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Important Current Affairs 14th February 2022

NATIONAL

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari inaugurates 14.5 km long rail-cum-road-bridge over Ganga river at Munger in Bihar

• The Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar jointly inaugurated the 14.5-kilometre long ‘Rail-cum-Road-Bridge’ in Bihar. The much-awaited bridge is constructed over the River Ganga on NH 333B in Bihar’s Munger region. The cost of the ‘Rail-cum-Road-Bridge’ project is Rs 696 crore. The new bridge will reduce travel time, give a boost to tourism, agriculture as well as generate employment opportunities.

• One of Bihar’s major tourist and pilgrimage sites, the city of Munger is well known for its rich ancient history, culture, education and commerce. With the construction of this Rail-cum-Road-Bridge, the distance from Munger to Khagaria will be less than 100 kilometres and also, the distance from Munger to Begusarai will be less than 20 kilometres.

President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurates politically significant Durbar Hall at Raj Bhavan

• President of India, Ram Nath Kovind has inaugurated the Durbar Hall at Raj Bhavan, situated at Malabar Hill, Mumbai. While retaining the heritage features of the old court hall, the new hall has been given additional features such as a balcony and a sea view gallery. Durbar Hall has political importance as it has been associated with oath-taking ceremonies of the Governors, chief ministers of the state.

• Earlier, the inauguration of Durbar Hall was scheduled on December 8, 2021, but it was postponed due to the sudden demise of General Bipin Rawat, chief of defence staff in a helicopter crash.

Army holds 1st hackathon to boost cyber warfare

• Indian army has conducted a first-of-its-kind Hackathon named “Sainya Ranakshetram”. The hackathon was conducted in the Military College of Telecommunication Engineering (MCTE), Mhow under the overall guidance of the Shimla-based Army Training Command (ARTRAC), one of the seven commands of the Indian Army.

• The event was conducted from 01 October 2021 to 31 December 2021 under the name of “Sainya Ranakshetram”, in collaboration with the Rashtriya Raksha University.

• The virtual event witnessed the participation of over 15,000 participants and comprised a number of challenges based on Secure Coding, Software Defined Radio exploitation and Cyber Offensive skills. Further, the main highlights of the event included participants competing with each other in cyberspace against simulated threats.

• Additionally, the event also hosted a plethora of training sessions and sessions by experts for the participants. Cyber enthusiasts from across India were the cynosure in the entire event.

Maharashtra’s Health Minister announces "Hope Express" will be launched to prevent cancer

• Maharashtra’s Health Minister, Rajesh Tope has announced that “Hope Express” will be launched in the state to prevent cancer. This is the first such machine in India. He was speaking at the launch of a state-of-the-art Mosaic-3D radiation machine at a private hospital in Kolhapur. The State Health Minister also promised to take initiative to start Hope Express in every district of the state through district planning.

• The State Health Minister also promised to take initiative to start Hope Express in every district of the state through district planning. He also inaugurated the Oncoprime Cancer Center online at the Hattarki Hospital in Gadhinglaj. The centre will benefit patients in rural areas.

SPORTS

ESPNcricinfo awards 2021: Rishabh Pant wins ‘Test Batting Award’, Kane Williamson is ‘Captain of Year’

• In the 15th Edition of ESPNcricinfo Awards, India’s wicketkeeper-batsman, Rishabh Pant wins the ‘Test Batting’ award by scoring 89 not out, helped India to win the Border Gavaskar Trophy 2021 by (2-1) and shattered Australia’s unbeaten record at Gabba after 32 years. Rishabh Pant was the top scorer of the series for the Indian team, scoring (274 runs).

• New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson was adjudged ‘Captain of the Year’.

• The Test bowling award went to Kyle Jamieson (New Zealand) for his 5 wickets leaving just 31 runs, which helped New Zealand in becoming the first World Test champions (2019-2021).

• England fast bowler Ollie Robinson was named Debutant of the Year.

• Saqib Mahmood’s 4 for 42 in a nine-wicket win over Pakistan got him the top ODI bowling prize.

• Jos Buttler won the T20I batting award.

• The ODI batting and T20I bowling awards went to Pakistan. Fakhar Zaman won the top batting prize. Shaheen Afridi won the T20I bowling award for his annihilation of India in the 10-wicket win for Pakistan at the T20 World Cup.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Chairman of SC-appointed panel on Char Dham all-weather road resigns

• Veteran environmentalist Ravi Chopra has resigned as chairman of the Supreme Court’s High Powered Committee (HPC) on the Char Dham project. His belief that the HPC could protect this fragile (Himalayan) ecology has been shattered. The Supreme Court on December 14 allowed double-lane widening of roads for the project in view of “security concerns.”

• In his resignation letter to the secretary-general of the Supreme Court on January 27, Chopra referred to the apex court’s December 2021 order that accepted the wider road configuration to meet defence needs, instead of what the HPC had recommended and the SC accepted in its earlier order in September 2020. In 2018, the project was challenged by an NGO for its potential impact on the Himalayan ecology due to felling trees, cutting hills and dumping excavated material. In 2019, the SC formed the HPC Chopra to examine the issues, and in September 2020, accepted his recommendation on road width etc.

Actor Pankaj Tripathi invests in agritech startup Krishi Network

• Cultino Agrotech Pvt Ltd, which runs agritech app Krishi Network has roped in film actor Pankaj Tripathi as a brand ambassador, with a view to reaching out to farmers to its app. Tripathi’s background as a farmer resonates with the platform’s aim to aid farmers to grow their profits by offering them solutions to critical decisions. The app is currently available in Hindi, Marathi, Punjabi, and English, and is planned to be launched in other languages soon.

• The startup plans to use the fresh funds to boost their artificial intelligence-based technology platform across India. Founded by IIT Kharagpur alumni Ashish Mishra and Siddhant Bhomia, Krishi Network leverages the growing rural internet penetration to create a platform that eases information accessibility for farmers and enables them to generate higher profits from their land.

RANKING

India among top 5 economies for ease of starting new business

• The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2021/2022 report, unveiled at the Dubai Expo, India is among the top five easiest places to start a new business. The survey of Indian respondents, who answered questions on their entrepreneurial activity, attitudes to enterprise and view of their local entrepreneurial ecosystem, found that 82% think it is easy to start a business, placing India fourth globally. It was topped by Saudi Arabia and followed by Netherlands & Sweden.

• India has topped amongst low-income economies (according to GDP per capita) on different Entrepreneurial Framework Conditions such as Entrepreneurial Finance, Ease of Access to Finance, Government Policy: Support and Relevance; and Government Support: Taxes and Bureaucracy; while Government Entrepreneurial Programmes was ranked second highest.

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Important Current Affairs 13th February 2022

NATIONAL

NABARD launches JIVA to promote natural

• National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has launched the ‘JIVA programme’ to promote natural farming under its existing watershed and wadi programmes in 11 states. To effectively implement the principles of agroecology long-term sustainability and transform the pre-existing social and natural capital towards efficient farming.

• JIVA is an agroecology-based programme, an amalgamation of several projects under the watershed programme of NABARD and will be implemented in 11 states covering five agroecological zones, which are in ecologically fragile and rain-fed areas.

IAF to show off ‘Made in India’ Tejas fighter jets at Singapore Air Show 2022

• The 44-member contingents of the Indian Air Force (IAF) has reached the Changi International Airport in Singapore on February 12, 2022, to participate in the ‘Singapore Air Show-2022’, which is scheduled to be held from February 15 to 18, 2022. Singapore Air Show is a biennial event that provides a platform for the Global Aviation Industry to showcase its products.

• The IAF will showcase its indigenous Tejas MK-I ac during the event. It will also interact with counterparts from RSAF (Royal Singapore Air Force) & other participating contingents.

• The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas will display low-level aerobatics to showcase its superior handling characteristics and manoeuvrability.

