Daily Current Affairs and GK | 21 February 2024

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 21 Feb 2024 16:54 PM IST

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Topic: Personality in News

1. Ameen Sayani, an iconic radio presenter, died at the age of 91.

  • Iconic radio host Ameen Sayani, voice of 'Geetmala', passed away at the age of 91.
  • He passed away in the hospital due to heart failure.
  • He began his career as an English-language broadcaster and later transitioned to Hindi.
  • He gained popularity through his radio program 'Geetmala', which played a pivotal role in popularising radio listening in India.
  • During his six-decade career, he produced and presented over 54,000 radio programs and 19,000 voice-overs for advertisements and jingles.

Topic: National News

2. By July 2024, the government will release a draft regulatory framework for artificial intelligence (AI).

  • Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, recently stated this.
  • He spoke during the two-day Nasscom leadership summit's opening session in Mumbai.
  • He announced during the address that the government is developing a draft framework for AI regulations.
  • He went on to say that the goal is to address any risks and negative effects while utilizing AI to promote economic growth.
  • He added that the government is committed to producing people with AI skills.
  • He has previously stated that defining guidelines and compiling a detailed list of the harms and offenses associated with AI technology are part of the government's regulatory strategy.
  • In reference to the growing usage of the internet, he stated that the 900 million people who use it now will soon reach 1.2 billion.

Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings

3. INDUS-X Summit took place in New Delhi on February 20-21, 2024.

  • In collaboration with the U.S.-India Business Council and the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers, it is organized by Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX), under the Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence, and Department of Defence, United States.
  • It is intended to be a pivotal event driving strategic technological alliances and defence industry collaboration between the United States and India.
  • The event will bring together stakeholders in defence innovation from various sectors, including government agencies, academic and research institutions, investors, defense start-ups, technological incubators, industry groups, and other entities that support start-ups.
  • During the event, the Joint INDUS X challenge winners under the IMPACT will be felicitated.
  • INDUS-X Summit was launched in June 2023 while Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi was on a state visit to the US.
  • Since its inception, the India-U.S. Defence Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X) has been leading the way in expanding bilateral ties in defence innovation.

Topic: Important Days

4. International Mother Language Day: 21 February

  • Every year, International Mother Language Day is commemorated on February 21.
  • International Mother Language Day encourages multilingualism in society and attempts to preserve traditional knowledge and cultures through long-term strategies.
  • The movement for International Mother Language Day started in Bangladesh.
  • On 21 February 1952, some students were killed because they began the movement to make Bengali a official language in Bangladesh.
  • In 1999, UNESCO declared 21 February as International Mother Language Day at the 30th UNESCO General Conference.
  • The theme for International Mother Language Day 2024 is “Multilingual education – a pillar of learning and intergenerational learning”.
  • The United Nations General Assembly had declared 2008 as the International Year of Languages.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

5. On 21 February, a National-level project of health screening and management through Ayurveda interventions has been launched by Union Minister Sonowal Ayurveda in New Delhi.

  • The aim of this project is to benefit more than 20 thousand tribal people. Under this, health checkups of students from classes 6th to 12th will be done.
  • This health-related checkup will be done in selected 55 Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) in 14 states of the country.
  • In this, special attention has been paid to anaemia, hemoglobinopathy, malnutrition and tuberculosis.
  • Efforts will be made to develop healthy lifestyle practices among the students as per the principles of Ayurveda.
  • Apart from this, an integrated approach will be made for the management of diseases.
  • For this, intervention will be done by the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS) under the Ministry of AYUSH and 16 units of ICMR-National Tribal Health Research Institute- Jabalpur in collaboration with the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
  • In October 2022, the Ministry of AYUSH and the Ministry of Tribal Affairs signed an MoU to explore areas of collaboration, engagement, and coordination for tribal development.
  • Accordingly, CCRAS developed 72 nutrition gardens in EMRS of 20 states.
  • At the same time, CCRAS institutes also participated in mega health camps during the Tribal Festival in Seraikela, Jharkhand.
  • Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) provide quality education to Scheduled Tribe (ST) children in remote areas, enabling them to avail opportunities in higher and professional educational courses and get employment in various sectors.
  • Presently there are 401 schools operating across the country with a special focus on state-of-the-art facilities to provide quality education and training in sports and skill development.

