Current Affairs 21st February 2021

1. Assam: Increases daily wage of tea workers

The Assam cabinet approved a proposal to increase the daily wage of tea garden workers in the state to Rs 318, including Rs 101 for ration. Assam has over 10 lakh tea labourers in the organized sector, working in around 800 estates. Northeastern state contributes about 52 per cent of the country’s annual tea production

2. Cyberabad police to get “transgender desk”

Cyberabad Police in Hyderabad will soon have an exclusive “transgender desk” to attend to the grievances of transgenders in the city. The move was announced by Cyberabad police commissioner VC Sajjannar during an interaction transgender community. Transgender desk will help the community to share their problems about structural and societal violence they are subjected to face every day.

3. India, Maldives sign 5 deals

India and the Maldives signed five agreements on 20 February 2021, including one for a $25-mn line of credit for the development of roads. Jaishankar also offered a $40-mn line of credit to support the development of sports infrastructure in the Maldives. Both sides signed MoU for a grant of $500k for a fish processing plant.

4. Former PGIMER director BK Sharma passes away

Professor BK Sharma, former director of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, passed away in Chandigarh on 19 February 2021. He had joined the institute in 1967 as a lecturer and had become the head of the internal medicine department and subsequently the Director in 1990s. He was fondly called a doyen in medicine.

5. IOCL’s refinery launches plantation drive

Indian Oil Corporation Ltd’s Panipat refinery has launched a plantation drive for environment restoration in nearby villages. IOCL will plant over 2 lakh saplings on 700 acres near the refinery, under the environment sustainability initiative launched in association with the Haryana forest & wildlife department.

6. Govt releases Rs. 5k cr to meet GST dues

The Centre has released the 17th weekly instalment of Rs. 5k cr to 23 states and 3 UTs to meet the GST compensation shortfall. Till Feb’21, 91% of estimated GST compensation shortfall has been released to states & UTs. An amount of 100k cr has been borrowed by Govt, through special borrowing window at an interest rate of 4.83%. Total 17 rounds of borrowings have been completed from 23 October 2020.

7. NTPC: To start hydrogen fuel bus service

India’s largest energy conglomerate, NTPC Limited (National Thermal Power Corporation Limited) is planning to start a premium hydrogen fuel bus service on Delhi to Jaipur route. It is going to be the first FCEV bus service in India to be used for intercity commute. The new service is going to be a pilot project to test the viability of fuel cell buses for the intercity commute.

8. India: 1L COVID vaccines doses to Maldives

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on February 20, 2021 handed over 1 lakh additional doses of the made-in-India COVID-19 vaccine to the Maldives. The Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid and Health Minister Ahmed Naseem received the coronavirus vaccine from EAM Jaishankar. The Maldives had earlier received another 100,000 doses in Jan 21 under India’s Vaccine Maitri initiative,

9. First case of H5N8 avian flu in humans

Russian scientists have detected the first case of transmission of the H5N8 strain of avian flu to humans and alerted the World Health Organization. Other strains H5N1, H7N9 and H9N2 have been known to spread to humans. Outbreaks of the H5N8 strain have been reported in Russia, Europe, China, the Middle East and North Africa since december 20 but so far only in poultry.

10. 21 February: International Mother Language Day

In 1999, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, (UNESCO) had declared 21st February as International Mother Language Day. The theme for the year 2021 is “Fostering multilingualism for inclusion in education and society”.This year Ministry of Education, Ministry of Culture and IGNCA are organizing a four-day virtual event to mark the day.

11. Indian Naval ship INS Pralaya arrives in UAE

Indian Naval ship Pralaya arrived at Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates on 19 Feb 21. The vessel will participate in the NAVDEX 2021 and IDEX 2021 scheduled to take place from 20 to 25 Feb 21. Participation of INS Pralaya highlights the strong bilateral relationship shared by India and the UAE. NAVDEX is one of the world’s most prominent naval defense and maritime security exhibitions.

12. Maverick Messiah: Political biography on NTR

Maverick Messiah’ is a political biography of former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, late Shri NT Rama Rao. The book has been authored by senior journalist, Ramesh Kandula. NTR was ranked among the top pioneers of ‘alternative politics’. The actor-leader was a phenomenon who had made stellar contributions to cinema and politics.

13. Pediatric Genetic Disorders Lab opened at CDFD

Vice President Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated the ‘Pediatric Rare Genetic Disorders Laboratory’ in Hyderabad on the Silver Jubilee of the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD) on 20 Feb 21. CDFD is a unique institution providing, state-of-the-art DNA fingerprinting service to courts, NIA, CBI for correct judgment in criminal cases.

