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Important Current Affairs 24th February 2022

INTERNATIONAL

Russia-Ukraine Border Conflict 

• The Russia-Ukraine Border Conflict, have been simmering for more than two months, with diplomatic efforts to resolve the issue showing little sign of progress. Russia has more than 100,000 troops on its border with Ukraine, sparking Western warnings of an imminent invasion. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, meanwhile, voiced concerns that Russia continues to build up troop numbers along Ukraine’s borders, including in Belarus.

• The Border conflict in Ukraine began with protests in the capital city of Kiev in November 2013 against Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to reject a deal for greater economic integration with the European Union. After a violent crackdown by state security forces unintentionally drew an even greater number of protesters and escalated the conflict, President Yanukovych fled the country in February 2014.

• In March 2014, Russian troops took control of Ukraine’s Crimean region, before formally annexing the peninsula after Crimeans voted to join the Russian Federation in a disputed local referendum. Russian President Vladimir Putin cited the need to protect the rights of Russian citizens and Russian speakers in Crimea and southeast Ukraine. The Border conflict heightened ethnic divisions, and two months later pro-Russian separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine held a referendum to declare independence from Ukraine.

NATIONAL

Union Minister Giriraj Singh launches Rural Connectivity GIS Data in Public Domain

• Giriraj Singh, who is the Union Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, has released the Rural Connectivity GIS Data in Public Domain. This data includes the GIS data for more than 8 lakh rural facilities which have been collected and digitised using the GIS platform developed for the PM-GSY scheme. Other than Giriraj Singh, other Union Ministers like Faggan Singh Kulaste and Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, were also present at the release event.

• An estimate is that more than 6.90 lakh km of roads have been constructed, which connects 1,61,508 habitations with an expenditure of about 2.69 lakh crores of Indian rupees.

• Speed of the construction of rural roads under the PMGSY has seen massive growth during the last few years and the use of new technology has been emphasized which has resulted in a saving of about 5000 crores of Indian rupees.

• The data which has been made available in the public domain can be beneficial to the startups, entrepreneurs, businesses, civil society, academics and other government departments to build products, conduct research,  and plan investments for a quicker disaster response.

IAF to participate in multi-nation air exercise 'Ex Cobra Warrior 22' in UK

• Indian Air Force will participate in a multi-nation air exercise named ‘Exercise Cobra Warrior 22’ at Waddington, in the United Kingdom from March 06 to 27, 2022. IAF Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas will participate in the exercise along with fighter aircraft of the UK and other leading Air Forces. Five Tejas aircraft will fly to the United Kingdom. IAF C-17 aircraft will provide the necessary transport support for induction and de-induction.

• The exercise is aimed at providing operational exposure and sharing best practices amongst the participating Air Forces, thereby enhancing combat capability and forging bonds of friendship. This will be a platform for LCA Tejas to demonstrate its manoeuvrability and operational capability.

OBITUARY

Andhra minister Mekapati Goutham Reddy passes away at 50

• Andhra Pradesh Industries Minister Mekapati Goutham Reddy has passed away. The 50 years old Minister returned to India from Dubai Expo. Reddy, was a two-time MLA from the Atmakur Assembly constituency in the Nellore district in Andhra Pradesh. He was the Minister for Industries, Commerce, and Information Technology in Andhra Pradesh Government.

Renowned Malayalam Actor Dies At 74

• Veteran Malayalam film and stage actress, KPAC Lalitha has passed away at 74. In a career spanning five decades, she starred in over 550 films in Malayalam and Tamil. Born as Maheswari Amma in Kayamkulam of Alappuzha, the actress had joined K.P.A.C (Kerala People’s Arts Club), a prominent drama troop in Kerala.

• Lalitha won two National Film Awards for Best Supporting Actress along with four Kerala State Film Awards. She got the national award for the character in ‘Amaram’ in 1999 and for ‘Shantham’ in 2000. She also held the position of the Chairperson of Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy for five years.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNATIONS

Centre nominates Sanjay Malhotra as a Director of Central Board of RBI

• The Centre government has nominated Sanjay Malhotra, Secretary, Department of Financial Services (DFS), Ministry of Finance, as a Director on the Central Board of Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The nomination of Malhotra, a 1990 batch IAS officer of Rajasthan cadre, is effective from February 16, 2022, and until further orders.

• Prior to his appointment as DFS Secretary, Malhotra was the Chairman and Managing Director of REC Ltd. He succeeded Debashish Panda, who completed his term on January 31, 2022.

K.N. Raghavan new Chairman of ISRG

• Executive Director of the Indian Rubber Board, K.N. Raghavan has been elected the new Chairman of the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG). He will officiate as Chairman of the group for the next two years. He will preside over the meeting of the heads of delegation scheduled for March 31 at Singapore.

• India, being both a producer and a consumer of rubber, will be in a good position to protect the interests of both producers and consumers in the IRSG -the only international commodity body approved by the Common Fund for Commodities for development financing in the rubber sector.

• International Rubber Study Group (IRSG), an intergovernmental organisation of natural and synthetic rubber producing and consuming countries. IRSG is the only forum for natural rubber (NR) and synthetic rubber (SR) producers and consumers to discuss matters affecting the world rubber industry and act as an interface between government and the Industry. International Rubber Study Group Members: Cameroon; Cote d’Ivoire; European Union; India; Nigeria; Russia; Singapore; Sri Lanka.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Central Excise Day 24 February 2022

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

• The central excise day is celebrated to raise awareness about the contribution of the central excise officers among the general public of the country.

