GK Eduwrap – Monthly – March 2016 | Click to download in PDF Format

GK-Eduwrap-March-2016

 

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National – Across the India

 

1. The Union Government has constituted a committee to consider Scheduled Tribe status to six Communities of Assam.

 

These six Communities are Koch Rajbongshi, Moran, Matak, Tai Ahom, Chutia and Adivasi (Tea Tribes).

 It will be headed by Mahesh Kumar Singla, Special Secretary (Internal Security) Ministry of Home Affairs.

 

2. The multinational Military Exercise Force Eighteen conducted by Indian Army has started in at Pune, Maharashtra.

 

It is a seven days exercise, which will last till 8th March, 2016

Over 300 participants from 18 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Plus countries are participating in this exercise.

Exercise Force Eighteen is the largest multinational ground forces exercise to be conducted on Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA) and Peace Keeping Operations (PKO).

It is conducted by India as part of its ambitious Look (Act) East policy and it is one of the largest multi-national military exercises conducted in the country.

 

3. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched Setu Bharatam Project to make all national highways free of railway crossings by 2019.

 

This project will be implemented by the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

More than 50 thousand crore rupees will be spent on the project.

 

4. The Union Government has decided to wind up of National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council (NMCC) with immediate effect as it has fulfilled the mandate.

 

The decision was taken by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi after it was observed that NMCC has fulfilled the mandate for which it was constituted.

NMCC is to provide a continuing forum for policy dialogue to energize and sustain the growth of manufacturing industry.

 

5. Delhi has become the first state (UT) in the country to launch the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine as a public health program for school children.

 

HPV is a DNA virus from the papillomavirus family which is mainly a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that causes genital warts and cervical cancer.

The vaccination program will be completed in the current academic year 2015-16 over two phases.

In the first year, girls studying in Class VI in government schools will be targeted and in the next year girls between the age of 9 and 13 will be targeted.

 

6. 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 neighboring states.

 

The festival is estimated to have started in 1450-1700 A.D. in a village called Suaipui.

It is a spring festival celebrated every year in month of March 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).

Mizos celebrate this festival by dressing in their traditional attire and dancers danced to the tune of typical music and songs. Popular Mizo dances including Cheraw, Chheihlam, Sarlamkai and Khuallam are performed by various cultural groups.

 

7. The first Raisina-Dialogue 2016, a flagship conference on Geopolitics and Geo-economics began in New Delhi.

 

The theme of Raisina-Dialogue 2016 is “Asia: Regional and Global Connectivity”.

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.

It will focus on Asia’s economic, physical, human and digital connectivity and shall attempt to discover challenges and opportunities for the region to manage its common spaces.

 

8. President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated a National conference on ‘Women Legislators: Building Resurgent India’ in New Delhi.

The conference intends to hone the skills of legislators to perform their legislative and non-legislative roles with greater effectiveness.

The two-day conference will provide women legislators a platform to interact with their counterparts from across the country.

 

9. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has selected Nagepur village in his Varanasi Constituency of Lok Sabha in Uttar Pradesh under the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY).

 

Key objectives of SAGY are: –

The development of model villages, called Adarsh Grams, through the implementation of existing schemes, and certain new initiatives to be designed for the local context, which may vary from village to village.

Creating models of local development which can be replicated in other villages.

Earlier in the first phase of SAGY, PM had adopted Jayapur village in Sevapuri Assembly segment of Varanasi in 2014.

 

10. The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has released a new Four-colour Classification Scheme for industries based on their pollution potential.

 

The four-colour classification scheme of industrial sectors based on the Pollution Index (PI) which is a function of the Emissions (air pollutants), Effluents (water pollutants), hazardous wastes generated and Consumption of resources.

The Pollution Index (PI) of any industrial sector is a number ranging from 0 to 100. Increasing value of PI denotes the increasing degree of pollution load from the industrial sector.

 

11. As per recently released report of International Labour Organization (ILO) titled-Women at Work: Trends 2016, gender equality still remains elusive in the workplace.

 

The report highlights trends in 2016 in 178 countries and it has been found that millions of women worldwide are not getting the same kind of quality, well-paying jobs as men.

In past 20 years, the gender gap in employment, wages and social protection has changed little. They continue to work longer hours per day than men in both paid and unpaid work.

Globally, women represent nearly 65% of people who have reached retirement age without any regular pension. They lose out in terms of social and retirement benefits since they earn less money.

 

12. Germany has decided to partner with India’s smart city program and will help developing Kochi (Kerala), Bhubaneswar (Odisha) and Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) as smart cities.

 

It was announced by State Secretary in Germany’s Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Gunther Adler in New Delhi at the second meeting of the Indo-German Working Group on Urban Development.

These three cities are among the top 20 cities selected by Urban Development Ministry which are to be developed as smart cities.

 

13. National carrier Air India successfully flew the World’s longest all-woman operated and supported flight from the national capital New Delhi to San Francisco (United States).

 

The flight was operated as part of International Women’s Day celebrations and travelled a distance of around 14,500 kilometres in close to 17 hours.

The non-stop flight to San Francisco took off on 6th March 2016 from New Delhi.

The flight was under the command of Kshamta Bajpayee and Shubhangi Singh. They were supported by First Officers Ramya Kirti Gupta and Amrit Namdhari.

 

14. India is going to host BRICS Friendship Cities Conclave in Mumbai (Maharashtra), financial capital of India from April 14 to 16, 2016.

 

It will be attended by the top Urban Policy makers and Planners from BRICS Nations viz. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the conference which will be attended by representatives of at least two cities from each of the BRICS nations.

The three-day conclave will be organized by Mumbai First, a think-tank working to find solutions for city’s development.

 

15. Karnataka government 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.

 

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.

Under the scheme immediate medical relief would be provided to the victim during the Golden Hour with financial aid up to Rs 25,000 during the first 48 hours of treatment.

 

16. The first ever all girls National Cadet Corps (NCC) Mount Everest expedition was flagged off by Union Minister of State (MoS) for Defence Rao Inderjeet Singh in New Delhi.

 

The aim of mountaineering expeditions in NCC is to strengthen the character and instill qualities of courage, discipline, comradeship and leadership in the cadets.

The team consisting of ten girl cadets is led by Colonel Gaurav Karki, along with fifteen service personnel. They will reach Nepal on 31st March 2016 and likely to summit the peak between 15 and 25th May, 2016.

 

17. 57 countries are going to take part in the first Maritime India Summit 2016 scheduled to be held in April 2016 in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

 

The maiden Maritime India Summit is scheduled to be held in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It will be organised by Union Ministry of Shipping.

It was announced by the Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari on the sidelines of media launch of the Maritime India Summit 2016.

 

18. The fourth edition of the India-Indonesia Joint Training Exercise Garuda Shakti has begun at Magelang in Indonesia.

 

The exercise will continue till 23rd March, 2016.

The aim of the exercise is to build and promote positive relations between the Armies of India and Indonesia and enhance their abilities to undertake joint tactical level operations in a counter insurgency environment under United Nations Charter.

 

19. The Union Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) for providing free of cost LPG (cooking gas) connections to women from BPL Households.

 

This scheme will be implemented by Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. It will be for the ministry will be implementing a welfare scheme.

The PMUY seeks to empowering women and protecting their health by shifting them from traditional cooking based on unclean cooking fuels or on fossil fuels that have serious health hazards to clean cooking gas.

 

20. The Union Cabinet 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.

 

BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative on Multi Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) is the sub-regional group of seven countries in South Asia and South East Asia.

The BIMSTEC Convention aims to extend widest measures of assistance among 7 member countries through mutual cooperation.

 

21. 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.

The National LED based DELP programme was launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 2015 for energy conservation by reducing energy consumption.

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.

 

22. Myanmar to help the country bolster its railway transportation system.

 

In this regard, RITES (Public Sector Enterprise under Union Ministry of Railways) has signed a contract with Myanmar Railways.

The supply contract is a vital project being funded under an existing line of credit (LOC) extended by India to Myanmar.

 

23. Union Government’s premier think-tank NITI Aayog has launched the ‘Women Transforming India’ initiative.

 

The initiative was launched on the eve of International Women’s Day (8th March) in partnership with the United Nations and MyGov.

This initiative is also considered as an important step forward in furthering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which includes Gender as a one of the stand-alone goal.

 

24. Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has launched an online Clean My Coach service in line with Indian Railways cleanliness drive Swachh Rail Swachh Bharat and Union Government’s flagship Digital India Program.

 

The online service allows travellers to get their compartments cleaned by sending an SMS or by a designated website or by using an application.

The service was announced by the Railway Minister in his 2016-17 Rail Budget speech.

 

25. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated three major railway projects in Bihar at an estimated cost of 7000 crore rupees.

 

Three projects are Rail-cum-road bridge at Patna over the River Ganga, Rail-cum-road bridge at Munger, Additional bridge at Mokama over the River Ganga: It is double line Railway Bridge.

These three bridges will provide connectivity to north and south Bihar and further help in development of North Bihar.

 

26. The Allahabad High Court celebrated its 150th foundation day on 14th March 2016. President Pranab Mukherjee was the Chief Guest of the celebrations.

 

Allahabad High Court was established in 1866 after seat was shifted from Agra to Allahabad in 1869. It had replaced the old Sadr Diwani Adalat.

Chief Justice of India (CJI) TS Thakur and Union Law Minister DV Sadananda Gowda were some of the dignitaries who attended the function.

On this occasion, CJI Justice Thakur dedicated digitization centre of Allahabad High court, Reserve bank of India (RBI) also released a 10 rupees coin, Postal department released a postage stamp and a Souvenir of the High court.

 

27. Recently, power generation unit 1 at Kakrapar Atomic Power Station (KAPS) in Gujarat was shut down for indefinitely period after leakage of heavy water.

 

The Kakrapar nuclear plant is located near Vyara in south Gujarat. It consists of two units of pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWR) of 220 MW each. NPCIL is operator the plant.

The reactor was shut down as per design provisions after a small leak in the Primary Heat Transport (PHT) System of the plant was detected.

Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), operator of KAPS has confirmed that there was no harmful, radioactive leakage and the backup safety mechanisms for emergency situation are working as intended.

 

28. The Union Government has notified maximum sale price (MSP) of Bt cotton seed for the year 2016-17.

 

Bt cotton is a genetically modified organism (GMO) cotton variety, which produces an insecticide to bollworm.

