Today Current Affairs: 28th February 2022 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc
Table of Contents
Changes To India’s Foreign Direct Investment Policy:
The Union Cabinet approved changes to India’s foreign direct investment (FDI) policy to allow global investors to participate in the initial public offering of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) shares expected to be launched soon.
- Foreign investors will now be able to invest up to 20% in LIC shares under the automatic approval route.
- FDI in insurance ventures is already allowed up to 74% under the automatic approval route, but the policy was silent on foreign equity investments into the country’s largest insurer LIC, a statutory corporation set up under an Act of Parliament.
- As per the present FDI policy, the FDI ceiling for public sector banks is 20% on government approval route, so it has been decided to allow foreign investment up to 20% for LIC and such other bodies corporate.
- The approval has been made automatic for LIC so as to expedite the capital raising plan.
- The amendments to the FDI policy come less than two weeks after the draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) was filed with the stock market regulator.
Union Cabinet has approved offering of coal by coal companies through a common e-auction window instead of sector specific auctions.
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the following:
- Offering of all the non-linkage coal by coal companies through one e-auction window of CIL (CIL) / Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL).
- This e-auction will cater to all the Sectors namely Power Sector and Non Regulated Sector (NRS) including traders and coal would be offered through this auction in place of the present system of sector specific auctions.
- The above will be subject to CIL / SCCL meeting the coal linkage requirements against existing linkages and do not impact the current linkages to power and non-power consumers at contracted prices.
- Coal offered through the single e-auction window shall be transport mode agnostic with default option being through Rail mode.
- However, coal may be lifted by the consumers through the road mode/other modes depending upon their choice and suitability without paying any additional charges or discount to the coal companies.
- Long term allotment of coal by CIL/SCCL, without affecting the supplies against existing coal linkages, to their own gasification plants shall be allowed at prices as may be decided by the coal company. However, the taxes, duties, royalty etc shall be paid by the coal companies on the notified prices of coal for power sector.
- Market distortions would be removed and single rate for all the consumers will evolve in the e-auction market.
- It shall increase operational efficiencies and lead to an increase in domestic coal demand by efficiency in domestic coal market.
Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM):
The Union Cabinet has approved the national roll-out of Central Sector Scheme, Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, with a budget of Rs.1,600 crore for five years.
- The National Health Authority (NHA) will be the implementing agency of Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM).
- Under the ABDM, citizens will be able to create their ABHA (Ayushman Bharat Health Account) numbers, to which their digital health records can be linked.
- This will enable creation of longitudinal health records for individuals across various healthcare providers, and improve clinical decision making by healthcare providers.
- The pilot of ABDM was completed in the six Union Territories of Ladakh, Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, Puducherry, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep with successful demonstration of technology platform developed by the NHA.
- As on 24th February 2022, 17,33,69,087 Ayushman Bharat Health Accounts have been created and 10,114 doctors and 17,319 health facilities have been registered in ABDM.
Exercise MILAN 2022:
The Indian Navy’s multilateral Exercise MILAN 2022 is scheduled to commence from 25th Feb 2022 in the ‘City of Destiny’, Visakhapatnam.
- 2020 edition of MILAN was postponed to 2022 due to Covid-19.
- MILAN 22 will witness its largest ever participation, with more than 40 countries sending their warships/ high level delegations.
- This edition of MILAN will be larger in ‘scope and complexity’ with focus on exercises at sea including exercises in surface, sub-surface and air domains and weapon firings.
- Theme 2022: ‘Camaraderie – Cohesion – Collaboration’.
- MILAN is a biennial multilateral naval exercise incepted by Indian Navy in 1995 at Andaman and Nicobar Command.
- Starting with the participation of only four countries, viz Indonesia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand, in the 1995 edition, the exercise has since transitioned leaps and bounds in terms of number of participants and complexity of exercises.
- Originally conceived in consonance with India’s ‘Look East Policy’, MILAN expanded in ensuing years with India’s ‘Act East policy’ and Security And Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) initiative, to include participation from island nations in the Western IOR (Indian Ocean Region) as also IOR littorals.
Council Of Europe:
Russia’s membership in the Council of Europe has been suspended after its invasion of Ukraine.
- Russia has launched a full-blown attack on Ukraine, with Russian forces entering the Obolon district, which is less than 10 km away from Central Kyiv – the government’s seat of power.
- India abstained on a US-sponsored UN Security Council resolution that “deplores in the strongest terms” Russia’s “aggression” against Ukraine, with New Delhi saying dialogue is the only answer to settling differences and disputes.
- The resolution was presented by the US and Albania, and co-sponsored by several other nations.
- The Council’s resolution reaffirmed its commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders.
- It demanded that Russia “shall immediately, completely, and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders”.
