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National – Across the India
1. The Election Commission (EC) finished vote counting for 2017 Assembly election results in five states, including Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur.
Yogi Adityanath becomes Uttar Pradesh’s new Chief Minister.
Amarinder Singh becomes Punjab’s new Chief Minister.
Nongthombam Biren Singh becomes Manipur’s new Chief Minister.
Trivendra Singh Rawat becomes Uttarakhand’s new Chief Minister.
Manohar Parrikar becomes Goa’s new Chief Minister.
2. The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare launched Mission Fingerling.
The program is aimed at achieving the Blue Revolution by enabling holistic development and management of fisheries.
The main motive behind this program is to enhance the fisheries production from 10.79 mmt (2014-15) to 15 mmt by 2020-21.
3. Hyderabad has ranked the best Indian city for living standards, as per the Mercer’s Quality of Living rankings 2017.
Both Hyderabad and Pune ranked higher for the quality of living than the Mumbai and New Delhi, which have been ranked at 154 and 161, respectively, by the report.
4. National Agricultural Fair Krishi Unnati Mela 2017 was organized during 15th-17th March 2017 at IARI, PUSA New Delhi by ICAR-DARE, IARI.
The Major attraction of the Mela was digitization in agriculture, organic farming, agribusiness models, precision farming, skill building and entrepreneurship development.
5. Commerce and Industry Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman launched the Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES).
The objective of the proposed scheme is to enhance export competitiveness by bridging gaps in export infrastructure and creating focused export infrastructure.
6. Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah has announced 100 crores for Namma Canteen (our canteen).
It will give breakfast at Rs.5, lunch and dinner at Rs.10 at one centre in each of the 192 wards in Bengaluru.
7. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the Policy for Early Monetization of Coal Bed Methane (CBM) Gas Marketing and Pricing Freedom for CBM Gas.
The policy provides marketing and pricing freedom to the CBM contractors to sell the CBM at Arm’s Length Price in the domestic market.
8. The Centre has approved financial assistance for bifurcated Andhra Pradesh by way of special dispensation in funding of externally aided projects (EAPs) and the irrigation component of Polavaram project.
The special assistance will be provided to the state towards repayment of loan and interest for EAPs signed and disbursed during 2015-16 to 2019-20.
9. The Union Cabinet has approved 2% additional Dearness allowance for Central government employees and Dearness relief for pensioners.
It will be effective from 1st January 2017. This decision will benefit about 48.85 lakh Central government employees and 55.51 lakh pensioners.
10. Centre has approved setting up of fifty Kendra Vidhyalayas to provide quality education to around 50,000 students across the country.
The schools, which will be set up under the civil/defense sector for classes 1 to 5.
11. The 6th edition of the largest International Engineering Sourcing Show(IESS) was inaugurated in Chennai.
IESS VI was inaugurated in a gala ceremony on 16th March 2017 in Chennai, expecting significant business deals during the three-day event.
12. The Union Cabinet has approved the National Health Policy 2017.
It aims to raise public healthcare expenditure to 2.5% of GDP from current 1.4%, with more than two-thirds of those resources going towards primary healthcare.
13. The Union Ministry of Environment has provided a six months’ window and a one-time opportunity to the industrial projects functioning without environmental clearance (EC) to apply for a back-dated EC.
14. Airbus is setting up a greenfield training facility at Aerocity, New Delhi, to support India’s growing need for Airbus aircraft pilots and maintenance engineers.
This will also be the first training facility of Airbus in Asia.
It is expected to be operational by the end of 2018.
15. The President of India had inaugurated a 3-day International conference on Universities of the Future: Knowledge, Innovation and Responsibility at O. P. Jindal Global University (JGU) in Haryana.
The conference was aimed to examine the future of the Indian universities in the twenty-first century.
16. India-Russia Military Industry Conference was held on 17-18 March 2017 in New Delhi.
They have signed 2 agreements for the Sukhoi Su-30MKI combat aircraft fleet, covering around 57,000 spares and components related to the aircraft.
17. The three days International Buddhist Conference was inaugurated by at Rajgir International Buddhist Conference, Bihar. There were two highlights of the inaugural session:
One is the release of the reprint of the Pali Tripitaka in Devanagri script by His Holiness the Dalai lama.
The second highlight was the announcement of the opening of the department of the Buddhist science for the first time in Asia.
