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Current Affairs Today – March 3 2017

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Government Panel led by Partha Mukhopadhay Suggests Legal Framework to Secure the Rights of Migrants
i. An 18 member panel constituted by the government has recommended necessary legal and policy framework to protect the interests of the migrants in the country.
ii .The Working Group on Migration constituted by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation in 2015 submitted its recommendation report on March 1, 2017.
iii. The panel headed by Shri Partha Mukhopadhay has suggested to enable the migrants to avail benefits of Public Distribution System (PDS) in the destination State by providing for inter-State operability of PDS.
iv. It has also recommended including the children of migrants in the Annual Work Plans under Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) to uphold their Right to Education.
v. As per the panel, the migrant population in India makes substantial contribution to economic growth and therefore it was necessary to protect the constitutional rights of the migrants.

Panneerselvam inaugurates ‘Amma Kalviyagam’
i. Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam has launched a portal named after late Amma Kalviyagamchief Minister Jayalalithaa which will be a hub of learning, interaction, opportunity, and connection on the occasion of her 69th birth anniversary celebrations.
ii. The launched portal will a hub of learning, interaction, opportunity, and connection. The portal was based on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) model.
iii. This initiative will help students get assistance from reputed teachers free of cost, which reflects Jayalalithaa’s Vision TN 2023, where she had set goals for development in various sectors, including education to make the state as Knowledge hub of the country.

Government approves 4,000 PG seats in medical colleges
i. Union Health Ministry led by J P Nadda announced that it had approved 4000 Post Graduate seats in medical colleges and hospitals across the country for the academic session 2017-18.
ii. This increased intake in medical institutions will take the total number of Post Graduate (PG) seats to 35,117.
iii. The minster also stated that centre had decided to amend the teacher student ratio in clinical subjects in government medical colleges with the need to increase PG seats in clinical subjects.
iv. Earlier Centre had announced the creation of additional 5,000 PG medical seats every year during this year’s budget to strengthen the availability of specialist doctors at secondary and tertiary levels.

Steel minister inaugurates maiden regional conference of Eastern States
i. Union Minister of Steel Chaudhary Birender Singh presided over the hair the proceedings of maiden regional conference of Eastern States at Gangtok, Sikkim on 2nd March, 2017.
ii. The maiden regional conference will be on the theme of ‘Enhancing steel consumption in India’
iii. The conference will be first of the four regional conferences being planned across India to become a leader in innovative use of steel in India.
iv. The representatives and various stakeholders in the conference would hold talks on measures to increase steel demand, advantages of steel intensive construction & steel in high-rises, rural sector, bridges and other fields.

Delhi Govt Extends Midday Meal Scheme for Girls Up To Class 12
i. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led Delhi government has come up with an initiative to extend the mid-day meal facility for the girl students upto class 12 in all Delhi government schools.
ii. Currently Delhi provides the facility to all the students of government schools including boys upto class 8 only.
iii. However, from April 1, 2017, the midday meal service will also include girl students from 9-12 also. Later the facility would also cover boys upto class 12.
iv. Delhi government has decided to set aside an amount of Rs. 50 crore for this purpose in its Budget for 2017-18 to be presented on March 8, 2017.
v. Since the central government gives an assistance of around Rs. 95-crore to Delhi government annually for serving midday meal from Class 1 to 8, Delhi government will have to bear the additional expenditure on the expansion of scheme.
vi. The initiative makes Delhi the “first state” in the country to serve midday meal up to class 12.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu Inaugurates Key Freight Sector Initiatives of Railways
♦  The Union Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu inaugurated four key freight sector initiatives on March 2, 2017 at National Rail Museum, New Delhi to attract Suresh Prabhumore freight towards Railways.
The 4 Key Freight Sector Initiatives Includes:
i. Policy of ‘Long Term Contracts/Agreements’ with major customers
ii. Indian Railways Freight and Passenger Business Action Plan-2017-18
iii .Confirmation trial of Double Stack Dwarf Container Train under wire, a New Delivery Model
iv .The demonstration run of Ro-Ro (Roll on–Roll off) service across the National Capital Region- A Pilot project of Indian railways for ‘Green Transportation’ – to reduce road congestion and improve environment.
iii. As a part of the occasion, Centre for Transportation Research and Management (CTRAM) also organised an 18th National Rail Transport Seminar on the theme : ‘Transforming IR’s Freight Services: Initiatives launched and the Road Ahead’.


Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s Visit to United Kingdom and Nepal
i. The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was on a 5 day visit to United Kingdom from February 24-28, 2017 particularly to represent India at the royal event of 2017 UK-India Year of Culture. He was followed by a high level delegation nominated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
ii. As a part of the visit, Jaitley delivered a lecture at the London School of Economics on the theme ‘Transforming India: Vision for the Next Decade’, on February 25 and spoke about India’s desire to be a more open economy.
iii. The Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, opened the London Stock Exchange (LSE) during a special ceremony on February 27, 2017.He was accompanied for the special ceremony by Britain’s Minister for International Trade Liam Fox and London Stock Exchange Group CEO Xavier Rolet.
iv. Queen Elizabeth II hosted a reception on February 27, 2017 in Buckingham Palace to launch the 2017 UK-India Year of Culture.The UK-India Year of Culture is aimed at celebrating the deep cultural ties between the two countries.
v. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was in Nepal on March 2, 2017 to address the Nepal Investment Summit 2017 at Kathmandu.This is the first investment summit in Kathmandu since the promulgation of the Constitution in 2015 and is expected to have an investment commitment of Rs. 100 billion.

