NTPC Renewable Energy Ltd (NTPC REL), a subsidiary of NTPC Ltd, has entered into a pact with the Indian Army (IA) to develop green hydrogen initiatives at armed forces establishments through a Build, Own, and Operate (BOO) arrangement.
· As part of this collaboration, potential locations will be jointly identified for the construction of green hydrogen projects that will generate electricity.
· This agreement is the first such initiative of its kind to support border security by providing energy security for India’s defence lines.
To reduce complex logistics, dependence on fossil fuels and to accelerate decarbonization
i.Under this, NTPC REL will design, develop, and install renewable energy projects and Hydrogen Energy Storage System in a phased manner.
ii.This will lead to the modernization of IA, and caters to the NTPC’s commitment to serve the nation and assist its decarbonization goals.
· Decarbonization refers to the process of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by utilizing low-carbon energy sources, resulting in fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and a low-carbon economy.
iii.IA in line with the Central Government’s vision of Panchamrit, and Carbon
Neutral Ladakh, intend to reduce the dependence on fossil fuel and their
logistics for power generation and heat.
iv.NTPC REL is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NTPC Limited and currently it has a portfolio of 3.6 GW RE capacity under construction.
· In 2022, Hitachi Energy bagged a contract from NTPC REL to supply power transformers to NTPC’s 4.75 GW (Giga Watt) renewable energy park in Gujarat.
About NTPC Renewable Energy Ltd (NTPC REL):
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)– Mohit Bhargava
Headquarters– Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh
The 2nd edition of the Africa-India Field Training Exercise (AFINDEX-2023) between India and 23 African nations began on March 21, 2023, at the Foreign Training Node in Aundh, Pune, Maharashtra for training the participating contingents.
· The theme of the exercise is focused on Humanitarian Mine Action and Peace Keeping Operations.
· Participating Countries: The field training exercise is attended by 100 participants from Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eswatini, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Seychelles, Senegal, Sudan, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
i.The objective of the exercise was to strengthen India-Africa relations, with a focus on enhancing peace and security.
ii.The key focus of the exercise was on tactical drills, procedures and the ability to operate jointly with seamless interoperability.
iii.The exercise was scheduled to be held in four phases. Initially, training the trainer, followed by a Humanitarian Mine Action, Peace Keeping Operations Phase, and finally completed with a validation exercise to assess the results of the training conducted.
iv.Defence Chief’s conclave was also planned to be conducted by India on the sidelines of the exercise from 28 to 30 March 2023.
v.The exercise also ideated towards the Regional Unity between Africa and India for the Security and Growth for all in the Region (SAGAR).
Note – The joint exercise was commenced in 2008 through the India-Africa Summit and thereafter held in 2015 and 2019
Union Minister Bhupender Yadav, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), issued 14 guidelines to tackle Human-Wildlife Conflict (HWC).
· Aim: To foster a shared understanding among key stakeholders in India about what constitutes effective and efficient HWC mitigation.
i.The guidelines are scheduled to be reviewed every 5 years beginning in
ii.These guidelines were developed as part of the Indo-German cooperation project on HWC Mitigation, which is being implemented by the MoEF&CC in collaboration with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the state forest departments of Karnataka, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal.
iii.The 14 guidelines released include 10 species-specific guidelines and 4 cross-cutting problems guidelines.
iv.The 10 species-specific guidelines include the Guidelines for Mitigating Human-Elephant, Human-Gaur, Human-Leopard, Human-Snake, Human-Crocodile, Human-Rhesus Macaque, Human-Wild Pig, Human-Bear, Human-Blue Bull, and Human-Blackbuck Conflict.
About Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC):
Union Minister – Bhupender Yadav (Rajya Sabha Rajasthan)
Minister of State (MoS) – Ashwini Kumar Choubey
On March 19-21, 2023, Fumio Kishida, Prime Minister (PM) of Japan,
paid a two-day visit to India and held the ‘Japan-India Summit Meeting 2023’
with PM of India Narendra Modi, to discuss ways to strengthen bilateral
cooperation in a number of fields, including defence and security, trade and
investment, and high technology.