- India did not endorse the harsh language used in the resolution condemning Russia’s actions. It wants to maintain a balance between the Western bloc led by the US, and Russia, since it has strategic partners on both sides.
About the Council of Europe:
- The Council of Europe is an international organization founded in the wake of World War II to uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe.
- Founded in 1949 (Treaty of London (1949)), it has 46 member states (including all 27 EU members), with a population of approximately 820 million, and operates with an annual budget of approximately 500 million euros.
- Headquarters: Palace of Europe, Strasbourg, France.
- The Council of Europe cannot make binding laws, but it does have the power to enforce select international agreements reached by European states on various topics.
Whether Cryptocurrencies Is Legal In India?
The Supreme Court has asked the Centre whether dealing with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin is legal in India.
- The Court posed the query while hearing a plea by one of the accused in the GainBitcoin scam, seeking quashing of the charges against him.
- There’s no formal regulation on cryptocurrencies in India so far. The Centre has been working on crypto regulatory framework since 2019 but is yet to introduce a bill.
- The central bank has always maintained a strong stance against private digital currencies. It had banned the banking system from aiding such trades, which was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2020.
- In Union Budget 2022, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had proposed 30 per cent tax on earnings from cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
- She also said that losses from their sale could not be offset against other income, delivering another disincentive to trading and investment in digital assets.
- The government also introduced 1 per cent tax deducted at source (TDS) on digital assets.
- It also announced that RBI will introduce its digital currency in FY23 that will lead to more efficient and cheaper currency management system.
- Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank.
- They use Blockchain technology.
- Examples: Bitcoin, Ethereum etc
After a brief but fierce battle, Russian troops were able to capture the Chernobyl nuclear plant in northern Ukraine, the site of one of the worst nuclear disasters in human history.
- The Chernobyl tragedy was the result of a nuclear accident on 26 April 1986 at reactor No. 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, near the town of Pripyat in the Ukrainian SSR (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic).
- There were nearly 8.4 million people exposed to radiation in the three nations.
- It occurred when a group of technicians in what was then Soviet-controlled Ukraine carried out a botched safety test that led to a series of explosions.
- It is said to have released 400 times more radiation than the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in Japan.
- Since the Chernobyl is under Russia’s control now, damage to the nuclear waste storage facility could lead to radioactive dust spreading across Ukraine, Belarus and parts of Europe.
India’s First Cheetah Sanctuary:
Kuno-Palpur National Park in Madhya Pradesh could become the country’s first-ever cheetah sanctuary.
- Although the plan of bringing cheetahs to India was in the works for more than a decade, it came close to a realisation after the Supreme Court’s nod in January 2020.
- The cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus, is one of the oldest of the big cat species, with ancestors that can be traced back more than five million years to the Miocene era.
- The cheetah is also the world’s fastest land mammal.
- It is listed as vulnerable in IUCN red listed species.
- The country’s last spotted feline died in Chhattisgarh in 1947. Later, the cheetah which is the fastest land animal was declared extinct in India in 1952.
- The Asiatic cheetah is classified as a “critically endangered” species by the IUCN Red List, and is believed to survive only in Iran.
Also known as Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUP), bloatware apps are needless programs that take a toll on your device’s performance.
- Bloatware apps are being criticized for taking up the storage of the device unnecessarily and affecting the system’s battery life and overall performance.
- Generally, these apps that run in the background are hidden and locating them becomes a tough job for the users.
- It could be any software on your computer, phone or tablet that consumes a lot of resources like — memory, storage and battery life.
- There are three most common types of bloatwares that can be found on any device.
- These types of bloatwares come from manufacturers and third-party developers and are usually pre-loaded on your device. These offer added functionality to your device.
- Users can experience the app as most of them offer free trial modes in new devices. However, these programs keep on consuming your device’s resources, even after the trial period is over.
- These types of bloatware typically gets downloaded while downloading softwares from the internet.
Immigration Visa Foreigners Registration Tracking (IVFRT) Scheme:
The Government of India has approved the continuation of the Immigration Visa Foreigners Registration Tracking (IVFRT) Scheme beyond March 31, 2021 for a period of five years from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2026 with a financial outlay of Rs.1,364.88 crore.
- The objective of IVFRT is modernization and up-gradation of Immigration and Visa services.
- The Ministry of Home Affairs aims to provide a secure and integrated service delivery framework that facilitates legitimate travelers while strengthening national security, through this scheme.
- The project has a global outreach and seeks to interlink and optimize functions relating to immigration, visa issuance, registration of foreigners and tracking of their movements in India by covering 192 Indian Missions across the globe, 108 Immigration Check Posts (ICPs) in India and more than 700 Foreigners Registration Officers (FROs) across the country.
Fair And Remunerative Price (FRP):
Maharashtra Government issued a government resolution which will allow sugar mills to pay the basic Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) in two tranches.