It is produced by the gene coding technique by inserting Bt toxin into cotton as a transgene that causes it to produce this natural insecticide in its tissues.

Union Government has issued notification as per the Cotton Seed Price (Control) Order, 2015 under the Section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.

 

29. Union Government has announced that out of 96,000 animal species found in India more than 50 animals have been assessed as critically endangered (CR) and 310 as endangered (EN).

 

The assessment studies were conducted by Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) and it has recorded 96,000 species of animals from India.

These include Gangetic River Dolphin (CR) with budgetary support of Rs 23 crore, Dugong (CR) with a budget of Rs 23.58 crore, Great Indian Bustard (CR) with Rs 108.25 crore, Manipur Brow Antlered deer (CR) with support of Rs 99.95 crore and wild Buffalo (CR) with Rs 2 crore.

 

30. Haryana’s New Secretariat Building in Chandigarh has become first building in the country to have an early Earthquake Warning and Security system (onsite).

 

The system was installed by New Delhi based Terra Techcom Private Limited and Secretary Electronics GmbH, Germany.

The system can provide crucial seconds for evacuation in event of an earthquake and is already being used in 26 countries around the world.

 

31. India ranked 118th out of 157 countries on the United Nations’ World Happiness Index (WHI) 2016.

 

 It was declared by the fourth World Happiness Report 2016 published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a global initiative for the UN.

 World Happiness Report aims at influencing government policy and is prepared on the basis of study undertaken by Gallup World Poll.

 Top 10 countries in the list are Denmark (1st), Switzerland (2nd), Iceland (3rd), Norway (4th) and Finland (5th), Canada (6th), Netherlands (7th), New Zealand (8th), Australia (9th) and Sweden (10th).

 

32. The India Aviation 2016, an international exhibition and conference on civil aviation kicked off in Hyderabad, Telangana.

 

 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).

 It 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.

 

33. The largest fair on Food and Hospitality Sector in India, AAHAR 2016 has kicked off at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.

 

 It is the 31st edition in this series of the fair and was inaugurated by Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal.

 It is largest show of its kind in South Asia. It is organized by India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO) under aegis of Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

 It will cover two separate but concurrent exhibitions Hospitality India to cover Hotel & Restaurant Equipment and Supplies and Food India to cover Foods, Processed Foods, Food Processing and Beverages.

 

34. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated World Sufi Forum in New Delhi.

 

The four-day event is being organized by All India Ulama and Mashaikh Board (AIUMB), the apex body of Sufi Dargahs in India.

More than 200 Indian and International delegates, including Sufi Shuyukh, scholars, academicians, spiritual leaders and masters of Sufism are going to participating at the event.

 

35. Union Government has launched Depot Online System of state run Food Corporation of India (FCI) to bring transparency and minimize storage losses of food grains.

 

It was launched by Union Food and public Distribution Minister Ram Vilas Paswan in New Delhi as part of Digital India initiative of Union Government.

It will help real time monitoring of FCI operations and enhance transparency and efficiency.

 

36. Punjab Government has notified swine flu (H1N1) under the Epidemic Disease Act to prevent the spread of disease in the state.

 

In the regard, Health and Family Welfare Department of state has issued notification based on recommendations of state advisory committee headed by Dr. D Behera.

Swine fluis a respiratory disease caused by viruses (influenza viruses) that infect the respiratory tract of pigs.

 

37. The Supreme Court has allowed publication of photographs of Governors, Chief Ministers and the Ministers of the department concerned in government advertisements.

 

Ruling in this regard was given by a SC bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi on pleas by Union Government and states which had sought review of the Supreme Court judgement.

This ruling of Supreme Court has modified its earlier 2015 order which only had permitted photographs of President, Prime Minister and Chief Justice of India (CJI) in the government advertisements.

 

38. Goa government has classified Feni, country liquor as the heritage spirit of the state.

 

Feni is a form of spirit produced exclusively in the coastal state of Goa. It is a distilled brew made from coconut or cashew fruits.

For this, state government has opined not categorize it as country liquor as it is presently defined under the Goa Excise Duty Act, 1964.

State government also has proposed to bring an amendment to the Act to change the status.

 

39. The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry has launched new anti-TB (Tuberculosis) drug Bedaquiline.

 

It was launched by the Union Health Minister J P Nadda as part of the TB national programme.

Initially the drug will be made available in six public hospitals in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Guwahati and Ahmedabad.

Later it will be introduced in 104 districts across five States.

 

40. The fast patrol vessel (FPV) of the Indian Coast Guard ICGS Arnvesh was commissioned at Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.

 

The ship is primarily intended to undertake coastal patrol, surveillance at sea, anti-smuggling, anti-piracy operations and search and rescue operations.

The vessel among the 20 FPVs indigenously built by Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL).

It is capable of carrying a crew of five officers and 34 men on board.

 

41. The Indian Navy for the first has deployed a P8I maritime reconnaissance aircraft to Seychelles for surveillance in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Seychelles.

 

The deployment has been done in accordance with the MoU signed between India and Seychelles.

The deployment will provide Professional assistance to the Seychelles People’s Defence Force (SPDF) in curbing illegal activities and piracy as well as contribute towards security and stability in the IOR.

 

42. India has assumed BRICS Chairmanship from the Russian Federation for the year 2016.

 

BRICS is the acronym for an association of five major emerging national economies Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj formally unveiled the BRICS Logo for the duration of India’s BRICS Chairmanship and also launched website.

For the second time India has assumed BRICS Chairmanship and had hosted the BRICS Summit in 2012 for first time in New Dehli.

The 7th BRICS Summit was held in the Russian city of Ufa in July 2015.

 

43. India’s Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve (ABR) was included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

 

ABR in situated at the southern-most end of the Western Ghats and spread over two southern states Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

The event took place at the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere (ICCMAB) programme of UNESCO that concluded recently in Lima, Peru.

Along with this 19 other sites were also included.

Among these sites,  9 are the Biosphere Reserves i.e. Nilgiri (Western Ghats), Gulf of Mannar (Tamil Nadu), Sunderban (West Bengal), Nanda Devi (Uttarakhand), Nokrek (Meghalaya), Pachmarh (Madhya Pradesh), Similipal (Odisha), Achanakmar-Amarkantak (Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh) and Great Nicobar.

 

44. The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEFCC) for the first time notified new environment standards for Gensets running on various kinds of fuels including LPG, petrol and diesel in various cities.

 

The primary aim of the new standards for Gensets is to control air and noise pollution emanating from the operation of Gensets.

These standards were recommended by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) after consultations with industries and other stakeholders.

 

45. The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the implementation of the rural housing scheme of Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana- Gramin.

 

Under the scheme, financial assistance will be provided for construction of pucca houses to all houseless and households living in dilapidated houses.

 The expenditure involved in implementing the project is Rs.81975 crore in a span of 3 years from 2016-17 to 2018-19.

 

46. Andhra Pradesh government inaugurated India’s first river linking project viz. Pattiseema lift irrigation project connecting Godavari River with Krishna River from the ongoing Polavaram Multi-purpose Irrigation Project.

 

The project has been completed in a record time of one year by the Hyderabad-based Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited (MEIL).

The project has capactiry to lift 80 tmc (trillion metric cubic feet) of flood water from Godavari River in a span of 110 days during the flooding season between July and October.

 

47. Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) successfully commissioned a 600 MW coal-based thermal power plant in Telangana.

 

The unit was commissioned at the upcoming 2×600 MW Singareni Thermal Power Project (TPP) located at Jaipur in Adilabad district of Telangana.

SCCL is India’s second largest coal mining company and operates 16 opencast and 32 underground mines in 4 districts of Telangana.

 

48. The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change notified the E-Waste Management Rules, 2016.

 

The new set of rules will supersede the E-Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 2011 and will pave the way for more transparent and environment friendly management of e-waste across the country.

Urban Local Bodies (Municipal Committee/Council/Corporation) were given the duty to collect and channelized the orphan products to authorized dismantler or recycler.

 

49. President Pranab Mukherjee has imposed Present’s Rule (State Emergency) in the state of Uttarakhand in the wake of constitutional breakdown under Article 356 of Constitution.

 

In relation to this, President has signed the proclamation state Emergency based on the recommendation of the Union Cabinet

 Article 356 empowers the President to issue a proclamation of Present’s Rule (State Emergency), 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. Notably, he can act accordance with the report of the Governor or without it.

 

50. India’s biggest ever land, naval and homeland security exhibition Defence Expo 2016 began in Goa.

 

The four-day biennial event was inaugurated by the Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.

This for the first time, the Expo is being held outside the national capital New Delhi.

It is the 9th edition of the series of biennial land, naval and internal homeland security systems exhibitions.

The 2016 theme is “Rise of Futurism” and its vision is to make India prosperous by establishing world class science and technology base in defence sector.

 

51. The Environment Ministry notified Construction & Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016 for the first time.

 

The rules were notified to effectively tackle the issues of pollution and waste management.

The basis of these rules is to recover, recycle and reuse the waste generated through construction and demolition.

 

52. Haryana became the first state in the country to implement the use of injectable contraceptives as a family planning measure.

 

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has launchedProject Salamati’ in assistance of Pathfinder International.

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.

 

53. India’s first indigenous composites sonar dome, a ship’s underwater eyes and ears, was flagged off by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.

 

The sonar dome was dedicated to the nation and will be delivered to Mazgaon Docks, Mumbai for use in the warships of Indian Navy.

The sonar dome is dsigned and produced by a Defence and Research Development Organisation’s (DRDO’s) Research and Development Establishment (Engineers) lab based in Pune.

 

International – Across the Globe

 

1. The 7th edition of India, Seychelles joint military exercise LAMITYE 2016concluded in Victoria, Mahe Island, Seychelles.

 

The fourteen day exercise was conducted at Seychelles Defence Academy (SDA), Victoria from February 15 to 28, 2016.

The aim of joint bilateral military exercise was to improve interoperability between armies of both countries in jointly fighting Counter Terrorism/ Counter Insurgency.

 

2. Government of Peru has declared emergency for three weeks after a major oil pipeline burst in the country’s northeast region affecting two rivers Chiriaco and Morona.

 

Beacuse of this over 3,000 barrels of crude oil spilled into the rivers which are the main source of water and food for several indigenous communities in this region.

