Latest Current Affairs Daily Update

25th and 26th Feb 2021 Current Affairs Headlines

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Important Days

Central Excise Day: 24 February

Central Excise Day is celebrated every year on February 24 across India. The day is being celebrated to honour the service of the Central Board of Excise and Custom (CBEC) to the country.

The day is celebrated to honour the officers associated with CBEC and their services. This is done to encourage the officers to carry out their duties with utmost sincerity.

The officers, every year perform checking of corruption in goods from the manufacturing sector. The day is celebrated to commemorate the legislation of the Central Excise and Salt act on 24 February 1944.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Chairman of Central Board of Excise and Custom: M. Ajit Kumar.
  • Headquarters of Central Board of Excise and Custom: New Delhi.
  • Central Board of Excise and Custom Founded: 1 January 1964.

National News

National Urban Digital Mission Launched by Centre

Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri and Minister of Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad launched the National Urban Digital Mission’ (NUDM) at a virtual event, to create a digital infrastructure for cities in India.

The NUDM has been launched jointly by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs along with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

The mission aims to put in place a “citizen-centric” and “ecosystem-driven” approach to ‘urban governance and service delivery in cities by 2022, and across all cities and towns by 2024. The mission has three pillars – people, process, and platform.

The NUDM will create a shared digital infrastructure for Urban India that can consolidate and cross-leverage the various digital initiatives of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, to enable cities and towns across India to benefit from holistic and diverse forms of support, in keeping with their needs and local challenges.

Apart from this, several other digital initiatives of MoHUA was also launched which includes: India Urban Data Exchange (IUDX), SmartCode platform, Smart Cities 2.0 website, and Geospatial Management Information System (GMIS).

Rajnath Singh inaugurates 26th edition of “Hunar Haat”

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has inaugurated the 26th edition of “Hunar Haat” in New Delhi. The “Hunar Haat” will be held from February 21 to March 01, 2021, with the theme of “Vocal for Local”. More than 600 artisans and craftsmen from more than 31 states and UTs are participating.

Through Hunar Haat, the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs aims to provide employment and employment opportunities to 7,50,000 artisans by organising 75 Hunar Haats by 2022, when India will celebrate its 75 years of Independence.

The Hunar Haat is also available online at hunarhaat.org and on the Government e-Marketplace portal. Indians living abroad can buy products online as well.

Hunar Haat is a beautiful exhibition of India’s traditional art and craft and brings together indigenous artisans and craftsmen from across the country for the display and sale of their exquisite indigenous handmade products.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Minister of Minority Affairs: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan Renames Hoshangabad as Narmadapuram

Hoshangabad city in the state of Madhya Pradesh will be renamed Narmadapuram. This was announced by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan during the Narmada Jayanti programme held in Hoshangabad. Hoshangabad was earlier named after an attacker Hoshang Shah, the first ruler of Malwa.

However, the city will now be called Narmadapuram, after the river Narmada, the lifeline of the state. The state government will now send a proposal to the Centre to change the name of Hoshangabad to Narmadapuram. The city is famous for its beautiful ghats along the banks of the Narmada river.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

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

 Karnataka to set up a Flower Processing Centre

The Karnataka State Horticulture Department is setting up a “Flower Processing Centre”, in collaboration with the International Flower Auction Bangalore (IFAB), to convert unsold flowers into various useful products.

The facility will provide support to the flower farmers who suffer huge losses whenever there is a glut or market disruption. Growers can learn the art of flower processing from the centre.

The incubation centre will process flowers and convert them to value-added products such as natural dyes, floral papers, incense sticks, flower petal powder for cosmetic usage, floral embedded works, floral arts, and silica-stored flowers.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Minister of Karnataka: B.S. Yediyurappa; Governor: Vajubhai Vala.

Kerala Governor Inaugurates India’s First Digital University

Governor of Kerala, Arif Mohammed Khan has inaugurated India’s first Digital University named Kerala University of Digital Sciences, Innovation and Technology. A Digital University has been set up in Kerala’s Technocity, Mangalapuram.

Kerala University is established by upgrading the two-decade-old state government’s Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management Kerala (IIITM-K).

