Current Affairs – 14th March 2017

Hello Readers, We bring you another issue of current affairs that covers the important news in Current Affairs Today Section.
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Indian Affairs

Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI) Bill, 2017 introduced in Lok Sabha

Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI) Bill, 2017
  • Commerce & Industry Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman introduced the Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI) Bill, 2017 in the Lok Sabha on 14th March, 2017 to declare the FDDI as an Institution of National Importance (INI).
  • The objective of the proposed legislation is to facilitate and promote teaching, training and research in all disciplines relating to design and development of Footwear and leather products and to enable FDDI to emerge as Centre of Excellence meeting international standards
  • The Footwear Design & Development Institute was established in 1986 with the objective of providing trained human resource and assistance to the sector.
  • FDDI has pan-India presence with campuses at Noida, Kolkata, Chennai, Fursatganj (UP), Rohtak (Haryana), Chhindwara (M.P) and Jodhpur (Rajasthan) equipped with state of art academic facilities and infrastructure.
  • New campuses at Hyderabad, Patna, Ankleshwar (Gujarat), Banur(Punjab) and Guna (M.P) would also start functioning shortly.

Lok Sabha passes Enemy Property Bill with majority

Lok Sabha passes Enemy Property Bill with majority
  • The 49-year-old law to guard against claims of succession or transfer by heirs of property, the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016, was passed in the LoK Sabha on March 15 2017.
  • The property bill seeks to amend the Enemy Property Act, 1968, to vest all rights, titles and interests over enemy property in the Custodian. It also declares transfer of enemy property by the enemy, conducted under the Act, to be void.
  • The bill had earlier been passed by the Lok Sabha in March last year. It had to be taken up by the House again to approve the amendments made to the bill in the Rajya Sabha.
  • It amends the Enemy Property Act, 1968, to vest all rights, titles and interests over enemy property in the custodian and declares transfer of property by the enemy as void.
  • According to the new bill passed, the law of succession will not apply to the legal heir(s) or successor(s) of the enemy.
  • The bill also prohibits civil courts and other authorities from entertaining disputes related to enemy property.

International Affairs

CAS Confirms Lifetime Ban on Sergei Portugalov

CAS Confirms Lifetime Ban on Sergei Portugalov
  • The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on March 13, 2017 confirmed a lifetime ban on Sergei Portugalov from sports for his role in providing illicit substances to Russian athletes.
  •  Sergei Portugalov is a former chief of the Russian Athletics Federation’s Medical Commission (Swimming)
  •  The Lausanne-based CAS upheld the ban as part of an arbitration involving the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) and the Russian Athletics Federation.
  •  The Russian whistle blowers cited clear evidence that Sergei violated IAAF doping rules regardingpossession and trafficking of prohibited substances and used to run a doping consultancy attended by Russian swimmers and coaches.
  •  In a 2015 report, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) reported that Portugalov supplied performance enhancing drugs to athletes and coaches, administered doping programmes and even injected athletes himself.


Inter-state River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2017 introduced in Lok Sabha

  • Union Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Sushri Uma Bharti introduced Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2017 in Lok Sabha.
  • Introducing the Bill the Minister called it a “Revolutionary step” towards the resolution of Inter- State River Water Disputes.
  • Giving details of the Bill the Minister said the Bill proposes a Single Standing Tribunal (with multiple benches) instead of existing multiple tribunals, which shall consist of one Chairperson, one Vice-Chairperson and not more than six other Members.
  • Bill provides for the appointment of Assessors to provide technical support to the tribunal.
  • The Bill also proposes to introduce mechanism to resolve the dispute amicably by negotiations, through a Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC) to be established by the Central Government consisting of relevant experts, before such dispute is referred to the tribunal. The Bill also provides for transparent data collection system at the national level for each river basin and for this purpose, an agency to maintain data-bank and information system shall be appointed or authorized by Central Government.
      Inter-state river water disputes are on the rise on account of increase in water demands by the States. The Inter State Water Dispute Act, 1956 which provides the legal framework to address such disputes, suffers from many drawbacks.
  • The Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2017 proposes to streamline the adjudication of inter-state river water disputes and make the present legal and institutional architecture robust.