Topic: International News

6. On 19 February, Malta has become the 119th country to join the International Solar Alliance.

  • The ISA is an alliance of over 120 signatory countries that aims to reduce dependence on non-renewable sources of energy, such as fossil fuels.
  • On 19 February, Christopher Cutajar, Permanent Secretary of the Maltese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, signed the ISA Framework Agreement.
  • The platform seeks to develop and deploy cost-effective and transformative energy solutions powered by the sun to help member countries develop low-carbon development trajectories.
  • It has a special focus on making an impact in countries classified as Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
  • International Solar Alliance (ISA):
    • International Solar Alliance (ISA) was co-founded by India and France.
    • India and France jointly launched the International Solar Alliance (ISA) on 30 November 2015 at COP21 in Paris, France.
    • Its main objective is to reduce the use of conventional energy by using solar energy efficiently.
    • Ajay Mathur is the current Director-General of International Solar Alliance.
    • Its headquarters is located in Gurugram.

International Solar Alliance

(Source: News on AIR)

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Topic: Summits/Conferences/Meetings

7. PM Narendra Modi inaugurated the 9th edition of Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi.

  • Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Prime Minister of Greece, attended the inaugural session as the Chief Guest. Kyriakos Mitsotakis gave the keynote speech.
  • More than a hundred countries will send representatives to the three-day Raisina Dialogue.
  • Ministers, past heads of state and heads of government, military chiefs, business executives, technology executives, academics, journalists, and scholars specializing in strategic affairs are among the attendees.
  • "Chaturanga: Conflict, Contest, Cooperate, Create" is the topic for this edition.
  • Global thought leaders and decision-makers will interact with one another through conversations in a variety of forms centered on six themes.
  • These include War and Peace: Armouries and Asymmetries, Peace with the Planet: Invest and Innovate, and Tech Frontiers: Regulations and Realities.
  • The Raisina Dialogue is India's premier conference on geopolitics and geo-economics.
  • It is dedicated to taking on the most difficult problems that the world community is currently experiencing.
  • It is being held annually since 2016. It is organised by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Observer Research Foundation.

Topic: Awards and Prizes

8. Shashi Tharoor has been given France’s highest civilian honour.

  • The highest civilian honor bestowed by France, the Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur France, was given to Shashi Tharoor.
  • He was awarded the honour in August 2022, but formal conferring took place on 20 February 2024.
  • He is a senior leader of Congress party. He has been serving as Member of Parliament for Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, since 2009.
  • He is the current Chairman of the Standing Committee on Chemicals and Fertilizers.
  • He was awarded by World Economic Forum as "Global Leader of Tomorrow".
  • ‘Ambedkar: A Life’ is a book about B. R. Ambedkar written by Shashi Tharoor and published in 2022.

Topic: International News

9. World Health Organization launched the Global Initiative on Digital Health (GIDH).

  • It is a digital health platform for sharing knowledge and digital products among countries.
  • It was one of the three priority areas that were agreed during India’s G20 presidency in 2023.
  • On the occasion of launching the Global Initiative on Digital Health (GIDH, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya and India’s representative to the UN Arindam Bagchi were present also.
  • Global Initiative on Digital Health will be a network of networks. It will have four components- country needs tracker, country resource portal, transformation toolbox, and knowledge exchange.
  • This initiative will help in democratising digital health technologies, especially for countries of the Global South.
  • GIDH will support countries in three ways, which are given below.
    • By listening to their needs
    • By aligning resources to avoid fragmentation and overlap
    • By providing quality-assured products

