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Daily Current Affairs: 28th March 2024

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Current Affairs

 

 

28th March 2024

 

 

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

1) TRAI Release Recommendations on ‘Usage of Embedded SIM for M2M Communications’

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In accordance with the TRAI Act of 1997, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) published guidelines on the use of embedded subscriber identity modules (SIM) for machine-to-machine (M2M) communications.

Key Points

  • The rollout of 5G services in India opens up new avenues for the M2M ecosystem, expanding the potential applications across a range of industries, including industrial automation, transportation, healthcare, and agriculture.
  • These suggestions will simplify India’s M2M embedded SIM (eSIM) regulatory environment.
  • The TRAI has highlighted the significance of putting in place suitable Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures by means of these recommendations in order to preserve network security, lessen fraud threats, and enhance the general integrity of the M2M eSIM ecosystem.
  • TRAI has also proposed a framework for swapping Subscription Manager-Secure Routing (SM-SR) and eSIM profiles. This framework will give M2M eSIM customers a lot of options and promote healthy competition in the market.
  • The government’s execution of these recommendations will encourage expansion in the M2M eSIM market within India’s telecom industry.It promotes the nation’s M2M eSIM ecosystem development, which makes it possible for the expansion of contemporary M2M communications.

About Telecom Regulatory Authority of India(TRAI) 

TRAI is a statutory body that regulates the telecommunications sector in India.

  • Chairman – Anil Kumar Lahoti
  • Headquarters – New Delhi, Delhi
  • Establishment – 1997

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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

2) ILO report: Youth Unemployment in India Rises to 83%

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The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Institute of Human Development (IHD) jointly published the “India Employment Report 2024: Youth education, employment and skills,” which states that nearly 83% of India’s unemployed workforce is young.

The Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) of India, V. Anantha Nageswaran, released the report.
He brought up the report, which indicated that while youth employment and underemployment rose between 2000 and 2019, they fell during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the report, the proportion of youth population, which makes up 27% of the total population in 2021, is expected to drop to 23% by 2036.

About International Labour Organisation(ILO):

  • Director-General -Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo
  • Headquarters –  Geneva, Switzerland
  • Established –  1919
  • Member States – 187 Member States

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BANKING & FINANCE

3) Axis Bank introduces Digital Opening of US Dollar FD for NRI customers at GIFT City

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Axis Bank launched the digital opening of US dollar fixed deposits (FD) for non-resident Indians (NRIs) on March 26, 2024. The bank is located in Gujarat International Finance Tec (GIFT) City, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, and operates an International Financial Services Centre/IFSC Banking Unit (IBU).
As a result, Axis Bank is the first financial institution to provide GIFT City Deposit digitization.

 

Key Points:

  • NRI clients can now open US dollar fixed deposits at GIFT City via the bank’s mobile banking app, “Open by Axis Bank.”
  • By removing the need for physical documentation and offering an end-to-end digital solution, this digital offering streamlines the procedure.
  • Clients can benefit from flexible investment tenures ranging from seven days to ten years, as well as convenient digital management of their FD.
  • It is also possible to request a partial or complete premature closure of the FD via the Axis Bank mobile application.

About Axis Bank Limited:

  • Managing Director and CEO– Amitabh Chaudhry
  • Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
  • Established – 1993 (Commenced operation on 1994)
  • Tagline– Badhti Ka Naam Zindagi

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4) NTPC signs pact with Japanese agency for USD 200 million loan

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With Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), the NTPC Limited (previously known as National Thermal Power Corporation) has signed an agreement to source foreign currency loans totaling USD 200 million (Japanese Yen (JPY) 30 billion, or approximately Rs 1,650 crore).
60% of the facility amount will be provided by JBIC, and other commercial banks will supply the remaining amount under JBIC’s guarantee.

