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Current Affairs 8 February 2022

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Bangladesh Railway Signed Agreement with HEIL to Procure 420 Broad Gauge WagonsBangladesh signs MoU to purchase 420 broad-gauge railway wagons

Bangladesh Railway (BR) has signed an agreement with the Hindustan Engineering and Industries Limited(HEIL), an enterprise of the Hindustan Group, to procure 420 broad gauge wagons from India, in the presence of Md. Nurul Islam Sujon Railway Minister of Bangladesh in Dhaka, Bangladesh. 
The total cost of the agreement is ~Tk 231 crore (Tk – Bangladeshi Taka) (~ Rs 200 crore). 
The agreement was signed by Mizanur Rahman, project director of Bangladesh Railways and Pradip Guha, vice president (marketing) of Hindustan Engineering and Industries Limited(HEIL).

  • At present, the BR has a total of 3,221 wagons which includes 918 tank wagons, 1030 covered wagons and 1273 open wagons. 
  • Bangladesh Railway Minister stated that, as a part of the modernisation initiative of the government, rivers and seaports are being connected to the railways, and single, one-way lines are being converted into two-way double lines. 

 Key Points:
i.The wagons are procured under the “Rolling Stock Operation Improvement Project” of the Bangladesh Railway, funded by the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
ii.The wagons will be delivered within 27 months from the effective date of the contract.
iii.The wagons will have stainless steel bodies and will operate at a maximum speed of 100 kilometres per hour with a maximum axle load of 18.5 tonnes. 
Rolling Stock Operation Improvement Project:
i.With the signing of this purchase agreement, the contracts for all 5 packages of the Rolling Stock Operation Improvement Project are completed. 
ii.The total cost of the contracts is ~Tk 3607.07 crore (~Rs 3133 crore). 
iii.Around 79% of the cost is financed by the ADB and the government of Bangladesh is bearing the remaining cost of 21%.

India Press Freedom Report 2021:J&K, UP, MP & Tripura Tops the List of Most Attacks on Journalists in 2021J&K, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Tripura topped in attacks on journalists in 2021

As per India Press Freedom Report 2021 released by Rights and Risks Analysis Group (RRAG), Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) topped the list of States and Union Territories where journalists and media houses were targeted the most in 2021. It was followed by Uttar Pradesh(UP), Madhya Pradesh (MP) and Tripura.

  • The report also stated that at least 6 journalists were killed, 108 attacked and 13 media houses or newspapers targeted across India.

 Top 3 Most Targeted States/UTs:

RankState/Union Territory(UT)
1Jammu and Kashmir (J&K)
2Uttar Pradesh (UP)
3Madhya Pradesh (MP)

From the Report:
i.The highest number of journalists or media organisations targeted was in J&K (25), followed by UP (23), MP (16), Tripura (15), Delhi (8), Bihar (6), Assam (5), Haryana and Maharashtra (4 each), Goa and Manipur (3 each), Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal (2 each), and Andhra Pradesh (1), Chhattisgarh (1) and Kerala (1).

  • J&K recorded the maximum attacks by State actors and Tripura had the most cases of attacks by non-State actors.

ii.8 women journalists faced arrest, summons and registration of First Information Reports (FIR).
About press freedom:
i.The widespread attacks on the press freedom from J&K to Tripura are an indicator of the continuing deterioration of civic space in India.

  • The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, is an affirmation of the government’s intent to crack down on media freedom.

Highest number of attacks on J&K:
i.Out of the 17 journalists arrested or detained in India, 5 were from J&K, followed by Delhi (3), Maharashtra (2), Manipur(2) and Tripura (2), and Assam (1), Chhattisgarh (1) and Haryana (1).

  • In 2021, at least 24 journalists were physically attacked, threatened and harassed.

ii.The FIR has been registered against 44 journalists, 21 of them under Section 153 of the IPC relating to promoting enmity.
About Jammu & Kashmir (J&K):
Lieutenant Governor – Manoj Sinha
Dams – Ranjit Sagar Dam, also known as the Thein Dam, Baglihar Dam, Dulhasti Dam
Lakes – Dal lake, Nigeen Lake

Ancient Kanchoth festival Celebrated in J&K
Age-old Kanchoth festival celebrated in J&K's BhaderwahThe ancient festival of Kanchoth is annually celebrated, mainly by the Nag followers, during the Shukla Paksha of Magh month which usually falls in January or February.  The festival is celebrated with religious fervour across the Chenab valley region of Jammu and Kashmir(J&K). 

  • The 3-day festival is celebrated by married women who pray for the long life of their husbands. 

