Current Affairs : 02 Apr 2016 to 18 Mar 2016 - Summary
Shiva Thapa wins Silver medal at Asian/Oceania Qualifying event in China
Ace Indian boxer Shiva Thapa (56kg) has clinched silver medal at the Asian/Oceania Qualifying Tournament held in Qian’an, China after he was defeated by Thailand’s Chatchai Butdee in the final match with a score of (0-3). Butdee is the reigning Asian champion.
Shiva had booked his ticket to Rio de Janeiro Olympics Games after beating Kazakhstan’s Kairat Yeraliyev in the semifinals. Shiva Thapa participated in the 2012 London Olympics and was the youngest Indian boxer to qualify for the Olympics. Shiva is a World Championship bronze-medallist in the Bantamweight category held in Doha in 2015.>Login To Save for Revision
- Central government imposes safeguard duty on import of steel products
The central government has extended the safeguard duty on import of some steel products till March 2018. The main intention of this move is to protect domestic industry from onslaught of cheap steel supplies (imports) from China amid a global glut.
Notification in this regard was issued Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) which mentions that safeguard duty will be reduced to 10% in stages till 2008 from current 20%.
Safeguard duty would be imposed only on hot-rolled flat products of non-alloy and other alloy Steel in coils of a width of 600 mm or more and not on steel products which are imported at or above the minimum import price (MIP), which helps to set a floor price mainly to discourage imports below this price.
What is Safeguard Duty?
Safeguard Duty is a temporary tariff barrier imposed by government to ensure that excessive import of a particular product do not cause serious injury to domestic producers and give domestic producers a period of grace to become more competitive.>Login To Save for Revision
- Haryana makes educational criteria must for urban local bodies
The Haryana Assembly on 31 March 2016 passed two Bills making it mandatory for those contesting the polls for urban local bodies to have a minimum educational qualification.
These bills are (i) The Haryana Municipal (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (ii) Haryana Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
Features of the Haryana Municipal (Amendment) Bill, 2016
1. The minimum educational qualification of the general category candidates contesting the elections for urban local bodies would be Class X.
2. In case of women candidates or those belonging to the Scheduled Caste category, the minimum qualification would be Class VIII, while for women of the Scheduled Caste category, it would be Class V.
3. The candidate should not have been convicted or have charges framed against him/her by a court in a criminal case for an offence punishable with imprisonment for not less than 10 years .
4. The candidates should file a self declaration that they have the provision of a functional toilet at the residence. There should be no pending arrears of electricity bills against the candidate.
Comment : These amendment bills are in lines of Haryana Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act, 2015 that prescribed similar qualifications for contesting candidates in Panchayati Raj elections.>Login To Save for Revision
- China launches 22nd BeiDou navigation satellite
China launched the 22nd BeiDou satellite named BeiDou-22 into space as part of its domestic BeiDou Navigation System (BDS). It was launched on 29th March by a Long March-3A rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. It was the 225th launch of the Long March carrier rocket.
BeiDou Navigation System (BDS)
The second generation of the system, officially called the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) and also known as COMPASS or BeiDou-2, will be a global satellite navigation system consisting of 35 satellites which include 5 geostationary orbit satellites for backward compatibility with BeiDou-1, and 30 non-geostationary satellites that will offer complete coverage of the globe.
It consists of two separate satellite constellations :
(i) A limited test system that has been operating since 2000
(ii) A full-scale global navigation system that is currently under construction.
The BeiDou Navigation System (BDS) became operational in China in December 2011, with 10 satellites in use, and began offering services to customers in the Asia-Pacific region in December 2012. It will begin serving global customers upon its completion in 2020 and stand parallel to the US Global Positioning System, Russia’s Glonass, and Europe’s Galileo.
Applications of BeiDou Navigation System (BDS)
Services for civilian : The navigational system will support civilians in navigation, messaging, transportation and weather forecasting sectors.
Military applications: The navigational system would be used for crucial military projects such as lauching missile, locating enemy and other>Login To Save for Revision
- Aadhaar enrolments set to cross 100 crore mark
As per the website of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which is implementing the Aadhaar project, total 99.91 crore people have been enrolled under Aadhaar project and Aadhaar enrolments are set to cross the 100 crore mark in a few days from now.
Central government wants to complete the AADHAR enrolment process at the earliest to start providing the benefits to all targeted people. The government intends to use Aadhaar as a tool to authenticate the identity of people to weed out ghost beneficiaries and plug leakages in spending on various schemes.
The Parliament has already passed the Aadhaar Bill, providing statutory backing to the scheme. Under the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme, benefits like scholarships, pension and cooking gas subsidy are directly transferred to beneficiaries' bank accounts.>Login To Save for Revision
- NSC and KVP will now be issued in electronic mode
National Savings Certificate (NSC) and Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) will now be issued in electronic mode as government has decided to discontinue the system of pre-printed paper certificates.
As per the orders of Finance Ministry the existing system of physical pre-printed certificates for KVP and NSC has been discontinued from 1st of April this year and will be replaced by certificate on electronic mode.
However, till the Core Banking System transits to that e-mode, banks and post offices may choose to issue a physical certificate recorded on a passbook.
Partial liquor ban comes to force in Bihar
A partial liquor ban has been brought into effect in Bihar from today following the state government issuing a notification in this regard.
A notification has been issued for implementing prohibition in rural areas besides banning country-made liquor across the state.
It should be noted that `Bihar had tried its hand at prohibition in 1977-78 during the regime of Karpoori Thakur, but failed to implement it effectively.
Other dry states : Alcohol prohibition in India is in force in the states of Gujarat, Nagaland and parts of Manipur; as well as in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep. Kerala has been implementing prohibition in a phased manner since 2014.
The ban means that from now onwards any person indulging in manufacturing trade, transportation, sale and consumption of country-made and spiced liquor across the state will be punished for violating the stringent provisions of the Bihar Excise (Amendment) Act, 2016.
Bihar Excise (Amendment) Act, 2016
Complete prohibition will be implemented in rural areas besides a complete ban on country-made spiced liquor across the state.
Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) will be sold in limited areas of the state i.e. Municipal corporations and councils through the outlets of Bihar State Beverages Corporation Ltd (BSBCL).>Login To Save for Revision
- Renowned Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid passes away
Renowned Iraqi-British architect- Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid, whose designs include the London Olympic aquatic centre, has died following a heart attackin a Miami hospital, where she was being treated for bronchitis. She was, 65.
Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid
Hadid was born on 31 October 1950 in Baghdad, Iraq. She studied mathematics at the American University in Lebanon, before pursuing architecture at the Architectural Association in London in 1972. In 1980, she established her own London-based practice, the Zaha Hadid Architects.
Awards and honours :
1. She became the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize (2004)
2. She was the first woman to receive the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) gold medal.
3. She received the Stirling Prize in 2010 and 2011.>Login To Save for Revision
- India, US sign MoU for setting up LIGO observatory in India
India has signed a memorandum of Understanding with the United States on setting up Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) in India.
The MoU was signed by Secretary, Directorate of Atomic Energy and Director, National Science Foundation in the presence of Mr Modi on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington.
Establishment of LIGO observatory in India will bring opportunities for Scientist, Researchers and engineers of the country to dig deeper into the realm of gravitation wave and unveil some of greatest mysteries of the universe.
This will be world’s third Laser Interferometer Gravitational Observatory, similar to the two detectors in the US. Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh are among the states shortlisted for the experiment.
If everything goes well than by 2022, India will be one of the countries, including the US, Italy and Japan, to play a major role in understanding Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity.
Read more about LIGO observatory in India>Login To Save for Revision
- 85 per cent pictorial warning on tobacco products
Tobacco products will henceforth carry larger pictorial warnings, covering 85 per cent of the packaging space as Health Ministry's notification of September 24, 2015, for implementation of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Amendment Rules, 2014, come into force from today . The notification prescribe larger pictorial warnings on tobacco products.
Earlier, Union Health Ministry had made a commitment to Rajasthan High Court on 28th March this year that all tobacco products manufactured from 1st April onwards will carry larger pictorial health warnings.>Login To Save for Revision
- Gujarat Assembly clears amendment in Land acquisition act
Gujarat Assembly has unanimously passed the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Gujarat Amendment) Bill 2016.
Key provisions of the bill
1. The bill empowers the authorities to exempt projects related to Defense and social sectors, such as building air base, defense manufacturing units, schools, roads, canals, affordable houses, etc. from social impact assessment or consent clauses.
