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Important Current Affairs 9th March 2021

NATIONAL

Google Launched “Women Will” Web Platform

• Google has launched a new web platform ‘Women Will’ on March 8, 2021, on the occasion of “International Women’s Day”. This platform will provide its support to 1 million rural women in India in order for them to become entrepreneurs with the help of accelerator programmes, business tutorials and mentorship.

• This web portal can be accessed in English and Hindi languages. It will offer guidance to the aspiring women in villages to turn their interest or a hobby like beauty services, tailoring, home tuition, food processing, etc. into the business.

• It will also be providing guidance to manage and promote the business. The Women Will platform is designed for women aspiring to explore entrepreneurship.

• To begin with, Google will work with 2,000 ‘Internet Saathis’ to help other women with this resource to start their entrepreneurial journey.

• Google also announced a $500,000 Google.org grant to Nasscom Foundation to train 100,000 women Agri workers in Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh on digital and financial literacy. The Foundation will set up a helpline where the women can get counselling on their entrepreneurship-related queries.

Indian Railways install Mobile Train Radio Communication system

• Indian Railways’ Western Railway zone has introduced a mobile train radio communication (MTRC) system to facilitate direct and continuous communication between the train crew and the control centre and station master. Through effective communication, this technologically advanced system will help in averting train accidents. This new communication system has already been deployed in 105 rakes, operating between Churchgate to Virar over Mumbai’s suburban segment.

• This system uses the lowest time to connect calls i.e. 300 milliseconds and it is the first time that MTRC is commissioned in India.

• The MRTC acts in a similar way to that of air traffic control (ATC) for aircraft.

• The system will monitor, track and aid in communication between the trains and the control room thereby ensuring smooth movement of rakes, as well as help in preventing adverse events.

• The current conventional VHF-based communication system, named Mobile and CUG, lacks the capability of enabling interaction between the train crew and the controllers. The new system can also provide real-time information on train operation during the monsoon season.

• With a two-year warranty and five years of annual maintenance charges (AMC), the new digital MTRC system has been supplied at a cost of approximately $820,000.

Rajnath Singh Attends 3-day Combined Commanders’ Conference

• Defence minister Rajnath Singh has attended the three-day Combined Commanders’ Conference (CCC) along with top defence officials at Kevadia, Gujarat. Theaterisation of armed forces, self-reliance in the defence sector and evolving threats in the region will be the focus. It is a premier brainstorming event of the Military Commanders from the three Services.

• Defense Minister, Rajnath Singh held deliberations on Day 2. In a first, valedictory session on the third and final day chaired by PM Narendra Modi. The last CCC was held in 2018 at the Air Force Station, Jodhpur.

• The combined apex level military leadership of the country is reviewing the security situation and defence preparedness of the Armed Forces, and deliberating pertinent organisational issues for evolving a joint military vision for the future. In a major deviation from the past, the scope of the conference this year has been expanded to make it a multi-layered, interactive, informal and informed event with the added participation of about 30 Officers and soldiers of various ranks from the three Services.

Delhi govt approves formation of separate board in city

• Delhi government has approved the formation of a separate school board for nearly 2,700 schools in the city. There are around 1,000 Delhi government schools and about 1,700 private schools, most of them affiliated to the CBSE, in the city. The new Board will have a governing body headed by the Education Minister of the Delhi government and an executive body headed by a chief executive officer.

• The DBSE will be aimed at imparting such education that prepares “fiercely patriotic” and self-dependent students who serve the society and the country in a selfless manner. The Board will bring in best international practices and high-end techniques in school education. It will impart education as per the aptitude of the students.

Dr Harsh Vardhan addresses the inaugural session of Techbharat 2021

• Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan has addressed the inaugural session of TechBharat 2021. Laghu Udyog Bharati and IMS Foundation have organized the 2nd edition of the conclave bringing together stakeholders from the HealthTech & Edutech sector on a virtual platform.

• Techbharat is facilitating interactions & deliberations between thousands of domestic & global participants, including policymakers, government representatives, industry members, investors & start-ups to nurture resourceful partnerships and boost growth in the sectors.

• The Pradhan Mantri Aatmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana, with a massive outlay of over 64 thousand crore rupees over the next six years, will develop capacities of primary, secondary and tertiary care, health care systems.

India’s first ‘Transgender Community Desk’ opens in Telangana

• The Cyberabad Police has launched India’s first-ever Transgender Community Desk’ at the Gachibowli Police Station in Hyderabad, Telangana. This desk is the first-of-its-kind gender-inclusive community policing initiatives in the country. The desk was formally inaugurated on Saturday by Cyberabad Police chief VC Sajjanar in a ceremony that was attended by over 200 transgender people.

• Earlier in 2014, the Supreme Court recognised the transgender community as a third gender along with male and female and ruled that they have equal privilege over the fundamental rights enshrined in the Indian Constitution.

Transgender Community Desk:

• It is the world’s first-ever help desk for the transgender community and it will be managed by a Police Liaison Officer and a member of the transgender community who is designated as a community coordinator.

• It will also be the focal point for all grievance redressal among the transgender community in Cyberabad Commissionerate.

Benefits of the Desk:

• The transgender desk will provide support to file cases in offences related to violence or discrimination against any transgender person.

• Among other services, the desk will also provide counselling, legal aid, life-skills, soft skills training, job placements, and referral linkages to welfare schemes in partnership with the Department of Women & Child Welfare and District Legal Services Authority.

• The Society for Cyberabad Security Council will organise monthly employability training and life-skill training and facilitate access to job opportunities. Prajwala will assist the desk to facilitate safe space for any transgender person who needs an emergency transit stay.

OBITUARY

Former Rajasthan Governor Anshuman Singh Passes Away

• Justice Shri Anshuman Singh, the former Governor of Rajasthan & Gujarat, has passed away.

