Read : Current Affairs: 7th March, 2021

Posted on :- 2021-03-09 15:02:41
Source :- The Hindu Newspaper


Current Affairs (7TH march)





  • India’s status as a democracy and free society has been downgraded to “partly free” in the latest annual report on global political rights and liberties by Freedom House, a US government-funded NGO that studies political freedom around the world.


  • The report titled “Freedom in the World 2021 – Democracy under Siege”. India’s fall “from the upper ranks of free nations could have a particularly damaging impact on global democratic standards”.


  • India had been rated as “free” in Freedom House’s reports for 2018, 2019 and 2020, though its scores on a scale of 100 had declined during this period from 77 to 71. In the latest report, India had a score of 67 out of 100.


  • In 1973, Freedom House launched the Freedom in the World report, which assessed the level of freedom in each country and ranked them with a numerical score and declared them as “free”, “partly free” or “not free”.


  • The annual report is perceived as one of the oldest quantitative measures of democracy.


  • The latest report said political rights and civil liberties in India had deteriorated since 2014 because of increased pressure on human rights organisations, rising intimidation of academics and journalists, and a “spate of bigoted attacks, including lynchings, aimed at Muslims”.






  • The Cabinet approved a memorandum of understanding on Renewable Energy Cooperation between India and France.


  • The MoU was signed in January 2021. The purpose of the memorandum of understanding is to lay a foundation for promoting bilateral cooperation in the field of new energy and renewable energy on the basis of mutual benefit, equality and reciprocity.


  • It covers technologies related to solar energy, wind energy, hydrogen energy and biomass energy.


  • MoU requires exchange and training of scientific and technical personnel, exchange of scientific and technical information and data, organization of workshops and seminars, transfer of equipment, expertise and technology; and development of joint research and technology projects.



  • The Supreme Court has filed a writ petition requesting the appointment of a regular Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).


  • The Director of CBI was appointed in accordance with Article 4A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act of 1946.


  • The Director of the CBI has obtained a two-year term guarantee under the 2003 CVC Act. The Lokpal & Lokayuktas Act (2013) amended the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act (1946) and made the following changes for the appointment of the CBI Director


  • The central government should appoint the Director of the CBI on the recommendation of the three-person committee consisting of Prime Minister as Chairperson, the Leader of Opposition party in the Lok Sabha, the Chief Justice of India or Judge of the Supreme Court nominated by him.


  • The Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Act of 2014 changed the composition of the committee related to the appointment of the Director of C.B.I.


  • It pointed out that if there is no recognized opposition leader in the Lok Sabha, then the leader of the largest single opposition party in the Lok Sabha will become a member of the committee



  • A fire broke out in the Similipal Biosphere Reserve in Odisha. The fire did not touch the core area of the biosphere, but the fire threatened the destruction of its rich biodiversity.


  • The name of Similipal comes from the "Simul" (silk cotton) It was officially designated as a tiger reserve in 1956 and was included in the "Tiger Project" in 1973.


  • In June 1994, the Indian government declared it a biosphere reserve. Since 2009, it has become part of the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve Network.


  • It is part of the Similipal-Kuldiha-Hadgarh Elephant Sanctuary, commonly known as the Mayurbhanj Elephant Sanctuary, which includes 3 sanctuaries, namely the Similipal Tiger Sanctuary, the Hadagarh Wildlife Sanctuary and the Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary.


  • It is located in the northern part of the Mayurbhanj district of Odisha. Geographically, it is located at the eastern end of the Eastern Ghats.


  • Similipal has 1,076 flowering species and 96 orchids. It has tropical semi-evergreen forests, tropical humid deciduous forests, dry deciduous mountain forests, high-grade Saar forests and dense grasslands.


  • The two tribes of Erenga Kharias and Mankirdias live in the forests of the reserve and engage in traditional agricultural activities (collecting seeds and wood).


  • In addition to 304 species of birds, 20 species of amphibians and 62 species of reptiles, Similipal also has a variety of wild animals including tigers and elephants.



  • Private sector lender Kotak Mahindra Bank will handle the salary account of the Indian army personnel.


  • The bank has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indian Army here for a salary account. The MoU enables Kotak to offer its salary account proposition, combined with exclusive benefits for the Indian Army, to all army personnel – both active and retired.


  • Through the Kotak salary account, all personnel of the Indian army will get access to the full range of Kotak’s products and services including a zero-balance salary account that earns up to 4 per cent interest per annum with free unlimited ATM transactions on all VISA ATMs and anywhere banking across the bank’s network of 1,603 branches and 2,573 ATMs across India.


  • The salary account will cover other benefits such as a bespoke salary account for the army personnel, enhanced complimentary personal accident insurance cover – for both on-duty and off-duty incidents.


  • It covers accidental death for total or partial permanent disability. It will also offer special education benefit for children and additional girl child benefit by covering dependent children of up to 22 years in the event of an accident claim by the salary account holder.



  • National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and SBI Payments have partnered to launch “RuPay SoftPoS” for Indian merchants.


  • The RuPay SoftPoS solution will provide a cost-effective acceptance infrastructure to retailers at a nominal cost.


  • This innovative solution has the capability to transform NFC enabled smartphones into merchant Point of Sale (PoS) terminals for the retailers.


  • RuPay SoftPoS is expected to provide seamless, cost-effective acceptance infrastructure to retailers at a nominal cost, and help deepen the digital payment acceptance among millions of underserved Indian MSMEs.


  • RuPay SoftPoS will enable merchants to use their near-field communication (NFC)-enabled smartphones as the point of sale (PoS) terminals and accept payment up to Rs 5,000 through a simple tap and pay mechanism.


  • Merchants can convert their existing android smartphone devices into a payment terminal by simply downloading a supported app.


  • This solution will revolutionise the way micro and small merchants receive payments and create a demarcated shift in their tendency to deal in cash to accepting secure, contactless digital payments instead.




  • Government of India (GoI), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and United Nations’ Better Than Cash Alliance hosted the Merchant Digitization Summit 2021: Towards AatmaNirbhar (Self Reliance) Bharat, with special attention to the Himalayan Region, Northeast Region and the Aspirational Districts of India.Highlights


  • The summit convened the public and private sector leaders of the Responsible Merchant Digitization Summit to accelerate the responsible digitization of Merchant in North-Eastern India and the Himalayan regions, and Aspirational Districts.


  • This summit is part of a series of learning and exchange activities between all States and Union Territories.


  • According to the series, the Department of Economic Affairs also organized a webinar called ‘Unlocking the value of Fintech in promoting Digital Payments’ in December 2020.


  • About Better Than Cash Alliance: Headquarters of Better Than Cash Alliance in United Nations. It is a partnership of governments, companies and international organizations designed to accelerate the transition from cash to digital payments to help achieve Sustainable Development Goals. The Alliance has 76 members, including India.


Copyright © 2013-21