Current Affairs: 14 March 2023

MIDH approves 3 Centers of Excellence for Horticultural Crops in Odisha, Goa & KarnatakaOn 9th March 2023, The Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) under the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW), Government of India (GoI), approved the 3 new Centers of Excellence (CoEs) for horticulture crops.
The 3 CoEs are,

  • CoE for Kamlam (Dragon Fruit) by Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR), Bengaluru, Karnataka at Experimental Station, Hirehalli, Bengaluru, Karnataka.
  • CoE for Mango and Vegetables under Indo-Israel Action Plan at Panikoili, Jajpur District, Odisha.
  • CoE for Vegetables and Flowers under Indo-Israel Action Plan at Govt. Agricultural Farm, Codar, Khandepar, Ponda, South Goa, Goa.

About MIDH-approved CoE: 
i. Under the MIDH, CoEs are being established in various states through Bilateral Cooperation or Research Institutes. MIDH has approved 49 CoEs till now.
ii. These CoEs serve as training and demonstration centres for the latest horticultural technologies.
iii. These CoEs are also used to transmit technology and know-how in diverse areas, including Post-Harvest management, Irrigation and Fertigation, Plant protection, Introduction of New Varieties, Pollination etc.
CoE for Kamlam (Dragon Fruit) at Bengaluru, Karnataka:
Vision: To develop the latest production technology according to the international standard for off-season production and demonstrate these technologies for high-yield production.
Aim: To achieve self-sustenance in Kamlam fruit production, value addition and enhance the economic development of the farming community.
CoE for Mango and Vegetables at Jajpur, Odisha:
Vision: To generate knowledge in nursery management, cultivation practices, and production of high-quality & large quantities of planting material for Mango and Vegetable crops.
CoE for Vegetables and Flowers at Ponda, Goa:
The Centre will focus on the demonstration of a high-tech nursery management system with advanced production technology using an automated irrigation and fertigation system to produce healthy, disease-free seedlings of enhanced types of Vegetables and Flowers ideal for Goa.

PM Inaugurates 3rd Session of National Platform for Disaster Risk ReductionThe 3rd session of the National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (NPDRR), with the overarching theme of “Building Local Resilience in a Changing Climate,” was inaugurated by Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi on March 10, 2023, in New Delhi, India.

  • The main theme of the 3rd session of NPDRR’s is aligned with the PM’s 10-Point Agenda on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR): ‘Build on local capacity and initiative to enhance disaster risk reduction’, particularly in the context of a fast changing disaster risk scenario as a result of climate change.

NPDRR is a multi-stakeholder platform established by the Government of India (GoI) to promote dialogue through sharing experiences, views, and ideas, conducting action-oriented research, and exploring opportunities in the field of DRR.
i.During the event, the PM honoured the winners of the Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar 2023: The Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) and the Lunglei Fire Station in Mizoram.
ii.The Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) was formed in 2019 under the leadership of the GoI and with the cooperation of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR).
About the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF):
Director General – Atul Karwal
Headquarters – New Delhi, Delhi
Motto – Sustained Disaster Response Service

ISRO’s Landslide Atlas of India: Uttarakhand’s Rudraprayag & Tehri Garhwal Top Landslide Index in IndiaAccording to the “Landslide Atlas of India” report prepared by the Hyderabad (Telangana)-based National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Uttarakhand’s Rudraprayag (1st) and Tehri Garhwal (2nd) are the most landslide-prone districts in India.

  • For the 1st time NRSC created a pan-India database of more than 80,000 landslides that occurred in India between 1998 and 2022 using information from ISRO satellites.
  • NRSC team ranked 147 landslide-affected Indian districts across 17 States and Union territories (UTs).

Note: The landslides are the 3rd most dangerous natural disaster in terms of deaths caused.
Key Points:
i. Chamoli in Uttarakhand, where land subsidence has forced thousands of residents out of Joshimath, Uttarakhand, was ranked 19th on the list.
ii. All 13 districts of Uttarakhand are still vulnerable to various landslide threats as a result of the over 11,000 landslides that have occurred there during the past 2 decades.

  • Haridwar and Udham Singh Nagar are at the bottom with rankings of 146th and 147th, respectively.

iii. Over the past 20 years, India has had 66.5% and 18.8% more landslides in the Northwest and Northeast Himalayas respectively.

