Daily Current Affairs: February 24, 2021
Daily Current Affairs (February 24, 2021) like many other sections is inevitable and this also helps to score in the Banking awareness, Static GK, and Financial Awareness sections. Remember, Banking Awareness, and Static Awareness Questions are asked from the General Awareness section. This will also help you to ride your preparations for the forthcoming exams.
Central Excise Day: 24 February
- Central Excise Day is celebrated every year on 24 February across the whole of India to encourage the employees of the Excise Department to carry out the central excise duty all over India in a better way in order and even to prevent corruption in goods manufacturing business as well as implement other rules to carry out best possible excise services.
- The day is also celebrated to commemorate the Central Excise and Salt Act, which was enacted on 24 February 1944.
Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) approved proposals worth Rs. 13,700 crores
- Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), under the chairmanship of Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, has approved capital acquisition proposals of various weapons/platforms/equipment/systems required by the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force.
- Three Acceptance of Necessities (AoNs) for an overall cost of 13,700 crore. All these AoNs are in the highest priority category of defence acquisition viz ‘Buy Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed, Developed, and Manufactured).
- These will include inter-alia platforms and systems designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
Government of India & AIIB signed an agreement for $304 million to improve power sectors in the state of Assam
- The Government of India and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) signed a loan agreement for a $304 million Assam Intra-State Transmission System Enhancement Project to improve the reliability, capacity, and security of the power transmission network in the state of Assam.
- The programme would strengthen the existing intrastate transmission network of Assam by augmenting it with newer networks to achieve affordable, secure, efficient, and reliable 24×7 power. This would, in turn, bring Assam closer to ensuring the long-term sustainability of its electricity supply.
- The total estimated cost of the project is $365 million, of which $304 million will be financed by the AIIB, while the counterpart funding from the Government of Assam is $61 million. The $304 million loan from the AIIB has a 5-year grace period and a maturity of 24 years.
- Capital: Dispur
- Chief Minister: SarbanandaSonowal
- Governor: Jagdish Mukhi
- National Parks: Orang National Park, Manas National Park or Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, Dibru-Saikhowa National Park, Kaziranga National Park, Nameri National Park, Dehing Patkai Wls.
National Urban Digital Mission (NUDM) & several digital initiatives for transforming urban governance launched by Hardeep Singh Puri
- Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri stated that ‘National Urban Digital Mission’ will create the ideal space to harness immense synergies from the domain of urban and technology towards creating citizen-centric governance that reflects Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘minimum government and maximum governance’.
He also launched other initiatives:
- National Urban Digital Mission (NUDM)
- India Urban Data Exchange (IUDX)
- SmartCode Platform
- New Smart Cities Website ver. 2.0 and GMIS
Union Minister of Agriculture Narendra Singh Tomar headed the 22nd meeting of the Central Employment Guarantee Council
- The 22nd meeting of the Central Employment Guarantee Council (CEGC), constituted held under Section 10 of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), 2005.
- The meeting was held under the Chairmanship of Union Minister of Rural Development, Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Panchayati Raj, and Food Processing Industries virtually.
- MGNREGA is one of the largest employment generating schemes which provides alternative employment to people in rural areas.
President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the world’s largest stadium at Motera, Ahmedabad
- President Ram Nath Kovind formally inaugurated the world’s largest cricket stadium at Motera, Ahmedabad in Gujarat. The stadium has been renamed the ‘Narendra Modi Stadium’.
- It is all set to make history by hosting the day-night pink ball test match between India and England.
- The newly built world’s largest Motera Cricket Stadium is equipped with all modern technologies and facilities necessary for present-day cricket. The stadium has four dressing rooms, which are necessary to host back-to-back T20 matches.
- Capital: Gandhinagar
- Chief Minister: Vijay Rupani
- Governor: Acharya Devvrat
- National Park: Blackbuck NP, Vansda NP, Gir Forest NP, Marine NP, Gulf of Kutch.
Union Minister of Labour and Employment Santosh Kumar Gangwar chairs the 184th meeting of ESIC
- Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) has taken several significant decisions to improve its service delivery mechanism and to strengthen the medical infrastructure benefiting its insured workers during the 184th Meeting of ESIC, which was held under the chairmanship of Union Minister of Labour and Employment Santosh Kumar Gangwar.
- ESIC has decided to construct a 300-bedded ESIC Hospital, including 50-bedded super-specialty beds and staff quarters in five acres of land at Haridwar, Uttarakhand.