2. It also allows the State or its undertakings to acquire land up to one kilometre on both sides of designated railway lines or highways in industrial corridor projects.
3. As per the original central Act, 80 per cent of land owners must give their nod for the acquisition of land but as per the new bill, it will not be necessary for the government to acquire consent of 80 per cent affected parties if the state is acquiring land for social and defence sector.>Login To Save for Revision
- Centre selects six states for AYUSH project
The Ministry of AYUSH has selected six states, including Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat for a pilot project to offer treatment for non-communicable diseases under the Indian medicine systems.
1. Under the project facilities would be set up in every district of selected states to take up screening for identifying people suffering from non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer etc and provide treatment under AYUSH (Aurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy).
2. The proposed facility would have all Indian traditional medicinal systems for providing an integrated treatment in which Yoga will be common along with any one of Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha or Homeopathy suitable for curing the disease.
3. Besides, these facilities would also take up treatment of select chronic diseases. For diseases not covered by them, the patients would be referred to Primary Health Centres (PHCs).
Scope of AYUSH : There is good demand from people abroad for traditional medicine system, as about 30-35 per cent of the spas offering these facilities are normally occupied by foreigners. The govt has signed MoU with 20 countries for promoting AYUSH while 25 Chairs are functioning worldwide taking various activities related to ancient Hindu traditional medicinal systems.>Login To Save for Revision
- SC approves government's guidelines to protect Good Samaritans
The Supreme Court has approved the guidelines issued by the Centre for the protection of Good Samaritans, who help road accident victims, from being unnecessarily harassed by police or any other authority.
A bench comprising justices V Gopala Gowda and Arun Mishra has asked the Union Government to give wide publicity to these guidelines so that people who help others in the time of distress are not victimised by any authority.
The bench also took on record the guidelines placed by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways which were based on the recommendations of the three-member committee headed by former judge K S Radhakrishnan.
Background : The court had in 2014 appointed the three-member committee to monitor steps taken by the Centre and state governments to ensure road safety. The committee had given 12 major recommendations including setting up of State Road Safety Councils, evolving a protocol for identification of black spots, their removal and monitoring to see the effectiveness of the action taken. The committee had also suggested strengthening of enforcement relating to drunken driving, red light jumping, over-speeding and helmet or seat belt laws.>Login To Save for Revision
- Researchers reveal first 3D map of Zika virus structure
Team of researchers from Purdue University in the US have determined a near-atomic level structure of the Zika virus. It is considered as one of the major breakthrough in the battle against the mosquito-borne Zika virus as it provides a framework for answering both basic questions about virus biology as well as providing a useful tool to developing antivirals and future vaccine studies. The paper detailing the findings was published in the journal Science.
Applications: The structure of the virus provides a map that shows potential regions of the virus that could be targeted by a therapeutic treatment. The structure can help scientists to create an effective vaccine or to improve the ability to diagnose and distinguish Zika infection from that of other related viruses.
The Zika virus, which is basically a mosquito-borne disease, has recently been associated with a birth defect called microcephaly that causes brain damage and an abnormally small head in babies born to mothers infected during pregnancy.>Login To Save for Revision
- Vietnam's parliament elects first female speaker
National Assembly (NA) of Vietnam has elected Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan as the country’s first female house speaker. She has been elected and sworn in as the NA Chairperson with 472 (95.5%) yes votes in her favour out of 481 valid ballots, at the ongoing 11th session of the 13th NA.
She was also elected as the Chairperson of the National Election Council with 467 "yes" votes out of 477 valid ballots.Prior to getting elected as speaker, Ngan was serving as Vice Chairperson of the NA from July 2011.
Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan :
Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan was born on 12 April 1954 at commune of Chau Hoa in Giong Trom District, Ben Tre Province of Vietnam. She earned a master of financial and credit management, a bachelor of politics. She joined the Communist Party of Vietnam on 9 December 1981.>Login To Save for Revision
- Kachhabali becomes 1st liquor-free village in Rajasthan
Kachhabali village in Bhim tehsil of Rajsamand district, Rajasthan has become the first in the state to become liquor-free village. A referendum was conducted by the excise department of the state, in which 67.11% of the villagers voted to close down its lone liquor shop to stop alcohol sale in village.
This is the first time the provision of the Rajasthan Excise Act, 1975, that provides for the closure of a country liquor shop, was invoked. Under this provision, 51% of all registered voters - not just those present and voting - should opt to close down the shop.
Prior to conducting the poll, at least 20% of the voters of the Gram Panchayat or municipal Ward must seek a referendum on the issue in a letter to the district collector.
Haryana becomes first to launch injectable contraceptive
Haryana has become the first state in India to launch injectable contraceptives as a family planning measure across all government healthcare facilities. The new move is a part of "Project Salamati" launched by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.
Project Salamati is being implemented by Haryana health department, in association with Pathfinder International - a non-profit organisation that deals with family planning and reproductive health. The main aim of the project is to maintain healthy gap between the births of children by using injectable contraceptive.
Under the Project Salamati, injectable contraceptives would be available free of cost at all primary health centres, community health centres, sub divisional and district hospitals.
The project is initially being implemented in nine health blocks of four districts of the state, which includes four health blocks in district Palwal, three in district Mewat, Kurali block in district Faridabad and Khor block in district Rewari. After the success of this project in these districts, it would be implemented throughout the state.
Health Budget of Haryana: The Haryana government has allocated Rs 3,916.94 crore to the health and family welfare sector in 2016-17 as compared to Rs 2,857.28 crore in the year 2015-16, an increased allocation by 37.1 per cent.>Login To Save for Revision
- Oscar-winning actress Patty Duke passes away
Patty Duke, the actress who won an Oscar in 1963 at the age of 16 for her portrayal of Helen Keller in “The Miracle Worker,” passed away due to Sepsis from a ruptured intestine. She was 69.
About Patty Duke
1. She was born as Anna Marie Duke on December 14, 1946 in Elmhurst, New York, US. She started her acting career at very early age. One of Duke's earlier acting roles was in the late 1950s, on the soap opera The Brighter Day.
2. Her first major role came in 1959, when she portrayed the blind and deaf Keller in the Broadway play The Miracle Worker, which ran for nearly two years (October 1959-July 1961). She won a best supporting actress Academy Award in 1963 for her role.
3. She also was known for roles in “Valley of the Dolls,” “My Sweet Charlie” and “Me, Natalie,” as well as for TV’s “The Patty Duke Show,” which was broadcasted from 1963 to 1966.
4. Duke was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1982, following which in the last half of her life, she became an advocate on mental health issues, writing a book in 1992 highlighting bipolar disorder and its treatments and helped others struggling with the disease.>Login To Save for Revision
- Faustin Archange Touadera sworn in as new President of Central African Republic
Faustin-Archange Touadera (58) a Central African politician and academic has been sworn in as the new President of Central African Republic (CAR). With this he becomes first elected leader of CAR since Muslim rebels overthrew the government more than three years ago.
Touadera, a former math professor and prime minister, emerged victorious in the February 2016, runoff elections by securing nearly 63 percent of the total votes. He had defeated Georges Anicet Dologuele of Union for Central African Renewal Party who had obtained just over or 37.3 percent votes.
About Central African Republic :
Central African Republic is a former French Colony and one of the world’s most chronically unstable countries. Over the past three years, fighting between Muslim and Christian militias has killed thousands and displaced more than 400,000 people. The conflict broke out in 2013 when Muslim Seleka militias ousted then president Francois Bozize, a Christian.
Despite its significant mineral deposits and other resources, such as uranium reserves, crude oil, gold, diamonds, cobalt, lumber, and hydropower, as well as significant quantities of arable land, the Central African Republic is among the ten poorest countries in the world.>Login To Save for Revision
- CBDT signs 11 unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements
Central Board of Direct Taxes ( CBDT) has signed 11 unilateral Advance Pricing Agreement (APA), with taxpayers to bring further clarity to the international taxation regime in the country.
This takes the total number of APAs, both bilateral and unilateral, to 59. 50 of these agreements have been signed in the current financial year i.e. 2016-17.
The agreements cover a range of international transactions including corporate guarantees, royalty, software development services, IT enabled services and trading.
Advance Pricing Agreement : The APA programme was introduced by the Finance Act, 2012 to provide a predictable and non-adversarial tax regime and to reduce litigation in the Indian transfer pricing regime.>Login To Save for Revision
- Sand-eating Micrixalidae tadpoles species found in Western Ghats
The group of scientists from the University of Delhi, the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka and Gettysburg College, California have discovered a sand-eating tadpole named Micrixalidae in Western Ghats that lives in total darkness, until it fully develops into a young frog. The tadpole belongs to the so-called Indian Dancing Frog family.
Sand-eating Micrixalidae tadpoles
1. These tadpoles probably remained unnoticed all these years because they lives in total darkness, since they are of fossorial [underground] nature, which in itself is a rare occurrence in the amphibian world.2. They get their name Micrixalidae. from their habit of waving their legs as a sign of territorial and sexual display while sitting on boulders in streams.
3. They are purple in colour and possess muscular eel-like bodies and skin-covered eyes, which helps them to burrow through gravel beds.
4. Though they lack teeth, they have serrated jaw sheaths, to possibly prevent large sand grains from entering the mouth while feeding and moving through sand.
5. These tadpoles have ribs and whitish globular sacs also known as lime sacs for storing calcium carbonate.>Login To Save for Revision
- Russia approves ONGC's Rs 8,600-crore Vankor oilfield deal
The Russian Government has approved ONGC's deal to acquire 15% stake in Russia's second biggest oil field Vankor oilfield from Rosneft.
The deal that will cost nearly Rs 8,648.5 crore will give India access to Russia's oil supply, and will give Russian company Rosneft access to the Indian market. Vankor is OVL's fourth-biggest acquisition ever.
This deal is in addition to another deal that was signed between the OVL and three other oil companies in March 2016. Both these deals will help India secure access to lucrative Russia's oil market, while Rosneft will gain access to the Indian market.
As per the deal OVL’s stake in Vankor will rise to 26% from the current 15% and will give it about 3.5 million metric tonnes of oil a year while Rosneft will retain the remaining 50.1 per cent and also retain full control of infrastructure of the Vankor oilfield. Prior to the deal, Rosneft, Russia's national oil company, held 100 per cent stake in Vankorneft.
About Vankor oilfield
The Vankor oil field, set up in 2004, is the largest oil field that has been discovered and brought to production in Russia in the last 25 years and accounts for 4% of Russian production. The daily production from the field is around 442,000 barrels per day of crude oil on an average. It is main source supplier to the East Siberia Pacific Ocean (ESPO) Pipeline that is key contributor to the energy needs of China.>Login To Save for Revision
- Ebola outbreak in West Africa no longer poses global risk: WHO
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced that West Africa's Ebola outbreak that has killed about 11,300 people, no longer constitutes a threat to international public health.
Declaration in this regard was made by Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO director-general, who accepted the recommendations of a committee of independent experts and also called for lifting any travel and trade restrictions affecting Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Ebola outbreak: The most widespread epidemic of Ebola virus disease began in Guinea in December 2013 and has continued for over two years. The epidemic was initially centred on country’s remote south-eastern region of Nzerekore but later spread to its neighbouring countries Liberia and Sierra Leone and also seven other countries. It has killed more than 11,300 people in these three worst hit western African nations.>Login To Save for Revision
- Htin Kyaw sworn in as first elected President of Myanmar
Htin Kyaw, 69, from the National League for Democracy (NLD) has been sworn in as the first elected civilian (non-military) President of Myanmar after 53 years of military rule.
He will succeed former general Thein Sein, who has led the country since 2011. Htin Kyaw is a close aide and adviser of Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
Apart form Htin Kyaw, Military-nominated Myint Swe who received 213 votes and stood second in the presidential election has been sworn in as the first vice-president while NLD member Henry Van Thio has been sworn in as the second vice-president of the country.
Nobel Peace laureate and leader of the ruling party Aung San Suu Kyi has been sworn in as foreign affairs Minister. She also is Minister of President’s office, education, and energy and electric power.
Even though NLD is having majority in Parliament, Aung San Suu Kyi was not able to become President as the constitution prevents anyone with children who are citizens of another country from becoming president. Both of Suu Kyi's adult sons are British citizens .
ISRO to launch record 22 satellites in single mission
PSLV C34 - the trusted launch vehicle of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is set to script history by launching a record number of 22 satellites in a single mission in May 2016.
It is the highest number of satellites ever to be launched by the space agency, which had earlier sent ten satellites into orbit in a single mission in 2008.
PSLV C34 which will be carrying India's Cartosat 2C would also have 21 other satellites from countries, including US, Canada, Indonesia and Germany as co-passengers. This launch would be made from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota.
NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) had sent 29 satellites to the orbit in a single launch in 2013, setting a world record. The upcoming ISRO mission would carry LAPAN A3 of Indonesia, BIROS of Germany, SKYSAT GEN 2-1 of US, MVV of Germany among the micro satellites.
Facts about ISRO :
Indian Space Research Organisation is the space agency of the Indian government headquartered in the city of Bengaluru. Formed in 1969, ISRO superseded the erstwhile Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR), which was established in 1962 by the efforts of independent India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and his close aide and scientist Vikram Sarabhai.
Established: 15 August 1969
Motto : Space technology in the Service of humankind
Chairman : A S Kiran Kumar>Login To Save for Revision
- 112 to become India’s new emergency number
The Telecom Commission has approved "112" as default emergency response number for any situation in India, similar to 911 of United States (US) and 999 of United Kingdom (UK).
All existing emergency numbers will be phased out out within a year of implementing the new '112' number. and henceforth Indian citizens in distress will be able to get all emergency services such as police, fire department and ambulance by just dialling "112". The call would be directed to the concerned department.
The proposal to unify all emergency point of contacts into a single number was proposed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) as a part of its recommendations to the telecom department last April.
Key features of the new service
1. The service will also be accessible even through those SIMs and landlines whose outgoing call facility has been stopped or temporarily suspended.
2. A user will be able to make communication even through SMS and the system will learn about the location of the caller that will be shared with the nearest help centre.
3. The service will be operated by a call centre like facility, which will have representatives speaking in Hindi, English and the local language.
Currently, callers need to dial different numbers for various emergency services, such as 100 for police, 101 for fire department and 102 for ambulance but now by converging one single number for all emergency requirements, callers would find it easier and more comfortable to call.>Login To Save for Revision
- BHEL commissions 40 MW hydropower plant in West Bengal
State-run power equipment maker Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has commissioned a 40-mw unit of a hydro power plant at the Teesta low dam hydroelectric project (HEP) stage IV in West Bengal.
A run-of-the-river greenfield project, located in Darjeeling district of the state, is being set up by National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC).
BHEL’s Bhopal, Jhansi, Rudrapur, Mumbai and Bengaluru facilities had supplied equipment for the project and execution of work was undertaken on site is being.
The estimated annual energy generation from the project is expected to be around 720 million units, which will reduce green-house gas emissions and will help in achieving a low carbon development path for the state as well as the nation. So far BHEL has commissioned nearly 400 hydro generating sets of various ratings with a cumulative capacity of around 20,000 MW.>Login To Save for Revision
- Jat Reservation Bill unanimously passed in Haryana Assembly
Haryana Legislative Assembly has unanimously passed the Haryana Backward Classes (Reservation in Services and Admission in Educational Institutions) Bill, 2016 thus providing reservation to Jats and five other castes in government jobs and educational institutions in Haryana.
Jat Reservation Bill
1. The bill seeks to provide reservation in services and admission in educational institutions to persons belonging to backward classes including Jats and five other castes.
2. The bill will give statutory status to Backward classes Block ‘A’, Backward classes Block ‘B’ and Backward classes Block ‘C. Jats, Jat Sikhs, Ror, Bishnoi, Tyagi and Mulla/Muslim Jat have been included in the Block C.
3. The bill provides for increase in percentage of reservation in Schedule I, II and III for Class I and II posts for BC ‘A’, BC ‘B’ and BC ‘C’ from 10 percent, five percent and five percent to 11 percent, six percent and six percent respectively.
4. It has also been decided to increase the existing reservation of five percent for Economically Backward Persons in General Caste Category in Class I and II posts from five percent to seven percent.>Login To Save for Revision
- Russian Sergey Karjakin wins 2016 FIDE World Chess Candidates Tournament
Russian Grandmaster Sergey Karjakin has won the FIDE chess candidates tournament in Moscow by defeating American star Fabiano Caruana in the final Round 14 by scoring 8.5 points.
