Current Affairs

15 February, 2021


Narendra Modi inaugurated 20th World Sustainable Development Summit 2021

i.On February 10-12, 2021, the 20th World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS) 2021 was held on the theme “Redefining our common future: Safe and secure environment for all”.
ii.This three days long event was virtually inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The event was also attended by Union Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
iii.It should be noted that WSDS is an annual flagship event of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) instituted in 2001.
iv.The WSDS 2021 is supported by India’s Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and Ministry of Earth Sciences while its country partner was the United Kingdom (UK).
About The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)
Chairman– Nitin Desai
Director General– Dr Ajay Mathur
Headquarter– New Delhi

‘India Tunisia Business Council’ Launched for Boosting Trade Relations

‘India Tunisia Business Council’ (ITBC) was launched for boosting the trade relations between the two countries. The main focus of the ITBC will be to focus on development in both countries.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for launching ITBC was signed between ‘Tunisia India Business Council’ (TABC) & ‘Indian Economic Trade Organization’ (IETO) by Dr.Asif Iqbal, President of IETO & Anis Jaziri, President of TABC which took place during the India Tunisia Economic Forum 2020 held virtually on December 22, 2020.


ISRO, MapmyIndia collaborate to build Indigenous Mapping Portal & Geospatial services

Department of Space (DoS) & CE Info Systems Pvt Ltd (owned by MapmyIndia) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). According to the agreement, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) & MapmyIndia will partner to build an Indigenous, mapping portal and geospatial services which could become an alternative to GoogleMaps & GoogleEarth services.

Nitin Gadkari Launched India’s 1st Diesel-converted CNG Tractor

Union Minister Nitin Jairam Gadkari, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) launched India’s first-ever diesel tractor converted to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) which was co-developed by Thane, Maharashtra based Rawmatt Techno Solutions and Tomasetto Achille India as a pilot project.
ii.It was launched in the presence of Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG); Minister of State (MoS) Parshottam Khodabhai Rupala, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, and Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoAFW) and MoS General (Retd) Dr Vijay Kumar Singh, MoRTH.
About Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH):
Nitin Gadkari Constituency– Nagpur, Maharashtra
Headquarter– New Delhi


RIL Gets world’s 1st Carbon-Neutral Oil from Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, US

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has received 2 million barrels cargo of ‘carbon-neutral oil’ from Oxy Low Carbon Ventures (OLCV), a division of US oil major Occidental on January 28, 2021 at Jamnagar, Gujarat. It is the world’s 1st consignment of carbon-neutral oil and is also the energy industry’s 1st major petroleum shipment.
Purpose: RIL to become a net zero-carbon company by 2035.
Points to be Noted:
i.The transaction was arranged in conjunction with Macquarie Group’s Commodities and Global Markets group (Macquarie).
ii.Occidental produced this oil in the US Permian Basin and shipped to RIL using Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) Sea Pearl.
Making of Carbon-Neutral Oil
i.Oxy Low Carbon Ventures and Macquarie will offset the carbon dioxide equal to that associated with the production, delivery and refining of the crude oil.
ii.The use of the resulting product through the retirement of carbon offset credits will make the oil ‘carbon-neutral’.
Note: The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that are associated with the entire crude lifecycle will be offset with Carbon-Neutral Oil.
About the Transaction:
i.This transaction is regarded as the 1st step to create a new market for climate-differentiated crude oil
ii.It also acts as a bridge to develop further differentiated petroleum products, net-zero oil, which Occidental aims to produce by capturing and isolating atmospheric CO2 through industrial-scale direct air capture (DAC) facilities and geological isolation.
Key Info:
The offsets were sourced from a variety of projects verified under the Verra Verified Carbon Standard meeting eligibility criteria for the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).
Additional Info
Occidental was the first U.S. based international energy company to announce an ambition to achieve net-zero GHG emissions associated with the use of its products by 2050.

ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Launched a New Savings Product, ‘ICICI Pru Guaranteed Income for Tomorrow’ (GIFT)

ICICI Prudential Life Insurance launched a new goal based savings product ‘ICICI Pru Guaranteed Income for Tomorrow’ (GIFT). The non-participating savings product helps customers to eliminate the uncertainty of future income streams to a large extent. It also provides financial security to the family.
Purpose: In order to help policyholders to achieve their long-term financial goals, it offers guaranteed income to policyholders
Variants: Income, Early income, Single pay lump sum
‘Save The Date’ feature– Customers through this unique feature can choose to start receiving income on special dates like their wedding anniversary, etc.,

CREDAI, IPPB ink pact to Open Bank Accounts for Construction Workers

On the lines of the labour welfare initiatives by the Central Government, the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI) has inked memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Indian Payments and Postal Bank (IPPB) to facilitate opening of bank accounts for construction workers.
ii.This MoU will ensure accessible financial services for construction workers along with financial literacy and digital inclusion.
About Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI):
Establishment– 1999
Chairman– Jaxay Shah
Headquarter– New Delhi
About India Post Payments Bank (IPPB):
Establishment– 2017
Director and Chairman– Pradipta Kumar Bisoi
Tagline– Aapka Bank, Aapke Dwaar

ESFBL Partnered with MSRDC & Ocean Highway Facilities and Solutions to Launch India’s 1st FASTag Powered Truck Terminal

