Daily Current Affairs and GK | 12 March 2022

By PendulumEdu | Last Modified: 12 Mar 2022 19:04 PM IST

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Topic: International News

1. India-Canada re-launch negotiations on Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

  • The fifth Ministerial Dialogue on Trade & Investment (MDTI) between India-Canada was held in New Delhi on 11 March 2022.
  • Many bilateral trade and investment issues were discussed during the meeting.
  • India-Canada will also consider signing the Interim Agreement or Early Progress Trade Agreement (EPTA) to encourage trade in goods and services.
  • Both sides also discussed the potential for strengthening the cooperation in the public health sector.
  • India-Canada Bilateral Center will also be set up for dedicated S&T activities between the two countries
  • Both sides identified the areas of Collaboration like Green Technologies, Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing, Agriculture and Food Technologies, etc.
  • Canada agreed to think on the request to give Conformity Verification Body (CVB) status to APEDA.
  • The bilateral trade of goods between both countries has reached US$ 6.29 billion with the growth rate of 12% as compared to the previous year.

(Source: PIB)

Topic: State News/ Karnataka

2. Karnataka government launched Women@Work programme to provide jobs to women.

  • Under the Women@Work programme, the government is planning to give jobs to five lakh women with employable skills by 2026.
  • Karnataka Digital Economy Mission (KDEM) in association with KTECH and Karnataka Skill Development Corporation has launched this initiative.
  • This programme has been launched by Dr. C N Aswath Narayan.
  • This initiative has been launched as part of the Karnataka digital economy mission programme.
  • The Women@Work programme will offer courses to women to train them technically in various disciplines.
  • This programme aims to increase the women workforce to 50 percent.

Topic: Appointments

3. Government appointed Debasish Panda as Chairperson of IRDAI.

  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Debasish Panda as Chairperson of IRDAI.
  • Debasish Panda is a retired IAS officer and former financial services secretary.
  • He has been appointed for three years from the day of the assumption of charge.
  • The chairman post was vacant after Subhash Chandra Khuntia completed his term in May 2021.
  • His name was recommended by the Financial Sector Regulatory Appointments Search Committee (FSRASC).
  • The government has also appointed Rakesh Joshi as a Whole Time Member (Finance and Investment) of IRDAI.
  • Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI):
    • It is a statutory body formed under the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999.
    • It is responsible for managing and regulating insurance industry in India.
    • It has 10 members, including the chairman, 5 full-time and four part-time members.

Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings

4. A two-day International Conference on Unani Medicine held in Srinagar.

  • As part of Unani Day 2022 celebrations, a two-day International Conference on Unani Medicine has been organized at Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) in Srinagar.
  • “Diet and Nutrition in Unani Medicine for Good Health & Well-being” was the theme of the two-day international conference.
  • This conference was inaugurated by Union Minister of Ayush, Sarbanada Sonowal.
  • A video documentary with the theme “Jammu & Kashmir main Ayush kay badhtay kadam” was also streamed during the conference.
  • WHO Global Centre for Traditional System of Medicine will be also established in Jamnagar, Gujarat.
  • World Unani Day is celebrated every year on 11 February to commemorate the birthday anniversary of Unani Physician Hakim Ajmal Khan.
  • Unani system of medicine:
    • It is based on the teachings of Greek physician Hippocrates and Roman physician Galen.
    • It is a traditional medical system that offers treatment of all diseases related to all the body's systems and organs.

Topic: Banking System

5. RBI imposed ban on Paytm Payments Bank for opening new accounts with immediate effect.

  • RBI said that the onboarding of new customers' permission will be granted after reviewing the report of the IT auditors.
  • RBI has also directed to conduct a comprehensive audit of Paytm Payments Bank IT system.
  • The RBI has taken the action based on certain material supervisory concerns observed in the bank.
  • Section 35A of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, gives the RBI power to give directions to banks.  
  • Paytm Payments Bank:
    • Paytm Payments Bank was incorporated in August 2016 and formally began its operations in May 2017.
    • One97 Communications owns a 49% equity in Paytm Payments Bank, while the rest 51% is owned by Vijay Shekhar Sharma (Founder and CEO of Paytm).     
    • In 2020, it became the only payments bank to initiate VIDEO KYC facility.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

6. Government issued guidelines for "Strengthening of Pharmaceutical Industry (SPI)" scheme.

  • The guidelines for the scheme "Strengthening of Pharmaceutical Industry (SPI)" have been released by the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals, and Fertilizers.
  • The scheme will help existing pharma groups and MSMEs across the country to enhance their productivity, quality, and sustainability by providing them the necessary support services.
  • The scheme's aim is to enhance existing infrastructure facilities in order to make India a global leader in the pharmaceutical industry.
  • The scheme's total financial outlay for the period FY 21-22 to FY 25-26 is Rs.500 crore.
  • Scheme has 3 components / sub-schemes:
    • Assistance to Pharmaceutical Industry for Common Facilities (APICF)
    • Pharmaceutical Technology Upgradation Assistance Scheme (PTUAS)
    • Pharmaceutical & Medical Devices Promotion and Development Scheme (PMPDS)

Topic: Appointments

7. Ajay Bhushan Pandey appointed as new chief of NFRA.

  • Former finance secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey has been appointed as the chairman of the National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA) by the government.
  • The appointment has been approved by the Cabinet Appointments Committee (ACC) for a period of three years from the date of assumption of charge or until he reaches the age of 65.
  • Praveen Kumar Tiwari, former Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General, and Smita Jhingran, Principal Director General at the Central Board of Direct Taxes, have also been appointed as full-time members of the NFRA.
  • National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA):
    • The NFRA is a non-profit organization that regulates the auditing profession.
    • The body has the authority to examine financial statements of corporations, to request explanations, and to investigate accounting and auditing issues.
    • In May 2018, the Cabinet had approved the formation of the NFRA. It was established on 01st October 2018.

