Daily Current Affairs - 19-02-2021

The Union Minister of Road, Transport & Highways, Nitin Gadkari, had launched the ‘Go Electric Campaign’ on February 19, 2021.

Highlights

Go Electric Campaign

The Go Electric Campaign was launched with the objective of helping India in reducing its fossil fuel import dependence in upcoming years. This campaign was also launched as a step forward towards a greener and cleaner future. This campaign also aims to create awareness at the PAN-India level. It is expected that the campaign will boost the confidence of Electric Vehicle manufacturers.

Logo of ‘Go Electric’ campaign

The launch of the Go electric campaign also marked the launch of the logo of ‘Go Electric’. The logo for the campaign depicts the evolution of the e-mobility ecosystem. The audio-visuals creatives have also been specifically designed in order to enhance the consumer awareness. These creatives were screened during the launch event. Apart from that, the Industry players organized the exhibition which displayed different electrical vehicles such as e-buses, e-cars, 2-wheelers, 3-wheelers. It also displayed charging options including the slow chargers and fast chargers.

How Electric fuel is a significant option in India?

The Electric fuel is an important alternative for fossil fuels. Because it will help in reducing the import bill of India raised with the import of fossil fuels. The import bill stands at Rs. 8 lakh crores. Further, the electric fuel reduces the emissions and has a low cost as compared to the fossil fuels.

Joe Biden is all set to make the first big appearance on a global stage as president on February 19, 2021.

Highlights

Major Announcements and policy reversal

Group of Seven (G7)

It is an intergovernmental organization comprising of France, Canada, Italy, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom and United States. At the annual G7 meeting, the heads of government from the member states and the representatives of the European Union meet and discuss several issues.

Munich Security Conference

It is an annual conference on international security policy. It is organised in Munich, Bavaria since the year 1963. It is world’s largest gathering.

The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, addressed the India-Australia Circular Economy Hackathon (I-ACE) on February 19, 2021.

Highlights

About India Australia Circular Economy Hackathon (I-ACE)

The India Australia Circular Economy Hackathon was launched by the NITI Aayog Atal Innovation Mission (AIM). This hackathon was launched in association with the commonwealth scientific and industrial research organisation (CSIRO) of Australia. It focuses on identification and development of the innovative technology solutions provided by students, MSMEs and start-ups from both the countries. It will help in encouraging a sustainable circular economy. This hackathon was launched with the aim of increasing long-term health and resilience.

Themes of the I-ACE

The I-ACE was organised under the four key themes namely,

  1. Innovation in food supply chains avoiding waste.
  2. Innovation in packaging reducing packaging waste.
  3. Creating opportunities for plastics waste reduction.
  4. Recycling critical energy metals and e-waste.

Circular economy

It is an economic system which aims to eliminate the waste and continual use of resources. This system employs the reuse, repair, sharing, refurbishment, remanufacturing and recycling in order to create closed-loop system. It helps in minimising the use of resource inputs. It also minimises the creation of pollution, waste and carbon emissions.

Israel has announced in February 18, 2021 that it is developing a new ballistic missile shield named “Arrow-4” in collaboration with the United States. This missile is being developed as another layer in the defensive system by keeping an eye towards Iran.

Key Facts

Arrow or Hetz

It is a family of anti-ballistic missiles. It has been designed to make the Israeli missile defense system more effective against the ballistic missiles in comparison to other surface-to-air missile that country has procured. These missiles are being jointly funded and produced by Israel and United States. The missiles started developing in the year 1986. The missile system is overseen by Israeli Ministry of Defense and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. The missile system comprises of joint production of hypersonic Arrow anti-missile interceptor and Israel Aerospace Industries Brown Hazelnut.

Ballistic Missile

This missile follows a ballistic trajectory in order to deliver one or more warheads. These missiles are guided for relatively brief periods. Most of its flight is unpowered. Short-range ballistic missiles lie within the Earth’s atmosphere. However, the intercontinental ballistic missiles are launched on the sub-orbital trajectory.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has successfully achieved 100 percent cashless toll collection at the National Highway fee plazas in the entire country.

FASTag App

A new feature of “Check Balance Status” has been added to the FASTag App. This will provide the convenience to highway users to look after the FASTag balance. The app will show the FASTag wallet balance status with the help of color codes. Green colour will represent the Active tag with sufficient balance, Orange colour will be tagged for low balance while the Red colour will be for Blacklisted tags.

FASTag

It is an electronic toll collection system which is operated by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI). It works on the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to make the toll payments. The payment is deducted directly from the prepaid or savings account of toll owner.

Radio-frequency identification (RFID)

This technology uses the electromagnetic fields that automatically identify and track the tags attached to any of the objects. It comprises of a tiny radio transponder, a radio receiver and a transmitter. It can be used to track the inventory goods.

The SWAMIH Fund is all set to deliver its first finished apartments in the year 2021. It is a 250-billion-rupee fund set up by Indian government. This fund was created to complete the stalled housing projects. The fund offers a solution of the problem that hindered savings of home buyers and bankrupted developers.

Highlights

Why this fund was launched?

In the year 2019, India had an estimated $63 billion of stalled projects. The stalled projects were the result of the economic slowdown and a credit crisis in the real estate sector. Many of the builders were unable to service their loans. They were forcing banks to write off debts. Thus, this fund was created as one measure to deal with the credit crisis.

