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Daily Current Affairs – 22nd Feb. 2021

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Daily Current Affairs

Given below are the daily current affairs for 22nd Feb. 2021. You can take the daily current affairs quiz here for free.

ECONOMY

Cairn Energy seeks swift resolution

Context:

Cairn Energy has filed a case in a U.S. district court to enforce a $1.2 billion arbitration award it won in a tax dispute against India, adding pressure on the government to pay its dues.

Background:

  • In December 2020, a three-member tribunal in the Permanent Court of Arbitrage at The Hague had ruled unanimously against the retrospective tax levied by India on Cairn in 2015, ruling that the tax violated the bilateral investment pact.
  • The tribunal also awarded Cairn $1.2 billion in damages.

Details:

  • A number of proposals are being discussed by Cairn Energy with the government to find a mutually acceptable swift resolution.
  • The company would look at investing more in India if such a resolution occurs.

ENVIRONMENT

Telangana achieves 100% tap water connections to schools

Context:

Work on providing connection to schools, AWCs and ashramshalas was taken up under the 100-day special campaign of the Ministry of Jal Shakti under the Jal Jeevan Mission.

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Now, Telangana has joined a group of States that has ensured tap water connections to all schools and anganwadi centres (AWCs).

  • Previously, the State was the first to provide tap water connections to all households.

About Jal Jeevan Mission:

Announced in August 2019.

Objective of the Mission is to provide piped water supply (Har Ghar Jal) to all rural households by 2024.

It seeks to provide 55 lpcd (Litres per capita per day) of prescribed quality on long-term and regular basis.

  • It aims to create local infrastructure for rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge and management of household waste water for reuse in agriculture.

Implementation:

Following the principles  of Gandhiji’s ‘Gram Swaraj’, under Jal Jeevan Mission, local village community/ Gram Panchayats or sub-committee i.e. Village Water & Sanitation Committee/ Paani Samiti/ user groups having 10 – 15 members with 50% women are to be involved in planning, implementation, management, operation and maintenance of water supply systems to ensure long-term sustainability to achieve drinking water security.

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Funding Pattern:

  1. The fund sharing pattern between the Centre and states is 90:10 for Himalayan and North-Eastern States, 50:50 for other states, and 100% for Union Territories.
  2. Central funding will be 50% for cities with less than 1 lakh population, one third for cities with 1 lakh to 10 lakh population and 25% for cities with million plus population.

Need for and significance of the mission:

India has 16% of the world population, but only 4% of freshwater resources. Depleting groundwater level, overexploitation and deteriorating water quality, climate change, etc. are major challenges to provide potable drinking water. It is an urgent requirement of water conservation in the country because of the decreasing amount of groundwater level. Therefore, the Jal Jeevan Mission will focus on integrated demand and supply management of water at the local level.


INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Iran says talks with IAEA chief ‘fruitful’

What’s in News?

Iran said that it had held fruitful discussions with the UN nuclear watchdog chief in Tehran.

  • The discussion comes ahead of a deadline when Iran is set to restrict the agency’s inspections unless the United States lifts painful sanctions.
  • Efforts are being stepped-up between U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration, European powers and Iran to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) that has been on the brink of collapse since former President Donald Trump withdrew from it.

Concerns:

  • Iran has signalled that it wants to avoid an impasse, but also warned it could step further away from its commitments if sanctions are not lifted.
  • Iran’s conservative-dominated parliament had demanded that if the U.S. did not lift sanctions, Iran would suspend some IAEA inspections.
  • However, Iran has stressed it will not cease working with the IAEA or expel its inspectors.

MISCELLANEOUS

Amid surge in cases, Centre orders more RT-PCR tests

What’s in News?

The Centre has written to six states which are witnessing a surge in the number of daily COVID-19 cases, calling for an increase in the proportion of RT-PCR tests while ensuring that those testing negative with the Rapid Antigen Tests be retested by RT-PCR.

RT-PCR tests:

  • RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) is a nuclear-derived method for detecting the presence of specific genetic material from any pathogen, including a virus.
  • It is a laboratory technique combining reverse transcription of RNA into DNA and amplification of specific DNA targets using polymerase chain reaction.
  • Rapid-Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests are considered the gold standard for detecting the virus.
  • RT-PCR involves extracting RNA from a swab collected from the throat or nose, converting it into DNA, magnifying the quantity of DNA and using chemical probes to bind target genes that distinguish SARS-CoV2 from other viruses.

Black-footed ferret

  • S. scientists have successfully cloned an endangered black-footed ferret using frozen cells from along-dead wild animal, the first time any native endangered species has been cloned in the United States.
  • The species is North America’s only native ferret.
  • The species was considered extinct until seven were found in 1981.

International Mother Language Day

Context:

International Mother Language Day is observed on 21 February every year.

About International Mother Language Day (IMLD):

  • The Day is celebrated to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and to promote multilingualism.
  • First announced by UNESCO in 1999, it was formally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in 2002.
  • Mother Language Day is part of a broader initiative “to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world”.
  • The idea to celebrate International Mother Language Day was the initiative of Bangladesh.
    • In Bangladesh, 21 February is the anniversary of the day when the people of Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) fought for recognition for the Bangla language.
  • The theme for IMLD 2021 is “Fostering multilingualism for inclusion in education and society”.

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