• The jobs of the members of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs in preventing corruption among the manufacturing industries are worth appreciation and encouragement.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

India Ratings pegs FY22 GDP growth at 8.6% on data revision

• India Ratings has revised downwards its GDP growth forecast for 2021-22 to 8.6 per cent from the consensus 9.2 per cent projected earlier. According to an India rating analysis, National Statistical Organisation (NSO) is likely to peg the FY22 real gross domestic product growth at Rs 147.2 lakh crore. This translates into a GDP growth rate of 8.6 per cent, down from the 9.2 per cent forecast in the first advance estimate released on January 7, 2022.

• The major reason for the likely downward revision is the upward revision of FY21 GDP to Rs 135.6 lakh crore in the first revised estimate of national income for FY21, which was released on January 31, 2022.

Alternative investment policy: Sebi rejigs panel

• Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has reconstituted its alternative investment policy advisory committee, which advises the capital markets regulator on a range of issues that impact further development of the (Alternative Investment Fund) AIF space. The committee has now 20 members. The panel, which was constituted by Sebi in March 2015, earlier had 22 members. Till now, the committee has submitted three reports on the AIF industry.

• The committee is chaired by Infosys co-founder N R Narayana Murthy. Apart from Murthy, the committee includes members from Sebi, Ministry of Finance, AIF players and industry associations.

• Gopal Srinivasan, chairman and managing director, TVS Capital Funds; Gopal Jain, co-founder and managing partner, Gaja Capital; Vipul Roongta, managing director and CEO, HDFC Capital Advisors; and Renuka Ramnath, chairperson, Indian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (IVCA) are among the members of the panel, as per Sebi.

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Important Current Affairs 23rd February 2022

INTERNATIONAL

Israeli Defense Forces Successfully Test Naval Version Of Iron Dome Missile Defense System

• Israel successfully tested a new naval air defence system “C-Dome,” to be used on the Israeli Navy’s Sa’ar 6-class corvettes. C-Dome is the naval version of the Iron Dome, an all-weather air defence system of Israel to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and missiles, from the Gaza Strip. The successful test further strengthens the missile defence systems of the Israeli Navy to safeguard the maritime assets of the State of Israel.

• The systems that we are developing as part of Israel’s multi-tier missile defence array enable us to operate against Iranian proxies in the region and defend against their weapon systems, which are constantly being upgraded. The C-Dome is to become part of Israel’s multilayer missile defence system — which includes weapons capable of intercepting everything from long-range missiles to short-range rockets.

Russia wants to 'turn Ukraine into a broken country'

• Russian President, Vladimir Putin has recognised the independence of separatist regions in eastern Ukraine – Donetsk and Luhansk. Putin’s announcement paved the way for Russia to openly send troops and weapons to the long-running conflict pitting Ukrainian forces against Moscow-backed rebels. Russian-backed rebels have been fighting Ukrainian troops in Donetsk and Luhansk since 2014, with regular violence despite a ceasefire agreement.

• Putin signed decrees recognizing the Donetsk and Luhansk regions’ independence, eight years after fighting erupted between Russia-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces, and called on lawmakers to approve measures paving the way for military support.

NATIONAL

Centre organise week-long ‘Vigyan Sarvatra Pujyate’ Science exhibition at 75 locations across country

• The Government of India has organised a week-long science exhibition titled ‘Vigyan Sarvatra Pujyate’ from February 22 to 28, 2022, as part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav commemoration. It will be conducted simultaneously at 75 locations across the country through a hybrid model. The inaugural programme was held at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi on the 22nd of February.

• The exhibition will celebrate science and technology (S&T) and display the country’s scientific legacy and technology prowess. The exhibition will culminate on February 28, 2022, which coincide with the National Science Day, commemorated in remembrance of Nobel Laureate Sir C.V. Raman’s path-breaking discovery of the Raman Effect in 1930.

Lavender designated as brand product of J&K’s Doda district, the birthplace of Purple Revolution

• The Union Minister of Science & Technology, Dr Jitendra Singh, chaired the District Development Coordination & Monitoring Committee (DISHA) meetings of several districts in Jammu & Kashmir recently. A key decision taken during the meeting was to designate Lavender as a Doda brand product, to promote lavender under the ‘One District, One Product’ initiative of the Modi Government.

• Doda district in J&K is the birthplace of India’s Purple Revolution or the cultivation of Lavender. Though, Lavender cultivation is practised in almost all the 20 districts of Jammu & Kashmir.

• Purple Revolution (Lavender cultivation) was launched under the Aroma Mission of the Union Ministry of Science & Technology. The AROMA mission is implemented by the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) through its Jammu-based laboratory, the Indian Institute of Integrative Medicines (IIIM).

• The Mission’s objective is the cultivation of important medicinal and aromatic plants domestically to empower domestic farmers and support India’s aromatic crop-based agro-economy by reducing imports of aromatic oils and increasing homegrown varieties. The Lavender crop is however a native to Europe.

