Current Affairs 3rd February 2021

Table of Contents

1. ‘Aatmanirbharta’ named Oxford Hindi word

‘Aatmanirbharta’ implying self-reliance has been named by Oxford Languages as its Hindi word of the year 2020. The word was chosen by an advisory panel of language experts Kritika Agrawal, Poonam Nigam Sahay and Imogen Foxell. Previous Hindi words of the year are Aadhar (2017), Nari Shakti (2018) and Samvidhaan (2019).

2. Jindal Steel conferred with Mahatma Award 2020

Chairman of Jindal Steel and Power Limited (ISPL), Naveen Jindal has been conferred with the Mahatma Award 2020. He has been awarded for his humanitarian effort to support the communities and local administration in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. The Mahatma Award was founded and constituted by Amit Sachdeva, more famously known as ‘The CSR Man of India

3. NITI Aayog’s megacity plan for Little Andaman

NITI Aayog has proposed to leverage the strategic location and natural features of the Little Andaman island by building a new greenfield coastal city. It will be developed as a free trade zone and will compete with Singapore and Hong Kong. This plan is outlined in the ‘Sustainable Development of Little Andaman Island Vision Document by NITI Aayog.

4. Tata to build military aircraft in India

The Tata Group will develop and manufacture a military aircraft in India. The plan is to integrate indigenous sensors and payloads to convert it into an intelligence-gathering asset. This would be the first time that an Indian private entity is looking at making a full military-grade aircraft, which until now has been the domain of Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL).

5. Bhavya Lal: NASA’s Acting Chief of Staff

Bhavya Lal, an Indian-American scientist, has been appointed as the Acting Chief of Staff of NASA. She has served as a member of the research staff at the Institute for Defence Analyses Science and Technology Policy Institute from 2005 to 2020. She served two consecutive terms on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Federal Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote Sensing.

6. World Bank to provide $500 mn to Bangladesh

The government of Bangladesh signed an agreement with the World Bank for the up-gradation of rural roads and connectivity in the western region, on 1 Feb 2021. The project is expected to benefit over 20 million people in the western region of Bangladesh. The project will help upgrade the 48-kilometre two-lane Jashore-Jhenaidah road to a modern 4-lane highway.

7. India’s first amputee clinic launched

An ‘amputee clinic’, the first of its kind in India has been launched in Chandigarh. The clinic was inaugurated by the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) Director Prof Jagat Ram on 1 February 2021. The aim is to improve amputation patient care by providing a collection of services under one roof with significant coordination.

8. Merv Hughes in Australian Cricket Hall of Fame

Former pacer Merv Hughes has been inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame. He captured 212 Test wickets at an average of 28.38 in a career spanning 53 Tests and 33 ODIS for Australia from 1985 to 1994. In 2005, Hughes became a selector for the Australian cricket team, a role he held until 2010.

9. Rs. 1,075 crore for embankment for Majuli

The 15th Finance Commission has recommended a new embankment-cum-road around Assam’s Majuli, the world’s largest inhabited riverine island. A total of Rs. 1,075 crores has been proposed for the construction of the new embankment-cum-road. The commission also recommended Rs. 300 crores for the development of the Kamakhya temple complex.

10. Iran launches new satellite-carrying rocket

Iran’s defence ministry launched a new satellite carrier with its “most powerful” solid-fuel engine on 01 Feb 2021. It was the first launch of the Zoljanah hybrid satellite carrier for sub-orbital testing. Zoljanah can put satellites in a 500 KM altitude orbit and carry a 220-KG payload. The rocket can be launched from a “mobile platform”, which provides it with “special capabilities”

11. Biden appoints Dr Raj Panjabi to lead his MI

US President Joe Biden has appointed Indian-origin Dr Raj Panjabi to lead his Malaria Initiative, which is mainly in African and Asian countries. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, trained in internal medicine and primary care at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He has served as a faculty member at the Harvard Kennedy School.

