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Important Current Affairs 31st March 2021

INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand passes miscarriages bereavement leave law

•New Zealand’s parliament has passed legislation giving mothers and their partners the right to paid leave following a miscarriage or stillbirth, becoming only the second country in the world to do so. India is the only other country with similar legislation.

•The leave provisions apply to mothers, their partners as well as parents planning to have a child through adoption or surrogacy. One in four New Zealand women has had a miscarriage. The bill will give women and their partners time to come to terms with their loss without having to tap into sick leave. Because their grief is not a sickness, it is a loss. New Zealand was the first country in the world to give voting rights to women and has been a pioneer on issues around woman’s rights.

Suez Canal reopens after giant stranded ship is freed

•The giant container ship “Ever Given” that blocked traffic in the Suez Canal for the last week resumed its journey, after being successfully refloated. The efforts to float the delinquent Panamanian container ship Ever Given are successful.

•The 1,400-foot-long cargo ship jammed diagonally across a southern section of the Suez Canal, leaving a total of 367 ships, including dozens of container ships and bulk carriers, unable to use the key trading route.

Indo-Korean Friendship Park Inaugurated at Delhi Cantonment

•India’s First Indo-Korean Friendship Park was jointly inaugurated at Delhi Cantonment by Hon’ble Raksha Mantri, Shri Rajnath Singh, and Hon’ble Minister of National Defence, Republic of Korea Mr Suh Wook. The park has been developed in joint consultation with the Ministry of Defence, the Government of India, the Indian Army, the Delhi Cantonment Board, the Embassy of Korea and the Korean War Veterans Association of India.

•Besides being a symbol of strong India-South Korea friendly relations, this park will also act as a monument to India’s contributions as part of 21 countries that participated in the Korean war 1950-53, under the aegis of the United Nations.

NATIONAL

India, US Carry Out Joint Military Drill In Himachal Pradesh

•The 11th edition of Indo-US joint special forces exercises Vajra Prahar 2021 was conducted at Special Forces training school located at Bakloh, in Himachal Pradesh. The exercise ‘Vajra Prahar’ is aimed at sharing best practices and experiences in areas such as joint mission planning and operational tactics. The exercise was aimed at improving interoperability between the special forces of the two countries.

•The armies of participating nations jointly train, plan and execute a series of operations for neutralisation of threats of varied nature with a common aim of countering threats of international terrorism through mutual training and jointness.

Maharaja Chhatrasal Convention Centre inaugurated at Khajuraho

•The Minister of State for Tourism and Culture (Independent Charge) Shri Prahlad Singh Patel, and the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan jointly inaugurated the ‘Maharaja Chhatrasal Convention Centre at Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh. The Convention Centre has been developed under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme of the Ministry of Tourism, adding another feather to the UNESCO World Heritage site at Khajuraho.

•This new venue will cater to the business needs, by hosting meetings and conferences. The Convention Centre is equipped with all modern amenities and infrastructure to offer a secure space to host corporate banquets for teams both large and small amidst a soothing decor and ambience.

UP govt organizes ‘banana festival’ in Kushinagar

•Uttar Pradesh government was organised a ‘Banana Festival’ in Kushinagar, which has witnessed the participation of at least 35 farmers and entrepreneurs. The state government had in 2018 organised the One District One Product (ODOP) scheme to promote traditional enterprise.

•Noting the good cultivation of bananas in Kushinagar, products in the district made from banana fibre were selected in the ODOP scheme. At least 4,000 farmers are linked to banana cultivation and after inclusion in the ODOP scheme, around 500 people are employed in its processing. There are three banana fibre processing units in the district and the construction of a Common Facility Centre (CFC) is also planned.

Nagaland Health Minister launches ‘i-Learn’ for Community Health Officers

•Nagaland Health and Family Welfare Minister, S Pangnyu Phom has launched i-Learn, a capacity building and performance tracking application for Community Health Officers, CHOs in the state at his office chamber in Kohima. The state government launched the i-Learn application in partnership with USAID-NISHTHA/Jgpiego which will cater across the 189 Health & wellness centres in the state.

About the “i-Learn”:

•i-Learn is a learning management system for CHOs with self-facilitated learning for improving and learning new skills in clinical and non-clinical areas.

•The state is committed to defeating the pandemic and as such it has rolled out several interventions including digital technology like the Naga Telehealth services.

•The Naga Telehealth, a telemedicine platform launched just about six months ago has received a good response from the state’s own medical doctors and CHOs wherein more than 1000 teleconsultations have been conducted.

SPORTS

India tops the medals tally with 15 gold at Delhi ISSF Shooting World Cup

•India finished at the top of the medals table at the 2021 ISSF World Cup New Delhi, held from 18 to 29 March 2021 at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range in New Delhi. India secured 30 medals which included 15 gold, 9 silver and 6 bronze. The USA came second with eight medals including four gold, three silver and one bronze.

Winners of Gold Medal

1.Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar: Men’s 50-metre rifle three positions

2.Saurabh Chaudhary, Shahzar Rizvi and Abhishek Verma: Men’s 10-metre air pistol team event

3.Swapnil Kusale, Chain Singh and Neeraj Kumar: Men’s 50-metre rifle three positions team event

4.Gurjoat Khangura, Angad Vir Singh Bajwa and Mairaj Ahmad Khan: Men’s Skeet team event

5.Kynan Chenai, Prithviraj Toidaiman, Lakshay: Men’s Trap team event

6.Chinki Yadav: Women’s 25-metre pistol

7.Yashaswini Singh Deswal: Women’s 10-metre air pistol

8.Yashaswini Singh Deswal, Manu Bhaker, Shri Nivetha Paramanantham: Women’s 10-metre air pistol team

9.Rahi Sarnobat, Manu Bhaker, Chinki Yadav: Women’s 25-metre pistol event

10.Rajeshwari Kumar, Shreyasi Singh, Manisha Keer: Women’s Trap event

11.Saurabh Chaudhary/Manu Bhaker: 10-metre air pistol Mixed Team event

12.Divyansh Singh Panwar/Elavenil Valarivan: 10-metre air rifle Mixed Team

13.Tejaswini/Vijayveer Sidhu: 25-metre rapid-fire Pistol Mixed Team

14.Sanjeev Rajput/Tejaswini Sawant: 50-metre rifle three positions Mixed Team

15.Angad Vir Singh Bajwa/Ganemat Sekhon: Trap Mixed Team

OBITUARY

1971 Battle of Basantar hero, Lt Gen Pinto (retd) passes away

•Lieutenant General, Walter Anthony Gustavo ‘WAG’ Pinto (Retd), a military hero who led an infantry division to a legendary victory in the 1971 India-Pakistan War has passed away at the age of 97.

•He led the 54 Infantry Division in the Battle of Basantar in the war that gave birth to Bangladesh, leading his troops from the front with the motto he coined “bash on regardless”.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

India & Bangladesh inks 5 MoU to Boost Cooperation

•India and Bangladesh have signed five Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) to further boost bilateral cooperation. The signing of the MoUs took place on 27 March 2021, between Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in Dhaka. Indian PM Narendra Modiji was on a two-day official visit to Bangladesh to join the twin celebrations of Bangladeshi Founding Father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s birth centenary and the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence in 1971. This is the first trip of PM Modi to a foreign country since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

MoUs signed in the following areas

•Disaster management, resilience, and mitigation.

•Cooperation between Bangladesh National Cadet Corps (BNCC) and National Cadet Corps of India (INCC).

•Establishment of a framework of cooperation in the area of trade remedial measures between Bangladesh and India.

•Supply of ICT equipment, courseware, and reference books and training for Bangladesh-Bharat Digital Service & Employment and Training (BDSET) Centre.

•Establishment of sports facilities in Rajshahi College field and surrounding areas.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

66th Filmfare Awards 2021: Check Complete List of Winners

•The awards for the 66th annual Filmfare awards were announced. The event was hosted by actors Rajkummar Rao and Riteish Deshmukh. Despite the difficulties the film industry faced during 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Filmfare decided it was important to commemorate the best of Indian cinema. Among the winners was the late Irrfan Khan, who won the award for best actor in a leading role (male) category, while Amitabh Bachchan bagged the best actor (critics) Award.

66th Filmfare Awards 2021:

1.Best Film: Thappad

2.Best Film (Critics): Prateek Vats (Eeb Allay Ooo!)

3.Best Director: Om Raut (Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior)

4.Best Actor in a Lead Role (MALE): Irrfan Khan (Angrezi Medium)

5.Best Actor (Critics): Amitabh Bachchan (Gulabo Sitabo)

6.Best Actor in a Lead Role (Female): Taapsee Pannu (Thappad)

7.Best Actress (Critics): Tillotama Shome (SIR)

8.Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Male): Saif Ali Khan (Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior)

9.Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Female): Farrokh Jaffar (Gulabo Sitabo)

10.Best Story: Anubhav Sushila Sinha and Mrunamayee Lagoo Waikul (Thappad)

11.Best Screenplay: Rohena Gera (SIR)

12.Best Dialogue: Juhi Chaturvedi (Gulabo Sitabo)

13.Best Debut Director: Rajesh Krishnan (Lootcase)

14.Best Debut Female: Alaya F (Jawaani Jaaneman)

15.Best Music Album: Pritam (Ludo)

16.Best Lyrics: Gulzar (Chhappak)

17.Best Playback Singer (male): Raghav Chaitanya – Ek Tukda Dhoop (Thappad)

18.Best Playback Singer (Female): Asees Kaur (Malang)

19.Lifetime Achievement Award: Irrfan Khan.

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Important Current Affairs 30th March 2021

INTERNATIONAL

US President Biden invites PM Modi to Leaders Summit on Climate

•President Joe Biden has invited 40 world leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to a US-hosted virtual summit on climate next month to underscore the urgency and the economic benefits of stronger climate action. Biden will host a two-day climate summit of world leaders starting on Earth Day, April 22, in which he will outline the US goal for reductions of carbon emissions by 2030, known as the nationally determined contribution under the historic Paris accord.

