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Kerala’s Capital Thiruvananthapuram Ranks Best City in Urban Governance Survey
i. According to the fourth edition of the Annual Survey of India’s City Systems 2016 by Bengaluru-based advocacy group Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala has been ranked as the top Indian city to manage urban governance.
ii. Thiruvananthapuram which also ranked No. 1 in 2015 was evaluated against 21 major cities across 18 states of India.
Top 3 Cities in the List
Kerala Tops Among All Other States In GST Registration
i. Kerala has achieved the maximum number of enrollment and registrations under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime when compared to other states of India.The state has recorded nearly 60 percent registration of an estimated 2.5 lakh traders in Kerala migrating to the new platform.
ii. As per the statistics by the taxation department of the state, the outstanding performance by the state is even more significant since the these registrations are complete in all respects, including the crucial provision of digital signatures
iii. A business entity that is currently registered under any of the existing tax regimes is compulsorily required to enroll under GST law irrespective of the threshold limits.
iv. The existing threshold limit specified by the GST council is 20 lakhs for all the states except for North Eastern States where the limit is 10 lakhs.
100 districts in India Declared ODF under Swachh Bharat Mission
i. The Union Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar has informed that the number of ODF (Open Defecation Free) districts in India has crossed 100, making it a milestone achievement under the Swachh Bharat Mission.
ii. Besides, over 1.7 lakh villages over the country has also become ODF.
iii. Shri O.P Dhankar, Haryana Minister for Development & Panchayats, and Agriculture declared that Haryana will become an ODF State by November 2017.
iv. The announcement was made during the launch of the week-long Swachh Shakti Saptah in Gurugram, Haryana on March 1, 2017 by Shri Tomar to highlight the role of women in Swachh Bharat Mission and to recognize their leadership.
v. Deputy Commissioners of 11 ODF districts of Haryana were honoured on the occasion.
vi. The week long programme would conclude on March 8, 2017 with a mega-event in Gujarat named Swachh Shakti 2017 where the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will address 6000 women sarpanches and honour them for their contribution to Swachh Bharat.
Ministry of Women & Child Development Observes Swachhta Pakhwada Throughout India
i. The Ministry of Women & Child Development is observing the Swachhta Pakhwada from March 1, 2017 to March 15, 2017 and raise awareness about Swachh Bharat Abhiyan among women and children.
ii. Aim: The Swachhta Pakhwada is observed by various Ministries of Government of India to achieve the goal of universal sanitation, hygiene and ‘open defecation free’ India by 2019.
iii. During the course of the progamme, various activities would be conducted throughout the country through the wide network of Anganwadi Centres (AWCs).
iv. Senior officials from the Ministry and associated organisations travel across the country on these days and conduct activities such as Swachhta Pledge, slogan writing and poster making competition, street play, demonstration and sessions on health, hygiene and sanitation for children, waste management etc.
v. Special programmes for girl child under Beti Bachao Beti Padhao would be undertaken. Officers would make visits to childcare institutions, One Stop Centres, Swadhar Grehs and Ujjawala Homes to check on cleanliness and raise awareness about the need for clean India.
Ministry of Women & Child Development
♦ Headquarters: Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi
♦ Cabinet Minister: Maneka Gandhi
♦ Minister of State: Krishna Raj
Madhya Pradesh Presents 2017-18 Budget, Announces Deendayal Rasoi Yojna for Poor
The Madhya Pradesh Finance Minister Jayant Malaiya presented Rs.1,85,564.27 crore Budget for 2017-2018 in the state Assembly on March 1, 2017.
♦ The minister estimated the net expenditure to be Rs 1,69,954.46 crore with a revenue surplus of Rs 4596.40 crore for 2017-18.
♦ The Government has proposed to raise VAT on aviation turbine fuel (ATF) sold for fuelling at Indore and Bhopal airports from 4 percent to 25 percent. However, VAT on ATF sold at Gwalior, Jabalpur and Khajuraho airports remained at 4 percent while the jet fuel will be 1 percent at the remaining airstrips.