• Anshuman Singh was a retired Justice who served as the Governor of Rajasthan from January 1999 till 2003. Prior to that, he was appointed as the Governor of Gujarat state in 1998.

Dhyan Chand Awardee Veteran Indian Athlete Ishar Singh Deol passes away

• Dhyan Chand National Sports Award-winning veteran Indian athlete Ishar Singh Deol, has passed away. Punjab-based Deol won the Dhyan Chand National Award in 2009 for his lifelong contribution towards sports.

• He was specialised in the field sports of discus and shot put. He had competed in the first three Asian Games and won a bronze medal in the second Asian Games held in Manila, the Philippines in 1954.

Renowned Kannada poet Lakshminarayana Bhatta passes away

• Noted Kannada poet, critic and translator NS Lakshminarayana Bhatta has passed away. Popularly known as ‘NSL’ in the Kannada literary world, he was born in 1936 in the Shivamogga district. A was recipient of the Karnataka Sahitya Akademi award and Kannada Rajyotsava Award among others, his popular works include Thaye Ninna madilali.

• Bhatta had translated about 50 famous sonnets of William Shakespeare (Suneeta), the poetry of TS Elliot and works of the noted poet William Butler Yeats (Chinnada Hakki) into Kannada. He had also translated several other prominent English literary works into Kannada. He served as a Professor at Bengaluru University, working in the Kannada Literature department, and is revered for popularizing the works of saint-poet Shishunala Sharif.

IMPORTANT DAYS

PM Modi addresses ‘Janaushadhi Diwas’ celebrations

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has addressed ‘Janaushadhi Diwas’ celebrations through video conference. He dedicated to the nation the 7500th Janaushadhi Kendra at NEIGRIHMS, Shillong during the event. He interacts with beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana and also gives awards to stakeholders by recognizing their excellent work. Union Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers will also be present on the occasion.

• 1st March to 7th March is celebrated as ‘Janaushadhi Week’ across the nation with the theme of “Jan Aushadhi – Seva Bhi, Rozgar Bhi” for creating awareness about the use of generic medicines. Various functions across the country are organized like health checkup camps, Jan Aushadhi Paricharcha, Teach Them Young, panel discussions with doctors, etc. this week.

• Janaushadhi Yojana is becoming a big friend of poor and middle-class families. It is becoming the medium of both service and employment. There were not even 100 centres in India six years ago and we hope to achieve the target of 10,000 centres. Poor and middle-class families are saving about ₹3,600 crores every year on expensive medicines.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

Sebi cancels Sahara India Financial Corp’s registration as sub-broker

• Markets regulator Sebi has cancelled the certificate of registration of Sahara India Financial Corporation Ltd as a sub-broker citing its failure to fulfil the “fit and proper” criteria. The regulator had appointed a designated authority in 2018 to enquire whether Sahara India Financial violated provisions of Intermediaries Regulations.

• According to the designated authority’s report, considering the antecedents of Subrata Roy Sahara and the various judicial pronouncements against him and other group companies of Sahara, it is determined that Sahara India Financial (noticee) is not a “fit and proper person” to continue as a sub-broker in the securities market.

• In the 12-page order passed, Sebi Whole Time Member G Mahalingam has mentioned actions taken against certain Sahara entities as well as about the case involving Sebi and two Sahara group firms: Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Ltd (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Ltd (SHICL), regarding funds raised from investors.

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Important Current Affairs 8th March 2021

NATIONAL

Two- day Gur Mahotsav underway in Lucknow

• In Uttar Pradesh, a Gur  Mahotsav or jaggery festival is underway in Lucknow. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath inaugurated the two-day event yesterday. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Yogi said that the state government aims to provide maximum benefit of their products to the farmers and for the purpose, the Mahotsav is being organised.

• The sugar cane farmers in state have been paid one lakh 25 thousand 600 crore rupees for their sugar cane crops, he added.

• At the jaggery festival, farmers are exhibiting and selling different types of jaggery and jaggery products. The aim of this event is to motivate the jaggery producers to make high-quality jaggery and its products and create awareness about health benefits of jaggery.

GoI Sets up 259-Member panel to Commemorate 75 Years of India’s Independence

• The Government of India has set up a 259-member high-level national committee, to be headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to commemorate 75 years of India’s independence. The committee will provide policy direction and guidelines for the formulation of programmes for the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Indian Independence, at the national and international levels.

• The celebrations are proposed to be launched 75 weeks prior to August 15, 2022, on March 12, 2021, which is the 91st anniversary of the historic Salt Satyagraha led by Mahatma Gandhi. The celebrations will be held at the national and international level in the form of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’. The high-level committee will hold its first meeting on March 8, 2021.

• The members of the panel include former president Pratibha Patil, Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, NSA Ajit Doval, 28 chief ministers, artistes like Lata Mangeshkar, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, senior BJP leader LK Advani, almost all Union ministers and several governors.

• Opposition leaders like Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, NCP leader Sharad Pawar, TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee and former Uttar Pradesh chief ministers Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati are also part of the committee.

Ramesh Pokhriyal Inaugurates New Delhi World Book Fair 2021

• The Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal has inaugurated the New Delhi World Book Fair 2021-Virtual Edition, through video-conferencing. The program has been organized by the National Book Trust (NBT). The New Delhi World Book Fair 2021 is the 29th edition of the annual event and for the first time, the fair will be held virtually due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

• The theme of the 2021 New Delhi World Book Fair is ‘National Education Policy-2020’. The NEP 2020 was passed by the Union Cabinet last year, which proposes several significant changes in the existing education policy.

SPORTS

Bajrang Punia takes gold and number one rank in Rome, bronze

• Tokyo-bound Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia pulled off a two-pointer in the last 30 seconds of the gold medal bout to defend his title at the Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series event, a result that pushed him back to world number one rank.

