Current Affairs – March 17, 2021 [Today’s News Headlines]

Here are Today’s News Headlines by GK Today for March 17, 2021

India

Bill raising upper limit to 24 weeks for abortions passed by Parliament

Parliament on March 16, 2021 passed The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which increases the upper limit for abortions from 20 to 24 weeks for certain categories of women, and removes limits in the case of substantial foetal abnormalities after the Rajya Sabha approved the measure. The Lok Sabha had passed the bill in March 2020. It also provides for setting up the state-level Medical Boards to decide if a pregnancy to be terminated beyond 24 weeks in cases of foetal abnormalities.

PM Modi and Finland’s PM Sanna Marin hold virtual summit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Finnish counterpart Sanna Marin on March 16, 2021 announced a digital partnership in information and communications technology, future mobile technologies and digital education at a virtual summit. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the two leaders also announced a sustainability partnership involving renewable and clean energy, circular economy and sustainable mobility.

PM Modi speaks to Portugal PM’s António Luís Santos da Costa on phone

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Portuguese counterpart António Luís Santos da Costa on March 16, 2021 reviewed the Covid-19 pandemic situation in the two countries. In a telephonic conversation, both leaders noted the importance of quick and equitable distribution of vaccines for ending of the pandemic.

Indian Army decommissions Self Propelled Catapult Guns, Tampella Mortars

Two of the longest serving Artillery systems, the 130mm Self Propelled M-46 Catapult Guns and the 160mm Tampella Mortars were decommissioned on March 16, 2021 at Mahajan Field Firing Ranges in Rajasthan. The 130mm Catapult, with a range of more than 27 km were inducted in 1981. The 160mm Tampella mortars, with a range of 9.6km, were inducted after the 1962 war with China to fulfill the need for a weapon system to clear high crests of the Northern borders.

22 of world’s 30 most polluted cities are in India: ‘World Air Quality Report, 2020’

Twenty-two of the world’s 30 most polluted cities are in India, with Delhi being ranked as the most polluted capital city globally, a new report said on March 16, 2021. The report is prepared by Swiss organisation, IQAir, in the form of the ‘World Air Quality Report, 2020’, which has released globally.  The global cities ranking report is based on PM2.5 data from 106 countries.

M. A. Ganapathy appointed Director General of National Security Guard

Senior IPS officer M. A. Ganapathy was on March 16, 2021 appointed Director General of National Security Guard. Ganapathy, a 1986 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the Uttarakhand cadre, is currently Director General, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS). He has been appointed AS NSG DG from the date of joining the post and up to February 29, 2024.

Kuldiep Singh appointed new Director General of Central Reserve Police Force

Senior IPS officer Kuldeep Singh was on March 16, 2021 appointed Director General of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). Singh, a 1986 batch IPS officer of the West Bengal cadre, is presently the Special DG, CRPF. He has been appointed DG, CRPF up to September 30, 2022 i.e. date of his superannuation. Singh will replace A P Maheshwari, who is due to superannuate on February 28, 2021.

Principal Advisor in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) P.K. Sinha resigns

Former Cabinet Secretary and Principal Advisor in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) P.K. Sinha has relinquished his high-profile position on personal grounds. He was appointed in the PMO first as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) briefly and then as Principal Advisor, a specially created position for him, in September 2019 after the 2019 parliamentary polls.

Swapan Dasgupta resigns as Rajya Sabha member

Nominated Rajya Sabha member Swapan Dasgupta on March 16, 2021 tendered his resignation from the upper house of Parliament after being named as a BJP candidate in the West Bengal assembly elections. Dasgupta became a Rajya Sabha member on April 25, 2016.

India hands over training aids to Lankan Navy for capacity building

Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay, during a visit to the Northern and Eastern Provinces, formally handed over the training aids to the Commander Eastern Naval Area of the Sri Lanka Navy at a ceremony held on March 14, 2021 at the Naval and Maritime Academy (NMA) Trincomalee.

Economy & Corporate

Cabinet nod to closure of Handicrafts and Handlooms Export Corporation

The Cabinet approved the closure of Handicrafts and Handlooms Export Corporation of India (HHEC), a government undertaking under the administrative control of the textile ministry. The corporation has been continuously incurring losses since 2015-16 and not earning sufficient income to meet its running expenses. There is little scope for its revival, necessitating closure, an official statement said.

Union Cabinet clears setting up of Development Finance Institution

Union Cabinet has cleared the setting up of a Development Finance Institution (DFI) for financing long term infrastructure and development projects with the capital infusion of Rs 20,000 crore in 2021. During Budget 2021, it was mentioned that a national bank will be set up to fund infrastructure and developmental activities.

RBI imposes Rs 2 cr penalty on SBI for paying commission to employees

Reserve Bank of India on March 16, 2021 imposed a penalty of Rs 2 crore on State Bank of India (SBI) for contravention of norms, including specific directions to the lender on remuneration to its employees in the form of commission. The penalty has been imposed for contravention of certain sections of Banking Regulation Act and its specific directions of RBI issued to the bank on payment of remuneration to employees in the form of commission. It said the action is based on deficiencies in regulatory compliance and is not intended to pronounce upon the validity of any transaction or agreement entered into by the bank with its customers.

World

IRENA releases World Energy Transitions Outlook report

According to the World Energy Transitions Outlook report which is published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the COVID-19 crisis offers an unexpected opportunity for countries across the world to decouple their economies from fossil fuels and accelerate the shift to renewable energy sources. Previewed at the virtual Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue (BETD 2021), which began on March 16, 2021, the report proposes energy transition solutions for the narrow pathway available to contain the rise of temperature to 1.5°C and halt global warming.

Google halves Play store commission fee for developers on first $1 mn revenue

Google Play will from July 1 slash by half its 30 per cent billing fee for developers globally when they make the first $1 million of their annual revenue. Apps that sell digital goods in the Play Store have to use the platform’s billing system, which allows the tech giant to collect a percentage of in-app purchases as a fee.

Sports

Murli Sree Shankar improves his men’s long jump national record

Long jumper Murli Sree Shankar on March 16, 2021 qualified for the Tokyo Olympics by bettering his own national record with a leap of 8.26m on the second day of the Federation Cup Senior National Athletics Championships in Patiala. The Olympics qualification mark in men’s long jump event is 8.22m.

England beat India by eight wickets in the 3rd T20I at Ahmedabad

Eoin Morgan’s England (158/2 in 18.2) defeated Virat Kohli-led India (156/6) by 8 wickets in the third T20I at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad to go up 2-1 in the series.

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