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National Dates & Events in February 2011

1. K Subrahmanyam, 82, widely regarded as India’s foremost thinker on strategic policy, passed away on 3rd February, 2011. He repeatedly declined a Padma Bhushan, offered to him by successive govemments. A master’s in Chemistry from Chennafs Presidency College, Subrahmanyam topped the Indian Administrative Service exam and joined the civil service in 1951. He held several sensitive positions in the Union government, including chairman, joint intelligence committee and secretary, defence production. He was also home secretary of Tamil Nadu.

2. In a major relief to South Korean steel major Pohang Steel Company ( POSCO ), the environment ministry on  1st February, 2011 approved the firm’s Rupee 54,000 – crore ( Rupee 12 – billion ) steel plant. Seen as one of the largest foreign direct investments in India, the project has been in limbo for nearly six years. The Odisha government and POSCO had signed an MoU on 22nd June, 2005 to set up an integrated steel plant with a total capacity of 12 million tonnes a year ( with 4 million tonnes in the first phase ) at Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district.

3. The 71st session of the Indian History Congress ( IHC ) was organised at the Gaur – Banga University in Malda, West Bengal in from 11th February to 13th February, 2011. The Congress elected Professor B.B. Chaudhuri general president for the next IHC session to be held at the Punjabi University in Patiala from December 10 to 12.

4. Home Minister P Chidambaram unveiled the mascot of the census enumerators, in New Delhi on 2nd February, 2011. No name has been given to the mascot designed by DDB Mudra Group, to keep it secular. Census 2011, billed as the largest peacetime mobilisation in the world, will see the massive exercise of population enumeration across the country simultaneously, between 9th February  & 28th February 2011. In the first phase, house – listing was done from April to September 2010.

5. As per the latest Sample Registration System ( 5RS ).estimates released by the Registrar General of India ( RGI ), Ministry of Home Affairs for the year 2009 in February 2011, it is noted that Infant Mortality Rate ( IMR ) has dropped by 3 points from 53 ( during 2008 ) to 50 infants deaths per 1000 live births during 2009. The IMR for rural areas has dropped by 3 points from 58 to 55 infant deaths per 1000 live births.General Studies Question Bank CD

6. The 8th Meeting of the International Advisory Panel ( IAP ) for reviewing the National Rural Health Mission was held on 1st February, 2011 in New Delhi. The Panel led by Professor Jeffrey D Sachs, Director, Earth Institute, University of Columbia – along with their team of experts, commended the impressive performance and dramatic results achieved under NRHM in a record short span, terming NRHM an extraordinary model in Public Health management. Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad acknowledged that the recommendations of the mid – term evaluation reports on the NHRM prepared by the IAP have helped provide useful inputs for improving the program implementation.

7. Indigenous Unmanned Aerial Vehicle ( UAV ) Nishant has successfully completed a series of confirmatory trials conducted by the Army at Chandan Range Fokharan, on 3rd February, 2011. The Army conducted the flight trials recently ahead of taking delivery of a set of four Nishant – UAVs, together with ground systems.

8. A two day international conference on Mainstreaming HIV and AIDS and role of Insurance sector in India was organised in New Delhi on 3rd  & 4th February, 2011. The Conference was organised with an objective to bring HIV within the ambit of health insurance, as currently it is excluded from most of the health insurance schemes in India. India has an estimated 23.9 lakh people living with HIV.

9. India Post on 2nd February, 2011 issued a commemorative postage stamp on ‘Mary Ward – Loreto Institutions’ to mark 400 years (1609 – 2009 ) of the founding experience of Mary Ward. Stamp on Ch. Ranbir Singh released: A postal stamp in memory of freedom fighter Chaudhary Ranbir Singh, father of Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, was released in New Delhi on 1st February, 2011.

10. India Post on 3rd February, 2011 a commemorative postage stamp on the Corps of Signals. On 15th February, 2011, the Crops of Signals will completed 100 years of its service to the Armed Forces. Lt Col SH Powell, Royal Engineers was the founder and first head of the Indian Signal Service which was subsequently re – designated as the Indian Signal Corps. The motto of the Corps is “Teevra Chaukas” i.e. “Swift and Secure,” and its emblem depicts the figure of the Roman Deity “Mercury” or “Hermes”, the messenger of Gods in Greek mythology.

11. The National Service Scheme ( NSS ) cell of Palamuru University in Mahbubnagar, Andhra Pradesh has set a new Guinness world record in the largest barefoot walk category. The NSS cell of PU received the certificate and an appreciation letter from the Guinness authorities on 2nd February, 2011. The largest barefoot walk was organised in the university campus on 12th November, 2010.

12. The Himachal Pradesh government has frozen all bank accounts of the trust headed by the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje. The move follows probe into benami ( proxy ) land deeds by the trust and seizure of foreign currency from the Karmapa’s Gyuto Monastery at Sidhbari near Dharamsala.

13. The Indian Coast Guard on 1st February, 2011 distributed five Distress Alert Transmitters ( DAT ) to local fishermen in Port Blair through which alerts can be send via satellite giving a boat’s location in case of emergency. Developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation ( ISRO ), the DAT is a satellite – based alert transmitter to be used by fishermen going high seas.

14. The Institute of Seismological Research ( ISR ) has prepared a new seismic zone map of India which gives a more accurate picture along with probability and magnitude estimate of possible earthquakes in specific areas of the country.

15. The present earth quake zoning map of the Bureau of Indian Standards ( BIS ) has divided India into four zones. The new map will be more accurate and will be distinct as it will give probability of occurrences of quakes of certain magnitudes. The map has been prepared for the BIS.General Studies Question Bank CD

16. The Quality Council of India has appointed a five member comittee to rate blood banks across the country. The initiative is a move to bring down incidence of infections such as HIV and hepatitis. All blood banks are licensed and monitored by state drug control directorates. The committee for accreditation of blood banks will be chaired by Dr Bharat Singh of Delhi – based GTB hospital. India has over 2,635 licensed blood banks. Though it requires 8.5 million units of blood annually, the country collects only 6.5 million units. With 2.5 million donors, only 55% of the donors give blood voluntary.

17. The 11th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit was organised in New Delhi from 3rd and 5th February, 2011, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was honoured with the Sustainable Development Leadership Award at the Summit organised by The Energy and Resources Institute ( TERI ). “Tapping Local Initiatives and Tackling Global Inertia” was the theme of the Summit.

18. The Kerala High Court on 3rd February, 2011 dismissed petitions against formation of the country’s first Islamic bank. The court approval came after it dismissed two PILs challenging the setting up of an Islamic Financial Institution in the state on the lines of Islamic Banks with the support of Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation ( KSIDC ).

19. Former Railways Minister and Trinamool Congress President Mamata Banerjee on 4th February, 2011 announced the setting up of a wagon component factory near Nandigram in West Bengal’s Purba Medinipur district, nearly four years after the project for a chemical hub was called off by the State government after a movement led by her turned violent.

20. The Department of Posts on 4th February, 2011 announced a strategic partnership with the Unique Identification Authority of India ( UIDAI ) for registration and distribution of unique identification ( UID ) cards to citizens. The UIDAI will leverage the DoP national network for its unique identity project AADHAR. The two organisations will also collaborate to provide state – of – the – art biometric and identity authentication services. All AADHAR – based applications would be accessible through post offices.

21. The Planning Commission on 2nd February, 2011 launched the 12th Plan Web site and Facebook page. The launch will enable the pubjic to view key challenge areas under the forthcoming approach paper and 12th Five – Year Plan. The 12 challenges identified in the approach paper to the Plan include ‘Enhancing capacity for growth’, ‘enhancing skills’ and faster generation of employment’, ‘Managing the environment’, Technology and innovation,’ and ‘Securing the energy future of the country,’. The 12th Plan facebook page directs people to the 12th Plan Web site and enables the public to view the 12 challenges coveted in the approach paper.