•The White House said a total of 40 world leaders, including Prime Minister Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin, were invited to the conference, which will be live-streamed to the public.

•Other leaders invited for the summit include Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi Arabia King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering are the other two leaders from South Asia to be invited for the mega-conference.

OBITUARY

Noted journalist and author Anil Dharker passes away

•Noted journalist and author Anil Dharker passed away. He was the founder and director of the Mumbai International Literary Festival. He was in his mid-70s, was the editor of several publications including Mid-Day and The Independent and played a vital role in opening the Akashwani Auditorium in south Mumbai as an art movie theatre.

•Dharker had been the editor of a variety of publications, starting with ‘Debonair’, ‘Mid-Day’; ‘The Independent’ and ‘The Illustrated Weekly of India’.

•He was a columnist for The Indian Express newspaper and has authored ‘The Romance Of Salt’, a book on Mahatma Gandhi’s Dandi March. He had also worked as a TV show producer and anchor.

•He was also a member of the Advisory Boards of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and the Children’s Film Society of India.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

SAIL Chairperson Soma Mondal appointed Chairperson of SCOPE

•Soma Mondal, the chairperson of the state-owned Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), was on March 26, 2021, elected the new chairperson of the Standing Conference of Public Enterprises (SCOPE). Mondal will have a two-year term starting April; she took

•SCOPE is an apex professional organization representing the Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs). It promotes excellence in organisations where public investment is involved, in order to enable them to be globally competitive.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

India and US agree to revamp SEP

•India and the US on Monday decided to revamp the existing energy cooperation framework to focus more on clean energy keeping advanced American technology and the rapidly growing Indian energy market in mind to reflect new priorities set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Joe Biden.

•Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan and US energy secretary Jennifer Granholm have decided to revamp the India-US Strategic Energy Partnership (SEP) accordingly and convene the third meeting of the revamped SEP at an early date, requesting anonymity.

•“Earlier, two SEPs were [held under the Trump Administration], where the focus of energy cooperation was more on supply of fossil fuels from America rather than cooperation in reducing carbon footprints. While the import of fossil fuel from the US will continue, Washington will support India’s efforts for clean energy,” the official said. The inaugural SEP, a ministerial meeting, was first held on April 17, 2018. Its second meeting took place on July 17, 2020.

India, South Korea agree on joint production, export of military hardware

•In a significant move, India and South Korea have agreed to go for joint production and export of military hardware, enhance intelligence sharing and boost cooperation in cyber and space domains as part overall expansion of defence and security ties.

•The decisions were taken during delegation-level talks between Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his South Korean counterpart Suh Wook on Friday with both sides resolving to give a major push to ramp up ties.

•The South Korean minister was on a three-day visit to India from Thursday last that was focused on boosting bilateral defence and military cooperation.

7th annual summit of NATHEALTH

•Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan, addressed the 7th annual summit of NATHEALTH. The summit focused on ‘Indian Health system expansion in post-COVID era’. While addressing the summit the minister reiterated the commitments of the government for fulfilling the goal of Health for all.

•The primary vision of the policy-framework is to attain highest possible level of health and well-being for all irrespective of all age groups. To attain this vision, the policy emphasizes on preventive & promotive aspects of health and providing universal access to good quality healthcare services. Government also launched Ayushman Bharat program with the objective of providing Universal Free Access to primary health care, promoting health and wellbeing.

About Health Union Budget 2021-22

•Union Budget 2021-22 also identifies Health as one of the six main pillars to drive growth.

•It has adopted a holistic approach towards health and wellbeing with a financial allocation of Rs 2,23,846 crore in 2021-22.

•It accounts for an increase of 137% over 2020-2021.

•To achieve the objectives of the policy, the government is working towards increasing health expenditure by 2.5 % of GDP 2025.

•The government is also encouraging State Governments to increase State sector health spending to 8% of the State’s GDP.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Mahinder Giri Wins International Ranger Award

•Mahinder Giri, a range officer who has been deployed at Motichur range of Rajaji Tiger Reserve (RTR) for the past few years, has become the only ranger from Asia to win the prestigious International Ranger Award.

•The award has been announced for 10 professionals across the globe by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), “based on their contribution towards conservation”.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

PM Modi unveils new version of 'Exam Warriors'

•PM Modi unveils new version of 'Exam Warriors' to make them stress free before examinations.

•The new version of Exam Warriors written by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is now available with many new mantras for students as well as parents. It is available at retail stores as well as online. The Exam Warriors module is also available on the NaMo App.

• In a series of tweets, Mr Modi said, the new edition of the book has been enriched with valuable inputs from students, parents and teachers. Substantive new parts have been added that would especially interest the parents and teachers. He said the book reaffirms the need to remain stress free before an exam. The Prime Minister added that it has many interactive activities for students and parents.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

Deutsche bank's new investment Banking head

•Deutsche Bank has named Fabrizio Campelli to lead its investment bank — part of a raft of board changes — as the German lender's chief executive, Christian Sewing, steps back from managing the unit.

•Campelli, who has most recently served as its chief transformation officer, will take responsibility for Deutsche's corporate and investment bank, it said in a statement. The move is part of a series of changes at the bank, which include handing Sewing a renewed contract to keep him at the helm until 2026, in what it described as a "clear signal of continuity".

S&P raises India’s FY22 GDP growth forecast to 11% from 10%

•S&P Global Ratings raised India’s growth forecast for the financial year 2021-22 to 11% from 10% earlier, led by an expansionary fiscal policy aimed at boosting domestic private spending.

•It has also raised the 2021 growth forecast for China to 8% from 7% on stronger-than-expected exports and lingering momentum in the property market.

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Important Current Affairs 26th March 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Indian-American Doctor Vivek Murthy appointed as US Surgeon General

•The US Senate has voted, 57-43, to confirm the appointment of Indian-American doctor Vivek Murthy as the Surgeon General under US President Biden’s administration.

•The 43-year-old Dr Murthy would occupy the position of America’s Surgeon General for the second time. Prior to this, Dr Murthy was appointed as surgeon general under the Obama administration in 2011 but was fired by former President Trump in 2017.

World’s first Ship Tunnel to be built in Norway

•The Norwegian Coastal Administration has received the green signal to start working on the construction of the world’s first tunnel, being built exclusively for ships. The tunnel is dubbed as “Stad Ship Tunnel” and would be built under the mountainous Stadhavet peninsula in northwestern Norway.

About the Tunnel:

•The 1.7 km tunnel will be able to handle ships of up to 16,000 tonnes and give ships a safer passage through the treacherous Stadhavet Sea.

•The tunnel will be 49 metres (161 ft) high and 36 metres (118 ft) wide.

•It is estimated to cost at least 2.8 billion Norwegian kroner (NZ$460 million) the construction of this ship tunnel.

•The construction would begin in 2022 and would take three to four years to complete.

NATIONAL

Nirmala Sitharaman launches Central Scrutiny Centre and IEPFA mobile App

•Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman virtually inaugurated Central Scrutiny Centre (CSC) and Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority’s (IEPFA) Mobile App. The two tech-enabled initiatives have been launched by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs to leverage digital solutions to achieve the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Digitally empowered India.

About the Moblie App:

•The Mobile App will focus on financial literacy by spreading investors’ awareness, education, and protection among investors.

•The Mobile App has been developed for citizen engagement and information dissemination to promote awareness among investors.

Hardeep Singh Puri inaugurates Kurnool Airport in Andhra Pradesh

•Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Civil Aviation, Hardeep Singh Puri has inaugurated the Kurnool Airport, in Andhra Pradesh virtually. The flight operations at Kurnool airport will begin on 28 March 2021. This airport has been developed under the Regional Connectivity Scheme, Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (RCS-UDAN).

About the airport:

•Kurnool airport will bring the region closer to major hubs in South India by providing direct flight operations to Bangalore, Vishakhapatnam and Chennai.

•Kurnool is the 6th airport in Andhra Pradesh to become functional after Kadapa, Visakhapatnam, Tirupati, Rajahmundry & Vijayawada.

SPORTS

ISSF World Cup: India’s Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar Wins Gold

•India’s Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar won gold in the men’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions event at the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi. The 20-year-old became the youngest in history to win a shooting World Cup gold in the 3 Positions event. The two other Indian shooters in the final, Sanjeev Rajput finishing sixth and Niraj Kumar came at the last position.

•This was India’s 8th gold medal in the ongoing World Cup. India continues to dominate the medal tally with 15 so far. India has won three silver medals and four bronze to go with the eight gold medals.

OBITUARY

Acclaimed Polish Poet Adam Zagajewski passes away

•Renowned Polish poet Adam Zagajewski has passed away. He was a leading figure in Poland’s New Wave or Generation ’68, a literary movement of the late 1960s that called for a simple language to relate directly to reality.

•Zagajewski’s “Try to Praise the Mutilated World,” was translated into English by Clare Cavanaugh and published in The New Yorker.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Sanjeev Kumar appointed as Chairman of Airports Authority of India

•IAS Sanjeev Kumar has appointed as Chairman of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) under the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

•Kumar is a 1993-batch IAS officer of Maharashtra cadre. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved his appointment.

Principal Scientific Advisor K. VijayRaghavan gets extension

•The government has extended the term of Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) K. VijayRaghavan by a year. He was appointed PSA in 2018 after retiring as Secretary of, Department of Biotechnology. His contract ends on April 2 but has now been extended until April 2022.

•Since the pandemic began, the Office of the PSA has been among the key coordinating agencies with industry, research bodies, health and science ministries to accelerate the development of diagnostics, drugs and vaccines. The PSA office has also been instrumental in formulating the National Science Innovation and Technology Policy as well as the forthcoming National Research Foundation.

CJI SA Bobde recommends Justice NV Ramana as his successor

•Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde has recommended Justice NV Ramana’s name as his successor after he retires next month. CJI Bobde is set to retire on 23 April. In a letter to the Law Ministry, CJI SA Bobde recommended Justice Ramana as his successor. Justice NV Ramana is the most senior judge in the apex court after CJI Bobde. On appointment, Justice NV Ramana will be the 48th Chief Justice of India and he will have a long tenure as CJI for over 16 months.