India’s first Digital University will focus on postgraduate programmes and research along with building strong industry-academic and academic-academic linkages with leading institutions in India and abroad.

Developed on a 10-acre campus in Technocity, the university will provide education to 12,000 residential scholars on the campus and many technology-linked learners outside. The university seeks to lead the Digital Transformation Initiatives announced by the Kerala Government in the Budget 2021.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Kerala CM: Pinarayi Vijayan.
  • Kerala Governor: Arif Mohammad Khan.

Punjab Cabinet approves mission ‘Lal Lakir’ in all villages

The Punjab Cabinet has approved the implementation of the mission ‘Lal Lakir’ aimed at facilitating villagers to monetise property rights and availing benefits provided by government departments, institutions and banks in all villages across the state.

As no record of rights is available for such properties within the ‘Lal Lakir’, the same cannot currently be monetised as per the real value of the property and no mortgages can be created on such properties.

The right of record of properties within ‘Lal Lakir’ in the villages of the state will be prepared with the cooperation of the government of India under the SVAMITVA (Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas) scheme.

This will enable mapping the land, households, habitation and all other areas falling within ‘Lal Lakir’. It will go a long way in improving the living standard of villagers and boosting their self-esteem.

There are households within the ‘Lal Lakir’, which do not own property other than the areas within the ‘Lal Lakir’, and are thus at a disadvantage when it comes to monetising or realising the real value of the property, according to a government statement.

‘Lal Lakir’ refers to land that is part of the village “abaadi” (habitation) and is used for non-agriculture purposes only.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Punjab CM: Captain Amarinder Singh.
  • Punjab Governor: V.P.Singh Badnore.

Kushinagar Airport Gets International Airport Licence from DGCA

The under-construction Kushinagar Airport in Uttar Pradesh has received the necessary clearances from aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to operate international flights. Once operational, Kushinagar airport will become the third functional international facility in the state.

Currently, the two international airports functional in Uttar Pradesh are Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport at Lucknow and Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport at Varanasi.

Kushinagar airport will serve as the closest international airport to several Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Lumbini, Shravasti, and Kapilvastu.

The new airport will boost tourism in the region & facilitate travel on the Buddhist circuit by providing direct aviation connectivity to the city.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • HQ of DGCA: New Delhi; Established in Jan 1978.

International News

China Surpasses US to become India’s top trade partner in 2020

China has regained its position as the top trading partner of India in 2020, which was held by the United States, since 2018-19. The two-way trade between India and China stood at $77.7 billion in 2020 despite the conflict along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and the rising anti-China sentiment.

The India-US bilateral trade stood at $75.9 billion, according to provisional data from the commerce ministry. Meanwhile, the UAE continues to remain India’s third-biggest trading partner.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • China Capital: Beijing.
  • China Currency: Renminbi.
  • China President: Xi Jinping.

Appointments News

Vijay Sampla takes charge as Chairman of National Commission for SC

Former Union Minister Vijay Sampla has assumed the charge of Chairman National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC). He has been the former Union Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment from 2014 to 2019.

NCSC is an Indian constitutional body under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, that works for the socio-economic development of the scheduled castes and to prevent atrocities against them.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • NCSC Founded: 19 February 2004.
  • NCSC Headquarters: New Delhi.

Agreements News

India, World Bank ink project for enhancing school education in Nagaland

The Government of India, the Government of Nagaland and the World Bank signed a $68 million agreement for “Nagaland: Enhancing Classroom Teaching and Resources Project”, to enhance the governance of schools across Nagaland.

The $68 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a final maturity of 14.5 years including a grace period of 5 (five) years.

The “Nagaland: Enhancing Classroom Teaching and Resources Project” will improve classroom instruction; create opportunities for the professional development of teachers, and build technology systems to provide students and teachers with more access to blended and online learning as well as allow better monitoring of policies and programmes.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Minister of Nagaland: Neiphiu Rio; Governor of Nagaland: R. N. Ravi.
  • World Bank Headquarters: Washington DC, United States.
  • World Bank President: David Malpass.
  • World Bank Founded: July 1944.

