General Knowledge & Current Affairs

February 2020 - 1st to 8th

1: Global health Emergency declared over Coronavirus by WHO

  • World Health Organization has declared an international emergency over the novel coronavirus from China.
  • The organization has declared an emergency as the disease has spread to 18 other countries apart from China where it originated.

2: Maldives rejoins Commonwealth as 54th member

  • Maldives has returned to Commonwealth after its exit in 2016 and hence, has become the 54th member of the global body.
  • The inclusion of Maldives into Commonwealth becomes effective from one-minute past midnight on 1 February just after the exit of United Kingdom from the European union.

3: Pakistan declares national emergency over locust swarms

  • Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan has declared a national emergency in the country to battle locust swarms.
  • The insects destroying crops on a large scale in Punjab province, country’s main region for agricultural production.

4: Donald Trump acquitted of all impeachment charges by US Senate

  • The United States President Donald Trump has been acquitted of all impeachment charges.
  • The US Senate has acquitted President Trump on two articles of impeachment that are the abuse of power and obstruction to Congress.
  • The Republican-majority Senate voted 52-48 to acquit him of abuse of power and 53-47 to acquit him of obstruction of Congress.

5: NASA’s Astronaut Christina Koch comes back to Earth after record stay in space

  • Christina Koch, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)’s astronaut has returned to earth
  • She stayed on the International Space Station for 328 days  and has surpassed Peggy Whitson’s record for an American woman on a single spaceflight at 289 days

1: Madhya Pradesh grabs first position for implementation of PMMVY

  • Madhya Pradesh’s Minister for Women and Child Development Imarti Devi and Principal Secretary Anupam Rajan received the award from Union Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani for the implementation of Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana in the state of Madhya Pradesh
  • Indore has been ranked at first place among the districts for better performance of the scheme.

2: India’s biggest rural technical festival ‘Antahpragnya 2020’ kicks off

  • India’s biggest rural technical festival titled ‘Antahpragnya 2020’ held in Rajiv Gandhi University of Knowledge Technologies (RGUKT), Basar, Nirmal District, Telangana.
  • The theme for the year 2020 was “Spot and encourage rural tech innovators”

3: Atal Innovation Mission starts “series of innovation demo days”

  • Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog has begin a series of innovation demo days.
  • The series aims to unite the stakeholders of the food processing and agriculture sector in India.
  • The innovation demo days will act as a platform where start-ups, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), entrepreneurs, corporate partners and sector academics are brought together to be spectator of government-funded innovations.

4: 5 IIITs to get the status of Institution of National Importance

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved to bestow the status of Institution of National Importance to the five Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs). 
  • The bill will provide the status of Institutions of National Importance to the remaining five IIITs along with the existing 15 IIITs in PPP mode. The 5 IIITs in PPP mode includes IIITs in Bhopal, Raichur, Bhagalpur, Agartala and Surat.

5: Eastern Railways partners with Amazon India to set up kiosk

  • Eastern Railways has partnered with Amazon India to set up a pick-up kiosk at the Sealdah railway station in Kolkata, West Bengal.
  • This follows after the successful pilot of pickup kiosks in four railway stations across Mumbai in 2019. A kiosk is a small open-fronted hut or cubicle from where newspapers, refreshments, tickets, etc will be sold.

6: SC notify all states to established Gram Nyayalayas

  • The Supreme Court has directed the states to establish Gram Nyayalayas within four weeks.
  • Gram Nyayalayas are mobile village courts established under Gram Nyayalayas Act,2008.

7: Pink City’ becomes certified UNESCO World Heritage City

  • Jaipur “The Pink City” has been certified by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as the World Heritage site.
  • The certification was done by the UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay during an event held in Jaipur, Rajasthan. As part of certification, the World Heritage City certificate was handover by UNESCO Director General to Minister of Urban Development Shanti Dhariwal.

8: Madhya Pradesh to employ “Drones” for mapping of the villages

  • Madhya Pradesh government has entered into an agreement with the Survey of India to employ drones for mapping of villages
  • The Survey of India is the India’s national mapping agency. Drones will be used for the mapping of 55 thousand villages of the state on a scale of 1:500

ISRO working on low-cost satellite launch vehicles

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has announced that it is preparing low-cost satellite launch vehicles costing around 30-35 crores each.
  • These low-cost launch vehicles can put into orbit satellites weighing 500 kgs

1: 1st indigenous bio-jet fuel aircraft of IAF landed successfully in Leh

2: 11th DefExpo 2020 to be held in Lucknow

  • The 11th edition of the biennial mega defence exhibition, DefExpo 2020, will begin on 5 February at Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh.
  • The main theme of DefExpo India-2020 will be “India: the emerging defence manufacturing hub”.

