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Important Current Affairs for CLAT-17th March 2023

RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das Named ‘Governor of the Year’ by Central Banking

The Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, Shaktikanta Das, has been awarded the prestigious title "Governor of the Year" for 2023 by Central Banking, a global economic research journal.

“Governor of the Year” for 2023

Shaktikanta Das, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, has been honored with the title “Governor of the Year” for 2023 by Central Banking, an international economic research journal. The publication praised Das for his steady leadership during challenging periods, including the collapse of a significant non-banking company, the initial and second waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, and inflationary pressures due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

This is the second time an Indian central bank governor has received the award, with Raghuram Rajan being the previous recipient in 2015. Das’s leadership at RBI was critical in implementing essential reforms, innovative payment systems, and growth-oriented measures during the pandemic. He skillfully navigated political pressures and economic crises, earning accolades for his efforts.

Although the National Bank of Ukraine was also honored with the Central Bank of the Year award, Das was deemed a deserving recipient of the Governor of the Year award due to his leadership during times of crisis and his significant contributions to India’s economic reforms. Das’s ability to navigate political pressures and economic challenges with skill and professionalism, earning him praise from his peers and the Indian public. This award acknowledges his outstanding contributions to India’s economic growth and development, and highlights the importance of strong leadership in managing complex economic challenges.

Another government survey debunks Swachh Bharat’s 100% ODF claim

Despite government efforts to promote sanitation and end open defecation in India, recent surveys have cast doubt on the success of these initiatives. Four government surveys released between 2018 and 2021 have disputed the claim that all Indian villages are open-defecation-free (ODF), revealing poor sanitation levels in many areas. For example, data from the Swachh Bharat Mission, Gramin (SBMG) portal claimed that villages in Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu were 100% ODF by October 2018, but the National Statistical Office (NSO) survey from the same month showed that only 71% and 62.8% of rural households in those states had access to some form of toilet. Similarly, SBMG data claimed that over 99% of rural households in 24 states and union territories had individual household toilets as of March 2019, while the National Annual Rural Sanitation Survey (NARSS) recorded six months later showed that in the same areas, fewer than 90% of rural households had access to their toilets. More about the Survey The most recent survey, released in March 2022, showed that between January 2020 and August 2021, a majority of members in 21.3% of rural households reported having no access to any type of toilet. This is the fourth survey in the last five years to reject the claim that all Indian villages are ODF. To address these challenges, the government launched Swachh Bharat Gramin Phase-II, which aimed to expand toilet coverage in schools/Anganwadi and provide solid/liquid sanitation facilities in all villages, including waste management systems. Villages meeting these criteria were named ODF-plus villages. However, due to the clubbing of targets, the share of rural households with toilet access (the target for Phase-I) was no longer tracked separately, and indicators related to Phase-I were removed from the dashboard. As of April 1, 2022, only 8% of villages in India had achieved ODF-Plus status, with Tamil Nadu having a share of more than 91%. Interestingly, just a year earlier, only 72.4% of rural households in Tamil Nadu had some form of the toilet, according to the MIS survey. The Swachh Survekshan Rural Survey, conducted between December 2021 and April 2022, lists the percentage of households with access to toilets in each state. According to this survey, 28 states had a share of such households above 90%, with an average of 95% across India. This is in stark contrast to the MIS survey data conducted six months earlier. More needs to be done to promote sanitation and end open defecation in India, particularly in rural areas. While the government’s Swachh Bharat Gramin Phase-II initiative is a step in the right direction, there are still significant gaps in access to toilets and sanitation facilities across the country. Ongoing efforts to track progress and address these gaps will be crucial in promoting sanitation and improving public health outcomes in India.

Indian Railways to become Net Zero Carbon Emitter by 2030

Indian Railways has set a target of becoming a ‘net-zero carbon emitter’ by 2030, said Union Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in a written reply to the Lok Sabha. The Railways plans to achieve this ambitious target in two steps: A complete transition to electric trains by December 2023 and powering the trains and stations primarily through non-renewable sources by 2030. More About The Indian Railways to become Net Zero Carbon Emitter by 2030: By 2030, the total energy requirement of the Railways is expected to increase to 8,200 MW, or 8.2 GW. A small portion of the projected energy requirement — 700 MW or 8.5 per cent of the total energy demand — will still be sourced from non-renewable sources because of the current power purchase agreements with coal plants, says the official. The lion’s share — 91.5 per cent — will be met through renewable sources. For this, the Railways will need to create a renewable energy installed capacity of 30,000 MW as solar and wind energy is not available round the clock and the generation varies region to region. Till August 2022, the installed renewable energy capacity of the Indian Railways was only 245 MW. Indian Railways: Significance of the Net Zero Carbon Emitter: The move will help India meet its nationally determined contribution of reducing its carbon emissions by 33 per cent by 2030, as transport is a key sector with substantial mitigation potential. Indian Railways: Complete Electrification: Starting in 2014, the Railways picked up the pace to phase out diesel coaches and carry out the electrification of broad gauge railway tracks. It plans to completely transition to an electrified rail network by December 2023. The annual diesel consumption of the Railways has dropped to 1,092 million litres in 2020-21 (till January 2021) from 3,066 million litres in 2018-19. Besides being clean, the phaseout of diesel coaches makes economic sense, as the country imports most of its fuel.

