Current Affairs 26th February 2021

Table of Contents

1. India’s first Toy Fair

India’s first Toy Fair will be held virtually from February 27 to March 2, 2021. It is the first-ever digitally accessible exhibition. It will provide an opportunity to explore and buy a variety of toys from over 1,000 exhibitors across states and union territories. Toy Fair is a visionary initiative that will reduce the dependence of toys on foreign markets.

2. Japan appoints Minister of Loneliness

In a bid to tackle the rise in suicide rates, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has appointed Tetsushi Sakamoto as its first-ever Minister for Loneliness. Besides this, Sakamoto is also in charge of managing the nation’s falling birth rate and strengthening regional economies. The Japanese government has also created an isolation/ loneliness countermeasures office.

3. NITI Aayog’s policy on migrant workers

NITI Aayog, along with a working subgroup of officials and members of civil society, has prepared a draft national migrant labour policy. The draft describe two approaches to policy design: one focussed on cash transfers, special quotas, and reservations, and the other which enhances the agency and capability of the community.

4. Mumbai’s undersea tunnel: The first in India

Mumbai will be home to India’s first undersea tunnel by 2023. The twin tunnels, which have a length of 2.07 km of which a kilometre will be under the sea, are being built as part of the Mumbai Coastal Road Project. The project is a 10.58-km stretch starting from the Marine Drive promenade to the Worli-end of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link.

5. Anjali Bhardwaj gets US anti-corruption award

Right to Information activist Anjali Bhardwaj has been honoured by the US with the newly-constituted International Anti-Corruption Champions Award. She is the founder of the Satark Nagrik Sangathan, a Delhi-based citizens’ group working to promote accountability and transparency in government functioning. Besides her, the award recipients also included Ardian Dvorani of Albania, etc.

6. Kabir Bedi’s memoir to be released in April

Veteran actor Kabir Bedi’s memoir will be published this April 2021. It is titled ‘Stories I Must Tell: The Emotional Journey of an Actor’. It will take readers through the highs and lows of Bedi’s professional and personal life. Bedi’s career spans three continents in three mediums: film, television and theatre. He has acted in over 65 Hindi movies, including ‘Main Hoon Na’.

7. Punjab to amend Prisons Act

The Punjab government has decided to amend the Prisons Act for more stringent punishments to deter inmates from committing offences like escaping from prison. A Bill to bring in the necessary changes will be introduced in the Budget Session of Punjab Vidhan Sabha, scheduled to begin on March 1, 2021. A section 52-A(1) has been amended with imprisonment of not less than three years.

8. Foxconn to form EV partnership with Fisker

Foxconn Technology Group will develop an electric vehicle with Fisker Inc. The car will be built by Foxconn, targeted at multiple markets including North America, Europe, China and India, and sold under the Fisker brand. Production is set to start in the fourth quarter of 2023. The company is expected to build more than 250,000 vehicles annually for the Fisker partnership

9. Poet Vishnu Narayanan Namboothiri passes away

Eminent Malayalam poet, Vedic scholar and academician Vishnu Narayanan Namboothiri passed away in February 2021. His collections of poems include Ujjayiniyile Raappakalukal, Charulatha, Bhoomigeethangal, Pranayageethangal etc. He was conferred with Padma Shri in 2014. He is also a recipient of several literary honours including the Kendra Sahitya Akademi, Kerala Sahity Akademi, etc.

10. Women’s Commando Force inaugurated

Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat inaugurated the Women’s Commando Force and Smart Cheetah Police of Uttarakhand on 24 Feb 2021. He also honoured Commando Instructor Shifu Shaurya Bhardwaj and Military Officer Rubina Korky. Uttarakhand has become the fourth state in the country where a squad of women commandos has been added to the police department.

11. Technology Innovation Hub inaugurated

Himachal Pradesh CM Jai Ram Thakur has inaugurated Technology Innovation Hub developed with an investment of Rs. 110 crore at IIT Mandi. He presided over the 12th Foundation Day programme of IIT Mandi held on February 24, 2021. An MoU was also signed between the district administration and IIT Mandi in presence of the CM for development and deployment of Landslide Monitoring System in Mandi.

12. Glenmark receives an award from govt of India

Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, a pharmaceutical company, received the India Pharma Innovation of the Year award, as part of the India Pharma and India Medical Device Awards 2021, on 25 Feb 2021. The prestigious award was conferred by the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP), Ministry of Chemicals, and Fertilizers. This is the fourth time Glenmark has won an award from the Government of India.