Topic: Indian Polity

10. Supreme Court quashed the result of the Chandigarh Mayor election.

  • After finding presiding officer Anil Masih had deliberately invalidated eight ballots cast in favour of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-Congress candidate Kuldeep Kumar ‘Tita’, the Supreme Court quashed the result of the Mayor of Chandigarh.
  • Supreme Court used its power under Article 142 of the Constitution to do “complete justice” and protect the sanctity of electoral democracy.
  • The Supreme Court bench said that the eight votes which are treated as invalid were wrongly treated.
  • Kuldeep Kumar has been declared winner in the Chandigarh Mayor election with 20 votes.
  • Mayor:
    • A mayor heads a municipal corporation. The mayor of a city is the first citizen of that city.
    • The mayor is usually elected by the members of the Municipal Corporation or Council.
    • The first municipal corporation in India was set up at Madras in 1687.

Topic: National News

11. On 19 February, Lieutenant General Upendra Dwivedi took over as Army Vice Chief.

  • Earlier, he was appointed as the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C) of the Northern Command based at Udhampur from 2022 to 2024.
  • When Army Chief Lieutenant General Manoj Pandey retires from service in May, he will be the senior-most officer in the Army and in line for the top post based on seniority.
  • On assuming the appointment, Lieutenant General Dwivedi laid a wreath at the National War Memorial and was given a Guard of Honor at the South Block Lawn.
  • Lieutenant General Dwivedi was awarded 'Distinguished Fellow' at the National Defence College equivalent course at the US Army War College, Carlisle, USA.
  • His two overseas tenures include Somalia, as part of HQ UNOSOM II and Seychelles as Military Advisor to the Government of Seychelles.

Upendra Dwivedi

(Source: PIB)

Topic: State News/ Uttarakhand

12. On 19 February, the 'Himalayan Basket' initiative was launched by Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami.

  • This innovative project, started in 2018 by local entrepreneurs Sumit and Sneha Thapliyal, aims to boost local employment by leveraging the rich agricultural resources of the district.
  • They have already employed over 200 individuals.
  • The initiative focuses on purchasing milk, turmeric, and mint from local farmers to produce and export high-demand products like 'Churpi' and ghee.
  • The demand for milk products 'Churpi' and 'Ghee' is high in the state. Chhurpi is a special hard cheese made from cow's milk.
  • The 'Himalayan Basket' initiative represents more than just an agricultural project and is a vision for economic empowerment and sustainability in the Himalayan region.
  • This initiative caters to the growing market demand, opening new avenues for local farmers and entrepreneurs by focusing on products like 'Churpi' and ghee derived from cow's milk.

Topic: National News

13. Government launched ‘Sagar Aankalan’ guidelines to boost efficiency and competitiveness.

  • Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal launched the ‘Sagar Aankalan’ guidelines for the Indian port performance index.
  • The ‘Sagar Aankalan’ guidelines have been issued for national benchmarking of Indian Ports Performance.
  • It will be enforced across all seaports in India to improve efficiency and competitiveness.
  • The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has also approved environmental clearance for Maharashtra’s Vadhavan Port in Palghar.
  • Vadhavan Port is a collaborative effort between the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) and the Maharashtra Maritime Board.
  • The shipping ministry will soon seek cabinet approval for the Rs 76,220 crore project.

Topic: State News/ Maharashtra

14. Maharashtra Legislative Assembly passed the Maratha Reservation Bill.

  • The Maratha Reservation Bill has been passed, which will provide a 10 per cent reservation to Marathas above the 50 per cent limit.
  • The state government convened a one-day special session of the state legislature to pass this bill.
  • This is the third time in a decade that the state has introduced legislation for the Maratha quota.
  • The decision to convene a special session was prompted by Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange Patil.
  • The reservation has been increased based on a report submitted to the state government by the Maharashtra Backward Class Commission (MBCC). It was headed by chairman Justice (Retired) Sunil Shukre.
  • The Maharashtra state already has a 10 per cent quota for the Economically Weaker Section (EWS).
  • The Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission (MSBCC) was constituted in 2017, and was headed by Justice (retired) MG Gaikwad.
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