18. A Railway research centre in Australia has signed an agreement with the Indian Railways to support future research and technology development related to critical infrastructure in India.
They will provide guidance on the establishment of a new applied research and development institute in India known as SRESTHA.
International – Across the Globe
1. Vienna has topped consulting firm Mercer’s list of cities offering the highest quality of life while Baghdad is at lowest position and considered as a worst place to live in.
The survey of 231 cities helps companies and organizations determine compensation and hardship allowances for international staff.
2. Pakistan is set to conduct its first national census in 19 years with the assistance of over 200,000 troops.
The National census to be conducted in two phases from 15th March and will be completed on 25th May 2017.
3. Bangladesh’s unanimously adopted a resolution declaring 25th March as Genocide Day.
The day will be observed in remembrance of the atrocities carried out by the Pakistani Army on the night of 25th March, 1971.
4. United Kingdom parliament gave its approval for Prime Minister Theresa May to start Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.
The House of Lords rejected a last-ditch attempt to amend a bill empowering May to begin Brexit.
5. Sri Lanka has sought an extension of two more years from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to probe into the alleged war crimes that were committed during the three-decade long civil war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
6. US Government has announced its support for India’s full membership in the four multilateral export control regimes including Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
It indicated no change in US’s policy on the issue under Trump administration.
7. New Zealand’s Whanganui River has gained its own identity with all the corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a legal person, after a 170-year battle.
Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River Claims Settlement) Bill will establish a new legal framework for the river.
It recognized the river as an indivisible and living whole from the mountains to the sea.
8. India has joined World Health Organization to sign a call for action and pledged to scale up measures to end the Tuberculosis disease by 2030.
India reports 2.8 million new TB cases annually and nearly half a million deaths due to the disease.
Six South East Asian countries are- Bangladesh, DPR Korea, India, Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand.
9. The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UN Women has launched the Women in Politics Map 2017.
The theme for 2017 is on women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work.
India is placed at the 148th number.
10. Britain’s fertility regulator has granted the first license to doctors in Newcastle, northern England to create babies by using a three-parent IVF technique.
The technique is designed to prevent inherited genetic diseases.
The technique involves intervening in the fertilization process to remove faulty mitochondria which can cause fatal genetic diseases
11. The G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ Meeting was held in Baden-Baden, Germany from 17th March 2017 to 18th March 2017.
It was an opportunity to discuss developments in the global economy with international counterparts and measures to be undertaken to face major challenges
Sports & Athletics
1. All England Badminton Championship 2017 was held in Barclaycard Arena from 7th March to 12th March 2017. Here is the list of winners.
Men’s Single: Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei.
Women’s Single: China’s Tai Tzu-ying.
Men’s Double: Indonesia’s Marcus Gideon and Kevin Sukamuljo.
Women’s Double: South Korea’s Chang Ye Na and Lee So Hee.
Mixed Double: China’s Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong.
2. Double Olympic gold medallist Joanna Rowsell Shand announced her retirement from international cycling.
Shand had won the women’s team pursuit at four editions of the World Championships (2008, 2009, 2012 and 2014).
3. SSP Chawrasia defended the Hero Indian Open title 2017 with a remarkable seven-stroke win in New Delhi.
He is only the second Indian golfer after Jyoti Randhawa to successfully defend the Hero Indian Open.
4. Goa faced Meghalaya in the opener of a Group A league match of the 71st Santosh Trophy at the SAG Athletics Stadium in Goa.
5. Google on 15th March 2017 dedicated a playful doodle to the first officially recognized Test Match in order to celebrate the 140th anniversary of official Test cricket.
Doodle captures the spirit of sportsmanship and the inaugural Test match.
Awards & Recognition
1. Zee Cine Awards 2017 was held in Mumbai. Here is the list of some of the winners.
Best Film: Pink.
Best Actor Female: Alia Bhatt – Udta Punjab.
Best Actor Male: Amitabh Bachchan – Pink.
Best Actor in a Comic Role: Rishi Kapoor – Kapoor and Sons.
Viewer’s Choice Best Film: Dangal.
2. Central Bank of India has been awarded first prize in the implementation of Official Language Policy in the western region for the year 2015-2016.
3. Two Indian-American authors Siddhartha Mukherjee and Paul Kalanithi have been shortlisted for the £30,000 Wellcome Book Prize.
Siddhartha Mukherjee was shortlisted for his study of genetics and mental health in his book The Gene.
Paul Kalanithi is the first posthumous author shortlisted for his life-affirming reflection on facing mortality When Breath Becomes Air.
4. Ramakrishna Ashram was conferred with the national-level Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Rashtriya Krishi Vigyan Protsahan Puraskar for 2016.
The award was presented during the inaugural function of the Krishi Unnati Mela 2017 in New Delhi.
5. Indian-American teenager Indrani Das, won the top, $250,000 prize in the prestigious Regeneron Science Talent Search competition for her research on treating brain injuries and diseases.
Arjun Ramani, took the third place for his project on networks using mathematical field of graph theory and computer programming.
Books & Authors
1. Former Australian captain Michael Clarke has launched his autobiography titled My Story at Kolkata.
In the book, he elaborates the famous Monkeygate case and also the death of his teammate Phil Hughes.
Mergers & Acquisitions
1. IndusInd Bank will buy IL&FS Securities Services Ltd (ISSL), a subsidiary of Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) Ltd, in an all-cash deal.
The bank did not reveal the value of the acquisition.
This acquisition brings scale to this business, complements current product offerings of the bank.
2. Bandhan Bank, has tied up with Avenues India Pvt Ltd, a payment solution provider, to provide merchants with seamless access to point-of-sales (POS) and payment gateway products.
3. Full-service airline Jet Airways has announced a partnership with ride-hailing app Uber to book airport cabs through the Jet Airways app itself.
Guests booking their flights on the app and using Uber for the first time will also benefit from a discount of Rs.150 across their first three rides by using the promo code JETUBER.
4. Reliance Communications Ltd. has received approval from the SEBI and NSE for the merger with Aircel Ltd.
Creation of the new entity will first involve R. Com demerging its existing cellular business, which has around 100 million subscribers.
The wireless unit will then be merged with Aircel.
5. The Parliamentary Committee on Petitions has suggested the merger of state-run telecom firms BSNL and MTNL for their long-term survival.
The committee held that their merger will give both the entities a chance for competing against private sector players.
6. The BSE has tied up with Sentifi, a Swiss company and leader in the algorithmic-based analysis, for social media updates of 40,000 globally listed stocks.
Under the partnership, Sentifi would track, analyze and report social media messages on various stocks which would be provided on the BSE website.
7. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) have signed an agreement to work together.
They will work together on crop improvement and agronomy programs for grain legumes and dryland cereals.
It will benefit small farmers in India and globally.
Appointments & Resignations
1. Biren Singh of the BJP is appointed as the new Chief Minister of Manipur.
The BJP is set to form the next government in Manipur.
2. Finance minister Arun Jaitley was given the additional charge of the defense ministry.
He was given this charge after Manohar Parrikar resigned to take on the new role of Goa chief minister.
3. Seema Verma has been appointed as chief of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
She will be running the US government’s health program for the elderly, poor and disabled.
4. HSBC has appointed Mark Tucker, the chief executive of Asian insurer AIA, as group chairman.
He will take over on 1st October, succeeding Douglas Flint who has been in the role since 2010.
5. The Congress leadership has nominated Mallikarjun Kharge for the post of Chairman of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament.
He will succeed his party colleague K V Thomas who is completing three terms in the post.
6. Shashank Manohar has resigned as ICC Chairman with immediate effect.
Manohar has stepped down from his post due to personal reasons after just eight months in charge.
He had then signed a two -year term in May 2016.
7. Reliance Commercial Finance, a subsidiary of Reliance Capital has appointed Devang Mody as chief executive officer.
Prior to this, Mody served as president of consumer business at Bajaj Finance.
8. Justice Chittaranjan Sharma was sworn in as Upalokayukta of Assam.
He was administered oath to the office by Governor Banwarilal Purohit at a simple ceremony at the Raj Bhawan.
9. Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd managing director Pawan Goenka will continue to be the chairman of the board of governors of Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) till June 2020.
10. Union Minister Babul Supriyo has been appointed as the vice-president of the FIFA U-17 World Cup organizing committee.
The tournament will be hosted by India between 6th to 28th October 2017.
This will be the first FIFA tournament hosted by the country.
11. The US Senate voted to confirm the appointment of Dan Coats and HR McMaster as President Donald Trump’s Director of National Intelligence and National Security Adviser respectively.
The senate voted 85 to 12 in favor of Coats’ appointment.
McMaster won by 86 votes in his favour.
12. The Government has decided to extend Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian’s tenure by two more years, till October 2019.
He was appointed as the CEA in October 2014 for a three-year tenure.
13. The newly appointed Chairman of National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Shri Manhar Valji Bhai Zala along with two members Smt. Manju Diler and Shri Dalip Kallu Hathibed assumed his office.
14. BJP leader Trivendra Singh Rawat will be the next Chief Minister of Uttarakhand.
Trivendra, an MLA from Doiwala, has strong RSS background and long experience in ministerial positions.
15. India’s most successful Badminton Doubles specialist Jwala Gutta was appointed as a member of the governing body of Sports Authority of India (SAI).
16. Lenovo has announced the appointment of Subhankar Roy Chowdhury to head its human resources team in Asia Pacific.
He was previously the company’s executive director and global head for HR Strategy, M&A and HR Analytics.
Subhankar will replace Andrew Dahms.
Economics & Banking GK
1. ICICI Bank topped the list of banks that witnessed the most number of frauds during April-December period of 2016 with state-owned SBI Bank at the second spot.
During the first nine months of the current fiscal, as many as 455 fraud cases involving Rs 1 lakh and above were detected in ICICI Bank, closely followed by SBI (429), Standard Chartered (244) and HDFC Bank (237).
2. All restrictions on cash withdrawal from savings bank account have been removed from 13th March 2017.
Earlier the RBI had issued a notification saying that the withdrawal limit of cash from savings bank accounts will be relaxed to Rs. 50,000 from 20th February.
3. Korea’s Hyundai Engineering Co. has signed a deal worth 3 billion euros (USD 3.2 billion) with an Iranian investment fund to invest in a major Iranian oil project.
The agreement covers construction of the second phase of the Kangan Petro Refining Complex in southwest Bushehr province of Iran.
Hyundai Engineering plans to invest 3.1 billion euros which is 95 percent of the overall project cost.
4. Airtel Payments Bank, offered by telecom major Bharti Airtel, announced that over one lakh savings accounts were opened in 100 villages across Tamil Nadu.
Through the initiative, the villages would have access to banking services along with the option of making digital payments.
5. Retail inflation based on wholesale prices shot up to 39-month high of 6.55 per cent in February 2017.
The rise is due to on the back of costlier petrol, diesel and LPG and food goods such as sugar, fruits and cereals.
6. State Bank of India (SBI) announced a one-time tractor loan settlement scheme worth Rs.6,000 crore primarily for tractors.
One Time Settlement (OTS) announced for #Agriculture #Loans! Scheme valid until 31st March 2017.
7. SEBI has allowed celebrities to endorse mutual fund products at the industry level purpose of increasing awareness of mutual funds as a financial product category.
8. State Bank of India is planning to convert its branch operation in Paris into a representative office.
SBI has 199 global offices which include branches, representative offices and subsidiaries, among others.
9. The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has refused to stay Reliance Jio’s free promotional offer.
Reliance Jio had launched the inaugural free voice and data plan in September 2016 and in December 2016, extended till 31st March 2017.
10. The newly-launched ESAF Small Finance Bank will offer interest rates between 5.75 and 9 per cent for term deposits of varying maturities.
For savings deposits, the rates will vary from 6 to 7 per cent, based on the outstanding balance in the account.
Senior citizens will be entitled to an additional 0.05 per cent for term deposits.
11. The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (Unido) plans to double its spend in India this year with a sharp focus to develop sustainable cities.
This will help in linking Indian cities to international city networks.
It is targeted to five cities across the country — Bhopal, Vijayawada, Guntur, Mysore and Jaipur.
12. The government has given its approval to RBI to print currency notes of Rs.10 plastic denominations.
It has been decided to conduct a free trial at five locations across the country.
13. The Union Government has announced that total of 29 lakh debit cards were subjected to malware attack in through ATMs that were connected with the switch of Hitachi.
14. Essar’s Nand Niketan Hazira has become India’s first private sector township to go cashless, using the mobile wallet for performing digital transactions.
Till now around 8,000 prepaid cards have been issued in the Nand Niketan township to the employees, merchants and shop owners operating within its precincts.
15. The World Bank has agreed to provide the loan to develop internal transmission arrangements of the upcoming Rewa Ultra Mega Solar (RUMS) project in Madhya Pradesh.
It will provide 25% of the loan amount under its Clean Technology Fund (CTF), where the money will be provided at an interest rate of only 0.25%.
