Daily Current Affairs and GK | 18 February 2021

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Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

1. West Bengal Government launched ‘Maa’ scheme to provide meal at ₹5.

  • West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee launched the ‘Maa’ scheme to provide a meal to poor people for ₹5.
  • Under this scheme, people will get rice, dal, vegetable, and egg curry in a meal at ₹5. The state government will bear a subsidy of Rs 15 per plate.
  • Government has allocated ₹100 crores for this scheme. The meal will be provided through Maa kitchens at different locations in the state. The kitchens will be operated by the Self Help Groups.
  • ‘Didir Rannaghar’ Scheme was also launched to provide meals to migrant workers who lost their jobs due to the COVID pandemic in September 2020.
  • West Bengal:
    • It is a state of eastern India. It is located between the Himalayas and the Bay of Bengal.
    • It shares its boundary with three countries-Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.
    • The Chief Minister of West Bengal is Mamta Banerjee and Governor is Jagdeep Dhankhar.
 

Topic: Appointments

2. Preeti Sinha appointed as Executive Secretary of the UN Capital Development Fund.

  • Indian-origin investment and development banker Preeti Sinha has been appointed as the Executive Secretary of the UN Capital Development Fund.
  • She has replaced Judith Karl and will assume the office from 22 February 2021.
  • She will focus on providing financial assistance to women, youth, and small enterprises.
  • UN Capital Development Fund:
    • It was established in 1966.
    • It is the capital investment agency of the United Nations for the least developed countries.
    • Its headquarters is located in New York.
    • Executive Secretary is the highest post of this institution.

Topic: State News/ Assam

3. PM Modi launches ‘Mahabahu-Brahmaputra’ and multiple development projects in Assam.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the Mahabahu-Brahmaputra project. He also laid the foundation stone of Dhubri-Phulbari Bridge and performed the groundbreaking ceremony of Jorhat - Majuli Bridge.
  • Mahabahu-Brahmaputra project was launched with the Ro-Pax vessel service’s inauguration between Neamati-Majuli Island, North Guwahati-South Guwahati and Dhubri-Hatsingimari. Under this initiative, tourist jetties at four locations and Inland Water Transport Terminal at Jogighopa will also be constructed.
  • These projects will help in improving the connectivity and reducing the travel time in eastern states part of India.
  • The Dhubri-Phulbari Bridge over the Brahmaputra River will be the longest river bridge in the country. It will connect Dhubri in Assam to Phulbari in Meghalaya. It will reduce the distance of 205 km to merely 19 km.
  • The Jorhat-Majuli Bridge on the Brahmaputra will connect Neematighat and Kamalabari. It will help in providing connectivity to Majuli Island to other parts of Assam. Majuli Island, the world’s largest river island, is on the Brahmaputra River.
  • Assam:
    • It is a state in northeastern India, situated along Brahmaputra and Barak River.
    • The state capital is Dispur. The largest city is Guwahati.
    • The Governor is Jagdish Mukhi and Chief Minister is Sarbananda Sonowal.
    • It is famous for the one-horned Indian rhinoceros.

PM Modi launches multiple development projects in Assam

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings

4. Quad’s 3rd ministerial meeting is being held on 18 February.

  • The 3rd India-Australia-Japan-USA Ministerial Meeting is being held on 18 February. The foreign ministers of all four countries are participating in this meeting.
  • The 2nd edition of the Quad Ministerial meeting was held in Tokyo in October 2020.
  • The leaders will discuss many issues in this meeting, including regional and global issues, Covid-19 challenges, and areas of cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • The first Quad ministerial meeting was held in New York in 2019.

Foreign Ministers

S Jaishankar

Marise Payne

Toshimitsu Motegi

Antony J. Blinken

Countries

India

Australia

Japan

USA

  • QUAD:
    • It was established in 2007.
    • Australia, India, Japan, and the United States are members of this forum.
    • It aims to establish an “Asian Arc of Democracy”, including the countries in Central Asia, Mongolia, the Korean peninsula, and other Southeast Asia countries.

