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- Current Affairs 2017 March
NGT Organises World Conference On Environment In New Delhi
i. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Mar 25 2017 conducted the WORLD CONFERENCE ON ENVIRONMENT at the country’s capital, New Delhi.
ii. The two day conference concluded with a high note in urging the importance for the sustainable development balancing which is the need to protect the environment.
iii. The conference was inaugurated by the President of India, Shri PRANAB MUKHERJEE
GST Bill Tabled By Arun Jaitely In Lok Sabha
The Finance Minister of India, Mr. Arun Jaitely introduced four bills on Goods and Service Tax (GST) on March 27, 2017. These bills mainly focus on the Central Goods and Service Tax (CGST) bill which will amalgamate all the indirect central government levies.
The four bills are
1.Central Goods and Service Tax (CGST) Bill,
2.Union Territory GST Bill,
3.Integrated-GST Bill and
4.GST (Compensation to States) Bill
Prakash Javadekar Introduces IIIT Bill In Lok Sabha
On March 27, 2017 a bill stating the inclusion of Indian Institute of Information Technology Design and Manufacturing (IIITDM)-Kurnool as an Institute of National Importance is introduced in Lok Sabha.
♦ The bill was introduced by Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar. The main reason behind the bill is to bring the Indian Institute of Technology, Design and Manufacturing at Kurnool within the scope of the Indian Institutes of Information Technology Act 2014.
i. The Indian Institutes of Information Technology Act, 2014 confers the status of Institutions of National Importance on the IIIT’s. It also provides for matters connected with administering these IIITs.
ii. In addition, a new National Institute of Technology (NIT) is to be started at Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh as embodied in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014
i. On approval of this bill IIITDM-Kurnool becomes the fifth member as a centrally-funded IIIT.
ii. The other four IIT’s are from Gwalior, Allahabad, Jabalpur and Kancheepuram.
iii. It will also receive the power to award degrees to students once the bill gets passed.
Aadhaar Card Cannot be Made Mandatory for Central Welfare Scheme: Supreme Court
i. With the growing dependence on Aadhaar card for all kinds of monetary and social benefits, the Supreme Court of India on March 27, 2017 ruled out that Aadhaar card cannot be made mandatory for central welfare schemes.
ii. However, the apex court also accepted that it can’t stop the government from linking the Aadhaar card for opening bank accounts or filing tax returns.
iii. A bench of Justices comprising, Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul have said to set up a seven judge bench to hear the plea but did not confirm the exact date.
iv .As per the critics of Aadhaar, government is violating a Supreme Court order of October 2015 which specified that the Universal Identification Document cannot be made mandatory for government schemes. It alleged that UIDAI is getting biometric details through private agencies, which violated citizens’ fundamental rights.
v. According to the government, use of Aadhaar simplifies delivery and helps make the system more transparent and efficient.
Key Areas Mandated for Aadhar Card
♦ Aadhaar has been made mandatory for the citizens to avail the benefits under nearly three dozen central schemes including free mid-day meals for schoolchildren and filing tax returns.
♦ It has also been made compulsory for scholarships and other schemes for backward castes and the disabled.
♦ Besides, for getting the subsidized cooking gas and foodgrains also one has to produce Aadhar card.
♦ However, until all beneficiaries are assigned Aadhaar cards, ration cards or copies of a person’s request for Aadhaar enrolment can be used for subsidized foodgrain.
UK Parliament: Gilgit-Baltistan Legal Part of J&K, Illegally Occupied by Pakistan
i. The British Parliament tabled a motion on March 23, 2017 stating Pakistan’s move as illegal to declare the Gilgit-Baltistan region, bordering Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, as its fifth province.
ii. The motion was sponsored by Party leader Bob Blackman who said that Gilgit-Baltistan is a legal and constitutional part of Jammu and Kashmir, India and Pakistan has illegally occupied it since 1947.
iii. The province has also been denied fundamental rights including the right of freedom of expression.
iv. It said thet Pakistan has tried to change the demography of the region, and it is in violation of State Subject Ordinance.
v. Besides, the ‘forced and illegal construction’ of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that passes through the region further worsened and interfered with the disputed territory.
Indian Territory Occupied by Pakistan
Besides Gilgit-Baltistan, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh are other four provinces illegally occupied by Pakistan.
♦ Pakistan’s Minister for inter-provincial coordination Riaz Hussain Pirzada on March 14 announced that a committee headed by their Advisor for Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz had proposed giving the status of a province to Gilgit-Baltistan.