Railway Ministry Shares Glimpse Of India’s First-ever Cable-stayed Rail Bridge In J&K

• The Indian Railways has shared new images of the country’s first cable-stayed bridge on the Anji river in Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district. The under-construction Anji Khad bridge, part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) project, will connect Katra and Reasi areas through rail links. The bridge will stand at a height of 331 metres above the river bed – higher than the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The total length of the bridge is 473.25 metres and it is supported by 96 cables.

• The Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link is deemed to be one of the most difficult projects undertaken in the Indian subcontinent. The bridge has been designed to withstand storms and strong winds. Given the complex geology of the high-altitude region, constructing the bridge is very challenging. The Railways has divided the 272-km rail link into three subsections.

SPORTS

At 16, India’s big chess hope scales first peak, beats his own hero and World No 1 Magnus Carlsen

• India’s teen chess Grandmaster, Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa has created history as he defeated world number one chess champion, Magnus Carlsen, of Norway in an online chess tournament. The Airthings Masters is the first of the nine events of the 2022 Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, being held from February to November 2022.

• The 16-year-old Pragg achieved the feat in the eighth round of the Airthings Masters, an online rapid chess tournament, in 39 moves with black pieces. Pragg is also only the third Indian grandmaster to win against Magnus Carlsen apart from Viswanathan Anand and Pentala Harikrishna.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

C-19 Vaccine: Corbevax gets DCGI nod for emergency use in 12-18 year olds

• The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved the Corona Vaccine Biologicals E Ltd’s Corbevax for children in the age group of 12 to 18 years. Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical company Biological E Ltd said its coronavirus vaccine Corbevax, is also India’s third homegrown vaccine. Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin is being given to children aged 15 to 18 years from January 3.

• Corbevax is called a protein subunit and currently, we have an example of the hepatitis B vaccine which is also similarly a protein subunit vaccine. Corbevax and the other vaccine in India, we have Covovax from Serum Institute.

APPOINTMENS & RESIGNATIONS

Takuya Tsumura to take over as new President & CEO of Honda Cars India

• Japanese auto major Honda Motor Co. Ltd. has announced the appointment of Takuya Tsumura as the new President & CEO of Honda Cars India Ltd (HCIL) with effect from 1 April 2022. The appointment comes as part of the management changes announced annually by the company.

• Tsumura will take over from Gaku Nakanishi, who moves from India to regional headquarters in Asia and Oceania region – Asian Honda as General Manager, Automobile Business for the region. Tsumura has been associated with Honda Motor for more than 30 years. He has worked in several international markets including Thailand, Australia, China, Japan, Turkey, Europe and Asia & Oceania regions. Tsumura was in-charge of South Asian countries, including India from 1997 to 2000.

SUMMIT'S & MOU's

India and France adopt road map on ‘blue economy’

• India and France have inked a roadmap to enhance their bilateral exchanges on the blue economy and ocean governance. Dr S Jaishankar is on a three-day visit to France, from February 20 to 22, 2022, to attend EU Ministerial Forum for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific scheduled for February 22. The agreement on ‘Roadmap on Blue Economy and Ocean Governance’ was signed between India’s External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar’s and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian.

• The partnership will help to explore the potential for collaboration in marine science research for a better understanding of oceans and ensure that the ocean remains a global common, a space of freedom and trade, based on the rule of law.

• The scope of the roadmap will encompass maritime trade, the naval industry, fisheries, marine technology and scientific research, integrated coastal management, marine eco-tourism, inland waterways, and cooperation between competent administrations on civil maritime issues.

• India and France underscored that fisheries are a vital economic sector and play a decisive role in food security and livelihood security, particularly for coastal populations.

Education ministry approves continuation of RUSA scheme till 2026

• The Ministry of Education has approved the continuation of the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) scheme till 31st March 2026 with an expenditure of 12,929.16 crores. The new phase of the scheme would support around 1,600 projects. Out of Rs 12,929.16 crores of expenditure, the centre will share Rs 8,120.97 crores, and the state will share Rs 4,808.19 crores.

• The new phase of the scheme has been designed to implement some of the recommendations of the New Education Policy (NEP). Under the new phase of the scheme, State Governments will support Gender inclusion, Equity Initiatives, Enhance employability through vocationalisation and skill upgradation.

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Important Current Affairs 22nd February 2022

INTERNATIONAL

India, Oman begin 'Eastern Bridge-VI' air force exercise

• The Indian Air Force (IAF) and Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) have organised a bilateral air exercise named Eastern Bridge-VI from February 21 to 25, 2022 at Air Force Station Jodhpur in Rajasthan. Eastern Bridge-VI is the sixth edition of the exercise. The exercise will provide an opportunity to enhance operational capability and interoperability between the two Air Forces.

• Participation of IAF and RAFO in this exercise will promote professional interaction, exchange of experiences and enhancement of operational knowledge, besides strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries. Various senior dignitaries are planning to visit Air Force Station Jodhpur during this exercise.

NATIONAL

48th Khajuraho Dance Festival begins in Madhya Pradesh

• Madhya Pradesh Governor, Mangu Bhai Patel has inaugurated the 48th ‘Khajuraho Dance Festival-2022’ at world-famous tourist destination Khajuraho on the occasion of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’. The event will be organized till 26 February. This year a 5-km ‘Dil Khel Ke Ghoomo’ marathon was also organized under the banner of ‘Safe Tourism Project for Women’ at the event. It aims to create a sense of security among women in tourist destinations with the slogan ‘Hindustan Ke Dil Mein Aap Safe Hain’.