SMILE Scheme 2022 for Transgenders & Beggars Rehabilitation

• The Union Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment, Dr Virendra Kumar has launched the Central Sector scheme titled “SMILE”. SMILE stands for Support for Marginalized Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise. The new umbrella scheme aims to provide welfare measures to the Transgender community and the people engaged in the act of begging. The scheme will give the necessary legal protection, social security and a promise to a secured life to the targeted group. The Ministry has allocated Rs. 365 crore for the scheme for five years from 2021-22 to 2025-26.

OBITUARY

Rahul Bajaj, former chairman of Bajaj Auto, passes away at 83

• Noted industrialist and former chairman of Bajaj Auto, Rahul Bajaj, has passed away, due to pneumonia and a heart problem. He was awarded the third-highest civilian award Padma Bhushan in 2001. He was the chairman emeritus of the Indian conglomerate Bajaj Group, the parent company of Bajaj Auto. He stepped down as the non-executive chairman of Bajaj Auto in April 2021 and transferred the responsibility to Niraj Bajaj.

France's Nobel winner for co-discovery of HIV virus dies aged 89

• Luc Montagnier, a French virologist who shared a Nobel Prize in 2008 for discovering the virus that causes AIDS, passed away. He was 89. The discovery of H.I.V. began in Paris on Jan. 3, 1983. That was the day that Dr. Montagnier (pronounced mon-tan-YAY), who directed the Viral Oncology Unit at the Pasteur Institute, received a piece of the lymph node that had been removed from a 33-year-old man with AIDS.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Radio Day 2022: 13rd February

• World Radio Day is celebrated on 13 February each year to recognize radio as a powerful medium, which brings people together from every corner of the globe, to promote diversity and help build a more peaceful and inclusive world. The day was Proclaimed in 2011 by the Member States of UNESCO and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 as an International Day, February 13 became World Radio Day (WRD).

International Epilepsy Day 2022: 14th February

• International Epilepsy Day is observed every year on the Second Monday of February across the world. In 2022, International Epilepsy Day falls on February 14, 2022. International Epilepsy Day seeks to raise awareness and educate the general public on the true facts about epilepsy and the urgent need for improved treatment, better care, and greater investment in research.

• The day is organised jointly by the International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE) and the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) to raise awareness about epilepsy and highlight the kinds of problems faced by victims, their friends and family. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that makes a person go through sudden and recurrent episodes of sensory disturbances.

'Anti-Smuggling Day' 11 February To Strike Better Coordination Between Agencies: FICCI CASCADE

• The FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE) has taken the initiative to launch Anti-Smuggling Day, which will be marked on 11 February every year. The inaugural Anti-Smuggling Day is being observed on February 11, 2022.

• Anti-Smuggling Day will gather momentum and bring together policymakers, international institutions, enforcement agencies, industry members, media, and consumers for their commitment to take action to fight against the global menace of smuggling.

• ‘Anti-Smuggling Day’ will represent a major step in the fight against the global menace of smuggling.

• With no country immune to the impact of smuggling and no single sector can be said to be an exception, this day will highlight the mounting hazard of smuggling. It will not only call for attention for creating awareness on this issue, but will also evaluate what more needs to be done at a national and international level in mitigating this challenge.

BOOKS & AUTHOR

Book “India–Africa Relations: Changing Horizons” authored by Rajiv Bhatia

• Ambassador Rajiv Kumar Bhatia, a Distinguished Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies Programme at Gateway House, has authored a new book (his 3rd book) titled “India-Africa Relations: Changing Horizons” which explores the emergence and assertion of Africa as a significant actor and stakeholder in global affairs and the transformation of the relationship between India and Africa.

• The book also provides a detailed exploration of India–the Africa partnership in all its critical dimensions. The book describes the historical backdrop and shared colonial past to focus on and contextualise the evolution of the India – Africa engagement.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

Sebi revamps advisory committee on Investor Protection and Education Fund

• Securities and Exchange Board of India has restructured its advisory committee on Investor Protection and Education Fund (IPEF), under the chairmanship of G Mahalingam. The advisory committee on IPEF is an eight-member committee that will take G Mahalingam, former Whole Time Member of SEBI, as its new Chairperson. Members of Committee: Vijay Kumar Venkataraman, Mrin Agarwal, A Balasubramanian, M G Parameswaran, GP Garg, N Hariharan and Jayanta Jash.

• In 2013, the committee was established by the SEBI to find out ways and means to best utilize the investor protection and education fund. Earlier the committee was headed by Abraham Koshy, former professor of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A), Gujarat.

• The committee is mandated to recommend investor education and protection activities for the utilization of the SEBI Investor Protection and Education Fund (IPEF).

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Important Current Affairs 12th February 2022

NATIONAL

Government Approves to continued RYSK Scheme for another 5 years

• The Central Government of India has decided to continue the scheme of “Rashtriya Yuva Sashaktikaran Karyakram (RYSK)” for another 5 years from 2021 -22 to 2025-26 with an outlay of Rs. 2,710.65 crore. To develop the personality and leadership qualities of the youth and to engage them in nation-building activities. Beneficiaries of this scheme are the youth in the age group of 15 to 29 years (according to the definition of ‘youth’ in the National Youth Policy, 2014).

India to assist Sri Lanka launch its model of Aadhaar

• India has agreed to provide a grant to Sri Lanka to implement a ‘Unitary Digital Identity framework’, apparently modelled on the Aadhaar card. The Rajapaksa government will “prioritise” the implementation of the Framework as a national-level programme. The initiative follows bilateral talks between President Gotabaya Rajapaksa & Prime Minister Narendra Modi in December 2019.

• It is expected to introduce a personal identity verification device based on biometric data, a digital tool that can represent the identities of individuals in cyberspace, and the identification of individual identities that can be accurately verified in digital and physical environments by combining the two devices.

• While India has confirmed support for Sri Lanka’s effort to transition to a digital identity system, there is no official information yet on the value of the grant, and whether it would include technological support or training. Queried on the specifics of the agreement, Colombo-based official sources said the terms of the agreement are “being worked out”.

Government inks MoU with British Council

• The Government of Telangana and the British Council, an international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural exchange, have signed a 3-year MoU to renew the partnership in education, English and arts. To facilitate research between institutions and assist to expand higher education globally, to offer global opportunities for the youth of Telangana.

• Under the extended 3-year MoU, the British Council has also signed an agreement with the Research and Innovation Circle of Hyderabad (RICH) to work closely to engineer new partnerships between universities, research institutions and centres of excellence in the UK and in Telangana.

Indigenous & Ahead of Schedule: It Is Saksham

• India’s Goa Shipyard Ltd delivered the 5th and final vessel of the 5 Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Vehicle (CGOPV) Project ahead of contractual schedule. The vessel was named ICGS ‘Saksham’. The point to be underlined- all 5 vessels have been delivered before time to the Indian Coast Guard. The contract for 5 CGOPVs was signed by GSL with the Ministry of Defence on 26 August 2016.

• All the five CGOPVs will be the most advanced patrol vessels in service with the coast guard. Also, the 2,400 tonnes vessels are fitted with additional features including quick response boats for rescue and anti-piracy and gunnery simulators. The hull is designed to provide fuel efficiency, crew comfort and enhanced sea keeping qualities. With computerised control systems, they are the most advanced patrol vessels in service with the Coast Guard. It has an indigenous content of about 70% and weighs around 2400 tonnes.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari Appointed As Chief Justice Of Madras High Court

• According to the Law Ministry, Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari has been appointed Chief Justice of the Madras High Court. Justice Bhandari had taken over as the Acting Chief Justice of the Madras High Court after the transfer of Justice Sanjib Banerjee to the Meghalaya High Court in November last year. The Law Ministry also notified the appointment of a total of 13 advocates and three judicial officers as judges of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh High Courts.

• While three advocates each were appointed to the Orissa and Madhya Pradesh High Courts, seven advocates were elevated to the Andhra Pradesh High Court. Three judicial officers were appointed as judges of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

Tata Sons reappoints N Chandrasekaran as Executive Chairman for five years

• The board of Tata Sons Pvt Ltd has approved the re-appointment of N Chandrasekaran as the Executive Chairman of the company for the second five years term. Chandrasekaran’s current tenure as the chairman was to expire at the end of February 2022. He joined the board of Tata Sons in 2016 and took over the role as Chairman in 2017.

