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Current Affairs Today – March 18 2016

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Surat Cleanest Railway Station; Varanasi Among The Dirtiest: Survey

The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan- ‘Ek Kadam Swachhta Ki Aur’ is the pet project of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi which was flagged off on October 2, 2014 with a vision to make India free of open defecation by 2019 and to fulfil Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of a clean India

  • As a part of this project, a survey was conducted at 407 railway stations, which included 75 A-1 stations and 332 A-category stations, Surat has emerged to be the cleanest Railway Stations in India, followed by Rajkot and Bilaspur. Varanasi stood last when evaluated onforty cleanliness parameters which formed the basis of the survey.

Railways Sign MoU with ISRO for use of Space technology

Ministry of Railways has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for developing Remote Sensing and geographic information system (GIS) for Remote Sensing at unmanned railway crossing and other uses.

  • The MoU aims for developing applications in the field of Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS) for Remote Sensing at unmanned railway crossings

India and Bangladesh Enter into New Era of Petroleum Trade

India and Bangladesh began a new era of petroleum trade with a special goodwill train loaded with High speed diesel from India to Bangladesh.

  • The 42 wagon rail rake is loaded with around 2500 MT High Speed Diesel
  • It started off from Siliguri station to Parbatipur station over 516 kms
  • It is a symbolic gesture of friendship and cooperation that exists between India and Bangladesh

India signs USD 35 Million loan deal with World Bank

World Bank approves USD 35 million credit agreement to Madhya Pradesh for the Citizen Access to Responsive Services Project.

  • The main objective of the project is to improve access to selected public services for the people of the state, particularly those belonging to disadvantaged groups.World-Bank
  • The project will support to expand the number of services under the 2010 Public Services Guarantee Act, open another 200 LSK centers in underserved and remote areas.

About Lok Seva Kendra (LSK) or Kiosk:

  • Under the Public Services Guarantee Act (PSGA) services are provided by Lok Seva Kendras (LSKs) or kiosks, which allow citizens to apply for multiple government services at a “one stop shop”
  • The LSKs are privately operated under a public private partnership (PPP) arrangement.
  • Currently, there are 334 LSK centers throughout the state.

Key Points:

  • Madhya Pradesh was the first state in India and worldwide to approve a Right to Public Services legislation.
  • World Bank’s Country Director in India – Onno Ruhl

Cisco to set up Internet of Everything (IoE) innovation centre in Visakhapatnam

Cisco will set up an Internet of Everything (IoE) Innovation centre in Visakhapatnam to drive regional innovation and will enable partners and start-ups to build solutions around IoE and engage in rapid prototyping.

  • The MoU was signed as a part of the inauguration of India’s first statewide broadband project-AP Fiber Net in Visakhapatnam in the presence of Andhra Pradesh CM Mr. N Chandrababu Naidu and Cisco executive chairman Irving Tan among others.
  • Cisco will also invest in an advanced Technology centre of Excellence and Research Lab in the Institute of Digital Technology at Tirupati, focused on cyber security, smarty city and manufacturing solutions.
  • The company has also announced plans for the expansion of Cisco Networking Academy in 70 colleges to train around 10,000 new students in the state.


Modi On TIME’s Most Influential People On Internet For 2nd Yr

TIME’s Internet Star

Well known for his Selfies, world tours, and catchy speeches to the Indian diaspora; and his social media engagement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has earned another badge to his Kurta, “TIME’s Internet Star”.

  • Among Time’s thirty most influential people in the world, Modi has figured in the unranked list for the second time in a row. Kudos to the visionary who has the most number of followers on Social media after President Obama with 18 million Twitter Followers and 32 million Facebook likes!!

Bangkok slaps curfew on World’s biggest water festival

Bangkok is to impose a curfew during Songkran festival, the world’s biggest water festival in April to show solidarity with farmers hit by drought.

  • Now, Thailand is facing its worst water shortage in two decades, with 14 out of 76 provinces hit and large swathes of agricultural land at risk.Bangkok slaps curfew on World’s biggest water festival
  • Already, Thailand has entered its annual dry season, which typically runs from March to May, meaning the drought is likely to get worse.