Equitas Small Finance Bank Ltd (ESFBL) has partnered with Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation Limited (MSRDC) and Ocean Highway Facilities and Solutions Pvt Ltd. to launch India’s first FASTag powered truck terminal at Khalapur, Maharashtra on the Yashwantrao Chavan Mumbai – Pune Expressway.
ii.The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) launched FASTag for Electronic Toll Collection on Toll Plazas
iii.FASTag is a brand name owned by Indian Highways Management Company Ltd. (IHMCL), which carries out electronic tolling and other ancillary projects of NHAI.
About Equitas Small Finance Bank Limited(ESFBL):
MD and CEO– Vasudevan Pathangi Narasimhan (P N)
Headquarters– Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Commenced the business of SFB– September 5, 2016
Tagline– It’s Fun Banking
About Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation Limited (MSRDC):
Chairman– Eknath Shinde, Maharashtra Minister for Public Works(Public Undertaking),
Vice Chairman & Managing Director– R.L.Mopalwar (I.A.S)
HeadOffice– Mumbai, Maharashtra


BCCI cancels Ranji Trophy for first time in 87 years, agrees to hold Hazare trophy

The Board of Control for Cricket in India will not be conducting its premier first-class domestic tournament Ranji Trophy for the first time in 87 years. The parent body decided to hold Vijay Hazare Trophy as per the wishes of the majority of the state units.

According to the letter sent by BCCI Secretary Jay Shah to state units, the board will also be hosting U-19 National One Day Tournament for the Vinoo Mankad Trophy and Women’s National 50-over tournament.

In the letter, the BCCI Secretary expressed happiness while informing about the upcoming tournaments and mentioned that decision has been taken after receiving the feedback from state units on the domestic season 2020-2021.

Ajay Singh re-elected as President of Boxing Federation of India

Ajay Singh has been re-elected as the President of Boxing Federation of India-BFI on February 3, 2021. He defeated former Sports Minister of Maharashtra Ashish Shelar in the polls.

Ajay Singh received 37 votes while Ashish Shelar, who has been on many top positions in sport, including being the President of Mumbai District Football Association and Maharashtra Cricket Association, got 27 votes in BFI polls.


Filmmaker Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari to Publish her Debut Fiction Novel “Mapping Love”

Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, the 41-year-old Filmmaker is set to publish her debut fiction Novel titled “Mapping Love” in May 2021. The book is published by Rupa Publications.
About Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari:
i.Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari debuted as a director with the film “Nil Battey Sannata” in 2016 which was remade in Tamil as “Amma Kanakku”.
ii.She is well known for her films ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’, ‘Ghar ki Murgi’ and ‘Panga’.
Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari won the best debut director Award in 2017 Filmfare for “Nil Battey Sannata” and in 2018 she won the Best Director for “Bareilly Ki Barfi”.

China’s Tianwen-1 enters Mars Orbit, Joining UAE’s Hope Probe

Chinese Spacecraft ‘Tiwanwen-1’ entered the Mars Orbit. It became the World’s second one in two days after United Arab Emirates’ ‘Hope’ Space Probe entered the Mars Orbit on February 9, 2021. The Chinese Spacecraft will probe for signs of ancient life on Mars. USA’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration rover called ‘Perseverance’ is aiming for a landing on Mars on February 18, 2021.

HAL to Develop Unmanned Pseudo Satellite “CATS”

i.In a first of its kind in the world, the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is developing a futuristic high altitude pseudo satellite namely Combined Air Teaming System (CATS) with a start-up company.
ii.Once developed the pseudo-satellite will be capable of taking information flying unmanned around 70,000 ft for 2-3 months.
iii.It can hit the target at a distance of 700 kilometres or can go to 350 kilometres and come back. It can also carry ammunition, missiles if needed.
About Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL):
Chairman and Managing Director (CMD)– R Madhavan
Headquarter– Bengaluru, India

Recykal Becomes 1st member from India for The Circulars Accelerator Programme 2021

i.Recykal has been selected as the 1st Indian company to be a cohort member for the 6 month Circulars Accelerator Programme 2021. The company has been selected for the category ‘Recovering Value’.
ii.This is Circulars Accelerator’s 1st cohort of leading circular innovators from around the world.
iii.The programme will connect 17 circular economy entrepreneurs to upgrade the disruptive, cross-sector value chain innovation.
iv.The other category of the programme include, Transforming Consumption & Innovating Products & Production.
About Recykal:
Founder– Abhay Deshpande
HeadOffice– Hyderabad, Telangana

Mario Draghi Named as the New Prime Minister of Italy

Mario Draghi,73-year-old former President of the European Central Bank, has been named the new Prime Minister of Italy. He accepted the request of Sergio Mattarella, President of Italy, to form a new government.Mario Draghi will lead the unity government replacing the centre left coalition government of Former prime minister Giuseppe Conte. He was formally sworn in as the prime Minister of Italy on 13th February 2021.Following the premiership of Carlo Azeglio Ciampi in 1993, Lamberto Dini in 1995 and Mario Monti in 2011, this is the 4th time in the past 30 years where a technocratic prime minister has taken charge.

SERB announces Women Excellence Award 2021

Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a statutory body under Department of Science and Technology (DST) has conferred the ‘SERB Women Excellence Award 2021’ to Four Young Women Fellows of National Science Academies for their excellence in Science and Engineering.

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