 India, AIIB sign agreement to improve Assam power transmission

The Government of India and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has signed a $304 million loan agreement on February 23, 2021, for the Assam Intra-State Transmission System Enhancement Project.

The project aims to improve the reliability, capacity and security of the power transmission network in the northeastern state of Assam.

It includes constructing 10 transmission substations and laying transmission lines with the associated infrastructure, upgrade 15 existing substations, and transmission lines and existing ground wire to optical power ground wire and provide technical assistance to support project implementation.

The total estimated cost of the project is $365 million. AIIB will finance $304 million while the remaining funding of $61 million will be done by the state government.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • President of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank: Jin Liqun.
  • Headquarters of AIIB: Beijing, China.
  • AIIB established: 16 January 2016.

India signs trade deal, $100 million defence agreement with Mauritius

The Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar was on an official visit to two key Indian Ocean region countries- Maldives and Mauritius. The External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar visited the Island nation Mauritius to review the comprehensive and important bilateral relationship between the two nations.

India signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) or (Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Partnership Agreement-(CECPA)) with Mauritius.

The FTA or CECPA is the first such pact with any African country, and will help Mauritius to emerge as a “hub of Africa”.

India has also offered a USD 100 million Line of Credit (LoC) to Mauritius to facilitate the procurement of defence assets.

Apart from this, an agreement has also been signed between the two countries to provide a Dornier aircraft and an Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv on lease to Mauritius on a gratis basis for 2 years, so that the country can carry out patrolling activities and monitor its vast maritime domain more effectively.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Prime Minister of Mauritius: Pravind Jugnauth; President: Prithvirajsing Roopun.
  • Mauritius Currency: Mauritian rupee.
  • Mauritius Capital: Port Louis.

Summits and Conferences

PM Narendra Modi To Inaugurate 2nd Edition of “Maritime India Summit”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the virtual Maritime India Summit (MIS) 2021, from March 2 to 4, 2021. The ‘Maritime India Summit 2021’ is the flagship initiative of the Union Ministry of State for Ports, Shipping & Waterways (MoPSW), Government of India. FICCI is the industry partner for the summit.

The theme of the event is “Exploring the potential business opportunities in the Indian Maritime sector and making Aatmanirbhar Bharat”.

The objective of the Summit is to promote both domestic and international investment in the Indian Ports and Maritime sector.

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Shipping: Mansukh L. Mandaviya.

Gajendra Singh Shekhawat inaugurates ICOLD Symposium

Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has inaugurated the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) Symposium in New Delhi.

The theme of the symposium is “Sustainable Development of Dams & River Basins”. More than 300 delegates from across the country and abroad will participate in the Symposium.

The symposium has been organised by the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD), at New Delhi in Hybrid format from 24 to 27 February 2021, in collaboration with Central Water Commission (CWC), Dam Rehabilitation Improvement Project (DRIP) and National Hydrology Project (NHP).

Useful notes for all competitive exams:

  • International Commission on Large Dams President: Michael Rogers.
  • International Commission on Large Dams Founded: 1928.
  • International Commission on Large Dams Headquarters location: Paris, France.

Awards News

Biden admn names Anjali Bharadwaj for anti-corruption award

Anjali Bharadwaj, an Indian social activist working on issues of transparency and accountability, is one of the 12 “courageous” individuals named by the Biden administration for the newly-instituted International Anti-Corruption Champions Award.

The 48-year-old Bhardwaj has served as an active member of the Right to Information Movement in India for over two decades. She is the founder of the Satark Nagrik Sangathan (SNS), a citizens’ group which promotes transparency and accountability in government and encourage the active participation of citizens.

The Biden administration has announced this International Anti-Corruption Champions Award, to recognise individuals who have worked tirelessly, often in the face of adversity, to defend transparency, combat corruption, and ensure accountability in their own countries, so as to combat such issues.

Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival Awards 2021 announced

The prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival awards 2021 were announced, to honour the best in Indian cinema, television, music, and OTT. Late actor Sushant Singh Rajput was posthumously awarded ‘Critics Best Actor’ for his performance in Dil Bechara.

