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Indian Affairs

ISRO postpones launch of Chandrayaan-2 mission
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has announced that launch of India’s second lunar mission ‘Chandrayaan-2’, which was to be launched in April 2018, has been postponed to October 2018. 

iISRO postpones launch of Chandrayaan-2 missionChandrayaan-2 mission postponed:
i. The mission has been postponed as experts have suggested some additional tests before the launch.
ii .Chandrayaan-2 is a totally indigenous mission, under which, ISRO will for the first time attempt to land a rover on the moon’s south pole.
iii. Estimated cost of ‘Chandrayaan-2’ mission is Rs. 800 crore.
iv. Objective of this mission is to collect scientific information on lunar topography, elemental abundance, mineralogy, lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl and water-ice.
v. India’s first lunar mission Chandrayaan-1 was launched by ISRO in 2008.
Quick Facts about ISRO:
♦ Established in – 1969
♦ Headquarters – Bengaluru, Karnataka
♦ Current Chairman – Dr. K. Sivan

Chandigarh becomes North India’s 1st city to install Digital Automatic Speed Gun Cameras
Chandigarh has become North India’s 1st city to install Digital Automatic Speed Gun Cameras to check vehicles driving above the permissible speed limit.

Chandigarh becomes North India’s 1st city to install Digital Automatic Speed Gun CamerasInstallation of Digital Automatic Speed Gun Cameras in Chandigarh:
i. The cameras will record the speed of the oncoming vehicles in its vision area and issue chalan to anyone driving above the stipulated city speed limit.
ii. The chalan along with image of over speeding will be sent to vehicle owner’s residential address. 
iii. The cameras are equipped with night vision technology and can even function during night.
iv. Currently, Digital Automatic Speed Gun Cameras have been installed only on Chandigarh’s Jan Marg on trial basis. Once the trial is successful, it would be installed across the city.

Odisha inks MoU with British Council for cooperation in several areas
On March 23, 2018, Odisha State Government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the British Council for cooperation and collaboration in several areas including education, skills and culture.
Details about Odisha-British Council MoU:
i. The MoU was signed in presence of Odisha Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik and British High Commissioner in India, Dominic Asquith.
ii. As per the terms of the MoU, British Council will support Odisha State governments “Mo School” (My School) initiative by contributing to the development of English language skills for learners and teachers.
iii. Besides, Odisha State Government and British Council will collaborate in a number of fields including investment promotion, cultural exchange and sports.
iv. In context of this news, it is important to note that British Council has completed 70 years of presence in India.
Quick Facts about Odisha:
♦ Capital – Bhubaneswar
♦ Current Governor – Satya Pal Malik
♦ Current Chief Minister – Naveen Patnaik
♦ Important National Park – Bhitarkanika National Park

5th India Maize Summit held in New Delhi
On 23rd March 2018, the 5th India Maize Summit was held in Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), New Delhi.

5th India Maize Summit held in New DelhiIndia Maize Summit 2018:
i. The India Maize Summit 2018 was organized by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). The India Maize Summit has been conducted since 2013.
ii. The India Maize Summit aims to provide a common platform to all stakeholders to highlight the opportunities in maize and discuss on actions that are required to improve the market.
iii. Union Agriculture Minister, Radha Mohan Singh presented the inaugural address at the event.
About Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI):
♦ Established – 1927
♦ President – Rashesh Shah

Three Minesweepers Decommissioned By Indian Navy
Three Minesweeper ships of Indian Navy, INS Konkan, INS Cannanore and INS Cuddalore, were decommissioned in a ceremony at Naval Dockyard, Visakhapatnam on March 23, 2018.
Information about three decommissioned Minesweepers of India Navy:
i. INS Cannanore was commissioned on December 17, 1987, INS Cuddalore was commissioned on October 29, 1987 and INS Konkan was commissioned on October 8, 1988.
ii. Each of these minesweepers sailed nearly 30000 nautical miles during their operational life spanning over three decades.
iii. The decommissioning ceremony was attended by 38 Officers and nearly 500 crew members who served on board these ships.
iv. Chief of Staff, Eastern Naval Command, Vice Admiral M S Pawar was the Chief Guest on the occasion and three retired commissioning Commanding Officers of these minesweepers were the guests of honour.