The emergency has declared to warn communities not to eat fish from the polluted waters of these rivers.

 

3. As revealed by Global Energy Architecture Performance Index (GEAPI) Report compiled by World Economic Forum (WEF), India has been ranked at the 90th place in a list of 126 countries on the basis of their ability to deliver secure, affordable and sustainable energy.

 

Top 10 countries in GEAPI Report are –

Switzerland (1st)

Norway (2nd)

Sweden (3rd)

France (4th)

Denmark (5th)

Austria (6th)

Spain (7th)

Colombia (8th)

New Zealand (9th)

Uruguay (10th).

 

GEAPI Report was prepared in collaboration with Accenture. It has explored the energy architecture of 126 countries. It is based on their ability to provide energy access across three dimensions of energy triangle viz. affordability, security, environmental sustainability and access.

 

4. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) consistently adopted the toughest sanctions ever imposed on North Korea in response to its fourth nuclear test and rocket launch.

 

For this the 15-member council passed a resolution drafted by the United States and backed by China.

 

5. 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 Organization (WTO).

 

US had imposed fees on certain applicants for L-1 and H-1B categories of non-immigrant temporary working visas into the country,

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).

 

6. 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.

 

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.

It will be operated by the binational US-India Educational Foundation (USIEF) under the umbrella of the prestigious Fulbright program.

It will be jointly funded by both the governments.

 

7. The Arab League has declared Lebanese movement Hezbollah, a Shia political organization a terrorist group.

 

The move comes after the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) had adopted the same stance.

Decision in this regard was taken during the Arab League Foreign Ministers’ meeting at the organization’s seat in Egypt’s capital Cairo.

All-22 Arab League members supported the decision except Lebanon and Iraq expressed reservations.

 

8. China’s Supreme Court has decided to set up its own International Maritime Judicial Centre (IMJC) to handle territorial disputes and protect its sea rights.

 

It was announced by China’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Zhou Qiang at the annual meeting of the national legislature National People’s Congress (NPC).

This move will help China to bolster its claims in the disputed South and East China seas and also help it become a maritime power.

 

9. Htin Kyaw has been elected Myanmar’s Parliament as the first civilian (non-military) President of the country after 53 years of military rule.

 

He was candidate of National League for Democracy (NLD) party and was elected after securing 360 of the total 652 casted votes.

Myint Swe and Henry Van Thio will serve as first vice-president and second vice-president of the country, respectively.

As per Myanmar’s constitution adopted in 2008, President is elected under a complex system in which the two chambers of parliament nominate two presidential candidates and military MPs nominated a third candidate, assuring the army continued influence.

 

10. Syrian Army and popular defence forces have regained control of the ancient city of Palmyra from Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group.

 

 The liberation of the historic city of Palmyra from the ISIS terror group was undertaken by joint efforts of Syrian Army with support of national aviation and Russian Aerospace Forces.

 The ancient city of Palmyra is a UNESCO designated World Heritage site and home to some of the world’s most magnificent ancient ruins.

 ISIS had taken complete control of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra in May 2015. After the seizure of entire ancient city, they had destroyed many ancient ruins.

 

11. The Government of Russia approved a deal for ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) to acquire 15 percent stake in Vankor oilfield from Rosneft.

 

The deal is worth 1.3 billion US dollars. It was signed between the OVL and Rosneft in September 2015.

This deal is in addition to another deal that was signed between the OVL and three other oil companies in March 2016.

 

12. The 13th edition of India-European Union Summit was held on in Brussels, capital of Belgium.

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi represented Indian side in the summit.

The European Union (EU) was represented by President of the European Council, Donald Tusk and President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.

The 13th summit laid out concrete priority actions for the strategic bilateral partnership in areas like trade and investment, climate, energy, water and migration in the next five years.

 

Sports

 

1. Car racer Armaan Ebrahimwas awarded the Motorsports Man-of-the-Year Trophy at ceremony organized by the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI).

 

Ebrahim was presented with the Raymond Gautam Singhania Rolling Trophy and cash prize of 2 lakh rupees for his performance in the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Asia Series.

On the other hand, I. Chandhok received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to motorsports in the country.

 

2. Rahul Sachdev has won the first All India Open Invitational Snooker Championship 2016 held at Aurangabad in Maharashtra.

 

Rahul defeated Pushpender Singh of Indian Railways by 5-3 score, In the final match.

It was his maiden title and is considered as major breakthrough in his career after winning this title.

 

3. Aaron Phangiso, South Africa left-arm spinner has been suspended by International Cricket Council (ICC).

 

He was suspended after ICC’s Panel of Human Movement Specialists found that his bowling deliveries exceeded the 15 degrees level of tolerance permitted under ICC regulations.

So far he has played 16 one-day internationals (ODIs) and 9 T20s for South Africa.

 

4. The Mumbai under-23 cricket team has won the Col CK Nayudu Trophy for the season 2015-16 by defeatingMadhya Pradesh under-23 cricket team.

 

This was Mumbai s second big title of the season after they had won the Ranji Trophy for the 41st time earlier.

Col CK Nayudu Trophy is named after country’s first Test captain Col. Cottari Kanakaiya Nayudu.

 

5. Ace Indian shooter Jitu Rai has won Gold medal in the 50m Pistol Men final event at the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) World Cup held in Bangkok, Thailand.

 

Jitu Rai is the winner of the 2014 Asian Games. He is currently ranked 5th in the world in the 50m Pistol Men’s event.

He scored 191.3 points in the final round and beating two of the strongest members of the Chinese Olympic team, Pang Wei and Wang Zhiwei.

 

6. The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has promoted Hockey India national-level umpire Nepoleon Singh (30) as the International Outdoor Umpire.

 

The decision was taken by FIH after seeing his performance in the recently-concluded 12th South Asian Games 2016 held at Guwahati, Assam.

Nepoleon started his career as an umpire from Manipur in the 3rd Hockey India Junior Women National Championship 2013 held at Ranchi, Jharkhand.

Now he became one of the young umpires from India who have recently been upgraded to international-level outdoor umpire.

 

7. Patna Pirates has won the third season of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) by defeating U Mumbai.

 

Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) is a professional Kabaddi (indigenous sport) league based on the format of the Indian Premier League (IPL) T20 cricket tournament.

Rohit Kumar (Patna Pirates) was awarded Best Raider and Mohit Chillar (U Mumba) was awarded Best Defender of the Match.

 

8. India has won the 2016 Asia Cup T20 trophy for a record sixth time after beating Bangladesh by 8 wickets in the final.

2016 Asia Cup was held in Bangladesh from 24 February to 6 March 2016. It was the 13th edition of the Asia Cup.

 

Man of the Match: Shikhar Dhawan.

Man of the series: Sabbir Rahman (Bangladesh).

Most runs in the series: Sabbir Rahman (176) of Bangladesh.

Most wickets in the series: Al-Amin Hossain (11) of Bangladesh.

 

9. Maria Sharapova, former world number one female tennis player has revealed that she failed a drugs test at the Australian Open.

 

Due to this failure the International Tennis Federation (ITF) has provisionally suspended her till further action from Tennis for violating Anti-Doping Rule.

She has been tested positive for meldonium, a substance that has been added in the forbidden list by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on 1 January 2016.

 

10. Rest of India has won the Irani Cup Cricket Title 2015-16 by defeating Mumabi in the final match of the cup by four wickets.

 

The Irani Cup tournament was started during the 1959-60 season to mark the completion of 25 years of the Ranji Trophy championship.

In the final match played at Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai, Rest of India overhauled the record victory target of 480 by making 482 for 6 on the fifth and final day.

This successful chase was also the best-ever run-chase in the Irani Cup history. It has bettered Rest of India’s previous 424, chasing target set by Delhi at the Ferozshah Kotla in 1982-83.

 

11. Services has won the 70th edition of Santosh Trophy Football Championships title 2016 by defeating hosts Maharashtra.

 

In the final match played at SEC Railway Stadium, Nagpur (Maharashtra), the Services defeated host team Maharashtra by 2-1 goal score.

Santosh Trophy is an annual Indian football tournament played in India.

With this win, Services has retained that title and has won it for fifth time in year 1961, 2012, 2013 and 2015.

 

12. Lin Dan from China has won the prestigious 2016 All England Badminton title in the men’s singles category.

 

In the final match played at Birmingham, England he defeated Chinese teammate Tian Houwei by 21-9, 21-10 score.

It was his overall sixth All England badminton title and earlier he had won it in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012.

All England Open Badminton Championships is one of the oldest as well as the prestigious badminton tournaments of the world.

 

13. The International Cricket Council (ICC) has suspended Bangladesh bowlers Taskin Ahmed and Arafat Sunny for bowling with an illegal action with an immediate effect.

 

They were suspended after independent assessments have found that their bowling actions of is illegal.

The assessments were performed at the ICC-accredited testing centre at the Sri Ramachandra University in Chennai.

 

14. Ace Indian shuttler HS Prannoy (World no 13) has won the prestigious 2016 Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament in the men’s single category.

 

In the final match played at Basel, Switzerland, he defeated Marc Zwiebler (World no 7) of Germany 21-18, 21-15 score.

It was his second Grand Prix Gold title after the Indonesia Open Grand Prix Gold won in 2014.

 

15. Star Indian grappler Yogeshwar Dutt has won a Gold medal in the Asian Olympic Qualification tournament in the 65 kg freestyle category.

 

The match was held at Astana (Kazakhstan).

He defeated Katai Yeerlanbieke from China in the 65 kg freestyle category.

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.

 

16. Indian wrestler Hardeep Singh has won silver medal in the Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament in the 98 kg category.

 

The tournament held in Astana, Kazakhstan.

With this win, Hardeep became the first Indian to get an Olympic berth in the Greco-Roman category in last 12 years.

The previous participation in this category was of Mausam Khatri in 2004 Athens Games.

 

17. Australian all-rounder Shane Watson has declared his retirement from all forms of International Cricket after the end of his team’s campaign in the ongoing ICC World Twenty20.

 

He made this announcement at I S Bindra Stadium in Mohali, Punjab. Earlier in 2015, he had announced his retirement from Test cricket at the end of 2015 Ashes tour of England.

He had played total 59 test matches and had scored 3731 runs at an average of 35.19. His highest test score was 176 and total test score comprises of 4 centuries.

