Important Current affairs dated 19th March 2017 for Competitive Exams in India.
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2017 International Buddhist Conference Held in Bihar
The three days International Buddhist Conference was held at the Rajgir International Convention Center (RICC) of Nav Nalanda Mahavira Deemed University, Rajgir, Bihar from March 17-19, 2017.
The conference was inaugurated by His Holiness, The Dalai Lama jointly with the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Dr. Mahesh Sharma by lighting a ceremonial lamp.
The event was organized by Ministry of Culture and Nava Nalanda Mahaviahra Deemed University.
The three-day conference aimed at discussing Buddhist perspectives and responses towards global issues such as ecological sustainability, social and economic justice, ethics and values, a holistic approach to education, inter-religious harmony and cooperation, gender equality.
Highlights of Conference:
- The three-day conference saw the participation of over 1000 Buddhist delegates from 35 countries including Sri Lanka, Burma, Taiwan, Thailand, Bangladesh, Uganda, representing both the Sanskrit and Pali traditions.
- The three-day conference includes cultural program, discussions, seminars on how to create a balance between economic development and conservation of nature and environment with secular ethics.
- Some of the main topics of discussion during the conference included Conflict Avoidance and Peace Building: The Buddhist Response; Environment & Nature Conservation; Buddhism & Sciences; Women in Buddhism; Preservation of Nalanda Tradition; Ethics & Values; Secular Ethics & Interfaith Understanding.
- One of the main highlights of the conference was the release 41-volume of the Pali Tripitaka by His Holiness the Dalai lama, reprinted by the Nava Nalanda University in Devanagri script.
- Besides, he also inaugurated the Nava Nalanda University’s new department of the Buddhist Science, first of its kind in Asia.
- His Holiness the Dalai Lama also visited the Nava Nalanda Mahavihara near Rajgir on March 18, 2017, to plant the sapling of the Bodhi Tree and inaugurate Nagajurna Faculty Building as well asSantarakshita Hostel.
- He praised India’s rich tradition of inner wisdom and secular tradition and called India as the seat of Buddhism worldwide, where most of the holiest Buddhist sites are located and described India as the seat of Buddhist learning and knowledge.
- The cultural programs during the conference were performed by renowned Kathak dancer Manisha Giuliani and sarod players brother duo Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash.
First Made-In-India Train, Medha, Flagged off at Dadar Station
- The much-awaited made-in-India rake, Medha, is on tracks of the Western Railway. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, via videoconferencing, flagged off the maiden run of the train from Dadar to Borivali, at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus. The 12-coach train on the fast track halted at Bandra and Andheri stations.
- Medha has been manufactured by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai, which has installed LED lighting to reduce energy consumption.
- This will save energy by approximately 30-35% as compared to the existing rakes. This rake has in-built systems to minimise breakdowns during the travel.
- Medha rake costs Rs. 43.23 crore, which is approximately Rs. 1 crore less than the German-made Bombardier rake running on the western railways which is Rs.44.36 crore.
- The rake can run at a speed of 110 kmph, whereas the current local trains don’t run above 90 or 100 kmph.
- Medha has cushioned seats in first class and stainless steel seats in general compartments.
- Also, there is a GPS-based information system to indicate the stations. The rake has a capacity of 6,050 passengers and the number of seats is 1,168.
Punjab Cabinet okays 33% Reservation for Women in State Govt Jobs, 50% representation in Local Bodies.
- The Punjab cabinet took a major decision to offer 33 per cent reservation for women in all government jobs.
- The decision was taken in the first cabinet meeting chaired by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in Chandigarh.
- The representation of women in Panchayati Raj Institutions and urban local bodies would go up from 33 percent to 50 percent.
- Besides, the government has also decided to provide a house to every freedom fighter along with allocating 300 units of free electricity every month.
- One out-of-turn tube well connection will also be given to them and exemption from toll tax.
Indian-American Sandeep Matharani Ranks 4th Among 25 Overpaid CEOs in US
- An Indian-American chief executive of a Chicago-based property firm has been ranked fourth on a list of top 25 overpaid bosses in the US,according to the report from the nonprofit ‘As You Sow’.
