1. February 2 as World Wetlands Day
Each year on 2 February, World Wetlands Day is celebrated globally.
- It signifies the anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) in Ramsar, Iran, on 2 February 1971.
- World Wetlands Day was first observed in 1997.
2. Pakistan declared a national emergency to battle locusts
Pakistan, which is facing its worst attack in decades, has declared a national emergency in the province of Punjab, the country’s main region for agricultural production, to deal with insects that have destroyed crops extensively.
- The decision was taken in a meeting called by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
- Attended by federal ministers and senior officials from the four provinces, the meeting also approved the National Action Plan (NAP) which requires an amount of ₹ 7.3 billion to overcome the crisis.
- The Prime Minister ordered the officials concerned to take immediate measures on the basis of ripened crop loss.
3. India, Maldives signed five MoUs for establishing Addu Tourism zone
India and Maldives have signed five MoUs at a cost of 2.49 million dollars for establishing the Addu Tourism zone in five islands of Addu Atoll.
- The 6th MoU was also signed to set up a bottled water plant at Horafushi.
- All six projects are grant projects falling under India’s High Impact Community Development Scheme (HICDP).
- These projects are inspired by the needs of communities on the islands.
4. Madhya Pradesh bagged the first position for implementation of PMMVY
Madhya Pradesh seized the first position for the implementation of Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana.
- At a function in New Delhi, Union Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani will grant this award to Madhya Pradesh.
- Indore district has also got first place for better performance of the PMMVY.
- The main purpose of MVY is to give an incentive amount of five thousand rupees for the loss of wages of working women and ensure their proper rest and nutrition during pregnancy.
- Over 14 lakh 55 thousand beneficiaries have been registered in MP under the Pradhan Mantri Matra Vandana Yojana.
5. Andhra govt has launched doorstep pension distribution scheme
The Andhra Pradesh government has launched a doorstep pension distribution scheme across the state, under which various welfare pensions are being disbursed at the pensioners’ home.
- The “YSR Pension Kanuka” is a step to end the struggles of old people who find it difficult to go to the pension office.
- Also, the age for old age pensioners (OAP) decreased from 65 to 60 years.
- The list of beneficiaries has increased to 54.64 lakhs this year with the increase in pensioners.
6. Ajay Bisaria named India’s next High Commissioner to Canada
India’s High Commissioner to Pakistan, Ajay Bisaria has elected as the next High Commissioner of India to Canada.
- Bisaria who is an IFS officer of the 1987 batch, is expected to take up the assignment shortly.
- Vikas Swarup who is now secretary (West) at the Ministry of external affairs, has worked as India’s High Commissioner to Canada from February 2017 to November 2019.
7. BAFTA Awards 2020 list
The British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA) ceremony was operated at the Royal Albert Hall in London, Britain.
1917 was the big winner of the night with seven awards, including the coveted Best Film and Director
- Outstanding British Film: 1917
- Best Film: 1917
- Leading Actress: Renée Zellweger – Judy
- Rising Star Award: Micheal Ward
- Leading Actor: Joaquin Phoenix – Joker
- Director: Sam Mendes – 1917
- Supporting Actress: Laura Dern – Marriage Story
- Film Not In The English Language: Parasite
- Original Screenplay: Parasite – Han Jin Won, Bong Joon-Ho
- Supporting Actor: Brad Pitt – Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood
- Cinematography: 1917 – Roger Deakins
- Adapted Screenplay: Jojo Rabbit – Taika Waititi
- Production Design: 1917 – Dennis Gassner, Lee Sandales
- Editing: Le Mans ’66 – Andrew Buckland, Michael Mccusker
- Sound: 1917 – Scott Millan, Oliver Tarney, Rachael Tate, Mark Taylor, Stuart Wilson
- Original Score: Joker – Hildur Guđnadóttir
- Costume Design: Little Women – Jacqueline Durran
- Special Visual Effects: 1917 – Greg Butler, Guillaume Rocheron, Dominic Tuohy
8. Waheeda Rehman assumes to conferred MP govt’s Kishore Kumar Samman
Noted actor Waheeda Rehman will be awarded the MP government’s National Kishore Kumar Samman.
- The award for the year 2018, by Madhya Pradesh Culture Minister Vijayalakshmi Sadho, will be given to Rahman at his Bandra residence in Mumbai.
- Rahman is one of the most successful leading women in the Hindi film industry who won many hit films and many awards at the box office.
- The award, which gives a cash prize and citation of Rs 2 lakh, was not given to Reham during a ceremony held in October last year as the actor was unwell.
