Current Affairs – 20th March 2017

UPSC Current Affairs

20th March 2017, Important Daily Current Affairs
Important Current affairs dated 20th  March 2017 for Competitive Exams in India.
Hello Readers, We bring you another issue of current affairs that covers the important news in Current Affairs Today Section.
Current Affairs help in your preparing yourself for the various Competitive Exams in India. UPSCSuccess.com wishes all the readers best of luck. These Current Affairs coverage will help you to Score Good Marks in Competitive Exams such as UPSC, and other PSCs.

Indian Affairs

Union Cabinet clears four GST Supplementary Legislations for introduction to Parliament

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the following four GST related bills:

  1. The Central Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 (The CGST Bill)
  2. The Integrated Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 (The IGST Bill)
  3. The Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 (The UTGST Bill)
  4. The Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to the States) Bill 2017 (The Compensation Bill)
  • The above four Bills have been earlier approved by the GST Council after thorough, clause by clause, discussion over 12 meetings of the Council held in the last six months.
  • The CGST Bill makes provisions for levy and collection of tax on intra-state supply of goods or services for both by the Central Government. On the other hand, IGST Bill makes provisions for levy and collection of tax on inter-state supply of goods or services or both by the Central Government.
  • The UTGST Bill makes provisions for levy on collection of tax on intra-UT supply of goods and services in the Union Territories without legislature. Union Territory GST is akin to States Goods and Services Tax (SGST) which shall be levied and collected by the States/Union Territories on intra-state supply of goods or services or both.
  • The Compensation Bill provides for compensation to the states for loss of revenue arising on account of implementation of the goods and services tax for a period of five years as per section 18 of the Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016.

Government approved solar energy scheme for small Powerloom Units

Government has approved a new scheme to provide financial assistance/capital subsidy to small powerloom units, for installation of Solar Photo Voltaic (SPV) plant, in order to alleviate the problem of power cut/ shortage faced by decentralized powerloom units in the country.
Under the Solar Energy Scheme, the plants have two options:
(i)   On-Grid Solar Power Plant where power cut/shortage is negligible and power tariff is high
(ii)  Off-Grid Solar Power Plant in areas where there is power shortage & on-grid power is not continuously available.
Financial assistance/capital subsidy to be given under the scheme is as follows:

Sl. noCapacity in terms of Kilo Watt Pick (KWP)Estimated cost of Equipment and componentMaximum subsidy
( in rupees)
For On-Grid Solar Power PlantFor Off-Grid Solar Power PlantFor On-Grid Solar Power PlantFor Off-Grid Solar Power Plant
14 KWP (Typically suitable for 04 looms)
General @ 50%4,50,000/-
 
5,50,000/-
 
 2,25,000/-
 
 2,75,000/-
 
SC @ 75%3,37,500/-4,12,500/-
ST @ 90%4,05,000/-4,95,000/-
26 KWP (Typically suitable for 06 looms)
General @ 50%6,00,000/-7,50,000/-3,00,000/-3,75,000/-
SC @ 75%4,50,000/-5,62,500/-
ST @ 90%5,40,000/-6,75,000/-
38 KWP (Typically suitable for 08 looms)
General @ 50%7,50,000/-9,50,000/-3,75,000/- 4,75,000/-
SC @ 75%5,62,500/-7,12,500/-
ST @ 90%6,75,000/-8,55,000/-

The Scheme will come into force with effect from 01.04.2017.

India’s Longest road Tunnel, Chennai-Nashiri tunnel Ready for Opening

India's Longest road Tunnel, Chennai-Nashiri tunnel Ready for Opening
India’s Longest road Tunnel, Chennai-Nashiri tunnel Ready for Opening
  • India’s longest surface tunnel at Chenani in Jammu’s Udhampur district is complete.
  • The 9-km-long tunnel passes through the Himalayas on Jammu- Srinagar National Highway and will be open to traffic soon following successful completion of trial run.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to inaugurate the highway tunnel by the end of March.
  • It has taken nearly six years for the project’s completion, since the work started in May 2011 in the lower Himalayan mountain range.
  • The twin-tube tunnel, at an elevation of 1,200 metres and part of a 286-km-long four-lane project on the highway, has been built at a cost of over Rs. 3,720 crore.
  • Travel will cost a Light Motor Vehicle (LMV) Rs. 55 on one side and Rs. 85 for to-and-fro journey and Rs. 1,870 for a month’s travel, while bigger vehicles like mini buses will have pay Rs. 90 as one side toll and Rs. 135 for to-and-fro toll. Buses and trucks will have pay Rs. 190 as one side toll and Rs. 285 as two side toll.
  • It will be the first in India to be equipped with world class “integrated tunnel control system” through which ventilation, fire control, signals, communication and electrical systems will be automatically actuated.

