March 31, 2021

Current Affairs
March 31, 2021

NACADUBA SINHALA RAMASWAMII SADASIVAN
A group of lepidopterists have found a new butterfly species in India.

About:

  • The discovery of the species Nacaduba sinhala ramaswamii Sadasivan, 2021 in the Agasthyamalais in the Western Ghats a decade ago has now found place in the Journal of Threatened Taxa.

  • The new taxon of Lycaenid butterflies belongs to the Nacaduba genus.

  • Line Blues are small butterflies belonging to the subfamily Lycaenidae and their distribution ranges from India and Sri Lanka to the whole of south-eastern Asia, Australia and Samoa.

  • It is the first time that a butterfly species was discovered by an all-Indian research team from the Western Ghats.

Important Info :

Do you know?

  • Lepidopterology is a branch of entomology concerning the scientific study of moths and the three superfamilies of butterflies.
  • Someone who studies in this field is a lepidopterist or, archaically, an aurelian.
Source : The Hindu
Environment

Current Affairs
March 31, 2021

CULEX MOSQUITOES
With the change in season and rise in temperature, culex or common house mosquitoes have made a reappearance across Delhi.

About:

  • Warmer temperatures are the main reason for the appearance of these mosquitoes.

  • Their presence is especially felt more in areas around floodplains in East and South Delhi as it is an ideal condition of breeding.

  • Culex mosquitoes are known carriers of Japanese encephalitis, a potentially life-threatening but rare viral disease that causes “acute inflammation” of the brain. They breed in dirty, stagnant water.

  • They can fly up to a distance of 1-1.5 km.

  • Unlike Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which spread dengue and chikungunya and breed in clean water, culex mosquitoes breed in unclean stagnant water.

Source : Indian Express
Health

Current Affairs
March 31, 2021

DUST WINDS
Dust-laden winds swept Delhi on Tuesday, pushing the air quality into the poor category and increasing the concentration of coarse particles in the air.

About:

  • According to forecasts, strong winds that are carrying dust to Delhi from Rajasthan are expected to continue until Thursday.

  • The concentration of particulate matter of 10 micrometres (PM10) — coarse particles suspended in the air — was 341 micrograms per cubic metre air (µg/m3) as of 5pm, against the 24-hour acceptable limit of 100 µg/m3.

  • The concentration of PM2.5 — particles that are smaller in size and are released from combustion activities — was about 105 µg/m3, a little higher than the 24-hour acceptable limit of 60 µg/m3.

  • The spike in PM10 concentration shows the impact of dust-laden winds on air quality, which, according to the Centre’s Early Warning System for Delhi, is expected to largely remain in poor category for the next five days.

Important Info :

Reason for Dust Winds in Delhi

  • Weather and environmental experts said a cyclonic circulation over Rajasthan and high temperatures over the past few days in northwest India is contributing to this phenomenon.
  • Delhi witnesses long-range transport of dust nearly every year from Rajasthan, and even from Afghanistan, during summer months.
Source : Indian Express
Geography

Current Affairs
March 31, 2021

INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN INDIA’S HEALTHCARE SECTOR
NITI Aayog Releases Report ‘Investment Opportunities in India’s Healthcare Sector’.

About:

  • The report outlines the range of investment opportunities in various segments of India’s healthcare sector, including hospitals, medical devices and equipment, health insurance, telemedicine, home healthcare and medical value travel.

  • India’s healthcare industry has been growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of around 22% since 2016. At this rate, it is expected to reach USD 372 billion in 2022.

  • In the hospital segment, the expansion of private players to tier-2 and tier-3 locations, beyond metropolitan cities, offers an attractive investment opportunity.

Source : PIB
Health

Current Affairs
March 31, 2021

DIGHA & KANKARBAGH SEWAGE PROJECTS
Financing agreements for developing STPs and Sewerage network for Digha and Kankarbagh zones of Patna were signed between DK Sewage Project Pvt Ltd (a subsidiary of VA Tech Wahagh) and PFS.

About:

  • The scope of the project includes development of Sewage Treatment Plants of 150 MLD capacity along with sewerage network of over 453 km in the Digha and Kankarbagh zones of Patna, one of the most populous cities on the banks of the river Ganga.

  • This is the first of its kind project which comprises of a mix of Design, Build, Operate and Transfer (‘DBOT’) scope and Hybrid Annuity Model (HAM) scope.

  • With the implementation of Digha and Kankarbagh sewerage projects all the sewage zones of Patna city will be covered with sewerage network and sewage treatment capacity to achieve the objective of the Namami Gange program of preventing any untreated waste water entering the river Ganga.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
March 31, 2021

WORLD IMMUNISATION AND LOGISTICS SUMMIT
Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare digitally participated in a panel discussion on vaccine production and distribution across Asia at the “World Immunisation and Logistics Summit”.

About:

  • The HOPE Consortium’s World Immunisation & Logistics Summit opened on March 30, 2021 to enhance collaboration in the world’s approach to tackle COVID-19 and ensure a healthier future for all.

  • The two-day virtual Summit, hosted in by Abu Dhabi, kicked off under the patronage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, with the participation of acclaimed global healthcare and philanthropic leaders, decision-makers, experts and senior government officials, to explore a unified global approach to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Important Info :

HOPE Consortium?

