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Four MoUs signed under aegis of DoNER for promotion of tourism in the North-East
On March 19, 2018, four memorandum of understanding (MoUs) were signed in New Delhi under the aegis of the Ministry of Development of North East Region (DoNER) for promotion of tourism in the North-East India.
Details about MoUs for promotion of tourism in North East:
i. The MoUs were signed between various entities in North East India and Airbnb, one of the world’s leading community-driven hospitality companies.
ii. These MoU are aimed at creating hospitality micro-entrepreneurs across key destinations in the North East of India.
iii. Activities carried out under these MoUs are a step towards achieving the aim of creating more sustainable accommodation options to enhance the hospitality service standards in North East Region and thereby doubling tourist growth rate in the next three years.
iv. The MoUs were signed on behalf of North East Tourism Development Council (NETDC) and North Eastern Council (NEC)and two key livelihood initiatives, North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Project (NERCORMP) and North East Rural Livelihood Project (NERLP).
v. Another MoU for leveraging of community resources and appropriate local resources based technology for development was also signed between NERCORMP and HESCO (Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organization).

First India-Japan Workshop on Disaster Risk Reduction inaugurated in New Delhi
On March 19, 2018, Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog, Dr. Rajiv Kumar inaugurated the First India-Japan Workshop on Disaster Risk Reduction in New Delhi.First India-Japan Workshop on Disaster Risk Reduction inaugurated in New DelhiHighlights of First India-Japan Workshop on Disaster Risk Reduction:
i. This workshop has been jointly organised by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Union Ministry of Home Affairs and Government of Japan.
ii. It is the first formal initiative under the Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) on Disaster Risk Reduction signed between India and Japan in September 2017.
iii. Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Rajiv Kumar outlined a six-pronged approach to enhance resilience, which includes Risk Identification, Preparedness, Risk Reduction, Financial Protection, Resilient Reconstruction and Societal Awareness.
iv. Fifty delegates from Japan and 70 Indian delegates including experts from government, technical institutions and private sector are participating in this two-day workshop.
v. During the course of this workshop, India and Japan will identify possible areas of cooperation in the field of Disaster Risk Reduction.
Quick Facts about Japan:
♦ Capital – Tokyo
♦ Currency – Japanese yen
♦ Current Prime Minister – Shinzo Abe
♦ Important Rivers – Shinano, Tone, Ishikari

Curtain Raiser for ‘3rd National Conclave on Mines and Minerals’ to be held in New Delhi
On 20th March 2018, the 3rd National Conclave on Mines & Minerals will be held at Convention Hall in Hotel Ashoka, New Delhi.
3rd National Conclave on Mines and Minerals:
i. The 3rd National Conclave on Mines and Minerals is organized by the Ministry of Mines. Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI) partners the event.
ii. Public and private mining companies will participate in the conclave. Minister of Mines, Narendra Singh Tomar will present the awards for ‘5 Star’ rating to the 20 best performing mines.
iii. Technical sessions will be conducted on the following topics: Auction of Mineral Blocks & Implementation of Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojna (PMKKKY), Impetus on Exploration, Sustainable Development Framework – Sharing of Best Practices.
About Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI):
♦ President – Mr. Sanjay Kumar Pattnaik
♦ Location – New Delhi

President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the Festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (FINE) in New Delhi
On 19th March 2018, President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated a Festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (FINE) at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi.President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the Festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (FINE) in New DelhiFestival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (FINE):
i. Festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (FINE) is organised by Rashtrapati Bhavan along with the Department of Science and Technology and the National Innovation Foundation-India from 19th March 21st March 2018.
ii. Ram Nath Kovind also presented the Gandhian Young Technological Innovation Awards.
iii. FINE aims to recognise, display and reward innovations and to create a supportive ecosystem for innovators.
iv. It provides an “In-Residence” Program through which 10 innovation scholars will stay at Rashtrapati Bhavan and will receive mentoring and opportunities to share ideas with important stakeholders.
v. FINE also features an exhibition of innovations that will be open for public view till 23rd March 2018.
About National Innovation Foundation-India:
♦ Chairperson – Dr. R A Mashelkar
♦ Set up by – Department of Science and Technology (DST)

