Current Affairs 15th March

National Affairs

1. In Bengaluru, Union minister Nitin Gadkari unveiled India’s first and only 100% methanol-powered prototype truck.

In Bengaluru, Karnataka, on March 12, 2023, union minister Nitin Gadkari and the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) unveiled India’s first and only 100 per cent methanol-powered 10-ton prototype truck. Key Points:


As part of a development program, the NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India) is working with the Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), Ashok Leyland, and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), with financial support from the Department of Science and Technology (DST), to develop the technology for making diesel, gasoline, and CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) engines run entirely on methanol (M100).


The innovation was directed at BMTC (Bangalore Metropolitan Vehicle Partnership) transports and Ashok Leyland trucks.


The prototype truck will soon go on sale as a way to replace diesel in the logistics industry. MD15 BMTC buses were launched by Nitin Gadkari: In Bengaluru, Karnataka, Nitin Gadkari also introduced the 10 MD15 BMTC, which combines methanol and diesel at a rate of 15%.


In Pune, Maharashtra, NITI Aayog, IOCL, and ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India) have decided to carry out three-month field trials with 20 transport buses in three cities.


Ashok Leyland was granted permission to conduct field trials after the BMTC concurred. As a result, Bengaluru, Karnataka, will host the first national pilot program for methanol diesel buses.


Elements of MD15 Fuel:


The MD15 fuel exceeds all legal emission standards. It also improved CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions and achieved significant reductions in PM (particulate matter), HC (hydrocarbons), and CO (carbon monoxide).


Additionally, it results in a 20% reduction in particulate matter, SOX, and NOX pollution parameters. 


Additional Details:


Dr  VK Saraswat headed NITI Aayog’s “Methanol Economy” program and committee in 2016 to assess methanol’s full potential as an alternative to diesel, gasoline, and LPG.


Methanol is a renewable fuel made from natural gas, high-ash coal, agricultural residue, CO2 from thermal power plants, and low-carbon hydrogen.


Additionally, NITI Aayog mentioned the domestic and international availability of scalable quantities of methanol, which could replace diesel by 15%.

2. Highlights from Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s trip to India from March 8 to 11, 2023

Australian Top state leader (PM) Anthony Albanese visited India for four days

from Walk 8 to 11, 2023, with the target of upgrading generally speaking two-sided

commitment to various fields, including exchange, speculation, and basic minerals.


Since becoming PM in May 2022, this was his first official trip to India and the first time an Australian PM had been there in six years.


After making his way to Ahmedabad (Gujarat)’s Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, the nation’s founder, at the Sabarmati Ashram.


The fourth Memorial Cricket Test Match of the Line Gavaskar Prize

between the Indian and Australian cricket crews was initiated at Narendra Modi Arena in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, by the State leaders of India and Australia, denoting the start of the visit. 


The Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA), which was agreed upon between the two nations, is a transformative pact that will unleash the next level of potential in trade and investment, according to Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s address to the “India-Australia CEO Forum” in Mumbai (Maharashtra), which took place on March 9, 2023.

3. Contract for Sindhukirti Submarine Refit with HSL is signed by the Ministry of Defence for Rs 934 crore.

A contract for the Normal Refit of the INS Sindhukirti (S61) Submarine at Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL), Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh (AP), costing Rs 934 crore was signed by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on March 13, 2023.


The submarine’s operational capability will be enhanced and its operational life will be extended by the contract.


(S61) About INS Sindhukirti:


The Indian Navy’s seventh diesel-electric submarine of the Sindhukirti class is INS Sindhukirti (S61).


Sindhukirti is the third Kilo Class Diesel Electric Submarine. It was constructed at Sevmash in the Soviet Union and the Admiralty Shipyard, one of Russia’s oldest and largest shipyards. In the Soviet Union, Sindukirti was commissioned on December 9, 1989.


Seven Kilo Class submarines and one nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine are among the Indian Navy’s current fleet of 16 submarines. 


Key Points:


After Refit is finished, Sindhukirti will be able to fight and join the active submarine fleet of the Indian Navy.


This refit was transferred to build a new submarine repair facility. It is an additional step on the way to completing a Medium refit at HSL with Life Certification.


The initiative, which involves more than 20 Micro Small and Medium Businesses (MSMEs), will result in the creation of 1,000 man-days of employment per day for the duration of the project.

