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Important Current Affairs 10th February 2022

INTERNATIONAL

Instagram announces ‘Take a Break’ feature to encourage breaks from social media

• Instagram has announced the launch of ‘Take a Break’ in all countries, including India, to empower people to make informed decisions about the way they are spending their time. This feature will be promoted in India through a campaign, in partnership with ‘We The Young ’, called ‘Break Zaroori Hai’. ‘Take a Break’ was first launched in the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, and it is now available for everyone globally.

• Take a Break’ is a feature that will show up for people, as they have been scrolling for a certain amount of time. They will be asked to take a break from Instagram and suggest that they set reminders to take more breaks in the future.

• They will also be shown expert-backed tips to help them reflect and reset. To make sure that young people are aware of this feature, they will be shown notifications suggesting they turn these reminders on.

• The ‘Take a Break’ reminders build on Instagram’s existing time management tools including Daily Limit, which lets people know when they’ve reached the total amount of time they want to spend on Instagram each day, and offers the ability to mute notifications from Instagram.

NATIONAL

UNEP signs MoU with Maharashtra govt for implementing climate change actions

• The United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) has signed an MoU with the Maharashtra government to support its ‘Majhi Vasundhara’ campaign. It is an initiative towards sustainable use of energy and environmental development. The literal meaning of ‘Majhi Vasundhara’ is ‘My Earth’. It is an initiative of the Environment and Climate Change Department, Government of Maharashtra.

• Majhi Vasundhara’ is an initiative of the Government of Maharashtra’s Environment and Climate Change Department to empower citizens with knowledge on the impacts of climate change and environmental issues and to encourage them to make a conscious effort towards improvement of the environment. To empower citizens with knowledge on the impacts of climate change and environmental issues and to encourage them to make a conscious effort towards the improvement of the environment.

Gujarat unveils new IT policy to generate 1 lakh direct jobs

• Chief Minister of Gujarat, Bhupendra Patel has announced a new IT/ITeS policy for the next five years. This policy will provide financial incentives up to Rs 200 crore to the entities willing to incur capital expenditures. It will also generate employment of about 1 lakh youths. It also seeks to increase IT-ITeS exports from the current Rs 3000 crores annually to 25,000 crores over the next five years. Its operative period will start from the day of notification to 31st March 2027.

• The policy launched at a formal event at a club in GIFT City in Gandhinagar replaces the 2016-2021 policy that had set an ambitious target to increase exports up to USD two billion (Rs 13,000 crore), IT turnover to USD 15 billion (Rs 75,000 crore) and create 10 lakh direct jobs. The policy provides support for both capital (CAPEX) and operational (OPEX) expenditures. “This is a unique model that gives flexibility to industries to plan their expenditures and addresses the viability concerns.

India's first biomass-based hydrogen plant coming up in MP

• India’s first commercial-scale biomass-based hydrogen plant will come up at the Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh. Every day this plant will produce one tonne of hydrogen, from 30 tonnes of biomass feedstock. The plant is being put up by a joint venture of Watomo Energies Ltd and Biezel Green Energy with an investment of Rs 24 crore.

• The company owns the technology for a ‘thermally accelerated anerobic digestion (TAD) reactor’ that can produce hydrogen, methane and biochar from biomass. Biezel Green will own 50 per cent in the yet-to-be-named joint venture; the other 50 per cent will come from interested farmers.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Pradip Shah appointed Pfizer India chairman

• Pfizer India has appointed Pradip Shah as the chairman of its board following the resignation of RA Shah. He is the ex-managing director and a founding member of Crisil. Prior to founding Crisil, he assisted in founding HDFC in 1977. He has also served as a consultant to USAID, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank.

• Pradip is a director on the board of several reputed companies. He is also a member of various prestigious committees/commissions. He is presently the Chairman of Indasia Fund Advisors. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and is also a chartered accountant and a cost accountant.

Sanjay Malhotra appointed DFS Secretary in Finance Ministry

• Sanjay Malhotra has been named as Secretary in the Department of Financial Services in the Ministry of Finance. He is a 1990 batch IAS officer of the Rajasthan cadre. Before this, Sanjay Malhotra was Chairman and Managing Director of REC Ltd. He has succeeded Debashish Panda, who completed his term as DFS Secretary on January 31, 2022.

• Malhotra has an exhaustive power sector experience. The reforms-based result-linked power distribution sector scheme to be applicable till 2025-26 aims to reduce India’s AT&C loss to 12-15% and gradually narrow the deficit between the cost of electricity and the price at which it is supplied to ‘zero’ by 2024-25.

SUMMIT'S & MOU's

IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw Kicks Off NITI Aayog's Fintech Open Summit

• NITI Aayog, in collaboration with PhonePe, AWS and EY, has organized a three-week-long virtual summit, ‘Fintech Open’, from 7–28 February. The summit was inaugurated by Union Minister for Railways, Communications, and Electronics and IT, Ashwini Vaishnaw in the presence of NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Dr Rajiv Kumar. A first-of-its-kind initiative, Fintech Open will bring together regulators, fintech professionals and enthusiasts, industry leaders, the start-up community, and developers to collaborate, exchange ideas and innovate.

• An open platform is created using public investment, wherein numerous private entrepreneurs, start-ups and developers can join to create new solutions. For example, today, 270 banks are connected with the UPI and many entrepreneurs and start-ups have provided solutions that have helped increase the country’s fintech adoption rate—which is the highest globally at 87%.’

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Pulses Day 2022:10 February

• The United Nations designated World Pulses Day is observed every year on 10 February. The day has been established by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations to recognize the importance of pulses (dry beans, lentils, dry peas, chickpeas, lupins) as a global food. This year World Pulses Day’s theme: “Pulses to empower youth in achieving sustainable agrifood systems”.

• In 2018, the UN General Assembly decided to mark 10 February as World Pulses Day. The first WPD was held on February 10, 2019. On 20 December 2013, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution (A/RES/68/231) proclaiming 2016 as the International Year of Pulses (IYP). The celebration of the year, led by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), increased the public awareness of the nutritional and environmental benefits of pulses as part of sustainable food production.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

India in global gold buying spree; RBI 2nd largest buyer of yellow metal

• The largest buyer, the Central Bank of Thailand, bought 90 metric tonnes of gold while RBI bought 77.5 metric tonnes taking its total gold reserve to 754.1 tonnes at the end of December 2021. When it comes to gold buying, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) emerged as the second-largest buyer of yellow metal among the world’s Central Banks in 2021. As per Goldhub, India’s official gold reserves is the ninth-largest in the world. Goldhub is the official website of the World Gold Council that maintains all the data regarding precious metals.

• At the end of December 2021, RBI gold reserves stood at 754.1 tonnes, which amounts to 6.22 per cent of India’s forex reserves. As per RBI data, India’s total reserves at the end of December 31, 2021, stood at $633.61 billion, including gold reserves worth $39.405 billion.

Razorpay acquires majority stake in Malaysian fintech startup Curlec

• Razorpay has expanded into South-East Asia with the acquisition of a majority stake in a Malaysian fintech firm Curlec, valuing the company between $19-20 million. Razorpay expects to complete the full acquisition in the next one-and-a-half years. The Kuala Lumpur-based, Curlec builds solutions for recurring payments for businesses. This marks Razorpay’s fourth acquisition overall and its first in the international markets.

• This acquisition will allow us to quickly ramp up and start scaling in Southeast Asia as a market. Curlec has been powering recurring payments for multiple companies in the Malaysian market. With them as part of this team, we will have a local team that understands the nuances of the market in Malaysia and Southeast Asia at large.

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