Feb. 28, 2022

Current Affairs
Feb. 28, 2022

SWIFT
The European Union, US, UK and allies have agreed to exclude a number of Russian banks from Swift, an international payment system used by thousands of financial institutions.

What is SWIFT?

  • The SWIFT system stands for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication and is a secure platform for financial institutions to exchange information about global monetary transactions such as money transfers.

  • While SWIFT does not actually move money, it operates as a middleman to verify information of transactions by providing secure financial messaging services to more than 11,000 banks in over 200 countries.

  • Based in Belgium, it is overseen by the central banks from eleven industrial countries: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, besides Belgium.

What does the move aim to achieve?

  • Excluding Russian banks from the SWIFT platform is expected to hit the country’s economy hard.

  • While workarounds to SWIFT have been tried, none have proven to be effective.

  • During the last seven years, Russia, too, has worked on alternatives, including the SPFS (System for Transfer of Financial Messages) — an equivalent of the SWIFT financial transfer system developed by the Central Bank of Russia.

Source : Indian Express
Economy

Current Affairs
Feb. 28, 2022

ADVANCED MEDIUM COMBAT AIRCRAFT (AMCA)
India and France are close to concluding a deal, likely in the next couple of months, for the joint development of a 125KN engine for the indigenous fifth generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) under development.

About:

  • The collaboration is between the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and French engine maker Safran.

  • External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar discussed this issue with French Defence Minister Florence Parly during his visit to Paris.

  • Last year, the government had informed Parliament that it is proposed to develop indigenous engines for powering aircraft such as the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) variants and AMCA in association with an international engine house.

  • The initial design of the AMCA started way back in 2009 and is envisaged as a twin engine stealth aircraft with internal weapons bay , which has been developed for the first time and for which the design is complete, as reported by The Hindu earlier.

  • The manufacturing and production of the aircraft is planned through a Special Purpose Vehicle, which will also involve private industry.

Source : The Hindu
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
Feb. 28, 2022

SANJEEV SANYAL
After five years as the Principal Economic Adviser to the Ministry of Finance, Sanjeev Sanyal has now been appointed as a full-time member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM).

About:

  • The incoming member is a noted economist, author and columnist, and brings his nearly two decades of experience in the financial sector to the table.

  • Prior to his stint in the Finance Ministry, Mr. Sanyal was the Global Strategist and Managing Director at Deutsche Bank until 2015.

  • Sanyal was instrumental in the preparation and publishing of the Economic Survey (2021-22). He is credited with the transitioning of the Economic Survey from the previous two-volume format to a single volume format alongside a separate volume for statistical tables.

Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM)

  • It is a non-constitutional, non-permanent and independent body constituted to give advice on economic and related issues to the Government of India, specifically to the Prime Minister.

  • At present, EAC-PM is chaired by Dr. Bibek Debroy (Chairman).

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Feb. 28, 2022

ARMED FORCES PREPARATORY SCHOOL
The Armed Forces Preparatory School, which is part of the projects announced by the Delhi government in its 2021 ‘Deshbhakti Budget’, is taking admissions for the first batch.

About:

  • The new Armed Forces Preparatory School by the Delhi government, with its campus in Southwest Delhi’s Jharoda Kalan, will be its first experiment with a fully residential school.

  • The announcement for an armed forces preparatory school had been made by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia in his 2021 budget speech, under the government’s ‘Deshbhakti Budget’. Applications for admission to the first batch are currently ongoing.

  • The school is being considered as one of the government’s new Schools of Specialised Excellence.

  • According to a government official, the school’s curriculum will have two parts — a basic foundational study component and another on the specialisation, which would entail preparation for National Defence Academy (NDA) and Services Selection Board (SSB) tests and physical readiness. 

Source : Indian Express
Internal Security

Current Affairs
Feb. 28, 2022

NATO
Russia’s foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova announced that if Sweden and Finland were to become members of NATO, the move “would have serious military and political consequences”.

About:

  • Along with Austria, Ireland, Cyprus and Malta, Finland and Sweden are two EU states that are not members of NATO yet. Since the end of the Second World War, both countries remained militarily neutral.

  • The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 28 European countries and 2 North American countries.

  • Established in the aftermath of World War II, the organization implements the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949.

  • NATO constitutes a system of collective security, whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defense in response to an attack by any external party.

  • The NATO headquarters are located in Brussels, Belgium, while the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near Mons, Belgium.

Source : Indian Express
International

Current Affairs
Feb. 28, 2022

INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (ISS)
A widely circulated comment by the chief of Russian space agency Dimitry Rogozin has ignited fears that the tension following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could have consequences for the International Space Station (ISS).

About:

  • He said that Russia could respond to the US sanctions by letting the ISS fall from space. He said the ISS could drop over US or Europe, or over India and China. Its orbital flight path usually does not take it over most of the Russian territory.

  • The International Space Station is the only operational space laboratory as of now, orbiting the earth in a trajectory that is about 400 km above the land surface.

