Current Affairs 11th February 2021

Table of Contents

1. Rishabh Pant wins ICC’s Player of the Month

Rishabh Pant has been named the winner of ICC’s inaugural Player of the Month Award. He has been awarded for Jan 2021 for his performances in the two Tests against Australia where he scored a 97 at Sydney and an 89 at Brisbane that led India to a historic series win. Among female cricketers, the award was won by South Africa Shabnim Ismail for her performance in the series against Pakistan.

2. Day of Women and Girls in Science: 11 February

The International Day of Women and Girls in Science is celebrated on 11 February every year. The theme for the year 2021 is “Women Scientists at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19”. According to a UN study from 14 countries, the probability for female students graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in science is 18%, while the male equivalent is 37%.

3. Suzanne: Next CEO of US Chamber of Commerce

The US Chamber of Commerce will soon see Suzanne Clark as its next CEO, the first woman to lead the group. Clark, who’s currently the President of the US Chamber, will succeed Thomas J. Donohue. The position is effective on 11 March 2021. She was named as the President in June 2019. She serves on the boards of agricultural equipment maker AGCO and TransUnion.

4. PNB inks deal with Indian Oil

Punjab National Bank (PNB) has inked a pact with Indian Oil Corporation to provide up to Rs. 2 crores to the oil company’s dealers. Punjab National Bank signed an MoU with India Oil Corporation Ltd in this regard. The MoU would benefit dealers with credit facilities at lower interest rates, nil margin, and with minimum or zero collateral requirements through the PNB e-Dealer scheme.

5. CCI approves BOI’s stake-buy in BOI AXA

Competition Commission of India has approved Bank of India’s acquisition of 49% stake each in BOI AXA Investment Managers (BAIM) and BOI AXA Trustee Services (BATS). The total asset under management (AUM) of BOI AXA Mutual Fund was Rs. 2,426 crores as of 30 November 2020. Following the transaction, both the entities BAIM and BATS – will become Bank of India’s fully-owned subsidiaries.

6. Railways rolls out AC 3-tier economy coach

Indian Railways has rolled out its first air-conditioned three-tier economy class coach. These coaches will be “economical” and in between the current AC three-tier and non-AC sleeper class. The new coach can carry more passengers as the berths have been increased from 72 to 83. Each coach is provided with a wider and one disabled-friendly toilet entry door which is a new initiative.

7. Kotak Mahindra Bank revises FD rates

Kotak Mahindra Bank has revised interest rate on fixed deposits (FD). The bank’s FD interest rates range from 2.50% to 5.25% on maturities with different tenures. For FDs maturing in 7 to 30 days, 31 to 90 days and 91 to 179 days, Kotak Mahindra Bank offers interest rate 2.5%, 2.75% and 3.25% respectively. For term deposits maturing in 180 days to less than a year, it offers 4.40% interest.

8. Government launches job portal for workers

Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC), under the Department of Science and Technology has launched the job portal Saksham. It will conduct skills mapping exercises of workers as per the requirements of MSMEs. After the identification of skill proficiency level, the labourers will be provided with Skill Cards which will help them find job in MSMEs in the nearby areas.

9. SpiceJet to start 24 new domestic flights

SpiceJet will start 24 new domestic flights in February 2021 from various cities including Ajmer, Jaisalmer, Ahmedabad, and Bengaluru. It would be the only airline to start flights on the Ajmer-Mumbai route and Ahmedabad-Amritsar route. Flights between Ahmedabad-Bagdogra-Ahmedabad and Chennai – Kolkata -Chennai will operate three days a week.

10. SBI revises FY21 GDP estimates to -7.0 percent

State Bank of India’s Economic Research Department has revised FY21 GDP estimates to -7.0%. Previously it had estimated GDP at -7.4%. As per the report authored by SBI’s Group Chief Economic Advisor Dr. Soumya Kanti Ghosh ‘SBI Nowcasting Model’, the GDP growth forecast for Q3 would be around 0.3%. Apart from Q3 FY21, the Q4 growth will also be in positive territory (approx 2.5%).

11. J&K LG hands over Rs. 250 cr cheque to J&K Bank

In Jammu and Kashmir, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha handed over a cheque of Rs. 250 crore to Jammu and Kashmir Bank on 10 February 2021. It is the 2nd installment of a 5% interest subvention under the economic package. Around 3.41 lakh small and big businessmen and business establishments have availed the benefits of the interest subvention.

12. International Film Festival of Kerala begins

The 25th edition of the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) began on 10 Feb 2020. Around 80 feature films from over 30 countries will be screened. Bosnian film ‘Quo Vadis, Aida?’ was the inaugural film of the festival. The festival will be held from February 17 to 21, 2021 in Ernakulam, February 23rd to 27th, 2021 at Thalassery, and from March 1st to 5th, 2021 at Palakkad.

