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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 20th February 2021

Today Current Affairs: 20th February 2021 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc


Projects For the development of Railway Infrastructure In West Bengal:

Union Minister of Railways, dedicated to the Nation series of Projects for the development of Railway Infrastructure in West Bengal.

  • He inaugurated 2nd Foot Over Bridge at Santragachi, Freight Terminal at Sankrail (Phase-I) & Vivekananda Meditation Centre at Howrah and dedicated to the Nation an Executive Lounge at Sealdah station, 2 Escalators at Sealdah station and 2 lifts at Sealdah station.
  • Santragachi station is one of the busiest stations in the Howrah-Kharagpur section.
  • It is being developed with all modern amenities.
  • Sankrail Freight Terminal (Phase-I) has been developed with modern facilities for freight rake handling.
  • This Freight Terminal will serve around 40 sq. km. industrial belt spreading over Kolkata and Howrah in West Bengal.
  • Executive Lounge at Sealdah Station is another novel initiative of Railways to provide more comfort for passengers.
  • In order to augment the security of passengers & railway property, an Integrated Security System has been commissioned at Barddhaman station.

Shauryanjali Programme:

The Union Home Minister attended the ‘Shauryanjali’ program, organized to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.

  • He also flagged off a cycle rally.
  • Three teams, namely Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Rasbehari Bose, and Khudiram Bose, are participating in the rally which will create awareness in different parts of West Bengal about the great sacrifices made by the revolutionaries of Bengal in the freedom movement.

Rash Behari Bose:

  • Rash Behari Bose (1886 – 1945) was an Indian revolutionary leader against the British Raj.
  • He was born in West Bengal.
  • Following the attempt to assassinate Lord Hardinge on 23 December 1912 in Delhi, Rash Behari was forced to go into hiding.
  • He was one of the key organizers of the Ghadar Mutiny, and later the Indian National Army.
  • Rash Behari Bose handed over Indian National Army to Subhas Chandra Bose.

Critical Infrastructure Development In Arunachal Pradesh:

The Union government approved more than Rs 1,100 crore for critical infrastructure development in Arunachal Pradesh.

  • The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) also cleared a proposal for the construction of 32 roads under phase II of the Indo-China Border Roads (ICBR) scheme.
  • Earlier, the government followed a restrictive policy, and areas along the China border were not developed much.

Critical Infrastructure Development in Arunachal Pradesh:

  • Most projects have been earmarked in areas along the China border in the north and northeast part of Arunachal.
  • It includes motorable roads, mule tracks, and facilities for porters. It envisages the construction of roads and 18 foot-tracks measuring 598 km.
  • This will enhance the capabilities of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), which maintains vigil along the border.
  • These tracks can be used by the Army to supplement the main border roads for transportation of men and material.

Indo-China Border Roads Scheme:

  • The first phase was initiated in 2005 when it was decided that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) would construct 27 priority roads totaling 608 km along with China areas at an estimated cost of Rs. 912 crore and other 14 roads will be built by agencies such as the Border Roads Organisation (BRO).
  • Some of the important projects include the Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie (DS-DBO) road and Rohtang tunnel in the Ladakh; and in the northeast, the Sela Tunnel and a road and rail tunnel under the Brahmaputra river with Indian Railways.
  • Under phase II of the Indo-China Border Roads (ICBR) scheme, the roads, measuring 638.12 km and amounting to Rs. 12,434.90 crore, are to come up in Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

Indian Naval Ship Pralaya:

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

  • INS Pralaya, the second ship of the indigenously built Prabal Class Missile Vessels, was commissioned in the Indian Navy on 18 December 2002.
  • The 56 m longship, displacing about 560 T is capable of speeds in excess of 35 knots and is fitted with an impressive array of weapons and sensors.
  • These include a 76.2 mm medium range gun, 30 mm close-range guns, chaff launchers and long-range surface to surface missiles.
  • The ship was built indigenously at Goa Shipyard Limited.

Arunachal Pradesh And Mizoram:

The Prime Minister of India extended his wishes to the people of Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram on their 35th Statehood Day.

  • Mizoram became the 23rd state of India on the same day, with the 53rd Amendment of the Indian Constitution, 1986.
  • Similarly, through the 55th amendment to the Indian Constitution in 1986, Arunachal Pradesh became the 24th state of the Indian Union on 20th February 1987.

Helina And Dhruvastra:

India has successfully test-fired indigenously-developed anti-tank guided missile systems ‘Helina’ and ‘Dhruvastra’ in the Pokhran range, Thar desert (Rajasthan).

  • The Helina (the Army version) and Dhruvastra (Indian Airforce version) are helicopter-launched versions of third-generation anti-tank guided missiles (the Nag missile system).
  • The missile system has the all-weather day-and-night capability and can defeat battle tanks with conventional armor and explosive reactive armor.
  • The missile systems have been designed and developed indigenously by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
  • The ‘Helina’ and ‘Dhruvastra’ can engage targets both indirect hit mode as well as top attack mode.
  • The missile is required to climb sharply after launch and travel at a certain altitude, then plunge on top of the target.
  • Direct Attack Mode: The missile travels at a lower altitude, directly striking the target.