  • The Western Ghats, which have witnessed extensive development, have recorded around 14.7% of all landslides in India.

iv. The most landslides, 12,385, were recorded in Mizoram between 1988 and 2022.

  • It was followed by Uttarakhand (11,219), Tripura (8,070), Arunachal Pradesh (7,689), and Jammu and Kashmir (7,280).
  • Landslides occurred 6,039 times in Kerala, 5,494 times in Manipur, and 5,112 times in Maharashtra.

Note: According to ISRO Data, India ranks among the 4 major countries with the highest landslide risk, with approximately 12% (0.42 million square kilometres) of India’s land area prone to this disaster.
Top 5 Landslide-Prone Districts:

Union Minister of Power R K Singh launches voluntary star labelling programme & iDEEKSHA PortalRaj Kumar Singh (R K Singh), Union Minister of Power and New & Renewable Energy, launched the Voluntary Star Labelling Programme for multi-door refrigerators, table and wall-mounted fans, pedestal fans, and induction hobs  during the event organised on the occasion of the 21st Foundation day of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) (1st March 2023) in New Delhi, Delhi.

  • He also launched the iDEEKSHA(Industrial Decarbonization and EE Knowledge-Sharing) Portal, iDEEKSHA Newsletter and a flyer during the event.
  • He also hailed BEE’s completion of a decade of the Perform, Achieve and Trade (PAT) scheme, a flagship programme under the mission implemented by BEE under the aegis of Ministry of Power.

About Ministry of Power: 
Union Minister– Raj Kumar Singh (Constituency- Arrah, Bihar)
Minister of State– Krishan Pal(Constituency- Faridabad, Haryana)

6 digit HUID on Gold Jewellery made Mandatory from 1st April 2023Department of Consumer Affairs, announced that the sale of gold jewellery without a 6 digit alphanumeric HUID (Hallmark Unique Identification) number, consisting of alphabets and numbers, will not be allowed from 1st April 2023 onwards. Following this, the sale of jewellery with a 4-digit HUID number will be stopped on April 1.

  • From April 1, 2023, each piece of gold jewellery will have a BIS hallmark, purity of gold (for example, 0 22K916), and a 6-digit HUID embossed on it.
  • The jewellery is stamped with the unique number manually at the Assaying & Hallmarking Centre (AHC).
  • In India, gold is certified as pure by the hallmark certificate. Till June 16, 2021, the gold hallmarking was voluntary. It was made mandatory in 256 districts in the first stage, and 32 additional districts were added in the second, bringing the total to 288 districts.

SIPRI Report 2022: India Remains World’s Largest Arms Importer Between 2018- 2022 Despite A Decline in Overall ImportsThe Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), a Swedish think tank, released a report titled “Trends in International Arms Transfers, 2022” that claimed India continued to be the world’s top arms importer for the five years between 2018 and 22 despite an 11% decline in those imports from 2013 to 2017.

  • Russia was India’s largest arms supplier in both 2013-17 and 2018-22, however its share of overall Indian arms imports declined from 64% to 45%, with France emerging as the second largest supplier between 2018-22.

Key Highlights with respect to India
i.According to SIPRI data, among the top 10 arms exporters for the period 2018 – 22, India was the largest arms export market to three nations: Russia, France, and Israel and the second largest export market to South Korea.
ii.South Africa, which was ranked 21st in the list of arm exporters, also found India to be its third-largest market.
iii.India’s top three import sources were Russia (45%), France (29%) and the United States (US) (11%).
About Russia:
Prime Minister – Mikhail Mishustin
President – Vladimir Putin
Capital – Moscow
Currency – Russian Ruble

IDFC Mutual Fund rebrands itself as Bandhan MFIDFC Mutual Fund (MF) has rebranded itself as Bandhan Mutual Fund w.e.f. March 13, 2023. In this regard, its each scheme will be renamed to replace the word ‘IDFC’ with the word ‘Bandhan’

  • It has also unveiled a new logo with additional colours and styling.

