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15th February 2022

National News


Gurugram's first woman police commissioner takes charge today

Gurugram's first woman police commissioner, Kala Ramachandran, will take charge today after replacing KK Rao, who was transferred with immediate effect late on Sunday night. "The security of citizens from street crimes such as hooliganism, snatchings, eve-teasing and drunken driving and security of women and minors would remain a key priority," Ramachandran said. She is a 1994 batch IPS officer.



Saubhagya Scheme: Rajasthan tops solar electrification Scheme

Under the Saubhagya scheme, Rajasthan has the maximum number of households electrified through the solar-based standalone system. In hill states of Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir had nil beneficiaries under the initiative.  Under the Saubhagya Scheme, 2.817 crore households were electrified up to March 31 last year, including 4.16 lakh through solar-based standalone systems.  Under the Saubhagya scheme, as many as 1,23,682 households were electrified through the solar-based standalone system in Rajasthan, followed by Chhattisgarh (65,373), Uttar Pradesh (53,234), Assam (50,754), Bihar (39,100), Maharashtra (30,538), Odisha (13,735), Madhya Pradesh (12,651), Power Minister R K Singh told the Lok Sabha


Ilker Ayci named as MD and CEO of Air India

Ilker Ayci has been appointed as the new CEO and MD of Air India. He will assume his responsibilities on or before 1st April 2022. Ilker Ayci is a former chairman of Turkish Airlines. Ilker is an aviation industry leader who led Turkish Airlines to its current success during his tenure there.  Ayci was born in Istanbul in 1971. After graduating from the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Bilkent University, he served as a researcher in the Department of Political Sciences at Leeds University in the U.K.  Starting his career in 1994, he was assigned several positions in Kurtsan Ilaclar A.S., Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Universal Dis Ticaret A.S., respectively, and then he served as a general manager in Basak Sigorta A.S. between 2005-2006, and then in Gunes Sigorta A.S. between 2006 and 2011.


India to replace diesel by renewable energy in agriculture by 2024 

Union Power Minister R K Singh has announced that India will achieve zero-diesel use in agriculture and replace fossil fuel with renewable energy by 2024.  For this, states should develop action plans to achieve the assigned targets and specific agencies dedicated to energy efficiency and conservation.  This initiative is a part of the government’s commitment to increase the share of non-fossil fuels by 2030 and become a net-zero emitter by 2070.  Union minister chaired a virtual meeting with additional chief secretaries and principal secretaries of power in states for collaboration between the Central and state governments for achieving energy transition goals.

Indian Railways to set up country’s biggest Wrestling Academy

Ministry of Railways has approved to set up a state-of-art wrestling academy in Indian Railways, at Kishanganj, Delhi.  The wrestling academy will be the biggest in India and equipped with advanced training facilities to promote the sports of wrestling in the country. The project will be set up at an estimated cost of Rs 30.76 crores.  According to the ministry, the national transporter has played a key role in promoting wrestling in the country and most of the elite wrestlers in India are from Indian Railways.  The academy will offer the best sports facilities to sportspersons, and provide an opportunity for many budding wrestlers to become champions in the coming time.

International News

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invokes Emergencies Act for 1st time 

Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau has invoked never-before-used emergency powers to support provinces in ending the blockades and public disorder that have gripped Ottawa for 18 days at the hands of participants in the so-called “Freedom Convoy.”  The demonstrations shut a main economic corridor between Canada and the United States for six days before it was reopened on the 13th Feb.  The Emergencies Act to deal with the "Freedom Convoy" protests, started on Jam 28 by Canadian truckers opposing a vaccinate-or-quarantine mandate for cross-border drivers.  They have turned into a rallying point for people opposed to a range of Trudeau's policies, including COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and a carbon tax.

Israel became first country to allow drones in civilian airspace 

Israel becomes the first-ever country to allow drone flights in civilian airspace. The certification was issued to the Hermes Starliner unmanned system by the Israeli Civil Aviation Authority and was manufactured and developed by Elbit Systems, an Israeli defence electronics company.  The UAVs will be used for the benefit of agriculture, the environment, public welfare, economic activity and against crime. For safety reasons, international aviation regulations prohibit uncertified aircraft from flying in civilian airspace, limiting the operation of UAVs to unsegregated airspace.


Germany re-elects President Frank-Walter Steinmeier for second term

German President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier has been re-elected for a second term of five years by a special parliamentary assembly. This is also the final term for Steinmeier, which he won with 71% of the vote.  The special assembly was made up of the members of parliament of the lower house and representatives of Germany’s 16 states. Steinmeier was first elected as the president on February 12, 2017, with 74% of the vote.  Before first becoming president in 2017, Steinmeier, 66, served two stints as Chancellor Angela Merkel's foreign minister and earlier was chief of staff to Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.  Germany's president has little executive power but is considered an important moral authority. After a messy parliamentary election result in 2017, Steinmeier helped prod politicians to form a new coalition government rather than holding out for a new vote.


Willing to surrender: Ex-Honduran Prez amid US extradition requests

Former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández said on Tuesday that he is willing to cooperate with national police, hours after the US sought his arrest and extradition. Hernández, who has been accused of colluding with drug traffickers, said that he is ready to "voluntarily arrive" and "defend" himself in Honduran Supreme Court. The court will decide on US' extradition request.

Italy bans unvaccinated Italians aged 50 and above from workplaces

Italian government said all unvaccinated citizens aged 50 and above will be banned from workplaces starting Tuesday. This comes after cabinet approved mandatory vaccination rule for citizens over 50. As per the rule, unvaccinated workers will be required to furnish a "reinforced" green pass proving vaccination at workplaces, failing which they will face wage cuts and fines up to $1,700.


SEBI makes separation of Chairperson and MD, CEO's role voluntary

Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on Tuesday said provision for separation of roles of a listed company's Chairperson and Managing Director or Chief Executive Officer is applicable on a "voluntary basis". The regulator had earlier mandated the separation of the role of Chairperson and MD/CEO of listed compani to be applicable from April 1, 2022.


Reliance Jio ties up with SES for satellite-based broadband service 

Reliance Jio has tied up with Luxembourg-based satellite and telecom services provider SES to provide satellite-based broadband communication services in India. Under the agreement, Jio Platforms has formed a joint venture with SES, named as Jio Space Technology Ltd.  The joint venture will deliver the next generation scalable and affordable broadband services in India, leveraging satellite technology. Jio Platforms Ltd will hold 51 per cent and SES will own a 49 per cent equity stake in the joint venture. The total value of the contract is around $100 million.

Initiate next gen reforms to improve ease of doing business: FM to SEBI

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday asked the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to initiate next generation reforms to improve India's ease of doing business. Further, she asked SEBI to "be prepared for the possible market turbulence on account of US Federal Reserve's actions". Sitharaman also appreciated the regulator's initiatives to strengthen investor protection

Paisabazaar & RBL bank tie-up to offer ‘Paisa on Demand’ credit card, a digital platform for consumer credit, has partnered with RBL Bank Limited to offer ‘Paisa on Demand’ (PoD), a credit card that will be exclusively available on the Paisabazaar platform.  To build products that offer integrated services for the large under-served segments across India. This is the third product under Paisabazaar’s neo-lending strategy.  The credit card from RBL Bank will be lifetime free with a digital onboarding process. It provides options of availing of personal loans from RBL Bank, using the same credit limit at normal personal loan rates to customers.  Along with features of a credit card, the product will provide customers the option of availing personal loans from RBL Bank, using the same credit limit at normal personal loan rates.


Zoho reports ₹1,918 cr profit, ₹5,230 cr revenue in FY21: Reports

Zoho reported a profit of ₹1,918 crore in FY21, a 139.5% YoY increase from ₹800.8 crore, Entrackr reported. Its operational revenue grew by 22.3% YoY from ₹4,274 crore in FY20 to ₹5,230 crore in FY21 while its employee benefit expenses rose 58.4% YoY to ₹1,725 crore. The United States continued to be Zoho's biggest market with a 42.7% share.

Lookout circular against ABG Shipyard Directors in India's biggest bank fraud case

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has issued a lookout circular against ABG Shipyard Directors in India's biggest bank fraud case to ensure they do not leave the country. The company allegedly cheated a consortium of banks led by the State Bank of India (SBI) of ₹22,842 crore. According to CBI's complaint, ABG Shipyard owes ₹7,089 crore to ICICI Bank.

Talent crunch is real: Wipro's Rishad Premji on tech industry

Wipro Chairman Rishad Premji took to Twitter to acknowledge the talent crunch in technology industry. "The technology industry in India now employs over 5 million people and added 450,000 new jobs this year...yet the talent crunch is real!" Premji wrote in a tweet quoting NASSCOM's annual strategic review. He further said this presents a great opportunity for new job creation.