22. Convergence of demographic, economic and technological forces will result in unprecedented changes in consumer behaviour making countries like India a large consumer market, according to a study by consultancy firm Deloitte.

The report Consumer 2020 :  Reading the signs’, said India would emerge as the world’s fifth-largest consumer market by 2025 providing significant opportunities for consumer business companies.

23. The National Sports Development Code, 2011 compiled by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports was unveiled on 1st February, 2011.

24. The Government Committee set up to estimate the quantum of black money will suggest ways to tax unaccounted money kept abroad. This was disclosed by the Finance Ministry on 9th February, 2011 in an 18 – page additional affidavit Hied before the Supreme Court. The panel — comprising the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, the National Institute of Financial Management and the National Council for Applied Economic Research — will obtain inputs from the departments and stakeholders concerned for its report.

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25. The Government has decided to bring workers who have worked under the National Rural Employment Guarantee programme for a minimum of 15 days under the ambit of the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana ( RSBY ). RSBY will also cover workers from the unorganised sector, including rickshaw pullers and domestic workers.

26. The Indian Air Force on 5th February, 2011 inducted CJ – 130 Super Hercules aircraft at the Hindon Air Force Station in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. The aircraft, the first of six that.India ordered three years ago from the U.S., will be based at Hindon under the newly raised 77 Veiled Vipers’ squadron with its motto “Kill with Stealth.”

27. The Union Cabinet on 10th February, 2011 decided to amend the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867. The amended Act will have provisions to prevent a person convicted of terrorist acts or anything that threatens the security of the state from bringing out publications. The Act would also include provisions to prevent blocking of titles to discourage non – serious publishers. The amendments are aimed at streamlining the age – old processes and addressing certain issues governed by the print media policy and the guidelines / rule.

28. The Ministry of Environment and Forest has given an “in principle” approval to the long – pending Mount Girnar Ropeway project in Junagadh district in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat. The order, pending since 1995, was signed by the Minister of State for Environment and Forest Jairam Ramesh on 7th February, 2011.

29. Asia’s biggest aerospace exposition, Aero lndia – 2011 was organised by the Ministry of Defence at Yelahanka air base in Bengaluru from 9th February to 13 th, February 2011. The biennial event comprised the flying display and static display of aircrafts, the exhibition and the International Seminar. While the flying / static displays and the exhibition showcased products from all over the world, the International Seminar gave information on the current and emerging technologies

30. The Navy conducted salvage operations for the frigate INS Vindhyagiri which is resting on sea bed at the naval dockyard after colliding with Cyprus-flagged merchant vessel Nordlake off the coast of Mumbai in January 2011. The operation to lift INS Vindhyagiri out of water started on 8th February, 2011. The decision to decommission or re – fit the vessel will be taken after the operation is completed. General Studies Question Bank CD

31. The environment Ministry on 8th February, 2011 issued a notification banning the use of plastics for packaging gutka and other tobacco products. The Supreme Court had earlier rejected the government’s plea for more time to notify the law to regulate the use of plastic pouches for gutka and other tobacco products. On February 2, the apex court had asked the Centre to come out with the plastic rule notification within two days.

32. The 17th Commonwealth Law Conference ( CLC ) was organised in Hyderabad on  5th  & 9th February, 2011. CLC is a prestigious event that brings together legal practitioners from all over the Commonwealth to debate current issues affecting practice and the profession, exchange views and experiences with colleagues and get up to date with the latest commercial products and services.

33. Praja Rajyam leader and Telugu cinema actor K. Chiranjeevi, on 6th February, 2011 announced the merger of his party with the Indian National Congress ( INC ). Praja Rajyam is a regional political party in Andhra Pradesh founded by Chiranjeevi on August 26, 2008. Congress now has 174 MLAs in the 295 – member Legislative Assembly followed by Telugu Desam ( 92 ), TRS ( 10 ), BJP ( 2 ), CP I- M ( 1 ), CPI ( 4 ), MIM ( 7 ), LokSatta ( 1 ) and Independents ( 3 ).

