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Important Current Affairs 2nd March 2021

NATIONAL

Dr Harsh Vardhan inaugurates Global Bio India 2021

•The Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Health & Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan inaugurated the second edition of Global Bio-India-2021 in New Delhi through virtual mode. The three-day event will be held from March 01 to 03, 2021, on a digital platform. The purpose of the event is to showcase the strength and opportunities of the biotechnology sector of India at the national as well as international level. The Government of India has a target of building a USD 150 billion bio-economy by 2025.

•The theme of Global Bio-India-2021: “Transforming lives” with the tag line “Biosciences to Bio-economy”.

•The event is co-organised by the Department of Biotechnology under the Ministry of Science & Technology along with its Public Sector Undertaking, and Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) in partnership with industry association Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises (ABLE) and Invest India.

39th Agartala International Book Fair begins at Tripura

•In Tripura, the 39th Agartala International Book Fair with the theme “Ek Tripura, Shrestha Tripura” has begun at Agartala. State Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb has inaugurated the fair in presence of Bangladesh Assistant High Commissioner Md. Jobayed Hossain and other state cabinet ministers and MLAs.

•This book fair helps in building a positive mindset among people and that ensures a positive approach for overall progress in society. Cultural troops coming from Bangladesh, Northeastern States including Sikkim will be performing various cultural events on each day as part of the fair.

Saras Aajeevika Mela opens at Noida Haat

•The Saras Aajeevika Mela 2021 is underway at Noida Haat. The fair was inaugurated by Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar. Narendra Singh Tomar while inaugurating the event highlighted that the Ministry of Rural Development is working to include more women under the Self-Help Groups (SHGs).

•SHGs played a vital role in increasing family income and improving quality of life. More than 300 rural self-help groups and craftsman from 27 states are participating in the Mela which is being run by the Ministry of Rural Development.

ISRO’s PSLV-C51 launches Brazil’s Amazonia-1 satellite

•India’s Polar rocket has successfully launched Amazonia-1 of Brazil and 18 other satellites from the spaceport here, in the first mission of the year for space agency ISRO. The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C51 lifted from the first launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR) and first injected into orbit primary payload Amazonia-1. The 637-kg Amazonia-1 which became the first Brazilian satellite to be launched from India is an optical earth observation satellite of the National Institute for Space Research (INPE).

•After a gap of over one-and-half hours, the co-passenger satellites, including one from Chennai- based Space Kidz India (SKI), which is engraved with a picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, were launched subsequently one after another in the space of ten minutes in a textbook launch. SKI’s Satish Dhawan Satellite (SD-SAT) also carried Bhagavad Gita in a Secured Digital card format.

Nirmala Sitharaman attended G20 Central Bank Governors’ meeting

•The Finance Minister of India, Nirmala Sitharaman has attended the G20 Central Bank Governors’ meeting. This was the first-ever G20 Central Bank Governors’ meeting that was held under the Italian Presidency. The main aim of the meeting was to discuss policy actions for transformative and equitable recovery along with other issues on the agenda including the global economic outlook, financial sector issues, financial inclusion and sustainable finance. This meeting is a follow-up for the upcoming 2021 G20 Summit, the sixteenth meeting of Group of Twenty, scheduled to take place in Rome, Italy, on 30–31 October 2021.

•During the meeting, the finance minister highlighted India’s policy response with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic and the world’s largest inoculation drive with their G-20 counterparts. The G20 Finance Ministers and the Central Bank Governors also held a discussion regarding the implications of climate change on global growth and financial stability.

SPORTS

Indian Women’s League 2020-21 to be hosted in Odisha

•All India Football Federation confirms Odisha as the venue for the forthcoming Hero Indian Women’s League 2020-21 edition. This is the fifth edition of IWL, the top division women’s league in India. The Odisha government is a strategic partner of the AIFF (All India Football Federation) as it provides the necessary infrastructure to various men and women age-group teams.

•AIFF appreciates Odisha Government’s longstanding partnership with Indian Football wherein the latter have been providing its stadia and State of the Art training facilities to National Teams across various age groups and genders – all in an effort to take Indian Football forward together.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Zero Discrimination Day: 01 March

•Zero Discrimination Day is an annual day celebrated on 1 March each year by the United Nations and other international organisations. Zero Discrimination Day is celebrated to promote and celebrate everyone’s right, regardless of age, gender, sexuality, nationality, ethnicity, skin colour, etc. Zero Discrimination Day aims to raise the voice for the right to live life with dignity, despite one’s choices, beliefs, profession, education, disability or even illness.

•Theme of Zero Discrimination Day 2021: “End Inequalities”.

•A butterfly is the symbol of Zero Discrimination Day and it is widely used by people to share their stories and photos as a way to end discrimination and work towards positive transformation. Zero Discrimination Day was first celebrated on March 1, 2014, and was launched by UNAIDS Executive Director at Beijing after UNAIDS launched its Zero Discrimination Campaign on World AIDS Day in December 2013.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Golden Globe Awards 2021 announced

•The Golden Globe Awards 2021 was held to recognise excellence in film, both American and international, and American television. This was the 78th edition of the annual event, which honoured the best in American television, as well as film in 2020 and early 2021, as chosen by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

•American TV series “The Crown” won the most awards for the ceremony with four awards. Late American actor Chadwick Boseman won the Golden Globe award for Best Actor in Drama category, posthumously, for his portrayal of Levee Green in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

Winners in the Film category:

• Best Film – Drama: Nomadland

• Best Film – Musical/Comedy: Borat Subsequent Movie film

• Best Director: Chloe Zhao for Nomadland

• Best Actress – Drama: Andra Day for The United States vs. Billie Holiday

• Best Actor – Drama: Chadwick Boseman for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

• Best Actress – Musical/Comedy: Rosamund Pike for I Care A Lot

• Best Actor – Musical/Comedy: Sacha Baron Cohen for Borat Subsequent Movie film

• Best Supporting Actress: Jodie Foster for The Mauritanian

• Best Supporting Actor: Daniel Kaluuya for Judas And The Black Messiah

• Best Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin for The Trial of the Chicago 7

• Best Foreign Language Film: Minari

• Best Animated Feature: Soul

• Best Original Score: Soul

• Best Original Song: ‘Io Si (Seen)’ from The Life Ahead

PM Modi to receive global energy and environment leadership award

•Prime Minister Narendra Modi will receive the CERAWeek global energy and environment leadership award during an annual CERAWeek Conference-2021. The award is given to him for his commitment to sustainability in energy and the environment.

•The CERAWeek Conference-2021 will be held virtually from March 1 to 5, 2021. It is an annual international conference that brings together the energy industry leaders, experts. Policymakers Government officials, leaders from the technology, energy technology innovators and financial & industrial communities.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

A book titled “Advantage India: The Story of Indian Tennis” by Anindya Dutta

•Anindya Dutta, a banker turned author, penned a new book titled “Advantage India: The Story of Indian Tennis”, a chronicle of Indian Tennis. Advantage India is a well-researched account of the journey of Indian tennis, with a special section on the Doubles game and on women’s tennis in India. The book is published by Westland publications.

•The book provides an extensive history of Indian tennis on both men’s and women’s side.

•The book is the result of the detailed research of Anindya Dutta on the data from the archives of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and British newspapers from the past 200 years.

•The book features pre-independence players like Mohammed Sleem, the Fyzee brothers, S.M. Jacob and Ghaus Mohammed and tennis icons like Dilip Bose, Sumant Misra, Naresh Kumar and Ramanathan Krishnan.

•This also features Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza who transformed Women’s Tennis in India.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

Fino Payments Bank upgraded to scheduled commercial bank status

•Reserve Bank of India has notified that it has included Fino Payments Bank in the Second Schedule of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. All banks which are included in the Second Schedule to the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 are Scheduled Banks. These banks comprise Scheduled Commercial Banks and Scheduled Co-operative Banks.

•Benefits of being a scheduled bank under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934:

•Becomes eligible for debts/loans at the bank rate from the RBI

•Automatically acquires the membership of clearinghouse

•Rediscount of first-class exchange bills from the RBI

Scheduled Commercial Banks in India are categorised into five different groups according to their ownership and/or nature of the operation. These bank groups are:

• State Bank of India and its Associates

• Nationalised Banks

• Regional Rural Banks

• Foreign Banks

• Other Indian Scheduled Commercial Banks (in the private sector)

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Important Current Affairs 1st March 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Russia launches space satellite Arktika-M on first mission to the Arctic

•The Arctic has warmed more than twice as fast as the global average over the past three decades and Moscow is seeking to develop the energy-rich region, investing in the Northern Sea Route for shipping across its long northern flank as ice melts.

