Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC 13th March 2024


National News 

1.Inauguration Of Kochrab Ashram And Launch Of Gandhi Ashram Memorial Master Plan By PM Modi 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Sabarmati Ashram to inaugurate at Ashram and launch the Master Plan of the Gandhi Ashram Memorial. 
  • Established by Gandhi on May 25, 1915, upon his return from South Africa. It was Gandhi’s first Ashram in India, emphasizing experiments in farming, cow breeding, Khadi, and constructive activities. 
  • Originally situated on barren land near the Sabarmati River, the Ashram was later relocated for practical and symbolic reasons. 

2.Prime Minister Narendra Modi Inaugurates India’s First Automobile In-Plant Railway Siding 

  • In a historic moment, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the inaugural automobile in-plant railway siding at Suzuki Motor Gujarat Private Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL). 
  • The ceremony, conducted via video conferencing, signifies a pivotal advancement in the execution of the Prime Minister’s flagship Gati Shakti programme. 
  • The primary objectives of this in-plant railway siding are to reduce the carbon footprint in logistics, decrease fossil fuel consumption, and alleviate road congestion. 

3.Sabarimala temple to open today for annual fest 

  • The Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala will open on Wednesday for the five-day monthly pujas, followed by the 10-day annual festival. 
  • Head priest P.N. Mahesh Namboothiri will open the temple in the presence of Tantri Kandararu Mahesh Mohanararu by 5pm 
  • Devotees will be permitted to climb up the 18 holy steps soon afterwards. 
  • The flag hoisting ceremony for the annual Panguni-Uthiram festival will be held from 8.30 am to 9 a.m on March 16. The Utsava Bali ritual will be performed on all days till March 24 and the Pallivetta will be held on March 24. 

4.'India was the top arms importer in 2019-2023’ 

  • India was the top arms in poorter in the world in the period 2019-23, with imports having gone up by 4.7% compared with the period 2014-18, according to Swedish think tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRD). 
  • At the same time, arms imports by European countries Increased by 94% between 2014-18 and 2019-23, the report said, which comes against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine. 
  • Although Russia remained India's main arms supplier (accounting for 36% of its arms imports), this was the first five year period since 1960-64 when Deliveries from Russia for the Soviet Union prior to 1981) made up less than half of India's arms imports," as per new data on international arms transfers from SIPRI released on Monday, "Nine of the 10 biggest arms importers in 2019-23, including the top three of India, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, were in Asia and Oceania or the West Asia, Ukraine became the fourth biggest arms importer after it received transfers of major arms in 2022-23. In the interim Budget presented in February for financial year 2004-25, the total allocation for the De- fence Ministry was ₹6.2 lakh crore, of which the capital allocation for new procurements was 1.72 lakh crore, 5.78% higher than the Budget Estimates of last year. India seems to have come back to the top slot in arms imports after brierley ceding space to Saudi Arabia in the past. 
  • Imports of Pakistan, the fifth largest arms importer in 2019-23, went up by 43% with China supplying as much as 82% of all its arms imports. 
  • Arms exports by the world's largest supplier, the U.S., grew by 17% between 2014-18 and 2019-23, while those by Russia fell by more than half. France emerged as the world's se- cond largest arms supplier as its exports grew by 47%. 
  • Over half of arms imports by European countries, 55%, in 2019-23 were from the U.S., up from 35% in 2014-IS. "Europe is respon- sible for about a third of global arms exports, including large volumes going outside the region, reflecting Europe's strong military industrial capacity," said SIPRI Director Dan Smith. 
  • In this regard, Mathew George, Director of the SIPRI arms transfers programme, said the US had increased its global role as an arms supplier is an important aspect of its foreign policy exporting more arms to more countries than it has ever done in the past. On France, which is now the second largest arms supplier, the report said 42% of its arms went to states in Asia and Oceania, and 34% to West Asia The largest single recipient of French arms exports was India, which accounted for nearly 30% The increase in French arms exports was largely due to deliveries of combat aircraft to India, Qatar and Egypt," the report stated. 
  • "With many high-value arms on order-including nearly 800 combat aircraft and combat helicopters, European arms imports are likely to remain at a high level," said Pieter We zeman, senior researcher with the SIPRI arms transfers programme. 

5.Tejas aircraft crash in Jaisalmer, first si maiden flight in 20 

  • A Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) of the Indian Air Force (LAP) crashed at Jaisalmer during an operational training sortie on Tuesday. This is the first ss crash of the indigenous je te since its maiden flight on ng January 4, 2001. 
  • "The pilot ejected safely. A Court of Inquiry has been constituted to find out the cause of the accident," the IAF said in a post on social media. The incident took place as the tri-Service fire power demonstration exercise Bharat ng Shakti was under way at Pokhran 
  • The LAF currently operates two LCA squadrons and is set to add the third squadron shortly. 
  • On the overall project cost, the government had e informed Parliament in ed March 2020 that ₹9,063.96 crore had been spent on the LCA 
  • The government originally 12,188 crore for Scale Engineering lopment (PSED) programme to develop two tec demonstrators E 1993, and 15,777.- for ESED Phase gramme. The obje Phase-II were fal of three prototype des (PVs), establish production facilities datsun Aeronau for production of e craft per year, anc facturing and dele eight limited-serie duction aircraft, vernment had is Parliament 
  • The maiden flight first technology a stator took place on ary 04, 2001 it was tened the Tejas in 20 
  • The LCA achieved operation clearance cember 2013 and the operational design February 2019 

State News 

6.Union Minister Inaugurates India’s 1st FutureLABS At C-DAC Thiruvananthapuram 

  • Union Minister Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar, responsible for Electronics and IT, Skill Development, Entrepreneurship, and Jal Shakti, inaugurated India’s first FutureLABS center at C-DAC Thiruvananthapuram. 
  • Named the “Centre for Semiconductor Chips & Systems for Strategic Electronics,” this pioneering initiative aims to catalyze. 

7.Saini is new Haryana CM as BJP-JJP alliance splits 

  • Haryana State BJP president and MP, Nayab Singh Saini, was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of the State after Manohar Lal and his Council of Ministers resigned on Tuesday as the strained ruling coalition of the BJP and the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) broke apart, amid differences over seat-sharing for the Lok Sabha election. 
  • The new Chief Minister inducted five MLAs Kanwar Pal, Mool Chand, Banwari Lal, Jai Parkash Dalal (all from the BJP) and Ranjit Singh (Independent) into the Cabinet. Governorг Bandaru Dattatreya administered the oath of office and secrecy to all of them. Mr. Saini is an Other 
  • Backward Class (OBC) leader, and by appointing him, it appears the BJP is attempting to firm up its hold and consolidate its position among the OBCS, who account for around 40% of the State's population, ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. 
  • Mr. Saini said he had the support of 48 MLAs and a letter regarding this had been submitted to the Governor. 
  • "We have urged the Governor to convene the Assembly tomorrow, where we will prove our majority on the floor of the House," he said after chairing a Cabinet meeting. 
  • Notably, former Home Minister Anil Vij was absent at the oath ceremony, triggering speculations about him being annoyed. 
  • Speaking after taking the oath, Mr. Saini said that with responsibilities came the challenges and he was ready to face them. "We will win all the 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana. Also, the BJP will form the next government in the State with a thumping majority," he said. 
  • In the 90-member Assembly, the BJP has 41 MLAs and support from six Independents and the lone MLA of the Haryana Lokhit Party. 

Important Days News 

8.IREDA Celebrates 38th Foundation Day 

  • On March 11, 2024, the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd. (IREDA) celebrated its 38th Foundation Day, marking a significant achievement in its journey towards promoting renewable energy development in India. 
  • One of the major accomplishments highlighted was IREDA achieving an ‘Excellent’ rating under the MoU 2022-23, signed with the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, for the third consecutive financial year. 
  • This recognition, with a score of 93.50 and a final rating of ‘Excellent’, reflects the company’s dedication, hard work, and commitment to excellence. 

9.National Commission For Protection Of Child Rights Celebrates 19th Foundation Day 

  • On March 12, 2024, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) celebrated its 19th Foundation Day at the Jacaranda Hall, Indian Habitat Centre, New Delhi. 
  • To mark this special occasion, the Commission invited children from different parts of the country to acknowledge their efforts and participation in the Commission’s Pariksha Parv campaign. 
  • One of the primary activities planned under Pariksha Parv 6.0 was to encourage children to express their experiences, patterns, and go-to routines for dealing with exam stress and anxiety through short video messages. 

Schemes News 

10.Dr Mansukh Mandaviya Launches Credit Assistance Program For Jan Aushadhi Kendras 

  • Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers and Health and Family Welfare, spearheaded the inauguration of a credit assistance program aimed at bolstering Jan Aushadhi Kendras across India. 
  • The program, initiated through a collaboration between SIDBI and PMBI, underscores the government’s commitment to enhancing accessibility and affordability of medicines, echoing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Sanjeevani’ for the underprivileged. 

Appointments News 

11.ISMA Appoints Deepak Ballani As New Director General 

  • The Indian Sugar & Bio-energy Manufacturers Association (ISMA) has appointed Mr. Deepak Ballani as its new Director General. 
  • With over 25 years of extensive experience in public policy, government affairs, and organizational management, Mr. Ballani brings a wealth of expertise to this pivotal role. 
  • Prior to joining ISMA, Mr. Ballani served as the Director General at The All India Plastics Manufacturers Association, where he spearheaded policy advocacy, government affairs management, and international partner management. 

