-The five-time World Champion and Olympic bronze medallist, Mary Kom on February 2, 2018 claimed the gold medal in the India Open International Boxing tournament at Thyagraj Indoor Stadium in New Delhi. Kom defeated Josie Gabuco from the Philippines in a split 4-1 decision to grab the gold in the women's 48kg weight category. -The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced while presenting the Union Budget 2018 that the government would be building a tunnel through the Sela Pass in Arunachal Pradesh. The construction of the tunnel will ensure faster movement of troops in Tawang, a strategically- located town in Arunachal Pradesh bordering China. -According to the US-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), three nests of the critically endangered red-headed vulture were found this month in Chhep Wildlife Sanctuary in Cambodia. The population of the species is reported to be less than 50 in Cambodia. Hence, the new discovery raises hope that conservation effort may help save the species from possible extinction. -All political parties in Nagaland including the ruling Naga People's Front (NPF) signed a joint declaration on January 29 , 2018 of not taking part in the state’s election, which is due later this month. -Dr Harshvardhan, the Union Minister of Earth Sciences (MoES), launched a 2.8 Peta Flops capacity High Performance Computer (HPC) system ‘Mihir’ to improve India’s weather forecasting. The new HPC facility is expected to improve weather 4 forecasts at the block level across India, predict extreme weather events, and offer high resolution seasonal and extended range forecasts of active/break spells of the monsoon. -Shantanu Narayen, the Indian-American CEO of Adobe, was elected as the Vice Chairman of the US-India Strategic and Partnership Forum (USISPF). -Union Government and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed a USD 250 million loan agreement for the construction of over 6,200 kilometres all-weather rural roads in Assam, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal under the 4Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY). -Neelam Kapoor, a 1982 batch officer of the Indian Information Service (IIS), was appointed as the new director general of the Sports Authority of India (SAI). -India was ranked 42nd out of 165 countries at the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)’s annual Global Democracy Index due to rise of conservative religious ideologies and increase in vigilantism and violence against minorities as well as other dissenting voices. -An amateur astronomer on January 20, 2018 recorded observations of a satellite in high Earth orbit. This satellite was a long-lost NASA satellite- Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE) satellite. -The Union Government in its Budget 2018 has proposed to launch a restructured bamboo mission with a fund of Rs 1290 crore to promote bamboo sector in a holistic manner. -The Union government plans to launch ‘Operation Green’ with a corpus of Rs 500 crore. It will promote Farmer Producers Organizations (FPOs), agri-logistics, processing facilities and professional management. -The Lower and Middle Class have been the focus of the NDA Government during the last three years. The government had launched Ujjwala Yojana earlier to make poor women free from the smoke of wood. Though initially, their target was to provide free LPG connections to about 5 crore poor women, the government has now proposed to increase the target to 8 crore poor women. -The Indian Railways is planning to re- develop 600 major railway stations. All stations with more than 25000 footfall will have escalators. All the stations will also be equipped with high-speed wifi. -Emoluments will revised for the President to Rs 5 lakh, Rs 4 lakh for Vice-President and Rs 3.5 lakh per month for Governors. Emoluments to MPs will be refixed with effect from April 1, 2018. -The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on 1 February 2018 presented the Union Budget 2018 in the parliament. As per the Budget, Customs duty on mobile phones and parts of televisions will be increased to 20 per cent from 15 per cent. Customs duty on raw cashew will be reduced from 5 per cent to 2.5 per cent. -The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on 1 February 2018 presented the Union Budget 2018 in the parliament. In the independent India, this is the 88th budget and the fifth of the Modi Government. The total expenditure of the Union government is Rs 21.57 lakh crore. -National Health Protection Scheme will be launched to cover 10 crore poor and vulnerable families. Under this, up to Rs 5 lakh will be provided to each family per year in secondary and tertiary care institutions. This scheme will have 50 crore beneficiaries. -As per Union Budget 2018, the Union government will recapitalise public sector banks to help them lend an additional Rs 5 lakh crore. Unit Trust of India, Oriental Insurance and National Insurance will be merged and then listed. -India on February 3, 2018 won the Under-19 ICC World Cup 2018 by defeating Australia by eight wickets. With this victory, India became the first nation to win Under-19 World Cup four times. It was also India’s sixth appearance in the under-19 World Cup finals. Australia has made it into the final five times, winning the tournament three times. -Veteran Indian cricketer and former skipper of the Indian national cricket team, Rahul