Key Points:
i.Kanchoth or Gauri Tritya is widely celebrated in hilly kishtwar, Ramban and Doda of Jammu province.
ii.The festival is celebrated across Bhaderwah (also known as mini Kashmir), Kotli, Mathola, Ghata, Khakhal, Gupt Ganga, Chinnote, Kapra, Bhalra, Bheja, Chinchora and other regions. 
i.The locals and Nag followers believe that on this day of Gouri Tritiya, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati got married and Parvati insisted on a throne made of snow as her wedding gift.
ii.The snow during the festival is considered a good omen. 
About Jammu & Kashmir:
Lieutenant Governor– Manoj Sinha
Tribes– Gujjar, Bakarwal
RAMSAR Site- Hokera Wetland

PM Modi Unveils “Statue of Equality”, World 2nd Tallest Statue in Sitting Posture, Honouring Saint Ramanujacharya in HyderabadPM Modi unveils giant 'Statue of Equality'Prime Minister(PM) Narendra Modi unveiled the “Statue of Equality”, 216-foot tall statue of Ramanujacharya, an 11th-century Bhakti Saint, at Jeeyar Integrated Vedic Academy (JIVA), in Muchintal, Hyderabad, Telangana. 
This is the world’s 2nd tallest statue in a sitting posture, after the Great Buddha of Thailand statue (302 feet) in Ang Thong, Thailand.

  • The inauguration of the Statue of Equality, is a part of the 12-day Ramanuja Sahasrabdi Samaroham, the ongoing 1000th birth anniversary celebrations of Ramanujacharya.

i.This is one of the tallest metallic statues in a sitting position.
ii.The statue is mounted on a 54-feet high lotus built base building named ‘Bhadra Vedi’, which features 3 floors devoted to a Vedic digital library and research centre, ancient Indian texts, a theatre, an educational gallery detailing many works of Sri Ramanujacharya.
Key People:
Tamilisai Soundararajan, Governor of Telangana; G Kishan Reddy, Union Minister of Tourism; religious guru Tridandi Srimannarayana Chinna Jeeyar Swami were present during the event. 
About the Statue of Equality:
i.The statue has been conceptualised by Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swamy of Sri Ramanujacharya Ashram.
ii.The statue was built by Aerosun Corporation, China at a cost of Rs 135 crore and shipped to India in 1600 pieces and installed in 2017-2018. 
i.The “statue of equality” is made up of Panchaloha, a combination of 5 metals: gold, silver, copper, brass and zinc
ii.The temple of Ramanujacharya covers an area of around 300000 square feet also features a 120 Kg gold idol. 
About Ramanujacharya:
i.Ramanujacharya, a Vedic philosopher and social reformer, was born in 1017 in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu. 
ii.He fought against social, cultural, gender, educational, and economic discrimination.
iii.He came up with the concept of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, to offer education for the deprived. 


ADB Lends Record USD 4.6 Billion Loans to India in 2021ADB lends record USD 4.6 bn loans to India in 2021The Asian Development Bank (ADB) provided a record USD 4.6 billion in sovereign lending to India in 2021 for 17 loans, including USD 1.8 billion towards coronavirus (COVID-19) response.

  • Out of 1.8 billion COVID-19-related assistance, USD 1.5 billion was towards vaccine procurement and USD 300 million was to strengthen primary health care (PHC) in urban areas for future preparedness.
  • The ADB’s India portfolio comprised 69 projects worth USD 15.5 billion as of 31st December 2021.
  • ADB also committed USD 274 million to private sector projects in 2021 for COVID-19 support, highways improvement, energy efficiency, affordable housing and increasing farmer incomes.

About Asian Development Bank (ADB):
Established – 1966
Headquarters – Manila, Philippines
President – Masatsugu Asakawa
ADB Country Director for India – Takeo Konishi
Member Countries – 68 members (49 from Asia and Pacific regions)
>> Read Full News

ICICI Lombard Partners Airtel Payments Bank to Offer Cyber InsuranceAirtel Payments Bank partners ICICI LombardICICI Lombard General Insurance Company has partnered with Airtel Payments Bank to offer insurance solutions against cyber crimes and financial frauds to its customers.
About the Policy:
The cyber insurance solution from ICICI Lombard provides financial protection to customers against potential financial fraud relating to banking, credit or debit card; identity theft; phishing or email spoofing.

  • The policy provides a 90-day discovery period followed by a 7-day reporting period.

