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Important Current Affairs of 22th March

NATIONAL:

Lok Sabha passed the Indian Forest Amendment Bill, 2017.

• The Lok Sabha passed the Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill, 2017. The bill replaces Indian Forest (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 promulgated by President Ram Nath Kovind in November 2017 and amends Indian Forest Act, 1927.

• Though bamboo was taxonomically a grass, it was earlier defined as a tree under the Indian Forest Act, 1927 and its felling and transit required permission. It was a major impediment for bamboo cultivation by farmers on non-forest land.

• The bill omits bamboo grown in non-forest areas from the definition of trees. The omission thereby exempts it from requiring permits for felling or transportation of bamboo grown in non-forest areas. With this, bamboo grown in non-forest areas ceases to be a tree.

• It will encourage bamboo plantation by farmers, which will contribute to doubling farmers income by 2022.  The Indian Forest Act, 1927 consolidates laws relating to forests, the transit of forest-produce and duty to be levied on them. Under it, the definition of the tree includes palms, stumps, bamboos, brush-wood, and canes.

Indias to fight hypothermia, Bracelets from Bengaluru saving babies in Papua New Guinea

• Bempu is made in India Hypothermia alert device and the Bempu was invented in 2016 by Bengaluru-based Ratul Narain, who is an alumnus of Stanford University. Currently, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) is using the device extensively in PNG, in southwestern Pacific to save newborns from extreme cold and sudden drop in temperature.

•  The facility has so far been used largely in Henganofi district, Eastern Highlands province of the country. It was used for children with less than 2.5kg birth weight. Eastern Highlands province was chosen for the pilot as it’s one of the coldest terrains in PNG.

CBSE launches app Shiksha Vani.

• Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) launched its podcast app, 'Shiksha Vani'. It will be used to send out major announcements made by the board and is expected to be the quickest way to information. The first official circular on the app confirmed the beginning of the evaluation process of the 2019 Board Examinations.

ADB to invest USD 50 million in Avaada Energy for expansion of solar projects in India.

• The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will invest $50 million in Indian renewable energy independent power producer Avaada Energy Private Limited, to expand its solar energy generation capacity in India. Avaada is a developer of utility-scale, rooftop, and off-grid solar projects. According to the ADB, this investment will contribute to the Indian government’s goal to increase the share of renewable energy generation capacity from about 20% in 2018 to 40% by 2030. It will also help to reduce India's emission intensity of its gross domestic product by 33-35 per cent by 2030. The company has secured power purchase agreements of about 1,700 megawatts.

India's deepest shaft cave discovered in Meghalaya.

• India's deepest shaft cave Krem Um Ladaw has been discovered in Meghalaya's East Khasi Hills district during the annual 'Caving in the Abode of the Clouds Expedition'. The cave has a 105 m deep shaft entrance passage.

• This comes a year after the world's longest sandstone cave Krem Puri was discovered in Meghalaya. With all these discoveries, Meghalaya has become on of the top caving regions of the world. Meghalaya has 1,700 caves and cave locations of which over 1000 have been explored or partially explored.

INTERNATIONAL:

FAO expressed its concerns over armyworms.

• The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has expressed concerns over the increasing menace of Crop-damaging armyworms in Asia. Farming in several Asian countries is under threat from Armyworms, a type of crop-damaging insects that have munched their way from America and across Africa.  These flying insects arrived in India in July and have since spread to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, and China's Yunnan province.

• These insects feed mostly on maize and can feed on several species of crops, including rice and sugarcane. Armyworms which are native to the Americas have been moving eastwards since 2016 sweeping across Africa where they caused $1-3 billion in damage, before arriving in Asia. 

• The FAO had convened a meeting of officials from affected countries and experts for discussing ways to limit armyworm infestations amid a "growing sense of alarm". FAO called on the nations to work together since pest has no respect for international boundaries and it threatens food security, economy, domestic and international trade

India signals to boycott China's Belt and Road Forum for second time.

• China's second Belt and Road Forum for a second time, saying no country can participate in an initiative that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity. India boycotted the first Belt and Road Forum (BRF) in 2017 after protesting to Beijing over the controversial China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is being laid through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) overriding New Delhi's sovereignty concerns.

• Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently said that next month China plans to hold a much bigger, second BRF which will also be attended by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. Speculation is rife whether India would attend the second BRF as China has deepened its commitment to expand the USD 60 billion CPEC, which aims to connect China's Xinjiang province with Pakistan's Gwadar port with a host of road, rail, gas and oil pipelines. China has also undertaken a host of energy projects under the aegis of the CPEC.

