Current Affairs 20th March 2021| Current Affairs News

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CURRENT AFFAIRS: IMPORTANT DAYS

International Day of Happiness – Observed on Mar 20

  • The International Day of Happiness is celebrated throughout the world on the 20th of March.
  • The theme of International Day of Happinessfor 2021 is “Happiness For All, Forever” which implies the significance of happiness for people all over the world.
  • It was established by the United Nations General Assembly on 28 June 2012.
  • Since 2013, the United Nations has celebrated this day to recognize the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world.

World Sparrow Day: Observed on Mar 20

  • World Sparrow Dayis celebrated every year on March 20 to raise awareness about the House Sparrow and other common birds to urban environments, and of threats to their populations.
  • Theme of 2021 World Sparrow Day “I LOVE Sparrows”
  • It’s a day to raise awareness and protect the common house sparrows, which are not so commonly seen now due to increasing noise pollution.
  • The day was initiated by the Nature Forever Society of India in collaboration with the Eco-Sys Action Foundation (France) and numerous other national and international organisations across the world.
  • The first World Sparrow Day was celebrated in 2010.

World Oral Health Day: Observed on Mar 20

  • The World Oral Health Day is marked every year on March 20.
  • The theme for the next three years, 2021-2023 is: Be Proud Of Your Mouth.
  • This day is observed annually on March 20 to spread awareness about oral disease and hygiene and on how to keep your teeth healthy.

Purpose

  • The purpose of its special day is to instill confidence in people for their oral health.
  • To raise global awareness of the issues around oral health and the importance of oral hygiene so that governments, health associations and the general public can work together to achieve healthier mouths and happier lives.
  • The day is an initiative of FDI World Dental Federation; an organization that brings together the world of dentistry with the aim of achieving optimal oral health for everyone.

CURRENT AFFAIRS: NATIONAL NEWS

US Defence Secy Lloyd J Austin meets NSA Ajit Doval – United States and India defense partnership

  • US Defence Secretary Lloyd J Austin met with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. 
  • Austin mentioned, the breadth of collaboration between the United States and India reflects the significance of major defense partnership.
  • He added that both the countries are working together to address the most pressing challenges faced by Indo-Pacific region.

Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga has started Yoga Volunteer Training Programme 

  • The Ministry of AYUSH through its autonomous body- Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga, New Delhi has started a Yoga Volunteer Training Programme on Common Yoga Protocol (CYP) from 1st of February this year.
  • The program divides the Yoga Protocol into short modules like appreciation, introduction and volunteer program allowing persons of varying capabilities to gradually learn and adopt Yoga.
  • It is a monthly training module and would be repeated every month till month of June.
  • In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, AYUSH Minister Kiren Rijiju noted that the objective of the programme is to increase mass awareness about the health benefits of Yoga as well as to introduce basic well-being principles and practices to common people.
  • He said, the Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy, New Delhi conducts research and development in the field of Yoga and Naturopathy.

Govt says 373 Kisan Rail services operated on 43 routes

  • Government has said that around 373 Kisan Rail services have operated on 43 routes till date, transporting more than one lakh 20 thousand tonnes of commodities.
  • Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal said this in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha.
  • Kisan Rail has been a game changer in ensuring fast transportation of agriculture produce across the nation.
  • It provides a seamless supply chain of perishable produce.
  • Mr Goyal said the Kisan Rail services are planned by railways in a way to ensure easy accessibility to farmers.
  • Most of the services have originated from small stations such as Devlali, Sangola, Sangli, Nagarsol, Dhahanu Road and Dhoraji, Mahuva, which lie within agricultural zones.
  • The Kisan Rail trains also have adequate stoppages to facilitate enroute loading.

Kisan rail scheme:

  • As per the announcement made in the Union Budget 2020-21, Indian Railways has started running Kisan Rail train services, to transport perishables and agri-product, including milk, meat and fish.
  • Commodities booked via Kisan Rail trains are charged at ‘P’-scale of parcel tariff.

