Current Affairs 24th February 2021

Table of Contents

1. Central Excise Day: 24 February

Central Excise Day is celebrated every year on February 24 across India. In India, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) is responsible for administering Customs, Goods, and Service Tax (GST), Central Excise, Service Tax and Narcotics in India. The Customs and Central Excise/ Central GST department was established to administer customs laws.

2. JNCASR scientists develop a new molecule

Scientists have developed a small molecule that disrupts the mechanism through which neurons become dysfunctional in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The molecule could be a potential drug candidate to halt or cure the leading cause of dementia (70-80%) worldwide. A team of scientists at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) have designed and synthesized the molecules.

3. PM-Kisan scheme completes two years

The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) scheme, launched with an aim to ensure a life of dignity for farmers completed two years on 24 Feb 2021. It is a central sector scheme with 100% funding from the govt of India. Under this, income support of Rs. 6000/- per year is provided to all farmer families across the country in 3 equal instalments of Rs. 2000/- each every 4 months.

4. ICICI Bank launches ‘Namma Chennai Smart Card’

ICICI Bank has announced the launch of a Common Payment Card System (CPCS) in partnership with the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) and Chennai Smart City Limited (CSCL). Called ‘Namma Chennai Smart Card the Rupay powered co-branded, contactless prepaid card, will facilitate various digital payments like tax and utility bill payments at the GCC centres.

5. Airtel enters advertising business

Bharti Airtel Ltd has launched an advertising platform. The platform, Airtel Ads, allows brands to curate consent-based and safe campaigns for subscribers of the telco. Airtel has over 320 million customers across businesses – mobile, direct-to-home (DTH) and homes. Airtel Ads has already collaborated with PepsiCo, Zomato, CRED, Tata AIG Insurance, Lenskart, Apollo 24*7, Gameskraft, etc.

6. Levi’s appoints Deepika as brand ambassador

Levi’s has appointed Deepika Padukone as its global brand ambassador. The association will help attract a new generation of women consumers as it looks to expand the women’s wear category Deepika is the first female celebrity to become the face of the brand in India. She will be seen spearheading the new campaign focused on a new range of fashion fits from Levi’s.

7. India: 2nd most targeted by cyberattacks

India faced the second-highest number of cyberattacks in the Asia Pacific in 2020 after Japan, accounting for 7% of all attacks in the region. Finance and insurance were the most targeted sectors. According to IBM s 2021 X-Force Threat Intelligence Index, published on 24 February 2021, ransomware was the most widely used attack, accounting for roughly 40% of all attacks detected in India.

8. 1st team of LSA flagged off

In Ladakh, the 1st team of the Ladakh Sqay Association was flagged off on 23 Feb 2021 by Kargil Deputy Commissioner Santosh Sukhdeve. The team led by Coach Mohammad Hassan and Manager Zaheer Abbas Khan left for Jaipur to participate in the National Sqay Championship starting from 25 February 2021. The team comprises 12 players out of which two are from the Leh district.

9. Citation given to security forces: Manipur

In Manipur, Governor Dr Najma Heptulla handed over citation and Certificate of Appreciation for the year 2020 to different units of Assam Rifles, State Police, and individuals on 23 Feb 2021. The function was organized to appreciate and encourage the security forces who are contributing to bringing peace and tranquillity in the state including the campaign against drug menace and trafficking,

10. Bihar to create micro-containment zones

The Bihar government has decided to create micro-containment zones in the areas of the state where fresh Covid cases are spiking. Everyone in such areas will be tested. Meanwhile, a total of 59 thousand 402 healthcare workers took the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine on 23 Feb 2021. So far, 5 lakh 92 thousand 286 beneficiaries have been inoculated with vaccine doses.

