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National – Across the India
1. Chennai-Nashiri, India’s longest surface tunnel in Jammu and Kashmir’s Udhampur district has completed its trial run.
The 9-km-long tunnel at Chennai passes through the lower Himalayan mountain range on Jammu- Srinagar National Highway.
The total cost of the project is Rs.3720 crores.
2. The proposed Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojna was launched at a camp in Andhra Pradesh’s Nellore district on 25th March 2017.
Under the scheme, senior citizens, living below the poverty line, will now get for free assistive devices like hearing aids and wheelchairs.
The estimated cost for the scheme is Rs.477 crores.
3. Union Minister Harsh Vardhan inaugurated the 5th foundation day function of the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) in New Delhi.
The discussion focused on the impact the Biotech Ecosystem is making on the Indian economy.
4. A two- day National Conference- Empowering Deaf through Indian Sign Language was inaugurated in New Delhi.
The objective of the Conference is to provide a common platform to the professionals involved in the field of Deaf Education and various other related topics.
5. India ranked at 122 out of 155 countries in the World Happiness Report 2017, four notches below its previous rank of 118.
Norway topped the list and the Central African Republic ranked the last.
6. An interactive portal was launched on the Oral Health Day by the government to raise awareness and educate the masses about the dental and oral health.
7. India was ranked 131 in the 2016 Human Development Index (HDI) among the 188 countries.
India scored 0.624 and was placed in medium human development category.
Top three countries are- Norway (0.949 scores), Australia (0.939) and Switzerland (0.939).
8. An 11-day Joint Cycling Expedition of Bangladesh and Indian army was flagged off in Agartala and would cover 532 km.
The aim is to further strengthen the friendship between the two armed forces.
9. The 5th Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav (RSM) 2017 was organized in North Eastern Region from 23rd to 31st March 2017 at Parade Ground, Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh.
10. The 3rd Conference of Health/AYUSH Ministers of States/UTs was inaugurated in New Delhi.
The conference was organized to provide an opportunity to States/UT to interact with each other for the development of AYUSH sector.
11. The Union Cabinet has approved setting up of National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (NSEBC) as a constitutional body.
Constitutional amendment bill for amending constitution mainly by insertion of Article 338B will be soon introduced in the Parliament.
12. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved North East Road Network Connectivity Project (NERNCP) Phase I for the development of 403 kms of National Highways in Meghalaya and Mizoram.
CCEA also approved a policy for grant of extension to the Production Sharing Contracts (PSC) that were awarded by Union Government for Pre-NELP Exploration Blocks before 1999.
13. Andhra Pradesh has topped the list in linking Jan Dhan accounts with the Aadhar number.
Andhra Pradesh had linked 87.73 per cent of its Jan-Dhan accounts with Aadhaar numbers.
14. The 3rd International Conference on Alternate Fuels and Raw Materials in Cement Industry -Towards Realizing Swachh Bharat Dream was inaugurated in New Delhi.
It aims to facilitate technical, regulatory and financial solutions for increasing alternate fuels and raw materials usage in the cement industry.
15. Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan launched MoP&NG e-Seva.
It is an integrated grievances redressal platform across social media for all Oil & Gas related service issues.
16. The Carpet Export Promotion Council is organizing the 33rd India Carpet Expo from 27th-30th March 2017 in Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.
The Expo is one of Asia’s largest handmade carpet fairs, which will be inaugurated by the Union Textiles Minister, Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani.
17. The two-day Houston India Conference was hosted by Asia Society Texas Center from 24th March 2017.
The theme of the Conference is Make in India -The Inside Story.
It aims to bring together various constituencies and discuss the latest developments and the best practices of doing business in India.
18. Central Board of Direct Taxes has formed the committee to check absconding I-T department officers.
The 3-member committee will carry out a one-time count of all the officers and identify those Group ‘A’ officers (Indian Revenue Service) who are presently on unauthorized leave or are absconding.
International – Across the Globe
1. The Indo-Oman joint military exercise Al Nagah-II 2017 was concluded at Bakloh in Himachal Pradesh.
The aim of the exercise was to acquaint both forces with each other’s operating procedures and counter- terrorism environment.
