1. UN Appoints Red From "Angry Birds" As Honorary Ambassador For Climate Change
i. The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has appointed Red, the leader of the Angry Birds mobile game characters as an envoy to inspire climate action toward a sustainable and happier future for all.
ii. Red's appointment as Honorary Ambassador for Green is the part of a UN campaign launched in partnership with the globally renowned characters to make a direct link between tackling climate change and people's happiness and well-being on the occasion of the International Day of Happiness to be observed on Sunday, 20 March.
iii. The U.N. chief told that the Angry Birds have entertained millions of people around the world and now they are part of making the world a better place.
iv. He also said that there was no better way to mark the International Day of Happiness than to have our animated ambassador raise awareness about the importance of addressing climate change to create a safer more sustainable and happier future for all.
v. The campaign was in partnership with Sony Pictures Entertainment, the U.N. Development Program and U.N. Foundation, asks people around the world to make the Angry Birds happy by taking actions to combat climate change such as recycling, taking public transportation and conserving water.
2. Mumbai's Wilson College adopts railway station for cleanliness
i. One of Mumbai oldest colleges, the Wilson College has adopted the Charni Road station here for cleanliness and upkeep as part of the Swachch Bharat Abhiyan.
ii. Governor and Chancellor of the University CH Vidyasagar Rao congratulated the college for its excellent initiative, which he said will help the cause of cleanliness.
iii. A group of Wilson College students led by executive co-ordinator Dr Kamal Jadhav met the Governor at Raj Bhavan and briefed him about the decision and the various initiatives taken by the students during the past few months to keep the Charni Road station neat and clean.
iv. Dr Jadhav told the Governor that the college took the decision in response to the appeal made by the Governor to colleges and universities to adopt a railway stations or any other public place nearest to the institution and to take care of its cleanliness and upkeep. 3. 21st March : World Forestry Day
i. World Forestry Day or International Day of Forests is celebrated worldwide every year on 21st of March.
ii. The World Forestry Day was established in the year 1971 at the 23rd General Assembly of European Confederation of Agriculture and later it was established by a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on November 28, 2012.
iii. The International Day of Forests was observed for the first time on March 21, 2013.
iv. The World Forestry Day is celebrated at the international level in order to increase the public awareness among communities about the values, significance and contributions of the forests to balance the life cycle on the earth.
v. The theme of the 2016 International Day of Forests is forests and water. To mark the Day a joint celebration of the International Day of Forests (21st of March) and World Water Day, which is celebrated on 22nd of March every year will be held on Monday, 21 March 2016 in the Economic and Social Council Chamber.
4. Indian-origin student wins first Noor Inayat Khan Prize In London
i. An Indian student is the winner of the first Noor Inayat Khan Prize for 2016, the London-based Noor Inayat Khan Memorial Trust announced.
ii. Geetakshi Arora of SOAS South Asia Institute has won the first Noor Inayat Khan Prize, the Noor Inayat Khan Memorial Trust announced in London on.
iii. The Trust is awarding the annual prize to the post-graduate student from SOAS, University of London, working in the area of gender studies and South Asian history.
iv. The prize which consists of 1,000 pounds and a certificate is for a dissertation which is in keeping with the spirit of Noor Inayat Khan, a descendant of Tipu Sultan.
v. Noor-un-Nisa Inayat Khan GC was an Allied Special Operations Executive (SOE) agent during the Second World War who was posthumously awarded the George Cross, the highest civilian decoration in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth nations.
5. Obama Embarks On Historic Cuba Visit
i. US President Barack Obama embarked on a historic trip to Cuba more than a year after Washington reset its foreign policy towards the island following decades of Cold War animosity that almost led to a nuclear war.
ii. The three-day trip - the first by a US president in 88 years - was unthinkable until Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro agreed in December 2014 to re-establish diplomatic ties.
iii. The US broke off ties with the communist nation of 11 million when Cuban revolutionaries led by Fidel Castro ousted a pro-American government in 1959.
6. Govt Allows 49% FDI In Insurance Under Automatic Route
i. The government has relaxed FDI norms for the insurance sector by permitting overseas companies to buy 49 percent stake in domestic insurers without prior approval, which is another effort to bring more foreign players into Indias vast insurance market.
ii. Earlier, an overseas company was allowed to buy up to 26% stake in an India-based insurance company. But, for up to 49 percent the investor had to take prior approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).
iii. However in its latest notification the government said, the foreign investment proposals up to 49% of the total paid up equity of the Indian insurance company shall be allowed on the automatic route subject to verification by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India.
iv. There are 52 insurance companies operating in India, of which 24 are in the life insurance business and 28 in the general insurance.
v. In order to deepen the re-insurance market, IRDAI permitted UK-based Lloyds to set up business in India. 7. Cairn India Bags Five Awards At 'FICCI Excellence Awards'
i. Cairn India Ltd. has remained in the top deciles of safety performance amongst peer group companies for the FICCI Safety Systems Excellence Award in Manufacturing.
ii. The awards, which are dedicated for best safety and occupation health systems act as a motivation and a catalyst for adopting best safety practices and systems in the manufacturing sector.
iii. Cairn India considers safe transportation of its people and its products as an integral part of responsible care.
iv. Cairn India considers safe transportation of its people and its products as an integral part of responsible care.
v. Continuous efforts to improve road and transport safety are therefore part of the company's overall objective to improve safety performance throughout its business.
8. BHEL Commissions its 2nd 270 MW Thermal Unit In Punjab
i. Within a month of successful commissioning of a 270 MW thermal generating unit in the state, the state run BHEL ( Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited ) has commissioned another 270 MW unit at Goindwal Sahib coal-fired power project in Punjab.
ii. The unit has been commissioned at the GVK Power and Infra Ltd in Tarn Taran District near Amritsar.
iii. The first unit of the project was earlier commissioned by the company in February, 2016.
iv. Thermal sets of 270 MW rating are an in-house improvisation of 210/250 MW sets supplied earlier by BHEL which today form the backbone of the Indian power sector and have been performing much above the national average as well as international benchmarks.
v. BHEL has so far contracted 35 sets of 270 MW rating, out of which 13 sets have now been commissioned. Notably, all the operational sets of 210-270 MW class in the state of Punjab have been supplied, erected and commissioned by BHEL. In addition to thermal projects, BHEL has a significant presence in the states hydro sector also, with 95% share in the hydro generating capacity of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL). 9. Bangladesh Bowlers Taskin And Sunny Suspended By ICC
i. Bangladesh left-arm spinner Arafat Sunny and pacer Taskin Ahmed have been suspended from bowling in international cricket council with immediate effect after an independent assessment found their bowling actions to be illegal, dealing a massive blow to the teams campaign in the ongoing World Twenty20.
ii. Both bowlers underwent assessments in Chennai last week, after being reported for suspect actions during the World T20 round-one match against Netherlands in Dharamsala on 9th March.
iii. They can apply for a re-assessment at any stage after modifying their bowling actions.
iv. Arafats analysis revealed that the elbow extension for majority of his deliveries had exceeded the 15 degrees level of tolerance permitted under the ICC Regulations while not all of Taskins deliveries were legal.
v. Now the left-arm spinner Saqlain Sajib will replace Sunny in Bangladesh's World T20 squad and Taskin will be replaced by offspin-bowling all rounder Shuvagata Hom. 10. Lionel Messi Named As Huawei Global Ambassador
i. FC Barcelonas player Lionel Messi has been named as Huawei global ambassador.
ii. The partnership with Lionel Messi showcases the brands alignment with people and brands that demonstrate and strive towards its shared value of connecting greatness.
iii. The football player is the company's Global Brand Ambassador because Huawei believed the striker and the company make "a perfect fit" as both "are always pursuing not success but challenges to be better".
iv. Huawei believes that sports are a great way in which people enrich their lives and that is why our commitment towards sports in general is so strong. According to Huawei, "Lionel's history, philosophy and values, the greatest football player in the world are in line with Huawei's mission and values".
v. Huawei is one of the top 3 Smartphone manufactures in the world and their products are available in more than 170 countries. Huawei shipped 108 million smartphones in 2015 and became the third-largest player after Apple and Samsung. The company has set a target of growing its smartphone sales by 300 per cent this year. 11. Wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt Bags Olympics Berth i. India star wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt secured an Olympic quota place for India with a gold-medal finish in the men's 65kg freestyle category on an otherwise disappointing day for the country's grapplers in the Asian Olympic Qualification tournament in Astana, Kazakhastan.
ii. In the road to the final at the Asian Qualifying tournament, Yogeshwar defeated Ju Song Kim 8-1 and then in the quarter-finals the Indian wrestler defeated Xuan Dinh Nguyen of Vietnam by fall.
iii. This is the second quota place that Indian wrestlers have bagged for the Rio Olympics to be held later this year.
iv. Narsingh Pancham Yadav had bagged a quota place in the men's 74kg freestyle division in Las Vegas last year.
Current Affairs - 19th March 2016
1. Tikka Shatrujit Singh knighted with top French award
i. Tikka Shatrujit Singh, chief representative in Asia for French multinational LVMH (Moet Hennessy-Louis Vuitton) and advisor to the chairman of Louis Vuitton, has spearheaded the development of Louis Vuittons business in India.
ii. Tikka Shatrujit Singh, the royal scion of Kapurthalas Ahluwalia dynasty, has been conferred with the prestigious Knight of the Legion of Honour for his extraordinary work in the exchanging the French lifestyle and Indian culture with each other.
iii. Singh is also known for his endeavours to preserve the tangible and intangible heritage of Kapurthala, which is a blend of Indo-French architectural styles.
2. Indian Overseas Bank Has Become The 1st Bank To Sell Indian Gold Coins
i. Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) has become the first bank to commence the sale of Indian Gold Coin (IGC) in the domestic market.
ii. It has tied up with Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation of India (MMTC) for the sale of IGC of 24 carat purity.
iii. The Indian Gold Coin has the national emblem "the Ashok Chakra" engraved on one side and the face of Mahatma Gandhi on the other side.
iv. The coin also carries advanced anti-counterfeit features and comes in tamper proof packaging. It's very safe and easily recyclable.
v. The current denominations available in the coins are 5, 10 and 20 gm. The Indian Gold Coin is the first ever national gold offering by the Center. This was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 5, 2015. The IGC in Delhi was launched in the presence of Alok Pande, Director in the Department of Financial Services, Finance Ministry, and Anand Trivedi, Director (PMS), MMTC, besides other senior officials.
3. Russia gets its own Rating Firm ACRA
i. Vladimir Putins homegrown credit-ratings firm is up and running and foreign competitors are already feeling the heat.
ii. Moodys last week announced it would shutter its joint venture in Moscow of 12 years and Fitch said it will probably stop issuing local ratings on Russian companies, the same day ACRA, which stands for Analytical Credit Rating Agency, applied for a license to operate in Russia.
iii. In the past three weeks, Moodys Investors Service Inc. and Fitch Ratings Ltd. have said they plan to stop issuing local ratings rather than agree to having their Moscow branches regulated by the Russian government at the cost of breaking international sanctions.
iv. Russia is squeezing the business of foreign-ratings assessors since downgrades it condemned as politically motivated last year pushed the sovereign below investment grade for the first time in more than a decade.
v. The Bank of Russia announced plans to start a company immune to geopolitical risks in July after S&P and Moodys cut Russias rating to junk amid a slump in oil prices and sanctions imposed over Ukraine. ACRAs board is headed by an American, Karl Johansson, who advised the Russian government while at Ernst & Young LLP in Moscow. Ekaterina Trofimova, a former banking analyst for Russia and former Soviet states at S&P, will run the new venture.
4. The Government Of India Has Slashed The Interest Rates On Provident Fund , Kisan Vikas Patra And On Small Saving Schemes
i. The government on Friday slashed interest rates on small-savings schemes, including the Public Provident Fund and Kisan Vikas Patra.
ii. The decision is aimed at aligning these administered interest rates closer to the market rates. The new rates will come into effect on April 1 and will be valid till June 30.
iii. After the decision taken last month to revise the interest rates on small savings every quarter, the rate under the Public Provident Fund scheme will be cut to 8.1 per cent for the period from April 1 to June 30 from 8.7 per cent, said a Finance Ministry order.
iv. While the interest rate on the KVP will be cut to 7.8 per cent from 8.7 per cent, that on post office savings is retained at 4 per cent. The rates on term deposits of duration varying from one to five years have been cut.
v. The five-year National Savings Certificates will earn interest at the rate of 8.1 per cent as against 8.5 per cent now. A five-year Monthly Income Account will fetch 7.8 per cent as opposed to 8.4 per cent now. The girl-child saving scheme, Sukanya Samriddhi Account, will have an interest rate of 8.6 per cent as against 9.2 per cent. The senior citizen savings scheme of five years will earn 8.6 per cent compared with 9.3 per cent. The rates on the post office term deposits are being cut from 8.4 per cent to 7.1 per cent for one-year time deposits, 7.2 per cent for two-year time deposits and 7.4 per cent for three-year time deposits.
5. Pfizer Appoints S. Sridhar As New MD For 5 Years
i. Pfizer, the pharmaceutical major has announced the appointed of Mr. S Sridhar as its new Managing Director (MD) with immediate effect for a period of five years.
ii. The announcement came at the time of BSE filings and applied with the immediate effect from 18th March, 2016.
iii. Mr. S. Sridhar has been working with Pfizer from past 10 years. He joined the company in the year 2003 as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the company and later in the year 2013 he was appointed as the Executive Director on the Board.
iv. Prior to this these appointment with Pfizer, Mr. S. Sridhar has worked with Diageo India Pvt Ltd as the Finance Director.
v. Pfizer Inc. is an American global pharmaceutical corporation. It is among the world's largest pharmaceutical companies. Pfizer develops and produces medicines and vaccines for a wide range of medical disciplines, including immunology, oncology, cardiology, endocrinology, and neurology. 6. Tenth Asian Film Awards : Complete List of Winners i. The 10th edition of Asian Film Awards (AFA), which was held at the Venetian Theatre in Macau, China, honoured diverse talents across Asian cinema.
ii. The prestigious awards ceremony was graced by a spectacular gathering of celebrities and industry professionals from different cities of Asia.
iii. Awards won by Assassin- Assassin wins more than half of the 15 awards presented in the Asian film awards :- Best Film: The Assassin, Best Director: Hou Hsiao-Hsien for The Assassin, Best Actress: Shu Qi for The Assassin, Best Supporting Actress: Zhou Yun for The Assassin, Best Cinematography: Mark Lee Ping-bing for The Assassin, Best Production Design: Hwarng Wern-ying for The Assassin, Best Original Music: Lim Giong for The Assassin, Best Sound: Chu Shih-yi, Tu Duu-chih and Wu Shu-yao for The Assassin.
iv. Others Awards presented- Best Actor: Lee Byung-hun for The Inside Men, Best Newcomer: Jessie Li for Port of Call, Best Supporting Actor: Tadanobu Asano for Journey to the Shore, Best Screenplay: Jia Zhangke for Mountains May Depart, Best Editing: William Chang Suk-ping, Chu Ka-yat, Liao Ching-sung, Wong Hoi, Philip Yung for Port of Call, Best Visual Effects: Prasad Sutar for Bajirao Mastani, Best Costume Design: Lee Ji-yeon and Shim Hyun-seob for The Throne.
7. Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan launched FCIs Depot Online System
i. Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan on 17 March 2016 launched the Online Depot System in New Delhi to automate all the operations of Food Corporation of India (FCI) depots.
ii. The key objective of the Depot Online System is to align with Digital India vision for transformation of food distribution supply chain in India.
iii. The system, which efficiently captures data online on a real time basis, will bring total transparency in the working of FCI.
iv. Besides it will also help in better monitoring and supervision to reduce leakages and losses.
v. The Depot Online System will be rolled out in all 554 FCI-owned godowns by July 2016.
8. Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inaugurated Krishi Unnati Mela in New Delhi
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurate three-day 'Krishi Unnati Mela' providing information on new farm schemes and technologies that will help farmers double their incomes within the next few years.
ii. National fair, from March 19-21, will have separate workshops on key schemes like Pradhan Mantri Fasal Beema Yojana, e-agriculture marketing, integrated farming system, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sichai Yojan, soil health and livestock issues.
iii. In this fair live demonstration of agriculture and horticultural crops, animal husbandry, innovative technologies and farm mechanisation in big plots.
iv. Both public and private companies will display their farm inputs and technologies in over 500 stalls.
v. The plan additionally calls for bringing ministries, offices, organizations, research and financial institutions occupied with creation and recycling of water under one platform so that an exhaustive and holistic outlook of the whole water cycle is considered.
9. Sudhir Raheja Has Given Extra Charge As AAI Chairman
i. The Airport Authority Of India (AAI) has given the additional charge of Chairman to Mr. Sudhir Raheja.
ii. This is the 2nd time when Mr. Raheja has been entitled with the task of heading the national airport company.
iii. Raheja was given the additional charge following the repatriation of the then acting Chairman Alok Sinha to his parent cadre, Uttar Pradesh in August , 2014.
iv. Mr. Raheja's appointment announced in a very sudden manner when Mr. R K Srivastava tenure has been curtailed by the authorities. Srivastava, a 1984 batch Jharkhand-cadre IAS officer, was removed from the post by the government, nearly 15 months after he was brought at the helm for a five-year term. However, this is not for the first time that an AAI Chairman has been shown the door. In January 2014, the then UPA government had abruptly removed V P Agarwal.
v. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) under the Ministry of Civil Aviation is responsible for creating, upgrading, maintaining and managing civil aviation infrastructure in India. 10. India, Australia Ink Pact To Avoid Double Social Security Contribution
i. India and Australia ink pact to avoid double social security contribution Under this agreement, employees of India deputed to Australia and vice versa will not have to make double social security contribution.
ii. Under this agreement Australia has become the 14th country with which India has a social security agreement in force.
iii. The others in the list include Korea, Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Hungry, Germany, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway and Switzerland. iv. India signed loan agreement of 35 Million dollars with the world bank for Madhya Pradesh citizen access to responsive services project.
v. The objective of the project is to improve access and quality of public services in the state.
