Daily Current Affairs and GK | 29 March 2023

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 29 Mar 2023 18:14 PM IST

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Topic: Committees/Commissions/Taskforces

1. A task force has been formed by MeitY to make India a 'product developer and manufacturing nation'.

  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has formed a nine-member task force with the primary goal to make India a ‘product developer and manufacturing nation.
  • It will be chaired by the additional secretary (MeitY), Bhuvnesh Kumar. Joint secretary (electronics) Amitesh Kumar Sinha will serve as its member convenor.
  • HCL founder Ajay Chowdhary, Dixon Technologies chief Sunil Vachani, Lava International chairman Hari Om Rai, and Boat Lifestyle co-founder Aman Gupta are the other members of this task force.
  • The taskforce will submit its recommendation in two months.
  • The taskforce will also focus on boosting local electronics manufacturing beyond the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme.
  • Earlier, Government had launched the PLI scheme for promoting the Manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors.
  • It has attracted many manufacturers including Apple suppliers Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron and Samsung to India.
  • It is an important step toward making India an alternative to China and Vietnam.

Topic: State News/Nagaland

2. Nagaland CM Neiphiu Rio presented State Budget 2023-24.

  • He is also the Finance Minister of the State. He presented the budget with an accumulated deficit of 1,374.17 crore rupees.
  • He said that the estimated gross receipt for the Financial Year 2023-24 stands at 23,145.66 crore rupees.
  • He said that the gross expenditure stands at 23,085.66 crore rupees, with a positive balance of 60 crore rupees.
  • Current transactions will close at a negative balance of 40 crore rupees.
  • He said that the revenue under the share of Central taxes and duties as well as the state's own revenue has increased in the preceding year.
  • He has not proposed any new taxes in the Budget.
  • He also considered permitting the sale of liquor to foreign nationals coming to Nagaland.
  • He said this is done within the Nagaland Liquor Total Prohibition Act, 1989.
  • This act permits the sale of liquor to foreign nationals coming to the State by some hotels of the star category.

Half Yearly Current Affairs 2022 - 2023

Topic: Environment and Ecology

3. Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) is likely to release Heat Index readings for weather stations across the country this summer.

  • Heat Index readings would provide people with a sense of what the temperature actually feels like.
  • Heat Index will be calculated by IMD using models that factor in relative humidity, maximum temperature, wind speed and cloud cover in an area.
  • IMD will thereafter issue a colour-based warning-yellow, orange or red.
  • Delhi will be among the first Indian cities where the heat index will be released.
  • In Delhi, it is likely that the heat index will be available for the Safdarjung weather station. 
  • IMD scientist said that the temperature in Delhi may be 40 degrees, but it feels hotter due to high relative humidity levels.
  • Heat Index is often highest during the months of June and July. During these months, humidity levels are around 40-50%.

Topic: Banking System

4. 1.1% interchange fee has been recommended by NPCI on UPI transactions of over ₹2,000 via prepaid payment instruments (PPIs).

  • Interchange fee will not apply to P2P and P2M (Person to Merchant) transactions between bank accounts and PPI wallets.
  • Recommended interchange fee will apply to merchant Unified Payments Interface (UPI) transactions done using PPIs-wallets or cards with effect from April 1.
  • UPI payments of more than ₹2,000 made to online merchants, small offline merchants and large merchants will be subject to the interchange fee.
  • NPCI recommended lower interchange fee starting from 0.5% might be levied on certain merchant categories.
  • PPI issuers will be required to pay 15 bps as wallet loading service charge to the remitter bank for loading more than ₹2,000 in the prepaid wallet.
  • As per NPCI, this interchange pricing will be reviewed by September 30, 2023.
  • Last week, UPI service providers and merchants were asked by NPCI to boost interoperability by clearly and prominently displaying the UPI option, by 30 September, 2023.

Topic: Personality in News

5. "Ironman" Krishna Prakash became the first person to swim from the Gateway of India to the Elephanta Caves.

  • The Krishna Prakash set another record by swimming from the Gateway of India (located on Chhatrapati Shivaji Marg in South Mumbai) to the famous Elephanta Caves (located at the Elephanta Island in Mumbai Harbour).
  • He swam the opposite direction of the famed swimming route from Elephanta Caves to the Gateway of India, covering 16.20 kilometres in five hours and 26 minutes.
  • The swimming campaign was part of a social awareness campaign, 'Drowning Prevention Awareness'.
  • The event was organized by the National Institute of Swimming and was recognized by the World Open Water Swimming Association.
  • It was certified by the Maharashtra Swimming Association, which is affiliated to the Maharashtra Olympic Association.
  • In 2017, Krishna Prakash completed the Ironman Triathlon, one of the most challenging sporting events in the world.
  • It is a three-day event in which participants have to complete 3.8 km swim, 180.2 km cycle ride and 42.2 km run in 16-17 hours.
  • This achievement earned Prakash the title of 'Iron Man' and earned him a mention in the World Book of Records.

Topic: State News/ Assam

6. Assam received $108 million from the World Bank to improve disaster preparedness.

  • The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors approved the loan to improve disaster preparedness and enhance flood forecasting in Assam, where severe flooding is experienced almost every year.
  • Almost six million people would benefit from the project, which is a part of a larger $500 million investment programme for Assam.
  • By constructing green infrastructure in the Beki and Buridehing river basins, the Assam Integrated River Basin Management Project will help the state in reducing its vulnerability to floods and river erosion.
  • The project will also help strengthen the state's response to disasters through better flood forecasting and accurate early warning systems, including mobile alerts.
  • The Assam government has projected a five to 35% increase in extreme rainfall events and a more than 25% increase in flood events due to climate change.
  • The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development's (IBRD) $108 million loan has an 11.5-year maturity and a 4-year grace period.
  • IBRD is an international financial institution that is the lending arm of the World Bank Group. It was established in 1944. It is headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States.
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Topic: Art and Culture

7. Spring Fiesta 2023 is being organised by National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi from 29 March 2023.

  • Spring Fiesta 2023 is being organised for the first time to celebrate 69 years of the museum.
  • This museum was officially inaugurated on 29 March 1954 by Vice President Dr. S Radhakrishnan.
  • Union Culture Ministry said over 50 stalls will be set up for display at the museum lawns by participants.
  • Participants come from different walks of life and specialize in items such as handicrafts, ceramics, indigenous art, and fashion.
  • National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) comes under Ministry of Culture. It is an art gallery. Its main museum at Jaipur House in New Delhi was set up on 29 March 1954.

Topic: India and its neighbours

8. Pakistan government tabled the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill, 2023 in the National Assembly.

  • The bill was tabled by Pakistan's Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar on 28 March 2023.
  • The bill aims to limit the discretionary powers to take suo motu notice by the Chief Justice of Pakistan.
  • The bill has been sent to the Standing Committee on Law and Justice for further deliberations and approval.
  • As per the bill, the decision regarding the initiation of suo motu notice will be taken by a committee comprising three senior judges.
  • National Assembly is the lower house of the Parliament of Pakistan.

Topic: Reports and Indices/Ranking

9. World Bank released a report titled ‘Striving for Clean Air: Air Pollution and Public Health in South Asia’.

  • Nine of the world’s 10 cities having more pollution are from South Asia.
  • In South Asia, around 2 million premature deaths occur each year due to air pollution. Air pollution incurs significant economic costs in south Asia.
  • The concentration of fine particulate matter in some of South Asia’s most densely populated and poor areas are up to 20 times higher than the WHO standard of 5 microgram per cubic metre.
  • Air pollution is responsible for about 20 per cent of the total premature deaths in Bangladesh.
  • Air pollution travels long distances in South Asia and particles get trapped in large “airsheds” that are shaped by climatology and geography.
  • The main sources of emissions in South Asia are diverse. The health impacts of air pollution range from respiratory infections to chronic diseases.
  • The World Bank report recommends coordinated transboundary actions for reducing air pollution.
  • It urged policymakers to focus beyond power plants, large factories and transportation.
  • It recommended small scale manufacturing, agriculture, and waste management to reduce PM 2.5 concentrations in South Asia.
  • Six major airsheds in South Asia have been identified in the report where spatial interdependence in air quality is high. Particulate matter in each airshed comes from various sources and locations.
  • In many cities like Dhaka, Kathmandu, and Colombo, only one-third of air pollution originates within the city.
  • For the first time, four South Asian nations-Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan are working together on the Kathmandu Roadmap for improving air quality in the Indo-Gangetic Plain and Himalayan Foothills.

Topic: Personality in News

10. Hamza Yusuf of Pakistani origin became the first Muslim ‘First Minister’ of Scotland.

  • Humza Yousaf has been elected as Scotland's First Minister. He becomes the youngest-ever leader to lead the Scottish government.
  • Humza Yousaf has replaced Nicola Sturgeon as the First minister. He is the first Muslim leader of a government in Western Europe.
  • Humza Yousaf won Scottish National Party (SNP) leadership election to clinch the party's top job. Yousaf received 71 votes in the election.
  • In 2012, Yousaf was the first Muslim to be appointed to the Scottish government. He became a transport minister in 2016.
  • The First Minister is head of the Scottish Government and has the responsibility of taking all policy and decisions.

Topic: New Developments

11. A pocket-friendly device to detect milk adulteration in 30 seconds developed by IIT Madras Researchers.

  • A three-dimensional (3D) paper-based portable device that can detect adulteration in milk within 30 seconds has been developed by researchers at IIT Madras.
  • The test can also be done at home.
  • It can detect many substances commonly used as adulterating agents, including urea, detergent, soap, starch, hydrogen peroxide, sodium-hydrogen-carbonate and salt.
  • The conventional laboratory-based methods to test the purity of milk are both expensive and time-consuming.
  • This new technology is affordable and could also test other liquids such as water, fresh juices, and milkshakes for traces of adulteration.
  • Only one millilitre sample of any liquid is sufficient to test for adulteration.
  • About this paper-based device:
    • The structure of the 3D paper-based microfluidic device is sandwich-like, with an intermediate layer between the top and bottom cover.
    • This 3D design works well for moving dense liquids at a uniform speed.
    • The paper is treated with reagents and allowed to dry.
    • After drying, both paper layers are glued to its supporting edges, and the cover is glued with double-sided tape.
    • This design uses Whatman filter paper grade 4, which aids in liquid flow and allows for the storage of more reagents.
    • All reagents are dissolved in distilled water or ethanol, depending on their solubility.
    • Using colorimetric detection techniques, all adulterants are detected in various liquid samples.
    • It is inferred from the investigation that in this method, the reagent reacts only with the specific adulterant and not with any milk material.
  • Milk adulteration is a growing threat, especially in developing countries such as India, Pakistan, China, and Brazil.
  • Consumption of adulterated milk can lead to medical complications like kidney problems, infant death, gastrointestinal complications, diarrhoea and even cancer.

pocket-friendly device to detect milk adulteration

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: National Appointments

12. UK Sinha appointed as non-executive chairman of NDTV.

  • The appointment of former SEBI chairman UK Sinha as non-executive chairman and additional director till March 26, 2025, has been approved by the board of New Delhi Television Limited (NDTV).
  • In addition, NDTV has appointed Dipali Goenka, MD & CEO, Welspun India, as Additional Director in the rank of Non-Executive Independent Women Director.
  • The appointments came in the wake of a significant change in the leadership of NDTV following the acquisition of the company by its former promoters, Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy, by the Gautam Adani-led group.
  • The Gautam Adani Group now controls about 65% stake in NDTV.
  • On December 30, 2022, Roys sold 27.26% stake in NDTV to Adani-owned entity AMG Media Network.
  • NDTV:
    • It is an Indian news media company focused on broadcast and digital news publishing.
    • Economist Prannoy Roy and journalist Radhika Roy found NDTV in 1984.
    • It is headquartered in New Delhi.       

Topic: Defence

13. 1st Joint Conference of army chiefs of India and African nations held in Pune.

  • On 28 March, the first joint conference of India and African countries was held in Pune.
  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh attended the conference as the Chief guest.
  • Army chief of 10 countries along with 31 representatives from African countries were present in the conference.
  • As a part of defence cooperation, India has extended training to large number of African military officers. India has military-to-military cooperation activities with around one-third of 54 African countries.
  • India is one of the largest contributors to peacekeeping in Africa.
  • The second India-Africa Defence Dialogue was held in 2022 on the sidelines of DefExpo 2022 in Gujarat.
  • The second Africa-India joint military exercise AFINDEX 2023 is being held in Pune.

1st Joint Conference of army chiefs of India

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: State News/ West Bengal

14. Chief Minister of West Bengal launched a scheme for development of rural roads.

  • On 28 March, CM Mamta Banerjee has launched a scheme “Pathashree-Rastashree” at Singur in Hoogly district.
  • Under the new scheme, around 12,000 km of roads will be developed or reconstructed in 29,475 villages of the state.
  • Under the scheme, 8,767 roads have been approved which will benefit 22 districts of state.
  • The scheme also ensures employment generation.
  • President Droupadi Murmu was on a two-day visit to West Bengal. It was her first visit to state after becoming President.
  • She visited Belur Math and the main temple of Math. The temple architecture is a fusion of Hindu, Islamic, Christian and Buddhist art and motifs.
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