Deendayal Rasoi Yojna
i. The Minister announced Deendayal Rasoi Yojna and allocated a sum of Rs 10 crore for creating necessary infrastructure to implement the scheme in order to provide food at subsided rate to the poor in urban areas.
ii. The Year 2017 is the birth centenary year of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya and will be celebrated as ‘Garib Kalyan Varsh’.
iii .To mark the occasion, ‘Deendayal Rasoi Yojna’ is being launched in selected urban areas of the state.
iv. The state Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced to provide the meal to the poor for Rs 5 initially in four major listed cities.
v. The funds for the scheme will be arranged through the donations received from corporate sector under Corporate Social Responsibility.
i. Education: Rs 19,872.89 crore
ii. Energy Sector: Rs 16801.62 crore
iii .Rural Development: Rs 14387.50 crore
iv .Urban Development: Rs 11489.03 crore
v. Public Works Department: Rs 8576.17 crore
vi. Pension to unemployed widows: Rs 1,501 crore
vii. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan; Rs. 600 crore
viii. Subsidy to MP residents for pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar hiked from Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000.
ix. An amount of Rs 102-crore was allocated for the plantation and horticulture work on the banks of river Narmada.
x. Rs 10 crore was allocated for setting up a ‘Vedant Peeth’ at Omkareshwar as a mark of respect to Adiguru Shankaracharya.
xi .In addition, a ‘Vir Bharat Nyas’ will be set up with an initial provision of Rs 9 crore to preserve the memories of martyrs.
xii. In an effort to improve e-governance infrastructure, Rs 25 crore was assigned for the
expansion of state data centre.
Centre Approves Rs 756 cr scheme for Treating Cataract Patients
i. The Union Health Minister J P Nadda has announced that an amount of Rs. 756 crore has been approved by the government under a scheme for the treatment of 786 lakh cataract patients over the period of 5 years.
ii. The aim of the scheme is to eradicate the blindness among people due to cataract by 2022. The scheme is a part of the National Blindness Control Programme.
iii. Under the scheme the government would provide Rs. 2000 financial assistance for each cataract operation which would include the cost of lenses as well.
iv. Besides, a mobile application will also be developed to bring the government, private doctors, clinics and NGOs together for monitoring the move.
What is Cataract?
♦ A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye which leads to a decrease in vision. Cataracts often develop slowly and can affect one or both eyes. Symptoms may include faded colors, blurry vision, halos around light, trouble with bright lights, and trouble seeing at night.
NMCG Signs MoU with Rotary India for the Success of Namami Gange
i. The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) under Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has signed an MoU with Rotary India in New Delhi on March 1, 2017.
ii. Aim: To make Namami Gange programme a mass movement through the involvement of more and more voluntary organizations.
iii. The MoU was signed by Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga Shri UP Singh and Vice Chairman of Rotary India Shri PT Prabhakar. The MoU shall remain in force for two years.
iv. Rotary India will support clean Ganga mission through their ‘WASH in Schools’ program in various schools.
v. WASH in Schools programme is an initiative of Rotary India to be undertaken in 20,000 targeted Government Schools located along the river Ganga in various states for improving awareness on sanitation by emphasizing the need of practicing positive health behaviors.
vi. Rotary India would undertake activities and campaigns to create awareness in schools and communities about Ganga rejuvenation and hence make effort on reducing the pollution flowing into the river.
♦ The Rotary Foundation (India) is a non-profit corporation that supports the efforts of Rotary International to achieve world understanding and peace through international humanitarian, educational, and cultural exchange programs.
♦ Rotary International is an international service organization that aims to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian services encourage high ethical standards and advance goodwill and peace around the world.
PM Modi addresses International Yoga Festival
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed International Yoga Festival in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand via Video Conferencing and voiced that there is ample substantiation that practicing ancient yoga to keep the fight against stress and life-style related issues.
ii. The PM asserted that Yuga instils togetherness & harmony through Yoga and termed perfect way to achieve not only a healthy body, as well as produces disciplines among people and has the strength to combat climate change.
iii. The PM also went on to emphasize that Indian tradition not only puts on cleanliness of individuals but also on his surroundings.
Ukraine region to use Russian ruble as currency
i. Ukraine’s self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic, state in eastern Ukraine, will use the Russian ruble as its official currency, along with the Ukrainian Hryvnia.
ii. The Russian ruble is already being used in pro-Russian territory which serves to stabilise the volatile economic situation in the region.
iii. The Luhansk’s central bank will announce the value of the ruble against the US dollar, euro, and hryvnia in the near future.
