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21st March 2022

International News



Russian court bans Facebook and Instagram, classifies Meta as 'extremist'

A Russian court on Monday banned Facebook and Instagram in the country after classifying their parent company Meta Platforms as an "extremist" organisation. The ban does not include WhatsApp, Russia's TASS news agency reported. Russia had earlier blocked access to Instagram after Meta said it would allow Ukrainian users to post messages urging violence against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

NATO military exercise ‘Cold Response 2022’ begins in Norway

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has organised the massive military drill ‘Cold Response 2022’ in Norway from March 14, 2022, and will continue till April 01, 2022.  The exercise is held in Norway every second year, for NATO Allies and partners. Cold Response is a long-planned and defensive exercise where Norway and its allies exercise in defending Norway against external threats. The exercise has been planned and informed about long before the war in Ukraine.  The Norwegian-led exercise provides an opportunity to train together in cold weather conditions over challenging terrain and demonstrates NATO’s ability to respond decisively to any threat, from any direction.  Around 30,000 troops from 27 nations are taking part in the 2022 edition of the exercise, with about 220 aircraft and more than 50 vessels. This is the largest ‘Cold Response’ being exercise conducted in Norway since the 1980s.



Pushkar Singh Dhami named as Uttarakhand CM

Uttarakhand's caretaker CM Pushkar Singh Dhami has been chosen as the new state CM after BJP won 47 seats in the 70-member Assembly in the recently-concluded elections. Dhami had lost the Khatima seat to Congress candidate Bhuwan Chandra Kapri, who won by a margin of over 6,500 votes. Dhami had earlier taken charge as CM in July 2021.

Pramod Sawant to continue as Goa Chief Minister for 2nd term

Goa's caretaker CM Pramod Sawant has been chosen as the CM of the state for a second term, days after BJP won 20 seats in the 40-member Goa assembly. Notably, this will be the third straight term of the BJP in Goa. Reports suggest that the swearing-in ceremony of the new government will tentatively take place between March 23-25.


Late CDS Gen Bipin Rawat awarded Padma Vibhushan, his daughters receive honour

India's first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, who died in a helicopter crash in December 2021, was awarded the Padma Vibhushan posthumously on Monday. His daughters Kritika and Tarini received the award from President Ram Nath Kovind on their father's behalf. General Rawat's wife and 12 others were also killed in the same crash.

₹5,000 cash for those who help road accident victims in TN: CM

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Monday said that people who will help provide medical care facilities to road accident victims in the state will be given a cash reward of ₹5,000. CM Stalin had earlier launched 'Innuyir Kaappon', a scheme providing free medical treatment within the first 48 hours to those injured in road accidents.

Who is Swami Sivananda, the 125-yr-old yoga guru awarded the Padma Shri?

Born in 1896, in Sylhet district (now in Bangladesh), Swami Sivananda practices yoga every day and eats food without oil and spices. For the last 50 years, he has been serving 400-600 leprosy-affected beggars by arranging food, clothes and other essentials for them in Puri. In an earlier interview, he said he owed his age to "yoga, discipline and celibacy".


S Phangnon Konyak to be Nagaland's first woman Rajya Sabha MP

BJP leader S Phangnon Konyak is set to become the first woman Rajya Sabha MP from Nagaland after winning the Rajya Sabha seat on Monday. "Women comprise 50% of the electorate. While Naga women have been very actively involved in politics, they haven't been forthcoming to contest the elections," she said. Konyak is the second Naga woman parliamentarian.


35th Surajkund International Crafts Mela begins in Haryana

The Governor of Haryana, Bandaru Dattatraya and Chief Minister of Haryana, Manohar Lal Khattar formally inaugurated the 35th edition of the world-famous Surajkund International Crafts Mela at Surajkund in Faridabad district of Haryana.  The event is organized jointly by the Surajkund Mela Authority & Haryana Tourism in collaboration with Union Ministries of Tourism, Textiles, Culture and External Affairs.  In 2022, the ‘Theme State’ in Jammu & Kashmir and Uzbekistan is the partner nation.

Rajesh Gopinathan re-appointed as MD and CEO of TCS for five years

The board of IT major, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has announced the re-appointment of Rajesh Gopinathan as the Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company for five years.  His second term will begin from February 21, 2022, to February 20, 2027. Rajesh Gopinathan was first appointed as the CEO and MD of TCS in 2017.  Under his leadership, the company has strengthened its position with the revenues increasing from $17.6 billion in the financial year ended March 31, 2017, to $22.2 billion in the financial year ended March 31, 2021.

Jay Shah’s term extended by one year as a President of Asian Cricket Council 

The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) has unanimously extended the tenure of its incumbent President Jay Shah for a period of one year. The decision was taken during the annual general meeting of ACC on March 19, 2022.   Jay Shah is the Secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) since 2019. Shah was first appointed as the President of ACC in January 2021, replacing Nazmul Hassan, the President of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB).  Shah's extension was proposed by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) president Shammi Silva and the nomination was backed unanimously by all the members of the ACC.