3: India hosts Defence dialogue between India and South Korea

  • India hosted the Ministerial-level Defence dialogue between India and South Korea in New Delhi
  • The Ministerial-level Defence dialogue aimed to deepen bilateral defence cooperation between the two countries

4: Prime Minister of India sets target at DefExpo of 5 billion-dollar USD in upcoming 5 years

  • Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi has stated that NDA government set a defense export target of 5 billion dollars in the upcoming five years.
  • The export of defense equipment from India was about 2,000 crore rupees. In the past 2 years, it has gone up to 17,000 crore rupees.

5: HAL & Israel Aerospace Industries to jointly make armed UCAVs

  • Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the 1st time, will sign a partnership pact with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) at the DefExpo 2020 in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.
  • This pact is signed for manufacture advanced Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs) in India.

6: Indian Army develops world’s first bulletproof helmet

  • World’s first bulletproof helmet has been developed by the Indian Army. The bulletproof helmet can stop an AK-47 bullet round fired from a distance of 10 meters.
  • The Ballistic helmet is developed by An Indian Army Major Anoop Mishra.

Task force constituted by Government of India to restrict Novel Coronavirus

  • A task force has been constituted by the Government of India to restrict the Novel Coronavirus outspread in India
  • Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy and Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri are the members of the task force.

Sri Lanka ranks first in Breast Feeding support Policies and Programs

  • Sri Lankas has been ranked first in a new survey conducted by the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi) on Breast Feeding support Policies and Programs.
  • Sri Lanka scored 91 points out of 100 and got the green color code and hence become the first country to achieve the œGreen nation status in supporting breastfeeding women.

1: Paytm launches Android POS device for SMEs & merchant partners

  • Paytm has launched an Android POS device for small and medium businesses (SMEs) & merchant partners
  • The android based device will enable the merchants to accept payments in various ways like debit and credit cards, Paytm Wallet, UPI-based apps and cash.

2: Reliance General launches health insurance plan “Infinity”

  • Reliance General Insurance Company Limited has launched a comprehensive health insurance plan named “Reliance Health Infinity”.
  • The policy offers 90 days pre and 180 days post hospitalization cover, along with sum insured ranging from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 1 crore, and free restore benefits.

1: DICGC increases the insurance coverage for depositors to 5 lakh

  • Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC) increases the insurance coverage for depositors in all insured banks from Rs 1 lakh to 5 lakh with effect from February 4, 2020, with the approval of Government of India

2: WhatsApp receives NPCI’s approval to expand its UPI project to 10 million users

  • The instant messaging platform “WhatsApp” has received the National Payments Corporation of India’s approval to expand its Unified Payment Interface (UPI) services to 10 million users through “WhatsApp Pay”

Union Budget 2020-21 presented by FM Nirmala Sitharaman

  • Union Budget 2020-21 was presented by FM Nirmala Sitharaman
  • The GDP growth of India’s forecasts at between 6 to 6.5% for the fiscal year starting April
  • Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas was the tagline of government mentioned by Finance Minister Nirmala Sithraman in her speech
  • This time 3 themes of Union Budget 2020-21:
    • aspirational India
    • economic development for all, and
    • develop a caring society

Indian Oil & Phinergy to jointly make metal-air batteries in India

  • Indian Oil has picked up a minority equity stake in Israel’s battery developer Phinergy to jointly set up a facility in India to manufacture metal-air batteries for electric vehicles
  • This collaboration helps in the field of Al-Air battery system including research & development, customization, manufacturing, assembly, sale and service of aluminium-air energy systems technology.

1: Veteran social activist and feminist writer Vidya Bal passes away

  • Social activist, feminist writer and journalist Vidya Bal passed away
  • She was known for her heroic oppressive practices involving women

2: Sahitya Akademi Awardee Jaswant Singh Kanwal passes away

  • Eminent Punjabi writer and Sahitya Akademi Awardee Jaswant Singh Kanwal passed away
  • In 1996, he was bestowed the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship award for his book ‘Pakhi’ (Hand Fan) and two years later in 1998, he received the Sahitya Akademi award for his novel ‘Taushali Di Hanso’

3: Hollywood actor Kirk Douglas passes away

  • The Academy Award winning Hollywood Actor, producer and director Kirk Douglas passed away.
  • The actor came to limelight in 1940’s and played various roles in nearly 100 movies in his 60-year career.