♦ Capital: Kiev
♦ Currency: Ukrainian hryvnia
♦ Central Bank: National Bank of Ukraine
BANKING & FINANCE
HDFC, ICICI, Axis to charge Rs 150 after 4 free transactions
i. India’s leading private banks including HDFC Bank, ICICI, and Axis they will charge a minimum of Rs 150 per transaction for cash deposits and withdrawals at bank branches beyond four free transactions in a month.
ii. The new charges aimed at reducing cash transactions at banks at the rate of Rs 5 for every Rs 1,000 transacted or Rs 150, whichever is higher.
iii. However there is no change in the transaction fee at ATMs and the charge changes would apply to savings as well as salary accounts with immediate effect.
iv. These Private lenders also mentioned in that basic no-frills accounts, maximum four cash withdrawals would continue to remain free and there would be no fees for cash deposits.
HDFC Life Partners with ET Money to Launch Data-Led Policy
i. Long-term life insurance provider HDFC Life has launched of an exclusive Data-Led Group Term Insurance Plan in partnership with personal finance app“ET Money” of Times Internet on February 27, 2017.
ii .The plan offered as ET Money benefit is first such term insurance plan which is based on the spend pattern of the users and can be exclusively availed by 1 million users of the ET MONEY app.
iii. The plan has been developed keeping in mind the first-time insurance buyers. The partnership will simplify the policy buying process by eliminating all paperwork, medical tests, income requirements and manual intervention.
iv. The group term life insurance coverage ranges from Rs 25-50 lakh and users can also save upto 30% of the premium paid as a tax benefit under section 80C of the Income Tax Act.
v. The term insurance plan can be bought from the ETMoney app available on Android playstore
About ET MONEY
♦ ET MONEY is a powerful money manager app that helps user in managing their personal finances.
♦ It provides multiple tools such as Automatic Expense Manager, Complete Investing Solution, Bills Calendar, Personalized Offers Curator, etc.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
INHS ASVINI Mumbai Receives Raksha Mantri’s Trophy for Best Service Hospital in the AFMS
i. INHS Asvini, Mumbai was conferred with the Raksha Mantri’s Trophy and Citation for the best Service Hospital in the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) for the year 2016 on March 2, 2017 by Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar.
ii .The minister presented the award to Surgeon Rear Admiral Ravi Kalra, Commandant of INHS Asvini Mumbai on behalf of the Hospital.
iii. Besides, the Command Hospital (Southern Command) Pune and Command Hospital (Northern Command) Udhampur were jointly adjudged the second best Service Hospitals.
iv. Maj General R Grewal, Commandant, Command Hospital (Southern Command) Pune and Maj General N Naithani, Commandant, Command Hospital (Northern Command) Udhampur received the award.
Raksha Mantri’s Trophy
♦ The Raksha Mantri’s Trophy was instituted in the year 1989 to create a healthy competition among the Command Hospitals of the Army and its equivalent Hospitals in the Navy and Air Force.
JNU Bags ‘Visitor’s Award’ For Best Varsity Amid Controversies
i. New Delhi based Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has bagged the annual ‘Visitor’s Award’ for the best University in the country amid the string of controversies.
ii. The winners of Visitor’s Award for ‘Innovation’ and ‘Research’ will receive a
citation and cash award of Rs one lakh on March 6 2017 by the President of India during a function as part of the Festival of Innovations.
iii. Besides Deepak Pant from Central University of Himachal Pradesh has won the Visitor’s Award for ‘Innovation’ while the Visitor’s Award for ‘Research’ has been jointly won by Shyam Sunder from Banaras Hindu University and Niranjan Karak from Tezpur University.
iv. President Pranab Mukherjee had instituted these awards in to promote healthy competition among Central Universities and inspiring them to adopt the best practices in pursuit of excellence.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
JS Deepak named India’s next Ambassador to WTO
i. Union Telecom Secretary JS Deepak has been appointed as India’s next Ambassador to the Geneva based World Trade Organization. The new stint will be effective from this June.
ii. Deepak is IAS Officer of Uttar Pradesh Cadre 1982 batch, presently is on official visitor to the World Mobile Congress at Barcelona.
iii. The appointment comes as change over from the telecom ministry and has been made Officer on Special Duty in the commerce department.
iv. During his earlier period in the Commerce Ministry, he was India’s chief negotiator at the WTO and for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement.
