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Important Current Affairs 29th March 2021

NATIONAL

Jal Shakti Minister approves incentive fund

• Seven States viz. Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh qualified for performance incentive grantfor 2020-21 under Jal Jeevan Mission(JJM) – Har Ghar Jal to provide assured tap water supply to every rural home by 2024. For performance incentive grant, the criteria include physical and financial progress under JJM, functionality of piped water supply schemes and capacity to utilize the fund.Union Minister, Jal Shakti Shri Gajendra Singh Sekhawat approved Rs. 465 Crore as performance incentive to these States.

• Despite CoVid-19 pandemic and resultant lockdowns and disruption,speedy implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission on the ground has set an example and during the financial year, more than 3.16 Crore rural households have been provided tap water connection. Presently, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Goa and Telangana States have become ‘Har Ghar Jal' States/ UT and every household in 55 districts and 85 thousand villages of the country, have tap water supply.

Shaheed ashfaq ullah khan Park inaugurated

• After a long wait, Gorakhpur has finally got its own Zoological Garden, named after freedom fighter Ashfaqullah Khan.

• Dedicating the project to the people of Gorakhpur, chief minister Yogi Adityanath who inaugurated the zoo on Saturday, said that this had been his dream project and would be another marker of Gorakhpur’s development, serve and a medium of tourism and help to generate employment. This is the third zoological garden in the state. Lucknow and Kanpur have one zoo each. Hailing Khan after whom the zoo has been named, the CM recalled his participation in the Kakori incident during India’s freedom struggle, for which he was martyred. “The Kakori incident and Gorakhpur have an unbreakable relationship. The immortal freedom fighter Pandit Ram Prasad Bismil, also the mastermind of Kakori incident, was kept in Gorakhpur jail and hanged here.

Residential hockey centre of excellence to come up in Lucknow

• A centre of excellence in hockey will be set up in the Uttar Pradesh capital soon. The union sports ministry, with support from the state government, has taken the decision to nurture talent in a state which produced hockey stalwarts Dhyan Chand and Kunwar Digvijay Singh ‘Babu’ and has a rich history in the game.

• A 100-bed hostel for boys and girls, modern sports medicine and physiotherapy centres as well as top coaches would be part of the centre to come up at the state government-run Padma Shri Mohd Shahid Synthetic Stadium.

• The union sports ministry will fund the centre at a venue that already has facilities for hockey, tennis, badminton and squash. The Uttar Pradesh Sports Directorate will run it in consultation with Uttar Pradesh Hockey.

Delhi cabinet gives nod for purchase of 300 e-buses

• The Delhi Cabinet on Friday approved a proposal for purchase of 300 low-floor fully electric air-conditioned buses by the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) under the Central government’s “faster adoption and manufacturing of hybrid and electric vehicles in India (FAME) phase-II” scheme.

• The government in a statement said the first tender called by DTC in October 2019 was “not found responsive” and, therefore, the process was cancelled. A fresh tender was later called in June 2020, but that too was cancelled as the rates were not found to be competitive. Finally, a third tender in December 2020 was found to be responsive and competitive.

Global Wind Report 2021: 2020 was Best Year for Wind Industry

• Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the year 2020 was the best year in history for the global wind industry as this sector installed 93GW of new capacity in 2020, according to a new report titled ‘Global Wind Report 2021, released by the Global Wind Energy Council. This is the 16th annual flagship report, released by GWEC on March 25, 2021. The 93GW represents a 53% year-on-year increase.

According to the report:

• The global wind power market increased four times in size over the past decade but the record growth was seen in 2020.

• This increase was driven by a surge of installations in China and the US alon

• Together, the US and China installed 75% of new installations in 2020 and account for over half of the world’s total wind power capacity.

• In the current scenario, 743GW of wind power capacity has been installed worldwide, which is helping to avoid over 1.1 billion tonnes of CO2 annually.

• However, GWEC’s report shows that the current rate of wind power installed will not be enough to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

• The world needs to install a minimum of 180 GW of new wind energy every single year to limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

• Similarly, it will need to increase the capacity to 280GW annually to meet the net-zero emission target by 2050.

OBITUARY

Former RBI Deputy Governor KC Chakrabarty passes away

• Former Reserve Bank of India Deputy Governor, KC Chakrabarty passed away. He was the deputy governor of the central bank between 15 June 2009 and 25 April 2014 when he demitted office three months before his term was to end. Prior to the stint, he had served as the chairman and managing director (CMD) of Punjab National Bank (2007-2009), and CMD of Indian Bank (2005-2007).

• Chakrabarty started his career as a banker with the Bank of Baroda where his last assignment was to head the UK operations of the bank between 2001 and 2004. Chakrabarty, who had spent nearly four decades across multiple public sector banks, often spoke his mind on critical issues concerning the banking sector. He was also famous for his wit and sharp retorts.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Nilam sawhney is new State Election Commissioner of Andhra Pradesh

• Nilam Sawhney, former chief secretary and adviser to Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, will be State Election Commissioner of AP after the retirement of the incumbent, Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar at the end of the month.

• Andhra Pradesh Governor Biswabhushan Harichandan approved Sawhney’s name for the post on Friday. 

BANKING AND ECONOMY

HDFC Bank Named India's Best SME Bank by Asiamoney

• HDFC Bank has adjudged the ‘India’s Best Bank for SMEs’ at the Asiamoney Best Bank Awards 2021. In its evaluation, the magazine said on its website – “HDFC Bank’s transformation of its micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) business over the past few years makes it a worthy winner of this award.” The Annual Best Banks survey of the financial magazine based in Hong Kong aims to identify which banks in each market have excelled across a range of core banking activities over the past 12 months.

• Asiamoney’s award decisions were made by a team of senior journalists after receiving detailed submissions from market participants and in conjunction with research into the banking and capital markets by our editorial committee. Senior editors also visited each country or territory to meet leading bankers and gather client and competitor feedback.

World Bank Releases “World Development Report 2021"

• The “World Development Report 2021: Data for Better Lives” was released by the World Bank. The World Development Report focuses on how data can improve the lives of poor people and advance development objectives, to ensure no one is left behind. It highlights the tremendous potential of the changing data landscape to improve the lives of poor people, at the same time acknowledging its potential to open back doors that can harm individuals, businesses, and societies.

• Through this report, World Bank aims to support its client countries by identifying where public and private sector investments are the most critical, defining a rich program for policy reform and technical assistance, and highlighting areas in which global initiatives can help to convene and facilitate cross-border cooperation.

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Important Current Affairs 28th March 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Republic of Congo President Sassou Nguesso wins election

• The longtime president of the Republic of Congo, Sassou Nguesso is set for another five-year term after getting over 88% of the vote. The election day was marred by the death of his main opponent, Guy Brice Parfait Kolelas.

• The African leader is one of the world's longest-serving presidents, earning him the nickname "emperor."He has led Congo for a total of 36 years. The former paratrooper first became president in 1979 and remained in power for three consecutive terms.

NATIONAL

Air India to be 100% Privatised: Hardeep Puri

• The much-delayed privatisation of Air India is likely to be completed in the first half of this year, said Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Saturday. “We’ve decided that Air India will be 100 per cent disinvested.

• The choice isn’t between disinvestment and non-disinvestment. It’s between disinvestment and closing down. Air India is a first-rate asset but has an accumulated debt of Rs 60,000 crore.

DD Free Dish has crossed about 40 million subscribers

• DD Free Dish, a multi-channel Free-To-Air Direct to Home (DTH) service of public broadcaster Prasar Bharati, has crossed an estimated 40 million subscribers, according to a report. The EY FICCI Media Entertainment Report 2021 attributed the growth to less expensive television sets, economic issues, launch of the DD Retro Channel and return of big broadcasters to the Free Dish platform, a statement said.

• DD Free Dish has continued its strong growth trajectory and its base has crossed an estimated 40 million subscribers according to the report.

• Television households will continue to grow at over 5 per cent till 2025, driven by connected TVs NSE 2.22 % which could cross 40 million by 2025 and DD Free Dish could cross 50 million, the statement said.

UP to have maximum number of international airports in the country

• Uttar Pradesh will soon be the state with maximum number of international airports in the country. With three new international airports expected to be made operational in the next three years, the state will soon have five international airports.

• The Yogi Adityanath-led government in UP has sanctioned Rs 200 crore for the Kushinagar airport, which got the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA’s) approval recently, thus becoming the third licensed international airport in UP after Lucknow and Varanasi.

SPORTS

‘Girl Gang’ Announced Official Song Of ICC Women’s World Cup 2022

• Girl Gang, a track by New Zealand singer Gin Wigmore, has been announced as the official song of the 2022 ICC Women’s World Cup.