Karjakin will now play with the incumbent world champion, Norwegian Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen, in a title match this November in New York City.
Sergey Karjakin Sergey
Sergey Alexandrovich Karjakin is a Ukrainian-born Russian chess grandmaster.
He is a former chess prodigy and holds the record for the world's youngest Grandmaster ever, having qualified for this title at the age of 12 years and 7 months.
Karjakin won the 2012 World Rapid Chess Championship and the Chess World Cup 2015. He also won the Norway Chess Tournament twice (2013, 2014) and the Corus Chess Tournament in 2009.
He has competed in six Chess Olympiads, three times for Ukraine and three times for Russia, winning three gold medals, two silver and a bronze.>Login To Save for Revision
- P. Susheela enters Guinness World Records
Legendary playback singer P. Susheela Mohan, who has won many awards and earned accolades in a career spanning five decades, has now been recognised by both the Guinness Book of World Records and Asia Book of Records for singing most number of songs in Indian languages.
She has reportedly recorded upto 17,695 songs (solo, duet and chorus backed songs) in twelve Indian languages as verified on 28 January 2016.
She was honoured with a Guinness Certificate and also Asia Book of Records Certificate. She has sung songs in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Hindi and other Indian languages.
She is also the recipient of five National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer and numerous state awards in her long singing career which includes the Kalaimaamani Award of Tamil Nadu (1991) and Ragupathy Vangayya Award of Andhra Pradesh (2004).>Login To Save for Revision
- Ten year old boy become youngest to undergo bypass surgery in India
A 10-year-old boy suffering from a rare cholesterol disorder "Homozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia (HoFH)" has become the youngest Indian to undergo a successful bypass surgery, at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, New delhi. The surgery was smooth and uneventful and the boy was discharged within one week.
The patient who is a resident of Mathura, was brought to Fortis-Escorts Heart Institute as he complained of chest pain and breathlessness over three days. Clinical investigations revealed that he already had suffered a massive heart attack and he was in a condition of heart failure.
An angiography conducted showed severe coronary artery blockages compromising blood flow to heart muscle necessitating a surgical intervention of urgent Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG). His heart was functioning at 50 per cent capacity.
Familial hypercholesterolemia :-
Familial hypercholesterolemia is a rare genetic disorder where the bad cholesterol level remains very high and the liver is unable to remove the bad cholesterol from the blood, leading to artery blockage at an early age resulting in heart attack. It occurs one in a million in general population and is a highly unusual case where a child had to undergo bypass surgery at a young age.
Andhra govt inaugurates country's first lift irrigation project
Andhra Pradesh government inaugurated Pattiseema lift irrigation project, which is described as the first river linking project in country, connecting Godavari River with Krishna River from the ongoing Polavaram Multi-purpose Irrigation Project. The project was awarded to Hyderabad-based Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited (MEIL) and completed in a record time of one year.
Key facts about Pattiseema lift irrigation project :
1. The project has been designed to lift 80 tmc (trillion metric cubic feet) of flood water in a span of 110 days during the flooding season between July and October from Godavari as permitted by the Godavari Water Dispute Tribunal (GWDT).
2. From this project, water is pumped up to a nearby point and discharged into Polavaram Right Main Canal, which carry water by gravity to a tributary of River Krishna about 170 km away in the neighboring Krishna district above the Prakasham barrage.
3. The project contains 24 pumps and 24 motors of 5,300 HP and 6,300 HP respectively with a combined capacity to discharge 8,500 cusecs of water. The project requires 113 mw of power to run all the 24 pumps as each motor require 4.7 mw of power to lift the water. The first pump of this Rs 1,300-crore project was installed and switched on in September, 2015.
4. Godavari-Krishna linkage will benefit the Krishna delta in terms of timely availability and adequate quantities of water even for raising the second crop. The project would stabilise 12 lakh acres of existing ayacut besides meeting the second crop requirements of Krishna delta. One tmc of water is adequate to irrigate 10,000 acres of area.
Polavarm project : The main Polavarm project was declared as a national project under the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014 and was being funded by Government of India. The cost of project was estimated around Rs 4,474 crore in the year 2004, which was raised to little over Rs 16,000 crore by 2010-11.>Login To Save for Revision
- Mizoram, JICA sign pact for promoting sustainable agriculture
The Mizoram government and Japanese International Cooperative Agency (JICA) have signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 'Capacity Enhancement for Sustainable Agriculture and Irrigation Development.'
It was signed by top officials of Agriculture, Minor Irrigation, Horticulture and Soil and Water Conservation departments while JICA was represented by its team leader Satoru Fujita and four other officials both from Tokyo and Delhi.
Facts about the MoU :
1. Experts of the Japanese company would, on the company's own expense, undertake technical cooperation project in four rural development blocks in Aizawl, Kolasib, Serchhip and Champhai districts.
2. The JICA had conducted development study during 2013 and 2015 and had formulated a master plan covering 20 years. The technical cooperation project would commence from October this year and continue till September 2021.
3. Under it training programmes would be conducted in Japan both for farmers and officials from Mizoram for three times and the expenses would be borne by the Japanese government.>Login To Save for Revision
- Mint plant can help fight cancer: CIMAP Researchers
Sientists at CSIR-Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic plants (CIMAP) have identified that a compound called `L-Menthol' derived from Mentha plant, popularly known as mint, can also be used in anti-cancer drugs.
1. LMenthol can kill the colon cancer cell line without affecting the normal cell line. Mentha compound inhibits the division of cancer cell and prevent its growth and spread to other organs of the body.
2. Production of L-menthol is cost-effective, non-destructive and easily available in comparison to anticancer compound used at present, derived from the bark of European Yew tree.
3. Mentha is available in abundance across the world, the European Yew tree is found only in Europe and some parts of Africa and Asia.
4. Menthol can be derived easily without damaging the plant, whereas the European Yew tree has to be cut down for using bark for deriving anti-cancer compound. The discovery can be very useful for farmers in the city and the state, where Mentha is grown in large quantity.>Login To Save for Revision
- International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade : March 25
Every year 25th March is observed as International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade to honour and remember those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system.
The day aims to raise awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice that had taken place over the span 400 years is considered as the worst violation of human rights in history in which more than 15 million men, women and children were the victims.
Theme for the year 2016 : “Remember Slavery: Celebrating the Heritage and Culture of the African Diaspora and its Roots”.
The theme aims to draw attention towards the rich African traditions and culture that have impacted life in countries which were involved in the slave trade. The theme also marks the major contributions African diaspora in all aspects of life in these countries.>Login To Save for Revision
- Self regulatory code for industry to protect consumers against misleading advertisements and counterfeit products
In order to protect the rights of consumers against misleading advertisements, fake and counterfeit products, and for effective redressal of consumer complaints, the Department of Consumer Affairs has entered into partnership with the Industry Association to implement six points’ agenda.
Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) in this regard was inked between Department of Consumer Affairs and the industry bodies related to self-regulated code of fair business.
The MoU broadly cover the collaborative programmes on developing and implementing a self-regulated code of fair business practices. The MoU focuses at :-
- Establishing a Consumer Affairs division/vertical within the Industry Body.
- Initiating advocacy action against unfair trade practices and preventing fake, counterfeit and sub-standard products and services.
- Adoption of voluntary standards by Industry members.
- Earmarking of CSR funds for consumer awareness and protection activities.
- Partnering with the National Consumer Helpline and State Consumer Helplines for grievance redressal.
- Launching joint consumer awareness, education and training programmes under the “Jago Grahak Jago”.
The code contains provision of trustworthy products and services for the consumers, comply with the competition and anti-trust laws and respond to consumer complaints promptly. It covers six broad principles to be adopted by the industry :-
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- Safety of products and services.
- Building sustainable supply chains.
- Marketing products ethically.
- Non-indulgence in unfair trade practices.
- Complying with competition and anti-trust laws.
- Prompt response to consumer complaints.
- Dutch soccer legend Johan Cruyff passes away
Johan Cruyff, the legendary Dutch soccer striker and coach,passed away after a long battle with lung cancer in Barcelona, Spain.
Cruyff was one of the most famous exponents of the football philosophy known as Total Football. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in football history.
At a glance - Johan Cruyff
1. He was born as Hendrik Johannes "Johan" Cruijff on 25 April 1947 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. He started his career at Ajax FC where he won eight Eredivisie titles and three European Cups in a row from 1971-73.
2. In 1973 he moved to FC Barcelona for a world record transfer fee, winning La Liga in his first season and was named European Footballer of the Year. As a player he won the Ballon d'Or three times, in 1971, 1973 and 1974.
3. As a player Cruyff scored 392 times in 520 games over a 19-year career and as a coach he had 242 victories in 387 matches, with 75 draws and 70 losses.
India launches first indigenous rotavirus vaccine
Health Ministry on 26th March launched India’s first indigenous rotavirus vaccine named Rotavac to combat infant mortality due to diarrhoea. The Rotavirus vaccine was developed indigenously, under a public-private partnership between the Ministry of Science Technology and the Health Ministry. The vaccine is administered orally to infants in three dose course at ages of six, ten and fourteen weeks as part of Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP).
The vaccine was being introduced initially in four States — Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh (first state to launch it) and Odisha — and would be expanded to the entire country in a phased manner.
Note : - The Rotavac is in addition to three new vaccines that have been introduced in India’s Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) including Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV), Measles, Rubella (MR) vaccine, and Adult Japanese Encephalitis (JE) vaccine. The IPV has been introduced in six States from Nov. 30, 2015 to provide double protection against polio. The IPV has been introduced in six States from Nov. 30, 2015 to provide double protection against polio.
Rotavirus which is the most common cause of severe vomiting and diarrhoea among infants and young children is a genus of double-stranded RNA virus in the family Reoviridae. Nearly every child in the world has been infected with rotavirus at least once by the age of five. Immunity develops with each infection, so subsequent infections are less severe.
Transmission: The virus spreads from person to person due to bacterial and parasiting agents that are primarily transmitted through contaminated food or water.
Diarrhoea caused by Rotavirus is one of the leading causes of severe diarrhoea and death among children less than five years of age. In India, between 80,000 to one lakh children die due to Rotavirus diarrhoea annually while nearly 9 lakh children are admitted to hospital with severe diarrhoea.
Besides causing emotional stress to the affected families, it also pushes many Indian families below the poverty line and also imposes significant economic burden on the country.>Login To Save for Revision
- Hockey India Annual Awards
India goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh and Deepika won the Dhruv Batra Player of the Year award for men and women, respectively, at the Hockey India second annual awards held in Bengaluru. Both Sreejesh and Deepika were given a cash prize of Rs. 25 lakh.
Late Capt. Shankar Laxman was posthumously chosen for the 2016 Major Dhyan Chand Lifetime Achievement Award. The award carrying a cash prize of Rs. 30 lakh and a trophy was accepted by his son Manohar Singh Shekhawat. Capt. Laxman, a goalkeeper, was part of the Olympic medal-winning teams of 1956 (Melbourne, gold), 1960 (Rome, silver), and 1964 (Tokyo, gold).
1. Baljit Singh Goalkeeper of the Year Award: Savita. Pargat Singh
2. Defender of the Year Award: Kothajit Singh.
3. Ajit Pal Singh Midfielder of the Year Award: Ritu Rani.
4. Dhanraj Pillay Forward of the Year Award: Rani.
5. Asunta Lakra Upcoming Player of the Year Award: Harjeet Singh (male), Preeti Dubey (female).
6. Jaman Lal Sharma Award for Invaluable Contribution: Baldev Singh.
7. President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement: Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy
Note: To celebrate the historic occasion of the Indian women's team qualifying for the Olympics after a gap of 36 years since the Moscow Games, the entire team and the support staff were felicitated with cash reward of Rs. 1.00 Lakh each.>Login To Save for Revision
- President’s Rule imposed in Uttarakhand
The Centre had brought the state of Uttarakhand under President's rule citing a Constitutional breakdown in the wake of a rebellion in the ruling Congress. President Pranab Mukherjee had signed the proclamation under Art 356 of the Constitution dismissing the Congress government headed by Chief Minister Harish Rawat and placing the Assembly under suspended animation.
On March 18, of the 71-member Assembly, 67 members, excluding the Speaker, were present out of whom 35 wanted Division of Votes on the Appropriation Bill. The Division of Votes was sought in writing in advance by the 35 members who also voted against the Bill, despite which the Speaker showed the legislation as passed.
Following the conflict 9 Congress MLAs rebeled and were disqualified by the speaker under the anti-defection law.This disqualification had reduced the strength of the 70-member house to 61. So the final tally of Congress MLAs was 27 and BJP had 28 MLAs bringing government in minority in the state legislature.
President’s Rule :
Article 356 empowers the President to issue a proclamation of Present’s Rule, if he is satisfied that situation has arisen in which government of a state cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.
In such case the State comes under the direct control of the central government. Subsequently, executive authority is exercised through the centrally appointed Governor, who has the authority to appoint retired civil servants or other administrators, to assist him
In the state of Jammu and Kashmir, failure of constitutional machinery results in Governor's rule, imposed by invoking Section 92 of Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir.>Login To Save for Revision
- Indian-American appointed as President, CEO of Bank of the West
Indian-American Nandita Bakhshi has been appointed the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bank of the West, a subsidiary unit of French banking giant BNP Paribas. She will replace Michael Shepherd who has been appointed as chairman of the BNP Paribas USA, a new holding company for all BNP Paribas subsidiaries in the United States.
About Nandita Bakshi
1. She earned a bachelor's degree in History at the University of Calcutta and a masters in International Relations and Affairs at Jadavpur University.
2. Prior to her appointment she had held several leadership roles at TD Bank, the most recent being executive vice president and head of North American direct channels where she was responsible for driving innovation in direct and electronic channels to improve digital adoption and provide customers a unified banking experience.
3. Ms Bakhshi had earlier held executive positions at Washington Mutual in Seattle which is now JP Morgan Chase; FleetBoston, which is now Bank of America; First Data Corp, Home Savings of America and Banc One Corp.>Login To Save for Revision
- Syrian army 'recaptures city of Palmyra from ISIS
Syrian government forces backed by heavy Russian air support have regained control of the ancient city of Palmyra from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist group.
Palmyra, known as the "bride of the desert", is a UNESCO designated World Heritage site and home to some of the world’s most magnificent ancient ruins. The site used to attract tens of thousands of tourists a year before the conflict started in 2011.
1. In May 2015 Palmyra came under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which later destroyed a number of the site's buildings. After seizing Palmyra last year, IS blew up two of the site's treasured temples, its triumphal arch and a dozen tower tombs which sparked a global outcry as this was a attack on global cultural heritage.
2. The location of the city of Palmyra was strategically important for ISIL as it was located on the road between Syria’s capital Damascus and the oil rich eastern city of Deir al-Zour. Oil and gas produced from the fields located in Deir al-Zour, Syrian government used to generate electricity for areas under its control in the west of the country.>Login To Save for Revision
- India-born academician Surya Deva appointed UN Adviser on Human Rights and Businesses
An India-born academician Surya Deva has been appointed as the United Nations (UN) Adviser on Human Rights and Businesses.
He was appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) as the Asia-Pacific representative of the UN Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.
Mr. Deva is an associate professor at the School of Law of City University of Hong Kong and his research interests lie in Business and Human Rights, Corporate Social Responsibility, India-China Constitutional Law, and Sustainable Development.
He recently wrote a background paper for India’s National Framework on Business and Human Rights and in 2014, he was elected a Member of the Executive Committee of the International Association of Constitutional Law.>Login To Save for Revision
- Iran to boost security and trade ties with Pakistan
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif have mutually agreed to boost bilateral cooperation on regional security and trade during talks in Islamabad. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is on official state visit to Pakistan and is the first visit by an Iranian head of state in 14 years.
1. The two leaders are expected to discuss a controversial multi-billion dollar gas pipeline from Iran, through Pakistan to India. Work has stalled on the Iran-Pakistan section, which was designed to help Pakistan meet its energy needs. Iran has invested over $2bn in the project, but Pakistan has yet to finish construction on its half of the pipeline.
2. Both countries have agreed to fight extremist and terrorist groups in their countries’ shared border. They also announced the opening of two new crossing points to encourage trade long hampered by sanctions. The opening will contribute to economic integration in the region and also promote tourism and other economic opportunities.