Agreements News 

12.Tripartite MoU Signed Among USOF, Prasar Bharati And ONDC 

  • The Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) under the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has entered a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). 
  • The MoU encompasses USOF with Prasar Bharati, and the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), a Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) initiative of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce & Industry. 
  • This collaboration aims to expand affordable and accessible digital services across rural India, leveraging the BharatNet infrastructure under USOF. 

13.NIELIT And ITI Egypt Sign MoU To Improve Skills, Jobs, And Global Collaboration 

  • On the 12th of March, 2024, an MoU was signed between the National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT) of India and the Information Technology Institute (ITI) of Egypt. 
  • This significant event took place in Cairo, Egypt. This collaboration seeks to bridge the gap in ICT skills, enhancing industry engagement and fostering meaningful international cooperation between India and Egypt. 

14.Govt. issues marketing cod for pharmaceutical firms 

  • The Department of Pharmaceuticals issued the Uniform Code for Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP), 2024 on Tuesday, specifying the rules for the use of the words "safe" and "new" for drugs, and stated that medical representatives must not employ any inducement or subterfuge to gain an interview, and that they must not pay, under any guise, for access to a healthcare professional Engagement of the pharmaceutical industry with healthcare professionals for Continuing Medical Education (CME) should only be allowed through a well-defined, transparent, and verifiable set of guidelines, and conduct of such events in foreign locations is prohibited by the uniform code. 
  • Companies or their representatives should not pay cash or monetary grants to any healthcare professional or their family members (both immediate and extended) under any preterm Gifting is prohibited by any pharmaceutical company or its agent, that is, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, and so on. 
  • Additionally, non pecuniary advantage or benefit in kind may be offered, supplied or promised to any person qualified to prescribe or supply drugs by any pharmaceutical company or its agent 
  • The UCPMP is to be circulated for strict compliance, it said. 
  • On drugs, the UC states that promotion drug must be considered with the terms of its keting approval, a drug must not be provided prior to the receipt marketing approval the competent author "Claims for the based on up-to-date awareness of a drug man nation of all available dence. The word must not be used to qualify, and in not be stated category that a medicine has no effects, toxic hazard risk of addiction. The 'new' must not be us describe any drug has been generally available, or any therapeutic intervention which has generally promoted india for more than at the latest rules state 

Awards News 

15.Smt. Droupadi Murmu Conferred Honorary Doctorate By University Of Mauritius 

  • On March 12, 2024, President Droupadi Murmu was conferred with the honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law by the University of Mauritius. 
  • President Murmu is on a three-day state visit to Mauritius, during which she will be the chief guest at the country’s National Day celebrations on March 14th. 
  • The University of Mauritius conferred the Honoris Causa Degree of Doctor of Civil Law on President Droupadi Murmu, recognizing her contributions and the strong ties between India and Mauritius. 

16.Mr. Srinivasan Swamy Receives 2024 IAA Golden Compass Award 

  • Mr. Srinivasan Swamy, currently serving as the chairman and managing director of RK Swamy Ltd, was honored at the 45th IAA World Congress in Penang, Malaysia. 
  • The IAA Golden Compass Award is a symbol of excellence and innovation in the industry. Swamy has played pivotal roles in shaping the landscape of the marketing services industry over two decades. 
  • Swamy is the first Indian industry leader to receive this prestigious honor. Previous recipients include renowned figures such as Shelly Lazarus, Paul Polman, and Andrew Robertson. 

Science & Technology News 

17.Union Minister Inaugurates “National Speed Breeding Crop Facility” At NABI

  • Dr. Jitendra Singh, the Union Minister of Science & Technology, inaugurated the “National Speed Breeding Crop Facility” at NABI (National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute), Mohali. 
  • This initiative aligns with PM Modi’s vision of increasing farmers’ income and promoting Agri StartUps. It speeds up crop improvement programs by developing advanced varieties resilient to climate change. 
  • NABI’s technology enables the development of climate-resistant crops, freeing farmers from seasonal constraints. Farmers can now farm year-round, improving food security and economic stability. 