Centre’s farmers’ welfare scheme ‘PM-KISAN’ completes two years
- The second anniversary of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) celebrated on 24 February 2021. The scheme was formally launched on 24 February 2019 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a function at Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh.
- PM-KISAN was started to augment the income of the farmers by providing income support to all landholding farmers’ families across the country.
- Under the PM-KISAN Scheme, an amount of 6000 rupees per year is transferred in three installments of 2000 rupees directly into the bank accounts of the farmers.
- The scheme initially provided income support to all small and marginal farmers’ families across the country holding cultivable land up to 2 hectares. Since this scheme started, more than 1 lakh 10 thousand crore rupees have reached the account of farmers.
Union Minister of External Affairs Jaishankar inaugurates new chancery building of the Indian High Commission in Mauritius
- Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar inaugurated a new and environment-friendly chancery building of the Indian High Commission in Mauritius and reviewed over 950 housing units built with Indian support in the country.
- Mauritius is one of India’s key maritime neighbours in the Indian Ocean Region and occupies a special place in the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘SAGAR’ (Security and Growth for All in the Region).
Japan appoints “Loneliness” Minister to Check Rising Suicide Rate
- Japan has appointed its first Minister for Loneliness this month after the country’s suicide rate increased for the first time in 11 years during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Yoshihide Suga tapped minister Tetsushi Sakamoto, who is also in charge of combating the nation’s falling birth rate and revitalising regional economies, for the new portfolio.
- Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga added a minister of loneliness to his Cabinet earlier this month, following the example of the UK, which in 2018 became the first country to create a similar role.
China Surpassed the US to become India’s top trade partner in 2020
- China regained its position as India’s top trade partner in 2020, as New Delhi’s reliance on imported machines outweighed its efforts to curb commerce with Beijing.
- Total imports from China at $58.7 billion were more than India’s combined purchases from US and UAE, the country’s second-and third-largest trade partners, respectively.
- Two-way trade between the longstanding economic and strategic rivals stood at $77.7 billion last year, according to provisional data from India’s commerce ministry.
Acquisitions and Mergers
Coal India and the Centre for Railway Information Systems sign an MoU to get real-time freight data
- Indian Railways has agreed to share real-time freight information data with Coal India Limited (CIL). The Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) and Coal India signed a one-year agreement that will help CIL to tackle the menace of under loading and monitor the movement of coal-laden rakes.
- Under this MoU, the information can be used for faster billing, replacing manual entry of railway receipts with instant online transfer. The information on sanctioned coal and rake programmes, rake demand, rake detention, and diversion details will also help Coal India subsidiaries to plan their supplies.
- The contract period of the memorandum is one year with annual technical support. The annual expense of the contract is estimated at 41 lakhs.
Science and Technology
India to start trials of 160 km strike range Astra missile in 2021
- India would start testing the Astra Mark 2 beyond visual range air-to-air missile, which would be capable of taking down enemy aircraft from a range of 160 kilometres.
- The extended range Astra Mark 2 would give India an edge over its adversaries and would add more lethality to its fighter jets in aerial combat.
- The Astra is a beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM), which flies over four times the speed of sound at Mach 4.5. Efforts are now on to integrate the over 100 km strike range missile on the indigenous fighter aircraft LCA Tejas.
New alpine plant species discovered in Arunachal Pradesh
- A new species of alpine plant in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang district has been discovered by a group of scientists of three institutes of the country. The new species belongs to the family of Himalayan sunflower.
- It is a perennial herb and stands 16–24 cm Cremanthodium indica grows in boggy soil among mosses along the banks of alpine lake.
- Capital: Itanagar
- Chief Minister: Pema Khandu
- Governor: D. Mishra.
Woochong Um appointed as the Managing Director-General of Asian Development Bank
- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has appointed Woochong Um as its Managing Director-General. He will assume office immediately and report to ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa.
- He will support Asakawa to institute bank-wide coherence on key initiatives and issues. He will play a key role in enhancing ADB’s internal and external communications across all activities that involve operations, knowledge, fund-raising, and institutional reforms.
Asian Development Bank (ADB):
- Founded: 19 December 1966
- Headquarters: Mandaluyong, Philippines.
- President: Masatsugu Asakawa.
- Chief Economist: Yasuyuki Sawada
- Membership: 68 countries.
Unacademy ropes in Sachin Tendulkar as brand ambassador and investor
- Bengaluru-based ed-tech platform Unacademy has entered into a strategic partnership with former Indian cricketer and Bharat Ratna recipient Sachin Tendulkar.
