Current Affairs 23rd February 2021

1. Indian women boxers claim five gold medals

Indian women boxers ended with five gold medals overall in the 30th Adriatic Pearl tournament in Budva, Montenegro, on 21 Feb 2021. Lucky Rana (64kg) secured a silver. Indian women emerged as the top team with 10 medals (five gold, three silver, and two bronze). Uzbekistan (2 gold) and Czech Republic (1 gold) ended at second and third position respectively.

2. Pakistan to register Himalayan pink salt as GI

Pakistan has decided to register Himalayan pink salt as Geographical Indications (GI) to prevent its unauthorized use by other countries. A Gl tag is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess origin-based qualities and reputation in the region. The salt is extracted from the Salt Range in Punjab which extends along the south of the Potohar Plateau.

3. Folk art fest ‘Utsavam 2021’ begins

The seven-day cultural festival ‘Utsavam 2021 began on 20 Feb 2021 featuring hundreds of artists in 30 venues across Kerala. The ‘Utsavam’ signature song was rendered by noted singer Kavalam Sreekumar. The festival is being organized by Kerala Tourism together with Kerala Folklore Academy, Bharat Bhavan, and District Tourism Promotion Councils.

4. Hoshangabad to be renamed as Narmadapuram

MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced that Hoshangabad city in the state would be renamed Narmadapuram. A proposal to that effect would be sent to the Centre. He announced the Narmada Jayanti program held in Hoshangabad on 19 Feb 2021. Hoshangabad was named after Hoshang Shah, who was the first formally appointed Sultan of the Malwa Sultanate of Central India.

5. Amazon India inks MoU with DGR

Amazon India has signed an MoU with the Directorate General Resettlement (DGR). Under the MoU, Amazon India would continue to create career opportunities for the ex-service personnel who had served the country. Veterans would have access to the work opportunities, including a mix of individual contribution and managerial roles in fulfillment centers, sort centers, and delivery stations.

6. Indian Bank signs MOU with SID of TISC

Indian Bank has entered into an MOU with the Society for Innovation and Development (SID) for extending exclusive credit facilities to start-ups and MSMEs. SID is an initiative of the Indian Institute of Science. The Bank will extend loans of up to Rs. 50 crore to the start-ups for their working capital requirements or for the purchase of machinery, equipment, etc.

7. Makhtar Diop to head Int. Finance Corporation

Makhtar Diop, the World Bank’s most recent Vice President for infrastructure, has been chosen to head of the International Finance Corporation. He will succeed Frenchman Philippe Le HouĂ©rou. Since July 2018, Diop had been the World Bank’s Vice President for infrastructure. He was also in charge of the energy and extractive industries, transport and digital development, etc.

8. WE HUB inks MoU with JKEDI

WE HUB has signed an MoU with Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development Institute (JKEDI). The MoU will have a pre-incubation program for aspiring entrepreneurs from Telangana and Jammu and Kashmir catering 30 from each state. After the pre-incubation program and rigorous interventions, a total of 60 start-ups from Telangana and Jammu and Kashmir will undergo a co-incubation program.

9. Deepika Padukone bags Dadasaheb Phalke Award

Deepika Padukone and Akshay Kumar bagged Dadasaheb Phalke Awards for ‘Best Actor’ on 20 Feb 2021. They won the award for their movies ‘Chhapaak’ and ‘Laxmi, respectively. ‘Chhapaak’ is based on the life of acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal. Kiara Advani won the ‘Critic’s Best Actress’ award and Sushmita Sen won ‘Best Actress-Web Series’.

10. Ayodhya district receives Skoch Gold Award

The Ayodhya district administration has been felicitated with Skoch Gold Award for the measures taken to contain COVID-19. Skoch Award was started in 2003 to facilitate people, projects, and institutions for their contributions to society and make India a better nation. The city had participated in the esteemed 68th SKOCH awards, which were organized through the digital mode on 20 Feb 2021.

