Current Affairs 5th February 2021

Table of Contents

1. IIT-BHU, MORTH sign MoU

An MoU has been signed between IIT – Banaras Hindu University (BHU), and the Ministry of Road, Transport, and Highways. This MoU is to increase cooperation with institutes which will help the Ministry utilize their scientific knowledge in the construction of roads in our country.

2. S.N. Subrahmanyan: Chairman of NSC

The Ministry of Labour & Employment has appointed S.N. Subrahmanyan as the Chairman of the National Safety Council for a period of three years. He is currently the CEO and Managing Director of L&T Ltd. He spearheaded the infrastructure business of L&T for several years making it the country’s largest construction organization and 14th in the world.

3. Air Marshal Manavendra Singh: AOC-in-Chief

Air Marshal Manavendra Singh has been appointed the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the IAF’s Southern Air Command. He takes over from Air Marshal Amit Tiwari who has been posted as Chief of the Central Air Command. He has held several command and staff positions. He has commanded various frontline airbases besides heading the IAF peacekeeping contingent in Bukavu in Congo.

4. RBI projects GDP growth at 10.5% for 2021-22

The RBI has projected a GDP growth rate of 10.5 percent for the financial year beginning April 1, 2021. It projected retail inflation rate to come down to 5.2 percent in the current quarter and progressively decline to 4.3 percent by the third quarter of the next fiscal. The Monetary Policy Committee has been given the mandate to maintain annual inflation at 4% until March 31, 2021.

5. J&K Reorganisation Amendment Bill introduced

Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy introduced the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 in the Rajya Sabha on 4 Feb 2021. The bill will replace the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Ordinance of 2021 which merged the J & K cadre of the IAS, IPS, and IFS with the Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram, and Union Territory cadre, also known as AGMUT cadre.

6. 2.3 billion UPI transactions in January 2021

As many as 2.3 bn transactions worth Rs 4.2 trillion were recorded through Unified Payment Interface in Jan 21. On a year-on-year basis, the UPI’s transaction value jumped 76.5%; while transaction value jumped nearly 100%. UPI is a common system that powers multiple bank accounts into a mobile app, merging several banking features, seamless fund routing, and merchant payments.

7. Aero India 2021 to conclude in Bengaluru

Aero India 2021 will conclude in Bengaluru with President Ramnath Kovind gracing the valedictory programme on 5 Feb 2021. The concluding day will also have a Bandhan . Ceremony where over 200 MoUs will be signed for the promotion of defense production within the country. Industry bodies like FICCI and ASSOCHAM are holding seminars on opportunities in the defense production sector.

8. Pune among 6 cities to get funds

Pune is among the 6 cities with a million-plus population each that will receive the share of funds allocated for air pollution control. Maharashtra would approximately get Rs. 790 cr for combating air pollution control. Apart from Mumbai and Pune, the other cities include Nagpur, Nashik and Aurangabad, and Vasai-Virar. Mumbai would get around 232 cr and others get approx 40 to 50 cr each.

9. Maharashtra to organize mini festivals across 6 regions

The Maharashtra tourism department will organize 20 mini festivals across six regions Konkan, Pune, Nashik, Aurangabad, Amravati, and Nagpur in Feb and March 2021 to boost the sector. The state tourism department has allocated Rs. 100L for organizing these events. These events will be organized through regional offices of the Directorate of Tourism with the help of the local district authority.

10. 4 Feb: Sri Lanka’s 73rd Independence day

Sri Lanka marked its 73rd Independence Day on 4 Feb 2021, with the main celebration event held at the iconic Independence Square in Colombo. Actual independence for the dominion of Ceylon came on February 4, 1948, when the constitution of 1947 went into effect. In 2021, Independence Day celebrations were held under the theme ‘Prosperous Tomorrow – Prosperous Maubimik’.

11. Kisho Capital launches rolling fund

Kisho Capital has launched a rolling fund that will support about 20 startups yearly, investing up to Rs. 1 cr in each entity. It will invest in home automation, health tech, B2B SaaS, and fintech companies. A rolling fund is a type of investment vehicle that allows fund managers to share deal flow with fund investors on an annual agreement basis without raising the entire fund money at one go.

