Daily Current Affairs and GK | 19 March 2021

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Topic: Personality in News

1. Audio cassette tape inventor Lou Ottens passed away.

  • Lou Ottens, the inventor of the audio cassette tape, has died at the age of 94.
  • The audio cassette tape was introduced by the Dutch company Royal Philips in 1963. Lou Ottens had joined the Royal Philips Company in 1952.
  • Lou Ottens’ invention changed the way of listening music for millions of people. His goal was to make tapes and players more portable and easier to use.
  • He also contributed in the development of the compact disk.
  • Audio cassette: It is an analog magnetic tape recording format for audio recording and playback. It can store music and sounds.

Topic: Awards and Prizes

2. Pune’s Blades of Glory declared as the world’s largest cricket museum.

  • Pune’s Blades of Glory Cricket Museum has become the world’s largest cricket museum.
  • It has been awarded a ‘World Record’ by the World Record Academy.
  • Blades of Glory Cricket Museum was founded by Rohan Pate. Sachin Tendulkar formally inaugurated it in 2012.
  • It has more than 51000 cricket-related items and around 450 international cricket players have visited the museum.
  • It has beaten the Lords’ Cricket Museum, the Bradman Museum, West Indies Cricket Heritage Centre and the New Zealand Cricket Museum in terms of collection of cricket related items.
  • It is also known as ‘Castle of Cricket’.

Blades of Glory declared as the world’s largest cricket museum

(Source: Bladesofglory)

 

Topic: International News

3. World Bank approves USD 200 million to Bangladesh for supporting low-income urban youths.

  • World Bank has approved USD 200 million to Bangladesh to support low-income urban youths affected by Covid-19.
  • The approved amount will also help Bangladesh in providing support to the migrants who had to return home involuntarily.
  • The aim of World Bank’s Recovery and Advancement of Informal Sector Employment (RAISE) project is to benefit nearly 1.75 lakh poor urban youth through different kinds of supports.
  • It aims to benefit nearly 1.75 lakh poor urban youth through training, apprenticeship programme, counselling, micro and self-employment support.
  • It further aims to help about 2 lakh migrants who were forced to return to Bangladesh.
  • The financing of USD 200 million has been done by the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank.
  • World Bank’s RAISE project was approved in 2021. It will continue till 2026.
  • International Development Association:
    • It is a member of the World Bank Group. It is headquartered in Washington.
    • Kristalina Georgieva is its current CEO. It was formed in 1960.
    • It currently has 173 member countries. It provides help to world’s poorest countries.

International Development Association

Formation

Headquarters

Current CEO

Members

1960

Washington

Kristalina Georgieva

173

World Bank approves USD 200 million to Bangladesh

(Source: DD News)

Topic: Space and IT

4. Russia launches one of the world’s largest underwater space telescopes in Lake Baikal.

  • Russia has launched one of the world’s largest underwater space telescopes in Lake Baikal.
  • The telescope was being constructed since 2015. It is designed to observe neutrinos, the smallest particles known today.
  • It is being described as Baikal-GVD. It is located at a depth of 750-1300 meters.
  • As per the Russian scientists, the telescope is the largest neutrino detector in Northern Hemisphere. Lake Baikal is the largest freshwater lake in the world.
  • The telescope is a result of the partnership between scientists from Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Russia and Slovakia.
  • Ice Cube is another giant neutrino observatory located under the Antarctic ice at a US research station at the South Pole.
  • Neutrinos are the smallest particles. They are very difficult to detect. Water is an effective medium to detect them.

Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings

5. 6th IBSA Women’s Forum meeting was chaired by Smriti Zubin Irani, Minister for Textiles, Women & Child Development.

  • The 6th India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) Women’s Forum meeting was chaired by Smriti Zubin Irani, Minister for Textiles, Women & Child Development.
  • The sixth IBSA meeting was held on 16 March 2021 and key issues to bring transformation in women’s lives were discussed.
  • At the end of the conference, a joint declaration was also issued. The joint declaration highlighted the shared IBSA goals and commitments for achieving gender equality.
  • The India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) is a unique platform. It brings together three large democracies and major economies from three different continents.
  • IBSA Women’s Forum is one of the six People-to-People Forums under IBSA.

6th India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) Women Forum meeting

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Corporates/Companies

6. ReNew Power is world’s first clean energy company to be added to Global Lighthouse Network of Companies.

  • ReNew Power is the world’s first clean energy company to be added to the World Economic Forum’s Global Lighthouse Network of Companies.
  • ReNew’s Hubli facility was specifically nominated to Global Lighthouse. Mr. Sumant Sinha is the founder and CEO of ReNew Power.
  • World Economic Forum’s Global Lighthouse Network of Companies recognizes the companies leading in the area of technology-Enabled, Sustainable Growth.
  • Global Lighthouse Network is a group of 69 factories, which provide a platform to create opportunities for cross-company learning.
  • ReNew Power is the leading renewable energy independent power producer of India.