2. The Forbes Magazine has released the list of World’s Billionaires’ 2017 consisting of 2043 richest people in the world.
The list has been topped by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
Among Indians, Reliance Industries chief Mukesh Ambani topped the list of 101 Indian richest people.
3. The Bloomberg Global Health Index 2017 has released its report of 163 countries.
Italy has ranked as the healthiest country on the planet, with a baby born there expected to live up to more than 80 years.
Iceland, Switzerland, Singapore and Australia made up the top five most healthy countries in the index.
4. The Economist Intelligence Index has released Worldwide Cost of Living Index.
Singapore has been ranked as the most expensive city.
4 Indian cities- Bangalore (3rd place), Chennai (6th), Mumbai (7th) and New Delhi (10th) have been ranked among the 10 cheapest cities in the world.
Sports & Athletics
1. Cheteshwar Pujara became the first Indian batsman to play longest innings.
He has scored 202 runs off 525 balls against Australia on the fourth day of the third Test match in Ranchi.
He surpassed Rahul Dravid’s record of 495 balls.
2. India’s KT Irfan has won bronze in the 20 km men’s event at the Asian Racewalking Championships in Japan.
South Korea’s Kim Hyun-Sub won the gold medal and Kazakhstan’s Georgiy Sheiko won the silver medal.
3. Swiss Roger Federer and Russian Elena Vesnina have clinched singles titles at Indian Wells tournament.
Federer defeated Stan Wawrinka by 6-4, 7-5.
Elena Vesnina defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova by 6-7 (6), 7-5, 6-4.
4. Ravindra Jadeja has become the top- ranked Test bowler while Cheteshwar Pujara moves up to second in ICC Test batsmen’s ranking.
Pujara replaces Virat Kohli from the second position.
5. India’s Vidya Pillai has won the silver medal in the World Women Snooker Championship in Singapore.
Hong Kong’s former World Champion, Ng On Yee, won the gold medal.
6. Tamil Nadu regained the Vijay Hazare trophy 2017 after beating Bengal by 37 runs in the finals.
With this win, they become the only team to win the tournament five times.
7. Ankur Mittal has won the gold medal in men’s double category at International Shooting Sports Federation World Cup in Acapulco, Mexico.
He beat Australian James Willet.
8. The Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Vijay Goel designated 14 Olympians as National Observers for 12 sports disciplines. They are:
PT Usha, Anju Bobby George, Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Singh, Aparna Popat, Mary Kom, Akhil Kumar, Jagbir Singh, Abhinav Bindra, Somdev Devvarman, Karnam Malleshwari, Sushil Kumar, I M Vijayan, Khajan Singh, Kamlesh Mehta.
Awards & Recognition
1. Anshumali Shrivastava has won NSF’s prestigious CAREER award for his research on redesigning current machine-learning processes.
2. An Indian-American CEO Sandeep Matharani has been ranked 4th on a list of top 25 overpaid CEOs in the United States.
Sandeep Matharani, CEO of General Growth Properties, Chicago was paid a total compensation of USD 39.2 million in 2016.
3. Six Indian Americans are nominated for the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor 2017. Here are the names:
Indra Nooyi- PepsiCo CEO.
Fareed Zakaria- Author.
Dinesh Paliwal- Harman International Industries Chairman -CEO.
Annapoorna S Kini.
Yashvant Patel, Mohan H Patel.
Adil Haider- Pakistani-American.
4. The 8th Laadli Media Awards for Gender Sensitivity 2016 (Northern and Eastern Region) were announced at the Chinmaya Mission in Delhi.
Anima Pookkunnyil, Assistant Editor with BusinessLine, and Shreya Ila Anasuya, a Delhi-based freelance journalist, were awarded this year for their critical gender-sensitive reportage.
5. SBI chief Arundhati Bhattacharya was named by Fortune magazine among the world’s 50 greatest leaders who are transforming the world.
She has been ranked 26th on the list.