Manipur CM lists govt's 3 priorities after taking oath for 2nd term

Manipur CM N Biren Singh on Monday listed his government's three priorities after taking oath for his second consecutive term as Chief Minister. He said his government's "primary duty [is to] wash out corruption from the state". He added that his second and third priorities are to "wash out any kind of drug-related matter" and bring " the negotiating table".


Banking, Business and Economy


Pushkar Singh Dhami named as Uttarakhand CM

Uttarakhand's caretaker CM Pushkar Singh Dhami has been chosen as the new state CM after BJP won 47 seats in the 70-member Assembly in the recently-concluded elections. Dhami had lost the Khatima seat to Congress candidate Bhuwan Chandra Kapri, who won by a margin of over 6,500 votes. Dhami had earlier taken charge as CM in July 2021.

PhonePe acquires Pune-based micro-entrepreneur platform GigIndia

Walmart-owned PhonePe on Monday announced that it has acquired Pune-based GigIndia, a network for freelance micro-entrepreneurs. PhonePe did not reveal the financial details of the deal. As part of the acquisition, GigIndia will be integrated with the digital payments platform. GigIndia has 1.5 million entrepreneurs and over 100 enterprises as customers, the company said in its press release.

Employees' PF interest rate cut reflects today's realities: Nirmala Sitharaman

Nirmala Sitharaman spoke about the lowering of interest on the Employees' Provident Fund from 8.5% to 8.1% for 2021-22. She said, "EPFO's central board has representatives from different stakeholders who have taken this call...It had been 40 years since the rate wasn't brought down." She added, "There are today's realities that keep us in context with the decisions."


NPCI designed “UPI Lite – On-Device wallet” functionality for UPI user

National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) designed the “UPI Lite – On-Device wallet” (“UPI Lite”) functionality for UPI users for small value transactions.  About 75% of the total volume of retail transactions (including cash) in India are below Rs 100 transaction value. Further, 50% of the total UPI transactions are having a transaction value of up to Rs 200/-. To easily process such small value transactions, NPCI has launched this facility of  “UPI Lite”.  UPI Lite will process transactions in near offline mode i.e. debit offline and credit online, and at a later point, UPI Lite will process transactions in complete offline mode i.e. debit and credit both offline. The upper limit of a UPI Lite payment transaction shall be Rs. 200. The total limit of UPI Lite balance for an “On-device wallet” shall be Rs. 2,000 at any point of time.  Replenishment of funds in UPI Lite shall only be allowed in online mode with additional factor authentication (AFA) or using UPI AutoPay which has been registered by the User in online mode with AFA.

BPCL becomes the first to offer digital payment to non-internet users

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), a 'Maharatna' and Fortune Global 500 company, has teamed up with UltraCash Technologies Pvt. Ltd. to provide BharatGas customers with a voice-based digital payment option for booking LPG cylinders.  Customers who do not have access to a smartphone or the internet can use this feature to book cylinders and pay via the 'UPI 123PAY' system.  Customers can call the common number 080 4516 3554 from a non-internet phone to reserve a BharatGas cylinder for themselves or for friends in simple steps and in a secure manner thanks to the collaboration with Ultra Cash.

Govt. increased timeline to 10 years for startups for converting debt investment into equity

According to a news release from the DPIIT, the government has extended the deadline for companies to convert debt financing into equity shares by up to 10 years, a measure that is likely to provide comfort to emerging enterprises dealing with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Previously, convertible notes may be converted into equity shares for up to five years after the initial convertible note was issued. That time frame has now been increased to ten years.

Awards News

Suresh Raina felicitated with ‘Sports Icon’ award by Maldives government

Former India cricketer Suresh Raina has been awarded the prestigious ‘Sports Icon’ award at the Maldives Sports Awards 2022. The Maldives government felicitated Raina for his various achievements throughout his career.  Raina was nominated alongside 16 international sportspersons, including former Real Madrid player Roberto Carlos, Jamaican Sprinter Asafa Powell, former Sri Lankan captain and cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya and Dutch football legend Edgar Davids among others.  Raina is known for aiding the Indian cricket team to its World Cup glory back in 2011 and has also won the Indian Premier League(IPL) trophy four times with the Chennai Super Kings(CSK) franchise.  He is the first Indian player to score 6000 as well as 8000 runs in a Twenty20 career and the first-ever cricketer to reach 5,000 runs in IPL. He also holds the record for scoring the most fifties in Champions League T20 history.

Sportstar Aces 2022: Neeraj Chopra wins Sportsman of the Year award

Tokyo Olympic gold medallist, Neeraj Chopra claimed the coveted ‘Sportstar of the Year (Male)’ award at the 2022 Sportstar Aces Awards.  Weightlifter Mirabai Chanu, who claimed the silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics, received the ‘Sportstar of the Year (Female)’ award.  The Aces Awards celebrate the spirit of excellence in sport and hope to inspire our athletes and sportspersons to continue to strive to break new records and reach new pinnacles of glory.

