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Current Affairs: 29th March 2024

Current Affairs: 29th March 2024, Best CAT classes in Mumbai

Current Affairs

 

 

29th March 2024

 

This daily dose of current affairs provides a professional and focused look at the most noteworthy events transpiring around the globe on March 29th, 2024. We curate critical news stories across various domains, ensuring you stay informed on the latest political, economic, scientific, and social developments shaping our world.


NATIONAL AFFAIRS

1) MoRD Notifies 3-10% hike in MGNREGA Wage Rates for FY25

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For the fiscal year 2024–2025 (FY25), the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) has announced a nominal 3–10% increase in workers’ pay rates under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
In accordance with MGNREGA, 2005 Section 6 (1), the notification was sent out.
Starting on April 1, 2024, a new salary increase ranging from Rs 7 to Rs 26 will be implemented.

Note: The pay increase for 2023–2024 ranged from 2-10%. The most recent revision to MGNREGA wages was announced on March 24, 2023.

Highlights:

  • From the current all-India average wage rate of Rs 267.32 per day to Rs 285.47 per day for FY25, wages have increased on average by roughly 7%.
  • Goa has the largest increase, at 10.56%, over the current wage rate; Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Uttarakhand have the lowest increases, at 3.04% apiece.
    There has been a notable increase of more than 10% in Goa, Karnataka (10.4%), Andhra Pradesh (10.29%), and Telangana (10.29%) counties.
  • The hikes in Kerala (3.90%) and Lakshadweep (3.62%) are less than 4%.
  • At Rs 374 per day, Haryana has the highest NREGS wage rate, followed by Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland, at Rs 234 per day.

Points to note:

  • Changes in the Consumer Price Index for Agricultural Labor (CPI-AL), which measures inflation in rural areas, determine changes in MGNREGA wage rates.
  • The MGNREGA has been allocated Rs 86,000 crore in the Union Budget 2024–25. This was comparable to the updated MGNREGA estimate for the current fiscal year 2023–2024.
  • States may additionally offer their citizens wage rates that are higher than the levels announced by the Center.
    Notably, the average number of employment days per household in the country during the fiscal year 2023–24 (FY24) was 51 days, which was less than the promised 100 days.

 Click here to read from the source


2) Israel Aerospace Industries opens its Indian subsidiary “AeroSpace Services India”

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AeroSpace Services India (ASI), an Indian subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), has opened its doors in New Delhi, Delhi.

With regard to the entire Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missile (MRSAM) system utilized by the Indian Army, Indian Air Force (IAF), and Indian Navy, ASI serves as the exclusive authorized OEM technical representative.

Advanced phased array radar, command and control, mobile launchers, and interceptors with sophisticated RF seekers are all part of the MRSAM system.

MRSAM was created for the Indian military at Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) after being collaboratively developed by IAI and the Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO).

Click here to read from the source


INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

3) UNEP Report: Globally, Around 19% of the Food Produced was Wasted in 2022

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The Food Waste Index Report 2024-Think Eat Save Tracking Progress to Halve Global Food Waste, published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on March 27, 2024, tracks national efforts to reduce food waste by half by 2030.
According to it, 1.05 billion metric tons, or 19%, of the food produced worldwide in 2022 was wasted. This comes to 132 kg per person, or almost one-fifth of the total food supply.
UNEP and the international charity Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) co-authored the report.
Researchers examined national data on food service, retailers, and households.

Note:By 2030, Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 aims to cut the amount of food wasted per person worldwide by half, both at the retail and consumer levels and in supply chains.
The initial release of this report was in 2021.

  • Key Points:
    Every person in the world wastes roughly 79 kg of food per year, which adds up to at least 1 billion meals wasted every day.
  • Of the food wasted, household waste accounts for 60%, with food service accounting for 28% and retailers for 12%.
  • 783 million people worldwide suffer from chronic hunger, and food crises are getting worse in many areas.
  • A persistent deficiency in vital nutrients in their diets causes stunted growth and development in 150 million children under the age of five.
  • Food loss and waste account for 8–10% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, placing it third after the US and China when taken as a nation.
  • Public-private partnerships are used by governments and business associations to minimize food waste, with an emphasis on measurement and redistribution techniques. The lack of adequate food waste tracking systems in many G20 nations—including Australia, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union (EU)—highlights the necessity of regular measurement and reporting to direct progress toward 2030 goals.
  • Only 21 nations had included food loss and waste reduction in their national climate plans as of 2022.