Current Affairs - 18th March 2016
1. Surat Cleanest Railway Station; Varanasi Among The Dirtiest: Survey
i. Surat is the cleanest railway station in the country, followed by Rajkot and Bilaspur (Chhattisgarh), according to an Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) survey released.
ii. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modis constituency Varanasi's railway station ranked poorly in terms of cleanliness as it stood at 65, among the 75 A-1 railway stations (those earning revenue more than Rs. 50 crore) surveyed.
iii. The survey, conducted based on feedback from around 1.34 lakh passengers, is a part of Mr. Modis pet project Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan.
iv. The station at Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh was third among the 75 A1-category railway stations followed by Solapur and Mumbai Central in Maharashtra, Chandigarh, Bhubaneshwar (Odisha) and Vadodara (Gujarat),as per the preliminary report of the survey, which was released by Railway Minister Suresh Prabu. 2. Denmark firm to set up pumps manufacturing unit near Hyderabad
i. Desmi Technology a leading international manufacturer of pumps and pump solutions plans to set up a plant on the outskirts of Hyderabad shortly.
ii. A high-level delegation from Denmark representing Desmi Technology headed by its Chief Executive Officer Henrik Knudsen and Lars Boldt Rasmussen called on the Telangana Industries Minister Jupally Krishna Rao in the Secretariat on Thursday and conveyed its interest to start a plant.
iii. Along with the Desmi Technology Country head Murthy, the delegation told the Minister that they were planning to set up Indian operations under the Make in India programme.
iv. Desmi is a leading international manufacturer of pumps and pump solutions. This product is very well known globally and in Indian market especially in Marine i.e. Shipyards for private ships, Indian Navy and Coast Guard vessels. v. Their main line of activity includes platform, anchor handling, multipurpose and emergency response vessels equipment.
3. Vijay Mallya quits as RCB Director
i. Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) has confirmed to the BCCI that Russell Adams has been designated as points man for all further correspondence.
ii. The decision has been taken when Mr. Vijay Mallya has resigned as the director of the Royal Challengers Sports Private Limited (RCSPL) on Thursday. But he will hold the post of chief mentor.
iii. Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) has confirmed that the founding promoter of the Bengaluru franchise of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
iv. RCSPL, the company that runs the daily affairs of the RCB team. Mallya has been representing the UB Group as Chairman from 2008 by a bid for the Bangalore team at $ 111.6 million for ten years (2008-2017).
v. RCSPL is a subsidiary of United Spirits which is controlled by Diageo. 4. World Sufi Forum: PM Narendra Modi to inaugurate four-day conclave
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the World Sufi Forum in New Delhi, where more than 200 Indian and international delegates, including Sufi Shuyukh, spiritual leaders, scholars, academicians and masters of Sufism, are participating.
ii. The 4 day event is being organised by All India Ulama and Mashaikh Board (AIUMB), the apex body of Sufi Dargahs in India.
iii. The meeting is expected to debate on how Sufi teaching can prevent global terrorism.
iv. The conclave will also debate on how to guide the Muslim community away from sectarian division.
v. The meeting is expected to debate on how Sufi teaching can prevent global terrorism.
5. Amar Abrol appointed as the new CEO of Air Asia India
i. Air Asia India has made an announcement on Thursday that Mr. Amar Abrol will be the new CEO of the company with the effect from April 1, 2016.
ii. He will succeed Mittu Chandilya. Chandilyas contract with the airline will ends on March 31, 2016.
iii. Mr. Abrol born and raised in India and graduated from Delhi University. He is a chartered accountant by profession. Prior to this appointment Mr. Amar Abrol was working as the CEO of Tune Money. Tune Money is a start-up company that delivers low-cost financial products in South-East Asia.
iv. The airline has also announced the appointment of Mr. Ankur Khanna as the chief financial officer (CFO) and Kiran Jain as head of commercial operations.
v. Mr. Ankur Khanna joins from Air France/KLM, where he most recently held the position of Regional Finance Head for the Middle East/Gulf region based in Dubai. And Kiran Jain has over 25 years of aviation related experience covering airports, airlines and duty free and most recently headed the Airport Marketing and Route Development function at Delhi International Airport. 6. Arun Jaitley to inaugurate National Community Radio Sammelan in New Delhi
i. Information and Broadcasting Minister ArunJaitley will inaugurate the 6th National Community Radio Sammelan in New Delhi.
ii. The theme of the conference is, Community Radio in India: Towards Diversity and Sustainability.
iii. The conference will bring together Community Radio Operators, policy makers, Ministries, Departments, International bodies like UNICEF and UNESCO and other stakeholders for exchange of ideas and cross learning.
iv. The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has been organising the National Community Radio Sammelan annually since 2011.
v. The United Nations Children's Emergency Fund is a United Nations program headquartered in New York City that provides long-term humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries.
7. Ashley Judd appointed U.N. Goodwill Ambassador
i. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the lead UN agency for delivery of a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young persons potential is fulfilled, today appointed actor and activist Ashley Judd as its Goodwill Ambassador.
ii. UNFA Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin announcing the appointment, Ms. Judd told journalists that that it was an honour to be appointed as UNFPAs Goodwill Ambassador and to advocate for womens rights.
iii. Ashley Judd is an American actress and political activist. She grew up in a family of successful performing artists as the daughter of country music singer Naomi Judd and the sister of Wynonna Judd.
iv. Ashley Judd was born in Granada Hills, California. She is the daughter of Naomi Judd, a country music singer and motivational speaker, and Michael Charles Ciminella, a marketing analyst for the horseracing industry While she is best known for an ongoing acting career spanning more than two decades.
v. She has increasingly become involved in global humanitarian efforts and political activism.
8. Freecharge allows payments via chat in 5 seconds
i. Mobile wallet and digital payments player FreeCharge has announced the launch of its Çhat and Pay feature. The company said this feature enables social payments between users and merchants.
ii. The chat-based payments interface will let merchants accept payments using the FreeCharge app in under a minute of registration,merchants will also be able to upgrade their payment limit of Rs. 1,00,000 with necessary KYC verification.
iii. FreeCharge is looking to bring on board neighbourhood small shopkeepers, Taxi services and merchants from the unorganised sector using the service, which brings a buyer seller chat interface for merchants.
iv. To accept payments, merchants must register their bank account number, geo-location and choose a custom identifier, called a paytag to allow customers to identify their service area through their FreeCharge app.
v. Merchants can start accepting digital payments in less than a minute after registering on the FreeCharge app, and the chat-based payment feature has a five second transaction time, the company said.
9. TCS named official tech partner for London Marathon i. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Indias leading IT services provider, announced a three year partnership with the Virgin Money London Marathon to enhance the digital experience delivered to marathon participants.
ii. Under the terms of the partnership, TCS will become the races Official Technology Partner for the 2016, 2017 and 2018 events.
iii. First established in 1981, and part of the World Marathon Majors, the Virgin Money London Marathon is considered one of the worlds foremost marathons.
iv. A record total of 247,069 people entered the ballot for the 2016 race.
v. TCS already partners with seven of the worlds leading races, including title sponsorships of the TCS Amsterdam Marathon, TCS New York City marathon, and TCS World 10k Bengaluru. The agreement is the latest example of TCS commitment to using digital technology to foster health and wellbeing. 10. Indian Railways ties up with ISRO for route surveys i. The Indian Railway Ministry has announced that it has signed an agreement with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
ii. The agreement will leverage the space technology for providing the passenger information in all trains.
iii. With the help of this tie up Railways will assets and help the new route alignments.
iv. The Memorandum of Understanding has been signed on Thursday with the objective of developing applications in the field of remote sensing and graphic information system to provide information such as train stoppages, real-time train tracking, survey of new rail route alignments in hilly and difficult terrain.
v. At present during disaster, Indian Railways uses space technology to provide connectivity to passenger reservation counters, unreserved ticketing system in remote areas, and emergency communication using satellite phones.
11. Hitachi to setup ATM making firm in India
i. Hitachi-Omron Terminal Solutions Corp (Hitachi-Omron Terminal Solutions) has established Hitachi Terminal Solutions India Pvt Ltd (Hitachi Terminal Solutions India) to be based in Bengaluru as an ATM manufacturing company.
ii. The new company has been set up with a capital of Rs 100 crore and is set a target to produce 1,500 units of ATMs per month at the end of calendar year 2016.
iii. The new entity is expected to commence production in June 2016.
iv. Hitachi has deployed over 5,000 units of ATM in India by 2015 and at present, there are about two lakh ATMs and CDs (Cash Dispensing ATMs) operating in the country.
v. Hitachi Terminal Solutions India will allow Hitachi-Omron Terminal Solutions to promptly accommodate the needs of the market, strengthen cost competitiveness, shorten the production lead time from order entry to shipment and expand the business of cash recycling ATMs. Hitachi-Omron Terminal Solutions had entered Indian market on a full-scale basis in 2010 through sales of the cash recycling ATMs.Current Affairs - 17th March 2016
1. India aviation show 2016 begins in Hyderabad
i. The India Aviation 2016, an international exhibition and conference on civil aviation kicked off in Hyderabad, Telangana.
ii. It is the fifth edition in the biennial series of this international exhibition and was inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee at the Begumpet Airport (also known as Hyderabad Old Airport).
iii. India Aviation 2016 has been jointly organised by Ministry of Civil Aviation and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) on the lines of Make in India.
iv. More than 200 major participants across the globe are going to part and will be displaying latest aircrafts. Delegations led by Ministers and Senior Government Officials from more than 25 are going to participate in the event. It will also see the participation of leading Aircraft Manufacturers, helicopter manufacturers and engine manufacturers.
v. Global CEOs at CEO Forum will be also held in the four day event. Major global aviation infrastructure companies are also participating in this event.
2. Shehnai Exponent Ustad Ali Ahmad Hussain Khan Has Passed Away
i. Famous Shehnai exponent Ustad Ali Ahmad Hussain Khan has passed away in Kolkata, West Bengal. He was 77. He was suffering from kidney related problem and hospitalized from the past few days.
ii. He was one of the best players of the instrument after the legendary Bismillah Khan.
iii. He was born in 1939 and represented the Benaras gharana (school) in shehnai music. He was famously known for his innovative style and mastery over the classical and semi-classical and folk. He also used to teach in the Kolkata based ITC Sangeet Research Academy.
iv. He had played Shehnai at the inauguration ceremony of Doordarshan television channel in 1973 with Pandit Ravi Shankar and also had rendered its signature tune. He was a top graded artiste of All India Radio (AIR). He had performed globally.
v. He was awarded with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2009 and Bangabhushan award in 2012 of West Bengal government etc.
3. World Happiness Index : India Ranks 118 out of 156 Countries
i. India ranked 118th out of 156 countries on the United Nations World Happiness Index (WHI) 2016.
ii. It was revealed by the fourth World Happiness Report 2016 and published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a global initiative for the UN.
iii. In 2015 India was at 117 th in the happiness list.
iv. According to the report 2016, Denmark takes the top spot as the happiest country in the world. It has replaced Switzerland.
v. Rwanda, Benin, Afghanistan, Togo, Syria and Burundi were the least happy countries this year. India comes below nations like Somalia (76), China (83), Pakistan (92), Iran (105), Palestinian Territories (108) and Bangladesh (110). The US is ranked 13th, coming behind Australia (9) and Israel (11).
4. RUSA Scheme to be implemented to improve Equity, Quality of Higher Education
i. Central government is implementing the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) for providing financial support to proposals contained in State Higher Education Plan (SHEP) approved by the State Higher Education Councils (SHECs) in order to achieve the objectives of equity, access and quality.
ii. A total of 115 Universities and 1218 colleges have been approved by RUSA PAB for infrastructure grants.
iii. These approvals were accorded to the proposals included in the respective State Higher Education Plans (SHEPs).
iv. objectives of Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA)- Ensure adequate availability of quality faculty in all higher educational institutions and ensure capacity building at all levels. To achieve the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) target of 25.2% by the end of 12th Plan and 32% by the end of 13th Plan.
v. Only seven proposals from the states under the component of creation of universities through upgradation of autonomous colleges and eight proposals of states under the component of creation of universities through clustering of colleges have been approved by the PAB of RUSA as other proposals could not meet the prescribed norms. 5. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is among the most influential people on the Internet and Modi to Join World Leaders in Wax at Madame Tussauds
i. The TIMEs magazine cited Modis unconventional announcement on Twitter of his visit to Pakistan last year while naming him among The 30 Most Influential People on the Internet for the second year in a row in this years unranked list.
ii. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is among the most influential people on the Internet, According to TIME magazine describing the Indian leader as an Internet star who often uses social media to conduct diplomacy.
iii. In other news Prime Minister Narendra Modi will join the ranks of prominent global leaders at Madame Tussauds in London, Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok to In april 2016, the world famous wax museum announced.
iv. Describing him as a hugely important figure in world politics, according to museum the Indian Prime Minister had given the museums team of artists and experts a sitting at his residence in New Delhi earlier this year. 6. 14 Indian Investors Among Worlds Top 100 Venture Capitalists
i. A total of fourteen Indian investors have been featured in a list of top 100 venture capitalists in the world.
ii. The list has been compiled by CB Insights, a research firm that tracks angel and venture capital investments across the globe.
iii. The list has been prepared based on evaluations of the basis of the investments made by the investors since 2008.
iv. The investors were evaluated based on factors such as investor exits and consistency of investments among others. 7. Indian Software Engineer Wins UN Data Visualization Challenge
i. The UN honoured the founder of India-based Miavy Systems Abdulqadir Rashik for the Unite Ideas LinksSDGs Data Visualization Challenge.
ii. It will be used to identify further research opportunities and guide policy decisions around the implementation of global sustainability initiatives.
iii. He was bestowed with the Challenges top prize for his submission Links to Sustainable Cities an interactive visualization that identifies and maps the links between Sustainable Development Goal 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities, and the other 16 Goals. 8. Actress Michelle Yeoh Appointed As UNDP Goodwill Ambassador
i. Michelle Yeoh, the award winning action heroine has been appointed as United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassador.
ii. The UNDP works to eradicate poverty and reduce inequality.
iii. The Malaysian born actress will focus on raising awareness and mobilising support for the recently launched Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
iv. The actress is internationally acclaimed for her roles in the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies. she was chosen by People as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World in 1997. She was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in 2000 for her movie Hidden Dragon.
v. Prior to this, Her engagements concern development issues which included appointments as Global Ambassador for the Live to Love and Make Roads Safe campaign in 2012 and advocacy during the Zero Discrimination Campaign in 2013. 9. FIFA admits taking bribe for hosting World Cup
i. FIFA is seeking to claim tens of millions of dollars in bribe money seized by U.S. federal prosecutors.
ii. FIFA submitted a 22-page claim to the U.S. Attorneys Office in New York that seeks a big share in restitution from more than $190 million already forfeited by soccer and marketing officials who pleaded guilty in the sprawling corruption case.
iii. Tens of millions of dollars more is likely to be collected by U.S. authorities when sentences are handed down, and from dozens of officials currently indicted but who have denied bribery charges or are fighting extradition.
iv. FIFA claims it is the victim of corrupt individuals, despite widespread criticism that bribe-taking was embedded in its culture in the presidencies of Joao Havelange and Sepp Blatter, who was forced from office after 17 years by the current scandal. 10. Jammu & Kashmir 9th State To Join UDAY Scheme, To Save Rs 9,800 Cr.
i. Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) became the 9th state to sign the memorandum of understanding(MoU) for power distribution reforms, the Ujwal Discoms Assurance Yojana (UDAY).
ii. Its a tripartite agreement between the Union Ministry of Power, state governments and the discoms.
iii. The other eight states are Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana and Punjab.
iv. An overall net benefit of approximately Rs 9,800 crore would accrue to J&K by opting to participate in UDAY, by way of savings in interest cost, reduction in aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) and transmission losses, interventions in energy efficiency, and coal reforms, said the officials.
v. The Union Cabinet chaired by the Honble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi announced scheme moved by the Ministry of Power - Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojna or UDAY. UDAY provides for the financial turnaround and revival of Power Distribution companies (DISCOMs), and importantly also ensures a sustainable permanent solution to the problem. UDAY is a path breaking reform for realizing the Honble Prime Ministers vision of affordable and accessible 24x7 Power for All.
11. UN suspends Maria Sharapova as Goodwill Ambassador after doping allegations
i. The United Nations (UN) has suspended Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova as Goodwill Ambassador of the organisation after she was tested positive on doping allegations.
ii. She was suspended by New York based UN Development Programme (UNDP) until the outcome of the investigation into her case is known.
iii. However, UNDP has mentioned that they are grateful to Maria Sharapova for her support to their work, especially around the Chernobyl nuclear disaster recovery.
iv. Earlier in March 2016, the five times Grand Slam champion and the highest-paid female athlete Maria Sharapova had announced that she tested positive for a drug called meldonium, at the Australian Open earlier in January 2016.