• The tournament is set to be hosted in New Zealand from March 4 to April 3, 2022. Originally scheduled to be held from February 6 to March 7, 2021, the World Cup was postponed by a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Rahi Sarnobat, Chinky Yadav and Manu Bhaker clinch Gold at ISSF Shooting World Cup

• In Shooting, India won gold in the women's 25m Pistol Team event at the ISSF World Cup in Delhi. India beat Poland in the final to win the country's 10th gold. The Indian women's team of Rahi Sarnobat, Chinki Yadav and Manu Bhaker beat Poland's Joanna Iwona Wawrzonowska, Julita Borek and Agnieszka Korejwo 17-7 in the gold medal match.

• Earlier in the day, the Indian women's team in the 50m Rifle 3 Positions event had to settle for a silver as they lost 43-47 to Poland in the gold medal match. India is dominating the standings with 21 medals, including 10 gold medals.

OBITUARY

Noted Odissi dancer Laxmipriya Mohapatra passes away

• Noted Odissi dancer Laxmipriya Mohapatra, the wife of legendary classical dancer Kelucharan Mohapatra, passed away.

• She started her dancing career at the Annapurna Theatre in Puri in 1947. She has also acted in four Odia movies. Though he was an expert in Odissi and Gotipua dance forms, Kelucharan was then performing as a tabla player in the theatre.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Carmen Maria Machado wins The Rathbones Folio Prize 2021

• 'In The Dream House: A Memoir' by Carmen Maria Machado Wins The Rathbones Folio Prize 2021. In the 2019 book, the author outlines her experiences in a same-sex relationship with her former partner, and the abuse she was subjected to. It is at once an inventive and radical work, a true testimony to her narrative gift.

• The prize is open to all genres – fiction, non-fiction, and poetry- from writers from around the world. It is the only prize in which all the books considered for the prize are selected and judged by an academy of peers, though there are three main judges.

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Important Current Affairs 27th March 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Bangladesh celebrates 50 years of independence

• Bangladesh celebrates 50 years of its Independence and National Day on 26 March, coinciding with the grand celebration of the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

• On March 26, 1971, Bangladesh was proclaimed as an independent nation by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and this led to Bangladesh Liberation War when war ensued between Pakistan and Bangladesh liberation forces with Indian support.

NATIONAL

IIT Kharagpur wins CoreNet Global Academic Challenge 6.0

• A team of four undergraduate students from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur emerged as winners at the CoreNet Global Academic Challenge 6.0, sponsored by Cushman and Wakefield, KI and IA: Interior Architects. The team comprised Siddhant Samarth, Pratim Majumdar, Rishita Raj and Utkarsh Agrawal and were guided by Prof. Jenia Mukherjee (Department of Humanities and Social Sciences).

• The team from IIT Kharagpur was one of the four teams to progress into the final round out of 1300 teams all over the world and were pitted against the University of Washington, New York University and the University of Denver in the final round hosted online on 18th March 2021. This is the first time that a squad from India has emerged as winners in the CoreNet Global Academic Challenge since the inception of the competition in 2015.

Vizag gets mobile water from air kiosk and Water Knowledge Centre

• The Hyderabad-based startup, Maithri Aquatech has set up the world’s first mobile water-from-air kiosk and ‘Water Knowledge Centre’ in the smart city of Visakhapatnam. This initiative is supported by Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) and project SEWAH (Sustainable Enterprises for Water and Health) – an alliance between USAID and SWN (Safe Water Network).

• The kiosk will provide clean potable water from the air by making use of Maithri Aquatech’s Meghdoot solution as a source to generate water with no dependency on groundwater as well as surface water resources.

• The kiosk will also function as a Water Knowledge Resource Centre (WRKC) by creating awareness and imparting necessary information to members of the local underserved communities as well as nearby schools on the benefits of good water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) practices.

J&K LG Manoj Sinha e-inaugurates 73 AYUSH Health & Wellness Centres

• Jammu and Kashmir, LG Manoj Sinha has e-inaugurated 73 AYUSH Health & Wellness Centres under Ayushman Bharat across the UT. These centres aim to promote good health and expanding the outreach of comprehensive primary healthcare services to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

• The Lt Governor observed that AYUSH Health & Wellness Centres would be a game-changer in the UT of J&K, especially in promoting the AYUSH sector, so that comprehensive primary health care through AYUSH principles and practices is provided to the community for achieving the basic objective of holistic wellness model by advocating self-care and home remedies amongst the community.

Features of Health & Wellness Centres:

• Some of the features of AYUSH Health & Wellness Centres include medicinal plants garden, yoga space, providing training and suggestions for home treatment, promoting Dincharya (Art of healthy Living), Ritucharya (Wellness calendar) and a personalized healthcare approach.

SPORTS

Khelo India Scheme extended till 2025-26

• Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has decided to extend the Khelo India scheme from 2021-22 to 2025-26. The Ministry has furnished an Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) memorandum to the Ministry of Finance for extension/continuation of the Khelo India Scheme from 2021-22 to 2025-26.

• An amount of Rs 8750 crore has been estimated as the financial implication of the new Khelo India Scheme (2021-22 to 2025-26) in the EFC memorandum furnished to the Ministry of Finance. An amount of Rs 657.71 crore has been allocated in the Budget Estimate (B.E.) for the year 2021-22 under the Khelo India Scheme.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Indian Coast Guard Ship ‘Vajra’ commissioned to the Indian Coast Guard

• L&T-built Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) ICGS Vajra was commissioned into the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) by General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Defence Staff, at Chennai. ICGS Vajra is the sixth vessel in the series of seven OPVs being built by L&T under a Ministry of Defence contract signed in the year 2015. Like the five OPVs in the series, ICGS Vajra was also delivered ahead of the contractual schedule.

• OPVs are long-range surface ships, capable of operation in maritime zones of India, including island territories with helicopter operation capabilities.

• Their roles include coastal and offshore patrolling, policing maritime zones of India, control and surveillance, anti-smuggling and anti-piracy operations with limited wartime roles. It can attain a sustained speed of up to 26 knots.

• The entire design and construction process has been certified by the American Bureau of Shipping as well as the Indian Registrar of Shipping and overseen by the ICG’s resident team at Kattupalli.

India conducts first-ever joint patrol in Madagascar EEZ

• In a first, the navies of India and Madagascar undertook joint patrolling of Madagascar’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and also conducted a Passage Exercise (PASSEX). The first-ever joint patrol between the navies reflects the growing defence ties between the two Indian Ocean neighbours aimed at the common objective of ensuring maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

• Indian Naval Ship INS Shardul made a port call at Antsiranana, Madagascar as part of the First Training Squadron’s (1TS) Overseas Deployment. INS Shardul and Malagasy Navy ship MNS Trozona carried out a Passage Exercise (PASSEX). The Joint exercise bears testimony to the growing bonds between the maritime forces of both the nations and aimed at common objectives of ensuring mariti

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Saurabh Garg appointed as new CEO of UIDAI

• Senior bureaucrat, Saurabh Garg has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as part of a bureaucratic reshuffle effected by the Centre. Mr Garg is at present serving in his cadre state Odisha. He is a 1991 batch IAS officer.

• The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the appointment of Mr Garg as the CEO, UIDAI in the rank and pay of Additional Secretary, an order issued by the Personnel Ministry.

Atish Chandra appointed as CMD of Food Corporation of India

• Atish Chandra has been appointed as Chairman and Managing Director, Food Corporation of India in the rank and pay of Additional Secretary.

• Mr Chandra, a 1994 batch IAS officer of Bihar cadre, is currently Joint Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare.

Anish Shah to take over as M&M’s Managing Director, CEO

• Anish Shah who is set to take over as the managing director and CEO of Mahindra and Mahindra from 2 April will become the first professional executive to oversee the entire business of the $19.4 billion Mahindra Group. Pawan Goenka will retire as MD and CEO and member of the board effective April 2.

• Group chairman Anand Mahindra will be taking on a non-executive role. The markets regulator Sebi has mandated that from April 2022 the chairperson of the board of top 500 listed entities must be a non-executive director and not be related to the MD or CEO.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Earth Hour 2021: 27 March

• Every year, the Earth Hour is celebrated worldwide on the last Saturday of March month to show support for the fight against climate change and commitment towards a better planet. Earth Hour 2021 is being marked on March 27, 2021. The Earth Hour 2021 theme will focus on “Climate Change to Save Earth.”

• The Day is a worldwide movement organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), encouraging individuals, communities, corporates, and households to turn off their lights for one hour, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. It was started as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia, in 2007 to raise awareness for energy consumption and its effects on the environment.

World Theatre Day: 27 March

• World Theatre Day is observed globally on 27th March every year. World Theatre Day was initiated in 1961 by the International Theatre Institute (ITI), France. It is celebrated annually on the 27th March by ITI Centres and the international theatre community. This day is a celebration for those who can see the value and importance of the art form “theatre”, and acts as a wake-up-call for governments, politicians and institutions which have not yet recognised its value to the people and to the individual and have not yet realised its potential for economic growth.