- The first installment would have to be paid within 14 days of delivery of cane, and would be as per the average recovery of the district.
- Farmers would get the second installment within 15 days of the closure of the mill after calculation of the final recovery, which would take into account the sugar produced, and the ethanol produced from ‘B heavy’ or ‘C’ molasses.
- Thus, instead of relying on last season’s FRP, farmers would be paid as per the current season’s recovery.
- Farmers argue that this method would impact their incomes. They point out that while FRP will be paid in installments, and will depend on an unknown variable, their bank loans and other expenses are expected to be paid for as usual.
- Also, farmers mostly require a lumpsum at the beginning of the season (October-November), because their next crop cycle depends on it.
- FRP is the price declared by the government, which mills are legally bound to pay to farmers for the cane procured from them.
- Mills have the option of signing an agreement with farmers, which would allow them to pay the FRP in installments.
- Delays in payment can attract an interest up to 15% per annum, and the sugar commissioner can recover unpaid FRP as dues in revenue recovery by attaching properties of the mills.
- The payment of FRP across the country is governed by the Sugarcane Control order, 1966 issued under the Essential Commodities Act (ECA), 1955 which mandates payment within 14 days of the date of delivery of the cane.
- It has been determined on the recommendation of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) and announced by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).
- CACP is an attached office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. It is an advisory body whose recommendations are not binding on the Government.
- CCEA is chaired by the Prime Minister of India.
- The FRP is based on the Rangarajan Committee report on reorganizing the sugarcane industry.
Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati Jayanti:
Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati Jayanti is celebrated every year to mark the birth anniversary of the Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati.
- This year, the day was celebrated on 26th February.
- As per the traditional Hindu calendar, Dayanand Saraswati was born on the Dashami Tithi of Phalguna Krishna Paksha.
- Swami Dayanand Saraswati was born on 12th February 1824 in Tankara, Gujarat in a Brahmin family. His parents, Lalji Tiwari and Yashodhabai were orthodox Brahmin.
- He was earlier named Mool Shankar Tiwari as he was born during Mool Nakshatra.
- He wandered as an ascetic for fifteen years (1845-60) in search of truth.
- Dayananda’s views were published in his famous work, Satyarth Prakash (The True Exposition).
- He was an Indian philosopher, social leader and founder of the Arya Samaj.
- Arya Samaj is a reform movement of Vedic dharma and he was the first to give the call for Swaraj as “India for Indian” in 1876.
- He was a self-taught man and a great leader of India leaving a significant impact on Indian society. During his life, he made a prominent name for himself and was known among a wide array of Prices and the public.
- The first Arya Samaj unit was formally set up by him at Mumbai (then Bombay) in 1875 and later the headquarters of the Samaj were established at Lahore.
- His vision of India included a classless and casteless society, a united India (religiously, socially and nationally), and an India free from foreign rule, with Aryan religion being the common religion of all.
- He took inspiration from the Vedas and considered them to be ‘India’s Rock of Ages’, the infallible and the true original seed of Hinduism. He gave the slogan “Back to the Vedas”.
- He subscribed to the Vedic notion of chaturvarna system in which a person was not born in any caste but was identified as a brahmin, kshatriya, vaishya or shudra according to the occupation the person followed.
- He introduced a complete overhaul of the education system and is often considered as one of the visionaries of modern India.
- The DAV (Dayanand Anglo Vedic) schools came into existence in 1886 to realize the vision of Swami Dayanand Saraswati.
- The first DAV School was established at Lahore with Mahatma Hansarj as the headmaster.
- It has worked to further female education and intercaste marriage, has built missions, orphanages, and homes for widows, has established a network of schools and colleges, and has undertaken famine relief and medical work.
Devayatanam: Conference On Temple Architecture
The Union Culture Minister inaugurated Devayatanam, a one-of-a-kind conference on temple architecture of India, at Hampi, Karnataka.
- It is a part of the celebration under Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav and is being organized on 25th-26th February by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) of the Ministry of Culture.
- The temples of Hampi are already featured in the World Heritage List of UNESCO for their Sheer brilliance, Scale of imagination, and Scintillating architecture.
- Approximately 10 of India’s 40 UNESCO World Heritage Inscriptions are Hindu Temples in different architectural styles, patterns and symmetry.
- In 2021, Rudreswara Temple, (also known as the Ramappa Temple) at Mulugu district, Telangana has been inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.
- The conference provides a platform to discuss, deliberate and disseminate to the world the grandeur of Indian temples, art and architecture.
- This was in line with the overall vision of the Prime Minister which is based on 5 V’s, i. e. Vikas (development), Virasat (heritage), Vishwas (trust), Vignan (knowledge), which lead us to becoming a vishwaguru so that India shows the world the way.