- The non-profit organisation promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility and takes a close look at CEO pay.
- Mr Mathrani, with a total compensation of $39.2 million in 2016, is overpaid by $26 million, according to the report.
- The report cites Leslie Moonves, chief executive of CBS, as the most overpaid chief executive in the country. Mr Moonves earned compensation worth $56.7 million in 2016.
- Marc Benioff of Salesforce ranks second on the list with a total compensation of $33.4 million.
- Discovery Communication’s David Zaslav comes in third with a compensation of $32.4 million.
- Not only are many of the CEOs on the list overpaid, but the report argues that their companies underperformed on the S&P 500 last year, so they may also be a drag on shareholder returns.
- Among the top 25 overpaid CEOs on the list, 15 were appearing on it for a second time, and 10 of them have been on the list three times.
- Mr Mathrani joined General Growth Properties as the company was emerging from bankruptcy in 2010 and refocused the mall owner to high-end shopping centres.
Awards and Recognition
Indian-American Computer Scientist Anshumali Wins NSF’s CAREER Award
- An Indian-American computer scientist, Anshumali Shrivastava has won National Science Foundation (NSF)’s prestigious CAREER award for his research on redesigning current machine-learning processes.
- He is an Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science at William Marsh Rice University, commonly referred to as Rice University or Rice which is a private research university located in Houston, Texas.
- Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) awards support the research and educational development of young scholars likely to become leaders in their fields.
- The five-year grants, which are among the most competitive awarded by the NSF, are given to some 400 scholars each year across all disciplines.
Appointments & Resigns
Yogi Adityanath Takes Oath as Chief Minister Of Uttar Pradesh
- Yogi Adityanath, a five-time parliamentarian was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh today.
- The swearing-in happened in Lucknow a week after the BJP won a landslide mandate in the assembly elections with 312 seats.
- In a surprise announcement, Mr Adityanath’s name was announced only last evening.His two deputies in Keshav Prasad Maurya, the party’s UP chief, and Dinesh Sharma, Lucknow’s Mayor also took oath.
- Mr Sharma is credited with leading the party’s membership drive in the state.
- Uttar Pradesh Governor, Ram Naik administered the oath of office and secrecy to Adityanath.
- Besides, two deputy Chief Minister, nine MoS (independent charge), 24 cabinet ministers and 13 ministers of state also took the oath.
- It is for the first time that Uttar Pradesh has got 2 Deputy Chief Ministers. The cabinet has also given place to 5 female ministers and 1 Muslim Minster, Mohsin Raza.
Shahid Afridi appointed ambassador of Blind Cricket World Cup
- Former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi has been appointed as the ambassador for the fifth edition of the Blind Cricket World Cup.
- The announcement was made by the Pakistan Blind Cricket Council (PBCC).
- The PBCC statement also stated that the fifth edition of the tournament, to be played in ODI format, will be hosted by PBCC in the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan in January 2018.
- It is reported that the PBCC is trying to host some of the pool matches and the final in Pakistan.
Sun Pharma’s Dilip Shanghvi appointed as member on RBI’s western board
- Sun Pharmaceuticals managing director Dilip Shanghvi has been appointed by the central government as a member on the western area local board of Reserve Bank of India.
- The appointment is for four years with effect from March 11, 2017, the central bank said on its website.
- Shanghvi joins Enam Group chairman Vallabh Bhanshali on the western board.
- Last month the RBI appointed Prasanna Mohanty on the RBI’s southern local board, Vallabh Bhanshali on the western local board and Sunil Mitra on the eastern local board also for four years.
Acquisitions & Mergers
ONGC Signs Pact to Acquire Entire Stake of GSPC in KG Block for $1.2 billion
- State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has signed definitive agreements to buy out debt-ridden GSPC’s entire 80 per cent stake in KG-basin natural gas block for $1.2 billion.
- The company will close the deal and pay the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) the money after regulatory approvals like government nod for transfer of PI (participating interest) and change of operatorship are secured.