Centre clears plans for IAF base close to Pakistan border in Gujarat
On March 21, 2018, Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved Indian Air Force (IAF) plan to set up a forward fighter base close to Deesa in Banaskantha district of Gujarat.
IAF Base in Deesa, Gujarat:
i. IAF’s proposal is to form a forward fighter base by converting the small Deesa airport with a 1000-metre runway, which was used for helicopter landings and VVIP movements.
ii. CCS has sanctioned Rs. 1000 crore for setting up this base, which would include extending the runway and building necessary administrative facilities.
iii. Once operational, this strategic base will plug the critical air defence gap between the Barmer (in Rajasthan) and Bhuj air bases and will thereby enhance IAF’s ability to respond swiftly in case of any hostilities in India’s western skies.
iv. This base at Deesa will be the ninth base under Gandhinagar-headquartered South Western Air Command (SWAC) which covers Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.
Quick Facts about Gujarat:
♦ Capital – Gandhinagar
♦ Current Governor – Om Prakash Kohli
♦ Current Chief Minister – Vijay Rupani
♦ Important National Park – Gir National Park

International Affairs

Indians least criminal among world’s major economies
i. As per data compiled by Institute for Criminal Policy Research, India has a significantly lower imprisonment rate and Indians are thereby the least criminal among world’s major economies.
ii. United States has the highest imprisonment rate (666) among major countries…………………………………….. Click here to Read more
Least Criminal Countries – Top 5:

Rank Country Imprisonment Rate
1 India 33
2 Japan 45
3 Germany 77
4 Italy 95
5 France 101

Total Prison Population – Top 5:

Country Total Prison Population
US 2145100
China 1649804
Brazil 672722
Russia 600262
India 419623

India among 20 nations to pledge USD 100 mn to Palestine Refugee Agency
India is among 20 nations that have pledged additional contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
India’s contribution to UNRWA:
i. At the Extraordinary Ministerial Conference held in Rome, Italy on March 15, 2018, 20 nations together pledged nearly USD 100 million  for the cause.
ii. Qatar Pledged the highest additional contribution of USD 50 million while India pledged USD 5 million.
iii. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed gratitude to the 20 nations who pledged USD 100 million for Palestinian refugees and thereby helped to cover the shortfall in donations from the United States.
iv.The shortfall was created as, Donald Trump Administration in US, announced to indefinitely withhold USD 65 million dollars contribution to UNRWA.
Quick Facts about UNRWA:
♦ Created in – 1949
♦ Supports – More than 5 million registered Palestinian refugees
♦ Parent Organisation – United Nations

US launches WTO challenge against China over intellectual property breaches
On March 23, 2018, United States (US) challenged China at World Trade Organsiation (WTO) over intellectual property breaches.

US launches WTO challenge against China over intellectual property breachesUS challenges China at WTO:
i. US has alleged that China is denying foreign patent holders (including US companies), basic patent rights that prevent Chinese entity from using the technology after a licensing contract ends.
ii. US has also accused China of violating WTO norms by imposing discriminatory contract terms against imported foreign technology.
iii. Based on these issues, US believes that China is giving unfair treatment to US companies and innovators trying to do business in China
iv. In context of this news, it is important to note that on March 22, 2018, Trump Administration in US slapped USD 60 billion imports tariff on China as a retaliatory action against the alleged theft of American intellectual property.
Quick Facts about World Trade Organisation (WTO):
♦ Formed in – 1995
♦ Task – Regulation of International Trade
♦ Headquarters – Geneva, Switzerland
♦ Current Director General – Robert Azevedo

Banking & Finance

 

Venezuela to eliminate three zeros off currency
On March 22, 2018, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro decided to remove three zeros of the Venezuelan currency Bolivar fuerte with effect from June 4, 2018.

Venezuela to eliminate three zeros off currency

i. This decision is aimed at controlling the prevailing hyperinflationary situation across Venezuela which witnessed 6147 percent price rise in last 12 months.
ii. Situation has worsened to such an extent that common people in Venezuela are struggling to pay for food and find medicines.
iii. Currently, a dozen eggs can cost 250,000 bolívars in Venezuela. As per Mr. Maduro’s plan of eliminating three zeros, this price will come down to 250 bolivars.
iv. Some economist believe that this decision of eliminating zeros from the currency will not result in to desired outcomes as it does not change the underlying value of bolivar.
v. To implement this decision, Maduro has decided to take out of circulation the current bills and put into circulation new bills, wherein highest denomination currency note will be of 500 bolivars.
Quick Facts about Venezuela:
♦ Capital – Caracas
♦ Currency – Bolivar fuerte
♦ Current President – Nicolas Maduro
♦ Important Rivers – Orinoco, Caroni