• Up against Mongolia's Tulga Tumur Ochir, Bajrang was trailing 0-2 till the final moments of the 65kg final but managed to level the scores, 30 seconds from the whistle.

• Since the last scoring point came from the Indian he was declared the winner on criteria on Sunday night.

• Bajrang seemed to have improved upon his leg defence in the one-year break, forced by the coronavirus pandemic.

OBITUARY

Veteran Marathi actor Shrikant Moghe passes away

• Veteran Marathi stage and film actor Shrikant Moghe passed away at his residence in Pune on Saturday. He was 91. He was suffering from age-related ailments.

• Moghe wasborn on November 6, 1929, at Kirloskarwadi in Sangli district. He had acted in several hit Marathi plays and films such as 'Sinhasan' (1979).

Muthoot Group Chairman M G George Muthoot passes away

• M G George Muthoot, the Chairman and Whole Time Director of The Muthoot Group, has passed away. He was the mentor and visionary leader who played a pivotal leadership role through his long career in building one of the most trusted financial powerhouses in the country.

• Mr George became the managing director of Muthoot Group in 1979 and its chairman in 1993. Muthoot Finance Ltd is one the largest gold loan NBFCs in India, headquartered in Kochi, Kerala.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Naureen Hassan appointed as 1st VP & COO of Federal Reserve Bank

• Indian-origin Naureen Hassan has been appointed as the first Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the New York-based Federal Reserve Bank, by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Hassan, whose parents had immigrated from India, is a 25-year veteran of the financial services industry with expertise in strategy, digital transformation, cybersecurity and regulatory/risk management.

• With this new role, Hassan will become the second-highest-ranking officer of the New York Fed as well as an alternate voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee. Prior to this, she was the Chief Digital Officer for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management (MSWM). She will take over the new role with effect from March 15, 2021.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Women’s Day: 8 March

• International Women’s Day is celebrated on the 8th of March every year. This day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women, who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.

• This year’s theme for International Women Day, “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a C-19 world”, celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the C-19 pandemic. Women stand at the front lines of the C-19 crisis, as health care workers, caregivers, innovators, community organizers and as some of the most exemplary and effective national leaders in combating the pandemic. The crisis has highlighted both the centrality of their contributions and the disproportionate burdens that women carry.

• The United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day in the International Women’s Year, 1975. In 1977, the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for women’s rights and world peace.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

Textiles Ministry & Agriculture Ministry sign MoU

• Ministry of Textiles and Ministry of Agriculture on Sunday signed an MoU to amplify sericulture activities in the country in the presence of Textiles Minister Smriti Irani and Minister of State for Agriculture Parshottam Rupala. The MoU will focus on establishing tree based agroforestry models in sericulture and exploring possibilities of activities through Krishi Vigyan Kendras.

• Ms Irani said it will enhance training, boost technology and create sustainable livelihood for silk farmers or rearers. On the eve of International Women’s Day today, Ms Irani distributed Buniyaad Reeling Machines to women silk reelers with an aim to eradicate unhygienic and obsolete Thigh Reeling practice.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

EPFO keeps interest rate unchanged at 8.5% for 2020-21

• The board of Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has kept the interest rates on Provident Fund deposits for the financial year 2020-21 at 8.5 per cent. The rate has been kept unchanged, as in 2019-20. The decision was taken by the Central Board of Trustees, at the 228th meeting, under the chairmanship of Labour Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar.

• Last year, in March, EPFO had reduced the interest rate on provident fund deposits to a seven-year low of 8.5 per cent for 2019-20. For the financial year 2018-19, the interest rate was fixed at 8.65 per cent. The EPFO had provided an 8.55 per cent interest rate to its subscribers for 2017-18 and an interest rate was 8.65 per cent for the financial year 2016-17.

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Important Current Affairs 7th March 2021

NATIONAL

First-ever White Water Rafting Festival organised in J&K's Doda

• In the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the first-ever adventure sports event, Chenab White Water Rafting Festival organised by the Doda District Administration in coordination with Bhaderwah Development Authority (BDA) and J&K Adventure group culminated today at Premnagar Shibnote in Doda amid overwhelming response from the people.

• 1,500 people from across the district especially, youth attended the festival on day 2 and over 150 participated in the rafting trip from Premnagar Shibnote to Karara. DDC, Doda Sagar Doifode along with CO 10 Rashtriya Rifles, besides youth from various areas of the district participated in the event on the 2nd day and also took a rafting ride.

• The event also witnessed multifarious activities at the venue for the enjoyment of the locals which includes volleyball matches, kabaddi, free-style wrestling and dance performances.

Digital platform ‘Jagrut Tripura’ launched by CM to boost e- governance

• The Tripura government has come up with a digital platform ‘Jagrut Tripura’ to help people get benefits from various schemes of the Centre and the state government. At least 102 schemes of various departments of both governments are available on the platform. The ‘Jagrut Tripura’ will empower citizens of the northeastern state. The digital platform is one of the many proactive initiatives undertaken by the state government to spur a technology-led innovation ecosystem to make ‘Atmanirbhar’ (self-reliant) Tripura.

• The project was developed by EasyGov, a Jio Group company, and it will be available to all the residents of Tripura. “With ‘Jagrut’, we want to empower people to get the benefits they deserve, and the focus is on building a family-centric, progressive model having ‘one data one source’ and privacy at the core.

India downgraded from ‘free’ to ‘partly free’ in democracy report

• India’s status as a democracy and free society has been downgraded to “partly free” in the latest annual report on global political rights and liberties by Freedom House, a US government-funded NGO that studies political freedom around the world. The report titled “Freedom in the World 2021 – Democracy under Siege”. India’s fall “from the upper ranks of free nations could have a particularly damaging impact on global democratic standards”.