Banking and Finance

RBI Likely to Open UPI Platform for Digital Wallets Soon

  • Digital wallets such as Paytm and MobiKwik are set to become inter-operable as Reserve Bank of India (RBI) prepares to open up the Unified Payment Interface platform for them as part of the government’s digitisation campaign.
  • RBI is expected to issue guidelines shortly on interoperability and ‘know your customer’ (KYC) norms for digital wallet companies, according to two people familiar with the developments.RBI will also decide on the interchange fees between the wallets for them to be able to access the UPI framework.
  • The opening up of the UPI framework and, in turn, the permission to allow interoperability between wallets is something the RBI is looking into very seriously and should be able to activate in 2-3 months.
  • Digital wallets can currently access the UPI network through partner banks to facilitate bank-to-bank money transfers.
  • Allowing direct access will mean that a PhonePe or a MobiKwik user will be able to send money directly to, say, a merchant with a Paytm or a FreeCharge digital wallet, expanding the usability of these instruments.

Awards and Recognition

Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Rashtriya Krishi Vigyan Protsahan Puraskar (2016)

Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Rashtriya Krishi Vigyan Protsahan Puraskar for the year 2016 will be awarded in Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Pusa, New Delhi on the 15th March 2017 during the inaugural function of Krishi Unnati Mela – 2017.
Year 2016 is the birth centenary year of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Ji, pioneer of Antyodaya. “Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Rashtriya Krishi Vigyan Protsahan Puraskar” has been launched on this occasion by Government of India.
The total sum of this award is Rs. 50 lakhs in which there is a provision of one award of Rs. 25.00 lakh at national level and 11 awards of Rs. 2.25 lakh at regional level every year will be awarded.
The decision of winners of this award has been taken by the selection committee on the basis of nominations received from all the Krishi Vigyan Kendras across the country.

Appointments & Resigns

Former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar Sworn in as Goa Chief Minister

Former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar Sworn in as Goa Chief Minister
  • Former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was sworn in as Goa Chief Minister for fourth time at the Raj Bhavan in Panaji, Goa on March 14, 2017.Goa Governor Mridula Sinha administered the oath of office and secrecy to the Chief Minister and eight other ministers who also took the oath.
  •  Supreme Court has given Mr. Parrikar 48 hours to prove his majority on the floor of the house on March 16, 2017. Portfolio allocation would be taken up after the trust vote.

N Biren Singh to be sworn in as chief minister of Manipur

N Biren Singh to be sworn in as chief minister of Manipur
  • The incumbent Chief Minister of Manipur Okram Ibobi Singh resigned from the post on March 13, 2017 giving way for formation of a new ministry under the BJP.
  •  The Congress leader Okram Ibobi announced to resign after BJP named Nongthombam Biren Singhas the party’s leader to form the government with majority win.
  •  In 60-member assembly of Manipur, BJP won 21 seats that was 10 seats shorts to prove majority, while Congress won 28 seats.
  •  However, BJP received a big boost in the number of seats after 4 MLAs from NPP, lone LJP MLA and another four MLAs of the NPF, lone Trinamool Congress MLA, Tongbram Robindro and one Congress legislator lent their support to the BJP taking BJP to have support of more than 31 legislators.
  • Governor Najma Heptullah has asked Biren Singh to prove majority on the floor of the house as soon as possible, maybe May 22 or 23.

Reliance Commercial Finance appoints Devang Mody as CEO

Reliance Commercial Finance appoints Devang Mody as CEO


  • Reliance Commercial Finance, a subsidiary of RelianceCapital, on Tuesday announced the appointment of Devang Mody as chief executive officer.
  • Prior to this, Mody served as president of consumer business at Bajaj Finance.
  • Mody, aged 44, has over 20 years of experience in the financial sector.
  • He started his career with Mahajan & Aibara, and then moved on to EY, followed by a stint at GE Money Financial Services where he was VP – Strategic Initiatives, before moving to Bajaj Finance


Scientists Finds Natural Swings Responsible for Loss of Arctic Sea Ice

    Scientists Finds Natural Swings Responsible for Loss of Arctic Sea Ice
  • According To Study, Rapid loss of Arctic sea ice in recent decades is partly driven by natural swings, not just global warming triggered by human activities.
  • A shift in wind patterns is responsible for about 60 per cent of sea ice loss in the Arctic Ocean since 1979, the researchers found.
  • Some of this shift is related to climate change, but the study showed that 30-50 per cent of the observed sea ice loss since 1979 is due to natural variations in this large-scale atmospheric pattern.
  • Natural variability has helped to accelerate Ice melting, especially over the past 20 years.
  • The paper builds on previous work that found changes in the tropical Pacific Ocean have in recent decades created a “hot spot” over Greenland and the Canadian Arctic that has boosted warming in that region.
  • The hot spot is a large region of higher pressure where air is squeezed together so it becomes warmer and can hold more moisture, both of which bring more heat to the sea ice below.
  • This study provides the mechanism and uses a new approach to illuminate the processes that are responsible for these changes.
  • The researchers believe that teasing apart the natural and human-caused parts of sea ice decline would help to predict future sea ice conditions in Arctic summer.