12. HAL to develop high-altitude pseudo satellite

The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) announced that it is developing a futuristic high altitude pseudo satellite with a start-up company, a first of its kind in the world. The satellite will be solar energized and become a big asset flying unmanned around 70,000 ft for 2-3 months and taking information. The technology is named Combined Air Teaming System (CATS).

13. Delhi CM launches ‘Switch Delhi’ campaign

To promote the use of electric vehicles, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal launched a ‘Switch Delhi’ campaign on 4 Feb 2021. It will educate people about the benefits of electric vehicles (EV) and urge them to make a switch. The campaign aims at informing, encouraging, and motivating each and every person in Delhi to switch from polluting vehicles to zero-emission electric vehicles.

14. Dr. Pritesh appointed as Chief Medical Officer

US President Joe Biden has appointed Indian-American doctor Dr. Pritesh Gandhi as Chief Medical Officer in the Department of Homeland Security. He will serve as Principal Adviser to the Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Assistant Secretary for the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator.

15. World’s tallest swing ride now open in Dubai

The world’s tallest swing ride ‘Bollywood Skyflyer’ has opened at Bollywood Parks Dubai. It stands at an exhilarating height of 460 ft – the same height as the Great Pyramid of Giza. It set a new world record for the tallest swing ride, knocking the 450-ft-tall Orlando Starflyer in Florida out of the top spot. It is made up of 421 tons of steel, took 720 days to build and installation.

16. Hardeep Puri performs ‘Bhoomi Poojan’ of CVA

Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri performed the ‘Bhoomi Poojan’ ceremony of Central Vista Avenue on 4 Feb 2021 in New Delhi. With this, the work has started for the development and redevelopment of Central Vista Avenue. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone of the New Parliament Building in the Parliament House Complex on 10 Dec 2020.

17. 1,000 more mandis will be linked to e-NAM

The government has announced that 1,000 more mandis will be integrated with e-NAM in 2021-22. So far, 1,000 mandis have been integrated with the electronic National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) in 21 states and Union Territories with 1.69 cr farmers registered on it. Direct payment to farmers has also been enabled on this platform.

18. World’s 1st double face, hand transplant

Joe DiMeo from New Jersey who suffered horrific injuries in a car accident has become the world’s first person to undergo a successful face and double hand transplant. The surgery was carried out on 12 Aug 2020 and lasted approximately 23 hours. It involved a team of 96 health care personnel, led by surgeon Eduardo Rodriguez, director of the Face Transplant Program at NYU Langone.

19. RINL strategic sale gets Cabinet nod

The Union Cabinet has cleared the privatization of steel-maker Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL). The RINL strategic sale proceeds would be part of the disinvestment target for 21-22. On 27 Jan 2021, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) given in-principle consent for 100% strategic disinvestment of GOI shareholding in RINL along with management control by way of privatization.

20. BMC unveils Rs. 39,038.83 cr budget for 2021-22

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has unveiled Rs. 39,038.83 cr budget for the year 2021-22. The total budget estimates for 2021-22 are 16.74% more than 2020-21 when it had presented a budget of Rs. 33,441 cr. Municipal commissioner I S Chahal, who presented the budget before to the civic standing committee, kept the civic taxes and license fees unchanged.

21. Serum Institute, UNICEF sign agreement

The Serum Institute of India (SII) and UNICEF have entered into a long-term supply agreement for the AstraZeneca/Oxford and the Novavax vaccines. UNICEF, along with its procurement partners including Pan American Health Organisation, will have access to up to 1.1 billion doses of vaccines for around 100 countries, for approximately USD 3 a dose for the low and lower-middle-income countries.

22. UP CM lays the foundation of irrigation projects

UP CM Yogi Adityanath laid the foundation of 170 irrigation projects through a virtual programme, on 3 Feb 2021. The projects will be completed by May 2021. He informed that or the first time in the history of the state, some innovative experiments were also carried out. Dredging and channeling of rivers were done by creating a systematic action plan.