• This dance festival is being organized with the joint effort of Ustad Alauddin Khan Sangeet and Kala Akademi Madhya Pradesh Sanskriti Parishad of Culture Department, Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board, Archaeological Survey of India and District Administration Chhatarpur. It is the topmost festival of the country focusing on Indian classical dance forms, and is well known nationally and internationally.

• Ambassadors and High Commissioners of 8 countries attended the family function to witness the performances of the 48th Khajuraho Dance Festival. These include ambassadors and high commissioners from Korea, Argentina, Vietnam, Brunei, Finland, Malaysia, Thailand and Lao.

India's first Biosafety level-3 mobile lab launched in Nashik

• Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Bharati Pravin Pawar has inaugurated India’s first Biosafety level-3 containment mobile laboratory in Nashik, Maharashtra. The mobile laboratory will help to investigate newly emerging and re-emerging viral infections, by specially trained scientists from ICMR. The newly launched lab will be able to access remote and forested areas of the country, to investigate outbreaks using samples from humans and animal sources.

• Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Bharati Pravin Pawar inaugurated the laboratory and said that the Biosafety Level-3 mobile laboratory is a significant value addition to the government’s efforts to strengthen healthcare infrastructure through the Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission.

Himachal Pradesh gets 1st Biodiversity Park at Mandi’s Bhulah valley

• Himachal Pradesh gets the first biodiversity park to make its contribution towards the conservation of endangered Himalayan herbs. This park is set to come up at Mandi’s Bhulah valley. With the cost of Rs 1 crore, the biodiversity park is set up under the National Mission on Himalayan Studies (NMHS) by HP’s forest department. The aim of the park is to link tourism activities along with extending new opportunities for researchers to conduct in-depth exploration of various medicinal herbs found in the Himalayas that are on the verge of extinction.

• Biological diversity is a precious resource intended for the continued existence of mankind, and hence, conserving biodiversity is concerned with restoring the equilibrium between humans & the atmosphere. 

SPORTS

Beijing 2022 concludes, passes Winter Olympics to Milano-Cortina 2026

• The closing ceremony of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games was held on February 20, 2022, at National Stadium (known as the Bird’s Nest) in Beijing. The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, was held from 4 to 20 February 2022. The Games featured a record 109 events across 15 disciplines in 7 sports. The venues of the Games were distributed across three zones- Beijing, Yanqing and Zhangjiakou. The Presidency of the Games was formally handed over to Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, in Italy, to host the 2026 Winter Olympics.

• Norway has topped the medal table for the second successive Winter Olympics, winning a total of 37 medals, including 16 golds. This is a new record for the most amount of gold medals won at a single Winter Olympics.

• Germany finished second with 27 medals overall, while the host nation China finished third with 15 medals.

OBITUARY

Freedom Fighter And Social Worker Shakuntala Choudhary Passes Away At 102

• Noted freedom fighter and Gandhian social worker, Shakuntala Choudhary has passed away. She was 102-year-old. She was popularly known as ‘Shakuntala Baideo’. She was felicitated with the Padma Shri award in 2022 by the Government of India. She hailed from Kamrup in Assam and was known for her commitment and devotion to the popularization of the Gandhian way of life. She worked for the well-being of villagers, especially women and children.

APPOINTMENS & RESIGNATIONS

IOC Athletes’ Commission re-elect Terho as chair, Walker elected as second vice-chair

• International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes’ Commission re-elected ice hockey player Emma Terho of Finland as its Chair and table tennis player Seung Min Ryu of the Republic of Korea as its First Vice-Chair. The commission also elected cyclist Sarah Walker of New Zealand as the second VC of the Commission.

• Emma Terho is a five-time Olympian and former captain of the Finland women’s ice hockey team. She will be the head of the Commission until the Olympic Games Paris 2024.

BOOKS & AUTHOR

Book ‘The Founders: The Story of Paypal” authored by Jimmy Soni

• A new book titled ‘’The Founders: The Story of Paypal and the Entrepreneurs Who Shaped Silicon Valley ’’, authored by author Jimmy Soni and published by Simon & Schuster released soon. It highlights the story of multinational digital-payments company PayPal and how it covered the journey of a start-up that turned into one of the most successful companies of all time, worth over USD 70 billion today. It also offers colourful anecdotes about famous people like Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, and Reid Hoffman.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

RWE and Tata Power to develop offshore wind projects in India

• Tata Power has collaborated with Germany-based RWE Renewable GmbH to explore the potential for joint development of offshore wind projects in India. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in this regard was signed between Tata Power Renewable Energy Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Power, and RWE, one of the world’s leaders in offshore wind. This is in line with Government of India’s announcement of achieving 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind installations by 2030.

• India is an unexplored and highly attractive market to develop opportunities for offshore wind as it has a large coastline of about 7,600 kilometres. RWE and Tata Power Renewable Energy possess complementary strengths and will enable the establishment of a competitive offshore wind market in India.

