Current Affairs 1st February 2021

Table of Contents

1. Budget 2021 announcements

In the Union Budget, a series of reforms have been announced. Custom duty on select iron and steel items has been reduced. Duty on shrimp feed has been increased to 15% from 5%.
The govt will notify rules to eliminate the double tax for NRIs on foreign retirement funds.
Custom duty on some automobile parts will be increased to 15%. Custom duty on gold and silver will be rationalized.
Senior citizens above 75 years of age with only pension income are exempted from filing tax returns. Pensioners over 75 years of age are exempt from filing returns.
Rs. 1.5 lakh deduction on payment of interest for affordable housing has been extended by 1 year.
Advance tax liability on dividend income shall arise only after payment of dividend.

2. 1 February: Indian Coast Guard day

Indian Coast Guard Day is celebrated on 1st February every year. The interim Indian Coast guard was established on 1 February 1977 to prevent sea-borne smuggling of goods that were hampering India’s domestic economy. ICG is celebrating its 45th Raising Day on 1 Feb 2021. Since its inception, the ICG has saved over 10,000 lives and apprehended around 14,000 miscreants.

3. Air India divestment to be concluded

The privatization of Air India Limited will be completed during the upcoming financial year 2021-22. The government plans to sell its entire 100% stake in Air India, which has not made profits since its merger with Indian Airlines in 2007. The winning bidder will also get a 100% stake in the national carrier’s low-cost arm Air India Express and 50% stake in Air India SATS (AISATS).

4. Rs. 3,726 crores allocated for forthcoming Census

The government has allocated Rs. 3,726 crores for the forthcoming Census, which will be the first digital census. The government is also working on a national language translation initiative. A deep ocean mission has also been announced with an outlay of more than Rs. 4,000 crores over five years. The government also proposed to introduce the National Nursing and Midwifery Commission Bill.

5. Budget proposes 9 higher education clusters

9 cities will have a higher education cluster each for better coordination among institutions and aiding collective growth without infringing their individual autonomy, as announced in the Budget 2021. 15,000 schools will be converted to exemplar schools in 2021-22 and 100 Sainik Schools will be established. A higher education commission will also be created.

6. Govt raises FDI limit in insurance to 74%

The government has raised the foreign direct investment limit in insurance from 49% to 74% while announcing the union budget 2021 on 1 Feb 2021. The step is expected to help private insurers get access to more foreign capital, which is expected to accelerate their growth and improve insurance penetration in India.

7. India, US start discussions on F-15EX aircraft

The US and India held discussions on F-15EX fighter jets and the two respective air forces have exchanged information about it. The aerospace major has received approval from the American govt to offer its latest multi-role combat aircraft to the Indian Air Force. The F-15EX is the most advanced version of the multi-role, all-weather, and day and night versions of the F-15 aircraft family.

8. FM earmarks Rs. 1500 corpus to digital payments

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced incentives worth Rs. 1500 crores to further drive adoption of such cashless modes of payment. It is for a proposed scheme that will provide financial incentives to promote digital modes of payment. The additional corpus is expected to boost the spread of payments infrastructure in the country.

9. GST Revenue collection: Rs 1.20 lakh crore

The GST revenue collection for January 2021 has touched 1 lakh 19 thousand 847 crore rupees. Of this, CGST is 21 thousand 923 crore rupees, SGST is 29 thousand 14 crore rupees, IGST is 60 thousand 288 crore rupees including 27 thousand 424 crore rupees collected on import of goods. Cess is 8 thousand 622 crore rupees including 883 crore rupees collected on import of goods.

10. Second phase of vaccination begins in Gujarat

In Gujarat, the second phase of vaccination against the Covid-19 to cover the frontline Corona warriors began from 31 January 2021. Total 3 lakh 30 thousand frontline workers would be covered in this second phase. More than 2 lakh 45 thousand people have received vaccines in the state till now. One lakh people were given the vaccination on the first day of the second phase on 31 Jan 2021.

11. InterModal Station in Nagpur to be ecological

The InterModal Station to be constructed by the National Highways Authority (NHAI) near Ajni railway station in Nagpur will be ecological and environment friendly. The Ministry of Road Transport has allocated 1200 crore rupees for this project. The roads, railways, metro, broad gauge metro, as well as the newly proposed Nag river waterway, will come together and become an intermodal station.

