Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 24 February 2021

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 24 February 2021


Kala Namak rice

  • Uttar Pradesh is ready to export 20 tonnes of ‘Kala Namak’ rice to Singapore by March end.
  • The consignment will be sent to Singapore from Siddharth Nagar by the end of March this year.


  • It is a non-basmati scented rice variety grown primarily in tarai region of UP, is so named because its husk isblack.
  • It is highly resistant to rice diseases such as panicle blast, stem rot and brown spot. Water requirement is also low compared to Basmati.
  • It is also known as ‘Buddha ka Mahaprasad’ (an offering to Lord Buddha).
  • It has been rebranded as Buddha Rice in order to promote it in Buddhist countries.

Draft guidelines for influencer advertising

  • Advertising Standards Council of India has released draft guidelines to enable consumers to easily recognise promotional content on digital platforms.
  • Nature of labelling has been specified for various digital media channels such as Twitter, Instagram andYouTube.
  • Influencer marketing is a strategy that businesses use to promote their products and services by partnering with popular social media users or bloggers.
  • These influencers can influence people’s opinions and decisions.It is currently estimated at $75 million-$150 million.


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Kerala govt. cancels agreement with U.S. firm

  • The Kerala government has invalidated the Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation’s (KSINC) controversial agreement with a U.S.-based firm, EMCC International.
  • It aims to build and operate a deep-sea trawling fleet to harvest the marine wealth off the coast of Kerala.
  • The agreement is ₹2,950 crore pact to build 400 deep sea fishing trawlers and new harbours and for the port development activities.
  • The government found the agreement contravened the Left Democratic Front’s policy to allow only traditional fishers to own or operate deep-sea trawlers. Only they would receive new boat permits.

Govt. stand

  • The government felt the KSINC had “missed” the critical proviso when inking the agreement. The KSINC “failed” to vet the firm before inking the memorandum of understanding. 
  • The company “lacked” the financial heft to build a vast fleet and allied infrastructure. Its seed money was less than ₹10 lakh.
  • The Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) also appeared taken in by the firm’s pitch to build modern fishing harbours and a marine product processing centre.
  • Consequently, it agreed to allocate four acres for the firm in an industrial park in Alappuzha. 
  • The government found the firm had attempted to take advantage of its programme to modernise the State’s ageing fishing fleet incrementally.

Making Peace with Nature: UNEP Report

  • The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has released the Making Peace with Nature report, ahead of the fifth session of the UN Environment Assembly.
  • Climate change, biodiversity loss and land degradation should be tackled together by transforming the world’s relationship with nature, said a new report released by United Nations ahead of its fifth Environment Assembly.


  • The assembly will be held on the theme ‘Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals’.
  • It calls for strengthened action to protect and restore nature and nature-based solutions to achieve the sustainable development goals in its three social, economic and environmental dimensions.
  • The new 168-page report called ‘Making Peace with Nature’ presents a strong case for innovation and investment to tackle climate, biodiversity and pollution —the three environmental emergencies within the framework of sustainable development goals.

Growing triple crisis

  • The three self-inflicted planetary crises are closely interconnected and put the well-being of current and future generations at unacceptable risk, warned the report released on February 18, 2021.
  • Inequity in economic growth has left 1.3 billion people poor. At the same time, extraction of natural resources has multiplied three times creating a planetary emergency.
  • More than one million of the estimated 8 million plant and animal species are increasingly at risk of extinction.  Every year, nine million people die prematurely due to pollution.
  • Even though the causes and mechanisms of climate change, biodiversity loss and land degradation are complex, these should be considered together, the report proposed.
  • The report highlights the importance of changing mindsets and values, and finding political and technical solutions that measure up to the Earth’s environmental crises.


Central Employment Guarantee Council

  • The 22ndMeeting of the Central Employment Guarantee Council, was held on 23.02.2021 under the Chairmanship of Union Minister of Rural Development. 
  • It has been constituted under Section 10 of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (Mahatma Gandhi NREGA), 2005.
  • In this current financial year 2020-21 under the shadow of COVID-19 pandemic, Mahatma Gandhi NREGA has played its critical role in providing wage employment to the wage seekers. 
  • A total of 344 crore persondays employment has been generated so far, which is the highest ever persondays generated so far and around 44% higher than that of last year during the same period. 
  • 1.69 crore new job cards were issued this year as compared to usual about 69 lacs in previous years reflecting the succor it provided to the migrant workers going back to their villages. 


Alternative to alcohol-based disinfectant

  • The IIT Ropar has developed a low-cost device to produce electrolysed water that could be used as an alternative to alcohol-based disinfectant.
  • The acidic electrolysed water has a pH of 5.0-6.5 and high concentration of Free Available Chlorine (FAC). 
  • It was reported recently that freely available chlorine can potently inactivate the virus. 
  • The electrolysed water also shows strong killing activity against bacteria, fungi and many other types of viruses.
  • Unlike traditional procedure of cleaning water with chlorine treatment, electrolysed water does not harm humans. 
  • It also shows strong activity against food-borne pathogens that could be beneficial for food and agricultural industries.
  • Researchers said the electrolysed water can be used as “a powerful natural tool” in the fight against the COVID-19 virus. 
  • It is non-toxic and non-flammable and therefore does not require hazardous or chemical storage or handling precautions. Nor are there any special shipping or export requirements.


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