4. Vande Bharat Express is operated by Surekha Yadav, Asia’s first female locomotive pilot.

By becoming the first woman to drive the recently launched semi-high-speed Vande Bharat Express train, Surekha Yadav, who is from Satara, Maharashtra, has become Asia’s first female loco pilot.


Surekha Yadav was in charge of the semi-high-speed train that ran from Solapur station to Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) on March 13, 2023. In 1988, Surekha Yadav became the first woman to drive a train in India.


On the CSMT-Solapur and CSMT-Sainagar Shirdi routes, the Central Railway introduced two Vande Bharat Express trains that were presented to PM Narendra Modi on February 10, 2023.

International Affairs

1. Multinational Naval Exercise “La Perouse 2023,” led by France, was held in the Indian Ocean.

The third iteration of the multilateral naval exercise led by France and featuring five nations was held in the Indian Ocean (IOR) from March 13 to 14. At La Perouse 2023, personnel, ships, and integral helicopters from the navies of India, Japan, Australia, and the United States of America (USA) participated; and the UK in the following ways:


India – Indian Navy (IN). Japan Sea Self-Preservation Power (JMSDF) – Japan, Regal Australian Naval force (RAN) – Australia. 


United States Navy Note: Royal Navy (RN) – UK India participated in the exercise with the indigenously built guided missile frigate INS Sahyadri and the fleet tanker INS Jyoti. 


The goal of the Exercise: To raise awareness of the maritime domain and make it easier for participating navies in the Indo-Pacific region to work together in the maritime domain. 


Key points:


Cross-deck landings, tactical manoeuvres, advanced naval operations, surface warfare, anti-air warfare, and air defence exercises were all part of the exercise.


For smooth maritime operations, this makes it possible to strengthen connections in planning, coordination, and information sharing.


INS Sahyadri, the IN’s indigenously built guided missile frigate, participated in an Arabian Sea Maritime Partnership Exercise (MPX) with the French Navy’s (FN) Mistral Class Amphibious Assault Ship FS Dixmude and La Fayette Class Frigate FS La Fayette. 


About the La Perouse Workout:


Since 2019, it has been a multilateral naval exercise held every two years. It aims to enhance navies’ interoperability and foster understanding and cooperation among participating nations. 


It gives countries that are participating a place to show off their skills, learn about each other’s methods, and improve their ability to work together.


The navies of Australia, Japan, and the United States all participated in the initial edition.

India participated in the exercise for the first time in 2021, during the exercise’s second edition.

2. Fifth Edition of the IQAir World Air Quality Report for 2022: Lahore is the most polluted city, and Chad is the worst among nations.

Lahore (Pakistan) rose from 15th place in 202 to become the world’s worst-air-quality city in the fifth edition of IQAir’s annual global survey report, “World Air Quality Report 2022.” With PM2.5 levels of 89.7 g/m3 (micrograms per cubic meter), Chad in central Africa replaced Bangladesh as the nation with the most polluted air in 2022.


Lahore is now the world’s most polluted city thanks to an increase in the PM2.5 (Particulate Matter 2.5) particle concentration per cubic meter of air from 86.5 g/m3 in 2021 to 97.4 g/m3 in 2022.


Despite having some of the most polluted cities in the world, India ranks eighth in the report for 2022, with PM2.5 levels of 53.3 g/m3 (up from 58.1 g/m3 in 2021).


In central Africa, Chad exceeds the WHO PM2.5 annual guideline by more than 17 times (89.7 g /m3).


Iraq’s annual PM2.5 limit of 80,1 g/m3 was more than 16 times higher than the WHO’s recommendation.


Pakistan’s PM2.5 level (70.9 g/m3) is more than 14 times higher than the WHO annual recommendation.

Banking and Finance

1. The RBI grants IREDA the status of an Infrastructure Finance Company.

The Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) was granted an Infrastructure Finance Company (IFC) by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on March 13, 2023, allowing the agency to increase its exposure to RE (renewable energy) financing.


Additionally, the company will be able to gain access to a larger pool of investors through its IFC status for fund mobilization. In the past, IREDA was referred to as an “Investment and Credit Company (ICC).”


Key Points:


This status has recognized IREDA’s 36 years of the foundation supporting and

improvement with the centred advancement of an environmentally friendly power.


Investors’ confidence will grow, brand value will rise, and the market’s outlook will improve as IREDA becomes an IFC.