Undersea cable push: Airtel joins SEA-ME-WE-6 consortium; Jio’s IAX project to land in Maldives

• Telecom operator, Bharti Airtel Ltd has announced that it has joined South East Asia–Middle East–Western Europe 6 (SEA-ME-WE-6) undersea cable consortium, in a bid to scale up its high-speed global network capacity and serve India’s fast-growing digital economy. It shall be anchoring 20 per cent of the overall investment in the cable system. Through SEA-ME-WE-6, Airtel will be able to add 100 TBps capacity to its global network. The telco will land the SEA-ME-WE-6 cable system in India at new landing stations in Mumbai and Chennai. Apart from Airtel, there are 12 other global members in the consortium.

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Important Current Affairs 21st February 2022

INTERNATIONAL

UK’s researchers found 180-Million-Year-Old Fossil of ‘Sea Dragon’

• United Kingdom researchers have found colossal 180-million-year-old fossilised remains of an Ichthyosaur, popularly known as a ‘sea dragon’. The researchers show one of the most significant discoveries in the region as the fossil is the biggest and most complete skeleton of its kind found in the United Kingdom. Ichthyosaurs resembled dolphins in body shape and became extinct around 90 million years ago, after first appearing 250 million years ago.

• Joe Davis of the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust discovered it during the routine draining of a lagoon island at the Rutland Water reservoir in February 2021. The first ichthyosaurs, which are called sea dragons because they tend to have very large teeth and eyes, were discovered by the fossil hunter and palaeontologist Mary Anning in the early 19th century. The specimen is currently being treated by a specialist paleontological conservator, a process that will take 12-18 months.

Mali conflict: Macron announces troops to leave after nine years

• French president, Emmanuel Macron has announced that France and its European partners will start the military withdrawal from Mali after more than nine years fighting a jihadist insurgency. France first deployed troops against jihadists in Mali in 2013 under the Socialist president François Hollande. The decision has been taken due to a breakdown in France’s relations with the ruling junta government in the country. The heart of this military operation will be shifted from Mali to Niger.

• In recent years, jihadists have taken over swaths of territory in the former French colony, exploiting political turmoil, poverty and the weakness of local authorities. Critics of French strategy in Mali have long accused policymakers in Paris of focusing on the military force at the expense of politics. The withdrawal applies to 2,400 French troops in Mali and a smaller European force of several hundred, which was created in 2020 to reduce the burden on French forces.

NATIONAL

GoI, World GOI Signed USD 115 million loan agreement for REWARD Project

• The Government of India, the State Governments of Karnataka and Odisha and the World Bank have signed a $115 million (INR 869 crore) Rejuvenating Watersheds for Agricultural Resilience through Innovative Development (REWARD) Programme. This programme will help national and state institutions adopt improved watershed management practices to help increase farmers’ resilience to climate change, promote higher productivity and better incomes.

OBITUARY

Ravish Tiwari, Express chief of national bureau, passes away

• Senior journalist, Ravish Tiwari has passed away. He was the national bureau chief of Indian Express. He was popular for his political news reporting. Before this, he had also served as Senior Assistant Editor at Economic Times, Associate Editor at India Today and Senior Assistant Editor at the Indian Express. He had done his graduation from IIT Bombay and master’s from the University of Oxford.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Mother Language Day 2022 : 21st February

• The International Mother Language Day (IMLD) is observed annually on the 21st of February. The day aims to raise awareness regarding linguistic and cultural diversity and to promote multilingualism. The 2022 theme is “Using technology for multilingual learning: Challenges and opportunities”. The UN mentioned in its statement that this year’s theme raises the potential role of technology to advance multilingual education and support the development of quality teaching and learning for all.

• 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.

SUMMIT'S & MOU's

TransUnion Cibil partners Ficci on MSME consumer education program

• TransUnion CIBIL has partnered with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) to launch a unique nationwide MSME consumer education program to support MSME. This program will kick off with MSME clusters in Maharashtra, Assam and Tripura and aims to reach thousands of MSMEs across key MSME clusters in India.

• The program objective is to empower MSMEs with knowledge on how to build a good credit history and CIBIL Rank to avail easier and faster access to finance. TransUnion CIBIL is committed to supporting banks and credit institutions in the sustainable growth of their MSME portfolios while improving reach and driving access to finance for MSMEs.

• In addition to offering MSME lenders solutions like CIBIL Rank and commercial credit reports for astute lending, TransUnion CIBIL also publishes insights reports like the MSME Pulse in association with SIDBI and the recent Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) analysis report to support policymakers and the industry with market insights on the MSME sector.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival Awards 2022 Announced

• The prestigious ceremony of Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival Awards 2022 was held on February 20. The event was held in Mumbai and the best performances from last year were honoured in the event this time. This year Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival Awards 2022 celebrated the opulence of Indian Cinema and also commemorated the 75 years of Independence or Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.

