Current Affairs 2nd March 2021

Table of Contents

1. ORIX and Teesta Urja deal completed

Japan’s financial services firm ORIX Corp. and Greenko Energy Holdings have concluded a deal for the investment of $980 million in Greenko. This is the single largest foreign investment transaction in India’s clean energy space. Greenko has also completed the acquisition of a 40% stake in Teesta Urja Ltd, which is setting up the 1.2 GW hydropower project in North Sikkim, for $250 million.

2. the Last date for filing of GST returns extended

Finance Ministry has extended the due date for furnishing the annual returns GSTR-9 and GSTR-9C for the financial year 2019-20 to 31 March 2021. The due date was extended with the approval of the Election Commission of India. Earlier the government had extended the due date of furnishing the Annual Returns from 31st December 2020 to 28th of February, 2021.

3. One in four will be living with hearing loss

One in four people, nearly 2.5 billion people worldwide, will be living with some degree of hearing loss by 2050, warned the World Health Organization. The first World Report on Hearing was released on 2 March 2021 ahead of World Hearing Day on 3rd March 2021. As per the report at least 700 million of these people will require access to ear and hearing care and other rehabilitation services.

4. Railways surpasses 2020’s freight loading

Indian Railways on 28 Feb 2021 surpassed 2020’s cumulative freight loading for the same corresponding period. Freight figures continue to maintain the high momentum in terms of loading, earning, and speed. On a month-to-month basis, up to 28 February 2021, Indian Railways loading was 112.25 million tonnes, which is almost 10 percent higher compared to loading up to the same period in 2020.

5. GST collections up by 7% to Rs. 1.13 lakh cr

The gross GST revenue collected in February 2021 is 1 lakh 13 thousand 143 crore rupees. Out of this amount, CGST is 21 thousand 92 crore rupees, SGST is 27 thousand 273 crore, IGST is 55 thousand 253 crore and Cess is 9,525 crore rupees. The government has settled 22 thousand 398 crore rupees to CGST and 17 thousand 534 crores to SGST from IGST as regular settlement.

6. SBI reduces home loan interest rates to 6.7 %

State Bank of India has reduced home loan interest rates to 6.7 percent. The interest rate of 6.70% will be charged for loans up to Rs. 75 lakhs and 6.75 percent for loans above Rs. 75 lakhs. The interest concession is based on the loan amount and CIBIL score of the borrower. The offer will be available till 31 Mar 2021 and the lender is also given a 100% waiver on the processing fee.

7. Chhattisgarh CM presents budget

In Chhattisgarh, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel presented the budget for the next fiscal on 1 March 2021. The budget is Rs. 97,106 crores. In his budget speech, the CM announced to raise a special police force named “Bastar Tigers” in all the seven districts of the tribal Bastar division. The budget proposes to construct 104 roads and 116 bridges in the Maoist-affected rural areas.

8. IT Dept set up Control Room in Guwahati

In Assam, to curb the use of black money for electoral purposes and prevent monetary inducement by any person or parties in the State Assembly polls, the Investigation Wing of Income Tax Department, Guwahati has set up a Control Room. Any complaint regarding the movement of cash and valuables can be shared by the vigilant citizens by contacting the number: 1800-345-3582.

9. Mizoram CM Zoramthanga presents budget

Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga, who also holds the portfolio of Finance Minister, presented the budget for the next financial year on 1 March 2021. The budget presented with an outlay of 11,148.89 crore rupees, is a zero-deficit budget and has not imposed any new taxes. In the budget, Rs. 4,077.29 cr has been allocated for the social services sector – which is 36.57% of the total budget.

10. 2 villages in Ladakh get mobile connectivity

In the eastern Ladakh region, zero border villages are now getting better connectivity. Merak and Khakted villages on the southern side of Pangong Tso got mobile connectivity on 1 March 2021. Under operation Sadbhavana, the Army laid OFC cable to establish mobile connectivity. BSNL provided the equipment and Chuchul Councillor Konchok Stanzin provided Solar power systems to the project.

11. Israel receives first-ever UAE ambassador

Israel’s President formally received the first-ever ambassador from the UAE, following the 2020’s historic agreement between the countries to normalize ties. UAE envoy Mohamed Al Khaja delivered his credentials to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem on 1 March 2021. UAE was the 1st country to agree to establish full diplomatic relations with the Jewish state under the Abraham Accords.

12. Paperless annual budget presented in MP

Madhya Pradesh Finance Minister Jagdish Devda present a paperless state annual budget on 2 March 2021 in the legislative Assembly. Along with this, the app related to the budget was also launched. Through this app, people will be able to download information about Madhya Pradesh’s budget on their mobiles. The budget this time comprises suggestions from the citizens also.

13. UK cruise ships scrapped in Gujarat

On the world’s largest ship graveyard in Alang, Gujarat, 2 UK cruise ships The Marco Polo and the Magellan got scrapped. They were sold in an auction to buyers outside the UK but later were sold as scrap for double its price. An investigation found that at least 13 other ships, linked to the UK had arrived at the scrapping beaches of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh since the start of 2020.

