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Current Affairs Today – March 24 2017

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Current Affairs Today March 24 2017


MHA Issues Advisory for Compliance of ‘Flag Code of India, 2002’
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued an advisory on March 22, 2017 to the chief secretaries, administrators of all state governments, UT administrations and secretaries of all ministries to ensure strict compliance of the provisions contained in the ‘Flag Code of India, 2002’ and ‘The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971’.
Key Features of Advisory
i. The advisory directs to carry out mass awareness programmes and also wide publicity through advertisements in both the electronic and print media for compliance.
ii. It states that National Flag represents hopes and aspirations of the people of the country and, therefore, should occupy a position of honour.
iii. According to the advisory, the National Flags made of plastic are being used in place of paper flags which are not decomposable. So steps should be taken for proper disposal of these flags after event to maintain the dignity of the flag instead of throwing them everywhere.
iv. For this, wide publicity for not using the National Flag made of plastic, should be made along with its advertisement in the electronic and print media.
v. Besides, it directs to ensure that on important national, cultural and sports events, Flags made of paper are only used by public in terms of the provisions of the ‘Flag Code of India, 2002’ and such paper Flags are not discarded or thrown on the ground after the event.
v. Such Flags should be disposed off in private to maintain the dignity of the Flag.

18th edition of Asia’s largest convention on the business of media and entertainment “FICCI Frames-2017”
i. The three day 18th edition of FICCI Frames was inaugurated by Bollywood actor Jacqueline Fernandez in the presence of Union Information and Broadcasting Secretary Ajay Mittal on March 21, 2017 in Mumbai.18th edition of Asia’s largest convention on the business of media and entertainment “FICCI Frames-2017”
ii. Theme: ‘Digital: Divide or dividend’
iii. The annual Conference of Media and Entertainment Industry is one of the largest conference in Asia
What is FICCI :
♦ FICCI is the largest and oldest apex business organisation in India.
♦ It is a non-government, not-for-profit organisation and established in 1927.

23rd Conference of Auditors General of Commonwealth Countries and British Overseas Territories held in New Delhi
i. For the first time India host the three day Conference of Auditors General(CAG) of Commonwealth Countries and British Overseas Territories from March 21-23, 2017 in New Delhi.
ii. Theme: “Fostering Partnerships for Capacity Development in Public Audit
iii. An Auditors General of Tanzania and Canada held discussion with two sub-themes -Leveraging Technology in Public Audit, and Environment Audit: A Commonwealth Perspective.
iv. Participants : 52 Commonwealth Countries and 9 British Overseas Territories, few most developed countries of the world, Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
v. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley participated in the conference on March 22, 2017.
About the conference
♦ This conference is organized every three years to discuss the major challenges and problems
♦ 22nd Conference of Auditors General of Commonwealth Countries and British Overseas Territories was held in Malta in 2014.

Meghalaya Assembly Passed Rs 13,048 crore Budget for 2017-18
The Chief Minister of Meghalaya Mukul Sangma, who also holds the finance portfolio, presented Rs 13,048 crore annual budget for the year 2017-18 in the state Assembly on March 24, 2017.
♦ Like other states, Meghalaya Budget has also done away with the Plan and Non-Plan expenditure to comply with the budgetary framework of the Union Government.
Key Estimates of Budget
i. Total Expenditure: Rs 12,873 crore (including repayment of loans for Rs. 335 crore)
ii. Capital Expenditure: Rs 2,225 crore
iii. Revenue Expenditure: Rs 10,648 crore
iv. Fiscal Deficit: Rs 1,236 crore (3.8 per cent of the states Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP)
v. Revenue Receipt: Rs 2,072 crore
vi. State’s own tax revenue: Rs 1,559 crore
Meghalaya Assembly Passes Deficit Budgetvii. State’s own non-tax revenue: Rs 513 crore
Development Plan Outlay
i. Education: Rs 909.94 crore
ii. Rural Development: Rs 1731.57 crore
iii. Road and Bridges: Rs 712.8 crore
iv. Health and Family Welfare: Rs 420.93 crore
v. Infrastructure: Rs 712.80 crore
vi. Agriculture and Horticulture: Rs 285.94 crore
vii. Information and Public Relations: Rs 9.80 crore
viii. Interest Payment: Rs 589 crore and Pensions: Rs 730 crore.
New Scheme
♦ The Chief Minister has proposed to constitute a Meghalaya Media Society to look into the welfare of journalists.
♦ Besides, he also proposed a new scheme to provide accommodation facility for the senior accredited journalists of the state.

CBDT Constitutes Committee to Check Absconding I-T Dept Officers
i. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has constituted a 3 member committee on March 20, 2017 to identify those Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officers and other junior-rank officers of the Income Tax department who are on unauthorised leave or are absconding, so that strict disciplinary action could be initiated against them.
ii. The committee is headed by an officer of the rank of Additional Director General (ADG) and will carry out a one-time count of all the officers working in the department and identify the Group ‘A’ IRS officers who are presently on unauthorized leave or are absconding.
iii. The Committee is authorised to obtain information or certificate from controlling officers regarding any IRS officer found to be absconding or on unauthorised leave to find out whether such officers are still in service and/or on authorised leave and what action has been initiated against these officers.
iv. The committee has been directed to submit the report within 2 months to the CBDT Board after which it will initiate strict disciplinary action as prescribed under service rules.
v. The CBDT has also asked all the regional chiefs to conduct a similar exercise in respect of the Group ‘B’ and ‘C’ officials of the tax department.


SBI Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya Ranks 26 in Fortune’s World’s 50 Greatest Leaders 2017
i. Fortune Magazine released their fourth annual ranking of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders 2017 on March 23, 2017.
ii. State Bank of India’s Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya has been ranked 26 among 50 leaders while Indian-origin physician Raj Panjabi, founder and CEO of Last Mile Health, have been placed at 28th position.
Top 5 :

1Theo EpsteinPresident of Baseball Operations at Chicago Cubs
2Jack MaAlibaba Group Executive Chairman
3Pope FrancisFirst Latin American pope
4Melinda GatesBill & Melinda Gates Foundation Co-chair
5Jeff BezosAmazon Founder and CEO

Taliban captures crucial southern Afganistan city Sangin
i. Sangin town in Helmand province of Afghanistan has been captured by the Taliban group after a year-long battle with the Afghanistan Force. The officials have confirmed that the forces have been withdrawn from the area and Sangin is now in militant hands.
ii. In the year 2013 the Nato-led troops handed over the security responsibility to Afghan security forces. Since then many members of the force lost their lives defending the district.
iii. The Taliban insurgents were given way into the district by a guard at a security checkpoint located on the Kunduz-Kabul highway. Using this route the insurgents took weapons and ammunition with them.
iv. Already a major part of Helmand is under the control of Taliban. But capture of Sangin shows the lack of efficiency of Afghan Force. There are two possibilities for the future of Taliban captures crucial southern Afganistan city SanginSangin. First is that Afghan Force with the support of US troop will try to recapture Sangin. Second is that Afghan government will leave Sangin in the hands of Taliban as they have done with few other places.
♦ Capital: Kabul
♦ Currency: Afghan afghani
♦ President: Ashraf Ghani


World Bank Signs USD 100 million Credit Agreement with Centre & Uttarakhand
i .The World Bank signed US dollar 100 million credit agreement with the Centre and the state government of Uttarakhand on March 23, 2017 in New Delhi to improve quality of health care services in all 13 districts of the state.
ii .The aim of the agreement is to make available affordable, quality health care to all citizens and also reduce the financial risk for its citizens.
iii. The agreement was signed between Joint Secretary in Ministry of Finance Raj Kumar on behalf of the Centre, Additional Secretary Health and Project Director for the Uttarakhand Health Systems Development Project Neeraj Kharwal on behalf of Uttarakhand and World Bank India Operations Manager and Acting Country Director Hisham Abdo Kahin on behalf of the World Bank.
♦ The public health facility in Uttarakhand is unable to function optimally or at the required level of quality because of large-scale vacancies of health staff. The deployment and retention of employees in health service in such geographically remote areas has proven to be extremely difficult.
World Bank
♦ The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to countries of the world for capital programs.
♦ Headquarters: Washington, D.C., United States
♦ CEO: Kristalina Georgieva
♦ Founded: 1944

Tata Capital Launches Mobile App To Offer Personal Loans
i. The Financial services company Tata Capital has launched a mobile application ‘myLoanTata Capital Launches Mobile App To Offer Personal Loansto offer personal loans to young and mobile savvy audience.
ii. The maximum limit of the loan is Rs.13 lakh.
iii. The app is a social profile like Facebook and Linkedin based personal loan mobile application.
iv. It will make a real-time assessment of the borrower’s loan application through an algorithm, using a mix of digital, social and financial data.
v. It will uses information such as location, utility bill payment history and social data like employment history and interests.

Office of the Insurance Ombudsman, Delhi Receives ISO 9001:2015 (QMS) Certification
The Office of the Insurance Ombudsman, Delhi was awarded ISO 9001:2015 certification by Standardisation, Testing and Quality Certification (STOC), under Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, for Quality Management Standard (QMS) on March 24, 2017 in New Delhi.
♦ There are total 17 offices of the Insurance Ombudsman across the country, out of which the Delhi office of Insurance Ombudsman is the first office to get the distinction of being certified as ISO 9001: 2015 office.
About ISO Certification
♦ An ISO certification is conferred based on quality services, including strong customer focus, motivation, continual improvement and review.
♦ ISO 9001:2015 Certification is the model for quality assurance and symbolize that the Delhi office focuses on customer satisfaction, process approach, conforming to regulatory requirements and active involvements of all the stake holders.
About Office of the Insurance Ombudsman, Delhi
i. The Insurance Ombudsman institution was created by Government of India for individual policyholders for settlement of their complaints against Insurance Companies in a cost-effective, efficient and impartial manner.
ii. The office of Insurance Ombudsman, Delhi was the first Ombudsman Office established on November 11, 1999 under Redressal of Public Grievances, 1998, to deal with consumer complaints and disputes of individual policyholders being serviced by various insurance companies serving in General Insurance business and Life Insurance business in the country.
iii. The Delhi Office of Insurance Ombudsman has received more than 1820 complaints during the current FY till 15.03.2017 and out of which 1742 had been disposed off till date and as on 28.02.2017 a total of 27926 complaints have been received out of which 24140 complaints have been disposed off.


BHEL commissions 250 mw plant in Assam
i. New Delhi based Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) has commissioned a 250 MW coal-based thermal power unit at North East’s largest coal based power plant Bongaigaon Thermal Power Station (TPS) in Assam on March 23, 2017
ii. BHEL is the contractor of main plant of Bongaigaon Thermal Power Station which
iii. This power station has been set up after demolishing an old power station of Assam State Electricity Board.


Six Indian-Americans Named for 2017 Ellis Island Medal of Honour
Six Indian-Americans individuals have been nominated among a total of 88 recipients for the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honour 2017, the highest civilin award in the US for immigrants.
♦ Besides, a Pakistani-American Dr Adil Haider has also been named for the prestigious award.
♦ The 2017 recipients will be honored on May 13, 2017 at an event on Ellis Island in New York.
List of Indian-American Winners
i. Indra Nooyi: Nooyi has been the CEO at PepsiCo since 2006 and chairman since 2007
ii. Fareed Zakaria: Zakaria is the host of CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” as well as a columnist for The Washington Post.
iii. Dinesh Paliwal: Paliwal has served as the president and CEO at Harman International Industries since July 2007 and later became the chairman in 2008.
iv. Dr Annapoorna S Kini: She is an American cardiologist and a Professor of Cardiology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.
v. Yashvant Patel
vi. Mohan H Patel
About Ellis Island Medal of Honour
♦ The Ellis Island Medal of Honour was founded by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organisations (NECO) and are given annually since 1986.
♦ The award has been recognized as one of the nation’s most prestigious awards.
♦ It is given to individuals whose accomplishments in their field and service to the country are cause for celebration