• Chandrasekaran’s tenure in the last five years saw several mergers and acquisitions by the group in the steel, aviation and digital sectors and a complete exit from the cellular telephony industry. One of the first tasks of Chandra, as he is popularly known, was to get rid of Tata Teleservices which lost around Rs 60,000 crore in paying back bank loans apart from paying the AGR dues till date. Tatas sold the mobile phone business to Bharti Airtel while retaining debt and other liabilities of the company.

SUMMIT'S & MOU's

PM Modi to address high-level segment of One Ocean Summit

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has addressed the high-level segment of the One Ocean Summit. The high-level segment of the summit will also be addressed by several other heads of states and governments including Germany, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Japan and Canada.

• The One Ocean summit is organised by France from 9-11 February in Brest in cooperation with the United Nations and the World Bank. The objective of the summit is to mobilise the international community to take tangible action towards preserving and supporting healthy and sustainable ocean ecosystems.

IMPORTANT DAYS

National Deworming Day 2022: 10th February

• National Deworming Day is observed on February 10, to make people aware of the importance of deworming, particularly for children from 1 to 19 years of age, who are the most vulnerable. The Day was launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in 2015. The main aim of the Day is to raise awareness on intestinal worms and to attain complete eradication of Soil-Transmitted Helminths in children. Around 24% of the world’s population is infected with soil-transmitted helminths (worms).

• Parasitic worms are a menace to society, both for people and animals. It is impossible to prevent worm infestation since children come in contact with soil while playing outside. Worm infestations can reduce the quality of life in children, stunt their physical growth and mental development.

• This may lead to poor productivity in schools, affect their attendance and hamper their education and future. Hence, timely and proper deworming of children is a necessity. Intestinal worms are found in the gastrointestinal tract and they damage the body.

National Productivity Day 2022: 13th February 

• National Productivity Day is observed every year in India on February 12. The objective of the National Productivity Council is to stimulate and promote productivity and quality consciousness across all sectors in the country. The main observance of the day is to encourage all stakeholders in the implementation of productivity tools and techniques with contemporary relevant themes.

• The day is celebrated by the National Productivity Council (NPC) to promote productivity culture in India. National Productivity Council (NPC) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry Government of India is a premier institution for propagating productivity movement in India. NPC works for providing solutions towards accelerating productivity, enhancing competitiveness, increasing productivity.

RANKING

Democracy Index 2021: India ranked 46th 

• India has ranked 46th position in the 2021 Democracy Index’s global ranking, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit. With the highest score of 9.75, Norway topped the Democracy Index 2021 by Economist Intelligence. The list was published on February 10, 2022. India scored 6.91 to rank 46th on the list. Our neighbour Pakistan has been placed further below in the hybrid regime with a rank of 104.

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Important Current Affairs 11th February 2022

NATIONAL

Power Minister Launches Powerthon-2022 for Enabling

• Union Minister of Power, R K Singh has launched Powerthon-2022, a hackathon competition to find technology-driven solutions to solve the complex problems in power distribution and to ensure quality and reliable power supply. The competition will bring together qualified mentors with TSPs, innovators, and other participants to create teams for efficient electricity networks. He also encouraged technologists to come forward not only with solutions to existing problems but also with other problem statements and ideas for reliable power supply.

• Technology Solution Providers (TSPs), start-ups, educational institutions, research institutes, equipment manufacturers, state power utilities and other state and central power sector entities, shall be briefed on the current challenges/ problem statements faced across the power distribution sector and invited to showcase their technology-driven solutions to solve the complex problems.

• The hackathon will task participants to find innovative solutions based on advanced emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain and the Internet of Things on nine themes that have been identified after various discussions with 14 discoms across nine states.

Union Minister Shares First Glimpse Of Surat's Bullet Train Station

• The Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project will be India’s first bullet train route. While Surat city will get India’s first bullet train station. National High-Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL) will be constructing this project that is scheduled to be completed by December 2024. The cost of the project is estimated to be more than Rs 1 lakh crore of which Rs 88,000 crores will be funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Of the 508.17-kilometre Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, 155.76 km is in Maharashtra, 384.04 km in Gujarat and 4.3 km in Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

SPORTS

Gujarat Titans unveiled as name for new Ahmedabad franchise

• Gujarat Titans is the official name of the new Ahmedabad franchise owned by CVC Capital as Hardik Pandya is all set to lead the franchise in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022. The naming of the Ahmedabad franchise comes days after Lucknow, owned by RPSG Group, announced its official name as Lucknow Super Giants. The Lucknow team will be led by KL Rahul.

• Debuting in the 15th season of the IPL, the Gujarat Titans will pay tribute to the state’s rich cricketing legacy, which has seen it produce countless Indian international cricket legends over the years.

• The franchise is inspired by the opportunity to represent and build on this deep cricketing heritage, as well as build on its future success on the pitch.

• Gujarat Titans drafted in Hardik Pandya as their captain for Rs 15 crore and Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan for Rs 15 crore. They also got young India opener, Shubman Gill, for Rs 8 crore.

 APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

S. Kishore appointed as new SSC Chairman

• Senior bureaucrat S. Kishore has been appointed as Chairman, Staff Selection Commission (SSC). According to an order issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Kishore to the post in the rank and pay of Secretary to Government of India by temporarily upgrading the post and keeping the Recruitment Rules of the post in abeyance. Presently, he is serving as Special Secretary, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

SUMMIT'S & MOU's

Ministry of Culture to organize first of its kind Global Summit on ‘Reimagining Museums in India’ on 15-16 February

• The Union Ministry of Culture will organize a first-of-its-kind Global Summit on ‘Reimagining Museums in India’ on February 15-16, 2022. The summit will be inaugurated by Union Culture Minister G. Kishan Reddy. The Global Summit is being organised in partnership with Bloomberg. It will be held online for two days and is open for public participation. The summit will see participation from 25 museologists and museum professionals who will speak on reimagined priorities and practices for Museums.

• The virtual summit will be conducted with four broad themes: Architecture and Functional Needs, Management, Collections Curation & Conservation practices) and Education and Audience Engagement.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2022: 11th February

• International Day of Women and Girls in Science is observed globally on 11 February. The 7th International Day of Women and Girls in Science Assembly, taking place on 11 February 2022, aims to recognize the role of women and girls in science, not only as beneficiaries but also as agents of change, including in view of accelerating progress towards the achievement of SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation). The Day is implemented by UNESCO and UN-Women in collaboration with institutions and civil society partners that aim to promote women and girls in science.

• The 2022 theme of the Day is “Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: Water Unites Us”.

World Unani Day 2022:11th February

• World Unani Day is observed on February 11 every year to mark the birth anniversary of “Hakim Ajmal Khan”, an eminent Indian Unani physician. The first Unani Day was celebrated in 2017 at the Central Research Institute of Unani Medicine (CRIUM), Hyderabad. The main objective is to spread the awareness in masses and action about healthcare delivery through the Unani system of medicine worldwide through its preventive and curative philosophy.

• The Unani system of medicine has a long and impressive record in India. It was introduced in India by the Arabs and Persians sometime around the eleventh century.

• It has the largest number of Unani educational, research and health care institutions.

• The Unani system of medicine originated in Greece. Its foundation was laid by Hippocrates.

• The system owes its present form to the Arabs who not only saved much of the Greek literature by rendering it into Arabic but also enriched the medicine of their day with their own contributions.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Nitin Gadkari to receive Late Madhavrao Limaye award

• Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari will be facilitated for the first time with the 18th late Madhavrao Limaye award in the category of Karyakram Khaasdar (Efficient Member of Parliament) for the year 2020-21. This award will be facilitated by Nashik Public Library, Sarvajanik Vachanalay. Earlier, the award was given to Karyaksham Aamdaar, an efficient Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Maharashtra.

