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Current Affairs English

Daily Current Affairs 15th March, 2024

Daily Current Affairs 15 March 2024 for Banking/Insurance/SSC and other related exams.

NATIONAL NEWS

PM Modi Launches PM-SURAJ Portal To Empower Marginalized Communities By Extending Credit Support
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the ‘Pradhan Mantri Samajik Utthan and Rozgar Adharit Jankalyan’ (PM-SURAJ) national portal during an event organized by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
PM Modi Launches PM-SURAJ Portal To Empower Marginalized Communities By Extending Credit Support

  • The PM-SURAJ portal symbolizes the ministry’s dedication to placing the underprivileged at the forefront of development initiatives.
  • The portal signifies the government’s commitment to extending credit support and empowering one lakh entrepreneurs from disadvantaged communities.
  • While launching the portal, the Prime Minister also disbursed around ₹720 crore worth of credit to 1 lakh beneficiaries from Scheduled Caste, Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes, and Other Backward Classes communities and Safai Karamcharis, residing in over 500 districts across the country. 

Union Minister Anurag Thakur launches Prasar Bharti – Shared Audio Visuals for Broadcast and Dissemination (PB-SHABD)
Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting  Anurag Singh Thakur launched PB-SHABD, a news sharing service from Prasar Bharati and websites of DD News and Akashvani News as well as updated News on Air mobile app at an event in National Media Centre, New Delhi.
Union Minister Anurag Thakur launches Prasar Bharti - Shared Audio Visuals for Broadcast and Dissemination (PB-SHABD)

  • Anurag Thakur launches Prasar Bharti – Shared Audio Visuals for Broadcast and Dissemination (PB-SHABD). 
  • This may include newspapers, periodicals, TV channels and even social media news channels registered with the I&B Ministry, and the content provided will include newsfeed, videos, audio, text and images, available on the websites of DD News and Akashvani News as well as updated News on Air mobile app, as per officials. However, the content won’t be available to end users.
  • The minister said the SHABD service is being offered free of cost for the first year as an introductory offer and will provide news stories in all major Indian languages across 50 categories.

Nation-wide talent hunt scheme KIRTI launched
Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, Anurag Singh Thakur inaugurated the unique Khelo India Rising Talent Identification (KIRTI) programme amidst much enthusiasm at the Sector 7 sports complex, in Chandigarh
Nation-wide talent hunt scheme KIRTI launched

  • Aimed at school children between nine and 18 years, the nation-wide scheme will have two main objectives: to hunt talent from every nook and corner of the country and to use sports as a tool to curb addiction towards drugs and other gadgetry distractions.
  • KIRTI made a solid launch across 50 centres in India. Fifty thousand applicants are being assessed in the first phase across 10 sports, including athletics, boxing, wrestling, hockey, football and wrestling. KIRTI aims to conduct 20 lakh assessments across the country throughout the year to identify talent through notified Talent Assessment Centres.

NITI Aayog Launches ‘Vocal for Local’ Initiative Fostering Grassroots Entrepreneurship and Self- reliance
In a move towards bolstering local economies and fostering grassroots entrepreneurship, NITI Aayog launched the ‘Vocal for Local’ initiative under its Aspirational Blocks Programme. 
NITI Aayog Launches ‘Vocal for Local' Initiative Fostering Grassroots Entrepreneurship and Self- reliance

 

  • This initiative aims to encourage a spirit of self-reliance among the populace of Aspirational Blocks, propelling them towards sustainable growth and prosperity.
  • The logo for ‘Aakanksha’ was also unveiled under the ‘Vocal for Local’ initiative by Prof. Ramesh Chand, Member, NITI Aayog in presence of Shri. B.V.R. Subrahmanyam, CEO, NITI Aayog. As a part of this initiative, indigenous local products from 500 Aspirational Blocks have been mapped and consolidated under Aakanksha. 

Cabinet approves Inter-Governmental Framework Agreement India and United Arab Emirates on cooperation for the empowerment and operation of the India-Middle East Europe Economic Corridor
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave its Ex-post facto approval to the Inter-Governmental Framework Agreement (IGFA) that was signed on 13th February, 2024 during the High Level visit between the Government of Republic of India and the Government of the United Arab Emirates on Cooperation for the empowerment and operation of the India-Middle East Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC).
Cabinet approves Inter-Governmental Framework Agreement India and United Arab Emirates on cooperation for the empowerment and operation of the India-Middle East Europe Economic Corridor

  • The aim of the IGFA is to enhance the bilateral relations and to further strengthen the relations between the two countries in the Ports, Maritime and Logistics sectors.
  • The IGFA includes areas of cooperation between the two countries with the objective of exploring further potential of future joint investment and collaboration in respect of development of the IMEC.

Ministry of Heavy Industries signs an MOU with Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee
Ministry of Heavy Industries (MHI) and the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee (IIT Roorkee) signed a Memorandum of understanding (MoU) to work together to encourage innovation and advance the automotive and electric vehicle (EV) sector. The MoU was signed by Prof. K.K Pant on behalf of IIT Roorkee & Shri Vijay Mittal JS MHI on behalf of the Ministry.
Ministry of Heavy Industries signs an MOU with Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee

  • This MoU represents a joint effort to launch advanced initiatives for creating a Centre of Excellence (CoE) and an Industry Accelerator at IIT Roorkee under the Scheme for Enhancement of Competitiveness in the Indian Capital Goods Sector Phase II of MHI.
  • This collaboration seeks to utilize the combined knowledge and resources of both organizations to support groundbreaking projects that will influence the future of transportation.

Cabinet approves signing of 3 MoUs between India and Bhutan
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Bhutan on extending co­operation in the field of Energy Efficiency and Energy Conservation Measures.
Cabinet approves signing of 3 MoUs between India and Bhutan

  • As part of this MoU, India aims to assist Bhutan to enhance energy efficiency in the household sector by promoting star labeling programme developed by Bureau of Energy Efficiency.
  • Yhe Cabinet also approved the signing of an Agreement between Bhutan Food and Drug Authority (BFDA), Ministry of Health, Royal Government of Bhutan and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) regarding cooperation in the areas of food safety.
  • The cabinet has also given its approval of signing of Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of India and the Royal Government of Bhutan on General Supply of Petroleum, Oil, Lubricants (POL) and related products from India to Bhutan. It aims to benefit India and its citizens with improved economic and commercial linkages with Bhutan irrespective of any gender, class or income bias, particularly in the area of hydrocarbon sector.

RPF leads in female personnel among Central Paramilitary Forces
The Railway Protection Force (RPF) has emerged as a frontrunner among central paramilitary forces in terms of female representation(9%). This achievement marks a notable departure from the traditional male-dominated landscape within such organizations.
RPF leads in female personnel among Central Paramilitary Forces

  • With women now constituting a remarkable 10 percent of its personnel, the RPF has set a new benchmark in gender diversity within central paramilitary forces. 
  • According to RPF Director General Arun Kumar, this milestone reflects the result of strategic recruitment drives and a concerted effort towards fostering inclusivity within the force.
  • Comparing the female representation across various central paramilitary forces sheds light on the notable progress made by the RPF. As of March 2019, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) boasted the highest percentage of women at 5.55 percent. However, with the recent surge in female recruits, the RPF has surpassed this figure, signaling a transformative shift in the landscape of gender representation within security forces.

Centre replaces FAME with EMPS to promote e2W, e3W, 4-wheelers kept out
The Centre announced a new scheme, the Electric Mobility Promotion Scheme (EMPS), 2024, to promote the sale of electric two-wheelers (e2W) and three-wheelers (e3W) in the country.
Centre replaces FAME with EMPS to promote e2W, e3W, 4-wheelers kept out

  • Heavy Industries Minister Mahendra Nath Pandey said that the Centre has allocated Rs 500 crore for the new scheme, which will be valid for four months from now.
  • The upcoming scheme is set to debut on April 1, supplanting the current Faster Adoption and Manufacturing Electric Vehicles- Phase-II initiative.
  • To address the increasing demand and alleviate the burden on EV makers, the government has lowered the maximum subsidy cap for e2W to Rs 10,000 per vehicle from the previous Rs 22,500, and for e3W to Rs 50,000 from Rs 111,505. Both categories of vehicles will receive an incentive of Rs 5,000 per kilowatt-hour (kWh).


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

India jumps 14 ranks on Gender Inequality Index 2022, ranking 108 out of 193 countries
India stands at rank 108 out of 193 countries, with a score of 0.437, according to the Gender Inequality Index 2022 released by the United Nations Development Programme.
India jumps 14 ranks on Gender Inequality Index 2022, ranking 108 out of 193 countries

  • On the Gender Inequality Index (GII) 2022, India stands at rank 108 out of 193 countries with a score of 0.437. India stood at rank 122 out of 191 countries with a score of 0.490 in the Gender Inequality Index 2021. This shows a significant jump of 14 ranks on GII 2022 vis-a-vis GII 2021.
  • Over the last 10 years, India’s rank in GII has become consistently better, indicating progressive improvement in achieving gender equality in the country. In 2014, this rank was 127, which has now become 108.

China, Iran, Russia launch joint drills near Gulf of Oman
The navies of China, Iran and Russia have begun joint drills in the Gulf of Oman, their fifth common military exercise in recent years.
China, Iran, Russia launch joint drills near Gulf of Oman

  • The theme of “Security Belt-2024” exercise is “Jointly Building Peace and Security”. 
  • The exercise is divided into three phases: harbor phase, sea phase, and summarize phase. The main focus is on anti-piracy and search and rescue operations.
  • Envoys from Azerbaijan, India, Kazakhstan, Oman, Pakistan, and South Africa are attending the exercise as observers, signaling recognition of the drill’s objectives.

Indian Navy participates in Exercise Cutlass Express 24
The Indian Navy participated in the Exercise Cutlass Express – 24 (CE-24) which was held at Port Victoria,Seychelles from 26 February -08 March 2024. The exercise aims to test the participating countries Naval forces capabilities in maritime interdiction, information sharing through a series of shore-based and at-sea training events. 
Indian Navy participates in Exercise Cutlass Express 24

  • The Indian Navy was represented by INS Tir,the lead ship of the First Training Squadron. INS Tir was led by  Senior Officer, First Training Squadron, Capt Anshul Kishore. 
  • Exercise Cutlass Express is a multinational maritime exercise sponsored by the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and led by U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. Sixth Fleet. 
  • The exercise seeks to promote maritime security and cooperation in the strategic waters of the East African coast and the Western Indian Ocean.

India, Singapore Sign MOU On Law And Dispute Resolution
India and Singapore signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation between the two countries over law and dispute resolution. 
India, Singapore Sign MOU On Law And Dispute Resolution

  • The MoU is aimed at boosting cooperation between the two countries on issues, including international commercial dispute resolution, a press release issued by the Ministry of Law and Justice read.
  • The agreement was signed in a virtual meeting, in which India was represented by Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal while Singapore was represented by Edwin Tong, the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law for the Singaporean government.


BANKING & FINANCE

RBI asks Federal Bank, South Indian Bank to stop new co-branded credit card issuances
The Reserve Bank of India has asked Federal Bank and South Indian Bank to stop issuing new co-branded credit cards, marking a step towards increased regulatory scrutiny. Both banks also clarified that they will continue to serve existing customers with co-branded credit cards.
RBI asks Federal Bank, South Indian Bank to stop new co-branded credit card issuances

  • Federal Bank said it is rectifying the deficiencies, and will await regulatory approval before issuing new cards. Nevertheless, the bank will continue offering credit cards to both new and existing customers in the non-co-branded segment.
  • Likewise, South Indian Bank also informed the stock exchanges that it will not enroll new customers for its co-branded products till regulatory requirements are complied with.

RBI imposes penalty on Bank of India, Bandhan Bank
The Reserve Bank of India said it has imposed a penalty of Rs 1.4 crore on Bank of India for non-compliance with certain regulatory norms. 
30 banks join RBI UDGAM portal for unclaimed deposits

  • It has also imposed a penalty of Rs 29.55 lakh on private sector lender Bandhan Bank for non-compliance with certain directions. 
  • The penalty on Bank of India has been imposed for non-compliance with the RBI’s directions related to ‘interest rate on deposits’, ‘customer service in banks’, ‘interest rate on advances’, and contravention of provisions of Credit lnformation Companies Rules, 2006. 

Share of private sector banks in deposits rises to 34% 
According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data, better customer relation management and encouraging interest rate offerings have pushed up the share of private sector banks in total deposits from 25 per cent at the end of fiscal year 2017-18 to 34 per cent as of December 2023. 

Share of private sector banks in deposits rises to 34% 

  • Conversely, share of public sector banks has decreased from 66 per cent at the end of 2017-18 to 59 per cent in December 2023. Some bankers believe that private banks have been able to achieve this feat owing to their ability to rapidly raise interest rates on fixed deposits.
  • Deposits at private banks increased by an astounding 135% to Rs. 68.4 trillion by December 2023, up from Rs. 29 trillion in March 2018. Public sector banks’ deposits increased by 40% to Rs. 116.5 trillion as of December 2023, up from Rs. 76.5 trillion in March 2018.

India, ADB Sign $181 Million Deal to improve livability, mobility in Ahmedabad
The Government of India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a $181 million loan to build quality infrastructure and services toward improving urban livability and mobility in the peri-urban areas of Ahmedabad city in Gujarat
ADB and Government of India Sign $200 Million Loan for Brahmaputra River Project

  • The project aims to make peri-urban areas of Ahmedabad livable, environmentally sustainable, and efficient with robust physical and social infrastructure, a vibrant economy, and a distinct identity as a preferred investment destination.
  • The project will benefit urban poor, women, and migrant workers through improved urban services and urban governance. It will construct 166 km of water distribution network, 126 km of climate-resilient stormwater drainage, 300 km of sewerage systems, and four sewage treatment plants. 
  • The project is also supporting 10 junction improvements along the existing Sardar Patel Ring Road to improve connectivity of peri-urban areas to Ahmedabad city.


BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Numaligarh Refinery opens its first-ever overseas office in Bangladesh
India’s Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) opened its liaison office in Dhaka. This is the first overseas office of NRL.The liaison office was formally inaugurated by the High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh Pranay Verma in the presence of NRL managing director Bhaskar Jyoti Phukan. 
Numaligarh Refinery opens its first-ever overseas office in Bangladesh

  • The India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline Project was jointly inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh Premier Sheikh Hasina virtually on March 18, 2023. This project marks the first supply of petroleum products from a cross-border pipeline to Bangladesh.
  • The pipeline has a capacity to transport 1 Million Metric Tonnes Per Annum (MMTPA) of high-speed diesel and has been completed at a total estimated cost of over Rs 375 crore. Over Rs 285 crore has been spent for the construction of the Bangladesh portion of the pipeline under an Indian government grant.


APPOINTMENTS

President appoints former IAS officers Gyanesh Kumar, Sukhbir Singh Sandhu as new Election Commissioners
President Droupadi Murmu appointed retired IAS officers Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu as the new Election Commissioners. The two names were picked by a panel chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 
President appoints former IAS officers Gyanesh Kumar, Sukhbir Singh Sandhu as new Election Commissioners

  • The two vacancies in the Election Commission were created after the retirement of Anup Chandra Pandey in February and the surprise resignation of Arun Goel recently, days ahead of Lok Sabha polls 2024.
  • Gyanesh Kumar will replace Rajiv Kumar as the next Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) in February 2025. 
  • The new commissioners will join their offices to help the poll body conduct these polls. The two appointments come day before the Supreme Court is slated to hear petitions challenging the selection process.


SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Agray’ and ‘Akshay’ ships launched to augment Indian Navy’s anti-submarine operations
To augment Indian Navy’s anti-submarine operations, two ships ‘Agray’ and ‘Akshay’ were launched nearly five years after the Ministry of Defence signed a contract with Kolkata-based PSU GRSE for production of eight such ASW Shallow Water Crafts (SWCs).
Agray’ and ‘Akshay’ ships launched to augment Indian Navy’s anti-submarine operations

  • Agray and Akshay, named after erstwhile Abhay Class Corvettes Agray and Akshay of Indian Navy are the 5th and 6th ships in the SWC project series.
  • These Arnala class of ships will replace the in-service Abhay class ASW Corvettes of Indian Navy and are designed to undertake anti-submarine operations in coastal waters, Low Intensity Maritime Operations (LIMO) and Mine Laying Operations. 
  • The ASW SWC ships are 77.6-metre- long and 105-metre wide with a displacement of 900 tonnes and endurance of over 1800 NM.


OBITUARIES

Padma Shri Kapildev Prasad passes away
Kapildev Prasad, a renowned artisan and Padma awardee for his contributions to the handloom industry and the revival of Bababuti sarees, passed away in Basavanbigha village, Bihar Sharif.
Padma Shri Kapildev Prasad passes away

  • Kapildev Prasad dedicated his life to preserving and promoting the art of handloom and Bababuti sarees, a traditional weaving craft passed down from his ancestors. He played a vital role in distributing the skills and knowledge of this intricate art form, transforming it into a sustainable means of employment for many.
  • Bawan Booti, which literally translates to “52 motifs,” is a unique weaving technique that involves intricate hand embroidery on cotton or tasar cloth. The sarees created through this method are adorned with 52 similar motifs, each representing symbols from Buddhist religion and culture.

Renowned singer Sadi Mohammad dies aged 70
Renowned Rabindra Sangeet singer Sadi Mohammad passed away in Dhakaat the age of 70. 

Renowned singer Sadi Mohammad dies aged 70

  • Sadi Mohammad served as the director of the cultural organisation Rabi Raag. He is the son of Liberation War martyr Salimullah and Jebunnesa Salimullah. 

Paul Alexander: ‘Man in the iron lung’ dies at the age of 78
Paul Alexander, who was diagnosed with polio at the age of 6 and lived most of his life in an iron lung has passed away. He was 78.
Paul Alexander: 'Man in the iron lung' dies at the age of 78

  • Alexander managed to train himself to breathe on his own for part of the day, earned a law degree, wrote a book about his life, built a big following on social media and inspired people around the globe with his positive outlook.
  • Alexander contracted polio in 1952, when he was 6. He became paralysed from the neck down and he began using an iron lung, a cylinder that encased his body as the air pressure in the chamber forced air into and out of his lungs. A book Alexander wrote about his life, “Three Minutes for a Dog: My Life in an Iron Lung,” was published in 2020. 


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