Dravid coached the young Team India to victory in the finals of the Under-19 World Cup 2018. The ‘Wall’ as he is popularly known, Dravid has played a huge role in fine tuning the youngsters, prepping them before they get to play for the senior side. -The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath has stated that the state government has come up with a mass marriage policy for the poor girls in the state, under which financial assistance worth Rs 35000 will be provided at each wedding. -India has contributed an additional $1 million to the India-UN Development Partnership Fund, earmarked for South-South cooperation. The contribution aims to intensify India’s partnerships with other developing countries. -According to a report, Airpocalypse, released by Greenpeace India, people living in eight of every 10 Indian cities breathe toxic dust particles, PM 10, at levels exceeding national safety limits. None of the cities have been found to adhere to the standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO). -Shesh Anand Madhukar, the eminent Magahi writer & scholar, was honoured with the 2018 Sahitya Akademi Bhasha Samman award at Sahitya Akademi Auditorium, New Delhi. The award consists of Rs 1 lakh cheque and a memento. -Shyam Benegal, the veteran film producer and director, was bestowed with the prestigious V Shantaram lifetime achievement Award 2018 for his contribution to the promotion of the documentary movement. The award carries a trophy, a citation, shawl and cash prize of Rs 10 lakh. -The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) signed a project agreement with the World Bank (WB) for Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) on Ganga to enhance navigation on National Waterway-1 from Varanasi to Haldia. -The Department of Defence Production (DDP) constituted the multi-stakeholder task force to study use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in military. The 17-member task force will be headed by Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran. -The World Cancer Day (WCD) is observed every year on 4 February to raise awareness about cancer, its treatment and to encourage methods of its prevention. The theme for the World Cancer Day 2016-2018 is ‘We can. I can.’ The theme throws light on how everyone, as a collective or as individuals, can do their part to reduce the global burden of cancer. -Dr Harsh Vardhan, the Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, launched people-oriented campaign “Green Good Deeds” to sensitize the people and students about climate change and global warming. -The 9-member committee, headed by former ISRO chief K Kasturirangan, was constituted by the Union HRD Ministry to draft new National Education Policy (NEP) on June 2017. The committee will submit its report by March 31, 2018. -The Union Government on February 2, 2018 announced to launch 1.4 lakh crore Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahaabhiyan (KUSUM) Scheme to encourage farmers for solar farming. The Union Government will spend Rs 48000 crore on the scheme in ten year time span. -In the presentation of Budget 2018-19, the Union Government allocated Rs 10,783 crore to the Department of Space for various space-related projects. The Department has been tasked with achieving high targets including delivering three earth observation satellites and two communication satellites by next fiscal year. -The International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation was observed on February 6, 2018. The day is observed every year to eradicate the practice of female genital mutilation. It was first introduced in 2003. -Sudeep Lakhtakia has taken charge as the Director General (DG) of National Security Guard (NSG), succeeding S P Singh. He was serving as a Special DG in the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) headquarters in New Delhi. -US space flight company SpaceX on February 6, 2018 launched the world's most powerful operational rocket 'Falcon Heavy' into the space. Falcon Heavy carried a red Tesla Roadster car belonging to SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk into space. The car was outfitted with a mannequin dressed in a spacesuit, a high-data storage unit containing Isaac Asimov's science fiction book series, the Foundation Trilogy, and a plaque bearing the names of 6000 SpaceX employees. -Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully launched the world’s smallest rocket with the ability to put a tiny satellite into orbit. The experimental SS-520 sounding rocket lifted off from the Uchinoura Space Center. It carried a microsatellite TRICOM-1R, a three-unit CubeSat weighing about 3 kilograms. -Google launched new online security campaign #SecurityCheckKiya in India to promote security awareness among general public. The purpose of the campaign is to protect young and first-time web users from account hijacking, safeguard Android devices from malicious apps and secure all their personal data if they lose their device. -Jerome Hayden Powell was sworn-in as the new Chairman of the Federal Reserve for a four-year term on February 5, 2018. -NGO Dhruvansh, the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority and the Ranga Reddy district administration launched the floating treatment wetland (FTW) in Neknampur Lake. According to the India Book of Records, it is the largest floating treatment wetland (FTW) in the country. -The