India and Sri Lanka to conduct joint military exercise Mitra Shakti VI.

• India and Sri Lanka is to conduct joint military exercise Mitra Shakti VI from 26 March to 8 April at Sri Lanka.  At the Military Exercise Mitra Shakti VI India would be represented by the Bihar Regiment. Gemunu Watch Battalion of Sri Lankan Army will be representing the Sri Lankan side. The exercise aims to build and promote close relations between armies of both the countries and to enhance the ability of joint exercise commander to take military contingents of both nations under command.

Jagmeet Singh made history in the House of Commons.

• Indian-origin Jagmeet Singh made history in the House of Commons, a component of Canada’s Parliament, as the first non-white leader of a major opposition party in the country. Singh, 40, the leader of the New Democratic Party, was elected in federal by-elections held on February 25. Singh’s first words as an elected lawmaker were about last week’s terrorist attack on two mosques in New Zealand.

First ever High-Level Dialogue on Indo-Pacific Cooperation (HLD-IPC) held in Jakarta, Indonesia.

• The Government of Indonesia hosted the first ever High-Level Dialogue on Indo-Pacific Cooperation (HLD-IPC) in its capital city Jakarta.

• The theme of the HLD was “Towards a Peaceful, Prosperous, and Inclusive Region”.

• It was inaugurated by Indonesia’s Vice President Jusuf Kalla.

• The representatives from India, Australia, US, Brunei Darussalam, Japan, South Korea, Russia, New Zealand and China apart from 10 member ASEAN countries.

• The main objective behind this meet was to urge all participating governments to talk openly about their plans for increasing cooperation and for building trust in the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean region.

SPORTS:

Former hockey Captain Sardar Singh appointed in Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) standing committee.

• A total of 13 Indian Olympic Association members, including former India hockey captain Sardar Singh, have been named in various Standing Committees of the Olympic Council of Asia at its 38th General Assembly in Bangkok.

• Singh has been elected in the athletes standing committee, while IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta was named in the culture standing committee. Hockey India secretary general Mohd. Mustaque Ahmad is in the media standing committee, while Athletics Federation of India president Adille Sumariwala and Lalit Bhanot have been elected in the sports for environment and sports standing committees respectively. All the members have been elected for a four-year term from 2019 to 2023.

Abu Dhabi signed to host T10 League for next five years.

• Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi, will be the new home of T10 cricket for the next five years, starting with the 2019 season. The first match of the T10 League 2019 will be held on October 23. In Cricket, there are two short formats so far, that is, ODI and T-20. Now, brace for T-10. T10 was first introduced to the UAE in 2017. With eight squads vying for victory in games with an explosive pace, players featured have included Chris Gayle, Shoaib Malik, Shane Watson and Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed.

DAYS:

World Down Syndrome Day observed on March 21.

• Recognizing the need to support people suffering from Down Syndrome, the WHO (world Health Organization) on 20th December 2007, recognized March 21st as ‘World Down Syndrome Day’. Following the decision of WHO, the United Nations General Assembly also designated the same date as “World Down Syndrome Day” on 19th December 2011.

• Since 2012 “World Down Syndrome Day” has been observed annually on 21st March. World Down Syndrome Day 2019 theme is “Leave no one behind”. Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder causing a delayed physical and mental growth in individuals.

• Children or adults suffering from Down Syndrome have lower IQ and learning ability along with characteristic facial features. A young adult with Down Syndrome has an average IQ of 50; equivalent to that of a normal 9 years old child.

World Water Day is celebrated on 22nd March.

• The World Water Day designated by the United Nations is celebrated on 22nd March every year. The first World Water Day was commemorated in 1993. The theme for World Water Day 2019 is ‘Leaving no one behind’. This is an adaptation of the central promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: as sustainable development progresses, everyone must benefit. Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) aims to ensure availability and sustainable management of water for all by 2030.  To ‘leave no one behind’ focus on taking efforts towards people including those who have been marginalized or ignored.  Regulatory and legal frameworks must recognise the right to water for all people, and sufficient funding must be fairly and effectively targeted at those who need it most.