Raghu Rai honoured with Lifetime Achievement at the National Photography Awards
i. Indian photographer and photojournalist Raghu Rai has conferred with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting  M. Venkaiah Naidu at 6th National Photography Awards.
ii. Rai was honoured for his remarkable contribution in the field of photography.Raghu Rai honoured with Lifetime Achievement at the National Photography Awards
iii. Along with Rai,  K.K. Mustafah, Atul Choubey, Dipayan Bhar and Ravinder Kumar were also felicitated at the award events.
About Raghu Rai :
♦ Rai has been a photographer for over 50 years. He also served on the jury of World Press Photo and UNESCO’s International Photo Contest.
♦ He received Padma Shri award in 1972 and Photographer of the Year award by the US in 1992.
♦ He is well known for his book Raghu Rai’s India: Reflections in Colour and Reflections in Black and White, Rai has 18 titles in his kitty including Raghu Rai’s Delhi, The Sikhs and Calcutta.


RBI okays appointment of T S Anantharaman as part-time chairman
i. T S Anantharaman can hold the position of part-time Chairman of Catholic Syrian Bank said by Reserve Bank of India(RBI)on March 23, 2017
ii. Anantharaman has been working as the position of Non-Executive Director of Catholic Syrian Bank since August, 2009.
iii. Currently he was the President of Chamber of Commerce, Thrissur, Thrissur Management Association and a number of other institutions.
iv. He also served with United Nations for seven years.
Catholic Syrian Bank :
♦ CEO: Anand Krishnamurthy
♦ Headquarters: Thrissur
♦ Motto: Support all the way


The World’s Largest Artificial Sun Sets Up in Germany
i. Every day, a huge amount of energy hits the Earth in the form of light from our Sun and though we already have ways to harness the Sun’s energy, such as through solar panels still much of it still remains untapped.
ii. Therefore, to harness the wasted energy, the scientists in Germany has come up with “Synlight” Experiment to tests ways to make carbon-free fuel.
iii. Aim: To come up with the optimal setup for concentrating natural sunlight to power a reaction to produce hydrogen fuel.
iv. Scientists at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) have designed Synlight which they call as the “world’s largest artificial sun” at Julich, a town located 30 kilometers (19 miles) west of Cologne in Germany  to produce hydrogen in a carbon-neutral way so as to use them as fuel in cars and airplanes.

Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan Launches MoPNG e Seva
i. The Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan launched MoPNG e-Seva, a dedicated grievances redressal platform across Social Media on March 24, 2017.
ii. The MOPNG e-Seva is an integrated grievances redressal platform to address all queries
and grievances relating to Oil and Gas Sector via social media.
iii. The portal will act as a single point interface for all customers to reach out to the government for addressing their feedback or grievances.
iv .Initially the portal will work to address the grievance through Twitter and Facebook and Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan Launches MoPNG e Sevaeventually other social media platforms would be added.
v. Further, it will also deliver 24 x 7 support for consumers. The grievance redress mechanism will aim at addressing complaints within 48 hours.
A team of Nodal Officers from Oil Companies and Allied Services have also been formed to address issues on real-time basis.
vii. The portal will be largely targeted towards addressing grievances of consumers of oil marketing companies and city gas distribution companies.


Bengaluru gets India’s first vertical garden
i. First vertical garden of India has setup at the Hosur Road Electronics City Flyover in Bengaluru to control the pollution level of the city.It will also act as a sound proofing barrier.
ii. The garden is an initiative of SayTrees which is an NGO having ordinary citizens as its members who are determined to protect nature.
iii. The vertical garden is designed in such a way that a pillar of the flyover is covered with the garden flaunting lovely saplings that are organic and refreshing. E The garden has an automatic drip irrigation system allowing the plants to get 100 milliliters of water on a daily basis.
iv. The world’s first vertical gardens were setup in China .