 

18. Sergey Karjakin, Russian grandmaster has won the prestigious FIDE World Chess Candidates Tournament held in Moscow.

 

In the final Round 14, he defeated American grandmaster Fabiano Caruana scoring 8.5 points.

He will now play with the incumbent world champion, Norwegian Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen, in a match for the world chess crown in November 2016.

He holds the record for the world’s youngest Grandmaster ever after he had qualified for this title at the age of 12 years and 7 months.

 

Awards & Recognition

 

1. Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA)has won three international awards for 2015 year given by the Airports Council International (ACI).

 

2. 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.

 

These scientists are –

Timothy Bliss

Graham Collingridge

Richard Morris.

 

Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Prize largest prize for neuroscience in the world, which is bestowed upon one or more scientists who have distinguished themselves by an outstanding contribution to European neuroscience and who are still active in research.

 

3. Dr. Bhagwati Lal Vyas, an Eminent poet has been selected for the 2015 Bihari Puraskar for his anthology of Rajasthani poems ‘Katha Sun Aawe Hai Sabad’ published in 2010.

 

Bihari Puraskar was instituted by the K K Birla Foundation in 1991 and given annually for an outstanding literary work in Hindi or Rajasthani published during last 10 years by a Rajasthani writer.

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.

His works includes compendium of poems titled ‘Shatabdi Niruttar’ (1977), ‘Footpath Par Chiriya Nachti Hai’ (1984) and a collection of short stories ‘Suraj Leelti Ghatiyan’ stand out.

 

4. Bill Gates, Microsoft Co-founder has retained the title of the world’s richest person in the Forbes’ 30th annual ranking of the world’s billionaires list (2016 edition).

 

The Forbes list of billionaires is an annual ranking of the world’s wealthiest people, compiled and published by the American business magazine Forbes.

Gates has topped the list for 17 of the last 23 years, with a net worth of $75 billion.

He was followed by Amancio Ortega (Italy), founder of clothing retail giant Zara was at second place with net worth of $67 billion.

 

5. Manoj Kumar, veteran Film Actor and Director has been selected for the prestigious 47th Dadasaheb Phalke Award for the year 2015.

 

Dadasaheb Phalke Award is conferred by the Union Government on person for outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Indian Cinema.

Manoj Kumar was selected by a five member jury consisted of Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Salim Khan, Nitin Mukesh and Anup Jalota.

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.

He was also awarded with National Film Award (1968) for the film Upkaar, Padma Shri in 1992 and Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999.

 

6. Padma Sachdev, renowned Dogri poetess and write has been awarded prestigious Krutitava Smagra Samman for the year 2015.

 

Dogri is an Indo-Aryan language spoken in India and Pakistan. In India, it is chiefly spoken in states like Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and northern Punjab. Dogri speakers are called Dogras and the Dogri-speaking region is called Duggar.

Padma Sachdev is first modern woman poet of Dogri language. She also writes in Hindi.

She was bestowed with this award for her outstanding contribution in literature and great service to Dogri Language. It was presented to her by West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi.

 

7. Dr. Amrita Patel was conferred prestigious 2016 Mahindra Samriddhi India Agri Lifetime Achievement Award also known as the Krishi Shiromani Samman.

 

She was bestowned with this award for her contribution in the field of agriculture and to increase productivity and rural prosperity by Union Minister of Agriculture Radha Mohan Singh.

Currently she is Chairman of Charutar Arogya Mandal.

She had served as Chairman of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) from 1998 to 2014.

She had played a pivotal role in the implementation of NDDB’s Operation Flood which was the world’s biggest dairy development program that had transformed India from a milk-deficient nation into the world’s largest milk producer by surpassing the USA in 1998.

 

8. Mahindra & Mahindra Chairman and Managing Director (MD) Anand Mahindra was conferred with Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour) by French Government.

 

Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur is the highest French civilian award which was started by first emperor of France Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802.

He was presented with this award by Francois Richier, Ambassador of France to India in recognition of his outstanding national and international achievements.

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.

 

9. Kerala Tourism’s campaign titled ‘New Worlds’ has won the prestigious ‘Golden City Gate Award’ at the at the Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin (ITB-Berlin) 2016.

 

The New Worlds campaign was launched internationally by UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai at the World Travel Mart in London.

The campaign contains three short films directed by reputed Malayalam filmmaker Anwar Rasheed.

It has won the silver prize in 2016 Das Golden Stadttor or Golden City Gate, which is dubbed as the Oscar of tourism communication.

 

10. Palestinian teacher Hanan Al Hroub from a refugee camp has been awarded prestigious one million dollar 2016 Global Teacher Prize.

 

The Global Teacher Prize was set up by Sunny Varkey, Kerala-born entrepreneur and educational philanthropist in 2014.

She was presented with the award at a ceremony held in Dubai for her outstanding contribution to the profession.

 

11. India Inc. became first in the world to formally adopt the United Nations’ (UN) agenda for the world’s sustainable development and 17 goals identified for its implementation.

 

It was formally adopted by the India Inc. at the 11th National Convention on Sustainable Development Goal (NCSDG) organized by the Global Compact Network in Mumbai.

Sustainable Development Goals aims at broadening the horizon for growth and transformation under the theme of people, planet and prosperity.

The convention was inaugurated by Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar.

 

12. Mother Teresa, a Roman Catholic religious sister and missionary will be elevated to Sainthood.

 

Mother Teresa was born as Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu on 26 August 1910 in Skopje (Now in Macedonia) then part of the Kosovo Vilayet in the Ottoman Empire.

She will be made a saint of the Roman Catholic Church on September 4, 2016.

Pope Francis has approved a decree recognizing a second miracle attributed to Mother Teresa’s intercession with God.

In 2003, Mother Teresa was beatified by then late Pope John Paul. Beatification requires one miracle and is the last step before sainthood.

She was the founder of Kolkata based Missionaries of Charity that helps poor on the streets of Kolkata.

 

13. Andrew Wiles, a British mathematician was awarded with the prestigious 2016 Abel Prize.

 

Abel Prize is a Norwegian prize awarded annually to one or more outstanding mathematicians. It is described as the mathematician’s Nobel Prize.

He was selected by the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters for solving a centuries old hypothesis (equation), Fermat’s Last Theorem.

Academy has described his achievement as an epochal moment for mathematics and will be bestowed with this award in May 2016 by the Crown Prince Haakon.

 

14. Time Magazine has named Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi among the 2016 edition list of 30 most influential people on the internet.

 

He was placed at 15th position.

The list has been topped by the American hip hop artist and entrepreneur Kanye West.

PM Narendra Modi has more than 18 million Twitter followers and over 32 million Facebook likes to his official page.

He is as an Internet star who often uses social media to conduct diplomacy.

 

15. The 10th edition of Asian film Awards, one of the Asia’s leading film awards was held in the Venetian Casino and Hotel in Macau, China.

 

The Assassin has bagged 8 awards in different categories in the 2016 Asian film Awards.

It is a 2015 martial arts film based on story of highly trained female assassin and is directed by Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien.

Best Film: The Assassin

Best Director: Hou Hsiao-Hsien (The Assassin) from Taiwan

Best Actor: Lee Byung-hun (The Inside Men)

Best Actress: Shu Qi (The Assassin).

 

16. Union urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Parliamentary Affairs 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.

Skoch Challenger Awards are the highest independently instituted civilian honours, instituted in 2003.

 

17. Tikka Shatrujit Singh, the royal scion of Kapurthala’s Ahluwalia dynasty, has been conferred with the prestigious Knight of the Legion of Honour by the French Government.

 

He was presented with this honour by the French ambassador to India Francois Richier in a ceremony held in New Delhi.

He was bestowed with this prestigious award for his extraordinary work in the exchanging the French lifestyle and Indian culture with each other.

The Legion d’Honneur (in English: Knight of the Legion) was instituted by famous French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802.

 

18. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had conferred 2014-15 Krishi Karman Awards to various states in a ceremony held at New Delhi.

 

Krishi Karman awards are given to Best performer States for raising country’s food grain production.

The awards were presented in two different categories viz. Total foodgrain production and Individual Crops.

For Total Foodgrain Production 5 winning states were awarded, which are Madhya Pradessh, Himachal Pradessh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya.

 

19. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been named among the world’s 50 greatest leaders by Fortune magazine.

 

He is sole leader from India in the list and has been placed at 42nd position.

2016 edition is Fortune magazine’s third annual ‘World’s 50 Greatest Leaders’ list and it has been topped by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

 

20. Late Capt. Shankar Laxman was posthumously chosen for the 2016 Major Dhyan Chand Lifetime Achievement Award.

 

 The award carrying purse of Rs. 30 lakh was accepted by his son Manohar Singh Shekhawat during the 2016 Hockey India Annual Awards held in Bengaluru.

 He was one of legendary hockey player in India.

 He was a goalkeeper and was part of the Olympic medal-winning teams of 1956 (Melbourne, Gold), 1960 (Rome, Silver), and 1964 (Tokyo, Gold).

 

21. The 63rd National Film Awards for year 2015 were announced on 28 March 2016.

The National Film Awards are most prominent most prominent film award ceremonies in India, established in the year 1954 and awarded annually.

Best Feature Film- Baahubali: The Beginning (Tamil, Telugu) directed by S. S. Rajamouli.

Best popular film providing wholesome entertainment- Bajrangi Bhaijaan (Hindi) directed by Kabir Khan.

Best Actor- Amitabh Bachchan (Piku).

Best Actress- Kangana Ranaut (Tanu Weds Manu Returns).

Best Direction- Sanjay Leela Bhansali (Bajirao Mastani).

 

22. P. Susheela Mohan, renowned playback singer entered the Guinness Book of Records for singing 17695 songs in 12 Indian languages in the last week of March 2016.

 

Asia Book of Records also officially recognized Susheela for singing most number of songs in Indian languages.

Guinness Book of Records officially credited her for singing 17695 songs (solo, duet and chorus backed songs) in twelve Indian languages, Asia Book of Records recognized her for singing 17330 songs.

P. Susheela Mohan is associated with the South Indian cinema for over six decades.

She was the first playback singer to receive the first National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer in 1969.

She was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in January 2008.

 

Appointments & Resignations

 

1. Former Chief Justice of India (CJI) HL Dattu took charge as the Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

 

With this, he becomes the seventh Chairman of the NHRC, highest government institution protecting human rights of citizens.

 

2. Slovenian high-jumper Rozle Prezelj (36) has been elected the new chairman of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Athletes’ Commission.

 

3. Hashim Thaci has been elected as the President of Kosovo by the Parliament of the country in the third round.

 

He will succeed Atifete Jahjaga.

He becomes fourth President of Kosovo after the country had unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008.

He was the first Prime Minister of Kosovo and was in office from January 2008 to December 2014.

 

4. Vice Admiral Atul Kumar Jain took over as the Chief of Staff of the Visakhapatnam headquartered Eastern Naval Command.

 

He succeeds Vice Admiral Bimal Verma who has been transferred as Commander-in-Chief of Andaman & Nicobar Command at Port Blair.

He also has commanded missile corvettes Nirghat, Khukri, missile destroyer INS Rajput and indigenously built stealth destroyer INS Mysore

He also served as Director Naval Intelligence (Protocol), Principal Director Staff Requirement at Integrated Headquarters, Ministry of Defence (Navy) and Director Foreign Liaison.

He has been awarded with Vishisht Seva Medal (2009) and Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (2015).

 

5. Mrugank Paranjape has been appointed as managing director (MD) and chief executive officer (CEO) of Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX), country’s largest commodity exchange.

 

The MCX is country’s first listed commodity futures exchange that facilitates online trading, and clearing and settlement of commodity futures transactions.

He also worked with Deutsche Bank as Asia Pacific Head of Trust & Securities Services/Cash Management for Financial Institutions.

 

6. Sunil Sabharwal, an independent Indian-American investor appointed as Alternate Executive Director at International Monetary Fund (IMF).

 

With this he becomes first Indian-American to occupy a key administration post at the IMF.

He had worked at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development as Principal Banker from 1992 to 1996.

He also served as Senior Vice President of Strategic Investments at First Data Corporation/Western Union from 2003 to 2006.

 

7. The Union Government has appointed former Supreme Court (SC) judge Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan (66) as Chairman of the 21st Law Commission of India (LCI).

 

The LCI is a non-statutory and non-constitutional body constituted by the Union Government from time to time.

At present Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan is the Chairman of the Cauvery River Water Disputes Tribunal.

He served as the judge of the SC from May 2009 to July 2014, Chief Justice of Orissa high court from July 2008 to May 2009.

 

8. Ahmed Abul Gheit, veteran Egyptian diplomat has been selected as Secretary General of the Arab League.

 

The Arab League is a regional organization of Arab countries in and around North Africa, the Horn of Africa and Arabia.

Ahmed Abul Gheit will succeed Nabil El-Araby, Egyptian diplomat whose term ends in July 2016 after he had rejected second five-year term.

He also served as ambassador of Egypt to the United Nations and Egypt’s foreign minister from 2004 to 2011 during the final seven years of Hosni Mubarak’s rule.

 

9. 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. Presently he is posted as Chief of Staff of Northern command at Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir.

He was commissioned in the Sikh Light Infantry.

He has earned an Ashok Chakra, Kirti Chakra, Shaurya Chakra and many more gallantry awards.

 

10. Justice Ajit Singh appointed as Chief Justice (CJ) of the Gauhati High Court.

 

The Gauhati High Court includes the High Courts of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.

In 2002, he was appointed as an Additional Judge of High Court of Madhya Pradesh and later in 2003 as a permanent Judge. He was transferred to the Rajasthan High Court in March 2014.

 

11. H Deep Saini, Indian scholar and plant physiologist has been appointed as the fifth Vice Chancellor of the prestigious University of Canberra.

 

He will succeed Vice Chancellor Stephen Parker in September 2016 who will step down from the post in July 2016 after over nine years in the service.

At present he is serving as the Vice-President of the University of Toronto and Principal of the University of Toronto Mississauga campus in Canada.

He has received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

 

12. 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. She was suspended by New York based UN Development Programme (UNDP) until the outcome of the investigation into her case is known.

 

In March 2016 Maria Sharapova had announced that she tested positive for a drug called meldonium, at the Australian Open earlier in January 2016.

Meldonium also known as Mildronate is a medical drug given to patients suffering from heart and circulatory conditions for enhancing their physical capacity and mental function.

 

13. President Barack Obama has nominated veteran appeals court judge Merrick Garland (63) to be the next US Supreme Court Justice.

 

 His nomination comes to vacancy in the US Supreme Court which was created after the death of SC Justice Antonin Scalia.

 He is highly regarded by the legal fraternity and lawmakers.

 

14. Bangladesh Government has appointed Former Secretary of Finance Division Fazle Kabir as the new Governor of Bangladesh Bank, country’s central bank.

 

 He will succeeds Atiur Rahman who had resigned after taking moral responsibility over the cyber theft from the central bank’s official account with New York Federal Reserve Bank.

 He was appointed finance secretary in 2012.

 He had also served on the board of state-owned Janata Bank.

 

15. Ashley Judd, acclaimed humanitarian, actor, writer and political activist from US has been appointed as Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

 

UNFPA is the nodal UN agency to address reproductive health and population issues, and raises awareness of these issues in all countries.

Ashley Judd will support the UNFPA’s efforts to empower women to choose when and how often to become pregnant and to stop women dying giving life.

She will also play important role at generating awareness about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

 

16. Lori Robinson, United States (US) Air Force General has been selected as the next head of the US military’s Northern Command.

 

She becomes the first woman to head a US combatant command as the position is one of the most senior in the US military.

At present, she leads US air forces in the Pacific and Executive Director of Pacific Air Combat Operations Staff, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. She had enrolled in the US Air Force in 1982.

 

17. Pfizer India has appointed S Sridhar as the managing director (MD) of the company.

 

Prior to this appointment he was heading Pfizer’s anti-infective, cardio-vascular and ophthalmology business.

He also served as Chief Financial Officer (CFO), finance director of Diageo India of Pfizer India for a period of seven years.

 

18. Ritu Beri, famous fashion designer has been appointed advisor to the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) for promotion of khadi in India and across the world.

 

The KVIC is a statutory body established by Union Government under the Khadi and Village Industries Commission Act, 1956.

She has been appointed for tenure of one year and shall advise KVIC on ways to promote khadi in India and across the world.

She has 25 years of rich experience in the global fashion arena designing clothes for international and national celebrities.

 

19. Justice H L Dattu, the Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has been appointed as member of the International Coordinating Committee Bureau (ICCB) of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI-ICC) Bureau in Geneva.

 

The ICC Bureau is an important human rights body that serves as the Management Committee of the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions (ICC).

He has been selected from the Asia-Pacific region and shall represent India along with Mongolia, Qatar and Australia from this region.

 

20. Surya Deva, an India-born academician 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.

 He is an associate professor at the School of Law of City University of Hong Kong.

 His research interests lie in Business and Human Rights, India-China Constitutional Law, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainable Development.

 

21. Indian-American Nandita Bakshi 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 succeed 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.

 She has also served on several executive positions at Washington Mutual in Seattle (Wash), FleetBoston (now Bank of America), First Data Corp, Home Savings of America and Banc One Corp.

 Currently she also serves on the board of the Consumer Bankers Association.

 She is recipient of a New England News ‘Woman of the Year’ award in 2002.

 

22. Htin Kyaw was sworn-in President of Myanmar at a joint session of parliament in the capital Nay Pyi Taw.

With this, Aung San Suu Kyi’s close aide Kyaw also became the first elected civilian leader to be the President of the country after 53 years of military rule.

Besides, the military also appointed its own nominees for three key ministries namely defence, home affairs and border affairs.

 

23. Faustin Archange Touadera took the oath of office as the new President of Central African Republic (CAR).

 

With this he becomes first elected leader of CAR since Muslim rebels had overthrown the government in early 2013.

His presidency puts an end to a two-year transitional government that came into force in early 2014.

Touadera is well respected former mathematics Professor.

He had served as Prime Minister as former Prime Minister of ex-president Francois Bozize from January 2008 to January 2013.

 

Economics & Banking GK

 

1. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the investment arm of the World Bank has launched its first Uridashi Masala Bonds (Japanese bonds).

 

International Finance Corporation (IFC) is an international financial institution that offers investment, asset management and advisory services to encourage private sector development in developing countries.

Masala bonds are rupee-denominated instruments sold only to offshore investors by Indian corporates for raising money from overseas investors. They do not face currency fluctuation risks.

These masala bonds were launched to mobilize 30 crore rupees from Japanese retail investors and will be sold to Japanese household investors.

2. India’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) has been granted preliminary approval to operate Myanmar.

 

SBI was granted operating license by Myanmar Government along with three other Asian banks.

Under the earlier junta rule, Myanmar’s banking system was closed for decades to outside competition.

 

3. Jalandhar based Capital Local Area Bank (CLAB) Limited became the first financial entity in India to get Small Financial Bank License by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

 

The small finance bank will undertake basic banking activities of acceptance of deposits and lending to unserved and underserved to further financial inclusion in the country.

CLAB ltd claims to be largest local bank in the country with total 44 branches in five districts of Punjab.

It will begin its operations as a small finance bank from April 13, 2016 and it will focus on the northern region for first five years of operations.

 

4. The Union Finance Ministry has announced to withdraw its proposal to tax Employee Provident Fund (EPF) withdrawals.

 

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced in the Lok Sabha clarifying NDA government’s stand on the issue. However, government has not changed its plan to tax National Pension Scheme (NPS) withdrawals.

The Employee Provident Fund (EPF) is a retirement benefit applicable only to salaried employees. It is a fund to which both the employee and employer contribute fixed amount (percent) of the former’s basic salary amount each month. This percentage is pre-set by the government. At present, the entire EPF amount is tax free at the time of withdrawal if the employee has completed five years of continuous service.

 

5. India’s largest private sector lender ICICI Bank has rolled out iWork@Home program for its women employees for up to a year.

 

It was launched by Chanda Kochhar, Managing Director and CEO of ICICI Bank on the occasion of International Women’s Day (8th March).

iWork@Home program is an information and communication technology (ICT) initiative that seeks to prevent women employees from dropping out of its workforce

It is based on face recognition technology that will facilitate women employee to work from home and provide access to the bank’s core banking servers under.

The technology has been developed by ICICI Bank in partnership with students from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi.