Bills – New & Amendments
1. The Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI) Bill, 2017 was introduced the Lok Sabha which intends to declare the FDDI as an Institution of National Importance (INI).
It further seeks to facilitate and promote teaching, training and research in all disciplines relating to design and development of Footwear and leather products.
2. The Inter State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2017 was introduced by water resources minister Uma Bharati in Lok Sabha.
The bill proposes a single standing tribunal (with multiple benches) instead of multiple tribunals that exist at present.
3. Lok Sabha passed the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016.
The Bill will replace the ordinance promulgated by the government.
4. The Union Cabinet has approved Indian Institutes of Information Technology (Public- Private Partnership) Bill, 2017 in New Delhi.
The Bill will declare the existing IIITs in PPPS as Institutions of National Importance with powers to award degrees.
The 15 IIITs are: Guwahati, Chittoor, Sonipat, Vadodara, Una, Kottayam, Ranchi, Dharwad, Nagpur & Pune, Kota, Senapati, Tamilnadu Tiruchirappalli, Lucknow, West Bengal.
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
1. State Bank of India and CREDAI have signed a MoU to jointly conduct various initiatives towards development of the realty sector for 3 years.
Each of them will leverage their individual strengths and collaborate in areas to promote housing for all, which will be beneficial to the sector.
2. The Union cabinet approved revised MoU between India and Bangladesh for establishing Border Haats.
The Revised MoU and Mode of Operation will provide a legal framework for establishment and operationalization of additional border haats.
3. Chennai Port Trust and the Government of Puducherry has signed MoU for handling EXIM cargo originating from Puducherry Port hinterland.
The MoU was signed to promote industrial growth in the region, generate substantial employment and attract investment by major industries.
Around 5 Lakh to 10 Lakh tonnes of cargo is expected to be handled between these two ports.
4. China and Saudi Arabia have signed an MoUs and letters of intent (LoIs) potentially worth about $65 billion.
Saudi Arabia also has sought to boost oil sales to China, the world’s second-largest oil market as it lost its market share to Russia in 2016.
Science & Technology
1. The World’s first fluorescent frog, which glows bright green under UV light, has been found in Argentina.
Researchers stumbled upon the bizarre creature by accident while studying the skin pigments of polka-dot tree frogs in the Amazon.
2. A group of scientists stated in a study that rapid loss of Arctic sea ice in recent decades is partly driven by natural swings.
The research indicates that a shift in wind patterns is responsible for about 60% of sea ice loss in the Arctic Ocean since 1979.
3. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched EchoStar 23 communications satellite into a high-altitude orbit.
The EchoStar 23 satellite will provide broadcast satellite services alongside EchoStar’s 25 other satellites.
4. Scientists from US have developed a blood test to accurately predict whether a child has autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
It is estimated to affect about 1.5% of individuals.
5. Pakistan Navy successful tested new land-based anti-ship missile from the coastal region.
The missile is equipped with advanced technology and avionics, which enable engagement of targets at sea with a high degree of accuracy.
6. Japan has launched a new satellite to track land and maritime movements in North Korea.
The satellite will also be able to conduct surveys on the weapons program of the secretive nuclear-armed state.
1. World Consumer Rights Day is observed on 15th March every year in order to get consumer issues noticed across the world.
World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) is an opportunity to promote the basic rights of all consumers.
The theme for World Consumer Rights Day 2017 is Building a Digital World Consumers Can Trust.
Recent Notable Deaths
1. Malayalam film director Diphan also known as Deepan passed away following liver cirrhosis and kidney failure in a private hospital at Kochi. He was 47.
Diphan is known for his films namely Puthiya Mukham, Hero and SIM.
Important Abbreviations used in this Article
|CTF||Clean Technology Fund|
|RUMS||Rewa Ultra Mega Solar|
|TIES||Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme|
|CCEA||Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs|
|IESS||International Engineering Sourcing Show|
|SRESTHA||Special Railway Establishment for Strategic Technology & Holistic Advancement|
|LTTE||Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam|
|UNHRC||United Nations Human Rights Council|
|BSNL||Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited|
|MTNL||Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited|
|ICAR||Indian Council of Agricultural Research|
|ICRISAT||International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics|
|PAC||Public Accounts Committee|
|SEBI||Security & Exchange Board of India|
|SAI||Sports Authority of India|
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