1. Pakistan, a majority Sunni country, had traditionally close economic and political ties with the Saudi Arabia (Sunni Muslim nation) which is hostile to Iran, a Shia power.
2. However in the current scenario Pakistan is trying to maintain a delicate balance promoting ties with Iran since, West Asia region is indulged in sectarian rift especially between Iran which is Shia Muslim nation and Saudi Arabia a Sunni Muslim nation.
3. Saudi Arabia accuses Tehran of supporting Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen against the internationally recognised president, Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi.Saudi Arabia has been leading a coalition of mostly Gulf Arab states in an air-campaign against the Houthis in the conflict, which is widely seen as a proxy Saudi-Iran war.
4. Pakistan which has the largest and only nuclear-armed army in the Muslim world had refused a Saudi Arabia to join its anti-Houthi military coalition as it would be against Iran although Pakistan had vowed to stand ready to defend any aggression against Saudi Arabia.
Ritu Beri appointed as advisor of KVIC
Noted designer Ritu Beri has been appointed advisor to the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) for promotion of khadi in India and across the world.
She has been appointed for tenure of one year and shall advise KVIC on ways to promote khadi in India and across the world. Beri has had 25 years of experience in the global fashion arena designing clothes for international and national celebrities including Bill Clinton, Prince Charles, Nicole Kidman and Ivana Trump.
Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC)
The KVIC, a statutory body, is charged with the planning, promotion, organisation and implementation of programmes for development of Khadi and other village industries in the rural areas in coordination with other agencies engaged in rural development.
It has been established by Union Government under the Khadi and Village Industries Commission Act, 1956 and functions under the aegis of Union Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.>Login To Save for Revision
- China, Nepal agree to build first strategic rail link
China has signed an agreement with Nepal under which it would build a strategic railway link between the two countries through Tibet to reduce land-locked Nepal's total dependence on India.More than 10 agreements were signed during Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli’s official seven day visit to China.
Both countries also discussed on various issues to boost bilateral cooperation including Trade diversification, cross border connectivity and infrastructure development, cooperation on energy, tourism, finance and education.
The other agreements included a feasibility study on the establishment of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), China’s assistance to build a new airport and a border bridge over the Simikot-Hilsa road section that will connect Humla district of Nepal with Tibet.>Login To Save for Revision
- Justice H L Dattu appointed as member of International Coordinating Committee Bureau of NHRI-ICC
Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and former Chief Justice of India HL Dattu has been appointed as member of the International Coordinating Committee Bureau (ICCB) of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI-ICC) Bureau in Geneva.
He was nominated unanimously as no other NHRI from the Asia-Pacific region nominated a candidate against him to fill the position of a member vacated by the representative of NHRI of South Korea. NHRC. He has been selected from the Asia-Pacific region and shall represent India along with Mongolia, Qatar and Australia from this region.
International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions
The ICC Bureau is an important human rights body, which serves as the Management Committee of the International Coordinating Committee of
National Human Rights Institutions (ICC). The ICC Bureau implements all the decisions of the ICC General Meetings and directs the operations of the ICC between these meetings. All sub-committees and working groups report to the ICC Bureau.>Login To Save for Revision
- March 23: World Meteorological Day
The United Nations' (UN) World Meteorological Day (WMD) is annually observed on 23 March. On this day conferences, symposia and exhibitions for meteorological professionals, community leaders and the general public are organised across the world.
Theme for the year 2016 is “Hotter, Drier, Wetter. Face the Future”
The theme highlights that, without action to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the trend of increasing temperatures and the frequency and intensity of extreme weather will increase.
On the occasion of WMD, various meteorological research awards will be also given. These awards include International Meteorological Organization Prize, Professor Dr. Vilho Vaisaila Award and Norbert Gerbier-Mumm International Award.>Login To Save for Revision
- Nepal joins SCO grouping as dialogue partner
Nepal has officially joined as a dialogue partner of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a Beijing-based regional security grouping.An MoU in this regard was signed during Nepalese Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli official visit to China.
As a dialogue partner, Nepal is able to participate in the multi-field cooperation of the SCO, which has an increasing presence in international affairs.The membership will also open new avenues regarding SCO’s mutually beneficial cooperation and benefit people living in the extensive region that the SCO covers.
Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)
The SCO was established in 2001 to promote cooperation on security-related issues and strengthen mutual trust, friendliness and neighbourliness among the member states.
The SCO consists of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India, Afghanistan, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan are observer states.
SCO’s first enlargement was in 2001 with addition of Uzbekistan and second enlargement was in July 2015 with addition of 2 new members India and Pakistan.>Login To Save for Revision
- Justice Permod Kohli appointed as Chairman of Central Administrative Tribunal
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Justice Permod Kohli, retired Chief Justice of Sikkim High Court as Chairman in the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT)for a period of 05 years or till attaining the age of 68 years, whichever is earlier.
Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT)
CAT was established under Article 323A of the Constitution (inserted by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment, 1976).The jurisdiction of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) relates to recruitment and all services matters of public servants covered by it.
Its jurisdiction extends to the all-India services, Central civil services, civil posts under the Centre and civilian employee of defence services, It is a multi-member body consisting of Chairman and members.
March 22: World Water Day
World Water Day is annually celebrated on March 22. The day focuses attention on the importance of freshwater and advocates for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.
Significance of the Day: The occasion of World Water Day is also used to highlight required improvements for access to WASH (water, sanitation, hygiene) facilities in developing countries.
Theme for the year 2016 : “Better Water, Better Jobs”. It focuses on the central role that water plays in creating and supporting good quality jobs.
Background : This day was first formally proposed in Agenda 21 of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992. Later, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) accepted the recommendation of UNCED and celebrated first World Water Day on 22 March 1993. Since then this day is observed annually to draw attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of fresh water resources. 2015 theme of WWD was ‘Water and Sustainable Development’.>Login To Save for Revision
- March 20: World Sparrow Day
March 20th is annually celebrated as world sparrow day to raise awareness of the house sparrow and other common birds to urban environments and threats to their populations.
It is an international initiative by the Nature Forever Society of India in collaboration with the Eco-Sys Action Foundation (France) and numerous other national and international organisations across the world.For the first time, the World Sparrow Day was organised in different parts of the world in 2010.
The sparrow, especially the common house sparrow is one of the oldest companions of human beings. But its population is declining for various reasons such as destruction of its habitat, lack of insect food for the young and the increasing microwave pollution from mobile phone towers.
Facts about Sparrows
(i) There are over 140 species of sparrows spread out over every continent except Antarctica.
(ii) House sparrow is the state bird for Delhi since 2012.
(iii) Sparrows are omnivorous birds.
(iv) Sparrows are small birds having size, about the size of a tennis ball.
(v) Sparrows can survive between 4 and 5 years in the wild.
(vi) Sparrows are very social and they live in colonies called flocks.>Login To Save for Revision
- 21 March: International Day of Forests
The International Day of Forests is annually celebrated on 21st March to raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests and of trees outside forests,
for the benefit of current and future generations.
On this day Countries are encouraged to undertake efforts to organize local, national, and international activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns.
Forests cover one third of the Earth's land mass, performing vital functions around the world. Around 1.6 billion people - including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures - depend on forests for their livelihood.
Theme for 2016: “Forests and water”
The theme aims to raise awareness of how forests are key to the planet’s supply of freshwater, which is essential for life.It also marks the joint celebration of the International Day of Forests and World Water Day (22nd March).>Login To Save for Revision
- HS Prannoy wins 2016 Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold badminton title
India's fourth highest ranked men's badminton player HS Prannoy has won the prestigious 2016 Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament in the men’s single category by defeating Marc Zwiebler (World no 7) of Germany by a score of 21-18, 21-15.This is Prannoy's second title at a Grand Prix Gold tournament, after he won the 2014 Indonesian Masters.
(i) Women’s Single: He Bingjiao from China won the title by defeating Wang Yihan from China by 21-16, 21-10 score.
(ii) Men’s Doubles: Denmark pair of Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen won the title by defeating Chinese Taipei pair of Lee Sheng-mu and Tsai Chia-hsin by 21-15 and 21-8 score.
(iii) Women’s Doubles: Japanese pair of Shizuka Matsuo and Mami Naito won the title by defeating Japanese pair of Naoko Fukuman and Kurumi Yonao by 21-16, 12-21 and 21-12 score.