13. Airbus selects L&T Technology Services

L&T Technology Services (LTTS) has been selected by Airbus, as part of the Skywise Partner Programme to provide technology and digital engineering solutions for Airbus Skywise platform. More than 130 airlines across the world are already connected to Airbus Skywise platform. The platform plays a crucial role in enabling and accelerating the digital transformation of the aviation sector.

14. 2nd edition of Global Bio-India

The second edition of Global Bio-India will be organized from 1st to 3rd March 2021. The theme for 2021 is “Transforming Lives” with the tagline “Biosciences to Bioeconom”. Global Bio-India is co-organised by the Department of Biotechnology along with its Public Sector Undertaking BIRAC, industry association CII, Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises and Invest India.

15. Manipur CM launches PM FME Scheme

Manipur CM N. Biren Singh has launched the Prime Minister Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (PM FME) Scheme. The PM FME Scheme aims to provide financial, technical and business support to micro food processing units, Farmer Producer Organizations and Self Help Groups. The scheme will also promote One District One Product to get more benefit.

16. Himachal Pradesh’s ‘e-Parivahan Vyavstha’

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur launched ‘e-Parivahan Vyavstha’ of the State Transport Department on 25 February 2021. It aims to provide faceless services to the people of the State regarding Driving Licence/ Registration Certificates/Permits etc. Previously, the state government had also started various digital initiatives like e-Vidhan Sabha, e-Budget and e-Cabinet.

17. UP: Fastest to implement PM Kisan scheme

Uttar Pradesh received an award for the fastest implementation of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana on 24 February 2021. It has been awarded in the category of fastest take off in year 2020-21. More than 27110 crores have been transferred in the accounts of farmers of the state under PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojna. PM Kisan scheme is run under the Ministry for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.

18. President rule imposed in Puducherry

In the UT of Puducherry, the president rule was imposed following the fall of the Congress DMK alliance govt led by CM Narayanasamy. After imposition of president rule, the administration of the UT can not be carried out in accordance with the provisions of the govt of Union Territories Act 1963. It suspends the operation until the constitution of the 15th Legislative Assembly of Puducherry.

19. India-USA Executive Steering Group meet

The 24th edition of the India-USA Executive Steering Group meeting was held at New Delhi from 22nd to 24th February 2021. The forum is an Army to Army engagement that meets every year alternately in India and the US to discuss Army to Army cooperation. Major General Daniel McDaniel, Deputy Commanding General, US Army Pacific was the Head of delegation from the US side.

20. Ministry of Corporate Affairs, CBIC sign MoU

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs and Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs have signed an MoU for the exchange of data for enhancing the ease of doing business in India and improve overall regulatory enforcement. The MoU was signed by Joint Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs Manoj Pandey and Additional Director General, CBIC B. B. Gupta.

21. IWAI inks pact with MOL

An MoU was signed between the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) and the MOL (Asia Oceania) Ltd for transportation of Liquefied Natural Gas through barges on National Waterways-1 and 2. IWAI will provide support for, facilitating the handling of LPG cargo on IWAI terminals or Multimodal Terminals at Haldia, Sahibganj and Varanasi. MOL Group is the world’s largest gas carrier company

22. India, Ireland held consultations

India and Ireland held bilateral consultations on the UN Security Council issues on 25 Feb 2021 via video conference. The Irish delegation was led by Gerard Keown, UN Director and Head of UN Security Council Task Team, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and also included Ireland’s Ambassador to India. Joint Secretary (UNP and Summits) Prakash Gupta led the Indian delegation.

23. Indian Railways to reactivate facility of UTS

Indian Railways has decided to reactivate the facility of UTS ON MOBILE App in zones where unreserved train services are reintroduced. This is being done to decongest ticket booking counters and to ensure smooth compliance with social distancing norms. This facility may also be reintroduced on non-suburban sections of zonal Railways.

24. Sites selected under Swachh Iconic Places

Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti has announced the selection of 12 iconic sites under Phase IV of Swachh Iconic Places. These sites include Ajanta Caves, Sanchi Stupa, Kumbhalgarh Fort, Jaisalmer Fort, Ramdevra, Golconda Fort, Konark Sun Temple, etc. The initiative aims at improving the sanitation and cleanliness standards at and around the sites.

25. Centre announces guidelines for OTT

The Centre has announced guidelines and digital media ethics code for Over The Top (OTT), online streaming, and social media platforms. The social media platforms have to appoint a Chief Compliance Officer of complaints, Nodal Contact person, and a Resident Grievance officer. Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar announced a three-tier mechanism for their regulation.