  • It is operated by more than 15 partner countries. Apart from Russia and the United States, Canada, Japan and several members of the European Space Agency are partners in the ISS.

  • The football-field-sized ISS travels at a speed of about 28,000 km per hour. It completes one journey around the earth in about one and a half hours. In one day, therefore, it makes about 16 trips around the world.

  • The ISS is not the first space station to be built and operated. Several smaller space stations have been used earlier, the most famous of which have been the Russian Mir space station that operated in the 1980s, and the American Skylab.

  • The ISS has been in operation since 1998 and is expected to continue at least till 2028. Russia, however, has indicated that it might pull out of the collaboration earlier, possibly by 2024.

Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Feb. 28, 2022

FOOD EXPORTS
The export of guavas from India has seen a growth of 260% since 2013. Exports grow from USD 0.58 Million in April-January 2013-14 to USD 2.09 Million in April 2021-22.

About:

  • India’s export of fresh fruits has also witnessed considerable growth. Fresh Grapes is the largest exported items among all fresh food category.

  • India's major exporting destination of fresh fruits during 2020-21 were Bangladesh (USD126.6 million), Netherland (USD 117.56 million) and UAE (USD 100.68 million).

  • Top ten countries accounted for 82 per cent in India's export of fresh fruits in 2020-21.

  • The export of curd (yogurt) and paneer (Indian cottage cheese) has also seen a tremendous growth of 200% from USD 10 Million in April – January 2013-14 to USD 30 Million in April-January 2021022

  • It may be noted that dairy export is growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 10.5 per cent in the last five years.

  • India's major exporting destination of dairy products in 2020-21 were UAE (USD39.34 million), Bangladesh (USD24.13 million) and U S A (USD22.8 million). 

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Feb. 28, 2022

CO-LOCATION
The issue of co-location has come into the limelight once again in the wake of the latest order by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) sanctioning former National Stock Exchange (NSE) MD and CEO Chitra Ramkrishna over decisions taken by her under the alleged influence of a mysterious ‘yogi’.

About:

  • In its February 11 order, SEBI had observed that the fact of Ms. Ramkrishna having shared confidential internal NSE information with an unknown person had come to light during the regulator’s probe of the co-location matter.

What is co-location?

  • In 2009, the NSE started to offer co-location services to members of the exchange.

  • Co-location allows a member to set up his server in a specifically earmarked data centre within the NSE’s exchange premises for a certain price.

  • And even though this data centre is located in a different wing from the exchange’s trading systems, the relative proximity allows members wishing to gain access to the entirety of buy and sell orders sent to the exchange by market participants, or tick-by-tick data, a headstart of a few microseconds or nanoseconds.

What is the controversy?

  • Co-location per se is not illegal. Stock exchanges across the world allow the practice to flourish as a paid service. The SEBI, in fact, had allowed exchanges to offer co-location in 2008.

  • However, a whistleblower in 2015 alleged that some exchange members were able to manipulate NSE’s co-location services to their own benefit with the support of certain officials in NSE’s IT department.

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Feb. 28, 2022

BHAKRA BEAS MANAGEMENT BOARD (BBMB)
The Central government’s decision of adopting a new criterion for selecting members of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB), has evoked sharp criticism from political circles in Punjab and Haryana.

About:

  • According to the Bhakra Beas Management Board Rules, 1974, the member (power) in BBMB was from Punjab and the member (irrigation) was from Haryana.

  • But in the amended rules of 2022, this requirement has been done away with. Opposition parties are arguing that the abolition of the permanent membership of Punjab and Haryana in the BBMB was an attack on the rights of Haryana.

Background

  • As per the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960, the waters of Ravi, Beas and Sutlej are allocated to India and are available to be utilised for irrigation purposes within the country.

  • On the Beas and Sutlej, Bhakra Dehar and Beas power projects were constructed.

  • The BBMB controls these projects, and the expenditure is shared by partner states in the ratio of their shares.

  • Under the Punjab Reorganisation Act 1966, the share from BBMB was divided between Punjab and Haryana in the ration of 58:42, with some share to Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh subsequently added.

  • Primarily, Punjab and Haryana are the two major beneficiaries, and Punjab has the larger share.

Source : The Hindu
Geography

Current Affairs
Feb. 28, 2022

CHEETAH REINTRODUCTION ACTION PLAN
An expert team of wildlife officials from Madhya Pradesh, the Indian Forest Department and the Wildlife Institute of India that visited Namibia for a site visit last week is reportedly “satisfied”, but a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding the transfer is yet to be signed.

About:

  • Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav launched an “action plan” at the 19th meeting of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) on January 7 saying, “The cheetah that became extinct in independent India, is all set to return.”

  • The action plan states that a cohort of 10-12 young cheetahs that are ideal for reintroduction would be imported from Namibia or South Africa as a founder stock during the first year.

  • Around 35 cheetah would be needed over time to establish such a stock.