(iv) Mixed Doubles: Chinese pair of Wang Yilu and Chen Qingchen won the title by defeating Thailand pair of Bodin Issara and Savitree Amitrapai by 21-19, 16-21 and 15-21 score.>Login To Save for Revision
- Yogeshwar Dutt wins Gold medal in Asian Olympic Qualification tournament
Star Indian wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt bagged a Gold medal in the Asian Olympic Qualification tournament in the 65 kg freestyle category by defeating Katai Yeerlanbieke from China,in the final match played at Astana in Kazakhstan.
With this victory he secured an Olympic quota place for India. He is second Indian wrestler after Narsingh Yadav to secure berth in the 74 kg freestyle category for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
It should be noted that earlier in 2012 London Olympics, Yogeshwar had won bronze in men’s 60kg freestyle category.But later he had moved up to 65kg category after the international governing body FILA had re-jigged the weight classes at the end of 2013.>Login To Save for Revision
- Agreement between EU and Turkey to tackle migrant crisis comes into effect
The agreement between the European Union (EU) and Turkey to tackle the migrant crisis has formally come into effect. Under the plan, migrants arriving in Greece will be sent back to Turkey if their asylum claim is rejected.
According to the agreement :
(i) Thousands of migrants from Syria and elsewhere will be sent to Ankara, in exchange for financial aid and political concessions to it.
(ii) Turkey, which houses nearly 3 million Syrian refugees will get financial aid, quicker EU membership talks and visa-free travel for its citizens.
(iii) All irregular migrants into Greece crossing from Turkey from 20 March 2016 will be sent back. Henceforth migrants’ arrival will be individually assessed by the Greek authorities.
(iv) For each Syrian returned to Turkey, a Syrian migrant will be resettled in the EU. Priority will be given to those who have not tried to illegally enter the EU and the number is capped at 72,000.
(v) Turkish nationals should have access to the Schengen passport-free zone by June. This will not apply to non-Schengen countries like Britain.
Since January 2015, millions of migrants and refugees have entered the EU by boat from Turkey to Greece via Mediterranean Sea route. Thousands are stuck in Greece as their route north has been blocked. This deal ensures Turkey, which houses nearly 3 million Syrian refugees to get financial aid.
Goa Government accords heritage spirit status to country liquor Feni
Goa government has classified 'Feni', a form of spirit produced exclusively in the coastal state, as "Heritage Spirit of Goa".Feni has achieved first geographical indication (GI) in Goa and is also the first liquor product in the country to obtain that status.
Feni is presently defined under the Goa Excise Duty Act, 1964 hence, taxes collected by the excise department from distillers under the category of country liquor. After the recent proposal,Goa excise act will accordingly be amended.
What is Feni?
Feni is a spirit produced exclusively in Goa.It is synonymous with the state ethos and identity and is used in various cultural traditions, cuisines as well as known for its medicinal value also. There are two types of feni: (i) cashew feni (ii) coconut feni>Login To Save for Revision
- Union Government bans repeat animal testing of drugs
The Indian government has amended its Drugs and Cosmetic Rules (DCR), 1945,and scrapped repeat tests on animals for drugs which already have been approved by other countries.The ministry has issued notification in this regard.
The ban falls under the amendment Schedule Y, where the data on animal toxicity as per the specifications once submitted can be considered by the regulatory authority of the country which had earlier approved the drug
After the amendment, animal toxicity studies shall not be required to be conducted in India except in cases where there are specific concerns recorded in writing.However, no permission will be required to conduct clinical trial intended for academic purposes in respect of approved drug formulation
This move comes after repeated appeals by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India and Union Women & Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi who is a well-known animal rights activist wrote to the Health Ministry on the practice.>Login To Save for Revision
- Indian Railways, ISRO ink MoU for Remote Sensing, GIS Technologies
The Railways has entered into an agreement with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for developing applications in the field of Remote sensing and
Geographic Information System (GIS) for remote sensing at unmanned railway crossing.Earlier, Railway Minister in his Budget had announced that Indian Railways will use geospatial and space technology in various sectors of governance.
Key facts :
(1) Ministry of Railways has proposed to use space technology tools in providing passenger information system in all trains indicating the next station, stoppage, real time train tracking, survey of new rail route alignments particularly in hilly and difficult terrains, conduct track vulnerability studies, mapping of assets and introducing web enabled rail user centric services.
(2) Currently, Railways is using space technology for providing connectivity to Passenger Reservation System (PRS) counters and unreserved ticketing system at remote and non-rail head locations.
(3) Technology is also being used for emergency communication using satellite phones from disaster sites, Global Positioning System (GPS) for various applications like remote monitoring of locomotives, passenger information system in Mumbai suburban trains, synchronised clocks and WiFi facility in select Rajdhani Express trains.>Login To Save for Revision
- Geetakshi Arora wins inaugural Noor Inayat Khan Prize
Geetakshi Arora an Indian studentwas awarded the inaugural Noor Inayat Khan Prize consisting of 1,000 pounds for her excellent dissertation on “Goddess Myths in Graphic Novels: Reimagining Indian Feminity”.She is pursuing her post-graduation from South Asia Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.
About Noor Inayat Khan Prize
Noor Inayat Khan Prize has been instituted by the Noor Inayat Khan Memorial Trust in the memory of Noor Inayat Khan, famous World War II heroine.The award consists of 1,000 pounds and certificate.The Trust awards the annual prize to a post-graduate student from SOAS, University of London, working
in the area of gender studies and South Asian history.
Who was Noor Inayat Khan ?
(i) Born as Noor-un-Nisa Inayat Khan in Moscow in 1914 to Indian father Hazrat Inayat Khan and American mother Ora Ray Baker was an Allied Special Operations Executive (SOE) agent during the Second World War.
(ii) She was was posthumously awarded the George Cross, the highest civilian decoration in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth nations.
(iii) Her father was great-grandson of Tipu Sultan.Thus, she was a direct descendant of Tipu Sultan, the e 18th century ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore who had refused to submit to British rule and was killed in battle in 1799.
(iv) As an SOE agent, she became the first female radio operator to be sent from Britain into occupied France to aid the French Resistance. She was eventually betrayed, captured and killed in Dachau Concentration Camp by the Gestapo at the age of 30. Her last word was “Liberte”.>Login To Save for Revision
- Venkaiah Naidu conferred with Skoch Lifetime Achievement Award
Union urban Development minister M Venkaiah Naidu has been conferred with the Skoch Lifetime Achievement Award.He was bestowed with this award at 43rd SKOCH summit held in New Delhi for his contributions to inclusive growth and towards poverty alleviation in India.
Meanwhile, Information Technology (IT) Minister of Telangana State KT Rama Rao was also awarded the Skoch Award in the Startup India category. He was bestowed with this for his initiative in establishing the path breaking tech incubator T-Hub.
About Skoch Challenger Awards
Instituted in 2003, Skoch Challenger Awards - the highest independently instituted civilian honours - have been conferred on some of the best brains from across the country for their efforts in the area of digital, financial and social inclusion.>Login To Save for Revision
- Model building bye-laws, 2016 to speed up real estate projects
Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu recently unveiled a Model Building Bye-Laws, 2016 which would improve ease of doing business in construction sector and reduce corruption if implemented by the state governments.It seeks to provide an online single window framework for approval process.
Model Building bye-laws, 2016
(i) It provides structural framework to create an online single window system for building plan approvals and empower urban local bodies to grant permits within a month andif it is not done by the concerned agencies within this time-frame then it will be deemed as approved.
(ii) Urban local bodies (ULBs) will have the power the monitor the environmental concerns in their region.The provision of rain water harvesting for various types of buildings has been mandatory.
(iii) The new bye-laws also define land rules, permissible construction area or FAR and height of buildings, among other aspects.Different set of environmental conditions are provided for each category of building ranging from 5000 square meters to 1.5 lakh square meters.
PM Narendra Modi inaugurates World Sufi Forum in New Delhi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated World Sufi Forum on 17th March 2016 in New Delhi . The 4 day conference organized by All India Ulama and Mashaikh Board (AIUMB), the apex body of Sufi Dargahs in India started with a message of peace and brotherhood that has been the eternal touch stone of all sufi saints.
More than 200 Indian and international delegates, including Sufi Shuyukh, spiritual leaders, scholars, academicians and masters of Sufism will participate in the event to discuss ways to spread the message of peace advocated by Islam.
