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Important Current Affairs 17th February 2022


WHO Launches Quit Tobacco App. Here Is How The First-Of-Its-Kind Initiative Works

  • World Health Organization (WHO) South-East Asia Region (SEAR) has launched a ‘Quit Tobacco App’. This application helps people to give up the use of tobacco in all forms, including smokeless and other newer products. The App was launched by Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO-SEAR, during WHO’s year-long ‘Commit to quit’ campaign, is the latest tobacco control initiative by the WHO South-East Asia Region.
  • The app, the first such by WHO, and the first that targets all forms of tobacco, helps users to identify the triggers, set their targets, manage cravings, and stay focused to quit tobacco. Tobacco is the world’s leading cause of preventable death and kills nearly 8 million persons every year. It claims 1.6 million lives in the WHO South-East Asia Region which is amongst the largest producers and consumers of tobacco products.



54 apps of Chinese origin banned bans in India

  • The government of India has banned 54 apps of Chinese origin citing security concerns. The apps include Sea Ltd.’s marquee game Free Fire and other apps related to tech firms like Tencent, Alibaba and NetEase. The apps were banned by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology are re-branded versions of apps banned by India in 2020. Free Fire is often compared with PUBG. It is among the world’s most popular mobile games.
  • Under Section 69A of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 provides government power to issue directions for blocking public access of any information through any computer resource. This section allows the government to block websites.


Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry to launch a Scheme for Economic Empowerment of DNTs (SEED)

  • Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Dr Virendra Kumar has launched a central sector scheme named the Scheme for Economic Empowerment for DNTs, (SEED) at Dr Ambedkar International Centre, New Delhi. The total financial outlay for SEED Scheme is approximately Rs 200 crore to be spent over a period of 5 years starting Financial Year 2021-22 to 2025-26.
  • The objective of SEED is the welfare of De-notified, Nomadic and Semi Nomadic tribal Communities (DNT/NT/SNT), which are the most neglected, marginalized and economically and socially deprived communities.



Power Minister RK Singh, Angus Taylor chairs 4th India-Australia Energy Dialogue

  • The 4th India-Australia Energy Dialogue was co-chaired by Union Minister for Power and New & Renewable Energy, RK Singh and Australian Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor. Energy Transition was a major area of discussion in the dialogue and both the Energy Ministers. Energy Transition activities in their respective countries with a focus on renewables, energy efficiency, storage, EVs, critical minerals, mining etc.
  • The need of Climate Finance was also highlighted by India for meeting the Energy Transition goals of developing countries. Both the countries signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) for working towards reducing the cost of new and renewable energy technologies and scaling up their deployment to reduce global emissions.
  • Apart from the power sector, there are many desirable areas of cooperation agreed under the other JWGs like reducing costs of Green Hydrogen; cooperation in the sphere of coal-based energy security and resource deployment; investment opportunities in the minerals sector; exploring the potential for an LNG Partnership, among other areas.



Veteran Bengali singer Sandhya Mukherjee dies at 90

  • Legendary Bengali singer, Sandhya Mukherjee has passed away at the age of 90 years due to cardiac arrest. Her full name was Geetashree Sandhya Mukhopadhyay. She had recently refused to accept the Padma award from the central government that was awarded in January 2022. She told him that Padma Shree is not an award that should be conferred on a veteran like her. It would be demeaning for her to accept it.
  • She was born in Kolkata in 1931, Sandhya Mukherjee recorded her first song in 1948 for the Hindi movie Anjaan Garh. The music was composed by Rai Chand Boral. She sang under the direction of famous composers such as S D Burman, Roshan and Madan Mohan.



RailTel Corp wins 'Plaque Shield' ICAI Awards for Excellence

  • RailTel has bagged the ICAI award for excellence in financial reporting for the year 2020-21 in Public Sector Entities Category. The company was adjudged as the winner in the category “plaque”. Financial Reporting includes the preparation and presentation of financial information. Effective Financial Reporting plays a significant role in accelerating the economic growth of a country as the information provided through annual reports enables the management and other relevant stakeholders in taking various effective business, investment, regulatory decisions.
  • The award was given by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), the premier accounting body which has been holding the annual competition for these awards since 1958. This award has been instituted with a view to promote better standards in the preparation and presentation of information in the financial statements.



SEBI makes separation of chairperson and MD, CEO roles voluntary; experts evaluate stance

  • Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) board has decided to make provision for separation of the roles of chairperson and MD/CEO as ‘voluntary’ against ‘mandatory’ earlier. The market regulator had in June 2017 set up a committee on corporate governance under Uday Kotak with a view to seek recommendations to further enhance corporate governance norms for listed companies.
  • One of the recommendations that the Committee came out with was the separation of the roles of chairperson and MD/CEO of listed companies. This was proposed to provide a better and more balanced governance structure by enabling more effective and objective supervision of the management. The Sebi board, in its meeting in March 2018 approved the proposal for the top 500-listed entities. Later the deadline for compliance was extended by two years in January 2020.


Yes Bank launched ‘Agri Infinity’ programme

  • Private sector lender, Yes Bank has launched an ‘Agri Infinity’ programme for digital financing solutions in the food and agriculture sector ecosystem by mentoring entrepreneurial ventures in this field. Agri-fintech start-ups working on financial innovations across the food and agriculture value chain are eligible to apply under this programme and can work with Yes Bank for digital solutions.
  • Through the initiative, a select cohort of startups will not only receive mentoring by veteran bankers for experiential co-development but also get access to YES BANK’s digital banking infrastructure and network, collaborative opportunities to pilot new solutions and fundraising advisory. Those involved in originations, farmer on-boarding, farmer KYC, credit scoring, risk assessment, monitoring and mitigation, disbursement and recovery solutions and cash management system, among others, can apply.


SIDBI launches 'waste to wealth creation' programme in Bengal

  • Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has launched the ‘Waste to Wealth Creation’ programme for women in the Sundarbans in West Bengal. In this, the women will make ornaments and showpieces from the fish scales. SIDBI will extend benefits to 50 women indirectly generating revenues from alternate livelihoods.
  • Under this programme, Later, these women are expected to become a trainer for replicating and disseminating the knowledge among other aspirants. This is a part of mission Swavalamban of SIDBI that aims to support artisans to become sustainable.


Centre cuts agri-cess on crude palm oil

  • With a view to provide further relief to consumers and to keep in check any further rise in the prices of domestic edible oils, the Centre has reduced the agri-cess for Crude Palm Oil from 7.5 per cent to 5 per cent. The current basic rate of import duty of zero per cent on Crude Palm Oil, Crude Soyabean oil, and Crude Sunflower Oil up to the 30th of September this year. This will give relief to consumers and prevent a further rise in the price of domestic edible oils.
  • The 12.5 per cent import duty on refined palm oils, 17.5 per cent on refined soyabean oil, and 17.5 per cent on refined sunflower oil will continue in effect until September 30, 2022. Furthermore, under the Essential Commodities Act of 1955, the government has set stock limit levels on edible oils and oilseeds up to June 30th of this year.


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