Srinagar’s Bakshi Stadium Set to Develop into World Class Footaball Facility as per FIFA norms
The Bakshi Stadium in Srinagar will soon be transformed into modern football stadium as per the norms of the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). The estimated cost for developing of the stadium is Rs 48 crore
♦ The announcement regarding the transformation of the stadium was made by Baseer Ahmad Khan, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir during a meeting held to discuss the State Sports Council activities.
♦ Among other, Divisional Sports Officer, Deputy Director Planning, District Officers from Sports Council also attended the meeting.
Key Highlights
i. Bakshi stadium will be developed according to the FIFA norms within 12 working months.
ii. The stadium will have flood lights, six entry and exit points, modern pavilion, food court and other state of art facilities.
iii. Council are also advised to involve private clubs for hosting games like billiards, snooker, basketball etc at Indoor stadium to generate income generation.
iv. Besides, authorities have been asked to hold regular meetings with all district officers for resumption of sports (indoor and outdoor) activities across the valley.
v. The Division Commissioner (DC) has directed the officers of Sports Council to formulate sports activities for the whole year and encourage greater participation of people in these programmes.
vi. Besides DC has also asked them for expediting work so that it can be completed in a time-bound manner.
♦ President: Gianni Infantino
♦ Headquarters: Zürich, Switzerland
♦ Founded: 21 May 1904


Noted Tamil litterateur Thiagarajan popularly known as Asokamitran passes away
Noted Tamil litterateur and Sahitya Akademi winner Thiagarajan passed away in Chennai on March 23, 2017. He was 85.
♦ He is known by his pen name, Asokamitran .
About Asokamitran :
i. Secunderabad born Asokamitran is well known novelist and essayist of Tamil and English Noted Tamil litterateur Thiagarajan popularly known as Asokamitran passes awaylanguages.
ii. He penned nearly eight novels, 20 novellas, hundreds of short stories, commentaries on a wide range of issues, and profiles of personalities.
iii. “18-vadhu Atchakkodu”, translated into English as “The Eighteenth Parallel“, is one of his highly acclaimed novels.
iv. He won  Sahitya Akademi Award in 1996 for his work  “Appavin Snegithargal
v. He was given the Tiru Vi Ka Award in 2014 for his contribution to Tamil literature by late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.


Coffee Table Book titled “50 Years – The Great Indian Milk Revolution” launched
i. The Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Radha Mohan Singh has launched the book titled “50 Years – The Great Indian Milk Revolution” to commemorate National Dairy Development Board’s (NDDB) Golden Jubilee year on March 23, 2017.
ii. This book suumarize NDDB’s remarkable 50-year journey and the value it has created for millions of dairy farmers in this country.
iii. It also highlights the Dairy Board’s efforts towards bringing about socio-economic change in rural India.
♦ Founded: 1965
♦ Headquarters: Anand, Gujarat


World Tuberculosis Day – March 24, 2017
i. Every year World Tuberculosis Day is observed on March 24 across the world  to commemorates the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch astounded the scientific community by announcing that he had discovered the cause of tuberculosis, the TB bacillus.
ii. Aim : To create awareness and support world-wide efforts to eliminate tuberculosis (TB).
World Tuberculosis Day2017 Theme: Unite to End TB
iii. WHO Report on Tuberculosis:
♦ WHO data shows India has the most number of TB cases among the six countries that account for 60 per cent of total cases worldwide.
♦ Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa rank after India.
♦ India among other countries in the South East Asian Region, which bear half of the global tuberculosis burden, signed a call for action and pledged to scale up measures to end the disease by 2030.
iv. What is TB?
♦ Tuberculosis is caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis bacterium that most often begins by affecting the lungs and can then spread to other body parts
♦ BCG, or bacille Calmette-Guerin, is a vaccine for tuberculosis (TB) disease.