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Current Affairs Today – March 14 2017

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INDIAN AFFAIRS

Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI) Bill, 2017 Introduced in Lok Sabha
The Commerce & Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman introduced the Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI) Bill, 2017 in the Lok Sabha on March 14, 2017 in order to declare the FDDI as an Institution of National Importance (INI).
♦ Objective: To enable FDDI emerge as Centre of Excellence to meet with the international standards and address the shortage of trained human resource in the sector.
Salient Features of the Bill
i. The Bill seeks to facilitate and promote teaching, training and research in all disciplines relating to design and development of Footwear and leather products.
ii. The existing FDDI institute is centrally-funded for meeting its capital expenditure. The bill proposes that FDDI shall be established as a body corporate.
iii. The institute shall consist of a governing council where chairperson shall be an Nirmala Sitharamanacademician, scientist or industrialist from the leather sector to be nominated by the central government.
iv. The central government shall have the power to remove the chairperson or other members or reconstitute the governing council if it considers it appropriate to do so.
v. To enable the institute to discharge its functions efficiently the central government may pay to the institute in each financial year sums of money after appropriation made by Parliament by law in this behalf.
vi. The institute shall nurture and promote quality and excellence in education and research in the areas of footwear and leather products design and development and allied fields.
vii. It will develop and conduct courses leading to graduate and post graduate degrees, doctoral and post-doctoral courses and research in the areas of footwear and leather products design and development and allied fields thereof.
viii. The institute will undertake research, survey and studies for improved quality and design, testing and international marketing.
ix. The institute will conduct skill development programmes and provide technical assistance to artisans, craftsmen, manufacturers, designers and exporters.
x .It will also develop an international centre for creation and transmission of information, with a focus on educational, professional and industrial commitments.
About Footwear Design & Development Institute (FDDI)
♦ The Footwear Design & Development Institute is an educational institute established in 1986 with the objective of providing trained human resource and assistance to the sector.
♦ FDDI has pan-India presence with campuses at Noida, Kolkata, Chennai, Fursatganj (UP), Rohtak (Haryana), Chhindwara (M.P) and Jodhpur (Rajasthan) equipped with state of art academic facilities and infrastructure.
♦ New campuses at Hyderabad, Patna, Ankleshwar (Gujarat), Banur(Punjab) and Guna (M.P) would also start functioning shortly.

Inter-state River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2017 introduced in Lok Sabha
The Union Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Sushri Uma Bharti introduced Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2017 in Lok Sabha on March 14, 2017 to set up a single permanent tribunal to effectively resolve inter-state river water sharing disputes.
♦ Once the proposed legislation is enacted, the single permanent tribunal known as Inter-State River Water Disputes Tribunal will do away with all the existing tribunals including those on Cauvery, Mahadayi/ Mandovi, Krishna, Vansadhara and Ravi and Beas rivers.
Features of the Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2017
i. The Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2017 proposes to ease the adjudication of inter-state river water disputes and make the present legal and institutional architecture stronger and robust.
ii. The Bill also proposes a setting up a Single Standing Tribunal (with multiple benches) instead of presently existing multiple tribunals and shall consist of one Chairperson, one Vice-Chairperson and not more than six other Members.
iii .The term of office of the Chairperson will be five year or till he attains the age of 70 years whichever is earlier. The term of office of Vice Chairperson and other member of tribunal shall be co-terminus with the adjudication of the water dispute.
iv. The Bill also provides for the appointment of Assessors to provide technical support to the tribunal. They shall be appointed from amongst experts serving in the Central Water engineering Service not below the rank of Chief Engineer.
v. The total time period for adjudication of dispute has been fixed at maximum of four and half years. The decision of the Tribunal shall be final and binding with no requirement of publication in the official Gazette.
vi. The Bill also proposes to introduce mechanism to resolve the dispute amicably by negotiations, through a Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC) to be established by the Central Government consisting of relevant experts, before such dispute is referred to the tribunal.
vii. The Bill also provides for transparent data collection system at the national level for each river basin and for this purpose, an agency to maintain data-bank and information system shall be appointed or authorized by Central Government.

