Current Affairs in Short: 17 March 2021
Union Cabinet approves closure of Handicrafts and Handlooms Export Corporation of India Limited
•The Union Cabinet on March 16, 2021, approved the closure of Handicrafts and Handlooms Export Corporation of India Limited (HHEC). The Corporation is a Government of India undertaking under the administrative control of the Ministry of Textiles.
•The corporation currently employs 59 permanent employees and 6 Management Trainees, all of whom will be given an opportunity to avail the benefit of a Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) as per norms laid down by the Department of Public Enterprises.
•The approval will benefit the Government exchequer in reducing recurring expenditure on salary/wages of sick CPSE, which is not in operation and earning no income.
•The Corporation is being closed as it has been continuously incurring losses since the Fiscal Year 2015-16 and not earning sufficient income to meet its running expenses. It has little scope for revival.
PM Modi, Portuguese PM conduct talks
•Prime Minister Narendrta held a telephonic call with the Prime Minister of the Portuguese Republic António Luís Santos da Costa on March 16, 2021.
•During the phone call, the two leaders reviewed the Covid-19 pandemic situation in the two countries.
•They agreed on the importance of the quick and equitable distribution of vaccines for ending the COVID-19 pandemic.
PM Modi briefed the Portuguese PM on India’s vaccination drive, as well as the support extended by India to more than 70 countries so far.
•He assured that India will continue supporting the vaccination efforts of other countries to the best of its capacities.
•The two leaders later also reviewed the bilateral relations between the two nations and expressed satisfaction at the positive momentum in the India-Portugal partnership in the last few years.
PM Modi to visit Bangladesh on March 26
•Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be visiting Bangladesh at the invitation of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on March 26 & 27, 2021.
•This visit will commemorate three important events- 50 years of the establishment of diplomatic ties between India and Bangladesh, 50 years of Bangladesh’s war of liberation and Mujib Borsho, the birth centenary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, also known as the Father of the Nation in Bangladesh.
•PM Modi is scheduled to be the Guest of Honour at the National Day programme of Bangladesh on March 26.
•The Prime Minister will also hold bilateral consultations with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and call on Bangladesh President Md. Abdul Hamid.
•Prime Minister’s visit to Bangladesh will be his first visit to a foreign country since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and it highlights the priority India attaches to Bangladesh.
Russia threatens to ban Twitter next month
•Russia on March 17, 2021, threatened to altogether block the social networking site, Twitter next month unless the company complies with demands to remove certain content.
•The Russian authorities have cited instances of Twitter promoting child pornography, drug use and tweets encouraging children to attempt suicide.
•Russia had last week slowed down the functioning of the networking site across the nation, increasing the time required for users to view pictures and videos.
•In response to the same, Twitter had said that it does not allow the use of its platform to promote any unlawful behaviour or illegal activities and is deeply concerned about increased attempts to block and throttle online public conversation.
EC takes special measures to conduct upcoming Assembly Elections in a safe manner
•The Election Commission has taken special measures to conduct the upcoming assembly elections in a safe manner, keeping in mind the current covid situation in the country.
•The Chief Electoral Officer of West Bengal Ariz Aftab stated that all the voters will be given gloves for one hand during voting.
•The ECI has also restricted the number of voters in a polling station to 1000 and due to this more polling stations have been created.