• The Sarvajanik Vachanalay annually selects one of the members of Vidhan Parishad (Lok Sabha), Vidhan Sabha (Rajya Sabha) for the Efficient MLA or Member of Parliament (MP) Award. The award has been instituted in the memory of Limaye by his daughter Dr. Shobha Nerlikar. The award consists of Rs 50,000 in cash and a memento.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

RBI reopens allotment of investment limit under the Voluntary Retention Route

• The Reserve Bank of India had introduced the Voluntary Retention Route (VRR) for investments by Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) in debts in 2019 with an investment limit of Rs 1,50,000 crore. Out of this, around Rs, 1,49,995 crore have been availed so far in three tranches. Now RBI has increased this investment limit in VRR from Rs. 1,50,000 crore to Rs. 2,50,000 crore.

• The investment limit under VRR has been increased to Rs 2,50,000 crore.

• The investment limit available for fresh allotment shall accordingly be Rs 1,04,800 crore (net of extant allotments and adjustments); and shall be allotted under the VRR–Combined category.

RBI kept the repo rate unchanged at 4.0 Percent

• The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) headed by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das kept the repo rate unchanged at 4 per cent for the 10th consecutive time while maintaining an ‘accommodative stance’ as long as necessary. The reverse repo rate will continue to be 3.35 per cent. The central bank had last revised the policy rate on May 22, 2020, in an off-policy cycle to perk up demand by cutting the interest rate to a historic low.

• eserve Bank of India conducted the 6th and the last Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting for 2021-22 between February 8-10, 2022. The next meeting of the MPC is scheduled during April 6-8, 2022.

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Important Current Affairs 9th February 2022

NATIONAL

RPF has launched a nationwide “AAHT operation” to combat human trafficking

• Indian Railway Protection Force has launched a nationwide operation to curb human trafficking. As part of “Operation AAHT”, special teams will be deployed on all long-distance trains/routes with a focus on rescuing victims, particularly women and children, from the clutches of traffickers. The Railways, which operate about 21,000 trains across the country daily, is the most reliable mode of transportation for the traffickers who often moved their victims on long-distance trains.

• The RPF that rescued more than 2,000 women and children between 2017-21 from the clutches of traffickers intensified the crackdown on human trafficking with the increasing number of cases. The National Crime Records Bureau registers about 2,200 cases of Human Trafficking cases on an average each year.

Age-old Kanchoth festival celebrated in J&K's Bhaderwah

• The ancient festival of Kanchoth is annually celebrated, mainly by the Nag followers, during the Shukla Paksha of Magh month which usually falls in January or February. The festival is celebrated with religious fervour across the Chenab valley region of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

• The 3-day festival is celebrated by married women who pray for the long life of their husbands. Kanchoth or Gauri Tritya is widely celebrated in hilly kishtwar, Ramban and Doda of Jammu province. The festival is celebrated across Bhaderwah (also known as mini-Kashmir), Kotli, Mathola, Ghata, Khakhal, Gupt Ganga, Chinnote, Kapra, Bhalra, Bheja, Chinchora and other regions.

PMKSY scheme extended till FY'26 with Rs 4600 crore outlay

• The ‘Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY)’ has been extended till March 2026 with an allocation of Rs 4,600 crore. The scheme is administered by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries. The scheme aims for the overall growth and development of the food processing sector. In May 2017, the Central Government had launched SAMPADA (Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters) with an allocation of Rs 6,000 crore. The scheme was renamed as PMKSY in August 2017.

• The scheme will boost the growth of the food processing sector but also help in providing better prices to farmers and creating huge employment opportunities. PMKSY is an umbrella scheme incorporating ongoing schemes of the ministry like Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure, Food Safety and Quality Assurance Infrastructure, Infrastructure for Agro-processing Clusters, Creation /Expansion of Food Processing and Preservation Capacities and Operation Greens.

NITI Aayog, USAID to collaborate in healthcare

• Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have announced a new partnership under the Sustainable Access to Markets and Resources for Innovative Delivery of Healthcare (SAMRIDH) initiative. It aims to improve access to affordable and quality healthcare for vulnerable populations in tier-2 and tier-3 cities, and rural and tribal regions.  It aims to mobilize a capital pool of $100+ million from the private sector and bilateral organizations. It leverages this fund to offer both grant and debt financing provision to support the expansion of market-based health solutions.

• AIM and SAMRIDH have announced a Call for Proposals for healthcare innovators and entrepreneurs in India. Through this initiative, they will focus on innovations across the healthcare landscape.

• This new partnership announced will enhance SAMRIDH’s efforts to reach vulnerable populations, leveraging AIM’s expertise in innovation and entrepreneurship.

• The collaboration would focus on innovations across the healthcare landscape with the common goal to mount an effective response to the ongoing third wave of C-19 and build health system preparedness for future infectious disease outbreaks and health emergencies.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

MediBuddy ropes in Amitabh Bachchan as brand ambassador

• MediBuddy, one of India’s largest digital healthcare platforms, has signed legendary Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan as the official brand ambassador. As part of the deal, Bachchan will be seen endorsing various services available on the platform, while highlighting the need to prioritise one’s health.

• With the deal in place, MediBuddy is looking at further amplifying its reach across India. Leveraging the veteran actor’s popularity, especially across tier II and tier III cities, the brand aims to position itself as a household name.

SUMMIT'S & MOU's

Sonata Software ties up with Microsoft in its launch

• A global IT Services, and Technology Solutions Company, Sonata Software has announced its partnership with Microsoft for its launch of ‘Microsoft Cloud for Retail’. The company has been a partner with Microsoft for over three decades. The ‘Microsoft Cloud for Retail’ collaboration is expected to further strengthen the relationship. Sonata Software delivers solutions for retailers worldwide, leveraging world-class IPs, in-house migration and modernisation tools.

• The partnership with Microsoft Cloud for Retail will further enhance our capabilities, with its emphasis on leveraging data, elevating the shopping experience, building real-time, sustainable supply chains, and empowering store associates. The Sonata Connected Retail solution is available through Microsoft AppSource. Sonata Software is a Microsoft Gold Partner and is a member of the Microsoft Inner Circle for Business Applications.

Govt signs deal to develop clean energy tech in Kerala

• Kerala Government has signed an MoU with the Social Alpha’s Energy Lab – “Clean Energy International Incubation Centre (CEIIC)” to support innovative and clean energy technology programmes in Kerala. The Government of Kerala signed this agreement through Kerala Development & Innovation Strategy Council (KDISC) and Energy Management Centre (EMC).

• The EMC Kerala represents the Power Department agencies including the Kerala State Electricity Board, Electrical Inspectorate and ANERT (Agency for New and Renewable Energy Research and Technology). To establish a clean energy incubation centre to boost green energy development and energy conservation activities in Kerala.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

PM CARES Fund corpus triples to Rs 10,990.17 crore in FY 2020-21

• The total corpus under the PM CARES Funds in 2020-21 was Rs 10,990.17 crore. While Rs 3,976.17 crore was spent from the fund in 2020-21, according to the latest audited statement of PM CARES Funds. As on March 31, 2021, the Fund had an unspent balance of Rs 7,013.99 crore. The government has used a part of the money to buy medical equipment, including ventilators, to boost the battle against the C-19 and has also provided relief to migrants.

• The highest amount was spent on Procurement of 6.6 crore doses of C-19 vaccine i.e. Rs 1,392.82 crore. The Fund was established on March 27, 2020. PM CARES fund is a dedicated national fund with the primary objective of dealing with any kind of emergency or distress situation like posed by the C-19 pandemic. Prime Minister is the ex-officio Chairman of the PM CARES Fund.  The fund was set up as a public charitable trust “keeping in mind the need for having a dedicated national fund with the primary objective of dealing with any kind of emergency or distress situation, like posed by the C-19 pandemic, and to provide relief to the affected”.

RBI to observe February 14-18, 2022 as Financial Literacy week 2022

• The Reserve Bank of India will observe February 14-18, 2022 as Financial Literacy week 2022. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has been conducting Financial Literacy Week (FLW) every year since 2016 to propagate financial education messages on a particular theme across the country. Banks have been advised to disseminate the information and create awareness among its customers and the general public.The theme of Financial Literacy week 2022 is: “Go Digital, Go Secure”. The theme is aligned with one of the strategic objectives of the National Strategy for Financial Education: 2020-2025.