  • Spearheaded by the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, who has led the formation of the emirate-wide consortium, the HOPE Consortium brings together leading brands to deliver an end-to-end solution to distribute COVID-19 vaccines globally.
Source : PIB
Health

Current Affairs
March 31, 2021

ĀNANDAM: THE CENTER FOR HAPPINESS
Union Education Minister inaugurates Ānandam: The Center for Happiness in IIM Jammu, to help students live a stress-free life.

About:

  • Incorporating happiness in the academic curriculum of students is a very crucial step towards empowering our nation. This step will take our education system to newer heights, similar to the times of ancient Indian universities like Nalanda and Takshashila.

  • Anandam: The Center for happiness aligns with the National Education Policy 2020 that aims to transform India’s education system by 2021.

  • Prime activities envisaged under the concept of ‘Ānandam: The Center for Happiness’ will be divided into five broad categories, namely, Counselling, Holistic wellness, Elective courses on Happiness Development, Research and Leadership & Faculty Development.

  • The Center for Happiness acquires its name ‘Ānandam’ from the Indian wisdom tradition where the pure consciousness is being as “anandam”. “Ānandam” doesn’t aim for only happiness but knowing the truth, doing good and enjoying the beauty around.

  • The tagline for “Ānandam” further reinforces its ideology that it will work for the well-being of all. The tagline “Sarvabhūtahiteratāḥ” stands for being always engaged for the well-being of all.

Source : All India Radio
Education

Current Affairs
March 31, 2021

VAJRA PRAHAR 2021
The 11th edition of Indo-US Joint Special Forces Exercise VAJRA PRAHAR was conducted at Special Forces Training School located at Bakloh, HP in March 2021.

About:

  • The joint exercise by the Special Forces of both the countries is conducted alternatively between India and the United States.

  • Objective is to share the best practices and experiences in areas such as joint mission planning and operational tactics as also to improve interoperability between the Special Forces of both nations.

Source : PIB
International

Current Affairs
March 31, 2021

PHALTAN-PUNE DEMU TRAIN
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar flagged off DEMU train from Phaltan to Pune via Lonand on 30.3.2021 through video conferencing.

About:

  • Phaltan is a town, a taluka and a municipal council in Satara district in the Indian state of Maharashtra. The town is about 59 kilometres northeast of the city of Satara and about 110 km from Pune.

  • Introduction of trains between Phaltan and Pune via Lonand will help the people of this region in general and agriculturists to reach new markets, students to reach educational institutions of their choice & workers to seek more green pastures in particular.

Important Info :

DEMU trains?

  • A diesel multiple unit or DMU is a multiple-unit train powered by on-board diesel engines.
  • Diesel-powered units may be further classified by their transmission type: diesel–mechanical DMMU, diesel–hydraulic DHMU, or diesel–electric DEMU.
Source : Times of India
Economy

March 30, 2021

Current Affairs
March 30, 2021

JUDICIAL REVIEW
A public interest litigation has been filed in the Supreme Court by Wasim Rizvi seeking declaration of 26 verses of the Quran as unconstitutional, non-effective and non- functional on the ground that these promote extremism and terrorism.

Power of judicial review:

  • Under Indian law, only a “law” can be challenged as unconstitutional.

  • Article 13(3) defines law, which includes any ordinance, order, by-law, rule, regulations, notification, custom or usage having in the territory the force of law.

  • “Laws in force” on the commencement of the Constitution include laws enacted by a legislature or other competent authority.

  • This definition certain does not cover any religious scripture including the Quran. Similarly, neither the Vedas nor the Gita, nor the Bible, nor the Guru Granth Sahib can be said to be “law” under Article 13 and thus challenged in a court of law.

  • The divine books can be sources of law but not law in themselves. Thus, Quran in itself is not “law” for the purposes of Article 13.

  • It is the paramount source of Islamic law and Muslim jurists extract laws from it through interpretation and also taking into account other sources of law such as Hadees (Prophet’s sayings), Ijma (juristic consensus), Qiyas (analogical deductions), Urf ( customs), Istihsan (juristic preference) and Istisilah (public interest).

Important Info :

Reaction to the petition

  • The petition has led to protests among Muslims, and several clerics have issued fatwas against the petitioner.
  • In Vishwa Lochan Madan (2014), the Supreme Court has already observed that such fatwas have no validity.
Source : Indian Express
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
March 30, 2021

POLLING AGENTS
The Election Commission’s recent decision to change the rules for appointing polling agents has sparked off a debate in West Bengal.

Who is a polling agent?

  • A polling agent is a person appointed as a representative of a political party as it is not possible for a candidate to be physically present at every polling booth on the day of the elections.

  • Therefore, the Election Commission allows a candidate to appoint a polling agent who keeps an eye on the voting process.

What is the role of a polling agent?

  • As per the Election Commission’s rules, a polling agent should be familiar with the rules and procedures to conduct elections using EVMs and VVPATs, and with the working of these machines.

  • Towards this end, a polling agent attends the demonstrations arranged by the Returning Officer, where the functioning and operation of these machines are explained.

Important Info :

New regulations:

  • As per the new regulations, a political party can now nominate a polling agent for any booth within the assembly segment he/she is a voter from.
  • Earlier, the polling agent had to be a voter of the booth or an adjoining booth that he/she is working at.
  • The Trinamool has been opposing the change in rules, calling it “arbitrary, motivated and biased” and has also written to the Election Commission seeking withdrawal of the order.
Source : Indian Express
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
March 30, 2021

UNIFORM CIVIL CODE (UCC)
Chief Justice of India (CJI) S A Bobde lauded Goa’s Uniform Civil Code, and encouraged “intellectuals” indulging in “academic talk” to visit the state to learn more about it. Earlier in September 2019, the Supreme Court had described Goa as a “shining example” with a Uniform Civil Code.

About:

  • A Uniform Civil Code is one that would provide for one law for the entire country, applicable to all religious communities in their personal matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption etc.

  • Article 44 of the Constitution lays down that the state shall endeavour to secure a Uniform Civil Code for the citizens throughout the territory of India.

Directive Principles of State Policy

  • Article 44 is one of the Directive Principles of State Policy.

  • These, as defined in Article 37, are not justiciable (not enforceable by any court) but the principles laid down therein are fundamental in governance.

  • While Article 44 uses the words “state shall endeavour”, other Articles in the ‘Directive Principles’ chapter use words such as “in particular strive”; “shall in particular direct its policy”; “shall be obligation of the state” etc.

Important Info :

Does India not already have a uniform code in civil matters?

  • Indian laws do follow a uniform code in most civil matters — Indian Contract Act, Civil Procedure Code, Sale of Goods Act, Transfer of Property Act, Partnership Act, Evidence Act, etc.
  • States, however, have made hundreds of amendments and, therefore, in certain matters, there is diversity even under these secular civil laws. Recently, several states refused to be governed by the uniform Motor Vehicles Act, 2019.
Source : Indian Express
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
March 30, 2021

HEART OF ASIA – ISTANBUL PROCESS (HoA-IP)
External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar reached Dushanbe on a three-day visit to Tajikistan. He will attend the 9th Ministerial Conference of Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process on Afghanistan.

About:

  • The Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process (HoA-IP) is an initiative of Afghanistan and Turkey, which was officially launched at a conference hosted by Turkey in Istanbul on 2 November 2011.

  • Since then, Afghanistan supported by fourteen Participating Countries of the Heart of Asia Region and 16 Supporting Countries beyond the region as well as 12 Regional and International Organizations is leading and coordinating this Process.

  • It is a platform for promoting regional security, economic and political cooperation centred on Afghanistan through dialogue and a set of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs).

  • The Directorate General for Regional Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan is acting as the de facto Secretariat of the Process.

  • The Heart of Asia Region: The geographical area covering the 15 Participating Countries of the HoA-IP is defined as the Heart of Asia Region. It is one of the biggest regions in the world with a collective geographical area of more than 40 million km2 covering around 27% of the land area of the Earth.

Important Info :

Recent conference

  • As the lead country for Trade, Commerce and Investment Confidence Building Measure under Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process, India has made concerted efforts for strengthening regional connectivity for the greater economic integration of Afghanistan with the region.
  • A dedicated Air Freight Corridor between cities of India and Afghanistan and operationalisation of Chabahar Port in Iran are steps in that direction.
  • After arriving in Dushanbe today, Dr Jaishankar visited the Dushanbe-Chortut Highway Project He lauded the Good work being done by Border Roads Organisation BRO under Indian grant assistance. The 8-lane highway will decongest Dushanbe.
Source : All India Radio
International

Current Affairs
March 30, 2021

ROLE OF MICRO FORESTS IN DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has underlined the role of micro forests in minimising the havoc caused by cyclones in coastal areas.

About:

  • Through his Mann ki Baat program, the Prime Minister, commended two odia activists- one, Mr. Vijay Kumar Kabi of Kendrapara and the other Mr. Amaresh Samanta of Paradeep, for their individual efforts in raising micro forests to fend coastal villages from the wrath of high tides.

  • Prime Minister's emphasis on creating micro forests in coastal villages assumes greater significance for a state like Odisha, which has been witnessing cyclones almost on a regular basis, be it Phailin in 2013, Hudhud in 2014 down to Titli 2018, Fani 2019 or for that matter, Amphan only last year.

Source : All India Radio
Disaster Management

Current Affairs
March 30, 2021

INTERNATIONAL RANGER AWARD
Union Minister for Environment has congratulated Mahinder Giri, range officer of Rajaji Tiger Reserve for being the only ranger from Asia to win the prestigious International Ranger Award for his contribution towards conservation.

About:

  • The award has been announced for 10 professionals across the world by the International Union for Conservation of Nature IUCN and World Commission on Protected Areas WCPA.

  • Developed through a collaboration between the IUCN WCPA, the International Ranger Federation, Global Wildlife Conservation, and Conservation Allies, these awards, created in 2020, aim to highlight and felicitate the extraordinary work that rangers do in protected and conserved areas worldwide.

Source : All India Radio
Environment

Current Affairs
March 30, 2021

PROROGATION
President Ram Nath Kovind has prorogued the fifth session of 17th Lok Sabha. The session had commenced on 29th January. President also prorogued the Rajya Sabha. The House was adjourned sine die on 25th of this month.