14. “Prabha Varma” bags Kunchan Nambiar Award

Renowned poet Prabha Varma has bagged Mahakavi Kunchan Nambiar Award 2021 for his outstanding contributions to Malayalam language and literature. The award comprises a purse of Rs 25,001, a citation and a plaque. The honour was instituted by the Kunchan Nambiar Memorial Trust, which works to retain the legacy of the 18th century legendary poet-performer Nambiar.

15. Airbus, FlyBlade to offer helicopter services

European aviation major Airbus has signed an initial pact with FlyBlade India to help develop the on-demand helicopter services market in South Asia. The collaboration will create awareness about on-demand helicopter services, among helicopter operators, customers & other stakeholders in the region. The 2 partners will also work to identify ways to increase BLADE’s fleet size in South Asia.

16. Naomi Osaka won her fourth Grand Slam title

Nomi Osaka won her fourth Grand Slam title by pulling away to beat Jennifer Brady 6-4, 6-3 in the Australian Open final. Osaka has won her past 21 matches at all tournaments dating to last season. She also won the U.S. Open in 2018, and the Australian Open in 2019. Osaka’s victory at a floodlit Rod Laver Arena gave the Japanese her fourth major crown.

17. “Nurturing Neighborhoods Challenge”

The Smart Cities Mission, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, has shortlisted 25 cities for the ‘Nurturing Neighborhoods Challenge cohort, in collaboration with the Bernard van Leer Foundation and technical partner WRI India. The Challenge is a 3-year initiative aimed at supporting early childhood-friendly neighbourhoods under the government’s Smart Cities Mission.

18. Punjab to grant property rights to villagers

The Punjab govt paved way for villagers living within the ‘Lal Lakir’ to get their property registered with the revenue department to monetize it or for availing benefits provided by the banks. For this,Punjab CM capt Amarinder Singh, approved the implementation of Mission Lal Lakir. Lal lakir is the demarcation of the agricultural land from residential area by way of a red line on the map.

19. CSIR and B&M Gates Foundation sign MoU

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and CSIR signed an MoU to support the development, conduct & promotion of health research in country on 19 Feb 21. Both will work together to identify opportunities to initiate scientific & technological collaborations. It will focus on developing & testing new prevention therapies that can help to solve major health concerns in developing countries.

20. Flipkart signs MoU with Tamil Nadu government

E-commerce marketplace Flipkart has signed an MoU with Tamil Nadu MSME Trade and Investment Promotion Bureau to bring local artisans, weavers, & SMBs into e-commerce fold. The MoU will provide these societies with new vigour & link them to a national market for their products. The TN govt also has announced MSME Policy 2021 with a target to attract new investments worth Rs. 2 lakh cr by 2025.

21. Govt approves Rs 28,000 schemes crore for J&K

Government has announced a new Central Sector Scheme for industrial development of Jammu and Kashmir. The scheme is approved with a total outlay of 28 thousand 400 crore rupees. It will be effective from 1st April 2021 and will remain in force up to 31st March 2037. The main purpose of the scheme is to generate employment which directly leads to the socio-economic development of J&K.

22. India signs $50 mn defence deal with Maldives

EAM S.Jaishankar signed a $50 million defence Line of Credit Agreement with the island nation Maldives to facilitate capability building in the maritime domain on 21 Feb 2021. The deal will lead to useful exchange on defence cooperation. Jaishnakar is on a two-day visit to Maldives, held discussions with Maldivian Defence Minister Mariya Didi.

23. Mega Homestay Development & Training Workshop

Union Minister of State for Culture & Tourism Shri Prahlad Singh Patel will inaugurate the 3-day Incredible India Mega Homestay Development & Training Workshop in Darjeeling on 22nd February 2021. The Ministry of Tourism’s Indiatourism Kolkata will organise this workshop from 22nd -24th Feb’21 in association with Eastern Himalayas Travel and Tour Operator Association and IIAS School of Management.

24. PM Modi to inaugurate Kolkata Metro extensions

PM Modi will inaugurate the extension of Kolkata Metro’s North-South Line from Noapara to Dakshineswar on 22 Feb 21. This project will help to connect thousands of people in the 4.1 km stretch between Noapara and Dakshineswar in the Hooghly district, Kolkata. Apart from regular passengers, devotees intending to visit Dakshineswar Kali temple will also get fast and pollution-free travel mode,

25. FPIs invest Rs. 24,965 cr in February so far

According to depositories data, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) pumped in Rs. 24,204 crores into equities and 3761 crores in the debt segment, taking the total net investment to Rs. 24,965 crores during February 1-19,2021. In January 2021, FPIS were net investors of Rs. 14,649 crores. Only India and Taiwan have received meaningful FPI flows in February 2021.

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