IDFC FIRST Bank Partners with Mumbai Indians as Official Banking Partner

IDFC FIRST Bank, a private sector bank in India, has become the official banking partner of the Mumbai Indians, a franchise cricket team that competes in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

IDFC FIRST Bank Partners with Mumbai Indians

IDFC FIRST Bank, a private sector bank in India, has become the official banking partner of the Mumbai Indians, a franchise cricket team that competes in the Indian Premier League (IPL). As the official banking partner, IDFC FIRST Bank will provide a range of financial products and services to Mumbai Indians and its players, including banking solutions, credit cards, and digital banking services.

About the partnership

This partnership will also enable IDFC FIRST Bank to engage with the Mumbai Indians’ extensive fan base across India and leverage the team’s brand to increase its visibility and reach. The partnership is expected to be mutually beneficial for both parties, helping them to strengthen their brand positioning and achieve their business objectives.

The partnership between IDFC FIRST Bank and Mumbai Indians brings together two strong brands that share a commitment to values, ethical practices, social responsibility, and digital innovation. Both brands have built a loyal fan base through marketing campaigns and unique offerings, with IDFC FIRST Bank focusing on customer-first solutions and Mumbai Indians playing for their fans.

About the IDFC FIRST Bank

IDFC FIRST Bank has become the first universal bank in India to offer customer-friendly services such as Monthly Interest Credits on Savings Account, zero charges on all Savings Account Services, and lifetime free Credit Cards with never-expiring reward points. Meanwhile, Mumbai Indians is a successful cricket franchise with a global following and seven championship titles.

The history of IDFC FIRST Bank can be traced back to 1997 when Infrastructure Development Finance Company (IDFC) was established as a specialized financial institution to finance infrastructure projects in India. In 2015, IDFC received a banking license from the Reserve Bank of India and set up IDFC Bank.

In January 2018, IDFC Bank announced its plans to merge with Capital First, a non-banking finance company (NBFC) that specialized in consumer lending. The merger was completed in December 2018, and the newly merged entity was named IDFC FIRST Bank.

The merger brought together the expertise of IDFC Bank in wholesale and corporate banking and the strong retail lending capabilities of Capital First. As a result, IDFC FIRST Bank became a universal bank with a presence across retail, corporate, and wholesale banking segments.

Today, IDFC FIRST Bank has a wide network of branches and ATMs across India and offers a range of financial products and services to its customers, including savings and current accounts, fixed deposits, loans, credit cards, and insurance products. The bank is committed to providing innovative and customer-centric solutions and has a strong focus on digital technology.

Bhutan’s graduation from the UN list of Least Developed Countries

Bhutan successfully met the least development countries (LDCs) graduation criteria in two United Nations triennial reviews of 2015 and 2018 and is set to graduate from the group of LDCs in 2023.

Recently, at the United Nations Least Developed Countries (LDC) Summit that concluded on March 9 in Doha, Qatar, the landlocked Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan will no longer be on the list of LDCs and will become only the seventh country to graduate from the list.

How did Bhutan get off the Least Developed Countries (LDC) list:

Bhutan was included in the first group of LDCs in 1971. However, over the last few decades, it has made remarkable progress on a variety of socio-economic metrics.

Bhutan first fulfilled the requirements for graduation in 2015, and then again in 2018. Bhutan was therefore scheduled to graduate in 2021.

However, the UN viewed Bhutan’s request to match the effective graduation date with the conclusion of the nation’s 12th national development plan in 2023 as a legitimate request and thus postponed the delisting.

Bhutan has taken a number of measures to reach this point and the results have been significant.

Bhutan’s economy increased more than eight times in the last 20 years, from just under USD 300 million in 2000 to USD 2.53 billion in 2017, with an average annual growth rate of more than 7 per cent.

Additionally, the percentage of people living in poverty, as determined by the amount of money they make each day, decreased from 17.8 per cent in 2003 to 1.5 per cent in 2017. In the same vein, the percentage of people living below the national poverty line decreased from 23.2 per cent in 2007 to 8.2 per cent in 2017.

Bhutan has mostly accomplished this by increasing exports of hydropower to India, which now accounts for 20 per cent of its economy.

The nation also established Brand Bhutan in an effort to diversify exports while acknowledging the modest size of its local market.

What is UN’s Least Developed Countries(LDCs) List:

The UN in the 1960s began to recognise some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged countries in the international community, considering factors such as development capacity, socio-economic parameters, lack of domestic financing, and geographical location.

