Current Affairs Update – 17 Feb, 2015

2. India
4. World
5. Awards
6. Sports

1. Economy/Finance/Banking/RBI

Union Ministry of
Finance imposed Anti-dumping duty on imports of graphite electrodes
  • Union Ministry of Finance on 16 February 2015 imposed the
    anti-dumping duty on imports of graphite electrodes for five years. The imposed
    duty ranges between 278.19 US dollars and 922.03 US dollars per tonne.
  • With this move, government aims to protect the domestic
    industry from below-cost shipments of graphite electrodes. The graphite
    electrodes are used in melting of steel.
  • The decision was taken following the recommendations of the
    Directorate General of Anti-Dumping Duty (DGAD).
  • Anti-Dumping Duty is the duty imposed by government on
    imported products which have prices less than their normal values or domestic
  • It is imposed under the World Trade Organisation (WTO)
    regime and varies from product to product and from country to country.

Government exempts
oilseeds, raw cotton, 36 other products from commodity transaction tax

  • The government has added 38 more products to the list of
    commodities exempt from commodity transaction tax (CTT), raising hopes among
    commodity exchanges and a section of brokers that the Centre might favourably
    consider a regulatory recommendation to reduce the levy, if not withdraw it altogether,
    in the Union Budget.
  • Twenty three commodities like oilseeds, raw cotton, spices,
    etc, were exempt from CTT, introduced in July 2013. The government has exempted
    38 more commodities from the levy. 
  • Many of these, onion, seedlac, ginger, gram dal, gram husk,
    masur, methi, safflower, rice, paddy, sesamum, moth, small millets, etc, are
    either not traded or are illiquid and some like urad and tur have been banned
    from futures trading.
  • However, the move drew praise from leading agri commodity
    bourse NCDEX and a few brokers.

2. India
Government builds 7.1
lakh toilets in January under Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan

  • Construction of toilets under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s
    dream project, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, has gained momentum with 7.1 lakh
    individual household toilets being built in January, the highest for any month
    since the project was launched in October, government data showed.
  • But, with less than two months left for the fiscal year to
    close, the government is likely to miss this year’s target of constructing 1.2
    crore toilets.
  • According to data, a total of 31.83 lakh toilets have been
    built between April 2014 and January 2015, which is 25.4% of the target for
    2014-15. The programme entails an investment of nearly ` 2 lakh crore over the next five years
    to construct 12 crore toilets in India.

Dosmoche festival
celebrated in Ladakh

  • Dosmoche festival was celebrated with religious and
    traditional fervor in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir in the third week
    of February 2015. The festival was celebrated with a week-long period of
    prayers and ritual at Liker monastery.
  • It is celebrated to mark the victory over evil forces and
    also to evade any natural disaster in the year ahead.

3. MoUs/Deals

India, Sri Lanka
signed agreements on Civil Nuclear Cooperation, Cultural Cooperation

  • India and Sri Lanka on 16 February 2015 signed bilateral
    agreements on civil nuclear cooperation, cultural cooperation and cooperation
    in the field of Agriculture. Besides, an agreement was also signed for Sri
    Lanka’s participation in the Nalanda University Project.
  • India and Sri Lanka also agreed to expand defence and
    strategic cooperation, including a trilateral format with the Maldives.

India signed Grant
Agreement of 8 million US dollars with World Bank for funding SLACC Project
  • India on 13 February 2015 signed grant agreement of 8
    million US dollars with World Bank (WB) for funding Sustainable Livelihoods and
    Adaptation to Climate Change (SLACC) Project.
  • The amount will be used to implement special projects under
    SLACC to improve adaptive capacity of the rural poor engaged in farm-based
    livelihoods to climate change in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.
  • This grant is in addition to National Adaptation Fund (NAF)
    set up by the Union government in 2014 for which 100 crore rupees were set aside
    for taking up agriculture adaptation measures.

4. World

France signed an
agreement with Egypt for sale of 24 Rafale fighter plane

  • France on 16 February 2015 signed a 5.2-billion-euro (5.9
    billion US dollar) agreement with Egypt for the first foreign sale of its
    Rafale fighter plane. As per the deal, France will supply 24 Rafale fighters to
  • The deal was signed at the Presidential palace in Cairo in
    presence of French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Egyptian President
    Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

5. Awards
& Honors –

Saurav Ganguly
awarded Honorary Life Membership of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC)

  • Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) on 13 February 2015 awarded
    Honorary Life Membership to the former Indian cricket captain Saurav Ganguly.
    He has been a member of the MCC World Cricket committee since July 2014.
  • Ganguly, affectionately called Dada and the Prince of
    Calcutta, retired from all forms of international cricket in 2012 after playing
    for India for 16 long years.
  • Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) is the world’s most active cricket
    club and is owned by the owner of Lord’s Ground and the guardian of the Laws of
    the game.

6. Sports
Cyclist Alberto
Contador of Spain announced to retire from Cycling after 2016 season
  • Alberto Contador, the two-time Tour de France winner, on 16
    February 2015 announced that he will retire from professional cycling after the
    2016 season.
  • The 32-year-old Contador of Spain has won six Grand Tours in
    all during his career. He won the Tour de France in 2007 and 2009, the Giro
    d’Italia in 2008 and the Vuelta a Espana in 2008, 2012 and 2014.