The upper House passed the Insurance Amendment Bill, 2021
What does the bill say?
It seeks amendment in the Insurance Act, 1938 to increase the inflow of foreign investment allowed in Indian Insurance Companies.
It provides the framework to operate insurance businesses and regulates so that the relationship among the insurer-, policy holder, shareholders, and regulator can be maintained.
Note: Regulator – Insurance Regularatory and Development Authority (IRDAI).
What is the current scenario of the bill?
– It allows only 49% investment from a foeriegn origin company. In other words, no foreign company can own an insurance company in India.
– The amendment bill allows more than 50% investment from a foreign company as it increases the FDI limit in insurance sector to 74%. In other words, the bill allows foreign company to own an insurance company.
– Whereas, some additional conditions have been imposed by the union government if a foreign companies shows interest in starting an insurance company or take over the existing company.
Bihar Lokayukta Amendment Bill, 2021 to punish people filing false corruption cases
The state assembly has passed the proposed Bihar Lokayukta Amendment Bill, 2021 that allows punishment to people filing false corruption cases before anti-corruption ombudsman body.
The bill aims at preventing the misuse of time and resources of the institution.
The bill was proposed by Lokayukta itself owing to the increase in the number of false cases against government servants.
What is the scenario in other states?
Other states have the provision of punitive action against people filing false cases against public servant.
What are the salient features of the bill?
The bill allows to file a case against false case filer in district court.
If the person found guilty of filing a false case then he/she can be sentenced to a jail term of up to three-year jail term.
What are Lokpal and Lokayuktas?
– It is an anticorruption body which carries out investigation and prosecution in a corruption case filed against public (government servant) servants of all grades.
– The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013 allows the establishment of Lokpal for the Union and Lokayukta for States.
– The Act was passed under Article 252 of Part XI, of the Indinan Constitution.
– Lokapal and Lokayuktas are the statutory bodies without any constitutional status.
– Lokapal works at the centre level and Lokayuktas act at the state level.
– Each state possesses its own Lokayukta.
– Maharashtra was the first state to put a Lokayukta Office on an operational mode
– Ex-Supreme Court Judge Pinaki Chandra Ghose is appointed as the first Lokpal of India.
Under Operation Sankalp India and Bahrain undertake ‘PASSEX’ in the Persian Gulf
On 17th March 2021, the Indian Navy and the Royal Bahrain Naval Force conducted Passage Exercise in the Persian Gulf under Operation Sankalp.
From India, warship INS Talwar participated in the exercise, while Corvette ‘Al Muharraq’ represented the Royal Bahrain Naval Force.
Aim of the Exercise
Enhance interoperability, reassure safety of Diaspora and Strengthen Maritime Cooperation.
– Initiated by the Indian Government in June 2019 for ensuring the safety of Indian Merchant ships through the Strait of Hormuz, between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.
– Operation Sankalp is being put through in close coordination with major stakeholders including the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Ministry of Shipping and Ministry of External Affairs.
Prime Minister and Crown Prince- Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa
Currency- Bahraini Dinar
Kuwait Foreign Minister paid a 2-day visit to India
At the invitation of Dr S. Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister (EAM) of India, Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah paid a 2-day visit to India from 17-18 March, 2021.
A Joint Statement regarding the establishment of a Joint Ministerial Commission at the level of Foreign Ministers was released by the two side.
The Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) will be co-chaired by the Indian Foreign Minister (S. Jaishankar) and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kuwait.
JCM will act as an umbrella for all bilateral institutional engagements like Joint Working Groups and Foreign Office Consultations.
New Joint Working Groups will be put up in areas like Science, Technology, Trade and Investments, Defence and Security & Maritime Cooperation, Education, Information Technology, Skills Development, Culture, Tourism and Hospitality.
India & Kuwait Trade Relationship
India and Kuwait have deep rooted trade relations. India is one of the Largest Trading partners of Kuwait. Kuwait was the 10th Largest Oil Supplier to India, during 2019-20 (Top 3 Oil Suppliers to India – Iraq, USA & Nigeria), 3.8% of India’s energy needs are met by it.
