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30 Most Important Current Affairs of February 2019

Jagranjosh.com brings to you February 2019 monthly recap that summarises the top current affairs of the month, covering topics such as Geneva Convention, Most-Favoured Nation status, Personal Laws (Amendment Bill), 2018, PM-KISAN, Seoul Peace Prize 2018, Vande Bharat Express, Padma Awards 2019, National War Memorial, Oscars 2019 and Chabahar port among others.

Mar 2, 2019 10:55 IST
30 Most Important Current Affairs of February 2019

Jagranjosh.com brings to you February 2019 monthly recap that summarises the top current affairs of the month, covering topics such as Geneva Convention, Most-Favoured Nation status, Personal Laws (Amendment Bill), 2018, PM-KISAN, Seoul Peace Prize 2018, Vande Bharat Express, Padma Awards 2019, National War Memorial, Oscars 2019 and Chabahar port among others.

1. India strikes back: IAF jets destroy Jaish terror camps across LoC

In retaliation to the deadly Pulwama terror attack, the Indian Air Force fighter jets crossed the line of control in the early hours of February 26, 2019 and attacked Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camps in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

The same was confirmed by the Indian Foreign Secretary, Vijay Gokhale during a press conference in New Delhi on the same day. The Foreign Secretary revealed that India has struck the biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot.

The Indian Air Force used Mirage-2000 jets to drop 1000 kg of laser-guided bombs causing an estimated casualty of 200-300. In the intelligence led operation, India struck the biggest training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot, Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa.

2. Geneva Convention: Treatment and release of Prisoners of War!

The Union Ministry of External Affairs has confirmed that during an aerial engagement with Pakistani fighter jets on February 27, 2019, India lost one of its MiG-21 aircraft. The fighter jet was shot down in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and its pilot, an Indian Air Force Wing Commander was taken into custody by Pakistan.

The incident occurred when the Indian Air Force swiftly responded to Pakistan's attempt to target its military installations along LoC and shot down one Pakistani fighter aircraft, F-16. According to sources, at least ten Pakistani fighter jets were seen heading for military targets along LoC but they were forced to retreat without causing any damage in India.

3. India withdraws Most Favoured Nation status accorded to Pakistan

India on February 15, 2019 withdrew the ‘Most-Favoured Nation’ status accorded to Pakistan following the Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir that led to the killing of 37 CRPF personnel and injuring of many others.

On February 14, 2019, at least 37 CRPF personnel were killed and dozens injured after a Jaish suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kilograms (kg) of explosives into their bus at Awantipora in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir.

4. Parliament passes Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill 2019

The Parliament on February 13, 2019 passed the Personal Laws (Amendment Bill), 2018 that seeks to remove leprosy as a ground for divorce. The bill was passed after upper house of the Parliament Rajya Sabha approved it without discussion.

The lower house of the Parliament, Lok Sabha had passed the bill on January 7, 2019. Leprosy is being removed as a ground for divorce as it is now a curable disease as against the earlier notion of it being incurable.

The bill seeks to amend five personal laws- the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act 1939, Divorce Act (for Christians) 1869, Special Marriage Act 1954 and the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act 1956- to remove leprosy as a ground for divorce.

5. PM Modi launches ‘Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana’ from Gorakhpur, UP

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 24, 2019 launched the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana (PM-KISAN) from Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh.

On the launch day itself, the first instalment of Rs 2,000 was directly credited to the bank accounts of selected beneficiary farmers. Around 12 crore farmers are expected to benefit from PM-KISAN. The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana was announced in the Union Interim Budget 2019 by Finance Minister Piyush Goyal.

6. Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-Dhan Yojana launched: Everything you need to know

The Union Ministry of Labour and Employment on February 15, 2019 launched the Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-dhan Yojana (PM-SYM), a mega pension scheme for unorganised sector. The scheme was announced in the Interim Budget 2019.

Implemented from February 15 itself, the PM-SYM is a voluntary and contributory pension scheme that will engage as many as 42 crore workers in the unorganised sector. The unorganised sector workers, with income of less than Rs 15,000 per month and who belong to the entry age group of 18-40 years, will be eligible for the scheme.

