Commemorating Salt March
A foot march to re-live the historic Mahatma Gandhi led Salt March was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He launched the ‘Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav’, the government’s initiative to mark 75 years of India’s Independence. The march will cover a distance of 386 km from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad to Dandi in Navsari district in 25 days. This padyatra will commemorate 91st anniversary of the Dandi March against salt tax imposed by the British.
75th anniversary celebrations will go on till August 15, 2023 under five themes of the celebrations:
1) Freedom struggle
2) Ideas at 75
3) Achievements at 75
4) Actions at 75
5) Resolves at 75
Salt Satyagraha: Mahatma Gandhi along with his followers set out on a salt march from Sabarmati Ashram to the village Dandi in Gujarat’s coastal area on 12 March 1930 in order to protest against the steep tax levied on salt by British. The march continued till April 6 1930, when Mahatma Gandhi broke the law by picking a handful of salt from the seashore. This non-violent march led to the mass Civil Disobedience Movement. As salt is indispensable in every Indian household Gandhiji chose this to break salt law in order to reach masses and make his resolve loud and clear that he would fight for every single injustice done by Britishers on Indians.
Hearth festival celebrated in Jammu & Kashmir
Hearth festival, a three day long Mahashivratri festival was celebrated across the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmiri Pandit community across the union territory celebrates the festival with religious offerings “Watak Nath Pooja”. Mahashivratri marks the wedding of Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati. The festival’s biggest gathering was observed at Shankaracharya Temple, near Dal Lake in Srinagar. Hearth festival is observed on the intervening night of 13th and 14th in the lunisolar month of the Hindu calendar. Fish, the traditional food of J&K is offered during the festival.
India Energy Office inaugurated in Moscow
India sets up first of its kind ‘India Energy Office (IEO)’ at Russia’s landmark Federation Tower in Moscow. The office was inaugurated by Tarun Kapoor, Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas on 2nd March 2021. The office will be used as a common platform by India’s 5 topmost oil companies- ONGC Videsh, IndianOil, GAIL, Oil India Ltd and Engineers India Ltd in order to expand cross investment in the energy sector. India is world’s third largest oil consumer. Russia is one of the world’s largest energy producers and can prove to be an effective alternative to India’s overdependence on West Asia.
The office will promote mutual investment in the Energy Sector between Indian and Russian companies. Indian oil companies are participating in ‘Vostok Project’ which is Russian Arctic Exploration project. Opening of the IEO coincides with this collaboration between the oil companies of both the countries.
ICAR receives World Soil Day Award by FAO
Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) was conferred with the King Bhumibol World Soil Day Award 2020 by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The award appreciates the ICAR’s contribution towards creating awareness on the importance of healthy soils in line with the theme of World Soil Day 2019- Stop Soil Erosion, Save Our Future. The award was presented on 7th March 2021, at the ceremony held in Bangkok, Thailand. The ICAR- Indian Institute of Soil Sciences (IISS), Bhopal Madhya Pradesh organizes a wide range of activities for students, the farming community and the general public.
This award was instituted by the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) supported by the Kingdom of Thailand in 2018. It recognizes the individuals or institutions for organizing successful and impactful World Soil Day Celebrations. The award comprises a medal, a USD 15000 cheque and a trip to Thailand.
Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Nidhi
Union Cabinet gave approval for the creation of Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Nidhi (PMSSN). It will be a single non-lapsable reserve fund as a share of Health from the proceeds of Health and Education Cess. This fund will be utilized for the Health Ministry’s flagship schemes including Ayushmann Bharat- Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY), National Health Mission, Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY), along with disaster preparedness and responses during health emergencies. In a financial year, the expenditure on such schemes would initially be incurred from the PMSSN and then from Gross Budgetary Support (GBS). The availability of earmarked resources will help enhance access to universal and affordable health care while ensuring that the amount does not lapse at the end of the financial year.
Metal Recycling Authority coming up
Indian government is set to appoint Metal Recycling Authority (MRA) by June 2021. The authority will promote organized recycling of key non-ferrous metals (like aluminium, copper, zinc and lead) owing to their widespread application across sectors including Automotive, power, etc. It will oversee formulation of quality standards, certification and process standards for recycling. As per a NITI Aayog report, India’s metal recycling rate is way below global standards and is mostly conducted in informal sector.
By recycling, the conflicts faced during metal extraction such as displacement, loss of livelihoods, opposition by tribals and local communities can be avoided. The ecological degradation caused due to mining can also be reduced. India could save up to Rs. 60855 million in manufacturing alone. Employment can be generated by setting up of new industries and promoting innovations in recycling.
Ministry of Mines has recently issued National Non-Ferrous Metal Scrap Recycling Framework in order to regulate scrap collection, segregation and dismantling units.
World Kidney Day- March 11
Second Thursday of March sees worldwide observance of World Kidney Day every year to create awareness about the functions of kidney. People are informed about the importance of kidney health and reduce the impacts of kidney diseases. This year it falls on 11 March.
The World Kidney Day Steering Committee has declared 2021’s theme as ‘Kidney Health for Everyone Everywhere- Living Well with Kidney Disease’. The World Kidney Day campaign of this year is #MyGr8Rule challenge- involving the 8 golden rules of kidney care.