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Current Affairs English

Daily Current Affairs 22nd March, 2024

Daily Current Affairs 22 March 2024 for Banking/Insurance/SSC and other related exams.

NATIONAL NEWS

MSRTC launches India’s first LNG-powered bus
Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde inaugurated India’s first Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) powered bus, which will be operated by Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation. 
MSRTC launches India's first LNG-powered bus

  • A release from the state-run transport corporation said 5000 of its diesel vehicles will be converted to LNG alternative fuel vehicles in phases, adding that 34 per cent of its total expenditure is for diesel for its fleet of 16,000 buses.
  • MSRTC has signed an MoU with M/s Kings Gas for the conversion of buses to LNG. It includes usage and supply of fuel. MSRTC, which ferries around 60 lakh passengers everyday, will set up LNG distribution facilities at 90 depots across the state. 

DEPwD and Council of Architecture Collaborate to Enhance Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities
 The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) is pleased to announce a groundbreaking collaboration with the Council of Architecture (COA) aimed at promoting inclusivity and accessibility for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in public spaces and buildings.

DEPwD and Council of Architecture Collaborate to Enhance Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities

  • The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between DEPwD and COA signifies a joint commitment to conduct workshops, seminars, and training programs. These initiatives will include the incorporation of mandatory course modules in the Bachelor of Architecture curriculum, fostering awareness about creating accessible environments for PwDs.
  • As part of this partnership, COA and DEPwD recently concluded a certified Training of Master Trainers on Universal Accessibility. The primary objective of this training program is to empower architects, academicians etc to serve as access auditors in the built environment.

MoU Signed Between ICAR And Dhanuka Agritech Limited To Boost Agricultural Technology
In a move to enhance agricultural practices, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and Dhanuka Agritech Limited signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The agreement was signed by Deputy Director General (Agricultural Extension) of ICAR, Dr. U.S. Gautam, and Chairman of Dhanuka Agritech Limited, Dr. R.G. Aggarwal.

MoU Signed Between ICAR And Dhanuka Agritech Limited To Boost Agricultural Technology

  • The agreement aims to utilize the efficiency of both institutions to deliver new technology to farmers with small land holdings. Dhanuka Agritech will provide agricultural production training to farmers by partnering with central institutes, ATARIs and KVKs.
  • The aim is to work together on a new method of agricultural production that is climate-friendly, and to promote natural farming in the changing environment. 

NIXI and MeitY unveils BhashaNet portal on Universal Acceptance Day
Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) have announced the launch of the BhashaNet portal at the Universal Acceptance Day event. 

NIXI and MeitY unveils BhashaNet portal on Universal Acceptance Day

  • BhashaNet aims to create a multilingual internet where local language website names and email IDs work seamlessly everywhere. The portal is aimed at advancing the vision of digital inclusion. The event was held with the active support of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
  • The theme of the event, “BhashaNet: Impetus Towards Universal Acceptance,” highlighted MeitY/NIXI’s unwavering commitment towards ensuring that, regardless of linguistic or textual barriers, everyone can fully participate in the digital world. 

CCS gives nod to 5th generation aircraft project worth ₹15,000 crore
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) gave nod to a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) project for designing and developing Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) to fulfil Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) requirement for a fifth generation stealth fighter jet.

CCS gives nod to 5th generation aircraft project worth ₹15,000 crore

  • Besides that, the CCS in its meeting, has also cleared proposals for acquisition of 34 new Advanced Light Helicopters Dhruv for the Indian Army and Indian Coast Guard. Of these, the Army will get 25 of the copters while Coast Guard remaining nine of them, said sources are aware of the development.
  • Meanwhile, the AMCA project, believed to cost around ₹15,000 crore, would be developed by DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Agency in collaboration with various private and public entities to manufacture five prototypes in about five years, government sources said.

VMC initiates India and Asia’s First Certified Green Muni Bond for Sustainable Water Infrastructure
The Vadodara Municipal Corporation has achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first municipal corporation in Asia to raise 1 billion rupees through certified green municipal bonds. 

VMC initiates India and Asia's First Certified Green Muni Bond for Sustainable Water Infrastructure

  • This landmark initiative underscores Gujarat’s commitment to sustainable urban development and environmental stewardship.
  • With a semi-annual coupon rate of 7.90 per cent, the municipal corporation invited bids from investors earlier in the day, setting a new standard in green finance. 
  • The proceeds from this historic bond issuance will be earmarked for the construction and enhancement of liquid wastewater management infrastructure throughout the city, addressing critical environmental challenges.

Ministry of Rural Development and BFIL Forge Alliance to Boost Livelihoods in Rural Livestock and Fisheries Sector
Ministry of Rural Development, GOI, and Bharat Financial Inclusion Limited (BFIL) have solidified their commitment to boosting livelihood interventions under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) through a Non-Financial Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). 

Ministry of Rural Development, GoI signs MoU with the Bharat Financial Inclusion Limited to synergize the livelihood intervention in livestock sector

  • Under the MoU’s framework, an initial step involves establishing a centralized Project Monitoring Unit (PMU) to support DAY-NRLM at the national level. State-level PMUs will also be set up in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Bihar. 
  • These units will comprise specialists in livestock and market linkage, tailored to each state’s requirements. BFIL will additionally reinforce the role of Pashu Sakhis (last-mile extension workers at the village level) developed under DAY-NRLM to provide essential healthcare services to animals.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

India elected as co-chair of Digital Innovation Board at International Telecommunication Union
Dr Neeraj Mittal, Secretary, Department of Telecommunications, Government of India, led a high-level delegation to Geneva for a series of crucial meetings at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Headquarters from March 18-20, 2024.

India elected as co-chair of Digital Innovation Board at International Telecommunication Union

  • The visit focused on fostering collaboration and exploring innovative initiatives in the telecommunications and information and communication technology (ICT) sectors. 
  • The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has selected 17 organizations from around the world to host Network of Acceleration Centres with the Global Innovation Centre at ITU Area Office and Innovation Centre, New Delhi, India to coordinate the efforts of Network Acceleration centres around the globe. 
  • DoT Secretary, Dr Neeraj Mittal, was unanimously elected as co-chair of the Digital Innovation Board of ITU, formed under the aegis of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Alliance for Digital Development. It comprises Ministers and Vice Ministers of Telecom/ICT of 23 member countries of ITU, spanning Asia, Europe, Africa, and North and South America.

India, Mozambique, Tanzania Joint Maritime Exercise Begins
Two Indian naval vessels, INS Tir and INS Sujata, are gearing up to participate in the upcoming India Mozambique Tanzania (IMT) Tri-Lateral Exercise. Scheduled from March 21 to March 29, 2024, this joint maritime exercise aims to strengthen cooperation between India, Mozambique, and Tanzania.

India, Mozambique, Tanzania Joint Maritime Exercise Begins

  • The current edition of the exercise is divided into two phases. The harbor phase, scheduled from March 21 to March 24, will involve INS Tir and INS Sujata engaging with their counterparts at the ports of Zanzibar (Tanzania) and Maputo (Mozambique).
  • This phase includes joint training activities such as damage control, firefighting, Visit Board Search and Seizure procedures, medical lectures, casualty evacuation, and diving operations.


BANKING & FINANCE

HDFC Life International launches health plan for overseas Indian students
GIFT IFSC based HDFC Life International announced the launch of a comprehensive US Dollar Student Health Insurance Plan, under the plan name ‘Global Student Health Care’. The product is designed for students who are currently studying abroad.

HDFC Life International launches health plan for overseas Indian students

  • The Global Student Health Care plan with cashless facility offers comprehensive coverage, allowing worldwide access to top-notch medical facilities outside the home country, with an extensive network of hospitals, clinics, doctors, and professionals.
  • The plan enables customers to access top private medical facilities and services while avoiding the conventional hassle of going through lengthy appointment wait times, as seen in various countries. Enhancing the usefulness of this plan is its cashless facility that makes the claims process convenient for the student.

Bajaj Allianz General launches GenAI-powered bot ‘Insurance Samjho’
Leading private general insurer Bajaj Allianz General Insurance launched “Insurance Samjho”, a Gen AI powered bot designed to simplify insurance complexities for customers.

Bajaj Allianz General launches GenAI-powered bot 'Insurance Samjho’

  • The bot aims to address the dissatisfaction of policyholders during claim settlement arising due to lack of understanding, intricate details and fine print of the insurance policy.
  • “Insurance Samjho” addresses this challenge by offering a user-friendly interface with intuitive AI capabilities to break down complex insurance terms into simple, conversational language.

Airtel Payments Bank partners with Noise and Mastercard to unveil ‘A New Way To Pay’ with Airtel Payments Bank Smart Watch
Airtel Payments Bank collaborated with Noise, a smartwatch brand, and Mastercard, a global technology company in the payments space, to unveil A New Way to Pay. The entities have come together to launch a Smart Watch that aims to make contactless payments. 

Airtel Payments Bank partners with Noise and Mastercard to unveil ‘A New Way To Pay’ with Airtel Payments Bank Smart Watch

  • Bringing the power of Tap and Pay to every wrist, the initiative will empower users to unlock the full potential of smart wearables and democratise convenient financial solutions, reads a company statement. 
  • The new smart watch named Airtel Payments Bank Smart Watch is now available to be purchased at Rs 2,999.   Customers who have a savings account with Airtel Payments Bank can purchase this smart watch from the Airtel Thanks App. 

DBS Bank India announces $250 million lending support for start-ups, ‘new economy’ companies
DBS Bank India announced a lending commitment of USD 250 million for new-age start-ups. The initiative is part of the bank’s focus on fostering innovation and entrepreneurship within the country’s thriving start-up ecosystem.

DBS Bank India announces $250 million lending support for start-ups, ‘new economy’ companies

  • The Indian start-up sector, a foundational pillar of the country’s development goals, has seen significant expansion over the years with over 90,000 start-ups and more than 100 unicorns as of 2024. 
  • Despite their growing resilience, access to capital for these companies in the current dynamic environment presents an ongoing challenge. 
  • Recognising the disruptive power of the start-up segment, particularly those harnessing emerging technologies, DBS Bank India has earmarked lending support of USD 250 million, focusing on enterprises that are set to redefine industry standards with innovative solutions.


BUSINESS & ECONOMY

All-India Consumer Price Index Numbers for Agricultural and Rural Labourers – February, 2024
The All-India Consumer Price Index for Agricultural Laborers and Rural Laborers (Base: 1986-87=100) remained steady in February 2024, with figures of 1258 and 1269, respectively.

All-India Consumer Price Index Numbers for Agricultural and Rural Labourers – February, 2024

  • There was a varied pattern observed in the indices of constituent States. In the case of CPI-AL, eight states experienced a decline, while for CPI-RL, this downward trend was observed in seven states. Additionally, two states witnessed no change in their index.
  • The month-to-month inflation rates based on CPI-AL and CPI-RL were recorded at 7.43% and 7.36% in February 2024 showing a decrease from 7.52% and 7.37% in January 2024 respectively.  

Axis Mutual Fund joins hand with Enparadigm for an on-demand AI-generated experiential learning program
Axis Mutual Fund, a well-known asset management organization based in Mumbai, has partnered with Enparadigm, a leader in AI-powered experiential learning solutions.This collaboration seeks to provide individualized learning journeys to improve the performance and productivity of Axis MF workers at all levels.

All-India Consumer Price Index Numbers for Agricultural and Rural Labourers – February, 2024

  • These solutions will be based on individual skill requirements, capabilities, and competencies like personal effectiveness, sales effectiveness, managerial skills, digital transformation, data analytics, and business acumen. 
  • This comprehensive approach to growth is expected to boost the productivity of Axis MF teams, which significantly contribute to shaping the success of the Axis MF brand.

NCC & NPCIL ink MoU to raise awareness on peaceful use of nuclear power through various programmes pan India
National Cadet Corps (NCC) and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in New Delhi to conduct various awareness programmes throughout the country to enhance public perceptions on peaceful use of nuclear power and disseminate scientific & authentic information. The MoU was signed between DG NCC Lt Gen Gurbirpal Singh and Executive Director (Corporate Communication & Corporate Planning), NPCIL Shri BVS Shekhar.

NCC & NPCIL ink MoU to raise awareness on peaceful use of nuclear power through various programmes pan India

  • The NPCIL will be providing resource persons in this initiative for field engagements with the NCC during the camps and various activities by educating the cadets. 
  • The MoU also facilitates a unique opportunity to the cadets to visit various facilities of NPCIL across the country, thereby giving a first-hand experience on peaceful use of nuclear energy, its technical and technological aspects.

GRID-INDIA is now a Miniratna Company
The Grid Controller of India Limited (GRID-India) has been awarded the status of Miniratna Category-I Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE). This recognition given by the Ministry of Power, Government of India underlines the role of Grid-India in the power scenario of the country.

GRID-INDIA is now a Miniratna Company

  • Established in 2009, GRID-INDIA holds the crucial mandate of overseeing the seamless and uninterrupted operation of the Indian Power System, ensuring the efficient transfer of electric power within and across regions, facilitating trans-national power exchanges with a focus on reliability, economy, and sustainability. 
  • It facilitates competitive and efficient wholesale electricity markets and administer settlement systems.

Microsoft serves as a copilot to the Ministry of Education in integrating AI into Sri Lanka’s national curriculum
The Ministry of Education (MOE) in Sri Lanka and Microsoft have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to usher in a new era of education by enabling the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) into Sri Lanka’s National School Curriculum. 