12. Government allocates Rs. 830 cr for FFS

The government has allocated Rs. 830 cr for the Fund of Funds for Startups in the Budget 2021-22. The allocation for the Fund of Funds in Budget 2020-21 was Rs. 1,054.97 core, but it was revised to Rs. 429.99 crores. The government has set up a Fund of Funds for Startups (FFS) with a corpus of Rs. 10,000 cr. The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) is the operating agency for the FFS.

13. Hollywood actor Hal Holbrook passes away

Hal Holbrook, the award-winning character actor who toured the world for more than 50 years as Mark Twain in a one-man show, passed away in Jan 2021. He won five Emmys and a Tony in his career. In 2008 he received his 1st Oscar nomination for playing a lonely widower who befriends young wanderer Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch) in director Sean Penn’s “Into the Wild.”

14. Google to shut its game development studio

Google’s parent Alphabet has announced that it will shut down its internal game development studio that develops video games for its cloud-based game-streaming service, Stadia. The development arm was set up together with Stadia in 2019. The service is currently limited to Canada, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, US, UK and a few more. It is currently not available in India.

15. RBI appoints auditor to review HDFC Bank

The RBI has appointed an external IT firm for carrying out a special audit of HDFC Bank’s IT infrastructure in the aftermath of repeated service outages. IT firm has been appointed under Section 30 (1-B) of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 and at the cost of the Bank under Section 30 (1-C) of the Act. The bank has been penalised for 2 major outages, in Nov 2018 and in Dec 2019.

16. Jeff Bezos to step down as Amazon CEO

Jeff Bezos announced that he will step down as Chief Executive Officer of Amazon, leaving the helm of the company he founded 27 years ago. Bezos will transition to the role of executive chair in the third quarter of 2021, which starts July 1. Andy Jassy, the Chief Executive of Amazon Web Services, will take over as CEO of Amazon.

17. UK WWII veteran Tom Moore passed away

Captain Tom Moore, the WWII veteran who walked into the hearts of a nation in lockdown as he shuffled up and down his garden to raise money for health care workers passes away in Feb 2021. He became known in news headlines and TV interviews set out to raise £1,000 for Britain’s National Health Service by walking 100 laps of his backyard. In July 2020, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

18. Wikipedia launches new code of conduct

Wikipedia Foundation launched its first global code of conduct on 2 Feb 2021, seeking to address criticism that it has failed to combat harassment and suffers from a lack of diversity. The new code of conduct bans harassment on and off the site, barring behaviours like hate speech, the use of slurs, stereotypes or attacks based on personal characteristics, etc.

19. Ashoke Dinda retires from all forms of cricket

Fast bowler Ashoke Dinda announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on 2 Feb 2021 after 15 years in Bengal cricket. Dinda played 116 first-class matches for Bengal, bagging 420 wickets at a bowling average of 28.28. The right-handed pacer made his international debut in 2009, in a T201 against Sri Lanka, followed by making his ODI debut in Zimbabwe in 2010.

20. SA receives 1st batch of CO-19 vaccine doses

South Africa’s first coronavirus vaccine doses arrived by aeroplane on 1 Feb 2021. South Africa received 1 mi shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine, produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII). The SOIl is due to send another 500,000 doses Feb end, but more will be needed to cover South Africa’s 1.25 mi health workers, as the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine is administered in two doses.

21. US actor Dustin Diamond passes away

US actor Dustin Diamond, best known for playing the nerdy Screech on the hit TV series Saved By The Bell passed away in Feb 2021. He started his career with Good Morning, Miss. Bliss, a series about junior high students that only lasted one season, but which spawned Saved By The Bell. In 2009, his tell-all book” Behind The Bell was published

22. Mummy with a gold tongue found in Egypt

Archaeologists have found a 2,000-year-old mummy with a gold tongue at an ancient Egyptian site called Taposiris Magna. The archaeologists, led by Kathleen Martinez, from the Dominican Republic, discovered the mummy in one of 16 burials at Taposiris Magna, which has temples dedicated to Osiris and Isis, a goddess who was both the wife and sister of Osiris.

