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Current Affairs Today – March 9 2017

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10th International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance Held in New Delhi
i. The 10th edition of the International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance (ICEGOV 2017) was held in New Delhi from March 7-9, 2017.
ii. Theme: Building Knowledge Societies: From Digital Government to Digital Empowerment
iii. Objective: ICEGOV 2017 focused on the use of technology to transform relationships between government and citizens, businesses & civil society.
iv. The ICEGOV 2017 was inaugurated by the Union Minister of Electronics & Information Technology and Law & Justice Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad.
v. The ICEGOV 2018 will be held in Galway, Ireland.

Vasundhara Raje Presented Rs.1,66,000-crore Rajasthan Budget 2017-18
Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje who also holds the Finance portfolio, presentedRs.1,66,000-crore state budget for 2017-18 in the Legislative Assembly on March 8, 2017 with focus on aiding farmers and promoting tourism in the state.
♦ The Budget is based on the government’s vision document mission 2020. It aims at a happy Rajasthan and a happy Rajasthani.
Salient Features of the State Budget 2017-18
i. Estimated Revenue Deficit for 2017-18 without effect of UDAY is Rs. 1528 crore. And with effect of UDAY is Rs. 13528 crore.
ii. Estimated Fiscal Deficit for 2017-18 is Rs. 24753.53 crore which is 2.99% of GSDP.
iii. Estimated total revenue receipts for 2017-18 Rs. 130162 crore.
iv. Estimated own tax revenue for 2017-18 Rs. 59455 crore which is higher by 16.16%
v. Estimated own tax revenue for 2017-18  was 8.34% of GSDP

Odisha govt launches 181 helpline for distressed women
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has launched 24*7  helpline number 181 to assist women in distress on the occasion of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2017.
♦ A woman from any part of the Odisha can dial 181 to get immediate assistance.
Awards & honours :
i. Naveen Patnaik also honoured women achievers in the field of academics and sports on the occasion.
1.Manjulata Panda, a visually impaired woman who bagged her doctoral degree from Utkal University, Bhubaneshwar,181
2.Jhilli Dalabehera for weightlifting and
3.Jabamani Tudu for football.
ii. He felicitated four Anganwadi workers – Champamani Munda of Podasia in Mayurbhanj, Kanaklata Das of Eradanga in Jagatsinghpur, Swapnarani Devi of Parisala in R Udaygiri and Mina Kumari of Jamirposh in Sundergarh district

India and Belgium sign Protocol amending the India-Belgium Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement and Protocol
i. India and Belgium has signed an agreement to amending the existing Agreement and Protocol between the two countries for avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income on March 9, 2017 in New Delhi
ii. The agreement was signed in the presence of Sushil Chandra, Chairman CBDT and Jan Luykx, Ambassador of Belgium to India.
iii. During the financial year 2016-17, India has signed protocol with Switzerland, Mauritius, Cyprus, Japan, Republic of Korea, Kazakhstan, Singapore and Austria during the financial year 2016-17.
Benefits :
♦ The protocol will broaden the scope of the existing framework of exchange of tax related information which will help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance between the two countries
♦ It will enable mutual assistance in collection of taxes
Belgium :
♦ Capital: City of Brussels
♦ Currency: Euro

Tamil Nadu CM Palaniswami Launches Rs 1580 cr Housing Scheme
The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami launched a Housing Scheme on March 9, 2017 for construction of concrete houses for the economically poor section of the society.
♦ The project is estimated at Rs 1,580 crore and will be implemented by the state government with financial assistance from the Center.
♦ While launching the scheme, CM Palaniswami gave away work orders to five beneficiaries.
♦ For the current fiscal 2016-17, concrete houses will be constructed for 50,170 beneficiaries in town panchayat limits.
Facts about Tamil Nadu
i. Tamil Nadu borders with 3 states-Karnataka in northwest, Andhra Pradesh in north, Kerala in West.
ii. Kanchipuram is the largest district of Tamil Nadu by area and Chennai is largest by population.
iii. The major rivers are Kaveri, Palar, Cheyyar, Ponnaiyar, Meyar, Bhavani, Amravati, Vaigal, Chittar and Tamaraparni. The 760 Km long kaveri is the biggest river of this state.
iv .Pongal is the main festival of Tamil Nadu which is a harvest festival. Tamil Nadu is also famous for its Jallikattu festival.
v. This state is largest producer of banana, turmeric, tapioca.