11. Assam Cabinet approves creation of a college

The Assam Cabinet has given nod for the creation of Bodoland Administrative Staff College. It has also decided to extend the services of contractual employees who rendered at least 10 years of service in the Panchayat and Rural Development department to up to 60 years of age. The Cabinet also gave its nod for the amendment of the Assam Municipal Board Act.

12. JMC signs MoUs with IPCA, UNDP

The Jammu Municipal Corporation (IMC) has signed two MoUs with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Indian Pollution Control Association (IPCA) to make Jammu plastic-free. At present, around 80 percent of door-to-door garbage collection is done within the limits of the JMC. Two new waste management plants are also being planned in Jammu.

13. Vedantu acquires a doubt-solving app Instasolv

Indian online tutoring startup Vedantu has acquired Instasolv, a doubt-solving app, marking its first acquisition in the educational technology space. Vedantu had also invested $2 million in Instasolv in July 2020. The latest acquisition will bring on board Instasolv’s 1 million learners to Vedantu’s platform which is already 25 million strong.

14. 10th National Awards for Technology Innovation

Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister DV Sadananda Gowda presented the 10th National Awards for Technology Innovation in Petrochemicals and Downstream Plastics Processing Industry in New Delhi on 23 Feb 2021. The award is aimed at felicitating and recognizing the innovative efforts of renowned scientists, researchers, and industrialists in the broad areas of Polymer Science and Technologies.

15. Nitin Gadkari inaugurates SFURTI clusters

MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari has inaugurated 50 artisan-based SFURTI clusters spread over 18 states. The center is implementing the Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI) to organize traditional industries and artisans into clusters to make them competitive and increase their income. In these clusters, over 42,000 artisans will be supported

16. Govt sanctions more houses under PMAY (Urban)

The government has sanctioned over 56,000 more houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban). The Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee has approved them. Out of the total validated demand of 1 crore 12 lakh houses by 2022, nearly 1 crore 11 lakh homes are now sanctioned. The govt has set a target to provide pucca houses to all eligible beneficiaries of Urban India by 2022

17. DRDO conducts two launches of VL-SRSAM

DRDO conducted two successful launches of Vertical Launch Short Range Surface to Air Missile (VL-SRSAM) on 23 Feb 2021. The launches were carried out from a static vertical launcher from Integrated Test Range, Chandipur, Odisha. Indigenously designed and developed for the Indian Navy, VL-SRSAM is meant for neutralizing various aerial threats at close ranges including sea-skimming targets.

18. President appoints 2 new judges in Delhi HC

Two new judges have been appointed in Delhi High Court, while the Kerala High Court has got four new Additional Judges. The President of India has appointed Jasmeet Singh and Amit Bansal as the Judges of the Delhi High Court from the date they assume charge. He also appointed Murali P, Ziyad Rahman, K. Babu, and Dr. Kauser Edappagath as the Additional Judges of the Kerala High Court.

19. Education Minister asks IITs to modify IDP

Union Education Minister Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank has asked IITs to modify Institute Development Plan (IDP)as envisioned in New Education Policy to improve the mobility of faculty between institutions and industry. He asked this while chairing the meeting of the Council of IIT on 22 Feb 2021. He also urged IITs to adopt the One IIT – One Thrust Area approach based on local needs.

20. India identifies need for action for NAFLD

India has become the first to identify the need for action for Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan announced this while launching the operational guidelines for integration of NAFLD with the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases, and Stroke. NAFLD results in abnormal accumulation of fat in the liver.

21. PIC to co-chair Asia Economic Dialogue

The Pune International Centre will co-chair Asia Economic Dialogue 2021. It will be addressed by External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar and his counterparts from Japan, Australia, Maldives, Mauritius, and Bhutan. The Asia Economic Dialogue will be held over three days from 26 Feb 2021. The conference will be held under the theme The post-COVID global trade and finance dynamics.

22. IAF Chief on 3-day visit to Bangladesh

The Indian Air Force Chief Air Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhaduaria arrived in Dhaka on 22 Feb 2021 on a three-day visit. He was invited by his Bangladeshi counterpart Air Chief Marshal Masihuzzaman Serniabat. He is accompanied by a two-member delegation. He will also be visiting other major Bangladesh Airforce Bases across Bangladesh during the course of his visit.