•The Centre had last week asked CJI Bobde to recommend his successor. Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had reportedly sent a letter to Justice Bobde, seeking his recommendation, as is the practice under the Memorandum of Procedure for Appointment of Chief Justice of India. The recommendation letter has to come around a month before the vacancy arises.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World TB Day 2021: Kerala's TB eradication programme bags national honour

•Kerala’s tuberculosis eradication programme had won national honour as the state bagged the Union government’s award for reducing the prevalence of the disease through various systematic initiatives. Kerala is the only state had chosen for recognition in the state category.

•The southern state has reduced the TB prevalence rate by 5 per cent in the last five years as part of achieving sustainable development goals. The nation has set an ambitious goal to achieve “End Tuberculosis” by reducing the incidence of new TB cases by 80% by 2025, five years ahead of UN Sustainable Development Goals.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Asha Bhosle to be honoured with ‘Maharashtra Bhushan’

•Legendary singer Asha Bhosle will be honoured with the prestigious Maharashtra Bhushan Award for the year 2020. A committee chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray decided to select Ms Bhosle for the award for the year 2020. Ms Bhosle, whose sister Lata Mangeshkar won the award for 1997, said she got to know from Mr Thackeray that she has been selected for the award for 2020. Ms Bhosle received the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for 2000.

•The award, instituted in 1996 by the State government to recognise distinguished work and achievements of eminent persons from the State, representing different walks of life, carries a cash prize of Rs.10 lakh and a citation.

•The first Maharashtra Bhushan awardee was Marathi writer P.L. Deshpande and the last winner of this award was historian Babasaheb Purandare who got it for the year 2015.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

A book titled ‘My Experiments with Silence’ authored by Samir Soni

•The book “My Experiments with Silence” is authored by Samir Soni on anxiety and self -discovery. Soni’s book aims to be a personal account of his dialogues with himself during his growing-up years in Delhi, his stint at Wall Street and his time in Bollywood.

•The book will be published by OM Books International. Soni said his book will be an “ode to anyone who has fought or is fighting their inner demons”.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

Indian Overseas Bank launches ‘IOB Trendy’ savings account

•Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) has launched ‘IOB Trendy’, a savings account customised for the growing millennial population in the country by keeping their banking preferences in mind. IOB Trendy is a Savings Bank Account Scheme introduced by the bank towards this endeavour.

About the IOB Trendy account

•For opening an IOB Trendy account, a customer needs to be within the age bracket of 21 – 38 years.

•The account may be self or jointly operated. In the case of a joint account, the primary holder has to be a millennial at the time of account opening.

•There is no ‘Opening Balance’ requirement for IOB Trendy. So, no charges will be levied for the first month for non-maintenance of balance.

•However, IOB Trendy customers need to maintain a daily minimum balance of Rs.10,000 or a daily minimum balance of Rs.5,000 and a digital turnover (transactions using IOB ATM / CDM / IOB Mobile Banking or Internet Banking fund transfer / IOB UPI transactions or IOB Debit card POS transactions) of a minimum of Rs.20,000 per month.

•The millennial-focused account also offers features like an online application submission facility, free personalised accident (death) insurance cover of Rs.5 lakh if the quarterly average balance is Rs.1 lakh and above, auto-sweep facility when the balance exceeds Rs.50,000 among others.

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Important Current Affairs 24th March 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Russia Launches 38 Satellites From 18 Countries Into Space

•Russian space agency ‘Roscosmos’ successfully launched 38 foreign satellites into orbit, onboard Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The 38 satellites belonged to 18 countries including South Korea, Japan, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Italy and Brazil. One of these satellites named ‘Challenge-1’ was the first-ever satellite made completely in Tunisia, which was created by the Telnet telecommunications group.

•In 2018, a Soyuz rocket carrying a Russian cosmonaut and a NASA astronaut failed mid-flight, forcing the crew to carry out an emergency landing. Both survived without injuries.

NATIONAL

Indian Armed Forces 4th Strongest in the World

•China has the strongest military force in the world while India stands at number four, according to a study released by defence website Military Direct. China has the strongest military in the world, scoring 82 out of 100 points in the index. The USA, despite their enormous military budgets, comes in 2nd place with 74 points, followed by Russia with 69, India at 61 and then France with 58. The U.K. just about makes the Top 10, coming in 9th place with a score of 43.

•The study said “ultimate military strength index” was calculated after taking into consideration various factors including budgets, number of inactive and active military personnel, total air, sea, land and nuclear resources, average salaries, and weight of equipment.

SPORTS

India Legends wins 2020-21 Road Safety World Series T-20

•In Cricket, India Legends defeated Sri Lanka Legends by 14 runs to clinch the Road Safety World Series final title, held at Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Stadium in Raipur, Chhattisgarh.

•India Legends put up a total of 181/4 but Sri Lanks Legends could manage 167/7. Sachin Tendulkar was the captain of the India Legends.

Nozomi Okuhara bags women’s singles titles at All England Open

•Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara has won the All England Badminton Championships women’s title as she defeated Pornpawee Chochuwong 21-12, 21-16 in the finals. In the men’s category, Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia has won the All England Badminton Championships title as he defeated Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen in the summit clash. With this win, Malaysia’s title drought came to an end and it is after four years, that someone from the country has managed to win the All England Open. Lee Chong Wei had last won the All England Open for Malaysia in 2017.

List of winners: All England Badminton Championships 2021:

Sl. No.

Category

Winner

1.

Men’s singles

Lee Zii Jia (Malaysia)

2.

Women’s singles

Nozomi Okuhara (Japan)

3.

Men’s doubles

Hiroyuki Endo and
Yuta Watanabe

4.

Women’s doubles

Mayu Matsumoto and
Wakana Nagahara

5.

Mixed doubles

Yuta Watanabe and
Arisa Higashino

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

ISRO Demonstrates India’s First Free-Space Quantum Communication

•In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully demonstrated free-space Quantum Communication over a distance of 300 metres, with several technologies developed within the country. The demonstration included live video conferencing using quantum-key-encrypted signals, at Space Applications Centre (SAC), Ahmedabad, between two line-of-sight buildings within the campus.

•The experiment was done at night to ensure that there is no interference from the direct sunlight. This is a major milestone achievement for unconditionally secured satellite data-communication using quantum technologies.

OBITUARY

Acclaimed Egyptian feminist Nawal Saadawi passes away

•Nawal Saadawi, a renowned Egyptian feminist, psychiatrist and novelist, whose writings have stirred controversy for decades in an overwhelmingly conservative society passed away. She was a fierce advocate of women rights in Egypt and the Arab world.

•In 2005, she was awarded the Inana International Prize in Belgium, a year after she received the North-South prize from the Council of Europe. In 2020, Time Magazine named her on their 100 Women of the Year list. She was the founder and head of the Arab Women’s Solidarity Association and co-founder of the Arab Association for Human Rights.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Arindam Bagchi takes charge as MEA spokesperson

•Arindam Bagchi, an officer of the 1995 batch of the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), has assumed charge as the new spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs(MEA). He is replacing Anurag Srivastava, an officer of the 1999 batch of IFS.

•Before this, Bagchi was serving as the joint secretary (north) at the MEA headquarters. He was an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer from the 1995 batch. In past, he has served as India’s ambassador to Croatia from November 2018 to June 2020. He was also India’s deputy high commissioner to Sri Lanka.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Tuberculosis Day: 24 March

•World Tuberculosis Day is observed every year on 24 March to create awareness among the public about the global epidemic of tuberculosis (TB) and efforts to eliminate the disease. The date marks the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the bacterium that causes TB, which opened the way towards diagnosing and curing this disease.

•The theme of World TB Day 2021 – ‘The Clock is Ticking’ –conveys the sense that the world is running out of time to act on the commitments to end TB made by global leaders. This is especially critical in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic that has put End TB progress at risk, and to ensure equitable access to prevention and care in line with WHO’s drive towards achieving Universal Health Coverage.

•Tuberculosis (TB) is a potentially serious infectious disease that mainly affects your lungs. The bacteria that cause tuberculosis are spread from one person to another through tiny droplets released into the air via coughs and sneezes.

•Tuberculosis can also affect other parts of your body, including your kidneys, spine or brain. When TB occurs outside your lungs, signs and symptoms vary according to the organs involved. For example, tuberculosis of the spine may give you back pain, and tuberculosis in your kidneys might cause blood in your urine.

World Meteorological Day observed globally on 23 March

•The World Meteorological Day is celebrated every year on 23 March to commemorate the date of the establishment of the World Meteorological Organization in 23 March 1950. The day also highlights the contribution that the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services make to the safety and well-being of society.

•The World Meteorological Day theme is “The ocean, our climate and weather” celebrates WMO’s focus in connecting the ocean, climate and weather within the Earth System. It also marks the starting year of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030).

Shaheed Diwas Observed On 23 March

•Every year, March 23 is observed as Martyrs Day (Shaheed Diwas or Sarvodaya Day) to pay tribute on the death anniversary of the freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar, and Shivaram Rajguru, who laid their lives for the freedom of India.

•It was on March 23 in 1931, in Lahore (Pakistan), that these three were hanged to death for assassinating John Saunders, a British police officer in 1928. They had mistaken him for British police superintendent James Scott, who had ordered lathi-charge, which eventually led to the death of Lala Lajpat Rai. Also, 30 January is observed as Martyr’s Day or Shaheed Diwas in the memory of Mahatma Gandhi.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

RBI imposes Rs 15 lakh penalty on Fedbank Financial Services

•The Reserve Bank of India has imposed a penalty of Rs 15 lakh on Fedbank Financial Services Limited, Mumbai. The penalty has been imposed for non-compliance with “certain provisions of the directions issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) contained in ”Monitoring of Frauds in NBFCs (Reserve Bank) Directions, 2016′.

