Daily Current Affairs and GK | 19 and 20 March 2023

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 20 Mar 2023 16:59 PM IST

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Half Yearly (Jul- Dec 2023 , Detailed)
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Current Affairs

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Topic: Defence

1. 2nd edition of the Africa-India Field Training Exercise (AFINDEX-2023) will be organized from 21-30 March in Pune.

  • The 10-day long exercise has commenced at Foreign Training Node, Aundh, Pune.
  • Army Chiefs and representatives of Chiefs from 21 African countries will attend this event.
  • The Joint exercise will promote the idea of “Africa-India Militaries for Regional Unity” (AMRUT).
  • The main aim of the exercise is to improve the tactical skills, and drills of participating contingents.
  • It will also help in improving the skills of the participating defence forces in planning and conducting Humanitarian Mine Assistance and Peace Keeping Operations.
  • The first edition of the AFINDEX was held in Pune in March 2019.
  • The India-Africa Chiefs Conclave will be organized on 28 March.
  • During the conference, the renowned speakers will discuss the issue of the India-Africa Defence partnership and India’s Defence Industry potential.
  • The participating countries will also get exposure of the Indian defence Industry.
  • The broad theme of the dialogue is ‘India-Africa: Adopting Strategy for Synergising and Strengthening Defence and Security Cooperation’.

Topic: International News

2. International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against Vladimir Putin.

  • The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against Vladimir Putin for his involvement in the deportation of children from Ukraine.
  • The ICC has alleged that Putin is responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of the population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine.
  • On the same charge, ICC also issued a warrant against Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, the Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation.
  • According to the Ukraine government, since the February 24, 2022 invasion, more than 16000 Ukrainian children have been deported to Russia.
  • ICC President Piotr Hofmanski said the execution of the warrants "depends on international cooperation".
  • International Criminal Court (ICC):
    • It was established in 2002.
    • It is an international tribunal to investigate and proceeds criminal cases started due to war, genocide, etc.
    • It is headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands.
    • ICC’s current President is Piotr Hofmanski.

Half Yearly Current Affairs 2022 - 2023

Topic: National Appointments

3. G Krishnakumar has been appointed as Chairman and Managing Director of BPCL.

  • G Krishnakumar is serving in BPCL for the last 36 years.
  • He played a key role in revolutionising the downstream fuel retailing industry in the country.
  • Vetsa Ramakrishna Gupta is handling the additional charge of CMD. He is also holding the additional charge of Director (HR).
  • Before this appointment, he was serving as the head of BPCL’s Lubricants business.
  • Krishnakumar developed and nurtured winning brands like Petro Card, SmartFleet, Speed, and In & Out.
  • Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL):
    • It is a Maharatna oil refining and marketing company.
    • It operates three refineries in Bina, Kochi and Mumbai.
    • It started as Rangoon Oil and Exploration Company.
    • Its headquarters is located in Mumbai.

Topic: International News

4. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida arrived in India on a two-day visit on 20 March 2023.

  • Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar received and greeted him at the airport in Delhi.
  • Kishida will deliver a speech on Japan's Indo-Pacific strategy and also meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • Fifteen years ago, PM Shinzo Abe spoke about Indo-Pacific cooperation for the first time during his visit to Delhi.
  • Relations between India and Japan were elevated to 'Global Partnership' in 2000, 'Strategic and Global Partnership' in 2006 and 'Special Strategic and Global Partnership' in 2014.
  • Since 2006, both countries have held regular annual summits.
  • The last annual summit was held in New Delhi in March 2022.
  • Both leaders will discuss bilateral and regional issues of mutual interest.
  • The two countries have partnerships in various fields, including defense and security, trade and investment, science and technology, education, healthcare, and critical and emerging technologies.