23. 3-day plenary meeting of FATF commences

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) commenced its three-day plenary meeting on 22 Feb 2021. In its last plenary held in October 2020, the FATF had kept Pakistan on the grey list citing its failure to fulfill six out of 27 obligations of the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog. Staying on the grey list has made it difficult for Pakistan to secure any financial aid.

24. Festival of flowers organized in Varanasi

In Varanasi, a two-day festival of flowers, vegetables, and horticulture was organized in February 2021. It was the ninth divisional horticulture and vegetable festival in which farmers, government institutions, and registered nursery owners from neighboring districts participated in 16 categories. The festival aimed to motivate the farmers of the region.

25. UP govt presents biggest ever budget

UP govt, on 22 Feb 2021, presented the biggest ever budget of around Rs. 5,50,270 crores. More than Rs. 27,500 crore have been allocated for the new schemes and projects launched by the state government in this budget which is over Rs. 37,410 crore more than the last budget. The budget focuses on farmer’s welfare, women’s empowerment, and the health sector along with the development projects.

26. Odisha Finance Minister presents state budget

In Odisha, Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari presented the budget for 2021-22 in the Odisha Assembly on 22 Feb 2021. The budget, with an outlay of Rs. 1,70,000 crore, is about 26 percent more than the revised estimate for 2020-2021. The budget has some new features that include the introduction of Sustainable Development Goals in the budget document and the introduction of the fiscal risk statement.

27. Training facilities inaugurated at SAI

Union Minister of State for Sports and Youth Affairs Kiren Rijiju laid the foundation stone for a 330-bedded hostel, up-gradation of kitchen and dining hall, and synthetic athletics track in the Bengaluru campus of Sports Authority of India on 22 Feb 2021. He also inaugurated a gym complex and modern change room. He also felicitated the sportsmen who have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.

28. Mehbooba Mufti re-elected as President of PDP

Former CM of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti has been re-elected as President of Peoples’ Democratic Party. Ms. Mehbooba Mufti was unanimously re-elected as JK-PDP President for a period of three years. She has been elected for the seventh consecutive term. She was first elected to the post in 2003 after her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed became the CM of the erstwhile state of J&K.

29. Airtel partners with Qualcomm

Bharti Airtel has partnered with Qualcomm Technologies for accelerating 5G services in India. Airtel will utilize the Qualcomm SG RAN Platforms to roll-out virtualized and Open RAN-based 5G networks. In addition, Airtel and Qualcomm Technologies will collaborate to enable a wide array of use cases, including 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA).

30. Amazon India partners with Mahindra Electric

Amazon India has partnered with Mahindra Electric to strengthen its commitment to electric mobility in the country. It is looking to add 10,000 electric vehicles to its local delivery fleet by 2025. Mahindra’s Treo Zor vehicles have been deployed in 7 cities–Bengaluru, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Indore, and Lucknow, with Amazon India’s network of delivery service partners.

31. Chandigarh launches Carbon Watch

Chandigarh has become the first in India to launch Carbon Watch, a mobile application to assess the carbon footprint of an individual. The application can be downloaded through a QR code in Android-supported smart cell phones. Carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases especially carbon dioxide, released into the atmosphere by a particular human activity

32. China: India’s top trade partner

China regained its position as India’s top trade partner in 2020. Two-way trade between both nations stood at $77.7 billion in 2020, according to provisional data from India’s Commerce Ministry. Total imports from China at $58.7 billion were more than India’s combined purchases from the U.S. and the U.A.E, which are its second and third-largest trade partners, respectively.

33. Yanira Ramirez as Country Sales Manager: H&M

Swedish fashion retailer H&M has named Yanira Ramirez as Country Sales Manager for India, a market where it has 50 stores. Ramirez, a qualified lawyer, joins as country head after leading Hennes & Mauritz group’s fashion brand & Other Stories’ as its Global Sales Manager. She was appointed country HR for H&M UK and Ireland, before joining the global sales and operations HR team in Sweden.

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