Business

Telangana slashes VAT on aviation fuel by 15%
On March 23, 2018, Telangana Industries Minister KT Rama Rao announced a reduction in Value Added Tax (VAT) on Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) to 1 per cent from 16 per cent.
i. This decision is likely to boost air traffic at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport located near Hyderabad which has completed 10 years of operations.
ii. This airport, which is operated by GMR group already handles 50% more traffic than its designed capacity.
iii. Mr. KT Rama Rao also announced Telangana State Government plans to set up a logistics hub and a dry port near the airport and transform it into a multi modal transport hud.
Quick Facts about Telangana:
♦ Capital – Hyderabad
♦ Current Governor – E.S.L. Narasimhan
♦ Current Chief Minister – K. Chandrashekar Rao
♦ Important National Park – Mrugavani National Park

Acquisitions & Mergers

Reliance Jio acquires Saavn, creates $1-billion music entity
On 23rd March 2018, Reliance Industries (RIL) announced the merger of its digital music service JioMusic with Saavn, a streaming service provider.

Reliance Jio acquires Saavn, creates $1-billion music entityJioMusic merges with Saavn:
i. The combined entity is valued at more than $1 billion. JioMusic’s valuation amounts to $670 million.
ii. RIL said that, it will invest up to the rupee equivalent of $100 million in the combined entity. Out of this, rupee equivalent of $20 million will be invested for growth and expansion of the platform.
iii. The company will continue as an over-the-top (OTT) media platform. It will be available for download in all app stores.
iv. RIL will also acquire a partial stake from the existing shareholders of Saavn for $104 million.
v. The co-founders of Saavn: Rishi Malhotra, Paramdeep Singh and Vinodh Bhat will continue in their leadership roles.
About Reliance Industries (RIL):
♦ Chairman & Managing Director – Mukesh D. Ambani
♦ Founder – Dhirubhai Ambani

Appointments & Resigns

Martin Vizcarra Sworn in as President of Peru
On 23rd March 2018, Martin Vizcarra was sworn in as the new President of Peru.

Martin Vizcarra Sworn in as President of PeruMartin Vizcarra – President of Peru:
i. Martin Vizcarra replaces Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. Pedro Pablo Kuczynski resigned on 21st March 2018 due to a corruption scandal.
ii. Martin Vizcarra took oath as President of Peru on 23rd March 2018. He promised to eliminate economic corruption from Peru.
iii. Martin Vizcarra had served as vice president and Peru’s ambassador to Canada.
iv. Pedro Pablo Kuczynski submitted his resignation, after secret video recordings where showed to prove that he was involved in a corruption scandal.
Some UNESCO Cutural Heritage Sites in India:
♦ Churches and Convents of Goa – Goa
♦ Ellora Caves – Maharashtra
♦ Fatehpur Sikri – Uttar Pradesh

BJP bags 9 out of 10 seats in UP, SP wins one in Rajya Sabha polls
BJP has won nine out of the 10 Rajya Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh in the Rajya Sabha elections held on 23rd March 2018.
BJP bags 9 out of 10 seats in UP, SP wins one in Rajya Sabha polls:
i. The BJP won nine seats out of 10 in the Rajya Sabha elections and SP (Samajwadi Party) candidate Jaya Bachchan won the tenth seat.
ii. BJP candidates who won the election are: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Ashok Bajpai, Vijay Pal Singh Tomar, Sakal Deep Rajbhar, Kanta Kardam, Anil Jain, Harnath Singh Yadav and G V L Narasimha Rao and Anil Kumar Agarwal.
Some wild life sanctuaries in Uttar Pradesh:
♦ Suhelva Sanctuary
♦ Sohagi Barwa Sanctuary
♦ Vijai Sagar Sanctuary

Awards & Recognition

G.K. Reddy Memorial National Award for 2017 presented to journalist Karan Thapar
On 22nd March 2018, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh presented the G.K. Reddy Memorial National Award for 2017 to Karan Thapar for journalism, at an event held in Teen Murti Bhawan, New Delhi.