• India had been rated as “free” in Freedom House’s reports for 2018, 2019 and 2020, though its scores on a scale of 100 had declined during this period from 77 to 71. In the latest report, India had a score of 67 out of 100.

• In 1973, Freedom House launched the Freedom in the World report, which assessed the level of freedom in each country and ranked them with a numerical score and declared them as “free”, “partly free” or “not free”.

• The annual report is perceived as one of the oldest quantitative measures of democracy. The latest report said political rights and civil liberties in India had deteriorated since 2014 because of increased pressure on human rights organisations, rising intimidation of academics and journalists, and a “spate of bigoted attacks, including lynchings, aimed at Muslims”.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Ligia Noronha appointed UN Assistant Secretary-General

• UN chief Antonio Guterres has appointed leading Indian economist Ligia Noronha as Assistant Secretary-General and Head of the New York Office of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Prior to joining the UNEP, Noronha worked at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in New Delhi as Executive Director (Research Coordination) and as Director of the Division on Resources, Regulation and Global Security.

• Noronha is an economist with over 30 years of international experience in the field of sustainable development.

• She has worked since 2014 as Director of UNEP’s Economy Division based in Nairobi, leading UNEP’s work on climate mitigation and energy transitions; on inclusive green economies, sustainable consumption and production, as well as on trade and sustainable finance, and the nexus of environment, pollution and health.

Tarun Bajaj to take additional charge of Revenue Secretary

• Department of economic affairs secretary, Tarun Bajaj has been given the additional charge of revenue secretary. Present revenue secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey retires on February 28. The Centre has decided to not grant an extension to finance secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey who was also holding additional charge of the revenue department in the finance ministry.

• Tarun Bajaj, an old hand at the Finance Ministry, assumed charge as Economic Affairs secretary last May, at a time when India saw the worst growth contraction in history on account of the C-19 pandemic.

• Prior to taking over this post, he was Additional Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office.

• Bajaj, a 1988-batch Haryana-cadre IAS officer, is not new to the functioning of the finance ministry as this is his third stint in the ministry.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

Samsung Mastercard ink an Mou's

• Samsung Electronics’ System LSI Business, Mastercard, Samsung Card, have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a biometric card that features a built-in fingerprint scanner to authorize transactions securely at in-store payment terminals.

• Through this strategic collaboration, the companies aim to provide faster and more secure payment experiences. The biometric authentication capability allows safer interactions with reduced physical contact points by eliminating the need to enter a PIN on a keypad. It also adds an extra layer of security to currently available credit cards by verifying the cardholder’s identity via a unique fingerprint.

• The biometric cards will adopt a new security chipset from Samsung’s System LSI Business that integrates several key discrete chips, streamlining the overall component design and enabling more efficient development. These cards can be used at any Mastercard chip terminal or point of sale (POS) terminal.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

Axis Securities' new platform to make investment in bond

• Axis Securities has announced the launch of 'YIELD' - an online platform to buy and sell bonds as well as debentures in the secondary market. By offering competitive rates and technical know-how, YIELD would empower the investors to make the right investment decision. The trades and settlement of transactions executed will be reported on the BSE NDS (new debt segment) platform.

• "YIELD is the first-of-its-kind initiative that allows retail investors direct access to the debt instruments," the brokerage house said in a statement.

• This new tool will remove the hassle of filling up physical forms or the need for separate KYC with the bond institutions, it added.

• To facilitate transactions only insecure options, it aggregates only 'AAA' to 'A' rated quality debt instruments available for investment in the secondary market.

Kotak Mahindra Bank tie-up with Indian army to handle salary accounts

• Private sector lender Kotak Mahindra Bank will handle the salary account of the Indian army personnel. The bank has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indian Army here for a salary account. The MoU enables Kotak to offer its salary account proposition, combined with exclusive benefits for the Indian Army, to all army personnel – both active and retired.

• Through the Kotak salary account, all personnel of the Indian army will get access to the full range of Kotak’s products and services including a zero-balance salary account that earns up to 4 per cent interest per annum with free unlimited ATM transactions on all VISA ATMs and anywhere banking across the bank’s network of 1,603 branches and 2,573 ATMs across India.

• The salary account will cover other benefits such as a bespoke salary account for the army personnel, enhanced complimentary personal accident insurance cover – for both on-duty and off-duty incidents.

• It covers accidental death for total or partial permanent disability. It will also offer special education benefit for children and additional girl child benefit by covering dependent children of up to 22 years in the event of an accident claim by the salary account holder.

• Among others, the account will also offer exclusive benefits on loans and credit cards by way of attractive rates and zero processing fees on personal, home and car loans and waiver on joining fees on credit cards.

• Zero-balance; family banking accounts, free online payment transactions, unlimited cheque books, best-in-class rates for dematerialised accounts (Demat) and best-in-class brokerage rates on trading accounts are the other benefits.

HDFC ERGO launches Business Kisht Suraksha cover

• HDFC ERGO General Insurance has launched the “Business Kisht Suraksha” cover. It is a unique cover that was launched with the aim of protecting the balance sheet of Microfinance Institutions (MFIs), financial institutions and banks if any catastrophe or a natural disaster occurs.

• This was launched with the aim of limiting the impacts on the balance sheet of financial institutions which occurs because of non-payment of EMIs by borrowers or because of several calamities like earthquakes, floods, cyclones.

• The Business Kisht can be customised as per the needs of the individual MFI or financial institution (FI). It can also be tailor-made based on the geographical presence of the borrower, MFI or any FIs.

• The MFIs or FIs would also be given the option to select the number of EMIs which might need insurance coverage.

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Important Current Affairs 6th March 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Australia building world’s first platypus sanctuary

• Australian conservationists have unveiled plans to build the world’s first refuge for the platypus, to promote breeding and rehabilitation as the duck-billed mammal faces extinction due to climate change.

