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Current Affairs Today – March 31 2016

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CAT March 31 2016

INDIAN AFFAIRS

Kachhabali Becomes 1st Liquor-free village in Rajasthan

Kachabali village in Rajsamand district of Rajasthan, has become the first in state to vote in support of closing down the only liquor shop in the village.

  • This is the first time the provision of the Rajasthan Excise Act, 1975, that provides for the closure of a country liquor shop, was invoked.
  • The polling was carried out by the excise department of the state and 94% of the voters demanded that they want a complete ban on the sale of alcohol in the village.

Mumbai to get its first Arbitration Centre

The financial capital of India is likely to get the International Arbitration Centre. This will be the India’s first arbitration centre for dealing the financial disputes.

  • The financial disputes of India were dealt in the Singapore Arbitration centre, now with the establishment of the International arbitration centre in Mumbai it will be a boon to the Indian companies
  • Out of the 259 cases registered at Singapore arbitration centre in 2013, 85 were from Indian companies

Government Unveils new building bye laws in New Delhi

The Union government has been constantly taking efforts in reducing the paperwork and it motivates the single window system that makes the obtaining of approvals easier and faster. One such effort is the unified building bye laws proposed by the central government in Delhi.New Building Bye Laws

  • The unified building laws combines the rules and regulations of various departments in obtaining permission for constructing a building
  • The bye laws have been amended after a gap of 33 years and it enables the single window approval
  • The permissions to be obtained has been reduced to 14 from 40

BHEL commissions 250 Mw unit at Nabinagar plant in Bihar

  • Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited has commissioned 250 MW coal-based thermal power plant in Bihar.
  • The 250 MW unit has been commissioned at the upcoming, Greenfield 1,000 MW Nabinagar Thermal Power Project of 1000 MW being set up by Bhartiya Rail Bijlee Company Limited (BRBCL), a joint venture of NTPC Limited and the Indian Railways.
  • This is the first 250 MW unit to be commissioned in the plant located at Nabinagar in Aurangabad district of Bihar.

BHEL:

  • BHEL is the largest engineering and manufacturing enterprisein India in the energy related and infrastructure sector.
  • The company caters to the core sectors including power, transmission, industry, transportation, renewable energy, oil & gas and defence.

National anthem made mandatory in UP primary schools

  • The national anthem must be sung by the Students every day in the primary schools of Uttar Pradesh and on every Wednesday, schools will have to observe swachhata diwas -Cleanliness Day.
  • The Youngest CM of India Akilesh Yadav led UP government directed that singing of the national anthem, written by Rabindranath Tagore, has been made mandatory in basic education schools.
  • A sports period has also been made mandatory for the first four working days, while Scout and Guide programme would be undertaken on the two remaining weekdays.

About National Anthem:

  • It was only on 24th January 1950 that this song was officially declared as India’s national anthem.
  • Formal rendition of the anthem should take 52 seconds by law, and not 54 seconds
  • Interestingly, Rabindranath Tagore has written the national anthem of Bangladesh as well.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Ebola threat comes to an end in West Africa

Ebola threat comes to an end in West Africa

Ebola– the viral disease that had been haunting the African Nations and their neighbours for more than a year has been declared no longer a medical emergency. WHO has declared the Ebola outbreak to be no longer a global threat as the disease is under control and necessary measures are available to treat the epidemic.

  • With this announcement, the viral disease which was threatening the world nations for 20 months killing more than 11,300 people is finally under control
  • The announcement came as a result of the report from the committee constituted to study the Ebola virus. They also proposed to lift the trade and travel restrictions imposed in the ebola affected Liberia, Sierra leone and Guinea

Key points

  • WHO Director General- Margaret Chan
  • Headquarters– Geneva

France operation ‘Sangaris’ comes to an end in CAR

France will end its three year long military operation ‘Sangaris’ in Central African Republic which came into force in 2013 following a communal violence.

  • The France government proposed to withdraw its troops citing the formation of the new government under Faustin-Archange Touadera and restoration of peace
  • The communal violence broke out in CAR when Muslim rebels ousted the Christian president Francois from power and following this French troops started the operation ‘Sangaris’ in 2013
  • Totally 2500 troops were deployed in the security operation assisting the UN peacekeeping force

France President- Francois Hollande

ICCR to set up first Indian Chair in Arab world at Cairo

India will institute its first Chair in the Arab world at Egypt’s third largest university Ain Shams University (ASU) in Cairo.