Other awardee's in the list:

Lovlina Borgohain (Sportswoman of the Year, Individual Sports),

Avani Lekhara (Parathlete of the Year, Female),

Pramod Bhagat (Special Recognition award),

Savita (Sportswoman of the Year, Team Sports), and Rupinder Pal Singh (Sportsman of the Year, Team Sports).

Arif Khan wins Special Recognition Award at Sportstar Aces 2022.

Former Indian hockey team captain Ajit Pal Singh was conferred the ‘Lifetime Achievement award. Ajit was part of two Olympic bronze-winning teams, including one at the 1972 Munich Games.

Sports News

F1 Bahrain Grand Prix 2022 won by Ferrari's Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc (Ferrari- Monaco) has won the Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix 2022 at the Bahrain International Circuit, a motor racing circuit in the west of Bahrain.  Carlos Sainz Jr. (Ferrari – Spain) came second while Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-Great Britain) came third. This was the first Formula One race of 2022.


Pankaj Advani won Asian Billiards title for 8th time

Indian cueist Pankaj Advani has defeated Dhruv Sitwala to win his eighth title at the 19th Asian 100 UP Billiards Championship 2022. It was held in Doha, Qatar. Overall this is Advani’s 24th international title and 8th Asian crown.  Earlier, Advani had held off the stiff challenge of Pauk Sa of Myanmar to secure a spot in the final. He managed a 5-4 win after his opponent fought back strongly to level the match at four frames each.



Books and Authors News

‘Road to 1000’ book released by Sportstar and The Hindu group

Sportstar and The Hindu group released a coffee-table book, ‘Road to 1000’, at the 2022 Sportstar Aces Awards at The Taj Mahal Palace hotel. The book is a 520-page, special collection with 1000 pictures to commemorate Indian cricket’s journey.  ‘Road to 1000’ was released by former India cricketers Sunil Gavaskar, Syed Kirmani, Dilip Vengsarkar, Mohammad Azharuddin, Chandrakant Pandit and Nilesh Kulkarni here. On February 6, India played its 1,000th ODI against the West Indies in Ahmedabad, becoming the first team to record the feat.  India's World Cup triumphs in 1983 and 2011, under Kapil Dev and M. S. Dhoni respectively, remain the major highlights in Indian ODI history. Sportstar reporters and photographers travelled the world to cover the Indian cricket team in the 1980s and 1990s. This is the best tribute to Indian cricket.

Important Days

21st March observed as International Day of Forests

The International Day of Forests (also known as World Forestry Day) is celebrated every year on March 21. The main aim of the day is to raise awareness of the significance of all types of forests.  The day is to celebrate to raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests, and trees outside forests, for the benefit of current and future generations as well as to increase the public awareness among communities about the values, significance and contributions of the forests to balance the life cycle on the earth.  The theme for 2022 is "Forests and sustainable production and consumption."  The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 March the International Day of Forests (IDF) in 2012. The Day celebrates and raises awareness of the importance of all types of forests.

World Sparrow Day 2022: Date, theme, history

World Sparrow Day (WSD) is celebrated every year on March 20th. This day is meant to raise awareness about the house sparrow and the dangers it confronts. The purpose of World Sparrow Day is to raise awareness and protect the bird all across the world.  A few years ago, house sparrows were commonly seen in people's homes. As a result of rising noise pollution, the bird is now on the edge of extinction.  The theme of World Sparrow Day is "LOVE Sparrows." More individuals are likely to join in a range of events and campaigns geared at sparrow conservation as a result of focusing on this issue.  World Sparrow Day was established by Mohammed Dilawar, the founder of The Nature Forever Society. He started several projects, including the biodiversity Photo Contest, the annual Sparrow Awards, Project Save Our Sparrows, and the Common Bird Monitoring of India programme.  The first World Sparrow Day was held in the year 2010. In 2011, the World Sparrow Awards were established.

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on 21 March to remind people about the negative consequences of racial discrimination. The 2022 edition of the International Day focuses on the theme “VOICES FOR ACTION AGAINST RACISM”.  The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on the day the police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid "pass laws" in 1960.

20th March celebrates as World Oral Health Day

The World Oral Health Day is marked every year on March 20. The day aims to raise global awareness of the issues around oral health and the importance of oral hygiene so that governments, health associations and the general public can work together to achieve healthier mouths and happier lives.  The theme for World Oral Health Day 2021-2023 is: Be Proud Of Your Mouth.  The FDI World Dental Federation launched World Oral Health Day in 2007. The day was originally celebrated on 12th September in remembrance of FDI founder, Dr Charles Godon. Later, it was changed to 20th March in 2013 to avoid conflict with the FDI World Dental Congress in September. 



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