IREDA will continue to contribute towards Govt. of India’s goal of installing 500 GW of non-fossil fuel capacity by 2030. 


The Infrastructure Finance Company, or IFC for short:


It is a loan company that does not accept deposits and primarily focuses on providing long-term financial assistance to India’s infrastructure projects. Power generation, telecommunications, transportation, housing, and other infrastructure sectors might be included in these projects. The RBI oversees their compliance with various regulations and regulates them.


IFC adheres to the following standards:


An IFC-NBFC (Non-Banking Financial Company) should make infrastructure loans with at least 75% of its assets;


The organization ought to have the least total assets of Rs 300 crore, The Money to Hazard (Weighted) Resources Proportion (CRAR) of the organization ought to be at 15% with Level I capital at 10% and


The base FICO score of the organization ought to be at ‘A’ or likeness CRISIL, FITCH, CARE, ICRA, BRICKWORK or identical rating by some other

authorizing rating offices.

2. The Blossom Women’s Savings Account from Suryoday SFB offers interest rates of 7%.

The Suryoday Small Finance Bank (SFB) launched a new savings account called the Blossom Women’s Savings Account on March 13, 2023. This account was made for women customers and offered up to a yearly interest rate of 7%.


The account was created to help women save, invest, and move toward achieving their financial goals with confidence.


Key Features:




Women Resident adults over the age of 18 ii. Requirement for Minimum Balance – Average Monthly Balance: Rs. 10,000.


Along with a RuPay Platinum Debit Card that is specifically designed to provide discounts on shopping and online purchases, the account provides monthly interest credit.


The debit card has an Rs limit for ATM withdrawals. 40,000 daily. insurance could be purchased using the variant of the debit card.


Additionally, it offers a Rs 2 lakh Personal Accidental Death Insurance or Permanent Total Disability coverage.


One Savings Aditya Account—a free account for a child—can be accessed through this account. 


In some cities, concession processing fees for 2-wheeler loans could be obtained. 


The Bank’s 571 banking locations and digital banking platform made it possible to manage the Savings account. 


Ascend in Ladies’ Bank account: 


According to the Suryoday SFB, 79% of women between the ages of 15 and 49 had a savings account in 2021, up nearly 50% in five years from 53% in 2016.


The bank cited the 2014-launched Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) program as the reason for this significant increase.




The National Mission for Financial Inclusion (PMJDY) aims to guarantee affordable access to financial services like basic savings and deposit accounts, remittances, credit, insurance, and pensions.


A basic savings bank deposit (BSBD) account could be opened in any bank branch or Business Correspondent (Bank Mitra) outlet by individuals who do not already have one.


As of now, approximately 48.27 crore beneficiaries have banked, with a balance of Rs 194,194.29 crore in their accounts.

3. Through VRR Auction, RBI injects Rs. 82,650 million into the banking system.

Through a 14-day Variable Rate Repo (VRR) auction on March 10, 2023, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) introduced liquidity totalling Rs 82,650 crore into the banking system. At a weighted average rate of 6.53%, banks borrowed Rs 82,650 crore against the announced Rs 1 lakh crore (USD 12.19 billion) in the VRR auction.


Shaktikanta Das, Governor of the RBI, made the observation on February 8, 2023, during the bimonthly monetary policy review, that the RBI would be influenced by the scheduled redemption of LTRO (long-term repo operation) and TLTRO (targeted LTRO) funds between February and April 2023.

Science and Technology

1. The night sky in 2024 may be brighter than it was before the recently discovered “Green Comet.”

In 2024, a comet known as C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS) that is anticipated to be brighter than the recently observed C/2022 E3 (ZTF), also known as the “green comet,” may be visible in the night sky. This comet was observed by the entire planet on February 1, 2023.


On February 22, 2023, astronomers at the Tsuchinshan Observatory in China and the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Late Alert System (ATLAS) telescope in South Africa made the discovery of the comet C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS), which was given the name of its origin.


C/2023 A3 will come closest to the Sun, or perihelion, on September 28, 2024, approximately 680 million miles (1.09 billion kilometres) away from Earth.

On October 13, 2024, it will come closest to Earth.


C/2023 A3 may eventually reach a magnitude of 5, matching Venus’ magnitude of -4.7, in addition to becoming brighter as it approaches the sun.


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