9. Vinod Shukla gets first Mathrubhumi Book of the Year award
For his translated book “Blue Is Like Blue”, Noted Hindi poet-novelist and Sahitya Akademi honouree Vinod Kumar Shukla got the inaugural Mathrubhumi Book of the Year award.
- Arvind Krishna Mehrotra and Sara Rai translated the stories in “Blue Is Like Blue”, into English.
- The award was conferred at the Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters 2020, given for the best fictional work released in the previous year, carries a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh, a plaque designed by Rias Komu and a certificate.
10. Union Budget 2020-2021 – Details
Presenting the first Union Budget of the third decade of the 21stcentury, Finance Minister-Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman has revealed a series of far-reaching reforms, proposed at strengthening the Indian economy through a combination of short-term, medium-term, and long term measures on 01-02-2020.
The Union Budget was formed on the overall theme of “Ease of Living”.
Further, three prominent themes of the budget are:-
Aspirational India – better standards of living with access to health, education and better jobs for all sections of the society. The income tax rates have been revised.
- Caring Society – Both humane and compassionate.
- Economic Development for all – “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas”.
- 10% tax for income between Rs 5-7.5 lakh as against 20%
- 15% tax for income between Rs 7.5-10 lakh as against 20%
- 15% concessional tax rate for new power generation companies
- 20% tax for income between Rs 10-12.5 lakh as against 30%
- 25% tax for income between Rs 12.5-15 lakh as against 30%
- 30% tax for income above Rs 15 lakh
- Tax on cooperative societies reduced to 22% without exemptions.
- 100% tax concession to sovereign wealth funds on investment in infrastructure projects.
- For the year 2020-21: Nominal growth of GDP estimated at 10%.
- Fiscal deficit of 3.8% estimated in RE 2019-20 and 3.5% for BE 2020-21.
- Rs 690 billion will be spent on healthcare spending
- High-speed train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad will be actively pursued, Nirmala Sitharaman says while presenting Union Budget 2020.
- 5 new smart cities in public-private partnership mode
- Insurance cover for bank depositors to be raised to Rs 5 lakh from Rs 1 lakh
- Delhi-Mumbai Expressway to be completed by 2023
- 100 more airports to be developed by 2024
- To launch a new direct tax dispute settlement scheme — Vivaad se Vishwaas scheme.
- Govt plans to sell part of its holding in Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) by way of Initial Public Offering.
- The government doubles the divestment target for the next fiscal at Rs 2.1 lakh crore.
- Start-ups with turnover up to Rs. 100 crore to enjoy a 100% deduction for 3 consecutive assessment years out of 10 years.
- India will host the G20 Presidency in the year 2022 and the Finance Ministry is set to allocate Rs 100 crore for the preparations.
- Rs 2.83 lakh crore to be allocated for the 16 Action Points; Rs 1.6 lakh crore allocated to agriculture and irrigation; Rs 1.23 lakh crore for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj.
- Rs 4,400 crore for clean air; Rs 53,700 crore for ST schemes; Rs 85,000 crore for SC, OBCs schemes; Rs 28,600 for women specific schemes; Rs 9,500 crore for senior citizen schemes.
- Defense gets Rs 3.37 lakh crore as the defense budget
- Rs 30,757 crore rupees for Union Territory of J&K; Rs 5,958 crore rupees for Union Territory of Ladakh.
- National recruitment agency: New common entrance tests for non-gazetted government jobs and public sector banks.
- 5 new smart cities to be set up via PPP model.
- Rs 1.7 lakh crore allocated to transportation.
- 100 more airports to be set up by 2024 to support the UDAN scheme.
- Rs 6,000 crore for BharatNet program; Fibre to Home connections under BharatNet will be provided to 1 lakh gram panchayats this year itself
- Rs 18,600 crore worth Bengaluru suburban transport project launched; 20% equity will be provided by the Centre.
- Maritime Museum to be set up at Lothal- the Harappan age maritime site near Ahmedabad, by the Ministry of Shipping.
- New Education Policy to be announced soon.
- Rs 3.6 lakh crore allocated to water sanitation and pipeline project; Rs 12,300 crore for Swachh Bharat.
- Fish production to be raised to 200 lakh tonnes by 2022-23
- 5 archaeology sites to be developed for world-class museums
- Rakhigarhi (Haryana)
- Shivsagar (Assam)
- Hastinapur (Uttar Pradesh)
- Adichanallur (Tamil Nadu)
- Dholavira (Gujarat)