Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC 14th March 2024


Appointment News 

1.Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra granted six-month extension 

  • The government gave Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra a six-month extension, till end-October 2024. 
  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved extension in service of Vinay Mohan Kwatra as Foreign Secretary for a period of six months beyond 30.04.2024 i.e. up to 31.10.2024 or until further orders, whichever is earlier. 
  • Kwatra, a 1988 batch officer was appointed Foreign Secretary in April 2022, which was extended through a subsequent order to grant him a two-year term till April 30, 2024. 

Other Important Secretaries 

  • Revenue Secretary – Sanjay Malhotra 
  • Defence Secretary – Giridhar Aramane 
  • Economic Affairs Secretary – Ajay Singh 
  • Finance Secretary – V. Somanathan 
  • Expenditure Secretary – T. V. Somanathan 
  • Home Secretary – Ajay Kumar Bhalla 
  • MoSPI Secretary – G. P. Samanta 

2.Gyanesh Kumar, Sukhbir Sandhu appointed as new Election Commissioners 

  • Former bureaucrats Sukhbir Singh Sandhu from Punjab and Gyanesh Kumar from Kerala have been named as the new Election Commissioners by a panel chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, committee member and Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. 
  • The appointments come in the wake of the recent resignation of Election Commissioner Arun Goel, just days ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. With the retirement of Anup Pandey in February and Goel’s resignation, the three-member Election Commission panel was left with only the Chief Election Commissioner, Rajiv Kumar.
  • Six names came up before the panel for the selection of the two ECs and the names of Mr. Sandhu and Mr. Kumar were finalised by a majority of members of the high-powered panel. 
  • The six names shortlisted were that of Utpal Kumar Singh, Pradeep Kumar Tripathi, Gyanesh Kumar, Indevar Pandey, Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, Sudhir Kumar Gangadhar Rahate, all former bureaucrats. 
  • There was no clarity on how six names were shortlisted from over 200 candidates that are said to have come before the search committee headed by the Law Minister. 

About Election Commissioner of India (ECI) 

  • It is a constitutional body to conduct and regulate elections in the country. 
  • It consists of a chief election commissioner (CEC) and two election commissioners (usually retired IAS or IRS officers) 
  • Founded – 25 January 1950 
  •  25 January – Voter’s Day 
  • HQ – New Delhi 
  • 1st Chief – Sukumar Sen 
  • 1st Women Chief – V.S. Ramadevi 
  • 25th Chief – Rajiv Kumar 
  • Commissioner – Sukhbir Singh Sandhu and Gyanesh Kumar 
  • Tenure – 6/65yrs 

Important day 

3. 14 March – International Day of Action for Rivers 

  • International Day of Action for Rivers is observed every year on March 14. 
  • Objective – To spread awareness about the importance of rivers and climate change. 
  • Theme 2024 – Water for All 
  • The International Day of Action Against Dams and For Rivers, Water, and Life was approved at the first International Meeting of People Impacted by Dams in March 1997 in Curitiba, Brazil. 
  • On March 14, river experts from 20 different nations announced the “Day of Action for Rivers”. The aim of the participants was to form a coalition against the degradation of ecologically sensitive water bodies, rivers and watersheds. 

4.14 March 2024 – World Kidney Day 

  • World Kidney Day is observed every year on second Thursday of March. This year World Kidney Day is observed on 14th March. 
  • Objective – To raise awareness about the importance of kidney health and the increasing burden of kidney diseases worldwide. 
  • Theme 2024 – Kidney Health for All – Advancing Equitable Access to Care and Optimal Medication Practice 
  • World Kidney Day was first observed in 2006 with the slogan ‘Are Your Kidneys ok?’. 
  • The campaign was established by the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the International Federation of Kidney Foundations (IFKF) to highlight the need for education about the significance of kidney health and reduce the burden of kidney disease and other related health issues. National News 

5.Yoga Mahotsav 2024: IDY 100 Days Countdown Begins With Women Empowerment 

  • Focus Yoga Mahotsav-2024 marked the 100-day countdown to the 10th edition of the International Day of Yoga (IDY) on June 21st, 2024, at Vigyan Bhawan. This year, the event focused on the theme “Yoga for Women Empowerment,” reflecting the Ministry of Ayush’s commitment to promote global health and peace through yoga, particularly emphasizing women’s well-being. 

6.Total of 22,217 electoral bonds purchased: SBI to SC 

  • The State Bank of India (SBI) has told the Supreme Court that a total of 22,217 electoral bonds were purchased by political parties between April 1, 2019 and February 15 this year, out of which 22,030 were redeemed. 
  • In a compliance affidavit filed in the apex court, the SBI said as per the court’s direction, it has made available the details of electoral bonds to the Election Commission of India before the close of business hours on March 12. 
  • A total number of 22,217 bonds were purchased during the period April 1, 2019 till February 15, 2024. 
  • The affidavit said between April 1, 2019 to April 11, 2019, a total of 3,346 electoral bonds were purchased and 1,609 redeemed. 
  • It further said from April 12, 2019 to February 15 this year, a total of 18,871 electoral bonds were purchased and 20,421 were redeemed. 
  • A Supreme Court judgment on February 15, 2024 had struck down the anonymous system of political funding called the ‘electoral bonds scheme’ while directing the SBI, which was the authorised one under the system, to disclose information about who bought the bonds for which political party. 

7.Wrong messaging The underpinning of religion in the implementation of CAA is problematic 

  • The government's decision to implement the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2009, just days before the dates for the general election are expected to be announced seems to be a precursor to the ruling Bharatiya Ja nata Party (BJP) exploiting a polarizing issue in the poll campaign. A law strongly opposed by Mary, especially by the Muslim community, for Introducing a religion-based test for grant of citizenship to immigrants from three chosen countries, the CAA is under legal challenge before the Supreme Court of India. Enacted in 2019, it was not implemented until now as the government did not notify the rules to operationalise its provisions. The taming of the rules being notified rules a legitimate doubt if it is an attempt to divert attention away from the electoral bonds controversy. The rules were unveiled at a time when the nation was questioning the delay in the submission of details about the purchasers of anonymous electoral bonds and the parties that redeemed them. The circumstances make one question the urgent need to implement a law that has not been acted upon for five years. The new rules also appear carefully crafted, designed as they are to introduce processes that will leave no scope for States to impede its implementation. It is possible that the rules were ready for a long time, and the CAA Issue is being revived for electoral gains. 
  • The essence of the CAA, In reality, may not affect the interests of minority citizens: after all, it is only a fast-tracking fast-tracking mech mechanism for minorities- Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan to gain citizenship. Instead of the usual 11 years (out of the preceding 14 years), the waiting period for this class of immigrants will only be five years, provided they had arrived before December 31, 2014. Further, there is nothing in it that removes anyone's citizenship. The problem with the CAA is two-fold: first, in its discriminatory norm that specifies some religious communities as eligible for citizenship. All those from these six religions in these three countries are presumed to have fled persecution. Others who do not fall into this category, either due to their entering the country after the cut-off date, or because of their religion, will continue to be treated as illegal migrants. The second aspect is the un- fortunate political propaganda that sought to link the CAA with the National Register of Citizens. This rhetoric accentuated the fears of Muslims that the CAA may lead to loss of citizenship with out adequate documentary proof. More than its content, the CAA is causing harm through its use for the Narendra Modi regime's political messaging to the effect that all its policies will have an underpinning of religion. 

State News 

8.Tata Motors To Establish Rs 9,000 Crore Manufacturing Unit In Tamil Nadu 

  • In a strategic move to bolster its production capacity in South India, automaker Tata Motors has announced plans to set up a new manufacturing unit in Tamil Nadu. 
  • With an investment of Rs 9,000 crore over the next five years, the company aims to leverage the state’s conducive business environment to propel its growth trajectory. 
  • With existing manufacturing bases in Dharwad, Karnataka, and other parts of India, Tata Motors seeks to enhance its manufacturing capabilities to meet the rising demand for commercial and passenger vehicles in the region. 

9. ‘Gorsam Kora Mahotsav’ organized in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh 

  • The Gorsam Kora festival was celebrated in Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh from 7-10 March 2024, symbolizing the enduring friendship between India and Bhutan and highlighting the cultural richness of the region. 
  • Gorsam Kora, an annual festival, is celebrated at Gorsam Chorten, a massive 93-foot-tall stupa built by Lama Pradhan, a revered local monk, during the 13th century AD. 
  • Located in the picturesque Tawang district, the Zemithang Valley is steeped in history and holds great significance as the sanctuary where the 14th Dalai Lama took refuge after fleeing Tibet in 1959. Every year, thousands of devotees including a large number of Bhutanese citizens attend the Gorsam Kora festival to celebrate this auspicious occasion on the last day of the first month of the lunar calendar. 
  • The festival was organized by the local community of Gemithang, with the cooperation of the civil authorities and with the active support of local Indian Army units. 
  • The festivities began with an invocation led by His Excellency Padma Sri Thengtse Rinpoche, followed by a solemn prayer to the revered Khinzemane sacred tree, which is believed to have been planted by the 14th Dalai Lama. 
  • During the three-day event, monks chanted sacred mantras and conducted traditional Buddhist rituals at the chorten. The Gorsam Kora Festival attracted pilgrims and lamas from Bhutan, Tawang and neighboring areas, symbolizing the spirit of harmony and cultural exchange. 
  • About 40 citizens from Bhutan visited Gorsum Chorten, with an additional 40 Bhutanese citizens using the festival for business. Various programs were organized in this festival, which included mesmerizing performances by local cultural troupes and Indian Army bands as well as martial performances like Mallakhamb and Jhanj Pathaka. 
  • These rules are expected to be implemented by local authorities. Dogs that have already been kept as pets must be sterilized to ensure that further breeding does not happen, said the letter signed by Joint Secre detary, Ministry of Agriculture. 

10.Uttarakhand Bill on Uniform Civil Code gets President's nod 

  • Uttarakhand has now become the first State in Inde- pendent India to have a Uniform Civil Code after President Droupadi Murmu on Wednesday gave assent to the UCC Bill, 2024. 
  • The Bill, which has kept tribal people out of its ambit, has banned practices like halala, iddat, and talaq (customs related to marriage and divorce in Muslim Personal Law). 
  • The Assembly passed the Bill on February 7. It ensures that women are given equal rights in matters related to property and inheritance rights. 
  • "Under Article 201 of the 'Constitution of India', the President gave assent to the 'Uniform Civil Code Uttarakhand 2024' Bill passed by the Uttarakhand 
  • Legislative Assembly, on March 11 and it is published as Act Number 3, the year 2024, of Uttarakhand for general information," read the gazette notification issued by the State on Wednesday. 
  • The Bill was one of the poll promises of the BJP during the Assembly election in Uttarakhand in 2022. 
  • Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said that with the implementation of the UCC law, the government was committed to providing equal rights to all citizens. The Bill, which has 392 Sections under seven Schedules, is based on a 750-page draft, spread over four volumes, prepared by an expert committee formed by the government in June 2022, to examine the way UCC can be introduced in the State. 

11. Home Ministry notified September 17 as Hyderabad Independence Day 

  • The Home Ministry has notified September 17 as Hyderabad Independence Day. Issuing an official notification, the Ministry said that this decision has been taken to remember the martyrs of the freedom struggle of Hyderabad and to inspire the feeling of patriotism among the youth. 
  • Hyderabad was liberated from the Nizam's rule on 17 September 1948, 13 months after India's independence on 15 August 1947, following a police operation called 'Operation Polo'. The Home Ministry said that Hyderabad Independence Day on September 17 was being demanded by the people of the area for a long time. 
  • When India gained independence, the Razakars opposed its merger with the Indian Union and called for Hyderabad State to either join Pakistan or become a Muslim dominion. 
  • The people of the region fought bravely against the atrocities of the Razakars to merge the region into the Union of India. The Razakars, a private militia, had committed atrocities and defended the then Nizam regime in Hyderabad. 
  • On September 17, 1948, the then Hyderabad State, which was under the rule of the Nizams, was annexed to the Union of India following military action initiated by the then Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. 
  • The Narendra Modi government had organized the event to commemorate 'Hyderabad Liberation Day' on 17 September every year in the last few year 

12. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the Koharb Ashram in Sabarmati, Gujarat 

  • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi visited the Sabarmati Ashram in Gujarat and inaugurated the Koharb Ashram and inaugurated the Master Plan of Gandhi Ashram Memorial. The Prime Minister laid a wreath on the statue of Mahatma Gandhi and visited the Hriday Kunj. 
  • The Koharb Ashram was founded by Gandhiji on 25 May 1915 after returning from South Africa. It was the first ashram established by him in India. However, on June 17, 1917, the ashram was transferred to a barren land on the banks of the Sabarmati River. 
  • Gandhi wanted to use in farming, cow rearing, animal husbandry, khadi and other creative activities, which he could do on this land. Additionally, the ashram was located between the jail and the crematorium as Gandhi believed that a Satyagrahi would essentially end at any place. 

Sabarmati Ashram 

  • It is also known as Harijan Ashram, remained home to Gandhiji from 1917 to 1930 and played an important role in India's freedom struggle. Originally its name was Satyagraha Ashram. 
  • On 12 March 1930, he started the famous Dandi Yatra from the ashram with 78 companions. This march was a protest against the British salt law, which imposed tax on Indian salt to promote the sale of British salt in India. 
  • Gandhiji swore on 12 March 1930 that until India gets independence, he would not return to the ashram. India announced independence on August 15, 1947. However, Gandhi was assassinated in January 1948 and never returned to the ashram. 

13. Union Minister Rajiv Chandrashekhar inaugurates India's first FutureLABS center at C-DAC Thiruvananthapuram 

  • Union Minister, Shri Rajiv Chandrashekhar inaugurated India's first FutureLABS Center at C-DAC Thiruvananthapuram. This centre, named “Centre for Semiconductor Chips and Systems for Strategic Electronics”, will play a key role in catalyzing an ecosystem for next generation chip design, manufacturing and research. 
  • In other announcements, collaboration between C-DAC (T) and Ministry of Railways for development of electric locomotive technologies was announced. An MoU was signed between C-DAC (T) and Tata Power for development and deployment of microgrid technologies. 
  • Transfer of technology of Electric Vehicle Wireless Charger developed by C-DAC (T) and VNIT Nagpur to Belrise Industries Limited was also announced. 
  • The idea of FutureLABS is actually a partnership between the government system, industry, students, startups and CDAC as academia. There is huge potential for Indian startups and students in three areas – AI, semiconductors and the future of electronics. 
  • CDAC will be a willing and facilitating partner for creating these laboratories within colleges and universities. This initiative will make Thiruvananthapuram the next innovation hub of India. 

14.‘Atmospheric Research Test’ facility in Madhya Pradesh 

  • Union Minister of Earth Sciences Kiren Rijiju virtually inaugurated the Atmospheric Research Experiment-ART facility at Silkheda in Sehore district of Madhya Pradesh on March 12, 2024. The inauguration of the ART facility is an important milestone in India's journey towards becoming a global leader in atmospheric research and forecasting. 
  • The Atmospheric Research Test Site represents a pioneering initiative by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) to enhance our understanding of atmospheric dynamics and improve weather prediction capabilities. 
  • The atmospheric test site, whose work began in early 2018, is equipped with high-end instruments to record several important parameters that will be used to help improve weather models besides facilitating advanced studies on the Indian monsoon. 