• The Taronga Conservation Society Australia and the New South Wales State government said they would build the specialist facility, mostly ponds and burrows for the semi-aquatic creatures, at a zoo 391 km from Sydney, by 2022.

NATIONAL

DRDO successfully flight test SFDR technology

• The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) conducted a successful flight test of Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet (SFDR) technology from the integrated test range (ITR), Chandipur, off Odisha coast. The SFDR technology will help DRDO with the technological advantage to develop long-range air-to-air missiles (AAMs). DRDO began developing SFDR first in 2017 and had conducted successful tests in 2018 and 2019 as well.

• The SFDR is a missile propulsion system being developed primarily by the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) and Research Centre Imarat (RCI) in Hyderabad.

• The High Energy Material Research Laboratory (HEMRL) has developed the nozzle-less booster while the ramjet engine is being developed with Russian assistance.

• The performance of the missile was monitored using the data captured by Electro-Optical, Radar and Telemetry instruments deployed by ITR and confirmed successful demonstration of the mission objectives.

SPORTS

J&K tops medals tally at Khelo India Winter National Games

• Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir topped the medals tally in the second edition of the Khelo India Winter National Games.  J&K won 11 gold, 18 silver and 5 bronze medals. The five-day mega sports event which began on the 26th of February concluded in the famous ski resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district. The event was e-inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

• The second edition of the Khelo India winter games is a major step towards making Jammu and Kashmir a hub of the winter games.

• In the event, more than 1,000 athletes from 27 states and union territories took part.

• The event was organised by the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in collaboration with the J&K Sports Council and the Winter Games Association of Jammu and Kashmir.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Mary Kom appointed chairperson of AIBA’s champions and veterans committee

• Six-time world champion boxer Mary Kom has been appointed as the Chairperson of the International Boxing Association’s (AIBA) Champions and Veterans Committee. The 37-year-old was voted to the post by AIBA’s board of directors on March 03, 2021.

• The Committee was formed in December 2020. It consists of the most respected worldwide boxing veterans and champions who have achieved significant results and who are ready to share their experience.

IMPORTANT DAYS

India to commemorate ‘Chabahar Day’ on 4 March

• The Ministry of External Affairs India had commemorate ‘Chabahar Day’ on March 4 on the sidelines of the Maritime India Summit 2021 being held in New Delhi. The virtual event had see the participation of ministers from Afghanistan, Armenia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Uzbekistan. The Summit is being held from March 2-4, 2021.

• The ministerial-level opening session would be followed by two webinar sessions namely the ‘Boosting Business through Trade Promotion and Regional Connectivity’ and ‘Development of Port Infrastructure: Unleashing Opportunities’.

• It is a seaport in Chabahar which is located in south-eastern Iran in the Gulf of Oman. The port serves as the only oceanic port of Iran.

• The port comprises two separate ports namely the Shahid Beheshti and Shahid Kalantari. The port was first proposed by the last shah of Iran in the year 1973. The first phase was opened in 1983.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

India-Sweden Virtual Summit 2021

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has participated in the virtual India-Sweden summit, with the Prime Minister of Sweden, Stefan Lofven. The virtual summit was organised to exchange views on regional and global issues and to discuss the bilateral relations between the two countries. This was the fifth interaction between the two leaders since 2015.

• Both the leaders underlined that the longstanding close relations between India and Sweden were based on shared values of democracy, rule of law, pluralism, equality, freedom of speech, and respect for human rights.

• Prime Minister Modi welcomed Sweden’s decision to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA).

• The leaders also noted the growing member-ship of the India-Sweden joint initiative – the Leadership Group on Indus-try Transition (LeadIT) that was launched during the UN Climate Action Summit in September 2019 in New York.

• The two leaders also discussed the Covid-19 situation including the vaccination drive and stressed the need for vaccine equity by providing urgent and affordable access to vaccines across all nations.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Bihari Puraskar 2020 to be awarded to Mohankrishna Bohara

• The 30th Bihari Puraskar for 2020 will be given to Mohankrishna Bohara for his Hindi book of Criticism, titled Taslima: Sangharsh aur Sahitya. The K.K. Birla Foundation announced this in New Delhi. The book was published in 2016.

• Bihari Puraskar carries award money of two lakh 50 thousand rupees, a Citation and a Plaque. The award is one of the three literary awards instituted by the K.K. Birla Foundation in 1991. Named after famous Hindi poet Bihari, the award is given every year for an outstanding work in Hindi or Rajasthani published in the last 10 years by a Rajasthani writer.

WAN-IFRA names The Hindu Group ‘Champion Publisher of the Year 2020’

• The Hindu Group won two golds and two silvers at South Asian Digital Media Awards given by WAN IFRA (World Association of News Publishers), culminating in being named ‘Champion Publisher of the Year’, owing to the highest tally on the points table.

• The awards are presented in recognition of outstanding work done by news publishers, in digital media. The winners were honoured virtually at the Digital Media India 2021 Conference held on March 3, 2021.

RANKING

Indore and NDMC tops Municipal Performance Index (MPI) 2020

• The Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs has released the final rankings of the Municipal Performance Index (MPI) 2020. The ranking has classified municipalities into two categories based on their population which are: million-plus category and the less than million categories. The Municipal Performance Index will help Municipalities in better planning and management, filling the gaps in city administration, and improving the liveability of cities for its citizens.

Million plus population category

• Indore has topped this list, followed by Surat and Bhopal.

Less than a million category

• New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) emerged as the leader, followed by Tirupati and Gandhinagar.

Municipal Performance Index 2020

• The Municipal Performance Index 2020 has examined the sectoral performance of 111 municipalities. Delhi has been assessed separately for NDMC, and the three Municipal Corporations.