Topic: International News

7. Russia hosted the Afghan peace conference.

  • Russia hosted a peace conference between representatives from the Afghanistan government, the Taliban, and the international observers on 18 March.
  • The main objective of this peace conference is to restart the stalled peace process.
  • This conference was attended by US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, Abdullah Abdullah, head of Afghanistan’s National Reconciliation Council, and Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. Representatives of India, China, Iran and Pakistan have also participated in this peace conference.
  • This one-day meeting is being held just ahead of the deadline of May 1 for the withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan.
  • US-Taliban peace deal:
    • UNSC approved the US-Taliban peace deal in 2020. As part of this deal, US military had to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan.
    • According to the peace agreement, it was agreed that all foreign forces would be withdrawn from Afghanistan within 14 months if the Taliban will not allow any terrorist organization to use the soil of Afghanistan.
    • The United States and Afghanistan government are demanding a cease-fire from the Taliban.

Russia hosted the Afghan peace conference

Topic: Awards and Prizes

8. NTPC received ‘Role Model’ award at the 11th CII National HR Excellence Award.

  • NTPC Ltd has been conferred with the ‘Role Model’ Award at the 11th CII National HR Excellence Award 2020-21.
  • It has been presented during the virtual conference “Learn from the Achievers” on 18th March.
  • It is the highest award given by the Confederation of Indian Industry in the field of Human Resources.
  • NTPC is the only PSU to receive this award. It is only the second time that the ‘Role Model’ award has been presented to any organization.
  • The CII- National HR Excellence Award is one of the most prestigious awards in the HR fraternity that identifies companies for excellence in HR practices.
  • NTPC has also won the CII-ITC Sustainability Awards 2020 in the Corporate Excellence category for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
  • NTPC Limited:
    • It is an Indian Central Public Sector Undertaking.
    • It is PSU under the Ministry of Power.
    • Its headquarters is located in New Delhi.

Role Model award at the 11th CII National HR Excellence Award

(Source: NTPC)

Topic: International News

9. Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) launched US-India Artificial Intelligence (USIAI) Initiative.

  • The Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) has launched the US India Artificial Intelligence (USIAI) initiative on 17 March 2021.
  • It has been launched to enhance cooperation between both countries in the field of Artificial Intelligence.
  • The U.S-India AI (USIAI) initiative will identify the new areas of research and development and it will also give an opportunity for all stakeholders to share their experiences. 
  • Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF):
    • It was formed in 2000 as an autonomous bilateral body between India and the USA.
    • It was established by the government of India and the United States for the promotion of innovation and entrepreneurship through the applications of science and technology.

US-India Artificial Intelligence (USIAI) Initiative

(Source: DD News)

Topic: Reports and Indices

10. Union Labour & Employment Minister mentioned ILO report data related to Indian Workers.

  • Union Labour & Employment Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar mentioned the data of the ILO report titled ‘Global Wage Report 2020-21: Wages and minimum wages in the time of COVID-19’ during a written reply in Rajya Sabha.
  • According to this report, Indian workers are facing the challenge of low average wages and long working hours.
  • The wage growth was highest in Asia and the Pacific countries over the period 2006-19. India has recorded the highest wage growth during this period.
  • As per this report, the actual wages are higher than the minimum wages decided by the government of India.
  • The Minister has informed that a new concept of statutory floor wage has also been introduced in the Code on Wages and the minimum wages will be revised by the government at a certain interval of time.
  • Global Wage Report 2020-21: Wages and minimum wages in the time of COVID-19’:
    • It was released by the International Labour Organization in December 2020.
    • COVID pandemic has impacted the wages of women and lower-paid workers severely.
    • It found that global real wage growth has fluctuated between 1.6 and 2.2 percent.
    • Real wages growth is slow in the North American and western European countries.

Topic: National News

11. AIM, NITI Aayog and Amazon Web Services collaborated to strengthen India’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.

  • Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog, and Amazon Web Services have collaborated to strengthen the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in India.
  • The aim of the initiative will be to empower school students with cloud computing skills and enabling entrepreneurs to build innovative education technology solutions on the cloud.
  • A Statement of Intent (SoI) was signed between NITI Aayog and Amazon Internet Services Private Limited (AISPL), which undertakes the resale and marketing of Amazon Web Services Cloud services in India.
  • The students will be introduced to the fundamentals of cloud computing such as cloud storage, virtual computer power, web hosting, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and virtual reality at more than 7000 Atal Tinkering Labs.

Atal Innovation Mission (AIM)

NITI Aayog

Amazon Web Services

  • Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) is the Government of India’s flagship initiative to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the country.
  • The NITI Aayog is a policy think tank of the GoI, established with the aim to achieve sustainable development goals with cooperative federalism by fostering the involvement of State Governments of India.
  • It was formed on 1 January 2015.
  • Its headquarters is located in New Delhi.
  • Chairperson: Narendra Modi
  • Vice President: Rajeev Kumar

 

  • Amazon Web Services is a subsidiary of Amazon providing on-demand cloud computing platforms and APIs to individuals, companies, and governments.
  • CEO: Andy Jassy
  • It was founded in 2006.
  • Its headquarters is located in Washington, United States.

Topic: National News

12. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari announced vehicle scrappage policy in Lok Sabha.

  • Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari announced the vehicle scrappage policy in the parliament.
  • The aim of the policy is to reduce the old and defective vehicle population, which will bring down the pollution and will help in road safety.
  • Under the policy, the state government can be offered registration and road tax exemption to purchase new vehicles against scrapped vehicles. 25% tax exemption for Private Vehicles and 15% for commercial vehicles, the state government can give an offer.
  • The government’s four-wheeled vehicles over 15 years old will be mandatory to be scrapped. Over 20 years of the private vehicles will be deregistered under the policy.
  • Green Tax can be imposed on the old vehicle by states.
 

 

 

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