23. ‘Udaan Tara’ takes off in Dhaulpur

A unique adolescent health programme titled ‘Udaan Tara’ was launched in Dhaulpur, Rajasthan on 2 February 2021. It will soon reach over 1,50,000 students of classes 6-12 in all 1,151 government and 400 private schools in the district through well-trained teachers as part of the curriculum. The content of Udaan-Tara’s Teacher-Student Adolescent Health Dialogue has been organized into five modules.

24. Airbus signs MoU with GMR Group

Airbus has signed an MoU with GMR Group, a leading Indian aviation infrastructure developer. As part of it, Airbus and GMR will collaborate to explore a broad scope of aviation services both for commercial and military aircraft to benefit the entire aerospace ecosystem in the country. Both will work together across areas such as maintenance, airport operations, air cargo supply chain, etc.

25. Airbus partners with Flytech

Airbus has signed an MoU with Flytech Aviation Academy, to explore collaboration opportunities in Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) training. Flytech excels in aviation training services, including the training of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). As part of the MoU, both will work towards providing best-in-class training to budding drone pilots, ensuring safety and quality.

26. ‘Yudh Abhyas’ to begin in Rajasthan from 8 Feb

The 16th edition of the Indo-US joint military exercise ‘Yudh Abhyas’ will be held in Rajasthan between Feb 8-21, 2021. The exercise aims at enhancing cooperation and interoperability between the two armies and will focus on counter-terrorism operations under the United Nations mandate. The 11th Battalion of Jammu and Kashmir Rifles, part of the South Western Command will represent the Indian Army.

27. Antonio Guterres honored with Zayed Award

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and French-Moroccan activist Latifa Ibn Ziaten are the co-recipients of the 2021 Zayed Award for Human Fraternity. The award was inspired by the Document on Human Fraternity, which was signed by Grand Imam Al-Tayeb and Pope Francis on Feb. 4, 2019, in the UAE’s capital. The award carries a cash prize of $500,000.

28. International Day of Human Fraternity: 4 Feb

In December 2020, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution to declare 4 February as International Day of Human Fraternity. The day aims to underline the importance of raising awareness about different cultures and religions, or beliefs, and the promotion of tolerance. The day was celebrated for the very first time on February 4, 2021, with the theme ‘A Pathway to the Future!

29. Gujarat govt to set up IIS in Gandhinagar

The Gujarat government is setting up an Indian Institute of Skills (IIS) at Nasmed village in Gandhinagar district. The state Labour and Employment department is setting up the institute in collaboration with the Tata Group on a not-for-profit PPP model. The state government has allotted around 20 acres of land for the institute at Nasmed village, which is 20 km away from Ahmedabad.

30. Standard Vector-Borne Disease health policy

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) has encouraged all general and health insurers to offer Standard Vector-Borne Disease health policy. It will preferably be available by 1 April 2021. Vector-borne diseases happen from an infection transmitted to humans and other animals by blood-feeding insects like mosquitoes, ticks, etc. Malaria, dengue are some examples.

31. Rs 6995.58 cr rail budget 2021-22 for Odisha

The Centre has allocated about Rs 6995.58 crore in the rail budget 2021-22 for Odisha. The budget has also announced the setting up of an electric engine factory in Kalahandi in Odisha. There has been a sharp increase of about 392 percent in the budgetary allocation for railways in Odisha for the period 2014- 2019 as against 2009-2014.

32. Technical education in the mother tongue

The government is planning to impart technical education in the mother tongue in technical institutes from the academic session 2021-22 on a pilot basis. A task force committee has also been constituted for an implementation having the representations from Directors of different IITs and NITS. This is in alignment with the National Education Policy.

33. 56 railway projects to be completed by Mar’22

Indian Railways has identified 56 projects all across the country in various zones to be completed by February to March 2021 and the financial year 2021-22 (FY22). Rs. 40,932 crore have been allocated for New Lines, Rs. 26,116 crore for doubling, and Rs. 5,263 crore for Traffic Facilities. It is set to complete more than 1,200 Road Over Bridges(ROBs), Road Under Bridges, and Subways in 2021.