  • The proposed site for introduction is the Kuno Palpur National Park (KNP) in Madhya Pradesh, though at least three other reserves in Central India are being considered.

  • According to the plan, the Central government, along with the Environment Ministry and the Cheetah Task Force, will create a formal framework to collaborate with governments of Namibia and/or South Africa, through the Ministry of External Affairs.

Cheetah

  • Scientific name: Acinonyx Jubatus.

  • Common Name(s): Cheetah, Hunting Leopard.

  • Speed: It is the fastest land animal. It can reach speeds of 30 m/s.

  • Habitat: Cheetah lives in Dryland Ecosystem i.e. Grasslands, Scrublands and Open Forests.

  • Indian scenario: Cheetah was declared extinct in India in 1952. It is the only large mammal to have been declared extinct in our country in recorded history.

Source : The Hindu
Environment

Feb. 27, 2022

Current Affairs
Feb. 27, 2022

UNSC RESOLUTION ON RUSSIAN INVASION OF UKRAINE
Russia used its veto powers to block a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution condemning its invasion of Ukraine and demanding an immediate withdrawal of its troops.

About:

  • Eleven out of the 15 permanent and non-permanent members — including the US, UK and France — voted in favour of the resolution, while India, China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) chose to abstain.

  • Indian Ambassador T. S. Tirumurti, who abstained, said that “dialogue is the only path forward,” no matter how daunting it might seem, and urged the Council to restore the difficult path forward.

Veto Power?

  • The United Nations Security Council "veto power" is the power of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) to veto any "substantive" resolution.

  • However, a permanent member's abstention or absence does not prevent a draft resolution from being adopted.

  • This veto power does not apply to "procedural" votes, as determined by the permanent members themselves.

Source : Indian Express
International

Current Affairs
Feb. 27, 2022

MARKET INFRASTRUCTURE INSTITUTION (MII)
The National Stock Exchange (NSE), the country's largest equities and derivatives exchange, was earlier this month fined for laxity in governance pertaining to actions taken during the tenure of its former MD and CEO Chitra Ramkrishna.

About:

  • Markets regulator SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) in its order noted that the NSE was a systemically important market infrastructure institution (MII).

  • A panel set up under the chairmanship of former RBI Governor Bimal Jalan — to examine issues in MIIs — in its 2010 report said: “The term ‘market infrastructure’ denotes such fundamental facilities and systems serving this market.

  • Stock exchanges, depositories and clearing houses are all Market Infrastructure Institutions and constitute a key part of the nation's vital economic infrastructure.

What are the specific institutions in India that qualify as MIIs?

  • Among stock exchanges, the SEBI lists seven, including the BSE, the NSE, the Multi Commodity Exchange of India and the Metropolitan Stock Exchange of India.

  • There are two depositories — charged with the safekeeping of securities and enabling their trading and transfer — that are tagged MIIs: the Central Depository Services Ltd. and the National Securities Depository Ltd.

  • The regulator also lists seven clearing houses including the Multi Commodity Exchange Clearing Corporation. Clearing houses, for their part, help validate and finalise securities trades and ensure that both buyers and sellers honour their obligations.

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Feb. 27, 2022

VIVA CARNIVAL
Goa is celebrating its annual ‘Carnaval’ or carnival from February 26 to March 1.

About:

  • Carnival in Goa is also called "Carnaval", "Intruz", "Entrado", or (colloquially) "Viva Carnival".

  • The colourful festival, a vestige of the state’s erstwhile Portuguese rulers, is a celebration before the month of Lent followed by Catholics in Goa.

  • With float parades, music, dance and culinary delights, over the decades, the exuberant celebration has been an eagerly awaited annual event showcasing Goa’s vibrant culture.

  • While carnival celebrations are held across the state by the Goa Department of Tourism, Panaji is the centre of action during the carnival.

  • Like in other parts of the world, the celebration kicks off with an opening ceremony and has parades of floats in the streets. The streets are decorated with striking masks, colourful streamers, lights on its tree-lined streets.

King Momo:

  • King Momo, or the king of Chaos, is a character derived from the Greek god Momus, the god of satire.

  • Like in the many Latino Carnivals, the Goa Carnival also crowns a King Momo, usually “a large gentleman” who leads the carnival parade.

Source : Indian Express
Culture

Current Affairs
Feb. 27, 2022

V. S. GAITONDE
On February 24, an untitled painting from 1969 by VS Gaitonde went under the hammer for Rs 42 crore at an auction by Pundole’s in Mumbai. This is the highest price that an Indian modern or contemporary artwork has been sold internationally at an auction.

About:

  • Vasudeo S. Gaitonde (V. S. Gaitonde) (1924–2001) was regarded as one of India's foremost abstract painters.

  • Gaitonde’s works have often been called luminous, sonorous, sublime and calming by art critics. It is said that a Gaitonde work is not seen but “experienced”.

  • He received the Padma Shri Award in 1971. His works has consistently broken records in recent years, selling for the highest prices in auctions annually.