14. Fresh survey of a new railway line

A fresh survey of Jagadhari-Paonta Sahib’s new railway line would be conducted with a focus on freight expected from industrial area Paonta Sahib very soon. The study would also be carried out to examine if the Kalka-Shimla track could be strengthened to improve the speed of the trains. New Coaches of Kalka-Shimla Railway would be designed and manufactured to enhance the tourism experience.

15. Education Minister chairs a review meeting

Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank chaired a review meeting on Rashtriya Ucchtar Shiksha Abhiyan, RUSA in New Delhi on 1 March 2021. Secretary of Higher Education Department Amit Khare along with senior officials of the Ministry attended the meeting. He asked the officials to draw plans on educating additional 3.5 crore students to increase the gross enrolment ratio to 50% by 2035.

16. BPCL to sell stake in Numaligarh refinery

Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) board has approved the sale of its 61.65% stake in Numaligarh refinery for Rs. 9,875 cr. The consortium of OIL and Engineers India Ltd will acquire 49% and the rest 13.65% will be sold to the government of Assam. Numaligarh Refinery is looking to expand its refining capacity from 3 mn tonnes per annum to 9 million tonnes a year at an investment of Rs. 22,594 cr.

17. Maritime India Summit-2021 inaugurated

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Maritime India Summit-2021 on 2 March 2021. The three-day Summit will be held till 4 March 2021. It is being organized by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways on a virtual platform The Summit will visualize a roadmap for India’s Maritime sector for the next decade.

18. “Sugamya Bharat App” launched

Minister for Social justice and Empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot launched the “Sugamya Bharat App” and a handbook entitled “Access – The Photo Digest” on 2 March 2021. Sugamya Bharat App is a means for sensitizing and enhancing accessibility, It provides five main features. The fifth feature is a special feature meant only for Divyangjan for COVID-related issues.

19. BJP MP Nand Kumar Singh Chauhan passes away

BJP MP from Khandwa, Nand Kumar Singh Chauhan passed away in March 2021. He had tested positive for COVID-19 on 11 Jan 2021 and was undergoing treatment in Delhi. Nandkumar Singh Chauhan represented the Khandwa constituency of Madhya Pradesh. The leader started his political career in 1978 from the Shahpur Municipal Council and was later elected as a member of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly.

20. Field assessment of Swachh Survekshan -2021

Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry launched the field assessment of Swachh Survekshan -2021 on 1 March 2021. This will be the sixth edition of the annual cleanliness survey. Swachh Survekshan was introduced in 2016 as a competitive framework to encourage cities to improve the status of urban sanitation while encouraging large-scale citizen participation.

21. 3rd Governing Council Meeting of the BIS

Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal on 1 March 2021 presided at the third Governing Council Meeting of the Bureau of Indian Standards. The process of making Indian Standards and their implementation with BIS officials, senior officials from different Ministries or Regulators were reviewed in the meeting. It was emphasized in the meeting that there should be One Nation, One Standard.

22. Madagascar to get 1000 mt rice, 1L HCQ tablets

India is sending a consignment of 1,000 metric tonnes of rice and 1 lakh tablets of HCQ to Madagascar. This is in response to the urgent appeal made by Madagascar for international solidarity and assistance to deal with the crisis in South Madagascar due to severe drought. INS Jalashwa with the food & medical assistance will leave on 3 March 2021 and will reach there by 21 to 24 of March 2021.

23. Real-Time Monitoring System of Toll Plazas

Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari launched the Real-Time Monitoring System of Toll Plazas at a function in New Delhi on 1 March 2021. The monitoring system will measure the ‘Daily Congestion Index’ for each plaza as well as the overall congestion across the national highway network. It will also provide real-time details of high peak hours’ traffic at toll plazas.

24. 1 March: 45th Civil Accounts Day

The 45th Civil Accounts Day was celebrated in New Delhi on 1 March 2021. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was the Chief Guest of the event. This annual event was celebrated for the first time by virtual mode and was enthusiastically attended by Indian Civil Accounts Service ICAS officers and staff of the Civil Accounts Organisation.

25. Training programs for FPOs launched

Union Ministers of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Parshottam Rupala and Kailash Choudhary inaugurated professional training programs designed and developed for CEOs Board of Directors, Accountants of FPOs on 1 March 2021. The program was launched on the occasion of the anniversary of the scheme titled ‘Formation and Promotion of 10,000 Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOS)’.

26. 3rd Jan Aushadhi Diwas celebrations begin

The third Jan Aushadhi Diwas celebrations began on 1 March 2021. The week-long celebrations will go on till 7th March 2021. As a part of the celebration, Jan Aushadhi Kendras conducted Health Check-up Camps across the country. Jan Aushadhi Divas (Generic Medicine Day) is observed every year on March 07 to create awareness about the use of generic medicines.