About:

  • Termination of a session of the House by an order made by the President under article 85(2) is called ‘prorogation’.

  • The President in exercising the power to prorogue the House acts on the advice of the Prime Minister.

  • Usually, prorogation follows the adjournment of the sitting of the House sine die.

  • The time-lag between the adjournment of a House sine die and its prorogation is generally two to four days, although there are instances when a House was prorogued on the same day on which it was adjourned sine die.

  • It is not necessary that both the Houses should be prorogued simultaneously.

Important Info :

Effects of prorogation on different categories of business pending before the House

  • Article 107(3) of the Constitution of India expressly provides that a Bill pending in Parliament shall not lapse by reason of the prorogation of the House. This also covers Bills pending before a Select or Joint Committee of the House(s).
  • Notices of intention to move for leave to introduce Bills also do not lapse on prorogation and no fresh notice is necessary in the next session for that purpose except where any sanction or recommendation granted under the Constitution in respect of a Bill has ceased to be operative.
  • On the prorogation, all pending notices of Motions and Resolutions except those relating to introduction of Bills as mentioned above, lapse and fresh notices must be given for the next session.
  • Any business pending before a committee shall not lapse by reason only of the prorogation of the House and the committee shall continue to function notwithstanding such prorogation.
  • On prorogation of either House of Parliament, the President has the power to issue Ordinances under article 123.
Source : All India Radio
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
March 30, 2021

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

About:

  • The new version of Exam Warriors written by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is now available with many new mantras for students as well as parents.

  • It is available at retail stores as well as online. The Exam Warriors module is also available on the NaMo App.

  • The new edition of the book has been enriched with valuable inputs from students, parents and teachers. Substantive new parts have been added that would especially interest the parents and teachers.

Source : All India Radio
Education

Current Affairs
March 30, 2021

SABARMATI RIVER FRONT DEVELOPMENT PROJECT
The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, in its draft budget for 2021-22, has set aside Rs 1,050 crore for the Sabarmati River Front Development phase 2, work on which is to begin soon.

About:

  • Sabarmati Riverfront is a waterfront being developed along the banks of Sabarmati river in Ahmedabad.

  • Proposed in the 1960s, the construction began in 2005.

  • The major objectives of project are environment improvement, social infrastructure and sustainable development.

  • By channelling the river to a constant width of 263 m along the part that passes Ahmedabad city, 204 hectares have been reclaimed along the 11-km stretch of the Sabarmati Riverfront in the first phase of the project, on both the banks.

Important Info :

Sabarmati river?

  • The Sabarmati river is one of the major west-flowing rivers in India.
  • It originates in the Aravalli Range of the Udaipur District of Rajasthan and meets the Gulf of Khambhat of Arabian Sea after travelling 371 km in a south-westerly direction across Rajasthan and Gujarat.
Source : Indian Express
Geography

Current Affairs
March 30, 2021

UNIQUE LAND PARCEL IDENTIFICATION NUMBER (ULPIN) SCHEME
The Centre plans to issue a 14-digit identification number to every plot of land in the country within a year.

About:

  • It will subsequently integrate its land records database with revenue court records and bank records, as well as Aadhaar numbers on a voluntary basis, according to a parliamentary standing committee report submitted to the Lok Sabha last week.

  • The Unique Land Parcel Identification Number (ULPIN) scheme has been launched in 10 States this year and will be rolled out across the country by March 2022, the Department of Land Resources told the Standing Committee on Rural Development.

  • An official, who did not wish to be named, described it as “the Aadhaar for land” — a number that would uniquely identify every surveyed parcel of land and prevent land fraud, especially in rural India, where land records are outdated and disputed.

  • The identification will be based on the longitude and latitude of the land parcel, and is dependent on detailed surveys and geo-referenced cadastral maps.

  • This is the next step in the Digital India Land Records Modernisation Programme (DILRMP), which began in 2008 and has been extended several times as its scope grew.

  • The Department has taken new initiatives under the programme like NGDRS [or the National Generic Document Registration System], ULPIN, linking of court to land records, integration of consent based Aadhaar number with land records etc. which necessitated its further extension beyond 2020-21 till 2023-24.

Source : The Hindu
Polity & Governance

March 28, 2021

Current Affairs
March 28, 2021

UNITED NATIONS PEACEKEEPING
India delivered on its promise of 2,00,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines for the United Nations Peacekeeping Force (UNPKF) worldwide, sending a shipment bound for Copenhagen.

UN Peacekeeping:

  • UN peacekeepers provide security and the political and peacebuilding support to help countries make the difficult, early transition from conflict to peace.

  • Principles: UN Peacekeeping is guided by three basic principles:
    • Consent of the parties;

    • Impartiality;

    • Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate.



  • Role of Security Council: The United Nations Charter gives the United Nations Security Council the responsibility to maintain international peace. For this reason, the international community usually looks to the Security Council to authorize peacekeeping operations through Chapter VII authorizations.

  • Present status: There are currently 12 UN peacekeeping operations deployed.

  • For its services, UN Peacekeeping has also received the Nobel Peace Prize.