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Swami Vivekananda’s birth anniversary observed as National Youth Day

National Youth Day was observed on 12 January 2017 to mark the 154th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. The day is observed with an aim to recognise the ideals and teachings of Vivekananda and project him as a role model for the Indian youth.
●    In 1984, the Union Government declared that 12 January, i.e. the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda will be observed as the National Youth Day. His birthday has been celebrated as the National Youth Day since 12 January 1985.
●    On this occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his tweet said, “We offer salutations to the great Swami Vivekananda & remember his powerful thoughts & ideals that continue shaping the minds of generations’.
●    Born on 12 January 1863 in an aristocratic family in West Bengal, Vivekananda was an Indian monk and a chief disciple of the 19th-century Indian spiritualist Ramakrishna. His original name was Narendra Nath Datta.
 

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12th World Hindi Day celebrated across the world

The 12th World Hindi Day was celebrated on 10 January 2017 across the world. 
●    To mark the occasion, special events were organised by non-resident Indians (NRIs) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) to spread the greatness of Hindi language.
●    World Hindi Day was first observed on 10 January 2006. The day is celebrated alongside the National Hindi Diwas that is being celebrated on 14 September.
●    The National Hindi Diwas is celebrated annually to mark the day, 14 September 1949, on which the Constituent Assembly adopted Hindi written in Devanagari script as the Official Language of the Union.
●    The World Hindi Day seeks to promote Hindi at the global stage, while the National Hindi Diwas is celebrated across the country.
●    Hindi is the fourth most spoken language in the world.
●    In India, Hindi is spoken as a mother tongue by more than 250 million people.

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Good Governance Day on December 25 celebrated

Good Governance Day is being observed across India on 25 December 2016. The day is observed to mark the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who has turned 92.
●    To mark the occasion, a Good Governance campaign will be undertaken for 100 days. 
●    During this campaign, ministers and members of Parliament will travel across India and attend programmes that highlight the key initiatives of the government.
●    Besides, six major initiatives will be launched by the  Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions. The initiatives include
●    Immovable Property Return through Property Related Information System (PRISM)
●    Recruitment Rules Formation, Amendment Monitoring System (RRFAMS)
●    Announcement of E-Service Book
●    Mandatory online filing of APAR by all All India Services and Central Group A Service Officers
●    Launching of redesigned website of Department of Personnel and Training.
●    The endeavour of the government is to improve delivery systems, to promote digital transformation and take forward the connectivity revolution in all sectors.

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Dr. Jitendra Singh unveils six initiatives of DoPT to mark Good Governance Day 

The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh presided over the ‘Good Governance Day’ function, here today. He launched six major initiatives of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions on the occasion of Good Governance Day.Main features of the new initiatives are as follows:
●    National Informatics Centre (NIC) had prepared ‘Guidelines for Indian Government Websites’ (GIGW) with a view to make government websites citizen centric and user friendly which has been circulated by the Department of AR & PG to all Government Ministries / Departments for adoption.
●    The Cabinet Secretary to the Government of India had written to all the Secretaries in this regard and advised NIC to extend necessary technology support to facilitate the departments in revising, redesigning their websites to make them compliant to Guidelines for Indian Government websites to make them usable, citizen centric and universally accessible.
●    CMF is a Content Management Framework developed by NIC, MeitY and is aligned to the mandate of PMO to standardize all the websites of Government of India under the Digital India Programme.
●    This includes standardization of Content Architecture, User Interface Design and layout and along with certain important key features such as accessibility, responsive design etc., in order to simplify the information dissemination and access by common citizens even through hand held devices (i.e. mobiles, tablets etc) to the various government services.
●    As per information available the websites of 23 Ministries / Departments have been mitigated using CMF and the websites of remaining departments are in pipeline.
●    The revamped website of DoPT is bilingual and compliant with the ‘Guidelines for Indian Government Website (GIGW).


 

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National Mathematics Day observed on 22 December 2016

National Mathematics Day was observed on 22 December 2016 across India. The day marks the birth anniversary of Indian Mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan.
●    This observation was first introduced by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on 26 February 2012. The announcement was made at Madras University on the occasion of 125th birth anniversary of Ramanujan. The year 2012 was also observed as the National Mathematics Day.
●    He was born on 23 December 1887 in a Tamil Brahmin Iyengar family in Erode, Madras Presidency in British rule. At present, Erode is a district of Tamil Nadu.
●    He was an autodidact (self-taught person) who lived during the British Raj.
●    His contributions in Mathematics include number theory, mathematical analysis, infinite series, and making formulas and equations.
●    His discoveries in mathematics include Ramanujam Prime and Ramanujam theta. These discoveries also propelled further research on the subject.
●    As a mathematician, he compiled some 3900 mathematical results and equations. Maximum of those equations’ and claims has been proven correct.
●    He along with Godfrey Harold Hardy, a British Mathematician, discovered the smallest number represented as sum of two cubes 1729. This number is known as Hardy–Ramanujan number 1729.
●    He was considered as a natural genius in mathematicians like Gauss and Euler.
●    He died on 26 April 1920 at a young age of 32 years.