Transgender Welfare Board of Maharashtra will look after education, employment, housing, and health schemes for transgenders and protect their Constitutional and human rights. Maharashtra will be the first such state to have such a Board, which was first conceptualised in 2014 by the previous government. -President of India Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the 88th Mahamastakabhisheka Utsav of Lord Gomateshwara in Hassan district of Karnataka. Mahamastakabhisheka of Gommateshwara, who is also known as Bahubali takes place once in 12 years. It is an important Jain pilgrimage center and lakhs of tourists visit Shravanbelagola to see 57 feet tall monolithic stone statue that is anointed from head to feet during the Utsav. -Uttar Pradesh in association with UNICEF launched massive door to door campaign DASTAK to eradicate deadly Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) and Japanise Encephalitis (JE) disease in the state. The war cry of DASTAK is 'Darwaja Khatkhatao, AES aur JE ko bhagao'. -Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International airport of Mumbai sets record with 980 flights in 24 hours or almost one flight every minute. -In the 6th Bi-monthly Monetary policy statement for 2017-18, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has kept the key interest rate “repo rate” unchanged at 6 per cent and reverse repo at 5.75 per cent. Also, the Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate stood at 6.25 per cent. -Bermuda became the first country to legalize and then repeal same-sex marriage. Bermuda’s governor John Rankin approved a bill reversing the right of gay couples to marry, despite a supreme court ruling last year authorizing same-sex marriage. -Business magazine Forbes released its first-ever Crypto Rich List comprising 20 wealthiest people in the cryptocurrency space. The list was topped by Ripple Co-founder Chris Larsen, who is estimated to have a crypto net worth of USD 7.5-8 billion. -Indian women's cricket team pacer Jhulan Goswami became the first woman in the world to take 200 wickets in ODI cricket. Goswami achieved the feat playing in her 166th ODI against South Africa. -Google and National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) signed a pact to integrate a course on 'Digital Citizenship and Safety' in information and communication technology curriculum. It was signed on the occasion of Safer Internet Day (6th February). -The 5th edition of the South Asia Region Public Procurement Conference (SARPPC-2018) was inaugurated by Arun Jaitley in New Delhi on February 5, 2018. The theme of the conference is “Public Procurement and Service Delivery”. -US space flight company SpaceX on February 6, 2018 launched the world's most powerful operational rocket 'Falcon Heavy' into the space. The Falcon Heavy blasted off from the Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral, Florida, United States. Falcon Heavy carried a red Tesla Roadster car belonging to SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk into Mars. -China has agreed to allow Indian pilgrims to embark on Kailash-Mansarovar yatra through Nathu La in Sikkim after the route was closed last year in the wake of the Doklam standoff. Nathu La is a mountain pass in the Himalayas in the East Sikkim district. -The Union Cabinet on February 7, 2018 approved implementation of the 'Prime Minister's Research Fellows (PMRF) Scheme' with a total outlay of Rs 1650 crore for a period of seven years beginning from Financial Year 2018-19. A maximum of 3000 Fellows will be selected in a three year period beginning 2018-19. -The Union Cabinet gave approval for signing of Memorandum of Understanding for Secondment Programme between the Department of Economic Affairs (Indian Economic Service Cadre) and The Treasury, Government of Australia, for a period of three months. -In poll bound Meghalaya, state Election department has deployed Mobile Democracy Van to create voters awareness. The specially designed vans, loaded with voter’s education material, have been deployed in three regions of Garo, Khasi and Jaintia Hills. -NITI Aayog has released a health index that ranks states and Union Territories in terms of overall performance in their health system. The healthy state progressive report ranked Kerala, Punjab and Tamil Nadu at the top among the larger states in terms of overall performance. -Acting Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court Antony Dominic was on February 9, 2018 sworn in as the Chief Justice of Kerala. -Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda on February 10, 2018 launched the National Deworming Initiative on the occasion of the National Deworming Day. Under the National Deworming Initiative, Union Government will work to ensure that high quality healthcare is accessible to every child and up to the last mile. -Union Ministry of Power launched a Web based monitoring System and a Fly Ash mobile application named ASH TRACK. These platforms will enable better management of the ash produced by thermal power plants by providing an interface between fly ash producers (Thermal Power Plants) and potential ash users such as – road contractors, cement plants etc -Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the building of Hindu temple at Abu Mureikhah, off the Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway in United Arab Emirates. -The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath announced that the state government is preparing a plan to open gaushalas or cow sheds in a phased manner to overcome the problem faced by farmers over stray cows. -Indian opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan created history by becoming the first Indian to score a century in his 100th One-day International. The only other Indian batsman to have come close to achieving the feat was former Indian skipper Saurav Ganguly. -The Integrated Automatic Aviation Meteorological Systems was inaugurated by Rear Admiral RJ Nadkarni at INS Garuda, the oldest operating air station of the Indian Navy. -The state government of Uttar Pradesh has launched massive door to door ‘DASTAK campaign against Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) and Japanise Encephalitis (JE)’ to eradicate deadly diseases from the state. It was launched in association with UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). -Tanzania has announced its withdrawal of United Nation’s “Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework” citing security reasons and lack of funds. Tanzania has long been considered as safe haven for refugees, particularly from conflict hit Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Burundi. -Scientists in Kolkata came together on February 12, 2018 to observe the ‘Darwin Week’ to effectively put an end to any confusion regarding his ‘Theory of Evolution’. -The Bihar government banned the sale of loose cigarettes in the state. -Rohan More became the first Asian as well as the first Indian to swim across the Ocean Seven. He is also the youngest person in the world to do so. -Dubai announced the opening of the world's new tallest hotel Gevora, a 75-storey hotel that stands 356 metres tall. -Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh launched the Centre for learning Sanskrit language at Gujarat University in Ahmedabad. The first-of-its-kind spoken Sanskrit centre will offer a six-month course for people on how to speak the language. -K P Ramanunni from Kerala was conferred with the 2017 Sahitya Akademi Award for Malayalam literature for his novel “Daivathinte Pusthakam”, which deals with India’s communal situation, at a function in New Delhi on February 12, 2018. -Ramesh Kuntal Megh won the award in Hindi for his literary criticism work Vishw Mithak Sarit Sagar. The annual Sahitya Akademi awards for 2017 were presented at a function in New Delhi on February 12, 2018. The awards were given in 23 languages. -The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) came out with a revised framework for expeditious resolution of bad loans, harmonising the existing guidelines with the norms specified in the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). -Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former Liberian President, has been honoured with the 2018 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership for excellence in African leadership. The $5 million African Leadership prize is awarded by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation which honours role models on a continent where many leaders have stayed in power for decades. -Ashok Das, a 1987 batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer, was on February 13, 2018 named as India's new Ambassador to Brazil. -According to a new report by a London-based global think-tank, India's defence budget has broken into the world's top five, beating the UK for the first time, signaling a key shift in the military balance between the two countries. -State-owned lender, Punjab National Bank has suspended 10 of its officers and lodged a complaint against celebrity jewellery designer Nirav Modi for committing fraudulent transactions worth over USD 1.77 billion in one of its Mumbai branches. -According to a new study by Swedish scientists, small molecules that specifically restrain a selenium-containing enzyme in the human body may become an important tool to fight cancer. -Renowned Kannada playwright, poet, novelist and Jnanpith award-winning writer Chandrashekhara Kambara was elected as the President of the Sahitya Akademi on February 12, 2018. -The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW) has released a report on the financial, educational and criminal background of all the current Chief Ministers. Among them, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu was found to be the wealthiest with declared assets worth over Rs 1,77,48,95,611 crore. -India and Russia on February 14, 2018 celebrated 70 years of bilateral relations in the field of agriculture at Suratgarh in Rajasthan. -The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW) has released a report on the financial, educational and criminal background of all the current Chief Ministers -Vikas Sathaye, a Pune-born Indian engineer, recently received the Scientific and Engineering Academy Award along with his team for their contribution towards the conceptualisation, design, engineering and the implementation of the 'Shotover K1 Camera System' during his stint at Shotover Camera Systems in Queenstown, New Zealand. -In a landmark verdict on the Cauvery water sharing dispute, the Supreme Court of India has increased Karnataka’s share of Cauvery water and reduced the share of Tamil Nadu by 14.75 tmcft water per year. Earlier, in accordance with the Cauvery Water Tribunal’s order in 2007, Karnataka had a share of 270 tmcft of Cauvery water. Now