Current Affairs - 16th March 2016
1. March 15 World Consumer Rights Day
i. World Consumer Day is celebrated across the World on 15th March 2016.
ii. The Day is an occasion of solidarity among consumers and to promote the basic rights of all consumers, for demanding that those rights are respected and protected, and for protesting the market abuses and social injustices which undermine them.
iii. Theme for the World Consumer Rights Day 2016 Antibiotics off the menu. It is a campaign to stopover the sale of meat raised up with the use of antibiotics important to human medicine.
2. Union Government and Jammu & Kashmir Government signed MoU on UDAY Scheme
i. Union Government and Jammu & Kashmir Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under the Scheme Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) on 15 March 2016 for operational and financial turnaround of the States Power Distribution Department.
ii. With this, J&K became the ninth state to sign MoU with the combined DISCOM debt around 1.94 lakh crore rupees. The main aim for signing the MoU is to restructure high interest rate of the total discom debt thereby improving financial condition of State Discom
iii. An overall net benefit of approximately 9800 crore rupees would accrue to the State by opting to participate in UDAY, by way of savings in interest cost, reduction in Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT & C)and transmission losses, interventions in energy efficiency, coal reforms etc. during the period of turnaround.
iv. It will enable Jammu & Kashmir to raise funds at cheaper rate to clear the outstanding dues of around 3538 crore rupees of Community and Public Sector Union (CPSUs), which would entail an annual saving of 1200 crore rupees over 4 years towards interest cost to the State.
3. Mother Teresa to become a saint on Sept.4: Pope Francis
i. Mother Teresa will be made a saint on September 4, Pope Francis announced. 19 years after the death of the Nobel Laureate who spent 45 years serving the poor and sick on the streets of Kolkata.
ii. Pope Francis today approved Mother Teresas elevation to sainthood and set September 4 as the date for her canonisation, said a message from the Vatican to the Mother House the headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata.
iii. Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity and spent 45 years serving the poor, the sick, the orphaned, and the dying on the streets of Kolkata. She died at the age of 87 here in 1997.
4. ICICI Bank launched NFC-based mobile payment solution Touch & Pay
i. ICICI Bank on 15 March 2016 announced a new mobile payment solution Touch & Pay. This solution is based on Near Field Communication (NFC) technology and will enable the banks customers to make secure contactless payments at retail stores using smartphones.
ii. The feature will be incorporated into the existing Pockets application of the bank. Customers can make payment by tapping smart phone at a NFC enabled merchant terminal and make the payment through account linked ICICI Bank Debit/Credit Card.
iii. To ensure security of the card details, for every payment done at a merchant store using this service, a one-use unique token is created by the Bank's server and will be sent via encryption to the merchant,
iv. The facility will be available in the last week of March 2016 at more than 60000 merchants across the country.
5. Singareni 600 MW power unit synchronised in Telangana
i. The first of two 600 MW power generation units at the Singareni Thermal Power Plant (STPP) at Pegadapalli in Jaipur mandal of Adilabad District, was synchronised with top officials including Singareni Collieries Chairman and Managing Director N. Sridhar participating in it.
ii. The power generation unit will be inaugurated by Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Raoin April.
iii. According to chairman the STPP at Jaipur will eventually bring down the deficit in power generation in Telangana State.
iv. Among the officials who were present were Singareni Director (Projects and Planning) A. Manohar Reddy, Director (E&M) P. Ramesh Babu, Director Finance, Pavithran Kumar, General Manager, STPP, Sudhakar Reddy, GM (Civil) Muralikrishna and GM, Srirampur are, Sd. M. Subhani.
6. 7th Governing Board meeting of Indo-German Science and Technology Centre held in New Delhi
i. 7th meeting of the Governing Board of the Indo-German Science and Technology Centre (IGSTC) was held on 15 March 2016 in New Delhi. The meeting was chaired by the Union Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan.
ii. During the meeting, Dr. Vardhan highlighted the achievements and progress of IGSTC in accelerating the bilateral Science & Technology collaboration.
iii. India is investing approximately 14 million euro for the construction of an India focussed beam line and access to the synchrotron facility at PETRA-III in DESY at Hamburg, which will be ready for inauguration later in 2016.
iv. India is also an equity share holder with investment of 36 million euro in the construction of the international Facility for Antiproton-Ion Research (FAIR) at Darmstadt.
v. Innovative projects on affordable biomedical devices, lab-on-chip for water pathogen detection and nano-materials for adsorption of uremic toxins for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients have been initiated. 7. Priyanka Kakodkar and Raksha Kumar won Chameli Devi Jain Award
i. Priyanka Kakodkar and Raksha Kumar on 15 March 2016 were named as joint winners of the 2015-16 Chameli Devi Jain Award. They were awarded for their work that clubs social concern and compassion with pioneering reportage and analytical skills.
ii. Kakodkar's reports, which targeted on the acute farming crisis in Maharashtra, were published on the front page of The Times of India in the year 2015. More than 50 of her reports were published in a year by the paper.
iii. Independent journalist Raksha Kumar won the honour as her reports focused on the perilous features of the Union Government's proposal to amend the Land Acquisition Act, the Forest Rights Act and the Coal Act.
iv. The award will be presented by former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh on 17 March 2016 at the India International Centre, Delhi.
Current Affairs - 15th March 2016
1. Myanmar Parliament elected Htin Kyaw as first civilian President
i. Myanmar's Parliament on 15 March 2016 elected Htin Kyaw as the first civilian president to lead the country after 53 years of military rule. Army took power in a 1962 coup. He is a close aide and adviser of Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of National League for Democracy (NLD) party.
ii. He was elected with 360 of the total 652 votes casted while, military-nominated Myint Swe received 213 votes and stood second followed by the other NLD candidate, Henry Van Thio, who got 79 votes.
iii. They will serve as first vice-president and second vice-president respectively. Kyaw will replace Thein Sein who will step down at the end of March 2016 after five years of army-backed rule.
iv. Htin Kyaw was elected under a complex system in which the two chambers of parliament nominated two presidential candidates and military MPs nominated a third, assuring the army continued influence.
v. The army also retains 25 percent of seats in parliament under a 2008 constitution that it drafted, giving it an effective veto on constitutional change. It also keeps key ministerial portfolios related to security.
2. YES Bank inked MoU with India Brazil Chamber for strategic cooperation
i. India's fifth largest private sector Bank, YES Bank on 11 March 2016 signed a strategic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with India Brazil Chamber of Commerce (IBCC) to enable significant cooperation in terms of knowledge partnerships, project consultancy, B2B opportunities, skill and technology initiatives.
ii. As per the announcement of YES Bank, the MoU signing comes in the run up to the 8th Annual BRICS Summit to be held in New Delhi in 2016. The core sectors covered in the MoU will be Sports, Media and Entertainment with special focus on IT, Infrastructure, Broadcast and Innovative solutions driven business opportunities.
iii. YES BANK and IBCC will jointly endeavour to explore exchange of best practices in Sports goods Manufacturing, CSR in sports, SM&E talent management.
iv. Moreover, IBCC will also recommend YES BANK as the Preferred Bank to Brazilian companies looking to do business in India.
3. 253 Indian Villages Lit Up In Just One Week Under The Scheme Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojna
i. 323 villages have been electrified across the country during last week (from 6th to 13th March 2016) under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojna (DDUGJY).
ii. Out of these electrified villages, 86 in Odisha, 73 in Jharkhand , 61 villages in Uttar Pradesh, 42 in Arunachal Pradesh , 33 in Bihar, 16 in Assam, 6 in Chhattisgarh, 3 in Madhya Pradesh and 3 in Rajasthan.
iii. In view of the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modis address to nation, on Independence Day, Government of India has decided to electrify remaining 18,452 un-electrified villages within 1000 days i.e. by 01st May, 2018.
iv. The project has been taken on mission mode and strategy for electrification consists of squeezing the implementation schedule to 12 months and also dividing village electrification process in 12 Stage milestones with defined timelines for monitoring. 4. India Inc first in the world to formally adopt UNs SDG
i. India Inc. is set to formally adopt the United Nations (UN) agenda for the worlds sustainable development and the 17 goals identified for its implementation.
ii. SDG- Sustainable Development Growth
iii. MDG- Millenium Development Growth
iv. SDG- 17 goals; MDG- 8 goals
v. SDG will be a evaluated, monitored and reported in a time-bound manner
vi. MDG was in implementation from 2001-2015 5. Parytak Mitra Programme to enable Students to act as Tourist Facilitatorsi. Parytak Mitra
Programme was in news on 14 March 2016. It came in news after the information on the same was provided in the Lok Sabha by the Minister of State for Culture and Tourism (I/C) Dr. Mahesh Sharma.
ii. The programme was launched by Union Ministry of Tourism on 12 January 2016 (National Youth Day) to inculcate appropriate tourism traits and knowledge amongst the trainees to enable them to act/work as Tourist Facilitators (Prayatak Mitra).
iii. The programme seeks to improve the sectoral service standards, which is one of the pre-requisites for attracting tourists in larger numbers.
iv. College going student including those enrolled with the NCC & NSS in the age group of 18 28 years. The age will be reckoned on the last date prescribed for application for admission. The applicant will also furnish a no-objection / sponsorship letter issued by the Principal concerned as to his/her joining the programme. 6. Lin Dan Earns His Sixth All England Badminton Title
i. Lin Dan from China has won the prestigious 2016 All England Badminton title in the mens singles category.In the final match played at Birmingham, England he defeated Chinese teammate Tian Houwei by 21-9, 21-10 score.
ii. It was his overall sixth All England badminton title and earlier he had won it in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012. Nozomi Okuhara of Japan marked her 21st birthday with her first All England title after beating two-time champion Wang Shixian of China 21-11, 16-21, 21-19 in their thrilling final.
iii. Lin Dan is a professional badminton player from China. He is a two-time Olympic champion, five-time world champion, and six-time All England champion.
7. Altico Capital names Naina Lal Kidwai as Non-Executive Director
i. Mumbai based Non-banking financial company Altico Capital India has appointed former HSBC India chairperson Naina Lal Kidwai as an independent non-executive director.
ii. Altico, focused on real estate, is looking to invest about Rs 2,500 crore every year for five years in the Indian real estate market. Naina lal Kidwai retired as executive director on the board of HSBC Asia Pacific and chairperson of HSBC India last year, after a 13-year stint.
iii. She is on the boards of Larsen & Toubro Limited, Advent Private Equity, Nestle SA, Cipla Ltd and Max Financial Services Ltd besides being chairperson of South Asia Harvard Business School. iv. She is currently involved with several industry associations and has previously been president of FICCI.
8. India Post Selects Deloitte As Consultant For Payments Bank
i. India Post has selected Deloitte to advise it on setting up a payments bank and an agreement between the two will be signed on March 14. The Public Investment Board has already approved the Rs 800-crore proposal of India Post and in 15 days, it will go to the Cabinet for final approval.
ii. Trail run project for the payments bank is set to start from January and the full-fledged operations will start by March As many as 40 international financial firms including World Bank and Barclays have shown interest to partner the postal department for setting up the bank. India Post has 55 lakh branches across the country.
iii. The Department of Posts, trading as India Post, is a government-operated postal system in India; it is generally referred to within India as "the post office". As of 31 March 2011, the Indian Postal Service had 154,866 post offices, of which 139,040 (89.78 percent) were in rural areas and 15,826 (10.22 percent) in urban areas.
iv. It had 25,464 departmental Post Offices and 129,402 Extra-Departmental Branch Post Offices. At the time of independence, there were 23,344 post offices, primarily in urban areas.v. The postal service is under the Department of Posts, which is part of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology of the Government of India.
Current Affairs - 14th March 2016
1. Palestinian Hanan Al Hroub won 2016 Global Teacher Prize
i. A Palestinian primary school teacher from a refugee camp, Hanan Al Hroub, on 13 March 2016 won one million dollar Global Teacher Prize. She was awarded for her outstanding contribution to the profession.
ii. Hroub, who runs the Samiha Khalil High School in Al-Bireh, Palestine, defeated nine other finalists from around the world, including Indias Robin Chaurasiya to win the award. The 2016 Winner of the Global Teacher Prize was announced by Pope Francis in a ceremony held at the Atlantis Palm Hotel in Dubai.
iii. Hroub uses a specialist approach in her school, which she developed, detailed in her book 'We Play and Learn' to overcome tense environments of the region under the shadow of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Hroub's approach has led to a decline in violent behaviour in schools where it was a frequent occurrence. She has also inspired her colleagues to review the way they teach and their classroom management strategies.
iv. Robin Chaurasiya runs a not-for-profit school in Mumbai for girls from the city's red light district of Kamatipura.
v. The Global Teacher Prize is a 1 million US dollar award presented annually to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession.
2. Kerala Tourisms Responsible Tourism Campaign Wins Golden City Gate Award At ITB Berlin
i. Kerala Tourisms new campaign on responsible tourism has bagged the prestigious Golden City Gate Award at the worlds leading travel trade show , ITB in the German capital of Berlin.
ii. Titled New Worlds, the multimedia campaign containing three short films directed by reputed Malayalam filmmaker Anwar Rasheed won the silver prize of this years Das Golden Stadttor or Golden City Gate, dubbed as the Oscar of Tourism communication, at the ITB.
iii. The New Worlds campaign was launched internationally by UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai at the World Travel Mart in London .
iv. It portrays the importance of responsible tourism initiatives under taken in Kerala which have led to several life-changing stories and have become the heart of it.
v. Golden Gate Award is entitled as Oscar in tourism communication. It is awarded every year for the ultimate recognition in global tourism communication at the ITB-Berlin which is the worlds leading travel trade show.
3. Free Wi-Fi Service launched At Srinagar International Airport
i. State-run telecommunication company, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has launched free Wifi services at the Srinagar international airport.
ii. Tourists visiting the Kashmir valley can now access hi-speed Internet services at the international airport here free of charge for the first 15 minutes as BSNL today launched its state-of-art WiFi HotSpot services. The 4G-based WiFi HotSpot services of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) at the Srinagar International Airport was inaugurated by Kashmir Divisional Commissioner Asgar H Samoon.
iii. Passengers will have to login after turning on WiFi services on their laptops or smartphones or any other wireless device. Then, a BSNL-WiFi prompt will pop-up on their device and the passengers will have to register and then they will be provided with a one-time password, he said. After verification, they will be able to browse.
4. 4th World Congress of Biosphere Reserves inaugurated at Lima
i. 4th World Congress of Biosphere Reserves was inaugurated on 14 March 2016 at Lima in Peru. The event will be held from 14 March to 17 March 2016 to address different issues related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Post 2015 Development Agenda.
ii. It is a world meeting of the Committees of UNESCOs Man and the Biosphere Program (MAB) and experts directly involved in the practical implementation of biosphere reserves including representatives of governments, biosphere reserves, local communities, UN agencies, NGOs, academic institutions, and organizations and institutions from all over the world working with the MAB Programme.
iii. The Congress will discuss on education for sustainable development, the economic viability of nature conservation systems, human migrations and protection of natural resources, among others.
5. India successfully test-fired Agni-I ballistic missile
i. India on 14 March 2016 successfully test-fired indigenously built nuclear-capable intermediate range Agni-I ballistic missile. It was launched from launch pad-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Abdul Kalam Island (Wheeler Island) on the Odisha coast.
ii. The trial was as part of training exercise by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of Indian Army.
iii. The sophisticated missile covered 700 km distance within 9 minutes and 36 seconds. The latest trial of Agni-I followed the first successful test-fire that was conducted on 27 November 2015 from the same base.
iv. Agni-I was developed by Advanced Systems Laboratory, the premier missile development laboratory of DRDO in collaboration with Defence Research Development Laboratory and Research Centre Imarat and integrated by Bharat Dynamics Limited, Hyderabad.
v. The missile is 15-metre-long and weighed 12 tonnes and equipped with sophisticated navigation system which ensures it reaches the target with a high degree of accuracy and precision. It is designed to carry a payload of more than one tonne. Its strike range can be extended by reducing the payload.
6. Record-breaking Astronaut Scott Kelly Retiring This April
i. Astronaut Scott Kelly will retire from NASA next month, after spending nearly a year in space and setting a record for the most cumulative days in space of any American.
ii. Kelly is a former Navy pilot who joined NASA in 1996, will leave the agency April 1. Kelly joined the astronaut corps in 1996 and currently holds the American record for most time spent in space. After retiring, Kelly will continue to participate in the ongoing research related to his one-year mission.
iii. Kelly flew in space four times, beginning with space shuttle Discoverys trip to NASAs Hubble Space Telescope on the STS-103 servicing mission in 1999.
iv. Kelly broke the American record for most cumulative time in space during his one-year mission, accruing 520 days.
v. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the agency of the United States Federal Government responsible for the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.
vi. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has named Cornell University Astronomy Professor Steven W. Squyres, as chairman of the NASA Advisory Council (NAC).
7. Vijender Singh Registers Fourth Straight Win In Pro Boxing i. Indian boxer and Olympic bronze medalist Vijender Singh notched up his fourth successive knockout win in the professional boxing circuit, beating Hungarys Alexander Horvath in under three rounds in Liverpool.
ii. The Bhiwani boxer achieved the knockout victory in the third round after being the one with the upper hand in the first two rounds as well. With the win, Vijenders record in Pro Boxing stands at four bouts, four wins and four knockouts.
iii. Vijender Singh Beniwal, also known as Vijender Singh or Vijender Beniwal, is an Indian professional boxer and former amateur boxer from Kaluwas, Bhiwani district in Haryana. 8. Maritime India Summit 2016 to be held in Mumbai
i. Maritime India Summit 2016 (MIS 2016), the maiden flagship initiative of the Union Ministry of Shipping, will be organised from 14 to 16 April 2016 at Bombay Convention and Exhibition Centre, Mumbai. Republic of Korea is the partner country for MIS 2016.
ii. The summit will provide a unique global platform for investors to explore potential business opportunities in the Indian Maritime Sector. The conference aims to foster interaction between stakeholders through B2B and G2B meetings. It will have special sessions on factors and services related to Indian Maritime Sector.
iii. The conference will also highlight investment opportunities in the Indian Maritime States and Union Territories.
