Current Affairs 20th February 2021

1. World Day of Social Justice: 20 February

World Day of Social Justice is observed on February 20 every year. It is a global observance to raise a voice against social injustice. The theme for 2021 is “A Call for Social Justice in the Digital Economy”. The UN General Assembly declared February 20 as the annual World Day of Social Injustice in 2007. It was in 2009 that the day was first observed.

2. 11th IEA, IEF, OPEC Symposium held

Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Steel, participated in the 11th IEA-IEF-OPEC Symposium on Energy Outlooks, held virtually on 17 Feb 2021. It was held under the patronage of the Minister of Energy of Saudi Arabia HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud. He informed that India’s energy demand would grow at about 3% per annum till 2040.

3. e-Kuber payments system launched in J&K

Jammu and Kashmir have formally rolled out the e-Kuber payments system of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Initially, e-Kuber would be implemented in the Civil Secretariat treasury on a pilot basis. The system is capable of making 50,000 transactions at a time, while all government-related financial transactions would be dealt directly with RBI, without any intermediary bank.

4. “Go Electric campaign” launched

The Centre has launched the “Go Electric campaign” to boost the adoption of electric mobility vehicles and electric cooking appliances to ensure energy security in the country. It will promote cost-effective, environment-friendly, and indigenous electric products. The campaign was launched by Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on 19 Feb 2021.

5. PHDCCI inks pact with SIDBI

Ph.D. Chamber of Commerce and Industry has signed an agreement with the Small Industries Development Bank of India. It will facilitate providing of various credit and other schemes of SIDBI to micro, small and medium enterprises in the country. SIDBI is an all-India financial institution dedicated to providing term loans, working capital, and venture funding assistance to MSMEs.

6. ICICI Lombard partners with Flipkart

Flipkart has partnered with ICICI Lombard to offer ‘Group SafeGuard’ insurance. Compared to the standard indemnity health insurance policies, Group SafeGuard is a benefit offering that allows consumers to availof  a payout for each day of hospitalisation. With daily cash benefits starting from Rs 500, “Hospicash’ benefit under Group SafeGuard insurance will provide cover to Flipkart consumers.

7. Google to invest $75 mn in small businesses

Google is teaming up with the European Investment Fund (EIF) and two other organisations in Latin America and Asia. It will provide $75 million in funding to small and medium-sized companies suffering from the impact of COVID-19. The funds are part of an $800 million initiative announced in March 2020 in response to the pandemic

8. Trident Limited bags 1st prize at FICCI Awards

Trident Limited has been awarded the joint first prize at FICCI Water Awards 2020 in the category of ‘Industrial Water Use Efficiency. The award is instituted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, (FICCI). Trident Limited has been chosen for this award for the measures undertaken for the establishment of water-efficient machinery, zero liquid discharge system, etc.

9. Andhra CM announces hike in cash award

Andhra Pradesh CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has announced a ten-time hike in cash award for the Armed Forces personnel from the state who will win gallantry medals. The cash award for winners of Param Vir Chakra and Ashoka Chakra will be increased to Rs 1 crore. For Maha Vir Chakra and Keerti Chakra, the number of State incentives will be increased from Rs. 8 lakhs to Rs. 80 lakhs.

10. Hashimoto: President of Olympic Committee

The Tokyo 2020 Executive Board has appointed seven-time Olympian Hashimoto Seiko as the new President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee. She was the Minister for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, Minister in charge of Women’s Empowerment, and Minister of State for Gender Equality in the Government of Japan.

11. Airtel to acquire a stake in Bharti Telemedia

Bharti Airtel will acquire Warburg Pincus affiliate’s 20% equity stake in its DTH arm Bharti Telemedia. The deal involves a total consideration of Rs. 3,126 cr which will be discharged primarily via issuance of 3.64 cr equity shares of Airtel at a price of Rs 600 per share, and up to Rs 1,037.8 cr in cash. Airtel will issue its shares to the Warburg Pincus affiliate at a premium of 0.50%.

12. Helina and Dhruvastra successfully tested

India successfully test-fired the Army and Air Force versions of Anti Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs) from desert ranges on 19 Feb 2021. Joint user trials of Army version Helina and Air Force version Dhruvastra missile systems were carried out from the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) platform. The missiles have been Indigenously developed by DRDO.

13. Intensified Mission Indradhanush 3.0

Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan launched Intensified Mission Indradhanush 3.0, (IMI 3.0) to expand immunization coverage across the country, on 19 Feb 2021. It will have two rounds starting from the 22 Feb and the 22 Mar 2021 and will be conducted in pre-identified 250 districts and urban areas across 29 states and UTs in the country. Both rounds will be for 15 days each.

14. Atal Paryavaran Bhavan inaugurated

Union Minister for Environment, Forest, and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar inaugurated the Atal Paryavaran Bhavan at Lakshadweep on 19 Feb 2021. Lakshadweep will undergo a comprehensive development, without compromising it’s commitment to nature. He is on a 4-day visit to Lakshadweep. He also attended high-level meetings with Secretaries of various depts in Lakshadweep administration.

15. Home Minister releases a book

Home Minister Amit Shah released a book ‘Rashtra Pratham – 82 Varshon ki Swarnim Gatha’ in New Delhi on 19 Feb 2021. The book has the glorious history of CRPF since its raising in 1939 and it has a detailed and thoroughly researched account of CRPF’s journey, challenges, successes, and sacrifices. The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is India’s largest Central Armed Police Force.

16. Defence Minister to inaugurate 26th Hunar Haat

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will inaugurate the 26th Hunar Haat at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on 21 Feb 2021. Minister for Ports, Shipping, and Waterways Mansukh Mandaviya will be the Chief Guest during the inaugural programme of the Hunar Haat. The Ministry of Minority Affairs is organising the 26th Hunar Haat on the theme of Vocal for Local from 20 Feb to 1 March 2021.

17. DPT crosses 100 mn MT in cargo handling

Deendayal Port Trust has crossed 100 million metric tons in cargo handling. As per the Ministry for Ports, Shipping, and Waterways, the port is adopting a user-friendly approach and undertaking constant consultations with the shipping fraternity and stakeholders to improve Ease of Doing Business. Deendayal Port, situated in Kutch, Gujarat is one of the 12 major ports of India.

18. BRICS-2021 website launched

External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar launched the BRICS-2021 website on 19 February 2021. The website will provide a comprehensive snapshot of the strong BRICS engagement and the exhaustive calendar of events during BRICS under the Chairship of India. He also soft-launched the upgraded facilities at Sushma Swaraj Bhavan that will serve as the Secretariat for BRICS Summit.

19. 11th India-EU Macroeconomic dialogue held

The 11th India-EU Macroeconomic dialogue was held on 19 Feb 2021 through video conferencing. Secretary Economic Affairs Tarun Bajaj led the Indian delegation. The delegation from the European Union was led by the Director-General of Economic and Financial Affairs ECFIN in European Commission Maarten Verwey. Fiscal policy response and medium-term fiscal strategy were also discussed.

20. Elise Mertens, Aryna Sabalenka win doubles

In Tennis, the Belgian and Belarus pair of Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka has won the WOMEN’S doubles final of the Australian Open 2021. They defeated Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic in straight sets of 6-2, 6-3. The women’s singles final will be played on 20 Feb 2021 while the men’s singles clash will be held on 21 Feb 2021.

21. Centre for Perishable Cargo at LGBI Airport

Centre for Perishable Cargo at International Cargo Terminal, LGBI Airport Guwahati was inaugurated on 19 Feb 2021 by Assam CM Sarbanand Sonowal. A consignment of green vegetables of about 600 kg was also flagged off by the Chief Minister on this occasion. The perishable cargo terminal has been developed by AIDC, Assam Industrial Development Corporation Limited.

22. Andhra CM commissions chariot of a temple

Andhra Pradesh CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy commissioned the Chariot of Sri Lakshminarasimha Swamy temple of Antarvedi on 19 Feb 2021. The new chariot with six wheels and seven tiers was made out of 1330 cubic feet of teak wood and is equipped with hydraulic brakes and has a protective shed with iron gates. The new chariot was built at a cost of Rs 1 cr after a fire destroyed the previous one.

