Current Affairs – March 26, 2021 [Today’s News Headlines]

Here are Today’s News Headlines by GK Today for March 26, 2021

India

Budget session of Parliament concludes; Both Houses adjourn sine die

The Budget Session of the Parliament came to an end on March 25, 2021 with both the Houses being adjourned sine die ahead of their schedule. The second leg of the Budget Session had on March 8.  During the session, 18 Bills were passed by both the Houses including bills like Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2021, Insurance (Amendment) Bill, 2021, National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill 2021 and Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill 2021.

Education Minister holds virtual meeting with Director General of UNESCO

Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank on March 25, 2021 held a virtual meeting with Director General UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay in New Delhi. They discussed key issues of mutual importance including National Education Policy, India’s response to COVID Pandemic especially in the education sector. Pokhriyal spoke about Manodarpan which is government’s initiative to provide online psychosocial support to students, teachers and families for their mental health and emotional wellbeing.

100+ school curriculum based comic books launched by Education Minister

Union Minister of Education Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ on March 24, 2021 launched 100+ comic books created by teachers and students of CBSE schools and curated by NCERT. These comics can be accessed online on DIKSHA web portal (diksha.gov.in) or via DIKSHA app on any android Smartphone. The comics can also be accessed through a new WhatsApp powered Chatbot. The chatbot presents a unique opportunity to expand the scope of digital learning. During the occasion, Minister also launched CBSE Assessment Framework for Science, Maths and English classes as part of CBSE Competency Based Education Project.

116th meeting of India-Pakistan Permanent Indus Commission held in New Delhi

The 116th meeting of the India-Pakistan Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) was held in New Delhi from March 23-24, where a host of issues related to the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) were discussed. Pakistan side reiterated its objections to the Indian projects including Pakal Dul, Lower Kulnai, Durbuk Shyok and Nimu Chilling. The Pakistan side also urged the Indian side to share data of water flows as per the provisions of the IWT following the practice in vogue since 1989.

Asha Bhosle wins 2020 Maharashtra Bhushan award of Maharashtra Government

Maharashtra Government on March 25, 2021 said legendary singer Asha Bhosle has been selected for Maharashtra Bhushan award, the state government’s highest honour. A committee chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray decided to select Bhosle for the award for the year 2020.

Economy & Corporate

Saurabh Garg appointed CEO of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI)

Senior bureaucrat Saurabh Garg has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). Garg is at present serving in his cadre state Odisha. IAS officer Sanjeev Kumar has been appointed as the Chairman, Airports Authority of India (AAI). IAS officer Atish Chandra has been appointed as the Chairman and Managing Director, Food Corporation of India.

Marico Industries’ Chairman Harsh Mariwala is EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2020

Marico Industries’ Founder-Chairman Harsh Mariwala was named EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2020 and will represent India at the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year Award in June. Prathap Chandra Reddy, founder and executive chairman of Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd. was given the lifetime achievement award. Winners of the EY Entrepreneur awards were selected by a nine-member independent jury led by Uday Kotak, managing director and CEO of Kotak Mahindra Bank.

Bill to set up National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development passed

Parliament has passed a bill to set up the National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development (NaBFID) to fund infrastructure projects in India. The Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha on March 25, 2021 and Lok Sabha on March 23. The bill seeks to establish NaBFID to support the development of long-term non-recourse infrastructure financing in India including development of the bonds and derivatives markets necessary for infrastructure financing and to carry on the business of financing infrastructure and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Government offers 67 blocks in second tranche of commercial coal mine auction

The government on March 25, 2021 offered 67 coal mines for sale, launching the second tranche of commercial coal mining auction. Union Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi launched the auction process in a programme held in New Delhi. Out of the total 67 mines offered by the ministry, 23 are under Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act and 44 under Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act. The blocks on offer are a mix of mines with small and large reserves, coking and non-coking mines and fully and partially explored blocks spread across 6 States – Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

Centre tells worker welfare boards not to distribute items, stick to DBT

Centre has ordered State welfare boards for building and other construction workers (BOCW) not to distribute household and other articles to workers and instead stick to transferring monetary assistance into their bank accounts. Labour and Employment Ministry issued an order to States on March 22 directing the boards not to distribute articles. The BOCW boards are meant to carry out welfare activities for workers from cess on construction collected by States. Cess is collected at a rate of 1% of construction costs of public and private building projects by States and given to the boards.

SEBI relaxes norms for listing of start-ups; allows discretionary allotment

Seeking to boost listing of start-ups, markets watchdog SEBI on March 25, 2021 decided a slew of relaxations to norms, including reducing holding period for pre-issue capital and allowing discretionary allotment to eligible investors. The changes have been approved to the framework for listing on the Innovators Growth Platform, SEBI said in a statement after the board meeting. Other proposals approved include easing de-listing requirements and relaxation in guidelines for migrating to main board.

SEBI asks top-1,000 listed firms to formulate dividend distribution policy

To strengthen corporate governance practices and disclosure requirements, SEBI on March 25, 2021 decided that top-1,000 listed firms should formulate a dividend distribution policy. “Requirement for formulation of dividend distribution policy by the existing top-500 listed entities has been extended to the top-1,000 listed entities on the basis of market capitalisation.

Times Network India Economic Conclave 2021 being organised on March 25-26

Times Network India Economic Conclave 2021 is being organised on March 25-26, 2021. Theme for this year is ‘India’s Decade: Reform. Perform. Transform’. During his address, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das stressed upon laying down a robust risk identification and mitigation system in India’s banks and non-banking finance companies to deal with any contingencies.

World

UN observes International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery

UN observed International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade on March 25, 2021. The day aims to raise awareness about dangers of racism and prejudice today.

UN observes International Day of Solidarity with Detained & Missing Staff Members

UN observed International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members on March 25, 2021. The day marks the abduction of Alec Collett, a former journalist who was working for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), in 1985.

Maggie O’Farrell’s ‘Hamnet’ wins National Book Critics Circle prize for fiction

Maggie O’Farrell’s “Hamnet,” an imagined take on the death of Shakespeare’s son from the bubonic plague, has won the National Book Critics Circle prize for fiction in US. Tom Zoellner’s “Island on Fire: The Revolt That Ended Slavery in the British Empire” won for nonfiction.

Russia: Bill passed enabling Putin to run for two more terms starting 2024

Russia’s lower house of parliament, State Duma approved a bill, enabling incumbent President Vladimir Putin to run for two more terms starting 2024. Draft law on elections, which was approved in the State Duma’s third or final reading on March 24, 2021, was made in pursuance of constitutional amendments adopted in a nationwide referendum in July 2020. The bill needs to be passed by the Federation Council, the upper house of parliament, and then to be signed by Putin into law.

Sports

ISSF shooting World Cup: India win gold in women’s 25m pistol team event

Indian juggernaut remained unstoppable at the ISSF shooting World Cup with the country’s women shooters grabbing the spotlight by clinching the 25m pistol team gold medal in New Delhi on March 25, 2021. Indian team comprised Chinky Yadav, Manu Bhaker and Rahi Sarnobat. On March 24, Yadav, Bhaker and Sarnobat swept the individual final by winning all the medals on offer. India also won a silver in the 50m rifle 3 positions team event when the trio of Anjum Moudgil, Shreya Saksena and Gaayathri Nithyanadam finished behind gold winners Poland.

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