9. ICICI Bank ties up with Ferrari for co-branded credit card
i. Country's largest private sector lender ICICI BankBSE 3.70 % today said it has tied up with marquee sports car maker Ferrari to launch co-branded credit card.
ii. "The 'Ferrari Credit Card' comes in two variants on the Visa platform and offers customers a host of offers including an all-expenses-paid trip for top spenders to Italy and also includes a Scuderia Ferrari watch as a joining gift," the bank said in a statement here.
iii. Details of the fees, if any, were not immediately shared by the bank. ICICI bank's General Manager Kusal Roy said this is the first-ever Ferrari range of credit cards in the country.
iv. The bank had over 34.69 lakh outstanding credit cards as of November, that saw transactions of over Rs 2,393 crore at ATMs and POS terminals. Current Affairs - 13th March 2016
1. Lt Gen N P S Hira appointed Deputy Chief of Army
i. Lieutenant General (Lt Gen) N P S Hira has been appointed as Deputy Chief of Army Staff. He will be now moving to Army Headquarters in New Delhi.
ii. Presently he is posted as Chief of Staff of Northern command at Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir. He was commissioned in the Sikh Light Infantry.
iii. He has a rich experience of counter insurgency operations in J&K and in the northeast region, as well as conventional operations in Western command.
iv. He had commanded the Battalion in Assam (Op Rhino) during high violence period. The unit under his command has bagged 32 gallantry awards and COAS citation.
v. He had commanded 12 Infantry Brigade deployed on the Line of Control (LoC) in Uri sector. He also had commanded the 10 Infantry Division in J&K on the LoC with distinction for which he was awarded the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal.
vi. Awards and Honours: He has earned an Ashok Chakra, Kirti Chakra, Shaurya Chakra and many more gallantry awards.
2. Anand Mahindra conferred with France's Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur
i. Mahindra & Mahindra Chairman and Managing Director (MD) Anand Mahindra was conferred with Chevalier de la Legion dHonneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour) by French Government.
ii. He was presented with this award by Francois Richier, Ambassador of France to India in recognition of his outstanding national and international achievements.
iii. Anand Mahindra is one of the most prominent business leaders in India. Under his leadership Mahindra & Mahindra group has turned into a global company of outstanding repute.
3. Arab League declares Lebanese movement Hezbollah a terrorist group
i. The Arab League has declared Lebanese movement Hezbollah, a Shia political organisation a terrorist group. The move comes after the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) had adopted the same stance.
ii. Decision in this regard was taken during the Arab League Foreign Ministers meeting at the organisations seat in Egypts capital Cairo. All-22 Arab League members supported the decision except Lebanon and Iraq expressed reservations.
iii. Hezbollah (Party of God) is a Shia political organisation created by Irans Revolutionary Guards in the 1980s. It was established with an armed wing during Lebanons civil war from 1975 to 1990. Currently, it is fighting in Lebanons neighbouring Syria to support the Government of President Bashar al-Assad.
iv. The United States, Canada and Australia already have listed Hezbollah as a terrorist group and the European Union (EU) has also blacklisted its military wing. 4. Union Power Ministry named LED based Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme as UJALA
i. Union Power Ministry has announced name UJALA for the LED based Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme (DELP). UJALA is acronym for Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All.
ii. The National LED based DELP programme was launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 2015 for energy conservation by reducing energy consumption.
iii. The target of programme is to replace 77 crore incandescent lamps with LED bulbs. Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) is implementing it and is currently running successfully in over 120 cities across India.
iv. The initiative is part of the Union Governments efforts to spread the message of energy efficiency in the country. LED bulbs have a very long life, almost 50 times more than ordinary bulbs, and 8-10 times that of CFLs, and therefore provide both energy and cost savings in the medium term. It will help in saving of energy around 24 crore units every year.
5. IMF and India to set-up South Asia Regional Training and Technical Assistance Center in Delhi
i. India and International Monetary Fund (IMF) have decided to set up South Asia Regional Training and Technical Assistance Centre (SARTTC) in New Delhi.
ii. In this regard, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
* SARTTC will set up for enhancing capacity development and training officials in dealing with macro-economic and financial issues in the South Asia region. * It will become the focal point for planning, coordinating, and implementing the IMFs capacity development activities in the region on a wide range of areas. * These wide range of areas are includes macroeconomic and fiscal management, financial sector regulation, monetary operations and supervision, and macroeconomic statistics. * It will help to address existing training needs and respond to the demand for IMF training in India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka. * SARTTAC will build upon the IMFs in-depth experience with capacity development on the experiences of the IMFs Regional Technical Assistance Centres (RTACs) and Regional Training Centres (RTCs). * Funding for the centre will come from contributions by Regional Member countries and Development Partners. * Australian Agency for International Development, South Korea and India also have pledged financial support for the Centre.
6. India, US launch Fullbright-Kalam Climate Fellowship
i. India and United States have launched the Fulbright Kalam Climate Fellowship enabling Indian research scholars to work with American institutions in the field of climate change.
ii. It will sponsor up to 6 Indian PhD students and post-doctoral researchers to work with US institutions for a period up to one year.
iii. The fellowship has been named after late Indian President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. It was launched as part of a commitment made by US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to build long-term capacity to address climate change-related issues in both the countries.
iv. It will be operated by the binational US-India Educational Foundation (USIEF) under the umbrella of the prestigious Fulbright programme. It will be jointly funded by both the governments.
Current Affairs - 12th March 2016
1. Gujarat: Leaks In Kakrapar Nuclear Plant, One Unit Shut
i. A power generation unit at Kakrapar Atomic Power Station in Surat was shut down after leakage of heavy water.
ii. Leakage in the primary heat transport system of unit one of Kakrapar atomic power station in Gujarat has forced the authorities to shut down the unit as an emergency measure.
iii. The leakage occurred but officials maintained that no nuclear radiation has occurred due to the leakage.
iv. Consequent to a small leak in primary heat transport (PHT) system, the reactor was shut down as intended as per design provisions.
v. All safety systems are working as intended. The radioactivity/radiation levels in the plant premises and outside are normal. 2. Cabinet approves ratification of BIMSTEC Convention
i. The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing and ratification of the Bay of Bengal Initiative on Multi Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters.
ii. The Ministry of Home Affairs has been designated as the Central Authority under Article 15 of the Convention.
iii. The BIMSTEC comprises of seven countries viz., Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
iv. The establishment of regional arrangements for mutual assistance in criminal matters will greatly contribute to more effective cooperation in the control of criminal activities.
v. The Convention aims to extend widest measures of assistance to each other through mutual cooperation for enhancing capability and effectiveness of the Member States in investigation and prosecution of crimes, including crimes related to terrorism, transnational organized crime, drug trafficking, money laundering and cyber-crimes.
3. India to supply 18 Meter Gauge Diesel Electric Locomotives to Myanmar
i. RITES (Public Sector Enterprise under Ministry of Railways) signed a contract to supply 18 Meter Gauge 1350 HP Diesel Electric Locomotives to Myanmar Railways.
ii. This supply will help Myanmar to meet increasing demand for passenger and freight traffic.
iii. This contract was signed at Naypyitaw, Myanmar on 4 March 2016.
iv. The supply contract of locomotives is a vital project being funded under an existing line of credit extended to Myanmar by Union Government.
v. These locomotives will be manufactured by Diesel Locomotive Works, Varanasi with several modern features like microprocessor controls, fuel-efficient engine and ergonomic cab design etc.
4. Long march against Indo-Bangladesh power plant near Sundarbans started
i. A 250 km-long protest march against plans to build Rampal Power Station, Indo-Bangladesh coal-fired power plant near the Sundarbans, was kick-started on 10 March 2016.
ii. The protest march calls for scrapping the project that supposedly will harm the ecosystem of the world's largest mangrove forest.
iii. Environmentalists, cultural and political activists, and eminent individuals began the four-day march from Jatiya Press Club in Dhaka to persuade the Bangladeshi Government to drop its backing for construction of the plants near the Sundarbans, an area of rice paddies, shrimp farms and vast mangrove forests.
iv. The Rampal Power Station is a proposed 1320 megawatt coal-fired power station at Rampal Upazila of Bagerhat District in Khulna, Bangladesh.
v.It is a joint partnership between India's state owned National Thermal Power Corporation and Bangladesh Power Development Board.
5. Tezpur University and JNU won the annual Visitors Awards for Central Universities
i. Tezpur University on 10 March 2016 won the annual Visitors Award for the Best University.
ii. Rakesh Bhatnagar and the Molecular Parasitology Group of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) have also won the Visitors Awards for Research and Innovation respectively.
iii. President Pranab Mukherjee will present Visitors Awards for 2016 to the winners at a function to be held at Rashtrapati Bhavan on 14 March 2016, as part of the Festival of Innovations.
iv. The Visitors Award for Innovation will be given to Professor Rakesh Bhatnagar of Jawaharlal Nehru University for development of a genetically engineered vaccine and a therapeutic antibody against anthrax.
v. The Visitors Award for Research will be presented to the Molecular Parasitology Group of Jawaharlal Nehru University of pioneering work in the area of molecular parasitology, especially anti-malaria, leishmaniasis and amoebiasis. The Best University will receive a Citation and Trophy while winners of Visitors Award for Innovation and Research will receive a citation and cash award of one lakh rupees.
6. Suresh Prabhu Has Launched "Clean My Coach" Service
i. Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu on 11th march 2016 has launched the 'clean my coach' service.
ii. The service allows a passenger to make request for a dirty coach to be swept and cleaned by sending an SMS on mobile number 58888 or by using an app or a designated website. Prabhu had announced the scheme in the Rail Budget last month.
iii. The service is in keeping with the railways 'cleanliness drive' Swachh Rail Swachh Bharat', was launched through Video Conferencing from Rail Bhawan in New Delhi/Northern Railway, Mumbai Central/Western Railway and Lucknow Jn/North Eastern Railway.
iv. As per the scheme for any cleaning requirement in the coach, passenger will have to send an SMS on a mobile number 58888.
v. A passenger can also use the android app 'Cleanmycoach Indian Railways' or webpage 'cleanmycoach.com' for logging the request which will be immediately acknowledged via SMS on mobile phone along with a code.
7. Uber Opens Asia's 1st Engineering Hub In India i. Uber, the ride sharing service provider has opened its first Asian engineering center in Bengaluru highlighting the focus on India to solve the localized challenges of Uber users in the country.
ii. The center will focus on software engineers, product developers and others working initially on problems specific to users in India.
iii. The center will eventually play a role in improving Ubers customer-facing technologies worldwide. Worldwide, Uber has about a 1,000 engineers spread over nine engineering centers.
iv. The engineering center in Bangalore is different from the Center of Excellence the company opened in Hyderabad which deals with operations and provides multi-channel support via email, phone and social media to ensure seamless experience before, during and after a ride.
v. The company is investing over $1 billion in India to build its network of cabs and has pumped in $50 million to open an operations-support center in Hyderabad last month. Uber engineering center currently has 8 engineers and plans to increase the head count to over 100 employees this year. The center, temporarily headed by Jaikumar Ganesh, is looking to hire more people in the near future, including a permanent India engineering head. 8. Govt sets new norms for Hydrocarbons licensing
i. Government of India has approved a new policy for exploration and also defined the norms for pricing of existing and new discoveries made in difficult areas.
ii. The petroleum minister said the new oil and gas exploration policy will now be based on a revenue-sharing model, as opposed to cost-and-output-based norms earlier.
iii. The difficult areas for which the new pricing norms have now been formulated are defined as those from deep-water, ultra deep-water and high pressure-high temperature areas. Such areas were not considered when prices were fixed for normal gas discoveries in 2014.
iv. The bulk of such fields are with Reliance Industries and state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp.
v. He said the new exploration licensing policy will allow production of both conventional and unconventional hydrocarbons, including shale gas, under a single license.
9. Crisil Sees GDP growing at 7.9% in 2016-17
i. The countrys GDP can grow by 7.9 per cent next fiscal if the monsoon is normal and the government implements the reform measures announced so far, domestic rating agency Crisil.
ii. Even though he flagged concerns on the banking front, It implementation of reforms should help the economy achieve higher growth and termed 2016-17 as the year of reckoning which has the potential to illustrate the path which the economy can take.
iii. India has faced weather shocks for three consecutive years, including two years of deficient rains in 2014 and 2015, and a normal monsoon season this year can lead to a 4% growth in agriculture on lower base effect.
Current Affairs - 11th March 2016
1. Tapan Chand Elected As AAI Chief
i. In the aftermath of National Governing Council meeting of Aluminium Association of India Tapan Chad elected as AAI chiefTapan Kumar Chand has been unanimously elected as the President of the metal governing body.
ii. Prior to his appointment he was serving chairman and Managing Director of National Aluminium Company.
iii. Aluminium Association of India, was founded in 1981 to cater the needs of Indian Aluminium Industry and to interface with various aluminium industries world over. iv. It is the head representing the entire spectrum of Indian Aluminium Industries
2. Hyundai Is Now The Official Partner Of BCCI
i. Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has entered into a 4 year partnership with Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) as an associate sponsor for all international matches at home. Hyundai is a Korean car maker.
ii. As per the agreement, HMIL would be the official partner of BCCI for all formats like Test, One day & T20.
iii. Hyundai fleet of premium cars would be used for transporting various stakeholders of the game throughout the event and also promotional activities during tournaments, in-stadia car display and branding are some other key pointers of the deal.
iv. Besides title sponsor, BCCI has made 3 official associate sponsors and with the help of them the cricket body would get Rs 150 crore in the next 4 years.
v. Recently, BCCI announced its association with beverage major PepsiCo as its first official associate sponsor for around 80 matches which would be played in four years. Mobile commerce platform Paytm is the official title sponsor of BCCI.
3. NITI Aayog Launches 'Women Transforming India' Campaign i. The NITI Aayog (GOIs premier think tank) has launched the Women Transforming India initiative on 8th March the International Women's Day in partnership with the UN in India and MyGov.
ii. Through this initiative the NITI Aayog seeks entries in the form of written essays or stories, preferably accompanied by photographs that set a context to the narrative.
iii. These stories should reflect new ground broken by women in empowering themselves or others. It will also seeks to encourage and recognize women who have made a difference particularly by demonstrating leadership in the economic, socio-cultural and environmental front.
iv. Entries must be filled online (https://mygov.in/task/women-transforming-india womentransform/) on or before March 31st, 2016. A shortlist of 8-10 best entries by a jury will be put to poll on MyGov.in to determine the top three entries. The final winning entry will be determined by a jury constituted by NITI Aayog. Spread across a period of over one month, the initiative will also sensitize citizens to gender issues and seek to promote gender equity and equality through a variety of media.
v. Apart from that, Winner will receive a certificate of appreciation from NITI Aayog and the UN in India. Change makers may also have a chance to interact directly with policy makers in the Government of India to enable affect positive policy action. 4. India Signs Raptor MoU To Save Birds Of Prey
i. To conserve several species of birds Government has signed Raptor MoU - a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on conservation of birds of prey in Africa and Eurasia.
ii. The Raptor MoU extends its coverage to 76 species of birds of prey, out of which 46 species, including vultures, falcons, eagles, owls, hawks, kites, harriers, etc. also occur in India.
iii. India is 56th signatory State to sign the Raptor MoU that was concluded on October 22, 2008 and came into effect on November 1, 2008.
iv. The Union Cabinet, in its meeting, held on December 30, 2015 had approved the proposal of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to sign the MoU, also called Raptor MoU, on Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia, with the Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS), or Bonn Convention, under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
v. The Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species(CMS) aims to conserve migratory species throughout their range. 5. Project Mausam Of M/O Culture Aims To Explore Multi-Faceted Indian Ocean World
i. Project Mausam is the initiative of Ministry of Culture which is to be implemented by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) as the nodal agency with research support of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) and National Museum as associate bodies.
ii. This project aims to explore the multi-faceted Indian Ocean world collating archaeological and historical research in order to document the diversity of cultural, commercial and religious interactions in the Indian Ocean extending from East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, the Indian Subcontinent and Sri Lanka to the Southeast Asian archipelago.
iii. Project mausam also aims to promote research on themes related to the study of Maritime Routes through international scientific seminars and meeting and by adopting a multidisciplinary approach.
iv. It aims to encourage the production of specialized works, as well as publications for the general public with an attempt at promoting a broader understanding of the concept of a common heritage and multiple identities. 6. Egyptian Diplomat Ahmed Abul Gheit Named As Secretary General Of Arab League
i. Veteran Egyptian diplomat Ahmed Abul Gheit (73) has been selected as Secretary General of the Arab League.
ii. The 22-member league voted unanimously in favour of Aboul Gheit who was only contender for the post at its ministerial meeting held in Cairo, Egypt.
iii. He will succeed Nabil El-Araby, Egyptian diplomat whose term ends in July 2016 after he had rejected second five-year term.
iv. Abul Gheit is a former ambassador of Egypt to the United Nations. He had served as Egypts foreign minister from 2004 to 2011 during the final seven years of Hosni Mubaraks rule. About Arab League The Arab League is a regional organization of Arab countries in and around North Africa, the Horn of Africa and Arabia.