About Songkran Water Festival:

  • Songkran Water Festival- It is a time when revelers splashing water on each other and everyone, young and old, is fair game.
  • This festival is also known as Thailand New Year which is one of the most important events in the country.

FIFA admits taking bribes to hosting World Cup

FIFA has acknowledged that “tens of millions of dollars” in bribe money seized by U.S. federal prosecutors in past World Cup hosting contests for the first time.

  • FIFA has submitted a 22-page claim to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York on that seeks a big share in restitution from more than $190 million
  • FIFA claims it is the victim of corrupt individuals, despite widespread criticism that bribe-taking was embedded in its culture in the presidencies of Joao Havelange and Sepp Blatter.

FIFA president:  Gianni Infantino


IDBI Bank ATMs Can Be Used For Bond Purchase

The Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI) is an Indian Public Sector Bank headquartered at Mumbai which was established in 1964.

  • It is currently the 10th largest development bank in the world in terms of reach, with 3203 ATMs, 1809 branches, including one overseas branch at Dubai, and 1343 centres, including two overseas centres at Singapore & Beijing.


India –the second Biggest Investor in London

London & partners, the official promotion company of London has revealed that India is the second biggest investor in London after USA.

  • There has been a 117 per cent increase in Indian companies across all business sectors investing in London since 2005
  • There has been a 133 per cent increase in tech companies investing in the city


Assassin wins the maximum awards in 10th Asian film awards

The 10th Asian film awards were presented in Macau, China. ‘The Assassin’, a movie about a highly trained female assassin bagged prizes for, best actress and best director.

  • Assassin wins more than half of the 15 awards presented in the Asian film awards

Priyanka & Raksha win Chameli Devi Jain Award, 2016

Priyanka Kakodkar and Raksha Kumar were named as joint winners of the 2015-16 Chameli Devi Jain Award. They were awarded for their work that clubs social concern and compassion with pioneering reportage and analytical skills.

  • The annual Chameli Devi Award of The Media Foundation is the premier award forwomen media persons in India


Amar Abrol to succeed Mittu Chandilya as CEO of AirAsia India

AirAsia India announced that Amar Abrol will succeed Mittu Chandilya as the CEO of AirAsia India, with effect from April 1, 2016.

  • Chandilya’s contract ends March 31, 2016, but he will continue with the company until the end of April to ensure a smooth transition of the CEO role.

About Amar Abrol

  • Born and raised in India, Abrol graduated from Delhi University and is a Chartered Accountant from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.
  • Abrol, who has over 20 years of experience, was most recently the CEO of Tune Money, a start-up that aims to deliver low-cost financial products in South East Asia.
  • Before joining Tune Money in 2013, he spent 19 years with American Express, leading diverse teams across multiple markets including Hong Kong, Singapore, UK, India and Malaysia.


Bharti Airtel to acquire Videocon’s spectrum in 6 circles for Rs 4,428 crore

Bharti Airtel acquire Videocon Telecom’s spectrum in six circles for Rs 4,428 crore through a bandwidth trading deal.

  • Bharti Airtel has entered into a definitive agreement with Videocon Telecommunications Limited to acquire, at an aggregate consideration of Rs 4,428 crore rights to use 2 x 5 MHz spectrum in the 1800 MHz Band
  • Bharti will acquire rights to use Videocon’s spectrum in Bihar, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, UP (East), UP (West) and Gujarat. The spectrum is valid up to December 18, 2032.


Webportal Launched for allocation and monitoring of Coal resources

Another move in making transparent governance, Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal New and Renewable Energy launched the web portal for distribution of coal by State Distribution agencies.

  • Motivates states for paperless communication digitizing all the information
  • It will save time and energy of government organizations
  • The Web portal would provide small and medium consumers access to information about SNAs, availability, booking/supply distribution of coal in public domain

IMD develops Drishti for providing real time visibility information to pilots

The India Meteorology Department (IMD) has indigenously developed Drishti, an instrument that will provide real time visibility information to pilots.

About Drishti:

  • It has enabled in transferring the crucial visibility updates to the pilots every minute.
  • It will update the real time weather parameters like wind speed, humidity, temperature conditions, etc.,
  • The instrument will help pilots in quick decision-making during critical landings and take-offs of aircraft particularly during winter and monsoon seasons.


  • Drishti was introduced first at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI) in New Delhi in 2015 on a trial basis.
  • There are 10 instruments at Delhi, three each at Jaipur, Varanasi, Lucknow and one each at Amritsar and Kolkata.

FCI’S Depot Online System Has Been Launched by the Union Government

Depot Online System of state run Food Corporation of India (FCI) has been launched by the Union Government to carry transparency and minimize storage losses of food grains. The Union Food and public Distribution Minister Ram Vilas Paswan have launched this system in New Delhi as part of Digital India initiative of Union Government.

Key facts

  • With this system the real time monitoring of FCI operations and enhance transparency and efficiency will be done easily.
  • The project is implemented in the FCI owned 553 depots and subsequently FCI hired godowns will be also brought under the range of the project later.
  • This system will make the entire process from entry and exit of food grains at FCI depots computerization.
  • It would remove usage of manual registers.
  • It will also help in better monitoring and supervision as would reduce leakages and losses.


Four Giant Exoplanets Discovered

A group of Scientists led by Matias Jones of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile have discovered four enormous planets with masses from 2.4 to 5.5 times that of Jupiter, orbiting stars much bigger than our Sun.

  • The newly detected worlds have very long orbital periods ranging from nearly two to slightly more than four Earth years
  • The newly found planets are HIP8541b, HIP74890b, HIP84056b and HIP95124b


Shweta Rathore wins Miss India title in Body building

Shweta Rathore wins Miss India title in Body building

Shweta Rathore the silver medalist in Asian Championship in 2015 has won the gold medal in held at New Delhi.

  • Shweta Rathore (born June 13, 1988) is an Indian physique competitor from Jaipur
  • She studied bio-chemical engineering from Manipur University

Gayle become second player to hit century in 2016 T20 WC

Chris Gayle becomes second player to hit century in 2016 T20 World Cup after Tamim Iqbal.

  • He smashed century in just 47 balls against England in a Group 1 match at the Wankhede Stadium in the 2016 T20 World Cup
  • He is also the first player to hit a century in the history of tournament, against South Africa in 2007.
  • Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal hits the first century of the 2016 T20 World Cup against Oman in their final qualifying match at Dharamsala. He took 60 balls to achieve this feat.

TCS named official tech partner for London Marathon

India’s leading IT services provider Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) announced a partnership with the Virgin Money London Marathon for three year

Aim: To enhance the digital experience delivered to marathon participants.

  • Now TCS will become the race’s Official Technology Partner for the 2016, 2017 and 2018 events.
  • The partnership with the Virgin Money London Marathon also builds on TCS’ ongoing brand investment in the UK.
  • TCS was recently awarded Business Superbrands status in the UK

TCS already partners with seven of the world’s leading races, including title sponsorships of the TCS Amsterdam Marathon, TCS New York City marathon, and TCS World 10k Bengaluru.

Virgin Money London Marathon

  • First established in 1981
  • It isconsidered as one of the world’s foremost marathons.


Meir Dagan, Ex-Mossad chief passes away

Meir Dagan, a former chief of Israeli intelligence agency Mossad has died. He was 71.Meir Dagan, Ex-Mossad chief passes away

  • He was widely known for disrupting Iran’s nuclear program. He served as the Director of Mossad from 2002 until his retirement in 2011.
  • Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, called the former spy director a “great fighter” who had devoted his life for the country and the Jewish people.


World Sleep Day

The World Sleep Day is an annual event organized by the World Sleep Day Committee of the World Association of Sleep Medicine(WASM) since 2008.


  • To celebrate the benefits of good and healthy sleep and to draw society attention to the burden of sleep problems and their medicine, education and social aspects.
  • To promote sleep disorders prevention and management.

2016 Theme: “Good Sleep is a Reachable Dream”