In 1971, the UN officially established the category of LDCs to attract particular support for them.

UN list of least developed countries:

There are currently 46 economies designated by the United Nations as the least developed countries (LDCs), entitling them to preferential market access, aid, special technical assistance, and capacity-building on technology among other concessions.

These 46 LDCs are distributed among the following regions:

Africa (33): Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Togo, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia

Asia (9): Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Nepal, Timor-Leste and Yemen

Caribbean (1): Haiti

Pacific (3): Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu

What are the benefits of graduating from LDC List?

Bhutan’s graduation from the LDC list is expected to have several benefits for the country, including increased access to international financial markets, greater foreign direct investment, and improved trade opportunities.

It is also expected to boost Bhutan’s international image and attract more tourists to the country, which is known for its natural beauty and unique culture. The graduation also highlights the importance of sustainable development and good governance in achieving economic growth and reducing poverty.

Narender Singh Tomar inaugurates “AgriUnifest” in Bengaluru

Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar on 15 March 2023, inaugurated “AgriUnifest” in Bengaluru, Karnataka. It is a 5-day cultural program, organized by Bangalore Agricultural University in collaboration with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). More than 2500 students from 60 State Universities/Central Universities have participated. More About The AgriUniFest: The All India Inter Agricultural University Youth Festival was conceptualized and initiated by ICAR during 1999-2000 to integrate Indian agriculture by connecting various Indian cultures so that the talents of the youth of agricultural universities can be nurtured and they can appreciate Indian cultural diversity. Depict the beauty of. About The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR):

  • The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is an autonomous body responsible for co-ordinating agricultural education and research in India. The Union Minister of Agriculture serves as its president.

  • Established: 16 July 1929.

  • Director: Himanshu Pathak

  • Headquarters: New Delhi

Polio Ravivar 2023: Celebrating National Vaccination Day in India

National Vaccination Day 2023 In India, National Vaccination Day is held on March 16 each year, also known as “Polio Ravivar,” to raise awareness and promote vaccination against polio. National Vaccination Day is an annual event observed in various countries to promote vaccination and increase public knowledge about its significance. The day is celebrated on different dates in different countries, but the primary goal is to encourage individuals to receive vaccinations as a means of safeguarding themselves against communicable diseases. Significance of National Vaccination Day The significance of Indian National Vaccination Day, also known as “Polio Ravivar,” lies in its role in promoting vaccination and eradicating polio in India. Over the years, the immunization campaign proved to be a tremendous success, with India being officially declared polio-free in 2014. The effort required the participation of government agencies, healthcare workers, volunteers, and the public at large. Today, National Vaccination Day serves as a reminder of the importance of vaccines and the critical role they play in preventing the spread of infectious diseases. It also highlights the need for continued efforts to promote vaccination and ensure that everyone has access to life-saving vaccines. History of National Vaccination Day In India, National Vaccination Day was first observed on March 16, 1995, as a way to promote vaccination against polio. The day is also referred to as “Polio Ravivar” in Hindi. At the time, India had one of the highest rates of polio cases in the world, and the government launched a massive immunization campaign to eradicate the disease. The campaign was successful, and India was officially declared polio-free in 2014. National Vaccination Day is still observed in India every year as a reminder of the importance of vaccination and to encourage individuals to continue to receive recommended vaccinations. In other countries, National Vaccination Day may have a different history and purpose. For example, in the United States, National Immunization Awareness Month is observed every August to highlight the importance of vaccines for people of all ages. This month-long campaign was first established in 1994 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to promote vaccination and improve public health.

RCB ropes in Equitas Small Finance Bank as banking partner for IPL 2023

 Indian Premier League (IPL) team Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) partnering with Equitas Small Finance Bank as their banking partner for the IPL 2023 season.

The news is about the Indian Premier League (IPL) team Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) partnering with Equitas Small Finance Bank as their banking partner for the IPL 2023 season. This partnership means that Equitas Small Finance Bank will provide a range of banking services to RCB, including salary accounts, forex, and other related financial services.

About the partnership:

This partnership campaign will be aimed to communicate that Equitas has been playing a progressive role in transforming the lives of individuals through their lending and social responsibilities of ‘beyond banking’. At present, Equitas has 10 branches across Bengaluru serving over 1.7 lakh customers with 170 employees.

The partnership between RCB and Equitas Small Finance Bank will help RCB manage their financial operations more efficiently during the IPL season. This move is also a strategic decision by Equitas Small Finance Bank to increase their brand visibility and awareness among the millions of cricket fans who follow the IPL.

Overall, the partnership between RCB and Equitas Small Finance Bank is a win-win situation for both parties, as RCB will benefit from Equitas Small Finance Bank’s banking services, and Equitas Small Finance Bank will benefit from the increased exposure and visibility that comes with being associated with a popular IPL team like RCB.

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