Key Points:
i.IDFC Mutual Fund was earlier a part of the IDFC group, was acquired by a Bandhan Financial Holdings-led consortium in April 2022 comprising Bandhan Financial Holdings Limited (BFHL), GIC, and ChrysCapital. The deal was approved by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) in November 2022.
ii.Bandhan holds 60% of the acquired entity, with control of operations, while the other two will hold 20% each in the AMC. BFHL will be the sponsor of the mutual fund.
About IDFC Mutual Fund:
CEO– Vishal Kapoor
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra

Indian bank Introduced a Special Retail Term Deposit ‘IND Super 400 Days’ with 0.05% Higher Interest Rate to WomenOn March 6, 2023, to mark the International Women’s Day (March 8, 2023), Indian bank has introduced a Special Retail Term Deposit Product named “IND Super 400 Days,” with 0.05% higher interest rate to women investors and fixed maturity tenor of 400 days in the form of FD/MMD (Fixed deposits/Money Multiplier Deposits).
Key Features: 
i.Deposit Amount:

  • Minimum – Rs.10000
  • Maximum – Less than Rs. 2 Crore (Bulk deposits of Rs.2 crore & above are not eligible)

ii.Period of Deposit – 400 Days
iii.Validity – The product is opened for investment from March 6, 2023 and the scheme will be valid only till April 30, 2023.
iv.Higher Interest Rate for Women:
Due to the 0.05% higher interest rate to women investors, the general public women could earn up to 7.15% interest rate and senior women citizens can earn up to 7.65% and super senior citizens can earn up to 7.90% interest rate.

UNDP signs a pact with Euronav to Secure purchase of VLCCOn 9th March 2023, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) signed an agreement with Euronav, a Belgian international shipping enterprise, to secure the purchase of a Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) as part of the UN-coordinated operation to remove more than a million barrels of oil from a decaying tanker off Yemen’s Red Sea coast that threatens a humanitarian and environmental catastrophe.The VLCC has reportedly been sold for USD 55 million. It is expected to arrive in early May 2023 for the operation.

  • The replacement vessel is now in drydock for modifications and regular maintenance before sailing to the Floating Storage and Offloading (FSO) Safer, moored about 9 kilometres off Yemen’s Ras Isa peninsula.
  • Due to the conflict in Yemen, the FSO Safer has not been maintained since 2015. It has decayed and could explode or break apart and cause a major spill which would affect the fishing communities on Yemen’s Red Sea coast, likely wiping out 200,000 livelihoods instantly.

Highlights of 95th Academy Awards 2023 held in Los Angeles, US: India’s ‘Naatu Naatu‘ song , ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ wini.On March 12, 2023, the 95th Academy Awards 2023/Oscars 2023 held Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood in Los Angeles, United States (US). It has honoured movies released in 2022 in 23 categories.
ii.The ceremony for the same was held by the US’ Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).
iii.The ceremony was hosted by American Television host Jimmy Kimmel (James Christian Kimmel) for the 3rd time, who previously hosted the Oscars in 2017 and 2018.
iv.Indian Actress Deepika Padukone was one of the presenters at Oscars 2023.
v.The song Naatu Naatu from Telugu-language film RRR (Rise, Roar, Revolt) has made history by becoming the first Indian film song to win an Oscar. It won Best Original Song at the 95th Academy Awards 2023. It is the first song from an Indian film to be nominated, and win, in its category.
vi.The Elephant Whisperers became the first Indian film to win an Oscar in the ‘Best Documentary Short film’ category. It was produced by Guneet Monga and directed by Kartiki Gonsalves.
About United States (US):
Capital– Washington, D.C.
Currency– United States Dollar
President– Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.

Siddhartha Mohanty Appointed as Interim Chairman of LIC Siddhartha Mohanty, one of the Managing Directors(MD) of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), has been appointed as the Interim Chairman of LIC for a period of 3 month or or till assumption of the charge by the regular appointee with effect from 14th March 2023.

  • The term of current Chairman of LIC, Mangalam Ramasubramanian Kumar, will be completed by the end of business hours on 13th March 2023.

At present, Siddhartha Mohanty; Raj Kumar; Ipe Mini; and Bishnu Charan Patnaik are serving as the Managing Directors of the LIC.
As per the Securities and Exchange Board of India(SEBI) [Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements (LODR)] Regulations of 2015, the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, has approved the appointment of Siddhartha Mohanty as interim Chairman of LIC with full financial and administrative powers and responsibilities.