Hawaii Becomes First State to Sue Over Trump’s Revised Travel Ban
i. US State, Hawaii has become the first state to file a lawsuit against Donald Trump’s revised travel ban on 6 Muslim majority countries.
ii. The lawsuit was filed by the Attorneys for the state on March 8, 2017 in federal court in Honolulu saying that the order will harm its Muslim population, tourism and foreign students.
iii. Trump’s new executive order was signed on March 6, 2017 and it bars new visas for people from six Muslim-majority countries and temporarily shuts down the US refugee program. It doesn’t apply to travelers who already have visas.
iv. The new order keeps a 90-day ban on travel to the US by citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen but exempts Iraq. It replaces the previous order that was issued on 27 January and comes into effect on March 16, 2017.
v. The Attorneys for the state had previously also sued over Trump’s initial travel ban, but that lawsuit was put on hold amid legal challenges around the country.
vi. Legal arguments in the case are expected to be heard on March 15, a day before the new order is set to take effect.
vii. Hawaii is concerned about the new order since 20 percent of the people are foreign-born, 100,000 are non-citizens and 20 percent of the labor force is foreign-born so a ban would have a harmful impact on the states functioning.
♦ Hawaii is the 50th and most recent state to have joined the United States of America and received statehood on August 21, 1959
♦ Hawaii is the only U.S. state not located in the Americas.  It is located in Oceania and the only one composed entirely of islands.
♦ Capital: Honolulu

Mega Cultural Festival ‘India by the Nile’ Begins in Egypt
The fifth edition of the mega cultural festival India by the Nile’ (IBN) began in Cairo, Egypt from March 8, 2017. It is the largest foreign festival in Egypt.
♦ The IBN Festival is organized by India to showcase Indian culture, arts music, dance, theatre, food, cuisine and Yoga & wellbeing to build a long lasting relationship between the two ancient civilizations.
♦ The festival presented by Embassy of India to Egypt and Teamwork Arts will last on April 27, 2017 and will be held in different cities like Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, Port Said and Ismaila Governorates.
Important Events of the IBN Festival
i. For the first time the Indian flag was projected onto the Giza Pyramids as part of the celebration.
ii. The festival started off at the foot of the Pyramids with ‘Crafts Mela’ showcasing the joint handicraft exhibition of India and Egypt.
iii. The handicraft exhibition has been organized from March 8 to 14 to promote Indian and Egyptian handicrafts.
iv. The exhibition is organized in partnership with the Indian Ministry of Textile; Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts, the Egyptian Ministry of Solidarity and the Federation of Egyptian Industries.
v. The 2017 festival is exceptional one as India is celebrating 70 years of independence as well as 70 years of diplomatic relations with Egypt in 2017.
vi. The main focus of 2017 Nile Festival is on the youth of both countries. A special match Festival 'India by the Nile' Begins in Egyptbetween India’s under-16 football team and Egypt’s under-16 national team will be held to reflect the agenda.
♦ Capital: Cairo
♦ Currency: Egyptian pound
♦ President: Abdel Fattah el-Sisi


EPFO extends Digital Life Certificate submission through Jeevan Pramaan Patra by March 31
i. The the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has extended the last date of submission of Digital Life Certificate through Jeevan Pramaan Patra up to 31st March 2017 from 28th February 2017.
ii. Another one month time was given to pensioners because many pensioners failed to submit Aadhaar authenticated Jeevan Pramaan as life certificate for continuation of drawal of pension.
iii. Members and pensioners of the Employees’ Pension Scheme, 1995 are required to furnish the Aadhaar number by 31st March 2017.
iv. In case a member has not been allotted an Aadhaar Number, a copy of the Aadhaar Enrolment ID slip is required to be attached for settlement of claims under EPS, 1995, namely for pension processing and monthly pension payments.
An Aadhaar number is not required in case a member of pension scheme having less than 10 years of service chooses to withdraw by making an application in Form 10-C.
♦ The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (abbreviated to EPFO), is an Organization tasked to assist the Central Board of Trustees, a statutory body formed by the Employees’ Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 and is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India.
♦ On 1 October 2014, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi launched Universal Account Number for Employees covered by EPFO to enable PF number portability.

SBI says minimum balance penalty needed to offset Jan Dhan account costs
i. SBI recently announced that penalty for non-maintenance of Minimum Average Balance (MAB) from April 1, 2017. Government asked SBI to reconsider charges.
ii. Arundhati Bhattacharya, SBI chief clarify that the condition of maintaining minimum balance will not be applicable to the Jan Dhan accounts
iii. The SBI has made it mandatory for savings accounts in metropolitan areas to maintain a minimum balance of Rs 5,000, Rs 3,000 in urban areas, Rs 2,000 in semi-urban areas and Rs 1,000 in rural areas, from April 1.
iv. These charges will be based on the difference between the minimum balance required and the shortfall. For metropolitan areas, if the shortfall is greater than 75 per cent then the charges would be Rs 100 plus service tax.