Five Month long economic blockade in Manipur by UNC Comes to Halt

  • The five-month-long economic blockade in Manipur was lifted tonight after successful talks among the Centre, the state government and the Naga groups.
  • The blockade was imposed by the United Naga Council on November 1 to protest against the creation of seven new districts by the erstwhile Okram Ibobi Singh-led Congress government in the state.
  • The blockade on two national highways – NH-2 and NH-37 – has led to steep rise in prices of essential commodities and severely affected the normal life in the state.
  • It had become a major issue in the recently held assembly polls in the state.
  • The Manipur Government has agreed to release the arrested the arrested UNC leaders and all cases related to the economic blockade against the Naga tribe leaders and student leaders will be closed.
  • The statement was signed by Joint Secretary Satyendra Garg of the Union Home Ministry, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) J Suresh Babu and Commissioner (Works) Radhakumar Singh of the Manipur government and UNC general secretary S Milan and All Naga Students Association president Seth Shatsang.

International Affairs

Five Indian’s named in WEF’s 100 young global Leaders List 2017

Five Indians, including Paytm Founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma and Shruti Shibulal of The Tamara Hospitality, have made it to the World Economic Forum’s 100 Young Global Leaders list.
The other individuals who represented India in the list include Ambarish Mitra Founder and CEO Blippar, a mobile phone app business valued at USD 1.5 billion; Hindol Sengupta Editor-at large Fortune India and Rwitwika Bhattacharya – Agarwal Founder and CEO Swaniti Initiative.

India ranks 122nd in the United Nation’s World Happiness Report 2017

ndia ranks 122nd in the United Nation's World Happiness Report 2017
ndia ranks 122nd in the United Nation’s World Happiness Report 2017
  • India dropped four slots from last year
  •  Now it comes behind China, Pakistan, Nepal and even Iraq.
  •  The ranking was done on a total of 155 countries
  •  Norway ranked as the world’s happiest country. Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and Finland round out the top five the report was released on the United Nations’ International Day of Happiness.
  • Among the eight SAARC nations, Pakistan was at 80th position, Nepal stood at 99, Bhutan at 97, Bangladesh at 110 and Sri Lanka at 120. Maldives did not figure in the World Happiness Report.

Italy ranked world’s Healthiest country by bloomberg 2017 index

Italy ranked world's Healthiest country by bloomberg 2017 index
Italy ranked world’s Healthiest country by bloomberg 2017 index

According to the 2017 Bloomberg Global Health Index Of 163 Countries Released on March 20, 2017, Italy has been ranked as the healthiest country on Earth with a health Score of 97.44 out of 100.
The Reason behind the healthy citizens of Italy is cited to lot of dependence on leafy diets drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. Besides, Italy also has excess of doctors in the Country.
Each country in the index was graded based on variables such as life expectancy, causes of death and health risks ranging from high blood pressure and tobacco use to malnutrition and the availability of clean water.
Iceland, Switzerland, Singapore and Australia rounded out the top five most-healthy countries in the index.
The poorest states — Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and West Virginia — are heaviest with more than 35 percent of their populations considered obese, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
Health Index Score
Health Index Score

Banking and Finance

Finmin approves capital infusion plan for 10 PSU Banks

Coming in support of weak and non-performing public sector banks (PSBs), the Finance Ministry has chalked out a turnaround-linked ₹8,586-crore capital infusion plan for 10 PSBs.

The 10 banks identified are Allahabad Bank (₹418 crore); Andhra Bank (₹1,100 crore); Bank of India (₹1,500 crore); Bank of Maharashtra (₹300 crore); Central Bank of India (₹100 crore); Dena Bank (₹600 crore); IDBI Bank (₹1,900 crore); Indian Overseas Bank (₹1,100 crore); UCO Bank (₹1,150 crore) and United Bank of India (₹418 crore).

To avail themselves of the capital support, the identified PSBs require a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the government, PSB management and employees of the PSB concerned.

This MoU is to commit all the participants to the agreement for a time bound plan beginning 2017-18 onwards with quantifiable and measurable milestones which can be monitored on quarterly basis, according to the Finance Ministry.

Hazira’s first private sector township to go cashless

  • Essar’s Nand Niketan at Hazira has become India’s first private sector townshipto go cashless, using the mobie wallet for performing digital transactions.
  • A Mumbai-based tech company was roped into provide smartphone based application for mastercard-enabled mobile wallets.
  • An average of Rs 2 lakh worth of digital transactions are being executed every day.
  • All Essar employees now get a nominal part of their salary as a credit into their mobile wallets. Our cashless efforts have been appreciated by the district collector as well. This will go a long way in making our township cashless forever.” Said vice-president administration and CSR, Ralph Sunil.

