Current Affairs – February 20, 2021 [Today’s News Headlines]

Here are Today’s News Headlines by GK Today for February 20, 2021

INDIA

Intensified Mission Indradhanush 3.0 launched to expand immunization coverage

Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan on February 19, 2021 launched Intensified Mission Indradhanush 3.0, (IMI 3.0) to expand immunization coverage across the country.  It will have two rounds starting from the February 22 and March 22 and will be conducted in pre-identified 250 districts and urban areas across 29 States and UTs in the country. Both rounds will be for 15 days each. The focus of the Intensified Mission Indradhanush 3.0 will be the children and pregnant women who have missed their vaccine doses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

User trials of Anti-Tank Guided Missile Systems ‘Helina’ and ‘Dhruvastra’ done

Joint User Trials for Helina (Army Version) and Dhruvastra (Air Force Version) Anti-Tank Guided Missile Systems have been carried out from Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) platform in desert ranges. The missile systems have been designed and developed indigenously by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

Smart Cities Mission: 25 cities chosen for Nurturing Neighbourhoods Challenge

The Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry on February 18, 2021 announced the names of the 25 cities selected for the Nurturing Neighbourhoods Challenge under the Smart Cities Mission. The selected cities were Agartala, Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Dharamshala, Erode, Hubballi-Dharwad, Hyderabad, Indore, Jabalpur, Kakinada, Kochi, Kohima, Kota, Nagpur, Rajkot, Ranchi, Rohtak, Rourkela, Salem, Surat, Thiruvananthapuram, Tiruppur, Ujjain, Vadodara, and Warangal.

Home Minister Amit Shah attends ‘Shauryanjali’ programme in Kolkata

Home Minister Amit Shah attended the programme ‘Shauryanjali’ organized to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose at the National Library of Kolkata on February 19, 2021. The Union Home Minister also flagged off a cycle rally. Three teams, namely Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Rasbihari Bose and Khudiram Bose, are participating in the rally which will create awareness in West Bengal about the sacrifices made by the state’s revolutionaries in the freedom movement.

Taken note of DDC polls and resumption of 4G internet services in J&K: EU

The European Union on February 19, 2021 said it has taken note of recent steps such as district council elections and the resumption of 4G internet services in Jammu and Kashmir, and was looking forward to a number of other important steps, including the early organisation of the legislative assembly polls.

Prakash Javadekar inaugurates Atal Paryavaran Bhavan at Lakshadweep

Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar inaugurated the Atal Paryavaran Bhavan at Lakshadweep. He reached Kavaratti in Lakshadweep on February 19, 2021 on a four-day official visit. He will take part in various official programmes at Suheli, Kadmat and Bangaram islands.

Home Minister releases book on history of CRPF

Home Minister Amit Shah on February 19, 2021 released a book ‘Rashtra Pratham – 82 varshon ki Swarnim Gatha’ in New Delhi. The book chronicles the glorious history of CRPF since its raising in 1939.

Indian Navy to participate in NAVDEX 21 and IDEX 21 in UAE on Feb 20-25

Indian Naval Ship Pralaya arrived at Abu Dhabi, UAE on February 19, 2021 to participate in the NAVDEX 21 (Naval Defence Exhibition) and IDEX 21 (International Defence Exhibition), scheduled from 20 to 25 February 2021.

India to fund reconstruction of 6 secondary schools in Nepal

India and Nepal on February 18, 2021 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the reconstruction of six secondary schools in the Himalayan nation. The MoU was signed between the Indian Embassy and Nepal’s Central Level Project Implementation Unit (Education) of Nepal Reconstruction Authority (NRA). The total cost of the project will be Nepali Rupees 518 million.

11th India-EU Macroeconomic dialogue held through video conferencing

The 11th India-EU Macroeconomic dialogue was held on February 19, 2021 through video conferencing.  Secretary Economic Affairs Tarun Bajaj led the Indian delegation. The delegation from European Union was led by Director General of Economic and Financial Affairs ECFIN in European Commission Maarten Verwey.

