25th March, 2021 | UPSC Current Affairs
25th March Current Affairs MCQs
Daily Current Affairs MCQs – History MCQ – Polity MCQ Video Series
India and Afghanistan
Relevance: International Relations
Context: The Union Cabinet has approved the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and Independent Administrative Reforms and Civil Services Commission (IARCSC) of Afghanistan.
More on News:
- The MoU will strengthen the relationship between IARCSC and UPSC. It will facilitate the sharing of experience and expertise of both parties in the area of recruitment.
- It enables the sharing of expertise in the use of Information Technology (IT) in the preparation of written examinations and holding of Computer Based Recruitment Tests and Online Examinations.
- The MoU focused on sharing of experience in Single Window System for expeditious scrutiny and speedy disposal of applications.
India and Japan
Relevance: International Relations
Context: The Union Cabinet approved the Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) signed between India and Japan in the field of Water Resources.
More on News:
- This MoC was signed for the development of long-term cooperation in the field of Water and Delta management, and Water technology.
- The objective of the MoC is to increase the exchange of information, knowledge, technology and scientific allied experience, as well as the implementation of joint projects between the two countries.
- The MoC will help in achieving water security, improved irrigation facility and sustainability in water resources development.
NAFED e-Kisan mandis (NeKM)
Context: Ministry of Agriculture has informed the Lok Sabha about the status of NeKM.
- It is an electronic trading platform with physical infra-structure at each proposed location in partnership with local Farmer Producer Organisations (FPCx and Cooperatives) to be integrated with a National Level Digital Marketing Platform.
- The Mandi has both physical and virtual infrastructure and it is based on the spoke & hub model.
- The physical infrastructure will include a digital platform with auctioning facility, pack-house (including sorting-grading, packing and pre-cooling facilities), warehouse and cold storages if required.
- FPOs will get funding support through Agriculture Infra-structure Fund (AIF) and subsidies available under various Central and State Government schemes.
- The mandis are made at the farm gate bringing buyers to farmers.
National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED):
- NAFED was established in
- It is registered under the Multi-State Co-operative Societies Act.
- It was set up with the object to promote Co-operative marketing of agricultural produce to benefit the farmers.
- Agricultural farmers are the main members of Nafed, who have the authority to say in the form of members of the General Body in the working of Nafed.
Relevance: Government Schemes and Initiatives
Context: Ministry of Culture has informed the Lok Sabha that Project Mausam has been extended up to 31st March 2023.
What is Project Mausam?
- The Project has been launched by the Ministry of Culture.
- The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is the nodal agency for the implementation of the project.
- Other than this, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) and National Museum provides research support to the scheme.
- This project aims to explore the multi-faceted Indian Ocean ‘world’ – collating archaeological and historical research to document the diversity of cultural, commercial and religious interactions in the Indian Ocean.
- The main objective of the project is to inscribe places and sites identified under Project Mausam as a trans-national nomination for inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
- A total of 39 countries have been identified to be brought on board for Tran-National Nomination for World Heritage.
- It is proposed to prepare two transnational nominations namely;
(a) Routes followed by the Cholas in the Southeast Asia region.
(b) Spread of Buddhism through land and sea routes in the South and Southeast Asian region (those countries that are a part of Project Mausam).
Pradhan Mantri Kisan SAMPADA Yojana (PMKSY)
Relevance: Government Schemes and Initiatives
Context: Ministry of Food processing industries (MoFPI) has informed the Lok Sabha about the progress of PMKSY.
- The scheme has been launched in 2017 by the Ministry of Food processing industries (MoFPI).
- It is a Central Sector umbrella scheme for the overall growth and development of the food processing sector for the period 2016-17 to 2019-20.
- The objective of PMKSY is to supplement agriculture, modernize processing and decrease Agri-Waste.
- It is an umbrella scheme incorporating ongoing schemes of the Ministry like Mega Food Parks, Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure, Food Safety and Quality Assurance Infrastructure, etc.
- The component schemes of PMKSY are – (i) Mega Food Park; (ii) Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure; (iii) Creation /Expansion of Food Processing & Preservation Capacities; (iv) Infrastructure for Agro-Processing Clusters; (v) Creation of Backward & Forward linkages; (vi) Food Safety and Quality Assurance Infrastructure; (vii) Human Resource and Institutions; and (viii) Operation Green.
- The implementation of PMKSY will result in the creation of modern infrastructure with efficient supply chain management from farm gate to retail outlet.
- It will help in providing better prices to farmers and is a big step towards doubling farmers’ income.
- It will create huge employment opportunities, especially in rural areas. It is expected to generate 5, 30,500 direct/ indirect employment in the country.
Relevance: Government Schemes and Initiatives
Context: Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (POWERGRID) has launched an e-Tendering Portal-PRANIT.