Topic: State News/ West Bengal

5. West Bengal government is planning to appoint 600 young 'Gajmitras' to protect elephants.

  • To check the increasing incidents of Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC), a unique human-led initiative named “Gajmitra (Friends of Elephants)” has been launched by West Bengal.
  • Under the scheme, the state forest department has started the process of appointing 600 local youths as these Gajmitras from HEC-prone pockets, in north Bengal as well as south Bengal.
  • After recruitment, selected youth will be provided with an android set with specially developed Gajmitra app installed there.
  • The selected youths will get advance information about the movement of elephant herd, alert the forest department and local people, so that preventive measures can be taken to avoid HEC.
  • 200 such Gajmitras will be deputed to HEC-prone pockets in South Bengal, while 400 will be deputed to North Bengal.
  • The districts of South Bengal covered under the Gajmitra scheme include West Midnapore, East Midnapore, Bankura, Purulia.
  • The districts under its purview in North Bengal are Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar.
  • As per the latest data, 11 elephant deaths due to train accidents have been reported from West Bengal during the last three years.
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Topic: Summits/Conferences/Meetings

6. 3rd Annual Edition of International SME Conference (ISC), 2023 is being held in New Delhi from 19th to 21st March.

  • The ISC is being jointly organized by the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and the Ministry of External Affairs and the India SME Forum.
  • The event has the Government of Madhya Pradesh as a major partner state and the Government of Uttar Pradesh as an associate partner state.
  • International Network of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (INSME) and World Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (WUSME) are the International Partners for ISC 2023, and Tata AIA is the Insurance Partner.
  • Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Shri Narayan Rane is the chief guest of the inaugural function.
  • This year, more than 1500 micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) are being participated in ISC 2023.
  • The top four emerging sectors of India are the main focus areas in ISC, 2023.
  • These four sectors include cleantech and green energy, manufacturing, service sector and agri-food processing and farm equipment sector.
  • During the conference, there will be several panel discussions on various issues including leveraging digital platforms, focus on innovations, complying with standard and regulation.

3rd Annual Edition of International SME Conference (ISE), 2023

(Source: News on Air)

Topic: Summits/Conferences/Meetings

7. 3-day International Conference on 'Natural Farming to Revive the Environment and Resilient Agriculture' concluded.

  • On 19 March, the conference concluded at Central Agricultural University (CAU) in Imphal, Manipur.
  • Union Minister of State for External Affairs and Education, Dr RK Ranjan attended the closing ceremony.
  • He called upon the efforts of CAU, Imphal to focus on the importance of natural farming.
  • He also said that natural farming should be included as a curriculum in the undergraduate and postgraduate programs in higher education.
  • A total of eight technical sessions on various topics were organized during the three-day international conference.
  • Scientists from India and fourteen foreign countries participated in the conference.

Topic: Corporates/Companies

8. Government set up a centralised facility for the voluntary closure of companies.

  • The Ministry of corporate affairs has set up a quick and faceless facility for winding up operations and exit.
  • The government has set up a Centre for Processing Accelerated Corporate Exit (C-PACE) at the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA) in Haryana.
  • It has been set up under section 396 of the Companies Act.
  • The new centralised facility will make decisions on corporate requests for winding up.
  • Now, companies didn’t have to go to the Registrar of Companies (RoCs) in the state.
  • The government has reduced the time taken for the voluntary closure of companies from about one to two years to less than six months.
  • The faceless approach will reduce human discretion and any subjectivity in the process.
  • It will improve the overall regulatory framework and ensure the predictability of regulatory decisions.