G.K. Reddy Memorial National Award for 2017 presented to journalist Karan ThaparG.K. Reddy award for journalist Karan Thapar:
i. Karan Thapar is a senior journalist and television presenter. He has been awarded the G.K. Reddy Memorial National Award for 2017 for his contribution to journalism.
ii. The function was organised by T Subbarami Reddy, the founder of G K Reddy Memorial Award and TSR Foundation. He is also a Rajya Sabha member from Congress.
About Press Trust of India (PTI):
♦ Head Office – New Delhi
♦ Chairman – Mr Viveck Goenka

Bengaluru airport wins best award in regional category
On 21st March 2018, the Kempegowda International Airport was presented the Skytrax award for being voted as the best regional airport in India and Central Asia by air travelers, at the World Airport Awards at Stockholm in Sweden.

Bengaluru airport wins best award in regional categoryBengaluru airport wins best award in regional category:
i. Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL) announced this information. Kempegowda International Airport is located at Devanahalli, Bengaluru.
ii. It is the third busiest airport in India. It has bagged this award for the second consecutive year and also in 2015 and 2011.
iii. The Skytrax awards is a passenger satisfaction assessment. It measures airport service excellence and quality. Airports were assessed based on survey conducted between August 2017 and February 2018.
About Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL):
♦ Owns and operates Kempegowda International Airport
♦ MD & CEO – Hari K Marar

Sports

Rohtak set to host first World Series of Boxing clash
The National Boxing Academy in Rohtak, Haryana, is to host the World Series of Boxing (WSB) clash between Indian Tigers and the Astana Arlans from Kazakhastan on 31st March 2018.
Rohtak set to host first World Series Boxing clash:
i. The World Series of Boxing clash is held in India for the first time. The Indian team’s campaign is led by Sanjeet (+91 kg). He will fight with Abikhair Turlanbekov in a clash of titans.
ii. The Astana Arlans are the World Series of Boxing (WSB) reigning champions. In the opening two clashes, the Indian Tigers lost 1-4. They faced their first defeat against Astana Arlans and then against the Patriot Boxing Team in Russia.
About Boxing Federation of India (BFI):
♦ President – Ajay Singh
♦ Location – Gurgaon

Important Days

Punjab Government observes martyrdom day of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru as ‘Youth Empowerment Day
The Punjab Government observed 23 March, the martyrdom day of Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh, Shaheed Sukhdev and Shaheed Rajguru as ‘Youth Empowerment Day’.
Youth Empowerment Day:
i. On 23rd March 2018, to mark this occasion, a state level programme to administer oath to Drug Abuse Prevention Officers (DAPOs) was launched by Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.
ii. The DAPO (Drug Abuse Prevention Officer) initiative has been launched to involve government employees and people of Punjab in the battle against drugs.
iii. Amarinder Singh paid tributes to Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. The state level function was held at Khatkar Kalan village.
Some rivers flowing through Punjab:
♦ Beas River
♦ Ghaggar-Hakra River
♦ Sutlej River

 World TB Day – March 24
On 24th March 2018, the World TB Day was observed all over the world.

World TB Day - March 24World TB Day:
i. When and Why: Every year the World TB Day is observed on 24th March. This day aims to create public awareness on the health, social and economic consequences of tuberculosis (TB). It works on increasing the efforts to end TB.
ii. On 24th March 1882, Dr. Robert Koch declared that he had discovered the bacterium that causes TB. Hence 24 March is observed as World TB Day.
iii. Theme: The theme for World TB Day 2018 is: “Wanted: Leaders for a TB-free world”.
iv. At an event conducted in New Delhi on the World TB Day, Health Secretary Preeti Sudan released the TB INDIA 2018 Report and National Drug Resistance Survey Report.
vii. She also launched the NikshayAushadi Portal and shorter regimen for Drug Resistant TB.
About Indian Medical Association (IMA):
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ National President – Dr. Ravi Wankhedkar

World Meteorological Day – March 23
On 23rd March 2018, World Meteorological Day was celebrated all over the world.

World Meteorological Day - March 23World Meteorological Day:
i. The World Meteorological Day is observed every year on 23 March. This day is celebrated to commemorate the formation of World Meteorological Organisation, which was founded on 23 March 1950.
ii. The WMO originated from the International Meteorological Organization (IMO). WMO acts as specialized agency of the United Nations for (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences.
iii. The theme for World Meteorological Day 2018 is: “Weather-Ready, Climate-Smart.” This year focuses on the importance of countries being weather-ready.
About World Meteorological Organisation (WMO):
♦ Established by – ratification of the WMO Convention on 23 March 1950
♦ Members – 191 Member States and Territories