Current Affairs 12th March 2021

1. NCRB celebrates its 36th Inception Day

National Crime Records Bureau, NCRB celebrated its 36th Inception Day on 11 March 2021. Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla presided over the function. NCRB is an Indian government agency responsible for collecting and analysing crime data as defined by the Indian Penal Code and Special and Local Laws. It is headquartered in New Delhi and was set up in the year 1986.

2. Fare hike of 19% for all commercial vehicles

In J&K, in order to provide relief to commercial passenger transporters, the govt, has approved a fare hike of 19% for all categories of commercial passenger vehicles. The decision has been taken on the basis of cost analysis based on fuel rates, toll tax, operational and maintenance cost, and losses incurred due to lockdown. The previous fare revision took place two and a half years ago.

3. J&K Academy of Art to become a society now

The Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture, and Languages is all set to be a society now, following the directive by the government. The Administrative Council has approved the proposal to register the Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture, and Languages as a Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. It will be governed under the chairmanship of the Lieutenant Governor.

4. Plantation scheme to come up in J&K

The Jammu and Kashmir Administrative Council has approved the implementation of a high-density plantation scheme in the horticulture sector. It will be launched with the support of the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd. It will be implemented for apple, walnut, almond, cherry, litchi, and olive among others over an estimated area of 5500 hectares for 6 yrs.

5. US President signs 1.9 trillion dollar package

US President Joe Biden has signed the 1.9 trillion dollar coronavirus rescue package into law. He characterized the measure as historic legislation aimed at rebuilding the backbone of the country. The passage of the bill marked the first major legislative achievement of the new administration and a Congress that is now under full Democratic control.

6. Uttarakhand completes ONORC reform

Seventeen States have operationalised ‘One Nation One Ration Card system’. Uttarakhand is the latest one to complete the reform. States completing One Nation One Ration Card system reform are eligible for additional borrowing of 0.25 per cent of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP). Accordingly, the centre has granted additional borrowing permission of 37,600 crore rupees to these states.

7. PLI scheme approved

Chemicals and Fertilizers Ministry has accorded approval for promotion of domestic manufacturing of critical key starting materials, drug intermediates and active pharmaceutical ingredients under Production Linked Incentive scheme. Earlier the Union Cabinet had approved it for Pharmaceuticals over a period of Financial Year 2020-21 to 2028-29. The Scheme will benefit domestic manufacturers.

8. Digitisation of records of Mahatma Gandhi

Union Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel on 11 March 2021 inaugurated ‘Digitisation of 4 cr 50 lakh pages of Records and Exhibition on Mahatma Gandhi and the Non-Cooperation Movement’. It was launched on the occasion of the 131st foundation day of the National Archives of India. Out of the total archive of nearly 18 cr pages, about 4 cr 50 lakh pages will be digitised in the first phase.

9. Brahma Kumari’s Chief passes away

Brahma Kumari’s Chief Administrator Dadi Hriday Mohini passed away on 11 March 2021. Dadi Mohini was appointed as the Chief Administrator of the organization after the death of its former Chief Dadi Janki a year ago (in March 2020). The Brahma Kumaris is a spiritual organization that teaches a form of meditation that focuses on identity as souls, as opposed to bodies.

10. Lou Ottens, inventor of cassette, passes away

Lou Ottens, the Dutch engineer who invented the audio cassette tape, passed away on 7 March 2021. He also engineered the concept of magnetic tape players and computer discs (CDs). Ottens founded the cassettes in 1960s when he was employed with tech giant Philips.

11. ONGC acquires 5% stake in Indian Gas Exchange

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) signed a Share Purchase and Shareholders Agreement (SPSHA) with the Indian Gas Exchange (IGX) and the Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) on March 10, 2021. As per the agreement ONGC has acquired 5 per cent equity in IGX. ONGC is aligned to the government’s vision of increasing the share of gas in the energy mix to 15% by 2030

12. PM to flag off padyatra from Sabarmati Ashram

PM Modi on 12 March 2021 will inaugurate the curtain-raiser activities of ‘Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav’ to commemorate 75 years of India’s independence. He will also flag off the freedom march or ‘padyatra’ from Sabarmati Ashram. The padyatra will be undertaken by 81 marchers from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad to Dandi in Navsari. A journey of 241 miles will end on April 5, lasting for 25 days.

13. UK: 5th country to cross 125k Covid-19 deaths

On 11 March 2021, the UK became the fifth country to reach 125,000 number of Covid-19 deaths and 125,403 Covid-19 cases. The UK has one of the highest death rates per capita in the world, with 188.33 per 100,000 residents. The UK has become the 5th country following the United States, Brazil, Mexico and India. India has reported the fourth highest death toll of 125,168 deaths from Covid-19.

14. APEDA launches its first virtual trade fair

The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority launched its first virtual trade fair on 10 March 2021. The fair will be concluded on 12 March 2021. It will boost the export of agricultural and processed food products. 266 Indian and international buyers from various countries have registered for the virtual fair.