Defence News 

15.China, Iran, And Russia Stage Joint Naval Drills In Gulf Of Oman 

  • The naval forces of China, Iran, and Russia launched a joint exercise near the Gulf of Oman, aimed at safeguarding regional maritime security. 
  • The “Security Belt-2024” exercise marks the fourth time these countries have conducted such a drill since 2019. The theme of the exercise is “Jointly Building Peace and Security.” 
  • The exercise is divided into three phases: harbor phase, sea phase, and summarize phase. The main focus is on anti-piracy and search and rescue operations. 

16.Launch Of ‘Agray’ And ‘Akshay’ Fifth And Sixth Ship Of ASW SWC (GRSE) Project 

  • On 13th March 2024, a significant milestone was achieved in the Indian Navy’s shipbuilding program with the launch of ‘Agray’ and ‘Akshay’, the 5th and 6th ships of the 08 x ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) Shallow Water Craft (SWC) Project. 
  • These ships are being built by M/S Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) in Kolkata for the Indian Navy.

17.RPF Leads In Female Personnel Among Central Paramilitary Forces 

  • In a significant stride towards gender equality and inclusivity, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) has emerged as a frontrunner among central paramilitary forces in terms of female representation. 
  • With women now constituting a remarkable 10 percent of its personnel, the RPF has set a new benchmark in gender diversity within central paramilitary forces. 
  • According to RPF Director General Arun Kumar, this milestone reflects the result of strategic recruitment drives and a concerted effort towards fostering inclusivity within the force. 

Business News 

18.PM Modi Lays Foundation Stone Of Three Semiconductor Facilities Worth 1.25 Lakh Crore 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated three semiconductor projects virtually, with a combined investment of approximately Rs 1.25 Lakh Crore. 
  • The three facilities include a semiconductor fabrication unit in Dholera, Gujarat, an Outsourced Semiconductor Assembly and Test (OSAT) facility in Morigaon, Assam, and another OSAT facility in Sanand, Gujarat. 

19.Numaligarh Refinery Opens First Overseas Office In Bangladesh 

  • India’s Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) opens its first overseas office in Dhaka, Bangladesh, signaling its commitment to international expansion and stronger regional ties. 
  • The pipeline was designed to supply petroleum products to Bangladesh, with a capacity of 1 MMTPA of high-speed diesel. 
  • Bangladesh portion of the pipeline constructed at an estimated cost exceeding Rs 285 crore, funded by an Indian government grant. 

Schemes News 

20.Prime Minister Modi Launches PM-SURAJ Portal To Empower Marginalized Communities 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the ‘Pradhan Mantri Samajik Utthan and Rozgar Adharit Jankalyan’ (PM-SURAJ) national portal during an event organized by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. 
  • The portal signifies the government’s commitment to extending credit support and empowering one lakh entrepreneurs from disadvantaged communities. 
  • Under the National Action for Mechanized Sanitation Ecosystem (NAMASTE) program, the Ministry distributed Ayushman health cards and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits to sewer and septic tank workers (Safai Mitras). 

21.NITI Aayog’s ‘Vocal For Local’ Initiative: Empowering Grassroots Entrepreneurship 

  • NITI Aayog launched the ‘Vocal for Local’ initiative under its Aspirational Blocks Programme on March 13, 2024. This initiative aims to bolster local economies and promote grassroots entrepreneurship, ultimately fostering self-reliance and sustainable growth. 
  • Prof. Ramesh Chand, Member, NITI Aayog, unveiled the logo for ‘Aakanksha’ under the ‘Vocal for Local’ initiative. The initiative aims to consolidate indigenous local products from 500 Aspirational Blocks under the brand ‘Aakanksha’. 

22.Ministry Of Heavy Industries Announces Electric Mobility Promotion Scheme 2024 

  • The Ministry of Heavy Industries, Government of India, in collaboration with the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance, introduces the Electric Mobility Promotion Scheme 2024 (EMPS 2024). 
  • This scheme aims to expedite the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) within the country, fostering a sustainable and eco-friendly transportation ecosystem while bolstering the EV manufacturing sector. 

23.Panel recommends ban on 'ferocious dogs 

  • An expert committee constituted by the Department of Animal Welfare and Husbandry, Ministry of Agriculture, has recommended that certain breeds of "ferocious dogs'' be prohibited from being kept as pets. 
  • An official letter has gone out from the department to all States listing out these dog breeds as well as instructions to no longer register licenses that permit their sale, 
  • The expert committee was constituted after citizen groups complained of attacks on people, sometimes fatal, of these dogs. 
  • There is also a petition being deliberated upon in the Delhi High Court requesting it to ban certain breeds. The High Court, in December 2023 had said it would decide on the issue "in three months." 
  • The breeds include mixed and cross-breeds like pit bull terrier, tosa Inu, American Staffordshire terrier, fila brasileiro, dogo argentino, American bulldog, boerboel, kangal, central Asian shepherd dog, caucasian shepherd dog, south mastiffs, rottweiler, terrier, rhodesian ridgeback, wolf dogs, cana- rio, akbash dog, Moscow guard dog, Cane corso and dogs commonly classified as bandog. 

24. Anurag Thakur launches PB-SHABD to offer news feed to media outlets 

  • Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Singh Thakur launched PB-SHABD, a news-sharing service from Prasar Bharati in New Delhi. 
  • PB-SHABD stands for Prasar Bharati – Shared audio-visuals for Broadcast Dissemination 
  • He also launched revamped websites of Akashvani News and DD News and updated News on the Air mobile app. 
  • The SHABD service is being offered free of cost for the first year as an introductory offer and will provide news stories in all major Indian languages across fifty categories. 
  • CEO of Prasar Bharti – Gaurav Dwivedi Prasar Bharati launches news sharing service 
  • Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Singh Thakur on Wednesday launched 'PBSHABD Prasar Bharati's news sharing service and the revamped websites of DD News and Akashvani News 
  • Mr. Thakur said news organizations would be provided with clean feed and they would not have to carry the Doordarshan logo. He said the SHABD service was being provided free of cost for the first year as an introductory offer and would provide news stories in all major Indian languages categories. across 50 
  • The PB-SHABD has been designed to provide dally news feeds in video, audio, text, and other formats to subscribers. 

25.Khelo India Rising Talent Identification Program 'Kirti' 

  • After training in national level institutions, identified talents will get an opportunity to participate in Asian, Commonwealth and other sports. The Union Minister said that 5 lakh physical education teachers will be trained online under the eGame Program. 
  • The Kirti model will have a pyramidanuma structure, which will identify talented players from the ground level to the development of athletes for international excellence. The talent will be identified through scientifically designed tests, ensuring accuracy and fairness in the selection process. 
  • In addition, "India benchmark" will be installed for performance measurements, which will provide an integrated equipment for performance evaluation in various subjects.

25. Union Minister Anurag Thakur launched the national program 'Kirti' from Chandigarh

  • Union Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Anurag Thakur launched the National Program Khelo India Rising Talent Identification Program 'Kirti/ Kirti' on 12 March 2024 in the presence of Rajiv Verma, Advisor, Advisor to Advisor of UT Chandigarh and other dignitaries. 
  • Shri Thakur said that the primary objective of "Kirti" is to identify and support sports talents at the ground level in various subjects. He said that under this program, the government will reach every corner of every district of the country and identify talent, the talent of youth will be enhanced in sports academies. 
  • Mr. Thakur, mentioning their sports discipline and district etc., will have to register their online registration on My Bharat and the teams will be sent to the districts to identify them. 
  • For the purpose of athletes between the age group of nine to 18 years, the age group of school, Kirti is an ambitious nationwide program under the India Mission that tries to identify talent from every corner of the country using IT equipment. 
  • Apart from this, the Union Minister also announced the opening of two new National Sports Excellence Center dedicated to women, where only women players will be trained. He said that there are already 23 National Excellence Centers in the country. 
  • Shri Thakur said that on the request of the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has amended the rules to give government jobs to the medal winners of Khelo India to be held at four levels.

