Current Affairs 14th March 2021

1. Chhattisgarh: Ranks 1st in MGNREGA employment

Chhattisgarh has ranked first in the country in terms of providing employment under MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act). In the financial year 2020-21, employment of 16,06,84,000 man-days has been created so far, against the target of creating 15 cr man-days of employment. West Bengal holds the 2nd rank, while Assam and Bihar jointly holds the 3rd rank.

2. HP: Swarnim International Shivratri Fair

World famous Swarnim International Shivratri Fair in Mandi, Himachal Pradesh began on 12 March 2021. Himachal Pradesh’s CM Jai Ram has announced the opening of the Mela by inaugurating the exhibition at historic Paddal ground in Mandi. Jai Ram Thakur also inaugurated Saras Mela on the occasion and released the title cover of CD bhajans sung by Anand Kumar.

3. Prof AK Singh: New VC of PRSU, Prayagraj

Prof Akhilesh Kumar Singh has been appointed as the new vice-chancellor of Prof Rajendra Singh (Rajju Bhaiya) University Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh. He has been appointed by the Chancellor of the university and UP Governor Anandiben Patel for a term of three years. Prof Akhilesh Kumar Singh took charge on 13 March 2021.

4. Anti-dumping duty on Chinese drugs

India has imposed anti-dumping duty on the Chinese antibacterial drug Ciprofloxacin Hydrochloride to guard the domestic industry against cheap imports from the neighboring country. The duty has been imposed following a recommendation by the commerce ministry’s investigation arm, Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR). Imposed duty is in the range of USD 0.91 per kg to USD 3.27 per kg.

5. Harsh Vardhan unveils Green Crematoria pyres

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan inaugurated 4 pyres of the ‘green crematoria’ at the Nigam Bodh Ghat, Delhi on 12 March 2021 to reduce high toxic emissions from the area. The air pollution mitigation system has been developed by CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) to address the high localized toxic emissions from crematoria.

6. Rawalpindi’s KRL stadium renamed

The KRL Stadium in Rawalpindi has been renamed after former Pakistan’s fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar. Shoaib Akhtar is renowned as ‘The Rawalpindi Express’. He has featured in 47 Tests, 163 ODIS and 15 T20ls for Pakistan during his illustrious career. He has record of total 444 international wickets under his name.

7. Brazil ranks 2nd in terms of COVID-19 cases

Brazil comes second in terms of the number of the confirmed coronavirus cases. In Brazil, the total number of corona cases has reached 11,363,389 and the death toll from COVID-19 in the country has surpassed 275,000 people, as of 13 March 2021. India, which previously came second, has recorded 11,308,846 coronavirus cases.

8. Bihar: Fulfills doctor-population ratio of WHO

Bihar has 1,19,000 doctors for a population of 12 crores, which “almost” fulfills the WHO norms. As per WHO norms, there should be one doctor for every 1,000 people. The state should have 1.20 lakh doctors to fulfill the criteria. But there are 1.19 lakh doctors at present, which makes the states almost closer to achieve the mark.

9. PM Modi to visit Bangladesh on 26-27 March

PM Narendra Modi will visit Bangladesh on March 26-27,2021, solely to celebrate the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the golden jubilee of the liberation of Bangladesh. PM will participate in the concluding day function on March 26. The government of Bangladesh has planned a 10-day long series of programmes between March 17-26,2021 to celebrate this event.

10. PM hold talks with Sri Lankan counterpart

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had conversation with Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on 13 March 2021. They reviewed topical developments and the ongoing cooperation between India and Sri Lanka in bilateral and multilateral forums. Also, agreed to maintain regular contact between relevant officials, including in the context of the continuing COVID-19 challenges.

11. CleanMax Solar ventures into wind-solar space

CleanMax Solar, one of the largest distributed solar power producers in India, has forayed into building wind-solar hybrid power plants. The company plans to build about 300 megawatts (MW) of hybrid capacity over the next three years. According to data from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, India has 38.79 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity and 38.68GW of wind.

12. Nazara: 1st firm to list on Indian exchanges

Nazara Technologies Ltd will become the first Indian gaming company to go public, with its initial public offering (IPO) set for launch on 17 March 2021. The company has fixed a price band of Rs. 100-1101 per share for the Rs. 583 crore share sale. The IPO will raise the company’s profile globally and open the doors to more investment opportunities. Nazara has cash reserves of Rs. 300 crores.

