Daily Current Affairs for 23rd & 24th Feb 2021

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  5. Daily Current Affairs for 23rd & 24th Feb 2021

Russia announces military campaign against Ukraine and NATO

Why in News

• The war between Russia and Ukraine has started. Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a military operation against Ukraine. He said war cannot be avoided.

Key point

• Martial law has been declared in Ukraine after the announcement of the Russian President. Ukraine’s foreign minister said that now imposing tough sanctions against Russia, the world should act immediately.
• The Ukrainian foreign minister’s reaction comes after the Russian President’s announcement. He said Ukraine will defend itself and win. Russian President Putin has just launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Russia has declared war in the midst of an ongoing standoff with Ukraine.
What is the dispute between Russia and Ukraine?
• Ukraine shares a border with Europe in the west and Russia in the east. Ukraine was a member of the Soviet Union until 1991. Tensions between Russia and Ukraine began in 2013. In November 2013, protests against then-President Viktor Yanukovich began in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine.
• Russia supported Yanukovich, while the US-UK were supporting the protesters. Yanukovich had to flee the country in February 2014.
• Russia annoyed with this and annexed Crimea in southern Ukraine. He also supported the separatists there.
• Separatists captured large parts of eastern Ukraine. Since then, fighting has been going on between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian army.
• Ukraine is trying to improve its relations with Western countries because of Russia, while Russia is against it.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
• NATO was formed largely after World War II to counter the threat from the Soviet Union.
• NATO is a military alliance between the countries of Europe and North America. Any decision in NATO is taken on the basis of the collective will of all thirty members.
• At the time of the establishment of NATO, the main objective was to stop the communist ideology of the Soviet Union in Western Europe.
• NATO aims to implement the North Atlantic Treaty signed on 04 April 1949.
• NATO is a military alliance formed by 12 countries including the US, Canada, UK and France. Its full name is North Atlantic Treaty Organization (North Atlantic Treaty Organization).
• NATO constitutes a system of collective security. Under the system, an attack on one member state is considered an attack on all and calls for a collective response.
• It creates a sense of solidarity and harmony among the member countries.
• To not only provide collective defense to meet new threats emerging at the international level, but also to manage crisis situations as well as encourage cooperative security.

NATO member country

• NATO member states include 2 North American countries, 27 European countries and 1 Eurasian country.
• Ukraine is not a member of NATO. Ukraine is however a NATO partner country, which means it may join NATO in the future.

NATO member and joining date

• Albania 2009
• Belgium 1949
• Bulgaria 2004
• Canada 1949
• Croatia 2009
• Czech Republic 1999
• Denmark 1949
• Estonia 2004
• France 1949
• Germany 1955
• Greece 1952
• Hungary 1999
• Iceland 1949
• Italy 1949
• Latvia 2004
• Lithuania 2004
• Luxembourg 1949
• Montenegro 2017
• Netherlands 1949
• North Macedonia 2020
• Norway 1949
• Poland 1999
• Portugal 1949
• Romania 2004
• Slovakia 2004
• Slovenia 2004
• Spain 1982
• Turkey 1952
• United Kingdom 1949
• United States 1949

What is Russia’s issue with NATO and Ukraine?

• Russia wants Western countries to guarantee that NATO will not allow Ukraine and other former Soviet countries to join as members.
• It has also called on the coalition to stop the deployment of weapons in Ukraine and withdraw its forces from Eastern Europe. Russia also wants NATO to cease its military activities in Eastern Europe.
• Russia and Ukraine share hundreds of years of cultural, linguistic and family ties.
• The shared heritage of countries is an emotional issue for many groups in Russia and Ukraine.
• It is used for electoral and military purposes.
• As part of the Soviet Union, Ukraine was the second most powerful Soviet republic after Russia and was strategically, economically and culturally important.

NATO tasks: at a glance

• NATO develops new capabilities and technologies to deal with the problem of terrorism as well as to manage the consequences of terrorist attacks.
• NATO not only builds trust but also allows for consultation and cooperation on defense and security matters, besides promoting democratic values and solving problems of its member countries. NATO makes diplomatic efforts to resolve disputes peacefully.