Books & Authors
1. The Coffee Table Book titled 50 Years – The Great Indian Milk Revolution has been launched.
It was launched to commemorate National Dairy Development Board’s (NDDB) Golden Jubilee year.
Mergers & Acquisitions
1. Idea Cellular has approved a merger with Vodafone India and its wholly owned subsidiary Vodafone India Mobile Services.
It will create India’s largest mobile phone company with about 400 million customers, 35% customer market share and 41% revenue market share.
2. Yes Bank has partnered with Payjo, an artificial intelligence banking platform to adopt its intelligence products.
The YES Pay Bot will be the first AI-driven Bot for a wallet and will complement the already trusted and popular YES Pay wallet service with over half-a-million users.
3. The Government of India has decided to merge the Bharatiya Mahila Bank with the State Bank of India.
The merger seeks to ensure greater banking services outreach to a larger number of women, at a faster pace.
4. Airtel has acquired Tikona Digital Network’s 4G business for Rs.1600 crores.
The deal gives Tikona’s 4G airwaves in five circles — Gujarat, UP (East), UP (West), Himachal Pradesh, and Rajasthan.
Appointments & Resignations
1. BJP’s Yogi Adityanath was sworn in as Uttar Pradesh’s 32nd chief minister along with 49 ministers.
The two -deputy minister-designated; Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma were among those sworn in by UP governor Ram Naik.
2. The Centre has swapped the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of state-owned Indian Bank and IDBI Bank.
Mahesh Kumar Jain, who was Managing Director & CEO at Indian Bank, has been appointed as Managing Director & CEO of IDBI Bank.
Kishore Piraji Kharat, who was appointed as IDBI Bank CEO in August 2015, has now been appointed as Managing Director and CEO of Indian Bank.
3. Uber Technologies Inc. president Jeff Jones quit the company, seven months after his joining.
He joined Uber from Target Corp, where he was chief marketing officer and is credited with modernizing the retailer’s brand.
4. Senior BJP legislator Hangkhalian was sworn-in as Protem Speaker of the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly.
He was administered the oath of office by State Governor Najma Heptulla at the Raj Bhawan.
5. Justice Navniti Prasad Singh took the oath as the Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court.
He replaced Justice TB Radhakrishnan, who was appointed as the Chief Justice of the Chhattisgarh High Court.
6. Santiago Nieva will be India’s new foreign coach for men boxers, succeeding Cuban BI Fernandes.
Nieva, an AIBA three-star coach, was attached with the Swedish men’s team until last year.
He quit the position after the Rio Olympics.
7. Kumar Mangalam Birla has been appointed as the Chairman of the Vodafone and Idea Cellular merged entity.
The merged entity will come into force over the next two years.
8. E-commerce firm Snapdeal has appointed Jason Kothari as the Chief Executive Officer of FreeCharge.
In addition to his role of CEO, Kothari will also play the role of Chief Strategy & Investment Officer at Snapdeal.
9. The International Cricket Council (ICC) has announced the appointment of Ankur Khanna to the post of Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
He will join the ICC at the end of March.
10. Upendra Tripathy was appointed as the Interim Director General (IDG) of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) on a full- time basis.
He is an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of Karnataka Cadre.
11. Madhabi Puri Buch was appointed as a whole-time member of capital markets regulator Security and Exchange Board of India.
She is founder-director of Agora Advisory Pvt. Ltd. and currently at the New Development Bank in Shanghai, China.
12. Ghanshyam Singh was appointed as new Member (Traction) Railway Board and ex officio Secretary to the Government of India.
He is an officer of Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineering (IRSEE) of 1979 batch.
13. Congress veteran and former Karnataka Chief Minister S M Krishna formally joined the BJP.
He also served as the Karnataka Chief Minister between 1999 and 2004.
14. The Reserve Bank of India has accorded its approval for the appointment of T S Anantharaman as part-time Chairman of the Catholic Syrian bank.
He has been holding the position of Non-Executive Director of the bank since August 28, 2009.
15. BJP legislator Michael Lobo was elected as the Deputy speaker of the Goa Assembly.
He is a two-time MLA from Goa’s Calangute constituency and defeated Congress nominee Izidore Fernandes.
16. Renowned pulmonologist Randeep Guleria has been appointed as the Director of the AIIMS.
He will succeed Dr. M C Mishra, who retired in January after serving for over three years.
Economics & Banking GK
1. E-commerce major Amazon India has come out with a new GST guide programme called the A-Z GST Guide for sellers.
The programme will help the seller to get insights and help related to the goods and services tax (GST).
2. ICICI Bank has launched mobile banking app Mera iMobile to strengthen digitalization drive in the rural region.
Mera iMobile is the only banking app to offer rural banking services namely Kisan Credit Card (KCC), gold loan, loans to SHG and tractor loans.
3. All branches of State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur (SBBJ), State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH), State Bank of Mysore (SBM), State Bank of Patiala (SBP) and State Bank of Travancore (SBT) will function as branches of State Bank of India from 1 April 2017.
4. Russian bank VTB has decided to close its only office in India to cut costs but will continue to work in India.
While closing its office in New Delhi, it saw commodities and investment banking as priority areas for the bank in India.
5. The Indian Government has informed the parliament that there were more than 9,100 wilful defaulters who together owed Rs. 91,155 crore to public sector banks at December-end.
As per reports, Banks declare wilful defaulters as per the norms stipulated by the Reserve Bank of India.
6. The Rs. 3-lakh limit proposed for cash payments in the Budget for 2017-18 has been revised to Rs. 2 lakh as part of an unprecedented 40 amendments to the Finance Bill.
The government also made it mandatory to provide Aadhaar card number while filing the income tax returns.
7. Samsung Electronics launched a mobile payment service Samsung Pay.
It enables consumers to pay for products and services by simply waving their Samsung smartphone near a cash register.
With Samsung Pay, consumers don’t have to swipe a debit or credit card nor dole out their payment information.
8. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a $350 million loan.
The loan was signed for improving about 1,500 km of major district roads in Madhya Pradesh in line with the State’s Road Development Plan.
The project will involve upgrading roads with concrete pavements and maintain the improved road assets for a period of five years after construction.
9. South Indian Bank has introduced Aadhar-based payment in its UPI mobile application- SIB M-Pay to promote cashless digital transactions.
It enables all bank account holders to send and receive money from their Smartphone without entering the bank account information.
10. The NSE has introduced Futures and Options (F&O) contracts in 15 individual securities.
These stocks will be available for trading from 31st March 2017.
11. The Government of India has officially notified the Third Protocol amending India Singapore Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA).
The third DTAA will come into force from 1st April 2017.
It will provide the the source- based taxation of capital gains arising from the sale of shares in a company.
12. Microfinance platform Disha plans to launch of its small finance bank (SFB) followed by 30-40 branches.
It will offer products such as gold loans and micro-enterprise loans to rural customers.
Bills – New & Amendments
1. The Union Cabinet has approved the four Goods and Services Tax (GST) related bills. These four Bills are:
The Central Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017 (CGST Bill).
The Integrated Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017 (IGST Bill).
The Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017 (UTGST Bill).
The Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to the States) Bill 2017 (The Compensation Bill).
2. Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for amending National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Act, 1981.
Amendments in Act to increase authorized capital of NABARD from Rs. 5,000 crore to Rs. 30,000 crore.
Transfer of 0.4% equity of RBI in NABARD amounting to Rs. 20 crores to the Union Government.
3. Rajya Sabha has passed the HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014 by voice vote.
The bill includes provisions that ensure equal rights to people afflicted by HIV and AIDS in getting treatment and admission in educational institutions and job.
4. The Union Cabinet has approved the amendment to Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009.
The amendment seeks to ensure all teachers to acquire minimum qualifications prescribed by academic authority to extend the period for such training for 4 years up to March 2019.
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
1. State-owned ONGC has signed definitive agreements to buy out debt-ridden GSPC’s entire 80% in KG basin natural gas block for $1.2 billion.
ONGC will pay $995.26 million for three discoveries in the KG-OSN-2001/3 block that are under trial production since August 2014.
2. India and Mauritius have signed a MoU to execute a USD 20 million social housing project in Mauritius.
As per the MoU, the NBCC (India) Limited will undertake construction of 700 duplex type houses with 50 square meters’ net floor area.
3. A MoU was signed between Assam government and State bank of India in Dispur.
The MoU has been signed for providing loans for Housing & Higher Education Loan to the State Government Employees at the very nominal rate of interest.
Science & Technology
1. Scientists using Large Hadron Collider accelerator (LHC) at CERN have discovered a new system of five particles all in a single analysis.
According to the standard convention, these particle states were named Oc (3000)0, Oc (3050)0, Oc (3066)0, Oc (3090)0 b Oc (3119)0.
2. Scientists have developed a new wireless Internet network based on infrared rays that are reportedly 100 times faster than existing Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) networks.
It has a huge capacity, more than 40 Gigabits per second (Gbit/s).
3. NASA has developed the world’s first next-generation atomic clock called Deep Space Atomic Clock for deep space missions.
The clock will help in the navigation of the space crafts and astronauts.
4. ISRO has commissioned the world’s third-largest hypersonic wind tunnel at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
In this regard, ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar commissioned two facilities- a 1-m Hypersonic Wind Tunnel and a 1-m Shock Tunnel.
1. International day of Happiness is celebrated every year on 20th March to recognize happiness as a fundamental human goal.
It was established by the United Nations General Assembly on 28th June 2012.
2. The World Poetry Day is celebrated on 21st March every year.
The objective behind the day is to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression.
The day also provides the occasion to honor poets, promote the reading, writing of poetry.
3. International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed on 21st March every year to remind people the negative consequences of racial discrimination.
The 2017 theme is Racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration.
4. The International Day of Forests is celebrated every year on 21st March.
The objective is to raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests, and trees outside forests, for the benefit of current and future generations.
The theme for 2017 is Forests and Energy.
5. World Water Day is an annual event celebrated on 22nd March.
The day focuses attention on the importance of universal access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in developing countries.
The theme for the year 2017 is Wastewater.
6. World Meteorological Day is organized every year by World Meteorological Organization on 23rd March.
The theme for 2017 is Understanding Clouds, highlights the importance of clouds for weather climate and water.
7. 23rd March 2017 is celebrated as the 86th Martyrdom Day of Bhagat Singh.
On this day, Indians pay homage to three martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the country-Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar, Shivaram Rajguru.
8. World Tuberculosis Day is observed on 24th March each year.
It is designed to build public awareness about the global epidemic of tuberculosis (TB) and efforts to eliminate the disease.
The theme of 2017 is Unite to End TB.
9. The International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade was observed globally on 25 March 2017.
The theme for 2017 is -Remember Slavery: Recognizing the Legacy and Contributions of People of African Descent.
The theme highlights the persistent spirit and innovation of the enslaved people.
Recent Notable Deaths
1. Chuck Berry, who defined rock ’n’ roll’s potential and attitude in its early years, died at his home near Wentzville, Mo. He was 90.
His famous songs include Johnny B. Goode and Roll Over Beethoven
2. Former IAS officer and Rajya Sabha member Pyarimohan Mohapatra passed away in Mumbai after a prolonged illness. He was 77.
He is regarded as the chief strategist and mentor of Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik.
3. Noted Tamil litterateur Asokamitran passed away after a brief illness, aged 85.
He won Sahitya Academy Awards for his work Appavin Snegithargal in 1996.
Important Abbreviations used in this Article
|BIRAC||Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council|
|RSM||Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav|
|NERNCP||North East Road Network Connectivity Project|
|CCEA||Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs|
|NSEBC||National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes|
|NSF||National Science Foundation|
|ISA||International Solar Alliance|
|UNHRC||All India Institute of Medical Sciences|
|ADB||Asian Development Bank|
|DTAA||Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement|
|HIV||Human Immunodeficiency Virus|
|AIDS||Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome|
|RTE||Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education|
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