SWAMIH Investment Fund

This fund was created to complete the construction of stalled, RERA-registered affordable and mid-income category housing projects. It credits the money in the projects which are stuck because of lack of funds. It was created as Category-II Alternative Investment Fund debt fund which is registered with SEBI.

Money Approved through the fund

This fund has approved around 159 projects with the investment of 145 billion rupees. This investment will help in completing 100,000 homes. Out of these projects, 47 projects have been given final approval.

Investors under the fund

This fund has a total of 14 investors. The government has 50% share in the fund. The Life Insurance Corp. and State Bank of India are having the share of 10%. Rest of the shares are met by other public and private-sector players.

The Indian government has decided to appeal against the international arbitration award of worth $1.2 billion that was won by Cairn Energy Plc. in tax dispute.

Highlights

What is the issue?

Vivad se Vishwas Scheme

This scheme gives a complete waiver on interest and penalty for the taxpayers in case they pay their pending taxes or disputed tax amount by March 31. This scheme was launched with the aim of benefiting those whose tax demands are undergoing dispute at multiple forums. It aims to resolve 483,000 direct tax-related disputes pending with appellate forums.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Arbor Day Foundation have recently recognized Hyderabad as a 2020 Tree City of World. Hyderabad was selected for the recognition following its commitment to grow and maintain the urban forests.

Highlights

UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

It is a specialized agency of United Nations. FAO leads the international efforts of defeating hunger and improving the nutrition security as well as the food security. The organisation was founded by UN in October 1945. It is headquartered in Rome, Italy. It has its regional and field offices around the 130 countries. FAO coordinate with the governments and development agencies to improve and develop the agriculture, fisheries, forestry, land resources and water resources.  It comprises of 197 member states. It organises a biennial conference representing each member country.

 Arbor Day Foundation

It is a not-for-profit conservation and education organization. The organisation was founded in the year 1972 by John Rosenow in Nebraska, United States. This organisation is the largest not-for-profit membership organization which is dedicated to tree planting. It works with the corporate mission of “inspiring people to plant, nurture, and celebrate the trees. Dan Lambe, is the current President of the foundation.

The Third India Tourism Mart was organised on February 18, 2021. It was addressed by the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan. The event was organised by the Federation of Associations in India Tourism and Hospitality (FAITH) through video conferencing.

Key Facts

Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH)

It is the policy federation of all the national associations. It represents the complete tourism, travel and hospitality industry of India. It was launched in the year 2013. When the FAITH was established Indian tourism was ranked at 68th in the World Economic Forum Tourism Competitiveness index. Following this, the FAITH worked on many initiatives in collaboration with the Ministry of tourism. Thus, in the year 2019, India was ranked 34th  in the World Economic Forum tourism competitiveness index.

Manika Batra has won the 82nd Senior National Table Tennis Championship. She beaten Reeth Rishya by 8-11, 10-12, 11-1, 11-9, 11-5, 11-6 at the Tau Devi Lal Sports Complex in Panchkula.

Highlights

Manika Batra

She is an Indian table tennis player. She is the top-ranked female table tennis player as of November 2020. She ranked 63rd in world.  The player specialises in playing the long-pimples on her backhand. It is not often played by top players. In 2020, she also received the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award.

Her achievements

Table tennis in India

It is a popular indoor recreation sport in the country. It mostly played in the states of West Bengal, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. Table Tennis Federation of India is the official sports body of this sports. India’s Men’s Team are ranked 10th in the world while Women’s team ranked 22nd, as of 2019.

The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, will chair NITI Aayog Governing Council meeting on February 20, 2021.

Highlights

NITI Aayog

It is a policy think tank in India which was established in 2015 by replacing the planning commission. The body was established with the aim of achieving the sustainable development goals with the cooperative federalism Some of the initiatives of the Aayog includes- “15-year road map”, AMRUT, “7-year vision, strategy, and action plan”, Atal Innovation Mission, Digital India, Medical Education Reform, agriculture reforms, Transforming India Lecture Series etc. The Prime Minister is the Chairman of the think tank.

Members of NITI Aayog

Governing Council

It is the apex body of NITI Aayog. The council comprises of all the chief ministers, lieutenant governors of Union Territories (UTs), other union ministers and senior government officials. Council meets regularly. The first meeting of the council took place on February 8, 2015.

The science rover Perseverance of NASA landed on the Red Planet (MARS) on February 18, 2021. This rover is the most advanced astrobiology laboratory that has been ever sent another planet. It will firstly search the traces of ancient microbial life on the Planet.

Highlights

MARS 2020 Mission

It is a Mars rover built by Mars Exploration Program of NASA. It comprises of the Perseverance rover and an Ingenuity helicopter drone. The mission was launched on an Atlas V 541 launch vehicle from Earth on July 30, 2020. The mission was announced by NASA in December 2012 during a fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union at San Francisco.

Perseverance rover

The rover will observe the astro-biologically relevant ancient environment on the planet. It will also look after its surface geological processes and history.  The rover will also do the assessment of past habitability and possibility of past life on it. The design of the rover is influenced from the Curiosity rover. It uses components that have been already fabricated and tested. It comprises of 19 cameras and two microphones. Thus, it will also record the audio of the environment on MARS.