PASSEX Exercise:

The Indian and the Indonesian navies held the PASSEX military exercise in the Arabian sea on February 18, 2021. This military exercise was organized in order to enhance operational interoperability and overall cooperation.

  • INS Talwar represented the Indian naval ship.
  • The Indonesian Navy was represented by the multirole corvette KRI Bung Tomo.

India’s maritime cooperation

  • India’s maritime cooperation with Indonesia has gained momentum in the last few years. Indian Navy also participated in several maritime exercises notwithstanding the covid-19 pandemic.
  • It held maritime exercises with countries like Russia, Japan, Australia, and the US.
  • Recently, in November 2020, India hosted the Malabar exercise. In the exercise, the navies of the US, Japan, and Australia took part.
  • India had also invited Australia for the Malabar exercise in November 2020 to make the Malabar drill for all the Quad members.

The 11th India-European Union Macroeconomic Dialogue:

The 11th India-European Union macroeconomic dialogue was held in the virtual mode on February 19, 2021.

  • The Indian Delegation was led by the Secretary of Economic Affairs, Tarun Bajaj.
  • Director-General of Economic and Financial Affairs, European Commission led the European Union delegation.
  • The Indian delegation also comprised of representatives from the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs, and Department of Revenues.
  • The press release from the Finance Ministry stated that the bilateral relation between India and European Union has evolved into a multifaceted relation over time.
  • The European Union is also one of the largest trading partners of India.
  • It is also the largest investor and an important source of technology, innovation, and best practices.

The 11th India-European Union macroeconomic dialogue held discussions on all the dimensions of mutual interest including the political, economic, environmental, research & innovation, trade & investment, and security.

  • Both the countries also shared their experiences so as to enable both the countries on aspects such as G20 Framework Working Group Deliverables, debt-related issues, collaboration in the G20 on finance track matters, International taxation of the digital economy, and G20 Action Plan.
  • They also discussed the medium-term fiscal strategy and fiscal policy response besides the financial or structural reform priorities.
  • India also shared with the EU, its policy response to the COVID-19 crisis and discussed the initiatives taken to revive the economy.
  • The European Union side mentioned the economic challenges and the outlook of their economy due to the adverse impact of the Coronavirus pandemic in the European Union countries. They also mentioned about their recovery plan and macroeconomic policy response.

Paris Climate Deal:

The United States has officially re-joined the Paris climate accord on February 19, 2020. It has joined the deal again after 107 days it left.

  • With the rejoining of US, the world leaders expects that now the country will prove its seriousness as it was mostly absent for four years.
  • The countries are also waiting for the announcement from Washington on the US’s goal to cut emissions of heat-trapping gases by 2030.
  • The president of US, Joe Biden, had signed the executive order to reversed the withdrawal ordered by former President, Donald Trump.
  • In the year 2019, the Donald Trump administration had announced its withdrawal from the Paris accord.
  • This order came into effect on November 4, 2020. the day after the election, because of provisions in the agreement.

Paris Climate Agreement

  • It is an agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • This agreement was signed in 2016 and deals with the climate change mitigation, adaptation, and finance.
  • This agreement was negotiated by the representatives of 196 states.
  • It was signed at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in France.
  • The agreement was later adopted by consensus in December 2015. Currently, 190 members of the UNFCCC are parties under the agreement. Countries like Turkey, Iran, and Iraq are not parties to it.

Intensified Mission Indradhanush 3.0

The Union Health Minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan, has launched the Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) 3.0.

  • The mission will be conducted in two rounds.
  • The first round will start on February 22, 2021 while the second phase will start on March 22, 2021.
  • It will run across 250 districts or urban areas across the 29 States or Union Territories.
  • Apart from that, the Minister also launched the IMI 3.0 portal and released Operational Guidelines for it.
  • He also launched the awareness material or IEC package developed under the campaign.

Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) 3.0

  • The IMI 3.0 initiative was launched by the central government in order to provide immunization to pregnant women and children free of cost in India.
  • The scheme will strengthen and re-energize the immunization programme.
  • It will help in achieve full immunization coverage for children and pregnant women rapidly.
  • This mission also aims to reach the unreached population.
  • It will reach them with all the available vaccines under the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP).

Mission Indradhanush

  • This Mission was launched in December 2014 with the aim of fully immunizing unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children under UIP.
  • The scheme targets children aged under 2 years and pregnant women for immunization.
  • The mission incorporated an immunization programme against 12 Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (VPD) namely, Whooping cough, diphtheria, polio, tetanus, meningitis, tuberculosis, hepatitis B, pneumonia, Haemophilus influenza type B infections, rotavirus vaccine, Japanese encephalitis (JE), measles-rubella (MR) and pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV).