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Current Affairs Today – March 1 2017

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INDIAN AFFAIRS

National Family Health Survey-4 Shows Improved Sex Ratio, Decline In Infant Mortality Rate in India
i. As per the latest health survey by the government, India’s health index has shown a notable improvement over the last decade including an improvement in sex ratio at birth and a decline in infant mortality rate.
ii. The latest National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4) conducted for year 2015-16 was unveiled by Health Ministry in New Delhi.
iii. As per the survey report, the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) saw a decline from 57 to 41 per 1,000 live births between NFHS-3 (2005-06) and NFHS-4
iv. As per the survey, the sex ratio at birth (number of females per 1,000 males) improved from 914 to 919 at the national level over the last decade with the highest in Kerala (1,047), followed by Meghalaya (1,009) and Chhattisgarh (977).
v. The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) declined to 2.2 children per woman from 2.7 in NFHS-3. This rate shows that the country is moving closer to target level of 2.1.
vi. The report stated that the Children within the age of 12-23 months have been fully immunized (BCG, measles and 3 doses each of polio).

Narendra Singh Tomar Launches Swachh Shakti Saptah in Haryana
i. The Union Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar launched the week long Swachh Shakti Saptah at national level on March 1, 2017 in Gurugram, Haryana to highlight the role of women in Swachh Bharat Mission and to recognize their leadership.
ii. The week-long programme would be held from March 1-March 8, 2017.
iii. Over 1,000 women sarpanches of Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) and all women Narendra Singh Tomarsarpanches of Gurugram division participated in the event.
iv. The inauguration was marked by launch of a sanitation related exhibition and a series of folk cultural presentation relating to women and Swachhta.
v. Besides, an exhibition was also organised at the venue to educate women participants about benefits of cashless transactions.
vi. An Aadhaar Enrolment machine was placed in one of the stalls for women who were still not enrolled.
vii. The programmme would have nationwide events including honouring women champions, women sarpanches, ASHA workers, school teachers, young students and senior citizens.
viii. PM Narendra Modi will take part in closing ceremony of the week long programme on 8th of March at Gandhinagar in Gujarat.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Russia, China Opposes UN resolution to Impose Sanctions on Syria
i. Russia and China vetoed a UN resolution on February 28, 2017 to impose sanctions on Syria over the alleged use of chemical weapons during the six-year war.
ii. The UN Security Council resolution drafted by Britain, France and the United States won nine votes in favor while three countries comprising China, Russia and Bolivia opposed it. Kazakhstan, Ethiopia and Egypt did not vote.
iii. The resolution required nine votes in favour and no vetoes by any of the five permanent members in order to be adopted.
iv. This was the Russia’s seventh veto to protect the Syrian government from UN Security Council action.
v. Russian president Vladimir Putin described the draft resolution as totally inappropriate which would ultimately harm UN-led peace talks between the warring Syrian parties.
vi. UNSC stated that Syrian air force helicopters had dropped chlorine gas on rebel-held areas, twice in March 2015 and once in April 2014. The use of chlorine as a weapon is prohibited under the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention.
United Nations Security Council (UNSC)
♦ The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations, charged with the maintenance of international peace and security as well as accepting new members to the United Nations and approving any changes to its United Nations Charter.
♦ Formation: 1945
♦ Council President: Matthew Rycroft
♦ Headquarter: New York, United States

BANKING & FINANCE

SEBI Plans to Tighten Algo Trading Regulations
i. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has planned to further tighten the regulations for algorithmic trading to minimise instances of misuse of such systems.
ii .The market watchdog aims to minimize the instances of flash crashes that have happened overseas and also in India a few times.
iii. India is one of the very few countries in the world which regulate algorithmic trading popularly called algo trading and have some mechanism for controlling the misuse of algo.
Algorithmic Trading
♦ Algorithmic trading refers to the use of software programmes to execute complex trading strategies at a much faster speed.
♦ Flash Crash is an extremely rapid decline in the price of one or more commodities or securities, typically caused by automated trading.
♦ The speed and interconnectedness can result in the loss and recovery of billions of dollars in just few minutes and seconds.
Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)
♦ Formed: 12 April 1992
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Chairman: Ajay Tyagi