Topic: International News

8. Hungary's parliament elected its first female President.

  • Katalin Novak, a close ally of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, has been elected as Hungary's first female President by the Parliament.
  • Novak will succeed Janos Der. She will assume the office on 10 May.
  • Novak began her political career in 2001 in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where she specialized in European issues.
  • Hungary:
    • Hungary is a landlocked Central European country.
    • Its Prime Minister is Viktor Orbán.
    • Its capital is Budapest.
    • Its currency is the forint (HUF).

Topic: State News/ Kerala

9. Kerala government presented budget for FY 2022-23.

  • Kerala government presented the state budget in the Assembly. Government has focused on the knowledge economy and linking skill with manufacturing.
  • In the Budget for 2022-23, the government has announced the setting of four science parks and 14 district skill parks for young entrepreneurs.
  • The government has allocated Rs 2000 crores for four IT corridors, a Kerala genomic data center for health care, and 20 micro-IT parks.
  • Translational research centers will be developed in university campuses.
  • Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) would give Rs 2,000 crore for land acquisition for the proposed semi-high speed rail corridor.
  • The state government is aiming for net-zero carbon emission by 2050. The government will also launch ‘Suchithwa Sagaram’ scheme for removing plastic waste from the sea and water bodies.
  • The government will impose a green tax on diesel vehicles. The green tax imposed on old vehicles (above 15 years) has been increased by 50 percent.
  • The state government will spend Rs 10 crore for the education of medical students who have returned from war-torn Ukraine.
  • Kerala government will also organize a ‘Global Peace Conference’ in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war.

Topic: New Developments

10. Indian Scientists developed an electrocatalyst system for energy-efficient hydrogen production with the help of electrolysis of urea.

  • The electrolysis of urea is helpful for urea-based waste treatment with low-cost hydrogen production.
  • This method will reduce the energy required for the production of hydrogen through water electrolysis by 70%.
  • In the electrolysis of urea, urea oxidation can be used instead of water splitting, and oxygen evolution.
  • The main challenge related to urea oxidation is retaining the prolonged activity of the catalyst.
  • Scientists of Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences (CeNS) have developed this Nickel oxide (NiOx) based system for producing hydrogen from electro-oxidation of urea.
  • Scientists have also shown that surface defective NiO and Ni2O3 systems having more Ni3+ ions are more efficient electrocatalysts than conventional NiO.
  • India is one of the top producing urea countries in the world. It has produced 244.55 LMT of urea during 2019-20.

Topic: Space and IT

11. Iran successfully launched Noor-2 satellite.

  • Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has successfully launched a military satellite, Noor-2.
  • Noor-2 will orbit around the earth at an altitude of 500 kilometers.
  • The three-stage Qased, or "Messenger" launcher has placed the Noor-2 satellite in the orbit.
  • The first military satellite, Noor-1, was launched by Iran in April 2020. It was placed at an orbit of 425 km above the earth’s surface.
  • Iran has the biggest missile programs in the Middle East.
  • The United States had imposed sanctions on Iran's civilian space agency and two research organizations in 2019.

Topic: Art and Culture

12. A two-day annual festival St. Anthony is being held at Katchatheevu.

  • St. Anthony's festival is a customary festival for the fishermen and pilgrims of India and Sri Lanka.
  • It will strengthen the cultural ties between both countries. People from both countries attend the festival at the Katchatheevu island.
  • Katchatheevu island is located between Neduntheevu, Sri Lanka and Rameswaram, India.
  • India ceded Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka under the "Indo-Sri Lankan Maritime agreement" in 1974.
  • St Antony's shrine is the only structure on the island. It was built by Srinivasa Padaiyachi in the early 20th century.
  • At this place, Christian priests from both India and Sri Lanka conduct worship services (mass) and procession.

Topic: Infrastructure and Energy

13. First Gati Shakti Cargo Terminal of Indian Railways was commissioned.

  • Indian Railways (Asansol division) has commissioned a private siding of Maithan Power Limited at Thaparnagar.
  • This commissioning is in accordance with PM Gati Shakti and the policy of Railways with respect to Gati Shakti Multi-Modal Cargo terminal (GCT).
  • The GCT policy was published in December 2021 and this is the first such GCT to be commissioned.
  • Maithan Power Project started construction in 2009 and power generation in 2011.
  • Railways is the most energy-efficient and economic mode of transportation.
  • PM Gati Shakti- National Master Plan for Multi-modal Connectivity- is a digital platform that connects 16 Ministries (including Railways, Roadways, Waterways and Aviation) for integrated planning and coordinated implementation of infrastructure connectivity projects.
  • Chairman and CEO of Railway Board: V K Tripathi

Topic: Books and Authors

14. Labour Minister unveiled the book titled “Role of Labour in India’s Development”.

  • Bhupendra Yadav, Min of Labour and Employment and MoEFCC, has launched a book titled “Role of Labour in India’s Development”.
  • The book was launched at New Delhi.
  • V V Giri National Labour Institute has published the book.
  • There are 12 articles in the book that have been written by famous academicians and practitioners to highlight the contribution of labour in the journey of India’s development.
  • V V Giri National Labour Institute is an autonomous body of Ministry of Labour and Employment. It was established in 1974 as a premier institute of Labour research, training and education. Dr. H. Srinivas is the current Director General of the institution.
 
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