South Korea and United States Begin Annual Military Drill Foal Eagle
i. United States and South Korean troops started their large-scale annual military drill named Foal Eagle on March 1, 2017.
ii. The aim of the military exercise is to test their defense readiness against the threat from North Korea.
iii. North Korea conducted its first ballistic missile test of 2017 in February and views the Foal Eagle Exercise 2017 as preparation for war against it.
South Korea and United States Begin Annual Military Drill Foal Eagleiv. The month long exercises will run last in April 2017 and will overlap with the Key Resolve exercise which will begin on March 13, 2017
South Korea :
♦ Capital: Seoul
♦ Currency: South Korean won
♦ President: Park Geun-hye

13th Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Summit Held in Pakistan
The 13th Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Summit, an inter-governmental regional group of 10 countries was held in Islamabad, Pakistan on March 1, 2017 under the chairmanship of Prime Minister of Pakistan Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.
♦ The theme of the summit was “Connectivity for Regional Prosperity”.
♦ The summit aimed at increasing cooperation in areas such as trade, energy, tourism and economic growth.
♦ The ECO was formed in 1985 by Pakistan, Iran and Turkey. It now also includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
Highlights of the Summit
i. During the summit, the countries discussed steps to be taken to augment cooperation in the areas of connectivity, trade, energy, tourism, investment, industry, economic growth, productivity, social welfare and environment.
ii. The Summit unanimously adopted the Islamabad Declaration 2017 that represents the collective political will of Member States to focus on connectivity of energy, infrastructure, transport, and trade for regional prosperity.
iii. Besides, the Summit also adopted the ECO Vision 2025 which provides guidelines to the Organization in all spheres of ECO activity.
iv. China was the special guest to address the summit. The event highlighted the regional connectivity between Pakistan and China based on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) being implemented to link up the two nations through a network of infrastructure projects.
v. The CPEC is part of the Chinese Belt and Road (B&R) project through which China aims to link up the world for greater connectivity to facilitate trade and commercial activities.


SIT Unearths Rs. 70,000 crore Black Money
i. The Vice-Chairman of the Special Investigating Team (SIT) on black money, Justice Arijit Pasayat on March 2, 2017 announced that an amount of Rs. 70,000 crore of black money has been so far detected through different schemes of the government.
ii .Out of the unearthed amount, over Rs 16,000 crore was detected after an investigation was made regarding the transfer of fund abroad by Indians.
iii .The announcement was made after a high-level meeting of SIT on black money in SIT Unearths Rs. 70,000 crore Black MoneyCuttack. SIT is hopeful that the amount will rise substantially further in the coming days.
iv. Justice Pasayat has asked the state crime branch to share their findings with the Income Tax department and the Enforcement Directorate for a thorough probe.
v. SIT will submit its sixth interim report to the Supreme Court in the first week of April, 2017.
Special Investigating Team (SIT) on Black Money
♦ SIT on black money was constituted by the Supreme Court on May 1, 2014 to help the government of India to deal with the problem of black money.
♦ It is responsible to guide the government in various investigations of black money cases in India as well as abroad.
Chairman: M.B. Shah

Govt Directs All Banks to Provide M-Banking Facility to all Customers by March 31
i. The Government of India has directed all the banks to provide mobile banking facility to all customers by March 31, 2017.
ii. The decision is an effort of the government to boost the digital payment system.
iii. All the users having mobile phone and wants to do mobile banking but has not been enabled would be enabled by March 31.
iv .Besides, government has also been asked that the customers who are using the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) or BHIM payment app should automatically be enabled for mobile banking.


DRDO Signs Deal with JSHL to Manufacture High Nitrogen Steel
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) signed a technology transfer agreement with Jindal Stainless (Hisar) Limited (JSHL) on March 1, 2017 for manufacturing High Nitrogen Steel (HNS).
♦  The “non-exclusive” licencing agreement was signed between the Hyderabad-based Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL) of the DRDO and the JSHL.
High Nitrogen Steel
i. High Nitrogen Steel (HNS) has higher ballistic strength than normal steel and currently India largely depends on imports.
ii .It has good strength in addition to being non-magnetic and corrosion-resistant. Its cost is about 30-40% cheaper than the imported material.
iii. Due to its strength and characteristics HNS has wide range of application in all armoured vehicles.
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)
♦ The Defence Research and Development Organisation is an agency of the Republic of India, charged with the military’s research and development.
♦ Founded: 1958
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi


Sri Lanka wins ‘Most Popular Tourism Destination Award’
i. Sri Lanka has bagged the most “Popular Tourism Destination” Award for the second consecutive year at the International Travel Fair (GITF) Travel Fair in Guangzhou, China.
ii. This award shows china’s interest in the island nation besides China has been Sri Lanka’s second largest source market for tourism since 2014.
iii. The GITF award will further label Sri Lanka among visitors to gain greater exposure and Sri Lanka wins 'Most Popular Tourism Destination Award'visibility for its unique destination brand.
Sri Lanka:
♦ Capitals: Colombo, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte
♦ President: Maithripala Sirisena
♦ Prime minister: Ranil Wickremesinghe
♦ Currency: Sri Lankan rupee


Sudan’s Bashir names long-time ally and general prime minister
i. North Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir appointed his first vice president Hassan Saleh to the newly created post of prime minister on 1 March 2016.
ii. The Prime Minister post which was abolished in 1989 after National Umma Party administration that governed then. This appointment makes first time Sudan has had a prime minister since Bashir came to power.
iii. Saleh a long-time ally of the President took over office immediately also initiated negotiations on forming a new cabinet.
iv. The National Congress party leadership meeting headed by President Bashir approved the nomination of Hassan Saleh as prime minister and his retention of the post of first vice president.
Sudan :
♦ Capital: Khartoum
♦ Currency: Sudanese pound


Pakistan Government approves the merger of FATA with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
i. Pakistan government on March 2, 2017 approved the merger of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with its northwestern province Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
ii. The Federally Administered Tribal Areas(FATA) is a semi-autonomous tribal region. It shares its border with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Afghanistan. The merger will help in bringing the Tribal area in the mainstream of the country’s administration and promote development in the area.
iii. The approval was given during the meeting of the federal cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The approval comes after a six-member committee headed by Sharif′s advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz recommended the merger of FATA with the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
iv. The merger would be carried out over a period of 5 years and funds will be allocated for a 10-year development package for FATA.
v. The Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) which punishes the entire for a crimes committed by an individual will be replaced. Apart from this the constitution will also be amended to allow the FATA members to elect their representatives.


DRDO Hands Over 3 of its Developed Products to Indian Army
i. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) handed over three defence products for induction into the Indian Army in a formal ceremony on March 2, 2017 in New Delhi.
ii. The products developed in DRDO’s laboratory include
1.Weapon Locating Radar (WLR) SWATHI
2.NBC Recce Vehicle
3.NBC Drugs
iii. The defence product was handed over by the Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar to the Chief of the Army Staff General Bipin Rawat on behalf of DRDO and it is likely to be deployed along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.

Classified US satellite launched from California
i. A rocket carrying a classified U.S. satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office Classified US satellite launched from Californiablasted off from California.
ii. The Atlas 5 rocket lifted off with grade kerosene (RP-1) and liquid oxygen, the Atlas 5 rocket produced about 860,000 pounds of thrust and roared away into a clear sky over Vandenberg Air Force Base.
iii. The satellite called NROL-79 is described only as a national security payload for the NRO that has been put on space. The Mission did not reveal much information about the satellite.


Veteran politician, former MP Yumnam Yaima Singh passes away
i. Veteran politician and former Member of Parliament Yumnam Yaima Singh passed away due to age related ailments at a hospital in Imphal. He was 95.
ii. Singh was first elected to the Territorial Council in 1957 and subsequently elected seven times continuously to the Manipur Assembly from Oinam Constituency from 1962 to 1985.
iii. He also participated in state politics being Speaker of Manipur Legislative Assembly form 1980 – 85.
iv. Besides Politics he was brilliant writer and penned a book titled “A Piece of Tenth Lok Sabha” in English, amongst many others.

French football legend Raymond Kopa passes away
i. Legendary French football player Raymond Kopa was passed away after prolonged illness French football legend Raymond Kopa passes awayat the age of 85 in Paris.
ii. Kopa was with French national team since 1950s, besides he was also part of team (Real Madrid) that won the European Cup three times from 1957.
iii. The attacking midfielder added several feathers to his career notably Winner of the Ballon d’Or in 1958 and one of the top 125 greatest living footballers by Pele in 2004 at a FIFA Awards Ceremony


National Defence Day – March 3, 2017
i. National Defence Day is celebrated on March 3 every year. across India to commemorate the day, world’s largest and tallest Indian tricolour was unfurled at Town Park in Faridabad.
ii. The day is formed by the combination of cadets of three services the army, the navy and the air force
National Defence Academy :
♦ The National Defence Academy was formally commissioned on 7 December 1954.
♦ Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru on 6 October 1949 laid the foundation stone for the Academy with the objectives to provide the requisite educational standard ,acquire mental and physical qualities, essential as officers of the fighting services.
♦ This is a joint services academy of the Indian Air Forces.
Headquarters : Khadakwasla, Maharashtra

World wildlife day – March 3, 2017
i. World Wildlife Day was observed each year on 3rd March since its proclamation by the United Nations General Assembly on 20 December 2013.
World wildlife day - March 3, 2017ii. This year with the Theme “Listen to the young voices” to provide incentives to the youth to tackle conservation issues.
iii. The day reminds us of the need to fight for endangered species and against wildlife crime in our beautiful world.
iv. The UN urges its members to fight against wildlife challenges such as Habitat loss, climate change and poaching among the most alarming in this era.