34. IICT – Melbourne Institute research centre launched : A joint research centre of Indian Institute of Chemical Technology ( IICT ) and Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology ( RMIT ) University was inaugurated on IICT premises in Hyderabad on 8th February, 2011. The collaborative research centre will have scientists and PhO scholars who will do research on a host of socially relevant areas like environment and energy.

35. Kumari Selja, Minister of Culture and Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation on February 11, released ‘Black, Brown & The Blue’ – a book on artist Shuvaprasanna Bhattacharya.

36. The book offers a glimpse into the world of Shuvaprasanna, who has over the past four decades, created numerous paintings, lithographs, graphics, sculptures, and a wide variety of mixed media art on different themes ranging from the despondency of the urban chaos, surreal crows and cats, to the delightful play of the deities, as well as realistic portraiture.

37. The second advance estimates of crop production for 2010 – 11 were released on 9th February, 2011. Foodgrain production during 2010 – 11 is estimated at 232.07 million tonnes compared to 218.11 million tonnes in 2009 – 10. This is only marginally below the record production of 234.47 million tonnes of foodgrains in 2008 – 09.

38. 7th edition of Eco – Products International Fair ( EPIF 2011 ) and 19th International Engineering Trade Fair ( IETF ) were organised in New Delhi on 10th and 12th  February, 2011. The EPIF provides a platform for international and Indian companies to share knowledge and experience regarding latest eco technologies. It also provides a marketing venue to showcase the latest eco technologies and eco products to Government, Industries and the Public apart from providing a business platform for buyers and sellers to meet and explore business collaborations.

39. Close to 13,000 companies have taken recourse to the ‘Easy Exit Scheme, 201 r floated by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. The scheme, under Section 560 of the Companies Act, was introduced to allow defunct companies to remove their names from the Registrar of Companies. It was operational 1st to 31st January, 2011 and has been extended till April 30.

40. The Committee of Experts on agricultural statistics has recommended a radical restructuring of farm statistics in a phased manner to ensure objective, reliable and timely estimates of crop wise areas and yields. The Committee of Experts, headed by Prof. A.Vaidyanathan, was constituted in 2009 to study a system of agricultural statistics and recommend necessary improvements.

41. The Government on 10th February, 2011 appointed a high – powered committee to review various aspects of the controversial deal ISRO’s commercial arm Antrix had struck with a private company for lease of scarce S – band spectrum. The two – member Committee, headed by B.K. Chaturvedi, Member, Planning Commission, will review the technical, commercial, procedural and financial aspects of the Agreement between Antrix and Devas Multimedia Pvt. Ltd. Media reports had stated that the Department of Space, which comes directly under the Prime Minister, had allocated 70 MHz of S – Band spectrum to Devas Multimedia for Rupee 1,000 crore. The actual value of this was estimated to be around 72 lakh crore, the reports claimed.

42. The Central Statistics Office ( CSO ), Ministry of Statistics – and Program Implementation on 7th February, 2011 released the advance estimates of national income at constant ( 2004 – 05 ) and current prices, for the financial year 2010 – 11. These estimates are based on anticipated level of agricultural and industrial production, analysis of budget estimates of government expenditure and performance of key sectors like, railways, transport other than railways, communication, banking and insurance, available so far.

43. India’s exports have registered a growth of 32.5% during January 2011, at US $ 20.6 billion while imports were US $ 28.6 billion. During the period April – January 2010 – 11, exports reached a level of US $ 184.6 billion at a growth of 29.4% while the imports were US $ 273.6 billion with a growth of 17.6% and a trade deficit of US $ 89 billion.

44. A high – level committee chaired by former Finance Secretary Ashok Chawla on 9th February, 2011 stressed the need for a centralised and transparent database in respect of all natural resources handled by the Central Government. The Committee on ‘Open and Competitive Mechanism for Allocation, Pricing and Utilisation of Natural Resources says that a centralised data base would ensure co – ordination amongst different ministries / departments and obviate many of the legal disputes pending in various courts of law.