Key Points:

  • Loans of JPY 15 billion each were agreed upon for NTPC Ltd. and NTPC Renewables Energy Ltd (NREL). The JBIC’s share of the 30 billion is only JPY 9 billion apiece.
  • The Bank of Yokohama Ltd. and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation co-finance the loan.
  • Loans are given for environmentally friendly projects under JBIC’s “Global action for Reconciling Economic growth and Environment preservation” (or “GREEN”) initiative.
  • NTPC will use the money for FGD, or flue gas desulphurization, which lowers emissions of sulfur oxide (SOx) and supports environmental sustainability. This is the second loan that NTPC has received as part of JBIC’s GREEN operations in India.
  • In keeping with its goal of providing dependable, reasonably priced, and sustainable energy, NREL will allocate the funds to renewable energy projects.

About NTPC Limited:

  • Chairman & Managing Director– Gurdeep Singh
  • Headquarter– New Delhi, Delhi
  • Establishment– 1975

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5) PayU Introduces Industry-First Downpayment EMI Solution for Online Retail

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An innovative down payment EMI (equated monthly installment) solution for online retail was unveiled by PayU Payments Private Limited (PayU), a top payments solution provider in India. This mimics the ease of use and adaptability of offline EMI downpayment options.

This will allow customers to pay a portion up front and convert the balance into convenient installment payments.

By doing this, the PayU merchant partners can provide their clients with a range of options when it comes to choosing a down payment amount through Credit Card EMI. With a predetermined down payment, this no-code option provides no-cost EMI.

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6) Star Housing Finance Signs Co-lending Partnership with Tata Capital Housing Finance

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In order to offer loans to low-income groups (LIG) and economically weaker sections (EWS) at more reasonable rates, Star Housing Finance Limited (Star HFL) and Tata Capital Housing Finance Limited (TCHFL) have entered into a co-lending partnership.
By providing the borrower base with a range of origination capacities and levels of franchise, the partnerships hope to serve customers in various geographic areas.

Note: TCHFL is a housing finance company that is registered with the National Housing Bank and is a fully owned subsidiary of Tata Capital Limited.

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ECONOMY & BUSINESS

7) CAD narrows to 1.2% of GDP at USD 10.5 billion in Oct-Dec FY24: RBI

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) published the preliminary balance of payments (BoP) data for October through December 2023–24, or Q3FY24, on March 26, 2024. In accordance with it, India’s Q3FY24 Current Account Balance (CAD) revealed a USD 10.5 billion deficit, or 1.2% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
It is less than the USD 16.8 billion (2.0% of GDP) in Q3FY23 and the USD 11.4 billion (1.3% of GDP) in Q2FY24.

Highlights:

  • The merchandise trade deficit in Q3FY24 was USD 71.6 billion, higher than the USD 71.3 billion in Q3FY23.
  • Software, business, and travel services drove a 5.2% year-over-year increase in services exports, which helped to offset the current account deficit.
  • Higher payments of investment income caused the net outflow from the primary income account to increase to USD 12.7 billion from USD 11.5 billion a year earlier.
  • Private transfer receipts reached USD 31.4 billion, up 2.1% from Q3FY23, and were mainly composed of remittances from Indians living overseas.
  • The net inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) was USD 4.2 billion, up from USD 2.0 billion in Q3FY23.
  • The net inflow for Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI) was USD 12 billion, which is more than the USD 4.6 billion recorded in Q3FY23.
  • The net outflow from external commercial borrowings was USD 2.6 billion in Q3FY24 as opposed to USD 2.5 billion in Q3FY23.
    The net inflow of non-resident deposits increased to USD 3.9 billion in Q3FY23 from USD 2.6 billion.
  • Compared to USD 11.1 billion in Q3FY23, foreign exchange reserves fell by USD 6 billion in Q3FY24.

BoP During April-December 2023:

  • India’s trade deficit narrowed, leading to an improvement in the country’s CAD to 1.2% of GDP from 2.6% in April to December 2022.
  • Net FDI inflow was USD 8.5 billion, less than the USD 21.6 billion received from April to December of 2022.
  • From April to December 2023, there was a net inflow of USD 32.7 billion into portfolio investments.
  • From April to December 2023, there was a USD 32.9 billion increase in the foreign exchange reserves.