- Tendulkar will serve as the brand ambassador for Unacademy and will also conduct a series of live interactive classes on the platform. The former cricketer has also invested in the company.
- He is also the brand ambassador of Paytm First Games, the gaming subsidiary of the digital payments platform Paytm. Unacademy became the official partner of the Indian Premier League (IPL) for three seasons.
Awards and Recognitions
England’s Jasmine Harrison becomes the youngest woman to row solo across the ocean
- The 21-year-old Jasmine Harrison from the landlocked town of Thirsk, England, set a world record as the youngest female to row solo across any ocean by finishing the 2020 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.
- She traveled 3,000 miles (4,828km) across the Atlantic Ocean in 70 days, 3 hours, and 48 minutes.
NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson is honoured with a new spacecraft named ‘Hidden Figures’
- The spacecraft ‘Hidden Figures’ named after the famed NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson has arrived at the International Space Station with about 8,000 pounds of cargo in tow.
- She was one of the central characters in the book (and the 2016 movie) ‘Hidden Figures’. Her mathematical genius and barrier-breaking research as a Black woman at NASA are now widely recognized as crucial to putting the first American in orbit, landing on the moon, and many other space developments.
Dadasaheb Phalke Award 2021: Deepika Padukone won the Best Actress Award for Chhapak; Sushant Singh Rajput won the Critics Choice Award
- Dadasaheb International Award 2021 ceremony was held in Mumbai, Maharashtra. Sushant Singh Rajput was posthumously bestowed with the Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival Award in the Critics Choice category. Deepika Padukone won the Best Actress Award for her film Chhapak, while Akshay Kumar was awarded the Best Actor Award for the film Lakshmi.
The complete list of winners:
- Best Film – Tanhaji: Unsung Warrior
- Best Director – Anurag Basu (Ludo)
- Best Actress – Deepika Padukone (Chhapak)
- Best Actor – Akshay Kumar (Lakshmi)
- Critics Best Actor – Late Sushant Sushant Singh Rajpur (Dil Bechara)
- Critics Best Actress – Kiara Advani (Guilty)
- Most Versatile Actor – Kay Kay Menon
- Best Actor (Supporting Role) – Vikrant Messi (Chhapak)
- Best Actress (Supporting Role) – Radhika Madan (English Medium)
- Best Actor (Comic Role) – Kunal Khemu (Lootcase)
- Best Web Series – Scam 1992
- Best Actor (Web Series) – Bobby Deol (Ashram)
- Best Actress (Web Series) – Sushmita Sen (Arya)
- TV Series of the Year – Kundali Bhagya
- Best Actor (TV Series) – Dheeraj Dhupar (Naagin 5)
- Best Actress (TV Series) – Surabhi Chandana (Naagin 5)
- Outstanding Contribution in Film Industry – Dharmendra
- Performer of the Year – Nora Fatehi
India’s Anjali Bhardwaj among 12 recipients of US Anticorruption Champion Award
- India’s Anjali Bhardwaj was among the 12 anti-corruption activists from around the world named by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken as the first recipients of the new International Anticorruption Champions Award.
- Bhardwaj is primarily known as a Right to Information (RTI) activist and is associated with the National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information. Along with Annie Raja and Sipa Sinha, she leads the Delhi Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan, a city-based collective that works on food rights.
- Anjali Bhardwaj, the 48-year-old activist, is also the founder of the Satark Nagrik Sangathan (SNS), a citizens’ group with a mandate to promote transparency and accountability in government.
Books and Authors
Penguin India to publish award-winning author Irwin Allan Sealy’s new novel ‘ASOCA’
- Penguin Random House India is to publish prize-winning writer Irwin Allan Sealys new novel, titled “ASOCA: A Sutra”, an imagined memoir of Ashoka The Great, the Emperor who ruled most of the Indian subcontinent and played a pivotal role in the spread of Buddhism from India to other parts of Asia in the 3rd century BC.
- Earlier, Penguin had published the 30th-anniversary edition of Sealy’s critically acclaimed debut novel “The Trotter-Nama”.
A new book titled “Because India Comes First” authored by Ram Madhav was launched
- Ram Madhav launched his new book named “Because India Comes First: Reflections on Nationalism, Identity and Culture” was released. The book was published by Westland Limited.