Source : Indian Express
Culture

Current Affairs
Feb. 27, 2022

DIPPY
Dippy the dinosaur, who famously stood in the entrance hall of London’s Natural History Museum for decades, returns to its home in May after concluding a four-year-long tour across the UK.

About:

  • London’s 26-metre-long Dippy is a plaster cast replica of the fossilised bones of a diplodocus carnegii skeleton.

  • The original, also known as Dippy, is on display at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

  • Dippy was the first Diplodocus to go on display anywhere in the world when it was gifted to the Museum in 1905.

  • The fossilised skeleton from which Dippy was cast was discovered in Wyoming in 1899.

  • Dippy is considered the most famous single dinosaur skeleton in the world.

Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Feb. 27, 2022

ECGC Ltd.
The ECGC Ltd. has decided to withdraw coverage for shipments to Russia with effect from February 25, which is a huge setback for exporters, industry body FIEO said.

About:

  • ECGC Ltd. has now put Russia in the Restricted Cover Category (RCC-I) from the earlier ‘open cover’ category. ‘Open cover’ category enables policyholders to obtain cover on a more liberalised basis.

  • The ECGC Ltd. (Formerly Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India Ltd) is a government owned export credit provider. It provides export credit insurance support to Indian exporters.

  • It is under the ownership of Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.

  • It is based in Mumbai.

  • It was established in 1957.

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Feb. 27, 2022

FDI IN INSURANCE
The Union Cabinet approved changes to India’s foreign direct investment (FDI) policy to allow global investors to participate in the initial public offering of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) shares expected to be launched soon.

About:

  • Foreign investors will now be able to invest up to 20% in LIC shares under the automatic approval route.

  • FDI in insurance ventures is already allowed up to 74% under the automatic approval route, but the policy was silent on foreign equity investments into the country’s largest insurer LIC, a statutory corporation set up under an Act of Parliament.

  • As per the present FDI policy, the FDI ceiling for public sector banks is 20% on government approval route, so it has been decided to allow foreign investment up to 20% for LIC and such other bodies corporate.

  • The approval has been made automatic for LIC so as to expedite the capital raising plan.

  • The amendments to the FDI policy come less than two weeks after the draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) was filed with the stock market regulator.

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Feb. 27, 2022

COAL AUCTION
Union Cabinet has approved offering of coal by coal companies through a common e-auction window instead of sector specific auctions.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the following:

  • Offering of all the non-linkage coal by coal companies through one e-auction window of CIL (CIL) / Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL).

  • This e-auction will cater to all the Sectors namely Power Sector and Non Regulated Sector (NRS) including traders and coal would be offered through this auction in place of the present system of sector specific auctions.

  • The above will be subject to CIL / SCCL meeting the coal linkage requirements against existing linkages and do not impact the current linkages to power and non-power consumers at contracted prices.

  • Coal offered through the single e-auction window shall be transport mode agnostic with default option being through Rail mode. However, coal may be lifted by the consumers through the road mode/other modes depending upon their choice and suitability without paying any additional charges or discount to the coal companies.

  • Long term allotment of coal by CIL/SCCL, without affecting the supplies against existing coal linkages, to their own gasification plants shall be allowed at prices as may be decided by the coal company. However, the taxes, duties, royalty etc shall be paid by the coal companies on the notified prices of coal for power sector.

Major impact:

  • Market distortions would be removed and single rate for all the consumers will evolve in the e-auction market. It shall increase operational efficiencies and lead to an increase in domestic coal demand by efficiency in domestic coal market.

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Feb. 27, 2022

AYUSHMAN BHARAT DIGITAL MISSION
The Union Cabinet has approved the national roll-out of Central Sector Scheme, Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, with a budget of Rs.1,600 crore for five years.

About:

  • The National Health Authority (NHA) will be the implementing agency of Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM).

  • Under the ABDM, citizens will be able to create their ABHA (Ayushman Bharat Health Account) numbers, to which their digital health records can be linked.

  • This will enable creation of longitudinal health records for individuals across various healthcare providers, and improve clinical decision making by healthcare providers.

Present status

  • The pilot of ABDM was completed in the six Union Territories of Ladakh, Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, Puducherry, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep with successful demonstration of technology platform developed by the NHA.

  • As on 24th February 2022, 17,33,69,087 Ayushman Bharat Health Accounts have been created and 10,114 doctors and 17,319 health facilities have been registered in ABDM.

Source : The Hindu
Health

Current Affairs
Feb. 27, 2022

COIR BOARD REGIONAL OFFICE
Union Minister for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) inaugurated Coir Board Regional Office at Kankavali in Sindhudurg, Maharashtra.

About:

  • Coir Board is implementing several programmes to develop coir industry in the Konkan Zone. With the opening of this regional office, Coir Board will bring more programmes to the region.

  • The Coir Board is a statutory body established by the Government of India under the Coir Industry Act 1953 for the promotion and development of the coir (coconut fibre) industry in India.

  • The head office of the Coir Board is in Kochi.