12. Varanasi receives second cruise boat

Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh has received the second cruise boat under the Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) scheme of the Central Government. This two-tier cruise boat will run in the waters of the Ganga river and show the tourists the spectacular view of 84 ghats of Kashi. The cruise is named UP tourism ferry. The first one was the Alaknanda cruise.

13. Zanskar Sports and Youth Festival concludes

In Kargil, Ladakh, the first-ever Zanskar Winter Sports and Youth Festival, 2021 concluded at Munskit Chumik Zanskar on 30 Jan 2021. The 13 days festival featured various cultural and sports activities like ice hockey, snow skiing, horse riding, yak riding, ice climbing, snow sculpture, etc. Around 700 people from various parts of Zanskar participated in the event.

14. Nepal to award hydropower project to India

Nepal has decided to award the contract for the construction of the 679 megawatt Lower Arun Hydropower Project to India’s Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN). This was decided at a meeting of the Investment Board Nepal (IBN), chaired by Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. The project was awarded to the SJVN under the Build, Own, Operate, and Transfer (BOOT) delivery method

15. UK applying to join Asia-Pacific pact CPTPP

The UK is applying to join a free trade area made up of 11 Asia and Pacific nations, under its post-Brexit plans. The pact is named the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The trade agreement was formed in 2018 which includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

16. Hilton Valentine passes away

The Animals guitarist Hilton Valentine, who created one of the most famous riffs in pop music in the 1960s, passed away in Jan 2021. The British band’s version of blues standard The House of The Rising Sun topped the UK and US charts in 1964. Valentine co-founded the Animals in Newcastle in 1963 alongside singer Eric Burdon, bassist Chas Chandler, organist Alan Price, and drummer John Steel.

17. AstraZeneca to supply additional doses

AstraZeneca has agreed to supply 9 million additional doses of its coronavirus vaccine to the European Union during the first quarter. The new target of 40 million doses by the end of March 2021 is still only half what the company had originally aimed for. The EU is far behind Britain and the United States in getting its population of 450 million vaccinated against the virus,

18. Myanmar announces 1-year emergency

The Myanmar Military Tatmadaw has announced a one year state of emergency in the country. Vice President Myint Swe has been made the acting President and all powers have been transferred to the Commander in Chief Min Aung Hlaing. The Military informed that the leaders have been detained for committing fraud in the national elections held on 8 Nov 2020.

19. Polio Immunisation Drive being held

The National Polio Immunisation programme in India began on 31 January 2021. The programme was launched by President Ram Nath Kovind. The National Immunisation Day (NID), commonly known as Pulse Polio Immunisation Programme, was earlier scheduled from 17 January 2021 but was rescheduled in view of the coronavirus vaccination drive across the country.

20. ‘Aadi Mahotsav’ inaugurated in Delhi

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated Aadi Mahotsav, a National Tribal Festival on 1 Feb 2021 at Dilli Haat in the National Capital. It will continue till 15th Feb 2021. The festival will comprise the display and sale of tribal art and craft, medicine, cuisine, and folk performances. Around 1000 tribal artisans, artists, and chefs from more than 20 States of the country will participate.

21. Finance Minister to present Union Budget 21-22

The Union Budget 2021-22 was presented in the Parliament on 1 February 2021. The Union Budget this year for the 1st time is available only in digital format. It can be accessed through the mobile app UNION BUDGET both on the android and iOS platforms. The App can also be downloaded from the Union Budget Web Portal (https://www.indiabudget.gov.in).

22. 8th India International Silk Fair

Textiles Minister Smriti Irani virtually inaugurated the eighth edition of the India International Silk Fair on 31 January 2021. The five days fair is being held virtually between 31 January to February 4. The fair, considered to be India’s biggest silk fair, is being held under one roof on the Indian Silk Export Promotion Council’s virtual platform.

23. Researchers discovers a multi-planetary system

A team of researchers researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has discovered a multi-planetary system. The planetary system has been discovered around star HD 108236 that’s just 200 light-years away. According to the study, the innermost planet orbiting the HD 108236 star (also called TOI-1233) could possibly be a rocky planet. It could provide insights into planetary evolution.