  • UN peacekeepers are often referred to as Blue Berets or Blue Helmets because of their light blue berets or helmets.

Source : The Hindu
International

Current Affairs
March 28, 2021

HYPNEA INDICA; HYPNEA BULLATA
Two new species of seaweed have been discovered by a group of marine biologists from Central University of Punjab, Bathinda.

About:

  • Named Hypnea indica (after India) and Hypnea bullata (because of the blisterlike marks on its body – bullate), the seaweeds are part of the genus Hypnea or red seaweeds.

  • While Hypnea indica was discovered Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu, and Somnath Pathan and Sivrajpur in Gujarat, Hypnea bullata was discovered from Kanyakumari and Diu island of Daman and Diu.

  • They grow in the intertidal regions of the coast, namely the area that is submerged during the high tide and exposed during low tides.

  • The genus Hypnea consists of calcareous, erect, branched red seaweeds. There are 61 species of which 10 were reported in India. With our two new species, the total number of species now would be 63.

Source : The Hindu
Environment

Current Affairs
March 28, 2021

CHINA, IRAN SIGN 25-YEAR ‘STRATEGIC PACT’
China and Iran signed what was described as a 25-year “strategic cooperation pact”.

About:

  • While details of the new 25-year pact were not immediately available, it includes “political, strategic and economic” components.

  • This document can be very effective in deepening relations and would establish a blueprint for “reciprocal investments in the fields of transport, ports, energy, industry and services”.

Background: Nuclear Deal and Sanctions

  • The agreement comes amid a major push from China to back Iran, which counts on Beijing, its largest trading partner, as it deals with the continuing weight of sanctions re-instated following then U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal.

  • Earlier this week, China and Russia called for the U.S. to “unconditionally return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as soon as possible and revoke the unilateral sanctions against Iran”.

  • In this context, they proposed “the establishment of a regional security dialogue platform to converge a new consensus on resolving the security concerns of countries in the region”.

Important Info :

China and West Asia

  • This was signed during Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s ongoing six-nation tour to West Asia. Mr. Wang is visiting Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, the UAE, Bahrain and Oman.
  • Five-point initiative: In Riyadh, Mr. Wang proposed “a five-point initiative on achieving security and stability in the Middle East” advocating “mutual respect, upholding equity and justice, achieving non-proliferation, jointly fostering collective security, and accelerating development cooperation.”
Source : The Hindu
International

Current Affairs
March 28, 2021

MOITREE
On the occasion of the birth centenary of the founding father of Bangladesh Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, renowned vocalist Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty has composed a new Raag named ‘Moitree’ as a tribute to the Bangabandhu.

About:

  • The new Raag is dedicated to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman with elements of ‘maitree’ or India Bangladesh friendship.

  • It is a newly composed Raag incorporating the classical rules for the composition of Raag.

  • Three compositions will be presented which are written in Sanskrit, Hindi and Bengali languages.

Source : All India Radio
Culture

Current Affairs
March 28, 2021

INDIA-BANGLADESH RELATIONS
India and Bangladesh signed 5 MoUs in the fields of Disaster Management, trade, NCC, ICT and setting up of sports facilities during the official visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Bangladesh.

About:

  • Foundation stone was laid for infrastructure development for power evacuation facilities from the Rooppur Nuclear power plant.

  • The Bangladesh leg of the Banagabandhu-Bapu Digital Exhibition was inaugurated by the two Prime Ministers. It will be taken to other parts of the world including the UN.

  • Both the leaders also unveiled the foundation stone for the construction of a memorial at Ashuganj honoring the martyrs of Indian armed forces in the 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh.

  • India gifted 109 life support ambulances to Bangladesh and also 1.2 million doses of the Covishield vaccine.

  • Three border haats were also opened along the India-Bangladesh border.

During the visit a number of announcements were made.

  • A direct passenger train named ‘Mitali Express’ will run between Dhaka and New Jalpaiguri.

  • Prime Minister Modi invited 50 young entrepreneurs from Bangladesh to connect with India’s start up ecosystem.

  • 1000 Subarno Jayanti Scholarships were announced for the Bangladeshi students to study in India at the Undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

  • A Bangabandhu Chair will be established at Delhi University to facilitate Bangladesh studies.

  • Both countries agreed to start a new area of cooperation in the Civil nuclear and space sectors.

Important Info :

Places visited

  • Prime Minister also visited the birthplace of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at Tungipara and placed a wreath at his mausoleum to pay tribute to the father of the nation of Bangladesh.
  • Prime Minister Modi visited the Jeshoreshwari temple in Satkhira. He announced that a cyclone shelter cum community hall will be built at the temple for use by the people.
  • He also visited Orakandi where he was given a community reception. He paid respect at Harimandir in Orakandi and addressed the representatives of the Matua community.
Source : All India Radio
International

Current Affairs
March 28, 2021

RESOLUTION 46/L1
India abstained from voting on a resolution in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that makes a wide-ranging and damaging commentary on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka.

About:

  • Resolution 46/L1 has decided, among other things, to “strengthen” the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights to collect evidence and develop possible strategies for future accountability processes for gross violations of human rights in Sri Lanka.

  • It refers to “persistent” lack of accountability for rights abuses committed through the years by “all parties” in Sri Lanka, including the LTTE.

