Current Affairs – March 13, 2021 [Today’s News Headlines]

Here are Today’s News Headlines by GK Today for March 13, 2021

India

Sahitya Akademi Award 2020: 20 winners announced

Politician-writer M Veerappa Moily, poet Arundhathi Subramaniam are among 20 writers who will be bestowed with the Sahitya Akademi Award 2020. The national academy of letters announced the names on March 12, 2021 during the opening day of its annual ‘Festival of Letters’ event. Subramaniam won the award for her poetry collection “When God is a Traveller” in English while, Moily was named for his epic poetry titled “Sri Bahubali Ahimsadigvijayam” in Kannada.

PM inaugurates Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav from Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad

Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the ‘Padyatra’ (Freedom March) from Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad to re-enact Mahatma Gandhi’s Dandi Yatra. and inaugurated the curtain raiser activities of the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ ([email protected]) on March 12, 2021. The Prime Minister stated that the launch of the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ 75 weeks before 15 August 2022 will continue till 15 August, 2023.

ECs in any state must be independent persons, not appointed by govt: SC

The Supreme Court on March 12, 2021 said that the Election Commissioners in any state must be independent persons and not appointed by the state government. The Apex Court was hearing a case involving civic body elections in Goa. It also rebuked the Goa government for appointing its law secretary as state election commissioner to oversee municipal council polls, which were to be held in February 2020.

Economy & Corporate

Mera Ration mobile app for migratory ration card holders launched

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution launched a mobile app ‘Mera Ration’ which ration card holders, particularly migrant beneficiaries, can use for identifying the nearest fair price shop, check details of their entitlement and recent transactions. Under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), the government supplies 5 kg of subsidised foodgrains to each person per month through public distribution system (PDS). It is also offering ration card portability service ‘One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC)’ in 32 states and union territories.

Forex reserves declined to USD 580.299 billion in the week ended March 5

The country’s foreign exchange reserves declined by USD 4.255 billion to USD 580.299 billion in the week ended March 5, according to RBI data. The Foreign Currency Assets (FCA) dipped by USD 3.002 billion to USD 539.613 billion. The gold reserves declined by USD 1.206 billion to USD 34.215 billion. The Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) fell by USD 11 million to USD 1.506 billion. The country’s reserve position with the IMF also declined by USD 36 million to USD 4.965 billion.

IIP (Index of Industrial Production) for January contracts 1.6%

The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) for January slipped back into the negative territory and contracted at 1.6 per cent after growing 1 per cent in December on the back of positive manufacturing numbers. Manufacturing, which has 77% weightage in IIP, had been under severe stress owing to curtailed economic activity in most of 2020 due to which the index showed a decline of more than 13 per cent from April to December year-on-year.

Retail inflation spikes to three-month high of 5.03% in February

Retail inflation rose to a three-month high of 5.03 per cent in February mainly on account of higher food prices, government data showed on March 12, 2021. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) based retail inflation stood at 4.06 per cent in January. The previous high was witnessed at 6.93 per cent in November 2020.

World

PMs India, Australia, Japan & US President participate in 1st Quad Leaders’ Summit

The First Quad Leaders’ Summit was held virtually on March 12, 2021. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and US President Joseph R. Biden participated in the Summit. The four countries plan to establish a series of working groups that will focus on climate change; critical and emerging technologies, including working to set technology standards and norms and jointly developing some of the critical technologies of the future.

First Meeting of the BRICS Contact Group on Economic and Trade Issues held

The BRICS Contact Group on Economic and Trade Issues (CGETI) leads held their first meeting under India’s Chairmanship from 9-11 March 2021. The theme of BRICS this year is: “[email protected]: Intra BRICS Cooperation for Continuity, Consolidation, and Consensus”.

EAM S. Jaishankar discusses bilateral cooperation with Syrian counterpart

External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar discussed bilateral cooperation with his Syrian counterpart Dr. Fayssal Mekdad. Dr. Jaishankar said they agreed to work together on humanitarian, health and capacity building challenges.

Indian Navy assists stranded merchant vessel in Gulf of Oman

Indian Navy Ship (INS) Talwar, deployed in the Gulf of Oman, provided technical assistance to a stranded merchant vessel carrying seven Indian crew members. On March 11, 2021, INS Talwar received a broadcast call from a stranded merchant cargo ship MV Nayan, requesting technical assistance. The cargo ship, on transit from Oman to Iraq, was drifting at sea since March 9, owing to the failure of its propulsion, power generation machinery and navigational equipment. The naval teams worked onboard MV Nayan to operationalise its equipment, thereby making the vessel seaworthy again.

South Africa’s Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini dies aged 72

King Goodwill Zwelithini, the traditional leader of South Africa’s Zulu nation, died aged 72, his family announced on March 12, 2021. Zwelithini, the eighth Zulu king, reigned for more than 50 years, making him the longest-serving Zulu monarch. As the traditional leader of the Zulu nation, Zwelithini did not hold political office but had considerable influence over the country’s estimated 12 million Zulus, the largest ethnic group of South Africa’s 60 million people.

Sports

Mithali Raj becomes 1st Indian woman cricketer to score 10,000 international runs

Mithali Raj on March 12, 2021 became the first Indian woman cricketer and second internationally to complete 10,000 runs across all formats. The 38-year-old Mithali, who leads the Indian ODI team, joins England’s Charlotte Edwards in the elite club. Mithali achieved the feat during the third ODI against South Africa at Lucknow. Mithali has amassed 663 runs in 10 Test matches with a best score of 214, while she has 6938 and 2364 runs from 212 ODIs and 89 T20 Internationals respectively.

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