34. Meeting between India and Bahrain held

The 1st meeting of the Joint Working Group in the field of Renewable Energy between India and Bahrain was held on 4 Feb 2021. Dr. Abdul Hussain bin Ali Mirza, President of Sustainable Energy Authority led the Bahraini delegation. The Indian delegation was led by Dinesh Dayanand Jagdale, Joint Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

35. Bangladesh to receive vaccines from COVAX

The COVAX initiative for equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines has announced that Bangladesh will receive 12.79 million doses of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine by June 2021. Apart from Bangladesh, in South Asia, India will get 97.2 million, Pakistan 17.2 million, Nepal 2.2 million, Sri Lanka 1.6 million, and Bhutan and Maldives 1.08 lakh doses of vaccine each.

36. Land to be provided for solid waste management

The Swachhata Pakhwada is being observed in the country till 15 Feb 2021. To promote cleanliness in the state, the Maharashtra Government has decided to provide land for solid waste management to various cities in the state. It will help more than 150 Municipal Councils and Nagar Panchayats. Many cities in the state are facing the problem of managing their solid waste.

37. 45th Kolkata International Book Fair from July

The 45th Kolkata International Book Fair will be held in July 2021 at the Central Park Ground of Salt Lake. The focal theme country for 2021 is Bangladesh to mark the country’s Golden Jubilee year of Independence and the centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. 125th birth year of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and the birth centenary of Satyajit Ray will also be celebrated at the Book Fair.

38. UP: 1st to complete 5 lakh vaccination

Uttar Pradesh has become the first state in the country to complete the COVID vaccination of five lakh beneficiaries. More than 1,25,000 health workers were vaccinated in the state on 4 Feb 2021 which was 75 percent of the total target and the highest in the country. 752 sessions will be organized for the vaccination of frontline workers as well as health care workers on 5 Feb 2021.

39. the First heliport of Assam inaugurated in Majuli

Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal inaugurated the first heliport of the state in Majuli district on 4 Feb 2021. The heliport has the facility of the simultaneous landing of three helicopters. It has been constructed at an expenditure of Rs 50 lakh. The heliport has been built with an aim to boost tourism in Majuli, which has a distinct identity as the world’s largest river island.

40. Indian residents can make remittances to IFSCs

The RBI has decided to permit resident individuals to make remittances to IFSCs established in India under the liberalized remittance scheme (LRS). This scheme allows resident individuals to send a certain amount of money during a financial year to another country for investment and expenditure. An IFSC caters to customers outside the jurisdiction of the domestic economy.

41. Boeing announced a new production line

Boeing’s Indian subsidiary has announced a new production line at its joint venture, Tata Boeing Aerospace Limited (TBAL), in Telangana. The line will manufacture complex vertical fin structures for 737 families of aeroplanes. The Boeing-Tata facility in Telangana is spread over 14,000 square meters and currently manufactures aero-structures for Boeing’s AH-64 Apache helicopter.

42. RBI announces integrated ombudsman scheme

The Reserve Bank of India has announced an integrated ombudsman scheme to improve grievance redressal mechanism for bank customers. The scheme will be rolled out in June 2021. Currently, there are three separate ombudsmen for banks, non-banking finance companies (NBFCs), and non-bank prepaid payment issuers (PPIs) that are wallets. These are operated by the RBI from 22 ombudsman offices.

43. Non-bank financiers eligible for TLTRO funds

Non-bank financiers can now avail of funds raised by banks under the TLTRO scheme announced in Oct’20. This was announced by the RBI. Under this program, banks can avail liquidity of up to 1 trillion for up to 3 years at a floating rate linked to the policy rate and deploy them in corporate bonds, commercial paper, and non-convertible debentures issued companies.

44. Johnson & Johnson seeks emergency use approval

Johnson & Johnson has sought emergency use authorization (EUA) of its Covid-19 vaccine from US health authorities. Its Janssen COVID-19 vaccine candidate is the world’s first investigational single-dose shot. It has two big logistical advantages: it can be stored at refrigerator temperatures rather than in special freezers, significantly easing distribution; and it requires just one dose.

45. ICICI Bank signs MoU with Japan’s MUFG Bank

ICICI Bank has signed an MoU with MUFG Bank, Japan’s premier bank, for collaboration towards catering to the banking requirements of Japanese corporates present in India. The MoU establishes a framework of the partnership between the banks across various domains including trade, investment, treasury, corporate and retail banking.

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