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Important Current Affairs 8th February 2022

NATIONAL

India becomes first country to administer DNA-based vaccine

• India has become the first country in the world to administer a DNA vaccine against C-19. The ZyCoV-D which is the World’s first plasmid DNA vaccine has been produced by Ahmedabad-based vaccine manufacturer Zydus Cadila and it was administered for the first time in Patna. It is a Painless and Needleless vaccine given at intervals of 28 days and 56 days. It is the second India-made vaccine to get emergency authorization in India after Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.

• The Indian government approved emergency use authorisation for Zydus Cadila’s DNA vaccine earlier this year, citing initial results from Phase III clinical trials that showed approximately 66 per cent efficacy for symptomatic cases.

SPORTS

AFCON 2022: Senegal beat Egypt in penalty shoot-out to win maiden title

• Senegal has defeated Egypt in the Africa Cup of Nations championship winning the continental championship for the first time on penalty kicks at Olembe Stadium in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Sadio Mane scored the winning spot-kick as Senegal claimed a first-ever Africa Cup of Nations title with a 4-2 penalty shootout victory over seven-time winners Egypt. The final had ended 0-0 after extra time.

• Senegal had lost two finals previously, including at the last African Cup in Egypt in 2019, when Mané was left inconsolable. This time he delivered the winning moment.

AFC Asian Cup: China makes stunning revival to beat S. Korea, wins 9th title

• China PR (People’s Republic) defeated South Korea (Korea Republic), 3-2, to win the AFC Women`s Asian Cup India 2022 final title at the D.Y. Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai. This is the record-extending 9th AFC Women`s Asian Cup title won by China. India is hosting the 20th edition of the football AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 from January 20, 2022, to February 06, 2022. China now qualifying for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup to be held in Australia and New Zealand.

Suranga Lakmal Signs Two-Year Deal With Derbyshire After Announcing Retirement From International Cricket

• Veteran Sri Lankan fast bowler Suranga Lakmal has announced to retire from international cricket, after Sri Lanka’s upcoming tour of India. The 34-year-old right-arm fast bowler and right-handed batsman aim to join the English county club Derbyshire after retirement. The Derbyshire County Cricket Club has signed up Lakmal on a two-year contract. Lakmal has represented Sri Lanka in 165 international matches across formats, in his international career spanning over 12 years.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

The International Space Station to be retired and crashed into

• According to NASA, the International Space Station will continue its operation until 2031 and then crash into an uninhabited area in the Pacific Ocean known as Point Nemo. It will be replaced with three free-flying space stations to continue the work after ISS’s retirement. NASA also selected Houston-based Axiom Space to provide the ISS’s first commercial module.

• For over two decades, the International Space Station (ISS) has been orbiting Earth at a speed of about eight kilometres per second, while an international crew of astronauts and cosmonauts onboard conducted groundbreaking scientific investigations that have thrown open the doors for deep space exploration. But now NASA has announced that the spacecraft will cease operations in 2031, after which it will fall out of orbit and plunge into the waters of the South Pacific Ocean.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Santishree Pandit appointed first woman VC of JNU

• The Ministry of Education (MoE) has appointed Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit as the new Vice-Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). She is the first women Vice-Chancellor of JNU. The 59-year-old Pandit has been appointed for a period of five years. Pandit replaces M Jagadesh Kumar, who has been appointed as Chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC). Before this appointment, Pandit was serving as the Vice-Chancellor of Savitribai Phule University in Maharashtra.

OBITURY

Former Astronomer Professor  R Rajamohan passed away

• Professor R Rajamohan, who was an astronomer at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bengaluru, for decades, passed away. He is best known for his Kalki Project, which aimed to discover asteroids using the 48-cm Schmidt telescope in Kavalur VBO and discovered a new asteroid, number 4130, from India. This was the first asteroid discovered in India in 104 years.

RANKING

J&K, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Tripura topped in attacks on journalists in 2021

• The India Press Freedom Report 2021 was recently released by the Rights and Risks Analysis Group. According to the report, 13 media houses and newspapers were targeted in the country, 108 journalists were attacked, and 6 journalists were killed. Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Tripura topped the list of States and Union Territories where journalists and media houses were targeted in 2021.

• 24 journalists were attacked physically, obstructed, threatened, and harassed for doing their work. All these attacks were made by public officials. This includes police attacks as well. 17 of these attacks were police attacks. 44 FIRs were registered against journalists in 2021. Of this 21 were registered under Section 153 of IPC.

India leads in digital skills readiness: Salesforce Global Index

• Salesforce, a leading player in Customer Relationship Management (CRM), published the Global Digital Skills Index 2022 which highlights the growing global digital skills crisis and the need for action. India has scored 63 out of 100, leads the digital skills readiness, and has the highest readiness index among the 19 countries. The average global readiness score was 33 out of 100.

• The 2022 Global Digital Skills Index, is based on a survey on around 23000 workers across 19 countries about digital skills, including their impact on the future of work, concerns about job readiness, and the significance of continuous learning.

• Three major skills gaps were identified in the 2022 global index: The everyday skills gap, The generational skills gap, and The leadership and workforce skills gap.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

Cyber Insurance to Fight Against Online Frauds: Features of ICICI Lombard Airtel Payments Bank Insurance

• ICICI Lombard General Insurance has partnered with Airtel Payments Bank to offer cyber insurance to customers of the bank. This Cyber Insurance policy provides financial protection to customers against potential financial fraud relating to banking, credit or debit card; identity theft; phishing or email spoofing etc. Airtel Payments Bank customers can purchase this cyber insurance policy within minutes using the Airtel Thanks app.

• The insurance comes with zero waiting period and allows users to make multiple claims multiple times during the policy tenure, within the limits of the insured amount opted for

• The policy will provide a 90-day discovery period followed by a seven-day reporting period.

• This means that if the insured discovers an unauthorised transaction processed from their card or account on the 90th day from the transaction date, they can still report it in the next seven days to the issuing bank or mobile wallet company.

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Important Current Affairs 7th February 2022

NATIONAL

C-19: Bengal starts open-air classroom 'Paray Shikshalaya'

• West Bengal government has launched an open-air classroom programme Paray Shikshalaya (Neighbourhood Schools) for primary and pre-primary students. Under the ‘Paray Shikshalaya’ project, primary and pre-primary students of government schools will be taught in open spaces. The state government will also provide mid-day meals to the students of ‘Paray Shikshalaya’. The para teachers and primary school teachers would be part of this project. They will provide elementary education to children of Class 1-5.

KVIC cancels license of oldest Khadi Institution “Khadi Emporium” Mumbai

• Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has cancelled the “Khadi Certification” of its oldest Khadi Institution named Mumbai Khadi & Village Industries Association (MKVIA). This MKVIA was running the popular “Khadi Emporium” at Metropolitan Insurance House, Mumbai since 1954. KVIC has cancelled the license of MKVIA as the latter had started selling fake Khadi products, which was against the “zero-tolerance” policy of KVIC against the sale of spurious/non-Khadi products.

• The action came after KVIC found that the said Khadi Emporium at D.N. Road was selling non-Khadi products in the guise of genuine Khadi. During a routine inspection, KVIC officials collected samples from the Emporium that were found to be non-Khadi products.

• KVIC issued a legal notice to MKVIA for flouting the norms of the “Khadi Certificate” and “Khadi Mark Certificate” issued by the Commission. With the cancellation of the registration, Khadi Emporium ceases to be a genuine Khadi Outlet and is no longer permitted to sell Khadi products from the Emporium.

• KVIC is also contemplating legal action against the MKVIA for criminal breach of trust and cheating the public at large by misusing the credibility and popularity of brand Khadi.