 

6. Union Government has imposed anti-dumping duty of up to 44.7 per cent on import of plastic-processing machines from Chinese Taipei, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam for five years.

 

Anti-dumping duties are taken to ensure fair trade and provide a level-playing field to the domestic industry. They are not a measure to restrict imports or cause an unjustified increase in cost of products.

It will be levied on imports of all kinds of plastic-processing or injection-moulding machines, also known as injection presses.

The aim is to protect the domestic industry from cheap in-bound shipments from these 4 countries.

 

Bills – New & Amendments:

 

1. Rajya Sabha has passed the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2016 without any discussion.

 

It will amend some provisions of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925 retrospectively with effect from October, 2003.

The Bill was proposed after the MHA’s notification was quashed by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana.

It will remove exception given to Sahjdhari Sikhs in 1944 to vote in the elections to members of the Board and the Committees constituted under the parent Act.

Since 1949, Sehajdhari Sikhs are continuously exercising their voting rights in the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections.

 

2. Lok Sabha has passed Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to include certain communities in the list of Scheduled Castes (SC) from 4 states.

 

It will amend Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 to include certain communities from Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Kerala and West Bengal in the list.

It also has provisions for exclusion of certain communities from Odisha and removal of area restriction in respect of certain communities.

 

3. The Union Government has unveiled a Model Building Bye-Laws, 2016 for granting permission for construction of buildings.

 

It was released by the Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu in New Delhi.

It seeks to provide an online single window framework for approval process.

Model Building Bye-Laws, 2016 intends to improve ease of doing business regarding issuance of construction permits.

 

4. The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has scrapped repeat tests on animals for drugs which already have been approved by other countries.

 

In this regard, the ministry has as amended Schedule Y of the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945.

The new rules state that there is no need for repeat tests on animals for new drug registrations if complete data from similar toxicity experiments already exists for drugs approved abroad.

The amendments come 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.

 

5. The Union Government has notified the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, benefits and services) Act, 2016.

 

The Act will provide statutory backing for transfer of subsidies and benefits to eligible people having Aadhaar (UID) number.

Aadhaar Act seeks to provide efficient, transparent and targeted delivery of subsidies, benefits and services to individuals residing in India by assigning them unique identity numbers (UID) or Aadhaar number.

 

6. The Haryana Legislative Assembly has unanimously passed the Haryana Backward Classes (Reservation in services and admission in educational institutions) Bill, 2016.

 

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.

It provides to give 10 percent reservation to these castes for class III and class IV posts and 6% in class 1 and class 2 posts.

 

7. Union Minister for Minority Affairs Najma Heptulla launched innovative entrepreneurship and skill development programme of Maulana Azad National Academy for Skills (MANAS) through leading national and international experts in different skill sets.

 

The innovative Scheme proposes to use leading celebrities who belong to Minority communities in various skill sets as the driving force behind the skill development projects in their respective fields.

It is for the benefit of marginalized sections of minority communities.

 

8. Supreme Court has approved Union Government’s guidelines to protect Good Samaritans, who help road accident victims, from being unnecessarily harassed by police or any other authority.

 

These guidelines based on the recommendations of K S Radhakrishnan committee, were approved by the SC bench comprising justices V Gopala Gowda and Arun Mishra.

These guidelines will be binding on all states and Union Territories until the Union government enacts a law to this effect.

 

9. Parliament has passed the Carriage by Air (Amendment) Bill, 2015 to empower Union government to revise the limits of liability for airlines and compensation as per the Montreal Convention which India accepted in 2009.

 

The bill was first passed by the Lok Sabha in December 2015 and later it was passed by the Rajya in March 2016. Now it will go for the Presidential assent as per Article 111 of Constitution.

The Bill seeks to amend the Carriage by Air Act, 1972 to revise the limits of liability for airlines and compensation in order adhere with the global counterparts.

The Carriage by Air Act, 1972: Regulates carriage by air by giving effect to the Warsaw Convention, 1929 and as amended by Hague Protocol, 1955 and the Montreal Convention, 1999.

 

10. South Korea’s Parliament has passed the country’s first anti-terror bill that was first proposed 15 years ago in 2001 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in US.

 

This law defines terror as an act that can put national security and citizens’ safety at risk including disturbance of national, regional and foreign government exercising its authority.

Those found guilty under this law can face capital punishment of life imprisonment or over 10 years’ incarceration and those who join a foreign terrorist group can face over 5 years imprisonment.

 

11. Uttar Pradesh Assembly passed the UP Revenue Code (Amendment) Bill 2016 replacing an ordinance issued by the Governor Ram Naik.

 

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 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.

 

12. Parliament has passed Bureau of Indian Standards Bill, 2015 to establish Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). The Bill replaces the Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 1986.

 

It was first passed in Lok Sabha during winter session in December 2015 and later in Rajya Sabha in February 2016. Now the bill will go Presidential assent as per provisions of Article 111 of the Constitution.

The bill establishes BIS as a national standard body for development of standardization and assessment and quality assurance of goods, articles, services, processes and systems.

At present, BIS is not formally recognized as a national standards body of the country, though it is representing India in various international bodies.

 

13. Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016 has been passed by Lok Sabha by voice vote to make amendments to the Enemy Property Act, 1968.

 

The bill replaces the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 2016 declared by President Pranab Mukherjee in January 2016.

The Enemy Property Act, 1968 provided for the continuous vesting of enemy property in the custodian.

The possession of enemy properties spread across many states in the country vest with the Union Government through the Custodian of Enemy Property for India.

 

14. The Parliament has passed National Waterways Bill, 2015 to clear decks for the conversion of 106 rivers and creeks across India into transport waterways.

 

The National Waterways Bill, 2015 aims at declaring 106 additional inland waterways as National Waterways in addition to the five existing National Waterways.

It was first passed in Lok Sabha in December 2015 i.e. in the winter session and later was passed by Rajya Sabha in March 2016 i.e. in the budget session.

 

15. The Rajya Sabha has passed the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2015 to protect the interests of consumers and curb the malpractices in the real estate sector.

 

The bill seeks to create a uniform regulatory mechanism across the country and enhance the growth of construction sector.

It also ensures to bring transparency and accountability in the real estate sector to access capital and financial markets essential for its long term growth.

 

16. Lok Sabha has passed the Aadhaar (Target Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016 by voice vote. It was introduced as Money Bill.

 

The Bill is aimed at giving statutory backing for transferring government subsidies and benefits to targeted people by assigning them Aadhaar numbers i.e. unique identity numbers.

With this, government plans to plug leakages in disbursal of subsidies and other services and in ensuring that these reach intended beneficiaries.

 

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU):

 

1. India has signed loan agreement of 35 million dollars with the World Bank for Madhya Pradesh citizen access to responsive services project.

 

The loan has been sanctioned by the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm International Development Association (IDA).

The project size is 50 million dollars, of which 35 million dollar will be financed by the World Bank and the remaining amount will be funded out of State Budget.

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.

 

2. The agreement between the European Union (EU) and Turkey to tackle the migrant crisis has formally come into effect.

 

Under this agreement, migrants arriving in Greece will be sent back to Turkey if their asylum claim is rejected.

According to this agreement all irregular migrants into Greece crossing from Turkey from 20 March 2016 will be sent back and migrants’ arrival will be individually assessed by the Greek authorities.

 

3. Nepal has signed an agreement with China to build a strategic railway link between the two countries through Tibet.

 

It was signed during Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli’s official seven day visit to China.

It will end Nepal’s dependency on Indian sea ports.

It also include a feasibility study on the establishment of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between both countries.

 

4. The Union Consumer Affairs Ministry has released a self-regulation Code of ethical business conduct to be adopted by the Industry on providing best products and services.

 

In this regard, Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) was inked between Department of Consumer Affairs and the industry bodies related to self-regulated code of fair business.

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:-

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.

5. 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 the State government officials of Agriculture, Minor Irrigation, Horticulture and Soil and Water Conservation departments.

The MoU will pave way for experts of the Japanese company to undertake technical cooperation project on the companys expense in four rural development blocks in Aizawl, Serchhip, Kolasib and Champhai districts.

 

6. The Union Cabinet gave its ex-post facto approval for a MoU between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to mobilise long term investment into the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF).

 

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed on 11 February 2016 to maximize economic impact mainly through infrastructure development in commercially viable projects in India.

It will facilitate establishment of a transparent and high-level framework and collaboration platform for smooth flow of investments for this purpose.

 

7. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has signed 11 unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs).

 

CBDT has so far entered into 59 bilateral or unilateral APAs. 50 of these agreements have been signed in the current financial year 2016-17.

The Advance Pricing Agreement (APA) programme was introduced in India by the Finance Act, 2012.

 

8. The MS Swaminathan Research Foundation has signed a MOU with Bhubaneswar-based Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) to establish a Research Chair.

 

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.

This is the first-ever initiative of the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation to establish a Research Chair in any private institute in the country.

 

9. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between Union Government, Madhya Pradesh government and the World Bank have signed $300 million credit agreement for Madhya Pradesh Higher Education Quality Improvement Project (MPHEQIP).

 

MPHEQIP’s objective is to improve student outcomes especially of disadvantaged groups in selected Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).

The credit will be provided by the International Development Association (IDA), World Bank’s concessionary lending arm with a maturity of 25 years, including a five-year grace period.

 

10. Haryana Government has signed 11 Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) involving a total investment of INR 18,159 crores with different companies.

 

These MoUs were signed in the presence of Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal on the first day of the two-day ‘Happening Haryana Global Investors’ Summit-2016’ held in Gurgaon.

The companies are ICICI Bank, Bharti Airtel for Electronics, Information Technology and Information Technology Enabled Services (ITeS), Star Wire (India) Limited, Minda Kosei Aluminium Wheel Private Limited, Plasser India Private Limited, Honda, Minda Industries Limited, Mindarika Private Limited for automobile parts switches, and T.G. Minda Private Limited.

 

11. Telangana and Maharashtra Governments have signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) to set up an inter-state water board construct 5 barrages across Godavari and Pen Ganga rivers.

 

The MoU was signed at a high level meeting held in Mumbai in which Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis took part.

Setting up of an inter-state water board on Godavari projects will end decades of discord between the two States on utilization of water in the river Godavari and its tributaries.