Quads 3rd ministerial meeting is being held on 18 February

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

5. Government has invited suggestions on Blue Economy Policy.

  • The Ministry of Earth Sciences has invited suggestions from NGOs, industries, academia, and citizens on the draft of the blue economy policy. The concerned stakeholders can summit their suggestion by 27th February.
  • The draft will finalize the vision and strategy for the promotion of the Blue Economy in India. It will be a road map to utilize the available oceanic resources in the country.
  • The draft will aim for increasing the contribution of the blue economy in India’s GDP and it will also help in improving the lives of coastal people, preserving marine biodiversity and maintaining national security of marine areas.
  • India has a coastline of 7,500 kilometers and 9 states are along the sea. India has EEZ of over 2 million square kilometers.
  • Blue Economy: According to the World Bank, it is the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs while preserving the health of the ocean ecosystem.

Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings

6. India and Russia organised a bilateral meeting on UNSC issues.

  • India and Russia held a bilateral meeting on UNSC issues in Moscow at the DG level. Both countries agreed to work together on key issues at UNSC.
  • Peter Ilichev has led the Russian delegation, while the Indian delegation was led by Prakash Gupta.
  • Both countries discussed a various range of issues related to the agenda of the UNSC.
  • Recently, India has started its tenure as a non-permanent member of the UNSC. India has become a non-permanent member of UNSC for the eighth time.
  • United Nations Security Council: It is one of the six major organs of the United Nations, responsible for ensuring international peace and security. There are 5 permanent members and 10 non-permanent members in this council.
  • Russia:
    • It is the world’s largest country in terms of area.
    • It ranks sixth in terms of population.
    • Its currency is Russian ruble and the Capital is Moscow.
    • Vladimir Putin is the current President and Mikhail Mishustin is the Prime Minister.

Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings  

7. India hosted a workshop on COVID-19.

  • India hosted a workshop on “COVID-19 Management: Experience, Good Practices and Way Forward” on 18 February.
  • Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Bhutan, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, Pakistan, Seychelles and Sri Lanka have participated in this workshop.
  • It has been chaired by the Health Secretary of India Rajesh Bhushan. Each country health secretaries and Head of the Technical Team of COVID management will participate in this workshop.
  • India has also hosted a meeting on COVID-19 management with SAARC countries. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are the members of SAARC.

Topic: State News/ Sikkim

8. Sikkim Government launched ‘Free Gift Milk to Girl Students of Sikkim’ initiative.

  • The Chief Minister of Sikkim Prem Singh Tamang launched ‘Free Gift Milk to Girl Students of Sikkim’.
  • Under this initiative, 200 ml of milk will be provided to around 1500 girl students every day. It has been launched to reduce malnutrition in children. The government will expand it later on a large scale.
  • On this occasion, CM encouraged youth to take Farming as a profession and also spoke about government initiatives to promote farming opportunities in the state.
  • Sikkim:
    • It is a state in northeast India. It shares its border with West Bengal, Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal.
    • It is the least populous state of India.
    • Its capital is Gangtok.
    • The Chief Minister of the state is Prem Singh Tamang and the Governor is Ganga Prasad.

Topic: MoUs/Agreements

9. India, Mauritius trade pact has been approved by the Cabinet.

  • The Union Cabinet has approved a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement between India and Mauritius. Both countries have been negotiating for this pact since 2005.
  • The CEPA between both countries will cover more than 300 export items of India from agriculture, textiles, electronics and other sectors.
  • Both countries have agreed on reducing or eliminating the customs duties for the promotion of free trade. They also agreed to negotiate an Automatic Trigger Safeguard Mechanism (ATSM) for some sensitive products.
  • India is negotiating this kind of pact with Australia, New Zealand and the European Union. India has already signed this type of free trade agreement with Japan, Korea and ASEAN.
  • India- Mauritius Trade:
    • Mauritius was the second biggest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) into India in 2019-20.
    • The bilateral trade between India and Mauritius was USD 690 million in 2019-20. 
    • India mainly exports pharmaceuticals, cereals, cotton and electrical machinery, apparel to Mauritius. Mauritius export iron, steel, pearls, precious/semi-precious stones to India.

Topic: Banking System

10. Two legislations are likely to be amended by government to facilitate privatization of PSU banks.

  • In Union Budget 2021-2022, Finance Minister had proposed privatization of two PSBs and two legislations are likely to be amended by government to facilitate it.
  • Banking Companies (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertakings) Act, 1970 and Banking Companies (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertakings) Act, 1980 will need to be amended for privatization of banks. Both of these laws are related with nationalization of banks.
  • National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development Bill, 2021 is scheduled to be taken up during ongoing Budget session.
  • Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021 will also be taken up during ongoing Budget session.
  • Last year, ten public sector banks were consolidated into four and the number of Public Sector Banks was reduced from 27 to 12.
 

 

 

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