Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 22 March, 2021

Daily news will speed up the preparation for the Civil Services Examination and it also plays a crucial role to grasp the current affairs topic comprehensively. Here we have covered most of the topics related to various categories including National, International, Sports, Science and Technology, and so on.
1. “Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain” Campaign
Why in news?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the “Jal Shakti Abhiyan (JSA): Catch the Rain (CTR)” campaign on 22nd March 2021 on the occasion of World Water Day.
Key points are:
– The Prime Minister will also address Central & State Government officers of Departments/ Ministries concerned, District Magistrates/ District Collectors/ Deputy Commissioners of districts and Sarpanchs of all Gram Panchayats through video conferencing/Virtual Platform.
– “Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain” will be taken up in all districts, rural as well as urban areas, of the country with the main theme “Catch the Rain, where it falls, when it falls”.
– The campaign will be implemented during the period 22nd March, 2021 to 30th November, 2021 – the pre-monsoon and monsoon period in the country.
– The campaign is being launched as a Jan Andolan to take water conservation at the grass-root level through people’s participation to accelerate water conservation across the country.
– The campaign is intended to nudge the State and all stakeholders to create Rain Water Harvesting Structures (RWHS) suitable to the climatic conditions and sub-soil strata to ensure storage of rainwater, as rains falling in the four/five months of monsoon are the only source of water for most parts of the country.
– Gram Sabhas will be held in all Gram Panchayats of each district (except in the poll-bound States) to discuss issues related to water conservation after the address by the Hon’ble PM. These Gram Sabhas will also take “Jal Shapath” or Oath for water conservation.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 20 March, 2021
2. Ken Betwa Link Project (KBLP)
Why in news?
In the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Union Minister of Jal Shakti and the Chief Ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh will sign a historic agreement on 22nd March 2021 to implement the Ken Betwa Link Project (KBLP), the first project of the National Perspective Plan for interlinking of rivers, through video conferencing/ virtual platform.
Key points are:
– This agreement will herald the beginning of inter-state cooperation to implement the vision of Sh. Atal Bihari Vajpayee to carry water from areas that have surplus water to drought-prone and water deficit areas through the interlinking of rivers.
– The rainfall pattern in India is highly skewed with most of the rainfall happening in about 100 days in a year.
– Also, due to geographical variations, India has some of the driest and wettest places in the world. Keeping this in view, the National Perspective Plan was prepared by the then Ministry of Irrigation to transfer water from water surplus basins to water-deficit basins.
– KBLP involves the transfer of water from the Ken to the Betwa River through the construction of Daudhan Dam and a canal linking the two rivers, the Lower Orr Project, Kotha Barrage and Bina Complex Multipurpose Project.
– The project will provide annual irrigation of 10.62 lakh ha, drinking water supply to about 62 lakhs people and also generate 103 MW of hydropower.
– The Project will be of immense benefit to the water-starved region of Bundelkhand, spread across MP and UP, specifically to the districts of Panna, Tikamgarh, Chhatarpur, Sagar, Damoh, Datia, Vidisha, Shivpuri and Raisen of Madhya Pradesh and Banda, Mahoba, Jhansi & Lalitpur of Uttar Pradesh.
– This agreement will come after long, consistent efforts on consensus-building between the states of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, facilitated by the Government of India, and will pave the way for more interlinking of river projects to ensure that scarcity of water does not become an inhibitor for development in the country.