7. Vande Bharat Express: PM Modi launches India’s first semi-high speed train

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 15, 2019 flagged off India's first Semi High Speed Train, ‘Vande Bharat Express’ on New Delhi-Kanpur-Allahabad-Varanasi route from the New Delhi Railway Station.

With maximum speed of 160 kmph, Vande Bharat Express or Train-18 offers travel classes like Shatabdi Train but with better facilities with a totally new travel experience to passengers. Vande Bharat Express is regarded as a successor to the 30-year-old Shatabdi Express. Shatabdi was introduced in 1988 and is presently running on over 20 routes connecting metros with other important cities.

8. PM Narendra Modi receives Seoul Peace Prize for 2018

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 22, 2019 received the prestigious Seoul Peace Prize 2018 for his contribution to international cooperation and fostering global economic growth. The committee credited him for his efforts in promoting global peace and harmony through inclusive economic growth and improving quality of life.

The award was presented to him by Kwon E-hyock, the Chairman of the Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation at a grand ceremony in Seoul, South Korea. A short film on the life and achievements of Prime Minister Modi was also screened at the event.

9. Bharat Ratna 2019: Pranab Mukherjee, Nanaji Deshmukh, Bhupen Hazarika conferred with highest civilian honour

The President, Ram Nath Kovind on January 25, 2019 conferred the 2019 Bharat Ratna Award, country's highest civilian honour, on former president and Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee. The award was also conferred on RSS ideologue Nanaji Deshmukh and singer Bhupen Hazarika, both posthumously.

Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee, who was the 13th President of India and served from 2012 until 2017, had served under Indira Gandhi. He was also the Finance Minister under the premiership of Manmohan Singh.

10. Padma Awards 2019 announced: Gautam Gambhir, Prabhu Deva, Late Kader Khan among awardees

The Padma Awards 2019, one of the highest civilian awards of India, were announced on January 25, 2019 on the occasion of Republic Day eve.

This year, President Ram Nath Kovind approved conferment of 112 Padma Awards including one duo case (in a duo case, the Award is counted as one).  The list comprises 4 Padma Vibhushan, 14 Padma Bhushan and 94 Padma Shri Awards, of which, 21 of the awardees are women.

11. KUSUM Yojana: CCEA approves ‘Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan’ Scheme for farmers’ welfare

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on February 19, 2019 approved the launch of ‘Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan’ with the objective of providing financial and water security to farmers.

The Scheme will have substantial environmental impact in terms of savings of CO2 emissions. All three components of the Scheme will save about 27 million tonnes of CO2 emission per annum.

12. Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan: Present status of development in India

Union Minister of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Nitin Gadkari on February 21, 2019 announced the Government’s decision to stop the flow of river water to Pakistan and divert water from Eastern Rivers to Jammu & Kashmir and Punjab.

The decision came as a response to the devastating terror attack in Pulwama, Jammu & Kashmir that killed over 44 Indian paramilitary police officers.
India constructed Bhakra Dam on Satluj, Pong and Pandoh Dam on Beas and Thein (Ranjitsagar) on Ravi to utilise the waters of the Eastern Rivers which have been allocated to India for exclusive use.

The Indus System comprises of rivers - Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej. The river basin is mainly shared by India and Pakistan with a small share for China and Afghanistan.

13. SC directs NCM to decide on redefining 'Minority'

The Supreme Court on February 11, 2019 directed the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) to take a decision within three months on a representation seeking guidelines to redefine the term 'Minority'.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay to re-file his representation to the Minority Commission and directed the Commission to take a decision in this regard within three months in the context of state-wise population of a community.

14. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman’s India visit: Key highlights

The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of Saudi Arabia, visited India on February 19-20, 2019.

The Prime Minister and His Royal Highness condemned in the recent Pulwama terror attack on Indian security forces on February 14, 2019. Prime Minister expressed his thanks to the Saudi Crown Prince for ordering the release of 850 Indian prisoners from Saudi jails.

15. Government clears proposal to encourage investments in Start-Ups; hikes tax exemption cap

Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu on February 19, 2019 cleared proposals to encourage investments in Start-Ups, aiming at simplifying the process of exemptions for Start-ups from the ‘Angel Tax’ under Section 56 (2) (viib) of Income Tax Act, 1961.

