Daily Current Affairs: February 19, 2021
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Daily Current Affairs: February 19, 2021
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Prime Minister Modi to chair 6th meeting of Governing Council of NITI Aayog virtually
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired the sixth meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog via video conferencing. The meeting will witness the entry of Ladakh for the 1st time in addition to Jammu & Kashmir.
- The agenda of the meeting includes deliberations on agriculture, infrastructure, manufacturing, human resource development, service delivery at a grassroots level, and health and nutrition.
Kerala launched ‘Snakepedia’ mobile app to help people treat snake bites
- A team of scientists, nature lovers, and doctors have come up with a mobile application ‘Snakepedia’ on snakes in Kerala to help the public as well as doctors to treat snake bites.
- Snakepedia is a comprehensive android mobile application that documents information on snakes with the help of pictures, infographics, and podcasts and analyses its first aid, treatment, myths, and superstitions.
- Capital: Thiruvananthapuram
- Chief Minister: Pinarayi Vijayan
- Governor: Arif Mohammed Khan.
Odisha government announced Rs 200 crore Development Package for Maa Samaleswari Temple
- Odisha government announced Samaleswari Temple Area Management & Local Economy Initiatives (SAMALEI) plan to offer a divine experience to tourists & devotees. The project to be carried out under MoSarkar5T will focus on the beautification of the temple & the economic development of local people.
- As part of the project, ₹200 Crore will be spent during 2021-22 to develop 108 acres of land in & around Maa Samaleswari Temple.
- The project will include the development of amenities for devotees inside the 12-acre temple premises and the development of four tall heritage welcome gates.
- Capital: Bhubaneswar
- Chief Minister: Naveen Patnaik
- Governor: Ganeshi Lal
- Festivals: Dhanu Yatra, Budi Thakurani Yatra, Magha Saptami, Chhau, Dola Purnima.
- Folk Dances: Chhau, Gotipua, Ghumura, Ranappa, Chaiti Ghoda, Sambalpuri.
Cabinet approves Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement between India and Mauritius
- The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA) between India and Mauritius.
- It is aimed at liberalising norms to boost two-way commerce between the countries. The India-Mauritius CECPA will be the first trade agreement to be signed by India with a country in Africa.
India hosts Workshop on ‘COVID-19 Management: Experience, Good Practices and Way Forward’
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a Workshop on ‘COVID-19 Management: Experience, Good Practices and Way Forward’ with 9 Neighboring Countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, Pakistan, Seychelles, and Sri Lanka).
- India is hosting a Secretary-level virtual meeting on COVID-19 management with South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Each country has been invited to participate in ‘one plus one format’ health secretary and Head of their Technical Team in charge of COVID management.
Google in partnership with EIF to invest $75 million in coronavirus-hit small businesses
- Google is teaming up with the European Investment Fund (EIF) and two other organisations in Latin America and Asia to provide $75 million (roughly Rs. 545 crore) in funding to small- and medium-sized companies suffering from the impact of COVID-19.
- The funds are part of an $800 million (roughly Rs. 5,820 crores) initiative announced in March last year in response to the pandemic.
Banking and Economy
Exim Bank extends 5th credit line of USD 15 million to Sierra Leone
- The Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) has extended a line of credit (LOC) of USD 15 million to the Republic of Sierra Leone. The LOC has been extended for expansion of the ongoing projects for rehabilitation of existing potable water facilities in four communities of Sierra Leone.
- This LOC will be used for the implementation of projects by Indian companies which will benefit one lakh residents in the four communities. With the signing of this agreement, Exim Bank has so far extended five LOCs worth USD 168 million to Sierra Leone, on behalf of the Indian government.
Oxford Economics revises India growth forecast to 10.2% from 8.8% for 2021
- Global forecasting firm Oxford Economics revised India’s economic growth projection for 2021 to 10.2 percent from the earlier 8.8 percent, citing receding COVID-19 risks and the shift in the monetary policy outlook.
- It further stated the Budget 2021-22 will create positive externalities for the private sector and forecast slower fiscal consolidation in FY22 than the government projections.
Acquisitions and Mergers
PHDCCI inks pact with SIDBI to facilitate credit schemes for MSMEs
- PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) signed an agreement with the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) to facilitate providing of various credit and other schemes of SIDBI to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) in the country.
