Daily Current Affairs and GK | 14 March 2024

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 15 Mar 2024 19:16 PM IST

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Topic: Important Days

1. World Kidney Day 2024: 14 March

  • World Kidney Day is observed on the second Thursday of March. In 2024, it was celebrated on March 14.
  • 'Kidney Health For All’ is the theme of the World Kidney Day campaign for 2024.
  • The theme is focused on the increasing burden of chronic kidney disease and achieving optimal kidney care.
  • It was first observed in 2006 with the slogan 'Are Your Kidneys ok?'.
  • The main goal of the day is to support impartial access to kidney healthcare.
  • It is a joint initiative of the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the International Federation of Kidney Foundations – World Kidney Alliance (IFKF-WKA).
  • The kidney is responsible for removing waste products from the body and maintaining electrolyte levels.

Topic: State News/ Maharashtra

2. Maharashtra government decided to rename Ahmednagar District as Ahilya Nagar and Velha Tehsil as Rajgad.

  • The state cabinet of the Maharashtra government has decided to rename Ahmednagar District as Ahilya Nagar.
  • Ahilyanagar has been named after Ahilyabai Holkar. She was the most able ruler of Malwa province in the 18th century.
  • Ahilyabai was born on May 31, 1725, in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra.
  • Velha tehsil has been renamed as Rajgad. It was the first capital of the Maratha Empire under Shivaji.
  • The state cabinet also approved the renaming of eight suburban railway stations in Mumbai.
  • Curry Road station has been renamed as Lalbaug while Sandhurst Road station will be now called Dongri.
  • Marine Lines renamed as Mumbadevi, Charni Road as Girgaon, Cotton Green as Kalachowki, Dockyard as Mazgaon, King’s Circle as Tirthankar Parswanath and Mumbai Central as Nana Jagannath Shankarsheth.
  • The construction of a sea link between Uttan (Bhayander) and Virar (Palghar) has been also approved by the state cabinet.
  • A new Marathi language policy has been approved by the Maharashtra cabinet. Its main aim is to make Maratha a language of knowledge acquisition and employment in the next 25 years.
  • The Maharashtra government will also purchase 2.5 acres of land in Srinagar for constructing a Maharashtra Bhavan.

Topic: Defence

3. Naval exercise “Cutlass Express” – 24 was held at Port Victoria, Seychelles.

  • The Indian Navy with INS Tir participated in the naval exercise “Cutlass Express”.
  • The naval exercise was organized from 26th February to 8th March 2024.
  • In the exercise, the Indian Navy actively engaged with 16 friendly foreign countries.
  • Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) procedures, Diving operations, and training in theoretical and practical aspects of Maritime Interdiction Operations were part of this exercise.
  • During the exercise, the Indian divers along with US and Seychelles divers participated in the joint diving operations.
  • Cutlass Express is a multinational maritime exercise. It is sponsored by the US African Command.
  • Its main objective is to strengthen maritime security and cooperation in the East African Coast and West Indian Ocean region.

Topic: National Appointments

4. Government has extended service tenure of foreign secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra by six months.

  • Appointments Committee of the Cabinet approved his tenure extension.
  • Kwatra is an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of the 1988 batch.
  • After the extension of tenure, he will continue till 31 October, 2024 or until further orders, whichever is earlier.
  • He was to retire on 30 April 2024. He was appointed foreign secretary in April 2022.
  • He assumed office on 1 May 2022 as the 34th Foreign Secretary of India. He succeeded Harsh Vardhan Shringla.  
  • In November 2022, he was given a 16-month extension. Earlier, he had served as India’s Ambassador to France and Nepal. 

Topic: MoUs/Agreements

5. The signing of an agreement between India and Bhutan in the area of food safety has been approved by the cabinet.

  • The agreement is between the Bhutan Food and Drug Authority (BFDA), the Ministry of Health, Royal Government of Bhutan and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
  • The agreement deals with cooperation in the areas of food safety.
  • The signing of the agreement would facilitate trade between the two countries.
  • While exporting the products to India, a Health Certificate would be issued by the BFDA as proof of compliance with the requirements prescribed by FSSAI.
  • This is expected to promote Ease of Doing Business. This will also cut compliance costs on both sides (India and Bhutan).