•The statutory inspection of the company with reference to its financial position as of March 31, 2019, revealed, inter alia, non-compliance with the directions issued by it. The inspection report of the Koyana Sahakari Bank based on its financial position as of March 31, 2019, revealed that it had exceeded the prudential inter-bank (single bank) exposure limit.

RBI sets up external advisory committee for evaluating banking applications

•The Reserve Bank of India has announced the names of the members of the Standing External Advisory Committee (SEAC) for evaluating applications for Universal Banks as well as Small Finance Banks. The committee has five members, with former RBI deputy governor Shyamala Gopinath as the chairperson. The panel will have a tenure of three years.

•Other members include Revathy Iyer, director, central board, RBI; B Mahapatra, former executive director, National Payments Corporation of India; T N Manoharan, former chairman, Canara Bank; and Hemant G Contractor, former MD, State Bank of India, and former Chairman, Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority. According to guidelines, applications for universal banks and SFBs will first be evaluated by the RBI to ensure prima facie eligibility of the applicants, after which the newly formed committee will evaluate the applications.

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Important Current Affairs 23rd March 2021

NATIONAL

GoI launched “Gram Ujala Scheme” for Rural Areas

•The government of India has launched the “Gram Ujala Scheme” to provide the cheapest LED bulbs in rural areas. The scheme was launched by the Union power and new and renewable energy minister, Raj Kumar Singh. In the first phase, the scheme was launched from Arrah district in Bihar. In this phase, around 15 million LED bulbs will be distributed in the villages of Arrah (Bihar), Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh), Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), Nagpur (Maharashtra), and western Gujarat.

•The Gram Ujala Scheme is an ambitious scheme that offers the world’s cheapest LED bulbs in rural areas. This is the first such scheme in India. It provides the LED Bulbs in these areas at a mere Rs.10. This scheme also furthers its climate change strategy and strengthen the self-reliance credentials. The scheme does not come with the government’s support or subsidy.

Indian Navy undertakes exercise PASSEX with Royal Bahrain Naval Force

•Indian Navy on 18th March undertook Passage Exercise (PASSEX) with Royal Bahrain Naval Force Corvette Al Muharraq in the Persian Gulf under Operation Sankalp. PASSEXs are conducted regularly by the Indian Navy with units of friendly foreign navies, whilst visiting each other’s ports or during a rendezvous at sea.

•The exercises are aimed at fostering interoperability and reflecting the commitments of both, India and Bahrain, to build cooperative partnerships in meeting emergent maritime challenges.

Maharashtra farmers start fresh fruit cake ‘movement’

•Fruit growers in rural Maharashtra have started an innovative ‘movement’ to promote fresh fruit cakes as a healthier option, instead of the traditional bakery-made cakes. According to farmers and agrarian experts, the aim of this ‘spontaneous’ movement is to encourage farmers and their families to increase the intake of fruits in their diet and to find a new way of selling their produce in times of the pandemic.

•As part of the movement, farmers, their families and various organisations of cultivators are encouraging cakes made locally using fruits like watermelon, muskmelon, grapes, orange, pineapple and banana while celebrating special events.

Bihar becomes first state to have own ethanol policy

•Bihar Cabinet has approved the Ethanol Production Promotion Policy, 2021, becoming the 1st Indian State to have an ethanol promotion policy. The policy allows the extraction of ethanol, which was restricted to sugarcane, from surplus quantities of maize as well. The new policy would permit ethanol production in Bihar from all feedstocks permitted by National Policy on Biofuels, 2018, and subsequently by the National Biofuel Coordination Committee.

•The Assembly was informed of the cabinet decision by deputy chief minister Renu Devi as the industry minister Shahnawaz Husain was away in poll-bound West Bengal for campaigning. So far, the government of India has granted permission for ethanol production from B-heavy molasses, C-heavy molasses, grains unfit for human consumption, sugarcane juice, sugar, sugar syrup, surplus rice and maize.

SPORTS

ISSF WC: Yashaswini wins first gold for India

•Yashaswini Deswal bagged the first gold medal for India in the Women’s 10M Air Pistol final of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup Rifle/Pistol/Shotgun. Deswal accumulated 238.8 points to lead in her category. Another Indian shooter Manu Bhaker won a silver medal with 236.7 points.

•World number one shooter Divyansh Singh Panwar clinched the bronze medal in 10m Air Rifle (men’s category) and opened India’s medal account in the competition.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Defence Ministry deal with BDL to acquire 4,690 anti-tank guided missiles

•The Defence Ministry has sealed a deal with the public sector undertaking Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) to acquire 4,960 MILAN-2T anti-tank guided missiles at a cost of ₹ 1,188 crores for the Indian Army. The missiles, having a range of 1,850 metres, are being produced by BDL under license from French defence major MBDA Missile Systems. These missiles can be fired from the ground as well as vehicle-based launchers and can be deployed in the anti-tank role for both offensive and defensive tasks.

•The missile is being produced by BDL under license from MBDA Missile Systems, France. These missiles can be fired from the ground as well as vehicle-based launchers and can be deployed in Anti-Tank Role for both offensive & defensive tasks and will further enhance the operational preparedness of the Armed Forces.

OBITUARY

Former Sebi chairman GV Ramakrishna passes away

•Former Sebi chairman GV Ramakrishna passed away. He was appointed as the chairman of markets regulator Sebi in 1990 when it lacked legal status. He headed that body till 1994 and then became the first chairman of the Disinvestment Commission in 1996.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

•The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on 21 March to remind people about the negative consequences of racial discrimination. This year theme is “Youth standing up against racism”. It engages the public through #FightRacism, which aims to foster a global culture of tolerance, equality and anti-discrimination and calls on each and every one of us to stand up against racial prejudice and intolerant attitudes.

•The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on the day the police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid “pass laws” in 1960.

•In 1979, the General Assembly adopted a programme of activities to be undertaken during the second half of the Decade for Action to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination. On that occasion, the General Assembly decided that a week of solidarity with the peoples struggling against racism and racial discrimination, beginning on 21 March, would be organized annually in all States.

World Poetry Day: 21 March

•World Poetry Day is celebrated on 21 March every year to promote the reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry throughout the world. The Day celebrates one of humanity’s most treasured forms of cultural and linguistic expression and identity. Practised throughout history – in every culture and on every continent – poetry speaks to our common humanity and our shared values, transforming the simplest of poems into a powerful catalyst for dialogue and peace.

•UNESCO first adopted 21 March as World Poetry Day during its 30th General Conference in Paris in 1999, with the aim of supporting linguistic diversity through poetic expression and increasing the opportunity for endangered languages to be heard.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

67th National Film Awards Announced

•The 67th National Film Awards are currently being announced in New Delhi. The awards are for films from the year 2019. The event is organised by the Directorate of Film Festivals, which comes under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The ceremony was supposed to be held in May last year but was delayed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

list of all the winners:

Feature Film Awards

•Best Feature Film: Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian Sea (Malayalam)

•Best Actor (shared): Manoj Bajpayee for Bhonsle (Hindi), and Dhanush for Asuran (Tamil)

•Best Actress: Kangana Ranaut for Panga (Hindi) and Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi (Hindi)

•Best Supporting Actress: Pallavi Joshi for The Tashkent Files (Hindi)

•Best Supporting Actor: Vijay Sethupathi for Super Deluxe (Tamil)

•Best Director: Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan for Bahattar Hoorain (Hindi)

•Best Debut Film of a Director: Mathukutty Xavier for Helen (Malayalam)

•Best Child Artist: Naga Vishal for KD (Tamil)

•Best Action Direction: Avane Srimannarayana (Kannada), Vikram Mor

•Best Choreography: Maharishi (Telugu), Raju Sundaram

•Best Special Effects: Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian Sea (Malayalam), Siddharth Priyadarshan

•Special Jury Award: Oththa Seruppu Size 7 (Tamil), Radhakrishnan Parthiban

•Best Lyrics: Prabha Varma for Kolaambi (Malayalam)

•Best Music Direction: D. Imman for Viswasam (Tamil)

•Best Background Music: Prabuddha Banerjee for Jyeshthoputro (Bengali)

•Best Make-up Artist: Ranjith for Helen (Malayalam)

•Best Costumes: Sujith Sudhakaran and V. Sai for Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian Sea (Malayalam)

•Best Production Design: Anandi Gopal (Marathi), Sunil Nigwekar and Nilesh Wagh

•Best Audiography (Location Sound Recordist): Iewduh (Khasi), Debajit Gayan

•Best Audiography (Re-recordist of the final mixed track): Oththa Seruppu Size 7 (Tamil), Resul Pookutty

•Best Screenplay (Original): Jyeshthoputro (Bengali), Kaushik Ganguly

•Best Screenplay (Adapted): Gumnaami (Bengali), Srijit Mukherji

•Best Screenplay (Dialogue Writer): The Tashkent Files (Hindi), Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri

•Best Cinematography: Jallikattu (Malayalam), Gireesh Gangadharan

•Best Editing: Jersey (Telugu), Navin Nooli

•Best Children’s Film: Kastoori (Hindi)

•Best Film on Environment Conservation: Water Burial (Monpa)

•Best Film on Social Issues: Anandi Gopal (Marathi)

•Best Film on National Integration: Tajmahal (Marathi)

•Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment: Maharishi (Telugu)

•Best Female Playback Singer: Savani Ravindra for Bardo (Marathi)

•Best Male Playback Singer: B Praak for Kesari (Hindi)

Best Films in Each Language:

•Best Hindi Film: Chhichhore

•Best Telugu Film: Jersey

•Best Malayalam Film: Kalla Nottam

•Best Tamil Film: Asuran

•Best Paniya Film: Kenjira

•Best Mishing Film: Anu Ruwad

•Best Khasi Film: Iewduh

•Best Chattisgarhi Film: Bhulan the Maze

•Best Haryanvi Film: Chhoriyan Chhoron Se Kam Nahi Hoti

•Best Tulu Film: Pingara

•Best Punjabi Film: Rab Da Radio 2

•Best Odia Film: Kalira Atita and Sala Budhar Badla (shared)