As per the new norms, registered startups will be exempted from tax on funding of up to Rs 25 crore compared with the existing limit of Rs 10 crore. Till date, the startups were availing of the tax concession only on the condition that their total investment, including funding from angel investors, does not exceed Rs 10 crore.

16. Sanath Jayasuriya banned from cricket for two years

Former Sri Lankan Cricket captain Sanath Jayasuriya has been banned from cricket for a period of two years. The information was shared by the International Cricket Council through a statement on February 26, 2019.

The veteran cricketer has been banned from all forms of cricket for two years after he admitted to breaching two provisions of the ICC Anti-Corruption Code.The 49-year-old former cricketer admitted failing to co-operate with an investigation and concealing, tampering with or destroying evidence.

The cricketer was charged in October 2018. The charge came after a year-long investigation in Sri Lanka, where the ACU said corruption had become an inherent part of the system.

17. Chris Gayle announces retirement from One-day Internationals

Veteran West Indies batsman Chris Gayle has announced that he will retire from One-day Internationals after this year’s World Cup in England and Wales. The announcement was made by West Indies Cricket on February 17, 2019.

The 39-year old left-hander has scored 9,727 ODI runs, second only to the legendary Brian Lara among West Indians in 284 matches. He needs 677 more runs to surpass Lara as the West Indies' all-time record ODI run scorer, a feat he will be hoping to achieve during his fifth World Cup.

18. Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi elected as new chair of African Union

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on February 10, 2019 took over as the chair of the African Union (AU) following a meeting by heads of state from the continent in Ethiopia's capital city, Addis Ababa.

The post of AU’s chair rotates annually between the five regions of the continent. The Incoming AU chairman President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is expected to focus on the fight against armed groups on the continent and rebuilding efforts of countries recovering from conflict.

It is the first time since the AU was founded in 2002 that Egypt assumes the top seat of the body.

19. Union Government launches three women safety initiatives

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh along with Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi jointly launched three significant initiatives to promote the safety of women in their living spaces, working spaces and the public spaces on February 18, 2019 at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi.

The initiatives include Emergency Response Support System, Investigation Tracking System for Sexual Offences (ITSSO) and Safe City Implementation Monitoring Portal. The Ministry launched Emergency Response Support System in 16 states and union territories including Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, UP, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Puducherry, Lakshadweep, Andaman, Dadar Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu and Jammu and Kashmir.

20. India raises customs duty on all goods imported from Pakistan

India on February 16, 2019 increased customs duty on all goods originating from or imported from Pakistan to 200 per cent with immediate effect. It is not very clear whether this will affect the third-country trade which is going on between the two countries through places such as Dubai in the UAE and Singapore.

Pakistan exported just $500 million of goods in 2017-18 to India, representing 1.5 per cent of its exports. However, it is believed to have exported goods worth about 3-4 times as much through third countries.

21. National Science Day 2019 observed; Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize conferred

The National Science Day 2019 was observed across India on February 28, 2019 to mark the discovery of the Raman Effect by Indian physicist Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman (CV Raman). 

This year celebrations of the Day were organised by the Department of Science & Technology (DST). On the occasion of National Science Day 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi conferred the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology for the years 2016, 2017 and 2018 to the awardees.

The Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize is named after the founder Director of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), Dr. Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar.

22. India replaces Japan to be world’s second largest steel producer

India has replaced Japan as the world's second-largest steel producing country, only behind China, which is the largest producer of crude steel accounting for more than 51 per cent of production, as per the latest report by World Steel Association.

The report noted that India's crude steel production in 2018 was at 106.5 MT, which is up by 4.9 per cent from 101.5 MT in 2017. The rise in India’s crude steel production in 2018 means that India has replaced Japan as the world's second-largest steel producing country, as Japan produced 104.3 MT in 2018, which is down by 0.3 per cent as compared to 2017.

23. PM Modi dedicates National War Memorial to the nation

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 25, 2019 dedicated the National War Memorial to the nation in a solemn ceremonial function in New Delhi.