• They have been accessed across five verticals which comprise of 20 sectors and 100 indicators in all totality.

• The five verticals under the Municipal Performance Index are Services, Finance, Policy, Technology and Governance.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

NPCI Partners SBI Payments to launch “RuPay SoftPoS” for Merchants

• National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and SBI Payments have partnered to launch “RuPay SoftPoS” for Indian merchants. The RuPay SoftPoS solution will provide a cost-effective acceptance infrastructure to retailers at a nominal cost. This innovative solution has the capability to transform NFC enabled smartphones into merchant Point of Sale (PoS) terminals for the retailers.

• RuPay SoftPoS is expected to provide seamless, cost-effective acceptance infrastructure to retailers at a nominal cost, and help deepen the digital payment acceptance among millions of underserved Indian MSMEs.

• RuPay SoftPoS will enable merchants to use their near-field communication (NFC)-enabled smartphones as the point of sale (PoS) terminals and accept payment up to Rs 5,000 through a simple tap and pay mechanism.

• Merchants can convert their existing android smartphone devices into a payment terminal by simply downloading a supported app.

• This solution will revolutionise the way micro and small merchants receive payments and create a demarcated shift in their tendency to deal in cash to accepting secure, contactless digital payments instead.

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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 25th February 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Spacecraft Named in Honor of Black Woman ‘hidden Figures’ Mathematician

•A space supply ship, Cygnus NG-15 cargo dubbed as ‘S.S. Katherine Johnson has been named in honour of Katherine Johnson, a Black NASA mathematician, who played a critical role in the success of the first U.S. crewed spaceflight, Mercury-Atlas 6 Mission. The S.S. Katherine Johnson arrived on February 22, 2021, and will be at the International Space Station until May 2021.

Cygnus NG-15 cargo:

•A Northrop Grumman-built Cygnus cargo ship, a space supply ship, was launched by NASA on February 20, 2021, from Virginia to carry vital supplies for astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS).

•The launch coincided with the 59th anniversary of America’s first orbit around the Earth. On 20 February 1962, astronaut John Glenn, became the first American to orbit Earth.

•The space supply ship carried more than 8,200 lbs. (3,719 kilograms) of cargo including scientific equipment, fresh food and supplies, new hardware and spacewalk equipment for the seven astronauts onboard the International Space Station.

•Mrs Johnson was a pioneering mathematician known for her hand-written calculations. She helped astronaut John Glenn, to become the first American to orbit Earth, after personally verifying his Mercury missions’ orbital trajectory calculations. Her contributions were also featured in the Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures.

NATIONAL

Rajnath Singh inaugurates 26th edition of ‘Hunar Haat’

•Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has inaugurated the 26th edition of ‘Hunar Haat’ in New Delhi. The “Hunar Haat” will be held from February 21 to March 01, 2021, with the theme of “Vocal for Local”. More than 600 artisans and craftsmen from more than 31 states and UTs are participating.

•Through Hunar Haat, the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs aims to provide employment and employment opportunities to 7,50,000 artisans by organising 75 Hunar Haats by 2022, when India will celebrate its 75 years of Independence.

•The Hunar Haat is also available online at hunarhaat.org and on the Government e-Marketplace portal. Indians living abroad can buy products online as well.

•Hunar Haat is a beautiful exhibition of India’s traditional art and craft and brings together indigenous artisans and craftsmen from across the country for the display and sale of their exquisite indigenous handmade products.

CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan Renames Hoshangabad as Narmadapuram

•Hoshangabad city in the state of Madhya Pradesh will be renamed Narmadapuram. This was announced by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan during the Narmada Jayanti programme held in Hoshangabad. Hoshangabad was earlier named after an attacker Hoshang Shah, the first ruler of Malwa.

•However, the city will now be called Narmadapuram, after the river Narmada, the lifeline of the state. The state government will now send a proposal to the Centre to change the name of Hoshangabad to Narmadapuram. The city is famous for its beautiful ghats along the banks of the Narmada river.

SPORTS

Karnataka to Host 2nd Khelo India University Games 2021

•The second edition of the Khelo India University Games (KIUG) 2021, is scheduled to be held in Karnataka. This announcement was made by the Karnataka Chief Minister, Shri BS Yediyurappa and Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju. The KIUG-2021 will be hosted by JAIN (Deemed-to-be University), Bengaluru, in partnership with the Association of Indian Universities (AIU). In 2021, Yogasana and Mallakhamb have been added to the University Games, in an effort to preserve and promote the century-old sporting disciplines of the country.

•The games will be conducted in the U-25 age category in accordance with the World University Games norms.

•KIUG is the largest University Games in India and is aimed at tapping sporting talent who can represent India in international events, including the Olympics.

•The first edition of KIUG was held in Bhubaneswar in February 2020, and saw a total participation of 3182 athletes in the U-25 age group, across 158 universities and colleges from all states.

OBITUARY

Former TRAI Chairman Rahul Khullar passes away

•Rahul Khullar, the former chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has passed away. He was a 1975-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, who was appointed as TRAI chief in May 2012.

•He served at TRAI for three years. Prior to being appointed as TRAI chief, he was a secretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Trade.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Vijay Sampla takes charge as Chairman of National Commission for SC

•Former Union Minister Vijay Sampla has assumed the charge of Chairman National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC). He has been the former Union Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment from 2014 to 2019.

•NCSC is an Indian constitutional body under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, that works for the socio-economic development of the scheduled castes and to prevent atrocities against them.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

India, World Bank ink project for enhancing school education in Nagaland

•The Government of India, the Government of Nagaland and the World Bank signed a $68 million agreement for “Nagaland: Enhancing Classroom Teaching and Resources Project”, to enhance the governance of schools across Nagaland. The $68 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a final maturity of 14.5 years including a grace period of 5 (five) years.

