Daily Current Affairs 20 March 2021 for Banking/Insurance/SSC and other related exams.
Dwarka Expressway, India’s first elevated Urban Expressway, to be completed by 2022
Union minister Nitin Gadkari said that he is hopeful that the construction work on Rs 8,662-crore Dwarka Expressway will be completed before 15 August 2022.
- The 29-km expressway, which connects Dwarka in Delhi to Gurugram, is being constructed under the Bharatmala Project.
- Gadkari said it will be the first-ever elevated Urban Expressway in India.
Gram Ujala Scheme to Offer LED Bulbs for Rs 10 Per Piece in Rural Areas
State-run EESL arm Convergence Energy Services Ltd (CESL) launched the Gram Ujala programme under which high quality energy efficient LED bulbs will be given for Rs 10 per piece in certain villages of five states in the first phase.
- In the first phase of this programme, 15 million LED bulbs will be distributed across villages of Aarah (Bihar), Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), Vijaywada (Andhra Pradesh), Nagpur (Maharashtra), and villages in western Gujarat.
- The programme will be financed entirely through carbon credits and will be the first such programme in India.
AIM, NITI Aayog, AWS announce new initiatives to boost innovation, entrepreneurship in India
Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog, and Amazon Web Services announced new initiatives to strengthen the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in India.
- This will be done by empowering school students with cloud computing skills, and enabling entrepreneurs to build innovative education.
- This program will introduce the fundamentals of cloud computing such as cloud storage, virtual compute power, web hosting, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and virtual reality, to students at more than 7000 Atal Tinkering Labs.
J&K LG launches radio program ‘Awaam Ki Baat’
In the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, initiated the project “Awaam Ki Baat” – a Radio program by launching its website at Raj Bhavan, Jammu.
- The half-an-hour long Radio program to be aired every third Sunday of the month (to start from April), is one of the many sequential steps of broader program aimed at disseminating the progressive steps taken by the government and providing the public with a platform to speak, write and interact with the administration, thereby voicing their suggestions, ideas and creative proposals.
India ranks 139 in World Happiness Report, Finland tops
India has been ranked 139 out of 149 countries in the list of UN World Happiness Report 2021 released which is topped by Finland. In 2019, India was ranked 140th.
- The World Happiness Report 2021, issued by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, focuses on the effects of COVID-19 and how people all over the world have fared.
- The Nordic nation is followed by Iceland, Denmark, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and Norway.Pakistan is on 105th, Bangladesh on 101st and China on 84th.
- People in war-torn Afghanistan are the most unhappy with their lives, followed by Zimbabwe (148), Rwanda (147), Botswana (146) and Lesotho (145).
Operation Sankalp: Indian Navy undertakes Passage Exercise (PASSEX) with Royal Bahrain Naval Force
Indian Navy undertook Passage Exercise (PASSEX) with Royal Bahrain Naval Force Corvette Al Muharraq in the Persian Gulf under Operation Sankalp.
- PASSEXs are conducted regularly by the Indian Navy with units of friendly foreign navies, whilst visiting each other’s ports or during a rendezvous at sea.
- The exercises are aimed at fostering interoperability and reflecting the commitments of both, India and Bahrain, to build cooperative partnerships in meeting emergent maritime challenges.
BANKING & FINANCE
IATA appoints Standard Chartered Bank as EasyPay partner
International Air Transport Association (IATA) has appointed Standard Chartered Bank as one of its IATA EasyPay service providers in India enabling greater payment flexibility to travel agents.
- IATA EasyPay is a new payment method which aids streamline payment flows within the aviation ecosystem.
- EasyPay is based on ‘pay-as-you-go’ and provides a secure alternative to traditional billing and settlement plan payment methods (cash or credit card) which is available to all the IATA accredited agents in India.
ADB raises $307 million from first panda issue in over a decade
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has raised 307 million dollars from its first panda bond issue in more than a decade, representing its largest-ever borrowing in an Asian local currency.
- The bond pays a 3.2 per cent annual coupon and features a five-year bullet maturity redeeming in March 2026.
- It represents the first borrowing from a programme approved by regulator National Association of Financial Market Institutional Investors in June 2020.
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
India needs to grow at 10.5-11 pc in next fiscal: Niti Aayog VC Rajiv Kumar
India needs to grow at10.5-11 per cent in real terms in the next fiscal and sustain that to overcome massive ill-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said.
- Kumar further said India needs to be prepared for the next pandemic as the country was caught unprepared during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- India’s economy is estimated to contract 8 per cent in fiscal 2020-21.
UNCTAD sees India growth at 5% in 2021
India’s economy, estimated to contract by 6.9 per cent in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, is forecast to record a “stronger recovery” in 2021 and grow by 5 per cent, according to a UN report.
- The report, ‘Out of the frying pan Into the fire?’ as an update to the Trade and Development Report 2020 by UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said the global economy is set to grow by 4.7 per cent this year, faster than the 4.3 per cent predicted in September 2020, thanks in part to a stronger recovery in the US, where progress in distributing vaccines and a fresh fiscal stimulus of USD 1.9 trillion are expected to boost consumer spending.