The event will include a debate on the role of women in Islam. The conference is expected to come out with a declaration against extremism and Wahabism.>Login To Save for Revision
- India inks $35 million loan agreement with WB for MP project
Union government, Madhya Pradesh government and the World Bank have signed loan agreement of 35 million dollars credit agreement for the 'MP higher education quality improvement project'. The loan would be sanctioned by the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm International Development Association (IDA).
The loan agreement was signed between Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary (MI), Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance on behalf of the Government of India and Onno Ruhl, Country Director, World Bank (India) on behalf of the World Bank.
MP higher education quality improvement project :
The project size is 50 million dollars,of which USD 35 million will be financed by the Bank, and the remaining amount will be funded out of State Budget. The duration for the project is 5 years.
Project objective : The objective of the project is to improve access and quality of public services in the state through implementation of the Public Service Delivery Guarantee Act, 2010.
The project is expected to deliver key results in terms of improving access to services and citizen outreach, simplification of Government services, performance management and strengthening the capacity of implementing agencies.>Login To Save for Revision
- Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan dies at 71
Meir Dagan, the former longtime chief of Israel's intelligence service, Mossad, passed away due to liver cancer. He had served as Director General of the Mossad from 2002 until his retirement in 2011.
Under his leadership, Mossad carried out covert attacks against Iranian nuclear scientists and unleashed cyber-attacks, including the Stuxnet virus that delayed the Iranian nuclear programme.
At a glance: Meir Dagan
Dagan was bron on 30th Jan 1945 on a train between the Soviet Union and Poland during World War II to Polish Jewish parents who were Holocaust survivors. He joined Israeli army in 1963 as a paratrooper and commanded a company in the Sinai desert during the war in 1967.
In the 1970s, under command of then-army leader Ariel Sharon, he pioneered "Mistaravim" unit, a unit of soldiers disguised as Palestinians to capture militant suspects. He also played important role at various high-level positions in the Six-Day War, Yom Kippur War and 1982 Lebanon War.>Login To Save for Revision
- IMD develops Drishti for providing real time visibility information to pilots
CSIR and the India Meteorological Department (IMD) have indigenously developed Drishti system, a visibility measuring system that provides information to pilots on visibility for safe landing and take-off operations, particularly during foggy or rainy days.
Key facts Drishti system :
(1) The need for "Drishti system" was felt as flights were usually delayed due to fog and especially during the winter months and finally the plan to develop Drishti took it's shape on CSIR Foundation Day in 2007, and went on to field trials at NAL in January 2008 and airport trials at Cochin Airport in 2008 June.
(2) Drishti is a transmissometer that takes in account the real time weather parameters like humidity, wind speed, temperature conditions, etc., along the runway in order to calculate the visibility distance offered at that particular runway. The system transfer the crucial visibility updates to the pilots in real time who can now use this information that will be updated every minute.
(3) Drishti has many features like electronic modulation of lamp intensity, real time embedded data acquisition with web-enabled software for remote health monitoring of the system.
(4) The system was introduced for the first time at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI) in New Delhi in 2015 on a trial basis, and later in phased it was installed at locations that often experience fog. Currently, there are 10 instruments at Delhi, three each at Jaipur, Varanasi, Lucknow; one each at Amritsar and Kolkata.>Login To Save for Revision
- Union Government launches FCI’s Depot Online System
Ram Vilas Paswan, Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution launched Depot Online System of state run Food Corporation of India (FCI) which is said to be a historic step towards bringing total transparency in the working of FCI and minimise storage losses of foodgrains.
The system would data online on a real time basis and bring total transparency in the working of FCI. It would also help in better monitoring and supervision to reduce leakages and losses.
Initiatives by the Union Government
(1) Nearly 100% cards have been digitized and about 80,000 Fair Price Shop (FPS) have been provided with bio-metric “Point of Sale Device” for distributing subsidized foodgrains.
(2) 45% ration cards have been seeded with Aadhar cards and in next 2 years remaining cards will also be seeded with the Aadhars wherever available.
(3) “Point of Sale Device” will be installed at 3 lakh FPS by March 2017 and by March 2019 all the ration shops in the country will have these devices to make Public Distribution System totally leak proof.>Login To Save for Revision
- Pfizer appoints S.Sridhar as MD
Pharmaceutical major Pfizer Ltd has appointed S Sridhar as its new Managing Director (MD) with immediate effect from March 18, 2016 for a period of five years.
Sridhar has worked as the Chief Financial Officer of the company for seven years and was appointed the Executive Director on the Board in May 2013. Prior to joining Pfizer, Mr. Sridhar worked as the Finance Director of Diageo India Pvt Ltd.>Login To Save for Revision
- AirAsia names Abrol as India CEO
Indo-Malaysian low cost carrier, AirAsia has appointed Amar Abrol as the CEO of AirAsia India, with effect from April 1, 2016. He will succeed Mittu Chandilya whose contract with the airline ends on March 31.
About Amar Abrol :
(1) Abrol who is born born and raised in India, graduated from Delhi University and is a qualified chartered accountant.
(2) He has over 20 years of experience, was most recently the CEO of Tune Money, a start-up that aims to deliver low-cost financial products in South East Asia.
(3) Before joining Tune Money in 2013, he spent 19 years with American Express, leading diverse teams across multiple markets including Hong Kong, Singapore, UK, India and Malaysia.
About AirAsia :
(1) Air Asia India is an Indo-Malaysian low cost carrier headquartered in Chennai, India. It is a joint venture with AirAsia Berhad holding 49% of the airline, Tata Sons holding 40.06% and Telestra Tradeplace having the remaining 10% in the airline.
(2) The company marked Tata's return to aviation industry after 60 years, having ceded Air India in 1946. AirAsia is the first foreign airline to set up a subsidiary in India. It commenced operations on 12 June 2014 with Bangalore as its primary hub.>Login To Save for Revision
- Carol named best LGBT film of all time
Lesbian love story "Carol" based on Patricia Highsmith novel The Price of Salt, has been named as the best LGBT film of all time by the British Film Institute (BFI).
Carol, which was released in the year 2015 is a British-American romantic drama film directed by Todd Haynes. It tells the story of a forbidden love affair between a young aspiring photographer and an older woman going through a difficult divorce.
Carol came top of a the poll of more than 100 film experts that included past and present festival programmers which was compiled to mark the 30th anniversary of the London lesbian and gay film festival, BFI Flare. Carol got six Oscar nominations and nine Bafta nominations, although it came home empty-handed from both award ceremonies.>Login To Save for Revision
- Four Indians in WEF Global Leaders List of 2016
Four Indians namely Kanika Dewan, Dhivya Suryadevara, Shaurya Veer Himatsingka and Sheetal Amte-Karajgi have made it to the list of over 121 young global leaders recognised by the World Economic Forum. Among these four leaders three are women.
WEF recognised 121 scientists, government leaders, future business leaders, social activists and artists, aged under-40, as the Young Global Leaders Class of 2016.
These 121 people are shaking up policy, society and the world around them. Over half of the Young Global Leaders Class of 2016 are women and the majority are from emerging economies.
About the four leaders :
(1) Kanika Dewan : President of Bramco Group.
(2) Dhivya Suryadevara : CEO of GM Asset Management, one of the largest pensions in the US, where she manages $80 billion in assets.
(3) Shaurya Veer Himatsingka : CEO of Maharogi Sewa Samiti. She is aking a significant impact on the lives of the marginalised.
(4) Sheetal Amte-Karajgi : Deputy managing director, India Carbon.>Login To Save for Revision
- SC allows photos of CMs, Governors, ministers in government advertisements
The Supreme Court has reversed its 2015 order and allowed publication of photographs of governors, chief ministers and ministers in government advertisements. Ruling in this regard was given by a SC bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi on pleas by Centre and states including poll-bound West Bengal and Tamil Nadu hich had sought a review of the Supreme Court judgment barring publication of leaders’ photos in advertisements except those of the President, Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India (CJI), saying it infringed fundamental rights and federal structure.
Supreme Court in its May 13, 2015 order had issued guidelines which had barred publication of photos of leaders in government advertisements except those of the President, PM and the CJI. It also mandated that official advertisements should not carry the name of any political party, political symbol, logo or flag.
The main motive behind these strict guidelines was to keep politicians and government policy and achievements seperate so that politician can not find any space for publicity stunt and waste huge money on advertisement.
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