 

12. India and Saudi Arabia have expressed keenness to elevate ties between the two countries to strategic level by boosting cooperation in key areas of trade, security and counter terrorism.

 

It was decided after Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj held extensive talks with her Saudi Arabian counterpart Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir in New Delhi who was on a two day-official visit to India.

Saudi Arabia is India’s largest crude oil supplier accounting for about one-fifth of the country’s total imports. Thus it is key player in the India’s energy security.

 

13. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) with Bank of Israel (BOI) for exchange of information pertaining to banking supervision.

 

It was signed by Parvathy V Sundaram, Chief General Manager-in-Charge, Department of Banking Supervision on behalf of RBI and Hedva Ber, Supervisor of banks on behalf of BOI.

With this RBI has signed 32 such MoUs, 1 Letter for Supervisory Co-operation and 1 Statement of Co-operation (SoC).

 

14. A Memorandum of Understanding has signed by India on conservation of birds of prey in Africa and Eurasia.

 

With this India becomes 56th county to sign the Raptor MoU under the Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS).

The MoU was singed Ambassador of India to the UAE Shri T.P Seetharam the Convention on Migratory Species Office in Abu Dhabi.

 

15. The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the MoU between India and United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Technical Cooperation in Cyber Space and Combating Cyber-Crime.

 

It was singed between both countries in February 2016 to cooperate in combating cybercrime in the wake of the serious security threat posed by it to safety of people.

The MoU would provide help in handling of the issues related to the cyber-crime between the two countries.

 

16. India has signed the second line of credit (LOC) agreement extending 2 billion dollars in development financing to Bangladesh for undertaking various development projects.

 

This credit line will be provided through Export Import Bank of India (Exim Bank), India’s external lending arm. It is Exim Bank’s biggest ever LOC facility given to another country.

The development financing will be used in the infrastructural projects like power sector, road transportation, railways, shipping, information and communication technology (ICT) and social sector projects like health and technical education.

 

17. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between India and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to set up South Asia Regional Training and Technical Assistance Centre (SARTTC) in New Delhi.

 

It was signed in the presence of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF).

SARTTC will set up for enhancing capacity development and training officials in dealing with macro-economic and financial issues in the South Asia region.

 

Science & Technology

 

1. Researchers from France have found first evidence that mosquito-borne Zika virus might cause a severe neurological disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS).

GBS is a rare condition in which the body’s immune system attacks a part of the nervous system that controls muscle strength leading to muscle weakness in the legs and arms.

The study was carried out using blood samples from 42 patients who became ill in a previous outbreak of virus.

It was found that patients developed the neurological problems around six days after Zika infection making the virus main culprit of severe neurological disorder.

 

2. The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has cleared a proposal to purchase two Phalcon Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS), surveillance aircrafts from Israel.

 

It was decided in CCS meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

This defence deal will cost India 7,500 crore rupees as per a tripartite agreement signed with Israel and Russia.

AWACS are advanced radars mounted on an aircraft to give an ability to see deep inside enemy territory and 360 degree coverage to detect incoming aircraft and missiles at long ranges.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) already had three such AWACS platforms that comprise of Israeli-made radars mounted on Russian heavy transport planes IL-76.

 

3. Researchers have discovered new species of burrowing snake named Melanophidium Khairei or Khaire’s Black Shieldtail in Northwestern Ghats.

 

This new snake species was correctly identified after a gap of 144 years as it was earlier wrongly identified as identified as Melanophidium Punctatum or Pied-bellied Shieldtail.

The snake belongs to family Uropeltidae, which comprises all species which are burrowers and live mostly underground.

It is burrowing snake of the genus melanophidium. It is found in evergreen forests and rarely above ground in southern Maharashtra, Goa and northern Karnataka.

 

4. Indian Railways has formed a new Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to implement the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Bullet Train project.

 

The entity has been named the National High Speed Rail Corporation (NHSRC) Limited.

The high speed bullet rain project aims to introduce trains running at operating speeds over 320 kilometers per hour and maximum speed of 350kmph.

The project will take about seven years to complete after the awarding of the contract at an estimated to cost 97,636 crore rupees.

 

5. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has successfully test-fired several ballistic missiles from silos across the country.

 

These tests were conducted by IRGC to demonstrate the country’s deterrent power and its ability to confront any threat against the state and the sovereignty of the country.

Ballistic Missile is a missile with a high, arching trajectory which is initially powered and guided but falls under gravity on to its target. Most of its trajectory is unpowered and governed by gravity and air resistance if it is in the atmosphere. In contrasts, cruise missiles are aerodynamically guided in powered flight.

 

6. Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has successfully launched India’s sixth navigation Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS) 1F satellite.

 

It was launched by ISRO’s workhorse satellite launch vehicle, PSLV-C32 rocket from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR), Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. It was PLSV’s 34th mission.

IRNSS System consists of constellation of seven satellites of which three are geostationary and four are non-geostationary.

4 Geosynchronous satellites: They will be orbiting in pairs in two inclined geosynchronous orbits. When observed from the ground, these 2 pairs of satellites will appear to travel in figures of ‘8’.

3 geostationary satellites: They will be placed in the geostationary orbit over the equator. They match the Earth’s rotation and shall remain at a fixed position in the sky.

 

7. Japanese researchers have successfully isolated a bacterium species Ideonella sakaiensis 201-F6 capable of breaking down plastic polyethylene terephthalate (PET) or polyester. Their results were published in the journal Science.

 

Ideonella sakaiensis relies on PET film as a primary source of carbon for growth. It is capable of completely degrading a thin film of PET in a short span of six weeks at 30°C.

The bacteria could potentially be used in industrial recycling processes with having any adverse impact on the environment. It can replace or augment the current mechanical recycling plastic process.

 

8. Project Mausam aims to explore the multi-faceted Indian Ocean world for collating archaeological and historical research and not to counter China’s Silk Route strategy.

 

It was announced by Union Minister of State (MoS) for Culture and Tourism (Independent Charge) Dr. Mahesh Sharma in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.

It was launched in June 2014 in the 38th Session of World Heritage Committee (WHC) meeting which was held at Doha, Qatar.

  It examines key processes and monsoon phenomena that link different countries along the Indian Ocean littoral as well as the coastal centres that connect hinterlands.

 

9. Indigenously developed nuclear capable surface-to-surface ballistic missile Agni-I was successfully test-fired off the Odisha coast.

 

Agni-I is the first missile of the Agni series launched in 1983 by the DRDO as part of Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) in India.

It was conducted as part of training exercise by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of Indian Army.

The missile was fired from mobile launcher at launchpad-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Abdul Kalam Island (Wheeler Island) off the Odisha coast.

 

10. An unmanned spacecraft named ExoMars 2016 was successfully launched jointly Europe and Russia to search for bio signatures on Mars (or Martian life) in past or present.

 

ExoMars program is an astrobiology mission of European Space Agency (ESA) and Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos).

The spacecraft was launched on a Proton-M rocket operated by Russia’s Roscosmos from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. ExoMars 2016 is the first of a two-phase of ExoMars (Exobiology on Mars) program.

At present there are two rovers functional on the Mars viz. Curiosity and Opportunity which were sent by NASA, the federal space agency of United States.

 

11. ICICI Bank, India’s largest private sector lender, has launched new contactless mobile payment solution Touch & Pay based on Near Field Communication (NFC) technology.

 

NFC is a short-range high frequency wireless communication technology. It basically is a set of protocols that enable two electronic devices to establish radio data communication with each other by bringing them closer typically, 10 cm (4 inches) from each other.

It will enable the bank’s credit and debit customers to make in-store contactless payments by waving their smartphones near an NFC-enabled merchant terminal.

With this, ICICI Bank becomes first financial institution in the country to leverage the Host Card Emulation technique which creates virtual cards for physical debit or credit cards of the bank.

 

12. The India Meteorology Department (IMD) has deployed indigenously developed Drishti, an instrument that will provide real time visibility information to pilots. The instrument will help pilots in quick decision-making during critical landings and take-offs of aircraft particularly during foggy or rainy days.

 

Drishti has been developed by the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), Bangalore.

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.

 

13. British astronomers have discovered largest sample cluster of nine monster stars named as R136 using NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

 

The cluster is the largest group of very massive stars ever identified.

The research findings were published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The R136 cluster of monster stars have masses over 100 times and are 30 million times brighter than of our Sun in the star cluster located about 170,000 light-years away.

 

14. The tenth edition of World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF’s) Earth Hour was observed across the World on 19 March 2016 from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm local time.

 

Earth Hour is an annual global environmental event (movement) organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Earth Hour 2016 encouraged people to explore and adopt a cleaner and more sustainable lifestyle by embracing renewable energy solutions.

Earth Hour’s goal is to raise awareness for sustainable energy use and create a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle.

 

15. Scientists at Lucknow based CSIR-Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP​) have found that mint plant has medicinal values that can cure cancer.

 

They have identified that a medicinal compound called ‘L-Menthol’ derived from Mentha plant popularly known as mint.​ ​

L-Menthol compound can kill the colon cancer cell line without affecting the normal cell line.

 

14. The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched India’s first indigenous rotavirus vaccine named Rotavac to combat infant mortality due to diarrhoea.

 

 It was launched by Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda as part country’s ambitious Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP).

 The Rotavirus vaccine has been developed indigenously under a public-private partnership between the Union Ministry of Science Technology, Union Health Ministry, institutions of the US Government and NGOs in India supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

 The vaccine is being introduced initially in four States Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh (first to launch it) and Odisha.

 

15. The 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.

 

These satellites (micro and nano) will be launched using ISRO’s workhorse Polar rocket PSLV C34.

It will be carrying India’s Cartosat 2C along with 21 other satellites from other countries, including US, Canada, Indonesia and Germany as co-passengers.

This launch would be made from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota. Earlier in 2008, ISRO had sent ten satellites into orbit in a single mission.

 

16. Public Sector Power equipment manufacturer Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has commissioned the second 40 MW hydropower generating unit at the Teesta low dam hydroelectric project (HEP) stage IV in West Bengal.

 

The hydropower generating unit was successfully installed at the Teesta low dam HEP, a run-of-the-river Greenfield project, located in Darjeeling district of the West Bengal.

Teesta low dam HEP is being set up by National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC).

It is expected to reduce green-house gas (GHGs) emissions and will help in achieving a low carbon development path for the state as well as the nation.