• Best Film, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Role, and Best Negative Role, were among the other titles that were given to the personalities of the Indian film fraternity.

winners of Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival Awards 2022:

• Film of the Year Award: Pushpa: The Rise

• Best Film Award: Shershaah

• Best Actor Award: Ranveer Singh for film 83

• Best Actress Award: Kriti Sanon for film Mimi

• Outstanding Contribution to Films: Asha Parekh

• Critics Best Actor Award: Sidharth Malhotra

• Critics Best Actress Award: Kiara Advani

• Best Actor in Supporting Role Award: Satish Kaushik for film Kaagaz

• Best Actress in Supporting Role Award: Lara Dutta for film Bell-Bottom

• Best Actor in Negative Role Award: Aayush Sharma for film Antim: The Final Truth

• People’s Choice Best Actor Award: Abhimanyu Dasani

• People’s Choice Best Actress Award: Radhika Madan

• Best Debut Award: Ahan Shetty for film Tadap

• Best Playback Singer Male Award: Vishal Mishra

• Best Playback Singer Female Award: Kanika Kapoor

• Critics Best Film Award: Sardar Udham Singh

• Best Director Award: Ken Ghosh for film State of Siege: Temple Attack

• Best Cinematographer Award: Jayakrishna Gummadi for film Haseena Dilruba

• Best International Feature Film Award: Another Round

• Best Short Film Award: Pauli

• Best Actor in Web Series Award: Manoj Bajpayee for The Family Man 2

• Best Actress in Web Series Award: Raveena Tandon for Aranyak

• Best Web Series Award: Candy

• Best Actor in Television Series Award: Shaheer Sheikh for Kuch Rang Pyar Ke Aise Bhi

• Best Actress in Television Series Award: Shraddha Arya for Kundali Bhagya

• Television Series of the Year Award: Anupama

• Most Promising Actor in Television Series Award: Dheeraj Dhoopar for Kundali Bhagya

• Most Promising Actress in Television Series Award: Rupali Ganguly for Anupama

BOOKS & AUTHOR

Book ‘A Nation To Protect’ authored by Priyam Gandhi Mody

• The book titled “A Nation To Protect” authored by Priyam Gandhi Mody was launched by Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya. The book highlights the role of PM Narendra Modi during the Covid crisis in the past two years. The book documents the Centre’s leadership in this unprecedented time and how it tided the nation through the crisis.

• During the launch, Union minister Mansukh Mandaviya said he believed that ‘A Nation to Protect’ describes the reality as it unfolded during the last two years. “We have seen what happens when there is a true leadership with a vision,” said Mandaviya referring to PM Modi.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

SBI, BoB, PNB and Canara Bank pick up stake in IDRCL

• State Bank of India (SBI), Punjab National Bank (PNB), Bank of Baroda (BoB), Union Bank of India (UBI), Canara Bank, and Bank of Maharashtra (BoM) have announced their subscription to the shares of India Debt Resolution Company Ltd (IDRCL). Public Sector Banks (PSBs) and Public FIs will hold a maximum of 49% in stake of IDRCL while the remaining stake will be with private-sector lenders. The NARCL has been incorporated under the Companies Act, and public sector banks will hold 51 per cent in NARCL.

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Important Current Affairs 20th February 2022

INTERNATIONAL

Nepal to become first country to deploy India's UPI platform

• Nepal will be the first country to adopt India’s UPI system, which will play a pivotal role in transforming the digital economy of the neighbouring country, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). NPCI International Payments Ltd (NIPL), the international arm of NPCI, has joined hands with Gateway Payments Service (GPS) & Manam Infotech to provide the services. GPS is the authorized payment system operator in Nepal. Manam Infotech will deploy Unified Payments Interface (UPI) in Nepal.

• The collaboration will serve the larger digital public good in Nepal and bolster interoperable real-time person-to-person (P2P) and person-to-merchant (P2M) transactions in the neighbouring country. Nepal shall be the first country outside of India to adopt UPI as the payments platform driving the digitalization of cash transactions and furthering the vision and objectives of the Nepal Government and Nepal Rastra Bank as the Central bank.

NATIONAL

Delhi Police introduces app for 'Smart Card Arms License', becomes first in country to do so

• Union Home Minister Amit Shah has launched the ‘Smart Card Arms License’ and ‘Shastra App’ of the Delhi Police, on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Delhi Police. In order to provide techno-friendly digital services to the citizens of the national capital. According to Delhi Police, the smart card, with inherent security features, is easy to carry and handle. The card will be printed in-house after verification of data of the arms license holders.

• The Delhi Police Licensing Unit has introduced ‘Smart Card Arms License’, to replace the existing bulky arms license booklet. With this Delhi Police has become the first police force in the country to introduce such a smart card service.

• The Smart Card Arms License is easy to carry with inherent security features. It will be printed in the house after verification of data of arms license holders.

Career Counselling Workshop 'Pramarsh 2022

• Minister of State for Culture & Parliamentary Affairs, Arjun Ram Meghwal has launched ‘Pramarsh 2022’, a mega career counselling workshop, for the students of the Bikaner District region in Rajasthan. More than one lakh students from thousands of private & government schools of Bikaner district and mainly from rural areas participated in this workshop. It is the first such incidence in India that more than 1 lakh students participated in Career Counselling in one Workshop.

• The “Pramarsh 2022” workshop is an extension of the effort to bridge the industry-academia gap and impart the knowledge about various choices available to the student, to help them make a more informed decision.

• The Workshop was organised jointly by The National Institute of Career Services (NICS), under the Ministry of Labour & Employment and Bengaluru-based educational start-up Edumilestones, with support from the Directorate of Education, Rajasthan.

OBITURY

Indian football legend Surajit Sengupta dies at 70

• The former India footballer Surajit Sengupta, who played as a midfielder, has passed away due to C-19 complications. He was 71. At the club level, Sengupta had been associated with Kolkata’s three big clubs, Mohun Bagan (1972-1973, 1981-1983), East Bengal (1974- 1979) and Mohammedan Sporting (1980). He was part of the Indian national team that won a bronze medal in the 1970 Asian Games, held in Bangkok, Thailand.