18.Panel recommends law to regulate Big Tech firms 

  • The Committee on Digital Competition Law, formed by the Corporate Affairs Ministry last February, released its report on Tuesday, recommending legislation to regulate the market power of Big Tech firms like Google and Meta. 
  • The Competition Act of 2002 "intervenes after the occurrence of an anti-competitive conduct", the committee said. "Such a framework was designed at a time when the extent and pace of digitalisation as is witnessed today could not be foreseen." The recommendations, if implemented, would better equip the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to rule on competition matters. 
  • The report raises alarm on the market power of these Big Tech firms, owing to their "network effects", through which they are able to rapidly increase their user base and establish market power that is difficult for a new entrant in the industry to dislodge. 
  • "As such, digital markets bear the risk of becoming irreversibly polarized in fa-vour of the incumbent, " it Says It recommends the creation of a new law, the Digital Competition Act, to "introduce an ex-ante legislation specifically applicable to large digital enterprises, to supplement the Competition Act". 
  • The panel would be derived from not the company's domestic revenues, but from the entire corporate group's global turnover. As for what rules would actually apply to such SSDES would be notified after public consultations are held, the report says.
  • A draft prepared by the panel targets firms with a "significant presence" in the market for a "Core Digital Service," terming them "Systemically Significant Digital (SSDEs)". Enterprises 
  • The draft would compel firms to determine whether they are SSDES. If a firm does not self-designate, the penalty recommended by 
  • "This will have a major impact on the Big Tech enterprises, as they will now also be subject to a separate regulatory regime," Vaibhav Choukse, a partner at JSA Advocates & Solicitors, said. "Such ex-ante regulation could potentially stifle innovation by imposing burdensome regulations on companies. 

Miscellaneous News 

19.New Scorpion Species With 8 Eyes And Legs Found In Thailand 

  • Researchers have made an exciting discovery – a previously unknown scorpion species with 8 eyes and 8 legs in Thailand’s Kaeng Krachan National Park. 
  • During a wildlife expedition in the park, located near the Tenasserim Mountain Range, a team of researchers stumbled upon this new scorpion species hidden under a rock while camping. 
  • This newly discovered species belongs to the subgenus Euscorpiops and has been named Euscorpiops Krachan, after the national park where it was found. 

20.Drug regulator warns about Meropenem, Disodium 

  • The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has cautioned against the manufacture and sale of unapproved drugs, specifically warning against those falling under the category of "New Drugs 
  • The drug regulator, citIng the example of Meropenem (antibacterial agent) and Disodium EDTA (to treat calcium overload), noted that they had received information that cturers were some manufacturers were involved in manufacturing or marketing of drugs which the CDSCO did not yet approve. 
  • In its communication to all zonal and sub-zonal offices of the CDSCO and the Indian Drugs/Pharmaceutical Association Forum, it said that no new drug should be manufactured 1 for sale unless the licensing authority approves it, and those who intend to manu- facture a new drug should make an application for ti grant of permission to the Central authority. licensing
  • It directed that all manufacturers must be made aware of Meropenem and Disodium EDTA. "The matter should be conveyed to all manufacturers and the product permission granted for these drugs should be canceled," it noted. 

21.Deepak Ballani appoints as DG of ISMA 

  • Industry body Indian Sugar & Bio-energy Manufacturers Association (ISMA) has announced the appointment of Deepak Ballani as its new Director General. 
  • With over 25 years of extensive experience in public policy, government affairs, and organizational management, Ballani assumes this pivotal role with a wealth of expertise. 
  • Prior to joining ISMA, Ballani served as the Director General at the All-India Plastics Manufacturers Association, where he spearheaded policy advocacy, government affairs management, and international partner management. 

Recent Appointment 

  • CM of Haryana – Nayab Singh Saini (replace Manohar Lal Khattar) 
  • Vigilance Commissioner – AS Rajeev 
  • Chairman of National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) – Kishor Makwana 
  • Member of National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) – Luv Kush Kumar 
  • President of Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) – Devendra Jhajharia (replace Deepa Malik) 

22. African health ministers adopted ‘Yaoundé Declaration’ against malaria 

  • At a historic gathering in Yaoundé, Cameroon, health ministers from 11 African countries, along with global malaria partners and stakeholders, gathered to address the growing malaria crisis in Africa. 
  • He promised to leverage global commitments and regional strategies, including dedicating 15% of the annual budget to strengthening the health sector. 
  • Stresses the need for urgent action to close the $1.5 billion funding gap to maintain basic malaria services, particularly vector control. 
  • His focus includes strengthening critical infrastructure, expanding capacity of personnel and ensuring effective program implementation. Additionally, they aim to promote multi-sector collaboration and create strategic partnerships for funding, research and innovation. 
  • According to the 2023 Africa Malaria Progress Report, "Malaria incidence declined by 7.6 percent and mortality by 11.3 percent, well below the African Union's interim target of a 40 percent reduction by 2020 and 7." 

‘Yaunde Manifesto’ 

  • Global malaria cases are projected to increase from 233 million to 249 million between 2019 and 2022. Africa saw a significant increase from 218 million to 233 million cases during the same period. 
  • Health Ministers of 11 African countries Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania expressed unwavering commitment to encodin

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