  • This appointment is in addition to his existing duties as MD of LIC.

About Siddhartha Mohanty: 
i.Siddhartha Mohanty started his career as a direct recruit officer with LIC in 1985. He rised through the ranks and served as the Executive Director(Legal) with LIC.
ii.He later joined the  LIC Housing Finance Limited (LIC HFL) and served as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the organisation.
iii.He also served as the MD and Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of LIC HFL from 2019 to 2021.
iv.He has been serving as the MD of LIC from 1st February 2021 in place of TC Suseel Kumar who retired on 31st January 2021.
About Life Insurance Corporation of India(LIC):
LIC was established on 1st September 1956, when the Parliament of India passed the Life Insurance of India Act, nationalizing the insurance industry in India.
Chairman– Siddhartha Mohanty(interim)
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra

Japan’s Nobel Prize-Winning Writer & Pacifist Kenzaburo Oe Passed AwayOn 3rd March 2023, Nobel literature laureate (1994) Kenzaburo Oe, a Pacifist of Japan, passed away in Tokyo, Japan, at the age of 88. Kenzaburo Oe was born on 31st January 1935 in Uchiko, Japan.

  • Kenzaburo Oe’s demise was announced by his publisher, Kodansha Limited.

Note: Pacifist– One who opposes war or violence as a means of settling disputes.
About Kenzaburo Oe:
i. Nobel literature laureate Kenzaburo Oe, one of the most celebrated authors in Japan in the post-World War II era, studied French literature at the University of Tokyo.
ii. He made his literary debut in the 1950s with short stories that were influenced by contemporary French and American authors.

  • His poetic novels were built from his childhood memories during Japan’s postwar occupation and from being the parent of a disabled son.

iii. Kenzaburo Oe was also involved in campaigns against nuclear weapons and nuclear power.
Noted Works: 
i. Many of his novels deal with the aftermath of World War II and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, including “Hiroshima Notes” (1965).
ii. His other famous works include “Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids” (1995), “The Silent Cry” (1967) and “A Personal Matter” (1962), among many others.
iii. Kenzaburo Oe, a longtime pacifist, was a strong critic of both Shinzo Abe, the former Prime Minister, and the Self-Defense Forces’ efforts to revise Article 9 of the Constitution.
iv. He was sued by 2 military officers for his essay “Okinawa Notes”, which describes how members of the Japanese military forced the Okinawan population to commit suicide during the invasion in 1945.
i. Kenzaburo Oe won the Akutagawa Prize for his short story “The Catch” in 1958, launching his career. He was also awarded many Japanese prizes, including the Shinchosha Literary Prize, the Noma Literary Prize, and more.
ii. In 1994, he became the 2nd Japanese author awarded the Nobel Prize for literature.

  • Kawabata Yasunari (1899-1972) is the 1st Japanese to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.


  • Since 1949, there have been 29 Japanese laureates of the Nobel Prize which includes 3 from literature.
  • Kazuo Ishiguro, Japanese British novelist, was the 3rd Japanese-born writer to win the Nobel Prize in literature(2017).

Renowned Bengali Litterateur Sasthipada Chattopadhyay Passed AwaySasthipada Chattopadhyay, a renowned Bengali novelist and short story writer, passed away in Howrah, West Bengal, at the age of 82. He was born on 9th March 1941 at Khurut in Howrah, West Bengal.

  • The 1st published literary work of Sasthipada Chattopadhyay is “Kamakhya Bhraman” (visit to Kamakhya) in Dainik Basumati, a Bengali daily published from Kolkata by the Basumati Corporation Limited, in 1961.
  • He was the creator of the famous “Pandav Goenda” (Five Detectives), one of the most popular adventure detective series for children. He also created 2 more detective series namely Detective Ambar Chatterjee and Goenda Tatar.
  • In 2017, the Sahitya Akademi awarded Sasthipada Chattopadhyay the Bal Sahitya Puraskar, and the Government of West Bengal honoured him with the Bangla Akademi Award for his contribution to Children’s literature.

Supreme Court Judge V. Ramasubramanian released a Book “India’s Struggle for Independence- The Gandhian Era: 1915-1948”Justice V. Ramasubramanian, Supreme Court Judge, released a book titled “India’s Struggle for Independence- The Gandhian Era: 1915-1948” authored by Dr Justice P. Jyothimani, former Judge of Madras High Court, and G. Balan, former Professor of History at Pachaiyappa’s College, Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

  • The book was published by Vanathi Pathipagam and was released at an event held at the University of Madras, Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
  • The 1st copy of the book was received by Justice R. Mahadevan, Madras High Court Judge.

World Rotaract Day 2023 – March 13 & World Rotaract Week 2023 – 13 – 19 MarchWorld Rotaract Day is annually observed across the globe on March 13 to recognise and appreciate the services provided by Rotaractors, and members of Rotaract Clubs (‘Rotaract’ stands for ‘Rotary in Action’).

  • World Rotaract Week is annually observed on the week on which World Rotaract day (13th March) is observed. the week is celebrated to honour the beginning of the first club in 1968.

13th March 2023 marks the observance of the 55th anniversary of the formation of the 1st Rotaract club in 1968 in North Carolina, United States of America (USA).
World Rotaract Week 2023:
i. The clubs shall observe all 7 days of the week with the motto of a celebration of Rotaract Week.
ii. World Rotaract Week 2023 was observed from 13th March to 19th March 2023.

  • World Rotaract Week 2022 was observed from 7th March to 13th March 2022.
  • World Rotaract Week 2024 will be observed from 11th March to 17th March 2024.

Key Points:
i. Rotaract is a club for adults 18 to 30 years old that gathers twice a month to discuss ideas, organise events and projects, and socialise.
ii. While Rotary clubs serve as sponsors, Rotaract clubs decide how to organize and run their clubs and what projects and activities to carry out.
About Rotary Club:
i. On February 23, 1905, Paul Percy Harris, a Chicago attorney, formed the Rotary Club of Chicago, which later became the humanitarian organisation “Rotary International” (RI).
ii. Rotary is made up of 3 parts: Rotary clubs, Rotary International, and The Rotary Foundation.
iii. “Service Above Self” and “He Profits Most Who Serves Best” are the official mottoes of Rotary.
iv. The Presidential theme of Rotary for the year 2022-2023 is “Imagine Rotary”.

SIBC Signs MoU with Maharashtra Govt for Cooperation in Sustainable Infra, Defence ManufacturingOn March 11, 2023, the Sweden India Business Council (SIBC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), Maharashtra Government, for cooperation in the area of waste to energy, sustainable infrastructure and transportation, defence manufacturing, and investment.

  • The MoU was signed in the presence of Deputy Chief Minister (Dy CM) of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis.
  • He stated Maharashtra as the Second Home to Swedish companies and the Power House of India.

Key Points:
i.Under the MoU, both parties agreed to collaborate to explore and facilitate funding opportunities.
ii.The MoU would enable SIBC to expand its investments in Maharashtra and, it will also support both of them to collaborate for further job creation and technology cooperation for a more sustainable future.
iii.Maharashtra and Sweden have been collaborating for around 100 years, large Swedish companies have set up their operations in Pune (Maharashtra) since 1960s.
About Maharashtra:
Governor – Ramesh Bais
Chief Minister – Eknath Shinde
Wildlife Sanctuaries – Rehekuri Blackbuck Sanctuary, Painganga Wildlife Sanctuary
Tiger Reserves – Bor Tiger Reserve, Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve, Nawegaon – Nagzira Tiger Reserve (NNTR)

Puducherry CM N Rangasamy Presents Budget for FY24N Rangasamy, Chief Minister (CM) of the Union Territory (UT) of Puducherry, who also holds the finance portfolio, presented the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s Rs. 11,600 crore budget for the fiscal year 2023-24 (FY24) in the Territorial Assembly.
Various Announcements Made in The FY24 Budget
i.To encourage farmers to cultivate millets, a millets cultivation scheme is proposed to be implemented during the International Year of Millets 2023.
ii.Water supply augmentation will be carried out at a cost of Rs. 28.27 crore under the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) scheme.
iii.The Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme has allocated an additional Rs. 175.07 crore for the water supply scheme.
About the Union Territory (UT) of Puducherry:
Chief Minister (CM) – N. Rangasamy
Lieutenant Governor – Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan
Lake – Oussudu Lake
Airport – Puducherry Airport

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