APPOINTMENS & RESIGNATIONS

Chetan Ghate succeeds Ajit Mishra as director of Institute of Economic Growth

• The Institute of Economic Growth has appointed Chetan Ghate as the new director succeeding Ajit Mishra. He was a member of the Reserve Bank of India’s first monetary policy committee between 2016-2020, is the winner of the 2014 Mahalanobis Memorial gold medal for the best research economist in the country under the age of 45. He is currently an external affiliate of the Centre for Research in Macroeconomics and Macro-Finance at Swansea University (Wales, UK).

• Ghate has a Ph.D in economics from Claremont Graduate University, California in 1999. His research areas include macroeconomics, monetary economics, economic growth and the Indian macro-economy.

• Ghate has been a professor of economics at the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Delhi for over 18 years. He is also a member of the advisory committee of the national accounts system (ACNAS) in the ministry of statistics and programme implementation.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Day of Social Justice 2022: 20th February 2022

• World Day of Social Justice is celebrated annually all over the world on 20 February. The International Labour Organization unanimously adopted the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization on 10 June 2008. Social justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. World Day of Social Justice 2022 Theme: Achieving Social Justice through Formal Employment.

• The International Labour Organization unanimously adopted the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization on 10 June 2008. This is the third major statement of principles and policies adopted by the International Labour Conference since the ILO’s Constitution of 1919. It builds on the Philadelphia Declaration of 1944 and the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work of 1998. The 2008 Declaration expresses the contemporary vision of the ILO’s mandate in the era of globalization.

Soil Health Card Day 2022: 19th February 

• Every year India observes the Soil Health Card Day on 19 February to commemorate the launch of the Soil Health Card (SHC) Scheme, and create awareness about the benefits of the scheme. 2022 marks the seventh year of the launch of the SHC Scheme. The scheme aims at issuing soil health cards to all farmers every two years. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Soil Health Card (SHC) Scheme on 19th February 2015 at Suratgarh in Rajasthan.

• The card would provide details about the nutritional deficiencies in the soil so that the farmers can supplement the soil with suitable fertilizers and increase the yields. The scheme has been introduced to assist State Governments to issue Soil Health Cards to all farmers in the country. It provides information to farmers on the nutrient status of their soil along with recommendations on the appropriate dosage of nutrients to be applied for improving soil health and its fertility.

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Important Current Affairs 15th February 2022

INTERNATIONAL

German President Steinmeier reelected for second term

• German President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier has been re-elected for a second term of five years by a special parliamentary assembly. This is also the final term for Steinmeier, which he won with 71% of the vote. The special assembly was made up of the members of parliament of the lower house and representatives of Germany’s 16 states. Steinmeier was first elected as the president on February 12, 2017, with 74% of the vote.

• Before first becoming president in 2017, Steinmeier, 66, served two stints as Chancellor Angela Merkel’s foreign minister and earlier was chief of staff to Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. Germany’s president has little executive power but is considered an important moral authority. After a messy parliamentary election result in 2017, Steinmeier helped prod politicians to form a new coalition government rather than holding out for a new vote.

NATIONAL

Governor Manoj Sinha launches QR code-based mechanism for certification, labelling of handmade carpets of J&K

• Jammu and Kashmir lieutenant governor, Manoj Sinha has launched a QR code-based mechanism for certification and labelling of handmade carpets of the union territory. With the QR-based application, which is the first of its kind in the country, customers can check and verify the authenticity and other requisite details of carpets produced in Jammu and Kashmir, read an official statement from the administration. Manoj Sinha also felicitated UT’s awardees of Handicrafts & Handloom. J&K Handicrafts are repositories of India’s creative traditions that are serving as a cultural expression.

• The Jammu and Kashmir government has introduced Export Incentive Scheme. Under this scheme, the incentive of 10 per cent of the total volume of GI certified Handicrafts and Handloom products exported to any country, with a maximum reimbursement of up to Rs 5 crores, shall be provided to eligible exporters registered with the Department of Handicrafts and Handloom.

Indore's Central Jail gets its own FM radio channel 'Jail Vaani'

• In Madhya Pradesh, the Central Jail of Indore has started its own radio channel ‘Jail Vaani-FM 18.77’. Through this radio channel, the jail inmates will get to know about the happening in the world. The radio channel will also provide the jail inmates with information on health and social issues.

• The radio station will act as a medium for prisoners to tell their own stories and also to share their experiences. The aim is to inform jail inmates about what is happening across the world. Jails with such innovative measures adopted for the reform of prisoners will certainly act as correctional institutions.

Centre approves continuation of police modernisation scheme for 5 yrs with Rs 26,275 crore

• The Government has approved the continuation of the Scheme of Modernization of State Police Forces (MPF Scheme) for five years from 2021-22 to 2025-26. Total Central financial outlay for five years is Rs. 26,275 crores. The scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) since 1969-70.

• The objective of the scheme is to gradually reduce the dependence of the State Governments on the Army and the Central Armed Police Forces to control internal security and law and order situations by equipping the State Police Forces adequately and strengthening their training infrastructure.

• The focus of the scheme is to build cutting edge level police infrastructure by the construction of secure police stations, training centres, police housing (residential), equipping the police stations with the required mobility, modern weaponry, communication equipment and forensic set-up etc.

17th Mumbai International Film Festival to be held from May 29-June 5

• The 17th edition of the Mumbai International Film Festival for Documentary, Short Fiction and Animation films (MIFF-2022) is scheduled to take place from 29 May to 4 June, 2022 at the Films Division complex, Mumbai. Those films which were completed between September 1, 2019, and December 31, 2021, are eligible. The best documentary of the festival will receive a Golden Conch and 10 lakh in a cash award. As India is celebrating Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, the current edition has instituted a special award for the best short film on the theme India@75.

• The programme is organized by the Films Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting since 1990, with support from the Government of Maharashtra, and focuses on documentary, short fiction and animation films. It is the oldest and largest festival for non-feature films in South Asia.

APPOINTMEN & RESIGNATION

ICAI elects CA Debashis Mitra as President and CA Aniket Sunil Talati as Vice-President

• Debashis Mitra has been elected as the President of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) for the year 2022-23. Mitra, who is serving his third term in ICAI Council, has been in the accounting profession for more than 34 years. Apart from being a Chartered Accountant, he is also a Cost Accountant and a Company Secretary. He holds a master’s degree in commerce and is also a law graduate as well as a qualified Information Systems Auditor.

• Aniket Sunil Talati has been elected as Vice President of the institute, which has more than 3.40 lakh members and over 7 lakh students.

• Talati, who has a master’s degree in commerce, served as Chairman of Ahmedabad Branch of ICAI for the year 2014-15 and as Secretary, WIRC for the year 2017-18.

Tata Group appoints former Turkish Airlines chairman Ilker Ayci as new Air India MD and CEO

• Ilker Ayci has been appointed as the new CEO and MD of Air India. He will assume his responsibilities on or before 1st April 2022. Ilker Ayci is a former chairman of Turkish Airlines. Ilker is an aviation industry leader who led Turkish Airlines to its current success during his tenure there.

• Ayci was born in Istanbul in 1971. After graduating from the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Bilkent University, he served as a researcher in the Department of Political Sciences at Leeds University in the U.K.

• Starting his career in 1994, he was assigned several positions in Kurtsan Ilaclar A.S., Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Universal Dis Ticaret A.S., respectively, and then he served as a general manager in Basak Sigorta A.S. between 2005-2006, and then in Gunes Sigorta A.S. between 2006 and 2011.

BOOKS & AUTHOR

Book ‘How to Prevent the Next Pandemic’ authored by Bill Gates

• A book titled ‘How to Prevent the Next Pandemic’ has authored by Bill Gates will be published this year in May 2022. In the book Bill Gates has written about specific steps that can only stop future pandemics but, in the process, provide better health care for everyone around the world.

• His last book, “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need”, was released in February 2021. The book, to be published by Penguin Random House internationally and Knopf in the US.

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

ABG Shipyard, its directors booked by CBI in Rs 22,842-cr bank fraud case

• Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has booked ABG Shipyard for an alleged Rs 22,842-crore financial fraud. ABG Shipyard is the flagship entity of ABG Group. It has cheated a consortium of 28 banks and financial institutions of Rs. 22,842 crore. This is the biggest bank fraud case ever registered by the CBI. The case pertained to funds gotten and misused during the 2012-17 period. Rishi Agarwal, the then CMD of ABG Shipyard has been named in the FIR.

• This consortium was led by ICICI Bank. Of this, ABG Shipyard owes Rs. 7,089 crore to ICICI Bank, Rs. 3,639 crores to IDBI Bank, Rs. 2,925 crores to State Bank, Rs. 1,614 crores to Bank of Baroda, and Rs. 1,244 crore to Punjab National Bank, among others. The Funds given by these banks were used by the executives of ABG Shipyard for purposes other than for which they were given and they were engaged in diversion of funds, misappropriation and criminal breach of trust. The same has been revealed in a report submitted by M/s. Ernst & Young LP.

RBL Bank partners with Creditas Solutions to automate collections

• RBL Bank has partnered with Creditas Solutions for its ‘Neo Collections’ platform. The bank will utilise the SaaS-based platform to accelerate efficiency in collections across the loan cycle. The platform is built to automate strategies for reaching out to customers individually in an empathetic manner and motivate them to repay loans.

• The platform can also determine the best course of action for every customer by offering customised payment plans to service debt, schedule an EMI plan or opt for payment resolution options. The Neo Collections Platform, a Do It Yourself (DIY) debt management platform, will help our customers seamlessly monitor, manage and pay their dues.

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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 10th February 2022

INTERNATIONAL

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

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

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

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

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

NATIONAL

UNEP signs MoU with Maharashtra govt for implementing climate change actions

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

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

Gujarat unveils new IT policy to generate 1 lakh direct jobs

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

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

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

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

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

APPOINTMENT & RESIGNATION

Pradip Shah appointed Pfizer India chairman

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

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

Sanjay Malhotra appointed DFS Secretary in Finance Ministry

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

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

SUMMIT'S & MOU's

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

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

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

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Pulses Day 2022:10 February

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

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

BANKING AND ECONOMIC

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

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

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

Razorpay acquires majority stake in Malaysian fintech startup Curlec

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

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

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