  • Most seriously, it expresses a lack of confidence in the ability of the present government in Colombo to address the shortcomings.

  • Among the 14 countries that abstained were Japan, Indonesia, Bahrain and Nepal. Among the 11 that voted against were China, Cuba, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Russia, and Venezuela.

Important Info :

Comment

  • This is the eighth resolution on Sri Lanka at the Human Rights Council since the end of the war against the LTTE in 2009.
  • India’s record of voting on these resolutions shows the ups and downs of New Delhi-Colombo relations, the pressures on coalitions in India, the influence of politics and parties in Tamil Nadu, and the ebb and flow of regional and international geopolitics.
Source : Indian Express
International

Current Affairs
March 28, 2021

CRYPTOCURRENCY
The corporate affairs ministry has announced companies will have to disclose any holding or dealings in cryptocurrencies or virtual currencies in their financial statements filed with the Registrar of Companies (RoC).

About:

  • All companies will now have to disclose in their statutory financial filings to the RoC
    • any profit or loss on transactions involving cryptocurrency,

    • the amount of cryptocurrency held on the reporting date, and

    • any deposits or advances received from anyone for the purpose of investing in cryptocurrencies or virtual currencies.



  • Some experts have said these disclosure requirements indicated the government is open to regulating cryptocurrencies instead of banning them.

Important Info :

View of Government on Cryptocurrency

  • The government’s new bill – Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021 — aims to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies while setting the stage to roll out the legal framework for an “official digital currency”.
  • However, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said the Centre will take a calibrated approach to cryptocurrencies and will not close the window on experimentation with cryptocurrencies.
Source : Indian Express
Economy

Current Affairs
March 28, 2021

BIHAR SPECIAL ARMED POLICE BILL, 2021
The Opposition in Bihar has called a statewide bandh on March 26 to protest the passed of the Bihar Special Armed Police Bill, 2021 by the Bihar Assembly.

About:

  • The bill aims to develop the Bihar Military Police into a well-trained and fully equipped armed police force with multi-domain expertise to cater to the development needs and the larger interest of the state.

  • At present, the Bihar Military Police is entrusted with the security of the Mahabodhi Temple in Gaya, the Darbhanga airport, and other industrial and commercial establishments.

  • The new Bill renames the Bihar Military Police as the Bihar Special Armed Police, and gives the force more teeth, on the lines of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), so it can better secure the commercial and industrial assets of the state.

  • Mandate of the force will be the “maintenance of public order, combating extremism, ensuring the better protection and security of specified establishments in such manner as may be notified and perform such other duties, as may be notified.”

  • It empowers Special Armed Police officers to carry out searches and arrests without warrant, and courts being able to take congnizance of certain offences by the officers only after government sanction.

  • The mahagathbandhan in Bihar has called the Bill “draconian”.

Source : Indian Express
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
March 28, 2021

PRODUCTION-LINKED INCENTIVE (PLI) SCHEME FOR MANUFACTURING OF MOBILE PHONES
The Indian Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) has written letters to the NITI Aayog to consider declaring 2020-21 as zero year for production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for manufacturing of mobile phones.

About:

  • PLI schemes for all sectors that have been announced since April last year envisage incentives on achievement of a minimum threshold of cumulative incremental investment and incremental sales of manufactured goods net of taxes.

  • Since the government notified the PLI for mobile manufacturing on April 1 last year, FY21 was considered as the base year for the calculation of incremental investments and sales, and therefore the incentives to be given to companies.

Important Info :

How does 2020-21 being considered as zero year help cellphone makers?

  • For the purposes of calculation of incremental investment, incremental sales of manufactured goods net of taxes and therefore the incentives, cellphone companies have urged the government that the current financial year be considered as zero year.
  • In essence, they say that for the purposes of calculation of the incentives to be given to under the PLI scheme, the government should consider the incremental investments they will make and sales of products that they achieve from next financial year.
  • The most common claim is that the lockdown in the first three months of this fiscal left them with very little time to get started with the building of or expansion of old units.
Source : Indian Express
Economy

Current Affairs
March 28, 2021

INDIAN RHINOCEROS
With the BJP frequently invoking Assam’s world-famous one-horned rhino to connect with the people of the state, the animal has now become a part of poll rhetoric, with promises to save “the pride of Assam”.

About:

  • The projection of rhino as the pride of Assam began during the Assam Movement (1979-85).

  • Rhino started emerging as a player in the political narrative of Assam as “its poaching was linked to the control of indigenous people over land, resources and influx of immigrants”.

  • According to the rhino census of 2018, there are 2,413 rhinos in Kaziranga alone.

  • It is common for every party contesting in Bokakhat and Kaliabor, the two constituencies that cover most of Kaziranga (the park spreads over six constituencies), to say that they will protect the rhino.

Important Info :
  • The Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) is also called the Indian rhino, greater one-horned rhinoceros or great Indian rhinoceros.
  • It is a rhinoceros species native to the Indian subcontinent.
  • It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.
  • Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam has the highest density of Indian rhinos in the world.
Source : Indian Express
Environment

March 27, 2021

Current Affairs
March 27, 2021

RTI REJECTIONS
The Centre has only rejected 4.3% of all Right to Information (RTI) requests in 2019-20, the lowest ever rate, according to the Central Information Commission’s annual report.

