Current Affairs – February 18, 2021 [Today’s News Headlines]

Here are Today’s News Headlines by GK Today for February 18, 2021

INDIA

3rd edition of Indian Sign Language Dictionary launched

Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot on February 17, 2021 virtually released the third edition of the Indian Sign Language Dictionary. The Dictionary has been brought out by the Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC), an autonomous Institute under the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment. The new dictionary contains 10 thousand terms of everyday use including academic, legal, administrative, medical, technical and agricultural terms.

Cabinet approves Amendments to the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015

The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Women and Child Development to amend the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. The amendments include authorizing District Magistrates to issue adoption orders under Section 61 of the Juvenile Justice Act, in order to ensure speedy disposal of cases and enhance accountability.

Mallikarjun Kharge granted recognition as Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha

Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu has accorded recognition to Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge as the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha with effect from February 16. Kharge was named Congress leader in the House to succeed Ghulam Nabi Azad whose term has ended.

Ethiopian Deputy PM Demeke Mekonnen Hassen arrives on 4-day visit

Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Demeke Mekonnen Hassen arrived in New Delhi on February 16, 2021. Hassen will inaugurate the new Chancery and Residence at Ethiopian Embassy in New Delhi along with External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar.

No contempt case against Rajdeep Sardesai, says Supreme Court

The Supreme Court’s public relations department on February 16, 2021 clarified that the court had not initiated any criminal contempt proceedings against senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai. It clarified that information on the court’s website showing the case status was placed “inadvertently” and “appropriate action to rectify the same is under process”.

PM addresses first-ever virtual Nasscom India Leadership Forum

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 17, 2021 addressed the first-ever virtual Nasscom India Leadership Forum. He exhorted the country’s burgeoning startup ecosystem to move beyond focusing on the valuations and exit strategy and rather create world-class institutions.

Economy & Corporate

Cabinet approves PLI scheme for telecom and networking products

The Union Cabinet on February 17, 2021 approved a Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme worth Rs 12,195 crore for telecom and networking products. The eligibility for the scheme will be subject to achievement of a minimum threshold of cumulative incremental investment and incremental sales of manufactured goods net of taxes. Financial Year 2019-20 will be treated as the Base Year for computation of cumulative incremental sales of manufactured goods net of taxes. The scheme will be operational from April 1, 2021.

Cabinet approves signing of trade agreement between India and Mauritius

The Union Cabinet has approved signing of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA) between India and Mauritius which is aimed at liberalizing norms to boost two-way commerce. The India-Mauritius CECPA will be the first trade Agreement to be signed by India with a country in Africa. The Agreement is a limited agreement, which will cover Trade in Goods, Rules of Origin, Trade in Services, Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures, Dispute Settlement, Movement of Natural Persons, Telecom, Financial services, Customs Procedures and Cooperation in other Areas.

PM inaugurates Ramanathapuram – Thoothukudi natural gas pipeline in Tamil Nadu

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 143-km long Ramanathapuram – Thoothukudi natural gas pipeline and Gasoline Desulphurisation Unit at Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited (CPCL) on February 17, 2021. CPCL is a subsidiary of Indian Oil Corporation. He also laid the foundation stone of Cauvery Basin Refinery at Nagapattinam.

Govt approves proposals worth over Rs 363 cr in food processing sector

The Union Food Processing Industries Ministry on February 17, 2021 cleared 20 projects worth Rs 363.4 crore under two central government schemes. The proposed projects have been cleared for Creation of Infrastructure for Agro-Processing Cluster (APC) and the scheme for Creation/ Expansion of Food Processing and Preservation Capacities (CEFPPC) under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY). The government will provide a grant-in-aid of Rs 102.91 crore for these projects. A decision in this regard was taken in the Inter-Ministerial Approval Committee (IMAC) meeting chaired by the Food Processing Industries Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.

Armed forces: Enhanced financial powers for capital procurement approved

Cabinet on February 17, 2021 approved enhanced delegation of Financial Powers under Capital Procurement to levels below Vice-Chief of Armed Forces. Under Other Capital Procurement Procedure of Defence Acquisition Procedure-2020, financial powers up to Rs 100 crore has been delegated to General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief at Services Command and Regional Commanders, Indian Coast Guard. Powers up to Rs 200 crore has been delegated to Deputy Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Material, Air Officer Maintenance, Deputy Chief Integrated Defence Staff and Additional Director General Indian Coast Guard.

Ministry of Earth Sciences invites suggestions on blue economy policy

The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) has rolled out the draft blue economy policy in the public domain, inviting suggestions and inputs from various stakeholders, including industry, NGOs, academia and citizens. The draft policy document outlines the vision and strategy that can be adopted by the government to utilise the oceanic resources in the country.

Sri Lanka to re-acquire Trincomalee port oil tanks leased out to Indian Oil

Sri Lanka will re-acquire the World War II-era oil storage tanks leased out to Indian Oil Corporation in the eastern port district of Trincomalee. Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila said that talks with the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo on this issue concluded on February 14. Sri Lanka in 2003 had leased out 99 oil tanks to the IOC for 30 years for an annual payment of USD 100,000. The IOC was also given one third share of the Sri Lankan government entity, Petroleum Storage Limited.

World

“Iran-Russia Maritime Security Belt 2021” exercise held in the Indian Ocean

India joined Iran and Russia in a two-day navy exercise dubbed “Iran-Russia Maritime Security Belt 2021” in the northern part of the Indian Ocean on February 16-17, 2021.

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