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Current Affairs English

Daily Current Affairs 16th March, 2024

Daily Current Affairs 16 March 2024 for Banking/Insurance/SSC and other related exams.

NATIONAL NEWS

Rajnath inaugurates India Navy’s first independent headquarters ‘Nausena Bhawan’ in Delhi
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated Nausena Bhawan, the newly-constructed headquarters of the Indian Navy, located at Delhi Cantonment. This is the Navy’s first independent headquarters in Delhi.

Rajnath inaugurates India Navy's first independent headquarters 'Nausena Bhawan' in Delhi

  • A consolidated and purpose-built facility such as Nausena Bhawan was necessary as the Navy had operated from 13 different locations.
  • The architectural design of Nausena Bhawan was selected through a countrywide competition to ensure the building’s functionality and aesthetic appeal. Comprising three wings across four stories, the building incorporates innovative construction technologies to optimise efficiency and sustainability.

Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri launches ‘Ethanol 100′
Union Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri launched ‘Ethanol 100′ automotive fuel at Indian Oil’s Irwin Road Service Station in Delhi. 

Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri launches ‘Ethanol 100'

  • The initiative marks ready availability of Ethanol 100 at select 183 retail petrol outlets across five states – Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, New Delhi, and Tamil Nadu.
  • While launching the fuel, the minister said that the launch of Ethanol 100 was inspired by the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to transform ‘Annadatas to Urjadatas’. 

A Decade of Science – Technology Panorama for Aatmanirbhar Bharat” – Report Launched – Capturing Key Technological Advancements in Last Decade
A Decade of Science – Technology Panorama for Aatmanirbhar Bharat” report was unveiled by Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science and Technology (S&T), Minister of State for Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Department of Space (DoS) Dr. Jitendra Singh, in the event held at Vigyan Bhavan.

A Decade of Science - Technology Panorama for Aatmanirbhar Bharat" - Report Launched – Capturing Key Technological Advancements in Last Decade

  • The Technology Panorama report captures the glimpse of technological advancements made by various Ministries and Departments of Government of India. The report is prepared by the Office of Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India (OPSA) under the leadership of Prof. Ajay Kumar Sood (PSA), in collaboration with the Foundation of Advancing Science and Technology (FAST) India with contributions from 22 Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government of India.  
  • The report provides a comprehensive overview of the technological advancements made by various Ministries and Departments of the Government of India over the past decade. It highlights initiatives aimed at systematic capability building and pushing the frontiers of research to ensure future preparedness in various sectors.
  • The report acknowledges the exponential growth of India’s startup ecosystem, reflecting on the journey from a few hundred to over a lakh startups, with the emergence of numerous unicorns across sectors.

India ‘one of the worst autocratisers’: V-Dem report on democracy
India, which was downgraded to the status of an “electoral autocracy” in 2018, has declined even further on multiple metrics to emerge as “one of the worst autocratizers”, according to the ‘Democracy Report 2024’ released by the Gothenburg-based V-Dem Institute that tracks democratic freedoms worldwide.

India ‘one of the worst autocratisers’: V-Dem report on democracy

  • The V-Dem report categorises countries into four regime types based on their score in the Liberal Democratic Index (LDI): Liberal Democracy, Electoral Democracy, Electoral Autocracy, and Closed Autocracy. 
  • Their annual report, which maps each country on a matrix of whether they are turning more democratic (‘democratising’) or more autocratic (‘autocratising’), stated that in 2023, 42 countries (home to 35% of the world’s population) were undergoing autocratisation. 

IIT Delhi and Israel Aerospace Industries join forces for technological advancements
IIT Delhi recently announced a collaboration with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), a significant step in applied research. This partnership, emphasized in an official statement from IIT Delhi, reflects IAI’s commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) in India, aiming to promote innovation and technological advancement through joint projects, training initiatives, and research consultancy.

IIT Delhi and Israel Aerospace Industries join forces for technological advancements

  • The partnership signifies a mutual commitment to leveraging research for progress and technological advancement.
  • Both entities aim to collectively shape India’s technological landscape, in line with IIT Delhi’s dedication to pioneering research.The collaboration aims to drive progress through joint projects, training, and research consultancy.

Government approves E-Vehicle policy to Promote India as a Manufacturing Destination for e-vehicles 
The Government of India has approved a scheme to promote India as a manufacturing destination so that e-vehicles with the latest technology can be manufactured in the country. 

Government approves E-Vehicle policy to Promote India as a Manufacturing Destination for e-vehicles 

  • The policy is designed to attract investments in the e-vehicle space by reputed global EV manufacturers.
  • This will provide Indian consumers with access to latest technology, boost the Make in India initiative, strengthen the EV ecosystem by promoting healthy competition among EV players leading to high volume of production, economies of scale, lower cost of production, reduce imports of crude Oil, lower trade deficit, reduce air pollution, particularly in cities, and will have a positive impact on health and environment. 

Maharashtra the 1st state to buy land in Kashmir for tourism
Maharashtra is set to become the first Indian state to buy land in union territory Jammu and Kashmir in order to construct a tourist facility for the state’s people. The Jammu and Kashmir government has approved the transfer of land to the Maharashtra government for ₹8.16 crore

Maharashtra the 1st state to buy land in Kashmir for tourism

  • Maharashtra Bhawan would be constructed in central Kashmir’s Budgam, first-ever state Bhavan in the valley. The Maharashtra Bhawan will come up on 2.5 acres of land at Ichgam, near Srinagar airport. 
  • Before the abrogation of Article 370, only the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir could buy land in the erstwhile state. However, at that, the government could lease lands for up to 99 years to industries and people from outside.

Rajasthan govt to give free seed kits to boost millets production
The Rajasthan government has decided to distribute free seeds of millets and coarse grains to the state’s farmers in a bid to boost millet production.

Rajasthan govt to give free seed kits to boost millets production

  • Rajasthan government have decided to provide free mini kits of maize seeds to 1.2 million farmers, pearl millet (bajra) seeds to 800,000 farmers, mustard seeds to 700,000 farmers, moong seeds to 400,000 farmers, and sorghum (jowar) and moth seeds to 100,000 farmers,” Chief Minister Bhajan Lal Sharma said.
  • Rajasthan has a share of 26 per cent in total millet production of the country. Pearl millet and sorghum are the main millet crops produced in the state, with Rajasthan accounting for the country’s 41 per cent bajra production.

Tamil Nadu tops illegal trade in shark body parts
Tamil Nadu accounted for almost 65% of the illegal trade in shark body parts, a new analysis of seizures by TRAFFIC and WWF-India between January 2010 and December 2022 has revealed. TRAFFIC is the Trade Records Analysis of Flora and Fauna in Commerce. Tamil Nadu followed by other states such as Karnataka, Gujarat, Kerala, and Maharashtra.

Tamil Nadu tops illegal trade in shark body parts

  • Recently, the factsheet was released titled as ‘Netted in illegal wildlife trade: Sharks of India’, aims to sound the alarm about India’s illegal shark trade and highlight ongoing threats and conservation concerns.
  • According to the factsheet Karnataka, Gujarat, Kerala, and Maharashtra follow Tamil Nadu in that order in illegal shark trade. The confiscated products were destined for Singapore, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Sri Lanka, and mainland China.
  • Of 160 shark species reported in India, only 26 sharks and rays have been given the highest protection status under the amended Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972 by listing them in Schedules I and II.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

India ranked 134 out of 193 countries on United Nations Human Development Index for 2022
India’s ranking on the United Nations Human Development Index (HDI) improved by one position in 2022 to 134 out of 193 countries ranked compared to 135 out of 191 countries in 2021. 

India ranked 134 out of 193 countries on United Nations Human Development Index for 2022

  • On the Gender Inequality Index (GII) 2022, India has been ranked at 108 out of 193 countries with a score of 0.437. Its rank was 122 out of 191 countries with a score of 0.490 in the GII-2021. This shows a significant jump of 14 ranks on the GII-2022 vis-a-vis the GII-2021, the women and child development ministry said.
  • However, the country also has one of the largest gender gaps in its labour force participation rate — a 47.8 per cent difference between women (28.3 per cent) and men (76.1 per cent). India ranked 135 out of 191 countries in 2021 on the back of a marginal increase in its HDI value to 0.644 compared to 0.633 in 2021.
  • The data was published in the United Nations Development Programme’s report titled “Breaking the Gridlock: Reimagining Cooperation in a Polarized World”. It builds on the 2021–2022 Human Development Report findings that saw the global HDI value fall for the first time — two years in a row.


BANKING & FINANCE

RBI unveils draft guidelines on climate-related financial disclosures
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) unveiled draft guidelines on the disclosure framework on climate-related financial risks for regulated entities (REs).

RBI retains repo rate at 6.5 percent for sixth consecutive time

  • These guidelines are set to apply to a wide array of REs, including scheduled commercial banks, Tier IV primary urban co-operative banks (UCBs), foreign banks operating in India, all Indian financial institutions (AIFIs), and top and upper layer non-banking financial companies (NBFCs).
  • These guidelines aren’t unanticipated, given prior developments, such as the RBI’s joining the Central Banks and Supervisors Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS) as a member in April 2021, the release of a discussion paper on climate risk in July 2022, and the Monetary Policy Statement in February 2023. 

India and ADB sign $23 million loan agreement to strengthen fintech ecosystem in India
The Government of India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a $23 million loan agreement to enhance access to quality fintech education, research, and innovation at the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT-City)

ADB and Government of India Sign $200 Million Loan for Brahmaputra River Project

  • The project is expected to establish an International Fintech Institute (IFI) to strengthen fintech education, boost start-up success rates, and drive fintech research and innovation. The IFI, set to be established in partnership with globally reputed institutes and universities, will offer industry-aligned fintech training programmes that meet international standards. 
  • The institute will strengthen innovation and entrepreneurship by supporting startups, especially women-led, through incubation and acceleration services. It will also collaborate with industry and venture capital funds to support the growth of fintech startups.

Arya.ag partners Shivalik Bank for commodity financing
Grain commerce platform Arya.ag has partnered with Shivalik Small Finance Bank to assist farmers, agro-processors, and micro-enterprises financially. 

Arya.ag partners Shivalik Bank for commodity financing

  • Through this partnership, Arya.ag acts as a business correspondent for the bank to facilitate over ₹200 crore in warehouse receipt financing in the current financial year. 
  • The initiative will help expand the bank’s reach, bringing essential funding to the agricultural ecosystem across India. Partnerships like these democratise access to financial services, ensuring equitable pricing and a consistent supply of credit for farmers and Agri MSMEs. 


BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Index Numbers of Wholesale Price in India for the Month of February, 2024 (Base Year: 2011-12)
The annual rate of inflation based on all India Wholesale Price Index (WPI) number is 0.20% (Provisional) for the month of February, 2024 (over February, 2023). Positive rate of inflation in February, 2024 is primarily due to increase in prices of food articles, crude petroleum & natural gas, electricity, machinery & equipment and motor vehicles, trailers & semi-trailers etc. 

Retail Inflation eases to 5.09 per cent in February, 2024

  • The WPI for all commodities increased by 0.07% in February 2024 compared to January 2024.
  • Primary articles witnessed a 0.22% increase in index, driven by price rises in minerals, crude petroleum & natural gas, and food articles.
  • Fuel & Power experienced a 0.19% index increase, mainly due to higher prices of electricity and mineral oils.
  • Manufactured Products remained unchanged, with varied price movements across different NIC two-digit groups.
  • Food Index rose from 178.0 to 178.3, resulting in an inflation rate increase from 3.79% to 4.09%.

Reliance to buy Paramount’s 13% stake in Viacom18 for Rs 4,286 crore
US film and television giant Paramount Global announced it would sell its stake in Indian media venture Viacom18 to another Indian entertainment firm, Reliance.

Reliance to buy Paramount's 13% stake in Viacom18 for Rs 4,286 crore

  • The $517 million deal would transfer Paramount’s entire 13 percent stake to Reliance, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, a US regulator.
  • Completion of the transaction remains subject to regulatory approval, as well as the finalization of a transaction announced in February between Reliance, Viacom18 and Disney, Paramount said.

Fitch raises India GDP growth estimate for FY24 to 7.8% 
Ratings agency Fitch raised India’s GDP growth estimates for FY24 and FY25, as compared with its previous outlook, citing growing domestic demand and improved business and consumer confidence.

RBI retains repo rate at 6.5 percent for sixth consecutive time

  • Terming the upward revisions “sizeable”, the ratings agency changed the FY24 estimate to 7.8% from 6.9% in December 2023, and the FY25 estimate to 7%, from 6.5% a quarter ago. It also lowered its expectations of future rate cuts.
  • With GDP growth having exceeded 8% for three consecutive quarters, we expect an easing in growth momentum in the final quarter of the current fiscal year, implying an estimate of 7.8% for growth in FY24. 


SPORTS

Ranji Trophy 2024: Mumbai win title after beating Vidarbha, end 8-year long wait
Mumbai, won the Ranji Trophy 2024 after beating Vidarbha by 169 runs at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. It also happened to be their 42nd title for Mumbai, which showed why they are deemed as a brute force in Indian domestic cricket.

Ranji Trophy 2024: Mumbai win title after beating Vidarbha, end 8-year long wait

  • Mumbai also ended their 8-year-long wait to win the championship after they last got their hands on the title back in the 2015-16 edition. 
  • Vidarbha won both their Ranji finals earlier, but this time around, they bowed down in front of Ajinkya Rahane’s men. Rahane became the 26th Mumbai captain to win the Ranji Trophy.

Verstappen wins F1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2014
Max Verstappen won the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix from pole position as Red Bull continued their dominant start to the Formula One season with a second one-two in as many races.

Verstappen wins F1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2014

  • Mexican Sergio Perez was runner-up under the Jeddah Corniche floodlights, last year’s winner taking the chequered flag 13.643 seconds behind his triple world champion team mate.
  • It was the first time Verstappen, winner of a record 19 of 22 races last year, has won the first two races of a season.


APPOINTMENTS

Palestinian President Abbas appoints Mohammed Mustafa as prime minister
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has appointed his longtime economic adviser Mohammed Mustafa to be the next prime minister in the face of US pressure to reform the Palestinian Authority as part of Washington’s post-war vision for Gaza.

Palestinian President Abbas appoints Mohammed Mustafa as prime minister

  • Mustafa, a US-educated economist and political independent, now faces the task of forming a new government for the PA, which has limited powers in parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. 
  • Mustafa replaces former Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh who, along with his government, resigned in February citing the need for change amid Israel’s war on Gaza and escalating violence in the occupied West Bank.


AWARDS

Chameli Devi Jain Award 2024 for Outstanding Woman Media Person given jointly to Greeshma Kuthar and Ritika Chopra  
Chameli Devi Jain Award 2024 for Outstanding Woman Media Person of the Year has been given jointly to independent journalist Greeshma Kuthar, and Ritika Chopra of the Indian Express.

Chameli Devi Jain Award 2024 for Outstanding Woman Media Person given jointly to Greeshma Kuthar and Ritika Chopra  

  • Kuthar has been awarded for her deeply-researched long-form investigative reporting from conflict areas such as Manipur. 
  • Chopra has been awarded for her in-depth investigative stories in the fields of education and government policy.
  • The award is named after freedom fighter and community reformer Chameli Devi Jain who was imprisoned during India’s Independence movement.

Ratan Tata awarded PV Narasimha Rao Memorial Award for philanthropy work
Ratan Tata, former chairman of Tata Sons, was bestowed with the prestigious PV Narasimha Rao Memorial Award for his outstanding philanthropic contributions. The ceremony took place in Mumbai. 

Ratan Tata awarded PV Narasimha Rao Memorial Award for philanthropy work

  • Ratan Tata, an eminent personality in the business world, has been recognized for his remarkable and relentless efforts in the field of philanthropy. His contributions have positively impacted numerous communities across the country.
  • The PV Narasimha Rao Memorial Award, named after the former Prime Minister of India, is an award of recognition for individuals who have demonstrated exceptional dedication to social welfare and humanitarian causes.


OBITUARIES

Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdas, former Indian Navy chief, passes away
Former Navy Chief Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdas, a war hero remembered for a host of accomplishments, including his role in the 1971 India-Pakistan war, died in Telangana. He was 90. 

Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdas, former Indian Navy chief, passes away

  • Ramdas, who was the navy chief during 1990-93, is survived by his wife Lalita, their three daughters and their families. He was commissioned into the Indian Navy on September 1, 1953, and retired on September 30, 1993.
  • During his illustrious career spanning over 40 years, the Admiral held several important appointments such as Commanding Officer INS Beas during the 1971 Indo-Pak War, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet, Controller Warship Production and Acquisition, Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff, FOC-in-C (South) and FOC-in-C (East), and rose to the helm as the 13th #CNS of the #IndianNavy on 01 Dec 1990. 


ENVIRONMENT

Over 1500 skeletons discovered at construction site in Germany’s Nuremberg
Amid excavations preceding the construction of a retirement home at Germany’s Nuremberg, archaeologists have made a significant discovery and found over 1,500 skeletons of plague victims in mass graves. This is likely to be the largest mass burial of plague victims ever found in Europe.

Over 1500 skeletons discovered at construction site in Germany’s Nuremberg

  • Though precise dating is pending, initial details claim that the eight plague pits were established around the first half of the 17th century.
  • Some skeletons show signs of green discoloration, possibly attributed to waste from a nearby copper mill, highlighting environmental factors impacting the site’s preservation. Experts are conducting comprehensive analyses, considering both historical and environmental factors to gain a holistic understanding of the site.


BOOKS & AUTHORS

Parshottam Rupala releases Book on Sagar Parikrama at Rajkot, Gujarat 

Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry Dairying Parshottam Rupala release the Book and Video on “Sagar Parikrama” at Engineering Association, Rajkot, Gujarat.

Parshottam Rupala releases Book on Sagar Parikrama at Rajkot, Gujarat

  • The book aims to chronicle the Sagar Parikrama Yatra, encompassing diverse elements such as the maritime route, cultural and geographical explorations, and notable impacts from all 12 phases of the journey. It contains seven chapters covering the genesis of Sagar Parikrama, an overview of the journey along the West and East coasts, and key takeaways.
  • The Sagar Parikrama Yatra spanned over 12 captivating phases in just 44 days, covering an impressive coastal length of 7,986 kilometers out of 8,118 kilometers. The journey touched 3,071 fishing villages across 80 coastal districts of all coastal states and union territories, spanning from Mandvi, Gujarat, to Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, including the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.


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