India & World Bank Signs USD 63 Million Financing Agreement for Tejaswini: Socio-Economic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Young Women Project
i. India has signed a financing agreement of USD 63 million(equivalent) with World Bank on 23rd February, 2017 in Jharkhand for its Socio-Economic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Young Women Project named “Tejaswini”.
ii. The World Bank will finance the project through its arm International Development Association (IDA). 
iii. The Financing Agreement was signed between Mr. Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance on behalf of the Government of India and Mr. Junaid Kamal Ahmad, Country Director, World Bank (India) on behalf of the World Bank.
iv. Besides, the Project Agreement was also signed between Mr. Mukhmeet Singh Bhatia, Principal Secretary, Department of Women, Child Development, Government of Jharkhand and Mr. Junaid Kamal Ahmad, Country Director, World Bank.
v .The project will be valid till June 30, 2021.
About Project Tejaswini
i. The project aims to empower adolescent girls and young women with basic life skills and provide opportunity to them to complete their secondary education and further acquire market driven skill trainingIndia & World Bank
ii. The project will be delivered in 17 Districts of Jharkhand.
iii. Three main components of the project
1.Expanding social, educational and economic opportunities
2.Intensive service delivery
3.State capacity-building and implementation support.
iv. About 680,000 adolescent girls and young women are expected to benefit from the program in the project Districts.
World Bank
♦ The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programs.  It comprises two institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), and the International Development Association (IDA).
♦ Headquarters: Washington, D.C., United States
♦ CEO: Kristalina Georgieva
♦ Founded: 1944

Government Notifies Law to Make Possession of Demonetized Note as Punishable Offence
i. The Government of India has officially notified the law that makes holding of more than 10 scrapped notes punishable with a minimum fine of Rs 10,000. The law was signed by President Pranab Mukherjee on February 27, 2017.
ii .It also provides for a minimum fine Rs 50,000 for false declaration by persons who were abroad during the demonetisation period (November 9-December 30, 2016). Besides, a further time limit has been given to deposit such scrapped notes with RBI till March 31.
iii. The law makes possession of more than 10 pieces of the old notes by individuals and more than 25 pieces for study, research or numismatics purpose as criminal offence, attracting fine of Rs 10,000 or five times the cash held, whichever is higher.
iv. The law also prohibits the holding, transferring or receiving of scrapped notes effective from December 31, 2016, and seeks to confer power on the court of a first class magistrate to impose penalty.
v. The Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Act, 2017, was passed by Parliament in January 2017. The Act ends the liability of the Reserve Bank and the government on the demonetised currency notes.

Reliance General Insurance, Catholic Syrian Bank announced tie up
i. Reliance General Insurance is one of the leading private general insurance companies of India has announced a bancassurance tie-up with Catholic Syrian Bank on March 1, 2017
ii. Now RGI will offer its insurance products to Catholic Syrian Bank’s customers across its branches in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.
iii. This tie-up will enable RGI to leverage Catholic Syrian Bank’s retail and SME customer base, robust distribution network, strong technology platform and brand name and offer them innovative and a comprehensive range of insurance products from RGI
Catholic Syrian Bank :
♦ Headquarters: Thrissur
♦ MD & CEO: C.V.R. Rajendran
♦ Motto: Support all the way

BUSINESS

CBDT Signs 10 Unilateral APAs With Indian Taxpayers
i. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has signed 10 unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) in past one week with Indian taxpayers to provide certainty in transfer pricing.
ii. The different sectors in which these 10 APAs have been signed includes telecom, CBDTpharma, banking and finance, steel, retail and information technology.
iii. Out of these 10 agreements, 2 are Bilateral APAs with the United Kingdom and Japan while 7 agreements have rollback provisions in them.
iv. In 2016-17 till date a total of 76 APAs (7 Bilateral APAs and 61 Unilateral APAs) have already been entered into.
v. With this, the total number of APAs entered into by the CBDT has reached 140 (10 Bilateral APAs and 130 Unilateral APAs).
vi. Under the agreement, the international transactions will include payment of royalty fee, trading in goods, IT-enabled services, software development services, marketing support services, clinical research services and payment of interest on ECBs.
Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs)
i. The scheme of APA was incorporated in 2012 in the Income-Tax Act and the provisions for ‘rollback’ were introduced in 2014.
ii. The main purpose of the scheme is to provide certainty to taxpayers in the area of transfer pricing by mentioning the ways of pricing and setting in advance the prices of foreign transactions.
Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT)
♦ The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) is a statutory authority under the Department of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance formed under Central Board of Revenue Act, 1963.
♦ The CBDT provides inputs for policy and planning of direct taxes in India, and is also responsible for administration of direct tax laws through the IT Department.
♦ Chairman: Sushil Chandra

India’s Core Sector Growth Slows Down to 3.4% in January 2017
i. According to data released by the Commerce and Industry Ministry on February 28, 2017, the growth of eight core sectors slowed down to a five-month low of 3.4% in January 2017 due to contraction in output of refinery products, fertiliser and cement.
ii. The eight core sectors which contribute 38% to the total industrial production includes coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilizers, steel, cement and electricity.
iii. As per the ministry, the growth rate of the core sector was 5.7% in January 2016. Besides, it expanded to 4.8 percent in April-January of 2016-17, compared to 2.9% growth in the same period of 2015-16.
iv. The Refinery Product faced a contraction of 1.5%, Fertilizer of 1.6% and Cement  of 13.3% in January 2017.
v. Similarly, Coal and Electricity both expanded at 4.8% in January 2017 against 7.9% and 11.6% expansion respectively in January 2016.
vi .Crude Oil output grew by 1.3% in January 2017, against 4.7% contraction in January 2016.
vii. Natural Gas and Steel Output rose by 11.9% and 11.4% respectively.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Indian Film Lipstick Under My Burkha Wins Audience Award at Glasgow Film Festival
i. Restricted for release by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), Indian movie, Lipstick Under My Burkha was awarded the third annual Audience Award at the Glasgow Film Festival 2017 on March 1, 2017.
ii .Indian filmmaker Alankrita Shrivastava directed Lipstick Under My Burkha was denied a Indian Film Lipstick Under My Burkha Wins Audience Award at Glasgow Film Festivalrelease certificate by the censor board on February 23, 2017 for its too bold references and use of abusive words among other reasons.
iii. The award was presented by Scottish actor David Tennant to Shrivastava. The movie was voted for by the festival’s audience.
iv. The Prakash Jha production starring Konkona Sen Sharma and Ratna Pathak Shah, revolves around the secret lives of four women of different ages in a small town in India as they search for different kinds of freedom. 

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Nand Kumar Sai Assumes Charge as Chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes
i. Nand Kumar Sai, a senior tribal leader from Chhattisgarh and ex-parliamentarian took over as the new Chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) on February 28, 2017 in New Delhi.
ii. The 71-year-old Sai succeeds Rameshwar Oraon, whose tenure ended on October 31 2016.
iii. Sai would be responsible to protect the rights of the tribal people living in far-flung areas of the country. Shri Sai has been actively involved in spread of education in tribal areas.
iv. Nand Kumar Sai has been appointed for a term of three years from the date of assumption of charge.

Gopal Baglay appointed as new spokesperson of External Affairs Ministry
Gopal Baglay appointed as new spokesperson of External Affairs Ministryi. Joint secretary Gopal Baglay has been appointed as the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs .He is replaced by Vikas Swarup .
ii. Baglay would also take charge of joint secretary of external publicity.
iii. He  joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1992 and has served as the deputy high commissioner to Islamabad from 2011 to 2014.
iv. He has also served as joint secretary (States) from October 2014 to December 2015

Shri Sudeep Lakhtakia to hold additional charge as DG CRPF
i. IPS officer Sudeep Lakhtakia from Telangana to take additional charge as Director General (DG) of Central Reserve Police Force(CRPF).This was announced by the Home Ministry .
ii. Sudeep will take charge from K. Durga Prasad.
iii. He is a 1984-batch IPS officer, joined the CRPF in June 2016. He was earlier an Inspector General of the elite Special Protection Group for about eight years
CRPF :
♦ The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is the largest of India’s Central Armed Police Forces.
♦ It functions under the aegis of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) of the Government of India.
♦ The CRPF’s primary role lies in assisting the State/Union Territories in police operations to maintain law and order and counter insurgency.
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi.

R Subramania Kumar to hold additional charge of MD & CEO of IOB
i. The Appointments Committee of Cabinet has approved the proposal for extending the additional charge of the post of MD and CEO, IOB for a period of another three months.
ii. R Subramania Kumar has given additional charge of the post of Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Indian Overseas Bank in November 2016.
iii. Prior to this he is working as the Executive Director in the IOB.
IOB:
♦ Headquarters: Chennai
♦ CEO: Mahesh Kumar Jain

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

India Successfully Test-Fires Indigenously Developed Supersonic Interceptor Missile
i. India successfully conducted the test-fire of its indigenously developed supersonic interceptor Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile, capable of destroying any incoming enemy ballistic missile at low altitude.
ii. The missile was test-fired for the second time by DRDO in less than a month and is part of an effort to put in place a multi-layer missile defence system. On February 11, 2017 also Akash missile test fired in OdishaDRDO successfully test-fired the missile.
iii .The testing of ADA missile was done against a target which was a Prithvi missile launched from launch complex 3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur near Balasore in Odisha. The target played the role of a hostile missile.
iv. Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile was stationed at Abdul Kalam Island in the Bay of Bengal. It received signals from radars about the incoming target missile. The interceptor was launched and managed to destroy the incoming hostile missile in mid-air.
About the Interceptor ADA Missile
i. The interceptor is a 7.5-meter long, single stage solid rocket propelled guided missile equipped with a navigation system, a hi-tech computer and an electro-mechanical activator.
ii. The interceptor missile had its own mobile launcher, secure data link for interception, independent tracking and homing capabilities and sophisticated radars.
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)
♦ Founded: 1958
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi

ENVIRONMENT

Government Bans BBC from 50 tiger reserves for FIVE years
i. The global news agency, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has been barred by the Indian Government from shooting in any of its 50 tiger reserves for a period of five years.
ii. The ban was imposed by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) on February 27, 2017.
iii. The ban was imposed for allegedly misrepresenting facts in a documentary film “One World: Killing for Conservation” made by BBC about poaching in the Kaziranga National Park in Assam.
iv. Besides, NTCA’s parent body, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), is also considering a similar action against the British channel and could prohibit it from its sanctuaries and national parks as well.

SPORTS

Rio Open 2017 Winner List
i. The 2017 Rio Open was a professional men’s tennis tournament played on outdoor clay Dominic Thiemcourts at the Jockey Club Brasileiro in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil between  February 20 and February 26, 2017.
ii. It was the 4th edition of the tournament and is a part of the ATP World Tour 500 series of the 2017 ATP World Tour.
iii. The women’s tournament was discontinued starting from 2017.
Winners List

Title Winner Runner Score
Men’s Single Dominic Thiem (Austria) Pablo Carreno Busta (Spain) 7–5, 6–4
Men’s Double (Spain) Pablo Carreno Busta/Pablo Cuevas (Uruguay) Juan Sebastián Cabal / Robert Farah (Colombia) 6–4, 5–7, 10–8

India to host women’s Youth World Boxing Championship in November 2017
i. 2017 World Women’s Youth Boxing Championship will be hosted by India in November for the first time since 2010.This was announced during the AIBA commissions meeting held in New Delhi on March 1, 2017
ii. This was the first time that the AIBA commissions meeting was held in India and the chairpersons from 11 commissions of AIBA attended the event to discuss the future of world boxing.
iii. AIBA signed Memorandum of Understanding with the Sports Ministry to set up the International Boxing Academy could be set up at the IG Stadium in New Delhi
AIBA :
♦ The International Boxing Association(Association Internationale de Boxe Amateur) or AIBA is a sport organization that sanctions amateur (Olympic-style) boxing matches and awards world and subordinate championships.
♦ Formation 1946
♦ Headquarters Lausanne, Switzerland
♦ President Dr Wu Ching-kuo

OBITUARY

Renowned Gujarati Writer Tarak Mehta Dies at 87
i. Noted Indian columnist, humorist, writer and playwright, Taarak Mehta, died on March 1, 2017 at the age of 87.
Tarak Mehtaii. He was mostly known for the popular column ‘Duniya Ne Undha Chasma’ in Gujarati magazine. He started writing this column for Chitralekha in 1971.
iii. The popular Hindi TV show, Tarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma, is based on this column.
iv. He had been well-known figure in the Gujarati theatre and his work had been translated and adapted in several Gujarati plays
v. He was awarded Padma Shri, in 2015. Gujarat Sahitya Akademi awarded him Sahitya Gaurav Puraskar in 2011 and Ramanlal Nilkanth Hasya Paritoshik in 2017.

Senior Congress leader & RS MP Haji Abdul Salam passes away
i. Rajya Sabha member from Manipur , Haji Abdul Salam passed away on March 1, 2017. He was 69.
ii. Salam is the first Manipuri Muslim to be a member of RS from Manipur. He has been representing the state in the upper house since 2014.
iii. He was elected to the 3rd, 6th and 8th Manipur Legislative Assembly from Wabagai assembly constituency.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Civil Defence Day – March 1, 2017
i. World Civil Defence Day is celebrated on 1st March every year across the world to commemorates the entry into force of the ICDO Constitution as an intergovernmental organisation in 1972.
ii. The day was created by decision of the International Civil Defence Organisation (ICDO) General Assembly in 1990
iii. 2017 Theme: “Together with civil defence against disasters”.
ICDO :
♦ ICDO was created in 1931 in Paris by French Surgeon-General George Saint-Paul.
♦ The organization was recognized by the French Parliament in June 1935 and in 1972 it achieved status of intergovernmental organization.

Zero Discrimination Day – March 1, 2017
i. The Zero Discrimination Day is observed on March, 01 2017 across the world to combat all forms of discrimination since 2014.
zero discrimination dayii. This year, UNAIDS is calling on everyone to make some noise for #zerodiscrimination.
iii. 2017 Theme : “Make Some Noise For Zero Discrimination”
iv. This day is an opportunity to highlight how everyone can be part of the transformation and take a stand for a fair and just society.
v. UNAIDS is urging people to make some noise around zero discrimination, to speak up and prevent discrimination from standing in the way of achieving ambitions, goals and dreams.