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INDIAN AFFAIRS

Cabinet approves Establishment of National Financial Reporting Authority
On March 1, 2018, Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the proposal for establishment of National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA). The NFRA will have a Chairperson, a Secretary and three full-time Members.
i. On March 1, 2018, Union Cabinet approved the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018 to deal with those who escape overseas after committing financial malpractices in India.
ii. As per the bill, a Fugitive Economic Offender is a person who has an arrest warrant issued in respect of a scheduled offence and who leaves or has left India so as to avoid criminal prosecution, or refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution…………………………………Click here to Read more

Tamil Nadu Government unveils 24 hour Toll Free Helpline to provide information on education
On 1st March 2018, Tamil Nadu Government announced the launch of a 24-hour helpline, claiming to be the first in India, to offer information and guidance on education to students.Tamil Nadu Government unveils 24 hour Toll Free Helpline to provide information on educationTamil Nadu Government unveils 24 hour Toll Free Helpline to provide information on education:
i. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami launched the toll free number 14417 through the 24-hour Education Guidance Centrethat has been set up at the Secretariat.
ii. The 24-hour Education Guidance Centre will provide information and guidance regarding school education. It was said that the help line was set up at a cost of Rs two crore.
iii. Tamil Nadu School Education Minister K A Sengottaiyan, Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary, Girija Vaidyanathan and few other officials were present at the occasion.
Some dams in Tamil Nadu:
♦ Amaravathi Dam – Amaravathi River
♦ Vaigai Dam – Vaigai River
♦ Mettur Dam – Cauvery River

Maharashtra government ties up with Wikipedia to promote Marathi
The Maharashtra government has partnered with Wikipedia, to spread the Marathi language and enhance its online usage.
Maharashtra & Wikipedia tie up to promote Marathi:
i. Maharashtra government made this announcement on Marathi language day (27th February 2018). It is aimed to spread the Marathi language across the world.
ii. It will also offer Marathi-speaking people a single platform to interact. It would also help to reach Maharashtrians who have migrated to the United States.
About Wikipedia:
♦ Hosted by – Wikimedia Foundation
♦ Purpose – multilingual, web-based, free-content encyclopedia project

First Mega Food Park in Maharashtra at Satara inaugurated
On 1st March 2018, M/s Satara Mega Food Park Pvt. Ltd., the first Mega Food Park in Maharashtra, was inaugurated by Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Minister of Food Processing Industries at Degaon village, Satara district of Maharashtra.First Mega Food Park in Maharashtra at Satara inauguratedSatara Mega Food Park:
i. Satara Mega Food Park is the 12th Mega Food Park put to function in India. Under the Mega Food Park Scheme, Central Government offers funds up to Rs. 50 Crore for each Mega Food Park project.
ii. Ministry of Food Processing Industries is carrying out the Mega Food Park Scheme to improve food processing sector by adding value and reducing food wastage in the supply chain.
iii. Harsimrat Kaur Badal said that, the Mega Food Park will involve an additional investment of nearly Rs. 250 crores in 25-30 food processing units in the park. It will bring a turnover of around Rs. 450-500 crore every year.
iv. The Park will offer direct and indirect employment to 5,000 persons. It will also benefit 25,000 farmers.
Some stadiums in Maharashtra:
♦ Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium
♦ Shri Chhatrapati Shivaji Stadium
♦ Rajendrasinhji Stadium

Centre approves Rs 2900 crore to make cities safer for women
On March 1, 2018, Central Government approved projects worth Rs 2919.55 crore under the ‘Nirbhaya Fund’ for eight major cities of India, in order to make them safer for women.
Projects approved from ‘Nirbhaya Fund’:
i. The projects have been approved for Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad Ahmedabad and Lucknow.
ii. In Delhi, the projects include, deploying latest technologies, such as video monitoring, facial recognition analytics and tracking of people. One of the projects which will be implemented in Mumbai is strengthening the “Police Didi” programme, under which women police personnel interact with women living in slums.
iii. More police patrol vans, video surveillance and more woman police outposts are some of the other projects that will be implemented across these eight cities.
iv. These projects were approved at a meeting of the Empowered Committee, headed by the secretary of Women and Child Development (WCD).
v. These proposals have been sanctioned for a period of three years. Cost for implementing these projects will be borne by Central and State Government in 60:40 ratio.
vi. Nirbhaya Fund was set up after the brutal gangrape and murder of a paramedical student in Delhi in 2012. It was announced in Union Budget 2013. It is a non-lapsable corpus fund dedicated to support implementation of initiatives for enhancing the safety and security for women in India.

