24th March, 2023 Current Affairs
India, UK hold joint maritime exercise 'Konkan' in Arabian Sea
- Konkan 2023, a joint maritime exercise, was conducted between the Royal Navy of Britain and the Indian Navy from the 20th of March to the 22nd, off the Konkan coast in the Arabian Sea. The joint drill by the two navies demonstrated operational readiness, enhancing interoperability and improving the ability to conduct joint operations.
- The exercise will go a long way in bolstering the combined efforts of the Indian Navy and Royal Navy to strengthen maritime security and uphold a rules-based order in the region.
- INS Trishul, a guided missile frigate, and HMS Lancaster, a Type 23 guided missile frigate, participated in this edition and undertook multiple maritime drills to enhance interoperability and imbibe best practices. The exercises covered all domains of maritime operations, air, surface, and subsurface.
- India and UK agreed to significant new cooperation on Maritime Domain Awareness, which includes new agreements on maritime information sharing, an invitation to the UK to join India's Information Fusion Centre in Gurugram. India considers the defence sector as one of the major areas where the bilateral partnership could be expanded around the Make in India campaign.
- In maritime cooperation, the engagements between both countries are increasing. The UK will be deploying a Carrier Strike Group in the Indian Ocean region this year in line with its strategic tilt to Indo-Pacific.
Lok Sabha passes Demand for Grants authorising expenditure of about Rs 45 lakh crore for Financial Year 2023-24 by voice vote amid din
- The Lok Sabha passed Demand for Grants authorising expenditure of about 45 lakh crore rupees for Financial Year 2023-24 by voice vote amid din. When the House met at 6 in the evening, Speaker Om Birla applied for the Guillotine after which the outstanding demands for grants were put to voice vote and passed.
- The House passed Demand for Grants and Appropriation Bill 2023 authorizing the Government to withdraw funds from the Consolidated Fund of India for its working as well as implementation of programmes and schemes for the fiscal beginning 1st April.
- The Appropriation Bill was introduced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The Bill was later approved by voice vote after rejecting cut motions moved by opposition members. After that, the House was adjourned for the day.
- Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s remarks on Indian democracy and Adani Group issue continued to disrupt the Parliament proceedings consecutively for the eighth day today. The Lok Sabha was adjourned twice before the house met this evening. Rajya Sabha after the first adjournment met at 2 PM.
- However, the scene was no different in the Upper House. Treasury bench and opposition members started sloganeering on their demands which led to adjournment of the House for the day.
President Droupadi Murmu urges all stakeholders to come together to achieve TB free India
- President Droupadi Murmu has urged all stakeholders to come together to achieve a TB free India. In her message on the eve of World Tuberculosis Day, President Murmu commended the Health Ministry for organizing the 'One World TB Summit'.
- TB Day serves as an opportunity to raise public awareness about the adverse health, social and economic consequences of TB, and to accelerate efforts to put an end to the global TB epidemic.
- TB affects millions all over the world. President said India's collective endeavour to combat TB is reflected in national campaign by organising equitable, affordable and accessible health care systems that will benefit all sections of the society.
UDISE plus data is not only reliable but is the only pan-India and most trusted database in school education in country
- Education Ministry has clarified that Unified District Information System for Education Plus, UDISE plus data is not only reliable but is the only pan-India and most trusted database in school education in the country.
- The clarification came in the wake of Odisha's State Minister of School and Mass Education, in the assembly denying the high rate of Drop out in Odisha and stating that report of UDISE plus is not reliable and trustworthy.
- The Ministry said UDISE plus is one of the largest Management Information System initiated by Department of School Education and Literacy covering more than 14.89 lakh schools, 95 lakhs teachers and 26.5 crore students. It informed that the Head Teacher or Head Master of the school in all the States compiles the data and it goes through three stage validation and verification process at the Block level, District level and State level. This data is finally certified by State Project Director at the State level.
- Ministry said that according to UDISE data, there is a clear decline of enrolment across both Upper Primary and Secondary levels in Odisha.
Center's intervention against substandard items has led to 67 % decline in imports of toys
- Center's intervention against substandard items has led to a 67 percent decline in imports of Toys. Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ministry on Thursday said that the volume of import of toys into the Indian market has shown a consistently decreasing trend. The import of Toys to India has decreased from 332.55 million dollars in 2014-15 to 109.72 million dollars in 2021-22.
- Government has taken proactive steps to restrict import of sub-standard and unsafe toys and to promote domestic toy industry. A Quality Control Order for Toys was issued in February, 2020 through which toys have been brought under compulsory certification from Bureau of Indian Standards with effect from 1st January 2021.
- As per the Order, every toy in the market must conform to the requirements of relevant Indian Standard and bear the Standard Mark under a license from BIS. This order is applicable to domestic manufacturers as well as foreign manufacturers who intend to export their toys to India.
26% of world's population does not have safe drinking water: UNESCO report
- 26 per cent of the world's population does not have safe drinking water and 46 per cent lack access to safely managed sanitation, according to a report published by UNESCO at the UN 2023 Water Conference in New York. As per the report, between two and three billion people experience water shortages for at least one month per year, posing severe risks to livelihoods, notably through food security and access to electricity.
- The global urban population facing water scarcity is projected to double from 930 million in 2016 to 1.7 to 2.4 billion people in 2050. The growing incidence of extreme and prolonged droughts is also stressing ecosystems, with dire consequences for both plant and animal species, the report said.
- Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General said that there is an urgent need to establish strong international mechanisms to prevent the global water crisis from spiralling out of control. He further said Water is our common future and it is essential to act together to share it equitably and manage it sustainably.
- The report further said that the United Nations calls for boosting international cooperation over how water is used and managed. It said this is the only way to prevent a global water crisis in the coming decades.
February Weekly Current Affairs (International) Bitbank: Which country participated in the military exercise Tarkash with India?
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French workers block access to airports as pension protests continue in France
- French workers angry with a rise in the pension age to 64 years blocked access to airports on Thursday as part of a nationwide day of protests. Train services were disrupted and some schools were shut while garbage piled up on the streets, and electricity output was cut as unions raised pressure on the government to withdraw the law which delays retirement by two years.
- President Emmanuel Macron said the legislation - which his government pushed through parliament without a vote last week - would come into force by year-end despite escalating anger across the country.
- Plumes of smoke were seen rising from burning piles of debris blocking traffic on highways.
- The past seven days have seen spontaneous demonstrations in Paris and other cities with garbage bins set ablaze and scuffles with police.
- Polls show a wide majority of people opposed the pension legislation as well as the government's decision to push it through parliament without a vote.