Who can avail?
Customers of Airtel Payments Bank can purchase this insurance policy using the ‘Airtel Thanks’ app with ZERO wait period and allows users to make multiple claims during the policy tenure, within the limits of the insured amount opted for.
About Airtel Payments Bank:
In 2021 Airtel Payments Bank had launched ‘Airtel Safe Pay’, the safest way to pay online which became the cyber insurance solution.
Establishment – January 2017
Headquarters – New Delhi, Delhi
Managing Director (MD) & CEO – Anubrata Biswas
About ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company:
ICICI Lombard offers technology-driven solutions such as the ‘IL TakeCare App’ where customers can purchase policies, manage claims, and renew policies
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
MD & CEO – Bhargav Dasgupta


Sonali Singh Given Additional Charge as the head of Controller General of Accounts of India

Sonali Singh, Additional Controller General of Accounts, has been given charge as the head of the organisation of the Controller General of Accounts (CGA), under the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance.The Ministry of Finance has stated that Sonali Singh shall function as the head of the organisation of CGA in the same capacity as Additional CGA with effect from 1st February 2022. 

  • Sonali Singh has been appointed as the CGA following the superannuation of Deepak Das, who has been serving as CGA since August 2021. 

Sonali Singh will look after the routine administrative duties of the post of CGA till the regular appointment to the post of CGA or until further orders, whichever is earlier. 
About Sonali Singh:
i.Sonali Singh is a 1987 batch officer of the Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS).
ii.She joined the CGA as an Additional CGA in October 2019. 
iii.She has also served as the Additional Secretary at the Central Vigilance Commission.
About Controller General of Accounts (CGA):
i.CGA derived their mandate from Article 150 of the Constitution of India. 
ii.The statutory mandate incorporated in the Allocation of Business Rules 1961 states the duties and responsibilities of CGA. 
Roles of CGA:

  • Principal Advisor on Accounting matters to the Union Government.
  • Responsible for establishing and managing a technically sound Management Accounting System.
  • Responsible for preparation and submission of the accounts of the Union Government.
  • Responsible for exchequer control and internal audits.

Bata India appoints Bollywood Actress Disha Patani as Brand Ambassador Bata India ropes in Disha Patani as brand ambassador (1)On 5 February 2022, Bata India Limited appointed Bollywood actress, Disha Patani as its Brand Ambassador. She will promote the brand and strengthen the youth connection to enhance footwear fashion among them.
Key points:
i.Disha Patani is a popular actor known for her fashion sense and fitness in the fashion industry of India.
ii.Bata India is the largest retailer and leading manufacturer of footwear in India and is a part of the Bata Shoe Organization.
iii.Previously, Bata has associated with celebrities including Kriti Sanon, Sushant Singh Rajput, and cricket player Smriti Mandhana for promoting various labels under Bata.
Note – In January 2022, Legends League Cricket (LLC) appointed Jhulan Goswami as an Ambassador to its All Women Match Official Team.
About Bata India Limited:
CEO- Gunjan Shah
Headquarters- Gurugram, Haryana
Founded– 1931

Akshay Kumar Appointed as Uttarakhand’s Brand AmbassadorAkshay Kumar appointed as Uttarakhand's brand ambassadorPushkar Singh Dhami, Chief Minister (CM) of Uttarakhand, has appointed Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar as the brand ambassador of Uttarakhand ahead of the 2022 Assembly Elections. 
In 2017, Akshay Kumar was appointed as Uttarakhand’s brand ambassador for ‘Swachhata Abhiyan’.
About Akshay Kumar:
i.Akshay Kumar, is a Canadian-Indian actor, a film producer who has acted in more than 100 films. 
ii.The government of India has honoured him with the Padma Shri in 2009 for Arts. 
iii.He won National Film Award for Best Actor in 2016 for his performances in Rustom and Airlift.
Previous brand ambassadors of Uttarakhand:
i.In 2021, Indian cricketer Rishabh Pant, who hails from Roorkee, Uttarakhand was appointed as the brand ambassador of Uttarakhand. 
ii.Indian field hockey player, Vandana Katariya was appointed as the brand ambassador of the women and child development department of Uttarakhand as well as the brand ambassador of the Centre’s ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ scheme for Haridwar district. 
About Uttarakhand:
Governor– Lt. Gen. Gurmit Singh
UNESCO heritage site– Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks
Festival– Butter Festival or Anduri Utsav; Kumbh Mela  


ISRO Demonstrates Hack-Proof Quantum Communicationisro tested world's most advanced hack-proof quantum communication newScientists from Ahmedabad-based Space Applications Centre (SAC) and Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) successfully demonstrated quantum entanglement based real time Quantum Key Distribution (QKD), a major step towards satellite-based quantum communication.