Click here to read from the source


BANKING & FINANCE AFFAIRS

4) IRDAI Retains the ‘D-SIIs’ status for LIC, GIC Re and New India Assurance Company

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Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), General Insurance Corporation of India Limited (GIC Re), and the New India Assurance Company Limited were all granted the status of Domestic Systemically Important Insurers (D-SIIs) by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI).
This implies that these public sector insurance providers will remain on the list of D-SIIs for 2022–2023 and will be recognized as such.

Key Points:

  • D-SIIs are insurers that are deemed “too big or too important to fail” (TBTF) because of their scale, importance in the market, and network.
  • In order to mitigate systemic risks and moral hazard, D-SIIs are subject to additional regulatory measures that call for improved corporate governance and extensive risk management frameworks.
  • The two biggest life and general insurance companies in India are LIC and New India; GIC Re is the only reinsurer operating in India.

About Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI):

  • Chairperson – Debasish Panda
  • Headquarters – Hyderabad, Telangana
  • Establishment– 1999 (Incorporated in 2000)

Click here to read from the source


5) RBI modifies norms for Lenders Having Exposure into AIFs

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued a directive on March 27, 2024, to address regulatory concerns regarding the investment made in Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) by regulated entities (REs).

The directives were given in the exercise of the authority granted by Chapter IIIB of the RBI Act, 1934, Sections 30A, 32, and 33 of the National Housing Bank (NHB Act, 1987), and Sections 21 and 35A of the Banking Regulation (BR) Act, 1949 read with Section 56 of the Act ibid.

Key Points:

  • The new directive states that equity shares of the debtor company cannot be included in downstream investments for Regulated Entities (REs); however, other investments, including hybrid instruments, may be made.
  • Provisioning should only be necessary for the portion of RE’s investment in the AIF scheme that the AIFs will make in a debtor’s business, not for the entire AIF scheme investment.
  • Investments made by REs in AIFs through intermediaries like mutual funds or fund of funds are outside the purview of the directive.

Background:

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) prohibited banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) from investing in AIFs, which have investments in debtor companies downstream, as of December 2023. Banks and NBFCs that held such investments in AIFs were required to liquidate them or make 100% provisions against them within 30 days.
RBI payment aggregator licenses are obtained by Innoviti Payments and Concerto Software.

The online payment aggregator (PA) licence has been obtained from RBI by the offline point-of-sale (PoS) deploying company Innoviti Payments and the payment gateway Vegaah, which is operated by Concerto Software and Systems.

Key Points:

  • CCAvenue, which is a part of Infibeam Avenues, recently obtained its PA license from the RBI. The PA license has also been obtained by
  • MSwipe, a point-of-sale (PoS) company that provides online payment services to its offline clients looking for an omnichannel experience.
  • Under RBI regulations, PAs are permitted to settle e-commerce transactions.

Click here to read from the source


6) India releases 2nd tranche of Rs 500 Crore to Bhutan for GyalSung Infrastructure Project

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India gave Bhutan access to the second tranche of Rs 500 crore for the construction of infrastructure linked to the GyalSung Project on March 26, 2024.

The tranche was given to Bhutan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Lyonpo D.N. Dhungyel, by Indian Ambassador to Bhutan, Sudhakar Dalela.

MoU related to GyalSung Infrastructure Project:

  • In January 2024, India and Bhutan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding the concessionary financing arrangements for the GyalSung Infrastructure Project.
  • The Memorandum of Understanding established the parameters for the Royal Government of Bhutan to receive concessionary financing totaling Rs 1,500 crore.
  • On January 28, 2024, the first tranche of Rs 500 crore was made available.
  • The Government of Bhutan has received Rs. 1000 crore from the Government of India (GoI) thus far.

Note: In February 2023, the Indian Government and GyalSung signed an earlier Memorandum of Understanding. The DeSuung for GyalSung program has received financial support totaling Rs 200 Crore from the Government of India (GoI).

About GyalSung:

  • His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck saw this as a significant national endeavor to lay a solid foundation for Bhutan’s future.
  • On December 17, 2019, the King of Bhutan introduced it on the occasion of the 112th National Day of Bhutan.
  • Its main goal is to improve Bhutan’s youth’s capacities so they can take part in the country’s development.
    Additionally, it seeks to enable Bhutanese youth to reach their full potential as capable and useful members of society who serve the Tsawa Sum.
  • All young people who reach the age of 18 are required to participate in this one-year integrated training program.
  • Concurrently, GyalSung Infra has been established as an independent organization to undertake greenfield project infrastructure construction and design work for five academies.

About Bhutan:

  • Prime Minister: Tshering Tobgay
  • Capital: Thimphu
  • Currency: Bhutanese Ngultrum (BTN)

Click here to read from the source


ECONOMY & BUSINESS AFFAIRS

7) Morgan Stanley raises India’s GDP growth estimate to 6.8% for FY24-25

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The brokerage firm Morgan Stanley raised its forecast for India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for FY24–25 to 6.8% from 6.5% in its earlier estimate in its report titled “Building Stronger Recovery,” citing sustained growth in the country’s industrial and capital expenditure activities.

The Indian economy will grow at a 6.8% annual rate in 2024 Calendar Year (CY) as opposed to 6.4%.

India’s GDP is expected to grow by 7.9% in FY24 and by 7% with 6.7% gross value added growth in Q4FY24 (January–March).

Key Points:

  • India’s growth in FY25 is expected to be broad-based, with declines in the gaps between rural and urban consumption and private-public capital expenditures (Capital Expenditure).
  • Inflation measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is anticipated to moderate to 4.5%, and the current account deficit is estimated to be around 1% of GDP.
    Nominal GDP growth is predicted to be less than capex in 2024–2025 and 2025–2026.
  • At 60.3% of GDP, consumption still dominates, with private consumption rising almost to pre-pandemic levels.
  • Global growth will marginally slow down to 2.8% in 2024 before leveling off at 2.9% in 2025.

India’s objective is to enhance its export market share from 2.4% to 4.5% by 2031 by means of manufacturing policies and supply-chain diversification.

Click here to read from the source


APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNATIONS

8) Ritu Raj Awasthi Sworn in as Judicial Member of Lokpal

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Ritu Raj Awasthi took the oath of office as one of the three judicial members of the Indian Lokpal on March 27, 2024. At the ceremony held in the Lokpal of India office in New Delhi, Delhi, Justice AM Khanwilkar, the Chairperson of the Lokpal of India, administered the oath of office.

Ritu Raj Awasthi had been the 22nd Law Commission of India’s Chairperson since November 2022 when she was appointed. On March 26, 2024, he left his position to work for Lokpal.

About Ritu Raj Awasthi:

  • Ritu Raj Awasthi was the Karnataka High Court’s Chief Justice (CJ) from October 11, 2021, to July 2, 2022.
  • Additionally, he presided over the Allahabad High Court as a judge from April 13, 2009, until October 10, 2021.

Other Appointments: 

As the non-judicial members of the Lokpal, Pankaj Kumar, a retired 1986 batch IAS officer from Gujarat cadre, and Ajay Tirkey, a retired 1987 batch IAS officer from Madhya Pradesh (MP) cadre, assumed leadership during the event.

About Pankaj Kumar:

Gujarat’s Chief Secretary Pankaj Kumar held the position from 2021 until his retirement in January 2023.

About Ajay Tirkey:

Up until his retirement in December 2023, Ajay Tirkey held the position of Secretary in the Ministry of Rural Development’s Department of Land Resources.

He also worked in a number of other ministries, such as defense and women’s and children’s development.

From 2015 to 2017, he was the Governor of Madhya Pradesh’s Principal Secretary.

Background:

The appointments came about following the completion of the terms of office for three non-judicial members—D. K. Jain, Archana Ramasundaram, and Mahender Singh—and two current judicial members, Justice P. K. Mohanty and Justice Abhilasha Kumari, on March 26, 2024.

About Lokpal:

  • The Lokpal is an anti-corruption body that serves as the Republic of India’s public interest ombudsman.
  • Founded under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act of 2013, it is the first institution of its kind in independent India.
  • There is a chairperson and eight members, half of whom are judges.
  • The chairman and other members serve in this capacity for a period of five years, beginning on the date of their appointment, or until they turn seventy.

Click here to read from the source


9) India’s Kamal Kishore Appointed as UNSG’s Special Representative in UNDRR

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Kamal Kishore of India was appointed as Assistant Secretary-General and Special Representative of the SG for Disaster Risk Reduction, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on March 27, 2024.

As the head of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), the highest authority for disaster management in India, he currently holds the rank of Secretary to the Government of India.

He replaces Japanese Mami Mizutori, who has been in the position since January 2018.
Note: Until Kamal Kishore assumes leadership, Paola Albrito, Director of the UNDRR, will act as the Acting Special Representative.

About Kamal Kishore:

  • Kamal Kishore worked for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Geneva, Switzerland, New Delhi, India, and New York, USA, prior to joining NDMA.
  • From 1996 to 2002, he also held the positions of Manager of the Extreme Climate Events Program and Director of Information and Research at the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center in Bangkok, Thailand.
  • He oversaw the G20 Working Group on Disaster Risk Reduction while India presided over the Group of 20 (G20) in 2023.
  • He also helped create the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, which was introduced at the 2019 Climate Action Summit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

About United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR):

UNDRR was established to ensure the implementation of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.

  • Headquarters– Geneva, Switzerland
  • Established in 1999

Click here to read from the source


ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS

10) SBI Mutual Fund Acquires 3% Stake in Savita Oil Technologies

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Through a block deal, SBI Mutual Fund (MF) purchased a 3% interest, or 20.73 lakh equity shares, in Savita Oil Technologies Ltd. on March 22, 2024. At an average price of Rs. 408 per share, SBI MF purchased the shares from Mehra Syndicate, the company that promoted them.

The promoters held 43,383,855 shares, or 62.78% of the total, prior to the sale. Following the sale, the promoter’s shareholding dropped to 59.78%, or 41,310,855 shares.
Savita Oil Technologies Ltd.’s market capitalization has surpassed the Rs 3,000 crore threshold as of March 26, 2024.

In addition to SBI Mutual Fund, Savita Oil Technologies is owned by 7.4% of HDFC Mutual Fund.

Note: Savita Oil Technologies, formerly Savita Chemicals Limited, is a Mumbai, Maharashtra-based company that manufactures and distributes transformer oils, industrial oils, and greases.

Click here to read from the source


SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

11) China Successfully Launched Yunhai-3 02 Satellite to Monitor Atmospheric, and Space Environments

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China launched “Yunhai-3 02,” a new satellite, from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in the Shanxi Province of northern China. A reworked Long March-6 rocket carried the satellite into orbit.

The Long March series carrier rockets are being launched for the fifth time, demonstrating China’s vast space mission experience.

Note: The smallest launcher in China’s new generation is the Long March 6, measuring 29 meters (95 feet) in length.

Focus Areas:

Yunhai-3 02 has entered the preset orbit and this state-of-the-art satellite is specifically designed to conduct:

  • Atmospheric and marine environment surveys.
  • Space environment monitoring.
  • Disaster prevention and reduction efforts.
  • Scientific experiments.

About China:

  • Capital– Beijing
  • President– Xi Jinping
  • Currency–  Renminbi (RMB), also known as the Chinese yuan

Click here to read from the source


12) Starburst Accelerator & IIT Madras Signed MoU to Establish 100 Million Euros Startup Hub

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With funding support of 100 million euros, the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT Madras) and the French aerospace and defense company Starburst Accelerator (SARL) collaborated to establish an innovative hub for start-ups. This collaboration was formalized with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the IIT Madras campus in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

Through this collaboration, IIT Madras will make it possible for Starburst to establish accelerator programmes that will fortify India’s aviation, space, and defense (ASD) sector.

The partnership seeks to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in India’s ASD industry.

Signatories: Prof. V Kamakoti, Director of IIT Madras; Manu Santhanam, Dean (ICSR) of IIT Madras; and François Chopard, Founder and CEO of Starburst Aerospace, signed the Memorandum of Understanding.