7. Ex SC Judge Balbir Singh Chauhan Appointed As Chairman Of 21st Law Commission Of India
i. The Union Government has appointed the former Supreme Court Judge justice Balbir Singh Chauhan as the Chairman of 21st Law Commission of India (LCI).
ii. The announcement has made after six month of delay because The post has been lying vacant since last September when the commission was constituted.
iii. Currently he is Chairman of the Cauvery River Water Disputes Tribunal.
iv. He was judge of the SC from May 2009 to July 2014. Apart from him, Union Government has appointed former judge of the Gujarat high court Justice Ravi R Tripathi as member of 21st Law Commission of India. He retired as judge last May.
v. The 21st LCI will give its major recommendations on a review of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the criminal justice system and the bail law in order to ensure uniformity in the procedure of granting the relief. While LCI is a non-statutory and non-constitutional body constituted by the Union Government from time to time.
i. Renowned Brazil musician Nana Vasconcelos has passed away in the northeastern Brazilian city of Recife. He was suffering from lung cancer. He was 71.
ii. He was 8 time Grammy Award winning Brazilian percussionist known for his wide instrumental range and major role in free spirited jazz and world music of the 1970s and 1980s.
iii. He was a master of the single string percussion instrument known in Portuguese as the berimbao and worked over the decades with well known musicians such as Milton Nascimento.
iv. The American jazz magazine DownBeat named Vasconcelos percussionist of the year for seven consecutive year from 1983 to 1990. v. He started learning music with his musician father and by the time he was 12 he was playing a drum kit, performing at bars with local groups. 9. India To Launch 25 Foreign Satellites This Year
i. India will launch 25 foreign satellites belonging to seven countries. The list is topped by the USA in 2016-17.
ii. In written response to a question, Jitendra Singh, minister of state in Prime Ministers Office (PMO) which looks after the department of space, said till date 57 foreign satellites from 21 countries have been launched using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
iii. Mr. Singh said that Antrix the commercial arm of ISRO has signed the agreements with Algeria and Canada for launching three satellites each, four for Germany, one each for Japan and Malaysia and 12 for the USA in 2016-17.
iv. In the last three years, from January 2013 till December 2015, ISRO launched 28 foreign satellites belonging to 13 countries, with Singapore, the United Kingdom and the USA topping the list.
v. ISRO earned 80 million euros for the launch.
Current Affairs - 10th March 2016
1. Gujarat Top State Regarding Investment Potential
i. Gujarat has topped the list among the 21 cities in a race to be the best state in India having an investment potential,according to the report submit by economic think tank NCAER.
ii. Gujarat is followed by Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Maharashtra. The lowest in the rankings are the UP, Bihar, and Jharkhand.
iii. The rankings of the 21 cities were done on five factors political stability, infrastructure, economic climate, governance, and perceptions.
iv. Gujarat, Delhi and Tamil Nadu are the best places to make fresh investments in India, while Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar lag on this front, a latest survey by think-tank National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) has revealed.
2. Sonakshi Sinha Enters Guinness World Record For Nail Painting
i. Actress Sonakshi Sinha has become a Guinness World Records title-holder as she along with several other women participated in an initiative to set a record for most people painting their fingernails simultaneously.
ii. The 28-year-old actress participated in the event on the occasion of International Womens Day.
iii. She collaborated with Inglot, manufacturers in colour cosmetics, and its Indian franchise partner Major Brands.
iv. The women broke the previous record of 1,156 people painting nails simultaneously which was created by Taiwan Nail Association at Banqiao Stadium, New Taipei City, Taiwan on April 27, 2011.
3. Cabinet Approves Rs 8,000 Crore For Rural LPG Under PMUY Scheme
i. The Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved Pradhan Mantri Ujwala Yojana with an outlay of Rs 8,000 crore for three years, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan told on Thursday.
ii. Under the scheme, the government will spend Rs 8000 crore to provide LPG connections to rural households. On Wednesday, the government said that over 80 lakh people have voluntarily given up LPG subsidy.
iii. Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan told the Rajya Sabha that as part of 'GiveItUp' campaign that the ministry initiated, around 53 lakh giving up in the past six months alone.
iv. The scheme aims to provide on a war footing LPG connections to women members of BPL families. Mr. Dharmendra Pradhan said that the move is aimed at empowering women and protecting their health.v. The ministry said that the oil marketing companies have been targeting people with over Rs 10 lakh income to give up the subsidies. The ministry said, "For top 10 metros of the country, where most of the high income tax payers are likely to be residing, a suitable question has been built in the SMS platforms for ascertaining the income status of the LPG consumers. During telephonic calls also for refills, this is being done.
4. Government mulls policy to promote wind energy projects
i. In Order to propel the Wind Energy Potential in India, Union government will soon unveil a policy to give incentives including an interest discount of 0.25 % for increasing capacity of Wind mills of up to 1MW.
ii. Objective of the policy is to promote optimum utilisation of wind energy resources by creating facilitative framework for repowering, as per the draft.
iii. It said most of the wind-turbines installed up to the year 2000 are of capacity below 500 kW and are at sites having high wind energy potential.
iv. It is estimated that over 3000 MW capacity installation is from wind turbines of 500 kW or below.
5. India And Indonesia To Conduct Joint Training Exercise "Garuda Shakti IV"
i. Garuda Shakti, the 4th edition of joint training exercise between India and Indonesia will be hosted by Indonesia.
ii. The 13-day long joint exercise will begin from today and will end on March 23 at Magelang, Indonesia. The exercise is conducted on a reciprocal basis and its first edition was conducted in the year 2012 in India. The second edition was conducted in Indonesia in 2013 and third in India in 2014.
iii. The exercise is aimed at building and promoting positive relations between the two Armies of India and Indonesia. The Indian Army is sending a platoon strength contingent that will be training with the Airborne battalion of the Indonesian Army.
iv. The exercise will be on a joint counter insurgency operation with the setting of both rural and urban scenarios. The exercise will "enhance" the abilities of both the armies to undertake counter insurgency operations under the United Nations Charter.
v. The opening ceremony for the exercise will be conducted on 11 March 16 and the Senior officers from the army and civilian dignitaries of both the country will be the part of the closing ceremony.
6. Railways Forms SPV To Execute Bullet Train Project
i. Railways shifting the gears to introduce trains that run at speeds around 320 kmph, the railways have formed a new Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to implement the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Bullet Train project named the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited.
ii. Completion of the project aimed on time to avoid additional expenses of the project, a Joint Committee has been formed under the Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog with the secretaries of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Departments of Economic Affairs and Foreign Ministry as its members along with the Chairmanof Railway Board.
iii. The project expected that it will take about seven years after the awarding of the contract for the project to be completed, 81 per cent of the funding for the project would come from the loan from Japan.
iv. It is a soft loan for 50 years at 0.1 per cent annual interest with 15 years moratorium period
7. IAF To Get The First Batch Of Women Fighter Pilots In June
i. Indian Air Force Air Chief Marshal (ACM) Arup Raha announced while speaking on the occasion of the International Womens Day.
ii. Bhawna Kanth, Avani Chaturvedi, and Mohana Singh are likely to create history as Indias first women fighter pilots if they put on the wings and are inducted into the IAF fighter stream. Who among the three, or all of them, make the final cut depends on them clearing the advanced stage training.
iii. The three women trainees have volunteered to join the fighter stream.
iv. They are under the second phase of their training.
v. Once they complete their training and are on par with their male colleagues and the passing out parade is scheduled on June 18.
8. Rest of India complete record run chase to beat Mumbai by 4 wickets
i. Rest of India (ROI) pull off an incredible chase to beat 41 times Ranji Trophy champions Mumbai by four wickets.
ii. Needing 480 to win the match with a day and a half to go, ROI went about their job without much fuss as they reached the target with just a few overs left in the match.
iii. Left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdullah picked up five wickets in the fourth innings, but his team fell short in the end.
iv. This is not only ROIs highest score in the fourth innings, but also their highest successful run chase, with the previous best being 273 for 4 against Baroda in 2001, under the leadership of VVS
v. ROI were bowled out for 306 in their first innings, thereby conceding a lead of 297 runs. Mumbai did not enforce the follow-on, but were bowled out for just 182, thereby setting ROI a target of 480. No other bowler barring Abdullah managed to pick up a single wicket as ROI romped home.
9. S Rao Will Take Over As The New Chairman And Public Interest Director Of BSE
i. Sudhakar Rao will be the new Chairman of BSE and new Public Interest Director announced by BSE. He is going to replace Mr. S Ramadorai.
ii. As Mr. Ramadorai has retired from the position of its Chairman.
iii. He was appointed as public interest director and chairman of the board in 2010 and retired on 7 March 2016 after serving BSE for six years.
iv. Currently there are five Public Interest Directors on the BSE's Board including eminent chartered accountant Sethurathnam Ravi who was appointed last month.
v. Presently, Rao is also an independent director on the boards of Indian Oil Corporation, CMC Ltd and L&T Infrastructure Development Projects Ltd. He is the Group Advisor, Strategy and Development of the Manipal Education and Medical Group.
10. PSUs Spent Over Rs 2400 Crore In CSR In 2014-15
i. Government of India has announced today that in 2014-2015, 116 Public Sector Enterprises (PSUs) have spent an amount of rs. 2447.59 Crore on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities and no complaint has been received on misuse of these funds.
ii. Today, Anant Geete the Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Minister said in Rajya Sabha during the question hour after several members expressed concern over media reports suggesting that there have been misuse of CSR funds, especially by private companies.
iii. Geete told the members that he understood their concerns and added that he was not ruling out the possibility of misuse. He however added that his ministry had received no "written" complaint regarding which could be acted upon. Speaking about companies in the private sector, he said the government did not control these companies, but has issued guidelines. "If there is a specific complaint, we can act on it," he said.
iv. As members voiced concern about the spending of funds in the private sector, Geete said his ministry was the nodal department for the public sector enterprises. v. Geete also said that meetings to monitor the spending of these funds are held every six months.
Current Affairs - 9th March 2016
1. 108-feet Jain Teerthankar idol enters "Guinness book of records"
i. 108feet tall idol of Lord Rishabhdeva, the first Teerthankar of Jains, carved out of a single rock, has entered the Guinness World Records as the worlds tallest Jain statue.
ii. The idol was consecrated last month during a grand ceremony where rituals were performed for several days.
iii. Till now, the 57 feet idol of Lord Bahubali in Shravanabelagola in Karnataka was considered the worlds tallest Jain statue.
iv. The impressive statue is located atop Mangi Tungi mountain near Teharabad village of Baglan tehsil in this North Maharashtra district.
2. President Pranab Mukherjee presented 2015 Nari Shakti awards
i. President Pranab Mukherjee on 8 March 2016 presented Nari Shakti Puraskar for the year 2015 to 15 women, 5 organisations, one state and panchayat. The awards were conferred on the occasion of International Women's Day at Rashtrapati Bhawan.
ii. The awards are annually given by the Union Ministry of Women & Child Development to institutions and individuals who have made exceptional contribution towards empowerment of women specially belonging to vulnerable and marginalised sections of society. It carries cash award of two lakh rupees and a certificate for institutions and one lakh rupees and a certificate for individuals.
iii. Haryana was awarded as a state for demonstrating improvement with work in improving Child Sex Ratio (CSR) and Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) during 2015. Anganwadipuram Gram Panchayat, Mallapuram of Kerala was awarded for their work towards women empowerment.
iv. Through its activities the panchayat helped women to hold leadership roles and promoted women in decision making.
3. NTPC Bags Poll Based Investor Communication Award
i. NTPC has been conferred the Research Investor Communication Award among the Large Corporates category .Director Finance of the Company Shri K. Biswal, received the award at a ceremony held at BSE in Mumbai
ii. This award is bestowed for following transparent and fair communication practices by Research Bytes in an independent poll having participation of over 3000 Fund Managers/Analysts/Non Institutional Investors.
iii. The award NTPCs effort on building a strong ecosystem based on consistent and regular communication with investors across the globe in a fair and transparent manner.
4. Mumbai to host BRICS Friendship Cities Conclave in April
i. Mumbai financial capital of India to host BRICS Friendship Cities Conclave in April involving top Urban Policy makers and Planners from BRICS Nations.
ii. A think- tank working to find the solutions for Mumbai Development to make a global financial centre and is inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modis plan to promote cooperation among BRICS Nations.
iii. The BRICS Friendship Conclave is a joint initiative of Ministry of External Affairs and Maharashtra Government to be held between April 14 and 16 this year.
iv. Top level dignitaries from the BRICS Nations and also from Indian Ministers and Chief Minister of the State will attend the Conclave to be inaugurated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
5. Germany Partners with India to Develop Kochi, Coimbatore, Bhubaneswar As Smart Cities
i. Germany will partner India in turning Bhubaneswar, Coimbatore and Kochi into smart cities, according to German ambassador to India Martin Ney Germany is an ideal partner in India's mission to create smarter cities as the country is "very strong at smart planning for urban centres. ii. Germany developed the technologies to make life in cities easier.
iii. They developed the processes to bring on board the stakeholders to make cities thrive and German companies have developed smart solutions to make smart cities.
i. Government Karnataka has launched Mukhyamantri Santwana Harish Yojana to provide free medical treatment to road accident victims for the first 48 hours (2 days) in the nearest government or private hospital.
ii. The scheme has been named after Harish Nanjappa who had donated his eyes moments before his death. He had died as no help was provided to him after he was severely injured in mishap in February 2016 .
iii. State govenment hospitals would be directed not to reject accident victims and they shall be provided proper medical care for first 48 hours and get treatment at any hospital.
7. Sun Pharma Signs MS Dhoni As Brand Ambassador For Revital H
i. Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Limited has appointed Indian Cricketer and Captain MS Dhoni as the Brand ambassador for its top selling health supplement Revital H.
ii. This move is in the companys Pipeline to reposition the brand after 25 years since its launch on the planks of active lifestyle.
iii. MS Dhoni selected as a popular choice basis a consumer research conducted by the company, He is well known for pushing limits and achieving more and perfect combination of physical fitness, strategic thinking and decision making and fits well in the active lifestyle value proposition of Revital H brand.
iv. The Company is also planning to establish a new ad campaign featuring MS Dhoni done by Lowe Lintas which will go live throughout the ICC T20 World Cup.
8. Iran Successfully Test-Fired Several Ballistic Missiles
i. Irans Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has successfully test-fired several ballistic missiles from silos across the country. ii. These tests were conducted by IRGC to demonstrate the countrys deterrent power and its ability to confront any threat against the state and the sovereignty of the country.
iii. With this Iran has breached United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions that compel it to refrain from any work on ballistic missiles for 8 years.
iv. After two Iranian missile tests last October, the U.S. announced new sanctions in January against Iranians and companies for helping Irans ballistic missile program.
9. Indias leading Integrated Travel Thomas Cook Signs Strategic Alliance With Western Union Business Solutions And DCB Bank
i. Thomas Cook (India) Ltd., Indias leading integrated travel and travel related financial services company, has announced a strategic collaboration with Western Union Business Solutions, a business segment of The Western Union Company, and DCB Bank Limited (formerly Development Credit Bank Ltd.).
ii. Its aims to assist Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in India with their trade payments across borders. iii. As per the Mr. Mahesh Iyer, Chief Operating Officer, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd.
iv. This alliance is a pioneering move by Thomas Cook India, to penetrate the high growth Indian SME segment for its international trade payment requirements.
Current Affairs - 8th March 2016
1. France Highest Honour "Legion d'Honneur" To Saudi Prince
i. President Francois Hollande has awarded the Legion dHonneur, Frances highest honour, to visiting Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Nayef. Nayef was cited for his efforts in the fight against terrorism and extremism."
ii. But the France has been accused of devaluing its highest national honour after that the Legion of Honour was quietly awarded to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia on a visit to Paris.
iii. Earlier this year, The French government was among the most vocal outside the Middle East in its condemnation of Saudi mass executions, calling the kingdoms killing of 47 people deeply deplorable. Yet almost two months to the day after that statement was issued, President François Hollande awarded his nations most prestigious award to the heir to the Saudi throne, Prince Mohammed bin Naif.
iv. The Legion of Honour is regarded as among the first and most prestigious modern orders of merit in the world. In both France and the UK, there was anger at the decision to award the symbolically significant medal to the deputy leader of a country which has executed 70 people since the start of the year.
2. Countdown for launch of Indias 6th navigational satellite IRNSS-1F begins in Sriharikota
i. Countdown for the launch of PSLV-C32 to place India's sixth navigational satellite IRNSS-1F in the orbit started at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota this morning.
ii. ISRO's workhorse PSLV-C32 will lift off at 4 PM on Thursday.
iii. ISRO sources said, Mission Readiness Review committee and the Launch Authorisation Board met at Sriharikota yesterday evening and cleared the 54 and half hour countdown which started at 9:30 AM today. The sources said, during the countdown, propellant filling operations would be taken up in the four stage vehicle.
3. International Women's Day observed with campaign theme "PledgeForParity"
i. 8 March: International Women's Day (IWD) , International Women's Day was observed across the world on 8 March 2016.
ii. This year's theme for the Day is Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality. The campaign theme for the day is #PledgeForParity.
iii. United Nations observance and the idea of this theme reflect on how to accelerate the 2030 Agenda, building momentum for the effective implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals.
iv. The theme will also focus on new commitments under UN Womens Step It Up initiative, and other existing commitments on gender equality, womens empowerment and womens human rights.
v. 2016 International Women's Day (IWD) was observed in India by conferring the Nari Shakti Awards by President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhawan. On the other hand, the day was observed in different states of India in different ways like around 40 acid attack survivors were felicitated with the Rani Laxmi Bai award and provided financial assistance in Uttar Pradesh.