Rankings & Reports News 

26.India Jumps 14 Ranks On UNDP Gender Inequality Index 

  • According to the Human Development Report 2023-2024 released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), India has made significant progress in bridging the gender divide. 
  • The country has improved its ranking by 14 positions on the Gender Inequality Index (GII) 2022 compared to the previous year. 
  • In the GII 2022, India ranked 108 out of 193 countries, with a score of 0.437. This marks a significant improvement from the 2021 ranking of 122 out of 191 countries, 

27. According to the report of Energy, Environment and Water Council, Haryana is the leading state in treated waste water management. 

  • March 12, 2024 The study conducted by independent think tank, Council on Energy, Environment and Water aims to develop a Municipal Used Water Management (MUWM) Index for urban local bodies in India to assess their performance in treated waste water management. 
  • Haryana and Karnataka secured the top two state ranks in terms of treated waste water management with 1.94 and 1.74 points out of 5 respectively. Punjab and Rajasthan stood third and fourth respectively scoring 1.71 and 1.57 out of 5. 
  • Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh remained in the bottom three positions, scoring 0.84, 1.01 and 1.07 out of 5 respectively. In 2021, Indian cities produced more than 72,000 million liters of used water (domestic sewage) per day, of which only 28 percent was treated. The remainder was discharged into natural water bodies, causing pollution in rivers and lakes during non-monsoon months. 
  • The demand for water in cities is continuously increasing, while the groundwater level is continuously falling. Use for non-drinking purposes at the level of Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) in the country CEEW has also prepared a first-ofits-kind Municipal Used Water Management (MUWM) Index in this report. 
  • The Municipal Used Water Management (MUWM) index focuses on 503 ULBs across 10 states. Major states are: Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat and Haryana. These states have adopted the policy of reusing treated water with a score of 0.490. 

Agreements News 

27.Government Of India, ADB Sign $181 Million Loan To Improve Livability And Mobility In Ahmedabad 

  • India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have collaboratively signed a $181 million loan agreement targeting the improvement of infrastructure and services in the peri-urban areas surrounding Ahmedabad city in Gujarat. 
  • Its objective is to improve physical and social infrastructure in peri-urban areas and fostering economic vibrancy and establishing them as attractive investment destinations. 

28.India and Dominican Republic signs protocol for establishment of Joint Economic and Trade Committee 

  • The protocol for the establishment of the Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) between India and the Dominican Republic was signed. 
  • The protocol envisages strengthening and developing cooperation on trade, services, industrial technologies, and various other sectors by means of technical assistance, training programmes, and capacity building. 
  • It will be pivotal in mitigating challenges faced by the trade and industry and provide a platform for sharing of knowledge and best practices between the two countries. 
  • India primarily imports gold from the Dominican Republic and exports pharmaceuticals, marine products, motor vehicles, two and three-wheelers, etc. to them 

29.Modi, British PM assess progress on free trade agreement negotiations 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak spoke over the phone on Tuesday assessing the progress made on negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), as both countries face general elections. 
  • New Delhi and London have been negotiating a deal since January 2022, but an agreement has thus far remained out of reach with British negotiators returning from India earlier after the 14th round of talks. 
  • As the U.K. negotiating team left for India on March 4, a British official had said, it was a "last-gasp attempt to clinch an FTA before the Indian election campaign pauses talks", according to a report in The Guardian. 
  • On Tuesday, Mr. Modi tweeted that he and Mr. Sunak had reaffirmed their commitment to the "early conclusion" of a "mutually beneficial" agreement. 
  • "The Prime Minister [Mr. Sunak) reiterated the Importance of reaching an ambitious outcome on goods and services," 
  • Downing Street said in a readout, adding that the two Prime Ministers agreed to remain in close contact. 
  • The readouts also said the leaders discussed the overall partnership. Mr. Modi and Mr. Sunak discussed regional and global developments, according to the Indian government readout. 

