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National – Across the India:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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).
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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.
International – Across the Globe:
1. 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.
2. 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.
1. 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.
2. 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.
Awards & Recognition:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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).
7. 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.
Appointments & Resignations:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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).
6. 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.
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.
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.
Economics & Banking GK:
1. 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.
Science & Technology:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
1. 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.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.