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AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

8) Brand Finance Insurance 100 2024: India’s LIC Emerged as World’s Strongest Insurance Brand

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The independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance released the “Insurance 100 2024” report, which states that the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) of India has become the strongest insurance brand globally, with a brand value that has increased by 0.04% to USD 9.8 billion. It has a corresponding AAA brand strength rating and an 88.3 Brand Strength Index (BSI) score.
The second and third strongest insurance brands, respectively, are LIC, Taiwan-based Cathay Life Insurance (brand value up 9% to USD4.9 billion), and Australia-based NRMA Insurance (brand value up 82% to USD1.3 billion).

The study claims that Ping An, a Chinese insurance company, has maintained its position as the most valuable insurance brand in the world for six years running, with a 4% rise in brand value to USD 33.6 billion.

China Life Insurance (brand value up 2% to USD17.5 billion) and Germany’s Allianz (up 17% to USD24.6 billion) have maintained their positions as the second and third most valuable insurance companies in the world, respectively, after China’s Ping An.

Note: Brand Finance publishes an annual report called Insurance 100 that lists the strongest and most valuable insurance brands.

About Brand Finance:

  • Chairman & CEO– David Haigh
  • Headquarters– London, UK
  • Established in– 1996

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APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNATIONS

9) SC Appoints Expert Committee for Great Indian Bustard Preservation

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A seven-member expert committee has been appointed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI), Dhananjaya Yeshwant (DY) Chandrachud, to oversee the preservation of the Critically Endangered Great Indian Bustard (GIB).
The SC has scheduled the committee’s report submission deadline for July 2024 and assigned it to the second week of August 2024.
This is consistent with the attempts to save the GIB population in Gujarat and Rajasthan from going extinct due to collisions with power cables.
Notably, Justice Jamshed Burjor Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra comprised the three-judge bench.

About the Committee:

  • Virendra R. Tiwari, the director of the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in Dehradun, Uttarakhand; Hari Shankar Singh, a member of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL); Niranjan Kumar Vasu, the former head of the Forest Force in Assam and Principal Chief Conservator of Forests; B Majumdar, the former chief wildlife warden and Principal Chief Conservator of Forests in Maharashtra; and others are among the members of the committee.
  • The committee’s special invitees will be Ashok Kumar Rajput, Member, Power Systems, Central Electrical Authority, and P.C. Garg, Chief Operating Officer, Central Transmission Utility of India Limited.

Functions of the committee:

  • The expert committee will ascertain the extent, scope, and practicability of installing overhead and underground power lines in areas designated as GIB priority spots in Gujarat and Rajasthan.
  • Alternatives to strike a balance between the conservation of GIB and the sustainable development goals (SDGs) will also be investigated.
  • In addition, the committee will suggest more actions to pinpoint other areas of importance.

Points to note: 

  • To safeguard the GIB, the SC issued an order in April 2021 outlawing the construction of overhead transmission lines spanning 80,688 square kilometers in Gujarat and Rajasthan.
  • The SC is thinking about lifting the entire ban and has given the Indian government notice to designate priority habitat areas where overhead wires should be totally prohibited, leaving the remaining 80,688 square kilometers free of the restriction.

Note: The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed GIB as critically endangered on its Red List of Threatened Species. The Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972 also provides protection for them.

About Supreme Court(SC)

  • Chief Justice of India(CJI) – Dhananjaya Yeshwant (DY) Chandrachud
  • Headquarters – New Delhi, Delhi

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10) ACC Appoints Sadanand Vasant Date as DG of NIA; Rajeev Kumar as DG of BPR&D & Piyush Anand as DG of NDRF

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The appointment of Sadanand Vasant Date as the Director General (DG) of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has been approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) under the leadership of Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi.
The National Disaster Response Force’s (NDRF) director general is Piyush Anand.
The Director General of the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) is Rajeev Kumar.

About National Investigating Agency(NIA):

NIA, under the Ministry of Home Affairs, is the central counter-terrorism agency of India.