•The satellite - Arktika-M - successfully reached its intended orbit after being launched from Kazakhstan's Baikonur cosmodrome by a Soyuz rocket, Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia's Roscosmos space agency, said in a post on Twitter.

•The Arktika-M will have a highly elliptical orbit that passes high over northern latitudes allowing it to monitor northern regions for lengthy periods.

IAF gifts 1971 war helicopter to Bangladesh, gets F-86 fighter

•Commemorating 50 years of defeating Pakistan in the 1971 war, Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief RKS Bhadauria gifted a legacy Alouette III helicopter to Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) and got a legacy F-86 Sabre aircraft as a return gift from Dhaka.

•"To mark the Golden Jubilee of 1971 War of Liberation, IAF chief RKS Bhadauria gifted a legacy Alouette III helicopter to the Bangladesh Air Force. Bangladesh Air Force chief too gifted an F-86 Sabre aircraft that had been restored by BAF after the 1971 war. Both legacy aircraft will find a place of pride in museums on both sides," IAF stated in a tweet.

•The exchange of aircraft took place in Dhaka during the four day trip of Bhadauria to Bangladesh where he visited different airbases and interacted with the top military leadership of that country.

NATIONAL

India deploys Sindhu Netra satellite for keeping eye over Indian Ocean

•In a major boost for the country's surveillance capabilities in the Indian Ocean Region, India on Sunday successfully deployed the Sindhu Netra satellite in space which will help the Navy and security agencies to monitor suspicious ships operating there.

•“The Sindhu Netra has been developed by the DRDO and has been deployed in space successfully by the ISRO rocket launched on Sunday. The capability will allow us to keep an eye on the areas of our interest from the African region to South China Sea,” top government sources told India Today.

•Sindhu Netra is one of the first in the series of satellites that would help the nation in enhancing its surveillance capabilities on land in areas such as the Ladakh region with China and the border areas with Pakistan.

•Seeking to keep a closer eye on the activities of the Chinese military both near the Indian territory as well as in its depth areas all along the 4,000 kilometre Line of Actual Control (LAC), the Indian security agencies feel there is a requirement of four to six dedicated satellites which can help them keep a check on the adversary's moves.

PM Modi inaugurates first-ever India Toy Fair 2021

•Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the first-ever Indian Toy Fair 2021 via video conference during which he urged the country to become ‘Atmanirbhar’ in the toy manufacturing sector. The Ministry of Textiles, in collaboration with other ministries, including the Ministry of Education, has organised the virtual event with an aim to provide joyful learning to children by including them in teaching and learning as well as promoting the indigenous toy industry. The toy fair is divided into five stages — pre-school to Class II, primary, upper primary, secondary and senior secondary.

•The idea of a toy fair emerged from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Mann Ki Baat address on August 30, 2020, where he highlighted the huge potential of the toys market and the opportunities that can be tapped to promote indigenous toys.

•Aimed at providing a platform to states to develop toys reflecting the history, culture and social milieu specific to the states and also to revive traditional and indigenous toys in the lives of children, the national toy fair claims to also boost the economy by supporting local toy industry under ‘Atamnirbhar Bharat’.

SPORTS

Vinesh Phogat beats Vanesa Kaladzinskaya to win gold in Ukraine wrestling event

•India's star wrestler Vinesh Phogat defeated 2017 world champion V Kaladzinskay to win the gold medal at the Outstanding Ukrainian Wrestlers and Coaches Memorial tournament.

•Up against the world number seven Belarusian, it was not an easy bout for the world number three Indian as the two grapplers kept testing each other with consistent attacks in the sea-saw battle in which Vinesh prevailed.

•Vinesh opened up a 4-0 lead in the 53kg final with a throw which she initiated with a left-leg attack but Kaladzinskay made it 4-4 with her brilliant move.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Arun Kumar Singh takes charge as Bihar chief secretary

•Kumar, a 1984-batch officer, was due to retire on February 29, 2020 but, the central government had granted him extension twice for two terms of six months each on the state government’s recommendation.

•Kumar had assumed charge as chief secretary of Bihar from May 31, 2018 following the retirement of Anjani Kumar Singh, who is currently the advisor to the chief minister(CM) Nitish Kumar.

•The state government had to appoint Arun Kumar Singh after the Centre, which beached the convention by granting six month extension for successive terms, declined giving fresh extension to Deepak Kumar.

•Kumar will join as principal secretary to the CM on contract, the post of which was created under the cabinet secretary department (CSD) in 2002, from March 1. As per the notification issued by the CSD, terms and condition of his appointment would be notified later.

IMPORTANT DAYS

National Science Day: 28 February

•National Science Day is celebrated all over India on 28th February. On this day, Sir CV Raman had announced the discovery of the Raman Effect for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1930. The government of India designated 28 February as National Science Day (NSD) in 1986.

•The theme for this year’s National Science Day is ‘Future of STI: Impact on Education Skills and Work’. The National Science Day 2021 aims to motivate the students to gain hands-on experience in the field of science.

•Dr CV Raman was a renowned scientist who had a bachelors’ and masters’ in Physics from the Presidency College in Madras. He took part in numerous science competitions along with the government job. Afterwards, he received a scholarship from the Indian government.

Rare Disease Day: February 28, 2021

•Rare Disease Day is observed every year on the last day of February. This year in 2021 it falls on February 28, 2021. The day is observed to raise awareness for rare diseases and improve access to treatment and medical representation for individuals with rare diseases and their families.

•Rare Disease Day was first launched by  European Organisation for Rare Diseases (EURORDIS) and its Council of National Alliances in 2008.

India observes Second Protein Day on 27 February

•In India, February 27th is celebrated as the National Protein Day, to create awareness about protein deficiency and encourage people to include this macronutrient in their diet. The day was launched by the ‘Right to Protein’, a national-level public health initiative on February 27, 2020. This year theme of National Protein Day is “Powering with Plant Protein”.

•2021 marks the second year for this nutritional awareness milestone in India by ‘Right to Protein’.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

DU, Singapore Fine Arts Society sign MoU on collaboration in Indian music

•The Delhi University's Faculty of Music and Fine Arts and the Singapore Fine Arts Society (SIFAS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for "cultural, academic and research collaboration agreement in Indian music".

•The MoU was signed at a two-day international webinar, "Traditional Music in Different Cultures: Opportunities and Challenges in the Changing Global Scenario", hosted by the Delhi University's Department of Music on February 25 and 26.

•"The MoU will expand the cultural and institutional footprint of both the prestigious musical institutions with a rich historical background – SIFAS commencing its glorious music journey in 1949, and the Department of Music taking its first step towards musical excellence in 1960," an official statement.

•"The teachers and students of SIFAS will get an opportunity to perform at the University of Delhi, and vice versa,".

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Important Current Affairs 28th February 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Russian supermodel Vodianova is new UN goodwill ambassador

•Russian supermodel and philanthropist Natalia Vodianova has become a United Nations goodwill ambassador, to promote the sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls and tackle stigmas surrounding their bodies.

•She will be a campaigner for the UN Population Fund, which now calls itself the UN”s sexual and reproductive health agency, known as UNFPA.

NATIONAL

Attukal pongala festival held in 2021

•Attukal Pongala 2021 is being celebrated on Saturday, February 27. It is a ten-day-long festival that is celebrated at Kerala's Attukal Bhagavathy Temple situated in Thiruvananthapuram.

•The all-women congregation was declared the largest gathering of women by Guinness World Records in 2009.

39th Agartala International Book Fair begins in Tripura

•In Tripura, the 39th Agartala International Book Fair with the theme “Ek Tripura, Shrestha Tripura”  has begun at Agartala.

•State Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb inaugurated the fair yesterday evening in presence of Bangladesh Assistant High Commissioner Md. Jobayed Hossain and other state cabinet ministers and MLAs.

•While addressing the gathering, the Chief Minister said a book fair helps in building a positive mindset among people and that ensures a positive approach for overall progress in society.

•Cultural troops coming from Bangladesh, Northeastern States including Sikkim will be performing various cultural events on each day as part of the fair.

SPORTS

R. Vinay Kumar announces retirement from all forms of cricket

•Former India international and Karnataka captain, R Vinay Kumar has announced retirement from all forms of cricket. The “Davangere Express” after running for 25 years and passing so many stations of cricketing life, has finally arrived at the station called retirement.

•Vinay, a medium-pacer, represented India in one Test, 31 ODIs and 9 T20Is between 2010 and 2013. Vinay retires as a domestic giant of Indian cricket having taken 504 first-class wickets in 139 matches that included 26 five-wicket hauls and five 10-wicket hauls in a match.With the bat, he scored 3311 runs including two centuries and 17 half-centuries. In 141 List A matches, the 37-year-old took 225 wickets at 24.39 and scored 1198 runs including four half-centuries.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Remembering Vinayak Damodar Savarkar on his 55th death anniversary

•Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was born May 28, 1883, at Bhagur village of Nashik district in Maharashtra. Veer Savarkar died on February 26, 1966, in Bombay. He was a nationalist and one of the most important figures of the Hindu Mahasabha ("Great Society of Hindus"), a Hindu nationalist organization and political party.

•Veer Savarkar was a freedom fighter, politician, lawyer, writer, social reformer, and institutor of Hindutva ideology. He got the nickname 'Veer' at the age of 12 after performing a bravery act.

•During his student days in London (1906-10), Savarkar assisted a group of Indian revolutionaries in techniques of assassination that his associates learned from expatriate Russian revolutionaries in Paris.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

SBI joins JPMorgan’s blockchain payments network

•State Bank of India has tied up with JPMorgan to use the US bank’s blockchain technology to speed up overseas transactions. The tie-up is expected to reduce SBI customers’ transaction costs and time taken for payments. SBI has joined Liink, a new blockchain-based interbank data network developed by JPMorgan. By integrating the technology, the bank expects to reduce transaction costs and improve cross-border payments for its customers.

•Liink is a peer-to-peer network and ecosystem operating under the umbrella of JPMorgan’s blockchain- and digital-currency-focused business, dubbed Onyx.

•Piloted in 2017, the product was originally referred to as Interbank Information Network and rebranded as Liink in October 2020.

•The Liink solution has enlisted more than 400 financial institutions and corporations in 78 countries, including 27 of the world’s top 50 banks. The network has around 100 live banks on the network, including both state-owned and private institutions.

NPCI enables UPI AutoPay live on music streaming platform ‘Gaana’

•National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has announced that UPI AutoPay has now gone live on Gaana. Its integration with UPI AutoPay has made Gaana the 1st player in the Media & Entertainment industry to roll out the innovative e-mandate feature on UPI. The introduction of UPI AutoPay will empower Gaana’s users to experience a smooth and seamless mechanism of renewing their subscriptions.

•Customers can enjoy premium, uninterrupted streaming of their choicest music, podcasts and radio without having to remember about the subscription renewal date. The strategic role played by Paytm and Juspay as payment aggregators will create a superior transaction experience for the customers. Based on the mandate, the subscription amount will be deducted automatically on the authorized date without entering UPI PIN.

AU Small Finance Bank has named Sharad Goklani as President & CTO

•AU Small Finance Bank has named Sharad Goklani as its new President & CTO. He was earlier associated with Equitas Small Finance Bank as its EVP & Chief Technology Officer.  As a part of his new appointment, Goklani will be based in Jaipur Rajasthan. Prior to Equitas, he was associated with Bharti Airtel and Bharti Telesoft. He holds a Master degree in computer application from Jaipur University.

•AU was started 25 years ago by Sanjay Agarwal, a merit holder Chartered Accountant and a first-generation entrepreneur.

•As per the official website, it was founded in Jaipur in 1996 as Au Financiers, a non-deposit taking Non-Banking Finance Company (NBFC), it effectively worked on funding economic growth, especially for the under-served and un-served low & middle-class individuals.

•Au Financiers converted into AU Small Finance Bank in April 2017 after receiving the license from RBI.

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Important Current Affairs 27th February 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Irakli Garibashvili as New Prime Minister of Georgia

•The Parliament of Georgia confirmed Irakli Garibashvili as Prime Minister along with a vote of confidence in the cabinet Garibashvili put forward. Garibashvili pledged to create a long-term development strategy for Georgia in his first one hundred days in office.

•First, on the agenda, Garibashvili will continue the essential work of the government to ably manage the pandemic and accelerate the focus on rebuilding the economy while continuing to strengthen Georgia’s security and democratic institutions.

NATIONAL

Union Cabinet approves President’s Rule in Puducherry

•The Union Cabinet has approved to dissolve the Puducherry Assembly and impose President’s rule in the Union Territory, following the resignation of the Chief Minister, V Narayanasamy, whose government lost majority power in the assembly. The decision was taken as no party claimed to form a government, following which, Lieutenant Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan had recommended President’s Rule.

•The approval will now be sent to the President, Ramnath Kovind. The legislative assembly of the UT will be dissolved once the President accords his permission. Prior to this, the President’s rule was imposed in Puducherry between March and July in 1991 when the JD-DMK coalition government fell.

PM Modi virtually addresses 2nd Khelo India National Winter Games

•Prime Minister Narendra Modi has delivered the inaugural address at the 2nd Khelo India National Winter Games through a video conference. The second edition of the Khelo India-Winter Games has been organised at the world-famous ski-resort Gulmarg in the Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir.

•The event has been organised by the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, in collaboration with the Jammu and Kashmir Sports Council and the Winter Games Association of J&K. The sports activities at the games will include alpine skiing, nordic ski, snowboarding, ski mountaineering, ice hockey, ice skating, ice stock etc.

Chandigarh became the first Union Territory in India to launch Carbon Watch

•Chandigarh became the first state or Union Territory in India to launch Carbon Watch, a mobile application to assess the carbon footprint of an individual. Although the app can be accessed by everyone, it has specific options for the residents of Chandigarh to compile a detailed study. The application can be downloaded through a QR code in Android supported smart cell phones.

•Carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases-especially carbon dioxide-released into the atmosphere by particular human activity.

Carbon Watch Mobile app:-

•As a person downloads the application, they will need to fill details in four parts Water, Energy, Waste Generation and Transport (Vehicular movement).

•In the category of Water, the person will be required to inform about the consumption of water.

•In the Energy category, the details regarding the electricity units consumed every month at the house, monthly bill etc and usage of solar energy will have to be furnished.

•In the Waste category, the individual will need to inform about the waste generated on their part and their family. In the transport section, the individual will have to inform them about the mode of transport used by the- four-wheeler, two-wheeler or bicycle.

Piyush Goyal addresses 6th International Conference on Pharmaceutical & Medical Devices

•The 6th edition of the International Conference on Pharmaceutical & Medical Device sector was inaugurated by Union Minister of Railways, Commerce & Industry, and Consumer Affairs and Food & Public Distribution Piyush Goyal. The conference which includes INDIA PHARMA 2021 & INDIA MEDICAL DEVICE 2021 is scheduled to take place from February 25-26, 2021 & March 1-2, 2021.

•To encourage and bring forward the best technology solutions and manufacturing, for the overall growth of the Pharma & Medical Device sector.

•The theme of India Pharma 2021: ‘Indian Pharma Industry: “Future is Now”.

•The theme of India Medical Device 2021 is “India MedTech Future: Innovate & Make in India through Global Alliance”.

SPORTS

Yusuf Pathan announces retirement from all forms of cricket

•Former India all-rounder, Yusuf Pathan has announced his retirement from all formats of cricket. He played 57 ODIs and 22 T20Is for India since making his international debut in 2007. He was part of the Indian team that won the ICC T20 World Cup 2007 and ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. He scored 810 ODI runs and 236 T20I runs for India. He also picked up 46 wickets in limited-overs international cricket.

•Yusuf played 100 first-class matches, scoring 4825 runs and picking up 201 wickets. In List A cricket, the right-handed batsman accumulated 4797 runs and got 124 wickets from 199 matches. He last played for India in an ODI against South Africa at Johannesburg in March 2012.

OBITUARY

Padma Shri Malayalam Poet Vishnunarayanan Namboothiri passes away

•Renowned Malayalam poet, the priest and academician Vishnu Narayanan Namboothiri, has passed away.

•He was honoured with the Padma Shri in 2014, for his contribution to the world of Malayalam literature for decades. He also won the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award, Kendra Sahitya Akademi Fellowship, Vallathol Award, Odakkuzhal Award and the Mathrubhumi Literary Award, among others. He was also a noted scholar of language and the Vedas, as well as an orator.

