Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 21 February 2021

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 21 February 2021


J&K Delimitation Commission holds first meeting

  • The Delimitation Commission for Jammu and Kashmir held its first meeting on to seek suggestion/views on the process of delimitation in respect of the union territory.
  • An overview on the process of delimitation based on the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 and Delimitation Act, 2002 was presented before the members.
  • The two members appreciated the commission’s efforts and suggested that delimitation of constituencies should be practicable. 
  • They also said that regard should be given to physical features, existing boundaries of administrative units, facilities of communication and public convenience.
  • The members suggested that special attention should be given to the difficult terrains while carrying out the delimitation exercise.
  • They also urged Justice Desai to go ahead with the delimitation process as the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 is under judicial scrutiny.
  • The Delimitation Commission for Jammu and Kashmir was constituted by the Centre on March 6 last year to redraw Lok Sabha and assembly constituencies of the union territory in accordance with the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, which bifurcated the state into union territories of J&K and Ladakh.


  • Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has announced names of 25 cities selected for the Nurturing Neighbourhoods Challenge (NNC) under SmartCities Mission.
  • NNC is a three-year initiative that will support cities to develop, pilot, and scale solutions that enhance the quality of life of young children, their caregivers and families in the public realm.
  • Cities will receive technical assistance and help in capacity-building to create accessible, safe, walkable streets for young children and families.
  • The selected cities were Agartala, Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Dharamshala, Erode, Hubballi-Dharwad, Hyderabad, Indore, Jabalpur, Kakinada, Kochi, Kohima, Kota, Nagpur, Rajkot, Ranchi, Rohtak, Rourkela, Salem, Surat, Thiruvananthapuram, Tiruppur, Ujjain, Vadodara, and Warangal.


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Guinea Ebola outbreak

  • This is the first time the disease has been reported in the country since the devastating Ebola outbreak in West Africa ended in 2016. 
  • Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a rare and fatal disease in humans and non-human primates.
  • Viruses that cause EVD are mainly found in sub-Saharan Africa. 
  • People can get EVD through direct contact with an infected animal (bat or non-human primate) or a sick or dead person infected with the Ebola virus.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the Ebola vaccine rVSV-ZEBOV (trade name "Ervebo") for the prevention of EVD.


  • After 15 months, Anand Fernandes, a Mumbai sailor returned home. He was a member of the crew of the ship Anastasia, that was stranded in a Chinese port due to the coronavirus pandemic.


  • Fernandes began his voyage in Anastasia prior to the pandemic in November 2019 and the ship was heading to the United States, Netherlands, South Africa, India, China and Australia.
  • However, the second voyage to China resulted in the ship being stranded in Chinese waters as the pandemic prevented fear from unloading Australian coal. China also had new regulations for imports.
  • After the successful negotiations with Chinese officials, the ship was brought to Japan, from where the crew flew to Dubai and then to the respective cities of residence.


Go Electric campaign

  • The Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways launched the "Go Electric" campaign to spread the benefits of electromobility and the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, as well as electric cooking in India.
  • The Go Electric campaign is an important initiative, which should help reduce our country's dependence on imports in the coming years would be an important step towards a cleaner and greener future.
  • The campaign aims to and should raise awareness at the level of PAN-India Boost the trust of electric vehicle manufacturers.
  • In order to carry out the “Go Electric” campaign at national and state level, the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) will provide technical support to the designated state agencies (SDA). 
  • As the Central Nodal Agency, BEE will provide designated government agencies and other partners with content and details to ensure the consistency of the information.


Sputnik V

  • Dr Reddy’s Laboratories has approached India’s apex drug regulatory body for emergency approval of Sputnik V, the company.

What is Sputnik V?

  • This is a vaccine that uses two different human common cold viruses (adenovirus) that have been modified so that the gene causing the cold infection is removed and instead replaced with a code to make SARS-CoV-2’s ‘spike protein’ (the spikes seen on the surface of the virus, which allows it to penetrate the cells and replicate). 
  • The human adenoviruses then act as a vehicle to transport this code to the cells when a person is vaccinated, so that the body can develop an immune response in the form of antibodies to protect it in the event the real virus tries to infect.
  • The vaccine, named after the first Soviet space satellite, was developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology.
  • Dr Reddy’s Laboratories has been testing the vaccine’s safety and ability to provide protection to the Indian population in phase 2/3 clinical trials on around 1,500 participants in the country. While phase 3 trials are still underway, they are expected to get over by February 21, according to the company.


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