•The “Nagaland: Enhancing Classroom Teaching and Resources Project” will improve classroom instruction; create opportunities for the professional development of teachers, and build technology systems to provide students and teachers with more access to blended and online learning as well as allow better monitoring of policies and programmes.

•As many as 1,50,000 students and 20,000 teachers in the government education system in Nagaland will benefit from the statewide reforms in schools.

India signs trade deal, $100 million defence agreement with Mauritius

•The Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar was on an official visit to two key Indian Ocean region countries- Maldives and Mauritius. The External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar visited the Island nation Mauritius to review the comprehensive and important bilateral relationship between the two nations. India signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) or (Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Partnership Agreement-(CECPA)) with Mauritius.

•The FTA or CECPA is the first such pact with any African country, and will help Mauritius to emerge as a “hub of Africa”.

•India has also offered a USD 100 million Line of Credit (LoC) to Mauritius to facilitate the procurement of defence assets.

•Apart from this, an agreement has also been signed between the two countries to provide a Dornier aircraft and an Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv on lease to Mauritius on a gratis basis for 2 years, so that the country can carry out patrolling activities and monitor its vast maritime domain more effectively.

•India delivered 100,000 doses of Made in India COVID-19 vaccines to the country. It had supplied 100,000 doses earlier. Both the countries also signed MoU on Consumer Protection and a Contract for an 8 MW solar plant.

PM Narendra Modi To Inaugurate 2nd Edition of ‘Maritime India Summit’

•Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the virtual Maritime India Summit (MIS) 2021, from March 2 to 4, 2021. The ‘Maritime India Summit 2021’ is the flagship initiative of the Union Ministry of State for Ports, Shipping & Waterways (MoPSW), Government of India. FICCI is the industry partner for the summit.

•The theme of the event is “Exploring the potential business opportunities in the Indian Maritime sector and making Aatmanirbhar Bharat”.

•The objective of the Summit is to promote both domestic and international investment in the Indian Ports and Maritime sector. The summit will provide a powerful platform for international collaboration with partner countries for mutual exchange of knowledge and opportunities. Around one lakh delegates and 40 partner countries are expected to participate in the event.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Biden admn names Anjali Bharadwaj for anti-corruption award

•Anjali Bharadwaj, an Indian social activist working on issues of transparency and accountability, is one of the 12 “courageous” individuals named by the Biden administration for the newly-instituted International Anti-Corruption Champions Award.

•The 48-year-old Bhardwaj has served as an active member of the Right to Information Movement in India for over two decades. She is the founder of the Satark Nagrik Sangathan (SNS), a citizens’ group which promotes transparency and accountability in government and encourage the active participation of citizens.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

India, AIIB sign agreement to improve Assam power transmission

•The Government of India and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has signed a $304 million loan agreement on February 23, 2021, for the Assam Intra-State Transmission System Enhancement Project. The project aims to improve the reliability, capacity and security of the power transmission network in the northeastern state of Assam.

•It includes constructing 10 transmission substations and laying transmission lines with the associated infrastructure, upgrade 15 existing substations, and transmission lines and existing ground wire to optical power ground wire and provide technical assistance to support project implementation.

•The total estimated cost of the project is $365 million. AIIB will finance $304 million while the remaining funding of $61 million will be done by the state government.

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Important Current Affairs 24th February 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Israel launches “green pass” for people with vaccination certificate

•Israel has launched a coronavirus “green pass” system, which allows people who have been vaccinated to access public facilities that would otherwise be off-limits. As of Sunday COVID-19 inoculation is a sort of status symbol in Israel.

•Israelis who have gotten both Pfizer vaccine shots and those who have recovered from the virus get a “Green Pass” certificate in the form of a QR code or printout for people without smart phones. The pass allows entry to gyms, swimming pools, hotels, entertainment venues and sporting events. Green Pass privileges and restrictions are raising legal and moral questions.

NATIONAL

Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival Awards 2021 announced

•The prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival awards 2021 were announced, to honour the best in Indian cinema, television, music, and OTT. Late actor Sushant Singh Rajput was posthumously awarded ‘Critics Best Actor’ for his performance in Dil Bechara.

Winner of the Award for 2021:-

1.Best Actor (Female): Deepika Padukone, Chhapaak

2.Best Actor (Male): Akshay Kumar, Laxmii

3.Critic’s Best Actress: Kiara Advani, Guilty

4.Critic’s Best Actor: Late Sushant Singh Rajput, Dil Bechara

5.Best Film: Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior

6.Best International Feature Film: Parasite Most Versatile Actor – Kay Kay Menon

7.Best Director: Anurag Basu, Ludo

8.Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Vikrant Massey, Chhapaak

9.Best Actress in Supporting Role: Radhika Madan, Angrezi Medium

10.Best Actor in Comic Role: Kunal Kemmu, Lootcase

11.Best Actor (Web Series): Bobby Deol, Aashram

12.Best Actress (Web Series): Sushmita Sen, Aarya

13.Best Web Series: Scam (1992)

14.Album of the Year: Titliyaan

15.Best Television Series: Kundali Bhagya

16.Photographer of the Year: Daboo Ratnani

17.Style Diva of the Year: Divya Khosla Kumar

18.Best Actress in Television Series: Surbhi Chandna

19.Best Actor in Television Series: Dheeraj Dhoopar

20.Performer of the Year: Nora Fatehi

21.Outstanding Contribution to Film Industry: Dharmendra

22.Outstanding Contribution to Literature in Indian Cinema: Chetan Bhagat

47th Khajuraho Dance Festival 2021 begins

•The 47th Khajuraho Dance Festival began in Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh which is based on the Indian classical dance tradition. Khajuraho Temples come alive with splendour, beams, and the hustle-bustle of art lovers at the Festival. The first-day event is dedicated to Bharatanatyam performance by Geeta Chandran and her troupe and Kathak performance by Deepak Maharaj.