Papua New Guinea’s first Prime Minister, Michael Somare, passes away

•The first prime minister of Papua New Guinea, Michael Somare has passed away. He was known as the “father of the nation” because he led the Pacific archipelago to independence from Australia in 1975.

•He had served as the prime minister of the country four times, between 1975 to 2011, and has been the longest-serving prime minister (17 years).

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Gautam Thakar made global CEO of OLX Autos

•OLXGroup appoints Gautam Thakar as global CEO of OLX Autos. He will lead a worldwide organisation with a workforce of more than 4,000 employees across Asia, Africa, Latam, and the United States.

•OLXGroup announced the appointment of Gautam Thakar as global CEO of OLX Autos effective March 15, 2021.

Fullerton India Credit Company appointed Shantanu Mitra as CEO and MD

•Fullerton India Credit Company has appointed Shantanu Mitra as the new CEO and Managing Director.

•He has over 40 years of experience in financial services, with over 20 years at Standard Chartered and Citibank, where he had stints in India, Singapore and Thailand. His last role in Standard Chartered was Senior Regional Risk Officer, India, Middle East and Africa. His previous experience with Fullerton included a stint from 2010 to 2017.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World NGO Day: 27 February

•World NGO Day is celebrated every year on 27th February globally. World NGO Day aims to inspire people to become more actively involved within NGOs (Charities, NPOs, CSOs) and encourage a greater symbiosis between NGOs and both the public and private sector.

•The universal concept of World NGO Day is Celebrate, Commemorate and Collaborate the various NGOs around the world, and the people behind them. World NGO Day is a day for NGOs around the globe to share knowledge and experiences with one another.

•The Day was officially recognised and declared by the 12 member countries (Belarus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Norway and Sweden). It was marked for the first time by the UN, EU leaders and international organisations in 2014.

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Important Current Affairs 26th February 2021

INTERNATIONAL

India, Australia and France hold trilateral dialogue with focus on Indo-Pacific

•A trilateral dialogue was held among India, France, and Australia on February 24, 2021, at the senior officials’ level, with a focus on further enhancing cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. The aim of this trilateral dialogue is to build strong bilateral relation among the three countries and synergies their respective strength to ensure a peaceful, secure, prosperous and rules-based Indo-Pacific region.

•It must be remembered that the first India-France-Australia Trilateral Dialogue was held virtually on September 9, 2020, at Foreign Secretary-level, for better coordination in the region.

•At the senior official level, the Indian side was led by Joint Secretary (Europe West) in MEA, Sandeep Chakravorty, while the French side was led by Bertrand Lortholary, Director (Asia and Oceania), and the Australian side was led by Mr Gary Cowan, First Assistant Secretary (North and South Asia Division) and Mr John Geering, First Assistant Secretary (Europe and Latin America Division).

China Surpasses US to become India’s top trade partner in 2020

•China has regained its position as the top trading partner of India in 2020, which was held by the United States, since 2018-19. The two-way trade between India and China stood at $77.7 billion in 2020 despite the conflict along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and the rising anti-China sentiment.

•The India-US bilateral trade stood at $75.9 billion, according to provisional data from the commerce ministry. Meanwhile, the UAE continues to remain India’s third-biggest trading partner.

NATIONAL

Kushinagar Airport Gets International Airport Licence from DGCA

•The under-construction Kushinagar Airport in Uttar Pradesh has received the necessary clearances from aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to operate international flights. Once operational, Kushinagar airport will become the third functional international facility in the state. Currently, the two international airports functional in Uttar Pradesh are Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport at Lucknow and Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport at Varanasi.

•Kushinagar airport will serve as the closest international airport to several Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Lumbini, Shravasti, and Kapilvastu.

•The new airport will boost tourism in the region & facilitate travel on the Buddhist circuit by providing direct aviation connectivity to the city.

Punjab Cabinet approves mission ‘Lal Lakir’ in all villages

•The Punjab Cabinet has approved the implementation of the mission ‘Lal Lakir’ aimed at facilitating villagers to monetise property rights and availing benefits provided by government departments, institutions and banks in all villages across the state. As no record of rights is available for such properties within the ‘Lal Lakir’, the same cannot currently be monetised as per the real value of the property and no mortgages can be created on such properties.

•The right of record of properties within ‘Lal Lakir’ in the villages of the state will be prepared with the cooperation of the government of India under the SVAMITVA (Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas) scheme.

•This will enable mapping the land, households, habitation and all other areas falling within ‘Lal Lakir’. It will go a long way in improving the living standard of villagers and boosting their self-esteem.

•There are households within the ‘Lal Lakir’, which do not own property other than the areas within the ‘Lal Lakir’, and are thus at a disadvantage when it comes to monetising or realising the real value of the property, according to a government statement.

•‘Lal Lakir’ refers to land that is part of the village ‘abaadi’ (habitation) and is used for non-agriculture purposes only.

Kerala Governor Inaugurates India’s First Digital University

•Governor of Kerala, Arif Mohammed Khan has inaugurated India’s first Digital University named Kerala University of Digital Sciences, Innovation and Technology. A Digital University has been set up in Kerala’s Technocity, Mangalapuram. Kerala University is established by upgrading the two-decade-old state government’s Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management Kerala (IIITM-K).

University has been started with five schools:

• School of Computer Science and Engineering;

• School of Digital Sciences; School of Electronic Systems and Automation;

• School of Informatics

• School of Digital Humanities

• Liberal Arts, covering science, technology and humanities aspects of the Digital world.

National Urban Digital Mission Launched by Centre

•Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri and Minister of Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad launched the National Urban Digital Mission’ (NUDM) at a virtual event, to create a digital infrastructure for cities in India. The NUDM has been launched jointly by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs along with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

•The mission aims to put in place a “citizen-centric” and “ecosystem-driven” approach to ‘urban governance and service delivery in cities by 2022, and across all cities and towns by 2024. The mission has three pillars – people, process, and platform.

•The NUDM will create a shared digital infrastructure for Urban India that can consolidate and cross-leverage the various digital initiatives of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, to enable cities and towns across India to benefit from holistic and diverse forms of support, in keeping with their needs and local challenges.

•Apart from this, several other digital initiatives of MoHUA was also launched which includes: India Urban Data Exchange (IUDX), SmartCode platform, Smart Cities 2.0 website, and Geospatial Management Information System (GMIS).

Karnataka to set up a Flower Processing Centre

•The Karnataka State Horticulture Department is setting up a “Flower Processing Centre”, in collaboration with the International Flower Auction Bangalore (IFAB), to convert unsold flowers into various useful products. The facility will provide support to the flower farmers who suffer huge losses whenever there is a glut or market disruption. Growers can learn the art of flower processing from the centre.

•The incubation centre will process flowers and convert them to value-added products such as natural dyes, floral papers, incense sticks, flower petal powder for cosmetic usage, floral embedded works, floral arts, and silica-stored flowers.

Gajendra Singh Shekhawat inaugurates ICOLD Symposium

•Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has inaugurated the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) Symposium in New Delhi. The theme of the symposium is “Sustainable Development of Dams & River Basins”. More than 300 delegates from across the country and abroad will participate in the Symposium.

•The symposium has been organised by the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD), at New Delhi in Hybrid format from 24 to 27 February 2021, in collaboration with Central Water Commission (CWC), Dam Rehabilitation Improvement Project (DRIP) and National Hydrology Project (NHP).

•Provide an excellent opportunity to Indian Dam Engineering Professionals and Agencies to share their experiences, ideas and latest developments in new materials and construction technologies, advancement in investigation techniques, best engineering practices, dam safety issues etc.

•Offer the opportunity to network with the world-renowned dam experts from different countries and global organizations involved in Dam Construction, management and operation and maintenance for mutual benefits.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Dushyant Chautala re-elected as President of TTFI

•Dushyant Chautala has been re-elected as the President of Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) for a period of four years. He was elected unanimously during the 84th annual meeting of the TTFI, on February 24, 2021.

•He is also the current Deputy Chief Minister of Haryana. The 32-year-old was first elected as President of the TTFI in January 2017, becoming the youngest President in the history of TTFI.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

Kabir Bedi’s autobiography to release in April

•Veteran actor Kabir Bedi will tell his life story in his memoir, which will be released in April. Entitled “Stories I Must Tell: An Actor’s Emotional Journey,” the actor will provide an honest glimpse into his life.