•Best Manipuri Film: Eigi Kona

•Best Marathi Film: Bardo

•Best Konkani Film: Kaajro

•Best Kannada Film: Akshi

•Best Bengali Film: Gumnaami

•Best Assamese Film: Ronuwa – Who Never Surrender

•Special Mentions: Biriyani (Malayalam), Jonaki Porua (Assamese), Lata Bhagwan Kare (Marathi) and Picasso (Marathi)

Non-Feature Film Awards

•Best Voice-over/ Narration: Sir David Attenborough for wild Karnataka (English)

•Best Music Direction: Bishakhjyoti for Kranti Darshi Guruji – Ahead of Times (Hindi)

•Best Editing: Arjun Gourisaria for Shut Up Sona (Hindi/ English)

•Best Audiography: Radha (Musical), Allwin Rego and Sanjay Maurya

•Best On-Location Sound Recordist: Rahas (Hindi), Saptarshi Sarkar

•Best Cinematography: Savita Singh for Sonsi (Hindi)

•Best Direction: Sudhanshu Saria for Knock Knock Knock (English/ Bengali)

•Best Film on Family Values: Oru Paathira Swapnam Pole (Malayalam)

•Best Short Fiction Film: Custody (Hindi/ English)

•Special Jury Award: Small Scale Societies (English)

•Best Animation Film: Radha (Musical)

•Best Investigative Film: Jakkal (Marathi)

•Best Exploration Film: Wild Karnataka (English)

•Best Educational Film: Apples and Oranges (English)

•Best Film on Social Issues: Holy Rights (Hindi) and Ladli (Hindi)

•Best Environment Film: The Stork Saviours (Hindi)

•Best Promotional Film: The Shower (Hindi)

•Best Arts and Culture Film: Shrikshetra-Ru-Sahijata (Odia)

•Best Biographical Film: Elephants Do Remember (English)

•Best Ethnographic Film: Charan-Atva The Essence of Being a Nomad (Gujarati)

•Best Debut Non-Feature Film of a Director: Raj Pritam More for Khisa (Marathi)

•Best Non-Feature Film: An Engineered Dream (Hindi)

RANKING

India slips to 56th rank in Global Home Price Index

•India has moved down 13 spots in the latest global home price index to finish last at 56th rank in the quarter ending December 2020. Against its 43rd rank a year ago, India saw a decline of 3.6% year-on-year (YoY) in home prices, leading to the drop in global position, showed Knight Frank’s Global House Price Index. India was the weakest-performing country during the fourth quarter of 2020, with a decline of 3.6% in home prices, followed by Morocco with a drop of 3.3%.

•According to the report, markets like New Zealand (19%), Russia (14%), the US (10%), Canada and UK (both 9%) have recorded accelerated growth in rankings in the last three months due to a growth in housing demand.

•The index tracks the movement in mainstream residential prices across 56 countries and territories worldwide using official statistics. In the 12-month percentage change for the period Q4 2019 – Q4 2020, Turkey continues to lead the annual rankings with prices up by 30.3% on-year, followed by New Zealand at 18.6% and Slovakia at 16.0%.

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Important Current Affairs 22nd March 2021

NATIONAL

Advanced facility launched at NABI

•Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Science & technology Dr. Harsh Vardhan today inaugurated the new Advanced High Resolution Microscopy Facility at National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute (NABI) and Unveiled the 4 Star GRIHA Certification of Center of Innovative and Applied Bioprocessing (CIAB) Lab and Admin Building at Mohali in Punjab.

•Both NABI & CIAB are autonomous institutes under Dept. of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology.

•Following the gathering Dr. Harsh Vardhan urged both the institutes to address the problems of hunger & malnutrition and to bring nutritional revolution in the country. Minister emphasized that with government impetus on doubling the farmers income by 2022-23, NABI and CIAB’s roles are crucial to achieve this ambitious goal.

Three day Shehnai festival starts at BHU

•As a part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, a 3 day Shehnai festival started at Banaras Hindu University campus Varanasi today evening. Sangeet Natak academy and music and performing arts faculty of BHU has come together to organise this music evening to remember the shehnai Maestro Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan.

•The Program was inaugurated by Prof SK Sharma and Dhrupad Singer Hritwik Sanyal and  Faculty members of BHU, professor Rajesh Shah, Sangeeta Pandit, President of Sangeet Natak academy Lucknow Dr preetesh Aacharya who is son of noted artist Rajeshwar Aacharya were also present at the stage.

PM Modi to launch "Catch the Rain" campaign

•Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the 'Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain' campaign on World Water Day, which is celebrated on March 22. The Prime Minister has launch the campaign at 12:30 pm through video conferencing.

•According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), the campaign has undertaken across the country, in both rural and urban areas, with the theme "catch the rain, where it falls, when it falls".

•"The campaign has implemented from March 22 to November 30 November - the pre-monsoon and monsoon period in the country. It has launched as a Jan Andolan to take water conservation at the grass-root level through people's participation. It is intended to nudge all stakeholders to create rainwater harvesting structures suitable to the climatic conditions and subsoil strata, to ensure proper storage of rainwater.

Jharkhand launches ‘SAAMAR’ campaign to fight malnutrition

•The state government of Jharkhand has launched a campaign called SAAMAR to tackle malnutrition in the state. SAAMAR stands for Strategic Action for Alleviation of Malnutrition and Anemia Reduction. The campaign has been launched with a 1000 days target, where annual surveys will be conducted to track the progress. The campaign will bring together various departments to identify anaemic women and malnourished children to effectively deal with the problem in a state where malnutrition has been a major problem.

•Most importantly, the campaign, as per the note, also tries to target Primarily Vulnerable Tribal Groups. Stating that there is no research-based information available on their food and nutritional habits, it encourages research and proposes fellowships on the nutritional behaviour of these groups for effective implementation.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Ustad Bismillah Khan birth anniversary

•Known for his impeccable art, Ustad Bismillah Khan was one of the gems of the country. He was the third classical musician to receive this highest civilian award the Bharat Ratna after M S Subbalakshmi and Ravi Shankar.

•The veteran musician was born on March 21, 1916, and passed away on August 21, 2006. This is105th birth anniversary of Ustad Bismillah Khan.

Bihar Diwas 22 March :  2021

•Bihar Diwas, or Bihar Day is being observed 22nd March. This marks the formation of the state of Bihar when the state was carved out from the Bengal Presidency by the British in the year 1912.

•This day is observed as a public holiday for all state and central government offices and companies as well as for schools.

•This day is not only celebrated in Bihar but its observed in other countries as well by the Bihari diaspora.

World Water Day observed globally on 22 March

•World Water Day is observed globally on 22nd March every year. World Water Day celebrates water and raises awareness of the 2.2 billion people living without access to safe water. It is about taking action to tackle the global water crisis. A core focus of World Water Day is to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.

•The theme of World Water Day 2021 is “Valuing water”. The value of water is much more than its economic value – water has enormous and complex value for our households, food, culture, health, education, economics and the integrity of our natural environment.

World Down Syndrome Day: 21 March

•The World Down Syndrome Day is observed globally on 21 March each year, to raise public awareness for the rights, inclusion and well being of people with Down syndrome. This year, the theme for World Down Syndrome Day is “We Decide.” This day was first observed in the United Nation in the year 2012. The 21st day of March (the 3rd month of the year) has been selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome.

•Down Syndrome is a condition in which the child is born with an extra 21st chromosome. It comes in the category of a genetic disorder, and it also causes developmental disabilities. The child born with this condition is likely to suffer thyroid or heart-related problems.

International Day of Forests: 21 March

•The International Day of Forests (also known as World Forestry Day) is celebrated every year on March 21. The day is to celebrate to raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests, and trees outside forests, for the benefit of current and future generations as well as to increase the public awareness among communities about the values, significance and contributions of the forests to balance the life cycle on the earth.

•The theme for International Day of Forests 2020 is “Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being”. This year’s theme fits into the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030), a call for the protection and revival of ecosystems around the world.

•The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 March the International Day of Forests in 2012 to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests. Countries are encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees, such as tree-planting campaigns.

RANKING

India ranks 139th in World Happiness Report 2021

•India has been placed at 139th position out of 149 countries in the UN World Happiness Report 2021 released. In 2019, India was ranked 140th. The World Happiness Report 2021 has been topped by Finland, for the fourth consecutive year. The 2021 report is the ninth World Happiness Report and focuses on the effects of COVID-19 and how people all over the world have fared.

Top 10 Countries

1. Finland

2. Iceland

3. Denmark

4. Switzerland

5. The Netherlands

6. Sweden

7. Germany

8. Norway

9. New Zealand

10. Austria

Bottom 5 Countries

1. Afghanistan (149)

2. Zimbabwe (148)

3. Rwanda (147)

4. Botswana (146)

5. Lesotho (145)

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Important Current Affairs 20th March 2021

INTERNATIONAL

World’s Largest Floating Solar Farms being built in Singapore

•The largest floating solar farm in the world is being built in Singapore. The country has resorted to set up energy plants off the coasts and reservoirs across it. This floating solar farm is being set up in the light that despite being one of the smallest countries across the world, it is one of the biggest per capita carbon dioxide emitters in India. Thus, to cater to the issue of climate change and to cut the greenhouse gas emission it is building the floating solar farm. This project is being built by Sembcorp Industries.

•Renewable energy is a challenge for Singapore because the country has no rivers for hydro-electricity. The wind is also not that strong to power the turbines. Thus, with the setting up of the floating solar farms, the authorities seek to change that notion. So, this tropical country has turned to solar power. Since, it has little land space, equal to half the size of Los Angeles, the country has decided to set up energy plants off its coasts and on reservoirs.

