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Current Affairs Today – March 26 2017

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Current Affairs Today March 26 2017

INDIAN AFFAIRS

94 Out Of 500 Cities Rated By AMRUT
i. As insisted by our Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Mr. M.Venkaiah Naidu, 500 cities and towns that account for the 65% of India’s urban population are to be credit rated by Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT). Out of these 500 cities, 94 cities got its rating from AMRUT.
ii. Based on the report released by the Minister, 55 out of 94 cities have got Investment grade ratings which account 59% of the rated cities spread across 14 states. These 500 cities are included in Smart city mission.
iii. The cities which got AA+ rating are NDMC, Navi Mumbai and Pune followed by Ahmadabad, Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad with AA rating.

2017 National Theatre Festival (NTF) Concluded in Kerala
i .The National Theatre Festival 2017 was held in Tagore Theatre in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala from March 16-24, 2017.2017 National Theatre Festival (NTF) Concluded in Kerala
ii .The festival was inaugurated by state Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at Central School Grounds, Attakkulangara on March 16, 2017.
iii. The week-long festival was organized by the Information Public Relations Department, Government of Kerala.
iv. The 2017 edition of the festival was dedicated to one of the prominent personality of Indian theatre, the late Kavalam Narayana Panikkar.
Key Highlights of the Festival
♦ The festival featured 17 plays in different regional languages
♦ The festival was participated by some of the seasoned theatre campaigners as well as upcoming youngsters who have already made their respective marks in theatrics.
♦ The opening play was Deepan Sivaraman’s ‘The Legends of Khasak’, theatrical adaptation of OV Vijayan’s ‘Khasakkinte Ithihasangal’.

2017 International Diamond Conference Hosted by GJEPC in Mumbai
i. The 2017 International Diamond Conference was held from March 19-20, 2017 at Hotel Hyatt, Mumbai.
ii .The two day conclave was organized by Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council of India (GJEPC).
iii. Aim: Bringing together the leading Miners, Diamantaires, Retailers, Bankers and Analysts from across the globe on a platform to discuss the supply and demand issues faced by the Global Diamond Industry.
iv. Theme: Mines to Market 2017
v. Smt Nirmala Sitharaman, Hon’ble Minister of State for Commerce and Industry (Independent Charge) and Shri. Piyush Goyal, Hon’ble Minister of State with Independent Charge for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines, were the chief guests at the event.
v. The conference saw participation of Ministers from mining countries, delegates from Mining Companies, heads of Retail and Luxury brands, Int. Diamond heads of various banks and other prominent personalities of the Diamond industry.
vi. Various sessions such as “Survival in the Absence of Growth”, Innovation in Stagflation” among others were held as a part of the conclave.
About GJEPC
♦ The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) was set up by the Ministry of Commerce and industry, Government of India (GoI) in 1966. It is headquartered at Mumbai.
♦ It was launched by the Indian Government to boost the country’s export thrust, when India’s post Independence economy began making forays in the international markets.
♦ The GJEPC is the apex body of the gems & jewellery industry and today it represents over 6,000 exporters in the sector.

Indian Science Congress To Be Held At Osmania University, Hyderabad
i. As per the information given by the officials of Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA), 105th Indian Science Congress is to be hosted by Osmania University (OU), Hyderabad from January 3 to 7 next year.
ii. This is the sixth time; Osmania University (OU) will be hosting this congress. In the mean time, University is celebrating its centenary (100th) this year.
iii. It is been expected that 25 noble laureates will be attending this congress at Hyderabad and about 25000 people are expected to attend this congress. In the mean time 104th Indian Science Congress was hosted by Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati.
Background
The reason for conducting this congress is to make advancement of science in India and raise funds for the promotion of it. Lot of journals and publications are issued to enhance the importance of science in India’s growth. 
About of Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA)
♦ Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) is the scientific organization in India started in the year 1914 and headquartered by Kolkata.
♦ The membership of this congress is more than 30,000 scientist and is headed by Prof Achyuta Samanta
♦ The first ever congress was held at Asiatic Society, Calcutta from 15–17 January, 1914. 

Now Aadhaar made mandatory for mobile connections
After the move by government of India to make Aadhar card get linked with bank accounts through demonetization and opening of Jan Dahn accounts, it has made an another move to make Aadhar card mandatory for getting new mobile connections.
i. Background
India is the nation where more communication is made through mobiles in recent years and development in the telecom sector shows it will play a major role in Indian economy in the upcoming years. As said by our Finance Minister Mr.  Arun Jaitely, Aadhar card identification will be the single identity for the people in India in the mere future.
ii. The Positives
Linking Aadhar card identity with mobile connections makes it important for the people to get their individual Aadhar number, which is a great move by Indian government. By this new move nearly 1.1 billion telecom subscribers will have to go through a new verification exercise and a total of Rs 1 billion amount must be spent by the telecom industries.
iii. How it is connected
The telecom ministry of India insisted the mobile connectors to get a person’s identification through e-KYC (Know Your Customer) and Bio-metric access (finger print recognition).

