Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 18 February 2021

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 18 February 2021


E-Chhawani portal

  • Defence Minister launched E-Chhawani portal and mobile app in New Delhi on February 16, 2021. 


  • The portal has been created to provide online civic services to over 20 lakh residents of 62 Cantonment Boards across the country.
  • Through the portal, the residents of cantonment areas will be able to avail basic services like renewal of leases, application for birth & death certificates, water & sewerage connections, trade licences, mobile toilet locators and payment of different types of taxes and fees, with just a click of a button. 
  • The portal, jointly developed by eGov Foundation, Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Directorate General Defence Estates (DGDE) and National Informatics Centre (NIC), provides a platform to the residents to avail these services from the comfort of their home.

Amendments to the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015

  • The Union Cabinet, has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Women and Child Development to amend the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 to introduce measures for strengthening Child Protection set-up to ensure best interest of children.


  • The amendments include authorizing District Magistrate including Additional District Magistrate to issue adoption orders under Section 61 of the JJ Act, in order to ensure speedy disposal of cases and enhance accountability. 
  • The District Magistrates have been further empowered under the Act, to ensure its smooth implementation, as well as garner synergized efforts in favour of children in distress conditions. 
  • Defining eligibility parameters for appointment of CWC members, and categorizing previously undefined offences as ‘serious offence’ are some of the other aspects of the proposal. 
  • Several difficulties faced in implementation of various provisions of the Act have also been addressed.


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ICC ruling says it has jurisdiction in Palestinian Territories

  • The International Criminal Court said that the court has jurisdiction over war crimes committed in the Palestinian territories, a ruling that was welcomed by Palestinians and criticized by Israel.

About the judgement:

  • According to this ruling, the ICC would have jurisdiction to investigate potential war crimes commited in Palestinian territories. 
  • The ruling was delivered by a pre-trial chamber of three ICC judges, provisions of which could lead to criminal investigations of Israel and Palestinian militant groups including Hamas. The report added that no probe was expected in the near future.
  • This means that despite the ruling, there would be no immediate investigations even for those cases that had been brought to the attention of the international community.
  • This ruling was really a result of the Palestinian Authority gaining formal membership of international criminal court in 2015.Israel is not a member of the ICC. 

Comprehensive Economic cooperation And Partnership Agreement Between India And Mauritius

  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has approved signing of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA) between India and Mauritius. 


  • The India-Mauritius CECPA will be the first trade Agreement to be signed by India with a country in Africa. 
  • The Agreement is a limited agreement, which will cover Trade in Goods, Rules of Origin, Trade in Services, Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures, Dispute Settlement, Movement of Natural Persons, Telecom, Financial services, Customs Procedures and Cooperation in other Areas
  • CECPA provides for an institutional mechanism to encourage and improve trade between the two countries. 
  • The CECPA between India and Mauritius covers 310 export items for India, including food stuff and beverages (80 lines), agricultural products (25 lines), textile and textile articles (27 lines), base metals and articles thereof (32 lines), electricals and electronic item (13 lines), plastics and chemicals (20 lines), wood and articles thereof (15 lines), and others.


National Hydrogen Mission

  • The Finance Minister in the Union budget for 2020-21 formally announced the National Hydrogen Mission (NHM) which aims for generation of hydrogen from green power resources. 


  • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has also disclosed that the draft regulations for NHM will be finalised by the end of this month and will thereafter proceed for approval of the Union Cabinet. 
  • Though it is speculated that NHM will emphasize on generating green hydrogen and enabling its commercial use as a transportation fuel, however, it is yet to be seen what roadmap the government has envisioned in its draft regulations.
  • Hydrogen is primarily used in petrochemicals and fertiliser industry and is produced largely from natural gas, thereby emitting enormous amounts of carbon dioxide. 



  • Researchers from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), in collaboration with colleagues from Oslo University Hospital and the University of Agder in Norway, have developed a software tool that can reveal the severity of lung infections in Covid-19 patients.
  • The findings were published in the journal IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks and Learning Systems.

Key findings:

  • The software tool, developed by a team led by researchers from IISc’s departments of Computational and Data Science (CDS), and Instrumentation and Applied Physics, is called AnamNet. 
  • It can ‘read’ the chest CT scans of Covid-19 patients, and, using a special kind of neural network, estimate how much damage has been caused in the lungs, by searching for specific abnormal features. 
  • Such a tool can provide automated assistance to doctors and therefore help in faster diagnosis and better management of Covid-19, the findings say.
  • AnamNet employs deep-learning and other image-processing techniques, which have now become integral to biomedical research and applications. 
  • The software can identify infected areas in a chest CT scan with a high degree of accuracy.


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