•The book will take readers through the ups and downs of Kabir Bedi’s life, both professional and personal. He will also talk about his relationships, including marriage and divorce, why his beliefs have changed, and his days in movies, television and theatres in India, Europe and Hollywood.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

ICICI Bank launches ‘Namma Chennai Smart Card’

•ICICI Bank has announced the launch of a Common Payment Card System (CPCS) in partnership with the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) and Chennai Smart City Limited (CSCL) to provide citizens with a one-stop solution for making various kind of payments. The prepaid card also facilitates retail payments within Chennai as well as in retail stores and e-commerce websites across the country. This will offer a common payment card platform to residents for making payments for various services within the city.

•The Namma Chennai Smart Card has various features, which residents can manage seamlessly online on a dedicated customer portal*. These include features like card block/unblock, activation, pin-reset, etc.

•Additionally, in the coming days, residents will also be able to reload the card digitally through UPI on the customer portal or the iSmart City app. Customers will also get exciting discount offers on the card around the year, which will be promoted in the coming days on the Bank’s website.

•Users also have the option to manage the card online through a dedicated customer portal or the iSmart City app.

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Important Current Affairs 22nd February 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Youngest solo female to row Atlantic Ocean : Jasmine Harrison

•Jasmine Harrison on being youngest solo female to row Atlantic Ocean. Jasmine Harrison has described the moment she became the youngest woman to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

•The 21-year-old swimming teacher, from Thirsk in North Yorkshire, arrived in Antigua on Saturday after a 70-day journey.

President Biden, Canada's Trudeau to meet virtually next week

•President Biden is set to have his first bilateral meeting since taking the White House, via a virtual get together with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

•The session will take place Tuesday, with the two leaders expected to tackle climate change and the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

•“I look forward to renewing the strong friendship between the United States and Canada and working to tackle the shared challenges we face,” Biden said in a tweet.

NATIONAL

UP government to present first paperless budget today

•The fifth budget of the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government, which is scheduled to be presented in the Assembly session at 11 am today, is going to prove special in many ways.

•The government is likely to present the biggest budget of the state's history so far.

•With CM Yogi increasing the size of the budget in every financial year, the fifth budget is also expected to be huge. Also, he has become the first such Chief Minister of a BJP-ruled state, under whose supervision the budget is being presented for the fifth consecutive time.

•The government presented its first budget of 3.84 lakh crore in the financial year 2017-18, 4.28 lakh crore in 2018-19, 4.79 lakh crore in 2019-20.

PM Modi to inaugurate Kolkata Metro extension to Dakshineswar on 22nd February

•Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the extension of Kolkata Metro's North-South Line from Noapara to Dakshineswar on Monday.

•The prime minister will flag off a train from Noapara to Dakshineswar from a programme in the Hooghly district, Kolkata Metro spokesperson Indrani Banerjee said.

•The inauguration, scheduled on Monday afternoon, will help connect thousands of people in the 4.1 km stretch between Noapara and Dakshineswar.

•Apart from regular passengers, devotees intending to visit Dakshineswar Kali temple will also be facilitated with a fast and pollution-free travel mode following the extension of the Metro Railway in its north-south axis.

SPORTS

Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka wins Australian Open 2021

•In tennis, Japan’s Naomi Osaka won her fourth Grand Slam title on February 20, 2021, after she beat American Jennifer Brady in the women’s singles game of the Australian Open final 2021. The four Grand Slam title for Osaka comes two Australian Open titles (2021 and 2019) and two US Open title (2018 and 2020). In Men’s singles final, Novak Djokovic claimed his ninth Australian Open crown and the 18th Major Grand Slam overall, as he defeated Daniil Medvedev.

•Men’s Singles: Novak Djokovic (Serbia) defeated Daniil Medvedev (Russia)

•Women’s Singles: Naomi Osaka (Japan) defeated Jennifer Brady (US)

•Men’s Doubles: Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Filip Polášek (Slovakia )defeated Rajeev Ram (US) and Joe Salisbury (UK)

•Women’s Doubles: Elise Mertens (Belgium) and Aryna Sabalenka (Belarus) defeated Barbora Krejčíková (Czech Republic) and Kateřina Siniaková(Czech Republic)

•Mixed Doubles: Barbora Krejcikova (Czech Republic) and Rajeev Ram of the US defeated the Australian pair of Samantha Stosur and Matthew Ebden.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Air Vice-Marshal Rajesh Vaidya assumes role of Dean, Dy Commandant of AFMC

•Air Vice-Marshal Rajesh Vaidya, VSM, assumed the appointment of Dean and Deputy Commandant of the Armed Forces Medical College, Pune.

•He is an alumnus of Armed Forces Medical College from the 1981 batch and was commissioned in the Indian Air Force in 1985. Having initially served as Squadron Medical Officer in both fighter and transport squadrons, he specialized in Community Medicine from AFMC and qualified his DNB from the National Board of examinations.

•He has been on the faculty at the Armed Forces Medical College earlier and has held pivotal public health appointments including Director (Health) and Director (Medical Research) of the Armed Forces Medical Services.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Thinking Day: 22 February

•World Thinking Day, originally known as Thinking Day, is celebrated annually on 22 February by all Girl Scouts, Girl Guides and other girl groups worldwide. The day is observed to think about fellow brothers and sisters around the world, address their concerns and understand the true meaning of guiding.

•The theme for World Thinking Day 2021 is peacebuilding. Peacebuilding is at the heart of Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting and is as vital and relevant today as for the last 100 years. By completing the steps in the Stand Together For Peace activity pack, Girl Guides and Girl Scouts will; Stand Strong, Stand up and Stand Together for peacebuilding.

International Mother Language Day: 21 February

•The International Mother Language Day (IMLD) is observed annually on 21 February to raise awareness regarding linguistic and cultural diversity and to promote multilingualism. The theme of the Day this year, “Fostering multilingualism for inclusion in education and society”.

•International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 1999. The UN General Assembly welcomed the proclamation of the day in its resolution of 2002.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

Indian Oil signs pact with Greenstat Norway for hydrogen fuel

•Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) has signed a Statement of Intent with Greenstat Hydrogen India Pvt. Ltd., a subsidiary of Greenstat Norway, to set up a Centre of Excellence on Hydrogen. Under this association, a Center of Excellence on Hydrogen (CoE-H) including CCUS and Fuel Cells, would be developed for clean energy by IndianOil and M/s Greenstat in cooperation with Indo-Norwegian Hydrogen Cluster companies/organizations.

•Facilitate transfer and sharing of technology, know-how and experience through the green Hydrogen value chain and other relevant technologies including hydrogen storage and fuel cells.

•CoE-H will be a vehicle for promoting R&D projects in Green and Blue Hydrogen between Norwegian and Indian R&D institutions/universities.

India Signs Deal To Develop, Maintain Coast Guard Harbour In Maldives

•India on Sunday reiterated its commitment to the Maldives' security and signed a USD 50 million defence Line of Credit agreement with it to boost the maritime capabilities of the strategic island nation, as External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held talks with the country's top leaders to further strengthen bilateral ties and explore new areas of cooperation.

•The USD 50 million credit line agreement for defence projects was signed between the Finance Ministry of Maldives and the Export Import Bank of India.

•The signing of the agreement took place after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held talks with Maldivian Defence Minister Mariya Didi, Minister of Finance Ibrahim Ameer, Minister of Economic Development Fayyaz Ismail and Minister of National Planning, Housing and Infrastructure Mohamed Aslam.

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Important Current Affairs 21st February 2021

NATIONAL

Hyderabad Recognised as ‘2020 Tree City of the World’

•Telangana’s capital, Hyderabad has been recognized as a 2020 Tree City of World, by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Arbor Day Foundation, for its commitment to growing and maintaining urban forests. Hyderabad is the only city from India to have been recognized as a Tree City, to date. With this recognition, it has joined a network of like-minded global cities that recognise the importance of trees in building healthy, resilient and happy cities.

•2020 Tree Cities of the world recognition is the second year of the programme, which features 120 cities from 63 countries. Most of the cities were from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.

India successfully test fires Helina, Dhruvastra anti-tank guided missiles

•Defence Research and Development Organisation has successfully carried out joint user trials of indigenously developed Helina and Dhruvastra Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) from the Advanced Light Helicopter at the Pokhran deserts in Rajasthan. Helena is the Army version and Dhruvastra is the Air Force version of the ALH. The missile systems have been designed and developed indigenously by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

•The Helina and Dhruvastra are the third generation, “Lock-on-Before-Launch (LOBL)” fire and forget ATGMs that can engage targets both indirect hit mode as well as top attack mode.