45. The Government on 10th February, 2011 launched ‘Swabhimaan’, the financial inclusion campaign that aims to bring banking services to vast unbanked rural areas in the country.

46. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India ( TRAI ) committee tasked with calculating the value of 2G spectrum in the 1,800 MHz band at 2010 prices submitted its report on 9th February, 2011. Telecom companies — both new operators and the old ones — will have to pay huge additional amounts, if the government agrees to the recommendations. The TRAI has recommended that the price of pan – India 2G licence ( that comes with contracted 6.2 MHz spectrum ) be fixed at Rupee 10,972.45 crore

47. The International Container Trans – shipment Terminal ( ICTT ) project, Vallarpadam was dedicated to the Nation by PM Manmohan Singh at Cochin on 11th February, 2011. The project is a major milestone achieved in maritime sector in the development of the country’s logistics infrastructure. The ICTT, Vallarpadam is India’s first dedicated International Container Transshipment Terminal developed by Cochin Port Trust and M / s India Gateway Terminal Pvt Ltd ( 1GT ), a subsidiary of M / s Dubai Port World ( DPW ) through a Public Private Partnership ( PPP ) on Build Operate and Transfer ( BOT ) basis.

48. The 15th Conference of Commonwealth Statisticians was organised by the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation in New Delhi from 7th to 10th  February, 2011. It was attended by more than 500 participants comprising delegates from most of the commonwealth countries, International Organisations.

49. The Government on 9th February, 2011 decided to set up a committee to prepare a draft curriculum for vocational education in the media and entertainment sector. The committee would comprise AICTE chairman S S Mantha, CEO of Exchange for Media Anurag Batra and other members from the entertainment industry.

50. Chiria iron ore mines of SAIL in the Saranda forest in Paschimi Singhbhum district of Jharkhand got forest clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests on 9th February, 2011. The approval is subjected to the usual 13 specific conditions governing forest clearance like those relating to compensatory afforestation and Net Present Value.

51. The Indian middle class, target consumers for many companies, is expected to swell up to 267 million people in the next five years, up 67 per cent from the current levels, thus providing a great market opportunity for firms, according to NCAER. A report by National Council for Applied Economic Research’s ( NCAER ) Centre for Macro Consumer Research unveUed on 6th February, 2011 said by 2015 – 16, India will be a country of 53.3 million middle class households, translating into 267 million people failing in the category.

52. The Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP ) on 17th February, 2011 made a clean sweep of all the five assembly seats in party – ruled Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand where by – elections were held, while the Trinamool Congress emerged triumphant in one seat in Manipur.

53. The Supreme Court on 17th February, 2011 rejected the plea of various gutka, pan masala and chewing tobacco manufacturing companies for postponement of the 7th December, 2010 order banning the use of plastic as packaging material for their products from 1st March, 2011. The court took note of the fact that 86 per cent of the oral cancer in India was caused by tobacco products.

54. Union Minister of Shipping G.KA / asan launched the project for promoting lighthouses as tourist spots, in Chennai on 12th February, 2011. The ambitious project for promotion of tourism in 14 lighthouses across the country is estimate to cost Rupee 300 crore. The objective is to turn these lighthouses and surrounding areas into maritime landmark destinations and develop allied maritime infrastructure.

55. The Ministry of Women and Child Development on 14th February, 2011 launched Child Adoption Resource Information & Guidance System ( CAR1NGS ) – a web based management information system to provide online information on adoptable children, prospective adoptive parents and adoption agencies. The system will also enable the Government to monitor the adoption and post adoption process, thereby ensuring transparency and early rehabilitation of the child.