Ostriches existed in India over 25,000 years ago, molecular evidence shows

Ostriches existed in India over 25,000 years ago, molecular evidence shows
  • Ostrich had inhabited India about 25,000 years ago, a study conducted by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad has found. Ostrich is a flightless bird native to Africa. Well the bird is native to Africa, but it’s egg shell pieces have been found in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh by the geologists and archaeologists.
  • Some partly fossilized ostrich egg shells were recently studied upon in a DNA study conducted at CCMB.
  • CCMB’s senior principal scientist said that they had successfully analysed the ostrich egg shells in their ‘ancient DNA’ facility and established that the egg shells (found in India) are genetically similar to the African ostrich.
  • The carbon dating (of the ostrich egg shells) to determine the age shows that they are at least 25,000 years old.
  • The continental drifting of Gondwanaland or Gondwana has been known for the reason behind the origin and evolution of the Ostrich.
  • Gondwana was a super-continent comprising South America, Arabia, Africa, Australia, Antarctica, India and Madagascar of the present times, around some 150 million years ago.
  • Bio-geographical dispersion led to the hopping of ostriches in Africa through Eurasia through the land route around 20 million years ago.

Scientists Discovers World’s First Fluorescent Frog in Argentina

Scientists Discovers World’s First Fluorescent Frog in Argentina
  • The world’s first fluorescent frog has been discovered in the Amazon basin in Argentina.
  • In normal light, the polka-dot tree frog appears to have a dull skin with red dots, but under UV light it glows a bright fluorescent green.
  • Fluorescence, uncommon in land creatures, is the ability to absorb light at short wavelengths and re-emit it at longer wavelengths.

Science and Technology

Saturn’s moon has water closer to surface than Previously thought

Saturn’s moon has water closer to surface than thought
  • According to NASA, Saturn’s icy moon has an underground ocean of liquid water that may be only a few kilometres beneath the surface.
  • Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus has an underground ocean of liquid water that may be only a few kilometres beneath the surface which is much closer than thought, according to NASA scientists who found that the south polar region of the moon is warmer than expected.
  • The excess heat is especially pronounced over three fractures that are not unlike the “tiger stripes”—prominent, actively venting fractures that slice across the pole—except that they do not appear to be active at the moment.
  • Seemingly dormant fractures lying above the moon’s warm, underground sea point to the dynamic character of Enceladus’ geology, suggesting the moon might have experienced several episodes of activity, in different places on its surface.

KrishiUnnatiMela 2017

KrishiUnnatiMela 2017

KrishiUnnatiMela 2017 will be organised from 15-17 March at the campus of IARI, New Delhi in jointly by ICAR and Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare. The mela will be inaugurated by Hon’ble Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Sh. Radha Mohan Singh on 15th March, 2017. A large number of farmers and other visitors are expected to participate in the mela.
Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) every year has been organising Krishi Vigyan Mela(Agriculture Science Fair) to display and popularise the latest advancement in agricultural research and technology development among farmers and end users since 1972.
Attractions of the Mela
Digitization in agriculture

  • Organic farming
  • Agribusiness models
  • Precision farming
  • Skill building and entrepreneurship development
  • Live demonstrations on production technologies of crops, horticulture, Integrated Farming System, Protected cultivation
  • Farmers’ visits to experimental fields of IARI
  • Water use efficient technology: micro irrigation and sensor based irrigation system
  • Recycling of waste water for agriculture
  • Display and sale of various products (farm equipments, quality planting materials, bio-fertilisers, agro-chemicals, innovative farmers’ products) and machinery
  • On-spot Soil and water testing
  • KisanGosthi
  • Recognition of Innovative farmer

Technical Session:
The technical sessions on various themes are planned to educate farmers on various agricultural technologies and Government schemes for agricultural development. A Women empowerment workshop will be organised to sensitise farm women on latest agricultural technologies and their rights.
Source: PIB


Filmmaker and Children’s Author Amy Krouse Rosenthal Dies at 51

  • Popular American author, filmmaker and public speaker, Amy Krouse Rosenthal died on March 13, 2017 due to ovarian cancer. She was 51.
  •  Her writings included both adult and children’s books.
  • A Chicago native, Rosenthal became well known due to her heart-wrenching column in The New York Times on March 5, 2017 titled “You May Want to Marry My Husband”.

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