Emir – Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah
Capital – Kuwait City
Currency – Kuwaiti Dinar (KWD)
US-India Artificial Intelligence Initiative (USIAI) launched by India and USA
On 17th March 2021, Prof Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science & Technology stated that, India & United States (US) has launched the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum’s U.S. India Artificial Intelligence (USIAI) Initiative during the launch ceremony organized by Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF).
To enhance the Science & Technology (S&T) relationship between India and the United States to solve problems of both countries.
Through this Initiative, both the countries will share values of transparency, openness, and reciprocity and will encourages innovation that will benefit both India as well as US.
This USIAI Initiative will be focused on Al cooperation in critical areas of India & US. It will serve as a platform to discuss opportunities, challenges, and barriers for bilateral Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research & Development (R&D) collaboration.
About Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF)
Executive Director – Dr. Nandini Kannan
Headquarter – New Delhi, Delhi
World’s most Dangerous Roads: India ranked 4th
According to the World’s Most Dangerous Roads Study conducted by International driver education company, Zutobi, South Africa was ranked 1st (to have World’s most dangerous Roads), it was followed by Thailand.
United States was placed at 3rd rank and India was ranked 4th in the study.
The Study was carried out in 56 Countries.
The study also states that, Norway has the World’s Safest Road & it topped in the World’s Safest Roads Study, it is followed by Japan in the 2nd place & Sweden in 3rd Place.
The Study has analyzed each country on the following five factors, giving each one a normalized score out of ten for each factor, before taking an average final score across all five factors.
The 5 factors of the study are:
- Estimated road traffic death rate (per 100,000 population)
- Road traffic deaths attributed to alcohol
- Seat-belt wearing rate (front seat)
- Maximum motorway speed limit (mph)
- Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit for drivers (g/dl)
These estimates and statistics taken in the study were based on the World Health Organization’s Global Health Observatory data repository.
Zutobi is an international driver’s education company with courses in the United States, Sweden, Australia, France, United Kingdom and Germany.
Singapore to build World’s Largest Floating Solar Farms
Singapore is Asia’s biggest per capita carbon dioxide emitter. It is now building one of the world’s largest floating solar farms.
This project is a part of Singapore’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The solar power plant extends from the coast into the Johor Strait that separates Singapore from Malaysia. Sembcorp Industries is building this project.
Samia Suluhu Hassan sworn in as Tanzania’s first woman President
Following the death of John Pombe Magufuli, the President of Tanzania (2015-2021), Samia Suluhu Hassan, 61 was sworn in as Tanzania’s first woman President on 19th March 2021, at the State House in Dar es Salaam, which is the country’s largest city.
She is the sixth President of Tanzania and 2nd female president within the East African Community.
The inauguration function was witnessed by the East African country’s chief justice Ibrahim Jumavowing.
Tanzania’s former presidents Ali Hassan Mwinyi (1985-1995), Jakaya Kikwete (2005-2015), and the cabinet member Abied Karume (who is the first president of Zanzibar) were present at the event.
Note – Zanzibar is an autonomous region of Tanzania.
Capital – Dodoma
President – Samia Suluhu Hassan
Prime Minister -Kassim Majaliwa
Currency – Tanzanian shilling
Rs 880 crore agreement for light machine guns signed between Defence Ministry and Israel
Recently, Union Defence Ministry a signed Rs 880 crore capital acquisition contract with the Israel Weapons Industries (IWI) for over 16000 light machine guns. The Israeli firm will provide Negev 7.62×51 mm light machine guns to the Armed Forces of India as per the contract. These guns are already in service with several countries.
14th World Sleep Day observed on 19th March 2021
On the Friday before the Spring Vernal Equinox, the World Sleep Day is annually observed. The day is celebrated with a view to celebrate sleep and create awareness about the importance of sleep and problems related to sleep, including the medicine, social aspects and education.
The World Sleep Day Committee of the World Sleep Society annually organizes the world Sleep day.
Lourdes DelRosso and Professor Fang Han co-chaired the World Sleep Day 2021.
“Regular Sleep, Healthy Future” is the Slogan or theme of the 14th World Sleep Day.
Sleep problems are like global epidemic that affects the health and quality of life for up to 45% of the world’s population.