Indo-French joint naval exercise Varuna 2018 began on March 19, 2018 in Goa
On 19th March 2018, Phase I of Varuna 18, an Indo-French Naval Exercise, began in Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) in Goa.
Varuna 18:
i. The phase I of Varuna 18 will be conducted till 24th March 2018. Second and third phases will be conducted in April 2018 and May 2018 in Chennai and La Reunion Island respectively.
ii. Rear Admiral M A Hampiholi, Flag Officer Commanding, Western Fleet and Rear Admiral Didier Piaton, Joint Commander of the French Naval Forces deployed in Indian Ocean and French Joint Forces stationed in UAE, inaugurated the 1st phase of Varuna 18.
iii. Varuna 18 will be conducted in 3 sea areas: the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and South Western Indian Ocean.
iv. First phase of Varuna 18 will be conducted in the Arabian Sea. French Submarine and frigate Jean de Vienne and Indian Naval Ship (INS) Destroyer Mumbai, frigate Trikand with internal helicopters participate in phase I of Varuna 18.
v. INS Kalavari, P8-I and Dornier Maritiem Patrol Aircraft and Mig 29-K fighter aircraft also take part in this exercise.
About Varuna:
♦ Type – bilateral maritime exercises between Indian and French navies
♦ Started – 2001


Axis Bank opened a representative office in Sharjah, which is 3rd office in UAE
On March 18, 2018, Axis Bank announced the opening of its new representative office in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (UAE).Axis Bank opened a representative office in Sharjah, which is 3rd office in UAEMore Information about Axis Bank’s representative office in Sharjah:
i. The representative office in Sharjah is Axis Banks third office in UAE.
ii. As UAE is home to 3 million Non-resident Indians (NRIs) and this representative office will focus on remittances business. 
iii. It is to be noted that Axis Bank commands a 20 per cent market share in the USD 12 billion dollar-a-year inward remittances market from the UAE.
Quick Facts about Axis Bank:
♦ Founded in – 1993
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Current MD & CEO – Shikha Sharma
♦ Tagline – ‘Badhti ka naam zindagi’


BHEL commissions 1st unit of Kishanganga hydro project in J&K
On March 19, 2018, government-owned Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) announced that it has commissioned the first unit of 110 MW of the Kishanganga hydro-electric project (HEP) of NHPC in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). 
Commissioning of Kishanganga hydro project’s 1st unit:
i. The 340 MW Kishanganga hydro project is located in Bandipora district of J&K on the river Kishanganga (a tributary of the Jhelum).
ii. Once the other two units will be commissioned, the project will generate 1350 million units (MU) of clean electricity every year.
iii. BHEL has been entrusted with the task of supplying components for setting up and executing this project.
iv. Bhel has so far commissioned 31 Hydro sets with a cumulative capacity of 1257 MW  in J&K.
Quick Facts about Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL):
♦ Founded in – 1964
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Current Chairman and MD – Atul Sobti

F-16 jet production unit will be set up in India
Lockheed Martin has announced the setting up of F-16 jet production unit in India.F-16 jet production unit will be set up in IndiaF-16 jet production unit will be set up in India:
i. Lockheed Martin is an American aerospace and defence giant. It said that, the F-16 jet production unit to be set up in India will be an exclusive one and will be in line with the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
ii. Lockheed Martin has assured to relocate its entire production line to India. It said that, the unit will not be a mere assembly line. It will be a better facility that has never been provided by any other fighter aircraft manufacturer earlier.
About Lockheed Martin:
♦ Chairman, President and CEO – Marillyn A. Hewson
♦ Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer – Bruce L. Tanner


China appoints Yi Gang as Governor of People’s Bank of China
Yi Gang, a US-educated economist has been named as next Governor of China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC).
About Yi Gang:
i. Yi Gang has been holding the post of deputy governor of PBOC since 2008
ii. Mr. Yi will succeed  Zhou Xiaochuan, who has been holding the post since 2002.
iii. Name of Mr. Yi for this post was approved by National People’s Congress, (China’s legislature) on March 19, 2018.
iv. After assuming charge, Mr. Yi’s main challenges would be to implement prudent monetary policy, push forward the reform and open-up China’s financial sector, and at the same time maintain the stability of economy.
Quick Facts about People’s Bank of China:
♦ Established in – 1948
♦ Headquarters – Beijing, China

Vladimir Putin wins Russian Presidential Election
On 19th March 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin won the presidential elections and has been named as Russian President for a 6 year term.Vladimir-PutinVladimir Putin wins Russian Presidential Election:
i. Vladimir Putin’s fourth term as president will continue till 2024. He had obtained 76.6% of the total votes cast in the presidential election.
ii. His main rival Alexei Navalny was barred from the election. Vladimir Putin had been ruling Russia as either president or prime minister since 1999.
About Russia:
♦ Capital – Moscow
♦ Official language – Russian
♦ Currency – Russian ruble

Ravindra Rao named new CEO of Reliance Asset Reconstruction Company
On March 19, 2018, Reliance Asset Reconstruction Company (RARC) announced the appointment of Ravindra Rao as its new Chief Executive Officer.
About Ravindra Rao:
i. Ravindra Rao succeeds Asokan Arumugam, who is retiring after being at the helm at RARC since last four years.
ii. Ravindra Rao brings with him 22 years of experience in consumer lending spanning across risk management, compliance, distribution, operations and technology.
iii. Anil Ambani-led Reliance Capital is the principal sponsor of RARC.
iv. Corporation Bank, Indian Bank, GIC of India, Dacecroft and Blue Ridge are the other stakeholders in RARC.

Atul M. Gotsurve appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
On 19th March 2018, Atul M. Gotsurve was appointed the next Ambassador of India to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Atul M. Gotsurve – next Ambassador of India to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea:
i. Atul M. Gotsurve is an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) Officer of 2004 batch. At present, he is Director in the Ministry of External Affairs.
ii .He has been named the next Ambassador of India to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. He will take up this assignment soon.
About Ministry of External Affairs:
♦ External Affairs Minister – Smt. Sushma Swaraj
♦ Ministers of State for External Affairs – Vijay Kumar Singh, M. J. Akbar

Fullerton India Home finance appoints Rakesh Makkar as CEO
Rakesh Makkar has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Fullerton India Home finance.
About Rakesh Makkar:
i. Rakesh Makkar has been holding senior management position in Fullerton India Home Finance since past few years and has been instrumental in driving its robust growth.
ii. In his new role, Makkar will be responsible for building the brand, scaling up business volumes and driving the corporate strategy for the firm.
iii. Launched in 2016, Fullerton India Home Finance Company Limited (FIHFC) is a subsidiary of Fullerton India Credit Company.
iv. FIHFC is also known as Grihashakti.

Li Keqiang re-elected as Prime Minister of China for second term
On 18th March 2018, Li Keqiang was re-elected as Chinese Prime Minister for a second five-year term.Li Keqiang re-elected as Prime Minister of China for second termLi Keqiang – Prime Minister of China:
i. Li Keqiang became Prime Minister of China first in 2013.  He has been re-elected as Prime Minister by the members of National People’s Congress (NPC).
ii. He obtained 2,964 positive votes and two negative votes. Also, Xu Qiliang and Zhang Youxia were elected as vice chairmen of Central Military Commission (CMC).
iii. Yang Xiaodu was named the chief of new anti-graft body, the National Supervisory Commission.
About Central Military Commission (CMC):
♦ Purpose – takes charge of the overall administration of China’s armed forces
♦ Units – 15 functional sections

Sony India announced Sunil Nayyar is appointed as its Managing Director (MD) in place of Kenichiro Hibi
On 19th March 2018, Sony India announced the appointment of Sunil Nayyar as its Managing Director (MD).
Sunil Nayyar – Managing Director (MD) of Sony India:
i. Sunil Nayyar replaces Kenichiro Hibi as MD of Sony India. Kenichiro Hibi has been made the President for Sony Brazil.
ii. Sunil Nayyar currently serves as head of Retail Experience in Sony North America. Earlier, he was Sales Head from 2006 to 2015. He joined Sony in 1995.
About Sony:
♦ Founded – 1946
♦ Headquarters – Tokyo, Japan

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi promoted as State Councillor
On 19th March 2018, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was promoted as State Councillor.
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi promoted as State Councillor:
i. Wang Yi is 65 years old. He will also continue as Foreign Minister of China.
ii. In China, State Councillor is ranked higher than Foreign Minister. Wang Yi replaces Yang Jiechi.
iii. Wang Yi has worked as China’s Vice Foreign Minister, China’s Ambassador to Japan and Director of the Taiwan Affairs Office. He became Foreign Minister in 2013.
About China:
♦ Capital – Beijing
♦ Official language – Standard Chinese

Aamir Khan replaces Ranveer Singh as Vivo India’s Brand Ambassador
On 19th March 2018, Vivo announced the appointment of actor Aamir Khan as its brand ambassador for India.Aamir Khan replaces Ranveer Singh as Vivo India's Brand AmbassadorAamir Khan – Vivo India’s Brand Ambassador:
i. Aamir Khan replaces actor Ranveer Singh as Vivo India’s Brand Ambassador. Ranveer Singh had been the brand ambassador for the past two years.
ii. Aamir Khan has been signed for future brand and product communication initiatives of Vivo India. He will be involved in a full-fledged marketing campaign and a new TV commercial soon.
About Vivo:
♦ Founded – 2009
♦ Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Vivo India – Kenny Zeng

Ashraf Sehrai replaces Syed Shah Geelani as Tehreek-e-Hurriyat chairman
On 19th March 2018, Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai was appointed the new chairman of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat.
Ashraf Sehrai replaces Syed Shah Geelani as Tehreek-e-Hurriyat chairman:
i. On 19th March 2018, Syed Ali Geelani resigned as chairman of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat. The decision to appoint Ashraf Sehrai as chairman of the party was taken in its advisory board meeting.
ii. Ashraf Sehrai was the general secretary of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat till now. Syed Ali Geelani and Ashraf Sehrai are among the founding members of the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat.
Some wildlife sanctuaries in Jammu & Kashmir:
♦ Hirpora Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Karakoram Wildlife Sanctuary


Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath launched an anti-graft portal
On March 19, 2018, Bharatya Janata Party (BJP) Government in Uttar Pradesh under Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath completed one year in office and on this occasion, UP CM Yogi Adityanath launched an anti-graft portal.
UP State Government’s anti-graft portal:
i. The portal is aimed at taking action against any official who is involved in corruption or is encouraging it at any level.
ii. Action will be taken based on a video or any other evidence uploaded through the portal.
iii. The portal was launched in presence of Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik, Deputy Chief Ministers Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma.
iv. A grand cultural programme was held to mark one year of UP CM Yogi Adityanath’s Government in office and a multi-colour booklet titled ‘Ek Saal – Nayee Misaal’ with the punchline ‘Huaa Vikaas – Badha Vishwaas’ was unveiled.
v. Besides, Cm Adityanath announced that his government will soon come up with four lakh jobs in as many as 64 departments.
Quick Facts about Uttar Pradesh:
♦ Capital – Lucknow
♦ Current Governor – Ram Naik
♦ Current Chief Minister – Yogi Adityanath
♦ Important National Park – Dudhwa National Park

Delhi govt launches app ‘Delhi’s Date with Democracy’ to scout singing, dancing talent
On March 19, 2018, Delhi Government launched ‘Delhi’s Date with Democracy’, a mobile application that will serve as a platform for aspiring singers and dancers in the city to showcase their talent on a big stage.Delhi govt launches app 'Delhi's Date with Democracy' to scout singing, dancing talentAbout ‘Delhi’s Date with Democracy’:
i. ‘Delhi’s Date with Democracy’ is an initiative of Delhi Government’s department of art, culture and languages.
ii. Sahitya Kala Parishad and Delhi Kalyan Samiti have collaborated with the Delhi Government for this initiative
iii. Firstly, the candidates would be selected online, through the application and then competitions would be held at various venues, from ward-level to the grand finale at the city level.
iv. There is no age limit to participate. Interested candidates can apply under two broad categories viz. singing (solo) and dancing (solo or group).
v. Winners of the grand finale would get a chance to sing and dance with famous singers and dancers.


Indian Wells 2018 – Complete List of Winners
On 5th to 18th March 2018, the Indian Wells Masters was held in Indian Wells, California, United States.
Indian Wells 2018:
i. The Indian Wells 2018 is also known as the 2018 BNP Paribas Open. The complete list of winners is given below:

Men’s SinglesJuan Martin Del Potro (Argentina)Roger Federer (Switzerland)
Women’s SinglesNaomi Osaka (Japan)Daria Kasatkina (Russia)
Men’s DoublesJohn Isner (United States)
Jack Sock (United States)
Bob Bryan (United States)
Mike Bryan (United States)
Women’s DoublesHsieh Su-wei (Chinese Taipei)
Barbora Strycova (Czech Republic)
Ekaterina Makarova (Russia)
Elena Vesnina (Russia)

About BNP Paribas:
♦ CEO & Director – Jean-Laurent Bonnafé
♦ Chairman – Jean Lemierre

India clinches Nidahas Trophy 2018
On 18th March 2018, India won the Nidahas Trophy at the R Premadasa Stadium, in Colombo, Sri Lanka.India clinches Nidahas Trophy 2018:
i. India beat Bangladesh in the finals by four wickets. Dinesh Karthik was named Man of the Match.
ii. India won the toss and chose to field first. Indian team restricted Bangladesh team to 166 runs with eight wickets loss
About Nidahas Trophy 2018:
♦ Dates – 6–18 March 2018
♦ Location – Sri Lanka