RBI Will Soon Introduce New Rs 10 Notes with More Security Features
The Reserve Bank of India on March 9, 2017 notified that it is soon going to issue Rs. 10 denomination notes with enhanced security features for circulation.
♦ Besides, RBI also notified that all the banknotes in the denomination of Rs 10 issued in the past will also continue to be legal tender.
Salient Feature of the Note
i. The note will be in the Mahatma Gandhi series-2005 and carry inset letter ‘L’ on both number panels.
ii. It will have the signature of Governor Urjit Patel.
iii. The year of printing, 2017, will be on the reverse of the note.
Rs.10iv. Numerals on both the panels will be in ascending size from left to right.
v. The first three alpha-numeric characters (prefix) will remain constant in size.
Reserve Bank of India
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Established: 1 April 1935
♦ Governor: Urjit Patel


NTPC commissions 45 MW of Bhadla solar plant 
i. Indian Public Sector Undertaking company National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC) has commissioned of 45 MW solar capacity at Bhadla in Rajasthan
ii. Now the the total installed capacity of the project is increased to 160 MW.
iii. Last month, NTPC had commissioned 115 MW capacity out of the 260 MW Bhadla solar power project. NTPC has planned capacity addition of about 1,000 MW through renewable resources by 2017.
iv. NTPC intends to become a 130-GW company up to 2032 with a with diversified fuel mix and a 600 billion units company in terms of generation.


Konkani Writer Mahabaleshwar Sail Receives Saraswati Samman 2016
i. Noted Konkani author Mahabaleshwar Sail has been honored with the 2016 Saraswati Samman for his novel ‘Hawthan’. The 74-year-old Sail’s novel Hawthan was published in 2009 and was shortlisted from 22 books written in various languages.
ii. Mahabaleshwar Sail received a cash prize of 15 lakh and a citation as a part of the honor.
iii. The bi-lingual writer has written four Marathi dramas and seven Konkani novels till date. He has also written five short stories and a novel in Marathi.
iv. ‘Hawthan’ is a well-researched work of fiction presenting the cultural map of the traditional potter community of Goa.

Viola Davis Conferred With Harvard’s Artist of the Year Award 2017
i. The popular actress Viola Davis was awarded the 2017 Artist of the Year Award by Harvard Foundation during its 32nd annual Cultural Rhythms Festival in Memorial Hall’s Viola Davis Conferred With Harvard's Artist of the Year Award 2017Sanders Theatre at Harvard University in Cambridge on March 4, 2017.
ii. Besides, this year the popular actress, producer, director has also won Oscar for the best supporting actress, Critics’ Choice, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and British Academy of Films and Television Arts awards for her role of Rose Maxson in Fences.
iii. She also won her second Tony Award for the 2010 Broadway revival of the play.
iv. Previous winners of Harvard’s Artist of the Year Award include Matt Damon, Quincy Jones, Salma Hayek and Andy Garcia and Shakira.
v. The award is given annually to honor America’s most acclaimed artists and scientists.
About Viola Davis
♦ Viola Davis was born on August 11, 1965 in South Carolina. She is an American actress and producer.
♦ She is the only black woman to be nominated for three Academy Awards and the only black actress to win the Triple Crown of Acting.
♦ In 2012, she was listed by Time as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.


Ford Foundation appoints Pradeep Nair as regional director for India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka
i. New York based Ford Foundation has appointed Pradeep Nair as regional director for India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka on March 8, 2017. Nair will take charge at the end of March from David Hulse.
ii. He will lead the global non-profit grant-making organisation’s operations in New Delhi, serving the three countries.
iii. Earlier, as director of President Bill Clinton’s Climate Initiative in India, Nair helped to grow the regional chapter of the global cities network, chaired by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
iv. He also had previously served as the India country director of the US-based Institute for Sustainable Communities, where he established the organisation’s India office and was instrumental in forming strong relationships with the government of India, the private sector, and NGO communities across Asia.


Google acquires Kaggle for undisclosed amount to boost data play
i. Technology giant Google has announced to acquire a start-up Kaggle which hosts a number of data scientists for an undisclosed amount at the Cloud Next 2017 conference on March 9, 2017
ii. Kaggle and Google Cloud will continue to support machine learning training and deployment services while offering the community the ability to store and query large datasets.
♦ Kaggle is home to the world’s largest community of data scientists and machine-learning enthusiasts.
♦ It was founded in 2010 by Anthony Goldbloom.