ESIC launched Mobile Clinic Services in AP, Telangana
Andhra Pradesh and Telengana get India’s first Mobile Clinic Service which is launched by Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC). This service is flagged off by The Union ESIC launched Mobile Clinic ServicesMinister for Labor and Employment, Bandaru Dattareya.
♦ According to the information provided by the minister 13 mobile clinics have been launched initially and among them 8 clinics would serve in Telanagana while 5 clinics would serve in Andhra Pradesh.  The annual expenditure for these services will be around Rs. 30 crores.
Facilities in Mobile Clinic
i. Each clinic will have a vehicle with a Doctor, pharmacist, attendant, driver and the necessary equipment and medicines.
ii. The vehicle will visit two locations in a day for three hours each and conduct basic investigations.
About Employees State Insurance (ESI)
♦ Employees State Insurance (ESI) is a health insurance scheme for Indian workers, founded in 25 February 1952 under the ESI Act 1948.
♦ There are six ESI hospitals, 70 dispensaries, 149 panel clinics and two diagnostic centers.

Four Holy Cities in UP To Get 24 Hour Power Supply & UP bans pan, tobacco in schools, colleges, govt buildings
24*7 Power supply in holy places
i. The four holy cities of Hindus namely Ayodhya, Mathura, Varanasi and Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh are to be provided with 24*7 power supply on the event of its chair took by Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of UP.
ii. He also assured that the state will be given a 24*7 power supply by 2019. This move is made for the welfare of the pilgrims visiting these holy places. In addition to that, the families that are coming under Below Poverty Line (BPL), are to be provided with free electricity.
No for Pan and Tobacco
i. The state government also banned the usage of PAN and TOBBACO products in Schools, Colleges, Hospitals and other Government buildings. On the account of this, the officers are made to take a pledge of spending 100 hours a year for cleanliness.
ii. This move came after the Chief Minister visit to the Lal Bahadur Shastri Bhawan where betel-juice stained walls of the building. Strict orders are made against this and the officer who is violating the principles is to be charged.
About Yogi Adityanath
♦ Yogi Adityanath who was born on 5 June 1972 in the village of Panchur, in Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand
♦ On 19 March 2017, he took oath as the 21st Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh as a successor of Akilesh Yadav

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

India Overtakes Japan To Become Third Largest In Domestic Air Traffic
i. India which is rising high in the field of aviation now attained a still higher position by pushing Japan back, achieving a 3rd spot in domestic air traffic behind USA and China.
ii. USA topped the list with 719 million passengers in 2016, which is followed by China with 436 million passengers. India attained 3rd spot with 100 million passengers in 2016.
iii. India pushed back Japan which had only 97 million passengers last year. These reports are prepared by aviation think-tank Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA).

BANKING & FINANCE

IREDA to sanction Rs 13K crore loans for renewables in FY18
i. Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) will sanction a loan worth 13K Crore Rupees for clean energy projects in FY18, which plays the major role in reducing the pollution in India.IREDA
ii. The government of India is aiming at adding around 15 to 16 GW of clean energy projects, including solar and wind.
iii. The total credit market size for clean energy project is around 65K crore rupees. The loan which is to be sanctioned by IREDA accounts around 20 percent of market share.
iv. Out of 13K crore, IREDA would release 8K in first phase.
About Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA)
♦ Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited (IREDA) is a Mini Ratna (Category – I) established as a Non-Banking Financial Institution in 1987.
♦ It is under the administrative control of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
♦ Motto of IREDA is “ENERGY FOR EVER” 

BUSINESS

CCI imposes Rs.591 crore penalty on Coal India
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) imposed a penalty of Rs 591 crore which is a well reduced fine over Coal India Ltd for its misconduct of agreement in fuel supplies.
Background
i. Based on the first ruling of Rs 1773 crore fine on Coal India that was passed 3 years ago, the company has taken several steps in resolving issues with its stakeholders.
ii. The complaints were filed against Coal India and its three subsidiaries—Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd, South Eastern Coalfields Ltd and Western Coalfields Ltd by  Maharashtra State Power Generation Co. Ltd and Gujarat State Electricity Corp. Ltd.
iii. So based on the second ruling, CCI has reduced its fine by one third (1/3). The main reason found by CCI over Coal India is the violation of competition norms by imposing unfair conditions in the matter of supply of non- coking coal to power producers.
iv. CCI also added that Coal India did not finalize the terms and conditions of Fuel Supply Agreement (FSA) through a mutual bilateral process.
About Competition Commission of India (CCI)
Competition Commission of India (CCI) is one of the authorities of Indian government responsible for enforcing The Competition Act, 2002throughout India. Formed on 14 October 2003, it is headquartered at New Delhi.
♦ The commission is chaired by Devender Kumar Sikr

CBEC to be renamed CBIC under GST regime 
The Central Board of Excise & Customs (CBEC) is to be renamed as Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC) under the new regime of GST which is to be rolled out from July 1. It has been approved by our Finance minister Arun Jaitely.
♦ In addition to that existing training establishment, to be renamed as National Academy of Customs, Indirect Taxes and Narcotics will have an all-India presence, to enable capacity building to the employees of the indirect tax administration of the Centre as well as of the State Government.
Functions of Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC)
i. To implement and enforce the provisions of the proposed GST laws and supervise the work of all its field formations and directorates.
CBECii. Will assist the government in policy making in relation to GST, continuing Central Excise levy and Customs functions.
iii. It will ensure rendering of taxpayer services to all the taxpayers through an indirect tax administration structure, having pan-India presence.
iv. CBIC will have 21 zones, 101 GST taxpayer services commissionerates comprising 15 sub-commissionerates, 768 divisions, 3969 ranges, 49 audit commissionerates and 50 appeals commissionerates
About GST
♦ Goods and Service Tax (GST) is a move to combine the entire center and state’s taxes into a single system of taxation and governed by GST Council.
♦ The GST Council is chaired by Finance minister Arun Jaitely.
♦ A 21-member committee was formed to look into the proposed GST law, which will be applicable from 01 July 2017

HAL finalises major plan to manufacture 1000 military helicopters and over 100 planes   
In the event to strengthen the Indian Air Defense system, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd has finalized the major plan to manufacture nearly 1000 military helicopters and over 100 planes in the upcoming years. This will be a major boost to our Make in India campaign.
♦ For making things easier HAL and Russian defense firms have finalized a Joint Venture agreement for production of light weight multi-role ‘Kamov 226T’ helicopters in India which will replace the aging fleet of Cheetah and Chetak choppers
HAL’s plan
i. HAL has planned to deliver 123 Tejas Light Combat Aircraft with an annual delivery of 16 jets from 2018-19 onwards.
ii. It has also planned to carry out major upgrade of almost the entire fighter fleet of Indian Air Force IAF including Su-30MKI, Jaguars and Mirage jets in the next 5 years.
Steps taken by Indian Government
i. During Mr. Modi’s visit to Russia, the inter-government agreement for the deal is signed by both the countries.
ii. India and Russia signed two key agreements for long-term maintenance and technical support for the Su-30MKI fleet in March 2017.
About Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL)
♦ HAL is an Indian state-owned aerospace and defense company founded in 1940 and headquartered at Bangalore, Karnataka.
♦ It is governed under the management of the Indian Ministry of Defense and chaired by T Suvarna Raju.
♦ The HAL manufacturing unit is located at 7 cities in India.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

HDFC’s Aditya Puri Makes into World’s 30 Best CEOs List By Barron’s
i. Aditya Puri, HDFC Bank Managing Director has made it to the list of the world’s 30 best chief executive officers (CEO), published by American financial magazine Barron’s.
ii. The 66-year-old Puri has been placed at 23rd position in the list beating social media giant Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg who is listed on the 30th spot.
iii. According to the magazine, Puri turned the start-up into one of the world’s highest-quality banks.
iv. He has swiftly transformed India’s second-largest private-sector bank into the digital spot for anything money-related.
v. The top position has been secured by Mary Barra of General Motors, Gary Dickerson of Applied Materials is on the second spot, Stephen Hemsley on third.Aditya Puri
vi. Besides, others in the list includes, Jensen Huang of Nvidia (4) and Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella (5) Amazon’s CEO Jeffrey Bezos, Netflix’s CEO Reed Hastings, Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz etc.
HDFC Bank
♦ Founded: August 1994
♦ Headquarter: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
♦ Managing Director:  Aditya Puri

ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS

Flipkart Plans to Acquire eBay’s India Operations
i. India’s largest online retailer Flipkart is planning to acquire eBay India’s operations as part of its latest capital raising programme of $2billion.
ii.T he move is an effort of the e-commerce firm to strengthen its position against the rising threat from the global competitors such as Amazon and China’s Alibaba.
iii. For Flipkart, the latest fund raising will see Chinese internet company Tencent infusing over $500 million along with eBay and Microsoft.
iv. eBay, a multinational e-commerce corporation, launched its India operations in 2004, but failed to set up a competitive foot into the Indian market before Flipkart and Amazon’s entry.
v. Besides, to boost its operations in the growing online market in India, eBay made several attempts earlier to acquire New Delhi-based online marketplace company Snapdeal, but didn’t succeed.
vi. Finally, in order to stay compete with its rival, eBay’s India arm decided to align with Flipkart.
Flipkart
♦ Founded: 2007
♦ Headquarters: Bangalore, Karnataka
♦ CEO: Kalyan Krishnamurthy