  • India’s Ambassador to Egypt Sanjay Bhattacharyya and Prof AbdelWahabEzzat, acting president signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the project.
  • The MoU represents a historic moment in academic exchanges between the two civilizational partners as the ICCR Chair will be the first, not only in Egypt but in the Arab world.

Ain Shams University:

  • Shams University was founded in 1950, the third-oldest non-sectarian native public Egyptian university.

BANKING & FINANCE

SEBI raises FPI investment limit

The market regulator SEBI has raised the FPI (Foreign Portfolio Investors) investment limit in government securities to 1,40,000 crore from April,4. This will help in attracting more foreign inflow into the nation.

  • SEBI has proposed the hike in two tranches one in April and the other in July
  • Besides the FPI limit in central government securities, it also allows increase in State Development Loans

Japan commits loan worth 14251 crores

Japan has been providing support to India both financially and technically when it comes to the development of Infrastructure. It has now committed a loan worth 242.2 billion yen for the various infrastructure projects in India.

  • Transmission System Strengthening Project in Madhya Pradesh -JPY 15.45 billion
  • Odisha Integrated Sanitation Improvement Project -JPY 25.7 billion
  • Dedicated Freight Corridor Project (Phase 1) -JPY 103.6 billion or Rs 6,170 crore
  • North East Road Network Connectivity Improvement Project- JPY 67.1 billion
  • Jharkhand Horticulture Intensificationby Micro Drip Irrigation Project -JPY 4.65 billion

BUSINESS

Adani Aero Defence ties up with Elbit, Alpha for unmanned aircraft systems

A subsidiary of Adanigroup Alpha Design Technologies Pvt Ltdhas tied up with the Israeli company Elbit Systems for Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

  • The Pact reflects the realisation of Make in India for global requirements objective. The Company plans to create a tiered vendor base for supporting, indigenisation and localisation requirements.
  • The Adani Group is worth over $10 billion. Aadanikept this pact for unmanned aircraft system(UAS), and is an aircraft without a human pilot aboard.

SC approves Centre’s guidelines to protect Good Samaritans

The Supreme Court approved the central government’s guidelines to protect people who help victims of road

  • A bench comprising justices Gopala Gowda and Arun Mishra directed the Centre to give wide publicity to the guidelines, which clearly stipulate that people who help victims of road accidents or other calamities are not harassed in any way.

Key guidelines:

  • Good Samaritans will be treated respectfully and without any discrimination on any grounds of gender, religion etc.
  • Any one, except an eyewitness, who calls the police to inform them of an accidental injury or death need not reveal his or her personal details such as full name, address or phone number.
  • The police will not force the Good Samaritan to disclose his or her name, identity, address and other such details in the police record form or log register.
  • The police will not compel any Good Samaritan in procuring information or anything else.
  • The police will allow the Good Samaritan to leave after having provided the information available to him or her, and no further questions will be asked of him or her if he or she does not desire to be a witness.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Faustin-Archange Touadera sworn in as President of Central Africa

Faustin-Archange Touadera was sworn in as the president of the Central African Republic in the main stadium at Bangui.

  • Central African Republic has been at political unrest since the communal violence between Christians and Muslims that took place in 2013
  • Following this, France sent its troops and established ‘Sangaris’ operation to restore peace

JitendraJagota Has Appointed As the Chairman of IDSA

Self-regulatory body for the direct selling industry in India named JitendraJagota as the new Chairman in its new Executive Committee at the General Body Meeting held in New Delhi. Mr.Jagota will succeed RajatBanerj.

  • Prior to his new appointment he is the Director Legal and Government Affairs, Avon Beauty Products India Pvt. Ltd has been has become the Chairman of the Association.

Wipro appoints Patrick Dupuis as its Board member

The IT Major Wipro has announced the appointment of Patrick Dupuis as its new independent board member.

  • Patrick Dupuis was the Senior Vice President of Paypal Holdings
  • He joined Paypal in 2010 as CFO and made efficient contributions to the companyWipro appoints Patrick Dupuis as its Board member
  • His role was vital in separating Paypal from e-bay and in the listing of Paypal in Nasdaq
  • He has also been a part of BJC healthcare and functioned as the CFO of Sitel, one of the largest customer care company

Wipro Chairman– Azim Premji

First female speaker for Vietnam Parliament

Vietnam has chosen Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan as its first female speaker.

  • Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan got 472 votes out of the total 481 votes and got a clean sweep of majority in becoming the speaker of the assembly
  • She became the first female speaker of the nation and also elected as the chairperson of National Election council with 467 votes out of 477
  • Earlier she served as the Vice Chairperson of the National Assembly from July, 2011

Keys

  • Vietnam capital- Hanoi
  • President- Truơng Tấn Sang

ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS

Russia approved OVL deal to acquire 15% stake in Vankor oilfield for $1.3 billion

Russia has approved a deal of ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) to acquire 15% stake in Vankor oilfield from Rosneft, The deal size of 1.3 billion US dollars’was signed between the OVL and Rosneft in September 2015.

  • The new deal enables OVL’s stake in Vankor will raise to 26% from 15% and will give it about 3.5 million metric tonnes of oil a year Consequently, Rosneft will retain the remaining 50.1 per cent and also retain full control of infrastructure of the Vankor cluster.ONGC
  • Vankor is Russia’s second biggest oil field with capacity of total 500 million tonnes recoverable reserves barrels.

ONGC Videsh Limited:

ONGC Videsh Limited is the international subsidiary of ONGC. It currently has 14 projects across 16 countries. ONGC is India’s largest oil and gas exploration and production company.

Sun Pharma buys Novartis’ 14 brands for $ 293 mn in Japan

Mumbai based drug Major Sun Pharma has entered into the Japanese medicine market by buying 14 established brands from Novartis and Novartis Pharma AG in Japan for $293 million.

  • Sun Pharma will acquire 14 well-known prescription brands, which have combined annualized revenues of approximately $160 million, from Novartis.
  • It is important to note that the acquired brands will be distributed under the Sun Pharma label by an established and reliable local marketing partner.
  • Sun pharmaceutical industry has become the third largest producer in the world in terms of volumes.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Narendra Modi to launch Asia’s Biggest telescope Aries in Nainital

A Major achievement and progress in the field of Astronomy, the Aryabhatta Research Institute for Observational Sciences abbreviated as ARIES the first optical telescope is set to be inaugurated by PM Modi in Nainital.

  • It is a combined effort of Indian, Russian and Belgian scientists to develop a telescope to study the structure of stars and further promote the research
  • It was a contract undertaken by the Aries and Belgian company- Advanced Mechanical and Optical Systems in March , 2007

Govt launches e-CGHS cards, GIS-enabled HMIS application

Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare JP Nadda has launched two major Digital initiatives to provide easy access to health services to the public to strengthen the public health systems and providing user-friendly health services. The Services as follows,

  1. GIS-enabled HMIS application
  2. The self-printing of e-CGHS card

Telangana Road Transport Authority’s Mobile App M-Wallet launched

Telangana State Transport Authority’s launched brand-new mobile app named M-Wallet, which is first of its kind in India.

  • The initiative is going to benefit 60 lakh driving licence holders, 80 lakh vehicle The App was launched by IT minister KT Rama Rao and transport minister P.Mahender Reddy.
  • It will help motorists to avoid physically carrying documents like driving licence, registration certification and other vehicle related documents, since digital certificates can be uploaded through the App.

Telangana:

  • Telangana (meaning Land of Telugus) is the 29th state of the
  • Telangana have 17 LokSabha seats and 119 assembly seats

ENVIRONMENT

Sand-eating Micrixalidae tadpoles species found in Western Ghats

Sand-eating tadpoles has been discovered by scientists from the Various Universities in the Western Ghats.These species named Micrixalidae belongs to the so-called Indian Dancing Frog family.

  • They were discovered from the deep recesses of streambeds, these tadpoles lack teeth but have well-serrated jaw sheaths which helps them avoid large sand grains while feeding.Sand-eating Micrixalidae tadpoles species found in Western Ghats
  • They have skin-covered eyes, which helps them to burrow through gravel beds.
  • It lives in total darkness that they are of fossorial nature and comes out after fully developing into a young frog.

Western Ghats:

  • The Western Ghats is a mountainous region in southern India which is known as a hotspot of biodiversity.
  • It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the eight hottest hotspots  of biological diversity in the world