• Every year the Executive Council of ITI chooses an outstanding theatre personality to write the message for World Theatre Day. The author of the Message of World Theatre Day 2021 is Helen MIRREN, United Kingdom. The first World Theatre Day Message was written by Jean Cocteau in 1962.

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Important Current Affairs 25th March 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Pabbi-Anti-Terror 2021: India, Pakistan and China to hold anti-terror exercise

• The eight-member bloc said that the decision to hold the joint exercise ‘Pabbi-Anti-Terror 2021’ was announced during the 36th meeting of the Council of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, including India, Pakistan and China, will hold a joint anti-terrorism exercise this year.

• “Decisions have been made to improve cooperation between the competent authorities of the SCO member states in identifying and suppressing channels that finance terrorist activities. Delegations of the competent authorities of India, Kazakhstan, China, the Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and the RATS Executive Committee attended the meeting.

NATIONAL

POWERGRID Launches Certified E-Tendering Portal “PRANIT”

• Power Grid Corporation of India (POWERGRID) has launched an “e-Tendering Portal” called ‘PRANIT’ to make the tendering process more transparent. The portal ”PRANIT” will involve less paperwork and allow ease of operation, which in turn will make the tendering process more transparent.

• The portal has been certified by Standardisation, Testing and Quality Certification Directorate (STQC), under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, GoI. POWERGRID is the only organization in India to have an e-procurement solution on SAP Supplier Relationship Management (SRM), complying with all applicable requirements relating to security and transparency as stipulated by STQC.

Andhra Pradesh to launch India’s first Govt-Run Animal Ambulance Network

• The state government of Andhra Pradesh has decided to set up “India’s first government-run ambulance network” for animals. This decision was taken in order to further boost the animal husbandry and veterinary sector in the state. Ambulance network as one of its main missions in order to help in reaching out to the distressed animals to provide them with proper animal healthcare. The Animal Husbandry Department was directed to set up one Mobile Ambulance Veterinary Clinic at each of the assembly constituency.

• A total of 175 mobile ambulances (veterinary) clinics will be placed at Assembly Constituency Level on the lines of 108 Services for providing Veterinary services at the doorstep.

• These mobile ambulances shall provide veterinary first aid services along with spot diagnosis and attending to emergency cases. One of the major facilities these ambulances will provide is the ‘Hydraulic Lift’ facility to lift animals and shift them to the nearest Government Veterinary Facility in case of emergency.

• One veterinary doctor, One Para-veterinary worker, will be assigned to every ambulance.

• These ambulances will also have a 24/7 toll-free call centre.

• The department of Animal Husbandry has briefed CM that there are around 1576 veterinary dispensaries established across the state, with around 1376 veterinary doctors recruited.

• The chief minister said that more veterinary doctors need access to better functioning and better treatment.

Ramesh Pokhriyal inaugurates Shaheed Bhagat Singh Smarak in New Delhi

• The Union Minister of Education, Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, virtually inaugurated the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Smarak in New Delhi on March 23, 2021.

• The inauguration took place on the occasion of a programme organised by the University of Delhi on ‘Shaheed Diwas’ to pay homage and commemorate 90 years of martyrdom of our national icons of the Indian National Movement –Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar and Shivaram Rajguru.

SPORTS

Shreyas Iyer Signs Up With Lancashire For Royal London Cup 2021

• English county Lancashire has announced the overseas signing of India batsman Shreyas Iyer for the 2021 Royal London Cup. Iyer becomes 6th Indian to sign for Lancashire. Iyer will arrive at Old Trafford on July 15 ahead of the start of the 50-over tournament and will remain with Lancashire for the duration of the month-long group stage. The top-order batsman is regarded as one of the most attacking and fluent stroke players in Indian cricket and he has played in 21 ODIs and 29 T20 Internationals for his country.

• The signing of Shreyas Iyer signals the latest step in Lancashire's long association with Indian cricket, which stretches back more than 50 years when India wicketkeeper-batsman Farokh Engineer joined the county in 1968. He would go on to become a Lancashire legend and now serves as a vice-president of the club. Since Engineer retired, four other Indian players -- Murali Kartik, Dinesh Mongia, VVS Laxman, and Sourav Ganguly -- have represented Lancashire.

India’s Singhraj wins gold in Para Shooting World Cup 2021

• Indian para-athlete Singhraj won the gold medal in the 2021 Para Shooting World Cup at Al Ain in the UAE. He defeated Uzbekistan’s Server Ibragimov to get the top honour in the P1 – Men’s 10m Air Pistol SH1 final.

• Singhraj pipped Rio 2016 bronze medallist Ibragimov by a thin margin of 2.8 points. The final score read 236.8-234. Turkey’s former Paralympic champion Muharrem Korhan Yamaç took the bronze with 214.4 points. With this, India has moved to third place in the medals table. India has now two medals on its list – one gold and one bronze.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

• International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade is observed annually on 25th March every year. This day offers the opportunity to honour and remember those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system. International Day also aims to raise awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice today.

• 2021 Theme: “Ending Slavery’s Legacy of Racism: A Global Imperative for Justice”

• International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade is a United Nations international observance designated in 2007 to be marked on 25 March every year. The day honours and remembers those who suffered and died as a consequence of the transatlantic slave trade, which has been called “the worst violation of human rights in history”, in which over 400 years more than 15 million men, women and children were the victims.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

India, Japan agree for greater cooperation in patent verification

• India and Japan have agreed to recognize each other’s offices to act mutually as competent International Searching and International Preliminary Examining Authority (ISA/IPEA) for any international patent application filed with them. This memorandum of cooperation on the industrial property was arrived at during the 4th review meeting between DPIIT and Japan Patent Office.

• India had approved an MoC between the Indian Patent Office (IPO) and the JPO for entering into a PPH on a pilot basis for three years. This is a reciprocal arrangement, so the JPO will also be able to accelerate the prosecution of a Japanese application using positive examination results received from the IPO. The IPO will only offer acceleration for patent applications in certain technical fields such as physics, computer science, IT, electronics, metallurgy and automobiles.

UP and MP sign agreement with Jal Shakti Ministry for ‘Ken-Betwa Link’ project

• On the occasion of World Water Day, the governments of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh signed an agreement with the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti to implement the Ken-Betwa river interlinking project. The main purpose of this project is to carry water from surplus regions to drought-prone and water-scarce region through the interlinking of rivers.

• The surplus water will be transferred from the Ken river in Panna district in Madhya Pradesh to the Betwa river in Uttar Pradesh.

• The project will benefit the Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh, by resolving the water scarcity and thus bring prosperity to this region.

• The water will be transferred through the construction of the Dhaudan Dam and a 221 km-long canal.

• The Ken-Betwa Link Project will provide annual irrigation of 2.51 lakh hectares, 1,700 million cubic meters (mcm) of water to Uttar Pradesh and drinking water supply to about 62 lakh people and also generate 103 MW of hydropower.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Hindi Writer Prof. Sharad Pagare Selected for Vyas Samman 2020

• Well known Hindi writer, Prof. Sharad Pagare will be conferred with the prestigious Vyas Samman – 2020. He will be awarded the 31st Vyas Samman for his novel “Patliputru Ki Samragi”.

• The Vyas Samman started in 1991, is given by KK Birla Foundation for an outstanding literary work in Hindi authored by an Indian citizen published during the last 10 years. It carries an award of four lakh rupees along with a citation and plaque.

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Important Current Affairs 19th March 2021

NATIONAL

J&K Govt approves setting up of JVC “Ratle Hydroelectric Power Corporation”

• The Jammu and Kashmir administration has approved the incorporation of a joint venture company (JVC) under the name “Ratle Hydro-electric Power Corporation”. To implement the 850 MW Ratle Hydro-Electric Project (HEP) on river Chenab in the Kishtwar district of the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). The JV company has been incorporated between the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) and J&K State Power Development Corporation Ltd (JKSPDC).

• The equity contributions of NHPC will be 51 per cent and for JKSPDC will be 49 per cent.

• The proposed JVC will have an authorised capital of Rs 1,600 crore with initial paid-up capital of Rs 100 crore.

• The 850 MW Ratle HEP will be developed at an estimated cost of Rs 5,281.94 crore.

GoI Forms Experts Committee For Startup India Seed Fund Scheme

• The government has constituted an experts advisory committee for the overall execution and monitoring of the Startup India Seed Fund Scheme. The committee would be chaired by H K Mittal from the Department of Science and Technology. The other representatives of the committee would include members from DPIIT, the department of biotechnology, science and technology, electronics and IT, Niti Aayog, and expert members from the startup ecosystem.

• The committee will evaluate and select incubators for allotment of funds under the scheme, monitor progress and take all necessary measures for efficient utilisation of funds towards the fulfilment of objectives of the scheme.

• The scheme has been approved for the period of the next four years starting from 2021-22, beginning from April 1, 2021.