NATIONAL

J&K LG Manoj Sinha inaugurates project “Awaam Ki Baat”

•Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, initiated the project “Awaam Ki Baat” – a Radio program by launching its website at Raj Bhavan, Jammu. The half-an-hour long Radio program to be aired every third Sunday of the month (to start from April), is one of the many sequential steps of a broader program aimed at disseminating the progressive steps taken by the government and providing the public with a platform to speak, write and interact with the administration, thereby voicing their suggestions, ideas and creative proposals.

KRAS releases First batch of MRSAM Missiles

•The Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems (KRAS), which is a joint venture between the Kalyani Group of India and Rafael Advanced Defence Systems of Israel, have released the first batch of Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) kits. The missile was released for the Indian Army and Indian Air Force.

•The release of the MRSAM Missile also marked the KRAS’ commitment to delivering more than 1000 MRSAM missile kits to India in near future. These missile sections will then be sent for further and future integration to Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL). The Kalyani Group has infused the “State-of-the-art technology with engineering excellence in the company.

•It is the private sector MSME of India comprising of advanced manufacturing capabilities and facilities which is specially dedicated to addressing the assembly, integration and testing (AIT) of the state-of-the-art weapon systems which are being inducted in India’s defence forces. KRAS also address the Maintenance and Repair Operations (MRO) of the major in-service Air Defence Missile System in the Indian Air Force.

SPORTS

Hashmatullah Shahidi becomes 1st afghan player to score Test double century

•Afghanistan’s Hashmatullah Shahidi became the first batsman from the country to register a double hundred in Test cricket. He got his first double century on Day Two of the second Test against Zimbabwe in Abu Dhabi. He made 200 not out off 443 balls with 21 fours and one six as Afghanistan put up a mammoth 545 for 4 in their first innings.

•Shahidi has played five Tests and 42 ODIs for Afghanistan since making his international debut in an ODI against Kenya. He made his Test debut in Afghanistan’s first-ever Test, against India in Bengaluru in 2018. The 26-year-old left-handed batsman has 347 runs from five Tests and 1155 runs from 42 ODIs to his name thus far.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

INS Jalashwa Arrives at Port Anjouan as part of Mission Sagar-IV

•As part of Mission Sagar-IV, Indian Naval Ship Jalashwa arrived at Port Anjouan, Comoros to deliver 1,000 Metric Tonnes of rice. An official ceremony for handing over the food aid from the Government of India to the Government of Comoros. INS Jalashwa, the largest amphibious ship of the Indian Navy, has been specially sent to Comoros due to its large carrying capacity.

•This consignment of 1000 metric tonnes of rice as food assistance was flagged off to Comoros in the light of a promise made by the Vice President of India, Venkaiah Naidu during his brief visit to Comoros in the month of October 2019. This is the second visit of an Indian Navy ship to the island country within a span of one year. Earlier, as part of Mission Sagar-I, in May-June 2020, the Indian Navy had delivered essential medicines to the nation and had also deployed a specialist medical team to work alongside their counterparts and to render assistance for dengue fever-related emergencies.

•‘Mission Sagar’, builds on the excellent relations existing between the two countries and deployment also resonates with the vision of our Prime Minister of Security and Growth for All in the Region ‘SAGAR’ and highlights the importance accorded by India to relations with the countries of the IOR. The operation is being progressed in close coordination with the Ministries of External Affairs, and other agencies of the Government of India.

OBITUARY

Tanzanian President John Magufuli passes away

•The President of Tanzania, John Magufuli has passed away following a heart ailment. Popularly nicknamed the “Bulldozer”, Magufuli served as the fifth President of Tanzania from 2015 until his death in 2021.

•He first won the presidential election in October 2015 and was sworn in on 5 November 2015. He was re-elected in 2020.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Dr Harsh Vardhan appointed as chairman of ‘Stop TB Partnership Board’

•Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan has been appointed as the Chairman of the international body Stop TB Partnership Board. He was appointed in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the movement to eradicate Tuberculosis from India by 2025. He will serve a three-year term, commencing from July this year.

•The Stop TB Partnership is a unique international body with the power to align actors all over the world in the fight against TB.

•The participation of a wide range of constituencies gives this global body the credibility and the broad range of medical, social and financial expertise needed to defeat TB.

•The Partnership’s vision is a TB-free world.

•The appointment of Dr Harsh Vardhan as the Chair of this prestigious global body is a proud recognition of India’s political commitment to the eradication of TB.

•Established in the year 2000, the ‘Stop TB Partnership’ is mandated to eliminate Tuberculosis as a public health problem.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Ordnance Factories’ Day in India: 18 March

•The Ordnance Factories’ Day is observed on the 18th of March every year. The production of India’s oldest Ordnance Factory, which is at Cossipore of Kolkata, was started on the 18th of March, 1802. OFB is the 37th largest defence equipment manufacturer in the world, 2nd largest in Asia, and the largest in India.

•The day is celebrated by displaying the rifles, guns, artillery, ammunition etc in exhibitions all over India. The celebrations start with a parade and the exhibition will also display the photographs of various mountaineering expeditions.

•OFB is referred to as the “Fourth Arm of Defence” and the “Force Behind the Armed Forces” of India.

•OFB is functioning under the Department of Defence Production of the Ministry of Defence.

•The Indian Ordnance Factories supplies products to all three Indian Armed Forces. ie the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air force.

•The Arms and Ammunition, Weapon Spares, Chemicals & Explosives, Parachutes, Leather and Clothing items are being exported to more than 30 countries worldwide.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

6th India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Women’s Forum held Virtually

•The Sixth India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Women’s Forum meeting was held virtually. The Forum discussed key issues that contribute towards the transformation of women’s lives. At the end of the conference, a joint declaration was also issued highlighting the shared IBSA goals and commitments for achieving gender equality in all spheres of life.

•The India-Brazil-South Africa Trilateral Cooperation Forum is a unique platform that brings together India, Brazil and South Africa, three large democracies and major economies from three different continents.

•The meeting was led by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India.

•IBSA is committed to inclusive sustainable development, in pursuit of the well-being of its citizens and those from other developing nations.

•The principles, norms and values underpinning the IBSA Dialogue Forum are participatory democracy, respect for human rights, the Rule of Law and the strengthening of multilateralism. IBSA lays efforts in South-South cooperation beyond the conventional areas of exchange of experts and training.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

SBI and IOCL to ink India’s First Libor Alternative Rate Deal

•The State Bank of India (SBI) and Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) will sign the first Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) linked external commercial borrowing (ECB) deal. The deal will be signed because the de facto international benchmark reference rate called the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) will no longer work as the benchmark after December 2021.

•The state bank of India highlighted that it will be arranging $100 million linked to SOFR for 5 years.

•The LIBOR will no longer work as the benchmark after December 2021. Thus, the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) and Sterling Overnight Interbank Average Rate (SONIA) are the most potential alternatives.

•But only a few swap deals are linked to these alternatives at the international level. Libor is still used extensively especially for loans that are getting matured within the year.

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Important Current Affairs 15th March 2021

INTERNATIONAL

India, Pakistan Indus Commissioners set to meet on March 23-24

•Indus Commissioners of India and Pakistan are set to meet on March 23-24 in New Delhi.

•Pradeep Kumar Saxena, Commissioner (Indus), who will lead the Indian delegation in the meeting, “The annual meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) will be held on March 23-24 in New Delhi.”

•“We are committed towards full utilisation of India’s rights under the treaty and believe in amicable solution of issues through discussion.

•This will be the first meeting of Indus Commissioners after a gap of two and a half years. The last meeting of the India-Pakistan Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) was held in Lahore, Pakistan from August 29-30, 2018.

NATIONAL

JK Govt. Approves Rs. 2 Lakh Interest-free Loan For Urban Housing ( PMAY-U) Beneficiaries

•Manoj Sinha, approved the proposal of the Housing & Urban Development Department to provide interest-free loan up to Rs. 2 lakhs to the urban houseless economically weaker section beneficiaries under Beneficiary Led Construction (BLC) component of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna-Urban (PMAY-U).

•The beneficiaries under Beneficiary Led Construction omponent of PMAY (U) have experienced the difficulty in mobilizing their contribution as they come from economic weaker sections and have to contribute higher share as compared to other States/UT, as a result of which the construction of dwelling units under this component of PMAY(U) could not achieve the desired targets.

•The beneficiaries of this component have demanded enhancement of assistance in their favour so that they can complete their houses within the targeted date of the Mission. In view of practical difficulties faced by the beneficiaries in arranging financial resources, the Govt. agreed to provide interest subsidy to all the eligible beneficiary. The interest-free loan will be an additional benefit, over and above the financial assistance of Rs. 1.66 lakhs which is already being provided to the beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna-Urban , with this the beneficiaries can now avail Rs.3.66 lakh for construction of their dwelling units under this component of PMAY(U).

INS Jalashwa arrives in Comoros with 1,000 metric tonne rice

•Indian naval ship Jalashwa arrived at the port of Anjouan, Comoros on Sunday to deliver 1,000 metric tonne of rice.

•The consignment has come as a fulfilment of the grant announcement made during the visit of Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu to Comoros in October 2019, according to a statement by the Indian Embassy in Madagascar and Comoros.

•The 1000 metric tonnes of rice will be received by Foreign Minister of Comoros, Dhoihir Dhoulkamal, in a ceremony today which will be attended by Ambassador Abhay Kumar through a video conference.

Railways' parcel management system to be extended to 523 locations

•The Indian Railways (IR) new parcel management system (PMS) is adding a total of 523 locations in phases, from the present 84, to provide a “vast network of stations” for transportation of small consignments.

•In a statement, the transportation services are being used by small businesses and traders to move merchandise from production centres and bigger cities to place of business in a “fast, reliable and cheap manner.

•As per the statement, Phase II will take total locations to 143 and by Phase III, the computerised PMS will have 523 locations.

Centre announces new scheme for tourist vehicle operators

•The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has announced a new scheme, under which any tourist vehicle operator may apply for an "All India Tourist Authorisation/Permit" via online mode. It will be issued, after relevant documents are submitted and fees deposited, in 30 days of submission of such applications.