4. Dogri Poetess Padma Sachdev Awarded Krutitava Smagra Samman
i. Renowned Dogri poetess and writer Padma Sachdev has been awarded Krutitava Smagra Samman for 2015. The award was given by the Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad in Kolkata, West Bengal. Sachdev received this award for her outstanding contribution in literature and great service to Dogri Language.
ii. West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi presented the award to the poetess. The award carries an amount of Rs. one lakh, a shawl and citation.
iii. Padma Sachdev is an Indian poet and novelist. Padma Sachdev is first modern woman poet of Dogri language.
iv. She also writes in Hindi. She has published her several poetry collection and some of them are Tavi Te Chanhan (Rivers Tavi and Chenab, 1976), Nheriyan Galiyan (Dark Lanes, 1982), Pota Pota Nimbal (Fingertipful Cloudless Sky, 1987), Uttar Vahini (1992) and Tainthian (1992).
v. She has won the Sahitya Akademi Award at the young age of thirty for her first collection of Dogri poetry title Mere Kavita. She has also received the Padma Shri, the Indian fourth highest civilian award in 2001 and the Kabir Samman for poetry for the year 2007-08, given by Government of Madhya Pradesh.
vi. She also has won Soviet Land Nehru Award, Hindi Academy Puraskar, U.P. Hindi Academy Pruaskar, Raja Ram Mohan Roy Puraskar, Joshua Poetry Award, and the Jammu & Kashmir Governments Robe of Honour.
5. E- Haat : A Online Marketing Platform Launched By Union Government
i. Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Sanjay Gandhi launched Mahila e-Haat portal in New Delhi to facilitate women entrepreneurs to sell their products to buyers.
ii. It will provide access to markets to thousands of women who make products and are spread all over the country. The Mahila e-Haat portal, http://mahilaehaat-rmk.gov.in, is an online marketing platform.
iii. It is an initiative for women across the country as a part of Digital India and Stand Up India initiatives of Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi.
iv. On the occasion of the launching Mrs. Menka Gandhi, the minister for Women & Child Development said that this empowerment of women will take place in three stages in which Mahila E-Haat is the first stage. In the second stage, it is planned to integrate it with e-commerce portals to provide a larger platform for selling and buying. Ultimately it will culminate into Womens Entrepreneurs Council which will help to expand this initiative further and give it an institutional shape.
v. It is a Joint initiative of Union Women and Child Development Ministry and Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) for meeting the needs of women entrepreneurs. And the objective of this platform is to strengthen the financial inclusion of women entrepreneurs by providing continued support to their creativity.
6. Banks disburse over Rs 1.15 lakh cr under PM Mudra Yojana
i. Banks have so far disbursed over Rs 1.15 lakh crore under Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY), Financial Services Secretary Anjuly Chib Duggal said today.
ii. Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency Ltd (MUDRA) focuses on 5.75 crore self-employed who use funds totalling Rs 11 lakh crore and provide jobs to 12 crore people. Under PMMY, loans between Rs 50,000 and Rs 10 lakh are provided to small entrepreneurs. "We have been working with MUDRA. It has been a runaway success.
iii. we are looking at Rs 1.15 lakh crore plus right now," she said at an event organised by MFIN here.
iv. The scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April last year.
v. Three products available under the PMMY are Shishu, Kishor and Tarun, to signify the stage of growth and funding needs of the beneficiary micro unit or entrepreneur.
7. Maria Sharapova provisionally suspended after failing drugs test at Australian Open
i. Former world number one Maria Sharapova has revealed she failed a drugs test at the Australian Open. The 28 year old Russian star tested positive for meldonium, a substance, she has been taking since 2006 for health issues.
ii. The International Tennis Federation said, Sharapova, a five time Grand Slam champion, is provisionally suspended from March 12th pending further action.
iii. Meanwhile, sportswear maker Nike has suspended their relationship with Sharapova till the investigation continues. Sharapova, who lives in Florida, provided the anti-doping sample in question on January 26th, the day she lost to Serena Williams in the Australian Open quarter finals.
8. Union Government announced to withdraw tax proposal on Employee Provident Fund
i. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on 8 March 2016 announced to withdraw proposal to tax Employee Provident Fund (EPF) withdrawals.
ii. He announced to withdraw the proposal while clarifying NDA governments stand on the issue in the Lok Sabha.
iii. He further stated that government would also like to comprehensively review EPF tax proposal.
iv. However, government retained the tax proposal for National Pension Scheme (NPS) withdrawals.
v. The proposal was made by the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while presenting the Union Budget 2016-17 in the Lok Sabha on 29 February 2016. As per the proposal 60 percent of the amount deposited in the EPF account of the employee would be taxable at the time of withdrawal, and 40 percent would be tax free. This proposal would have become effective from 1 April 2016.
9. Fitch Maintains India's Growth Forecast At 7.5 %
i. Fitch, the global rating agency has maintained India's growth forecast for India at 7.5 % for this fiscal ( 2015-2016 ) and also sees higher growth around 7.7 % & 7.9 % over the next two financial years. However, 8 per cent growth will remain elusive in the short term. The GDP growth in the first three quarters of this fiscal stands at 7.6%, 7.7% and 7.3%.
ii. The growth rate for the April-June quarter was revised sharply upward from a provisional 7% to to 7.7%, which has driven up the projections for the entire 2015-16 fiscal.
iii. Despite a slowdown in the third quarter, India's economic growth still outpaced China's 6.8% for the same period. Fitch also pitched for monetary policy easing.
iv. Fitch expects another 25 bps of monetary policy loosening, facilitated by the governments recent announcement to maintain its fiscal targets for 2016-17 and 2017-18.
v. Fitch Ratings Inc. is one of the three nationally recognized statistical rating organizations (NRSRO) designated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 1975, together with Moody's and Standard & Poor's, and the three are commonly known as the "Big Three credit rating agencies". Fitch Ratings is dual-headquartered in New York, USA, and London, UK.
Current Affairs - 7th March 2016
1. Amrita Patel Gets Mahindra Lifetime Achievement Award
i. Dr Amrita Patel has been conferred with the Mahindra Samriddi India Agri Lifetime Achievement Aear-Krishi Shiromani Samman in New Delhi. Dr Patel is a former Chairman of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB). She served as its chief from 1998 to 2014.
ii. The award has been conferred by Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh.
iii. Dr. Patel played a vita role in the implementation of Operation Flood, the largest development programme in the world.
iv. The operation flood programme helped to promote, finance and deliver a variety of supporting services to a national cooperative dairy structure that transformed the lives of millions of marginalized and small farmers and milk producers.
v. The award is given for her purposeful contribution that made a difference in the field of agriculture to increase productivity and rural prosperity.
2. Myanmar grants operating licenses to four more Asian banks including SBI
i. Myanmar has granted operating licenses to four Asian banks, bringing to 13 the number of foreign banks allowed to conduct business in the previously isolated country.
ii. Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam, State Bank of India, Taiwan's Sun Commercial Bank and South Korea's Shinhan Bank, these are the four bank were granted preliminary licenses, Myanmar's Foreign Bank Licensing Committee.
iii. The decision is just the second time Myanmar has granted licenses for foreign banks to open since a semi-civilian government took over in 2011.
iv. The approval gives the banks 12 months to demonstrate they can fulfill business plans laid out in their.
v. Myanmar (formerly Burma), is a Southeast Asian nation of more than 100 ethnic groups.
3. Tata Housing ties up with SBI for Women's Day offer
i. Real estate developer Tata Housing has partnered with the country's largest lender, State Bank of India, on the occasion of the International Women's Day.
ii. Tata Housing will allow its women customers to pay only 20 per cent of the agreement value while the balance can be paid on taking possession of the property, a company statement said here today.
iii. On its part, SBI will be offering home loans to its women customers at a special interest rate of 9.5 per cent per annum under the SBI Her Ghar scheme as part of the International Women's Day, which will be celebrated between March 8 and March 13, it said.
iv. Moreover, the SBI has waived processing fees on the home loan under the scheme, it added.
4. Email Inventor Ray Tomlinson Dies At 74
i. Ray Tomlinson, the inventor of email has passed away. He was 74. He died of an apparent heart attack.
ii. His invention included the ground-breaking use of the @ symbol in email addresses, which is now standard.
iii. The US computer programmer came up with the idea of electronic messages that could be sent from one network to another in 1971. Before Ray Tomlinson invention direct electronic messages users could only write messages to others using the same computer.
iv. He was the first to use the @ symbol in this way, to distinguish a user from its host.
v. His work was recognized by his peers in 2012, when he was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame.
5. Asia Cup 2016 Concludes In Bangladesh & India Won Its 6th Asia Cup Title
i. India beat Bangladesh by 8 wickets in the final to win their Asia Cup title. With this victory, India lifted their sixth Asia Cup title. ii. This is the first time the Asia Cup was held in T20 format and India proved that why they are No.1 side in T20 Internationals.
iii. India finish their unbeaten run in the Asia Cup with a strong performance in the final. Bangladesh fought hard in phases but a victory with six balls to spare and eight wickets in hand is a pretty emphatic one in the end.
iv. The 2016 Asia Cup was a Twenty20 International (T20I) cricket tournament that was held in Bangladesh from 24 February to 6 March 2016.
v. It was the 13th edition of the Asia Cup, the fifth to be held in Bangladesh.
6. Gyan Sangam: 3rd Phase of Bank Reforms to Focus on Bad Loan
i. With mounting bad loans, the second edition of the Finance Ministrys brain storming session with public sector banks focused on management of non-performing assets and consolidation in the sector.
ii. The two-day Gyan Sangam an annual retreat of chiefs of public sector financial institutions, officials from the Finance Ministry and the Reserve Bank of India recently held on March 4 and 5 in Gurgaon.
iii. The last year retreat was held for the first time in pune.
iv. The agenda would include- Restructuring and mergers and acquisitions of banks, NPA management and recovery, Technology, digital and financial inclusion, Credit growth, and Risk management.
v. This retreat has been held to take forward the governments commitment to reforms in the banking and financial sector. The growth and change in the financial sector ought to be in tune with the development in the real sector, said the Finance Ministry.
7. Country's First Small Finance Bank To Start Ops On April 13
i. Jalandhar-based Capital Local Area Bank has become the first entity to receive the Reserve Bank of Indias licence to start operations as a small finance bank.
ii. In september 2015 Reserve Bank of India granted in-principle licences to 10 applicants to set up small finance banks, including Capital Local Area Bank.
iii. The small finance bank will undertake basic banking activities of acceptance of deposits and lending to unserved and underserved sections including small business units, marginal farmers and unorganised sector entities.
iv. AS per Sarvjit Singh Samra, managing director of Capital Local Area Bank plans to start its small finance bank operations on April 13.
8. Investors' summit Begins in Gurgaon
i. The first two-day 'Happening Haryana Global Investors Summit 2016' has kicked off in Gurgaon, which has see participation from 12 countries. ii. Besides several Union Ministers, a number of leading entrepreneurs and MNCs have taken part.
iii. The summit comes close on the heels of the Jat quota agitation in Haryana, in which 30 people were killed and property worth crores of rupees was destroyed.
iv. The participating countries are Czech-Republic, Japan, Mauritius, New Zealand, China, Korea, Malawi, Peru, Poland, Spain, the United Kingdom and Tunisia.
v. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is the chief guest at the inaugural session while Khattar has delivered the keynote address.
9. Amazon Is India's Most Trusted Online Shopping Brand
i. Amazon World's largest e-retailer is India's most trusted online shopping brand followed homegrown Snapdeal and Flipkart.
ii. Ebay, Myntra, Yepme, Jabong, Naaptol, Shopclues and Askmebazaar Other firms to figure in the top 10 trusted online shopping brands.
iii. The survey was conducted among 2,500 respondents, aged 21-50, across 16 cities and its findings have been compiled in the Brand Trust Report, India Study 2016. iv. The report is issued annually by TRA (formerly Trust Research Advisory).
v. According to TRA Chief Executive Officer N Chandramouli Amazon is India's most trusted online shopping brand with 36 per cent of the trust pie. Together, these three brands make up for 76 per cent of online shopping trust pie.
Current Affairs - 6th March 2016
1. Manoj Kumar to be conferred Dadasaheb Phalke Award i. Veteran Film Actor and Director Manoj Kumar has been selected for the prestigious 47th Dadasaheb Phalke Award for the year 2015.
ii. He was unanimously selected by a five member jury consisted of Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Salim Khan, Nitin Mukesh and Anup Jalota.
About Manoj Kumar
* Manoj Kumar was born as Harikishan Giri Goswami on 24 July 1937 in Abbottabad (now in Pakistan), then part of British India. * He had shifted to Delhi at the age of 10 due to India-Pakistan partition after independence. He entered in the film industry after graduating from Hindu College, University of Delhi. * His debut role as an actor was in the film Fashion (1957) and as a leading role was in film Kaanch Ki Gudia (1960). * He is remembered for his films Hariyali Aur Raasta, Himalaya Ki God Mein, Woh Kaun Thi, Do Badan, Patthar Ke Sanam, Upkaar, Neel Kamal, Purab Aur Paschim, Roti Kapda Aur Makaan, and Kranti. * He is best known for acting in and directing films with patriotic themes. His first patriotic film was Shaheed (1965) based on the life of Bhagat Singh. * Awards and Honours: He is a recipient of National Film Award (1968) for the film Upkaar. He also was honoured with the Padma Shri in 1992 and Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999.
2. Raisina Dialogue 2016 kicks off at New Delhi
i. The first Raisina-Dialogue 2016, a flagship conference on Geopolitics and Geo-economics began in New Delhi.
ii. The three day conference is joint initiative of Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and Observer Research Foundation (ORF), an independent think tank based in India.
3. Two-day National Conference of Women Legislators held
i. A two-day National Conference of Women Legislators held in New Delhi from 5 March to 6 March 2016 with theme Women Legislators-Building Resurgent India.
ii. The conference organised by the Parliament was inaugurated by the President Pranab Mukherjee. Speaker of Bangladesh Shirin Chaudhary attended the conference and was the Chairperson of the Plenary Session.
iii. The conference will equip the women legislators from across India with latest knowledge in relevant areas and provide them with the right perspective, motivation and guidance in their roles as legislators and powerful agents of socio-economic progress and change as well as good governance. It will update them about current national and international issues that are relevant to their field of work.
iv. It was attended by Vice President Mohammed Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and women MLAs, MLCs, MPs and Union Ministers.
4. Sirshendu De selected for Innovation Award 2016 for developing laterite based arsenic water filter
i. Prof. Sirshendu De, Head of the Chemical Engineering department of the IIT, Kharagpur on 4 March 2016 was selected for the Innovation Award 2016 given by the Indian Desalination Association (IDA), South Zone.
ii. He was selected for the award for developing an ultra low-cost eco-friendly laterite based arsenic water filter.
iii. The cost-effective filter would provide safe drinking water in areas contaminated with arsenic. The indigenous filter, made from naturally occurring red laterite soil, is capable of absorbing arsenic to the extent of 32mg per gram.
i. Uttar Pradesh Assembly passed the UP Revenue Code (Amendment) Bill 2016 replacing an ordinance issued by the Governor Ram Naik.
ii. The Bill allows Dalits of the state to sell their land to non-Dalits in the state without approval of the administration even if their remaining holding is less than 3.5 acres.
* The bill seeks to bring changes existing revenue laws dating to the British era by further speeding up disposal of litigations over land ownership in rural areas. * It also provision that allows land owners lease out their land for share-cropping purpose without the fear of losing it after 12 years. * Ensures that wife gets equal rights on the gram samaj land given out on a lease signifying step towards empowerment of rural women. * The bill has provisions for setting up of a new judicial cadre that will look after land revenue disputes in order to end disputes especially in cases of partnership.
6. India moves to WTO against US on temporary working visa issue
i. India has filed a complaint against the United States decision to impose high fees L-1 and H-1B categories of temporary working visas in the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
ii. US had imposed fees on certain applicants for L-1 and H-1B categories of non-immigrant temporary working visas into the country.
iii. According to India, US measure is inconsistent with the global norms and it would impact Indian IT professionals as it makes Indian IT companies less competitive in that market. These measures appear to be inconsistent with the terms, limitations and conditions agreed under the GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services).
Current Affairs - 5th March 2016
1. TCS chief N Chandrasekaran appointed to board of Reserve Bank
i. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) CEO and managing director Natarajan Chandrasekaran and two others were on Friday appointed as non-official directors to the board of Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
ii. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved appointment of former Chief Secretary of Gujarat Sudhir Mankad as part-time non-official director on the central board of the RBI for a period of four years, an order issued by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said.
iii. Mr Mankad was Chief Secretary of Gujarat from April 2005 to August 2007 when Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister of the state. Besides Mr Mankad, Mr Chandrasekaran of TCS has also been appointed as part-time non-official director on the RBI board, it said.
iv. Bharat Narotam Doshi, non-executive chairman of Mahindra & Mahindra, is the third part-time non-official director on the central board of the bank, the department said. Both Mr Chandrasekaran and Mr Doshi will have a tenure of four years.
v. The Reserve Bank's affairs are governed by a central board of directors. The board is appointed by the government of India. Besides the RBI Governor, there cannot be more than four deputy governors as full-time official directors of the central bank.There can be ten non-official directors from various fields and two government officials.