Topic: MoUs/Agreements

6. Inter-Governmental Framework Agreement between India and the United Arab Emirates has been approved by the cabinet.

  • Union Cabinet has given its Ex-post facto approval to the agreement.
  • The agreement is on cooperation for the empowerment and operation of the India-Middle East Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC).
  • This Inter-Governmental Framework Agreement (IGFA) was signed on 13 February 2024.
  • The IGFA aims to further enhance and strengthen the bilateral relations between India and UAE in the Ports, Maritime and Logistics sectors.
  • In the IGFA, areas of cooperation between India and UAE are included with aim of exploring the potential of joint investment and collaboration regarding the development of the IMEC.
  • India-Middle East Europe Economic Corridor:
    • It is a proposed economic corridor from India to Europe through the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel and Greece.
    • It will comprise two separate corridors, the east corridor and the northern corridor.
    • The east corridor will connect India to the Gulf. The northern corridor will connect the Gulf to Europe.
    • On 9 September 2023, Leaders of India, the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia, UAE and the US announced a MoU on the sidelines of the G20 Leaders’ Summit. 
    • They committed to working together to develop India Middle East Europe Economic Corridor.
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Topic: Defence

7. Two agreements totaling 8,733 crore rupees were signed by the Ministry of Defence and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

  • The signed agreements are for the acquisition of 34 Advanced Light Helicopters (ALHs). 
  • The Ministry said that a deal was reached to purchase nine advanced light helicopters for the Indian Coast Guard and twenty-five advanced light helicopters for the Indian Army.
  • Under the buy Indian-indigenously designed, developed, and manufactured category, the deal was signed.
  • According to the Ministry, the ALHs of the Indian Army are intended for use in search and rescue, troop transport, internal freight, and casualty evacuation missions.
  • The Ministry said that the marine role helicopters are designed to do tasks including search and rescue, maritime surveillance and interdiction, and personnel and cargo transportation.
  • The Defence Ministry further said that this project will positively impact employment generation in the Defence sector.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

8. Electric Mobility Promotion Scheme 2024 has been announced by the Heavy Industries Ministry.

  • The scheme has been announced to accelerate the adoption of Electronic Vehicles (EVs) in India.
  • Under the scheme, a total outlay of 500 crore rupees will be implemented for 4 months.
  • The scheme will be implemented from 1st of April until July.
  • Under the scheme, only electric two-wheelers (e-2W) and electric three-wheelers (e-3W) will be eligible.
  • Registered e-rickshaws, e-carts and L5 automobiles will also be eligible.
  • L5 is a three wheeled motor vehicle with maximum speed of more than 25 kmph.
  • Additionally, it has engine capacity of more than 25 cc if fitted with a thermic engine. It has motor power of more than 0.25 kW if fitted with electric motor.
  • Only EVs fitted with advanced batteries will be subject to incentives under the scheme.
  • The scheme is expected to help over 3 lakh 72 thousand EVs.
  • It is expected to promote faster adoption of electric vehicles.
  • Further, it will provide impetus to the green mobility as well as development of the EV manufacturing eco-system in India.

Topic: MoUs/Agreements

9. India signed a loan agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for Ahmedabad.

  • An 181 million-dollar loan agreement has been signed between India and the Asian Development Bank to improve urban livability and mobility in Ahmedabad.
  • The loan agreement will fund development in areas transitioning from rural to urban, known as Peri-urban areas.
  • The Ahmedabad Peri-urban Livability Improvement Project includes 166 km of water distribution network, 126 km of climate-resilient stormwater drainage, 300 km of sewerage systems, and four sewage treatment plants that will be constructed with the fund.
  • The project also supports 10 junction improvements along Sardar Patel Ring Road.
  • The project aims to make peri-urban areas of Ahmedabad livable, environmentally sustainable, and efficient with robust physical and social infrastructure.
  • The project will benefit the urban poor, women, and migrant workers through improved urban services and governance.
  • The project will also build the government agencies’ capacity in financial planning, revenue enhancement and infrastructure asset operations.

Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings

10. 12th Edition of India-Italy Military Cooperation Group Meeting held in New Delhi.