•The new set of rules, to be known as, "All India Tourist Vehicles Authorisation and Permit Rules, 2021",  will be applicable from April 1, 2021. All existing permits will continue to be in force during their validity.

Supreme Court seeks govt.’s response on plea against Places of Worship Act

•The Supreme Court has asked the government to respond to a plea challenging the Places of Worship Act enacted in 1991.

•A notice is issued by a Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde to the Union Ministries of Home, Law and Culture on a plea filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay against various provisions of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act of 1991.

•The petition said Sections of the Act that dealt with the bar on legal claims were against the principles of secularism.

About the law

•It was passed in 1991 by the P V Narasimha Rao-led Congress government. The law seeks to maintain the “religious character” of places of worship as it was in 1947 except law Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute case that was already in court. The law was brought in at the peak of the Ram Mandir movement after one year before the demolition of the Babri Masjid.

•Home Minister S B Chavan in introducing the law said in the Parliament thet it was adopted to curb the communal tension.

SPORTS

Rashid Khan creates record for bowling most overs in a Test

•Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan on Sunday created the record for bowling the most number of overs in a single Test in the 21st century.

•The spinner bowled a total of 99.2 overs in the second Test between Zimbabwe and Afghanistan at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Rashid Khan bowled 596 balls in the match.

•This is the most number of overs bowled by a bowler in a Test since 1998. In 1998, Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan had bowled 113.5 overs (683 balls) against England at The Oval.

•In the first innings against Zimbabwe, Rashid returned with the figures of 4-138 from 36.3 overs while in the second innings, the spinners bowled 62.5 overs. The second innings saw Rashid Khan at his best as he returned with seven wickets and conceded 137 runs.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Consumer Rights Day 2021

•It is celebrated on 15 March across the world annually to spread awareness about the rights of consumers and their needs.

•A special message was sent by President John F Kennedy to the US Congress on 15 March, 1962 and so the day was inspired by him. In the message he formally addressed the issue of consumer rights.  To do so, he was the first leader.

•The history behind the World Consumer Rights Day is that the first consumer movement was observed in 1983 and since then every year it is observed to mobilize an action on important issues and campaigns.

•The theme of World Consumer Rights Day 2021 is 'Tackling Plastic Pollution’. It will raise awareness and engage consumers globally to adopt and promote more sustainable practices. The last year theme was ‘The Sustainable Consumer’. This year the campaign will also focus on the central role that consumer advocates governments and businesses can play in tackling the global plastic pollution crisis.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

India holds world's 4th largest forex reserve

•India’s foreign-exchange reserves surpassed Russia’s to become the world’s fourth largest, as the South Asian nation’s central bank continues to hoard dollars to cushion the economy against any sudden outflows.

•Reserves for both countries have mostly flattened out this year after months of rapid increase. India pulled ahead as Russian holdings declined at a faster rate in recent weeks.

•India’s foreign currency holdings fell by $4.3 billion to $580.3 billion as of March 5, the Reserve Bank of India said on Friday, edging out Russia’s $580.1 billion pile. China has the largest reserves, followed by Japan and Switzerland on the International Monetary Fund table.

•India’s reserves, enough to cover roughly 18 months of imports, have been bolstered by a rare current-account surplus, rising inflows into the local stock market and foreign direct investment.

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Important Current Affairs 12th March 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Deepika Padukone joins WEF list of Young Global Leader

•Actor Deepika Padukone has joined the list of the Young Global Leaders (YGLs) compiled by the World Economic Forum. The list also includes several Indian citizens and India-origin persons. They join a group of Nobel Prize recipients, Pulitzer winners, heads of state and chief executive officers committed to improving the state of the world.

•Announcing its 2021 class of YGLs, the WEF said these are the world’s most promising 112 tomorrow’s leaders under the age of 40 and are involved in activities ranging from advocating public healthcare to campaigning for inclusivity in medical research. The Forum of Young Global Leaders was founded in 2005 by Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF, to create a world where leaders take responsibility for a sustainable future while meeting increasingly complex and interrelated challenges.

NATIONAL

India-Uzbekistan joint military exercise DUSTLIK II commences in Ranikhet

•The India – Uzbekistan joint military exercise DUSTLIK II has commenced in Foreign Training Node Chaubatia, Ranikhet in Uttarakhand. This is the Second Edition of the annual bilateral joint exercise of both armies. It will continue till the 19th of this month. The first edition of the exercise was held in Uzbekistan in November 2019. 45 Soldiers each from Uzbekistan and the Indian Army are participating in the exercise.

•Both contingents will be sharing their expertise and skills in the field of counter-terrorist operations in mountainous or rural or urban scenarios under UN mandate. The validation exercise will be a testbed for the soldiers of both armies as they would be undergoing the challenges of actual operations in such scenarios. The joint exercise will definitely provide impetus to the ever-growing military and diplomatic ties between the two nations and also reflects the strong resolve of both nations to counter-terrorism.

ISRO Develops Joint Earth Observation Satellite Mission Radar With NASA

•ISRO has completed the development of a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) capable of producing extremely high-resolution images for a joint earth observation satellite mission with the US space agency NASA. NASA-ISRO SAR (NISAR) is a joint collaboration for a dual-frequency L and S-band SAR for earth observation.

•NISAR will be the first satellite mission to use two different radar frequencies (L-band and S-band) to measure changes in our planet’s surface less than a centimetre across.

•The mission is targeted to launch in early 2022 from ISRO’s Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh’s Nellore district, about 100 km north of Chennai.

•NASA is providing the mission’s L-band SAR, a high-rate communication subsystem for science data, GPS receivers, a solid-state recorder and payload data subsystem.

•ISRO is providing the spacecraft bus, the S-band radar, the launch vehicle and associated launch services for the mission, whose goal is to make global measurements of the causes and consequences of land surface changes using advanced radar imaging.

OBITUARY

Ivory Coast Prime Minister Hamed Bakayoko passes away

•The incumbent Prime Minister of Ivory Coast, Hamed Bakayoko, has passed away due to cancer. He was named prime minister in July 2020 following the sudden death of his predecessor, Amadou Gon Coulibaly. President of Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattara, has named Patrick Achi as interim prime minister in place of Bakayoko.

•Patrick Achi was serving as the chief of defence staff of the country.

Veteran Marathi Actor Shrikant Moghe Passes Away

•The Marathi stage and film actor, Shrikant Moghe has passed away. He was popular for his work in both Marathi and Hindi languages. He was born at Kirloskarwadi in the Sangli district of Maharashtra.

•He is known for his performances in Marathi films like Madhuchandra, Sinhaasan, Gammat Jammat and Umbaratha, and plays such as Varyavarchu Varaat and Tuze Aahe Tujapashi.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Union Minister Anurag Thakur promoted as Captain in Territorial Army

•Union Minister Anurag Thakur has become the first serving MP to be appointed as Captain in the Territorial Army. Thakur has been promoted to the rank of Captain at 124 Infantry Battalion Territorial Army (Sikh).

•The four-time BJP MP from Himachal Pradesh’s Hamirpur was commissioned into the Territorial Army as a Lieutenant by then Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Dalbir S Suhag TA in July 2016.

GoI appoints Dr. GP Samanta as new Chief Statistician of India

•The Central Government has appointed Dr G P Samanta as the new Chief Statistician of India (CSI) for a period of two years. He is India’s fourth CSI. He will replace Kshatrapati Shivaji who was holding an additional charge of the post since September 2020.

•Currently, Dr Samanta was serving as an adviser in the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) Department Of Statistics and Information Management. Dr Samanta will also serve as the Secretary of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI).

IMPORTANT DAYS

Central Industrial Security Forces Celebrates its 52nd Raising Day

•The Central Industrial Security Forces (CISF) – Raising Day (CRD) is observed on March 10 in India every year. In 2021, the nation is celebrating the 52nd Raising Day of CISF. The basic objective of the CISF is Better “protection and security” of industrial undertakings in both government and private sectors in the country.

•CISF was set up under an Act of the Parliament of India on 10 March 1969, for the better protection and security of industrial undertakings in the country.

•Eventually, it was made an armed force of the Republic of India by another Act of Parliament passed on 15 June 1983.

•CISF is one of six paramilitary forces in India and functions under the Ministry of Home Affairs with its headquarters in New Delhi.

•The CISF has 12 reserve battalions and 8 training institutes.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

President Ram Nath Kovind presents Baton of Honor to Kiran Bedi

•President Ram Nath Kovind has presented a baton of honour and a letter of appreciation to former Puducherry lieutenant governor Kiran Bedi at Rashtrapati Bhavan. The former Puducherry lieutenant governor received a Baton of Honor decorated with the emblem of the Indian Republic and the appreciation letter recognizing her service in the Union Territory of Puducherry.

•Kiran Bedi was removed as the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry on February 16 by the President of India and Tamilisai Soundararajan took additional charge as the Lieutenant Governor on February 18.

Amitabh Bachchan to be honoured with 2021 FIAF Award

•Megastar Amitabh Bachchan will be honoured with an award by the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF). The veteran actor will be the first Indian cinema personality to be bestowed with the FIAF Award for his dedication and contribution to the preservation of the world’s film heritage.

•Amitabh Bachchan was nominated for the award by the FIAF affiliate Film Heritage Foundation which is a not-for-profit organisation founded by Shivendra Singh Dungarpur a filmmaker & archivist. This foundation is dedicated to preserve, restore, document, exhibit and study the film heritage of India.

•The FIAF is a worldwide organisation, comprising film archives and museums from across the world. Hollywood filmmakers and previous recipients of the FIAF Award — Martin Scorcese and Christopher Nolan — will present the award to Bachchan during a virtual showcase scheduled to take place on March 19.

Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou wins Africa’s top prize

•Mahamadou Issoufou, the incumbent President of Niger has won the “2020 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership”, the world’s largest leadership prize, worth $5 million. He is the sixth winner of the Ibrahim Prize since it was introduced in 2006, by Sudanese billionaire Mo Ibrahim’s foundation to promote good governance in the world’s poorest continent.