•The missile systems have all-weather day-and-night capability.

•They can defeat battle tanks with conventional armour as well as with explosive reactive armour.

•It is one of the most advanced anti-tank weapons in the world.

SPORTS

Sri Lanka pacer Dhammika Prasad quits international cricket

•Sri Lanka fast bowler Dhammika Prasad has announced his retirement from international cricket. He represented Sri Lanka in 25 Tests and 24 ODIs, bagging 75 and 32 wickets respectively.

•He also played alone T20 International against Australia in 2011. Prasad last played a Test match in October 2015 against the West Indies.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Perseverance rover has successfully landed on Mars

•The NASA Perseverance rover safely landed on Mars after its 292.5 million-mile journey from Earth. The rover has been on a nearly 300 million-mile journey since it left Earth more than 6 months ago. Perseverance and her teams lived up to the namesake, overcoming the challenges of preparing for the journey’s final stages during a pandemic. The attitude control system is responsible for pointing the rover in the direction it needs to be and also helps figure out where the spacecraft is oriented in space.

•Indian-American named Dr Swati Mohan, who first confirmed that the rover had survived a particularly tricky plunge into the Martian atmosphere. Mohan, who successfully spearheaded the development of attitude control and the landing system for the rover, was among the team of scientists behind the historic mission.

Indian Navy Ship Pralaya Participates in NAVDEX 21 and IDEX 21

•Indian Naval Ship Pralaya reached Abu Dhabi in UAE to participate in the Naval Defence Exhibition (NAVDEX 21) and International Defence Exhibition (IDEX 21) from February 20 to 25, 2021. NAVDEX 21 and IDEX 21 is one of the leading international naval and defence exhibitions of the region. Participation of INS Pralaya will showcase the strengths of India’s indigenous shipbuilding, in line with the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision of ‘AtmaNirbhar Bharat’.

•It is the second ship of the indigenously built Prabal Class Missile Vessels, built indigenously at Goa Shipyard Limited.

•The ship was commissioned in the Indian Navy on 18 December 2002 to perform a wide variety of surface warfare missions.

•The 56 m longship, displacing about 560 T is capable of speeds in excess of 35 knots.

•It is fitted with an impressive array of weapons and sensors, like 76.2 mm medium range gun, 30 mm close-range guns, chaff launchers and long-range surface to surface missiles.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

India-Australia circular Economy Hackathon (I-ACE)

•The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi addressed the valedictory function of the India Australia Circular Economy Hackathon (I-ACE) via videoconferencing. A circular economy implies reusing waste back into the production cycle to make new products instead of wasting such materials with embedded resources.

•The I-ACE was jointly organized by Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog, Government of India and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia. More than 200 participants in 39 teams from India and 33 teams from Australia took part.

•Innovation in packaging reducing packaging waste

•Innovation in food supply chains avoiding waste

•Creating opportunities for plastic waste reduction

•Recycling critical energy metals and e-waste

CSIR inks MoU with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to promote health research

•The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support the development, conduct and promotion of health research in India. Gates Foundation and CSIR will work together to identify opportunities to initiate scientific and technological collaborations. These will focus on developing and testing new preventions, therapies and interventions that can help to solve major health concerns that affect India and other developing countries.

•Genetic diseases that impact infant and neonatal mortality;

•New diagnostics and devices for infectious disease and environmental surveillance;

•Development of cost-effective processes for drug, vaccines, biologics, and diagnostics manufacturing;

•Novel microbiome-directed foods;

•Socio-economic impact of science and technological tools;

•Other areas of health and development.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

Bhim Army’s Chandra Shekhar Azad named in TIME’s list

•Bhim Army Chief Chandra Shekhar Aazad and five Indian-origin personalities have been featured in the 2021 TIME100 Next. TIME100 Next 2021 is the second edition of the annual list of Time magazine’s 100 ‘emerging leaders who are shaping the future.’

•Bhim Army is a Dalit rights organisation based in Uttar Pradesh to help Dalits escape poverty through education. It was founded by Satish Kumar, Vijay Ratan Singh and Chandrashekhar Azad in 2015.

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Important Current Affairs 20th February 2021

NATIONAL

Cabinet approves PLI scheme for telecom sector worth Rs 12,195 crore

• The Union Cabinet approved a Rs 12,195-crore Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for domestic manufacturing of telecom and networking products such as switches, routers, radio access network, wireless equipment and other IoT access devices. Through this decision, the government aims to offset the imports of telecom equipment worth more than Rs 50,000 crore and reinforce it with “Made in India” products both for domestic markets and exports.

• The support under the PLI scheme will be provided to companies manufacturers of specified telecom and networking products in India like Gigabit Passive Optical Networks (GPON), base routers, Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM), Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS/ IPMPLS) and 5G/4G radios.

• The government will soon come up with a PLI scheme to encourage the production of laptops and tablet PCs.

Prime Minister launches ‘Mahabahu-Brahmaputra’ initiative in Assam

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has virtually launched ‘Mahabahu-Brahmaputra’ initiative in Assam. He laid the foundation stone for the Dhubri Phulbari bridge. PM also perform the bhumi puja for the construction of Majuli Bridge in Assam. PM has announced the details stated that the landmark day in the development journey for Assam as Mahabahu-Brahmaputra initiative is going to be launched.

• Mahabahu-Brahmaputra initiative is going to be marked with the inauguration of the Ro-Pax vessel operations. The Ro-Pax vessel operations will be launched in between the Neamatighat & Majuli, Dhubri-Hatsingimari and North-South Guwahati. This initiative also includes the inauguration of the Inland Water Transport Terminal at Jogighopa. The initiative will also be marked with the inauguration of various tourist jetties at four locations in order to promote the river tourism and employment across the state.

Odisha Govt announced Development Package for Maa Samaleswari Shrine

• The state government of Odisha, under Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, has launched the development work for the SAMALEI Project (Samaleswari Temple Area Management and Local Economy Initiatives), to offer the divine experience to tourists & devotees. The project involves the development of 108 acres of land in & around the 16th-century shrine of Maa Samaleswari, the presiding deity of western Odisha.

• Odisha Government has announced a package of Rs 200-crore for 2021-22 fiscal for the implementation of the project. The project will be implemented under MoSarkar5T and will focus on the beautification of the temple & economic development of local people. It will include the development of amenities for devotees inside the 12-acre temple premises and development of four tall heritage welcome gates.

‘Snakepedia’ mobile app launched in Kerala

• A team of scientists, doctors and photographers in Kerala have launched a mobile application named “Snakepedia”, that will present all relevant information on snakes, to help the public as well as doctors in treating snake bites.

• The main aim of the app is to help the public identify snakes, avail proper treatment on time for snakebites, bust myths about snakes, and protect snakes as well as snakebite victims. The android mobile application documents information on snakes with the help of pictures, infographics and podcasts and analyses its first aid, treatment, myths and superstitions.

SPORTS

Manika Batra Wins Singles Title at 82nd National Table Tennis Championship

• India’s top-ranked table tennis player Manika Batra beat Reeth Rishya, 4-2, in the women’s singles final, to win the 82nd Senior National Table Tennis Championship, at the Tau Devi Lal Sports Complex in Panchkula, Haryana.

• It was Manika’s second Nationals title. She won her maiden national title in 2015 in Hyderabad.

Chris Morris becomes IPL’s most expensive player

• Former Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) superstar and South African all-rounder Chris Morris shattered all records at the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 auction in Chennai. Rajasthan Royals went all-out for the South African all-rounder Morris, buying him for a whopping INR 16.25 crore.

• Morris, who was declared surplus to requirement by the Virat Kohli-led side after the conclusion of the IPL 2020 last year, turned out to be the most expensive player bought in the history of the cash-rich tournament.

OBITUARY

Former Union Minister Captain Satish Sharma passes away

• Veteran Congress leader and former Union Minister Captain Satish Sharma passed away. He served as the Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas from 1993 to 1996 in the Narasimha Rao government.