What is PRANIT?
- It is an e-Tendering Portal that will lead to less paperwork and ease of operation, making the tendering process more transparent.
- It has been certified by the Standardisation, Testing and Quality Certification Directorate (STQC) of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
- With this, POWERGRID is now the only organization in India to have an eProcurement solution on Supplier Relationship Management (SRM), complying with all applicable requirements relating to security and transparency as stipulated by STQC.
- It is a central Public Sector Unit (PSU) working under the administrative control of the Ministry of Power.
- It aims to undertake transmission of electric power through an Inter-State Transmission System.
- It ensures the development of an efficient, coordinated and economical system of inter-state transmission lines for smooth flow of electricity from generating stations to the load centres.
National Health Mission
Relevance: Government Schemes and Initiatives
Context: The Union Cabinet has apprised on the progress under the National Health Mission (NHM) during FY 2019-20.
About the National Health Mission (NHM):
- The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) was launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in 2005, for accessible, affordable and quality health care to the rural population, especially the vulnerable groups.
- The Union Cabinet in 2013 approved the National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) as a Sub-mission of an over-arching National Health Mission (NHM), with National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) being the other Sub-mission of National Health Mission.
- In January 2020, the Ministry of Finance has accorded interim extension of the National Health Mission for a period up to 31st March 2021 or till the date the recommendation of 15thFinance Commissions come into effect, whichever is earlier.
- The implementation strategy of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare under NHM is to provide financial and technical support to States / Union Territories (UTs) enabling them to provide accessible, affordable, accountable, and effective healthcare up to District Hospitals (DHs), especially to the poor and vulnerable sections of the population.
Introduction of New Initiatives under NHM in 2019:
- Social Awareness and Actions to Neutralize Pneumonia Successfully (SAANS) initiative was launched to accelerate action to reduce deaths due to childhood pneumonia.
- Surakshit Matritva Aashwasan (SUMAN) initiative was launched to provide assured, dignified, respectful and quality healthcare at no cost and zero tolerance for denial of services and all existing Schemes for maternal and neonatal health have been brought under one umbrella.
- Midwifery Services Initiative was launched to create a cadre of Nurse Practitioners in Midwiferywho are skilled in accordance with competencies prescribed by the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) and are knowledgeable and capable of providing compassionate women-centred, reproductive, maternal and newborn health care services.
- School Health and Wellness Ambassadors Initiative have been launched under the AB-HWCs Programme in partnership with the Ministry of Education to promote health and well-being through an active lifestyle amongst school children.
About Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY):
- It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme launched in 2018 by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).
- It is one of the components of
- It is an umbrella of two major health initiatives, namely Health and Wellness Centres and the National Health Protection Scheme.
- Health and Wellness Centre:
- Under this 5 lakh, existing sub-centres will bring the health care system closer to the homes of people in the form of health and wellness centres.
- These centres will provide comprehensive health care, including for non-communicable diseases and maternal and child health services.
- National Health Protection Scheme:
- It will have a defined benefit cover of Rs. 5 lakh per family per year.
- The benefits of the scheme are portable across the country and a beneficiary covered under the scheme will be allowed to take cashless benefits from any public/private empanelled hospitals across the country.
- Ayushman Bharat – National Health Protection Mission will be an entitlement based scheme with entitlement decided based on deprivation criteria in the SECC database.
- In partnership with NITI Aayog, a robust, modular, scalable and interoperable IT platform will be made operational which will entail a paperless, cashless transaction.
Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act (MMDR Act)
Context: The Lok Sabha passed a Bill to amend the Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act (MMDR Act).
- The Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act (1957) is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to regulate the mining sector in India.
- This act forms the basic framework of mining regulation in India.
- This act is applicable to all mineral except minor minerals and atomic minerals.
- It details the process and conditions for acquiring a mining or prospecting license in India.
- Mining minor minerals comes under the purview of state governments.
- River sand is considered a minor mineral. For mining and prospecting in forest land, prior permission is needed from the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
- The Ministry said the mining sector right now contributes 75% to the country’s GDP but the proposed reforms will raise the contribution to 2.5% as it seeks to make a large number of mines available for auctions by resolving legacy issues.
- India’s huge mineral reserves (about 2.7-lakh hectares of mineral land) are locked because of legacy issues created by the provisions of Section 10A (2) (b) and 10A (2) (c). Also, public sector enterprises have for long been sitting on a large number of blocks without producing.
National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development Bill 2021.
Relevance: Laws of India
Context: The Union government tabled the National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development Bill 2021 in Lok Sabha.
More about the Bill
- Aim: This Bill will establish the National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development to support the development of long-term non-recourse infrastructure financing in India, including the development of the bonds and derivatives markets necessary for infrastructure financing and to carry on the business of financing infrastructure.
- The new entity will help provide finance options for projects in the National Infrastructure Pipeline.
- This also comes at a time when the Union government has decided to substantially increase investment in infrastructure building to help pull the economy out of the covid-19 induced slowdown.
- The financial objective of the institution shall be to lend or invest, directly or indirectly, and seek to attract investments from private sector investors and institutional investors, in infrastructure projects located in or outside India.
Shahid Diwas or Martyrs’ Day
Relevance: Modern Indian History
Context: Shahid Diwas or Martyrs’ Day is observed on March 23rd every year to remember the sacrifice of brave freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar, and Shivaram Raj guru for the nation.
- Bhagat Singh was an Indian socialist revolutionary.
- He was born Born Bhaganwala on the 26th September 1907.
- In 1923, Bhagat Singh joined the National College, Lahore which was founded and managed by Lala Lajpat Rai and Bhai Parmanand.
- In 1924 in Kanpur, he became a member of the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA), started by Sachindranath Sanyal.
- It was as a member of the HRA that Bhagat Singh began to take seriously the philosophy of the Bomb.
- In 1925, Bhagat Singh returned to Lahore and within the next year, he and his colleagues started a militant youth organization called the Naujawan Bharat Sabha.
- In 1927, he was first arrested on charges of association with the Kakori Case accused of an article written under the pseudonym Vidrohi (Rebel).
- In 1928, Bhagat Singh changed the name of the Hindustan Republican Association to the Hindustan Socialist Republic Association (HSRA).
- In December 1928, Bhagat Singh and an associate, Shivaram Rajguru, fatally shot a 21-year-old British police officer, John Saunders, in Lahore, British India.
India, Pakistan Indus water meet.
Relevance: India and its neighbours.
Context: A meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission between India and Pakistan is being held in Delhi.
What is Indus Water Treaty?
- It is a treaty brokered by the World Bank and signed by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan’s President Ayub Khan which administers how the waters of the Indus and its tributaries flow in both the countries will be utilized.
- According to the treaty, waters of the eastern rivers — Sutlej, Beas, and Ravi had been allocated to India, while the western rivers — the Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab to Pakistan.
- However, since Indus flows from India, the country is allowed to use 20 percent of its water for irrigation, power generation, and transport purposes.
- A Permanent Indus Commission was set up as a bilateral commission to implement and manage the Treaty. The Treaty also provides an arbitration mechanism to solve disputes amicably.
- The Permanent Indus Commission is a bilateral commission of officials from India and Pakistan, created to implement and manage the goals of the Indus Waters Treaty, 1960.
- The Commission according to the treaty must meet regularly at least once a year, alternately in India and Pakistan.
India-Myanmar refugee issue
Relevance: International relations
Context: At least 1,000 people from the adjoining Chin State of Myanmar are said to have crossed over to Mizoram, fearing a military crackdown.
- Mizoram began feeling the heat a month after the military coup when three police personnel crossed over to Lungkawlh village in Serchhip district.
- Most of the refugees waded across the Tiau River that runs along much of Mizoram’s 510-km border with Myanmar.
- Extremism, counter-insurgency, and sectarian violence have driven people out of Myanmar into India in the past as well.
- Manipur, too, has been dealing with the influx issue, although on a smaller scale, for a long time.
- Unlike India’s border with Pakistan and Bangladesh, much of the border with Myanmar is without any fence.
- The Assam Rifles personnel guard the border along with Myanmar but a tough terrain comes in the way of maintaining an airtight vigil.
- India’s stand: India is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol.
Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)
Relevance: India and its neighbours
Context: India, Pakistan, China to participate in SCO joint anti-terrorism exercise.
What is SCO?
- SCO is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation.
- It’s a Eurasian political, economic and military organisation aiming to maintain peace, security and stability in the region.
- It was created in 2001.
- The SCO’s official languages are Russian and Chinese.
- Member countries: Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India Pakistan.
- Observer countries: Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, Mongolia.
- Strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member states.
- Promoting effective cooperation in -politics, trade & economy, research & technology and culture.
- Enhancing ties in education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection, etc.
- Maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region.
- Establishment of a democratic, fair and rational new international political & economic order.
- Structure of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation
- Heads of State Council – The supreme SCO body which decides its internal functioning and its interaction with other States & international organisations, and considers international issues.
- Heads of Government Council – Approves the budget, considers and decides upon issues related economic spheres of interaction within SCO.
- Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs – Considers issues related to day-to-day activities.
- Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) – Established to combat terrorism, separatism and extremism.
- SCO Secretariat – Based in Beijing to provide informational, analytical & organisational support.
- The decision to hold the joint exercise “Pabbi-Antiterror-2021” was announced during the 36th meeting of the Council of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
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