  • The board functions under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

Source : PIB
Economy

Feb. 26, 2022

Current Affairs
Feb. 26, 2022

UKRAINE
Three days before he invaded Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin described Russia’s southwestern neighbour as a bogus country with no history, identity, or “stable traditions of real statehood”.

About:

  • Ukraine is in the east of Europe, and is bound by Russia to its northeast, east, and southeast, and the Black Sea in the south. In the southwest, west, and north, Ukraine shares borders, in the clockwise direction, with Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, and Belarus.

  • It is the largest country in Europe after Russia itself.

  • In July 2021, Ukraine’s population was estimated at 43.7 million. Of this, 77.8% was of Ukrainian ethnicity and 17.3% was Russian.

  • Ukraine is the poorest country in Europe in terms of gross domestic product and gross national income per capita. It has deposits of iron ore and coal, and exports corn, sunflower oil, iron and iron products, and wheat.

Ukraine as part of USSR

  • Months after the Bolsheviks took power in the October Revolution of 1917, an independent Ukrainian People’s Republic was proclaimed, but a civil war continued between various claimants to power, including Ukrainian factions, anarchists, Tsarists, and Poland.

  • In 1922, Ukraine became part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).

  • In 1991, the USSR was dissolved and the parliament of Ukraine adopted the country’s Act of Independence.

India and Ukraine

  • India is Ukraine’s largest export destination in the Asia Pacific region.

  • The country’s major export to India is sunflower oil, followed by inorganic chemicals, iron and steel, plastics, and chemicals.

  • Ukraine’s major import from India is pharmaceutical products.

Source : Indian Express
International

Current Affairs
Feb. 26, 2022

NARSINH MEHTA
Recently, researchers of Bhakta Kavi Narsinh Mehta University (BKNMU), Junagadh, discovered a new species of spider and named it Narsinhmehtai in honour of Narsinh Mehta, the 15th century poet who was a devotee of Lord Krishna.

About:

  • Mehta is believed to have been born in Talaja in present-day Bhavnagar district in 1410 and died in Junagadh in 1480s.

  • Mehta used to spend time in Krishna-bhakti (devotion to Lord Krishna) even after his marriage to Manekba, paying little attention to family duties.

  • Mehta penned more than 750 poems, called padd in Gujarat.

  • They mainly deal with devotion to Lord Krishna, gyan (wisdom) vairagya (detachment from worldly affairs). Others like Shalmshano Vivah, Kunvarbainu Mameru, Hundi and Harmala are believed to be autobiographical accounts of different occasions in his life.

  • Vaishanavajn to tene kahiye, Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite bhajan is Mehta’s creation.

Source : Indian Express
Culture

Current Affairs
Feb. 26, 2022

REVOLUTIONS IN UKRAINE
Since 1990, Ukraine has had one revolution every decade. As Russian forces continue their long march into the former Soviet state, here is a look at some of these revolutions and their outcome.

About:

  • Granite Revolution: Ukraine’s first and perhaps least known popular uprising was the granite revolution which took place in October 1990. At the time, Ukraine was still a part of the Soviet Union.

  • Orange Revolution: The Orange Revolution was a series of protests and political events that took place in Ukraine between November 2004 and January 2005.

  • Maidan revolution: It took place in Ukraine in February 2014 at the end of the Euromaidan protests, when a series of violent events involving protesters, riot police, and unknown shooters in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv culminated in the ousting of elected president Viktor Yanukovych and the overthrow of the Ukrainian government.

Source : Indian Express
International

Current Affairs
Feb. 26, 2022

HEMANANDA BISWAL
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has expressed deep grief over the passing away of former Chief Minister of Odisha, Shri Hemananda Biswal.

About:

  • Hemananda Biswal (1939 – 2022) was an Indian politician.

  • Biswal served as Chief Minister of Odisha from 7 December 1989 to 5 March 1990, and again from 6 December 1999 to 5 March 2000.

  • Biswal was the first Tribal chief Minister of Odisha.

  • He was also the MP of Sundergarh from 2009 to 2014.

Source : PIB
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
Feb. 26, 2022

CHERNOBYL
After a brief but fierce battle, Russian troops were able to capture the Chernobyl nuclear plant in northern Ukraine, the site of one of the worst nuclear disasters in human history.

About:

  • Located around 16 km away from the city of Chernobyl and a little over 100 km away from Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv, the power plant witnessed the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986.

  • The disaster occurred between April 25-26, when a group of technicians in what was then Soviet-controlled Ukraine carried out a botched safety test that led to a series of explosions at Chernobyl’s reactor No. 4 and a partial meltdown of its core. The explosions exposed the core and released clouds of radioactive material into the atmosphere.

  • It is said to have released 400 times more radiation than the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in Japan.

  • In fact, the catastrophe is considered one of the key factors that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union a few years later.

  • Why did Russia capture Chernobyl? Seizing Chernobyl was a strategic decision that gave Russian troops quick and easy access to Kyiv from Belarus, which is an ally of Moscow. By capturing Chernobyl, Russia has secured a route into Ukraine for its ground forces.