56. Railways launched the first ‘Bharat Tirath’ train on 19th February, 2011 from Howrah. Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee had proposed the Bharat Tirath trains in her 2010 – 11 Rail Budget. The 12 – coach special tourist train will begin its fortnight – long journey covering popular destinations including Bhubaneswar, Bangalore, Mysore, Maduari, Kanyakumari and Rameswaram, among others. Besides these, the south ¬ bound tourist train will also travel to Puducherry, Kanchipuram, Chennai, Tirupati and Vishakhapatnam before returning to Howrah on March 5.

57. Tuticorin Port in South Tamil Nadu was renamed as V.O. Chidambaranar Port after the legendary freedom fighter on 19th February, 2011.

58. PM Dr Manmohan Singh laid the foundation stone of National Institute of Design at Jorhat Campus in Assam on 19th February, 2011. This will be the second Institute of its type in India after the first National Institute of Design was set up in Ahmedabad fifty years ago. The PM also laid the Foundation stone of the Assam Centre of the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology in Assam.

59. INS Nireekshak creates new underwater record : A group of naval divers on ‘board INS Nireekshak, the Navy’s only diving support and submarine rescue vessel, on 16th February, 2011 set a new national record last week by diving to a depth of 233 metres in the seas off Kochi coast, bettering a record of 218 metres Attained by Navy divers in March 2007.

60. The Navy has brought out a series of books highlighting the maritime legacy of the Konkan region which had acquired a new dimension under Chhatrapati Shivaji. Vice Admiral Sanjeev Bhasin, Flag Officer Commanding in Chief, Western Naval Command, released the book on ‘Maritime Heritage of Konkan’ in Mumbai on 18th February, 2011. The book, authored by Sachin Pendse, a member of the Indian National Cartographic Association as also the Maritime History Society looks into the rich maritime heritage of Konkan along with physical factors that influenced its maritime character.

61. Scenic Kerala backwaters can now boast of an engineering marvel — the longest rail bridge in the country at 4.62 km. The bridge, inaugurated in February 2011, is part of an 8.6 – km railway line project, connecting Idapalli to Vallarpadam in Kochi, where the International Container Transshipment Terminal ( ICTT ) has been constructed by the shipping ministry. Constructed by the Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd ( RVNL ) at a cost of Rupee 200 crore, it was built in record 28 months. The alignment cuts through densely populated habitations and backwaters. The project, which will serve as the first SEZ port in the country, will eliminate transshipment of goods from Colombo port to Indian ports. Mega mother ships and Panamax vessels can directly reach Vallarpadam. It will also save the cost of transportation by $300 per container, making export and import cheaper.

62. India’s largest Naphtha Cracker plant was.inaugurated at Indian Oil’s Panipat Complex on 15th February, 2011. Tha Complex facilitates expansion of Indian Oil’s operations through downstream integration into petrochemicals. Petroleum Minister S. Jaipal Reddy also released an IOC publication entitled “Propelling into Petrochemicals for a Brighter Tomorrow” on the occasion. The Naphtha Cracker Complex built at a cost of Rupee 14,439 Crore will provide significant impetus to India’s leading Fortune – 500 Company’s ambitious foray into petrochemicals.

63. New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport has been ranked the fourth best airport in the world in the 25 million to 40 million passengers per annum category according to the 2010 Airport Service Quality ( ASQ ) rankings of Airport Council International. Overall its ranking has improved from the 32nd best airport in the world in 2009 to 12th best. Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport has been ranked No. 1 in the ASQ rankings in the 5 million to 15 motion : passengers per annum category for the second consecutive year. The Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport ( CSIA ), Mumbai was rated the second best airport worldwide for airports in the 15 – 25 – million passengers per annum ( mppa ) category. A total of 153 airports took part in this survey including six Indian airports. Seoul Incheon airport has topped the 25 – 40 million passengers per annum category followed by Singapore and Shanghai Pudong.

64. The Reserve Bank of India ( RBI ) on 18th February, 2011 raised the minimum capital adequacy ratio ( CAR ) for deposit – taking non – banking financial companies ( NBFCs ) bom 12 per cent to 15 per cent, effective from 31st March, 2012. So, for every Rupee 100 advance, NBFCs should have Rupee 15 as core capital .