• The government has earmarked Rs 945 crore corpus for the scheme, which will be divided over the next four years for providing seed funding to eligible startups through eligible incubators across India.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Ajay Mathur takes over as Director General of International Solar Alliance

• Dr Ajay Mathur has assumed office as the Director-General of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) with effect from March 15, 2021. He has been appointed for a period of four years which can be renewed for an additional term. Dr Ajay Mathur has replaced Upendra Tripathy, who completed his term on March 15, after serving as the Director-General since 2017.

• Mathur brings a wealth of leadership and expertise across all key areas of the energy transition, from policy, research, and technology commercialisation to financing, international cooperation and institutional development.

• He is a member of the Prime Minister’s Council on climate change.

• He had also served as the Director-General of TERI and also a key Indian climate-change negotiator. He was also the spokesperson for India during the 2015 climate negotiations in Paris.

M. A. Ganapathy appointed Director General of National Security Guard

• Senior IPS officer, M. A. Ganapathy was on March 16, 2021 appointed Director General of National Security Guard. Ganapathy, a 1986 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the Uttarakhand cadre, is currently Director General, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS).

• He has been appointed the Director-General, National Security Guard (NSG), from the date of joining the post and up to February 29, 2024 i.e. date of his superannuation.

Lt Gen DP Pandey takes over as new commander of 15-Corps

• Lt General DP Pandey has taken over the command of strategic Kashmir-based 15 Corps from Lt Gen BS Raju, who has been appointed as the new Director-General of Military Operations (DGMO) of the Indian Army.

• An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, General Pandey was commissioned into the Sikh Light Infantry Regiment in December 1985 from Indian Military Academy, Dehradun.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Global Recycling Day 2021: 18 March

• Global Recycling Day is observed every year on March 18 to create awareness among the masses about the rapid pace at which our natural resources are being used. The day also promotes the concept and practice of recycling. Every year, events are organised by environmentalist and activists to promote the cause.

• In 2021, the theme of Global Recycling Day is “Recycling Heroes”. Its main aim is to recognise the people, places and activities that showcase the importance of recycling in preserving natural resources. Recycling has helped in reducing carbon emissions by over 700 million tonnes every year. Notably, over 1.6 million people are employed around the world in the recycling industry. In this decade, the yearly contribution of recycling will increase up to $400 billion.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

Italy signs International Solar Alliance amended Framework Agreement

• Italy has signed the amended Framework Agreement of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) with India. The framework agreement was signed by the Italian Ambassador to India Vincenzo De Luca. ISA is an alliance of over 121 nations that have been initiated by India.

• The European country signed the ISA framework agreement after an amendment to the Framework Agreement of the ISA entered into force on January 08, 2021, opening its membership to all member states of the UN. The amendments of the ISA framework agreement allows all the member states of the United Nations to join the ISA grouping, including those lying beyond the tropics.

• The International Solar Alliance was launched jointly by the Indian Prime Minister and the French President during the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP21, in Paris. It aims to contribute to the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement through rapid and massive deployment of solar energy.

RANKING

New Delhi Ranked as World’s most polluted capital city

• New Delhi has been adjudged as the world’s most polluted capital city for the third straight year in the 2020 World Air Quality Report by Swiss organisation, IQAir. Globally, New Delhi is ranked as the 10th most polluted city in the world. The topmost polluted city in the world is Xinjiang in China. This is followed by nine Indian cities as the most polluted cities in the world, which are Ghaziabad, Bulandshahar, Bisrakh Jalalpur, Noida, Greater Noida, Kanpur, Lucknow and Bhiwari.

• The IQAir report measures air quality levels based on the concentration of lung-damaging airborne particles known as PM 2.5, which is measured by ground-based monitoring stations.

• As per the report, India was home to 35 of the world’s 50 most polluted cities, spanning 106 countries, which means India continues to feature prominently at the top of the most polluted cities ranking.

• The IQAir report seeks to empower individuals, organizations and communities to breathe cleaner air through information, collaboration and technology solutions.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

A Book ‘Battle Ready for 21st Century’ released

• A book titled “Battle Ready for 21st Century” co-edited by Lt Gen AK Singh, Distinguished Fellow CLAWS and Brig Narender Kumar, Visiting Fellow CLAWS was released by Gen Bipin Rawat. The book lays down the conceptual framework for the strategic management of future conflicts.

• The book “Battle Ready for the 21st Century” has endeavoured to postulate and define emerging areas of conflict, desired capabilities and doctrinal issues that need careful examination.

• The authors with hands-on experience and domain specialisation have endeavoured to define and suggest the ways and means necessary to secure India from emerging security challenges on land, air, sea, space, cyber domain and even cognitive domain.

• The book is dwelling on future conflicts that India may face and need to build capabilities to dissuade and prevent accidental wars.

• The foreword is written by former Naval Chief Admiral Arun Prakash. Former Chief of the Army Staff Gen NC Vij and Prof Gautam Sen have commented on the book for empirically identifying future security challenges and the need for building capabilities.

Maharashtra Governor releases e-book titled Dawn Under The Dome

• The Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari released a digital e-book titled Dawn Under The Dome. The digital book depicts the history of the Mumbai General Post Office building. It has been authored by Post Master General of Mumbai Swati Pandey in collaboration with Orchida Mukherjee.

• The book says that three types of Indian stones were used in the construction of the building: the grey basalt with buff trachyte and the Yellowstone from Mumbai’s Kurla and Malad respectively and the white stone from Dharandhra.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

RBI Imposes Rs 2 Crore Fine on State Bank of India

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed a monetary penalty of 2 crores on the State Bank of India (SBI) for contravention of certain provisions of Section 10 of the Banking Regulation (BR) Act, 1949. The central bank’s specific directions issued to the bank on payment of remuneration to employees in the form of commission. This penalty has been imposed in exercise of powers vested with RBI under the provisions of the BR Act. The penalty is not intended to pronounce upon the validity of any transaction or agreement entered into by the bank with its customers.

• RBI said the statutory inspection of the bank with reference to its financial position as of March 31, 2017, and March 31, 2018, and the Risk Assessment Reports (RARs) pertaining thereto, and examination of the correspondence with the bank regarding payment of remuneration to its employees in the form of commission, revealed, inter alia, contravention of the provisions of the Act and aforesaid specific directions issued by RBI.

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Important Current Affairs 18th March 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Kuwait Foreign Minister arrives in India for two-day visit

• Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of State of Cabinet Affairs of Kuwait Dr Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah arrived India on Wednesday for a two-day visit.

• During his visit, Mohammed Al-Sabah will meet External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday.

• On March 2, Jaishankar and Al-Sabah had discussed bilateral cooperation and the regional situation between the two countries.

• India recently dispatched a consignment of Indian-made COVID-19 vaccines to assist Kuwait in its fight against the coronavirus.

WHO declares El Salvador malaria-free

• El Salvador is the first country in Central America to be certified malaria-free by the World Health Organization. WHO grants a certification of malaria elimination when a country proves “beyond a reasonable doubt” that there has been no indigenous transmission of the disease nationwide for the previous three consecutive years.

• El Salvador hasn’t had a malaria outbreak since 1996 and has reported no indigenous cases since 2017. In 1990, the country had 9,000 cases per year, a figure that declined to 26 by 2010. WHO credited El Salvador’s sustained domestic funding for malaria prevention, detection, and treatment for the success.

NATIONAL

Hurun India Wealth Report 2020 announced

• The Hurun India Wealth Report, 2020 was released on March 16, 2020. The report identifies a novel household category in India called the ‘New Middle Class’ which accounts for an average savings of Rs 20-lakh per annum. The report highlights that these households have a major allocation towards physical assets like primary residential property and automobiles. As per the report, the total number of such cumulative households in India stands at 633,000.

• The report further states that there are around 4,12,000 dollar-millionaire households or affluent households across India which are having a net worth of Rs 7 crore. As per the report, the Hurun Rich Listers comprise a wealth of Rs 1,000 crore.

• This category of the report comprises 3000 number of cumulative households in India. The ‘Indian middle class’ has earnings of over Rs 2.5-lakh per annum while they have a net worth of less than Rs 7 crore. The ‘Indian Middle Class’ category accounts for 56400,000 families in India.

Nokia to Develop New 5G Radio Solutions

• The Finnish telecom equipment maker, Nokia has announced on March 16 that it has partnered with Microsoft, Amazon web services and Google so as to develop a new cloud-based 5G radio solution. This solution will be developed with its radio access network (RNA) technology. This partnership was gone with the objective of developing new business cases.

• RAN is part of a mobile telecommunication system. This system implements radio access technology. RAN resides between a device like a computer, mobile phone or any remotely controlled machine. It also provides a connection with the core network.

• Based on the standard mobile phones and other wireless connected devices are called user equipment, terminal equipment or mobile station etc. The functionality of RAN is typically provided by the silicon chip which resides in both the core network and the user equipment.

• The single handset or phone can be connected to multiple radio access networks simultaneously.

• The Handsets which are capable of this feature are called dual-mode handsets. For example, a handset can commonly support both GSM and UMTS or “3G” radio access technologies. Such devices also transfer the ongoing call across different radio access networks without any disruption to users.

SPORTS

Upstox as official partner for IPL 2021

• IPL GC(Indian Premier League Governing Council) announced Upstox, one of India’s leading and fastest-growing digital brokerage firms, as an official partner for IPL, which will begin on April 9th, 2021. This will be a multi-year partnership.

• Founded with the vision of making financial investing easy, equitable, and affordable to all Indian investors, Upstox provides online investments in Stocks, Mutual funds, Digital Gold, Derivatives, and ETFs for both investors and traders. Backed by marquee investors such as Tiger Global, Upstox currently has over 2.8 million customers.

Dhanalakshmi beats Dutee Chand to win Federation Cup gold

• Sprinter S Dhanalakshmi beat national record holder Dutee Chand to win women’s 100m sprint final in the Federation Cup Senior National Athletics Championships in Patiala. The 22-year-old Dhanalakshmi of Tamil Nadu clocked 11.39 seconds to become the fastest woman of the championships. Odisha-based Dutee clocked 11.58 seconds to be placed in second place.

• Another Tamil Nadu runner Archana Suseendran was third in 11.76 seconds. Hima Das was disqualified after a false start. In men’s 100m final category, Gurindervir Singh of Punjab won gold in 10.32 seconds, while Elakkiyadasan Kannada of Tamil Nadu (10.43) and Maharashtra’s Satish Krishnakumar (10.56) were second and third respectively.

OBITUARY

Former Bangladesh PM Moudud Ahmed passes away

• Barrister Moudud Ahmed, who held various political offices for short stints in the Government of Bangladesh, has passed away. He had served as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh (1988–1989), Vice President of Bangladesh (1989–1990), Deputy Prime Minister (1976–1978 and 1987–1988), and Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs (2001–2006).

• He was also a standing committee member of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

Audio cassette tape inventor Lou Ottens passes away

• The Dutch inventor of audio cassette tapes, Lou Ottens passed away. Dutch engineer credited with inventing the cassette tape and playing a major role in the development of the first CD. In 1963, Ottens presented the first cassette tape at the Berlin Radio Show electronics fair.  After the fair deal signed between Sony and Philips to patent his creation that gained worldwide popularity. Ottens also worked on the CD development project.

• The device that he made was equipped with a directional antenna which he termed as “Germanenfilter” because it was resistant to the jammers used by the Nazi regime. In 1960, Ottens with his team developed the first portable tape recorder and two years later, he invented CDs.

Former Union Minister Dilip Gandhi passes away

• Former Union Minister and BJP leader, Dilip Gandhi passed away, due to coronavirus. He had served as the Union Minister of State, Ministry of Shipping from 29 January 2003 to 15 March 2004.

• He won the Lok Sabha elections three times since 1999 from Ahmednagar South constituency in Maharashtra. First in 1999 in 13th Lok Sabha, followed by 15th Lok Sabha in 2009 and then 16th Lok Sabha in 2014.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

WEF honours ReNew Power named as Global Lighthouse Network

• ReNew Power has been named to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Lighthouse Network, which recognises companies using new technologies to achieve environmentally sustainable, community supportive, profitable growth. ReNew Power is an Indian renewable energy company. It has an asset base of over 8 GW, with around 5 GW operational. ReNew Power is one of the two Indian companies to be recognised by the Global Lighthouse Network this year.

• The WEF Global Lighthouse Network is a group of 69 factories that serve as a platform to develop, replicate, and scale innovations, creating opportunities for cross-company learning and collaboration while setting new benchmarks for the global manufacturing community.

RBI: Image-based Cheque Truncation System in all branches by Sep 30

• The Reserve Bank of India has asked banks to implement the image-based Cheque Truncation System (CTS) in all branches by September 30 this year. The move is aimed at faster settlement of cheques resulting in better customer service. The Apex bank said that to leverage the availability of CTS and provide a uniform customer experience irrespective of the location of her/his bank branch, it has been decided to extend CTS across all bank branches in the country. To facilitate this, banks will have to ensure that all their branches participate in image-based CTS under respective grids by September 30.

• There’s now a new way of clearing cheques more easily and quickly across the UK.

• The Image Clearing System allows banks and building societies to exchange images of cheques instead of moving paper around the country.

• This new approach means you can withdraw money much sooner.

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Important Current Affairs 17th March 2021

INTERNATIONAL

India-Finland Virtual Summit 2021

• The India-Finland Virtual Summit was held on March 16, 2021, with the participation of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of the Republic of Finland Ms Sanna Marin. The virtual summit was organised to discuss the entire gamut of bilateral issues as well as other regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest.

• The two leaders reviewed the ongoing bilateral engagements and committed to further expand and diversify the relationship across sectors such as trade and investment, innovation, education, emerging technologies including Artificial Intelligence, 5G/6G, and quantum computing.

• The two leaders also discussed the Covid-19 situation including their respective vaccination drives and emphasized the importance of global efforts for urgent and affordable access to vaccines across all nations.

• The leaders exchanged views on regional and global issues, including the India-EU partnership, cooperation in the Arctic region, WTO and UN reforms. Both sides noted the potential for India and Finland to cooperate in undertaking developmental activities in Africa.

NATIONAL

Samsung sets up Innovation Lab at DTU

• Samsung India has announced that it has inaugurated a Samsung Innovation Lab at Delhi Technological University (DTU) to focus on collaborative research and training. It has set up the innovation lab under the Samsung Innovation Campus initiative as part of its new #PoweringDigitalIndia vision. With this addition, Samsung now has eight technical labs spread across the country as part of its Samsung Innovation Campus initiative, which was earlier called Samsung Digital Academy.

• As part of the lab, engineers at Samsung R&D Institute, Noida (SRI-N) will work with students and faculty at DTU on collaborative research projects on smartphone domains.

• he students and faculty at DTU will work on domains such as Application Framework, Multimedia, Health and Security, at the lab.

• Projects will focus on technology areas such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Computer Vision. So far, over 200 students have worked with SRI-N engineers on research projects and have received training.

• Collaborative research projects will be open to B.Tech, M.Tech and PhD students at DTU, who will receive certificates for their contribution at the end of each project. Samsung Innovation Campus is the company’s global citizenship program that aims to bridge proficiency gaps by skilling students on cutting-edge technology.

SPORTS

Virat Kohli becomes first player to score 3000 runs in men’s T20

• Indian captain Virat Kohli has breached the 3000-run mark in Twenty20 Internationals with his last shot in the second T20I against England. Kohli’s knock of 73 runs, which came off 49 balls, also helped India to level the five-match T20I series.

• He also became the third captain in international cricket to score 12000 runs as a captain. He joined legendary captains Ricky Ponting and Graeme Smith in the elite list.

UAE’s Mohammad Naveed, Shaiman Anwar banned for 8 years from all cricket

• The International Cricket Council (ICC) has imposed eight years ban on former UAE players Mohammad Naveed and Shaiman Anwar Butt from all cricket, for trying to fix matches during the T20 World Cup qualifiers in 2019. The ICC Anti-Corruption Tribunal had found them guilty of breaching the Anti-Corruption Code in January 2021.

• The bans are backdated to 16 October 2019, when they were provisionally suspended for attempting to corrupt matches of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier 2019 in the UAE. Naveed was the captain and leading wicket-taker. Anwar was the opening bat. Both had long international careers and were well versed in the threat from match-fixers.

• Both have been charged with two breaches each, the first of which is Article 2.2.1, which stands for ‘contriving, or being party to an agreement or effort to fix or contrive or otherwise influence improperly, the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of matches in the upcoming ICC World T20 Qualifiers 2019.’

Bhavani Devi becomes first ever Indian fencer to qualify for Olympics

• Bhavani Devi became the first-ever Indian fencer to qualify for the Olympics. The sabre fencer secured an Olympic spot due to events in the ongoing Fencing World Cup. Hosts Hungary lost in the quarterfinals of the team event, allowing Korea to progress to the semis.

• Therefore, Bhavani Devi qualifies through the Adjusted Official Ranking (AOR) Method. Currently, she is ranked 45th in the world. In 2017 She won India’s 1st international gold medal in fencing.

Mumbai City FC beat ATK Mohun Bagan to win their maiden ISL title

• Mumbai City FC has defeated ATK Mohun Bagan 2-1 in the ISL 2020-21 final to lift yet another trophy this year. Mumbai had earlier secured the ISL Shield along with a spot in the AFC Champions League group stage by finishing first in the standings in the regular season.

• Golden Ball Award (Best Player of ISL 2020-21): ATK Mohun Bagan forward Roy Krishna.