  • The 12th edition of the India-Italy Military Cooperation Group (MCG) meeting concluded in New Delhi.
  • Both sides held discussions on new initiatives to enhance defence cooperation and military-to-military level exchange between both countries.
  • The two-day-long discussions were held between the Directorate of International Defence Cooperation, Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff and the Military Policy and Planning Division of the Italian Defence General Staff.
  • Recently, India and Italy have elevated their bilateral relations to the level of strategic partnership.
  • The MoU on Defence Cooperation was also renewed between both countries.
  • In September 2023, PM Modi and Meloni held bilateral talks on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Delhi.

12th Edition of India-Italy Military Cooperation Group Meeting

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: National News

11. MSIL's India's first auto in-plant railway siding project unveiled by PM Modi.

  • On March 12, India's first automobile in-plant railway siding project of Maruti Suzuki (MSIL) inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi in Hansalpur in Mehsana district of Gujarat.
  • Railway projects worth Rs 85,000 crore inaugurated and the foundation stone laid by PM Modi during his visit to Gujarat on March 12.
  • At a cost of Rs 976 crore, the MSIL's in-plant railway siding project has been developed under the Centre's PM Gati Shakti mission in partnership with the Gujarat government, Indian Railways and MSIL.
  • The project will save 50,000 truck trips, and 35 million liters of fuel used in trucks per year, and cut carbon emissions by 1,650 tonnes per year.
  • The project has been developed by a special-purpose vehicle - the Bahucharaji Rail Corporation Limited (BRCL).
  • The project has been set up with the Gujarat Railway Infrastructure Development Corporation (GRIDE), Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC), and MSIL as partners with 49%, 29%, and 26% equities each, respectively.
  • In March 2017, G-RIDE gave its formal approval for the project, following which the company's internal board approved it in January 2019 and construction began in May 2020.

Topic: National Appointments

12. Justice Satyendra Kumar Singh has been appointed as the new Lokayukta of Madhya Pradesh.

  • On March 10, Madhya Pradesh's newly appointed Lokayukta Justice Satyendra Kumar Singh took the oath of office.
  • The oath of office was administered to the new Lokayukta at Raj Bhavan by Governor Mangubhai Patel.
  • Under the Madhya Pradesh Lokayukta and Up-Lokayukta Adhiniyam 1981, Justice Singh has been appointed as Lokayukta.
  • The Lokayukta is the apex anti-corruption ombudsman that holds the power to investigate complaints and corruption allegations against government officials and parliamentarians.
  • Maharashtra is the first state to pass Lokayukta bill.

Topic: Environment and Ecology

13. A new Scorpion Species with eight eyes and legs has been discovered in Thailand.

  • A new species of scorpion with eight eyes and legs has been discovered by a team of researchers in Kaeng Krachan National Park in Thailand.
  • They studied three adult males and one adult female of this species.
  • These scorpions have been named Euscorpiops Kranchan after the Kaeng Krachan National Park in Thailand.
  • Euscorpiops Kranchan Scorpion Species has most of the features of the ubgenus Euscorpiops.
  • The scorpions in this genus have limited distribution ranges with a high degree of endemism.
  • As per the study, all scorpion species reported in Thailand were believed to be endemic to their habitats.

Topic: Defence

14. ‘Bharat Shakti’- a Tri-Services Firing and Manoeuvre Exercise was held in Pokhran, Rajasthan.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and Army Chief General Manoj Pande witness the ‘Bharat Shakti’ - a Tri-Services Firing and Manoeuvre Exercise.
  • The exercise was held for 50 minutes at Rajasthan's Pokhran field firing range.
  • LCA Tejas combat aircraft, ALH Mk-IV helicopter, Arjun main battle tank, K-9 Vajra self-propelled howitzer, and the Dhanush and Sharang artillery gun systems were showcased at this exercise.
  • Pinaka's multi-barrel rocket launcher system and a swarm of drones left the audience spellbound.
  • ‘Bharat Shakti’ is the first of its kind exercise on such a large scale.
  • 'Bharat Shakti' showed India’s resilience, innovation and domestic defence capabilities on the global stage.
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