• Captain Satish Sharma was a close aide of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. He was a three-time Lok Sabha MP, representing Rae Bareli and Amethi constituencies and Rajya Sabha member for three terms representing the states of Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Ajai Malhotra becomes first Indian chairperson at UNHRC advisory

• Ajai Malhotra became the first Indian to be elected as the Chairperson of the United Nations Advisory Committee of the Human Rights Council. He has been on the Indian team negotiating issues such as biological diversity, climate change, desertification, education, energy, forestry, health, human rights, human settlements, intellectual property, international law, labour, ozone depletion, sustainable development and trade.

• Malhotra first joined the Indian Foreign Services in 1977. Malhotra has previously served as ambassador to Russia, Kuwait, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, New York and Romania.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Day of Social Justice observed globally on 20th February

• World Day of Social Justice is celebrated annually all over the world on 20 February. The International Labour Organization unanimously adopted the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization on 10 June 2008. This year theme of World Day of Social Justice is“A Call for Social Justice in the Digital Economy”.

• Recognize the need to promote and tackle issues of social justice such as poverty, exclusion, gender equality, unemployment, human rights, and social protections.

• Focus on the goal of achieving full employment and support for social integration.

• Encourage people to look at how social justice affects poverty eradication.

• Social justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. We uphold the principles of social justice when we promote gender equality or the rights of indigenous peoples and migrants. We advance social justice when we remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability.

World Pangolin Day 2021: 20 February

• World Pangolin Day is celebrated on the “Third Saturday of February” every year. In 2021, the annual World Pangolin Day is being celebrated on 20 February 2020. It marks the 10th edition of the event.

• The day aims to raise awareness about these unique mammals and speed up conservation efforts. Pangolin numbers are rapidly declining in Asia and Africa.

6th Soil Health Card Day Observed on 19 February 2021

• Every year India observes the Soil Health Card Day on 19 February to commemorate the launch of the Soil Health Card (SHC) Scheme, and create awareness about the benefits of the scheme. 2021 marks the sixth year of the launch of the SHC Scheme. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Soil Health Card (SHC) Scheme on 19th February 2015 at Suratgarh in Rajasthan.

• The scheme aims at issuing soil health cards to farmers every two years so as to provide a basis to address nutritional deficiencies in the soil. The scheme ensures additional income to farmers by an increase in yields and it also promotes sustainable farming.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

RBI permits residents to make remittances to IFSCs under LRS

• The Reserve Bank of India has permitted resident individuals to make remittances under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) to International Financial Services Centres (IFSCs) in the country. The decision of the RBI is aimed at deepening the financial markets in the IFSCs and providing an opportunity for resident individuals to diversify their portfolios. The RBI has reviewed the extant guidelines on LRS and decided to permit resident individuals to make remittances under LRS to IFSCs set up in India under the Special Economic Zone Act, 2005.

• The remittance shall be made only for making investments in IFSCs in securities, other than those issued by entities/companies resident (outside IFSC) in India. Any funds lying idle in the account for a period up to 15 days from the date of its receipt into the account shall be immediately repatriated to domestic INR account of the investor in India.

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Important Current Affairs 19th February 2021

NATIONAL

Hyundai Develops Ultimate Mobility Vehicle ‘TIGER X-1’

• Hyundai Motor Company has launched a Transformer-like robocar dubbed as TIGER X-1, that can travel over the most challenging terrains on the Earth as well as on other planets. TIGER stands for Transforming Intelligent Ground Excursion Robot, and the X-1 denotes its experimental status.

• The Ultimate Mobility Vehicle (UMV) TIGER is being developed by Hyundai in partnership with Autodesk and Sundberg-Ferar.

• Tiger is designed as a battery-electric vehicle, comprising of a small pod with four wheels on extendable legs. it will be able to operate as either a four-wheel-drive vehicle or four-legged walking robot.

• The vehicle is unscrewed, meaning that its, main use will be to carry payloads over remote and inaccessible locations, and not the people.

• It will help in search and rescue, scientific research, military, or exploratory missions (even on new planets).

HCL Tech inks pact with IIT Kanpur to build up competence in cybersecurity

• HCL Technologies has inked an agreement with the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IITK) to collaborate in the area of cybersecurity. As part of the pact, the IT company will work with C3iHub, a specialised cybersecurity research centre at IITK. This collaboration will bring together the country’s brightest minds, advanced research capabilities and global resources to develop advanced solutions in the area of cybersecurity.

• HCL and IITK will bring in real-world industry exposure to carry out joint initiatives and research.

• The teams will develop a security framework and solutions for cybersecurity challenges in current and future operational technologies as one of the first areas of interest.

• They will also work together to discover and manage cyber threats, vulnerabilities, and risks for critical infrastructure.

Mamata Banerjee launches ‘Maa’ scheme to provide meals at Rs 5

• West Bengal government launched “Maa” canteens for providing subsidised cooked meals for the poor and the destitute at a nominal cost of ₹5. The govt will give a subsidy of ₹15 and people have to pay ₹5. The kitchen will run by Self-Help Groups (SHG). The government allocated ₹ 100 crores for this project

• The canteens will be open from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. every day. People will get a plate of rice, dal, a vegetable and egg curry. This new initiative is for common people. Though we give free rations there is still a huge demand for cooked food. Therefore, we are starting these community kitchens.

YS Jagan Mohan Reddy conferred SKOCH Chief Minister of the Year Award

• The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has been conferred the Skoch Chief Minister of the Year Award. The Award has been presented to the CM by Chairman, Skoch Group, Sameer Kochhar personally at Tadepalli in Andhra Pradesh. The award selection was based on a study of project-level outcomes in various States.

• Similarly, initiatives have been taken across the government to respond to COVID-19 and have shown desirable outcomes. All the above and more is evident in a year-long study of 123 projects from across sectors in Andhra Pradesh. The State has taken several revolutionary measures in the past two years to make governance more efficient and transparent. Innovative measures have been taken across sectors, the credit for which goes to the Chief Minister.

Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs launches Pilot Pey Jal Survekshan

• The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has launched the Pilot Pey Jal Survekshan under Jal Jeevan Mission- Urban. The Pilot Pey Jal Survekshan has been launched in 10 cities, which are Agra, Badlapur, Bhubaneswar, Churu, Kochi, Madurai, Patiala, Rohtak, Surat and Tumkur. The motive of the Jal Jeevan Mission Urban is to provide universal coverage of water supply to all households through functional taps in all 4,378 statutory towns in accordance with Sustainable Development Goal – 6.

• To ascertain the equitable distribution of water, reuse of wastewater and mapping of water bodies with respect to quantity and quality of water through a challenging process.

SPORTS

Kings XI Punjab renamed as Punjab Kings ahead of IPL auction

• The IPL Franchise, Kings XI Punjab has formally been renamed as Punjab Kings ahead of the Indian Premier League auction. The new brand name and logo of the team was officially released by the management.

• The Punjab-based IPL franchise ‘Punjab Kings‘ is co-owned by Bollywood actress Preity Zinta, along with businessman Ness Wadia, Mohit Burman and Karn Paul. The side is currently led by batsman KL Rahul, with former Indian captain Anil Kumble as its head coach.

South Africa’s Faf du Plessis retires from Test cricket

• Former captain of South Africa, Faf du Plessis has announced his retirement from Test cricket. The 36-year-old made his Test debut in November 2012 and played a total of 69 games in the longest format.

• He scored 4163 runs in his Test career, at an average of 40.02, with 10 centuries and 21 fifties.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia resigns

• The Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Gakharia has announced his resignation. The 45-year-old Gakharia served as the Prime Minister from 8 September 2019 to 18 February 2021.

• He was stepping down because of disagreements within his own team over the decision to arrest Nika Melia, chairman of the United National Movement opposition party.

Kiran Bedi Removed As Puducherry Lt Governor

• Kiran Bedi, the Lieutenant-Governor of Puducherry, has been removed from the top position. Tamilisai Soundararajan, the Governor of Telangana, has been given additional charge as the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry till a permanent replacement will be announced.

• The development comes in the backdrop of a major shake-up in the Puducherry Assembly after several Congress legislators resigned ahead of the Assembly elections due this year.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

Thaawarchand Gehlot Releases 3rd Edition of Indian Sign Language Dictionary

• The Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot released the “3rd edition of the Indian Sign Language (ISL) Dictionary, in a virtual event. The 3rd edition of the ISL dictionary contains a total of 10,000 terms. These include the 6000 terms of the first and second edition of the dictionary.

• The terms are of everyday use from academic terms, legal & administrative terms, medical terms, technical terms and agricultural terms.

• The Dictionary has been developed by the Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC), an autonomous Institute under the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.

