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Current Affairs Today March 13 2018

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French President Emmanuel Macron’s India Visit
i. France is the 9th largest foreign investor in India with a cumulative investment of $6.09 billion as on October 2017.
ii. In context of this news, it is important to note that bilateral trade between India and France for the period from April 2016 to March 2017 stood at $10.95 billion.
iii. Indian and French companies and government entities signed deals worth 13 billion Euros across areas like aviation, renewable energy and waste management.
iv. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron inaugurated Uttar Pradesh’s biggest solar power plant in Mirzapur district.
v. First ever Indo-French Knowledge Summit was held in New Delhi from 10th to 11th March 2018 and coincided with the state visit of French President Emmanuel Macron to India.
vi. French Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Frederique Vidal inaugurated an Indo-French Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Bengaluru, Karnataka………………………………………………………..Click here to Read more

Delhi End TB Summit, PM Modi launches campaign to eradicate TB from India by 2025
i. On March 13, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the ‘End TB Summit’ in New Delhi and launched ‘Tuberculosis Free India Campaign’.
ii. ‘Delhi End TB Summit’ is being co-hosted by Union Health Ministry, World Health Organisation (WHO) South East Asia Regional Office and Stop TB Partnership.……………………………………………………Click here to Read more

PM Modi launches number of schemes for poor in Varanasi
On March 12, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a number of schemes for the poor in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
PM Modi launches number of schemes for poor in VaranasiSchemes launched by PM Modi in Varanasi:
i. Firstly, PM Modi inaugurated a 101-megawatt solar power plant in Mirzapur along with visiting French President Emmanuel Macron.
ii. PM Modi announced Ayushman Bharat scheme to ensure better healthcare facilities for the poor. He expressed hope that this scheme will go a long in taking care of hospital expenses of poor.
iii. Besides, he also launched Pradhan Mantri Poshan Mission Yojana to ensure nutrition to children, especially girls.
iv. During the course of this visit to Varanasi, PM Modi also laid the foundation stone of various development projects worth over Rs. 800 crore and flagged off a new train – Kanshi-Patna Jan Shatabdi Express – between Varanasi and Patna.

Government institutes award for best investigators of crime
Government of India has decided to institute ‘Union Home Minister’s Medal for Excellence in Police Investigation’ award for best investigation of crime in order to encourage high professional standards in police forces.
Government institutes award for best investigators of crimeUnion Home Minister’s Medal for Excellence in Police Investigation:
i. This award will be presented to best investigators of police forces of the states, union territories and central investigating agencies.
ii. Eligibility: Officers ranging from Sub-Inspector to Superintendent of Police are eligible for this award.
iii. Based on the average crime data for the last 3 years, 162 medals will be presented annually. Out of this, 137 medals are for states and UTs and 25 medals are for central investigating agencies: National Investigation Agency (NIA), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB).
iv. This is based on the crime data that has been published by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) for 2013, 2014 and 2015.
v. Distribution of medals will be reviewed once in every 3 years on the basis of average crime data. A quota of medals has been allocated for Women Investigators.
vi. Nominations from states, UTs and central investigating agencies based on recommendations from a state-level committee lead by an ADG rank officer will be invited by Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPRD).
vii. A screening committee in BPRD will process the applications and approval will be given by a sanctioning committee in MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs).
viii. The awardees list will be released on 15th August every year. A certificate signed by the Union home minister and a medal will be presented to the awardees and their names will be published in the gazette of India.
About National Investigation Agency (NIA):
♦ Director General – Yogesh Chander Modi
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi

First Regional Conference on Mass Rapid Transport Systems for Urban Areas held in Kolkata
On 13th March 2018, the first regional conference on ‘Mass Rapid Transport System (MRTS) for Urban Areas – Opportunities and Challenges’ was held in Kolkata.
First Regional Conference on Mass Rapid Transport Systems for Urban Areas held in KolkataFirst Regional Conference on Mass Rapid Transport Systems for Urban Areas:
i. Organisers: This conference was organized by Ministry of Finance, AIIB, ASSOCHAM and Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS).
ii. Eight such regional conferences will be held prior to the third annual meeting of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to be held in Mumbai from 22 June to 27 June 2018.
iii. Issues related to infrastructures development, sustainable infrastructure, mass rapid transportation  system, port and coastal infrastructure, urban development etc. were discussed in the conference.
iv. Mr. Soon-sik Lee, Senior Transport Specialist at Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), said that, AIIB is increasing the loan amount to India from current US $ 1.7 billion to 2 billion.
v. Mukund Kumar Sinha, Joint Secretary, Urban Transport, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, said that, investment required for MRTS will be nearly 4 billion USD in the next 5 years.
About Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB):
♦ President – Mr. Jin Liqun
♦ Headquarters – Beijing, China