- The report described the year 2020 as Annus horribilis saying although warnings about the spread of viruses have become more frequent in recent years, nobody anticipated the arrival of COVID-19 or its dramatic global impact.
Rating agency Moody’s projects India’s GDP to grow by 12 % this year
After contracting by 7.1 per cent in 2020, India’s gross domestic product (GDP) is likely to grow 12 per cent in 2021 as near-term prospects have turned more favourable, Moody’s Analytics said.
- Hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent nationwide lockdown to control the spread of infections, Indian economy contracted by 24.4 per cent in April-June 2020 and 7.3 per cent in July-September quarter of the year. However, GDP growth returned to positive territory in October-December quarter, rising by 0.4 per cent.
- In an earlier estimate last November, it had said India’s GDP will grow at 9% in the calendar year.
Rawalpindi’s KRL Stadium renamed after Shoaib Akhtar
Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar said that he was lost for words after Rawalpindi’s ‘historic’ KRL Stadium was renamed in his honour.
- Cricket authorities in Rawalpindi honoured Akhtar for his services to Pakistan Cricket for years.
- Akhtar, who was one of the most lethal fast bowlers of his time, battled several injury issues to represent Pakistan in 224 international games. Akhtar played 46 Tests, 163 ODIs, and 15 T20Is for Pakistan snaring 178, 247, and 19 wickets in his illustrious 14-year career.
Haryana beat Jharkhand to win 11th Sub-junior National Women’s Hockey Ch’ship
Haryana defeated Jharkhand 4-3 in a shootout to clinch the 11th Hockey India sub-junior women National Championship 2021 title after the final ended 0-0.
- Earlier in the day, Uttar Pradesh Hockey finished third in the 11th Hockey India Sub Junior Women National Championship 2021 after edging out Hockey Odisha 3-1.
Avinash Sable sets new national record in men’s 3000m steeplechase
The Indian athlete Avinash Sable set a new national record in the men’s 3000m steeplechase event in the ongoing Federation Cup Senior National Athletics Championships in Patiala, with timing of 8:20.20.
- With this, the 26-year-old Avinash broke his own record of 8:21.37 which he set in 2019, after finishing 13th in the final of the World Athletics Championships in Doha.
NeoGrowth ropes in Ajinkya Rahane as brand ambassador
NeoGrowth Credit Pvt. Ltd, a lender to small businesses, announced the appointment of cricketer Ajinkya Rahane as its brand ambassador.
- The agreement is for a year which can be extended further.
- Rahane will feature in a campaign slated to be released in the first week of April, which will talk about the ease of procuring loans through NeoGrowth for small businesses.
Dutch PM Mark Rutte claims victory and fourth term
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte claimed an “overwhelming” victory in elections, vowing to use his fourth term in office to rebuild the country after the coronavirus pandemic.
- The pro-EU D66 party, which has challenged Rutte’s European policy as part of his current government, is set to surge into second place, while anti-Islam leader Geert Wilders lost ground to move into third, public broadcaster NOS predicted.
Samia Suluhu Hassan sworn in as Tanzania’s first woman President
Samia Suluhu Hassan made history when she was sworn in as Tanzania’s first female president after the death of her controversial predecessor, John Magufuli, who denied that COVID-19 is a problem in the East African country.
- She will finish Magufuli’s second five-year term, which will run until 2025.
- Prior to taking charge as President, Hassan was the Vice-President of Tanzania, also being the first female vice-president of the country, since November 2015.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
World’s largest floating solar farms being built in Singapore
The largest floating solar farm of the world is being built in Singapore. The country has resorted to set up the energy plants off the coasts and reservoirs across it.
- This floating solar farm is being set up in the light that despite being one of the smallest countries across the world, it is one of the biggest per capita carbon dioxide emitters in India.
- Thus, to cater to the issue of climate change and to cut the greenhouse gas emission it is building the floating solar farm. This project is being built by Sembcorp Industries.
Indian naval Landing Craft Utility L58 commissioned at Port Blair
Indian Naval Landing Craft Utility (LCU) L58 was commissioned into the Indian Navy at Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar Islands. This is the eighth and last ship of the Landing Craft Utility (LCU) Mark IV Class.
- The Indian Naval Landing Craft Utility is an amphibious ship that can carry upto 160 troops, in addition to its crew
- The ship has been indigenously designed and built by GRSE, Kolkata. Its commissioning is a step forward in line with the nation’s ‘Make in India’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ programme in the field of warship design and construction.
BOOKS & AUTHORS
“The Pain-Free Mindset” book by Deepak Ravindran
The book titled “The Pain-Free Mindset” book authored by Deepak Ravindran has been released recently.
- In this book, Dr Deepak says pain is not a sign of danger but an evolutionary mechanism of protection. “The pain we feel is real.
International Day of Happiness
The International Day of Happiness is observed every year all over the world on March 20 to highlight the importance of happiness in the diurnal lives of people.
- The theme of International Day of Happiness for this year is “Happiness For All, Forever” which implies the significance of happiness for people all over the world.