- SIDBI is an all-India financial institution dedicated to providing term loans, working capital and venture funding assistance to MSMEs, and PHD Chamber will help in connecting its members for availing all these products from SIDBI.
Science and Technology
Hyundai launches Ultimate Exploration Vehicle “Tiger X-1” as small as a cat
- South Korean automobile company Hyundai has showcased the first iteration of an intelligent ground excursion robot dubbed “TIGER X-1” (Transforming Intelligent Ground Excursion Robot). It also has the ability to connect to unmanned aerial vehicles that can charge up the vehicle while bringing it to mission locations.
- TIGER X-1 was designed as a battery-electric vehicle, comprising of a small pod with four wheels on extendable legs. it will be able to operate as either a four-wheel-drive vehicle or a four-legged walking robot.
NASA lands rover and first-ever helicopter ‘Perseverance’ on Mars
- The American space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) successfully landed its fifth rover ‘Perseverance’ on Mars in a deep crater near the planet’s equator called ‘Jezero.’
- The six-wheeled vehicle will now spend at least the next two years drilling into the local rocks, looking for evidence of past life.
Appointments and Resignations
Ajai Malhotra becomes first Indian chairperson of Advisory Committee at Human Rights Council
- Ajai Malhotra has become the first Indian to be elected as the Chairperson of the Advisory Committee of the Human Rights Council stated the Permanent Mission of India at United Nations, Geneva.
- Malhotra has previously served as ambassador to Russia (2011 to 2013), Kuwait (2009 to 2011) and Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, New York (from 2005 to 2009), and Romania (with concurrent accreditation to Moldova and Albania) from 2003 to 2005.
India’s Usha Rao-Monari Appointed as Under Secretary-General and Associate Administrator of UNDP
- India’s Usha Rao-Monari, a leading investment professional, has been appointed by UN chief Antonio Guterres as Under-Secretary-General and Associate Administrator of the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), joining a growing list of women from the country appointed to helm key agencies of the global organisation.
- The United Nations Development Programme is the United Nations’ global development network.
Georgia’s prime minister Giorgi Gakharia resigns over the detention of opposition leader
- Georgian prime minister Giorgi Gakharia announced his resignation criticising a court decision to order the detention of an opposition leader which he said could lead to a “political escalation” in the country.
- A court in the capital, Tbilisi, granted a request to place Nika Melia, the chairman of the United National Movement (UNM) party, into pretrial custody over charges of inciting “mass violence” at anti-government protests in 2019.
- Georgia Capital: Tbilisi
- Currency: Georgian lari
Awards and Recognitions
Wildlife Crime Control Bureau receives ‘Asia Environmental Enforcement Award 2020’
- The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) has received the Asia Environmental Enforcement Award 2020 awarded under the Innovation category by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Earlier, the Bureau had received the award in 2018 under the same category.
Hyderabad gets recognition as 2020 Tree City of the World
- The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) and the Arbor Day Foundation have recognized Hyderabad as a 2020 Tree City of World. It is the only city in India to get recognition.
- The city was chosen for this recognition for its commitment to growing and maintaining the urban forest.
Kay Kay Menon wins Dadasaheb Phalke Award for Most Versatile Actor
- Bollywood actor Kay Kay Menon has been honoured with ‘The Most Versatile’ award at the Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival. His performance in the movies or series he works in has always been appreciated by the audience and now his performance has received International recognition.
- He took to Instagram to share the news with his fans and thanked DPIFF for the honour and recognition.
Veteran Congress leader and former Union minister Captain Satish Sharma passes away at 73
- Former Union minister and Gandhi family loyalist Captain Satish Sharma passed away in Goa at the age of 73. Sharma, a three-time Lok Sabha MP who represented Rae Bareli and Amethi He served as the Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas from 1993 to 1996 in the Narasimha Rao government.
Kings XI Punjab renamed as ‘Punjab Kings’ ahead of IPL 2021 auction
- Kings XI Punjab has been renamed as ‘Punjab Kings’ as a part of the franchise’s rebranding strategy ahead of the IPL 2021 The Punjab side has been a part of the Indian Premier League since its inaugural season in 2008 and is co-owned by Bollywood actor Preity Zinta, along with businessman Ness Wadia, Mohit Burman, and Karn Paul.
- IPL chairman Brijesh Patel announced Vivo has returned as IPL’s title sponsor for the 2021 edition after its deal with the BCCI had been suspended for the 2020 edition – “Vivo is back with us.”
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