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08, 09 and 10 Feb 2021 Current Affairs Headlines

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National News

Madhya Pradesh launches “SAANS” campaign to reduce infant mortality

The health department in Madhya Pradesh has launched the Social Awareness and Action to Neutralise Pneumonia Successfully (‘SAANS’) campaign.

The main purpose of the campaign is to reduce the death rate due to pneumonia among infants a strategy is being chalked out under the Social awareness campaign in which medical staff is being trained. Training will be imparted at the community and primary health centres.

Around 4,000 Health and Wellness Centres have been set up in Madhya Pradesh for this purpose.

The State government has also developed training modules in partnership with PGIMER, Chandigarh, and UNICEF, which will be used to enhance the skills of health workers, including doctors and paramedical staff.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh: Shivraj Singh Chouhan; Governor: Anandiben Patel.

UP Government announces unique 16-digit Unicode to identify landholdings

Uttar Pradesh government has introduced a system of issuing a unique 16-digit Unicode to mark all kinds of landholdings in the state.

The main purpose of the system is to check the cases of land disputes, put an end to fake registries of the disputed land and save people from falling into the trap of fraudsters.

Every piece of land in the state will have its own unique identity. The Unicode would be issued by the state revenue department for marking all kinds of agricultural, residential and commercial land.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Uttar Pradesh Capital: Lucknow.
  • Uttar Pradesh Governor: Anandiben Patel.
  • Uttar Pradesh Chief minister: Yogi Adityanath.

4 more states complete “Ease of Doing Business” Reforms

As per the recent data by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), four more states have completed the reforms in the ‘Ease of Doing Business’, as stipulated by the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance.

The four states are- Assam, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. These states have become eligible to mobilise additional financial resources to the tune of Rs 5,034 crore through open market borrowings.

Now the total number of state that has undertaken the reforms to promote Ease of Doing Business till now has gone up to 12. The other states are Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Telangana.

PM Modi launches Asom Mala in Assam’s Sonitpur district

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the “Asom Mala” programme in Dhekiajuli of Sonitpur district, Assam.

As per the PMO, this initiative will boost the state’s road infrastructure and contribute to Assam’s economic progress and improve connectivity.

The programme is unique for its emphasis on effective maintenance through continuous field data collection and its linkage with the Road Asset Management System.

PM Modi also laid the foundation stones of medical colleges and hospitals in Biswanath and Charaideo with an aim to boost Assam’s health infrastructure.

The two medical colleges and hospitals are being set up at Biswanath and Charaideo at a total estimated project cost of over Rs 1,100 crores. Each hospital will have a 500-bed capacity and 100 MBBS seat capacity.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Assam CM: Sarbananda Sonowal.
  • Assam Governor: Jagdish Mukhi.

Uttarakhand Chamoli glacier burst

The glacier burst took place at the Rishiganga power project after a portion of Nanda Devi glacier broke off in Tapovan area of Joshimath in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district on 7th February morning and damaged the Rishiganga dam on Alaknanda river.

National Thermal Power Corporation’s (NTPC) Tapovan Vishnugad project on Dhauliganga river and Rishi Ganga Power Corporation Ltd’s project, with a planned capacity of 520 MW and 13.2 MW, respectively, have been nearly washed away.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Uttarakhand Chief Minister: Trivendra Singh Rawat.
  • Governor of Uttarakhand: Baby Rani Maurya.

International News

South Korea to Build World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm

President Moon Jae-in-led, South Korea Government has approved a plan to build the world’s largest wind power plant in the country by 2030. Currently, the world’s largest offshore wind farm is Hornsea 1 in Britain, which has 1.12 GW capacity.

The project will help to foster an environmentally-friendly recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and fasten the step to achieve the target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

The estimated cost of the project is 48.5 trillion won ($43.2 billion).

The Windpower Plant will be located in the southwestern coastal town of Sinan. It will have a maximum capacity of 8.2 gigawatts.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • South Korea Capital: Seoul.
  • South Korea Currency: South Korean won.

World’s First “Energy Island” to be built by Denmark

The Government of Denmark has approved a project to build the world’s first energy island, in the North Sea that will produce and store enough green energy to meet the electricity needs of three million households in European countries.

The hub will strengthen the integration of Europe’s power grids and increase renewable electricity production necessary for a climate-neutral Europe.

The energy hub will serve as an offshore power plant gathering and distributing green electricity from hundreds of wind turbines surrounding the island directly to consumers in countries surrounding the North Sea. It is the long-term ambition to be able to store green electricity on the island, convert it to liquid green fuel, and send it via subsea cables to Denmark and neighbouring countries.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Denmark Capital: Copenhagen.
  • Denmark Currency: Danish krone.

Appointments News

Google Cloud appoints Bikram Singh Bedi as MD for India

Google Cloud has appointed Bikram Singh Bedi as the new Managing Director for its India Business. He will succeed Karan Bajwa, who has been elevated as Vice president for the Asia Pacific (APAC) region cloud operations at Google Cloud.

At Google, Bikram Bedi will be responsible for leading Google Cloud’s sales and operations teams in this dynamic market.

Google Cloud is also on track to launch its Delhi cloud region in India this year – its second after Mumbai that was launched in 2017.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • CEO of Google: Sundar Pichai; Headquarters: California, United States.

Nigeria’s Okonjo-Iweala set to become the first female Chief of WTO

Nigerian economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been chosen as the next Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

She would be the first woman as well as the first African nation to lead the organization. Okonjo-Iweala, the former finance minister of Nigeria, will succeed Roberto Azevedo, who stepped down in August 2020.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • World Trade Organization Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.
  • World Trade Organization Founded: 1 January 1995.

Michael Bloomberg Re-Appointed as United Nations Climate Envoy

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres re-appointed Michael Bloomberg as his Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions.

Bloomberg is the founder and owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News. He was previously appointed as the U.N. special envoy for climate action between March 2018 and November 2019.

Bloomberg will work to strengthen the group of governments, companies, cities and financial institutions that are working to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

He would also work to mobilise stronger and more ambitious climate action in the lead-up to 2021 United Nations Climate Change conference in Scotland in November 2021.


Defence News

 First Women Team Inducted in CRPF’s CoBRA Commando Unit

A maiden contingent of 34 CRPF women personnel has been inducted into its specialized jungle warfare commando force CoBRA. The contingent will soon be deployed in the anti-Naxal operations grid of the country.

This women’s contingent will undergo pre-induction training for 3 months and then deployed with the units in Naxal violence-affected districts of Chhattisgarh like Dantewada, Sukma, and Bijapur. The members of the 34 CRPF women personnel contingent have been chosen from the 6 all-women battalions of CRPF.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Central Reserve Police Force Director-General: AP Maheshwari.
  • Central Reserve Police Force Headquarters: New Delhi, India.

16th India-US joint military exercise “Yudh Abhyas 20” commenced

The India-US joint military exercise “Yudh Abhyas 20” commenced in Mahajan Field Firing Range of Bikaner district in Rajasthan.

This is the 16th edition of an annual bilateral joint exercise of both the armies. It will continue till the 21st of this month.

About 250 US and 250 Indian army soldiers are participating in the exercise. Both the armies will share their war-related techniques, skills and experience with each other during this exercise. The exercise is one of the largest military training and defence cooperation efforts between India and the United States.


Banking News

RBI to Set up Committee on Urban Co-op banks

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will set up an expert committee on Urban Co-operative Banks (UCBs). The committee, involving all stakeholders, will provide a medium-term road map for strengthening the sector, enable faster resolution/rehabilitation of UCBs.

Along with enabling faster resolution of UCBs, the committee will also examine critical aspects related to the urban co-op banks.

The provisions of the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Act, 2020 have become applicable to Primary (Urban) Co-operative Banks (UCBs) from June 26, 2020.

The amendments have brought near parity in supervisory and regulatory powers between UCBs and commercial banks in respect of regulatory powers, including those related to governance, audit, and resolution.

The members of the committee and its terms of reference have not been notified yet. It will be informed separately by the RBI.

Federal Bank launches “FedFirst” savings account scheme for children

Federal Bank has announced the launch of “FedFirst”, a special savings account scheme for children below 18 years of age. The account helps children develop healthy saving and spending habits, thereby giving them the freedom to save, spend and earn.

The account is designed to enable children to learn the importance of money management. The account comes with unique features and offers.

The account holder is provided with a FedFirst contactless Debit Card with a daily cash withdrawal limit of ₹2,500 and POS/e-com limit of ₹10,000, in addition to free online facilities including access to internet banking, mobile alerts and e-mail alerts.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Federal Bank MD & CEO: Shyam Srinivasan.
  • Federal Bank HQ: Aluva, Kerala.

Economy News

RBI Monetary Policy: Policy Rate unchanged

The six-member Monetary Policy Committee of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), headed by Governor Shaktikanta Das, has decided to maintain the status quo on policy rate amid sticky rate of inflation.

At this point, the repo rate or the rate at which RBI lends to banks stands unchanged at 4 per cent. The reverse repo rate also stayed unchanged at 3.35 per cent. The MPC committee members voted unanimously in favour of the decision.

The key decisions taken in the Monetary Policy Committee meeting are:

  • Policy Repo Rate: 4.00%
  • Reverse Repo Rate: 3.35%
  • Marginal Standing Facility Rate: 4.25%
  • Bank Rate: 4.25%
  • CRR: 3%
  • SLR: 18.00%

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • RBI 25th Governor: Shaktikant Das; Headquarters: Mumbai; Founded: 1 April 1935, Kolkata.

RBI: India’s GDP growth projected at 10.5 per cent for FY22

In the last bi-monthly monetary policy meet for the current, the Reserve Bank of India projected India’s GDP growth rate at 10.5 per cent for the fiscal year 2021-22. The growth outlook has improved significantly, and the vaccination drive will further boost the economic rebound.

The apex bank expects the Indian economy to grow in the range of 8.3 per cent to 26.2 per cent in the first half of FY22, followed by a 6 per cent growth in Q3FY22. The central bank’s projection is lower than that of the Economic Survey that projected India to grow at a rate of 11 per cent in the coming fiscal.


Schemes and Committees

Arvind Kejriwal launches “Switch Delhi” campaign to promote electric vehicles

Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal has launched the ‘Switch Delhi’ campaign to promote electric vehicles and appealed to people to buy such vehicles to combat pollution in the city. Kejriwal said his government will hire only electric vehicles for various purposes in the next six weeks.

In the “Switch Delhi” campaign, awareness will be created about the benefits of electric vehicles and how it can contribute to making Delhi clean and pollution-free.

Under its electric vehicle policy, the Delhi government has planned extensive subsidies on purchase of electric two-wheelers and four-wheelers, besides waiving road tax and registration charges.

More than 6,000 electric vehicles have been purchased since the policy launch in August 2020. The government has also issued tenders for setting up 100 charging stations across the city.

The government has fixed an ambitious target of 25 per cent electric vehicles among total vehicle registrations in Delhi by 2024.


Agreements News

India & Bahrain join hands for Renewable Energy

The first India-Bahrain Joint Working Group meeting in the field of Renewable Energy was held in a virtual format on February 04, 2021, for promoting bilateral cooperation in the field of Renewable Energy.

The Indian delegation was led by Dinesh Dayanand Jagdale, Joint Secretary, Ministry of New & Renewable Energy. Abdul Hussain bin Ali Mirza, President of Sustainable Energy Authority led the Bahraini delegation.

Both sides also agreed to forge deeper engagement in capacity building and focused cooperation between concerned agencies as well as the private sector of the two countries in this sector, particularly in the field of solar, wind and clean hydrogen.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • King of Bahrain: Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.
  • Bahrain Capital: Manama.
  • Bahrain Currency: Bahraini dinar.

Business News

Paypal to shut domestic payments service in India from April 1

The California-based global digital payment platform PayPal has announced that the company has decided to wind down its domestic payment services in India with effect from April 01, 2021. The decision has been taken because the company wants to shift its focus on cross-border payments business.

However, the global customer will be able to pay Indian merchants using Paypal. PayPal was a payments options on many Indian online apps such as travel and ticketing service MakeMyTrip, online film booking app BookMyShow, and food delivery app Swiggy.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • PayPal Founded: December 1998, Palo Alto, California, United States.
  • PayPal CEO: Dan Schulman.

Science and Technology

HAL to develop world’s first high-altitude pseudo satellite

The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is developing a futuristic high altitude pseudo satellite with a start-up company, to strengthen the country’s military strike capabilities.

It is a first of its kind project in the world, where a manned aircraft will operate within the boundary and the unmanned aircraft will enter the enemy zone and can carry out strikes deep inside the enemy territory.

Capable of autonomous functions, these unmanned aerial vehicles will also have all the manoeuvring capabilities. “It can straightway hit the target at a distance of 700 kilometres or can go to 350 kilometres and come back. It carries ammunition, missiles if needed CATS Alpha.