 

17. China on 30 March 2016 launched its 22nd satellite for its BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS).

 

The satellite was launched aboard a Long March-3A carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the southwestern province of Sichuan.

The BeiDou system will be completed in 2020 and will comprise over 30 satellites.

It was the 225th launch of the Long March carrier rocket.

 

18. Telangana Government has launched M-Wallet, new mobile app to facilitate citizens to get digital copies of documents like driving licence and registration certificate.

 

It was launched by Telangana IT minister KT Rama Rao and Transport Minister P Mahender Reddy in Hyderabad.

It is first of its kind application to be launched in any state of India.

 

19. Researchers have discovered Sand-eating tadpole species named Micrixalus herrei in Western Ghats.

 

The tadpole belongs to the so-called Indian Dancing Frog family, Micrixalidae.

They were discovered from the deep recesses of streambeds in the Western Ghats.

 

20. Asia’s largest and first of its kind optical telescope Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) was unveiled at Devasthal in Nainital District, Uttrakahnd.

 

It was remotely activated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Belgian counterpart Charles Michel from Belgium.

It was joint collaborative technological effort between Indian and Belgian scientists.

It will help in the study and exploration of planets, starts, magnetic field and astronomical debris. It will also help research of star structures and magnetic field structures of stars.

 

Important Dates

 

1. Every year International Women’s Day is being observed on 8th March across the globe to highlight the achievements of women while calling for greater equality.

 

2016 theme declared by United Nations was “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”.

It reflects acceleration of the 2030 Agenda, building momentum for the effective implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals.

International Women’s Day was first observed as a popular event after 1977 after the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has proclaimed to observe March 8 as the UN Day for Women’s Rights and World Peace.

 

2. Every year World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) is being observed on 15 March for celebration and solidarity within the international consumer movement.

 

WCRD is observed on 15 March to commemorate the historic address given by the then US President John F Kennedy to the US congress in 1962.

It provides an opportunity to promote the basic rights of all consumers, demand those rights that must be respected and protected and for those protesting against the market abuses and social injustices.

2016 Theme of WCRD is “Antibiotics off the menu”. The theme is a campaign to stop the sale of meat raised with the use of antibiotics important to human medicine.

 

3. The world sparrow day was observed every year on March 20 to raise awareness of the house sparrow and other common birds to urban environments and threats to their populations.

 

The day was celebrated globally by carrying out different activities and events like awareness campaigns, art competitions and the sparrow processions.

World sparrow day is an international initiative by the Nature Forever Society (NFS) of India in collaboration with the Eco-Sys Action Foundation (France) and also 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.

 

4. Every year 21st March is being observed as International Day of Forests to raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests and of trees outside forests.

 

The observance of the day is also used to communicate the vital role forests play in to sustain and protect us i.e. in environmental sustainability, food security and poverty eradication.

Theme for 2016 was “Forests and water”.

The theme highlights importance of forests as key factor 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).

 

5. Every year World Water Day (WWD) is observed globally on 22 March to preserve and ration consumption of water.

 

WWD is observed to make a difference for the members of the global population who suffer from water related issues.

It marks a day to prepare for how we manage water in the future.

2016 Theme for WWD was “Better Water, Better Jobs” that focuses on the central role that water plays in creating and supporting good quality jobs.

Almost half of the world’s workers (nearly 1.5 billion) people work in water related sectors and nearly all jobs depend on water and those that ensure its safe delivery.

 

6. Every year 23rd March is being observed as World Meteorological Day (WMD).

 

The theme for 2016 year is “Hotter, Drier, Wetter. Face the Future”.

The theme focuses the disruption caused by climate change on the natural pattern of the seasons and increasing frequency and intensity of certain extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts and heavy rainfall.

On this day in 1950 the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Convention came into force that aimed at creating WMO.

 

7. Every year 25th March is being observed as International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

 

It honours and remembers those who suffered and died as a consequence of the transatlantic slave trade.

It also aims at raising awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice

2016 Theme was “Remember Slavery: Celebrating the Heritage and Culture of the African Diaspora and its Roots”.

 

 

Death

 

1. Legendary Tamil Comedian Kumari muthupassed away in Chennai, Tamil Nadu due to some age-related ailments. He was 77.

 

He was known for his comic roles and had starred in nearly 50 films in his career spanning over three-decades. He was best known for his signature laugh.

 

2. US actor George Kennedy passed away in the city of Boise, Idaho. He was 91.

 

3. Martin Crowe, former New Zealand cricket captain passed away in Auckland, New Zealand after a long battle with cancer.

 

He was 53 and was suffering from lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system.

He was widely regarded as one of New Zealand’s best ever batsman and had represented the country from the early 1980s until his retirement in 1996.

In his cricket career, he had played 77 Test matches, 143 One Day Internationals (ODIs) and 247 First-class matches. He was right-handed batsman.

 

4. Purno Agitok, former Lok Sabha Speaker passed away after suffering a heart attack in New Delhi. He was 68.

 

He was a 9 time member of Lok Sabha and the Speaker in the 11th Lok Sabha from 1996 to 1998.

He had played significant role in the development of the North East.

He had served as Cabinet Minister for Information and Broadcasting and Minister of State of Home Affairs, Labour, Commerce and Coal. He served as the Chief Minister of Meghalaya from 1988 to 1990.

He was one of the founding members of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). In January 2013, he had formed the National People’s Party.

 

5. Paramesh Krishnan Nair, India’s pioneering film archivist and film scholar passed away in Pune, Maharashtra. He was 82.

 

He had won the epithet of ‘celluloid man’ for his lifelong dedication towards the acquisition and preservation of cinematic heritage of the country.

He was founder and director of Pune based National Film Archive of India (NFAI) in 1964.

He was often regarded as the Henri Langlois (French film archivist and cinephile) of India because of his lifelong dedication towards the preservation of films in India.

 

6. Kalabhavan Mani, renowned Malayalam actor passed away at Kochi, Kerala due to liver and kidney failure. He was 45.

 

He had entered Malayalam film industry as a comedian, later became an active artiste in South Indian films. He is best known for essaying character of villain roles.

He had had acted in over 200 films in Malayalam and other South Indian languages including Tamil, and Telugu films.

He was also a singer and his first album was Kannimanga Prayathil. Folk songs rendered by him are extremely popular.

He had won the National Film Award and Kerala State Film Award in Special Jury Award in 1999 for his performance as Ramu in Vasanthiyum Lakshmiyum Pinne Njaanum.

In 2002, he was also awarded Filmfare Awards in Best Villan (Tamil) category for the film Gemini.

 

7. Raymond Tomlinson, the Internet pioneer and e-mail inventor passed away in Washington, United States. He was 74 years old.

 

Tomlinson invented direct electronic messages between users on different machines on a certain network in 1971.

His inventions incuded the ARPANET system which is considered as the precursor to the Internet.

He was the receipent of the IEEE Internet Award (2004) and George R. Stibitz Computer Pioneer Award (2000).

 

8. Naná Vasconcelos, an acclaimed Brazil musician passed away due to lung cancer in the northeastern Brazilian city of Recife. He was 71.

 

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.

He was master of a single-string, multi-toned Afro-Brazilian instrument the berimbau (in Portuguese).

 

9. Lloyd Stowell Shapley, the renowned American mathematician and Nobel Prize-winning economist, passed away on 12 March 2016. He was 92.

 

He had contributed to the fields of mathematical economics and especially game theory.

He was considered one of the fathers of game theory.

He had contributed to the fields of mathematical economics and especially game theory. He was considered one of the fathers of game theory.

He was awarded 2012 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences along with Alvin E. Roth for the theory of stable allocations and the practice of market design.

 

10. Anita Brookner renowned British author and art historian, passed away. She was 87.

 

Brookner had won the Booker in 1984 for her novel Hotel du Lac and was a bestselling author who had written around 25 books.

She was awarded Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1990. She also had won James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 2010.

 

11. Ustad Ali Ahmad Hussain Khan, an eminent Shehnai exponent passed away following prolonged illness in Kolkatta, West Bengal. He was 77.

 

 He was one of the best-known players of the instrument after the legendary Bismillah Khan.

 Ustad Ali Ahmad Hussain Khan was famously known for his innovative style and mastery over the classical and semi-classical and folk music repertoire.

 He had received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (2009) and Bangabhushan award (2012) of West Bengal government etc.

 

12. Mossad MeiR, Former Director of Israel’s intelligence agency passed away due to liver cancer. He was 71.

 

He had served as Director General of the Mossad from 2002 until his retirement in 2011.

He was widely credited for covertly disrupting Iran’s nuclear program.

 

13. Andrew Grove, Intel’s former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairman passed away due to Parkinson’s disease. He was 79.

 

He was a science pioneer in the semiconductor industry and under his leadership Intel became a household name in computers.

He had played pioneering role in transforming Intel into the world’s largest manufacturer of semiconductors.

He was famously referred as the ‘guy who drove the growth phase’ of Silicon Valley.

His 1999 book “Only the Paranoid Survive” is still popular in the business management world.

 

14. Johan Cruyff, the Dutch football legend and coach passed away after a long battle with lung cancer in Barcelona, Italy. He was 68.

 

Cruyff was one of the most famous exponents of the football philosophy known as Total Football.

He is widely regarded to be one of the greatest players in football history.

 

15. Garry Shandling, legendary US writer, actor, and comedian passed away in Los Angeles due to heart attack. He was 66.

 

He has influenced a generation of comedians with his Emmy Award winning TV series, “it’s Garry Shandling’s Show”.

He was nominated for 19 Primetime Emmy Awards and 2 Golden Globe Awards, along with many other awards and nominations.

 

16. V D Rajappan, Kerala’s popular Kadhaprasangam (story telling) artiste and Malayalam film actor passed away in Kottayam. He was 70.

 

He was best known for his comic roles and for his unique style of stand-up comedy.

He was known for his unique style of presenting Kadhaprasangam in a satirical manner.

 

17. Patty Duke, acclaimed Actor and singer passed away due to Sepsis from a ruptured intestine. She was 69.

She had won Academy award (Oscar) in 1963 at the age of 16 for her portrayal of deaf blind political activist Helen Keller in The Miracle worker.

She had served as president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1985 to 1988.

 

Click here to download GK Monthly Eduwrap for March 2016 in PDF Format

 

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