Latest Current Affairs Today – 20th February 2016


Read about the new chairman of the GST committee, the new Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh and more …

1) Dr Amit Mitra made chairman of GST committee of state finance ministers.



  • West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra has been named the new chairman of the empowered committee of state Finance ministers that is working out the details of the proposed goods and services tax (GST).
  • Mitra, an economist who was secretary general of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry before joining politics in 2011 and becoming a minister in the Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal, was elected at a meeting of state finance ministers that was attended by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
  • Mitra didn’t attend the meeting as he was unwell and was informed about the decision over the phone by Jaitley.

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  • Mitra will succeed Kerala Finance Minister KM Mani, who resigned in November over corruption charges.
  • The head of the panel has always been from an opposition party ruled state. CPI-M’s Asim Dasgupta of West Bengal held the post when the United Progressive Alliance was in power and Sushil Modi from Bihar succeeded him.
  • West Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra’s understanding of the implications of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) steps will help the NDA government in creating a consensus on contentious issues.


2) US writer Harper Lee passes away.

Details:Harper Lee

  • Harper Lee, renowned US writer passed away in Monroeville, Alabama, US at the age of 89.
  • She had authored a novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ released in 1960, which had become a classic of modern American literature. It has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide.
  • Former US President George W Bush, who awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007, said she was “a legendary novelist and lovely lady”.

More Details:

  • Lee was born 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama. She was the youngest of four children of lawyer Amasa Coleman Lee and Frances Cunningham Finch Lee.
  • Her book, ‘To Kill a mockingbird’ sold more than 40 million copies worldwide and 55 years after it was published, in 2015, she released the sequel, Go Set a Watchman.
  • The movie version of To Kill a Mockingbird is also an American classic. It had won the Academy Award (Oscars) for best picture in 1963 while Gregory Peck, who played role of Atticus in the movie was named best actor.


3) ISRO upbeat as indigenous cryo engine passes test:



  • Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) bid to acquire the capability to launch heavier satellites into orbit received a boost on Friday with the successful hotbed test of the cryogenic engine for the upper stage of the GSLV Mark 3 rocket.
  • The long-duration test at the ISRO Propulsion Research Centre at Mahendragiri lasted 640 seconds.
  • ISRO chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar termed the test as a phenomenal achievement in the shortest time.
  • Using Liquid Hydrogen at -253 degrees C and Liquid Oxygen at -193 degrees C as propellants, the high-thrust cryogenic engine (CE20) generates power of approximately 2 MW. Developed at the Liquid Propulsion System center (LPSC) here, the engine had already undergone two short-duration tests for engine ignition and steady state performance.

More Details:

  • Earlier in the day, A.S Kumar said preparations were under way for the first developmental flight of the GSLV Mark 3 in December 2016. He was talking to the media on the sidelines of a workshop organised by the VSSC and the Society for Aerospace Quality and Reliability (SAQR).
  • The biggest rocket made in India, the Mk3 will be capable of launching four-tonne satellites into geosynchronous orbit.
  • Last year, the first developmental engine completed different hot tests in various operating regimes. The third engine identified for flight use will be vacuum tested in the high altitude test facility as part of the flight acceptance test.


4) Arunachal Pradesh gets a new CM, Kalikho Pul sworn in at night:



  • Dissident Congress leader Kalikho Pul, 46, was sworn in as the ninth Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh on Friday with the support of 18 rebel Congress MLAs, and two Independents and 11 BJP MLAs who gave outside support.
  • Pul’s swearing in came a day after the Supreme Court vacated its order of maintaining status quo in the state, thus paving the way for installation of a new government.
  • On Wednesday, Pul, a five-time MLA and former finance minister, had led a delegation of 31 MLAs and met Rajkhowa in Itanagar to stake claim to form the government.

 More Details:

  • On January 26th, as per art 356 a President rule was recommended by the Governor citing constitutional machinery breakdown as the reason.
  • In April last year, amid allegations of financial mismanagement, Arunachal Pradesh health minister was not only dropped from the cabinet but also expelled from the Congress for six years.


5) New Delhi rolls out red carpet for Oli :


  • Nepali Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli began his 6 day state visit to India today.
  • PM Oli will be accorded ceremonial reception at the forecourts of the Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi on Saturday.
  • PM Oli was welcomed by India’s Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj at the Indira Gandhi International Airport.

 More Details:

  • India-Nepal relations are at an all time low as India has allegedly blocked the supply of Oil and other essential supplies to Nepal.
  • The blockade, which Nepal’s government blames on India (New Delhi denies involvement) immediately followed the passage of a new constitution by Nepal on September 19.