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16 December : Vijay Diwas commemorated

December 16 in India is celebrated as 'Vijay Diwas' to mark India's victory over Pakistan in the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971. 
●    The day is also celebrated to honour the martyrs of the 1971 war between the two countries. The Indo-Pakistan war of 1971 which began on December 3 lasted for 13 days and officially ended on December 16, after which Pakistan surrendered to India.
●    In this war, over 3,800 soldiers of India and Pakistan sacrificed their lives to end the genocide Pakistan had been conducting against the Bengali population of East Pakistan
●    The war stripped Pakistan of more than half of its population and with nearly one-third of its army in captivity
●    On this day in 1971, the chief of the Pakistani forces, General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi, along with 93,000 troops, surrendered to the joined forces of Indian Army and Mukti Bahini
●    Politically, the war began in March 1971
●    The Indo-Pakistan war was a result of the Bangladesh Liberation war, a conflict between the dominant West Pakistan and the majority East Pakistanis

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Human Rights Day 2016 observed across the world

The Human Rights Day 2016 was on 10 December 2016 observed across the world.  
●    The day aims at promoting and raising awareness of the two Covenants of Human Rights Day. 
●    They are: International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
●    For the year 2016, the day calls on everyone to stand up for someone's rights. To commemorate the day, a campaign "Stand up for someone's rights today” was launched to encourage, support and amplify what one does in one’s everyday life to defend human rights.
●    Human Rights Day commemorates the day on which the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.
●    In 1950, the Assembly passed resolution 423 (V), inviting all States and interested organizations to observe 10 December of each year as Human Rights Day.
●    UNGA in December 1993 created the mandate of High Commissioner for the promotion and protection of all human rights.
●    The first Human Rights Day was celebrated in 1950.

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International Anti-Corruption Day 2016 observed across the world

The International Anti-Corruption Day 2016 was observed across the world on 9 December 2016 with the theme United against corruption for development, peace and security.
●    The day was observed to raise public awareness about corruption and what people can do to fight it.
●    On the occasion of the International Anti-Corruption Day, all the Governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, the media and citizens around the world joined forces to fight the crime.
●    The 2016 joint international campaign focuses on corruption as one of the biggest road blocks to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
●    The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) are the main organisations that are at the forefront of these efforts.
●    On 31 October 2003, UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the United Nations Convention against Corruption and designated the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as secretariat for the Convention against corruption.
●    The UNGA also designated 9 December as International Anti-Corruption Day. The Convention entered into force in December 2005.

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Dr. Ambedkar’s birth day to be celebrated as Water Day-Uma Bharti 

Lauding the contribution of Dr. B R Ambedkar in water resources management of the country Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Sushri Uma Bharti has announced that his birth day 14th April will be celebrated as “Water Day”. She was addressing a National Seminar on Marching ahead on Dr. Ambedkar’s path of water resources management for inclusive growth organized by Central Water Commission in New Delhi today as Chief guest.
●    Referring to the 99 Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP) schemes undertaken by her Ministry the Minister said on the completion of these projects we would be able to irrigate 80 Lakh hact. additional land. She said to complete these project by the year 2020 CWC has sent teams of it young scientist to various parts of the country who will submit their reports very soon.
●    Referring to flood management the Union Water Resources Minister said “There is a need to redefine flood management so that it can be taken to a positive direction”. She said we have to ensure that flood management does not change into corruption management. Underlining the importance of State Government and local administration in flood management the Minister said it is their responsibility to identify flood prone areas in advance and to ensure that there is no human settlement there. If still there is human settlement the people residing there should be constantly warned of the flood, she added.
●    The day long seminar was attended by Dr. Amerjit Singh, OSD Ministry of Water Resources, Shri S D Dubey, Charimen CEA, Dr Sukhadeo Throat, Professor Emeritus, Central for the study of Regional Development, JNU, Shri Suresh Chandra, Former Chairman CWC, Dr. Urmila Chandel, Dr. Ambedkar Foundation, Shri M E Haque, Former Member, CWC, Shri Sanjeev Agrawal Chief Engineer, CWC and Prof. Avdhesh Pratap,Water Law Expert. During the Technical session of the seminar, the contribution of Dr. Ambedkar in the field of water management and way forward for ensuring inclusive growth of all sections of the society was discussed.

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