• Emerging Indian Player of the Year: NorthEast United midfielder Lalengmawia.

• Golden Boot Award (Top goal-scorer): FC Goa striker Igor Angulo for 14 goals.

• Golden Glove Award (Best Goalkeeper): ATK Mohun Bagan custodian Arindam Bhattacharya for ten clean sheets.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

ISRO launches sounding rocket RH-560 to study attitudinal variations

• Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched the sounding rocket (RH-560) to study attitudinal variations in the neutral winds and plasma dynamics, at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), Sriharikota Range (SHAR). ISRO has developed a series of sounding rockets called Rohini series, important among them being RH-200, RH-300 and RH-560, number in the name indicating the diameter of the rocket in mm, according to the Bengaluru-headquartered space agency.

• Sounding rockets are one or two-stage solid propellant rockets used for probing the upper atmospheric regions and for space research. They also serve as easily affordable platforms to test or prove prototypes of new components or subsystems intended for use in launch vehicles and satellites.

OBITUARY

Renowned Padma Bhushan winning painter Laxman Pai passed away

• Renowned Indian artist and painter Laxman Pai has passed away. The Goa-based painter was a recipient of the Padma Bhushan, India’s third-highest civilian honour.

• The former principal of the Goa College of Art had several laurels under his name including Padma Bhushan, Padma Shri, Nehru Award, and Lalit Kala Akademi Award.

Former Boxing Champion ‘Marvelous’ Marvin Hagler Passed Away

• The former undisputed middleweight boxing legend “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler has passed away. Hagler, the American legend, ruled as the undisputed middleweight champion from 1980 to 1987.

• He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993.

Noted Kathakali Dancer Chemancheri Kunhiraman Nair passed away

• Veteran Kathakali artist Chemancheri Kunhiraman Nair has passed away in Kozhikode, Kerala. He was 105-year old. He was awarded Padma Shri in 2017 for his contributions to the dance form of Kathakali.

• Besides this, Chemencheri was also the recipient of several other awards like the Kerala Sangeeta Nataka Award in 1979, the Kerala Kalamandalam award in 2001, Kalaratnam award in 2009, Mayilpeeli award and Sangeet Natak Academi Tagore award.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Principal Advisor P K Sinha resign

• Former Cabinet Secretary and Principal Advisor in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) P.K. Sinha has relinquished his high-profile position on personal grounds. He was appointed in the PMO first as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) briefly and then as Principal Advisor, a specially created position for him, in September 2019 after the 2019 parliamentary polls. Besides him, two senior officials are serving as Advisors in the PMO: Bhaskar Khulbe and Amarjit Sinha, both 1983 batch retired IAS officials.

• Mr. Sinha is a retired 1977 batch IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre and served in various capacities during the UPA and the NDA regimes. His is the second high profile exit from the PMO after PM’s Principal Secretary Nripendra Misra had resigned after the last Lok Sabha polls. Earlier, he was Secretary, Ministry of Power in the government of India and served as Cabinet Secretary for four years from 2015.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

NPCI launches UPI-Help on BHIM app for Grievance Redressal

• The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the umbrella entity for digital payments in India, has launched a new application named “UPI-Help” on BHIM UPI, which will act as a grievance redressal mechanism for the users of the BHIM application. Initially, UPI-Help has been made live on the BHIM app for the customers of State Bank of India, AXIS Bank, HDFC Bank, and ICICI Bank. Users of other banks participating in UPI will also be added to UPI-Help soon.

• check the status of the pending transactions,

• raise complaints against transactions that have not been processed

• raise complaints against money that has not reached the beneficiary

• aise complaints against merchant transactions

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Important Current Affairs 16th March 2021

INTERNATIONAL

‘Burqa ban’ in Sri Lanka

• The Pakistani High Commissioner in Colombo has raised concern over Sri Lanka’s recent announcement on outlawing the burqa, noting that such a ban would “injure” the feelings of ordinary Muslims in Sri Lanka and elsewhere.

• Sharing a news report on the development, head of the Pakistani mission Saad Khattak on Monday said in a Twitter thread: “The likely ban on Niqab #SriLanka will only serve as injury to the feelings of ordinary Sri Lankan Muslims and Muslims across the globe. At today’s economically difficult time due to Pandemic and other image related challenges faced by the country at international fora, such divisive steps in the name of Security, besides accentuating economic difficulties, will only serve as fillip to further strengthen wider apprehensions about fundamental human rights of minorities in the country.”

NATIONAL

First project Genome Mapping in Indian Ocean will be launched

• In the Indian Ocean, the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) will launch the first-of-its-kind project of Genome Mapping.

• Indian Ocean covers about 20% of the Earths’s water surface and so is the third largest water bocy in the world.

• Its objective is to bather samples of genome mapping of microorganisms in the Indian Ocean.

• It is also necessary to understand the biochemistry and the response of the Ocean to climate change, nutrient stress and increasing pollution.

• The cost of the project and duration is Rs 25 crore and will take around three years to complete.

• Samples will be collected by the researchers from several stretches of the ocean at an average depth of about 5 km.

• It is just like gene mapping whish is carried out on blood samples collected from humans, the scientists will map these in the bacteria, microbes found in the ocean.

• Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid (DNA) and Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) mapping shows the nutrients present in them and also those lacking in various parts of the ocean.

Odisha Farmer’s Solar Car Gets Thumbs-Up Online

• An Odisha farmer gained attention of people on social media by generating electric four-wheeler that runs on a solar powered battery.

• Sushil Aggarwal from Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district had built a four-wheeler powered by an 850 Watts motor and 100 Ah/54 Volts of battery.

• After fully charged the vehicle can travel up to 300 km. He told that he had built this car inside a workshop at his home during the COVID-19 lockdown.

• He told that the solar-powered battery took around 8 and a half hours to be fully charged. He further stated that “It is a slow charging battery. Such batteries have a long life, it will last 10 years.”

• All the work on his vehicle including motor winding, electrical fitting and chassis work were done in my workshop with the help of two other mechanics and a friend who advised me on electric works,” he added.

Kalanamak Rice Festival to be held in UP

• After the grand success of the Strawberry Festival in Jhansi and the Jaggery Festival in Lucknow, the Uttar Pradesh state government is organising a three-day 'Kalanamak Rice Festival' in Siddharthnagar district from March 13.

• Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, in his sustained efforts of creating new income opportunities for the farmers, has stressed on promoting the localised production and providing them with a market.

• Kala Namak Rice, grown in this region, is One District One Product (ODOP) of some Eastern UP districts.

SPORTS

Vijay Hazare Trophy: Prithvi Shaw Becomes First Player to Score 800 Runs

• Mumbai skipper and opening batsman Prithvi Shaw answered his critics in a strong fashion as he became the first player to register more than 800 runs in a single edition of the Vijay Hazare Trophy – the domestic one-day tournament of India. Shaw, who was dropped from India’s Test squad after his twin failures in Australia, achieved the feat in the ongoing final between Mumbai and Uttar Pradesh at the Arun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi.

• Carrying his blistering form, Shaw played a blinder of a knock – 73 off 39 balls – in the final to provide Mumbai dominant start in the 313 chase against UP. In eight matches of Vijay Hazare Trophy, the 21-year-old scored 827 runs at a staggering average of 165.40 and strike-rate of 165.40.

Ultimate Battle Founder- An Online eSports Platform

• Founder of Ultimate Battle is Tarun Gupta. It is an online eSports platform where gamers can test their mettle against others without paying a fee. India is still small in this segment, gamers need platforms that can give them competitive exposure to improve their skills.

• Therefore, Ultimate Battle invites and encourages players to try popular eSports titles of all kinds against other players. It is a complete product of India and it does not charge players money to participate in competitive gaming through the platform.

eSports titles of today and tomorrow

• Ultimate Battle consists of PC gaming titles like DOTA 2, FIFA 20, CS:GO (Counter Strike: Global Offensive) and the PC version of PUBG. Also, mobile titles like Garena Free Fire and Doodle Army 2: Mini Militia.

• According to Tarun Gupta, “With Ultimate Battle, our vision was to bring eSports to the forefront, organise events and celebrate gaming in all its glory.” He also added that “the platform also serves as a go-to platform to kickstart one’s career in the competitive circuit. All the eSports athletes will get essential exposure and a platform where they can enhance their tactical skills, strategies & coordination”.

• This platform provides players multiple avenues to win rewards or recognitions in the form of eSports Tournaments. Rewards are in the form of cash prizes and ‘UB Coins’. These coins that players win are then redeemable as in game items, Google play credits, merchandise and more.

• He also said that the involvement of upcoming technologies like AR and VR and their role in shaping the future of eSports. Hopefully in the near future VR-based competitive games will be developed and hit the mainstream.

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.