it will go up to 284.75 tmcft. -The state of West Bengal on February 13, 2018 became the first one in India to opt out of the Union Government’s National Health Protection Scheme, which was announced during the presentation of Union Budget 2018-19. -Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the World Sustainable Development Summit 2018 (WSDS 2018) at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on February 16, 2018. The summit addressed several issues including combating land degradation, air pollution, facilitating a transition to clean energy and creating financial mechanisms to enable effective climate change mitigation. -Cyril Ramaphosa, head of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) was sworn in as South Africa's new President on February 15, 2018. -The Supreme Court of India on February 16, 2018 increased Karnataka’s share of Cauvery water and reduced the share of Tamil Nadu by 14.75 tmcft water per year. -The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has suspended Romania's drug-testing laboratory for six months. The Agency stated that it imposed the sanction on the lab in Bucharest due to a number of non-conformities with regulations. WADA has stepped up checks on laboratories around the world ever since it uncovered evidence of wide-ranging doping and cover-ups at the Moscow laboratory. -The United States President Donald Trump's administration on February 15, 2018 blamed the Russian government for launching a massive cyberattack called NotPetya on Ukraine in 2017. -India has signed the second loan agreement with New Development Bank (NDB) for 100 million dollars for Rajasthan Water Sector Restructuring Project for Desert Areas. This is the first tranche loan approved by the NDB under the Multi Tranche Financing Facility of 345 Million dollars for this project. -In a significant move towards achieving an open and modern economy, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has allowed women to open their own businesses without the consent of a husband or male relative. -The Kerala government will soon be utilising the services of robots to clean the sewer holes in the state. Named 'Bandicoot', the robots are equipped with Wi-Fi, blue tooth and control panels and have four limbs and a bucket system attached to a spider web looking extension to scoop out the waste from sewers. -The state government of Haryana is implementing a special project to encourage micro irrigation and recharge ground water in the state. Micro-irrigation is an irrigation method that involves lower pressure and flow than a traditional sprinkler system. -India and Iran on February 17, 2018 signed an agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation (DTAA) and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income. -Twenty-time Grand Slam winner, Roger Federer became the oldest world number one after he defeated his Dutch opponent Robin Haase in Rotterdam at the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament on February 16, 2018. -In a bid to stop cheating, the Bihar School Examination Board on February 18, 2018 ordered students sitting for the board examinations to not wear shoes and socks during the examination. The board stated in an official circular that the students will have to wear slippers on the exam day. -A National Conference with the title ‘Agriculture 2022 – Doubling Farmers’ Income’ was organised by Agriculture Ministry in Delhi to build a consensus around appropriate recommendations and arrive at practicable solutions that can be implemented for the benefit of farmers in the country. -An international team of scientists have confirmed the discovery of nearly 100 new exoplanets. The discovery was based on the data from the second mission of NASA's Kepler Space Telescope or K2 released in 2014. -The Indian and Indonesian armies on February 19, 2019 began the sixth edition of their annual military exercises in the West Java province of the archipelago country. The opening ceremony of the two-week Garuda Shakti military drill between the Special Forces of the Indian Army and the Indonesian Army was held at Bandung. -PhonePe, the online payment service provider, partnered with Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) to deploy its own Point of Sale (POS) payment terminals across all IOCL retail outlets nationally. As part of the pilot program, PhonePe PoS devices have already been installed at 30 IOCL outlets. -Crime drama “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” won five British BAFTA Film Awards on February 18, 2018. The movie, chronicling a grieving mother's campaign for justice, won for original screenplay and outstanding British film. -Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr Harsh Vardhan on February 19, 2018 announced that India will be the Global Host for the World Environment Day 2018. World Environment Day 2018 will be celebrated across the globe with the theme ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’. -The World Day of Social Justice was observed across the world on February 20, 2018 with an aim to recognise the need to promote efforts to tackle several issues like exclusion, unemployment and poverty. -According to a UNICEF report that released on February 20, 2018, Pakistan is the riskiest nation to be born in, as it has the highest newborn mortality rates in the world -Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on February 21, 