The sixth meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog was held on February 20, 2021 under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Addressing the event, the Prime Minister said that Cooperative Federalism is the foundation of India’s progress.
35th Statehood Day of Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh was celebrated on February 20, 2021. Both Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh were Union Territories before getting statehood on February 20, 1987.
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 shortlisted cities would carry out projects for making early childhood-friendly neighbourhoods. 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.
Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICG) C-453, the 17th of the 18 Interceptor Boats being indigenously built by Larsen & Toubro Ltd., was commissioned in Chennai on February 19, 2021. The ship, on joining the Coast Guard Eastern fleet, would be deployed extensively for surveillance of the Exclusive Economic Zone.
A state-of-the-art Damage Control Simulator (DCS) for the Indian Navy will be set up in Port Blair. Lt. Gen. Manoj Pande, Commander in Chief, Andaman and Nicobar Command laid the foundation stone for the project. To be built by Goa Shipyard Ltd. (GSL), the DCS is a training system that simulates a realistic and stressful but controlled environment for crew training in damage control and repair for ships in various scenarios.
Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan launched a new scheme by which an applicant can leverage the DigiLocker platform of the Government of India while applying for passport-related services from anywhere in India. Applicants applying for passport services can provide link to their specific documents uploaded in the DigiLocker. This would enable citizens to submit various documents required for Passport Services through DigiLocker in a paperless mode.
The Uttarakhand government has brought an ordinance giving co-ownership rights to women in their husband’s ancestral property. The ordinance has been brought keeping in view large-scale migration of men from the hill areas of the state in search of livelihood. The ordinance aims to provide economic independence to women who are left behind and have to depend on agriculture to sustain themselves.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma has said that a corpus fund of Rs 125 crore will be constituted over the next two years to aid the entrepreneurs in the state. The chief minister said this while addressing the PRIME Entrepreneurship Awards held at the Convention Centre in Shillong on February 19, 2021.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced that Hoshangabad city in the state would be renamed as Narmadapuram and a proposal to that effect would be sent to the Centre. He made the announcement during the Narmada Jayanti programme held in Hoshangabad on February 19, 2021.
India and Ethiopia on February 20, 2021 signed two agreements related to visa facilitation and leather technology. The agreements were signed in the presence of Ethiopia Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Demeke Mekonnen Hassen and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in New Delhi. Hassen is on a 4-day visit to India, from February 16. The two ministers agreed to expand India and Ethiopia bilateral agenda especially defence, economic, S&T, digital and cultural cooperation.
Australia has posted a liaison officer at Indian Navy’s Gurgaon-based Information Fusion Centre (IFC) that has emerged as a major hub of maritime security information relating to the Indian Ocean. The Indian Navy established the ‘Information Fusion Centre — Indian Ocean Region (IOR) in 2018 to effectively keep track of the shipping traffic as well as other critical developments in the IOR under a collaborative framework with like-minded countries.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has offered a USD 40 million Line of Credit to the Maldives in a bid to boost the sports infrastructure of the country.
Banks cannot wash their hands of any liability if any harm is caused to their customers’ lockers or safe deposits in an era when miscreants can manipulate technology to gain access to electronically-operated bank lockers, the Supreme Court observed in a judgment on February 19, 2021. The court added that ditching responsibility would make banks liable for legal action under the Consumer Protection Act.
The Reserve Bank on February 19, 2021 said it has barred Karnataka-based Deccan Urban Co-operative Bank Ltd from granting fresh loans or accepting deposits and customers cannot withdraw more than Rs 1,000 from their savings account for a period of six months.
SBI Payments, a subsidiary of State Bank of India, will launch YONO Merchant App to provide low-cost digital payments infrastructure to merchants. YONO SBI Merchant will act as a soft PoS (point of sale) solution for which it has partnered with global payments technology major Visa to enable Tap to Phone feature.
The United States has officially rejoined the Paris Agreement. The US had officially exited the agreement in 2020 on the order of the then President Donald Trump. Under the Paris agreement, countries are expected to enhance their commitments to curb greenhouse gas emissions every five years. The goal of Paris Agreement is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.
The World Day of Social Justice was observed on February 20, 2021 by the United Nations with its theme as: ‘A Call for Social Justice in the Digital Economy’. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) first observed World Social Justice Day in 2009, which encourages actions needed to overcome the digital divide, provide decent work opportunities and safeguard labour and human rights.
Japan’s Naomi Osaka won her second Australian Open tennis women’s singles title by beating American Jennifer Brady 6-4, 6-3 in the final in Melbourne on February 20, 2021. Before this, Osaka had won the 2019 Australian Open and 2018 and 2020 US Open titles.