The winner of the Award for 2021 are as follows:

  1. Best Actor (Female): Deepika Padukone, Chhapaak
  2. Best Actor (Male): Akshay Kumar, Laxmii
  3. Critic’s Best Actress: Kiara Advani, Guilty
  4. Critic’s Best Actor: Late Sushant Singh Rajput, Dil Bechara
  5. Best Film: Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior
  6. Best International Feature Film: Parasite Most Versatile Actor – Kay Kay Menon
  7. Best Director: Anurag Basu, Ludo
  8. Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Vikrant Massey, Chhapaak
  9. Best Actress in Supporting Role: Radhika Madan, Angrezi Medium
  10. Best Actor in Comic Role: Kunal Kemmu, Lootcase
  11. Best Actor (Web Series): Bobby Deol, Aashram
  12. Best Actress (Web Series): Sushmita Sen, Aarya
  13. Best Web Series: Scam (1992)
  14. Album of the Year: Titliyaan
  15. Best Television Series: Kundali Bhagya
  16. Photographer of the Year: Daboo Ratnani
  17. Style Diva of the Year: Divya Khosla Kumar
  18. Best Actress in Television Series: Surbhi Chandna
  19. Best Actor in Television Series: Dheeraj Dhoopar
  20. Performer of the Year: Nora Fatehi
  21. Outstanding Contribution to Film Industry: Dharmendra
  22. Outstanding Contribution to Literature in Indian Cinema: Chetan Bhagat

Science and Technology

Spacecraft Named in Honor of Black Woman “hidden Figures” Mathematician

A space supply ship, Cygnus NG-15 cargo dubbed as ‘S.S. Katherine Johnson has been named in honour of Katherine Johnson, a Black NASA mathematician, who played a critical role in the success of the first U.S. crewed spaceflight, Mercury-Atlas 6 Mission.

The S.S. Katherine Johnson arrived on February 22, 2021, and will be at the International Space Station until May 2021.

Mrs Johnson was a pioneering mathematician known for her hand-written calculations. She helped astronaut John Glenn, to become the first American to orbit Earth, after personally verifying his Mercury missions’ orbital trajectory calculations. Her contributions were also featured in the Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures.

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.

Sports News

Karnataka to Host 2nd Khelo India University Games 2021

The second edition of the Khelo India University Games (KIUG) 2021, is scheduled to be held in Karnataka. This announcement was made by the Karnataka Chief Minister, Shri BS Yediyurappa and Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju.

The KIUG-2021 will be hosted by JAIN (Deemed-to-be University), Bengaluru, in partnership with the Association of Indian Universities (AIU).

In 2021, Yogasana and Mallakhamb have been added to the University Games, in an effort to preserve and promote the century-old sporting disciplines of the country.

World’s biggest cricket stadium set for first match

President Ram Nath Kovind has inaugurated the newly revamped Motera cricket stadium in Ahmedabad, which has been renamed the Narendra Modi Stadium.

The biggest cricket stadium in the world will hold its first international match, with the newly renovated Sardar Patel Stadium to host the third Test between India and England. Both India and England had a forgettable outing in their last pink-ball outings. 

The stadium was first opened in the early 1980s but has recently been rebuilt and now has a seating capacity of 110,000. Motera currently is the biggest cricket stadium in the world in terms of capacity.

The last time when India played a cricket match at Motera was way back in 2014.

Jasmine Harrison from UK becomes youngest woman to row Atlantic Ocean

A British woman, Jasmine Harrison of England has become the youngest woman to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean. The 21-year-old from Thirsk, North Yorkshire in the UK, achieved the feat by finishing top in the 2020 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, organized by Atlantic Campaigns.

Harrison, who is a swim instructor and bartender by profession, travelled 3,000 miles (4,828km) across the Atlantic Ocean in 70 days, 3 hours and 48 minutes. Harrison began her journey in Spain’s Canary Islands on December 12, 2020, and arrived in Antigua on February 20, 2021.


Obituary News

Former TRAI Chairman Rahul Khullar passes away

Rahul Khullar, the former chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has passed away. He was a 1975-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, who was appointed as TRAI chief in May 2012.

He served at TRAI for three years. Prior to being appointed as TRAI chief, he was a secretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Trade.


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