Economy & Corporate

Foreign exchange reserves at $583.697 billion in the week ended Feb 12

The country’s foreign exchange reserves fell by USD 249 million to USD 583.697 billion in the week ended February 12, RBI data showed on February 19, 2021. The foreign currency assets (FCAs) decreased by USD 1.387 billion to USD 540.951 billion. The gold reserves rose by USD 1.26 billion to USD 36.227 billion. The special drawing rights (SDRs) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) rose by USD 10 million to USD 1.513 billion. The country’s reserve position with the IMF declined by USD 132 million to USD 5.006 billion.

“Go Electric” Campaign launched to spread awareness on the benefits of e-mobility

Nitin Gadkari, the Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises launched the “Go Electric” Campaign on February 19, 2021 to spread awareness on the benefits of e-mobility and EV Charging Infrastructure as well as electric cooking in India. Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), under the aegis of the Ministry of Power has been mandated to undertake an awareness drive for promoting Public Charging, e-mobility & its ecosystem.

PM inaugurates Pugalur (Tamil Nadu) – Thrissur (Kerala) power transmission project

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 19, 2021 inaugurated POWERGRID’s 320 kV 2000 MW Pugalur (Tamil Nadu) – Thrissur (Kerala) HVDC (high voltage direct current) power transmission project in presence of Governor Arif Mohammad Khan and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

ISRO running SEED programme for startups in the space sector

ISRO has embarked on a mission to assist startups in the space sector to help them realise their business potential. It is keen on formulating an exclusive space startup programme — “Space Entrepreneurship & Enterprise Development (SEED). SEED is conceived as a competitive early-stage encouragement programme to startups and MSMEs (Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises) keen on developing products/services in focus areas of interest to ISRO with the space agency helping them to use its facilities.

OIL teams up with EIL to bid for BPCL’s 61.65% stake in Numaligarh Refinery

Oil India (OIL) has teamed up with Engineers India Ltd (EIL) to bid for BPCL’s 61.65% stake in Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL). The boards of the two state-run firms approved their plans to jointly bid. If successful, acquire BPCL’s stake in NRL that operates a 3 million tonnes a year refinery in Assam. While deciding on BPCL’s privatisation, the government has decided to hive off NRL and sell it to a government-owned company.

Patanjali’s Coronil, 1st ‘proof-based’ drug to fight Covid, gets govt nod

Yoga guru Ramdev on February 19, 2021 released a research paper by Haridwar-based Patanjali Research Institute on the “first evidence-based ayurvedic medicine” called Coronil against the coronavirus disease. Coronil has received certification from Ayush Ministry as per World Health Organization (WHO) certification scheme.

World

China admits its 5 personnel killed in Galwan clash with Indian Army on June 15

China’s four soldiers and a military officer were killed in the fierce clash with the Indian Army in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh on June 15, 2020, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) officially acknowledged for the first time. India had admitted that its twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the fierce hand-to-hand combat.

Pakistan to register Himalayan pink salt as Geographical Indications

Pakistan has decided to register Himalayan pink salt as Geographical Indications (GI) to prevent its unauthorised use by other countries. A GI tag is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess origin-based qualities and reputation in the region. The pink salt is extracted from the Salt Range in Punjab which extends along the south of the Potohar Plateau and the north of the Jhelum River.

Nicaragua creates National Ministry for Extraterrestrial Space Affairs

Nicaragua has created a new National Ministry for Extraterrestrial Space Affairs, The Moon and Other Celestial Bodies. The new ministry was approved by 76 legislators February 18, 2021 in the country’s parliament (Congress), which is dominated by President Daniel Ortega’s Sandinista Party. Fifteen opposition legislators abstained.

NASA Mars mission: Perseverance rover successfully lands on red planet

The NASA Perseverance rover has successfully landed on Mars on February 18, 2021 in an epic quest to bring back rocks that could answer whether life ever existed on the red planet. The mission had lifted off in July 2020 to take advantage of the close alignment of Earth and Mars, traveling some 300 million miles in nearly seven months.

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