Narendra Modi inaugurated 50th Anniversary Celebrations of Hyderabad-based ICRISAT

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the 50th Anniversary celebrations of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Patancheru, Hyderabad. During the occasion, PM also inaugurated two research facilities of ICRISAT, which were Climate Change Research Facility on Plant Protection and Rapid Generation Advancement Facility.

• These two facilities are dedicated to the smallholder farmers of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Prime Minister also unveiled a specially designed logo of ICRISAT and launched a commemorative stamp issued on the occasion. Its objective is to conduct agricultural research for rural development, in Asia & sub-Saharan Africa.

SPORTS

International Olympic Committee approves three urban sports for 2028 Los Angeles Olympics

• International Olympic Committee (IOC) has approved a proposal to include Surfing, Skateboarding and Sport Climbing for the 2028 Summer Olympics Games that will be organized in Los Angeles, United States. The 2028 Summer Olympics are officially known as the Games of the XXXIV Olympiad, or Los Angeles 2028 is a forthcoming event scheduled to take place from July 21 – August 6, 2028, in Los Angeles, California, US.

• The 2024 Summer Olympics Games will be organized in Paris, France. With this Paris becomes only the second city to host 3 Summer Olympic games. Surfing, Skateboarding and Sport Climbing had made their Olympic debut in Tokyo Olympics 2021 and will also be included in the “additional” list for Paris in 2024. Boxing, weightlifting and modern pentathlon also have the chance to be included in upcoming Olympics games.

Foundation stone for World's third-largest cricket stadium laid in Jaipur

• Rajasthan Chief Minister, Ashok Gehlot and BCCI President Sourav Ganguly laid the foundation stone of the world’s third-largest cricket stadium in Jaipur. The International Cricket Stadium in Jaipur will be the second-largest cricket stadium in India and the third-largest in the world. The new international stadium will be built by the Rajasthan Cricket Academy (RCA) on the Jaipur-Delhi bypass, over 100 acres of land in Jaipur. The stadium will have a seating capacity of 75,000 spectators.

• Currently, Narendra Modi Stadium (former Motera Stadium) in Ahmedabad is the world’s largest stadium with a capacity of 132,000 spectators.

• The second-largest stadium is Australia’s Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) which has a capacity of 1,00,024 spectators.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Swarajability: India's first AI-based job portal for persons with disabilities launched

• The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Hyderabad) has launched the beta version of ‘Swarajability’, a job portal powered by artificial intelligence that helps people with disabilities acquire relevant skills and find jobs. The platform will analyse the profiles of the job seekers and suggest the skills they would require to become eligible. A platform that addressed this challenge would help this vulnerable section of the population.

• The institute has developed the platform in association with Youth4Jobs, Visual Quest and Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. While IIT-H offers its expertise in AI, Visual Quest India has developed the platform. Youth4Jobs provides skilling services to job seekers. The project is funded by Kotak Mahindra Bank. There are 21 million persons with disabilities in the country. About 70 per cent of them are either unemployed or underemployed.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

History Professor Dinesh Prasad Saklani is the new NCERT director

• Professor Dinesh Prasad Saklani has been appointed as the new Director of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT). He has replaced Hrushikesh Senapaty, who finished his term a year ago. The new director has been appointed for a period of five years with effect from the date of assumption of charge of the post, or till he attains the age of 65 years, or until further orders, whichever is earlier.

• Professor Saklani has been awarded with Distinguished Academy Award by Punjab Kala and Sahitya Academy, Jalandhar for Historical writing in 2005. The new director is a member of the Academic Council of Uttarakhand Open University, Haldwani. Professor Saklani is also a life member in the Indian History Congress; Uttarakhand History and Culture Association and of Book Club IIAS Shimla.

OBITURY

Former Greek president Christos Sartzetakis dies aged 92

• Former Greek President Christos Sartzetakis has passed away at the age of 92 years due to respiratory failure in Athens, Greece. He was a Greek jurist and a judge of the Supreme Court, who resisted against the militants during the 1967-1974 Rule of the Colonels. He served as the President of Greece for a four-year term (1985 to 1990), after getting nominated by the socialist PASOK party.

Senior politician BJP’s first torchbearer in Lok Sabha, C Janga Reddy passes away

• Veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, Chandupatla Janga Reddy has passed away in Hyderabad following health issues. He was a native of Warangal and a former MLA in Andhra Pradesh. He is best known for his time as a Member of Parliament in the 8th Lok Sabha in 1984, which also marked the BJP’s debut in the Lok Sabha, following Indira Gandhi’s assassination.

• Reddy was one of the only two BJP MPs who got elected to the Lok Sabha in 1984 in 543 Parliament constituencies. The other was A K Patel. He was elected to the Legislative Assembly in undivided Andhra Pradesh thrice.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

Kotak General Insurance and CARS24 offer Motor Insurance for used cars

• Kotak Mahindra General Insurance Company has signed an agreement with Cars24 Financial Services Private Limited (CARS24 Financial Services) to provide motor insurance services to used car buyers. Under the partnership, used car buyers from Cars24 will be directly provided with Kotak General Insurance’s comprehensive motor insurance plans.

• The partnership will provide a trustworthy and faster way to avail of motor insurance with a fully digital insurance process. Customers can also avail of cashless claims servicing at Kotak General Insurance’s platform of garages and enable convenient claim settlement services.

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Important Current Affairs 6th February 2022

NATIONAL

Indian diplomats to boycott Beijing Winter Olympics

• The 2022 Winter Olympics has kicked off on February 04, 2022, in Beijing, China and will continue till February 20, 2022. The Opening Ceremony was held at Beijing’s National Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest. However, India had announced the diplomatic level boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics opening and closing ceremony. This means that no Indian officials will attend the opening and closing ceremony. However, the country has sent one of its athletes, Arif Khan (skier), to attend the event.

• China has picked a Chinese soldier (Qi Fabao) as Olympic torchbearer, who was involved in the Galwan incident on June 15, 2020, which had resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers, including a Colonel.

Republic Day parade: Uttar Pradesh wins best tableau award

• The tableau of Uttar Pradesh has been picked as the best tableau among the 12 States/UTs which participated in the Republic Day parade on January 26, 2022. The theme of the tableau of Uttar Pradesh was ‘One District One Product and Kashi Vishwanath Dham’. A total of 12 states and union territories had participated in the Republic Day parade on January 26. The second place went to Karnataka for its tableau based on ‘cradle of traditional handicrafts’ while the third position went to Meghalaya for its tableau based on ‘Meghalaya’s 50 years of Statehood and its tribute to women-led cooperative societies & SHGs’.

• Best marching contingent among three Services: Indian Navy

• Best marching contingent among CAPF/other auxiliary forces: Central Industrial Security Force (CISF)

• The tableaux of the ministry of education and the ministry of civil aviation have been declared as joint winners in the category of central ministries and departments. The theme of the tableau of the ministry of education and the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship was ‘National Education Policy. The tableau of the ministry of civil aviation was based on the theme ‘Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik’.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Sonali Singh given charge of Controller General of Accounts

• The Government of India has appointed Sonali Singh to hold the additional charge of the Controller General of Accounts (CGA), under the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance, with effect from February 01, 2022. She has been appointed in place of Dipak Dash, who superannuated on January 31, 2022.

• Sonali Singh is a 1987 batch officer of the Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS). She is serving as the Additional Controller General of Accounts since October 2019. Prior to that, she had also served as Additional Secretary at Central Vigilance Commission.

JNU VC M Jagadesh Kumar appointed as UGC head

• The government of India has appointed JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) Vice-Chancellor, M Jagadesh Kumar as the new Chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC). He has been appointed for a period of five years or till he attains the age of 65 years, whichever is the earliest. The post of the UGC Chairman was vacant since December 07, 2021, after Prof D P Singh resigned upon attaining 65 years of age. He was appointed in 2018.

• Hailing from Mamidala village in Telangana’s Nalgonda district, 60-year-old Kumar holds a masters degree and a PhD from IIT-Madras. He also completed his post-doctoral research at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Waterloo, at Ontario, Canada. He was a professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering at IIT-Delhi before being appointed as the JNU vice-chancellor in January 2016. He continued teaching at IIT-Delhi while serving as the JNU VC.