♦ A constitutional amendment would be made to change the status of the region that will make the region 5th province of Pakistan.
BANKING & FINANCE
Repco Inks Pact with NHB for Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme for Middle Income Groups
i. On December 31, 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an interest subsidy scheme named as ‘Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme for Middle Income Groups, CLSS-(MIG) for the tax-paying middle class population, aspiring to have their own pucca house.
ii. The scheme has been made operational from January 1, 2017 for which the effective guidelines were released by Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu on March 22, 2017.
iii .Besides, for the implementation of the scheme, Repco Home Finance Ltd (RHFL) signed an agreement with National Housing Bank.
iv .The scheme will be effective for a period of one year, in all statutory towns as per the Census 2011 and towns notified subsequently by the Centre.
Guidelines for Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme for Middle Income Groups
♦ The tenure of loan is 20 years or that preferred by the beneficiary, whichever is lower.
♦ An interest subsidy of 4% would be provided on housing loans of up to Rs.9.00 lakhs to Middle Income Groups (MIG) with an income of Rs.12.00 lakh per year
♦ 3% interest subsidy would be given on housing loans of up to Rs.12.00 lakh for those earning Rs.18.00 lakh per year.
♦ The total interest subsidy will be paid to the beneficiaries in one go to reduce the burden of Equated Monthly Instalment (EMI).
♦ As per the scheme, the total interest subsidy on Rs.9.00 loan accounts for Rs.2.35 lakh while on a loan of Rs.12.00 lakh, it comes to Rs.2.30 lakh per beneficiary.
♦ Besides, interest subsidy will be provided on loans for construction/acquisition of house with carpet area of 90 sq.mtres by those earning Rs.12.00 lakh per annum and of 110 sq.mt by those earning Rs.18.00 lakh per year
♦ In addition, preference would be given to women especially to widows, single working women, persons belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Backward Classes, Differently abled and Transgender people.
National Housing Bank
NHB is a wholly owned subsidiary of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), established to promote housing finance institutions and to provide financial and other related support incidental to such institutions.
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ Founded: 9 July 1988
♦ CEO: Shri Sriram Kalyanaraman
Vijaya Bank Signs MoU with Piaggio Vehicles
i. Bengaluru based Vijaya Bank has inked an Mou with Italian vehicles manufacturer Piaggio Vehicles, on March 27, 2017 for providing financial support for the purchase of vehicles under Small Road Transport Operators (SRTO) scheme in Bengaluru.
ii. Under the MoU, the first round of the vehicle was flagged off by the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Vijaya Bank Dr Kishore Sansi in the presence of Executive Directors B S Rama Rao, Y Nageswara Rao, and Piaggio Vehicles Vice-President Praveen Nagpal among others.
♦ Founded: 1931
♦ Headquarters: Bengaluru, India
♦ MD & CEO: Shri. Kishore Kumar Sansi
♦ Tag Line: A Friend You Can Bank Upon
Karnataka Bank Installs Landmark 10,000 PoS Terminals
i. Mangaluru based private sector lender, Karnataka Bank achieved a landmark installation of 10,000 Point of Sales (PoS) terminals on March 27, 2017.
ii. The 10,000th POS terminal was handed over by the Bank’s Managing Director and CEO, P Jayarama Bhat to Dr. Ravichandar, Chairman and Managing Director of Nandana Group of Hotels, Bengaluru, one of its valued customers at the function held at Bank’s Bengaluru Regional Office.
iii. Besides, an android mobile app, ‘PoS Manager’ was also provided to enable the merchants in monitoring and keep a track of their counter transactions.
iv. The app would also help to provide an interface to contact the bank and service provider for further information and escalations.
♦ The Karnataka Bank has been offering PoS services since 2011 to help the merchant to accept card payments and boost their business.
♦ The bank has added more than 7,000 new PoS installations during the financial year 2016-17.
♦ It has also introduced several digital products during the current financial year under digital economy initiative.
Key points :
♦ Headquarters: Mangalore
♦ Founded: 1924
♦ Motto: Your family bank. Across India
Paytm – The First E-Commerce Giant To Become ASCI Member
i. Paytm, one of the fastest growing mobile wallet and e-commerce industry in India has achieved a new milestone by becoming the sole member of Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI).
ii. The order was passed by ASCI and PAYTM is all set to become its member by April.
iii. This move comes after the six complaints which are filed against the errant advertisers under the e-commerce majors PAYTM, Amazon, Clear trip, Magic bricks, free charge and Pepper fry for making false and misleading claims on November 2016.