♦ Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
♦ Founded: 1 January 1995
♦ Head: Roberto Azevêdo
Pakistan diplomat Sial assumes office as new Sec Gen of SAARC
i. South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has named Amjad Hussain B Sial, as secretary genera lwith immediate effect from March 1, 2017.
ii. Sial from Pakistan succeeds Nepal’s Arjun Bahadur Thapa as the Saarc secretary general who was appointed the Secretary-General in 2014.
iii. Prior to this appointment sial was Special Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad, from Pakistan Foreign Service with over 33 years of career in the diplomatic field.
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC):
♦ Establishment : 1985(in Dhaka)
♦ Headquarters: Kathmandu
ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS
Cognizant buys Japanese digital firm Brilliant Service Co
i. American multinational corporation Cognizant has pocketed a deal to acquire Japanese digital firm Brilliant Service Co for an undisclosed amount.
ii. Japan based Brilliant Service is specialized in intelligent products and solutions, digital strategy, product design and engineering, the Internet of Things, and enterprise mobility.
iii. Subsequently this acquisition will help cognizant to foster its digital transformation portfolio and capabilities to enable clients to build connected and collaborative businesses.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Navy successfully test-fires anti-ship missile from Kalvari submarine
i. The Indian navy successfully test- fired indigenously built Kalvari class submarine an anti-ship missile for the first time, which reflects further bolstering India’s naval prowess.
ii. The weapon was fired from the first vessel in the series of six Scorpene-class submarines and it successfully hit a surface target during the trial in the Arabian Sea.
iii. The Mazagon Dock Limited built under Project 75 , Kalvari which is the first in a series of Scorpene class submarines being built in India.
iv. Besides Indian Navy is among a select few nations in the world to have anti-ship missile firing capability from submarines.
Kripa Bishnoi Appointed as International Match Referee by UWW
i. Kripa Shankar Bishnoi, a former Indian wrestler has been appointed as an international match referee by United World Wrestling (UWW), the sport’s global governing body.
ii. Bishnoi joined the long list of Indian referees at the international panel after clearing the examination for the Referees’ Courses, which was held in 2016 by UWW at Dortmund, Germany.
iii. Bishnoi was selected by the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) for the annual training course for match referees conducted by the UWW.
iv. The Arjuna awardee Bishnoi is the first international match referee from Madhya Pradesh.
v. The 40-year-old had trained Bollywood star Aamir Khan and other actors for their roles in the wrestling-based film ‘Dangal’.
United World Wrestling
♦ United World Wrestling (UWW) is the international governing body for the sport of amateur wrestling. UWW is the body responsible for supervising Olympic wrestling
♦ Formation: 1912
♦ Headquarters: Lausanne, Switzerland
♦ President: Nenad Lalovic
AIFF Appoints Luis Norton de Matos New Head Coach of India U-17 Football Team
i. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) appointed Portugal’s Luis Norton de Matos as the head coach of the India U-17 World Cup team on March 1, 2017 for the forthcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017.
ii. The 63 year old De Matos will replace Nicolai Adam who was forced to resign under controversial circumstances after a revolt from the players.
iii .Portuguese De Matos had earlier coached the Portuguese sports club Benfica.
All India Football Federation (AIFF)
♦ The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is the organisation which manages the game of association football in India
♦ Founded: 23 June 1937
♦ Headquarters: Dwarka, Delhi, India
♦ President: Praful Patel
Australian cricketer Sarah Coyte announces retirement
i. Australian women cricketer Sarah Coyte has announced her retirement from all forms of cricket with immediate effect to combat mental health issues.
ii. The Former Southern Stars pace bowler pocketed whooping 100 wickets in all forms of cricket for Australia since her debut in 2010, playing 81 matches in the Test, ODI and T20I matches.
iii. The 25 year old right-armer was a member of Australia’s 2014 World T20-winning squad, getting figures of 3-16 in the final against England to be player of the match.