Microsoft serves as a copilot to the Ministry of Education in integrating AI into Sri Lanka’s national curriculum

  • This collaborative effort aims to transform the education system in the country, with the pilot testing phase beginning from grade eight and above. 
  • The MoU signing also includes the provision of the Microsoft 365 platform which will serve as a secure communication and collaboration hub for both students and teachers.

S&P Global Market Intelligence revises India’s FY25 growth upwards to 6.8%
India’s economy will likely grow 6.8% in FY25, up from 6.5% projected earlier, on the back of stronger growth momentum and improving global prospects, S&P Global Market Intelligence said. 

India expected to grow faster at 6.2% in FY25: OECD

  • The global analytics firm also raised India’s FY24 forecast upward to 7.3% from 6.9% projected earlier.
  • The government expects the economy to grow 7.6% in FY24. India’s growth numbers released last month showed that the economy expanded 8.2% in the year’s first three quarters.
  • The latest GDP data indicate stronger than expected growth during the first three quarters of fiscal year 2023, led by government infrastructure spending. 

India’s retail inflation to remain above 5% till May: SBI Research report
India’s retail inflation gauged by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is expected to remain slightly above 5 per cent till May before declining towards 3 per cent in July, according to SBI Research. The retail inflation print is expected to stay below 5 per cent beginning November till the end of the financial year 2024-25.

India's retail inflation to remain above 5% till May: SBI Research report

  • Retail inflation in India eased a tad in February to 5.09 per cent from 5.10 per cent the prior month, due to the deceleration of prices in all categories except food.
  • Within food inflation, protein items (meat, egg) inflation increased exorbitantly (in the range of 400-500 basis points) in February month as compared to January.
  • Vegetable prices also increased month-on-month by 300 basis points to 30.2 per cent. Core CPI declined to 3.37% – a 52-month low and reached the level of Oct-19.


APPOINTMENTS

Central Bank MD M V Rao elected IBA chairman
M.V. Rao, MD & CEO of Central Bank Of India has been elected as the Chairman of the Indian Banks’ Association. 

Central Bank MD M V Rao elected IBA chairman

  • Three Deputy Chairmen for IBA would be Dinesh Kumar Khara, Chairman, State Bank of India (SBI); S L Jain, MD and CEO , Indian Bank and N Kamakodi, Managing Director and  CEO, City Union Bank. 
  • Madhav Nair, Country Head and CEO, Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait, would be Honorary Secretary of the Association.


AWARDS

Central Banking London selects RBI for Risk Manager Award
The Reserve Bank said it has been selected for the Risk Manager Award by the London-based Central Banking as part of Central Banking Awards 2024.

30 banks join RBI UDGAM portal for unclaimed deposits

  • Reserve Bank of India has been selected for the Risk Manager Award for rolling out a new enterprise-wide risk management (ERM) framework across the organization. 
  • Rolling out a new ERM framework across an organisation as large as the RBI, with its more than 12,000 members of staff (according to the latest annual report), was never going to be easy. 

Renowned Indian Dancer Dr. Uma Rele honoured with Maharashtra Gaurav Award
Dr. Uma Rele, the esteemed Principal of Nalanda Nritya Kala Mahavidyalaya, Mumbai, has been conferred with the prestigious Maharashtra Gaurav Award. 

Renowned Indian Dancer Dr. Uma Rele honoured with Maharashtra Gaurav Award

  • The honour was bestowed upon her by Maharashtra Industrial Minister Uday Sawant and Minister Deepak Vasant Kesarkar in recognition of her invaluable contributions to the realm of Indian classical dance, particularly Bharata Natyam.
  • The Maharashtra Gaurav Award recognizes Dr. Uma Rele’s remarkable achievements, profound knowledge, and tireless dedication to the preservation and promotion of Indian classical dance heritage. Her contributions continue to inspire generations of dancers, scholars, and enthusiasts alike.

Dr. Sultan Al Jaber Honored For Sustainable Energy Leadership
Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, President of COP28, was awarded the prestigious ‘CERAWeek Leadership Award for Building Global Consensus towards a Sustainable Energy Future’ at the CERAWeek by S&P Global conference at Houston. 

Dr. Sultan Al Jaber Honored For Sustainable Energy Leadership

  • Over the last decade, CERAWeek by S&P Global has honoured Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada; and Enrique Peña Nieto, former President of Mexico.
  • The award underscores Dr. Al Jaber’s extraordinary leadership and its potential impact on a global scale. Dr. Al Jaber expressed gratitude for the recognition, emphasizing the UAE’s commitment to sustainable development.


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