Current Affairs 17th February 2021

1. Preeti Sinha to lead United Nations CDF

The UN Capital Development Fund has appointed Indian-origin investment & development banker Preeti Sinha as its Executive Secretary. Sinha succeeded Judith Karl & commenced her tenure as UNCDF Executive Secretary, the highest leadership rank in an institution, on 15 Feb 21. She will oversee the UN agency with special emphasis on supporting sustainable development in under-served communities.

2. Tatas to acquire 68% stake in Bigbasket

Salt-to-software conglomerate Tata Group has signed a deal to acquire a 68 percent stake in BigBasket, an online grocery platform. The stake worth Rs. 9,500 crores are being acquired through Tata Digital, a subsidiary of Tata Sons. The agreement puts BigBasket’s enterprise value at more than Rs. 13,500 crores. Founded in 2011, BigBasket operates in 25 Indian cities.

3. IEEFA report: $500 bn investment in renewable

India is set to see investments to the tune of around $500 billion in the renewables sector if the country has to achieve the target of 450 gigawatts (GW) capacity by 2030 – IEEFA report. A report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) shows that a huge global capital pool is mobilizing to invest in renewable energy and grid projects in India,

4. Kiran Bedi relieved as lieutenant governor

Kiran Bedi was removed as Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry by the central government on 16 Feb’21. Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundarajan has been given the additional charge of Puducherry. • The decision to relieve Bedi is the culmination of a long-running feud between her and CM Narayanasamy.

5. Manipur doctor wins high Japanese honor

Japan has conferred the “Order of the Rising Sun” for Manipur physician and former President of state tourism forum, Dr. Thangjam Dhabali Singh. The honor is given to felicitate his contribution to strengthening ties between Japan and India, and Japan and Manipur. It is one of the highest orders conferred by Japan govt. to non-military and apolitical personalities, constituted in 1875.

6. ‘Fractured Mosaic’: A book by Sabarna Roy

Sabarna Roy, the author of six critically acclaimed books, unveiled his seventh book, Fractured Mosaic on 17 Feb’21. Fractured Mosaic has been published by Leadstart of Mumbai. The book “Fractured Mosaic” is a sequel to his fifth literary work, titled: Random Subterranean Mosaic: 2012 – 2018.

7. India, Russia hold talks on UNSC issues

India and Russia held bilateral consultations on UNSC issues in Moscow at the DG level on 16 February 2021. The Russian delegation was led by Peter llichev, Director of the Department of International Organizations of Russian Foreign Ministry, and Prakash Gupta, Joint Secretary (UNP and Summits) led the Indian delegation. Both sides agreed to work closely together on key issues on the UNSC agenda.

8. Jharkhand: hike in pay of mid-day meal worker

The Jharkhand government has decided to hike the pay for mid-day meal kitchen assistants at government schools by Rs. 500. Following the hike, 79,551 kitchen assistants in the state would get Rs. 2,000 per head each month for the work. The hike will be effective from April 1, 2021. Chief Minister Hemant Soren has approved the spending of Rs. 39.79 crore for the revised pay.

9. UN releases $15 million to fight Ebola

The United Nations announced, the release of USD 15 mn from its emergency relief fund to help Guinea and Congo combat new outbreaks of Ebola on 16 February 2021. This is the first time that Ebola has been recorded in Guinea since an outbreak that ended in 2016. Neighboring Sierra Leone and Liberia have put their citizens on high alert because of the situation in Guinea.

10. S.Africa’s Faf Du Plessis declares Retirement

Former South Africa captain Faf du Plessis announced his retirement from Test cricket on 17 February 2021. Faf du Plessis played 69 Tests, scoring 4163 runs at an average of 40.02. He stepped down as South Africa’s Test and T20I captain in 2020. He desires to focus on his career in the shorter formats with T20 being the priority.

11. Kanchoth festival celebrated in Chenab valley

The ancient Kanchoth festival, a symbol of ancient Nag culture, was observed across the Chenab valley region of J&K on 14 February 2021. Kanchoth or Gauriâ Tritiya, the festival is celebrated every year during the “Shukla Paksha of Magh month” in January or February. The festival is mainly celebrated by Nag followers, who believe that on this day, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati got married.

12. Kerala: CM inaugurates Gender Park campus

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the Gender Park campus in Kozhikode on 14 February 2021. The Gender Park aims to become the premier convergence point of all gender-related activities. With UN Women as an equal partner, Gender Park will also be developed into a South Asian hub for gender equality.

13. Wildlife corridor on Delhi-Dehradun Exp. way

The Delhi-Dehradun Expressway will be the country’s first highway with a 12-km elevated corridor for wildlife protection. Delhi-Dehradun expressway project work will start soon and will reduce the distance between the two cities from 235 km to 210 km. The project will be executed under Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) mode.