24. Researchers discover new gecko species

A team of researchers from five institutes across India has discovered a new gecko species in Arunachal Pradesh. Their discovery was published in the international peer-reviewed journal Evolutionary Systematics on 28 Jan 2021. The new species belongs to the genus Cyrtodactylus. The researchers have named the species Cyrtodactylus arunachalensis after the state in which it was discovered.

25. Rajeev Ranjan: New Chief Secretary of TN

The Tamil Nadu government appointed senior IAS officer Rajeev Ranjan ias Chief Secretary on 30 Jan 2021. He has held various positions in his 35-year-long service. He began his career as Sub-Collector in Tiruvannamalai (1987-89) and became Tiruchi Collector in April 1995, the post he occupied till August 1997. Mr. Ranjan is set to superannuate in September 2021.

26. Uttrakhand sets up arboretum for Shivalik range

A 1st of its kind arboretum conserving over 210 species of trees found in the Shivalik range of Himalayas was inaugurated in Uttarakhand’s Nainital district on 31 Jan 2021. The arboretum was inaugurated by Ajay Singh Rawat, a noted environmentalist from Uttarakhand. Apart from trees, the arboretum also conserves species of cane, moss, lichen, and ferns found in the Shivalik range.

27. Govt approves Rs. 945-cr seed fund for startups

The government has approved the Rs. 945-crore Startup India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS) for the period 2021-25 to offer early-stage funding to startups. The funding will be disbursed through selected incubators assisted by the central government or state governments. The selected incubators will disburse up to Rs. 20 lakhs as a grant to startups.

28. Singer Somadas Chathannoor passed away

Famous Malayalam singer and ex-Bigg Boss contestant Somadas Chathannoor passed away in January 2021. He got recognition from Pirannoree Mannum Maarukilla, a song from the film Kabuliwala. He had also sung in a few Malayalam films including Annarakannanum Thannalayathu, Mr. Perfect, and Mannankattayum Kariyilayum.

29. Next SpaceX commercial crew mission in April

The 2nd operational SpaceX commercial crew mission to the International Space Station will be launched on 20 April 2021. It will be carrying astronauts from ESA (Europe), JAXA (Japan), and NASA (US). The four astronauts will replace the Crew-1 astronauts who flew to the station in Nov 2020 on the 1st operational Crew Dragon mission.

30. Karnataka launches SLAC from Jan 30 to Feb 13

The Department of Health and Family Welfare in Karnataka has launched the Sparsh Leprosy Awareness Campaign 2021 (SLAC) on the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary. The SLAC is a fortnightly program from January 30, 2021, to February 13, 2021. Leprosy is also known as Hansen’s disease and is a chronic granulomatous disease caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium Leprae.

31. Rajasthan launches health insurance scheme

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has launched a major health insurance scheme starting from 30 January 2021. The scheme will provide health care benefits to around 1 crore 10 lakh poor families. It has been named as Ayushman Bharat Mahatma Gandhi Rajasthan Health Insurance Scheme. The scheme will cost Rs 1400 crore to the state and Rs 400 crore to the central government every year.

32. BLM movement nominated for Nobel peace prize

Black Lives Matter, a movement that became a rallying cry after the killing by US police of an unarmed black man, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2021. Founded in the United States in 2013, the movement received an impetus in May 2020 after George Floyd died. The Nobel prizes will be announced at the start of Oct 2021. In 2020, the prize went to the World Food Programme.

33. Facebook appoints Henry Moniz as its 1st CCO

Facebook has appointed Henry Moniz as 1st Chief Compliance Officer (CCO), as Facebook faces scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers. He will join Facebook on 8 Feb 2021 and will report to Jennifer Newstead, the company’s general counsel, as well as to the audit and risk oversight committee of the board of directors. He was previously the CCO and CAO at Viacom before its merger with CBS.

34. UP govt to build over 1K new Ganga aarti sites

Uttar Pradesh govt is going to build 1,038 new Ganga aarti platforms along the river in Bijnor and Ballia districts. The Ganga aarti will take place based on public participation and will be performed at a fixed time every day. The new aarti sites will be built in the villages falling in a radius of 5 km of the Ganga river from Bijnor to Ballia.

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