National Vaccination Day: March 16

• The National Vaccination Day, (also called the National Immunization Day), is celebrated every year on March 16 in India, to convey the importance of vaccination to the entire nation. The prime purpose behind the celebration of National Vaccination Day is to make all people aware of arming against polio and eradicating it completely from the world. In 2021, the National Vaccination Day is important as the country has started its biggest Covid-19 immunization programme.

• The day was first observed in the year 1995. It was in 1995 that India started the Pulse Polio Programme and the first dose of Oral Polio Vaccine was given. According to the World Health Organization, immunization is a process through which an individual’s immune system becomes fortified against foreign harm causing agent.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Sahitya Akademi Award 2020

• The National Academy of Letters have announced the names for the “Sahitya Akademi Award 2020 on March 12, 2021. The names were announced during the opening of annual “Festival of Letters” event.

• The award will be bestowed upon the politician-writer M Veerappa Moily, poet Arundhathi Subramaniam along with other 20 writers. Subramaniam have won the award for her poetry collection called “When God is a Traveller” in English. Veerappa Moily has been named for his epic poetry called “Sri Bahubali Ahimsa Digvijayam” in Kannada language. The list comprises of seven books of poetry, five short stories, four novels, two plays, and one memoir and one epic poetry in 20 Indian languages. The awards for Nepali, Malayalam, Odia and Rajasthani Languages will be announced later.

Gowsalya Shankar nominated for International Woman of Courage 2021 Award

• The U.S. Consulate honoured Tamil Nadu-based anti-caste activist and human rights defender Gowsalya Shankar with a nomination for the International Woman of Courage (IWOC) Award in the city.

• The IWOC Award Certificate of Nomination was handed over to her by U.S. Consul General in Chennai Judith Ravin at an event ‘Courageous Women Inspire a Better World’ held in the city. Ms. Gowsalya was U.S. Mission India’s nominee for the 2021 U.S. Secretary of State’s IWOC Award, which honours women who have demonstrated exceptional courage, strength, and leadership in acting to improve the lives of others.

• Malini Parthasarathy, Chairperson, The Hindu, and V. Suresh, National General Secretary of the People’s Union of Civil Liberties, also spoke on the theme of courageous women.

Grammy Awards 2021 Announced: Check the list of Winners

• The 63rd edition of the annual Grammy Awards ceremony was held in Los Angeles on March 14, 2021. The 2021 Grammy awards recognized the best recordings, compositions, and artists of the eligibility year, between September 1, 2019, to August 31, 2020. The award is presented by The Recording Academy to recognize achievements in the American music industry. Beyonce received the most nominations with nine, as well as the most awards with four.

Grammy Awards 2021:

Sl. No.

Category

Winner

1.

Album Of The Year

“Folklore” by Taylor Swift

2.

Record Of The Year

“Everything I Wanted” by Billie Eilish

3.

Best New Artist

Megan Thee Stallion

4.

Best Rap Album

“King’s Disease” by Nas

5.

Best R&B Album Winner

“Bigger Love” by John Legend

6.

Best Rap Song

“Savage” by Beyoncé, Shawn Carter, Brittany

7.

Best Country Album

“Wildcard” — Miranda Lambert

8.

Song Of The Year

 “I Can’t Breathe” by Dernst Emile II, H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas

9.

Best Rock Album

“The New Abnormal” by The Strokes

10.

Best Rock Song

“Stay High” by Brittany Howard, songwriter (Brittany Howard)

11.

Best Dance/Electronic Album

Bubba by Kaytranada

12.

Producer of the Year, Classical

David Frost

13.

Best Music Video

Brown Skin Girl by Beyoncé, Blue Ivy & WizKid

14.

Best Country Song

Crowded Table by Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby & Lori McKenna

15.

Best Folk Album

All the Good Times

16.

Best Comedy Album

Black Mitzvah by Tiffany Haddish

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Important Current Affairs 14th March 2021

INTERNATIONAL

PM Modi Virtually Attends First Quad Summit 2021

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga come together for the first QUAD Summit. The meeting was held virtually during which the four participants will exchange views on different areas of cooperation like maintaining a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region, C-19, emerging and critical technologies, maritime security, and climate change.

• The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue nations are planning to counter China by cooperating and pool their resources to fund new production technologies and development projects. The world leaders talked about the cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region and its development. President Biden also said that they are launching a new pact for the manufacturing of C-19 vaccines.

• QUAD is also known as the Asian NATO. It is an informal strategic forum comprising India, the United States, Japan, and Australia. The forum is maintained by semi-regular summits, military drills and information between member countries. The idea of QUAD was first brought up by the then Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe back in 2007. Since then the representatives from the member countries have met regularly and worked together. However, this was the first-ever meeting between the national heads of the QUAD countries.

NATIONAL

India Chaired the First Meeting Of BRICS CGETI

• Under the chairship of India, the First Meeting of the BRICS Contact Group on Economic and Trade Issues (CGETI) was held from 9th March 2021 to 11th March 2021. The 2021 theme of the BRICS is “BRICS@15: Intra BRICS Cooperation for Continuity, Consolidation, and Consensus”.

• India presented the calendar of events for BRICS CGETI 2021, this includes the priority areas for deliverables, schedule and scope of the MSME roundtable conference workshop on Services Statistics, and the BRICS Trade Fair. A series of presentations on the proposed deliverables during India’s chairship under the BRICS CGETI track was made in a separate session by the concerned departments of the government of India.

The proposal delivered:

• Action plan based on the document “Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership 2025” adopted during the Russian Presidency in 2020.

• BRICS Cooperation on Multilateral Trading system including cooperation for the TRIPS Waiver proposal at WTO;

• Framework for Consumer Protection in E-Commerce;

• Non-Tariff Measures (NTM) Resolution Mechanism;

• Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) Working Mechanism;

• Co-operation framework for the protection of Genetic Resources and Traditional Knowledge

• BRICS Framework on Co-operation in Professional Services.

Himachal CM inaugurates Swarnim International Shivratri Fair

• The famous Swarnim International Shivratri Fair has begun with Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur formally launching it at the historic Paddal ground, Himachal Pradesh. Thousands of people dressed in their traditional attire participated in the procession carrying their local deities dancing all the way up to Paddal ground.

• Over 150 deities participated in the ‘Jaleb’, the traditional Shobha Yatra from almost all parts of the district. Earlier, the Chief Minister participated in the Pagri Ceremony and performed Puja at Shri Raj Madhav Rai Temple. Chief Minister felicitated the people of the State on the auspicious occasion of International Shivratri festival, which was being celebrated this year as Swarnim International Shivratri Fair to mark glorious fifty years of Statehood.

DoT Launches Online Certificate Course on 5G Technology

• The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has launched a new online certificate course on 5G technology to be conducted by the National Telecommunications Institute for Policy Research, Innovation and Training (NTIPRIT), which is the training institute of DoT. The course, which will be conducted from 9 March 2021 onwards, is 36 hours long and will be conducted over a period of 12 weeks every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm. Participants will also be allowed to record the session if they happen to miss it.

• DoT hopes that this course would act as a capsule programme for learning overall 5G technology from the perspective of Policymaking. The following topics will be covered under the course:

Govt to launch “Atmanirbhar Niveshak Mitra Portal”

• The commerce and industry ministry has stated that the central government is working to develop a portal called “Atmanirbhar Niveshak Mitra Portal” for information dissemination, hand-holding, and facilitation of domestic investors. The portal Atmanirbhar Niveshak Mitra is currently is in the testing phase. It will be launched by May 1, 2021. The ministry is also working on a webpage which will be available in regional languages and mobile app.

• This portal is being developed in order to strengthen efforts to promote domestic investments. It is being developed by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).

• The portal will help in providing daily updates on several things including the policies and new initiatives by the central and state governments, information regarding the approvals, licenses, clearances several schemes & incentives. It will also be providing information regarding the manufacturing clusters and land availability.

• The portal will provide its support to the investors throughout their business journey and will help them in getting all the information ranging from finding the investment opportunity, exploring incentives & taxes which are applicable to their businesses, raw material availability, sources of funding, training, tender information and management requirement.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Govt launches Mera Ration Mobile App

• In order to facilitate the ‘One Nation-One Ration Card’ system in the country, the government has launched ‘Mera Ration’ mobile app to benefit citizens in identifying the nearest fair price shop. This app will benefit especially those ration card holders who move to new areas for livelihoods. The app is developed by the government in association with NIC “to facilitate various “One Nation-One Ration Card” related services among the National Food Security Act (NFSA) beneficiaries, particularly migrant beneficiaries, fair price shop dealers and other relevant stakeholders.

• With the help of the app, the beneficiaries can easily check details of food grain entitlement, recent transactions and the Status of their Aadhaar seeding.

• The migrant beneficiaries can also register their migration details with the help of the application. Beneficiaries can also enter their suggestions or feedback.