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3. World Water Day 2021
Why in news?
World Water Day is celebrated globally on 22 March and this year the theme is “Valuing Water”.
Key points are:
– The resolution to observe World Water Day was first adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 22, 1992, after which March 22 was declared as World Water Day and is celebrated around the world since 1993.
– The purpose of highlighting the importance of water and raising awareness about the water crisis that the world faces.
– According to the United Nations (UN) website, the main focus of the day is to “support the achievement of sustainable development goal (SDG) 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.”
– “The value of water is about much more than its price – water has enormous and complex value for our households, food, culture, health, education, economics and the integrity of our natural environment. If we overlook any of these values, we risk mismanaging this finite, irreplaceable resource,” the UN website says.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 19 March, 2021
4. SERB Women Excellence Award for 2021
Why in news?
Dr. Shobhna Kapoor, Assistant Professor at IIT Bombay who’s the study of roles played by lipids in infectious diseases at a molecular level and inventorying the pathogenic lipid-induced effects in host cell membrane properties, has tremendous potential to discover and design resistance-free membrane-centric drugs/drug targets for infectious diseases has received the SERB Women Excellence Award for 2021.
Key points are:
– Lipids are molecules that contain hydrocarbons and make up the building blocks of the structure and function of living cells. Examples of lipids include fats, oils, waxes, certain vitamins (such as A, D, E and K), hormones and most of the cell membrane that is not made up of protein.
– The award instituted by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), Department of Science and Technology (DST), recognises and rewards outstanding research achievements of young women scientists in frontier areas of Science and Engineering.
– Dr. Shobhna Kapoor’s work at the interface of physical and life sciences inspires the development of lipid chemical tools for probing fundamental problems in biology by leveraging the physical chemistry modules that dictate membrane structure and function.
– Pathogens, including Mycobacterium Tuberculosis that causes Tuberculosis, and SARs-COV-2 that causes COVID-19, have evolved to use their lipids to modify processes in the host cell during infection as well to mitigate the action of drugs.
– These observations bring biomembranes to the forefront for developing novel anti-infective strategies that rely on affecting membrane structure and function, which has rarely been investigated. This is the major focus of Dr. Shobhna’s research.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 18 March, 2021
5. A new research conducted by the Pew Research Center
Why in news?
Recently, new research conducted by Pew Research Center has found that the coronavirus pandemic has pushed about 32 million Indians out of the middle class and increased poverty in the country.
Key points are:
– The report is based on an analysis of World Bank data.
– Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world.
– The poverty rate in India likely rose to 9.7% in 2020, up sharply from the January 2020 forecast of 4.3%.
– From 2011 to 2019, the number of poor in India was estimated to have reduced to 78 million from 340 million.
– In 2020, the number increased by 75 million. Poor: People with incomes of USD 2 or less a day.
– Increase in India accounts for nearly 60% of the global increase in poverty.
– Record increase in Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) participants as proof that the poor were struggling to find work.
– The middle class in India is estimated to have shrunk by 3.2 crore in 2020. Middle Class includes people with incomes of approximately Rs. 700-1,500 or USD 10-20 per day.
– The middle-income group is likely to have decreased from almost 10 crore to just 6.6 crore.
– The vast majority of India’s population fall into the low-income group. This group shrank from 119.7 crore to 116.2 crore per day, with about 3.5 crore dropping below the poverty line.
– Low Income Group includes people earning about Rs.150 to 700 per day.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 17 March, 2021
6. World Happiness Report 2021
Why in news?
Finland has been declared the world’s happiest country for the fourth year running, according to the World Happiness Report 2021 published on 19 March, 2021 by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network.
Key points are:
– India ranked 139th out of the 149 countries in the list — a slight improvement since last year when it was ranked 140th.
– Of the 10 top countries in the list, nine were in Europe. Finland was followed by Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Luxembourg, New Zealand and Austria.
– The report evaluated levels of happiness by taking into account factors such as GDP, social support, personal freedom, and levels of corruption in each nation.
– But this year, the authors had a unique new challenge to address in the report about the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and its devastating impact on nations around the world.
– Afghanistan (149) is the most unhappy country. Followed by Zimbabwe (148), Rwanda (147), Botswana (146) and Lesotho (145).

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7. Insurance Amendment Bill, 2021
Why in news?
The bill was recently passed by Rajya Sabha.
Key points are:
– The Bill amends the Insurance Act, 1938 to increase the maximum foreign investment allowed in an Indian insurance company.
– The Bill increases the limit on foreign investment in an Indian insurance company from 49% to 74%, and removes restrictions on ownership and control.
– While control will go to foreign companies, the majority of directors and key management persons will be resident Indians who will be covered by law of the land.
– Insurance companies are facing liquidity pressure and the higher limit would help meet the growing capital requirement.
– Foreign investment in the insurance sector was first permitted in the year 2000 up to 26%.
– Subsequently, vide an Amendment Act of 2015, this limit was raised to 49% of the paid-up equity capital of such company, which is Indian owned and controlled.

IAS Prelims Mock-Test 2021 – Set 124, 20 March

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