15. 1st Quad leaders’ summit to be held on Mar 12

The first Quad leaders’ summit will be held virtually on 12 March 2021. PM Narendra Modi, PM of Australia Scott Morrison, Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga, and US President Joseph R Biden will participate in the 1st Leader’s Summit of the Quadrilateral Framework. The Leaders will exchange views on practical areas of cooperation towards maintaining a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.

16. Iran, Bahamas & Benin receive Indian vaccines

Iran, Bahamas and Benin received ‘Made in India’ Covid-19 vaccines on 11 March 2021. Vaccines were dispatched under the ‘Vaccine Maitri’ programme of the Government of India. India’s Vaccine Maitri programme aims to aid poor countries amidst global pandemic.

17. ADB raises $307 million from first panda bond

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has raised $307 mn from its first panda bond issue in more than a decade, representing its largest-ever borrowing in an Asian local currency. The bond pays a 3.2% annual coupon and features a five-year bullet maturity redeeming in March 2026. Proceeds of the bond will be added to ADB’s ordinary capital resources.

18. SEBI forms an expert group

SEBI has formed a group of experts to examine the feasibility of introducing Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) like structures in India. The group, formed under Sebi’s Primary Market Advisory Committee (PMAC), has been asked to submit its report at the earliest. SPACS are formed to raise capital in an initial public offering (IPO).

19. Mobile Digital Movie Theatre vans flagged off

Arunachal Pradesh CM Pema Khandu flagged off 5 Mobile Digital Movie Theatre vans of the Dept of Information and Public Relation from DK Convention Centre premises in Itanagar on 11 Mar 2021. These will be stationed at East Siang, Kurung Kumey, Lower Subansiri, Namsai and Tawang districts. These will facilitate effective dissemination of information on policies and programmes of the govt.

20. Samsung sets up innovation lab in Delhi

Samsung Electronics has set up an innovation lab at Delhi Technological University (DTU). It will promote joint research and training on domains such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and computer vision. Engineers at Samsung R&D Institute, Noida, (SRI-N) will work on collaborative research projects with DTU students and faculty members.

21. Goa to host AFC Champions League matches

Indian Super League side FC Goa will host the Group E matches of the AFC Champions League (ACL) at the Fatorda Stadium in Margao. The Asian Football Confederation on 11 March 2021 confirmed the venues for the ACL 2021 group stage matches. FC Goa had become the first Indian club to directly qualify for the group stage of the ACL.

22. Tourism Ministry forms a committee

The Ministry of Tourism has formed a committee of stakeholders for promoting tourism in the north-east region of the country. The Ministry under its different schemes such as Swadesh Darshan and PRASHAD provides financial assistance to the North-East States for the development of tourist infrastructure, promotion of fairs/ festivals, tourism-related events in the region, etc.

23. Educate Girls signs MoU with Rajasthan

Educate Girls, an NGO, has announced an MoU with the Government of Rajasthan’s Directorate of Women Empowerment at Jaipur. As per the MoU, Educate Girls will develop a collaborative framework to strengthen the planning and implementation of the state’s women and adolescent girls’ initiatives and reform processes. It will set up a state-level Project Management and Implementation Unit.

24. Thomas Bach re-elected as IOC president

Thomas Bach was re-elected as president of the International Olympic Committee on 10 March 2021 for a final four-year term. The German lawyer was unopposed and won the vote 93-1. He also signed future Olympic hosts Paris and Los Angeles, while Brisbane is now being fast-tracked for 2032. Bach first presided over the 2014 Sochi Games.

25. Bangladesh government approves a proposal

Bangladesh government has approved a proposal to procure 150,000 tons of rice under the direct procurement method (DPM) from India. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved three separate proposals to procure 350,000 tons of rice under the DPM from India, Thailand and Vietnam. Non-basmati boiled rice will be procured from the Punjab State Civil Supplies Corporation Ltd.

26. Turkish lake may hold clues of ancient life

Scientists have found that the data gathered by NASA’s rover Perseverance during exploring the surface of Mars is much closer to home at Salda lake located in Turkey. The minerals and rock deposits at Salda are the nearest match on earth to those around the Jezero Crater. The Information would help the scientists to search for fossilised traces of microbial life preserved in sediment.

27. Telangana Governor presented with an award

Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan has been conferred with the Top-20 Global Women of Excellence-2021 award. The award was presented to the Governor as part of the 9th Annual Congressional International Women’s Day Gala at Naperville, Illinois, Chicago. She accepted the prestigious award from Puducherry Raj Nivas.

28. Telangana government sanctions Rs. 25 crores

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has sanctioned Rs 25 crore to celebrate ‘Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav’ in the state. Nationwide celebrations are being planned by the Union government to mark 75 years of the country’s independence. The state has appointed KV Ramanachary Advisor (Cultural Affairs) the Chairman and Secretary of the Celebrations Committee.

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