• Implementation of the One Nation-One Ration Card system ensures availability of ration to beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) and other welfare schemes, especially the migrant workers and their families, at any fair price shop (FPS) across the country.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Pallav Mohapatra appointed MD & CEO of ARCIL

• Asset Reconstruction Company (India) Ltd (Arcil) has announced the appointment of Pallav Mohapatra as its Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director. Prior to the appointment, Mohapatra was the MD and CEO of the Central Bank of India. Before being elevated as MD and CEO of CBoI, he was Deputy Managing Director, Stressed Assets Management Group, State Bank of India.

• Vinayak Bahuguna headed Arcil as MD and CEO for five years till June 2020. Arcil, which was set up in 2002, currently has assets under management (in non-performing loans) of ₹12,000 crore.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

PM Narendra Modi Launches Kindle Version Of Bhagavad Gita

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the Kindle version of Swami Chidbhavananda’s ‘Bhagavad Gita’ via video conferencing. The event has been organised to commemorate the sale of over 5 lakh copies of the Swami Chidbhavanandaji’s Bhagavad Gita. Swami Chidbhavanandaji is the founder of Sri Ramakrishna Tapovanam Ashram at Thirupparaithurai, Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu.

• Chidbhavananda Ji was devoted to India’s regeneration. He noted that Swami Vivekananda’s Madras lectures inspired Swami Chidbhavananda Ji to put the nation above everything else and serve the people.

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Important Current Affairs 13th March 2021

INTERNATIONAL

World’s Most Powerful Supercomputer Fugaku is ready for use

• The Japanese scientific research institute called RIKEN and Fujitsu started developing the “Fugaku” six years ago. It is the world’s most powerful supercomputers. Fugaku has been named after an alternative name for Mount Fuji. Now, this supercomputer is fully ready and developed in Japan and is now available for research use. This supercomputer has been developed with the aim of making the device core of the computing infrastructure of Japan.

Important points:

• Then the supercomputer was tested for the particular projects in order to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020.

• Now the Fugaku is fully open and available for shared use. The Research Organization for the Information Science and Technology (RIST) of Japan has selected some 74 projects which will use this supercomputer in the financial year 2021.

• RIST has also proposed for the development of the new projects in several categories and has invited the researchers who are interested to apply for the same.

NATIONAL

Karnataka CM unveils 'Xcelerator Bengaluru'

• Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa on Wednesday unveiled ‘Xcelerator Bengaluru’ to assist ladies entrepreneurs develop throughout the state.

• “The ‘Xcelerator Bengaluru’ initiative will assist 50,000 ladies entrepreneurs throughout the state to develop their enterprise over the following 3 years,” mentioned Yediyurappa on the event.

• World Alliance for Mass Entrepreneurship (GAME), Ubuntu Consortium and the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Business (FKCCI) have collectively developed the Xcelerator Bengaluru to concentrate on ladies entrepreneurship as the expansion driver within the southern state.

Union Cabinet approves Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Nidhi

• The Union Cabinet has approved the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Nidhi (PMSSN), as a single non-lapsable reserve fund. This has been approved for the share of Health from proceeds of Health and Education Cess which is levied under the Section 136-b of Finance Act, 2007.

• This is a non-lapsable reserve fund for the Health in the Public Account. This fund will comprise of the proceeds from the share of health in the Health and Education Cess. This revenue in the fund will be used for the flagship schemes of the Health Ministry including the National Health Mission, Ayushman Bharat – Health and Wellness Centres, Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana and for the emergency & disaster preparedness and responses in cases of health emergencies.

Cabinet Approves Amendments in Insurance Act 1938

• The Union Cabinet has given its nod for amendments in the Insurance Act, paving way for 74 per cent foreign direct investment in the sector. Currently, the permissible FDI limit in life and general insurance stands at 49 per cent with ownership and management control with Indian. According to sources, the Cabinet in its meeting has approval for amendments in the Insurance Act, 1938. It was in 2015 when the government hiked the FDI cap in the insurance sector from 26 per cent to 49 per cent.

• The majority of directors on the board and key management persons would be resident Indians, with at least 50 per cent of directors being independent directors, and a specified percentage of profits being retained as a general reserve.

• An increase in FDI will help improve life insurance penetration in the country. Life insurance premium as a percentage of GDP is 3.6 per cent in the country, way below the global average of 7.13 per cent, and in the case of general insurance, it is even worse at 0.94 per cent of GDP, as against the world average of 2.88 per cent.

• The government has earlier allowed 100 per cent foreign direct investment in insurance intermediaries.

J&K celebrates festival of Shivratri ‘Herath’

• In the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the festival of Shivratri ‘Herath’ is being celebrated across Jammu and Kashmir. Festival Mahashivratri locally known as Herath in Kashmir is being celebrated across J&K by Kashmiri Pandit Community with religious fervour by offering “Watak Nath Pooja”.

• The festival assumes colossal importance among the Kashmiri Pandit Community who celebrate it to mark the wedding of “Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati”. This festival symbolizes the values of devotion and harmony, which are the hallmarks of the glorious tradition & cultural ethos of Jammu and Kashmir.

SPORTS

Mithali Raj Becomes First Indian Woman Cricketer To Score 10,000 International Runs

1. Mithali Raj on Friday became the first Indian woman to score 10,000 runs in international cricket across all formats. Mithali reached the milestone in the ongoing third One-day International (ODI) against South Africa in Lucknow. The Indian ODI skipper scored 36 runs before being dismissed by Anne Bosch. Mithali has scored 6974 runs in ODIs while in the T20Is, she has 2,364 runs to her name. The 38-year-old right-handed batter has also scored 663 runs from 10 Test matches.

2. Mithali is now the second international cricketer to score 10,000 runs across formats. England's Charlotte Edwards is the only other woman cricketer who has achieved this feat.

IMPORTANT DAYS

2021 Dandi March to mark 75 years of Independence

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has flagged off the 91st anniversary of Dandi March on March 12 in Ahmedabad to celebrate the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence. The Salt March, which took place from March to April 1930, was an act of civil disobedience led by Mahatma Gandhi to protest the British rule in the country. The event is kicked off from Mahatma Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram and this event is also the part of the State government’s programme to mark “Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav.”

• The Dandi March or Salt March as part of Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent protest against the British monopoly on the production of salt. Led by Gandhi, 78 people started the 24-day march on March 12 and reached Dandi on April 5, 1930. After making salt at Dandi, Gandhi headed to Dharasana Salt Works, 40 km south, but was arrested on May 5.

World Kidney Day observed globally on 11th March 2021

• World Kidney Day is observed globally on the second Thursday of March every year. This year World Kidney Day is observed on 11th March 2021. The theme of the 2021 World Kidney day is “Living Well with Kidney Disease”. World Kidney Day is a global campaign aimed at raising awareness of the importance of our kidneys. World Kidney Day aims to raise awareness of the importance of our kidneys to our overall health and to reduce the frequency and impact of kidney disease and its associated health problems worldwide.

• Raise awareness about our “amazing kidneys” Highlight that diabetes and high blood pressure are key risk factors for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).

• Encourage systematic screening of all patients with diabetes and hypertension for CKD.

• Encourage preventive behaviours.

• Educate all medical professionals about their key role in detecting and reducing the risk of CKD, particularly in high-risk populations.

• Stress the important role of local and national health authorities in controlling the CKD epidemic. On World Kidney Day all governments are encouraged to take action and invest in further kidney screening.

• Encourage Transplantation as a best-outcome option for kidney failure, and the act of organ donation as a life-saving initiative.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

IBM signs MoU with U’khand Government to introduce STEM for Girls

• IBM has announced a collaboration with Samagra Sikhsha Uttarakhand, the Government of Uttarakhand’s education mission, to introduce the ‘IBM STEM for Girls’ program in 130 secondary and higher secondary schools across five districts in the state. The collaboration is part of a three-year program between IBM and Uttarakhand State Government with the American India Foundation as the implementation partner to increase the participation of girls and women in STEM careers.

• The program will advance the skills and careers of close to 25,600 students in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields.

• The demand for a highly qualified workforce in India is quickly increasing with the acceleration of emerging technologies.

• The ‘IBM STEM for Girls’ program features a comprehensive approach that builds technical capabilities as well as life and self-actualization skills.

• ‘STEM for Girls’ is an IBM Corporate Social Responsibility initiative primarily aimed at improving education-to-work and career pathways for girls who are studying in Government schools.

• The program includes imparting training in digital literacy, coding and technology skills, 21st-century skills, and career development to enable girls’ empowerment and increase their interest in STEM education and careers.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

Tata Motors launches ‘Wheels of Love’ programme to support new parents

• Tata Motors has announced the launch of ‘Wheels of Love’, a Programme that supports new parents in their exciting journey both as a parent and also as a valued employee while promoting a progressive culture of care, inclusion and sensitization within the organization across levels.

• Also presented in the form of a curated book, ‘Wheels of Love’ puts forth various tenets to enable new and expectant parents to successfully manage the need to focus on their growing family while also fulfilling their career goals, according to a statement.

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