13. New Sand policy announced

Karnataka Mines and Geology Minister Murugesh Nirani has announced a new Sand policy to ensure a hassle-free supply of sand to the common man. The new sand provisions will benefit Ashraya and other housing schemes of the Government. A single window agency will clear the extraction of sand from 183 sand blocks in the state. A mines university will also be set up in the state.

14. Odisha launches citizen-centric services

Odisha launched various citizen-centric online services of the State Transport department on 10 Feb 2021. The digital initiative will allow freedom to the vehicle owners to choose any transport office of the state for vehicle-related services. Odisha is the first state in the country to introduce document upload through digital signature. It launched 9 online services,

15. Coast Guard conducts a workshop at Porbandar

The Coast Guard District Headquarters Number-1 conducted the district-level Pollution Response Workshop and Mock Drill – 2021 at Porbandar, Gujarat from 9-10 Feb 2021. It was conducted to revalidate the response mechanism for oil pollution incidents and enable the Indian Coast Guard to fine-tune the Regional and National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan

16. Bangladesh receives USD 200 mn from World Bank

Bangladesh has received USD 200 million for Water Sanitation, Hygiene (WASH) project for rural areas from the World Bank. An agreement regarding this was signed between the government of Bangladesh and the World Bank on 9 February 2021. The project will help 3.6 million to access hygienic sanitation facilities and about 6 lakh people to access clean water in rural areas.

17. India and China held bilateral consultations

India and China held bilateral consultations on 9 February 2021 on issues on the agenda of the UN Security Council. Prakash Gupta, Joint Secretary (UNP and Summits) led the Indian delegation. The Chinese delegation was led by Yang Tao, Director General of the Department of International Organizations and Conferences, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China.

18. Joe Biden announces launch of China task force

US President Joe Biden has announced the launch of a new China task force. It will provide recommendations on military strategy to the Department of Defense, DoD to counter growing challenges posed by Beijing. The 15-member task force will have a broad portfolio, including defense strategy, Chinese technology and intelligence, and U.S alliances and partnerships in Asia.

19. US freezes $1 billion funds of Myanmar govt

US President Joe Biden has approved an executive order to impose sanctions on the leaders of Myanmar’s coup. The measures will be focused on military leaders, their family members and businesses linked to them. Steps are also being taken to block access by the military to $1bn (£720m) of government funds held in the US.

20. More than 620 lakh tonnes of paddy procured

Government has procured more than 620 lakh tonnes of paddy in the current Kharif marketing season. This is an increase of 17.60 percent against 2020’s corresponding purchase of around 527 lakh tonnes. Out of the total purchase, Punjab alone has contributed over 202 lakh tonnes which is 32.71 percent of total procurement.

21. Govt launches website of India Toy Fair- 2021

The government launched the website of the India Toy Fair- 2021 on 11 February 2021. The website was launched jointly by Minister of Textiles Smriti Irani, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, and Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank in New Delhi. India’s first-ever toy fair will be held from 27 February to 2 March 2021.

22. Fossil of world’s oldest animal found in MP

Dickinsonia, India’s only fossil of world’s oldest animal, has been discovered in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhimbetka rock shelters. Researchers have found Dickinsonia that dates back 570 million years. Dickinsonia is an extinct genus of a basal animal that lived during the late Ediacaran period. The study has been published in the Gondwana Research, an international journal.

23. LCC Femina Miss India 2020 winners

Telangana’s Manasa Varanasi was crowned VLCC Femina Miss India World 2020 on 10 February 2021. Haryana’s Manika Sheokand was declared VLCC Femina Miss Grand India 2020, while Uttar Pradesh’s Manya Singh was crowned VLCC Femina Miss India 2020 – runner-up. It was the 57th edition of the Femina Miss India beauty pageant.

24. Grant-in-aid of Rs.100 crore to BVFCL approved

CCEA chaired by PM Narendra Modi has approved Grant-in-aid of Rs.100 crore to Brahmaputra Valley Fertilizers Corporation Limited (BVFCL), Namrup (Assam). BVFCL found it difficult to maintain a reasonable production level in a cost-effective manner because of their old and obsolete technology. The grant was approved for smoother operation of the plants with the procurement of catalyst items.

25. Mandarin and Turmeric included for subsidy

Mandarin (a variety of Orange) and Turmeric (raw) have been considered for transportation subsidy through any type of train service provided by the Indian Railways under ‘Operation Greens – TOP to TOTAL’ scheme. Both the items were added in the list of eligible Fruits and Vegetables for 50% transportation subsidy provided by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MOFPI).

26. Centre, SPPU sign MoU

The Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) and the Ministry of AYUSH signed an MoU with the consortium of Ayush institutions on 10 February 2021. The consortium comprises a group of institutions of national importance such as Teaching Research in Ayurveda (ITRA). The tie-up will help in research activities, realizing the need to study, understand, validate and integrate the Ayush systems.