  • Space Applications Centre (SAC) is one of the major centres of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)

About the demonstration:
i.The demonstration for hack-proof communication was conducted at SAC, Ahmedabad between two buildings separated by 300 metres.

  • During the demonstration, scientists managed to create an atmospheric channel on the ground to enable sharing of quantum-secure text, image transmission and quantum-assisted two-way video calling.

ii.It included various key technologies like robust & high brightness entangled photon source (EPS), BBM92 protocol implementation, NAVigation with Indian COnstellation (NavIC) enabled synchronisation and polarisation compensation techniques.

  • A cryptographic application software suite with integrated quantum security has also been developed and demonstrated for text, image, video encryption/decryption.
  • The secure-key-rate achieved was ~1.8 kbps, with Quantum Bit Error Rate (QBER) of less than 10%. Quantum entanglement was achieved with Bell’s parameter and quantum visibility greater than 2.2 and 80% respectively.

What is Quantum communication?
i.It is one of the safest ways of connecting two places with high levels of code and quantum cryptography that cannot be decrypted or broken by an external entity.

  • The alert message would be generated if a hacker tries to crack the message in quantum communication.

Note –China already has a satellite Micius, dedicated to quantum information science and has also demonstrated quantum communication in a laboratory over a coiled optical fibre up to 404 kilometres long.
About Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO):
Chairman – S Somanath
Headquarters – Bengaluru, Karnataka


India Wins ICC U19 CWC 2022 Title for the record 5th timeU19 World Cup 2022 Final HighlightsOn February 05, 2022 Indian Under-19 (U19) cricket team lifted a record-extending fifth International Cricket Council (ICC) U19 Cricket World Cup (CWC) title after defeating England in the final that was held at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, Antigua and Barbuda.

  • Indian U19 team  under the captaincy of Yash Dull lifted the Under-19 Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2022 without losing a single match in the entire tournament.
  • The match winning team is coached by former Indian Cricketer Hrishikesh Kanitkar
  • India’s U19 Captain Yash Dhull was named as the Captain of ICC’s ‘Most Valuable Team’ of the U-19 World Cup.

2022 ICC U19 World Cup Tournament Overview:

  • Title Winner – India
  • Player of the Match (Finals) – Raj Bawa (India)
  • Player of the Tournament – Dewald Brevis (South Africa)
  • Host Country – West Indies
  • Total Participating Teams – 16

About ICC(International Cricket Council):
Chairman – Greg Barclay (New Zealand)
CEO – Geoff Allardice (Australia)
Independent Female Director  – Indra Nooyi (India)
>> Read Full News


Legendary singer, Bharat Ratna awardee Lata Mangeshkar Passed AwayLegendary singer, Bharat Ratna awardee, Lata MangeshkarLegendary Indian singer Lata Mangeshkar passed away at the age of 92 in Mumbai, Maharashtra after suffering from multi-organ failure due to COVID-19. She is also famous as the ‘Nightingale of India’. 

  • Condoling her demise the Central government has announced a two-day national mourning for the Bharat Ratna awardee and the National Flag will fly at half-mast for two days. 

i.Lata Mangeshkar was born on September 28, 1929, in Indore, Madhya Pradesh (MP). She started her musical journey at age 13 in the 1942 Marathi film Kiti Hasaal. Later she lent her voice to thousands of songs in 36 languages in a career spanning almost 73 years.
ii.She belonged to a family of musicians, her father Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar and mother Shevanti Mangeshkar, was Marathi musician and theatre artist.
iii.Lata Mangeshkar as Composer- Mohityanchi Manjula (1963), Maratha Tituka Melvava (1964), Sadhi Manase (1965) and Tambadi Mati (1969).
National Awards-

  • Bharat Ratna-  in 2001, for the contribution to the arts. She became 2nd vocalist to receive this honour apart from late Carnatic singer M S Subbulakshmi.
  • Padma Vibhushan (1999)
  • Padma Bhushan (1969)

Other awards-
 ‘Officier de la Legion d’Honneur’- France’s highest civilian award (Officer of the Legion of Honour) in 2009, Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1989 etc.


International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation 2022 – February 6International Day of Zero Tolerance 2022The United Nations(UN)’s International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation is annually observed across the globe on 6th February to create awareness about the effects of Female Genital Mutilations(FGM) on gender equality and women empowerment. 
The day also highlights the efforts taken to eradicate FGM. 
The theme of International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation 2022 is “Accelerating Investment to End Female Genital Mutilation”.
The United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) adopted the resolution A/RES/67/146 on 20th December 2012 and proclaimed the 6th February of every year as the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation. 
About United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA):
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) formerly the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency. 
Executive Director– Dr Natalia Kanem
Headquarters– New York, United States
>> Read Full News


Kerala Govt signs MoU with Social Alpha to develop Clean Energy TechnologiesGovt signs deal to develop clean energy tech in KeralaKerala Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Social Alpha’s Energy Lab representing “Clean Energy International Incubation Centre (CEIIC)” to support innovative and clean energy technology programmes in Kerala.
To establish a clean energy incubation centre to boost green energy development and energy conservation activities in Kerala.
Key points:
i.The Government of Kerala signed this agreement through Kerala Development & Innovation Strategy Council (KDISC) and Energy Management Centre (EMC).