2018 that the government would be establishing a defence industrial production corridor in Uttar Pradesh. The corridor is expected to be built at an estimated cost of Rs 20,000 crore and it is expected to generate about 250,000 jobs. -India has been placed at the seventh spot in the list of targeted countries for Web Application Attacks (WAA), according to a new report titled ‘Akamai State of the Internet Security Q4 2017’ that released on February 21, 2018. -The state government of Maharashtra would be launching its new programme, ‘Asmita Yojana’ on the occasion of the International Women’s Day on March 8, 2018 to provide cheap and subsidised sanitary pads to school girls and women. -In a survey published by the International Coffee Organisation (ICO), India is not among the top 20 coffee drinking countries of the world. Finland took the top spot, consuming about 12 kg of coffee per year. Norway, Iceland and Denmark occupied the second, third and fourth spots respectively. India, which did not figure in the top 20, is the seventh largest exporter of coffee. -UNICEF issued a blank statement on February 20, 2018 to express its outrage at mass casualties among Syrian children in the besieged enclave of Eastern Ghouta and neighboring Damascus. -The Global Host for 2018 World Environment Day (WED) will be India. WED is celebrated every year on June 5 since 1972. The theme of 2018 World Environment Day is Beat Plastic Pollution. -Milkbasket, India’s first and largest micro-delivery platform, was recognised as ‘Startup of the Year’ 2017 at the 7th Small Business Awards held in New Delhi. -Roger Federer, a Swiss professional tennis player, won the 2018 Rotterdam Open men’s singles tennis tournament by defeating Grigor Dimitrov in the final by 6-2-6-2 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. -Uma Bharati, the Union minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation, launched the Bagori Ganga Gram project, New Swajal Project at Bagori and Gangotri Iconic Place at Dunda village in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand on February 20, 2018. -The Singapore government will impose a ‘carbon tax’ from 2019 to cut its greenhouse gas emissions and make companies more competitive as global agreements on climate change take effect. -The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved the construction of 4.531 km long 2-Lane Bi-Directional Silkyara Bend-Barkot Tunnel in Uttarakhand as part of ‘Chardham Mahamarg Pariyojana’. The project will be falling along NH-134 (old NH-94) in Uttarakhand and will be built under Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Mode. -The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on February 20, 2018 approved the methodology for auction of coal mines/blocks for sale of the commodity. With this, the Government opened up the commercial coal mining for private sector– both domestic and foreign players. -India’s indigenous light transport aircraft SARAS was successfully test flown for a second time on February 21, 2018. The flight took off from HAL’s airport in Bengaluru for a text book flight. This was the second of the 20 test flights planned for SARAS PT1N, before freezing the production version. -India was placed at the 81st spot among 180 nations in the global Corruption Perception Index for 2017, which was recently released by Transparency International. -The Telangana government showcased its ambitious Fiber Grid (T-Fiber) program at the World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) 2018. T-Fiber is the government’s initiative to establish the infrastructure to enable affordable, high-speed broadband connectivity and digital services in all the districts, villages and panchayats of the state. -A team of scientists has identified a new shark species residing in the Atlantic Ocean. Using genetic testing, the study confirmed that the new species, named the ‘Atlantic sixgill shark’, is different than its counterparts in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. -Flying officer Avani Chaturvedi from Madhya Pradesh scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman to fly a fighter aircraft solo. -The Kerala government has recently made vaccination compulsory for school admissions to Class 1 from the 2018-19 academic year. Parents will have to show details of immunization shots given to children during enrolment in school. -Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took part in the 2nd meeting of Canada-India Business Forum in New Delhi on February 22, 2018. -Vice Admiral RB Pandit, AVSM assumed the charge of Commandant of Indian Naval Academy in Ezhimala, Kerala on February 19, 2018. He took the charge from Vice Admiral SV Bhokare, AVSM, YSM. -India and Germany have signed an agreement for technical cooperation in the field sustainable urban development and the smart cities mission of India. It will seek to achieve the set target of promoting sustainable urban development under the national urban missions/programmes such as Smart Cities Mission, linking with the Sustainable Development Goal No. 11. -Gopalganj district of Bihar has set a new record by constructing more than 10,000 toilets in only 100 hours. -The Gandhi Nagar railway station of Jaipur, Rajasthan became the country’s first major non-suburban railway station to be fully-managed by women. -According to a UNICEF report that released on February 20, 2018, India's neonatal mortality rate (deaths per 1,000 live births) was 25.4, making it the 12th worst among 52 ‘lower middle-income countries’ that pose risk for newborns. According to a UNICEF report that released on February 20, 2018, India's neonatal mortality rate (deaths per 1,000 live births) was 25.4, making it the 12th worst among 52 ‘lower middle-income countries’ that pose risk for newborns. -The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has launched Ombudsman Scheme for redressal of complaints against the Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs). The scheme will provide a cost-free and expeditious complaint redressal mechanism relating to deficiency in the services by NBFCs covered under the scheme. -The International Conference on Sustainable Biofuels (ICSB-2018) is jointly being organized by Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India on behalf of Mission Innovation and Biofuture Platform in New Delhi from February 26-27, 2018. -Kunwar Bai (106), the brand ambassador of Swachch Bharat, passed away at Raipur, Chhattisgarh on February 23, 2018. Kunwar Bai was in the national news as a mascot for Swachch Bharat campaign; she sold all her goats to construct a toilet at her home. -The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has directed banks to link the SWIFT (Society for World Interbank Financial Telecommunication System platform) with the core banking solutions (CBS) of banks by April 30, 2018. The SWIFT system promoted in 1973 by banks globally is used to transmit messages relating to cross border financial transactions. -The 2018 SAARC Business Leaders’ Conclave will be held in Kathmandu, Nepal from March 16 to 18, with an objective to promote investment, innovation and entrepreneurship in the region. The bi-annual event of the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SAARC-CCI) is going to be held in Nepal for the second time. -India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed a $84 million loan for improvement and expansion of water supply in Bhagalpur and Gaya towns in Bihar. This is the second tranche of ADB’s $200 million Multi-tranche Financing Facility (MFF) for Bihar Urban Development Investment Programme, which was approved in 2012. -Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India on February 24, 2018 ceremonially united for an ambitious multi-billion dollar TAPI gas pipeline expected to help ease energy deficits in South Asia. The four countries aim to complete the 1840-kilometre (1,143-mile) pipeline and begin pumping natural gas from Turkmenistan’s giant Galkynysh gas field by the beginning of 2020. -The Indian armed forces on February 24, 2018 successfully test fired nuclear-capable surface-to-surface ballistic missile Dhanush from a naval warship positioned in the Bay of Bengal. The trial was conducted by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of the Navy from an undisclosed location nearly 45 km from the Paradip coast. -The Indian Navy will host the multi-national MILAN series of exercises under the theme of ‘Friendship Across the Seas’ at Port Blair in Andaman and Nicobar islands from March 6 to March 13, 2018. -Michael McCormack was elected as the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, after being selected as the leader of the country’s National Party. -The Assam government will observe September 22 as ‘Rhino Day’ to generate public awareness on protection of the one-horned pachyderm. -Heavy Water Board, a constituent industrial unit of DAE, signed a collaborative agreement with Clearsynth, Mumbai on February 23, 2018 for sale of 20 tonnes of Heavy Water in a year. The sale of Heavy Water will be for development of deuterium labeled compounds, NMR Solvents, d-labeled Active Pharma Ingredients (APIs). -China on February 25, 2018 paved the way for third consecutive term of President Xi Jinping by proposing removal of 2-term limit for President. -The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has for the first-ever time opened applications for women to enlist in the military. -The Telangana government has announced Rs 5 lakh worth health-cum-life insurance cover for farmers. The state government will be paying the entire premium on behalf of the farmer. The scheme is expected to benefit 70 lakh farmers in the state. -China was elected as vice chair of Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global body mandated to combat terror financing and money laundering. In its plenary meeting in Paris, FATF had placed Pakistan under “grey list” subject to direct monitoring and intense scrutiny by International Cooperation Review Group till June 2018 for compliance of Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Finance of Terrorism regulations. -To propagate cultural ties between India and Vietnam, 10 Vietnamese artists are collaborating with their Indian counterparts for a new exhibition as part of the Vietnam-India Artists' Camp on March 3, 2018. The show, organised by SEHER in association with Embassy of Vietnam and India International Centre, will coincide with the India visit of Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang. -The Chilika lake in Odisha has emerged as the single largest habitat of Irrawaddy dolphins in the world with the spotting of 155 such animals. Chilika Development Authority, Chief Executive Susanta Nanda stated that the number is more compared to the last year's figure of around 100 dolphins during the annual census.