- ONGC will pay $995.26 million for three discoveries in the KG-OSN-2001/3 block that are under trial production since August 2014.
- Another $200 million will be paid for six other discoveries for which GSPC has been finalising an investment plan to bring them to production.
- Jubilant Offshore Drilling Pvt Ltd and Geo Global Resources (India) Inc hold 10 per cent stake in the block.
NTPC Commissions 2nd Unit of Mouda Super Thermal Power Station
- A Maharatna Company, National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC) commissioned the second unit of 660 MW of Mouda Super Thermal Power Station Stage-II on March 19, 2017.
- With this, the commissioned capacity of Mouda Super Thermal Power Station, NTPC and NTPC group has become 2,320 MW, 41,907 MW and 48,873 MW, respectively.
- NTPC had earlier said it registered a growth of 4.67 per cent in power generation at 251.036 billion units (BUs) in April-February this fiscal as compared to the year-ago period.
- NTPC has a total installed capacity of 48,143 MW from its 19 coal-based, seven gas-based, 10 solar PV, one hydro and 9 subsidiaries/joint venture power stations.
Science and Technology
Amitabh Bachchan Launches ‘ABC of Breast Health’ App
- Megastar Amitabh Bachchan launched the World’s first mobile Application named ‘ABC of Breast Health’ during an event organized by the Ushalakshmi Breast Cancer Foundation at Mumbai’s JW Marriott Hotel on March 15, 2017.
- The app is launched for both IOS and Android versions and is available in Apple and Google Play Store for free download.
- Aiming to educate the nation about every aspect of breast cancer and non-cancer breast health issues. The app is available in 12 languages.
- The app, which is available on Google Play and Apple for free downloading, is conceived, created and designed by Ushalaskhmi Breast Cancer Foundation.
- A proposal has also been submitted to the Health Ministry to consider incorporating the application in the official health portal of the Union Government.
BCCI Formulates New Constitution for Full Member Association
- The Committee of Administrators (COA) has ‘finalised’ an overhaul of the BCCI constitution, removing 41-time Ranji Trophy champions Mumbai as a Full Member, giving all north-eastern states Full Membership status.
- Maharashtra Cricket Association and Gujarat Cricket Association have been picked from their respective states as per one-state-one-vote rule, founder members like Cricket Club of India (CCI) and National Cricket Club (NCC) were dumped, along with all government institutes — Railways, Services and Universities.
- As per the new constitution 30 associations have been nominated to be the controlling bodies for cricket in their respective states and were considered to be Full Members with voting rights. Maharashtra and Gujarat were included in that list.
- In States with multiple Existing Members, the full membership shall rotate annually among such Existing Members such that only one of them will exercise the rights and privileges of a Full Member at any given point of time.
- The new constitution also states that BCCI office bearers cannot be over the age of the 70 or be a Minister or government servant. They also cannot hold any post in a sports athletic association or federation apart from cricket.
- The term of office for each office-bearer will be three years and no office-bearer can have more than three terms. There will remain a three-year cooling-off period between each term.
- It also added that a person shall be disqualified from being an Office Bearer if he or she has been an Office Bearer of the BCCI for a period of 9 years or an office bearer of any Member for a period of 9 years.
Pioneer of Rock n Roll, Chuck Berry Dies at 90
- American guitarist, singer and songwriter, Chuck Berry who is recognized as one of the pioneers of rock ‘n’ roll music died on March 18, 2017 at the age of 90 in Missouri.
- ome of the well known collections of Berry during his 7 decade career includes songs such as “Maybellene” (1955), “Roll Over Beethoven” (1956), “Rock and Roll Music” (1957) and “Johnny B. Goode” (1958) among others.
- He received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 1984and was among the first inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.
Meteorologist Sikka Passes Away
- Former director of Pune based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology Dev Raj Sikka was passed away on March 19, 2017. He was 85.
- Sikka has proposed a link between the El Nino phenomenon and the Indian monsoon and he was thefirst Meteorologist to report this connection in 1982
- He was also the Chairman of the Monsoon Mission of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, a programme to improve monsoon-related forecasts.