Appointments News 

30.Sanjay Kumar Singh Nominated As Next Director (Projects) Of NHPC Limited 

  • Sanjay Kumar Singh is poised to step into the role of Director (Projects) at NHPC Limited, following a commendation by the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) panel on March 12. 
  • Currently serving as Chief General Manager at SJVN Limited, Singh emerges as the recommended candidate from a pool of twelve contenders. 
  • In his new capacity, Singh will join the Board of Directors at NHPC, reporting directly to the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD). 

31.Paul Alexander, The Man In The Iron Lung, Passes Away At 78 

  • Paul Alexander, who spent much of his life in an iron lung after contracting polio as a child, has passed away at the age of 78. 
  • Paralyzed from the neck down by the disease, he spent over 70 years confined to an iron lung, a mechanical respirator that sustained his breathing. 
  • Despite his condition, Alexander pursued education, earned a law degree, and thrived as a writer and artist. His memoir, ‘Three Minutes for a Dog: My Life Inside an Iron Lung,‘ describes his journey. 

International News

32. Japan's first private sector rocket 'Kairos' destroyed during launch 

  • Space One's Kairos rocket was launched from a launch pad in Kushimoto, Wakayama Prefecture, western Japan, on March 13, 2024. It was destroyed in an explosion after takeoff. It was Japan's first private sector rocket. 
  • Kairos is composed of three stages of solid-fuel engines and one liquidfuel post-boost stage engine, attempting to carry payloads of up to 250 kg to low-Earth orbit. 
  • It explodes in the air within a few seconds, called Kairos. There was a heavy cloud of smoke in the area and flames started rising at some places. 
  • The launch has already been delayed several times, according to Japanese media reports. Had it been successful, Space One would have been the first private company to send a rocket into orbit. Tokyo-based Space One was founded in 2018, with investment from major Japanese companies including Canon Electronics, IHI, Shimizu and major banks. 
  • Japan's main space exploration effort is led by the government's NASDA, which stands for Japan National Space Development Agency, the country's equivalent to America's NASA. The agency is now called JAXA, or Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. 
  • Last month, the state-funded Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully launched its new cost-efficient flagship rocket, the H3. JAXA completed a historic "pinpoint" moon landing this year, and H3 is scheduled to carry about 20 satellites and probes into space by 2030. 

33. World's first 3D printed mosque constructed in Saudi Arabia 

  • A businesswoman named Wajnat Abdulwaheed paid tribute to her late husband by completing the construction of the world's first 3Dprinted mosque in the Al-Jawahra suburb of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. 
  • The Abdulaziz Abdullah Sharbatli Mosque was constructed using 3D printing technology obtained from Chinese firm Guanli. The 60,000- square-foot mosque was built in a very different way than traditional construction, with great attention paid to the design of the building. 
  • This innovative approach facilitated the creation of a massive 5,600 square meter structure that beautifully blends tradition and innovation. 
  • The National Housing Company, a state-owned entity that provides solutions to the real estate, commercial and housing needs of the Saudi market, also supported the project. 
  • The construction of the mosque helped establish Saudi Arabia as the center of a sustainable and tech-driven future, as 3D printing technology is more efficient and reduces waste. 
  • This technology is also being used to replace traditional construction approaches, as shown in the US, where entire neighborhoods are now being built with 3D printing. 
  • The use of 3D printing in construction offers many benefits including faster project completion. By using resources efficiently, 3D printers reduce waste and contribute to a more sustainable industry. 
  • Additionally, 3D printing technology can reduce health and safety hazards, reducing the risk of injuries and deaths. When creating concrete structures, 3D printing provides a higher level of accuracy than traditional methods.

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