The technology has been named Combined Air Teaming System (CATS). It will have a manned aircraft (will be known as mother ship), operating from far away, and four autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles known as CATS Warrior.

The satellite will be solar energised and become a big asset flying unmanned around 70,000 ft for 2-3 months and taking information.

NASA Selects SpaceX to launch its SPHEREx Mission

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has selected spaceflight company, SpaceX to launch its SPHEREx Mission.

Through this mission, NASA aims to perform an all-sky survey to measure the near-infrared spectra of approximately 450 million galaxies across the universe and 100 million stars inside our Milky Way galaxy.

The SPHEREx or the Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization, and Ices Explorer (SPHEREx) spacecraft.

The small astrophysics spacecraft, SPHEREx, weighs 329-lb. (178 kilograms).

It will be launched to space aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, in June 2024, from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Acting Administrator of NASA: Steve Jurczyk.
  • Headquarters of NASA: Washington D.C., United States.
  • NASA Founded: 1 October 1958.

Square Kilometre Array Observatory launched

The newly constituted Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO) Council has approved for the establishment of the world’s largest radio telescope. The telescope will enable astronomers to monitor the sky in unprecedented detail and survey the entire sky much faster than any system currently in existence.

To look into some of the unexplored areas of the universe and seek answers about its history and evolution, study fundamental physics in extreme environments and know about galaxies over cosmic time.

Radio telescopes, unlike optical telescopes, can detect invisible gas and can reveal areas of space that may be obscured by cosmic dust.


Sports News

Joe Root becomes first batsman to score 200 in 100th Test

Joe Root, the England captain, sent India on a leather hunt, becoming the first player in history to score a double century in his 100th Test match.

In the process, Root also surpassed former Pakistan captain Inzamam-Ul-Haq as the player with the highest individual score playing the 100th Test match of his career.  Inzamam had hit 184 against India in a Test match in Bengaluru in 2005, which Pakistan had won by 168 runs.

Rishabh Pant wins inaugural ICC Player of the Month January 2021

The Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has won the inaugural ICC Player of the Month award 2021. Pant has been honoured for his superlative performances in the two Tests against Australia in January 2021, wherein he scored a 97 at Sydney and an unbeaten 89 at Brisbane, leading India to an incredible series win.

Apart from this, Shabnim Ismail of South Africa has been named the ICC Women’s Player of the Month following her performances across three ODIs and two T20Is in January 2021. A fast bowler, Ismail took seven wickets in ODI series against Pakistan to gain victory and five wickets in the second T20 International against the same opposition.


Obituary

Oscar-winning Canadian actor Christopher Plummer passes away

Oscar-winning actor Christopher Plummer, who rose to prominence for his critically-acclaimed film ‘Sound of Music’, has passed away. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor at the age of 82 for Beginners (2010), becoming the oldest person to win an acting award.

The prolific and versatile Canadian-born actor has received various awards for his work, which includes Academy Award, two Primetime Emmy Awards, two Tony Awards, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a British Academy Film Award.

Indian tennis great Akhtar Ali passes away

Tennis legend Akhtar Ali, a father figure in Indian tennis, passed away. He represented India in eight Davis Cup ties against Pakistan, Malaysia, Iran, Mexico, Japan and Monaco between 1958 and 1964.

Born on July 5, 1939, Akhtar made his mark in 1955 when he became the National junior champion and reached the junior Wimbledon semifinals. He played alongside stalwarts like Ramanathan Krishnan, Naresh Kumar, Premjit Lall and Jaidip Mukerjea.

 Founder of Rang Vidushak, Padma Shri Bansi Kaul Passed away

Founder of Rang Vidushak and theatre director Padma Shri Bansi Kaul passed away. He was born in 1949 in a Kashmiri Pandit family, Bansi Kaul was a Hindi theatre director and the founder of Rang Vidushak, a theatre group and theatre institute in Bhopal.

He was awarded Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1995 and Padma Shri in 2014. He received Rashtriya Kalidas Samman for the year 2016–17.

Bollywood actor Rajiv Kapoor passes away

Bollywood actor and Raj Kapoor’s son Rajiv Kapoor passed away. He made his acting debut with 1983 movie Ek Jaan Hain Hum. He gained recognition with his father’s last directorial Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985).

Some of his other memorable films include Aasmaan (1984), Lover Boy (1985), Zabardast (1985) and Hum To Chale Pardes (1988). But soon Rajiv also addressed as Chimpu, moved to film direction and production.


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