About:

  • However, almost 40% of these rejections did not include any valid reason, as they did not invoke one of the permissible exemption clauses in the RTI Act, according to an analysis of report data by RTI activist Venkatesh Nayak.

  • This includes 90% of rejections by the Prime Minister’s Office.

  • Public authorities under the Central government received 13.7 lakh RTI requests in 2019-20, out of which 58,634 were rejected for various reasons.

  • Rejection rates have fallen since the 13.9% rate in 2005-06 and have been steadily trending downwards since the 8.4% spike in 2014-15. In 2019-20, they hit their lowest level so far.

  • The Home Ministry had the highest rate of rejections, as it rejected 20% of all RTIs received. The Agriculture Ministry’s rejection rate doubled from 2% in 2018-19 to 4% in 2019-20.

  • The Delhi Police and the Army also saw increases in rejection rates.

Important Info :
  • The RTI Act allows public authorities to reject RTI requests on a number of grounds, ranging from information which would endanger life and safety to that which involves irrelevant personal information, Cabinet papers, foreign governments, copyrights, or sovereignty, security and intelligence matters.
  • Public authorities are expected to cite the relevant clause of the Act to invoke the exemption.
Source : The Hindu
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
March 27, 2021

CAPE OF GOOD HOPE
With $200 billion of India’s trade flows with Europe, North America and South America at risk due to the blockage of the Suez Canal, the Department of Commerce is planning re-routing shipments through the Cape of Good Hope.

About:

  • The Cape of Good Hope is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula in South Africa.

  • A common misconception is that the Cape of Good Hope is the southern tip of Africa. Contemporary geographic knowledge instead states the southernmost point of Africa is Cape Agulhas.

  • When following the western side of the African coastline from the equator, however, the Cape of Good Hope marks the point where a ship begins to travel more eastward than southward.

Important Info :

Cape Agulhas

  • Cape Agulhas is a rocky headland in Western Cape, South Africa.
  • It is the geographic southern tip of the African continent and the beginning of the dividing line between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
Source : The Hindu
Geography

Current Affairs
March 27, 2021

NISAR
NASA and ISRO are collaborating on developing a satellite called NISAR, which will detect movements of the planet’s surface as small as 0.4 inches over areas about half the size of a tennis court.

About:

  • NISAR is an SUV-sized satellite that is being jointly developed by the space agencies of the US and India.

  • The name NISAR is short for NASA-ISRO-SAR. SAR here refers to the synthetic aperture radar that NASA will use to measure changes in the surface of the Earth.
    • Essentially, SAR refers to a technique for producing high-resolution images.

    • Because of the precision, the radar can penetrate clouds and darkness, which means that it can collect data day and night in any weather.



  • The partnership agreement was signed between NASA and ISRO in 2014.
    • NASA will provide one of the radars for the satellite, a high-rate communication subsystem for science data, GPS receivers and a payload data subsystem.

    • ISRO, on the other hand, will provide the spacecraft bus, the second type of radar (called the S-band radar), the launch vehicle and associated launch services.



  • The satellite will be launched in 2022 from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India, into a near-polar orbit.

  • It will scan the globe every 12 days over the course of its three-year mission of imaging the Earth’s land, ice sheets and sea ice to give an “unprecedented” view of the planet.

Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
March 27, 2021

TIGRAY
Eritrea will pull its troops out of Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, said. It is a potential breakthrough in a drawn-out conflict that has seen atrocities carried out against civilians.

About:

  • The Tigray Region is the northernmost of the nine regions (kililat) of Ethiopia.

  • Tigray is the homeland of the Tigrayan, Irob and Kunama peoples.

  • Tigray is also known as Region 1 according to the federal constitution.

  • Its capital and largest city is Mekelle.

  • Tigray is bordered by Eritrea to the north, Sudan to the west, the Amhara Region to the south and the Afar Region to the east and south east.

Important Info :

Recent conflict:

  • The Tigray War is an ongoing armed conflict that began in November 2020 in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia.
  • It is fought between the by the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF)-controlled Tigray Regional Government, and the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF).
  • The conflict escalated in September, when Tigray held local elections in insubordination of the Ethiopian federal government. these elections were considered “illegal” by the federal government, further leading to conflict with Tigray authorities.
Source : The Hindu
International

Current Affairs
March 27, 2021

MAHARASHTRA BHUSHAN AWARD
Legendary singer Asha Bhosle will be presented the Maharashtra Bhushan award for the year 2020, the State government’s highest honour.

About:

  • A committee headed by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray held a meeting earlier today in this regard.

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

  • Born on September 8, 1933, in Maharashtra’s Sangli district, Ms. Bhosle was initiated into music by her father, the renowned Marathi stage actor-singer Dinanath Mangeshkar.

  • Bhosle received the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for 2000.

Important Info :
  • The first Maharashtra Bhushan awardee was Marathi writer P.L. Deshpande and the last winner of this award was historian Babasaheb Purandare who got it for the year 2015.
  • Her sister Lata Mangeshkar won the award for 1997.
Source : All India Radio
Awards

Current Affairs
March 27, 2021

INDIAN BEAMLINE PROJECT
The third phase of the Indian beamline project, a facility for materials research set up under India-Japan Scientific and Technological Cooperation, was initiated on March 23, 2021, with special focus on industrial application research.