11. Bangladesh receives 2 mn COVID vaccine doses

Bangladesh received 2 mn doses of the COVID 19 vaccine from the Serum Institute of India (SII) on 23 Feb 2021. This is the2nd consignment from the SII as part of the tripartite deal with Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd. and the govt of Bangladesh to supply 30 mn doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID 19 vaccine. Earlier, 5 mn doses were received by Bangladesh on 25 January 2021 from the SII.

12. Indian HC building inaugurated in Mauritius

External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar inaugurated the new Indian High Commission building in Mauritius in the presence of Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Jugnauth and Foreign Minister Alan Ganoo, on 23 February 2021. He also reviewed the Dagotiere Social Housing Project in Mauritius. The 956 housing units built with Indian support will be occupied soon.

13. Nepal’s Supreme Court reinstates Parliament

The Supreme Court of Nepal reinstated the dissolved House of Representatives on 24 Feb 2021. A five-member constitutional bench led by Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana annulled the government’s decision to dissolve the House of Representatives on the 20th of December 2020. Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari had dissolved Parliament and announced midterm elections in April-May 2021.

14. Prakash Javadekar addresses UNSC Open debate

Union Minister of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar addressed the UN Security Council Open Debate on 23 Feb 2021. It was held on the theme Climate and Security: Maintenance of international peace and security. He informed that India is the only country on track among G20 countries in meeting its climate change commitments,

15. GST share disbursed to Maharashtra

The Union Finance Ministry has disbursed a GST share of 11,519 crore rupees to Maharashtra. This was informed by Maharashtra BJP President Chandrakant Patil. He also pointed out that in 2019-20 the Centre had disbursed as much as 19 thousand 2 hundred and 33 crore rupees to Maharashtra.

16. Tarun Sobti takes command of Eastern Fleet

Rear Admiral Tarun Sobti, took over the Command of the Eastern Fleet, the sword arm of the Eastern Naval Command at Eastern Naval Command, Visakhapatnam, on 23 Feb 2021. He has taken over the Command from Rear Admiral Sanjay Vatsayan. Rear Admiral Tarun Sobti was commissioned into the Indian Navy on 1 July 1988 and is a specialist in Navigation and Direction,

17. Nearly 29,000 children vaccinated during IMI

Nearly 29,000 children and 5000 pregnant women were vaccinated on the first day of Intensified Mission Indradhanush 3.0 on 22 Feb 21. Its first phase will be carried out for 15 days. The campaign is being conducted in pre-identified 250 districts and urban areas across 29 states and Union Territories in the country. It aims to accelerate the full immunization of children and pregnant women.

18. NUDM launched in New Delhi

The National Urban Digital Mission (NUDM) and other initiatives were launched in New Delhi on 23 February 2021. The NUDM will institutionalize a citizen-centric and ecosystem-driven approach to urban governance and service delivery by 2022. Several other digital initiatives including India Urban Data Exchange (IUDX), SmartCode, and the Smart Cities 2.0 website were also launched.

19. 184th Meeting of ESIC held

Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) has taken several significant decisions to improve its service delivery mechanism. The decisions were taken during the 184th Meeting of ESIC which was held under the chairmanship of Minister of Labour and Employment Santosh Kumar Gangwar. ESI Corporation has decided to construct 300 bedded ESIC Hospital including 50 super speciality beds.

20. UPSC adds Leh as exam center

In a first of its kind the Union Public Service Commission UPSC has opened a new center for the Civil Services Examination, in Leh for the candidates from Ladakh. The preliminary exam will be held on 27 June 2021. Leh will be the 73rd center in the country to hold the preliminary exam for Civil Services. Leh Deputy Commissioner will be the Coordinating Supervisor for the Leh center.

21. World’s largest stadium at Motera in Ahmedabad

President Ram Nath Kovind formally inaugurated the world’s largest stadium Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Cricket Stadium at Motera in Ahmedabad Gujarat on 24 Feb 2021. The newly built stadium is equipped with all modern technologies and facilities necessary for present-day cricket. It has four dressing rooms, which are necessary to host back to back twenty twenty matches.