OBITURY

Veteran actor Ramesh Deo passes away at 93

• Prominent film personality Ramesh Deo, known for playing a diverse range of roles, in Marathi and Hindi movies, passed away due to a heart attack. During his career spanning several decades, the multi-faceted film personality has acted in over 450 Hindi and Marathi feature films, apart from working in several television shows and commercials.

• The evergreen Marathi actor is known for playing notable roles in 1956 ‘Andhala Magto Ek Dola’ and 1971 cult classic ‘Anand’, 1962 ‘Aarti’, 1974 ‘Aap Ki Kasam,’ celebrated his 93rd birthday on January 30.

• Deo, who made his acting debut in the form of a cameo in the 1951 Marathi film ‘Paatlaachi Por’ has worked in more than 200 Hindi films, 100 Marathi films and several Marathi dramas with over 200 showings in his long career.

• He also produced feature films, television serials and several ad films.In January 2013, the ‘Nivdung’ actor received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 11th Pune International Film Festival (PIFF).

BOOKS & AUTHOR

Novel ‘Atharva’: The Origin’ authored by Ramesh Thamilmani

• Virzu Studios in association with MIDAS Deals Pvt Ltd has released the motion poster of its upcoming graphic novel, Atharva – The Origin. Cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been portrayed as the superhero Atharva in this graphic novel. The motion poster features a rugged looking Dhoni, giving fans a glimpse into the world of Atharva and also a sneak peek into the first look of him as a superhero.

• The graphic novel authored by Ramesh Thamilmani features over 150 lifelike illustrations which present the gripping, racy narrative. It is produced by Vincent Adaikalaraj and Ashok Manor. Reportedly, the makers are also planning to make a web-series based on the novel.

Book ‘Golden Boy Neeraj Chopra’ authored by Navdeep Singh Gill

• A short biography of Indian athlete Neeraj Chopra has titled ‘Golden Boy Neeraj Chopra’ authored by sports author Navdeep Singh Gill has been released. Neeraj Chopra won a Gold medal in Javelin Throw at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The biography on Tokyo Olympics-2021 gold medalist Neeraj Chopra was released by the chairperson of Punjab Kala Parishad Surjit Patar and president of Punjabi Sahit Akademi Lakhwinder Singh Johal, amid the presence of the author and his family members.

• The book has 72 pages and covers the life history and achievements of Neeraj Chopra right from his childhood to the Tokyo Olympics. The book very aptly covers his sporting techniques, numerous awards and contemporaries in different chapters with coloured photos in each chapter.

RANKING

India's unemployment rate drops to 6.57% in Jan, lowest since March 2021: CMIE

• The unemployment rate in India in January 2022 fell sharply to 6.57%, according to the data from the economic think-tank, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE). This is the lowest rate witnessed since March 2021. In December 2021, the unemployment rate rose to a four-month high of 7.91%, compared to 6.97% in November. CMIE is a Mumbai-based independent non-government entity that serves both as an economic think-tank as well as a business information company.

• Telangana recorded the lowest unemployment rate in January at 0.7%.

• This was followed by Gujarat at 1.2%, Meghalaya at 1.5%, Odisha at 1.8% and Karnataka at 2.9%.

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Important Current Affairs 5th February 2022

INTERNATIONAL

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg to lead Norway central bank

• The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) chief, Jens Stoltenberg will take over as Norway’s central bank Governor at the end of the year. The appointment comes amid escalating tensions between the West and Russia. Western nations fear Moscow has plans to invade Ukraine, which aspires to join the NATO alliance.

• But Mr Stoltenberg, a 62-year-old trained economist, insisted that he would stay on as NATO Secretary-General until the end of his term in October. Norway’s central bank determines monetary policy but also manages the country’s enormous sovereign wealth fund, the biggest in the world.

NATIONAL

PM Modi unveils 216-feet tall 'Statue of Equality' in Hyderabad commemorating Sri Ramanujacharya

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has dedicated to the nation 216-feet tall ‘Statue of Equality in Hyderabad to commemorate the 11th-century Bhakti saint Ramanujacharya. The statue has been conceptualised by Chinna Jeeyar Swami of Sri Ramanujacharya Ashram. The inauguration of the statue is a part of the 12-day Sri Ramanuja Sahasrabdi Samaroham, the ongoing 1000th birth anniversary celebrations of the Bhakti saint. A 3D presentation on the life and teachings of the saint will also be showcased during the event.

• The statue is made of ‘panchaloha’, a combination of five metals- gold, silver, copper, brass, and zinc. It is among one of the tallest metallic statues in sitting positions in the world.

• The 216-feet tall ‘Statue of Equality statue is mounted on a 54-feet high base building, called ‘Bhadra Vedi’.

• The floors of the building are dedicated to a Vedic digital library and research centre, ancient Indian texts, a theatre, an educational gallery detailing works of Sri Ramanujacharya.

5th Scorpene submarine, 'Vagir', begins maiden sea trials

• The Indian Navy‘s brand-new submarine, the fifth of the six French-designed Scorpene-class submarines named “Vagir”, sailed out on its first sea sortie and will now undergo rigorous trials before it is delivered to the Navy later this year. The submarine-designated “Yard 11879” during its construction by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) in collaboration with the Naval Group of France will be named “Vagir” after it is commissioned into service.

SPORTS

U19 World Cup 2022 Final: India Beat England In Final To Win 5th Title

• India defeated England by four wickets to clinch a record-extending fifth title at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua. India added the fifth title to their collection, having previously won the trophy in 2000, 2008, 2012, 2018. Yash Dhull becomes the fifth Indian captain to win the title after Mohammad Kaif, Virat Kohli, Unmukt Chand and Prithvi Shaw. Earlier, England opted to bat after winning the toss but they were shot out by India for 189 in 44.5 overs. India chases down the target of 190 with 2.2 overs to spare.

• India’s Raj Angad Bawa was announced Player of the Match of the ICC Under19 World Cup 2022 Final between India and England. The Indian all-rounder picked 5/31, the best bowling figures for any final in the history of the championship and also scored crucial 35 runs with the bat to help his team in its 4 wicket win.

• South Africa’s Dewald Brevis who broke all records to score 506 runs in only six innings, the most for any batter in any Under19 World Cup ever, was named Player of the Series for his record-breaking showing.

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

IndiGo Appoints Co-founder Rahul Bhatia As Managing Director

• The low-cost Indian airline, IndiGo has appointed its co-founder and promoter Rahul Bhatia as the Managing Director (MD) of the company with immediate effect. He is the first-ever MD of Indigo, because before this the company never had a managing director. Ronojoy Dutta is the CEO of the Indigo.

• The board of directors, during its meeting, unanimously approved the appointment of Bhatia as the managing director with immediate effect, subject to the approval of the shareholders. IndiGo is back in the black with a net profit for the December quarter at Rs 130 crore. The profit comes after the airline posted a loss for a series of straight quarters.

G A Srinivasa Murthy appointed director of Defence Research and Development Laboratory

• Senior scientist GA Srinivasa Murthy has been appointed director of Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in Hyderabad. He joined DRDL in the year 1987 and made significant contributions in the area of structural dynamics, ground resonance testing, electrical integration and checkout for various projects of the missile complex.

• G A Srinivasa Murthy completed his BE in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Andhra University in 1986 and pursued his ME in Digital Systems from Osmania University in Hyderabad.

OBITURY

‘Nightingale’ Lata Mangeshkar passes away at 92

• Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar has passed away at the age of 92 after suffering a multi-organ failure. The Bharat Ratna awardee was admitted to the hospital after being diagnosed with pneumonia and tested positive for the coronavirus disease in January. She is survived by her 3 sisters – Usha Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Meena Khadikar and brother Hridaynath Mangeshkar.

• She began her career as a singer back in 1942 and never looked back. She recorded innumerable songs in over 36 Indian and foreign languages.

• She gave us musical gems such as Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo, Lag Jaa Gale, Yeh Kahan Aage Hain Hum and Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya, among others.