About:

  • The phase would increase the number of young researchers from India to be trained in advanced X-ray techniques of material research.

  • Besides, steps will be taken to allocate more beamtime so that more researchers can get access to it. At present, only 50 % of Indian researchers who apply receive beamtime.

  • The Indian beamline has been constructed and maintained by Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics (SINP), Kolkata and Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bangalore; in Japanese synchrotron light source Photon Factory (PF) of High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK), with support from Nano Mission, Department of Science and Technology (DST).

  • This India-Japan Scientific and Technological Cooperation project was initiated between the DST and the KEK on 24 July 2007.

  • In the first phase (2009-2015) of this project, an X-ray beamline (BL18B) was constructed by SINP in PF. In the second phase (2016-2021), JNCASR and SINP jointly developed the beamline further to cater to the need of various users from India.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
March 27, 2021

TRIBAL TB INITIATIVE
Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan launched 'Tribal TB Initiative' in pursuit of TB Mukt Bharat.

About:

  • A Guidance Note on Joint Action Plan for Tuberculosis (TB) Elimination, a Special Edition of Tribal Ministry’s Publication ‘ALEKH’ on TB, and a document on Tribal Tuberculosis (TB) Initiative was also released.

  • Over 104 million tribal population lives in India, across 705 tribes, accounting for 8.6 % of the country’s population.

  • 177 tribal districts were identified as high priority districts where physical remoteness, malnutrition, poor living conditions and lack of awareness contribute to the vulnerability of the tribal population to TB.

  • Initially, the activities of the joint plan will be focusing on 161 districts across 18 identified States. This would involve periodic TB active case finding drives and provision of TB Preventive Therapy (IPT) to identified vulnerable population and develop long term mechanisms for vulnerability reduction.

Important Info :
  1. the Union Territories of Lakshadweep and district of Badgam in Jammu and Kashmir have been declared TB Free on World TB Day this year.
  2. The government has already increased the Budget allocation for TB in India a four-fold in the last 5 years.
Source : PIB
Social Issues

Current Affairs
March 27, 2021

NATIONAL CLEAN AIR PROGRAMME (NCAP)
In the presence of Union Minister of Environment the MoU was signed by representatives of State Pollution Control Boards, Urban Local Bodies and Institutes of Repute for 132 identified cities for implementation of city specific action plans under National Clean Air Programme (NCAP).

About:

  • The National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) is a long-term, time-bound, national level strategy to tackle air pollution problem across the country in a comprehensive manner.

  • It targets to achieve 20% to 30% reduction in Particulate Matter concentrations by 2024 (with 2017 as base year).

  • A National Knowledge Network comprising leading air quality specialists has also been constituted as a technical advisory group to support activities under NCAP and guide local Institutes of Repute (IoRs) in conducting air quality researches.

Source : PIB
Environment

Current Affairs
March 27, 2021

INDO-KOREAN FRIENDSHIP PARK
India’s First Indo-Korean Friendship Park was jointly inaugurated by Mr Suh Wook, Minister of National Defence, Republic of Korea and Rajnath Singh, Raksha Mantri, at Delhi Cantonment on 26 March 2021.

About:

  • It is in Delhi Cantonment.

  • The park's significance is not only because of it being a symbol of strong India-South Korea friendly relations, but also as a monument to India’s contributions as part of 21 countries which participated in Korean war 1950-53, under the aegis of the United Nations.

  • The park has been developed in joint consultation with Ministry of Defence, Government of India, Indian Army, Delhi Cantonment Board, Embassy of Korea and Korean War Veterans Association of India.

  • One of the pillars in the park encompasses Nobel Laureate Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s narration of Korea as “The Lamp of the East” which was published in Korean daily “Dong-A-llbo” in 1929.

Source : PIB
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
March 27, 2021

EXIT POLL
Election Commission of India, in exercise of the powers under sub-section(1) of Section 126A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 has notified the period between 7:00A.M on 27th March, 2021 (Saturday) and 7.30 PM on 29thApril, 2021 (Thursday), as the period during which exit polls are banned.

About:

  • During this period, conducting any exit poll and publishing or publicizing the result of exit poll by means of the print or electronic media or in any other manner shall be prohibited in the ongoing General Elections to the Legislative Assemblies of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal & Puducherry.

  • Further, under Section 126(1)(b) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951,displaying any election matter including results of any opinion poll or any other poll survey, in any electronic media, would be prohibited during the period of 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for conclusion of poll.

Important Info :
  • In multi-phase elections it is prohibited to conduct exit polls from the 1st phase till the last phase of elections to prevent influencing voters’ behaviour. After last phase one can conduct an exit poll and publish result.
  • This was done by bringing amending the Representation of the People Act, 1951 in 2009 which inserted Section 126A was inserted into the RPA.
  • Contravention of Section 126A has been made punishable under Section 126A(3) with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both.
  • Additionally, Section 126B has also been inserted to the RP Act, 1951 for punishment to companies who commit any offence under Section 126A.
Source : PIB
Polity & Governance
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