1: Novak Djokovic Wins the men’s singles title of Australian Open 2020

  • Serbian tennis star, Novak Djokovic has won the men’s singles title of Australian Open 2020.
  • He defeated Austrian tennis star Dominic Thiem in five sets to successfully defend his Australian Open men’s singles title in Melbourne, Australia. This was his 8th title win in the Australia Open.

2: NADA suspends two Indian athlete

  • The National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) has suspended weightlifter Ramshad AR for a period of 2 years after being found guilty of violating the anti-doping rule

3: Weightlifter Sambo Lapung wins gold with national record of 188kg

  • Weightlifter Sambo Lapung has won the gold medal in the men’s 89kg event of the National Weightlifting Championships held in Kolkata
  • He has made a new national record of 188kg in clean and jerk event in men’s 89kg. The previous national record of clean and jerk was of 187kg. Sambo Lapung is from Arunachal Pradesh


1: GoI appoints M Ajit Kumar as chairman of CBIC

  • The government of India has appointed M Ajit Kumar as chairman of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs.
  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment.

2: Ajay Bisaria becomes India’s next Ambassador to Canada

  • Ajay Bisaria has been appointed as the next High Commissioner of India to Canada
  • He is presently served as High Commissioner of India to Pakistan. He will replace Vikas Swarup

3: Gopal Baglay becomes India’s next Ambassador to Sri Lanka

  • Gopal Baglay has been appointed as the next High Commissioner of India to the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
  • He will replace Taranjit Sandhu

4: Deepa Malik becomes president of Paralympic Committee of India

  • Para-athlete and India’s lone woman Paralympic medalist Deepa Malik has been elected as president of Paralympic Committee of India
  • She was elected unopposed as president in the PCI polls held in Bengaluru.

5: Jeff Weiner to step down as the Chief Executive Officer of LinkedIn Corporation

  • LinkedIn Corp. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Weiner is stepping down in the role. Jeff Weiner will become executive chairman after 11 years as CEO of the Microsoft-owned business
  • Ryan Roslansky, senior vice president of product, will become CEO as of June. Roslansky has been at LinkedIn for more than 10 years. He will report to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and join Microsoft’s senior leadership team

6: C N R Nair has been appointed by Supreme Court to make inventory of ornaments at Sabarimala temple

  • Retired Kerala High Court judge C N Ramachandaran Nair has been appointed by the Supreme Court of India for the formulation of the inventory and valuation report of ornaments at Sabarimala temple

7: Pinelopi Koujianou has resigned from the World Bank as the chief economist

  • Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg has announced her resignation as the Chief Economist of the World Bank
  • Aart Kraay will be the interim WB chief economist until the appointment of a new permanent chief economist

  • Vinod Shukla wins 1st Mathrubhumi Book of the Year award: Noted Hindi poet-novelist and Sahitya Akademi honouree Vinod Kumar Shukla has won the inaugural Mathrubhumi Book of the Year award for his translated book “Blue Is Like Blue”
  • Waheeda Rehman to be honoured with Kishore Kumar Samman: The Veteran actor Waheeda Rehman will be honoured the Madhya Pradesh government’s National Kishore Kumar Samman

1: GoI unveils new vaccine to control classical swine fever

  • The government of India unveiled a new indigenously developed vaccine for controlling classical swine fever (CSF). CSF is a highly contagious fatal pig disease
  • The new vaccine, developed by Uttar Pradesh-based Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)-Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), will be much cheaper than the existing one

2: Sourav Ganguly to be Indian team’s Goodwill Ambassador for Tokyo Olympics

  • The Indian Olympic Association has invited BCCI President Sourav Ganguly to become the Goodwill Ambassador of the Indian contingent at the Tokyo Olympics
  • The Tokyo Olympic Games will be held from July 24 to August 9.

3: To fight novel coronavirus World Health Organisation calls for USD 675 million

  • Geneva-based WHO has called for 675 million US dollars in donations for a plan to fight the novel coronavirus
  • This announcement was made by the Director-General of WHO Tedros Adhanom in Geneva.

  • World Cancer Day observed globally on 4 February: World Cancer Day is being observed globally on 4th February. The Day aims to create awareness about cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment
  • International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation: 6 February: International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female is observed globally on 6 February. This day is sponsored by the United Nations for their efforts to eradicate female genital mutilation. It was first introduced in 2003. 2020 Theme: Unleashing Youth Power.
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