Topic: National News

9. Prime Minister Modi announced that mega Textile Parks will be established in seven states.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that PM MITRA mega textile parks would be set up in seven states.
  • PM MITRA mega textile parks would be set up in Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, MP, and UP.
  • The PM MITRA mega textile parks will attract investment and creates lakhs of Jobs. These parks will provide infrastructure for the textile sector.
  • PM MITRA mega textile parks will be a great example of 'Make in India' and 'Make For the World’.
  • PM MITRA parks will help in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 9.
  • It will develop integrated large-scale and modern industrial infrastructure facilities for the entire value chain of the textile industry.
    • The government has issued a notification for setting up of 7 Mega Integrated Textile Region and Apparel in 2021.
    • It was launched with a total outlay of Rs 4,445 crores.
    • It is inspired by the 5F (Farm to Fibre to Factory to Fashion to Foreign) vision
    • Sites for PM MITRA Parks are selected by a Challenge Method based on objective criteria.

Topic: Space and IT

10. Rival of ChatGPT, Falcon LLM, launched in Abu Dhabi.

  • Falcon LLM has been developed by the Technology Innovation Institute, Abu Dhabi, UAE.
  • Falcon is a large language model (LLM) with 40 billion parameters and trained on 1 trillion tokens.
  • It has been built by the AI and Digital Science Research Centre’s AI Cross Centre unit.
  • The model outperformed GPT-3 and requires only 75% of its training compute as well as lower percentages of other training compute of large language model.
  • Falcon LLM has various applications like chatbots, virtual assistants, language translation, content generation, and sentiment analysis.
  • LLM’s implementation in businesses or departments can help in streamlining customer service operations, improving efficiencies, cutting down labour costs, identifying new revenue streams, and safeguarding data privacy.

Topic: International Appointments

11. K R Parvathy of India has been appointed as UN Resident Coordinator in Tajikistan.

  • Kavilmadam Ramaswamu Parvathy of India has served in leading roles at the WFP in Turkiye and Afghanistan.
  • UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has been appointed as the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Tajikistan.
  • Tajikistan:
    • It is a landlocked country in Central Asia.
    • Its capital is Dushanbe.
    • Tajikistan shares its border with Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and China.
    • Prime Minister of Tajikistan: Kokhir Rasulzoda

Topic: State News/ Karnataka

12. Bengaluru got “Partnership for Healthy cities” award for smoking laws.

  • Capital of Karnataka, Bengaluru, has received Partnership for Healthy Cities award at a summit in London for effective implementation of smoke-free laws effectively.
  • Bengaluru has also received a cash prize of $ 1,50,000.
  • The global summit brought together officials from more than 50 countries to discuss public health concerns.
  • As per BBMP Chief Commissioner, Bengaluru has been applauded for its efforts to curb public smoking.
  • Bengaluru’s effort has resulted in a reduction of public-place smoking from 18.2% in 2017 to 13.3% in 2021.
  • The number of display signs of no-smoking in Bengaluru have also increased from 23.1% in 2017 to 75% in 2021.

Topic: Important Days

13. International Day of Happiness 2023: 20 March

  • The International Day of Happiness is observed every year on 20 March to recognize the importance of happiness and well-being as universal goals in the lives of human beings around the world.
  • It also promotes happiness as a universal human right.
  • The first International Day of Happiness was observed in 2013.
  • The UNGA adopted the resolution on 12 July 2012 and declared March 20 as the International Day of Happiness.
  • The resolution was initiated by Bhutan that recognized the value of national happiness over national income since the early 1970s and adopted the goal of Gross National Happiness over Gross National Product.
  • 11th edition of the World Happiness Report will be released on the occasion.

Topic: Important Days

14. World Oral Health Day 2023: 20 March

  • World Oral Health Day is observed every year on 20 March.
  • It is observed to raise global awareness about oral health and the importance of oral hygiene.
  • It aims to empower people with the knowledge, tools and confidence to secure good oral health.
  • 'Be Proud of Your Mouth' is the three-year theme (2021 – 2023) for World Oral Health Day (WOHD).
  • World Oral Health Day was launched on 20 March 2013 by FDI World Dental Federation.
  • World Oral Health Day was first declared in 2007 and was originally celebrated on 12 September.
  • Tooth decay, gum disease, cavities, oral cancer are some common oral diseases.
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