27. IIT Gandhinagar Director elected to US NAE

Director of IIT Gandhinagar, Prof Sudhir K Jain, has been elected as an international member of the US National Academy of Engineering (US NAE). Jain is among 23 international members elected in 2021. He will be formally inducted during the NAE’s annual meeting on 3 October 2021. A Padma Shri awardee, Dr Jain is the only incumbent IIT Director to be ever elected to this body.

28. Chinese Tianwen-1 enters Mars’ orbit

A Chinese spacecraft Tiawen-1 went into orbit around Mars on 10 February 2021. It is China’s first artificial Mars satellite. The milestone makes China the sixth entity to get a probe to Mars, joining the United States, the Soviet Union, the European Space Agency, India and the United Arab Emirates. Tianwen, the title of an ancient poem, means “Quest for Heavenly Truth.”

29. TROPEX 21: Indian Navy’s largest war game

The Navy’s largest war game, the biennial Theatre Level Operational Readiness Exercise (TROPEX-21), has completed the weapon work-up phase on Feb 10, 2021. The exercise is currently underway with participation of all its operational units as well as units of the Indian Army, Indian Air Force and Coast Guard. Commenced in January 2021, the exercise will culminate by third week of February’21.

30. UP Cabinet amends panchayat quota

The Uttar Pradesh Cabinet has approved the UP Panchayati Raj (Reservation and Allotment of Seats and Offices) (Eleventh Amendment) Rules, 2021. It has removed existing provisions related to the delimitation of gram sabhas and the reservation of panchayat seats. Panchayat elections would be held by April 30, 2021, deadline set by the Allahabad High Court.

31. Major Port Authorities Bill 2020 passed by RSV

Rajya Sabha passed the Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020 on 10 February 2021. The Lok Sabha had passed the bill on September 23, 2020. The Bill aims to provide for the regulation, operation and planning of Major Ports in India and to vest the administration, control and management of such ports upon the Boards of Major Port Authorities.

32. FICCI reappoints Star India’s Sanjog Gupta

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), has announced the re-appointment of Sanjog Gupta, head- sports, Star India, as the chairperson to FICCI’s Sports Committee in 2021. FICCI is the first national chamber of commerce to establish a dedicated sports vertical under the aegis of the sports committee. Chanakya Chaudhary will co-chair the committee.

33. Tesla invests in bitcoin

Tesla has invested $1.5 billion in bitcoin, making it the biggest investment by a mainstream corporation into the most popular cryptocurrency. In addition, the company plans to start accepting digital currency as a payment option for its products. Soon after Tesla’s announcement, the rate of bitcoin skyrocketed to an all-time high, breaching the $44,000-mark for the first time.

34. Chinese firm wins contract for projects

A Chinese company has won a contract to set up hybrid wind and solar energy projects on 3 Sri Lankan islands off the northern Jaffna peninsula 45 km from Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu. The US $12 million projects were awarded to Sinosar-Etechwin. Asian Development Bank will fund the project, which will come up on Delft, Nainativu and Analativu, three islands in the Palk Strait.

35. Rs 400 cr investment for fisheries sector

The government has proposed investment of Rs 400 crore towards the revival of the fisheries sector in Goa. It is aimed at making Goa as “fishing hub” in the country and the initial focus is laid on cage farming techniques spread across 75 sq kms. The centre has already sanctioned Rs. 41.47 crore to the state.

36. S.Korea to build biggest offshore wind farm

South Korea has announced $A56 billion plans to build the world’s largest offshore wind farm. It will be an 8.2-gigawatt project off the coast of Sinan in the Yellow Sea. The Sinan project is expected to provide up to 5,600 jobs and help achieve a goal to boost the country’s wind power capacity to 16.5GW by 2030 from 1.67GW now.

37. New Zealand suspends ties with Myanmar

New Zealand has announced the suspension of high-level military and political contacts with Myanmar. Myanmar’s military had detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party, ending a decade of civilian rule. New Zealand is also imposing a travel ban on its military leaders.

38. Vinothraj’s Pebbles wins Tiger Award

The International Film Festival Rotterdam was held from February 1 to February 7, 2021.nThe Indian drama film Pebbles directed by Vinothraj PS bagged the Tiger Award for Best Film. The Tiger Award also comes with a 40,000 Euro cash prize which is to be shared by the director and producer of the winning film.

39. Bansi Kaul passes away

A stage designer and a theatre director Bansi Kaul passed away in Feb 2021. He won Padma Shri in 2014 and Sangeet Natak Akademi award in 1995, He was also the designer and show director for the Commonwealth Games’ opening ceremony (2010) and art director for Khajuraho Festival (1986 and 1987). He established the theatre group Rang Vidushak that trained a number of theatre-persons.

40. Aadhar authentication for 16 services

Driving licence holders and vehicle owners would need to get Aadhaar authentication to avail 16 types of online and contactless services. These include obtaining learner’s licence, renewal of DL, changes of address and certificate of registration, issue of international driving licence, notice of transfer and application for transfer of ownership of vehicle, etc.

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