India’s first Kisan rail:

  • Indian Railways starts its first Kisan Rail from Telangana.
  • The first-ever ‘Kisan Rail’ of South India chugged off from Anantapur Railway Station carrying 322 tonnes of fruits and vegetables to Adarsh Nagar in Delhi after it was virtually flagged off by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S.Jagan Mohan Reddy

CURRENT AFFAIRS: INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Embassy of India, Seoul inaugurates the ‘Festival of Independence’ [email protected]

  • Embassy of India, Seoul launched the ‘Festival of Independence’ [email protected] – the 75 Weeks Celebrations. 
  • During the ceremony, a Video Message by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was screened which was delivered at the inauguration of the curtain raiser activities of the [email protected]” at Sabarmati, Gujarat (India) on March 12 at the inauguration of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’the festival of Independence. 
  • Shri Prahlad Singh Patel, Minister of Culture and Tourism, Government of India as the Guest of Honour, expressed happiness at the engagement of people of India in this ‘Festival of Independence’, and said this festival will assume the form of a mass movement by the time it completes 75 weeks.

Ambassador Sripriya Ranganathan:

  • Ambassador Sripriya Ranganathanis a career diplomat who joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1994, immediately after obtaining her Masters’ Degree in History, with specialisation in Modern Indian History, from Delhi University.

Singapore: World’s Biggest Solar Farms To Fight Climate Change

  • Singaporeis building the largest floating solar farm of the world, in a bid to tackle climate change.
  • The 60 megawatt-peak floating solar systemis being built at Tengeh Reservoir by Sembcorp Industries in collaboration with Singapore Public Utilities Board.
  • The system comes with a digital monitoring platform that allows staff to keep an eye remotely.
  • Once completed, the 122,000-panel solar farmwill be one of the biggest in Southeast Asia covering an area the size of 45 football pitches.

Solar Farm:

  • A solar farm is a large collection of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels that absorb energy from the sun, convert it into electricity and send that electricity to the power grid for distribution and consumption by customers.
  • A photovoltaic power station, also known as a solar park, solar farm, or solar power plant is a large-scale photovoltaic system designed for the supply of merchant power into the electricity grid.

First high-level U.S-China meeting in Alaska starts

  • The first high-level U.S.-China meeting in Alaska began on a fiery start, with an acrimonious exchange of words in a rare public display as two powers tried to score over the other.
  • After the telephonic conversation between both the presidents, hopes were rekindled and China called for a reset in the ties.
  • But as the summit neared, both sides began taking tough stands towards each other, downplaying the chances of real progress.
  • Responding to the fiery opening session, China put the onus on the US to break the diplomatic protocols and said that it accepted the talks at the request of the US and that formal talks are yet to take place.
  • Reports suggest that after the opening remarks, closed-door interactions appear to have been more congenial and the talks were “substantive, serious, and direct.
  • Both the sides outlined their interests and priorities.
  • Another round of closed door talks will take place.

CURRENT AFFAIRS: STATE NEWS

Tourist arrival in J&K touches 16 year high in 2021

  • Government has set a target to make India the number one tourist destination and focusing on doubling the number of international tourists coming to India by 2024.
  • Replying to discussion in the Rajya Sabha on the working of his Ministry, Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel said, several steps have been taken to revive the tourism sector which was deeply affected due to Covid-19 pandemic.
  • He said, all aspects of tourism including wellness, adventure, yoga, are being promoted to attract more tourists to India.
  • He said, the tourist footfall in Jammu and Kashmir this year has broken the record of the last 16 years.
  • J&K govt to spend Rs 200 cr for employment & uplift of youth in next financial year
  • The Jammu and Kashmir Government will spend Rs 200 crore through Mission Youth for the employment and uplift of youth during next financial year.
  • An amount of Rs 200 crore has been earmarked for the youth engagement in the Union Territory’s budget, unveiled by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. 
  • The mission would facilitate establishment of required organizational and administrative structure for proactive outreach and purposeful engagement of the youth of the Union Territory.

CURRENT AFFAIRS: BUSINESS NEWS

Govt receive Rs 747 cr from GAIL share buy back

  • Secretary, Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) Tuhin Kanta Pandey has said that GAIL buyback of shares have been fully subscribed.
  • Mr Pandey said, Government received 747 crore rupees out of the total buyback size of one thousand 46 crore rupees.
  • The DIPAM Secretary said the Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) continues to be a Government company with 51.45 per cent shareholding.

About DIPAM:

  • Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) deals with all matters relating to management of Central Government investments in equity including disinvestment of equity in Central Public Sector Undertakings.
  • DIPAM is working as one of the Departments under the Ministry of Finance.

Gail pipeline:

  • GAIL is the first company in India to own and operate pipelines for LPG transmission.
  • It has 2033 km LPG pipeline network 1,410 km of which connects the western and northern parts of India and 618 km of networks is in the southern part of the country connecting Eastern Coast.

Over 44,000 Startups recognized by DPIIT: Som Parkash

  • Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Som Parkash informed the Rajya Sabha that over 44 thousand Startups have been recognized by the Department for promotion of Industry and Internal trade since the launch of the initiative.
  • The Minister informed the House in a written reply that Maharashtra has the highest number of recognized start-ups under the initiative with over eight thousand start-ups.
  • It is followed by Karnataka with nearly six thousand start-ups and Delhi with over five thousand five hundred startups. 
  • StartUp India is a flagship initiative of the Government which was launched in 2016.
  • It aims at fostering entrepreneurship and promoting innovation by creating a conducive ecosystem.

DIPP and DPIIT:

  • Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) earlier known as DIPP.
  • The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) was renamed as the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) in 2019.

DIPP certificate:

  • The patent office requires an Indian entity claiming start-up status to obtain a certificate from the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP).
  • The certificate may be obtained after the patent application has been filed.

CURRENT AFFAIRS: BANKING NEWS

MSME book grows 30% to cross Rs.2-lakh cr in HDFC

  • Lender disburses 23,000 crore under ECLG scheme.
  • HDFC Bank’s MSME book grew 30 per cent year-on-year to cross the 2-lakh-crore-mark as of December-end, mainly boosted by the pandemic-induced ECLG scheme under which it disbursed over Rs.23,000 crore.
  • The growth is also driven by a renewed push towards customers in semi-urban and rural areas, the bank said.
  • In December 2019, the bank’s MSME book stood at 1.4-lakh crore.
  • This grew by over 60,000 crore, or 30 per cent, to Rs.2,01,758 crore by the December 2020 quarter, giving it a 10.6 per cent share system-wide MSME lending, becoming the second-largest lender in this segment after State Bank of India, the bank added.

CURRENT AFFAIRS: MoU’s and AGREEMENTS

Labour Bureau signs service level agreement with BECIL 

  • The Labour Bureau signed a service level agreement with Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Limited, BECIL for conducting all India surveys on Migrant Workers and All India Quarterly Establishment based Employment Survey.
  • The agreement was signed between Director General, Labour Bureau, DPS Negi and CMD, BECIL George Kuruvilla in the presence of Labour and Employment Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar.
  • Mr Gangwar said, these surveys will prove highly useful and a game changer in providing the Government with crucial data on migrant workers and the employment situation in formal and informal establishments.
  • The Minister expressed happiness that the Bureau is integrating the survey work with latest available technology to achieve timely and faster results.

Full form of BECIL:

  • Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Limited (BECIL) an ISO 9001:2015, ISO 27001:2013 and ISO/IEC 20000:2012 certified, Mini Ratna, Central Public Sector Enterprise of Government of India was established on 24th March 1995.

Objective of BECIL:

  • To enhance the present share in the market by providing specialized and customized solutions to a wider range of clients.
  • Providing technical input and Consultancy to Ministry of Information & Broadcasting in policy, regulatory & formulation of various papers pertaining to Broadcasting.

CURRENT AFFAIRS : DEFENCE NEWS

Indian Army: Defence Ministry signs contract with BDL to supply 4,960 Anti-Tank Guided Missiles to Army

  • On March 19, 2021, The Defence Ministry sealed a deal with state-run Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL) to acquire 4,960 anti-tank guided missiles at a cost of Rs.1,188 crore for the Indian Army.
  • The missiles, having a range of 1,850 metres.
  • It can be fired from ground as well as vehicle-based launchers and their induction is planned to be completed in three years.
  • The missiles are being produced by BDL under license from French defence major MBDA Missile Systems.
  • These missiles can be fired from ground as well as vehicle-based launchers and can be deployed in anti-tank roles for both offensive and defensive tasks.
  • These missiles will further enhance the operational preparedness of the armed forces.

About Indian Army :

  • Commander-in-Chief: President Ram Nath Kovind
  • Founded: 1 April 1895
  • Headquarters: New Delhi
  • Chief of Defence Staff : Bipin Rawat
  • Chief of the army staff : Manoj Mukund Naravane

About BDL :

  • Headquarters: India
  • Founded: 1970, Hyderabad
  • Comes Under Ministry of Defence

CURRENT AFFAIRS : SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

For Gaganyaan Mission- data patterns delivers indigenous checkout systems 

  • On March 17, 2021, Data Patterns India Private Limited handed over the indigenously made checkout system to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for its ambitious ‘Gaganyaan’ mission.
  • The checkout system developed by Data Patterns would be utilised to carry out the health checks of all the cable harness assemblies used in the crew module of India’s first human space flight programme ‘Gaganyaan’ mission.
  • ISRO’s manned mission is scheduled to be launched in 2022-23.
  • Data Patterns CMD S Rangarajan handed over the 20,000 lines automatic cable harness tester for the Gaganyaan programme to ISRO, Human Space Flight Centre, ASTRUE, Deputy Director, K Xavier Raja in the presence of Human Space Flight Centre Director S Unnikrishnan Nair and Project Director R Hutton.

About HSFC :

  • Founded: 30 January 2019
  • Headquarters: Bangalore
  • Agency executive: S Unnikrishnan Nair

About ISRO :

  • Headquarters: Bengaluru
  • Founder: Vikram Sarabhai
  • Director: Kailasavadivoo Sivan

CURRENT AFFAIRS : SPORTS NEWS

Avinash Sable Sets New National Record In Men’s 3000m Steeplechase

  • Steeplechaser Avinash Sable was one of the first Indian track and field athletes to make the cut for the Olympics for the fifth time during the ongoing Federation Cup in Patiala.
  • He set a new national record in the men’s 3000m steeplechase after clocking 8:20.20.
  • In 2019, he clocked 8 minutes and 21.37 seconds at the Doha World Championships.
  • The army man from the arid Beed district of Maharashtra broke the national record for the fifth time in his career.
  • The 26-year-old Avinash broke his own record of 8:21.37 which he set in 2019, after finishing 13th in the final of the World Athletics Championships in Doha.
  • He first broke the national record in 2018 when he crushed Gopi Saini’s 37-year-old record.

About Avinash Sable :

  • Sable was born on September 13, 1994, in Mandwa, Beed district of Maharashtra.
  • In September 2018, Sable broke the record of Gopal Saini in Bhubaneswar during the 58th National Open Championship when he clocked 8:29.80 seconds in 3000m steeplechase.
  • He bettered his record in the 23rd Federation Cup (8:28.94) in Patiala in March 2019.
  • In October, he broke his own record twice within a span of three days during the World Championship in Doha. First, he finished the heats in 8:25.23 and in the final, he ran the race in 8:21.37 .

 Daily CA On March 19 :