• The 1st edition of the ISL Dictionary was launched on 23 March 2018 with 3000 terms.

• The 2nd edition was launched on 27th February 2019, with 6000 terms (including earlier 3000 terms).

Award winning Author Irwin Allan Sealy’s new novel ‘ASOCA’

• Prizewinning writer Irwin Allan Sealy’s new novel ‘ASOCA: A Sutra’, an imagined memoir of Ashoka The Great. The novel will be presented as an imagined memoir of Ashoka The Great, the emperor who ruled most of the Indian Subcontinent and played a pivotal role in the spread of Buddhism from India to other parts of Asia in the 3rd century BC. It will be published by Penguin Random House India.

• Earlier, Penguin had published the thirtieth-anniversary edition of Sealy’s critically acclaimed debut novel The Trotter-Nama and this is the second book by the author to be published by PRH. This book will be released under Penguin’s Viking imprint in July 2021.

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Important Current Affairs 18th February 2021

INTERNATIONAL

China Overtakes the US as Largest Trading Partner of European Union

• The People’s Republic of China has overtaken the United States (US) as the biggest trading partner of the European Union (EU) in 2020, according to the data by the European Union statistics agency, Eurostat. Britain, which left the European Union in 2020, was the third-largest trading partner for the bloc, behind China and the United States.

• The trade volume of the EU with China reached 586 billion euros ($711 billion) in 2020, compared to 555 billion euros ($673 billion) for the US. Bilateral trade with the UK reached 444.7 billion euros.

• The EU exports to China rose by 2.2 per cent to 202.5 billion euros while imports from China increased by 5.6 per cent to 383.5 billion euros.

• Similarly, EU exports to the United States fell by 13.2 per cent in the same period and imports by 8.2 per cent.

• Exports to the UK fell by 13.2 per cent, while imports dropped by 13.9 per cent.

‘Pahela Phagun’ spring festival celebrated in Bangladesh

• The first day of the spring called ‘Pahela Phagun’ was celebrated in Dhaka, Bangladesh despite the continued shadow of Corona pandemic in the country. Cultural organisations held programmes at different venues in the city to herald the beginning of the spring. Programmes were held at the Suhrawardy Udyan, Nandan Manch of Shilpakala Academy and several other locations.

• The Jatiya Basanta Utsab Udjapan Parishad organized the programme at the Suhrawardy Udyan in Dhaka. Young women wearing yellow saris and youth dressed in ‘Punjabis’ took part in the festivity. The programme featured dance and musical performances. The traditional programme of ‘Basanta Utsab’ at the Fine Arts faculty in Dhaka university was cancelled since educational institutions have been closed till Feb. 28 by the government due to the Corona pandemic.

NATIONAL

IIT Bombay launches fundraising campaign ‘Cherish IIT Bombay 2021’

• IIT Bombay has launched its first-ever annual fundraising campaign in India, Cherish IIT Bombay 2021. As per information shared by the IIT, the funds will be used for the creation of world-class laboratory complexes, modernization of lecture halls and continuation of awards to attract and retain faculty.

• The donations made to IIT Bombay by corporate bodies and individuals are 100% tax-deductible under section 80G of the Indian Income Tax Act.

Centre Launches new Instant Messaging platform ‘Sandes’

• The National Informatics Centre (NIC), under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, has launched an instant messaging platform called “Sandes”. Similar to WhatsApp, the new government instant messaging systems (GIMS) platform can be used for all kinds of communications by anyone using a mobile number or email id.

• The need to build a home-grown messaging platform was felt by the government to ensure secure communication between people as they worked from home, following the nationwide lockdown imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19.

• The Sandes app is also a part of the government strategy to encourage the use of India-made software so as to build an ecosystem of indigenously developed products.

IIT Madras-incubated Pi Beam launches PiMo e-bike

• An IIT Madras-Incubated start-up Pi Beam Electric has recently launched a sustainable electric two-wheeler, dubbed as PiMo. The utility e-bike has been developed for personal and commercial use. It does not require a licence or registration.

• The cost of the electric two-wheeler has been fixed at Rs. 30, 000.

• It eliminates fuel costs as it runs on battery. The electric vehicle offers ‘Battery Swapping’, meaning that the drained battery can be exchanged for a fully charged one at designated locations.

• The battery can charge faster than a smartphone and comes with a range of 50 km.

• Pi Beam aims to sell 10,000 vehicles by the end of the financial year 2021-22.

Dharmendra Pradhan Participates in 11th IEA, IEF, OPEC Symposium

• The 11th IEA-IEF-OPEC Symposium on Energy Outlooks was held virtually on February 17, 2021, under the patronage of the Minister of Energy of Saudi Arabia HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud. From India, the Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Steel, Dharmendra Pradhan, participated in the symposium.

• The trilateral symposium discussed the long-term outlooks of key producer and consumer countries, apart from the comparative analysis of short, medium, and long-term energy outlooks that OPEC and the IEA published in 2020.

India joins Iran-Russia’s two-day navy exercise

• India joined Iran and Russia in the naval exercise dubbed as “Iran-Russia Maritime Security Belt 2021”, which kicked-off in the northern part of the Indian Ocean. The Chinese navy will also join the exercise. The purpose of the drill is to enhance the security of international maritime trade, confront maritime piracy and terrorism, and exchange information.

• The drill will cover an area of 17,000 square kilometres (6,500 square miles).

• It will include shooting at sea and air targets and liberating hijacked ships, as well as search and rescue and anti-piracy operations.

• The exercise ‘Iran-Russia Maritime Security Belt’ is so flexible that any country could join if they wish to do so.

OBITUARY

Indo-Pak War Veteran retired Major General BK Mahapatra passes away

• War veteran Major General (retired) Basant Kumar Mahapatra, who had participated in major battles including the 1962 Indo-China war, and 1965 and 1971 India-Pakistan war, has passed away.

• Hailing from Bhubaneswar in Odisha, Mahapatra was commissioned into armoured corps (Tanks) of the Indian Army as a Combat Officer and was popularly known as ‘Tank Man’. He was conferred with the prestigious Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM).

Former Bihar-Jharkhand Governor & Jurist M Rama Jois, passes away

• Noted jurist and a former Governor of Bihar and Jharkhand, Justice (Retd.) M. Rama Jois has passed away.

• The former Rajya Sabha MP, had also served as the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court. He was also a senior advocate in the Supreme Court of India.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Assam government appoints Hima Das as DSP

• Star sprinter Hima Das has been appointed as a Deputy Superintendent of Police by the Assam government. The 21-year-old from Assam, known as ‘Dhing Express’ referring to the town near her native village, is currently training at the NIS-Patiala and will be aiming to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics as the athletics calendar starts in a few days.

• The reigning world junior 400m champion, who won a silver in women’s 400m in the 2018 Asian Games, was also part of the gold-winning women’s 400m relay and mixed 400m relay quartets in the quadrennial event in Jakarta.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Theodore Baskaran won Sanctuary Lifetime Service Award 2020

• S. Theodore Baskaran who is a writer, a historian, a naturalist and an activist has won the Sanctuary Lifetime Service Award, 2020. The award was instituted by the Sanctuary Nature Foundation. Theodore Baskaran was chosen for the award in the light of his dedication to the wildlife conservation. He won the award for his writing prowess in English and Tamil contributing towards the conservation discourse. He was also chosen for the award in the backdrop of inspiring the young naturalists.

• Some of his books in the English language include- Dance of the Sarus: Essays of a Wandering Naturalist; Book of Indian Dogs and A Day with the Shama: Essays on Nature.

• Theodore is of the view that any conservation initiative should be in the local language in order to gain momentum as a people’s movement. He was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award (Iyal Virudhu) for his writing on nature in Tamil. The award was given by the Canada Literary Garden in the year 2014 in Toronto.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

ICICI Lombard partners with Flipkart to offer ‘Hospicash’ insurance

• The e-commerce company Flipkart has partnered with ICICI Lombard to offer its customers the ‘Group SafeGuard’ insurance, a group health insurance policy. The ‘Group SafeGuard’ comes with daily cash benefits starting from Rs 500, and ‘Hospicash’ benefit for Flipkart consumers.

• The product will allow consumers to avail a payout for each day of hospitalisation.

• The fixed daily amount will enable consumers to pay for incidental medical or emergency expenses.

• The insurance is affordably priced, paperless, and flexible; covering both accidental hospitalisations or planned surgeries/treatment.

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