  • It highlights the joint commitment of KDISC, EMC, and CEIIC to work together in areas of innovation and technology.
  • The EMC Kerala represents the Power Department agencies including the Kerala State Electricity Board, Electrical Inspectorate and ANERT (Agency for New and Renewable Energy Research and Technology).

ii.It will provide support to startups and guide research and development and the collaboration will also allow developers to test their products in the CEIIC labs.
iii.The incubation centre will be jointly established by agencies under the State Power Department, K-DISC  and CEIIC. The  Startup Mission and the proposed Green Energy Mission will also be initiated.

  • CEIIC, Set up in 2018 by Social Alpha, joint initiative of Tata Trusts and the Government of India, and is supported by the Department of Biotechnology with backing from the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), Tata Power and Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd.

About Kerala:
Airport- Calicut International Airport, Kannur International Airport
In 2012, the United Nations declared India’s Western Ghats as an UNESCO designated World Heritage Site. 

Amazon India signs MoU with Karnataka Govt. to turn rural Women into EntrepreneursAmazon India signs MoU to turn rural women into entrepreneurs in KarnatakaOn 5 February 2022, Amazon India signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Karnataka State Rural Livelihood Promotion Society (KSRLPS) to support the growth of women entrepreneurs. The MoU was signed in presence of Karnataka Chief Minister (CM), Basavaraj Bommai and Minister of Skill Development, Entrepreneurship and Livelihood, CN Ashwath Narayan.
What is in the MoU?
i.Amazon India will launch ‘Sanjeevini-KSRLPS’ in its platform and extend benefits of the ‘Saheli’ Programme to train and empower thousands of rural women entrepreneurs and also provide online access to a wider market for their products.
ii.It will boost the demand of indigenous unique  products from categories like grocery, home and fashion accessories made by over 30,000 women entrepreneurs and self-help groups (SHGs) associated with Sanjeevini-KSRLPS online.

  • It will make these products  available for online sales, to the customers of  Amazon. 

About Saheli Programme:
i.The Saheli Programme offers training and skill development workshops to help women entrepreneurs. 
ii.The session comprises such as e listing of products, imaging and cataloging, packaging and shipping, inventory and account management etc.
iii.It will also offer other  benefits to sellers in the Saheli programme including assisted onboarding and mentorship at no additional cost. 
About Amazon: 
Establishment – 1994 (initially started as an online marketplace for books)
Headquarters – Seattle, Washington, United States 
President & CEO- Andy Jassy
About Amazon India: 
Establishment – June 2013 
CEO – Amit Agarwal
Headquarters – Hyderabad, Telangana (Amazon’s largest Corporate office in the World)
About Karnataka:
Governor – Thawar Chand Gehlot
Cultural Heritage Site- Hampi, Pattadakal


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S.noCurrent Affairs 8 February 2022
1Bangladesh Railway Signed Agreement with HEIL to Procure 420 Broad Gauge Wagons
2J&K, UP, MP & Tripura Tops the List of Most Attacks on Journalists in 2021
3Ancient Kanchoth festival Celebrated in J&K
4PM Modi Unveils “Statue of Equality”, World 2nd Tallest Statue in Sitting Posture, Honouring Saint Ramanujacharya in Hyderabad
5ADB Lends Record USD 4.6 Billion Loans to India in 2021
6ICICI Lombard Partners Airtel Payments Bank to Offer Cyber Insurance
7Sonali Singh Given Additional Charge as the head of Controller General of Accounts of India
8Bata India appoints Bollywood Actress Disha Patani as Brand Ambassador
9Akshay Kumar Appointed as Uttarakhand’s Brand Ambassador
10ISRO Demonstrates Hack-Proof Quantum Communication
11International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation 2022 – February 6
12Legendary singer, Bharat Ratna awardee Lata Mangeshkar Passed Away
13International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation 2022 – February 6
14Kerala Govt signs MoU with Social Alpha to develop Clean Energy Technologies
15Amazon India signs MoU with Karnataka Govt. to turn rural Women into Entrepreneurs