23. Rajasthan govt sets up MRTDB

The Rajasthan government has formed the Marwar Regional Tribal Development Board (MRTDB) to ensure holistic progress of the Scheduled Tribe community settled in areas of the Jodhpur division. The board will consist of chairman, member secretary, 13 ex-officio members and 6 eminent people of the community. The Tribal Regional Development (TAD) department will be its administrative department.

24. UP man unfurls national flag at Kilimanjaro

Mountaineer Nitish Singh from Gorakhpur unfurled the national flag at Mount Kilimanjaro peak, the highest mountain in the African continent. He scaled a height of 5,895 m above sea level and unfurled the Indian tricolor flag at the mountain on 26 January 2021. He has also raised a flag for the transgender community for supporting him in his journey.

25. Asia’s biggest Aero show begins

Asia’s biggest Aero show began in Bengaluru on 3 Feb 2021. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the three-day mega-event that is taking place for the first time in a hybrid mode due to Covid pandemic. Over 200 MoUs will be signed between different procurement and manufacturing agencies. For the first time, Defence ministers of Indian Ocean region from 27 countries will participate.

26. Rs 2,87,000 crore proposed for Jal Jeevan

The total outlay proposed for Jal Jeevan Mission (URBAN) is 2,87,000 crore rupees. The Jal Jeevan Mission (URBAN) has been designed to provide universal coverage of water supply to all households through functional taps in all four thousand 378 statutory towns. 20 per cent of water demand will be met by reused water.

27. Rs 3,500 crore assistance to sugar mills

The government has approved 3,500 crore rupees for providing assistance to sugar mills for expenses on marketing costs including handling, upgrading and other processing costs. This will help facilitate export of sugar during the sugar season 2020-21 and improve the liquidity position of sugar mills enabling them to clear cane price dues of farmers.

28. Govt procures 600 lakh tonnes of paddy

Government has procured more than 600 lakh tonnes of paddy in the current Kharif marketing season. This is an increase of 17.89 per cent against 2020’s corresponding purchase of around 512 lakh tonnes. Out of the total purchase, Punjab alone has contributed over 202 lakh tonnes which is 33.57 per cent of total procurement.

29. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh felicitated

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was felicitated in Bengaluru on 2 Feb 2021 by the State Government and industry bodies. He was honoured for giving HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) an order of Rs 48,000 crore to manufacture 83 LCA Mark 1A fighter aircraft. The order to HAL will help generate 5,000 direct jobs and 25,000 secondary jobs in the country and 230 equipment suppliers.

30. NBCFDC signs MoU with Apollo Medskills Pvt Ltd

The National Backward Classes Finance and Development Corporation (NBCFDC) has signed an MoU with Apollo Medskills Private Ltd. It will provide COVID Vaccination Administration training to nurses, medical and nursing students and pharmacists belonging to its target group on a co-funding basis. The programme has been sanctioned for up-skilling the competency level of the health care workers.

31. 137 GW of renewable energy capacity installed

Around 137 gigawatt of renewable energy capacity has been installed in the country which is 36.48 per cent of the total installed electricity generation capacity in the country. India has committed that 40 per cent of its installed power generation capacity shall be from non-fossil fuel by the end of 2030 as a part of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions as per Paris Accord.

32. Rishabh Pant nominated for an award

Rishabh Pant has been nominated for the ICC Men’s Player of the Month award along with England’s Joe Root and Ireland’s Paul Stirling. Pant played two Tests against Australia where he scored a 97 at Sydney and led India to a historic win. In January 2021, Root played two Tests against Sri Lanka, where he scored a 228 and 186 and led his team to a 2-0 Test series victory.

33. Maharashtra to provide assistance to startups

Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray launched a financial assistance scheme for startups on 2 Feb 2021. Under this, the govt will reimburse up to 80% amount of patent registration and product testing and certification cost. Reimbursement of up to Rs10 lakh will be given for filing international intellectual property rights applications. Quality testing certificate cost will also be reimbursed.

34. More than 50% people have antibodies: Survey

The fifth serological survey has been completed in Delhi, and the report shows 56.13 per cent of people have antibodies against Covid. This is the biggest serosurvey carried out by any state/UT in the country and the government had collected 28,000 samples with 100 samples each from all municipal wards. The Delhi Govt began its serosurvey on 15 Jan 2021, which was completed on Jan 23, 2021.

