Daily GK Update: 5th February 2020

President Kovind inaugurates annual ‘Udyanotsav’ at Rashtrapati Bhavan

  • President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday inaugurated the annual Udyanotsav of the Mughal Gardens of Rashtrapati Bhavan.
    The President was accompanied by his wife Savita Kovind.
  • The 15-acre gardens will be open for the public from February 5 to March 8, 2020 between 10 am to 4 pm.
  • The visit can also be booked online on the President of India’s website.The Gardens will remain closed on Mondays for maintenance, according to a press statement from Rashtrapati Bhavan.As in previous years, a small beautified cactus corner with interesting varieties of cactus and succulents has been landscaped.
  • An exhibition stall will also showcase organic fresh vegetables and fruits grown in the President’s Estate Organic Farm.

Source: Business Standard

IOC signs first term contract for importing Russian crude oil

  • State-owned Indian Oil Corp (IOC) on Wednesday signed first term contract for importing Russian crude oil as the world’s third largest energy consumer looks to diversify its sources away from the volatile Middle East.
  • IOC signed the contract to import up to 2 million tonne of Urals grade crude oil from Rosneft of Russia, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said after meeting the Russian firm’s CEO Igor Sechin.
  • India is 83 per cent dependent on imports to meet its oil needs. Two-thirds of the imports come from the Middle East, Iraq being the biggest supplier followed by Saudi Arabia.

Source: Business Standard

Cabinet approves amendment to bring cooperative banks under RBI

  • The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved amendments to the Banking Regulation Act to bring cooperative banks under the regulatory mechanism of Reserve Bank of India. The government has taken this move in the wake of the Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank crisis.
  • The move will ensure greater accountability and transparency in the functioning of cooperative banks, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadkar said after the Cabinet meeting.

Source: Business Today

UP will sign 23 MoUs worth Rs 50,000 crore during DefExpo: CM Yogi

  • Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday said the state government will sign 23 memorandum of understanding (MoU) during the ongoing Defence Expo 2020 in Lucknow.
  • He said these agreements would create employment opportunities for 300,000 people and fetch investments worth Rs 50,000 crore for UP Defence Corridor, which spans six nodes at Lucknow, Kanpur, Jhansi, Chitrakoot, Aligarh and Agra.
  • Adityanath was addressing a gathering after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated India’s largest ever Defence Expo 2020 here.

Source: Business Standard

Our target is USD 5 billion of defence export in next five years: PM Modi at DefExpo 2020

  • Pitching in for a common technology platform to make India self-reliant in defence manufacturing and ensure digital transformation of the sector, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called upon the both the Indian and foreign firms to invest in the country so as to make it secure on one hand and get good returns on the other for India is one of the biggest markets for defence equipment in the world.
  • The Prime Minister was addressing a huge gathering while inaugurating the 11th edition of country’s biggest ever DefExpo-2020  at a glittering ceremony in the presence of Indian and foreign dignitaries and delegates here on Wednesday.

Source: India Today

Soil health card reduces fertiliser use by 10%

  • The country wide application of soil health card has led to a decline in the use of chemical fertiliser by 10%. A study conducted by the National Productivity Council (NPC) says the application of Soil Health Card recommendations has led to a decline of 8-10% in use of chemical fertilizers.
  • “It has also raised the productivity by 5-6%,” the study said.

Source: The Economic Times

India-South Korea Defence Ministers’ discuss ways to enhance bilateral security cooperation

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held a bilateral meeting with Minister of National Defence of Republic of Korea (RoK) Jeong Kyeongdoo in New Delhi; During the meeting, both Ministers held discussions on enhancing the bilateral security cooperation and collaboration in defence industry and research & development.
  • A roadmap for Defence Industries Cooperation between India and RoK was also exchanged after the meeting.
  • The roadmap lists a number of possible areas of cooperation, including research and development. It also promotes investment in Defence Industrial Corridors in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Source: DD News

Fourth East Asia Summit (EAS) Conference on Maritime Security Cooperation

  • As announced by the Prime Minister of India at the 14th East Asia Summit (EAS) in Bangkok in November 2019, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Government of India in partnership with the Governments of Australia and Indonesia will organize the fourth EAS Conference on Maritime Security Cooperation in Chennai on 6-7 February 2020.
  • The National Maritime Foundation (NMF) and the Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) are the knowledge partners of the Conference.
  • ​As a nation deeply committed to strengthening the EAS as an ASEAN-led organization, India continues to contribute positively to the EAS goals including maritime security cooperation.

Source: Ministry of External Affairs

Coronavirus: Window of opportunity to act, World Health Organization says

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) says there is a “window of opportunity” to stop the deadly new coronavirus becoming a broader global crisis.
  • Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the steps China took to fight the virus at its epicentre were a good way of stopping its spread.
  • The praise comes as Chinese officials have been widely criticised for their initial handling of the outbreak.
  • On Tuesday alone, nearly 4,000 new cases were confirmed in the country.
Source: BBC News

Western Railway starts locomotives branding to improve non-freight revenue

  • Indian Railways’ Western Railway zone has successfully carried out branding of some of its electric locomotives. The branding of the locomotives will help the Western Railway zone generating additional revenue of ₹1.05 crore.
  • A total of 10 locomotives have been branded till date. The branding of the locomotives will also result in saving of expenditure of Rs. 8.10 lakhs to the railways by way of painting of locos, according to a statement by the Western Railway.
  • The inauguration of the electric locomotive was held on 1 February, 2020 at Vadodara Electric Loco Shed. According to a top railway official, this branding of locomotives has opened up new channels for the generation of additional income for the railways under Non Freight Revenue (NFR) category.

Source: Energy Infra Post