23. LSRC lifts 1st Lt Governor Ice Hockey Cup

Ladakh Scouts Regiment Centre (LSRC) Men’s and Kharu women lifted the 1st Lieutenant Governor Ice Hockey Cup in their respective sections, in Leh on 19 Feb 2021. Kharu beat the Domkhar women by 3-1 goal in a penalty shootout. While Ladakh Scouts won the finals, beating the ITBP, by 3-0 goals. A total of 8 men teams and five women teams have played for the cup.

24. Coronil receives Ayush Ministry certification

Patanjali Ayurved’s Coronil tablet has received certification from the Ayush Ministry as a medicine supporting COVID-19 treatment as per the World Health Organization’s certification scheme. Patanjali has also released research work supporting Coronil’s efficacy in COVID-19 treatment. The Union Ayush Ministry had earlier categorised ayurvedic Coronil tablets as an ‘immuno-booster’.

25. ‘DigiLocker’ for MEA’s Passport Seva launched

DigiLocker platform was launched for MEA’s Passport Seva Programme by Union Minister V Muraleedharan on 19 Feb 21. It would enable citizens to submit the documents required for passport services in a paperless mode and they would not be required to carry the original documents. DigiLocker is a flagship initiative of the Ministry of Electronics and IT under the Digital India Corporation.

26. Covid-19 mutations N440K, E484K, V911I found

Covid-19 mutation N440K, E484K, V911I have been found in India. These mutations are apparently different from that of the UK, South African or Brazilian strains of the virus. These mutations are believed to be immune-escape which means even if there are antibodies in the human body, this mutation can save itself from them.

27. EU to double Covax vaccine funding to €1 bn

The European Union’s Executive Commission pledged on 19 Feb 2021 to double its contribution by giving additional 100 mn euros to the WHO’s Covax program. It will support vaccination campaigns in Africa in partnership with the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The funding will be used to strengthen health systems, ensure the cold chains, buy equipment and train staff.

28. India: 2nd fastest to give 1cr vaccine jabs

India administered more than 1 crore doses of vaccine till 19 Feb 2021 becoming 2nd fastest in the world to cross the milestone after the US. India has taken 34 days to achieve the landmark of 1.04 crore vaccinations, closely following the US which took 31 days. On 18 Feb 2021, the highest single-day vaccination of 6,58,674 doses were administered

29. Byju’s to acquire Edtech platform Scholr

Edtech unicorn BYJU’S has acquired Mumbai-based doubt-solving ed-tech startup Scholr. The size of the deal is in the range of Rs 15-20 crore. Scholr provides video solutions for class 6 to 10 students to solve their doubts via Android and iOS apps. Scholr was founded by Himanshu Nimje, Manil Gupta, Piyush Agarwal and Aniket Singh in 2015.

30. Bengaluru: 3rd worst air pollution affected city

Bengaluru emerged as the 3rd worst city in India to be affected by air pollution in 2020 with 12,000 estimated deaths, according to a Greenpeace Southeast Asia analysis. Delhi fared worst with 54,000 such estimated deaths followed by Mumbai at 25k deaths. Approximately 160k deaths have been attributed to PM2.5 air pollution in the 5 cities of Delhi, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Shanghai & Tokyo.

31. Hashimoto: President of Olympic Committee

The Tokyo 2020 Executive Board has appointed seven-time Olympian Hashimoto Seiko as the new President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee. She was the Minister for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, Minister in charge of Women’s Empowerment, and Minister of State for Gender Equality in the Government of Japan.

32. Andhra CM announces hike in cash award

Andhra Pradesh CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has announced a ten-time hike in cash award for the Armed Forces personnel from the state who will win gallantry medals. The cash award for winners of Param Vir Chakra and Ashoka Chakra will be increased to Rs. 1 crore. For Maha Vir Chakra and Keerti Chakra, the number of State incentives will be increased from Rs. 8 lakhs to Rs. 80 lakhs.

33. India’s first AC railway terminal

Sir M Visvesvaraya Railway Terminal in Bengaluru, which will be India’s first centralized AC railway terminal, would be available by the end of February 2021. The upcoming Terminal is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities. The 4200 sq metre station building, which has cost Rs. 314 crores, will serve to a daily footfall of 50,000. Fifty trains can be operated from the terminal on a daily basis.

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