ENVIRONMENT

Telangana Archaeologists Find World’s Largest Capstone
i. The world’s largest capstone has been discovered by the Archaeology Department of Telangana on March 21, 2017, after excavating an ancient human burial site in Narmeta village, Siddipet district.
Telangana Archaeologists Find World's Largest Capstoneii. The capstone weighing 40 tonnes was so huge that required large crane to lift it.
iii. The efforts to lift this massive capstone was coordinated by S S Rangacharyulu, archaeology consultant and K Padmanabha, assistant director (museums), as this mission required great precision and caution
iv. The Telangana Archeological Department will now undertake DNA testing of various artefacts that have been discovered at this site.
v. The testing will help in tracing the lineage of pre-historic humans, their food habits, lifestyle and how their population later became extinct.

SPORTS

India ends with 73 medals from 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games, Austria
i. 2017 Special Olympic World Winter Games, is the 12th Special Olympic World Winter Games held in Graz and Schladming, Austria  with a motto “Heartbeat for the World”. It took place from March 14 through March 25, 2017 with 27 events (9 sports).
ii. Indian team finished in a high note in the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games with a triumphing 73 medals held in Austria between March 18 and March 24. These games are meant for the specially-able person and India finished as a special team with 89 participants.
iii. India finished the games with an overall medal tally of 37 gold, 10 silver and 26 bronze with total tally of 73 medals.

Sebastian Vettel beats Lewis Hamilton to win Australian Grand PrixSebastian Vettel beats Lewis Hamilton to win Australian Grand Prix
i. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel beat Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton to win the 2017 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix on 26 March 2017 at Albert Park in Melbourne.
ii. Besides, Mercedes’s Valtteri Bottas completed the podium at third position.
iii. This is Vettel’s 43rd race victory of his career and first victory since the 2015 Singapore Grand Prix with a gap of just 9.9 second to runner-up Hamilton.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Bangladesh Observed 47th Independence Day on March 26
Bangladesh observed its 47th Independence Day on March 26, 2017 to commemorate the country’s declaration of independence from Pakistan in 1971.
History
On the night of March 25, 1971, Pakistani Army brutally committed genocide on unarmed civilian Bengalis in the name of “Operation Searchlight”.
♦ On the 26th of March, Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan was declared by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the nine month long bloody liberation war was commenced.
♦ The day is a memorial to the deaths of millions of civilians and valiant freedom fighters who died in the Bangladesh Liberation War.
Key Highlight of 2017 Event
i .To mark the occasion, President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid their tributes to the martyrs of the Liberation War by placing wreaths at the National Memorial.
ii. The nation observed two minute silence as a mark of respect to the memories of the martyrs followed by thirty one gun salute.
iii. Eventually, the day saw parades, political speeches, fairs, concerts, and ceremonies. TV and radio stations broadcast special programs and patriotic songs.
iv. Besides, the web search engine Google created a doodle marking the 47th Independence Day of Bangladesh.
v. The doodle, featuring the national flag of Bangladesh, was seen above the search box on the homepage of Google on March 26, 2017.
Keys
♦ Capital: Dhaka
♦ Founded: 26 March 1971
♦ Currency: Bangladeshi taka

10th Earth Hour Observed on March 25, 2017
The 2017 Earth Hour was observed worldwide on March 25, 2017. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the event.
♦ Earth Hour is a worldwide movement organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
♦ The event is held annually towards the end of March, to encourage individuals, 10th Earth Hour Observed on March 25, 2017communities, households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. as a symbol for their commitment to the planet and fight climate change.
♦ It was started as a lights-off event in SydneyAustralia, in 2007. Since then, more than 7,000 cities and towns across 172 countries worldwide are engaged in the nobel cause.
UAE joins 175 countries to participate in Earth Hour
i. On the occasion of Earth Hour, the United Arab Emirates celebrated the event under the theme ‘Highlight Climate Action’ joining 7,000 cities and 175 countries and territories.
ii. The Dubai’s landmark Burj Khalifa completely shut off all its lights to mark the occasion.
iii. The country witnessed 222MWh reduction in the consumption of electricity, and a reduction of 96 tonnes in carbon dioxide emissions in 2016 Earth Hour.
iv. This year, several initiatives has been launched to move towards renewable energy and the residents of the nation have been urged to observe the day to spread awareness.