22. India commences vaccines supply to Africa

India on 23 February 2021 commenced the supply of ‘Made in India’ Covid-19 vaccines to Africa under the Covax facility. In Jan 21, the MEA announced to supply 1 crore or 10 million vaccine doses to Africa and 10 lakh to United Nations health workers under GAVI’s COVAX facility. India has supplied a total of 229.7 lakh doses of coronavirus vaccine to the global community as of mid-Feb 2021.

23. Dr Shakti Gupta: First Director of Jammu AIIMS

Dr Shakti Kumar Gupta has been appointed as the first Director of the upcoming AiIMS at Vijaypur in Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir. He is serving as a Medical Superintendent at Dr RP Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences in AIIMS-New Delhi. PM Modi laid the foundation of AIIMS-Jammu in February 2019, which will be completed in 2023.

24. CDPQ set to acquire 2% stake in PharmEasy

Canada’s second-largest pension fund, CDPQ has received the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) approval to acquire a 2% stake in PharmEasy. CDPQ had also participated in PharmEasy’s $220 million funding round in November 2019. In 2020, PharmEasy had merged with Medlife to create a combined entity that was valued at about $1.2 billion at the time of the transaction.

25. Rs. 48 cr approved for Dehradun road project

The Central government has approved Rs. 48 crores for the road project of Inter-State Bus Terminus (ISBT), Dehradun. Also, Rs. 69 crores have been approved for the strengthening of old bypass roads in the new national highway in the state. About Rs. 225 crores have been sanctioned for the construction of the Rudraprayag tunnel.

26. UP plans Electronic City on 700 acres

The Uttar Pradesh cabinet on 22 February 2021 approved a 700-acre Electronic City project near the upcoming Noida International Airport. The project will help the state to create a hub of electronics system design and manufacturing sector together with multiple incentives. Apart from IT services, the project will also focus on attracting small, medium and big hardware manufacturers to the site.

27. Kushinagar: Third international airport in UP

The Kushinagar Airport got the necessary clearances from DGCA on February 23, 2021, to become the third licensed international airport of Uttar Pradesh. The airport is located in the vicinity of several Buddhist cultural Sites like Sravasti, Kapilvastu and Lumbini. In June 2020, the Centre approved to upgrade the Kushinagar airport to an international one.

28. Centre signs $304 million pact with AIIB

The Centre on 23 Feb 21 signed an agreement with Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) for borrowing $304 million (over 32,200 crore) to improve power transmission network in Assam. The fund will be utilized for the ‘Assam Intra-State Transmission System Enhancement Project’. The project aims to improve reliability, capacity and security of the power transmission network in the state.

29. MoD clears defense buys worth Rs. 13,700 crore

The Defense Acquisition Council approved capital acquisition proposals of various weapons, platforms, equipment, systems required by the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force on 23 Feb’21. Three Acceptance of Necessities (AONs) for an overall cost of Rs. 13,700 cr were accorded. These acquisitions will include platforms and systems designed and developed by the DRDO.

30. TERI, POSOCO sign MoU

The Energy and Resources Institute has signed an MoU with Power System Operation Corporation (POSOCO) to encourage research in the domestic power sector. Both have agreed to work together to strengthen research-industry interaction for knowledge sharing and capacity building through collaboration and to encourage research on issues related to the Indian power sector.

31. NHA signs MoU with CSCS

The National Health Authority has signed an MoU with Common Service Centres (CSCS) under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. It will generate new PVC beneficiary cards called Ayushman cards under the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana. Eligible beneficiaries will now be able to get their Ayushman cards issued free of cost (at no charge to the beneficiary).

32. DRDO Skill Centre for Fire Safety Training

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has inaugurated Skill Development Centre (SDC) for Fire Safety Training at DRDO at Pilkhuwa in Uttar Pradesh. The facility is created by the Delhi-based DRDO laboratory Centre for Fire, Explosive and Environment Safety (CFEES). It is aimed at developing trained human resources, fire safety technology and products to save precious human lives and valued assets.