•The festival is being organized by the Culture Department through Ustad Alauddin Khan Music and Arts Academy Bhopal.

•This year festival will give the audience a chance to watch the performance of the dancers amid the aura of the temple as the event is being held once again in the temple complex of the Western Temple Group of Khajuraho after a gap of 44 years.

•The festival was hosted each year at the magnificent city of Khajuraho located in the district of Chhatarpur, the artists perform in the backdrop of historical monuments.

ICGS C-453 Interceptor boat commissioned into services in Chennai

•The Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICG) named C-453 was commissioned into services in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. This was the 17th interceptor boats out of the 18 which are being indigenously built by Larsen & Toubro Ltd.

•It is a 27.80-m-long interceptor boat. The boat has a displacement of 105 tonnes. It can attain a maximum speed of 45 knots (85 kmph).

•It is capable to undertake multifarious tasks such as surveillance, close-coast patrol, interdiction, and search & rescue. It will also provide assistance to the boats and craft in case of distress at sea.

•The ship will be deployed to do surveillance of the Exclusive Economic Zone and other duties in accordance with the Coast Guard Charter. This will help in safeguarding the maritime interests of India.

Rajnath Singh inaugurates DRDO skill centre for fire safety training

•Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh has inaugurated Skill Development Centre (SDC) for Fire Safety Training of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) through virtual mode at Pilkhuwa in Uttar Pradesh. The first of its kind in India facility has been created by Delhi based DRDO laboratory ‘Centre for Fire, Explosive and Environment Safety (CFEES)’.

•The SDC DRDO facility will help in developing trained human resources, fire safety technology and products to save precious human lives and valued assets.

•The facility would be utilised for imparting fire prevention and fire-fighting training to the Fire Service personnel of Indian Armed Forces, DRDO, Ordnance Factories, Coast Guard and defence undertakings.

SPORTS

World’s biggest cricket stadium set for first match

•The biggest cricket stadium in the world will hold its first international match, with the newly renovated Sardar Patel Stadium to host the third Test between India and England. Both India and England had a forgettable outing in their last pink-ball outings.

•The stadium is also known as Motera Stadium, the venue in Ahmedabad was first opened in the early 1980s but has recently been rebuilt and now has a seating capacity of 110,000.

•Motera currently is the biggest cricket stadium in the world in terms of capacity.

•The last time when India played a cricket match at Motera was way back in 2014.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

DRDO Conducts Two Successful Launches of VL-SRSAM Missile System

•Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) has conducted two successful launches of Vertical Launch Short Range Surface to Air Missile (VL-SRSAM). DRDO carried out the launch from a static vertical launcher from Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur off the coast of Odisha. The launches were monitored by senior scientists from various DRDO labs involved in the design and development of the system. During the test launches, flight path and vehicle performance parameters were monitored using flight data, captured by various Range instruments.

•The VL-SRSAM is indigenously designed and developed by DRDO for the Indian Navy, VL-SRSAM aims to neutralize various aerial threats at close ranges including sea-skimming targets.

•The missiles intercepted the simulated targets with pinpoint accuracy. The missiles were tested for minimum and maximum range. VL-SRSAM with Weapon Control System was deployed during the trials.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Central Excise Day: 24 February

•Central Excise Day is celebrated every year on February 24 across India. The day is being celebrated to honour the service of the Central Board of Excise and Custom (CBEC) to the country. The day is celebrated to honour the officers associated with CBEC and their services. This is done to encourage the officers to carry out their duties with utmost sincerity. The officers, every year perform checking of corruption in goods from the manufacturing sector.

•The day is celebrated to commemorate the legislation of the Central Excise and Salt act on 24 February 1944.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Union Bank Of India wins World HRD Congress Awards

•Union Bank of India was awarded “Best Service Provider” in Human Resources and also the best institution for “Excellence in Learning & Development” at the 29th Global HRD Congress awards. Kalyan Kumar, Chief General Manager, HR was named as “Chief Human Resources Officer of the Year”.

•Global HRD Congress Awards are given to institutions annually for the best HR practices under different categories. The eminent jury which consists of the best in the industry will select the organizations taking into account their remarkable achievements in HR.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

Home Minister released a book ‘Rashtra Pratham – 82 varshon ki Swarnim Gatha’

•Home Minister Amit Shah has released a book ‘Rashtra Pratham – 82 varshon ki Swarnim Gatha’ in New Delhi. The book chronicles the glorious history of CRPF since its raising in 1939 and it has detailed and thoroughly researched accounts of CRPF’s journey, challenges, successes, and sacrifices and said it will become a source of inspiration for personnel joining the force.

•CRPF jawans have always remained at the forefront be it in Left Wing Extremism affected areas, borders or providing security ring to the Indian Parliament.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

RBI ropes in Punjabi rapper for awareness campaign on cyber fraud

•The RBI has roped in Punjabi singer-rapper Viruss in its public awareness campaign. The campaign also includes Viruss’ popular 2017 Indie hit ‘Bam Bhole’ that was recreated for Akshay Kumar-Kiara Advani starrer Laxmii. As cyber frauds continue to increase, the Reserve Bank of India has undertaken an unusual measure to spread awareness.

•The apex bank that has been very active on social media since the lockdown urges tech-savvy netizens to stay alert or ‘satark’ against common fraudsters and cybersecurity threats, including in UPI.

•The RBI has been running the campaign ‘RBI Kehta Hai’ on social media accounts since 2016 but has never been accompanied by peppy music.

•Since 2016 when it created the tagline RBI Kehta Hai, the central bank’s communication has been centred on financial literacy and public awareness towards frauds, etc.

•The bank uses social media to talk about the facilities it offers for senior citizens, cybersecurity, digital banking, and setting limits on card transactions.

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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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