Source : Indian Express
International

Current Affairs
Feb. 26, 2022

VIP SECURITY COVER
Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim has been provided Z plus category security by the Haryana government.

About:

  • Protection is generally given to someone who holds a position of consequence either in the government or in civil society — hence the informal description “VIP security”.

  • The level of security is decided by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in the case of the Centre, and by the state government in the case of states.

Levels of protection extended to individuals by governments at the Centre and the states

  • There are largely six types of security cover: X, Y, Y plus, Z, Z plus, and SPG (Special Protection Group).

  • While the SPG is meant only for the PM and his immediate family, other protection categories can be provided to anyone about whom the Centre or state governments have inputs about a threat.

  • X category security usually entails one gunman protecting the individual;

  • Y has one gunman for mobile security and one (plus four on rotation) for static security;

  • Y plus has two policemen (plus four on rotation) for mobile security, and one (plus four on rotation) for residence security;

  • Z has six gunmen for mobile security, and two (plus eight) for residence security; and

  • Z plus has 10 security personnel for mobile security and two (plus eight) for residence security.

Source : Indian Express
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
Feb. 26, 2022

P-8I AIRCRAFT
Aviation and defence colossus Boeing delivered India’s 12th maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare P-8I aircraft on February 24.

About:

  • The first of these aircraft was inducted in 2013, and it made India the first country outside the United States to get one. The Navy has been receiving them regularly since.

  • The first aircraft produced by Boeing flew in 2009, and has been in service with the US Navy since 2013, the same year as the Indian Navy. Apart from India and the US, it has been chosen by six other militaries in the world.

  • The aircraft has two variants —
    • The P-8A Poseidon, which is flown by the US Navy, the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, and the Royal Norwegian Air Force. It has also been selected by the Royal New Zealand Air Force, the Republic of Korea Navy, and the German Navy.

    • The aircraft for the Indian Navy are called P-8I, and have replaced the ageing Soviet/Russian Tupolev Tu-142s.



  • The P-8Is are capable of anti-submarine; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR); patrolling, coastline defence, and other operations.

Source : Indian Express
International Relations

Current Affairs
Feb. 26, 2022

UNION MSME RuPay CREDIT CARD
Union Minister for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises, Shri Narayan Rane launched the Union MSME RuPay Credit Card of Union Bank of India in Sindhudurg at the two day MSME Conclave being held in the district.

About:

  • The card is being offered by Union Bank of India in association with National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). It provides a simplified payment mechanism to MSMEs to meet their business-related operational expenses.

  • The RuPay Card offers benefits like anytime digital payments, interest-free period and will carry interest rate similar to the rate charged for loans.

  • MSME borrowers will be able to enjoy an interest-free credit period of up to 50 days on their business spends.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Feb. 26, 2022

IMMIGRATION VISA FOREIGNERS REGISTRATION TRACKING (IVFRT)
The Government of India has approved the continuation of the Immigration Visa Foreigners Registration Tracking (IVFRT) Scheme beyond March 31, 2021 for a period of five years from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2026 with a financial outlay of Rs.1,364.88 crore.

About:

  • The objective of IVFRT is modernization and up-gradation of Immigration and Visa services.

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs aims to provide a secure and integrated service delivery framework that facilitates legitimate travelers while strengthening national security, through this scheme.

  • The project has a global outreach and seeks to interlink and optimize functions relating to immigration, visa issuance, registration of foreigners and tracking of their movements in India by covering 192 Indian Missions across the globe, 108 Immigration Check Posts (ICPs) in India and more than 700 Foreigners Registration Officers (FROs) across the country.

Source : PIB
International

Current Affairs
Feb. 26, 2022

BHASHA CERTIFICATE SELFIE CAMPAIGN
Ministry of Education launched a campaign ‘Bhasha Certificate Selfie to encourage cultural diversity and promote mulitlinguism and to foster the spirit of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat.

About:

  • Bhasha Certificate Selfie initiative aims to promote Bhasha Sangam mobile app, developed by Ministry of Education and MyGov India.

  • Using the app, people can learn 100+ sentences of daily use in as many as 22 scheduled Indian languages.

  • The initiative, under the aegis of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat will aim to ensure that people acquire basic conversational skills in Indian languages.

  • To achieve this, a target of 75 lakh people acquiring basic conversational skills has been set.

  • Bhasha Sangam mobile app was launched by Minister of Education while commemorating Rashtriya Ekta Diwas which is celebrated on October 31 every year to mark the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

  • The ‘Bhasha Certificate Selfie’ initiative is encouraging people to upload their selfie with the certificate from their social media accounts using the hashtag #BhashaCertificateSelfie.

Source : PIB
Education

Feb. 25, 2022

Current Affairs
Feb. 25, 2022

RUSSIA INVADES UKRAINE
Russia has launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine by land, air and sea, in what is being seen as the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since World War II.