Government Launches Rs. 52000 lakh Mission Fingerling to achieve Blue Revolution
i. The Union government has launched Mission Fingerling on March 11, 2017 to achieve Blue Revolution with the holistic development and management of fisheries in the country.
ii. The Blue Revolution programme focuses on creating an environment that envisages integrated and holistic development and management of fisheries for the socio economic Blue Revolutiondevelopment of the fishers and fish farmers.
iii. The main motive behind this programme is to enhance the fisheries production from 10.79 mmt (2014-15) to 15 mmt by 2020-21.
iv. The Department has identified 20 States based on their potential and other relevant factors to strengthen the Fish Seed infrastructure in the country.
v. Total expenditure of about Rs. 52000 lakh has been identified by the government for the programme to establish hatcheries and Fingerling rearing pond to ensure the fish production of 426 crores fish fingerling, 25.50 crores Post Larvae of shrimp and crab in the country.
vi. The main focus of the programme will be on building relevant infrastructure for the conservation of fisheries with equal focus on management and conservation of the resources through technology transfer to increase in the income of the fishers and fish farmers.
vii. Besides, productivity enhancement shall also be achieved through employing the best global innovations and integration of various production oriented activities such as: Production of quality fish seeds, Cost effective feed and adoption of technology etc.

Government Establishes Banana Research Centre in Vaishali District of Bihar
i. The Union Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare Minister Shri Radha Mohan Singh laid the foundation stone of the Banana Research Centre at Gorole, Vaishali, Bihar Centre on March 11, 2017 to fulfill the aspirations of the local banana growers.
ii. Bihar and particularly the Vaishali district is very suitable for the cultivation of bananas at large scale because of its ecological conditions which can change the fate of farmers.
iii. The new centre will work to find reasons behind less production in banana, enhancement in acreage for cultivation, suitable utilization of the various parts of the plants, different products, marketing and value addition.
iv. Besides this, Bihar already has Dr. Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University in Pusa that got the status of Central Agriculture University in October, 2016 and has already started the research work for doubling the income from banana cultivation.
v. The new research centre at Vaishali will let the research work to get more momentum to bring anew era of banana cultivation in Bihar and surrounding states
vi. India is the largest producer of banana in the world. Among the states, Maharashtra is the largest producer followed by Tamil Nadu. The total production of banana in the India is around 14.2 million tons. Productivity of banana in Maharashtra is 65.7 ton/ha which is more than the average national production of 34.1 ton/ha.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Vienna World’s Best City in Quality of Life; Hyderabad Best Indian City: Mercer
i. According to the Mercer’s 19th annual Quality of Living survey released on March 14, 2017, Vienna, the capital of Austria has topped the list of cities offering the highest quality of life for the eighth year in a row.
ii. Baghdad was ranked the worst place at 230 to live due to continuous violence in the city.
iii. In India, Hyderabad emerged as the best city in terms of living standards among Indian cities for the third year in a row.
Top 5 Global Cities in the List

Rank City Country
1 Vienna Austria
2 Zurich Switzerland
3 Auckland New Zealand

BANKING & FINANCE

RBI Likely to Open UPI Platform for Digital Wallets Soon
i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is set to open up the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) platform for digital wallets firms as part of the government’s digitisation campaign.
ii. Presently, the digital wallets can access the UPI network through partner banks to facilitate bank-to-bank money transfers.
iii. The initiative will enable the digital wallets such as Paytm and MobiKwik to become inter-operable and also help them to expand their business model.
iv. With the UPI, digital wallet user will be able to send money directly from one wallet to another. For example a merchant with a MobikWik wallet can send payment directly to FreeCharge or paytm digital wallet thus expanding the usability of these instruments.
v. RBI is expected to issue guidelines shortly on interoperability and ‘know your customer’ RBI Likely to Open UPI Platform for Digital Wallets Soon(KYC) norms for digital wallet companies as well as the interchange fees to be levied between the wallets to access the UPI framework
Reserve Bank of India
♦ Founded: April 1, 1935
♦ Headquarter: Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Governor: Urjit Patel

Madhya Pradesh Rewa solar plant to receive loan from World Bank
i. An international financial institution, World Bank has agreed to provide loan to develop internal transmission arrangements of the upcoming Rewa Ultra Mega Solar (RUMS) project in Madhya Pradesh.
ii. This was officially announced by  Public Relations Department official in New Delhi on March 14, 2017
iii. RUMS become India’s first solar power project of the country to receive a loan under CTF
iv. It will provide 75% of the loan amount with an interest rate of only 0.25% and remaining 25 % of the loan amount under its Clean Technology Fund (CTF), money will be provided at an interest rate of only 0.25 per cent,” a state Public Relations Department official said
RUMS Project :
♦ Rewa Ultra Mega Solar is a proposed solar power plant in the Rewa district of Madhya Pradesh, with a total installed capacity of 750 MW.
♦ Project is anticipated to start power production in 2018, it is one of the largest single-site solar power plant in India
♦ The installation of this solar power project would save Rs 14,000 crore for the state.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar Sworn in as Goa Chief Minister
i. Former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was sworn in as Goa Chief Minister for fourth time at the Raj Bhavan in Panaji, Goa on March 14, 2017.Goa Governor Mridula Sinha administered the oath of office and secrecy to the Chief Minister and eight other ministers who also took the oath.
ii. Supreme Court has given Mr. Parrikar 48 hours to prove his majority on the floor of the house on March 16, 2017. Portfolio allocation would be taken up after the trust vote.
iii. Other Ministers who were sworn in includes
1.Ramkrishna alias Sudin Dhavlikar and Babu alias Manohar Azgaonkar (Both MGP)
2.Francisco D’Souza and Pandurang Madkaikar (BJP)
3.Vijay Sardesai, Jayesh Salgaonkar and Vinod Palienkar (Goa Forward Party)
4.Rohan Khavte and Govind Gaude (both Independents)

Manipur CM Ibobi Singh resigns, Biren Singh to be Sworn in Next CM
i. The incumbent Chief Minister of Manipur Okram Ibobi Singh resigned from the post on March 13, 2017 giving way for formation of a new ministry under the BJP.
ii. The Congress leader Okram Ibobi announced to resign after BJP named Nongthombam Biren Singh as the party’s leader to form the government with majority win.
iii. In 60-member assembly of Manipur, BJP won 21 seats that was 10 seats shorts to prove majority, while Congress won 28 seats.
iv. However, BJP received a big boost in the number of seats after 4 MLAs from NPP, lone LJP MLA and another four MLAs of the NPF, lone Trinamool Congress MLA, Tongbram Manipur CM Ibobi Singh resignsRobindro and one Congress legislator lent their support to the BJP taking BJP to have support of more than 31 legislators.
v. The BJP’s Nongthombam Biren Singh will take oath as Manipur’s next chief minister on March 15, 2017 along with his council of ministers in the presence of BJP president Amit Shah and Union Minister Jitendra Singh.
vi. Governor Najma Heptullah has asked Biren Singh to prove majority on the floor of the house as soon as possible, maybe May 22 or 23.

Reliance Commercial Finance appoints Devang Mody as CEO
i. Devang Mody was appointed as CEO of Reliance Commercial Finance Ltd (RCFL),a subsidiary of Reliance Capital on March 14, 2017.
ii. Prior to this, Mody served as president of consumer business at Bajaj Finance
iii. He has over 20 years of experience in the financial sector. He has worked at Mahajan & Aibara and GE Money Financial Services.

ENVIRONMENT

Scientists Finds Natural Swings Responsible for Loss of Arctic Sea Ice
i. As per the study conducted by United States based scientists, rapid loss of Arctic sea ice in recent decades is partly driven by natural variation and not just global warming caused by human activities.
ii. The researchers reported that the random and chaotic change in wind patterns is responsible for about 30-50 percent of the sea ice loss in Arctic Ocean since 1979.
iii. The scientists said that though part of the decline in ice cover is driven by man-made global warming but it cannot be held responsible all alone for the declining of ice.
iv. The research stated that based on previous findings, it was founded that changes in tropical Pacific Ocean have created a hot spot in recent decades over Greenland and the Canadian Arctic that has boosted warming in that region.
v. The hot spot is a large region of higher pressure where air is squeezed together so it becomes warmer and can hold more moisture both of which bring more heat to the sea ice below.
vi. This study provides the mechanism and uses a new approach to illuminate the processes that are responsible for these changes.
vii. The researchers believe that distinguishing the natural and human-caused parts of sea ice decline would help to predict future sea ice conditions in Arctic summer.
viii. Loss of the sea ice is predicted to have numerous effects on the planet: these include reflecting less light into space, potentially making the earth warmer and more predictable.
ix. It will also reducing the habitat of animals such as polar bears. The report was published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Scientists Discovers World’s First Fluorescent Frog in Argentina
i. A team of scientists have discovered the world’s first fluorescent frog in Argentina that emits soft green, yellow and red light under normal light, but gives off a bright blue and green glow in the dark.
ii. The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on March 13, 2017.
iii. Fluorescence is a physical-chemical phenomenon in which short-wavelength electromagnetic radiation (light) is absorbed and then reemitted at longer wavelengths. For Frogan organism to be fluorescent, it must have fluorophores, the chemical compounds that can reemit light.
iv. As per the scientist, this phenomena is rare in terrestrial animals and was unheard in amphibians until now.
v. Many ocean creatures exhibit fluorescence, including corals, fish, sharks and one species of sea turtle (the hawksbill turtle, Eretmochelys imbricata).
vi. On land, fluorescence was previously known in only parrots and some scorpions.
vii. The Researchers expected that the South American polka dot tree frog (Hypsiboas punctatus) displays red fluorescence because they contain a pigment called biliverdin. Normally, biliverdin turns the amphibian’s tissues and bones green.
viii .However, in some insects, proteins bound to biliverdin emit a faint red fluorescence.
ix. Besides, three molecules namely hyloin-L1, hyloin-L2 and hyloin-G1 in the animals’ lymph tissue, skin and glandular secretions were responsible for the green fluorescence.
x. The amount of light emitted by the newly described fluorescent molecules is about 18 percent as much visible light as a full Moon which is enough for a related species of frog to see by.
xi. The findings arises many questions as to how the tiny frog survives in its environment of fluorescence and also sets up more research into fluorescence on land.

SPORTS

CAS Confirms Lifetime Ban on Sergei Portugalov
i. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on March 13, 2017 confirmed a lifetime ban on Sergei Portugalov from sports for his role in providing illicit substances to Russian athletes.
ii. Sergei Portugalov is a former chief of the Russian Athletics Federation’s Medical Commission (Swimming)
iii. The Lausanne-based CAS upheld the ban as part of an arbitration involving the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) and the Russian Athletics Federation.
iv. The Russian whistle blowers cited clear evidence that Sergei violated IAAF doping rules regarding possession and trafficking of prohibited substances and used to run a doping consultancy attended by Russian swimmers and coaches.
v. In a 2015 report, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) reported that Portugalov supplied performance enhancing drugs to athletes and coaches, administered doping programmes and even injected athletes himself.
About Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)
♦ The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is an international quasi-judicial body established to settle disputes related to sport through arbitration.
♦ Founded: 1984
♦ Headquarter: Lausanne (Switzerland)
♦ President: John Coates

OBITUARY

Filmmaker and Children’s Author Amy Krouse Rosenthal Dies at 51
i. Popular American author, filmmaker and public speaker, Amy Krouse Rosenthal died on March 13, 2017 due to ovarian cancer. She was 51.
ii. Her writings included both adult and children’s books. She has written more than 30 books Filmmaker and Children’s Author Amy Krouse Rosenthal Dies at 51that include journals, memoirs and the bestselling children’s picture stories Uni the Unicorn and Duck! Rabbit!
iii. A Chicago native, Rosenthal became well known due to her heart-wrenching column in The New York Times on March 5, 2017 titled “You May Want to Marry My Husband”.
iv. In the article, she announced about her terminal cancer to her husband by writing a heartbreaking dating profile and described his husband’s positive qualities so that he might be able to find love again after her death.
v. She also made short films and YouTube videos and provided radio commentary among others.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Commonwealth Day -March 13,2017
i. Commonwealth Day is celebrated annually across the Commonwealth of Nations on the second Monday in March(March 13, 2017)
ii. Objective: To come together and celebrate its values and diversity.
iii. 2017 Theme:  A peace-building Commonwealth
iv. It is marked by a multi-faith service in Westminster Abbey, normally attended by Queen Elizabeth II as Head of the Commonwealth along with the Commonwealth Secretary-General and Commonwealth High Commissioners in London.
Commonwealth Nation:
♦ Head: Queen Elizabeth II
♦Headquarters: Marlborough House, London
Members: 52 countries from Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Pacific.