Current affairs (19TH FEBRUARY)
PM MODI TO CHAIR NITI AAYOG COUNCIL MEETING
- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair the NITI Aayog Council meeting on February 20, 2021. During this meeting, problems related to agriculture, manufacturing, infrastructure and human resource development will be discussed. This will be the 6th meeting of the Council.
- The newly added UT Ladakh will attend the meeting for the first time. Jammu and Kashmir will also participate as joint territories this year. Other Union territories led by the administrator will also join the conference.
- Ex-officio members of the council will also attend the meeting; the vice-chairman and union minister. The member and CEO of NITI Aayog and other senior officials of the Indian government will also attend the meeting.
- Niti Aayog is India's policy think tank, established in 2015 by replacing the planning committee. The institution was established to achieve sustainable development goals through cooperative federalism.
- Some of Aayog's initiatives include: "15-year roadmap", AMRUT, "7-year vision, strategy and action plan", Atal innovation mission, Indian digitization, medical education reform, agricultural reform, and a series of lectures on Indian transformation.
SAARC VIRTUAL MEETING TO BE HOSTED BY INDIA
- India hold a virtual health secretary-level meeting with the member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
- The virtual conference held on February 18, 2021. During the meeting, members discussed the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Pakistan was also invited to participate in the meeting.
- The virtual conference discusses challenges and developments related to COVID-19 management and pandemic response. Members exchanges best practices on the ongoing pandemic. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also raised the Coronavirus Emergency Fund COVID-19 crisis.
- Represented the SAARC region in a video conference of SAARC heads of state in March 2020. SAARC members have established a Coronavirus Emergency Fund to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The purpose of establishing the emergency fund is to reduce the risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic in South Asia.
- India has proposed to contribute 10 million US dollars to the fund. Other SAARC member states also support the move to establish a fund proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
PIMO-E-BIKE LAUNCHED BY IIT MADRAS
- Pi Beam is an emerging company incubated by IIT Madras, and recently launched an electric two-wheeler named "PiMO".
- Pi Beam's goal is to sell 10,000 vehicles by the end of the 2021-22 fiscal year. The bicycle was founded by IIT Madras Alum Visakh Sasikumar. 100 customers have booked electric bicycles.
- Electric two-wheelers charge faster than smartphones. Sustainable and affordable bicycles can travel 50 kilometers.
- Launched electric bicycles to meet personal and commercial needs. Its price is Rs. 30,000. It does not require a license or registration..
- Electric bicycles will provide green and convenient transportation on Indian roads. 90% of important bicycle components such as batteries and controllers are manufactured in India. Therefore, it is one of the few electric vehicles that follow the "Made in India" spirit in the local market.
- Electric bicycles are between electric bicycles and entry-level electric scooters. Its top speed is 25 kmph. Compared with electric bicycles, electric bicycles have a larger driving range. Bicycles also provide "battery swap" technology.
- Using battery swap technology, a depleted battery can be replaced with a fully charged battery at a designated location.
- Pi Beam Electric is a start-up company incubated by Madras. The company provides a series of green, stylish, affordable and easy-to-use EV solutions for personal and commercial use.
CAIRN ENERGY CASE: NEW YORK CONVENTION
- Cairn Energy has filed a case in the USA District Court under the New York Convention to enforce a US$1.2 billion arbitration award won in a tax dispute with India.
- The Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, also known as the “New York Arbitration Convention” or the “New York Convention”, is one of the important instruments in international arbitration.
- Arbitration is a procedure in which the parties agree to submit a dispute to one or more arbitrators (independent person/body) who make a binding decision on the dispute. It applies to the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards, as well as referral to arbitration by the court.
- After a diplomatic conference was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in May and June 1958, the United Nations adopted the convention and entered into force on June 7, 1959.
- Aim: The main purpose of the Convention is that the courts that require enforcement should not distinguish between foreign and non-domestic arbitral awards.
- Parties to Convention: The Convention has 166 state parties (Countries). India is a party to the Convention.
KING XI PUNJAB RENAMED AS PUNJAB KINGS
- The IPL Franchise, Kings XI Punjab has formally been renamed as Punjab Kings ahead of the Indian Premier League auction. .
- The new brand name and logo of the team was officially released by the management.
- The Punjab-based IPL franchise ‘Punjab Kings‘ is co-owned by Bollywood actress Preity Zinta, along with businessman Ness Wadia, Mohit Burman and Karn Paul.
- The side is currently led by batsman KL Rahul, with former Indian captain Anil Kumble as its head coach.
'SNAKEPEDIA' APP LAUNCHED IN KERALA
- A team of scientists, doctors and photographers in Kerala have launched a mobile application named “Snakepedia” that will present all relevant information on snakes, to help the public as well as doctors in treating snake bites.
- The main aim of the app is to help the public identify snakes, avail proper treatment on time for snakebites, bust myths about snakes, and protect snakes as well as snakebite victims.
- The android mobile application documents information on snakes with the help of pictures, infographics and podcasts and analyses its first aid, treatment, myths and superstitions.
- Kerala CM: Pinarayi Vijayan.
- Kerala Governor: Arif Mohammad Khan.
HYUNDAI DEVELOPS ULTIMATE MOBILITY VEHICLE
- Hyundai Motor Company has launched a Transformer-like robocar dubbed as TIGER X-1 that can travel over the most challenging terrains on the Earth as well as on other planets.
- TIGER stands for Transforming Intelligent Ground Excursion Robot, and the X-1 denotes its experimental status.
- The Ultimate Mobility Vehicle (UMV) TIGER is being developed by Hyundai in partnership with Autodesk and Sundberg-Ferar.
- Tiger is designed as a battery-electric vehicle, comprising of a small pod with four wheels on extendable legs. it will be able to operate as either a four-wheel-drive vehicle or four-legged walking robot.
- The vehicle is unscrewed, meaning that its, main use will be to carry payloads over remote and inaccessible locations, and not the people. It will help in search and rescue, scientific research, military, or exploratory missions (even on new planets).
- Hyundai Motor Company Founder: Chung Ju-Yung.
- Hyundai Motor Company Founded: 29 December 1967, Seoul, South Korea.