  • It was constituted under the NIA Act,2008.
  • Established in 2008
  • Headquarter– New Delhi, Delhi

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ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS

11) CCI approval on March 26, 2024

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The following has been approved by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) on March 26, 2024:

MEMG Family Office LLP (MEMG LLP) and 360 ONE Private Equity Fund (Fund) through its investment manager, 360 ONE Asset Management Limited (AML), have approved the subscription to Compulsorily Convertible Preference Shares (CCPS) B of API Holdings Limited. CCI has approved this subscription.

  • Target: API Holdings Limited
  • Acquirer 1: MEMG LLP
  • Acquirer 2: 360 ONE Private Equity Fund and 360 ONE AML (together referred to as 360 One)

Key Points:

  • MEMG LLP is a limited liability partnership based in India that offers advisory and consulting services on behalf of the Pai Family Group.
  • The 360 ONE Private Equity Fund is an alternate investment fund (AIF) classified as Category II that is registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). It is managed by 360 ONE Asset Management Limited (AML) and makes investments in a variety of Indian and international sectors.
  • API Holdings Limited is a publicly traded, unlisted business that operates in India’s pharmaceutical and healthcare industries.

CCI approves 100% acquisition of Lanco Amarkantak Power Limited by Adani Power Limited

Adani Power Limited, a division of the Adani Group, has acquired 100% of the equity share capital of Lanco Amarkantak Power Limited, a member of the Lanco Group, with approval from the CCI.

  • Target: Lanco Amarkantak Power Limited
  • Acquirer: Adani Power Limited

Key Points:

  • Adani Power Limited is an Indian company that operates plants in several states and specializes in the generation of thermal power.
  • Under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC), Lanco Amarkantak Power Limited, which generates thermal power in India, is presently going through the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP).

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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

12) ECI Launched Saksham App to Facilitate Easier Voting for PwDs

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The Election Commission of India (ECI) has introduced the “Saksham” app, which aims to make voting simpler for individuals with disabilities (PwDs).Additionally, this will make it possible for PwDs to use amenities at polling places, such as wheelchairs.

Features of Saksham:

  • Saksham aims to provide tailored services that facilitate the voter identification and registration process for people with disabilities. The PwDs will find it easier to locate and vote at their polling place with this assistance.
  • Voice assistance (for the blind) and text-to-speech (for the deaf) will be provided by this.
  • Both iOS and Android phones can use the app.
  • ECI made the option to vote from home available to PwDs and senior citizens.
  • Voting from home is now possible for citizens over 85 and PwDs with 40% benchmark disability, according to ECI’s announcement that “No Voter to be Left Behind.”
  • The option to “vote from home” is being offered by the ECI for the first time.
    ECI will also set up transportation services for the elderly and PwDs.

About Election Commission of India(ECI):

ECI was established on 25 January 1950 in accordance with constitutional provisions (Article 324).

  • Chief Election Commissioner(CEC) – Rajiv Kumar
  • Election Commissioner – Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu
  • Headquarters – New Delhi, Delhi
  • Established – 26 January 1950

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13) Akums developed India’s 1st indigenous Hydroxyurea oral suspension for sickle disease

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A pharmaceutical company called Akums Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Limited, situated in New Delhi, has created India’s first locally produced Hydroxyurea oral suspension, which can effectively treat sickle cell disease at a reasonable cost. After a thorough evaluation and bioequivalency studies, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) approved this product.

This corresponds with India’s efforts to fulfill the National Sickle Cell Anaemia Elimination Mission, which Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi announced in 2023.

About Hydroxyurea Oral Suspension: 

  • This medication will be used to treat the symptoms of sickle cell syndrome in adults, adolescents, and children older than two years old. It will also prevent recurrent painful vaso-occlusive crises, such as acute chest syndrome.
  • The patient’s body weight determines the appropriate dosage for Hydroxyurea Oral Suspension, which is offered as a capsule and solution.
  • Akums will receive funding from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to carry out the Post Marketing Surveillance (PMS) study.

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SPORTS

14) Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. Wins F1 Australian Grand Prix 2024

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The Formula 1 (F1) Australian Grand Prix (GP) 2024 was won by Carlos Sainz Vázquez de Castro, also known as Carlos Sainz Jr., of Ferrari. The race took place at Melbourne, Australia’s Albert Park Circuit from March 22–24, 2024.