ASD Venture Capital Funds: In order to support Indian startups’ international integration and economic transformation, Starburst Accelerator SARL plans to create venture capital funds focused on ASD technology.
Through Starburst’s vast network, this partnership will enable export promotion and give Indian ASD startups access to global markets.

Click here to read from the source


OBITUARY

13) Sahitya Akademi Awardee Dr Gurulinga Kapse Passed Away

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On March 26, 2024, in Dharwad, Karnataka, Dr. Gurulinga Kapse, a well-known Kannada writer and recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award, passed away. On April 2, 1928, he was born in the Karnataka village of Loni, in the Vijayapura district.

About Gurulinga Kapse:

  • He is the author of over fifty books on folklore, children’s literature, and Aurobindo philosophy.
  • Gurulinga Kapse was a professor at Dharwad’s Karnatak University.
  • From 2001 to 2004, he was also the president of the Karnataka Sahitya Academy, which is part of the Karnataka government.

Awards:

  • For his book “Ondu Putada Kathe” (A short story), which is a Kannada translation of Marathi writer V. S. Khandekar’s autobiography “Eka Panachi Kahani,” which was originally written in Marathi, he was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Translation Prize in 2021.
  • The Rajyotsava Award for Literature, the second-highest civilian honor bestowed by the Karnataka government, was granted to him in 2004. Every year on November 1st, which is Karnataka’s formation day, the award is given out.

Click here to read from the source


14) Psychologist Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences Passed Away

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At the age of 90, Daniel Kahneman, a well-known Israeli-American psychologist and the only psychologist to win an Economics Nobel Prize, passed away. He was born in Tel Aviv, British Mandate of Palestine, on March 5, 1934 (now Israel).

Awards/Honours:

  • In recognition of his work integrating psychological research findings into economic science—particularly with regard to human judgment and decision-making under uncertainty—he was awarded the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economic Science, formerly known as the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobe.
    Vernon Lomax Smith, an American economist, and he shared the award.
  • The American Psychological Association granted him the Lifetime Contribution Award in 2007.
  • In 2013, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by the United States of America (USA).

About Daniel Kahneman:

  • Kahneman was a psychology professor at the following institutions: University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada (1978–1986), Hebrew University in Jerusalem (1970–1978), and University of California, Berkeley (1986–1994).
  • He taught psychology and public affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs (now SPIA), in New Jersey, US, and served as the Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology Emeritus since 1993.
  • He is the author of multiple books, some of which are Think Fast and Slow (2011) and Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment (2021), among others.

Click here to read from the source


BOOKS & AUTHORS

15) Zoological Survey of India Published a Book Titled ‘An Illustrated Guide to the Lepidoptera of India’

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The first book of its kind, “An illustrated guide to the Lepidoptera of India: taxonomic procedures, family characters, diversity, and distribution,” was released by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI).

Authors:

  • The ZSI’s director, Dr. Dhriti Banerjee, collaborated with scientists Drs. Navneet Singh, Rahul Joshi, and P. C. Pathania as well as Hong Kong-based lepidoptera expert Dr. R.C. Kendrick to write the book.
  • Paul Waring (United Kingdom, UK), Mark Sterling (Natural History Museum, UK), Gaurab Nandi Das, and Martin Konvicka (University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic) wrote three of the book’s chapters. The reader is provided with a variety of lepidopterology techniques in these chapters.

About the Book:

  • It lists the key diagnostic traits for every family and superfamily of moths and butterflies found in India.
  • The book identifies the superfamily and family-level of lepidoptera and explains how to collect and arrange voucher material in the field as well as the taxonomic procedures carried out in laboratories.
  • It also offers information on the diversity and global distribution patterns of lepidopterans.

Note: The book is based on the proceedings of the 2019 ZSI-hosted 6th Asian Lepidoptera Conservation Symposium.

Lepidoptera:

  • The second largest order in the class Insecta is Lepidoptera, which includes moths and butterflies.
  • Of the 166,320 species, 143 families, and 43 superfamilies that make up the Lepidoptera worldwide, 13,124 species, 101 families, and 31 superfamilies are found in India.

Click here to read from the source

 

 

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