Current Affairs 16th February 2021

1. Tata Communications partners with Google

Tata Communications Ltd has partnered with Google Cloud. Its collaboration with Google Cloud will help businesses deploy the services for modernising infrastructure, transforming data centres, smart analytics, multi-cloud deployments, among others. The partnership will enable organisations to deploy and access Google Cloud services through ‘Tata Communications’ IZO managed cloud.

2. e-Chhawani portal launched

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh launched an e-Chhawani portal on 16 Feb 2021. Residents of Cantonment areas can register their complaints regarding civic issues and resolve them while sitting at home, through this portal. It aims to provide online municipal services to more than 20 lakh citizens across 62 Cantonment Boards through a multi-tenancy central platform.

3. IIT Bombay launches a fundraising campaign

IIT Bombay has launched its 1st-ever annual fundraising campaign ‘Cherish IIT Bombay 2021. The funds will be used for the creation of world-class laboratory complexes, modernization of lecture halls and continuation of awards to attract and retain faculty. Donations made to IIT Bombay by corporate bodies and individuals are 100% tax-deductible under section 80G of the Indian Income Tax Act.

4. ‘Pahela Phagun’ celebrated in Bangladesh

The first day of the spring called ‘Pahela Phagun’ was celebrated in Dhaka on 14 Feb 2021. Various programmes were held at the Suhrawardy Udyan, Nandan Manch of Shilpakala Academy and several other locations. The Jatiya Basanta Utsab Udjapan Parishad organized the programme at the Suhrawardy Udyan in Dhaka. The programme featured dance and musical performances.

5. Mexico receives 870,000 doses of vaccine

Mexico received a shipment of 870,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine from India on 14 Feb 2021. The shipment amounts to about 42% of the 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca and Oxford University vaccine the country plans to import from India. Mexico and Argentina have an agreement with AstraZeneca to produce the vaccine for eventual distribution of 250 million doses in Latin America

6. Harsh Vardhan Shringla to visit Moscow

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla will pay a two-day visit to Moscow on 17th and 18th of February 2021. He has been invited by the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov. He will hold the next round of India-Russia Foreign Office Consultations with Morgulov. He will also deliver a speech at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

7. Awards given for writing competition

The High Commission of India in Dhaka has announced the winners of the writing competition on the subject ‘What Liberation means to me’ for the youth of Bangladesh. The prize-giving ceremony was organised on 15 Feb 2021 at the High Commission of India in Dhaka. In Category A of Bangla competition, Afsara Tasnim of Dhaka University was adjudged the Champion

8. Best Marching Contingent award presented

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, on 15 February 2021, presented the Best Marching Contingent award of Republic Day Parade 2021. ‘Best marching contingent among the three services’ was presented to Jat Regimental Centre. ‘Best marching contingent among CAPF and other auxiliary forces’ was won by Delhi Police.

9. Jute seed distribution scheme launched

Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani rolled out the commercial jute seed distribution scheme on 15 Feb 2021. Jute Corporation of India had signed an MoU with National Seeds Corporation in 2020 for commercial distribution of 1,000 Metric Tonne certified jute seeds for the year 2021-22. MSP for jute stands at 4,225 rupees for the financial year 2020-21 compared to 2,400 in the year 2014-15.

10. Budget of Science and Tech Dept increased

The Union Govt has increased the budget of the Dept of Science and Technology and Ministry of Earth Sciences by 30%. An allocation of Rs. 16,695 crore has been given for the two Ministries. Over Rs. 50,000 crore have been allocated for the National Research Foundation. A Deep Ocean Mission will also be launched with a budget outlay of over Rs. 4000 crore.

11. NASSCOM Technology and Leadership Forum

PM Narendra Modi will address the NASSCOM Technology and Leadership Forum (NTLF) on 17 Feb 2021. It is the 29th edition of NTLF and will be organised till 19 Feb 2021. It is a flagship event of the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM). The theme for 2021 is ‘Shaping the future towards a better normal’. It will host 1600 participants from more than 30 nations.

12. PM to lay foundation of projects in Tamil Nadu

PM Narendra Modi will dedicate to the nation and lay the foundation of key projects of the oil and gas sector in Tamil Nadu on 17 Feb 2021. He will dedicate to the nation the Ramanathapuram – Thoothukudi natural gas pipeline and Gasoline Desulphurisation Unit at Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited, Manali. He will also lay the foundation stone of Cauvery Basin Refinery at Nagapattinam.

13. PM Narendra Modi addresses a webinar

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a webinar on 16 Feb 2021 on a roadmap for effective implementation of Union Budget 2021-22 in the infrastructure sector. The webinar witnessed participation of more than 200 panellists including representatives of major financial institutions and funds. The panellists shared their ideas on improving the pace and quality of infrastructure development

14. 74th foundation day of Delhi Police

16 February marks the foundation day of the Delhi Police. The year 2021 marked its 74th foundation day. As Home Minister, Amit Shah is in charge of the Delhi Police. Delhi Police comes under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. In 2015, sanctioned strength of Delhi Police was 84,536 making it one of the largest metropolitan police forces in the world.