Nobel laureate Olga Tokarczuk’s art book ‘The Lost Soul’ to be released
- Nobel laureate Olga Tokarczuk’s latest book ‘The Lost Soul’ is set to be translated into English by Antonia Lloyd-Jones and the illustrations were done by Joanna Concejo.
- The book has many meanings, also inspired by its nostalgic, meditative drawings by Polish artist Joanna Concejo. The book was first published in Poland in 2017 as ‘Zgubiona dusza’.
- Tokarczuk received her Nobel Prize in Literature from Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf at a ceremony in Stockholm in 2019.
Former TRAI Chief and Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar passed away at 68
- Former Chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Rahul Khullar passed away due to a prolonged illness.
- Khullar, a 1975-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, was appointed as TRAI Chief in May 2012. He served at TRAI for three years. Before being appointed as TRAI chief, he was a Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Trade.
Long-serving Saudi oil minister Ahmed Zaki Yamani passed away at 90
- Ahmed Zaki Yamani, a long-serving oil minister in Saudi Arabia who led the kingdom through the 1973 oil crisis, the nationalization of its state energy company, and later found himself held hostage by the assassin Carlos the Jackal, died in London. Yamani became the oil minister in 1962 and led the ministry until 1986.
Sathiyan Gnanasekaran beats Sharath Kamal to clinch maiden national table tennis title in Haryana
- Sathiyan Gnanasekaran came up with a special performance to win his maiden title by beating nine-time champion Sharath Kamal at the 82nd Senior National Table Tennis Championships.
- World 37 Sathiyan beat old rival and three-time Olympian Achanta Sharath Kamal 11-6, 11-7, 10-12, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8.
Manika Batra wins Women’s Singles title for the second time
- Indian Star paddler Manika Batra clinched her second title by defeating Reeth Rishya 4-2 (8-11, 10-12, 11-1, 11-9, 11-5, 11-6) in the women’s singles final of the Senior National Table Tennis Championship held at the Tau Devi Lal Sports Complex in Panchkula, Haryana.
Current Affairs One liner: February 24
|1. Central Excise Day: 24 February|
|2. Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) approved proposals worth Rs.13,700 crores|
|3. Government of India & AIIB signed an agreement for $304 million to improve power sectors in the state of Assam|
|4. National Urban Digital Mission (NUDM) & several digital initiatives for transforming urban governance launched by Hardeep Singh Puri|
|5. Union Minister of Agriculture Narendra Singh Tomar headed the 22nd meeting of the Central Employment Guarantee Council|
|6. President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the world’s largest stadium at Motera, Ahmedabad|
|7. Union Minister of Labour and Employment Santosh Kumar Gangwar chairs the 184th meeting of ESIC|
|8. Centre’s farmers’ welfare scheme ‘PM-KISAN’ completes two years|
|9. Union Minister of External Affairs Jaishankar inaugurates new chancery building of the Indian High Commission in Mauritius|
|10. Japan appoints “Loneliness” Minister to Check Rising Suicide Rate|
|11. China Surpassed US to become India’s top trade partner in 2020|
|12. Coal India and the Centre for Railway Information Systems sign an MoU to get real-time freight data|
|13. India to start trials of 160 km strike range Astra missile in 2021|
|14. New alpine plant species discovered in Arunachal Pradesh|
|15. Woochong Um appointed as the Managing Director-General of ADB|
|16. Unacademy ropes in Sachin Tendulkar as brand ambassador and investor|
|17. England’s Jasmine Harrison becomes the youngest woman to row solo across the ocean|
|18. NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson is honoured with a new spacecraft named ‘Hidden Figures’|
|19. Dadasaheb Phalke Award 2021: Deepika Padukone won the Best Actress Award for Chhapak; Sushant Singh Rajput won the Critics Choice Award|
|20. India’s Anjali Bhardwaj among 12 recipients of US Anticorruption Champion Award|
|21. Penguin India to publish award-winning author Irwin Allan Sealy’s new novel ‘ASOCA’|
|22. A new book titled “Because India Comes First” authored by Ram Madhav was launched|
|23. Nobel laureate Olga Tokarczuk’s art book ‘The Lost Soul’ to be released|
|24. Former TRAI Chief and Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar passed away at 68|
|25. Long-serving Saudi oil minister Ahmed Zaki Yamani passed away at 90|
|26. Sathiyan Gnanasekaran beats Sharath Kamal to clinch maiden national table tennis title in Haryana|
|27. Manika Batra wins Women’s Singles title for second time|
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