Current Affairs – March 23, 2021 [Today’s News Headlines]

Here are Today’s News Headlines by GK Today for March 23, 2021

India

Winners of 67th National Film Awards announced

Delayed by the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, the 67th National Awards were finally announced by the government on March 22, 2021. Best Feature Film: ‘Marakkar Arabikadalinte Simham’ (Malayalam); Best Direction: Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan (‘Bahattar Hoorain’); Best Actress: Kangana Ranaut (‘Manikarnika’, ‘Panga’); Best Actor: Manoj Bajpayee for ‘Bhonsle’ and Dhanush for ‘Asuran’ (Tamil); Best Supporting Actress: ‘The Tashkent Files’, Pallavi Joshi; Best Supporting Actor: ‘Super Deluxe’ (Tamil), Vijaya Sethupathi; Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Film of Director: Helen (Malayalam); Most Film-Friendly State: Sikkim.

Lok Sabha passes Bill that seeks to clarify that ‘Govt.’ in Delhi means “LG”

A Bill that seeks to make it clear that the “government” in Delhi means the “Lieutenant Governor” was passed by Lok Sabha on March 22, 2021. Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021 has become necessary as there have been ambiguity in certain issues related to the functioning of the Delhi government and several cases were also filed in courts. The Bill also makes it mandatory for the Delhi government to take the opinion of the L-G before any executive action.

Parliament passes bill to combine 7 castes in TN under one nomenclature

Rajya Sabha on March 22, 2021 passed the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill-2021 to club seven castes in poll-bound Tamil Nadu under one nomenclature of Devendrakula Vellalars. The passage in Rajya Sabha completes the parliamentary approval process. Lok Sabha had passed the bill earlier and it will now go to the President for his assent.

Delhi government reduces the drinking age to 21 from 25

Delhi government reduced the drinking age in Delhi to 21, which was earlier fixed at 25 and prompted a large number of customers to move to NCR towns for liquor. The new excise policy on liquor also includes equitable distribution of liquor because currently some areas of Delhi have higher concentration of liquor shops than others.

PM launches ‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain’ campaign for conserving water

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 22, 2021 launched ‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain’ campaign for conserving water and stressed that every penny of MGNREGA funds be spent on rain water conservation till the monsoon arrives. Addressing an event at the virtual launch of the campaign on the World Water Day, Modi urged that every penny of MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) funds be spent on rain water conservation till the monsoon arrives. The ‘Catch the Rain’ campaign will be undertaken across the country, in both rural and urban areas. It will be implemented from March 22 to November 30 – the pre-monsoon and monsoon period in the country.

Centre increases gap between 2 doses of Covishield between four & eight weeks

Centre has written to States and Union Territories to increase the interval between two doses of COVISHIELD to 4 to 8 weeks based on recommendation of National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization, NTAGI and National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19, NEGVAC. This decision of revised time interval between two doses is applicable only to COVISHIELD and not to COVAXIN Vaccine.

Noted screenwriter-filmmaker Sagar Sarhadi dies in Mumbai at 88

Noted writer-filmmaker Sagar Sarhadi, known for writing scripts and dialogues of films like ‘Noorie’, ‘Kabhi Kabhie’, ‘Silsila’, ‘Chandni’, ‘Deewana’ and ‘Kaho Na Pyar Hai’ and directing the film ‘Bazaar’, passed away in March 21, 2021 in Mumbai at the age of 88.

Economy & Corporate

Parliament passes insurance amendment bill to raise FDI limit to 74%

The Parliament on March 22, 2021 approved a Bill to increase Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) limit in the insurance sector from 49 per cent to 74 per cent with the Lok Sabha passing the proposed law by a voice vote. The Insurance (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was passed by Rajya Sabha earlier.

Parliament passes Mines & Minerals (Development & Regulation) Amendment Bill

Parliament on March 22, 2021 passed the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill which will help create employment opportunities and allow the private sector with enhanced technology in mining activities. Lok Sabha passed the bill on March 19. The bill seeks to amend the Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 and provides for removal of distinction between captive and merchant mines.

RBI sets up external advisory team to screen on tap bank licenses

The Reserve Bank of India announced the setting up of a standing external advisory committee (SEAC) to evaluate applications for universal banks and small finance banks. The five-member committee will be headed by former deputy governor Shyamala Gopinath. The SEAC which will have a tenure of three years, and will screen applications for universal and small finance banks after the regulator first vets the proposal.

Defence ministry seals deal with Mahindra Defence for 1,300 combat vehicles

The defence ministry has finalised a contract with Mahindra Defence Systems Ltd (MDSL) to procure 1,300 light combat vehicles for the Indian Army at a cost of Rs 1,056 crore. The induction of the vehicles is planned to be completed in four years. The light specialist vehicle is a modern fighting vehicle and will be authorised to various fighting units for carriage of medium machine guns, automatic grenade launchers as well as anti-tank guided missiles.

NITI Aayog forms task forces on Enforcement of Contracts, Conciliation Mechanism

The Task Force for Enforcement of Contracts will give its recommendation for a policy framework for Enforcement of Contracts and the Task Force on Conciliation Mechanism will give its recommendation for an effective Conciliation Mechanism.

Govt introduces NaBFID Bill in Lok Sabha to support funding infra projects

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has introduced the National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development (NaBFID) Bill 2021 in the Lok Sabha to pave the way for setting up of a government-owned development finance institution to help fund about 7,000 infra projects under the National Infrastructure Pipeline. The government has proposed Rs 20,000 crore to capitalise the institution.

World

India supplies second shipment of equipment to Iran’s Chabahar port

India has supplied the second shipment of equipment to Chabahar port in Iran, India had supplied a consignment of two mobile harbour cranes to the Chabahar port, having a total contract value of over USD 25 million. Located in the Sistan-Balochistan province on the energy-rich Iran’s southern coast, the port is being developed by India, Iran and Afghanistan to boost trade ties.

World Water Day celebrated on March 22; theme: ‘Valuing water’

World Water Day was celebrated on March 22, 2021. Celebrated on March 21 every year since 1993, the day focuses on the importance of freshwater and raises awareness of the 2.2 billion people living without access to safe water. It is about taking action to tackle the global water crisis. ‘Valuing water’ is this year´s theme.

Sports

ISSF World Cup in New Delhi: India win mixed team gold medals

India won the mixed team gold medals in both the 10m air pistol and 10m air rifle events in the ongoing ISSF World Cup in New Delhi on March 22, 2021. Saurabh Chaudhary and Manu Bhaker notched up the 10m air pistol mixed team gold medal. This was after Divyansh Singh Panwar and Elavenil Valarivan claimed the gold medal in the 10m mixed air rifle event.

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