15. Microsoft, HPE to launch Al on Space Station

Microsoft and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) have partnered to deliver edge computing, artificial intelligence (AI), and Azure cloud computing capabilities on the International Space Station. The collaboration aims to further accelerate space exploration by delivering state-of-the-art technologies to tackle a range of data processing needs while in orbit.

16. Justice PB Sawant passes away

Former Supreme Court Judge PB Sawant passed away on February 15, 2021. He was one of the chief organizers of the 2017 ‘Elgaar Parishad’. Justice Sawant started practicing in the Bombay High Court in 1973 and was appointed justice in the Supreme Court in 1989. In 2002, he served on an Indian People’s Tribunal headed by Justice V.R. Krishna lyer to investigate the 2002 Gujarat riots.

17. India’s geospatial data out for general use

India’s Department of Science and Technology opened access to geospatial data from government agencies. Data from the Survey of India and Indian Space Research Organisation will also be made available to public & private companies. This liberation of policies will boost the geospatial data sector to cost Rs. 1 L cr. by 2030, create jobs for 2.2 mn people & have a multifold impact on the economy.

18. Kerala: Free internet service to 20L families

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan has launched the KFON (Kerala Fibre Optic Network) to provide free internet service. Service will be provided to 20 lakh BPL families, including villages in all 14 districts of Kerala. 30,000 government institutions will also get high bandwidth connectivity with KFON. KFON is a JV of Kerala State IT Infrastructure

19. Limited and Kerala State Electricity Board.

CM Mamata Banerjee launches “Maa” scheme West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee has launched a scheme, ‘Maa’, to provide a meal to the poor for Rs. 5. Under this scheme, Self-help groups will operate the kitchens between 1-3 pm every day and will offer rice, dal, a vegetable and egg curry. For this scheme State Government will bear a subsidy of Rs. 15 per plate.

20. Russia launches cargo spacecraft “Progress 77”

Russia launched its cargo spacecraft Progress 77 from Kazakhstan to the International Space Station on 15 February 2021. Progress MS-16 cargo ship, also called Progress 77, was launched by Russia’s space agency Roscosmos. An uncrewed Russian Progress 77 is carrying approximately 2,460 kg of cargo and supplies for the crew currently onboard the station.

21. Okonjo-lweala makes history at WTO

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala becomes the first woman and first African Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Her term will start on 1 March 2021. She is a development economist and formerly worked as a Finance Minister of Nigeria. She will replace former Director-General, Roberto Azevêdo.

22. Wipro Consumer Care invests in OneLife

Wipro Consumer Care Ventures, the venture capital arm of Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting, has announced an investment in OneLife brand owner, OneLife Nutriscience. Onelife sells products in the wellness, immunity, and overall nutraceutical segment including a range of health supplements, teas, and vitamins. It will use the funds for its next level of growth.

23. UP CM inaugurates Abhyudaya scheme

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath inaugurated the ‘Abhyudaya’ scheme on 15 Feb 2021 and interacted with registered candidates under the scheme. For competitive examinations, the programme will offer a free coaching center for competitive examinations –IAS, IPS, PCS, NDS, CDS, NEET, and JEE. Students will also be provided with offline classes along with online study material.

24. RBI announces Operation Twist

The RBI will simultaneously sell and purchase government securities under open market operations (OMOs) on 25 February 2021. Typically, the central bank conducts OMO sales to drain liquidity in the financial system and OMO purchases to infuse liquidity. It will purchase securities maturing in 2025, 2029 and 2033, and sell short-dated securities maturing in Nov 2021 and Feb 2022.

25. Kotak Mahindra Bank launches Kotak Remit

Kotak Mahindra Bank has launched its outward forex remittance service, Kotak Remit, hence allowing its users to directly send money abroad from their phones. The feature is already live on the Kotak Mobile Banking App. For the first time, Kotak customers can conveniently transfer money internationally to their beneficiaries straight from their mobile, through this.

26. HCL Tech inks pact with IIT Kanpur

HCL Technologies has inked an agreement with IIT Kanpur to collaborate in the area of cybersecurity. As part of the pact, HCL will work with C3iHub, a specialized cybersecurity research center at IIT Kanpur. The teams will develop a security framework and solutions for cybersecurity challenges in current and future operational technologies as one of the first areas of interest.

27. India to start trials of Astra missile

India would start testing the Astra Mark 2 missile, which would be capable of taking down enemy aircraft from a range of 160 kilometers. The trial for the Astra Mark would be starting in the second half of 2021. The Astra is a beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM), which flies over four times the speed of sound at Mach 4.5.

28. IT industry to grow by 2.3% in FY21: NASSCOM

The Indian IT industry revenues are set to grow by 2.3 percent to USD 194 billion in FY2020-21 and the exports will go up by 1.9 percent to USD 150 billion. This was informed by the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM). The industry has become the first sector to recover from the pandemic-induced crisis.

29. Arohan Financial files for Rs. 1,800 crore IPO

Kolkata-based Arohan Financial Services Ltd has filed the draft red herring prospectus with the Securities Exchange Board of India to raise funds via initial public offering (IPO). The Aavishkaar group promoted lender plans to raise between Rs. 1750-1800 crore through IPO. The public offer comprises a fund raise via fresh issuance of shares amounting to Rs. 850 crores.

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