Highlights of The Summit Meeting:
i.Japan’s PM, Fumio Kishida, discussed the “Japan-India Special Strategic and Global Partnership” and efforts to realise a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” (FOIP), with a focus on India’s rising prominence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
ii.Fumio Kishida presented the 41st Sapru House Lecture on “Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP),” and also paid a visit to Delhi’s Buddha Jayanti Park.
In conjunction with Japan’s PM Fumio Kishida visit to India on March 20, 2023, two agreements were signed between India and Japan.
Prime Minister – Fumio Kishida
Currency– Japanese Yen
i.According to the State of the Economy report released by the Reserve
Bank of India (RBI), India’s recovery from the pandemic has been more robust
than initially expected, with a consistent build-up of momentum from
Q2FY23. The RBI’s nowcast model projects real GDP growth for the Q4 FY23
ii.According to data released by the RBI, in its monthly bulletin for March, outward remittances under the RBI’s liberalized remittance scheme (LRS) stood at $22.08 billion during the April 2022–January 2023 period.
iii.In its bulletin of March 2023, RBI’s data showed that it purchased $12.90 billion in January 2023, while selling $13.29 billion.
iv.RBI sold net $384 million in the spot foreign exchange market in January 2023.
About Reserve Bank of India (RBI):
Governor– Shaktikanta Das
Deputy Governors– Mahesh Kumar Jain, Michael Debabrata Patra, M. Rajeshwar Rao, T. Rabi Sankar
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Establishment– 1st April 1935
IndiaFirst Life Insurance Company (IndiaFirst Life) has received the final approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to launch Initial Public Offering (IPO) to raise funds.
IndiaFirst Life is promoted by the Bank of Baroda, which holds 65%, with Warburg Pincus (26%) and Union Bank of India (9%) as partners.
· IndiaFirst Life filed preliminary IPO papers with SEBI on 21st October 2022.
· The IPO comprises a fresh issue of up to Rs 500 crore along with an offer for sale (OFS) of up to 14.1 crore equity shares by the promoters and existing shareholders of IndiaFirst Life.
According to Kroll’s latest report titled “Celebrity Brand Valuation Report 2022: Beyond the Mainstream”, Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh surpassed Indian Cricketer Virat Kohli and became India’s most-valued (1st position) celebrity with a brand value of USD 181.7 million.
Virat Kohli, who topped the list for the past 5 years, slips to the 2nd position with a brand value of USD 176.9 million.
· Akshay Kumar(USD153.6 million), Alia Bhatt(USD 100 million) and Deepika Padukone(USD 82.9 million) are among the top 5.
· For the first time, South Indian stars Allu Arjun(USD 31.4 million) and Rashmika Mandanna(USD 25.3 million) made it to the list of India’s top 25 most valued celebrities.
· For the first time, South Indian stars Allu Arjun(USD 31.4 million) and Rashmika Mandanna(USD 25.3 million) and Olympics gold medalist Neeraj Chopra(USD 26.5 million) made it to the list of India’s top 25 celebrities.
On March 21, 2023, the Indian Naval Ship (INS) Androth, the second in a series of eight Anti-Submarine Warfare Shallow Water Craft (ASW SWC) was launched in Kolkata, West Bengal. The launch was presided by VAdm Dinesh K Tripathi, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-IN-C) West.
· INS Androth was built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd. (GRSE), Kolkata, West Bengal.
· They are 77.6 m long, have a displacement of 900 tons with a maximum speed of 25 knots.
· The ship was named Androth to signify the maritime importance accorded to the island of Androth, which is located about 170 Nm north-west of Kochi, in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep.
i.The contract for building 8 ASW SWC ships was signed between the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata on 29 April 2019.
ii.The first ship of the series, the INS Arnala, was launched in December 2022. The Arnala class of ships will replace the in-service Abhay class ASW Corvettes of Indian Navy.
About INS Androth:
i.The INS Androth was named after the largest and longest island from Andrott Island, also known as Androth Island, in the Lakshadweep archipelago.
ii.Key Features of ASW SWC Ships:
i.The ASW SWC ships are designed to undertake anti-submarine operations in coastal waters, Low Intensity Maritime Operations (LIMO) and Mine Laying operations including subsurface surveillance in littoral waters.
ii.Propelled by three diesel-driven water jets, these ships can attain a maximum speed of 25 knots.
iii.The ships are also capable of full-scale sub surface surveillance of coastal waters and various surface platforms and coordinated ASW operations with aircraft.
iv.They also could carry lightweight torpedoes, ASW rockets and mines, a close-in weapon system (with a 30 mm gun) and 16.7 mm stabilised remote-controlled guns.
v.The INS Androth and its fellow craft will be fitted with hull mounted sonar and a low frequency variable depth sonar.
Note – Over 63 years of partnership with Indian Navy, GRSE has delivered 70 warships delivered (to the Indian Navy), with 15 more under various stages of construction.
About Indian Navy:
Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) – Admiral R Hari Kumar
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi
Founded– 26 January 1950
Murugappa Group-owned Carborundum Universal Limited (CUMI) has signed a
Licensing Agreement for the Transfer of Technology (LAToT) with DRDO’s(Defence
Research and Development Organisation) Research Centre Imarat (RCI) Laboratory
for licensing technology to manufacture “Ceramic Radomes (GELCAST Process)
Technology” used in missile systems.
Ceramic Radomes Technology is considered ‘state-of-the-art’ across the globe.
· The LAToT was handed over at AERO INDIA 2023 in Bengaluru on 15th February 2023 in the presence of Rajnath Singh, Minister of Defence.
CUMI’s high-performance lightweight ceramic materials enable the highest levels of ballistic and blast-proof protection for armoured vehicles.
· CUMI is one of the 1st companies to produce graphene for aerospace & defence applications in India.
The YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships 2023 (2023 All England
Open), was held in Utilita Arena Birmingham, United Kingdom (UK), from March
YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships 2023 is the 113th edition of the All England Open Badminton Championships, the world’s oldest and most prestigious badminton tournament.
· The tournament was organized by Badminton England and sanctioned by the Badminton World Federation(BWF).
· The 2023 All England Open was the 6th tournament of the 2023 BWF World Tour.
· The total prize money for the YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships is USD 1,250,000.
i. Li Shi Feng, a 23-year-old, from China won the Men’s Singles
title defeating Shi Yu Qi from China in the finals.
ii. South Korea’s An Se Young, 21-year-old, won the women’s singles title by beating Chen Yu Fei of China, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics gold medallist.
iii. Indonesian pair Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto won the Men’s doubles title; Korean pair Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong won the women’s doubles title; and Chinese pair Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong bagged the Mixed Doubles title.
On 21st March 2023, two-time Maha Vir Chakra (MVC) recipient Wing Commander
Jag Mohan Nath(JM Nath), the Indian Air Force (IAF) veteran who flew
numerous reconnaissance sorties over Tibet and Pakistan in his Canberra
aircraft in the 1962 and 1965 wars passed away in Mumbai, Maharashtra. He was
born in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
About Jag Mohan Nath:
i. Wing Commander Jag Mohan Nath, known by the nickname “Jaggi”, joined the Air Force Administrative College in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, in 1948.
ii. He was part of IAF’s 106 Squadron ‘Lynx’ and flew the Canberra aircraft, a twin-engine jet bomber equipped with cameras.
iii. Before and during the Indo-China conflict (1962), he had flown into Aksai Chin and Tibet and returned with valuable inputs on the ground situation and enemy troop activities there.
iv. He served in the Air Force from 1948 to 1969, before taking up a position in Air India. He retired in 1970 and later joined Air India as a commercial pilot.
v. JM Nath, a squadron leader during the Indo-China War of 1962, flew into Pakistan in 1965 on a top-secret mission in Canberra.
i. He received the Maha Vir Chakra(MVC), the second highest military decoration in India after the Param Vir Chakra, for the 1st time in recognition of his work on reconnaissance missions in Tibet and Aksai Chin before and during the Sino-Indian War of 1962.
ii. He received his 2nd Maha Vir Chakra (Bar to Maha Vir Chakra) in September 1965 for his participation in the Indo-Pak War.
The United Nations(UN)’s World Water Day(WWD) is annually observed across the globe on 22nd March to create awareness and inspire action against the water and sanitation crisis across the globe.
· The day also celebrates water and creates awareness about the 2 billion people who are currently living without access to safe water.
WWD 2023 observed on 22nd March 2023 focuses on Accelerating Change
to solve the water and sanitation crisis.
i.The idea of World Water Day was first discussed during the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
ii.The United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) adopted the resolution A/RES/47/193 in December 1992 and proclaimed the 22nd March of every year as the World Water Day.
iii.The first ever World Water Day was observed on 22nd March 1993.
United Nations (UN)’s International Day of Forests is annually observed across the globe on March 21 to raise awareness about the importance of all types of forests.
· The day is annually organized by the United Nations Forum on Forests and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN in collaboration with governments, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), and other organizations in the field.
International Day of Forests 2023 was observed on 21st March 2023 under the theme “Forests and Health”.
· The theme for each International Day of Forests is chosen by the CPF.
i. International Day of Forests 2023 aims to highlight how forests sustain
all aspects of health, from cleaning our air and water to providing us with
essential food, fuel, medicines and income.
ii. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the resolution A/RES/67/200 on 21st December 2012 and proclaimed March 21 of every year as the International Day of Forests.
iii. The 1st ever International Day of Forests was observed on 21st March 2013.
About the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO):
Director-General- QU Dongyu
Headquarters- Rome, Italy
Member States- 194 member states
About the United Nations (UN):
Secretary-General- António Guterres
Headquarters- New York, USA
The United Nations(UN)’s International Day of Nowruz is annually
observed on 21st March to promote the celebration of Nowrus, which
promotes values of peace and solidarity between generations and within families
as well as reconciliation and neighbourliness.
i.Nowruz is the Iranian or Persian New Year celebrated by various ethnicities worldwide.
ii.Nowruz marks the first day of spring and is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox, which usually occurs on 21 March.
iii.The word Nowruz, also spelt as Novruz, Navruz, Nooruz, Nevruz, Nauryz, means new day.
· The spelling and pronunciation may vary by country.
i.The United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) adopted the resolution A/RES/64/253 on 23rd February 2010 and proclaimed the 21st March of every year as the International Day of Nowruz.
ii.The first ever International Day of Nowruz was observed on 21st March 2010.
World Puppetry Day(WPD) is annually observed
across the globe on March 21 to recognize puppetry as a global art form.
The day is an attempt to pay tribute to and honour puppeteers from around the
World Puppetry Day 2023 was observed on 21st March 2023 under the theme “Call of the Forest”.
Aim: The purpose of the day is to preserve and protect the history of the puppetry tradition.
i. WPD was established in 2003 by the Union Internationale de la Marionnette (UNIMA), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) affiliated with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization(UNESCO).
· UNIMA is also known as the International Puppetry Association.
ii. The 1st ever World Puppetry Day was observed on 21st March 2003.
i. Puppetry is a type of narrative theatre that includes the manipulation of puppets, an object that resembles a human, animal, or mythical figure that is manipulated by a person called a puppeteer.
ii. The puppets are majorly classed into 6 families: Marionettes, Rod Marionettes, Hand puppets, Rod puppets, Shadow puppets, and Bunraku-style puppets.
Puppetry in India:
i. In India, the origin of puppetry was traced back to the Indus Valley Civilization in 2500 B.C.
· Archaeologists have discovered a terracotta doll with a removable head that could be controlled by a string.
ii. Many Indian Classical texts like the “Ramayana” and “Mahabharata” also
Celebrating World Puppetry Day 2023:
Poster – WPD 2023:
i. The artist of the poster for 2023 is Ricardo Albello, painter and scenographer.
ii. Since 2018, the freedom of creating the World Puppetry Day poster has been given to an artist.
iii. Previously the WPD posters were created by Joan Baixas – Spain (2018), Zahra Sabri – Iran (2019), Osvaldo Gabrieli – Argentina (2020), Maryam Samaan – Syria-Palestine (2021) and Adrian Kohler (2022).
i. Since 2006, the message for World Puppet Day has been written annually by a well-known figure in the arts or culture.
ii. Professor Nina Malikova has written the message for 2023.
About the Union Internationale de la Marionnette (UNIMA):
President- Karen Smith
Headquarters- Charleville-Mézières, France
On March 21, 2023, Himachal Pradesh (HP) Government (Govt) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the French Development Agency Agence Francaise de Developpment (AFD) for Rs 817.12 crore project to improve drinking water and sanitation services in five towns of the state.
· The MoU was signed by Vibhag Amitabh Awasthi, Secretary, Jal Shakti, on behalf of the HP Govt and Bruno Bosle, country Director, AFD on behalf of the French Development Agency, in the presence of the Chief minister (CM) of HP, Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu and Deputy CM Mukesh Agnihotri.
· The project will develop better sewerage facilities in five towns of HP such as Manali, Bilaspur, Palampur, Nahan and Karsog and also improve the drinking water supply in Manali and Palampur towns.
· The project will improve the environmental condition of water sources, reduce water-borne diseases, and manage quality sanitation facilities in accordance with local regulations and international best practices.
· The project also intends to induce financial sustainability to the drinking water and sanitation sector.
i.Under the project, Rs 612 crore would be provided by AFD, whereas the HP Govt would provide Rs. 204.85 crore.
ii.Rs 612 crore will be provided by AFD via two phases i.e. in the first phase, AFD would finance Rs 340 crore (out of Rs 425.85 crore) and in the second phase, AFD would provide Rs 272 crore (out of a total project cost of Rs 371 crore).
iii.House service connections will be provided for the beneficiaries of the project (in the 5 cities) and the sewerage treatment plant would be designed with cutting-edge technologies so that the effluent could be reused for agricultural and industrial purposes.
About Himachal Pradesh (HP):
Chief Minister (CM) – Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu
Governor – Shiv Pratap Shukla
WildLife Sanctuary -Gamgul-Siyabehi Wildlife Sanctuary, Kais Wildlife Sanctuary
Festival – Halda, Phagli
Kailash Gahlot, Finance Minister (FM) of the Union Territory (UT) of Delhi, presented a Rs. 78,800 crore budget in the Delhi Assembly for the fiscal year 2023-24 (FY24), dedicated to a clean, beautiful, and modern Delhi.
· The FY24 budget is the ninth consecutive budget of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and it was Gahlot’s first budget presentation after taking over the finance department following the resignation of Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.
The budget for the Delhi government was Rs. 75,800 crore in FY23 which was
higher than that of Rs. 69,000 crore in FY22.
i.With a budget of Rs. 320 crore, the Delhi government will collaborate with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to build 3 “unique” double-decker flyovers.
ii.Nine new bus depots, three Inter-State Bus Terminus (ISBT), and two multi-level bus depots will all be built in addition to electrifying around 57 existing bus depots.
About the Union Territory (UT) of Delhi:
Chief Minister (CM) – Arvind Kejriwal
Lieutenant Governor – Vinai Kumar Saxena
Wildlife Sanctuary – Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary
Zoological Park – National Zoological Park
On 18th March 2023, Samunnati, India’s largest agri enterprise, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Madhya Pradesh(MP) Government, facilitated by Heartfulness Institute, Hyderabad, Telangana.
· Samunnati aims to strengthen MP’s Chief Minister’s Community Leadership Development Program (CMCLDP) by improving the web portal and learning app to encourage sustainable practises, redesigning the course material pertaining to agriculture and rural economic empowerment, and redesigning the course curriculum overall.
Along with the Madhya Pradesh Jan Abhyan Parishad (MPJAP), Samunnati will explore ways to strengthen MPJAP cadres’ capacity as part of its village-level entrepreneur’s project, which will ultimately lead to their total socio-economic empowerment.
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