Lando Norris of the United Kingdom and Charles Leclerc of Monaco, drivers for Ferrari, took second and third, respectively.

Winners of Australian Grand Prix 2024:

Position

Driver

Team

1

Carlos Sainz Jr.

Ferrari

2

Charles Leclerc

Ferrari

3 Lando Norris

McLaren

Highlights of Australian GP:

  • Carlos Sainz won his third Grand Prix, which also included the Singapore GP in 2023 and the British GP in 2022.
  • For the first time since the Bahrain Grand Prix in 2022, the Ferrari team secured the top two spots (Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, respectively).

Note: Max Verstappen, a Belgian-Dutch driver for Red Bull who was competing under the Dutch flag, had to retire from the Australian Grand Prix due to a technical issue with his car. He had already won the Bahrain Grand Prix and the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in the 2024 season.

About Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA):

The F1 Grand Prix races are organised by Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).

  • President – Mohammed Ben Sulayem
  • Headquarters – Paris, France
  • Established – 1904

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BOOKS & AUTHORS

15) Kerala Animal Husbandry Minister Released a book Titled “A Compendium on Non-Native Organisms of India”

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A Compendium on Non-Native Organisms of India is a book that the Kerala government and Animal Husbandry Minister J. Chinchurani presented to each other at a function at T.K. Madhava Memorial (TKMM) College in Nangiarkulangara, Kerala.
K.V. Jayachandran, honorary professor of Kerala University’s department of aquatic biology and fisheries, and the faculty members of TKMM College—Sheela S., Jasmin Anand, and Vinod Haridas—co-authored the book.
The book provides details on invasive species found in different areas of Alappuzha, Kerala, as well as the problems they cause and methods to stop them from spreading.
The TKMM College Zoology Department hosted a three-day national workshop on “invasive species-monitoring and management,” which led to the publication of the book.

Click here to read from source


IMPORTANT DAYS

16) Earth Hour 2024 – March 23

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Every year on the final Saturday of March, people all over the world observe Earth Hour, which is a global demonstration of unity and commitment to preserving the environment and safeguarding the planet by turning off the lights for 60 minutes.
Earth Hour is sometimes held one week ahead of schedule when Holy Saturday, also known as Easter Eve, falls on the final Saturday of March.
Since Holy Saturday 2024 falls on March 30, 2024, Earth Hour 2024 was observed on March 23, 2024. Earth Hour will be observed for the 18th year in 2024.

2024 observance:

  • From 8.30 PM to 9.30 PM, people watched Earth Hour 2024 from all over the world.
  • With its call to action, “Give an hour for Earth,” Earth Hour 2024 seeks to establish the Biggest Hour for Earth.

Context:

  • In Australia, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), formerly known as the World Wildlife Fund, and its partners initiated the Earth Hour movement in 2007 as a “lights off” event.
  • Sydney, Australia hosted the first Earth Hour on March 31, 2007.

Click here to read from source


17) World Theatre Day 2024 – March 27

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Every year on March 27, people all over the world observe World Theatre Day to raise awareness of theater in all of its forms. The Day emphasizes the inherent worth of theater as a creative medium.
The 62nd anniversary of World Theatre 2024 was marked on March 27, 2024.
The International Theatre Institute (ITI) Centers and the global theater community have been commemorating the Day every year.

Background:

  • The International Theatre Institute (ITI), a global organization for the performing arts, founded World Theatre Day in 1961.
  • On March 27, 1962, the first World Theatre Day was commemorated, marking the start of Paris, France’s “Theatre of Nations” season.
  • 2024 Message: The World Theatre Day Message 2024, “Art is Peace,” was written by Norwegian dramatist and novelist Jon Fosse.

About International Theatre Institute (ITI):

British playwright and novelist JB Priestly, as well as Sir Julian Huxley, the first director general of UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization), took the initiative to found ITI in 1948.

  • President– Mohammed Saif AL-AFKHAM (Fujairah, UAE)
  • Headquarters– Shanghai, China

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