What's the issue between Russia and Ukraine?

  • Ukraine, a democratic country of 44 million people with more than 1,000 years of history, is the biggest country in Europe by area after Russia itself.

  • It voted overwhelmingly for independence from Moscow after the fall of the Soviet Union and says it aims to join Nato and the European Union.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, has called Ukraine an artificial creation carved from Russia by enemies, a characterisation Ukrainians call shocking and false.

  • The Russian President has also claimed that Ukraine is a puppet of the West and was never a proper state anyway.

  • Putin has demanded guarantees from the West and Ukraine that it will not join NATO, a defensive alliance of 30 countries. He also wants Ukraine to be demilitarised and become a neutral state.

  • But in January last year, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged US President Joe Biden to let Ukraine join NATO. This greatly irked Russia as it does not want Ukraine to move towards European institutions such as NATO and the EU.

But why do Russia care so much about Ukraine?

  • Both Russia and the West see Ukraine as a potential buffer against each other.

  • Russia considers Ukraine within its natural sphere of influence. Most of it was for centuries part of the Russian Empire, many Ukrainians are native Russian speakers and the country was part of the Soviet Union until winning independence in 1991.

Source : Times of India
International

Current Affairs
Feb. 25, 2022

BLOATWARE APPS
Bloatware apps are being criticized for taking up the storage of the device unnecessarily and affecting the system’s battery life and overall performance.

About:

  • Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUP), more popularly known as bloatware apps are needless programs that take a toll on your device’s performance.

  • Device manufacturers introduced these bloatware apps to provide users with additional programs that they might want to use, while making money on the way. Gradually, these apps, rather than being helpful, end up being a headache for users.

  • Generally, these apps that run in the background are hidden and locating them becomes a tough job for the users. It could be any software on your computer, phone or tablet that consumes a lot of resources like — memory, storage and battery life.

Different types of bloatwares found on devices

  • There are three most common types of bloatwares that can be found on any device.

  • Utilities: These types of bloatwares come from manufacturers and third-party developers and are usually pre-loaded on your device. These offer added functionality to your device.

  • Trialware: Users can experience the app as most of them offer free trial modes in new devices. However, these programs keep on consuming your device’s resources, even after the trial period is over.

  • Adware: These types of bloatware typically gets downloaded while downloading softwares from the internet.

Source : Times of India
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Feb. 25, 2022

OMBUDSPERSON APP FOR MGNREGA
Union Minister for Rural Development Giriraj Singh launched Ombudsperson App for Mahatma Gandhi NREGA.

About:

  • Ministry of Rural Development has developed an Ombudsperson App for smooth reporting and categorization of grievances by Ombudsperson based on complaints he received from various sources viz. physical, digital and mass media, related to the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi NREG Scheme in the States/UTs.

  • At present, the reporting of complaints, passing awards and disposal of complaints are in physical form. For the smooth reporting of complaints, passing awards and quick disposal of complaints Ombudsperson App is developed.

  • This will strengthen Ombudsperson in the discharge of her/his duty in a hassle-free manner. 

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Feb. 25, 2022

QUANTUM KEY DISTRIBUTION (QKD)
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said that a joint team of scientists and engineers from DRDO and IIT Delhi successfully demonstrated Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) link for a distance of over 100 km between Prayagraj and Vindhyachal in Uttar Pradesh.

About:

  • The technological breakthrough was achieved over the commercial-grade optical fibre already available in the field.

  • This technology will enable security agencies to plan a suitable quantum communication network with indigenous technology backbone.

  • QKD is primarily a mechanism to undertake secure communication, which utilises a cryptographic protocol involving various components of quantum mechanics.

  • The technology enables two communicating sides to come up with random secret keys shared by both of them and known exclusively to them, so only they can use it to encrypt and decrypt messages, thus achieving a very highly-secure communication.

Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Feb. 25, 2022

VICARIOUS LIABILITY
The Kerala High Court on February 23 said admins of WhatsApp groups are not liable for objectionable posts made by group members.

About:

  • The court examined whether the admin, the petitioner in the case, has vicarious liability or can be held liable for the act of the social media group member.

  • Vicarious liability is a situation in which one party is held partly responsible for the unlawful actions of a third party.

  • The third party also carries their own share of the liability. Vicarious liability can arise in situations where one party is supposed to be responsible for (and have control over) a third party and is negligent in carrying out that responsibility and exercising that control.

  • Such a liability arises usually because of some or the other legal relationship between the two.

  • This often occurs in the context of civil law—for example, in employment cases.

  • In a criminal context, vicarious liability assigns guilt, or criminal liability, to a person for wrongful acts committed by someone else.

Source : Indian Express
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
Feb. 25, 2022

HIV
A US patient has become the third person in the world, and the first woman, to be cured of HIV, the deadly virus that causes AIDS.

About:

  • The woman, who was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2017, recovered after receiving a stem cell transplant from a donor who was naturally resistant to HIV.