26. Jaishankar meets Uzbekistan counterpart

India and Uzbekistan on 25 Feb 2021, agreed to strengthen multilateral cooperation. Uzbekistan Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov and External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar discussed the bilateral relations concerning both nations. Kamilov also discussed development, defense, connectivity, trade, and culture. Both the leaders also exchanged views on the Afghanistan situation.

27. Brazil signs contract with Bharat Biotech

Health Ministry of Brazil signed a contract to purchase 20 million doses of Covaxin vaccine made by India’s Bharat Biotech, on 25 Feb 2021. The first 8 million doses are expected to arrive in March 2021. Meanwhile, Brazil reported 1,541 new COVID-19 deaths on 25 Feb 2021, the second-highest daily death toll ever since the pandemic began, taking total fatalities to 251,498.

28. Ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan

India and Pakistan armies have agreed to cease firing along the Line of Control (LoC) from midnight of February 24-25, 2021. The Director Generals of Military Operations of the two countries agreed to observe a ceasefire to maintain peace along LoC. Amid heightened tensions along the LoC and LAC in 2020, this is the first such contract between India and Pakistan.

29. Australia passes a new law

Australia has passed a world-first law aimed at making Google and Facebook pay for news content on their platforms. The amended legislation – the News Media Bargaining Code – was passed by Australia’s House of Representatives on 25 Feb 2021 after going through the Senate. The news code encourages tech giants and news organizations to negotiate payment deals between themselves.

30. Pakistan to be on FATF Grey list till June’21

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has decided to keep Pakistan on its terrorism financing Greylist. The FATF is an inter-governmental body set up in 1989 to combat money laundering, terror financing, and other related threats to the international financial system. Currently, it has 39 members. Pakistan has been on the Grey list since June 2018.

31. 2nd Khelo India National Winter Games

PM& Narendra Modi delivered the inaugural address at the 2nd Khelo India National Winter Games on 26 Feb 2021. through video conferencing. The games will begin on 27 Feb 2021 and will continue till 2 March 2021. The sports activities will include alpine skiing, nordic ski, snowboarding, ski mountaineering, ice hockey, ice skating, etc. 27 states and UTs are participating in the games.

32. Dynamic testing of prototype train conducted

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) conducted dynamic testing of prototype train at Charkop Depot before its actual trial run. Commissioner of MMRDA R. A. Rajeev flagged off the Prototype Metro Train on 25 Feb 2021. The MMRDA has announced to begin trial runs on the Metro Line 2A Dahisar to D.N. Nagar, Andheri, and Line 7 Andheri East to Dahisar East from March 2021.

33. Retirement age employees raised of government

In Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palananiswami has announced that the retirement age of state government employees has been increased from 59 to 60 years. The order would be applicable to employees of government-aided schools, legal and constitutional bodies, etc. All those who were in service and those who would retire on 31 May 2021, would be covered under the announcement.

34. 50 FPOs linked to Unified Market Platform

In Karnataka, 50 Farmer Producer Organisations, FPOs supported by NABARD were linked to Unified Market Platform of Rashtriya e-Market Services in Bengaluru on 25 February 2021. These FPOs will now be accessible by 44,000 traders registered across 162 markets trading in agricultural commodities. The online e-market platform has helped trading of 81 million metric tonnes of agricultural commodities.

35. Leh all set for Rs. 100 cr holistic development

One of the famous tourist destinations in the country, Leh is all set for a near 100 crore rupees holistic development. A team of consultants from the Tourism Ministry visited Leh for spot inspection on 25 Feb 2021. Leh has been shortlisted under the National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spirituality Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) scheme.

36. Uttama Lahiri selected for TATA Fellowship

In Gujarat, Professor Uttama Lahiri, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at IIT Gandhinagar has been selected for the TATA Innovation Fellowship for 2020-21. She received the award from Union Minister of Science and Technology Dr Harsh Vardhan on 26 February 2021. The award includes a monthly fellowship amount and a contingency grant for three years.

37. Infrastructure FY22 outlook rises to stable

Credit rating agency India Ratings and . Research has revised its overall infrastructure sector outlook to stable for FY22 from negative in 2020. Some sectors, such as airports and wind power, will continue with a negative outlook, as signs of demand recovery are scarce on the ground. The traction in InvITs (infrastructure investment trusts) is expected to rise by about Rs. 850 bn in roads.

38. Maruti and IIM Bangalore to nurture startups

Maruti Suzuki India Limited and IIM Bangalore will jointly nurture and mentor 26 startups in the mobility sector through up to a nine-month-long incubation program. The selected startups will undergo a three-month pre-incubation journey during which they will be engaged in various peer-to-peer learning activities. The incubation program will help the startups become large-scale businesses.

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