13. Tatas to buy BigBasket for more than $1 bn

Tata Sons Pvt. Ltd has agreed to acquire control of online grocer BigBasket in a deal valued at more than $1 billion. Tata Sons’ digital services subsidiary Tata Digital Ltd has proposed to acquire up to 64.3% stake in Supermarket Grocery Supplies Pvt. Ltd (SGS). SGS and Innovative Retail sell food, grocery household items, personal and beauty care products through the Big Basket app.

14. ISRO launches sounding rocket RH-560

The Indian Space Research Organisation has launched the sounding rocket (RH-560) to study attitudinal variations in the neutral winds and plasma dynamics. The rocket was launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) Sriharikota Range on 12 March 2021. Sounding rockets are one or two-stage solid propellant rockets used for probing the upper atmospheric regions and for space research.

15. India to allow only approved solar PV models

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has issued an order enforcing a list of 23 approved solar photovoltaic (PV) models and module manufacturers for government-supported schemes. This including projects from where distribution companies procure electricity for supply to their consumers. This is an attempt to discourage Chinese imports in India’s growing green economy.

16. RITES declares second interim dividend

Government-owned railway infrastructure consultancy RITES Ltd has announced a second interim dividend of Rs. 4 per share each with a face value of Rs. 10. This brings the total dividend for FY21 so far to Rs. 9 per share amounting to Rs. 216.27 crores. The record date for the payment of the dividend is March 20, 2021. RITES has also started export shipments to Sri Lanka and Mozambique.

17. IIT Kharagpur institutes 8 new student grants

IIT Kharagpur has instituted eight new student grants for the autumn semester scheduled to begin in August 2021 as a group of alumni and their families have raised a corpus of Rs. 2.25 crores. The aids will be utilised to support undergraduate and postgraduate students of various departments. An MoU was signed recently with the former students for instituting the grants.

18. India’s first centralised AC railway terminal

The country’s first centralised air-conditioned railway terminal in Bengaluru would be operational soon. India’s first AC railway terminal, built at an anticipated cost of Rs. 314 crore, is all set to be inaugurated at the end of March 2021. Named after Bharat Ratna Sir M Visvesvaraya, this is Bengaluru’s third railway terminal in Baiyappanahalli area.

19. China aims to vaccinate 70-80% of population

China is aiming to vaccinate 70-80% of its population by the end of this year or mid-2022. With four approved vaccines, China will vaccinate 900 million to 1 billion people. China has approved four domestically made vaccines: two from Sinopharm, one from Sinovac, and another from CanSino. None of the four vaccines has publicly released their final stage trial data.

20. FinTech industry valuation at $150-160 bn

India’s financial technology companies are poised to become three times as valuable in the next five years, reaching a valuation of $150-160 billion by 2025, according to a report. The report details the findings from the study that Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and FICCI undertook to size the value-creation potential and identify imperatives for India’s FinTech growth.

21. Jordan Health Minister steps down

Jordan’s Health Minister Nathir Obeidat stepped down on 13 March 2021 after at least six patients in a hospital COVID-19 patient ward died due to a shortage of oxygen supplies. Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh has ordered an investigation into the deaths. The Middle Eastern kingdom had reported over 465,000 cases and more than 5,200 deaths during the pandemic.

22. PepsiCo’s Dilen Gandhi steps down

Dilen Gandhi, Senior Director and Category Head for Foods at PepsiCo India has stepped down from the role. Anshul Khanna, who has been with PepsiCo for close to two decades, is set to take over Gandhi’s role. Gandhi has worked across large fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies including Procter & Gamble. He moved to PepsiCo India in 2016.

23. Air ‘moderate’ in Noida, Faridabad

The air quality was recorded in the “moderate” category in Noida and Faridabad while it was “poor” in Greater Noida, Ghaziabad and Gurgaon. Pollutants PM 2.5 and PM 10 also remained high in the air of the five immediate neighbours of Delhi. This was stated in the air quality index (AQI) maintained by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

24. Delhi to become EV capital

Delhi’s Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot has claimed that Delhi will become the electric vehicle (EV) capital of the nation citing the decision to install a charging point at every 3 km. The government has already floated a tender to build 100 public charging stations with 500 charging points at prominent locations. These will be operational by December 2021.

25. WHO approves Johnson & Johnson’s Covid vaccine

The World Health Organization (WHO) has approved Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use. It is a one-shot dose to be used as part of the United Nation’s international vaccine distribution effort. It is the third coronavirus vaccine after the two-shot regimens of Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca were approved by WHO.

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