27. Kargil gets 1st PM Jan Aushadhi Kendra

Councillor Kargil Town, Haji Muhammad Abass Adulpa inaugurated the first Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi (PMBJA), Kendra, at District Hospital Kargil on 1 March 2021. This event marks the celebration of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Diwas 2021. Jan Aushadhi Kendra will facilitate the common people by ensuring the availability of medicines at affordable prices.

28. Swachhta Saarthi Fellowship launched

The Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India under its Waste to Wealth Mission has launched the Swachhta Saarthi Fellowship. The Fellowship was launched to recognize the students, community workers or Self-Help Groups and municipal or sanitary workers who are engaged in tackling the challenge of waste management, scientifically and sustainably.

29. Vice Admiral A.B. Singh to take over as FOC

Vice Admiral Ajendra Bahadur Singh has assumed the office of Command of the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) at Eastern Naval Command headquarters in Visakhapatnam. He took charge as Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in-C) of Eastern Naval Command from Vice Admiral Atul Kumar Jain. Atul Kumar Jain has been transferred to New Delhi to assume charge as the Chief of Integrated Defence Staff.

30. 58,000 bank correspondents Sakhi appointed

At least 58,000 Bank Correspondent (BC) Sakhis have been appointed in UP under the “Ek Gram Panchayat Ek Banking Correspondent” scheme. Through these, promotion and awareness of various financial inclusion products along with banking facilities will be carried out in the future. For providing banking facilities in the villages, the state has been divided into 27,628 Sub Service Areas (SSA).

31. V.P. Joy: Kerala’s new Chief Secretary

Senior bureaucrat V. P. Joy has taken charge as the Chief Secretary of Kerala, replacing Vishwas Mehta who has retired from the post. Joy, a 1987 batch IAS officer from Kerala cadre, was Officer on Special Duty in the rank of Additional Chief Secretary before being selected as the Chief Secretary of Kerala. Joy was also serving as the Secretary, Coordination, Central Secretariat.

32. Indian Women’s League to be held in Odisha

Odisha will host the 2020-21 Hero Indian Women’s League. This was announced by the All India Football Federation on 28 Feb 2021. The dates for the tournament are yet to be finalized and will be announced soon. India is scheduled to host the AFC Women’s Asian Cup in the year 2022 which will be followed by the Fifa U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2022.

33. Jaideep: Principal Director General, PIB

Jaideep Bhatnagar has taken over as Principal Director General, Press Information Bureau. He is an officer of the Indian Information Service batch of 1986. He has earlier served in Doordarshan News and as Head of the Commercial, Sales, and Marketing Division of Doordarshan. He has also served as Prasar Bharati Special Correspondent West Asia covering twenty countries.

34. Sterlite Tech bags $100 million deals for 5G

Telecom equipment manufacturer Sterlite Technologies Ltd (STL) has won orders worth $100 million in the Middle East and Africa, involving setting up a network and infrastructure for 5G wireless service. With the new deals, the company’s order book stands at a record Rs. 11,300 crore. STL’s end-to-end solutions enable customers to build 5G hyper-scale networks at a fast pace.

35. SBI General ties-up with Indian Overseas Bank

SBI General Insurance has tied-up with Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) for a bancassurance partnership for selling its non-life products. Through the alliance, SBI General will offer a range of general insurance solutions and innovative products to IOB customers. Chennai-headquartered IOB has over 3,200 branches across the country and also has an overseas presence.

36. Manpreet Vohra: India’s HC to Australia

Manpreet Vohra has been appointed as the next High Commissioner to Australia. He is presently serving as the Ambassador of India to Mexico. Manpreet Vohra is a 1988 batch Indian Foreign Service officer. He is expected to take up the assignment shortly.

37. Life imprisonment to food adulterators

Madhya Pradesh Cabinet approved a Panel Law (Madhya Pradesh Amendment) Bill, 2021 to give life imprisonment to food adulterators on 26 February 2021. State’s Home Minister Narottam Mishra informed about it. In December 2019, an awareness rally was held in Bhopal to fight the menace of adulteration. The rally saw the participation of people of all age groups

38. FM Nirmala Sitharaman attends G20 meet

Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman participated virtually in the First G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) meeting under the Italian Presidency on 26 Feb 2021. She discussed policy actions for transformative and equitable recovery. The other issues included global economic outlook, financial sector issues, financial inclusion, etc.

39. Recognition of GFI restored by Sports Ministry

Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has decided to restore the recognition of the Gymnastics Federation of India (GFI) as a National Sports Federation (NSF). The recognition has been granted for the period till 31st December 2021. Sudhir Mittal and Kaushik Bidiwala have been elected as President and Treasurer respectively for the term 2019- 2023.

40. Zero Discrimination Day: 1 March

Zero Discrimination Day is celebrated every year on 1 March. It aims at highlighting the urgent need to take action to end the inequalities surrounding income, sex, age, health status, occupation, disability, sexual orientation, drug use, gender identity, race, class, ethnicity, and religion that are prevalent around the world. The symbol for Zero Discrimination Day is a butterfly.

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