  • US Defence Secretary Lloyd J Austin will arrive in India. During the visit, he will meet Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and other senior dignitaries of the government to discuss deepening the India US Major Defense Partnership.
  • The Rajya Sabha has passed the Insurance (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
  • Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog, and Amazon Web Services announced new initiatives to strengthen the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in India.
  • Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the Amar Ekushey book fair in Dhaka.
  • Legendary Jamaican and West Indies Cricketer Chris Gayle has thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, people and government of India for the gift of Made In India vaccines to Jamaica.
  • The World Bank has approved USD 200 million to help Bangladesh to provide support and services to the low-income urban youths impacted by COVID 19 pandemic and the migrants who had to return involuntarily.
  • In Madhya Pradesh, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan have launched the Mission Gramodaya in the state.
  • The golden jubilee celebrations of the 1971 war across the nation continue with the Victory flame reaching the Akashvani Bhawan in Kolkata.
  • Punjab Government has decided to create a robust and integrated technology solution to implement and review the progress of the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) schemes in the state to ensure accountability, transparency, and responsiveness.
  • In Kargil the department of Technical Education and Skill development is organizing Kaushal Mela as part of the skill development programme of the government of India.
  • Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur said, due to better planning under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the country’s economy is witnessing a ‘V’ shaped recovery.
  • India has supplied a second batch of 20 thousand litres of Malathion 95 percent ULV pesticide to Iran under a Government-to-Government Locust Control Programme.
  • In order to boost rural innovation and entrepreneurship in the agri-businesses, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) launched Rural Business Incubation Centre (RBIC) in Gujarat.
  • The total number of basic bank accounts under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) has reached 42 crore.
  • WE HUB, an exclusive incubator for women-led startups, has signed an agreement with the University of Bolton, based in the UK.
  • The Textile Ministry has put its weight behind an early limited Free Trade Deal between India and the UK which, it says, must include tariff reduction for textile and clothing items, resulting in possible gains for the sector, officials have said.
  • Tanzania’s President John Magufuli has passed away at a hospital in Dar es Salaam. He was 61.
  • Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte led his People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) to a fourth victory in a row.
  • On March 17, 2021, The Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum’s (IUSSTF) US India Artificial Intelligence (USIAI) Initiative was launched.
  • On March 15, 2021, The government will sell up to 12 percent stake in Tata Communications Ltd (TCL) through an Offer for Sale starting at the floor price of Rs.1,161 per equity share.
  • Adani Ports and Special Economic Zones (APSEZ) is acquiring the 5 percent stake held by Windy Lakeside Investment Limited (an affiliate of Warburg Pincus) in Gangavaram Port Limited (GPL) for around Rs 1,954 crore.
  • Samsung Electronics set up an innovation lab at Delhi Technological University (DTU) to promote joint research and training on domains such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and computer vision.
  • Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems (KRAS) has rolled out its first batch of Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM).
  • CAIT launched a vendor onboarding mobile app for its upcoming e-commerce portal ‘Bharat e Market’. 
  • India’s arms imports fell 33 % between the 2011-15 and 2016-20 report released by the Sweden-based think-tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
  • The KRL Stadium in Rawalpindi has been renamed after former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar.
  • On March 17, 2021, Tanzania’s President John Magufuli passed away.

Daily CA On March 20 :

  • The International Day of Happiness is celebrated throughout the world on the 20th of March. The theme of International Day of Happinessfor 2021 is “Happiness For All, Forever” 
  • World Sparrow Dayis celebrated every year on March 20 to raise awareness about the House Sparrow and other common birds to urban environments, and of threats to their populations.Theme of 2021 World Sparrow Day “I LOVE Sparrows”
  • The World Oral Health Day is marked every year on March 20.The theme for the next three years, 2021-2023 is: Be Proud Of Your Mouth.
  • US Defence Secretary Lloyd J Austin met with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. 
  • The Ministry of AYUSH through its autonomous body- Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga, New Delhi has started a Yoga Volunteer Training Programme on Common Yoga Protocol (CYP) from 1st of February this year.
  • Government has said that around 373 Kisan Rail services have operated on 43 routes till date, transporting more than one lakh 20 thousand tonnes of commodities.
  • Embassy of India, Seoul launched the ‘Festival of Independence’ [email protected] – the 75 Weeks Celebrations. 
  • Singaporeis building the largest floating solar farm of the world, in a bid to tackle climate change.
  • The first high-level U.S.-China meeting in Alaska began on a fiery start, with an acrimonious exchange of words in a rare public display as two powers tried to score over the other.
  • Government has set a target to make India the number one tourist destination and focusing on doubling the number of international tourists coming to India by 2024.
  • Secretary, Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) Tuhin Kanta Pandey has said that GAIL buyback of shares have been fully subscribed.
  • Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Som Parkash informed the Rajya Sabha that over 44 thousand Startups have been recognized by the Department for promotion of Industry and Internal trade since the launch of the initiative.
  • Lender disburses 23,000 crore under ECLG scheme.
  • The Labour Bureau signed a service level agreement with Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Limited, BECIL for conducting all India surveys on Migrant Workers and All India Quarterly Establishment based Employment Survey.
  • On March 19, 2021, The Defence Ministry sealed a deal with state-run Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL) to acquire 4,960 anti-tank guided missiles at a cost of 1,188 crore for the Indian Army.
  • On March 17, 2021, Data Patterns India Private Limited handed over the indigenously made checkout system to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for its ambitious ‘Gaganyaan’ mission.
  • Steeplechaser Avinash Sable was one of the first Indian track and field athletes to make the cut for the Olympics for the fifth time during the ongoing Federation Cup in Patiala.
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