The National War Memorial, located near the India Gate in New Delhi, is a fitting tribute to the soldiers who laid down their lives defending the nation, post-independence. The Memorial commemorates the soldiers who participated and made the supreme sacrifice in Peace Keeping Missions, and Counter Insurgency Operations.

24. Union Cabinet approves Introduction of Registration of Marriage of NRI Bill, 2019

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 13, 2019 approved the introduction of Registration of Marriage of Non-Resident Indian (NRI) Bill, 2019 to create more accountability to Indian citizens living abroad.

The bill mainly seeks to offer more protection against the exploitation of Indian citizens, mostly Indian women by their NRI partners. It provides for amendment of the legal framework to act as a deterrent to the erring NRI spouses and creating more accountability and offer protection against exploitation of Indian Citizens, specially women married to NRIs.

25. Afghanistan begins export to India through Chabahar port

Afghanistan on February 24, 2019 began exports to India through the Chabahar port in Iran. This is the first time Afghanistan has exported goods to India bypassing the Pakistan route.

According to reports, twenty-three trucks carrying 570 tonnes of dried fruits, textiles, carpets and mineral products were dispatched from the western Afghan city of Zaranj to Chabahar in Iran.

The move marks the first time that Afghanistan has shipped goods to India through a newly developed Iranian seaport in a bid to improve exports and reduce reliance on routes through its uneasy neighbor, Pakistan.

26. President promulgates four Ordinances including Ordinance banning Triple Talaq; Unregulated Deposit Schemes

President Ram Nath Kovind on February 21, 2019 promulgated the four ordinances, namely the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Second Ordinance, 2019, the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Second Ordinance, 2019, the Companies (Amendment) Second Ordinance, 2019, the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Ordinance, 2019

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Second Ordinance and Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Second Ordinance have been promulgated to give continued effect to the provisions brought in by the earlier ordinance.

The Companies (Amendment) Second Ordinance has been promulgated to empower the Central Government to allow certain companies to have a different financial year instead of the year determined by the Tribunal. The Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Ordinance has been promulgated to have central legislation to tackle the menace of illicit deposit schemes in the country.

27. Oscars 2019: ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ wins most Oscars

The 91st Academy Awards, popularly known as Oscar Awards, were conferred on February 24, 2019 (February 25 as per Indian time). 'Bohemian Rhapsody', nominated for five Oscars, won the most Oscars at the award show.

The ‘Period. End Of Sentence’, a film on menstruation set in rural India, won the Oscar in the Documentary - Short Subject category at the 91st Academy Awards. The film has been directed by Rayka Zehtabchi and produced by Indian producer Guneet Monga’s Sikhya Entertainment.

28. Abu Dhabi adds Hindi as third official court language

The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) has added Hindi as the third official language to be used in the city's courts, alongside Arabic and English.

The move is aimed at helping foreigners to learn about litigation procedures, their rights and duties without a language barrier, in addition to facilitating registration procedures through unified forms available through the judicial department’s website.

29. National Cancer Institute at Jhajjar a part of AIIMS Delhi; AIIMS Rewari to come up as 22nd AIIMS in country

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) at Jhajjar, Haryana, recently dedicated to the nation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is an integral part of All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. This tertiary healthcare institute dedicated for cancer care is the second campus of the AIIMS Delhi only.

As announced in the speech of Interim Budget 2019, the AIIMS Rewari will be 22nd AIIMS to come up in the country and the first in Haryana. The site for this AIIMS has already been finalised at Manethi in Rewari, Haryana. Like other AIIMS in the country, the AIIMS Rewari will also be set up under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY).

30. Trump declares national emergency to build US-Mexico border wall

US President Donald Trump on February 15, 2019 signed an executive order declaring national emergency in the nation. The move would unblock billions of dollars of federal money to construct a wall along the US-Mexico border.

Trump explained the move by saying that it was essential to prevent the country from "invasion" of illegal immigrants, drug dealers and criminal cartels. The move followed a rare show of cooperation between opposition parties when the US legislators reached a tentative deal on funding for border security to avoid another government shutdown that was due to start on February 16.

However, the budget for a wall along the Mexico border is far less than what President Donald Trump had demanded.