- Devayatnam, the house of god is not only a place to worship and perform rituals but also a centre for education, fine arts, music, science & technology, rituals & traditions or activities shaping the society.
Gobar-Dhan (Bio-CNG) Plant:
The Prime Minister has inaugurated “Gobar-Dhan (Bio-CNG) Plant” in Indore with the aim of removing lakhs of tonnes of garbage that is occupying thousand acres of land and causing air and water pollution leading to many diseases.
- It has been established under the second phase of Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM-U 2.0).
- The plant is based on zero landfill models, whereby no rejects would be generated. Additionally, the project is expected to yield multiple environmental benefits, viz. reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, providing green energy along with organic compost as fertilizer.
Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban 2.0
- SBM-U 2.0 was announced in Budget 2021-22, as the continuation of SBM-U first phase.
- The government is trying to tap safe containment, transportation, disposal of fecal sludge, and septage from toilets.
- SBM-U first phase was launched on 2nd October 2014 aiming at making urban India Open Defecation Free (ODF) and achieving 100% scientific management of municipal solid waste. It lasted till October 2019.
- It will be implemented over five years from 2021 to 2026 with an outlay of Rs.1.41 lakh crore.
- The Mission is being implemented under the overarching principles of “waste to wealth”, and “circular economy”.
- It focuses on source segregation of garbage, reduction in single-use plastic and air pollution, by effectively managing waste from construction and demolition activities and bioremediation of all legacy dump sites.
- Under this mission, all wastewater will be treated properly before it is discharged into water bodies, and the government is trying to make maximum reuse a priority.
- Mission outcomes:
- All statutory towns will become ODF+ certified (focuses on toilets with water, maintenance and hygiene)
- All statutory towns with less than 1 lakh population will become ODF++ certified (focuses on toilets with sludge and septage management).
- 50% of all statutory towns with less than 1 lakh population will become Water+ certified (aims to sustain toilets by treating and reuse of water).
- All statutory towns will be at least 3-star Garbage Free rated as per MoHUA’s Star Rating Protocol for Garbage Free cities.
- Bioremediation of all legacy dumpsites.
Bhasha Certificate Selfie:
The Ministry of Education launched a campaign ‘Bhasha Certificate Selfie under Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat (EBSB).
- In 2021, the Ministry of Education launched the Bhasha Sangam initiative under EBSB.
- It was launched to encourage cultural diversity and promote multilingualism and to foster the spirit EBSB.
- It aims to promote the Bhasha Sangam mobile app, developed by the Ministry of Education and MyGov India.
- Bhasha Sangam mobile app was launched on Rashtriya Ekta Diwas 2021 (31st October).
- It aims to ensure that people acquire basic conversational skills in Indian languages. To achieve this, a target of 75 lakh people acquiring basic conversational skills has been set.
- The ‘Bhasha Certificate Selfie’ initiative is encouraging people to upload their selfie with the certificate from their social media accounts.
Bhasha Sangam Initiative:
- It is an initiative to teach basic sentences of everyday usage in 22 Indian languages (Eighth Schedule languages).
- It is developed by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).
- The idea is that people should acquire basic conversational skills in an Indian language other than their mother tongue.
- It is available on DIKSHA, ePathshala and through 22 booklets.
Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat Initiative:
- It was launched in 2015 to promote engagement amongst the people of different States/UTs so as to enhance mutual understanding and bonding between people of diverse cultures, thereby securing stronger unity and integrity of India.
- It is an initiative of the Ministry of Education.
- Every State and UT in the country would be paired with another State/UT for a time period, during which they would carry out a structured engagement with one another in the spheres of language, literature, cuisine, festivals, cultural events, tourism etc.
Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN):
In the three years, benefits under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) have been provided to about 11.78 Crore farmers and funds amounting to Rs 1.82 lakh crore in various installments have been released to the eligible beneficiaries of this scheme across India.
- PM Kisan was launched on 24th February, 2019 to supplement financial needs of land holding farmers.
- Financial benefit of Rs 6000/- per year in three equal installments, every four month is transferred into the bank accounts of farmers’ families across the country through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mode.
- The scheme was initially meant for Small and Marginal Farmers (SMFs) having landholding upto 2 hectares but scope of the scheme was extended to cover all landholding farmers.
- It is a Central Sector Scheme with 100% funding from the Government of India.
- It is being implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
- To supplement the financial needs of the Small and Marginal Farmers in procuring various inputs to ensure proper crop health and appropriate yields, commensurate with the anticipated farm income at the end of each crop cycle.
- To protect them from falling in the clutches of moneylenders for meeting such expenses and ensure their continuance in the farming activities.
- PM-KISAN Mobile App: It was developed and designed by the National Informatics Centre in collaboration with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
- Physical Verification Module: A mandatory physical verification of 5% beneficiary every year is being done as per the provisions laid down in the scheme.