65. The Union Government has raised the election expenditure limit for both Parliamentary and Assembly constituencies by around 60 per cent with immediate effect. The changes are contained in a notification from the Union Ministry of Law and Justice ( Legislative Department ) dated February 23 and are to be “Published in the Gazette of India.

66. A.Commission on minority institutions on 22nd February, 2011 granted minority status to Jamia Millia Islamia. The order is expected to change the secular character of the central university as it will not have to give reservation to OBCs, Dalits and tribals, and can reserve up to 50% seats for Muslims.

67. The Kerala Assembly on 25th February, 2011 passed the Plachimada Coca – Cola Victims Relief and Compensation Claims Special Tribunal Bill 2011 to secure for the inhabitants of Plachimada in Palakkad district compensation for the ecological damage caused by the Coca Cola unit that used to function in the village.

68. The India – based Neutrino Observatory ( INO ) is being set up jointly by the Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Science and Technology at a site in Bodi West Hills near T. Pudukottai village of Theni district, Tamilnadu. The project includes construction of an underground laboratory under a rock cover of 1200 metre from all directions. The primary goal of INO is to study neutrino properties. Determination of neutrino properties is one of the most significant open problems in physics today. Such studies will help us to understand the interactions among subatomic particles at a very small scale. In this underground laboratory, a massive 50 kton particle detector will be installed to study the cosmic ray produced neutrinos.

69. The Centre will go by the recommendations of the Indian Council of Medical Research ( ICMR ) in deciding whether or not to ban Endosulfan, a pesticide which had adversely affected some cashew – growing districts in Kerala.

70. ISRO scientists on 24th February, 2011 discovered a giant underground chamber on the moon, which could be used as a lunar base by astronauts for inter  – planetary missions. Scientists at the Ahmedabad – based Space Applications Centre ( SAC ), using data gathered from Chandrayaan – I’s Terrain Mapping Camera and Hyper Spectral Imager ( HySI ) payloads, found a 1.2 km long buried, uncollapsed and near horizontal lava tube. The hollow cave situated just above the lunar equator on the nearside of moon, can accommodate a large number of astronauts and scientific instruments, and also protect them from hostile lunar environment.

71. More then four years after laying the foundation, the Smart City Kochi project, a joint venture of the Kerala Government and Dubai – based Tecom was launched recently.

72. The National Seed Association of India ( NSAI ) organised the two – day Indian Seed Congress ( ISC ) – 2011 in Hyderabad on 22nd & 23rd February, 2011. The objective was to “crystallise the industry’s views and seek policy support from the Government to encourage investment in technology and infrastructure”. The Indian seed industry, the fifth largest in the world with an estimated size of Rupee 8,000 crore, is growing at 12 – 13 per cent annually.

73. A biography of Kalpana Chawla, the India – bom American astronaut who died in the Columbia space shuttle disaster, was released on 23rd February, 2011 in Chandigarh. ‘Edge of Time’, authored by the late astronaut’s husband Jean Pierre Harrison was released at the Punjab Engineering College University of Technology, Chandigarh from where Kalpana passed out as an aeronautical engineer in 1982.

74. The Ministry of Labour and Employment on 21st February, 2011 announced the Prime Minister’s Shram Awards for the year 2009 to be awarded to 61 workers employed in the Departmental Undertakings & Public Sector Undertakings of the Central and State Governments and Private Sector Units employing 500 or more workers in recognition of their distinguished performances, innovative abilities, outstanding contribution in the field of productivity and exhibition of exceptional courage and presence of mind.

75.The Railway Budget 2011-12 was presented by Former Railway Minister, Mamata Banerjee, in Parliament on 25th February, 2011.

76. The Government of India on 14th February, 2011 constituted a Task Force – under the Chairmanship of Nandan Nilekani, Chairman, .Unique Identification Authority of India ( UIDAI ) in order to evolve a suitable mechanism for direct subsidies to individuals / families who are entitled to Kerosene, LPG and Fertilizer and to evolve a model of direct transfer of subsidies on these items by re  – engineering existing systems, processes and procedures in the implementation process.

77. India on 18th February, 2011 adopted the new Consumer Price Index ( CPI ) that will reflect the actual movement of prices at the micro – level. The Central Statistics Office ( CSO ), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, has introduced the new series of consumer price indices for al l – India, and States and union territories separately for rural, urban and combined ( national ) for the purpose of intra temporal price comparison with effect from January, 2011, with 2010 as the base year. The government will have a much better assessment of inflation at the retail level with the launch of the new indices.

78. Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on 26th February, 2011 released the commemorative coins in denomination of Rupee 150 and Rupee 5 to mark the completion of year long celebrations of 150 years of Income Tax.

79. India has the world’s fourth largest area under genetically modified ( GM ) crops. The country’s GM crop acreage in 2010, at 9.4 million hectares ( mh ), was next only to the US ( 66.8 mh ), Brazil ( 25.4 mh ) and Argentina ( 22.9 mh ), while ahead of Canada ( 8.8 mh ) and China ( 3.5 mh ), according to the latest global status report of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri – biotech Applications ( ISAAA ). The 9.4 mh GM area in India consisted entirely of Bt cotton.

80. Arunchal Pradesh clocked the highest economic growth rate in the country of 22.43 per cent in 2009 – 10, followed by Mizoram and Goa, according to a government report on 23rd February, 2011. Mizoram and Goa registered GSDP growth of 13.95 per cent and 13.03 per cent, respectively, in 2009 – 10. The GSDP growth performance of Rajasthan — at 3.95 per cent — was the lowest among the 32 states and Union Territories in the country last fiscal. The other two states where the pace of economic expansion was low were Andaman and Nicobar and Karnataka, at 4.39 and 4.99 per cent, respectively.

81. India produced about 67 million tonnes of crude steel and was ranked 5th largest steel producer in the world in 2010. This was stated by Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad – Verma at the “Indian Steel: Moving to the Next Orbit’ at CII Steel Summit 2011 in New Delhi on 25th February, 2011. With a targeted production capacity of 120 million tonnes by 2012, India is expected to become the second largest steel producing nation soon. India is already the largest producer of sponge iron in the world. The Summit discussed the present problems, and finds appropriate strategies to guide for sustainable growth of steel sector in India.

82. The Ministry of Textiles is setting up mega handloom clusters at four locations – Varanasi ( Uttar Pradesh ), Sivasagar ( Assam ), Virudhunagar ( Tamilnadu ) and Murshidabad ( West Bengal ). These were announced in the Budget for 2008 – 09 and 2009 – 10. Each mega handloom cluster has at least 25,000 handlooms and will be developed in a time period of 5 years with an upper Central Government share of Rupee 70.00 crore.

83. Air India switched to a single code for its domestic and international flights from 27th February, 2011. Flight and IATA ticket codes of Air India ( 098 ) and erstwhile Indian Airlines ( 058 ) will be merged together and all Air India domestic and International flights will operate as a single airline with AI ( 098 ) ticket code. Indian Airlines merged with Air India four years ago.

84. US – based Brighton Group on 23rd February, 2011 signed a memorandum of understanding with the Government of Andhra Pradesh for setting up a Rupee 2,880 crore nuclear plant near port – town Visakhapatnam. This is the maiden venture in India of the Brighton Group that has a major presence in China apart from the US.

85. The country’s largest commercial bank State Bank of India on 21st February, 2011 has become a signatory investor to the Carbon Disclosure Project ( CDP ), a global initiative fpr sustainable development. CDP collects data on carbon emissions from 5,000 large companies every year, including the top 200 Indian companies listed on the National Stock Exchange. Signatory financial institutions stand to get affected by environmental costs which come back into their respective portfolios as insurance premiums, taxes, inflated input prices and the physical cost associated with disasters.

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