14. Iran-Russia Maritime Security Belt 2021

Iran and Russia began a joint naval drill in the Indian Ocean dubbed “Maritime Security Belt 2021” on 16 Feb 2021. India has also joined Iran and Russia in a two-day navy exercise with a select group of vessels. The exercise aimed at enhancing the security of maritime trade in the region. The drill will cover an area of 17,000 square kilometers.

15. SpaceX launches 19th Starlink mission

SpaceX successfully launched 60 more Starlink satellites on 15 February’21 as part of the 19th Starlink mission but failed to land Falcon 9 rocket’s reusable first-stage booster. Starlink satellites had launched from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Cape Canaveral. The satellites are part of a constellation designed to provide broadband internet service around the globe.

16. Army joins hands with Pune-based foundation

Indian Army’s Chinar Corps entered into an MoU with a Pune-based Indrani Balan Foundation on 15 Feb’21 to provide better education facilities to the youths of J&K. The Foundation will finance four Goodwill schools of Uri, Wayne, Trehgam, Hajinar in Baramulla and Kupwara districts. It will also build infrastructure for the Pariwar School Society for specially-abled children at Baramulla

17. Jharkhand: Approval of HC Bench In Dumka

Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren approved the proposal to set up a bench of Jharkhand High Court in Dumka on 15 Feb’21. Apart from Principal Bench in Ranchi, no Bench of Jharkhand High Court is functioning in any district of the state. To establish the HC Bench In Dumka, the law department had earlier written to the Union Law Ministry and the Supreme Court to decide the jurisdiction of it.

18. AYUSH Ministry, WHO SEARO ink pact

The AYUSH Ministry and the WHO’s South-East Asia Regional Office have signed a Letter of Exchange to implement its regional traditional medicine action plan. The agreement will lead to the deputation of an AYUSH expert to WHO’s regional traditional medicine program. The initiative aims to support the South-East Asia Region in implementing the regional traditional medicine action plan.

19. India’s largest hockey stadium in Rourkela

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik laid the foundation stone of India’s biggest international hockey stadium at Rourkela in Sundergarh district on 16 Feb’21. The new hockey stadium will be named after freedom fighter ‘Birsa Munda’ and will have a seating capacity of more than 20k. The state govt has set a target to complete the construction of the stadium ahead of the men’s FIH Hockey World Cup 2023.

20. M Rawat wins inaugural 35km race walk gold

Olympian Manish Rawat of Uttarakhand won the inaugural men’s 35km event of the National Open Race Walking Championships held on 13th and 14th Feb 21 in Ranchi. Rawat beat Tamil Nadu’s Ganapati Krishnan comfortably and qualified for the next World Athletics Championships. The 35km race walk event was being staged in India for the first time.

21. Ajai Malhotra:1st Chairperson at HRC advisory

Ajay Malhotra has become the first Indian to be elected as Chairperson of the Advisory Committee of the Human Rights Council (HRC). He has served as the Ambassador of India to the Russian Federation till his retirement in 2013. After retirement, he served from 2015 to 2019 as Independent Director Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), as also of ONGC Videsh (2017-2019).

22. Naman Ojha retires from all forms of cricket

Former India wicketkeeper-batsman Naman Ojha has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on 15 Feb 21. He holds the record for the most dismissals by a wicketkeeper in the Ranji Trophy, has featured in one Test, one ODI & two T20 Internationals. Ojha made his international debut in 2010 in his only ODI against Sri Lanka, followed by his first T201 match in Zimbabwe.

23. Former Governor M Rama Jois passes away

Former Governor of Bihar and Jharkhand M Rama Jois passed away on 16 February 2021. He had served as the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, also a member of Rajya Sabha. He wrote several books on ancient Indian law, Habeas Corpus law, Raja Dharma, and Bharathiya way to lead a purposeful life.

24. Patel elected as Asian Zone President

Ajay H Patel was elected as the Chief of Asian Zone during the Annual General Body meeting of All India Chess Federation held on 14 Feb’21. Patel is the President of Gujarat State Chess Association as well as the Chairman of Gujarat State Co-operative Bank. The AGB has also decided to nominate AICF secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan as FIDE Delegate to represent India in the world body.

25. Puducherry: “Zero Covid by Feb28” campaign

Puducherry has launched a campaign “Zero Covid by Feb28” to ensure there will be no COVID-19 cases by 28 February 2021 in the union territory. Under the campaign, all those who had come into contact with people infected with coronavirus would be identified and provided treatment. The fatality and recovery rates in the union territory were 1.67 percent and 97.68 percent respectively.

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