35. A&N Islands: 1st UT to be corona free

Andaman and Nicobar Islands has become the first Union Territory in the country to become Covid-19 free with active cases falling to zero in the islands. The last four infected persons in Andaman and Nicobar Islands have been declared cured. The UT had reported a total of 4,932 cases and 62 deaths from the virus.

36. Budget session of Odisha to start from Feb 18

The budget session of the Odisha Assembly will commence from the 18th February 2021. The state budget will be presented on the 22nd of February 2021. The session will be conducted in two phases with a break in-between the 1st of March to the 11th of March 2021. The session will continue till the 9th of April 2021.

37. Govt formally seals deal to procure Tejas LCA

The govt has formally sealed the Rs. 48,000 cr deal to procure 83 Tejas light combat aircraft from Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. Tejas is a single-engine and highly agile multi-role supersonic fighter aircraft capable of operating in high-threat air environments. The deal for procurement of the 73 Tejas Mk-IA variant and 10 LCA Tejas Mk-l trainer aircraft was approved in Jan 2021.

38. Apple to invest $3.6 billion in Kia

Apple Inc. will invest $3.6 billion in Kia Motors Corp. as part of a collaboration with the South Korean carmaker on making electric vehicles. Apple plans to set up production with Kia and build Apple cars at the automaker’s facility in Georgia, U.S. The companies may sign a deal on Feb 17, 2021, and aim to introduce Apple cars in 2024.

39. Alibaba plans up to $5 bn bond issuance

Alibaba is looking to raise up to $5 billion via U.S. dollar-denominated bonds. It announced the bond offering on 2 Feb 2021. It plans to sell several tranches of bonds with different maturities up to 40 years. The proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes, including working capital needs, repayment of offshore debt and potential acquisitions.

40. Indegene to raise $200 mn from Carlyle

Indegene Pvt. Ltd is raising $200 million from US-based investment firms Carlyle Group and Brighton Park Capital to boost acquisitions and drive global expansion plans. Carlyle and Brighton Park Capital will pick minority stakes in Indegene through a primary investment along with a secondary sale by existing shareholders and early investors of the Bengaluru-based company

41. Uber to buy Drizly for $1.1 billion

Uber Technologies Inc. has agreed to acquire Drizly Inc for $1.1 billion. Drizly is an alcohol e-commerce platform that facilitates the delivery of alcohol. The deal is Uber’s biggest since July 2020 when it bought Postmates, a food delivery app. The Drizly purchase primarily consists of Uber stock, with less than 10% in cash. The acquisition excludes Drizly’s cannabis delivery arm.

42. A finserv app for women to be launched

Shinjini Kumar, Paytm Payments Bank’s 1st CEO, Aditi Sholapurkar, a member of its founding team, along with Chaitra Chidanand, co-founder of Simpl, will launch Salt, a financial services app for women. It will focus on financial products for women in both metros and smaller cities. It will partner with other financial institutions and look at offline distribution in Tier 2 and 3 cities.

43. Rs. 23,500 crore for Mass Rapid Transit System

The government has allocated Rs. 23,500 crores for the projects related to Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) and Metro services in the country. The government will work towards raising the share of public transport in urban areas through the expansion of the metro rail network and augmentation of city bus service,

44. Bharat Biotech inks pact with Ocugen

Bharat Biotech International Ltd has signed a pact with Ocugen Inc, allowing the US-based biopharmaceutical firm to co-develop, supply, and commercialize its Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin in the US market. Under the terms of the agreement, Ocugen will have the commercial rights to the vaccine candidate in the US and will be responsible to conduct clinical trial and get emergency use authorisation

45. Dalai Lama’s new book

Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama has come up with his new book “The Little Book of Encouragement”. It has 130 quotes and is edited by Renuka Singh and published by Penguin Random House. He has praised India’s rich civilisational heritage in his book, saying it is rooted in the long-standing traditions of karuna and ahimsa: compassion and non-violence.

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