27th Technological Conference of IJIRA held in Kolkata
On February 28, 2018, Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani attended the 27th Technological Conference of Indian Jute Industries’ Research Association (IJIRA) on Shaping the Future of Jute, in Kolkata, West Bengal.27th Technological Conference of IJIRA held in Kolkatai. While addressing the conference, Ms Irani praised (IJIRA) for developing low-cost jute-based sanitary napkins.
ii. Jute based sanitary napkins have lesser chemical content. Moreover, the manufacturing of the jute-based napkin can lead to the development of women entrepreneurs.
iii. Ms. Irani also added that potential entrepreneurs who wish to start manufacturing of these jute-based sanitary napkins can benefit from the Mudra loan scheme of the government.
Quick Facts about IJIRA:
♦ Established in – 1937
♦ Located in – Kolkata, West Bengal
♦ Current Chairman – A.K. Lohia

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

India has the third highest number of billionaires in the world – Hurun Global Rich List
As per Hurun Global Rich List 2018, India has the third highest number of billionaires in the world after China and US.
i. Hurun Global Rich List 2018 identified 131 billionaires in India. With 31 new billionaires emerging during last year, India has reclaimed its third spot, which it had lost to Germany a year ago…………………………Click here to Read more
Hurun Global Rich List 2018 – Top 5:

Rank Name Wealth Main Source of Wealth
1 Jeff Bezos USD 123 billion Amazon
2 Warren Buffet USD 102 billion Berkshire Hathaway
3 Bill Gates USD 90 billion Microsoft
4 Mark Zuckerberg USD 79 billion Facebook
5 Bernard Arnault USD 78 billion -LVMH

India, Russia, Bangladesh sign pact for Rooppur atomic plant
On March 1, 2018, India, Russia and Bangladesh signed a tripartite agreement which allows Indian firms to participate in construction and installation works in the “non-critical” category for the Rooppur nuclear power plant project in northwest Bangladesh.
More Information about India – Russia – Bangladesh pact for Rooppur atomic plant:
i. The MoU was signed in Moscow by Deputy Director General of Rosatom (Russia’s Apex civil nuclear body) Nikolay Spassky, Indian Ambassador to Russia Pankaj Saran and ambassador of Bangladesh in Russia S.M. Saiful Hoque.
ii. Rosatom is constructing two nuclear reactors (with a capacity of 1200 MW each) in Rooppur, which will be Bangaladesh’s first nuclear power project.
iii. As per the terms of the MoU, Indian companies can participate in construction and installation works, supply of materials and equipment of a non-critical category for Rooppur Atomic Plant. 
iv. Besides, the three countries will cooperate in the field of personnel training and mentoring, exchange of experience and provision of consulting support.

BANKING & FINANCE

RBI allows higher position limit for FPIs in interest rate futures
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has allowed a limit of Rs. 5000 crore for foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) to go long in Interest Rate Futures (IRFs).New Position Limits for FPIs in IRF:
i. An agreement to buy or sell a debt instrument at a specified future date, at a price that is fixed today, is referred to as Interest Rate Futures(IRFs).
ii. IRF is a derivative instrument based on an underlying security, which can either be a Government Bond or a Treasury Bill.
iii. Currently, the FPI limit for Government Securities (G-Secs) is mutually interchangeable between investments in G-Secs and investment in IRF, with long position in IRF capped at 90% of G-Sec limit.
iv. The decision to increase the position limit has been taken to further market development and to ensure that FPIs can access IRFs in an uninterrupted way.

BUSINESS

Government raises import tax on crude, refined palm oil
In a bid to support Indian farmers, Central Government has raised import tax on crude and refined palm oil to the highest level in more than a decade.
Import tax on crude, refined palm oil:
i. Import tax on crude palm oil has been raised to 44 percent from 30 percent while for refined palm oil, it has been raised to 54 percent from 40 percent 
ii. 
Higher import tax would lift oilseed prices, which would encourage domestic supply for crushing.
iii .This situation will not just help Indian farmers, but would also limit the edible oil imports in the 2017/18 marketing year, that started from November 1, 2017.
iv. In context of this news, it is important to note that India is the world’s biggest importer of edible oils. India relies on imports for 70 percent of its edible oil consumption.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Indian-American scientist Navin Vardarajan awarded grant for cancer research
Navin Vardarajan, an Indian-American scientist, along with a fellow researcher, has been granted over USD 1.1 million for cancer research.Indian-American scientist Navin Vardarajan awarded grant for cancer researchIndian-American scientist Navin Vardarajan awarded grant for cancer research:
i. Navin Vardarajan and Sanghyuk Chung of University of Houston, were granted funds by Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT).
ii. Navin Vardarajan is an associate professor of chemical and bimolecular engineering. He was granted USD 1,173,420 to improve effectiveness of T-cell immunotherapy.
iii. Sanghyuk Chung is an associate professor of biology and biochemistry. He was provided with USD 811,617 to define molecular targets for cervical cancer treatment.
About Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT):
♦ CEO – Wayne Roberts
♦ Purpose – funds pioneering cancer research and prevention programmes