CBI finds India’s biggest bank fraud of Rs 22,842 cr, books ABG Shipyard

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has booked ABG Shipyard for an alleged Rs 22,842-crore financial fraud. ABG Shipyard is the flagship entity of ABG Group. It has cheated a consortium of 28 banks and financial institutions of Rs. 22,842 crore.  This is the biggest bank fraud case ever registered by the CBI. The case pertained to funds gotten and misused during the 2012-17 period. Rishi Agarwal, the then CMD of ABG Shipyard has been named in the FIR.  This consortium was led by ICICI Bank. Of this, ABG Shipyard owes Rs. 7,089 crore to ICICI Bank, Rs. 3,639 crores to IDBI Bank, Rs. 2,925 crores to State Bank, Rs. 1,614 crores to Bank of Baroda, and Rs. 1,244 crore to Punjab National Bank, among others.  The Funds given by these banks were used by the executives of ABG Shipyard for purposes other than for which they were given and they were engaged in diversion of funds, misappropriation and criminal breach of trust. The same has been revealed in a report submitted by M/s. Ernst & Young LP.

BoB will acquire Union Bank’s stake in IndiaFirst Life Insurance

Bank of Baroda will acquire Union Bank of India’s 21% stake in IndiaFirst Life Insurance Company. It is a joint venture between the Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India, and Carmel Point Investments.  At present, the shareholding in IFIC is BoB holds 44%, Carmel Point Investments India holds 26% and UBI holds 30%. The acquisition is pursuant to a ‘Right of First Offer’ made by UBI to the existing shareholders of IndiaFirst Life, to divest 21% of its stake in IndiaFirst Life.  IndiaFirst Life Insurance Company will continue to have a long term agency distribution agreements with both banks (BOB and UBI), even after this stake sale.  Bank of Baroda has a strong domestic presence spanning 8,185 branches and 11,535 ATMs and cash recyclers supported by self-service channels. The bank has a significant international presence with a network of 96 overseas offices spanning 18 countries.

Science and Technology News

ISRO successfully launches earth observation satellite, EOS-04

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched an Earth Observation Satellite, EOS-04 and two small satellites into the intended orbit. This was the first launch mission of ISRO in the year 2022.  The satellites were launched onboard the launch vehicle PSLV-C52 rocket from the First Launch Pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.  EOS-04 is a Radar Imaging Satellite (RISAT) designed to provide high-quality images under all weather conditions for applications such as agriculture, forestry, and plantations, flood mapping, soil moisture & hydrology.  The satellite weighs about 1710 kg. It can generate 2280 W power. It has a mission life of 10 years.

Books and Authors News

A book titled ‘How to Prevent the Next Pandemic’ by Bill Gates

A book titled ‘How to Prevent the Next Pandemic’ has authored by Bill Gates will be published this year in May 2022.  In the book Bill Gates has written about specific steps that can only stop future pandemics but, in the process, provide better health care for everyone around the world.  His last book, “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need”, was released in February 2021. The book, to be published by Penguin Random House internationally and Knopf in the US.



Sourav Ganguly lays foundation stone for new NCA in Bengaluru

BCCI President Sourav Ganguly and Secretary Jay Shah on Monday laid the foundation stone for India's new National Cricket Academy In Bengaluru. Sharing the pictures of the same, Ganguly tweeted, "The new National Cricket Academy starts from today..laid the foundation stone place today in Bengaluru." The new facility will reportedly have three grounds where domestic matches can be held.



 Gita Mittal appointed as chairperson of Committee of Administrators to run TTFI

The Delhi High Court has appointed former Chief Justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, Gita Mittal as the Chairperson of the Committee of Administrators which will run the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI).  The court ordered that all communications on behalf of TTFI with any sportsperson or international sports bodies, will now take place only through the Committee of Administrators and the existing office bearers shall no longer be entitled to discharge any functions.  The office bearers will help the Committee of Administrators, as and when requested and a monthly honorarium of Rs 3 lakh and Rs 1 lakh each will be paid to Chairperson and two members, respectively.


Punjabi actor Deep Sidhu, accused in 2021 Red Fort violence, dies in road accident

Punjabi actor-activist Deep Sidhu died in a road accident near Sonipat in Haryana on Tuesday. As per the police, a female friend who was with Sidhu has sustained injuries. Sidhu was earlier named as an accused in the Red Fort violence that took place last year during a tractor rally led by protesting farmers against the Centre's agricultural laws.

Veteran singer Sandhya Mukherjee passes away aged 90 after cardiac arrest

Veteran singer Sandhya Mukherjee passed away on Tuesday at the age of 90. She was admitted to a private hospital in Kolkata with critical health issues. Mukherjee was hospitalised in the last week of January and hospital sources told PTI that she passed away after suffering a massive cardiac arrest.



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