2. Sunil Sabharwal Re Appointed As Alternate Executive Director At IMF
i. Independent investor Sunil Sabharwal has become the first Indian American to occupy a key administration post as Alternate Executive Director at the IMF.
ii. Mr. Sabharwal is re nominated by US President Barack Obama. He was 1st nominated in April 2014 and then renominated to the position of Alternate Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
iii. The post of Alternate Executive Director is one of the most powerful position in the IMF considering more than the 16.81 % voting share (highest) of US in the total IMF voting share.
iv. Prior to this appointment Mr. Sabharwal has served as board chairman of Ogone, a European e-commerce payment services firm, from 2011-13. v. Mr. Sabharwal also had served as Senior Vice President of Strategic Investments at First Data Corporation/Western Union from 2003 to 2006. Since 2006, he has been an independent investor in the payments sector.
3. PepsiCo Named As New Associate Sponsor Of BCCI
i. Beverage giants PepsiCo has named as the new associate sponsor of BCCI , which was earlier pulled out as title sponsors of the Indian Premier League in October.
ii. BCCI has named it as BCCI's official associate sponsor for all international matches in India.
iii. The both entered into a 4 year partnership for refreshment, snacks and drinks besides grounds where the firm will try to garner maximum visibility for their brands.
iv. Besides, Pepsico, there would be two other official associate sponsors of BCCI, from which the cricket body would get Rs 150 crore for the next four years.
v. Names of the other two sponsors will be announced in the next 7-10 days. Apart from them Mobile commerce platform Paytm is the official title sponsor of the BCCI.
4. Election Commission Announces Assembly Election In 4 States & 1 Union Territory
i. The Election Commission today announced the schedule for Assembly polls in four states West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and for Union Territory Puducherry. The Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi has announced the election date today in New Delhi.
ii. In Assam, elections will be held in two phases April 4 and 11. In West Bengal, it will be held on April 4, 11, 17, 21, 25, 30 April, and May 5. In Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kerala, the elections will be held on May 16. Counting of votes for all five states will be done on May 19.
iii. The elections will also see for the first time a symbol, which has been created by the National School of Design, allotted to NOTA (None of the above) that will be placed at the bottom of the list of candidates. And If possible polling centers will be set up in blind schools, leprosy centers to ensure inclusiveness.
iv. This time all the polls will have Mobile squads with GPS-fitted vehicles and will be accompanied by central forces to ensure that they quickly attend to complaints.
v. There will be exclusive polling stations for differently-abled voters.
5. Indian Shooter Jitu Rai Clinches Gold 50m Pistol Gold
i. Jitu Rai (Nepali) (born 25 August 1987) is an Indian shooter of Nepalese origin, clinch the 50m pistol gold at the ISSF World Cup Bangkok.
ii. Jitu Rai beat Chinas former World and Olympic Champion Wei to second place shooting 191.3 to Pangs 186.5. Wang Zhiwei, also of China and an Olympic Bronze medallist, finished third with a final round score of 165.8.
iii. Jitu Rai reached the final by finishing third at the end of the 60 shot qualifying series with a score of 562.
iv. He led the field of eight top qualifiers with a score of 564, while Zheiwei followed him in second place scoring 563.
v. Former World Champion Tomoyuki Matsuda of Japan was also going to be a threat in the final given his recent form in the Asian Shooting qualifiers in Delhi.
6. MoU between Indian Army and Induslnd Bank
i. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Indian Army and Hinduja Grouped Induslnd Bank on the Defence Salary package. ii. The signing ceremony of MoU was headed by Lt Gen Rakesh Sharma and the Dignitaries from Induslnd bank headed by Anil M Rao Head-General Banking Operations.
iii. The first MoU was signed earlier in 2011 was valid for a period of three years, this MoU revised to suit the requirements of serving soldiers also provide them opportunity to access modern banking facilities.
iv. The specially designed salary will hold additional features free/ concessional services including free drafts, Cheques books, and free fund transfer to any bank in India through NEFT/ RTGS and free ATM cards.
v. In the latest MoU Personal Accident Insurance cover has been Included an amount of Rs. 2 lacs for Junior Commissioned Officer and up to 5 lacs for officers and NOC issuing time is reduced to 3 days from the date of application.
7. Anirban Lahiri Jumps To 9th Spot At World Golf Championships
i. Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri turned in a second successive two-under 70 and jumped into the top-10 at tied ninth at the midway stage of the $9.5 million WGC Cadillac Championships.
ii. Lahiri, who had three birdies -- two of them in last three holes and one bogey, is still six shots behind the leader, Adam Scott, who is looking to make it two wins in two weeks Lahiri broke into the top 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time in March 2014 following a consistent season which included two victories on the Asian Tour.
iii. Lahiri learned to play golf at the age of eight from his father, Dr. Tushar Lahiri, a physician with the armed forces who was also a recreational golfer.
8. Chapchar Kut Festival Celebrated Across Mizoram
i. The traditional festival of Chapchar Kut of the Mizos was celebrated across the north-eastern state of Mizoram and also in the Mizo-inhabited areas in the neighbouring states.
ii. It is a spring festival celebrated every year in month of March.
iii. The festival is celebrated with great fervor and gaiety by Mizos after completion of their Jhum operation (shifting agriculture by clearing jungle by burning and cultivating in remnants of burning).
iv. The citizen belongs to the region dressed in traditional attire, exuberant dancers danced to the tune of typical music and songs. While popular Mizo dances including Cheraw, Sarlamkai, Chheihlam and Khuallam were performed by different cultural troupes.
v. Chapchar Kut Festival is estimated to have started in 1450-1700 A.D. in a village called Suaipui. In Aizawl, state state home minister R Lalzirliana was the 'Kut pa' or father of the festival, while state Art and Culture minister R Romawia was the 'Kut thlengtu' or host of the festival.
Current Affairs - 4th March 2016
1. Manoj Kumar To Be Conferred Dada Saheb Phalke Award For The Year 2015
i. Veteran Film Actor and Director Shri Manoj Kumar is to be conferred the 47th Dada Saheb Phalke Award for the year 2015.
ii. Award is conferred by the Government of India for outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Indian Cinema.
iii. The Award consists of a Swarn Kamal (Golden Lotus), a cash prize of Rs. 10 lakhs and a shawl.
iv. The Award is given on the basis of recommendations of a Committee of eminent personalities set up by the Government for this purpose. This year, a five member jury named as Latha Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Salim Khan, Nitin Mukesh and Anup Jalota, unanimously recommended Shri Manoj Kumar for the prestigious Award. Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Shri Arun Jaitley spoke to Shri Manoj Kumar today and congratulated him on being conferred the Award.
v. The Dadasaheb Phalke award is India's highest award in cinema. Last year, the Dadasaheb Phalke award was given to Shashi Kapoor.
2. Ratan Thiyam Selected For 11th META Lifetime Achievement Award
i. Veteran playwright and director Ratan Thiyam has been selected for prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award for 2016 at the 11th edition of Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META).
ii. The award will be given to the theatre guru Ratan Thiyam for creating a new language in theatre and enriching the art form in various roles as writer, director, designer, composer and choreographer.
iii. Currently he is the chairman of the National School of Drama.
iv. Prior to him, this award has been given to theatre greats such as Zohra Sehgal, Badal Sarkar, Khaled Chowdhury, Ebrahim Alkazi, Girish Karnad and Heisnam Kanhailal.
v. The awards consist of a specially designed trophy and a cheque of 1,00,000 rupees for the best production, 75,000 rupees for best original playwright and 45,000 rupees for all other award categories.
3. Stevie Wonder Honoured With Global Green Hero Award
i. Veteran singer Stevie Wonder was honoured with Global Green Hero award.
ii. The award has been given at the 13th Annual Global Green USA Pre Oscar party. iii. Presently the 65 year old singer Stevie is an music icon in the industry.
iv. The singer is serving the industry from the age of 11 and has continued to perform and record till the early 2010s. He has been blind since shortly after birth.
v. On the occasion Mr. Wonder also performed a nine-song set of his greatest hits also pointed out that climate change and its environmental impact are issues that he has always been invested in. The singer has already honoured with the Grammy Award.
i. Today, The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched Rs 50,000-crore "Setu Bharatam" programme to build bridges for safe and seamless travel on National Highways.
ii. With this the government aims to make all national highways free from railway crossings by 2019.
iii. Under this project, 208 new road over bridges or road under bridges places have been identified for construction and nearly 10200 crore rupees will be spent on it.
iv. While around 1500 bridges will be widened, rehabilitated or replaced that are over 50 to 60 years old. The cost of rebuilding the old bridges is expected to be about 30000 crore rupees.
v. The Prime Minister spoke of the Governments initiatives in other infrastructure sectors as well, including railways, irrigation and digital connectivity. He said that developing rural roads is a priority for the government and it has got huge budgetary support this year. In Budget 2016-17, Rs. 19,000 crore has been sanctioned under the Pradham Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), to connect all villages with roads, compared with Rs. 14,291 crore in the revised estimates of 2015-16.
5. Mumbai U-23 Team Clinched CK Nayudu Trophy 2015-16
i. The Mumbai under-23 team clinched the Col CK Nayudu Trophy by defeating Madhya Pradesh at the Holkar Stadium in Indore.
ii. Mumbai bowled out Madhya Pradesh for 442 and took a first innings lead of 135 runs to be declared the winner.
iii. This was Mumbais second big title of the season, After clinching their 41st Ranji Trophy title in Pune around a week back.
iv. Winning teams right arm seam bowler Tushar Deshpande made the most of the third new ball in the closing minutes of the game.
v. The Mumbai team, winners of the 2015, 2016, U23 Col C K Nayudu Trophy, will be awarded with a cash prize of 20 lakh rupees on clinching the title.
6. Kerala Government has taken first of its kind initiative by launching the Air Ambulance
i. Government of Kerala has taken first of its kind initiative by launching the Air Ambulance in Kerala launched by the Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.
ii. The Air Ambulance in Kerala will exclusively be used for the speedy organ transplant.
iii. The Air Ambulance in Kerala is a brand new six-seater aircraft that is a state-owned Rajiv Gandhi Academy for Aviation Technology. It imparts training to the aspirants seeking to become commercial pilots.
iv. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed regarding the Air Ambulance in Kerala took place between the Aviation Academy and the Kerala Network for Organ Sharing that was headed by the principal of the state-run Thiruvananthapuram Medical College.
v. The two organizations will work together or speedy organ transportation between hospitals from brain-dead persons with the help of Air Ambulance in Kerala.
7. Alappuzha Backwaters To Get Indias First Solar Ferry
i. A 75-seater solar-powered passenger ferry, the first of its kind in the country, is quietly taking shape at Aroor in Alappuzha district. ii. The boat is expected to be commissioned within the next three months.
iii. This boat is being built by NavAlt, a Kochi-based joint venture, in collaboration with a French company.
iv. The cost of the Rs.1.7-crore boat will make no noise or cause any pollution, unlike the diesel powered ones.
v. It may work out to be a cheaper option too. An ordinary boat, made of steel and with a carrying capacity of 75 passengers, may cost around Rs.1.9 crore.
8. Former Lok Sabha Speaker PA Sangma Passes Away
i. Purno Agitok Sangma, who was the Lok Sabha Speaker from 1996 to 1998 and one of the co-founders of Nationalist Congress Party passed away today following a heart attack. He was 68.
ii. Purno Agitok Sangma was born on 1 September 1947 in village Chapahati in the picturesque West Garo Hills District of the State of Meghalaya in North East India.
iii. One of the greatest leaders from Northeast in national politics, he has been elected to the Lok Sabha eight times since 1977. iv. After completing his graduation from St. Anthony's College, he went to Dibrugarh University in Assam for his Masters degree in International Relations.
v. Subsequently, he also obtained a degree in Law.
9. Former Lok Sabha Speaker PA Sangma Passes Away
i. Purno Agitok Sangma, who was the Lok Sabha Speaker from 1996 to 1998 and one of the co-founders of Nationalist Congress Party passed away today following a heart attack. He was 68.
ii. Purno Agitok Sangma was born on 1 September 1947 in village Chapahati in the picturesque West Garo Hills District of the State of Meghalaya in North East India.
iii. One of the greatest leaders from Northeast in national politics, he has been elected to the Lok Sabha eight times since 1977. iv. After completing his graduation from St. Anthony's College, he went to Dibrugarh University in Assam for his Masters degree in International Relations.
v. Subsequently, he also obtained a degree in Law.
i. Leading e-commerce company Flipkart launched its own advertisement platform, Brand Story Ads, with over 50 leading brands on board.
ii. Yes Bank, LOreal, Micromax, Intel, Gillette, Datsun and Sony have signed up with Flipkart to launch their ads campaigns on the platform.
iii. Flipkart ventured into the online advertising space last year with the introduction of product listing ads to enable sellers on the platform gain more visibility and reach a larger customer base.
iv. With the launch of Brand Story Ads, Flipkart has introduced a new form of advertising called Commerce Advertising.
v. Commerce Advertising delivers a holistic view of consumers purchase journey post ad interactions and highlight effectiveness of the advertising campaigns.
Current Affairs - 3rd March 2016
1. India Ranks 90 In Terms Of Energy Security
i. India has been ranked at the 90th place in a list of 126 countries in terms of Energy Security complied by World Economic Forum (WEF).
ii. The list is topped by Switzerland followed by Norway on the basis of the ability to deliver secure, affordable and sustainable energy.
iii. It was revealed by Global Energy Architecture Performance Index (GEAPI) and Report compiled by WEF.
iv. Others in the top 10 include Sweden (3rd), France (4th), Denmark (5th), Austria (6th), Spain (7th), Colombia (8th), New Zealand (9th) and Uruguay (10th).
v. Among the BRIC nations, Brazil was the top performer as it was ranked at the 25th place, followed by Russia (52nd), India (90th), China (94).
2. Bihari Puraskar 2015 To Be Given To Dr. Bhagwati Lal Vyas
i. Poet Dr Bhagwati Lal Vyas has been chosen for the 2015 Bihari Puraskar for his anthology of Rajasthani poems 'Katha Sun Aawe Hai Sabad' Published in 2010.
ii. A recipient of Sahitya Akademi Award, Dr Vyas has highlighted the increasing tendencies of commercialization and degradation of human values through his poetry.
iii. Dr Vyas's works reflect the unpleasant changes in human relations, social disparity and loss of human values although positivity and his faith in human life also shine through the vast collection of his poetry.
iv. Dr Bhagwati Lal Vyas best known works authored several short stories and an eminent translator, are compendium of poems titled 'Shatabdi Niforruttar' (1977), 'Footpath Par Chiriya Nachti Hai' (1984) and a collection of short stories 'Suraj Leelti Ghatiyan' stand out.
3. Peru declares emergency after oil spill hits rivers
i. Peru has declared an emergency three weeks after a major oil pipeline burst, affecting two rivers in the countrys northwest.
ii. The pipeline spilled 3,000 barrels of crude oil into the Chiriaco and Morona rivers, which are the main source of water and food for several indigenous communities.
iii. The government has told these communities not to eat fish from the polluted waters.
iv. The broken pipeline reportedly used to transport between 5,000 and 6,000 oil barrels per day. The pipeline is owned by Petro Peru, a state-owned oil company.
v. The oil company has been accused of a slow reaction to the spill it only started providing food, water and medical attention weeks after the crisis, which has affected the health of more than 200 people. Perus main oil pipeline was built more than 30 years ago. This has been the third oil spill in less than a month.
4. Mega Military Exercise Of ASEAN Plus Countries Begins In Pune
i. The multinational mega Military Exercise Force 18 conducted by Indian Army has started in Pune, Maharashtra from 2nd March.
ii. The theme of the exercise is `Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA) and `Peacekeeping Operations (PKO).
iii. The exercise will conclude on 8th March, 2016 with around 300 participants from 18 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations ) Plus countries.
iv. Participating ASEAN countries along with ASEAN Plus nations are India, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, China, South Korea, Russia and US . The ten ASEAN countries from South East Asia are Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
v. The Exercise Force Eighteen is the largest multinational exercise ever conducted by the ground on Indian soil on Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA) and Peace Keeping Operatios (PKO). It is conducted by India as part of its ambitious Look (Act) East policy. The exercise will allow the armies of these countries to develop a common understanding in handling any complex situation.
5. Chennai Gets Indias First Self Cleaning Smart Toilets
i. A total of 183 self cleaning public eToilets have been installed in the Chennai City. Chennai is the 1st city in India to gets smart Toilets.
ii. These toilets are free for Public use.
iii. Each toilet automatically cleans itself before entry and after use and sensors enable consumption of less water and power with each use.
iv. An Indian social enterprise, Eram Scientific Solution is the brains behind the project and has already installed over 1,600 eToilets in private buildings and schools across 18 Indian states.
v. In 2012, it even won a grant of $450,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
6. New Zealand Cricket Legend Martin Crowe passed away
i.New Zealand Cricketer Martin Crowe passed away after a prolonged battle with cancer that eventually proved one attack the gifted cricketer couldn't see off.
ii. The cricket great had been suffering from lymphoma since September 2014.
iii. He Born on September 22, 1962, in Henderson, Auckland, Crowe's father was former domestic cricketer Dave, while brother Jeff also went on to captain the New Zealand cricket side.
iv. He received the all-clear from the disease in 2012 but confirmed in September 2014 that it had returned. v. Auckland-born Crowe is widely regarded as one of New Zealand's best ever batsman, having scored 17 centuries and 5,444 runs in 77 Tests at an average of 45.36.Crowe captained his country from 1990-1993.