  • Human immunodeficiency virus or HIV is an infection that attacks the immune system by destroying the body’s immune cells called CD4, which help it respond to infection.

  • The umbilical cord (also called the navel string, birth cord or funiculus umbilicalis) is a conduit between the developing embryo or fetus and the placenta. The umbilical vein supplies the fetus with oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood from the placenta.

Why is this significant?

  • First, this was the first time an umbilical cord blood transplant was successfully carried out on an HIV patient.

  • Second, the patient was a middle-aged mixed-race woman. This is significant since the majority of donors in the US are of Caucasian descent. Since this breakthrough treatment only requires partial matches and not exact matches, it opens up treatment options for people from diverse racial backgrounds.

Source : Indian Express
Health

Current Affairs
Feb. 25, 2022

CORBEVAX
India’s first indigenously developed Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) protein sub-unit vaccine for COVID-19, CORBEVAX, developed by Biological E Limited, has received approval for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI)for 12-18 years age group.

About:

  • CORBEVAXTM is a 2-dose vaccine administered intramuscularly and can be stored at 2ºC to 8ºC.

  • The recombinant protein sub-unit vaccine developed from the Receptor Biding Domain (RBD) of the spike protein on the viral surface is adjuvanted with CpG 1018 and alum.

  • Biological E. Limited (BE), a Hyderabad-based Pharmaceuticals & Biologics Company founded in 1953.

Do you know?

  • The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) through Mission COVID Suraksha launched under AtmaNirbhar Bharat package 3.0 being implemented by BIRAC, is committed to development of safe and efficacious COVID-19 vaccines.

  • This is the 2nd vaccine supported under the Mission, to have received EUA for the age group of 12-18 years.

Source : PIB
Health

Current Affairs
Feb. 25, 2022

WIRELESS CHARGING
The convenience of wireless charging is rapidly making this tech a popular trend.

Working

  • Modern smartphones use electromagnetic induction to transfer electric energy from the charger to the smartphone while wirelessly charging it.

  • You need your smartphone to support wireless charging and a compatible wireless charger to use this tech. Both the phone and the charger need copper coils as well.

  • A fast changing magnetic field interacts with the copper coil present inside the smartphone when you put a compatible smartphone on a wireless charger

  • The magnetic field then produces electric energy in an enclosed loop that interacts with that magnetic field using electromagnetic induction. The battery gets charged by the electric current that is produced.

  • This form of wireless charging is called tightly-coupled electromagnetic inductive charging.

  • Two copper coils need to be placed in close proximity for this technology to function. The copper coils need to align for this type of wireless charging to work.

  • There are other forms of wireless charging technologies that aim to solve this proximity issue.

  • Radio Frequency (RF)-based charging can charge gadgets wirelessly at a few feet distance, whereas loosely-coupled resonance charging can deliver a charge up to a few centimetres away. Users will be able to charge their phones without going near a charger in the near future using RF charging. 

Source : Times of India
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Feb. 25, 2022

SUSTAINABLE CITIES INDIA PROGRAM
The World Economic Forum and the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on a jointly designed ‘Sustainable Cities India program’.

About:

  • The ‘Sustainable Cities India program’ intends to enable cities to decarbonize in a systematic and sustainable way that will reduce emissions and deliver resilient and equitable urban ecosystems.

  • The Forum and NIUA will adapt the Forum’s City Sprint process and Toolbox of Solutions for decarbonization in the context of five to seven Indian cities across two years.

  • The City Sprint process is a series of multi-sectoral, multi-stakeholder workshops involving business, government, and civil society leaders to enable decarbonization, especially through clean electrification and circularity.

  • As per the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2022, densely populated countries that are highly dependent on agriculture, such as India, are especially vulnerable to climate insecurity. Decarbonization in cities is a real opportunity to keep global warming well below 2°C and cities in India can make an enormous contribution in reaching this goal.

Do you know?

  • The World Economic Forum’s Net Zero Carbon Cities’ mission is to create an enabling environment for clean electrification and circularity, resulting in urban decarbonization and resilience.

  • Established in 1976, the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) is India’s leading national think tank on urban planning and development.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Feb. 25, 2022

NATIONAL STRATEGY ON ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING
Ministry of Electronics & IT released a “National Strategy on Additive Manufacturing” on 24th February 2022.

Salient features:

  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) aims to increase India’s share in global additive manufacturing to 5 per cent within the next three years, with hopes that it could likely add $ 1 billion to the gross domestic product by that time.

  • By 2025, India will aim to achieve certain targets such as 50 India specific technologies for material, machine and software, 100 new startups for additive manufacturing, 500 new products.

  • In total, MeitY hopes that these new startups and opportunities will give jobs to at least 1 lakh new skilled workers over the next three years.

  • To get ahead in the additive manufacturing or 3D printing space, India must adopt it in all sectors, including in defence and public sectors.

  • An apex body which has subject matter experts and leaders from local and global industries could be established to lead the mission.

Source : Indian Express
Economy
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