• Having led an eventful and rich life of several milestones, Lata Mangeshkar was conferred with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1990. For her contribution to Indian music, she also was bestowed with Padma Bhushan in 1969 and Bharat Ratna in 2001.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation 6 February 2022

• International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female is observed on 6th February globally. This day is sponsored by the United Nations for their efforts to eradicate female genital mutilation. It was first introduced in 2003. This year theme of International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female: Accelerating Investment to End Female Genital Mutilation.

• Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons and is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights, the health and the integrity of girls and women. Girls who undergo female genital mutilation face short-term complications such as severe pain, shock, excessive bleeding, infections, and difficulty in passing urine, as well as long-term consequences for their sexual and reproductive health and mental health.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

Asian Development Bank lends record USD 4.6 bn loans to India in 2021

• As per the data official released by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), it provided a record USD 4.6 billion in sovereign lending to India in 2021. This included USD 1.8 billion towards coronavirus disease (C-19) pandemic response. The ADB’s regular funding programme to India is made to support transport, urban development, finance, agriculture, and skills building. The ADB’s project portfolio in 2021 reflected the Indian government’s focus on transforming cities into economically vibrant and sustainable communities.

• The USD 4.6 billion was committed by ADB for 17 loans. The USD 1.8 billion C-19-related assistance included USD 1.5 billion for vaccine procurement and USD 300 million to strengthen primary health care in urban areas and the country’s future pandemic preparedness.

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Important Current Affairs 4th February 2022

INTERNATIONAL

Winter Olympics host China welcomes Year of Tiger with quiet celebrations amid COVID-19 outbreaks

• China is celebrating the Spring Festival, it’s the most important annual festival as it entered the Lunar new “Year of the Tiger”. Last year was celebrated as the Lunar Year of the Ox. According to the Chinese Zodiac calendar, the Year of the Ox has ended and the Year of the Tiger has begun from February 1, 2022, and will end on January 21, 2023.

• In Chinese culture, the tiger symbolizes bravery, vigor and strength and it is believed that it can lift people from adversity and usher in final auspiciousness and peace. Each year is named after one of 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac in a repeating cycle. This year, Spring Festival celebrations coincide with the Beijing Winter Olympics.

NATIONAL

US regains top spot as India’s trade partner in 2021

• The United States was India’s top trading partner in the calendar year 2021 with a trade of $112.3 billion. The US is followed by China on second. The value of trade between India and China was $110.4 billion. In 2020, China was India’s top trading partner and the US was in the second rank. In 2019 USA was India’s top trading partner and China was on second.

Aravalli Biodiversity Park in Gurugram declared as India’s first OECM site

• The Aravalli Biodiversity Park in Gurugram, Haryana, has been declared as India’s first “other effective area-based conservation measures” (OECM) site. This was informed by the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change on the occasion of World Wetlands Day. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) gives OECM tag to those areas that are not protected but support rich biodiversity. The tag designates the area as a biodiversity hotspot on the international map.

• OECM is a status for a place that has achieved effective in-situ conservation of biodiversity outside protected areas like forests. The park, which once was an abandoned mining pit, was transformed into a lush green forest patch in 10 years. Now, it has about 400 native species of plants.

SPORTS

New Zealand’s All rounder cricketer Daryl Mitchell named the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award 2021

• New Zealand cricketer, Daryl Mitchell has been named the winner of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Spirit of Cricket Award 2021. This award is given to him for his gesture of refusing to take a single in the high-pressure 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Semi-Finals against England as he felt he had “obstructed” the way of bowler Adil Rashid at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. He has become the 4th New Zealand player to win the award after Daniel Vettori, Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson.

• The ICC Spirit of Cricket Award is annually awarded by the ICC to recognise the player most notable for “upholding the ‘Spirit of the Game’”.

Neeraj Chopra nominated for Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award 2022

• Tokyo Olympics gold medallist, Neeraj Chopra has been nominated for the prestigious 2022 Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award. The other 5 nominees are Daniil Medvedev (Australian Open runner-up), Emma Raducanu (British tennis star), Pedri (Barcelona and Spain footballer), Yulimar Rojas (Venezuelan athlete) and Ariarne Titmus (Australian swimmer). The winners will be revealed in April following a vote by the Laureus World Sports Academy, made up of 71 sporting greats.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

India's most powerful supercomputer Param Pravega launched - Indian Institute of Science

• The Indian Institute of Science (IISc.), Bengaluru, has installed and commissioned Param Pravega, one of the most powerful supercomputers in India. It is also the largest supercomputer in an Indian academic institution. Param Pravega has a total supercomputing capacity of 3.3 petaflops (1 petaflop equals a quadrillion or 1015 operations per second).

• The supercomputer has been designed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC). It has been developed under the National Supercomputing Mission (NSM), a joint initiative of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), and implemented by C-DAC and IISc.

SUMMIT'S & MOU's

SBI-NCF-IGNCA sign MoU for Development of Atmanirbhar Bharat Centre for Design at Red Fort, Delhi

• The State Bank of India (SBI) has signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indira Gandhi Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) and National Culture Fund (NCF) of the Ministry of Culture, for Development of Atmanirbhar Bharat Centre for Design (ABCD) at L1 Barrack, Red Fort, in Delhi. The main objective of Project ABCD is to highlight, promote and celebrate the products that have the Geographical Indication sign to give a boost to Economic Value Addition to GI products from India.

• The ABCD project will be implemented by IGNCA, an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Culture through the ministry’s NCF fund. SBI will sponsor the project under CSR with a contribution of Rs. 10 crores for the implementation of the ABCD Project.

BOOKS & AUTHOR

Coloniality, Civilisation, Constitution' authored by J Sai Deepak

• A Trilogy book series titled, ‘India, That is Bharat: Coloniality, Civilisation, Constitution’ is authored by J Sai Deepak and published by Bloomsbury India. The 1st part was released on 15th August 2021, is set to launch the 2nd part in June 2022. Whereas, the 3rd and last parts will be released in June 2023.

• It is the first part of a comprehensive trilogy, which examines the impact of European ‘colonial consciousness’ (or ‘coloniality’), on Bharat (India). It highlights how colonialism changes the socio-religious culture, history, education, language and racial patterns in India.

• India, That Is Bharat, the first book of a comprehensive trilogy, explores the influence of European ‘colonial consciousness’ (or ‘coloniality’), in particular its religious and racial roots, on Bharat as the successor state to the Indic civilisation and the origins of the Indian Constitution.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

Export Import Bank of India, Sri Lanka sign $500-million loan agreement

• Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) on behalf of the government of India, extended a line of credit of $500 million to the government of the socialist republic of Sri Lanka for financing the purchase of petroleum products. The fund will be used by the Island nation for the purchase of petroleum products. With the signing of this new LOC agreement, the total LOC extended by Exim Bank to Sri Lanka till date has reached 10, taking the total value of LOCs extended to USD 2.18 billion.

• With the signing of this LoC agreement, Exim Bank has now in place 276 lines of credit, covering 61 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), with credit commitments of around $27.84 billion, available for financing exports from India. Besides promoting India’s exports, Exim Bank’s LoCs enable the demonstration of Indian expertise and project execution capabilities in emerging markets.

RBI cancels licence of Nashik-based Independence Co-operative Bank

• The Reserve Bank of India has cancelled the license of Independence Co-operative Bank Ltd., Nashik, Maharashtra w.e.f February 03, 2022. The major reason for the cancellation of the license by RBI is that bank does not have adequate capital and earning prospects. This means that it does not comply with the provisions of Section 11(1) and Section 22 (3) (d) read with Section 56 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949.

• The bank has stopped operation from the close of business on February 3, putting depositors of the bank in trouble. They would however receive up to Rs five lakh from Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC), after the bank’s liquidation.

• RBI has told the Commissioner for Cooperation and Registrar of Cooperative Societies in Maharashtra to issue an order for winding up the bank and appoint a liquidator. As per the data submitted by the bank, more than 99 per cent of the depositors are entitled to receive the full amount of their deposits from DICGC.

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