Maldives Parliament approved anti-defection bill
On 12th March 2018, the Maldives Parliament approved the anti-defection bill with retrospective effect from 13th July 2017.
Maldives Parliament approved anti-defection bill:
i. As per the anti-defection bill, MPs elected on political party tickets will lose their seat if they leave their party, get expelled, or change parties.
ii. This bill will take effect from 13th July 2017. So, the 12 MPs who switched to the Opposition in 2017 will lose their seats.
iii. This bill was passed with 35 votes. Opposition MPs boycotted the session. This bill empowers election commission to expel MPs in case of defections.
About Maldives:
♦ President – Abdulla Yameen
♦ Official language – Maldivian


IBBI, RBI ink pact for increased cooperation
On March 12, 2018, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) entered into an agreement with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for increased cooperation in effective implementation of the insolvency law.
IBBI, RBI ink pact for increased cooperationDetails about IBBI – RBI agreement:
i. As per the terms of the agreement, IBBI and RBI will assist and co-operate with each other by sharing of information and resources for effective implementation of the Bankruptcy Code.
ii. IBBI and the RBI would also hold joint meetings at regular intervals for discussing matters of mutual interest.
iii. The agreement also envisages cross-training of staff, capacity building of insolvency professionals and financial creditors.
Quick Facts about IBBI:
♦ Formed in – 2016
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Current Chairperson – M.S. Sahoo

Federal Bank Makes Two More Strategic Tie-ups for Portfolio Investment Scheme
On March 12, 2018, Federal Bank announced that it has entered into a strategic partnership with two new broking partners, Celebrus Capital Ltd and Fortune Wealth Management Co India Pvt. Ltd. for providing Portfolio Investment Scheme (PIS) services to Non-resident Indians (NRIs).
Federal Bank Makes Two More Strategic Tie-ups for Portfolio Investment SchemeFederal Bank’s strategic tie-ups for PIS:
i. Reserve Bank of India’s Portfolio Investment Scheme enables NRIs to purchase and sell shares and convertible debentures of Indian companies on a recognized stock exchange through their NRI Savings Account with a designated bank branch.
ii. Including the above stated entities, Federal Bank has partnered with total nine broking companies, for providing NRI clients, the facility to invest in shares and debentures of Indian companies in the secondary market.
iii. These strategic tie-ups are in line with Federal Bank’s objective to double the PIS business in terms of a number of accounts and total volume.
Quick Facts about Federal Bank:
♦ Founded in – 1931
♦ Headquarters – Kochi, Kerala
♦ Current MD & CEO – Shyam Srinivasan

SBI reduces charges on non-maintenance of minimum balance
India’s largest bank, State Bank of India has slashed charges for non-maintenance of Average Monthly Balance (AMB) in savings accounts by nearly 75 per cent.
Revised charges for non-maintenance of Average Monthly Balance (AMB) in SBI:
i. Charges for non-maintenance of AMB for customers in Metro and Urban centres have been reduced from a maximum of Rs 50 per month plus Goods and Services Tax (GST) to Rs 15 plus GST per month while for Semi-Urban and Rural centres, the charges have been reduced  from Rs 40 to Rs 12 per month.
ii. The revised charges will be effective from April 01, 2018.
iii. The decision has been taken in wake of criticism that SBI earned hefty income of Rs 1771 crore in just eight months from depositors who failed to maintain balance in their bank accounts.
iv. As per current norms of SBI, MAB requirement in metro cities and urban centres is Rs 3000, while for semi-urban and rural areas, it is Rs 2000 and Rs 1000 respectively.
v.However, basic savings bank deposits (BSBD) accounts, accounts of pensioners, beneficiaries of social benefits from the government and accounts of minors are exempted from the MAB requirement.
Quick Facts about State Bank of India (SBI):
♦ Renamed in – 1955
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Current Chairman – Rajnish Kumar

ICICI Bank launches ‘InstaOD’, instant overdraft facility for MSMEs
ICICI Bank has launched instant overdraft ‘InstaOD’ facility for MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) customers which can be availed online without visiting a branch and submitting physical documents.
ICICI Bank launches 'InstaOD', instant overdraft facility for MSMEsSalient Features of ICICI Bank’s ‘InstaOD’ facility:
i. Currently, this facility is only for a few lakh of pre-qualified current account customers of ICICI Bank.
ii. The pre-qualified customers can get overdraft facility up to Rs 15 lakh for a year anytime, anywhere using ICICI bank’s Internet and mobile banking app.
iii. For availing the OD under this facility, the customer has to select the limit required, confirm the details and submit the application by following simple steps.
iv. On basis of repayment track records, the OD facility can be renewed on annual basis.
Quick Facts about ICICI Bank:
♦ Founded in – 1994
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Current MD & CEO – Chanda Kochhar
♦ Tagline – ‘hum hai na’, ‘khayaal aapka’


Nasscom, FB, WeWork unveil design studio in Bengaluru
On 12th March 2018, Nasscom along with Facebook and WeWork launched Design4India Studio in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
Design4India Studio:
i. Design4India Studio is a dedicated design studio for web, mobile, augmented reality and virtual reality platforms for start-ups and designers.
ii. It aims to eliminate the gap between design and technology by providing spaces for start-ups and designers to explore, innovate and build together.
iii. Design4India studio has been built at WeWork’s facility in Bengaluru.  It aims to introduce the element of design in the early stage of young companies and offer the skills and tools required.
About Nasscom:
♦ President – R Chandrashekhar
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi

Suzlon commissions India’s largest wind turbine generator
On 13th March 2018, Suzlon Energy announced the installation and commissioning of S128, claimed to be the largest wind turbine generator (WTG) in India.
Suzlon commissions India's largest wind turbine generatorSuzlon commissions India’s largest wind turbine generator:
i. The first prototype of S128 has been commissioned at Sanganeri, in Tamil Nadu. It is under testing. It is expected to be certified in 2018.
ii. The S128 WTG is available in 2.6 MW to 2.8 MW variants. It offers hub heights up to 140 meters.
iii. Suzlon Energy also claims that the wind mill also consists of India’s largest rotor blade of size 63 m with a rotor diameter of 128 m.
About Suzlon Group:
♦ Group CEO – J P Chalasani
♦ Headquarters – Pune, Maharashtra

India attracts USD 209 billion FDI during April 2014 to December 2017
On 13th March 2018, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry C R Chaudhary said that, a total FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) of USD 208.99 billion has been received from April 2014 to December 2017.
India attracts USD 209 billion FDI during Apr 2014 to Dec 2017:
i. C R Chaudhary said that foreign direct investment has increased steadily in India.
ii. The sectors that have received maximum foreign investment are services, computer software and hardware, telecommunications, construction, trading, automobile, etc.
About Ministry of Commerce and Industry:
♦ Cabinet Minister – Suresh Prabhu
♦ Divisions – Department of Commerce & Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion

Retail inflation dips to 4.4% in February; Industrial Production grows 7.5% in January
Retail inflation has dipped to 4.44% in February from 5.07% in January 2018, as per data released by Central Statistics Office on 12th March 2018.
Retail inflation dips to 4.4% in February; Industrial Production grows 7.5% in January:
i. As per the data released, inflation in vegetables was 17.57 % against 26.97 %, for fruits it was 4.80 % against 6.24 %.
ii. Inflation for fuel and light category was at 6.80 % in February against 7.73 % in January 2018.
iii. Inflation for transport and communication services was at 2.39 % against 1.97 %.
iv. Industrial Production increased by 7.5 % in January 2018 compared to 3.5 % in January 2017. This growth is due to improvement in manufacturing sector.
v. The manufacturing sector contributes 77.63% to the Index of Industrial Production (IIP). It improved by 8.7 % in January 2018 compared to 2.5 % in January 2017.
About Central Statistics Office:
♦ Purpose – co-ordination of statistical activities in India, and evolving and maintaining statistical standards


Dr Ketzia David Prakasam conferred Academy Award for Nobel Peace
Dr Ketzia David Prakasam has been presented the “Academy Award for Nobel Peace” from the USA.
Dr Ketzia David Prakasam – Academy Award for Nobel Peace:
i. Dr Ketzia David Prakasam is a philanthropist, social worker and spiritual worker.
ii. She has become the first Indian woman to receive this award.  The award was presented on International Women’s Day (8 March 2018).
iii. She received the award from the founder Chairman of the Academy Award for Global Peace.
Some important temples in India:
♦ Lotus Temple – New Delhi
♦ Somanth Temple – Gujarat
♦ Jagannath Temple – Odisha


Odisha forest department launches app to fight forest fires
The Odisha forest department has launched an app to track and fight forest fires during summer, recently.
Odisha forest department launches app to fight forest fires:
i. This app was launched on 3rd March 2018. Also, a Whatsapp group named ‘Forest Fire Alert’ has been formed for sharing information on tracking, preventing and fighting forest fires between forest officials and local people who help the forest officials.
ii. The Forest Survey of India (FSI) monitors the forests and when there is a fire, information is send to state forest department.
iii. Forest officials reach the spot and photos are uploaded in the Whatsapp group and app. This ensures that, officials reach the spot without fail.
About Forest Survey of India (FSI):
♦ Director General – Saibal Dasgupta
♦ Headquarters – Dehradun, Uttarakhand


Odisha to host Senior National Table Tennis Championships after 12 years
Odisha will host the Senior National Table Tennis Championships after 12 long years.
Odisha to host 80th Senior National Table Tennis Championships:
i. Earlier, Odisha had hosted Senior National Table Tennis Championships in 2001 and 2006.
ii. The 80th Senior National Table Tennis Championships is expected to be held in Cuttack, Odisha.
iii. It was decided to make Odisha the host of 80th Senior National Table Tennis Championships at the 81st AGM (Annual General Meeting) of the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI), conducted recently in Gurugram.
About Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI):
♦ Secretary General – D.R.Choudhary
♦ Location – New Delhi

Anindith named ‘FMSCI National MotorSports Person of the Year 2017’
On 11th March 2018, Anindith Reddy was presented the ‘FMSCI National MotorSports Person of the Year 2017’ award at a function held in Chennai.
Anindith named 'FMSCI National MotorSports Person of the Year 2017’Anindith – FMSCI National MotorSports Person of the Year 2017:
i. Anindith Reddy is 26 years old. He hails from Hyderabad. FIA world motor sport council member Gautam Singhania and FMSCI (Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India) president Akbar Ebrahim handed over the award to Anindith Reddy.
ii. KD Madan, a former FMSCI president and K1000 champion, was presented the FMSCI Lifetime Achievement Award.
About FMSCI (Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India):
♦ Founded – 1971
♦ Headquarters – Chennai


Former Uttar Pradesh minister Begum Hamida Habibullah passes away at 102
On 13th March 2018, Begum Hamida Habibullah, former Uttar Pradesh minister, died due to a long term illness at her home in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.
Former Uttar Pradesh minister Begum Hamida Habibullah passes away at 102Death of Begum Hamida Habibullah:
i. Begum Hamida Habibullah was 102 years old. She was a former Rajya Sabha member.
ii. She entered politics and joined the Congress party around 1965. She became an MLA from Haidergarh.
iii. She was made the state minister of social and Harijan welfare, national integration and civil defence from 1971 to 1973. She was tourism minister from 1971 to 1974.
iv. She was also a member of the Executive Committee of Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) till 1980. She was the president of Mahila Congress, UPCC, in the 1972 to 1976 period.
Some wildlife sanctuaries in Uttar Pradesh:
♦ Bakhira Sanctuary
♦ Chandra Prabha Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary

Ch Kamalamma, the veteran Communist leader passes away
On 11th March 2018, Ch Kamalamma, a Communist leader, passed away after suffering from old age-related ailments, at a private hospital in Telangana.
Death of Ch Kamalamma:
i. Ch Kamalamma was 90 years old. She hailed from Warangal, in Telangana.
ii. She was also a freedom fighter. She was a part of the post-Independence armed struggle to fight against the rule Nizams of Hyderabad.
iii. She joined the struggle at the age of 15 years as part of Telangana Liberation Struggle by Communist Party of India (CPI). She was secretary of the CPI Mahila Samakhya for a long time.
About Communist Party of India (CPI):
♦ Founded – 1925
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi