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20 & 21 February 2020 Current Affairs

International :

  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar inaugurated the Indian pavilion at the Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) 2020 in Germany on February 19, 2020. Dr Jaishankar said, co-production agreements, the Film Facilitation Office and India’s premier Film Festival IFFI have showcased India as an emerging market and a filming destination. He mentioned that India’s partnership at Berlinale offered tremendous opportunities to further strengthen bilateral relationship in vertical of film making and taking forward the co-production platform. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in collaboration with Confederation of Indian Industry is participating in the Berlin International Film Festival being held from 19th February to 01st March 2020 at Berlin, Germany. 

    Dr Jaishankar also unveiled the poster for the 51st edition of India International Film Festival to be celebrated in Goa this year 2020, along with its booklet. Earlier, Dr Jaishankar held a meeting with his German counterpart Heiko Maas and thanked him for the support his country in expanding cooperation between India and the European Union (EU). Jaishankar met German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer in Berlin and discussed Afghanistan and policies in the Indo-Pacific region.

National :

  • The Government of Telangana hosted the Bio-Asia Summit 2020 in Hyderabad between 17 to 19 February, 2020. The main objective of the summit is to explore the capabilities of Life Science Companies and their investments. The theme of the Summit is "Today for Tomorrow". 

    India is the third largest biotechnology destination in Asia Pacific. There are more than 523 USFDA (United States Food and Drug Administration) approved Indian owned plants spread all over the world. This is the second highest in the world.

  • Union Minister for Commerce and Industries Piyush Goyal has said that the Indian pharma and biotech industry is expected to grow to 100 billion dollars by 2025 from the current size of about 40 billion dollars. He predicted an annual growth rate of 10 per cent despite the global slow down and the recent Corona virus outbreak. Speaking at the CEO’s Conclave of the Bio-Asia in Hyderabad, the Minister assured the industry that the government will be supporting the life sciences industry to thrive further by granting patent approvals in a record period of time.

  • Emergency Response Support System (ERSS) is one of the key projects of the Home Ministry to provide one emergency number to provide timely assistance to a person in distress. In the emergency situation, call can be made to the 112 number for help. This service is presently available in 28 States and Union Territories. The 112 India Mobile App can be downloaded for free and the help is available with press of a button. 

    ERSS is a pan-India single, internationally recognized 112 number based response system for all emergencies. It is a computer aided dispatch of resources, accessible through call, SMS, e-mail, 112 India Mobile App along with shout facility for women and children.

  • Indian Cabinet approved Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Bill for the welfare of Women in the Country. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said that the bill ensures reproductive rights to every woman in the country. The bill envisages instilling confidence of ethical practices in Assisted Reproductive Technology services. Under the provisions of the bill, a National Board will be constituted which will specify a code of conduct to be observed by persons working at such clinics.

  • The government of India will launch Tilhan Mission to make the country self-reliant in oil seed production. The government has also decided to create 10 thousand Farmers Producer Organisation (FPO) across the country for which an assistance of over 6,000 crore rupees will be provided. He also said, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana will not be mandatory for farmers and it will be voluntary for them.

  • Indian Cabinet has approved the constitution of an empowered Technology Group which will advise the Government on priorities and strategies for research on emerging technologies across sectors. The group intends to ensure that India has appropriate policies and strategies for effective, secure and context-sensitive exploitation of the latest technologies for economic growth and sustainable development of the Indian Industry. 

    This Group is mandated to render timely policy advice on the latest technologies, mapping of technology and technology products, commercialization of dual-use technologies developed in national laboratories and government Research and Development.

  • Indian Cabinet on February 19, 2020 approved the constitution of the Twenty-second Law Commission of India. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said that the commission will function for a period of three years from its date of official constitution. The Commission will give recommendations on different aspects of law which are entrusted to it. 

    It shall also undertake studies and research for bringing reforms in the justice delivery systems for elimination of delay in procedures and speedy disposal of cases among others. Law Commission of India is a non-statutory body constituted by the Government from time to time. The tenure of the twenty-first Law Commission ended in August 2018.

  • Indian Cabinet has approved the Phase- 2 of the Swachh Bharat Mission, Grameen till 2024-25, which will focus on Open Defecation Free Plus (ODF Plus). The program will work towards ensuring that no one is left behind and everyone uses a toilet. 

    The phase-2 of the mission will be implemented in a mission mode with a total estimated budgeted financial implication of 52 thousand 497 crore rupees. The ODF Plus programme will also converge with MGNREGA, especially for grey water management and will also complement the newly launched Jal Jeevan Mission.

  • Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan has said the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) will be set up by the first week of April, 2020. The CCPA to be set up under Consumer Protection Act 2019, will address issues related to consumer rights, unfair trade practices, misleading advertisements and impose penalties for selling spurious and adulterated products.

  • The Union Cabinet of India has approved Elevation of Bhaskaracharya Institute of Space Applications and Geo-informatics (BISAG), Gujarat as Bhaskaracharya National Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics (BISAG (N)) under Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MEITY), Government of India. 

    Benefits :
    1. To maintain efficiency and innovation of services, the current skilled manpower working at BISAG may join the national level institute on as-is and where-is basis.
    2. To facilitate implementation of expanded scope of activities.
    3. To facilitate efficient rollout of GIS projects.
    4. To facilitate aid research & development and technology development.
    5. Facilitate development planning and good governance through spatial decision support systems.

  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has approved revamping of "Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY)" and "Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (RWBCIS)" to address the existing challenges in implementation of Crop Insurance Schemes.

Bilateral :

  • External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar on February 18, 2020 met top leaders of the European Union and held wide-ranging talks on key issues such as combating terrorism, climate change and enhancing economic cooperation, which would benefit both India and the EU. 

    The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in a statement said that the Minister shared India's foreign policy priorities and regional and global perspective with the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) of the EU. The statement added that both the sides expect to deepen their engagement - particularly on common priorities such as addressing climate change, safeguarding multilateralism, cooperation in defence, security, connectivity, digital economy, trade and investment as also in the field of defence security and addressing the menace of terrorism. 

    This is Dr Jaishankar's first visit to the EU after the assumption of office of the new Commission in last December. The Foreign Minister met EU Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen and the two leaders discussed experiences in capacity building and development partnerships.

  • The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) of Bangladesh has approved the proposal to enhance the capacity of the Mongla port. India has extended a line of credit for the expansion of the Mongla Port capacity. Out of the total estimated project cost of Tk 6014 crore, India will provide Tk 4459 crore equivalent to $ 530 million as Line of Credit for the project. With the enhancement of the capacity of the Mongla port it would be able to handle 15 million tons of cargo and 4 lakh shipping containers of a standard 20 feet size called TEUs. 

    The project consists building of two container terminals and related infrastructure facilities at the port. On completion the project will significantly boost connectivity in the BBIN (Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal) region. It will also boost trade with India, Bhutan and Nepal. 

    India and Bangladesh had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the use of Chattogram and Mongla ports in 2015. The MoU envisages transit of goods from Mongla port to north eastern states of India through waterways, roads and railways. Mongla is the second largest sea port in Bangladesh.The project is expected to be completed by June 2024.

Persons :

  • In Afghanistan, independent Election Commission on February 18, 2020 announced that Ashraf Ghani has won a second term as President of the Afghanistan.

Sports :

  • Sunil Kumar wins gold in 87-kg Greco Roman category in Asian Wrestling Championships at New Delhi on February 19, 2020.

  • India will host the 2022 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women's Asian Cup.

  • Divya Kakran became only the second Indian woman to win a gold medal at the Asian Wrestling Championships defeating junior world champion Naruha Matsuyuki in New Delhi on February 19, 2020.

Awards :

  • ESPN Multi-Sport Awards 2019 recognized achievements across 10 categories : 

    Female Sportsperson of the Year : P V Sindhu (Badminton)
    Male Sportsperson of the Year : Saurabh Chaudhary (Shooting)
    Courage award : Dutee Chand (Sprint)
    Comeback of the the Year : Koneru Humpy (Ace Chess)
    Emerging Sports Person : Deepak Punia (Wrestling)
    Coach of the Year : Pullela Gopichand (Badminton Coach)
    Moment of the Year : Sindhu's World Championship win, the first by an Indian in badminton
    Team of the Year honour : Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary (Shooting)
    Para-Athlete of the Year : Manasi Girishchandra Joshi (Badminton)
    Lifetime Achievement award : Balbir Singh Senior (Hockey)

Days :

  • Nepal celebrated its 70th National Democracy Day on February 19, 2020.

  • International Mother Language Day is celebrated On 21st February, 2020 as a worldwide annual observance of UNESCO. UNESCO has identified over 7000 languages that are used (read, written and spoken) in different countries across the world and 21st February has been marked to celebrate this ‘Multilinguism’. The central theme for International Mother Language Day 2020 is ‘Languages without borders’.

  • India observed and celebrated International Mother Language Day as Matribhasha Diwas across the country on 21st February 2020 to highlight the linguistic diversity of our country. The theme of the Matribhasha Diwas 2020 to be celebrated across India is ‘Celebrating our Multilingual Heritage’ reflecting the spirit of Ek Bharat Shreshth Bharat.

Books :

  • Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar released the "Reference Annual, India 2020 and Bharat 2020" in New Delhi. E-version of the year books were also released on this occasion. Mr. Javadekar said that the digital version of the Reference Annual carry exhaustive and comprehensive information about the country and the activities, progress and achievements of various Central Government Ministries, Departments and Organisations during the year.

Environment :

  • Two new bird species Red Throated Thrush and Plumbeous Water Redstart have been found during Great Backyard Bird count in Ladakh. The three-day exercise undertaken by the Wildlife Conservation and Birds Club of Ladakh.



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