Vice Admiral Girish Luthra Commissions INS Tillanchang at Karwar
INS Tillanchang, a Water Jet Fast Attack Craft (WJFAC) was commissioned into the Indian Navy by Vice Admiral Girish Luthra, the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Naval Command, at Karwar, Karnataka on March 9, 2017.
♦ INS Tillanchang is the third ship of four follow-on WJFAC built by the Garden Reach Vice Admiral Girish Luthra Commissions INS Tillanchang at KarwarShipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Kolkata.
♦ INS Tarmugli and INS Tihayu are the first two ships of the WJFAC class and were commissioned in 2016 and are based at Visakhapatnam.
♦ INS Tillanchang will be based at Karwar under the operational control of the Flag Officer Commanding, Karnataka Naval Area.
Features of INS Tillanchang
i. The ship is designed to take on both conventional and asymmetric threats.
ii. INS Tillanchang is about 50 m in length and is powered by 3 waterjet propulsion system which gives it speed of over 35 knots.
iii. The ship consists of 30 mm main gun and a number of light, medium and heavy machine guns to undertake operations at sea.
iv. The ship will be manned by 50 personnel and commanded by Commander Adit Patnaik.
v. It is projected to be an ideal platform for missions like Coastal and Off-shore Surveillance, EEZ Control, Law Enforcement as well as non-military missions such as Search and Rescue, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief.

Himachal launches mobile app Mera Hunar HP for job-seekers
i. Virbhadra Singh led Himacha Pradesh government has launched mobile app and website titled ‘MeraHunar HP’ or ‘My Talent’  to help skilled and semi-skilled workers find jobs.
ii.The mobile app will connect prospective employers with job aspirants as the latter’s resume will contain addresses and contact numbers.
iii.This initiative will foster the skill development scheme and be of great help to pass-outs of industrial training institutes also make available real time employment data of the state.
Himachal Pradesh
♦ Capital: Shimla
♦ Chief minister: Virbhadra Singh
♦  Governor: Acharya Dev Vrat

IBM Researchers Creates World’s Smallest Magnet to Store Single Bit Data
i. A team of researchers at IBM has created the world’s smallest magnet using a single atom which can store one bit of data on it.
ii. Currently, hard disk drives use about 100,000 atoms to store a single bit. The breakthrough was published in the journal Nature on March 8, 2017.
iii. The ability to read and write one bit on one atom may lead to developing significantly smaller and denser storage devices in future that can store the entire iTunes library of 35 million songs on a device.
iv. The IBM scientists used a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) to build and measure isolated single-atom bits using the holmium atoms.  Then, they used an electrical current to write and read binary data (1s and 0s) on the atom.
v. The invention can allow people and businesses to store 1,000 times more information in the same space and one day make data centers, computers and personal devices radically smaller and more powerful.
About IBM
♦ International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) is an American multinational technology company with operations in over 170 countries.
♦ The company originated in 1911 as the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR) and was renamed “International Business Machines” in 1924.
♦ IBM manufactures and markets computer hardware, middleware and software, andSmall Magnetoffers hosting and consulting services in areas ranging from mainframe computers to nanotechnology.
♦ Headquarters: New York, United States
♦ Founder: Charles Ranlett Flint
♦ Founded: 16 June 1911
♦ President: Ginni Rometty


Cyclone Enawo kills at least 3 in Madagascar and 500 homeless
i. Intense Tropical Cyclone Enawo was the strongest tropical cyclone that hit in the northeast of the Madagascar.
ii.The cyclone killed at least three people, left nearly 500 people homeless and damaged schools and other buildings, posing grater economic challenges ahead.
iii. In response to this the country issued a red alert for several regions expected to be impacted by the storm.
♦ Capital: Antananarivo
♦ Currency: Malagasy ariary


Veteran journalist Arvind Padmanabhan passes away
i. Veteran journalist Arvind Padmanabhan, Executive Editor at IANS, has passed away after suffering massive cardiac in New Delhi. He was 49.
ii. Padmanabhan was born in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu. He was extensively admired in the journalistic circle for the thoroughness he displayed in reporting.
iii. He had a long stint with IANS, joining the India Abroad newspaper that was then part of the wire service in 1999 as in-charge of its Business Section. His marathon career extended with the PTI, The Times of India and TV18.
iv. Later he took charge of the Business Bureau of the wire service and then growing to become, first, the Business Editor of IANS and then the Bureau Chief.


World Kidney Day – March 9, 2017
i. Every year, second Thursday of March(March 9, 2017) is observed as World Kidney Day is observed across the world to raising awareness of the importance of our kidneys.
ii. Aim:  To highlight the risk factors that can lead to Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).
iii. 2017 Theme: “Kidney Disease and Obesity: Healthy Lifestyle for Healthy Kidneys”.
iv. It is a joint initiative of the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the International Federation of Kidney Foundations (IFKF)