NTPC Installs 55 MW Bhadla Solar Power Project in Rajasthan
i. The state owned National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Limited commissioned a 55 Mega Watt (MW) Bhadla Solar Power Project in Rajasthan on March 27, 2017.
ii. The power generating giant has planned a capacity addition of about 1,000 MW through renewable resources by 2017.
iii. With this installment, the total capacity of Bhadla solar power project has become 260 MW and that of NTPC’s solar power projects has become 620 MW.
iv. Besides, 50 MW Solar PV at Anantpur in Andhra Pradesh, 260 MW Solar PV at Bhadla in Rajasthan and 250 MW Solar PV at Mandsar in Madhya Pradesh including 8 MW small hydro projects are under implementation.
About NTPC Limited
♦ NTPC Ltd is an Indian Public Sector Undertaking responsible for generation of electricity and allied activities.
♦ NTPC aims to become a 130 GW company by 2032 with a diversified fuel mix and a 600 billion units company in terms of generation.
♦ Founded: 1975
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi, India
♦ CEO: Gurdeep Singh
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Global Awards Bagged By Startups From T-Hub
i. T-Hub, one of the largest start-up ecosystem builders in India have bagged four “Acumen global awards, 2017” by bringing up four startups to be emerging as the first choice of top Indian startups. This competition is mainly meant for the emerging startups.The award function was held in Kenya.
ii. The four startups that have bagged the awards are,
Anupam Kher Honored with Kala Ratan Award from Vice President
Veteran actor Anupam Kher was felicitated with the Kala Ratan Award by Punjab University in Chandigarh at its 66th convocation on March 25, 2017.
♦ The 62 year old actor received the honour by the Vice President of India, Shri Hamid Ansari for his contribution in the field of cinema and arts..
About Anupam Kher
i. Anupam Kher is an Indian actor who has appeared in about 400 films and many plays. He joined the Indian Theatre, Panjab University in 1974.
ii. Anupam Kher has also been honoured with the Padma Shri in 2004 and the Padma Bhushan in 2016.
iii. Besides performing in Indian films, he has also appeared in some famous international films such as Bend It Like Beckham, Bride and Prejudice, The Mistress Of Spices, Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution, and David O. Russell’s 2013 Oscar-winning Silver Linings Playbook.
About Kala Ratan Award
♦ The Kala Rattan award carries cash award of Rs 31000. Under it, the professional category is for Rs 21000 and student category Rs 11000 in addition to a citation, certificate and a fulkari.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Carrie Lam Elected as Chief Executive of Hong Kong
i. Carrie Lam, the former deputy leader of Hong Kong was elected as the first female Chief Executive of Hong Kong on March 26, 2017.
ii. Lam won the election by 67% votes by 1194-member pro-China committee, known to be the supporters of China’s Communist government.
iii. She is likely to take charge in July 2017 after incumbent leader Leung Chun-ying steps down in July after five years in charge.
iv. It was the first leadership vote since mass “Umbrella Movement” rallies in 2014 calling for fully free elections failed to secure reforms.
ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS
Motherson Sumi Acquires Finland’s PKC Group for $619 million
i. Indian Auto parts maker Motherson Sumi Systems Ltd (MSSL) on March 27, 2017 announced that it has acquired 93.75 percent of stake in Finland’s PKC Group for 571 million euros ($619.4 million).
ii. This means that Motherson has become the controlling shareholder of PKC Group.
iii. The move is aimed to expand the business of Motherson in American and European commercial vehicle market segment.
iv. PKC Group is a publicly traded company that offers design and contract manufacturing services for wiring systems and electronics.
Motherson Sumi Systems Ltd (MSSL)
♦ Headquarters: Noida
♦ Founded: January 1, 1986
♦ Chairman: Vivek Chaand Sehgal
Rafael Nadal Wins against Philipp Kohlschreiber In His 1000th Tour Level Match
i. Miami open tournament that has been taking place from March 20th, 2017 has witnessed a wonderful game of the season in which Rafel Nadal has came out with a winning note against 31st seeded player, German veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber.
ii. With this win he has registered a win in his 1000th match which is very big achievement in his career.
West Bengal Beats Goa to Win 71 Santosh Trophy
i. West Bengal beat Goa (1-0) to clinch the 71 Santosh Trophy for a record 32nd time on March 26, 2017 at the GMC Bambolim Stadium, Goa.
ii. The maiden goal came from Manvir Singh in 119 minutes after playing a goalless 90 minutes to defeat Goa at home ground.
iii. Last time West Bengal clinched the title in 2010-11 against Mizoram.