7. Three British scientists win 2016 Brain Prize
i. Three British scientists have won a prestigious 2016 Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Prize (also known as Brain Prize) for giving vital insight how the human brain remembers, learns and navigates.
ii. These scientists are Timothy Bliss: He is a visiting worker at the Crick Institute in London. Graham Collingridge: He is professor of neuroscience in anatomy at the University of Bristol. He is also head of the Department of Physiology at the University of Toronto. Richard Morris: He is a professor of neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh
iii. Prize criteria: It is awarded to scientist of any nationality although, research for which they are nominated must be carried in Europe or in collaboration with European researchers.
8. International Finance Corporation Launches Masala Bonds
i. International Finance Corporation (IFC), an part of the World Bank group launched its first Uridashi Masala bonds ( Japanese Bonds ) to mobilize R30 crore (or $4.3 million) directly from Japanese household investors to promote private sector development in India. ii. The 3 year bond builds on IFC's Masala bond program which has raised the approx $1.7 billion from international investors for investment in India.
iii. Masala bonds are rupee denominated instruments sold only to offshore investors, while Uridashi bonds are sold to Japanese household investors.
iv. The steps from IFC's Uridashi Masala bonds will be used to support private sector investment in India.
v. JP Morgan is the sole arranger of the bonds and Daisen Hinomaru Securities is its distributor.
9. India Signs Financing Agreement With World Bank For US$ 3OO Million
i. A financing agreement for International Development Association (IDA) credit of US$ 300 (equivalent) for the Madhya Pradesh Higher Education Quality Improvement Project was signed with the World Bank.
ii. The Financing Agreement was signed by Mr. Raj Kumar (Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs) on behalf of Government of India and Onno Ruhl, Country Director, World Bank, India on behalf of the World Bank.
iii. Objective of this project is to improve student outcomes especially of disadvantaged groups in selected Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and to increase the effectiveness of the Higher Education System in Madhya Pradesh.
iv. The project has three component- (1) State Level Initiatives, (2) Improving System Management and (3) Grants Support to Higher Education Institutions.
10. Historic Old War Office In London Acquired By Hinduja Group
i. The Hinduja Group is a global conglomerate company acquired the heritage Old War Office in London that was once inhabited by Winston Churchill.
ii. In this Acquirestion with Spanish company Obrascon Huarte Lain Desarrollos (OHLD) on a 250-year lease from the ministry of defence, the plan is to convert it into a hotel and luxury residences.
iii. As per the ministry on the sale of the Old War Office was for in excess of £350 million following a competitive marketing process.
iv. At this occasion were Indian High Commissioner Navtej Singh Sarna and former Indian National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan. Current Affairs - 2nd March 2016
1. Sanjeev Kapoor joins Vistara as Chief Strategy and Commercial Officer
i. Sanjiv Kapoor has been appointed as the Chief Strategy and Commercial Officer of Vistara Airlines.
ii. Kapoor will be responsible for managing a wide portfolio of Vistaras commercial and planning functions, including strategy development, network planning, pricing and revenue management, sales and distribution, among others.
iii. He will also be responsible for in-flight services and ground operations of the carrier.
iv. Kapoor succeeds Giam Ming Toh, who is returning to Singapore Airlines on completion of his deputation with Vistara.
v. Tata Sons holds a majority 51 per cent stake in Vistara - a joint venture with Singapore Airlines, which holds the remaining 49 per cent. Kapoor joins Vistara with over 19 years of experience in the airline industry, in various leadership and consulting role.
2. Scott Kelly, American Astronaut, Returns to Earth After 340 Days in Space
i. NASA(National Aeronautics and Space Administration) astronaut and Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly and his Russian counterpart Mikhail Kornienko returned on Earth.
ii. After a historic 340-day mission aboard the International Space Station.
iii. It was a science experiment to study the effects of microgravity on the human body, so that NASA can prepare astronauts for longer flights to Mars and beyond.
iv. Mr. Kelly, who spent the time about 249 miles above the planet aboard the International Space Station, and the Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko landed on Eastern in Kazakhstany.
3. 1st Raisina Dialogue Inaugurated By Sushma Swaraj In New Delhi
i. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has inaugurated the 1st Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi. ii. Envisioned as Indias flagship conference of geopolitics and geo-economics, the Raisina Dialogue 2016 is designed to explore prospects and opportunities for Asian integration.
iii. It is a key to not only India's development but the entire region and the Asian continent.
iv. The conclave has focused on Asia's physical, economic, human and digital connectivity. Over 450 delegates from around 40 countries are participating in the three-day conference. The delegates also include former president of Sri Lanka Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and former president of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai.
v. As per officials "the Asian century in effect is really about once again integrating Asia with itself, integrating Asia within itself, and integrating Asia with the world". The theme of this inaugural edition of the Dialogue is "Connecting Asia" which tries to capture the various facets of these ambitions.
4. Vice Admiral Atul Kumar Jain Takes Over As Chief Of Staff, Eastern Naval Command
i. Vice Admiral Atul Kumar Jain took over as the Chief of Staff of the Visakhapatnam.
ii. He succeeds Vice Admiral Bimal Verma who has been transferred as Commander-in-Chief of Andaman & Nicobar Command at Port Blair.
iii. Vice Admiral Jain is an alumnus of the Sainik School (Rewa), National Defence Academy (Pune), the Defence Services Staff College (Wellington, Ooty), the College of Naval Warfare (Mumbai) and the National Defence College (Pretoria, South Africa).
iv. He was commissioned in the Indian Navy on 01 July 1982 and post specialisation in Gunnery and Missile Warfare, he held appointments as Gunnery Officer of missile destroyers, IN Ships Ranvijay and Ranvir.
5. Aaron Phangiso Suspended For illegal Bowling Action
i. Aaron Phangiso, the South African left-arm spinner, has been suspended from bowling in domestic cricket with immediate effect after his action was found to be illegal.
ii. Cricket South Africa announced An International Cricket Council (ICC) movement expert found his arm extended beyond the 15 degrees allowed. iii. Phangisos action was reported after he took 2 for 38 for the Highveld Lions in their eight-wicket win against Warriors in the semifinal of South Africas domestic Momentum One Day Cup.
6. Mukesh Ambani Again Tops 84 Indian Billionaires in Forbes List
i. Mukesh Ambani Reliance Industries chairman again topped 84 Indian billionaires in Forbes 2016 list of the world's richest people once again headed by Bill Gates with a net worth of $75 billion.
ii. Mukesh Ambani with a net worth of $19.3 billion was ranked 36th among world's 1,810 billionaires with an aggregate net worth of $6.48 trillion, down from $7.05 trillion last year.
iii. Technology guru Gates, who has topped the list for 17 of the last 22 years was followed by Spanish clothing retailer Amancio Ortega, best known for the Zara fashion chain, with Warren Buffett remaining in the third spot.
iv. United states led with the greatest number of billionaires, with 540, followed by China with 251, Germany with 120, India with 84 and Russia with 77.
v. China had the most of 198 newcomer billionaires, adding 70 to the list. Thirty-three newcomers were from the US, 8 from India and 28 from Germany Notable newcomers included Flipkart cofounders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal (No. 1476) of India.
7. Mrugank Paranjape Appointed As MCX MD
i. Multi Commodity Exchange announced the appointment of Mrugank Paranjape as MD & CEO of the exchange.
ii. He will succeed Manoj Vaish. The exchange has also re designated Parveen Kumar Singhal, the present Joint Managing Director as President & Whole Time Director with effect from April 1. The appointment will be for a period of three years and subject to prior approval from SEBI.
iii. Mr. Mrugank Paranjape was Asia Pacific Head of Trust & Securities Services/Cash Management for Financial Institutions and Regional Head of Securities for The Global Network Banking Division, Deutsche Bank (Malaysia) Berhad since last 14 years. Currently, he is India Head, Deutsche Bank.
iv. Last May, SEBI rejected the exchange's proposal to appoint Balasubramaniam Venkataramani, Chief Business Officer of BSE as MD & CEO as MCX had not followed proper procedure.
v. The exchange remained without a full-time MD & CEO since May 2014 when Vaish resigned after just three months stint.
8. M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation To Establish A Research Chair In Kalinga Institute Of Social Sciences (KISS)
i. The MS Swaminathan Research Foundation has signed a MOU with Bhubaneswar -based Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) to establish a Research Chair.
ii. The Chair will be named after MS Swaminathan, father of Indian Green Revolution for promoting knowledge and skill for empowerment for less privileged children in India.
iii. This is the first-ever initiative of the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation to establish a Research Chair in any private institute in the country.
iv. The Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) is the largest residential institute for the tribals in the world. v. It provides free of cost accommodation, education, food, health care from Kindergarten to Post Graduation to more than 25,000 children of whom 12,200 are girls.
9. TCS Recognized As Top Global Employer
i. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a leading IT services company has been recognized as a Global Top Employer by the Top Employers Institute.
ii. The assessment was done among 1,072 companies worldwide and the TCS become 1st with an exceptional performer across 9 core HR areas including talent strategy, workforce planning, on-boarding, learning and development, performance management and leadership development, among others. These things makes the company one in only eight organizations worldwide to have achieved this status.
iii. This certification is only awarded to the best employers around the world organisations that demonstrate the highest standards of employee offerings.
iv. Others in the list include CJSC Technip, DHL, Dimension data, Saint Gobain, JT International, Mobinil, Mobistar, Orange and Valeo.
v. This year, it was also certified as the Region-wide Top Employer in Europe for the 4th consecutive year. TCS earned the foremost rating in the United Kingdom and Germany, and also received an accreditation in six other countries in Europe - Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
10. UltraTech acquired cement units of Jaiprakash Associates
i. Aditya Birla Group firm UltraTech has announced the acquisition of debt-ridden JP Groups cement plants for Rs 16,500 crore, making it the biggest deal in the sector.
ii. The buyer will pay an additional amount of Rs 470 crore to complete the grinding unit.
iii. In a transaction that will take its cement portfolio to nearly 91 million tonne, UltraTech Cement will acquire 22.4 mt of assets from Jaiprakash Associates.
iv. The deal includes two units in Madhya Pradesh.
v. UltraTech Cement said it entered into a binding Memorandum of Understanding with Jaiprakash Associates Limited for the acquisition of its identified cement plants having total cement capacity of 22.4 MTPA (million tons per annum) situated in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
Current Affairs - 1st March 2016
1. Hashim Thaci elected as President of Kosovo
i. Foreign Minister Hashim Thaci was on 26 February 2016 elected as president of Kosovo by the Members of Parliament amid the protests.
ii. He succeeded Atifete Jahjaga as head of state after winning the required simple majority in voting held in Pristina.
iii. He was a guerrilla leader during a conflict that led to Kosovo, a mainly ethnic Albanian province declaring independence from Serbia.
iv. He had also served as prime minister fell out with many opposition groups after helping to negotiate with Serbia a deal that gave more autonomy to minority Serbs of Kosovo.
v. Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008. It has been recognised by the US and many EU countries. This self-declared independence was not recognized by Serbia and many other countries around the world.
2. Rozle Prezelj elected Chairman of IAAF Athletes Commission
i. Slovenian high-jumper Rozle Prezelj on 27 February 2016 was elected the Chairman of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Athletes' Commission in Monaco.
ii. Prezelj took over as Chairman of the commission from Frank Fredericks with immediate effect.
iii. On the other hand, Britains marathon world record-holder Paula Radcliffe was nominated Vice Chairwoman of the commission.
iv. His best result was at the 2008 Olympics where he finished 12th in high jump.
3. Japan to stipulate 80% emission cut goal by 2050
i. The Japanese government will stipulate a long-term goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 from current levels.
ii. The move follows the international climate agreement reached in Paris in December 2015.
iii. The plan, being compiled by the environment ministry and the ministry of economy, trade and industry (METI), is likely to be approved by the cabinet before Japan hosts the Group of Seven (G7) summit in May.
iv. The government is obligated by law to update the national plan for cutting emissions, but it has not had a new plan since fiscal 2013 partly because energy policy was thrown into disarray by disasters, including the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis.
v. Prior to the global climate talks in Paris, the administration decided on a goal of slashing greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent in 2030 from 2013 levels, which will be included in the upcoming plan.
4. Delhis IGI airport retains worlds number 1 position
i. Delhis Indira Gandhi International Airport has retained the worlds number 1 position for the second consecutive year in 25-40 Million Passengers Per Annum (MPPA) category.
ii. The rankings were announced by the Airports Council International (ACI).
iii. In 2007, a year after the airport was privatised, the airports Airport Service Quality (ASQ) ranking was 101 in the world.
iv. In 2011, the airport moved to number 2 position, which it retained till 2013. In 2014, it became no. 1 in the 25-40 MPPA category and retained the rank in 2015 with a score of 4.96 in ASQ survey on scale of 1 to 5.
5. Former Chief Justice Of India H.L. Dattu Joined NHRC As Chairperson
i. Former Chief Justice of India H L Dattu took charge as the Chairperson of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
ii. He is the 7th Chairperson of the NHRC. His appointment announced under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, by the President on the recommendation of the high powered committee headed by the Prime Minister for the tenure of 5 years.
iii. The committee had cleared the name of Justice Dattu for the post last week.
iv. The post was lying vacant form the last 8 months after the retirement of Justice K G Balakrishnan.
v. The former Chief Justice Of India (CJI) took over the position from Justice C Joseph, who has been the acting chairperson since the end of the five-year term of former chairperson K G Balakrishnan.
6. Randeep Hooda Honoured With Achievement Award In Australia
i. Randeep Hooda, the Bollywood actor was felicitated by Melbourne based South Asian community members at a function in Australia. On the occasion, the 39-year-old actor, also shared his memories of the time he spent as an international student in the country.
ii. The members of a non profit organization South Asian Public Affairs Council (SAPAC) honoured the visiting actor with an achievement award for making his mark in the film industry.
iii. At the event, Randeep Hooda formally launched a non profit organisation Nobody Dies Hungry founded by an Australian Indian Aloke Kumar. iv. The award was presented by the Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism Danielle Green.
v. And a local councilor Oscar Yildiz also offered Hooda to become an ambassador of Bully Zero Australia which the actor accepted.
7. NASA Invites India To Jointly Explore Mars
i. India and the US could jointly explore Mars and, who knows, an Indian astronaut could also head to the Red planet on a joint mission.
ii. India Maiden mission to red planets manglyaan has opened the eyes of the world on ISROs capabilities at undertaking low cost, high value inter-planetary mission.
iii. Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory or JPL Charles Elachi a part of NASA and an institution better known for piloting most of the American planetary exploration efforts with rovers like Curiosity, says India and the US could jointly explore Mars and even invited India to send astronauts to the Red Planet.
iv. When India launched its mission to Mars, and I congratulate India on a superb mission by reaching the orbit or Mars in the very first attempt.
v. JPL supported ISRO in the navigation and communication because of the antennas we have. Reaching the Mars orbit in first attempt was an amazing achievement and that too at such low cost. Now American scientists through its Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN Mission (MAVEN) mission and India through its Mars Orbiter Mission are sharing data.
8. Bahadur Singh Rana Won Gold In 50 Km Race Walk In National Championship
i. Olympian Basant Bahadur Singh Rana clinched the gold medal in mens 50km race walk event on the second and final day of the National Championships in Jaipur.
ii. It was the 3rd edition of National Race Walking Championships.
iii. The 32 year old Rana has a personal best of 3:56:48 which he clocked in the 2012 London Olympics, which was a national record.
iv. Delhi walker Rana clocked 4 hours 7 minutes 24 seconds to finish first out of 33 participants in the race but only 9 managed to complete the race.
v. Perhaps it was a good 1 minute 25 seconds behind the Rio Olympic qualification mark. Chandan Singh clinched the silver medal with a time of 4:09:50 while Jitendra Singh won the bronze medal with an effort of 4:12:10. The former has already bettered the Rio qualification mark in the 20km category. In the Womens category, Neena K.T won the yellow medal with a time of 53:12.49, Bhawna Jat won the silver with a time of 53:27.79 while Priyanka Patel won the bronze, after clocking a timing of 53:32.95.
9. Mahesh Kumar Singla committee constituted to consider ST status to six communities of Assam
i. Union Government on 29 February 2016 constituted a committee to consider Scheduled Tribe status to six Communities of Assam.
ii. The committee will be headed by Special Secretary (Internal Security) Ministry of Home Affairs, Mahesh Kumar Singla.
iii. The committee will recommend the modalities for granting of Scheduled Tribe status to six Communities namely Koch Rajbongshi, Moran, Matak, Tai Ahom, Chutia and Adivasi (Tea Tribes) in Assam.
iv. The Committee will submit its report by 31 May 2016.
v. The committee will consult with the Government of Assam and suggest the modalities for the required reservations, of shifting the existing reservation for these communities from OBC to ST.
10. Armaan Ebrahim won FMSCI Motorsports Man of the Year Trophy
i. Car racer Armaan Ebrahim on 28 February 2016 was awarded the Motorsports Man-of-the-Year Trophy at ceremony organised by the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI).
ii. Armaan walked away with the glittering Raymond Gautam Singhania Rolling Trophy and a cash prize of Rs 2,00,000 for his performance in the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Asia Series.
iii. B.I. Chandhok recived lifetime achivement award. An avid racer and a founder of FMSCI, Chandhok has served the motorsports fraternity in various roles and the gathering saluted the man for his lifelong achievements.
iv. He was awarded the trophy by FMSCI chairman Vijay Mallya.
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