National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship (NMMSS)

Why in News

• Government has approved the Central Sector National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship (NMMSS) with a total financial outlay of Rs 1827.00 crore in the 15th Finance Commission cycle for a period of five years i.e. from 2021-22 to 2025-26. Approved to continue with minor changes in the norms and revision in the renewal norms under the scheme.
Key point
• Minor eligibility changes include raising the income limit from Rs 1.5 lakh per annum to Rs 3.5 lakh per annum.
• The objective of the scheme is to provide scholarships to meritorious students from economically weaker sections to prevent them from dropping out in class VIII and to encourage them to continue their education at the secondary level. .
• Under this scheme one lakh new scholarships of Rs. 12,000/- per annum (Rs. 1000/- per month) are provided to the selected students of class IX every year and study in state government, government aided and local body schools. Their enrollment is continued/renewed in class X to XII for the
• The students are selected for award of scholarship through examination conducted by the State/UT Governments. Details related to this scheme are available on National Scholarship Portal (NSP).
• The scholarship is directly transferred to the bank accounts of the students by electronic transfer through Public Financial Management System (PFMS) following the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mode. Cent percent fund under the scheme is provided by the central government.
• It is an ongoing scheme and since the inception of the scheme in the year 2008-09, 22.06 lakh scholarships have been sanctioned till the year 2020-21 with an expenditure of Rs.1783.03 crore.
• It is proposed to distribute scholarships to 14.76 lakh students with a financial outlay of Rs.1827.00 crores sanctioned for this scheme.

Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967

Why in News

• The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has ordered the closure of the apps, websites and social media accounts of “Punjab Politics TV” based abroad, which is affiliated to Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), an organization known as Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. Has been outlawed under, has close ties with.

Key point

• Relying on intelligence inputs that the channel was attempting to use online media to disturb public order during the ongoing state assembly elections, the ministry shut down the digital media sources of “Punjab Politics TV”. Block on February 18, has exercised emergency powers under the IT Rules.
• The content of the blocked apps, websites and social media accounts had the potential to incite communal disharmony and separatism and the content was found to be injurious to the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the state and public order.
• It was also found that new apps and social media accounts have been launched to gain importance during the ongoing elections.
• The Government of India is vigilant and committed to safeguard the entire information system in the country and to thwart any act that has the power to undermine the sovereignty and integrity of India.

National War Memorial

Why in News

• Recently the third anniversary of the National War Memorial was celebrated.

Key point

• The National War Memorial was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 25 February 2019. This war memorial is dedicated as a tribute to the soldiers who died for the country.
• The National War Memorial has been built in the memory of a total of more than 26 thousand Indians who were martyred in the five wars fought after 1947, counter terrorism operations, and ongoing operations against extremism.
• The names of 25,942 soldiers who have been martyred for the country after independence have been written on the National War Memorial.
• 4. The National War Memorial is dedicated to the war heroes who laid down their lives during the Indo-China War in 1962, Indo-Pak War in 1947, 1965 and 1971, and Indian Peace Keeping Operations in Sri Lanka and Kargil War in 1999.
• It also remembers soldiers who died in UN peacekeeping missions, Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief (HADR) operations and counter-insurgency operations.
• The Amar Jawan Jyoti flame was merged with the eternal flame at the National War Memorial in a grand ceremony on January 21, 2022.
• The National War Memorial comprises four concentric circles where each circle depicts different values of the Armed Forces including the Amar Chakra (the circle of immortality), the obelisk and the eternal flame.
• Other Chakras include the Veerta Chakra (Cycle of Bravery), which has six bronze murals depicting various combat actions.
• The third chakra is the Tyag Chakra (Cycle of Sacrifice), made entirely of granite bricks, each named after a martyred soldier since independence.
• The fourth is the Rakshak Chakra (the circle of protection), which surrounds the other three chakras and consists of over 600 trees that act and represent the soldiers who defend the country.

Rural Connectivity GIS Data

Why in News

• The Union Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Shri Giriraj Singh released the Rural Connectivity GIS data in the public domain today. This includes GIS data for 800,000+ rural facilities, 10 lakh+ habitations and 25,00,000+ km of rural roads, which has been aggregated and digitized using the GIS platform developed for the PMGSY scheme.

Key point

• The nodal implementing agency of PMGSY scheme, NRIDA signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with 3 renowned GIS firms ESRI India, MapmyIndia, Datameet and Rural connectivity GIS data was released in public domain in association with Gati Shakti.
• More than 6.90 lakh km of roads connecting 1,61,508 habitations have been constructed at a cost of 2.69 lakh crores since the

launch of PMGSY scheme.

• Construction of rural roads under PMGSY has increased significantly during the last seven years and new technology has been emphasized. Due to this, there has been a saving of about Rs 5000 crore.
• Data made available in the public domain can be beneficial for startups, entrepreneurs, businesses, civil society, academia and other government departments to build products, conduct research, plan investments, improve service delivery and accelerate disaster response.


• Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) was launched in the year 2000. Its purpose was to connect the populated settlements all over the country by an all-weather road.
• Later, consolidation and upgradation of rural roads were also included to boost the rural economy. Since inception, 7.83 lakh km of roads have been sanctioned and 6.90 lakh km of roads have been constructed at a cost of Rs 2.69 lakh crore.
• Gati Shakti is a national master plan and digital platform for planning and execution of infrastructure projects in India to reduce logistics cost and strengthen infrastructure.
• NRIDA is collaborating with Gati Shakti with an aim to exchange data for better planning and implementation of both the schemes.


Why in News

• The latest edition of the Indian Navy’s multilateral exercise MILAN 2022 is scheduled to begin in Visakhapatnam, a city known as the ‘City of Destiny’ from February 25, 2022. MILAN 22 is being organized in two phases over a total duration of 9 days, with the port phase scheduled to be held from 25 to 28 February and the sea phase from 01 to 04 March.

Key point

• The theme of the MILAN 2022 exercise is ‘Camaraderie – Cohesion – Collaboration’, which aims to project India as a responsible maritime power to the world at large.
• The objective of the exercise is to improve operational skills, assimilation of best practices and procedures and to get an opportunity for theoretical education on military policies in the maritime domain through professional interaction between friendly navies.


• MILAN is a biennial multilateral naval exercise that was initiated by the Indian Navy in 1995 at the Andaman and Nicobar Command.
• Since its inception, the event has been held biennially except in 2001, 2005, 2016 and 2020.
• The 2001 and 2016 editions were not held due to the International Fleet Review, the 2005 edition was rescheduled to 2006 due to the 2004 tsunami.
• The 2020 edition of MILAN was postponed till 2022 due to COVID-19.
• The exercise, which began in the 1995 edition with the participation of only four countries- Indonesia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand, has undergone a major transformation in terms of the number of participants and the complexity of the exercise.
• Originally launched in line with India’s ‘Look East Policy’, MILAN expanded in the coming years with the Government of India’s ‘Act East Policy’ and the Security and Development for All (SAGAR) initiative in the region, which included the littoral countries of the Indian Ocean Region and the Western Indian Ocean Region (IOR) were included.
• In 2014, this participation increased from six regional countries to 18 countries, including the IOR coastal region.
• With the expansion of Indian Navy engagement with friendly foreign countries (FFCs) decade after decade, it was felt to increase the scale and complexity of the MILAN exercise and further enhance naval cooperation by involving regional and extra-territorial navies of the world. be strengthened.
• Keeping in view the infrastructure requirements of a major naval event, it was decided to shift the exercise to the main location and Visakhapatnam being the headquarters of the Eastern Naval Command was designated to host the event.
Current version
• MILAN 22 will witness its biggest ever participation, with more than 40 countries sending their warships/high level delegations.
• This edition of MILAN will be larger in terms of ‘scope and complexity’ with a focus on exercises at sea including surface, sub-surface and aerial warfare and weapon firing exercises.
• MILAN Expeditionary Conferences and Seminars are also being organized, giving an opportunity to the participating navies/delegations to express their views on maritime security.
• High profile foreign delegates will include the highest level of naval leadership, agency heads, ambassadors and counterparts.
Major events
• Major events during MILAN 2022 include an opening ceremony followed by the inauguration of MILAN Village on 26 February.
• An expeditionary demonstration will be held on the evening of 27 February followed by the International City Parade with the participation of foreign contingents.
• MILAN 2022 will also host an International Maritime Symposium on February 27-28 on the theme ‘Using Collective Maritime Potential through Cooperation’.
• Other activities include exchanges between professional / subject matter experts, DSRV demonstrations, Young Officers Meet, sports fixtures and visits to Agra and Bodh Gaya for foreign visitors.
• The sea phase of the exercise is scheduled from 01-04 March for the participating countries with ships/aircraft.
Promotion of ocean friendship
• The Indian Navy is a medium not only for display of power but also for diplomatic outreach. Conducting joint/multilateral exercises to bring together various navies is an important activity in this direction.
• While navies can operate in different areas, there is always a need to cooperate on issues of common interest like piracy, HADR missions, maritime security etc.
• Navy-to-Navy interactions enhance mutual understanding, cooperation and inter-operability between maritime powers. MILAN 2022 will provide an invaluable opportunity to promote maritime fraternal ties across the oceans.

Cobra warrior maneuver

Why in News

• Indian Air Force will participate in a multi-nation air force exercise named ‘Ex Cobra Warrior 22’ at Waddington, England from 06 to 27 March 2022.

Key point

• Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas of the Indian Air Force along with fighter jets from England and other top air forces will participate in the exercise.
• The objective of the exercise is to demonstrate operational performance and share best practices among the participating Air Forces, thereby enhancing combat capability and strengthening the bonds of friendship.
• It will be a platform for LCA Tejas to showcase its mobility and operational capability.
• Five Tejas aircraft will fly for England. The C-17 aircraft of the Indian Air Force will provide necessary transport support for entry (induction) and exit (de-induction).

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