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Rangarajan Raghavan appointed director & managing director of HCL Infosystems
HCL Infosystems Ltd. has appointed Rangarajan Raghavan, as its director and managing director.
Rangarajan Raghavan – director & managing director of HCL Infosystems:
i. Rangarajan Raghavan is the president of HCL Infosystems Ltd. He has been appointed director & managing director of HCL Infosystems with effect from 1st April 2018.
ii. His appointment has been made after Premkumar Seshadri resigned as the executive vice chairman and managing director of HCL Infosystems.
iii. Rangarajan Raghavan joined HCL in 1978. He has held various important positions in the company.
iv. At present he is the president of the Project and Services division of HCL Infosystems.
About HCL Infosystems Ltd.:
♦ Type – IT Services, Solutions & Distribution Company
♦ Corporate Office – Noida

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

World’s largest solar park Shakti Sthala launched in Karnataka
On 1st March 2018, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah inaugurated ‘Shakti Sthala’ a solar power park with 2,000 megawatt capacity at Pavagada in Tumakuru district of Karnataka.World's largest solar park Shakti Sthala launched in KarnatakaShakti Sthala:
i. The Shakti Sthala is built on an area of 13,000 acres. It was set up at a cost of Rs 165 billion.
ii. It generated 600 MW power as of January 2018. Additional 1,400 MW would be generated by December 2018.
iii. Karnataka Energy Minister D. K. Shivakumar said that, farmers of the Pavagada region who have leased out land for the park are partners and beneficiaries of Shakti Sthala.
iv. Around 2,300 farmers are part of this project. They have rented their lands for Rs 21,000 per acre per annum.
v.Siddaramaiah said that, Karnataka has become the third-largest producer of renewable energy in India.
Some wildlife sanctuaries in Karnataka:
♦ Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Malai Mahadeshwara Wildlife Sanctuary
♦ Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary

Bharti Defence Delivers C 162 Interceptor Boat to Coast Guard
On March 1, 2018, Bharati Defence and Infrastructure Ltd (BDIL) delivered an interceptor boat, C-162 – to Indian Coast Guard (ICG) in Mangaluru, Karnataka.
Details about interceptor boat, C-162 for Indian Coast Guard:
i.  It is the Sixth in a series of 15 high speed interceptor boats being procured by Indian Coast Guard.
ii. C-162 is to be based at ICG’s Kochi unit, where it will be used mainly for patrolling purposes.
iii .It is 28m-long and has an aluminium hull. It weighs about 60 dead-weight tonnage (DWT) and can attain speeds up to 35 knots.
iv. The vessel is propelled by two engines of 1650 KW each and can accommodate 11 crew.

SPORTS

Vinesh Phogat settles for silver at Asian Wrestling Championships
On 1st March 2018, Vinesh Phogat won silver medal in in the women’s 50kg freestyle event, at the Asian Wrestling Championships in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.Vinesh Phogat settles for silver at Asian Wrestling ChampionshipsVinesh Phogat settles for silver at Asian Wrestling Championships:
i. India’s Vinesh Phogat was defeated 2-3 by China’s Chun Lei in the finals of women’s 50kg freestyle event. She won silver medal in the women’s 50kg freestyle event.
ii. India’s Sangeeta defeated Korea’s Jieun Um in the women’s 59kg freestyle event and won a bronze medal.
iii. India’s Harpreet Singh defeated Uzbekistan’s Khashimbekov 11-3 and won a bronze medal in the 82kg Greco-Roman event.
iv. India’s Rajendra Kumar defeated Uzbekistan’s Mirakhmedov and won bronze medal in the 55kg Greco-Roman event.
About Wrestling Federation of India (WFI):
♦ President – Brijbhushan Sharan Singh
♦ Location – New Delhi

OBITUARY

Tripura Fisheries Minister Khagendra Jamatia passes away
On 2nd March 2018, Khagendra Jamatia, Tripura Fisheries and Cooperation minister, passed away after being diagnosed with blood cancer recently, at a hospital in New Delhi.
Death of Khagendra Jamatia:
i. Khagendra Jamatia was 64 years old. He was CPM candidate from the Krishnapur constituency in the assembly election held on 18th February 2018.
ii. He joined CPM in 1983. He served as a party MLA for six continuous terms. He was also a minister for two terms.
About Communist Party of India (Marxist):
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Founded – 1964

IMPORTANT DAYS

Zero Discrimination Day – March 1
On 1st March 2018, Zero Discrimination Day was observed all over the world.Zero Discrimination DayZero Discrimination Day:
i. The first Zero Discrimination Day was celebrated on 1st March 2014. UNAIDS launched the Zero Discrimination Campaign in December 2013 on World AIDS Day.
ii. Zero Discrimination Day is celebrated to stress the right of everyone to be free from discrimination.
iii. Discrimination is faced by people all over the world based on gender, sexual orientation or age, etc.
iv. Zero Discrimination Day 2018 campaign says people to ask themselves: “What if …” and assess their own actions.
About UNAIDS:
♦ Purpose – a United Nations program on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
♦ UNAIDS Executive Director – Michel Sidibé