distance train to run on a regular basis.
  • This Lord Shiva-themed train will be followed by a Ramayan-themed train to be launched next month from across India.
  • The Ramayana Express will touch places related to the mythology of Ram, including Ayodhya.
  • Seat number 64 in coach B5 was reserved and left vacant for the “Bhole Baba” which is a permanent feature of the train.

3. South Central Railways (SCR) zone became 1st in India to have energy-neutral stations.

  • The Indian Railways South Central Railways (SCR) zone has become the first zonal railway in the country to have functional “energy neutral” railway stations on the network.
  • The South Central Railways has converted a total of 13 railway stations into “energy neutral” stations, which is the highest amongst all the zones across the Indian Railways network.
  • Energy-neutral railway stations are capable of meeting 100 per cent energy requirements by tapping into solar power through solar photovoltaic panels which have been commissioned at the station buildings.
  • The SCR zone, the total capacity of all the solar panels installed at the 13 energy neutral stations is 99 kWp.

Foot Notes:
Established in: 2 October 1966
Headquarters location: Secunderabad

4. Hyderabad to host 3-day ‘BioAsia 2020’.

  • Hyderabad is hosting the three-day BioAsia 2020, Asia's largest biotechnology and life sciences forum.
  • The event themed 'Today for Tomorrow' will witness as many as 2,000 delegates from 37 countries.
  • Switzerland will be the partner country at the event this year.
  • An eminent 40-member team consisting of industries, academia and start-ups from Switzerland will participate in the event.
  • As many as 800 companies are set to take part in BioAisa 2020.

Foot Notes:
About Switzerland
Currency: Swiss franc
Capital: Bern

5. 'Pyaar ka Paudha' campaign launched by Bihar govt to encourage practice of planting trees.

  • 'Pyaar ka Paudha' (a plant of love) campaign has been launched by the Bihar government's Department of Environment and Forest in Patna, to encourage the practice of planting trees in the state.
  • Department of Environment, humbly request you to gift one plant of love to your closed ones and provide good care.
  • The aim of this campaign is to promote the practice of planting trees in the state.

Foot Notes:
About Haryana:
Chief Minister: Nitish Kumar
Governor: Phagu Chauhan

6. HAL to provide IAF with 83 Tejas fighters in Rs 39,000 crore deal.

  • With the overall cost of IAF acquiring 83 single-engine Tejas fighters and their support package from defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) being slashed from the earlier around Rs 56,500 crore to Rs 39,000 crore.
  • The over Rs 17,000 crore reduction in overall cost has come after hard-nosed negotiations spread over a year.
  • The defence ministry and IAF were initially shocked at the “exorbitant price” being demanded by HAL to produce the 83 Tejas Mark-1A jets along with the maintenance and infrastructure package.
  • HAL promises to begin deliveries of the Mark-1A jets in three years.
  • It was in November 2016 that the Defence Acquisitions Council had first approved the procurement of 83 Tejas jets at a cost of Rs 49,797 crore.
  • But HAL had responded with a quote of around Rs 56,500 crore, which led to protracted cost negotiations.

Foot Notes:
About HAL
Headquarters: Bengaluru
Founded: 23 December 1940

7. Vinay Dube appointed as GoAir CEO.

  • GoAir has appointed Vinay Dube as the airline's Chief Executive Officer.
  • Dube would be responsible for the management of the airline and also for meeting the goals and long-term growth objectives of the company.
  • The airline did not have a CEO since the departure of Cornelis Vrieswijk in March last year.
  • Mr. Dube will report to chairman Nusli Wadia, managing director Jeh Wadia, and the board. He will be responsible for the management of the airline and also for meeting the goals and long-term growth objectives of the company.

8. SEBI constitutes municipal bonds development committee.

  • SEBI has constituted a committee which will suggest on policy matters pertaining to development of municipal debt securities and facilitate municipalities for issuance of such bonds.
  • The regulator has constituted a municipal bonds development committee headed by its Executive Director Sujit Prasad.
  • The panel will advise SEBI on issues related to regulation and development of primary and secondary market of municipal debt securities.
  • It will suggest the regulator on matters required to be taken up for changes in legal framework to introduce simplification and transparency in systems and procedures in the primary and secondary market.

Foot Notes:
About SEBI
Founded: 12 April 1992
Headquarters: Mumbai
Chairperson: Ajay Tyagi

9. Haryana govt announces Rs six crore to those winning gold medals at Olympics.

  • The Haryana government has decided to give 6 crore rupees to players of the state that bag gold medals at the Olympic Games.
  • State Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said, 3 crore rupees will be given to those winning gold medals at Asian Games and 1.5 crore rupees to the winners of yellow metal at Commonwealth Games.
  • An amount of 15 lakh rupees will be given to each player participating in the Olympic Games so that the players can make the state, as well as the country, proud.

Foot Notes:
CM Haryana: Manohar Lal Khattar
Governor: Satyadev Narayan Arya

10. Indian athletes clinch 3 medals in World SnowShoe Championship.

  • Indian athletes finished with three medals in different categories in the World SnowShoe Championship at Myoko, Japan.
  • Ayan Bin Shahnaz bagged silver, while Zain Ali and Muzamil Hussain Mir, all are from Kashmir,  bagged bronze medals in their respective categories.
  • Athletes from 17 countries including the USA, Canada, Australia, Italy, Germany, Spain, Sweden and France participated in the championship.
  • The Indian contingent was fielded by the SnowShoe Federation of India.

Read More:

Current Affairs 15-16 February, 2020

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