33. India signs trade deal with Mauritius

India signed major trade and defence deals with Mauritius on 22 Feb 2021. During External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s visit to Mauritius, the two sides signed a free trade agreement (FTA) or CECPA the first such pact with any African country. India and Mauritius also signed a $100 million Defence Line of Credit, to facilitate the procurement of Indian defence equipment.

34. Jindal Power appoints Anil Kumar as Chairman

Jindal Power Ltd (JPL) has appointed former bureaucrat Anil Kumar Jha as its Chairman. Jha is the former Chairman of Coal India Limited. JPL is a subsidiary of steelmaker Jindal Steel & Power Limited (JSPL). JPL operates a coal-based thermal power plant with an installed capacity of 3,400 MW located at Tamnar, Raigarh district in Chhattisgarh

35. Steel Authority of India Ltd bags six awards

The Steel Authority of India Ltd has bagged 6 awards for its efforts in the field of communication at the Public Relations Society of India (PRSI) National Awards-2020. SAIL has been awarded in House Journal (English), Best Communication Campaign (External Publics), Communications Campaign of the Year COVID-19, Special/Prestige Publication, E-newsletter, and Corporate Website categories.

36. Centre, Nagaland govt sign $68 million project

The Centre along with the Nagaland govt has signed a 68 million dollar project with the World Bank. The project is named “Nagaland: Enhancing Classroom Teaching and Resources”. It will improve classroom instruction; create opportunities for the professional development of teachers, and build technology systems to provide students and teachers with more access to blended and online learning.

37. Uttrakhand: 1st to give ownership rights to women

The Uttarakhand govt has passed an ordinance that gives co-ownership rights to women in their husband’s ancestral property. The ordinance aims to facilitate the women who are working in fields owned by their husbands or fathers, especially in the hilly areas of the state. By amending the Uttarakhand Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act, they will get access to ownership of the land.

38. National anthem played in Nagaland assembly

Almost 60 years after Nagaland attained statehood, the national anthem was played inside its assembly for the first time in February 2021. The national anthem was played before and after the address of Governor RN Ravi on February 12, 2021, when the Budget session of the Assembly began. Nagaland attained statehood on December 1, 1963, and became the 16th state of the Union.

39. Telangana govt to grow life sciences sector

Telangana government has set the vision to grow the life sciences sector to $100 billion dollars by 2030. This was announced by the state’s Industry Minister K. T. Rama Rao at Bio Asia 2021, the annual flagship event which began on 22 Feb 2021. The life sciences sector in Telangana in terms of value is $13 billion while in terms of cluster revenues it is $50 billion.

40. Devir Singh Bhandari’s new book

A new book titled ‘Yuva Bharat: The Heroes of Today’ has come up. It has been published by Bloomsbury and written by filmmaker-entrepreneur Devir Singh Bhandari. The book traces the journey of over 60 eminent young personalities. The book includes the journey of actor Rajkumar Rao, Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, Olympic gold medalist Abhinav Bindra, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb, etc.

41. Anantapuramu chosen for Kisan National Award

The Anantapuramu district of Andhra Pradesh has been chosen for the Prime Minister Kisan National Award. It was chosen as it completed 99,6% physical verification of the beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi. District Collector Gandham Chandrudu would be presented the award in New Delhi on February 24, 2021. The district has a total of 5,76,972 beneficiaries.

42. Karnataka to give industry status to big hotels

To help the hospitality sector that was hit by Covid, the Karnataka government has decided to give industry status to big hotels. The decision will give a boost to the tourism sector too. Small hotels, however, will not get the tag. The decision will enable hotels to avail benefits in electricity tariffs, property tax, refinancing of existing debts, hassle-free loans, etc.

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