1.Best Goalkeeper: Bruno Colaco (Goa)
2.Best Defender: Provat Lakra (Bengal)
3.Best Midfielder: Cajetan Fernandes (Goa)
4.Best Striker: Basant Singh (West Bengal)
Bhubaneswar Set to Host World Hockey League 2017; 2018 World Cup
i. Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Odisha, has been selected to host the 2017 Men’s Hockey World League Final as well as the Men’s World Cup in 2018 at the Kalinga Stadium.
ii. The information was confirmed by the international hockey federation (FIH) and the government of Odisha on March 27, 2017.
iii. Besides, Odisha will also be the title sponsor of both the events. This means that officially the event will be titled as Odisha Men’s Hockey World League Final Bhubaneswar 2017 and the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018.
iv. Kalinga Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium that was built in 2010 and has facilities for athletics, football, basketball, tennis, table-tennis and swimming. Previously, the 2014 Men’s Hockey Champions Trophy was hosted here.
v.The Men’s Hockey World League Final Bhubaneswar 2017 will take place between December 1-10, 2017 while the Men’s Hockey World Cup 2018 will take place in late November/early December.
Selection of Bhubaneswar
♦ The decision to host the two major events at Bhubaneswar is part of Hockey India’s plans to take the sport to non-metro centres in the country so as to attract good crowds.
♦ In addition, it also aims to improve and develop the infrastructure for these events.
♦ Earlier Hockey India had organized the 2014 Champions Trophy at Bhubaneswar, the 2015 Hockey World League Final in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, and the 2016 Junior Men’s World Cup in Lucknow.
International Hockey Federation (FIH)
♦ Formation: 7 January 1924
♦ Headquarters: Lausanne, Switzerland
♦ President: Narinder Batra
Australian Pace Bowler Shaun Tait Retires from all Forms of Cricket
i. Shaun Tait, Australian fast bowler officially announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on March 27, 2017, thus ending his 15-year career at the competitive level.
ii. The 34 year old Adelaide-born cricketer has played a total of 3 Tests, 35 ODIs and 21 T20Is for Australia. Tait was known as The Wild Thing by teammate for unconventional bowling action.
iii. Shaun Tait’s made his final international appearance for Australia in 2016 against India in a T20 international at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
iv. Recently, Shaun Tait became an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI).
Li Ning-Israel Open – Purva Barve And Varun Kapur Bags International Title
The Indian shuttle players Purva Barve and Varun Kapur bagged double delight by winning in the Li Ning-Israel Open 2017 which was held at Sports Hall, Rishon LeZion in Israel. The Pune based players brought home the momentum for which the whole nation would be proud of.
i. The World No.70 Purva Barve, from Pune won against the World No.61 Lela Minadze from Russia in straight sets of 21-6, 21-4 which lasted only for 18 minutes. Purva Barve also ranks fourth in the Under-19 Women’s Singles.
ii. This was her first International title.
iii. On the other hand Varun Kapur the Under-15 Boys Singles top-seed defeated England’s Toby Dillingham 21-10, 21-2 to bag his second International title.
World Theatre Day Observed on March 27
The 2017 World Theatre Day was observed worldwide on March 27, 2017, a day observed to draw attention to the power of the stage.
♦ The World Theatre Day was created on 27 March, 1961 by the International Theatre Institute (ITI), an international non-governmental organisation.
♦ Since then thousands of people observe the day by organizing various national and international theatre events to spread the news about theatre and stage performances. It is celebrated since 55 years as both National and International Day.
♦ Besides, a message for the occasion is formulated on the day which is circulated all over the world for the noted figures of world to share their reflections on the theme of theatre.
2017 World Theatre Day
i. This year, the message has been written by Isabelle Huppert – the French theatre and movie actress which follows as: ‘We do not make theatre exist; it is rather thanks to theatre that we exist’.
ii. The message has been translated into more than 20 languages for the international theatre community worldwide.
iii. As a part of the occasion, the Department of Kannada and Culture and the Karnataka Nataka Academy organized an exhibition of 100 rare photographs representing State’s theatre history.
iv. A 60-page coffee-table book on Karnataka Ranga Parampare Hakki Nota was also released. Besides, 20 minute documentary on Kannada theatre, Ranga Parampare-Nudi Chitra was screened and 10 important personalities were felicitated.