•The 69-year-old Issoufou is stepping down as president of Niger in April 2021, after serving two terms in office. He first took office in 2011 and was then re-elected in 2016.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

RBI removes PCA restrictions on IDBI Bank

•The Reserve Bank of India has removed IDBI Bank from its enhanced regulatory supervision or Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework. It was noted that as per published results for the quarter ending December 31, 2020, the bank is not in breach of the PCA parameters on regulatory capital, net NPA and leverage ratio.

•The bank has also provided a written commitment that it would comply with the norms of minimum regulatory capital, net NPA and leverage ratio on an ongoing basis and has apprised the RBI of the structural and systemic improvements that it has put in place which would help the bank in continuing to meet these commitments.

•The central bank had placed IDBI Bank under the PCA framework in May 2017 after it had breached the thresholds for capital adequacy, asset quality, return on assets and the leverage ratio

•The bank had reported a standalone net profit of Rs 378 crore for the December quarter of 2020-21 compared to a standalone net loss of Rs 5,763 crore in the year-ago quarter.

Axis Bank launches “Wear N Pay” contactless payment wearable devices

•Axis Bank has launched a range of wearable contactless payment devices under the brand Wear ‘N’ Pay. These devices come in different forms of wearables like a band, key chain and watch loop and are available starting at Rs 750.

•The wearables are directly linked to the bank account of an Axis Bank customer and function like a regular debit card. It allows purchases at any merchant store which accepts contactless transactions.

MeitY released the list of “Digital Payment Scorecard”

•The Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) has released the list of “Digital Payment Scorecard”. In the list, the State Bank of India (SBI) has topped for the third consecutive months. The digital payment scorecard tracks the performance of the Commercial Banks on several digital parameters. SBI maintained the top remitter bank by recording the highest UPI transaction volume which accounted for nearly Rupees 640 million.

•SBI has also emerged as the largest issuer of debit cards. It issued over 290 million debit cards with a 30% market share with respect to card spends and 29% share with respect to transaction volume. Bank has also made steady progress with respect to increasing payment acceptance infrastructure.

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Important Current Affairs 11th March 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Switzerland votes to ban full face coverings in public places

•Switzerland has voted in favour of a proposal banning full facial coverings including the burqa and niqab in almost all public places. In the public referendum, around 51.21 per cent of voters voted in support of the controversial proposal. The vote means that full facial covering will be banned in all publicly accessible places in Switzerland including on the streets, public transport, in public offices such as restaurants, shops and in the countryside.

•The full-face covering will be allowed in places of worship and other sacred sites. It will also be allowed for health and safety reasons and in situations where it is a local custom such as carnivals.

•According to the proposal by the Swiss Federal Government, there will be no additional exceptions such as for tourists.

•France was the first European nation to ban burqas and niqabs in public places in 2011. The European Court of Human Rights had upheld the ban in 2014.

Economic Freedom Index 2021 announced

•The Heritage Foundation, a US Conservative think-tank, recently launched the “Economic Freedom Index”. The index was prepared by covering 184 countries this time for the period of July 2019 to June 2020. This is the first time the index has been published since the COVID-19 pandemic overturned lives as well as global economies and the scoring reflects a small extent how governments have responded to the health crisis.

•In the index, Singapore has topped the global ranking for the second consecutive year. In the 2021 Index, India came in around the middle of the pack among Asia-Pacific countries ranking 26th out of 40 countries, scoring 56.5 points. Globally, the Foundation rates India’s economy as the 121st freest. Although its overall score is unchanged, improvements were made in business freedom. This was offset by declines in judicial effectiveness and other scores.

Index

• Rank 1: Singapore

• Rank 2: New Zealand

• Rank 3: Australia

• Rank 4: Switzerland

• Rank 5: Ireland

•The biggest news generated from the “2021 Index of Economic Freedom” was however not the rankings or how COVID-19 impacted the scores but that The Heritage Foundation decided to exclude Hong Kong from its rankings for the first time ever.

•The Heritage Foundation said that the reason for leaving Hong Kong out is that the Special Administrative Region and its economic policies have now come under the direct control of Beijing.

NATIONAL

PM Narendra Modi inaugurates ‘Maitri Setu’ between India and Bangladesh

•Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has inaugurated the ‘Maitri Setu’ bridge between India and Bangladesh through a video conference, to strengthen the connectivity between both countries and especially with the north-eastern region of India. Maitri bridge will also make Tripura the ‘Gateway of North East’ with access to Chittagong Port of Bangladesh, which is just 80 km from the Sabroom.

•The Maitri Setu bridge has been built on the Feni river, which lies between the Indian boundary in Tripura and Bangladesh.

•The 1.9 Kilometres long bridge will connect Sabroom in India with Ramgarh in Bangladesh.

•The bridge has been constructed by the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited at a project cost of around Rs. 133 Crore.

Jammu and Kashmir launches Super-75 Scholarship Scheme

•The Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has launched “Super-75” scholarship schemes for meritorious girls, on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2021. The basic aim of this scholarship scheme is to facilitate the education and entrepreneurship of women.

•The super-75 scholarship scheme will support the education of meritorious girls from poor families, so that they can excel in streams like medicine, engineering, ITI (Industrial training institutes) and humanity and contribute to nation-building.

•Apart from this, Lt Governor Sinha also announced a new scheme named ‘Tejaswini’. This scheme has been launched under ‘Mission Youth-J&K’.

•Under Tejaswini, financial assistance of Rs 5 lakhs will be provided to the girls between the age group of 18 to 35 years to start their business.

SPORTS

Koneru Humpy is BBC’s Indian sportswoman of the year

•World rapid chess champion Koneru Humpy has won the BBC Indian Sportswoman-of-the-Year award. BBC director-general Tim Davie, hosting the virtual awards ceremony. The Lifetime Achievement award went to veteran athlete Anju Bobby George.

•English cricket star Ben Stokes announced the 19-year-old Indian Shooter, Manu Bhaker as the winner of the Emerging Player-of-the-Year award category. Bhaker, won two golds at the ISSF World Cup in 2018, followed by gold at the Youth Olympics and a Commonwealth Games gold with a record to boot.

Ashwin, Beaumont Win ICC Player of Month Awards for February

•India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was awarded the ICC Player of the Month award for February, the International Cricket Council (ICC). Ashwin beat England captain Joe Root and West Indies’ Kyle Mayers to the award. Ashwin played a crucial role with bat and ball as India raced to a 2-1 lead over England in their four-match Test series in February before eventually winning the series 3-1 in March. He was the highest wicket-taker in the series with 32 scalps and scored a century in the second Test in Chennai.

•Meanwhile, England opener Tammy Beaumont won the ICC Women’s Player of the Month for February. Beaumont was the overwhelming winner after she played three ODIs in February against New Zealand where she passed fifty in each of these, totalling 231 runs. She beat her teammate Natalie Sciver and New Zealand’s Brooke Halliday to the award.

India-New Zealand World Test Championship final in Southampton

•India will play their inaugural World Test Championship final against New Zealand at Southampton's Ageas Bowl Stadium, England from June 18-22.

•Initially, the final was supposed to be held at the Lord's but Southampton, with a five-star facility inside the stadium, will make it easier for both the ICC and the England and Wales Cricket Board to create a bio-bubble for the two teams.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Indian Navy’s ‘silent killer’ INS Karanj commissioned

•The Indian Navy got its third Scorpene submarine, commissioned as INS Karanj, of Project P-75 in Mumbai. With the delivery of Karanj, India further cemented its position as a submarine-building nation. Mazagon Dock Ltd (MDL), one of India’s leading shipyards with the capacity and the capability to meet the requirements and aspirations of the Indian Navy.  Before Karanj, INS Kalvari and INS Khanderi have been commissioned in the Indian Navy in 2017 and 2019, respectively.

•Karanj is seen as a small submarine having a length of 60 metres.

•It’s equipped with the best sensors in the world.

•Weapon package includes sufficient wire-guided torpedoes and sub-surface to surface missiles to neutralise a large enemy fleet. For self-defence, it has a state-of-the-art torpedo-decoy system.

•It is fitted with an integrated platform management system to provide centralised propulsion and machinery control. The powerful diesel engines can quickly charge batteries for a stealthy mission profile.

•It is fitted with a permanent magnet synchronous motor, making it one of the quietest submarines in the world.

•Its modular construction enables up-gradation to air-independent propulsion in future.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Tirath Singh Rawat becomes new Chief Minister of U’khand

•The Bharatiya Janata Party’s member of Parliament from Pauri Garhwal, Tirath Singh Rawat, will be the next chief minister of Uttarakhand. This was announced by outgoing chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, who resigned. Tirath Singh Rawat will be sworn in as the new chief minister of Uttrakhand.

•Tirath Singh Rawat was the chief of the party in Uttarakhand in 2013-15 and also an MLA from the state in the past. His name was picked over prominent candidates including Union Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and Uttarakhand Minister Dhan Singh Rawat.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

Delhi govt presents Rs 69000 Cr ‘Deshbhakti’ Budget

•The Delhi government presented a Rs 69,000-crore budget themed on ‘patriotism’ or ‘Deshbhakti’ for the financial year 2021-22. The budget was presented by the Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, Manish Sisodia. While presenting the budget, he announced that the government has decided to celebrate the 75th Independence Day of India. The Delhi government will hold programmes from March 12, 2021, which will last for 75 weeks.

•The government has proposed to allocate Rupees 45 crores in order to install high masts so as to hoist the national flag at 500 places in Delhi.

•An outlay of Rs 50 crores made under ‘Aam Aadmi Nishulk COVID Vaccine Yojana. It announced free Covid-19 vaccination to all in its hospitals in the coming phases of the ongoing inoculation drive.

•The budget highlights that the government seeks to increase the per capita income of Delhi in order to reach the level of Singapore by the year 2047.

•The government will also allocate rupees 10 crores for the programmes on Bhagat Singh’s life during the Deshbhakti celebrations.

•This year’s budget accounts for the budget outlay of more than 6.1 per cent than the budget presented for financial 2020-21.

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