ICICI Bank Launches news app Mera iMobile for rural customers

  • ICICI Bank has launched a mobile banking app for rural customers that allow them to access banking services as well as information on agricultural services.
  • Anyone including non-ICICI Bank customers can download and use the app which is available in eleven Indian languages.
  • Christened ‘Mera iMobile’, it allows users in rural areas to avail as many as 135 services on their mobile phone.
  • The list of services include ‘Kisan Credit Card’, ‘Gold Loan’, ‘Farm Equipment Loan’ and loans to self-help groups (SHGs).
  • The app also enables them to undertake an array of frequently used banking services from their smartphone, without using mobile internet services.
  • The app offers agriculture-related information like crop-wise mandi prices of nearly 230 crop varieties across 460 mandis. It also displays taluka-wise weather update for close to 3,700 talukas and over 300 districts in the country.
  • The app is available in Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Bengali, Odia, Assamese and Punjabi. It also offers UPI services in multiple Indian languages.

Snapdeal names Jason Kothari as new freecharge CEO

Snapdeal names Jason Kothari as new freecharge CEO
Snapdeal names Jason Kothari as new freecharge CEO
  • Snapdeal has named Jason Kothari as the new chief executive of its digital payments platform, FreeCharge, a little less than a month after former CEO Govind Rajan quit the company.
  • According to an official statement from the company, Kothari, who joined Snapdeal in January earlier this year, from online real estate portal Housing.com, will, however, continue to be chief strategy and investment officer at Snapdeal.
  • He will also join the FreeCharge Board.

Awards and Recognition

Government swaps chief executives of IDBI Bank, Indian Bank

Government swaps chief executives of IDBI Bank, Indian Bank
Government swaps chief executives of IDBI Bank, Indian Bank
  • In an unprecedented move, the Centre has swapped the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of state-owned Indian Bank and IDBI Bank.
  • Mahesh Kumar Jain, who was Managing Director & CEO at Indian Bank, has been appointed as Managing Director & CEO of IDBI Bank, which is now in some financial trouble and faced with several legacy issues.
  • Jain was named Indian Bank chief in November 2015. Kishore Piraji Kharat, who was appointed as IDBI Bank CEO in August 2015, has now been appointed as Managing Director and CEO of Indian Bank.

Acquisitions & Mergers

Idea Vodafone Announce Mega Merger

Idea Vodafone Announce Mega Merger
Idea Vodafone Announce Mega Merger

The U.K.’s Vodafone and Aditya Birla group firm Idea Cellular on Monday announced that they have kickstarted a mega merger deal.
Vodafone will own 45.1% of the merged entity, after it transfers about 4.9% to promoters of Idea and/or their affiliates for ₹38.74 billion rupees, Idea said. Idea will have the sole right to appoint the chairman.
Kumarmangalam Birla will be the Chairman of merged Vodafone-Idea entity and both the companies will have equal stakes in the merged entity over a period of time.
Shares in Idea rose as much as 14.25% immediately after the merger news but gave up gains to be trading up 3.8%.
 
 

RCOM gets CCI approval for Aircel merger

  • Reliance CommunicationsBSE -0.92 % today said it has received approval of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for the demerger of its wireless division into Aircel Ltd and Dishnet Wireless Ltd.
  • Reliance Communications and Aircel in September last year announced the merger of their wireless operations to create a combined entity with assets worth Rs 65,000 crore.
  • Post closing, the company and the present shareholders of Aircel Ltd will hold 50 per cent each in Aircel Ltd.
  • The company has already received approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), stock exchanges BSE and NSE for the deal and has filed an application with the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) for the same.

Environment

Uttarakhand High Court declares river Ganga ‘first living entity of India

Uttarakhand High Court declares river Ganga 'first living entity of India
Uttarakhand High Court declares river Ganga ‘first living entity of India
  • In first of its kind decision, Uttarakhand High Court on Monday recognised river Ganga as the ‘first living entity of India’.
  • Along with Ganges, river Yamuna has also been declared a living entity. As per the decision, the rivers will now be entitled to all rights available to humans as per the constitution.
  • The court also instructed the government to form a Ganga Administration Board for cleaning and better maintenance of the river. However, this isn’t the first incident when a river has been recognised as a living entity. In a similar incident, New Zealand government had declared 145km long Whanganui River as a living entity. At the time of declaration, the river became the first in the world to be legally recognised as a living entity. It was also granted rights as a human being.
  • However, this isn’t the first incident when a river has been recognised as a living entity. In a similar incident, New Zealand government had declared 145km long Whanganui River as a living entity. At the time of declaration, the river became the first in the world to be legally recognised as a living entity. It was also granted rights as a human being.
  • At the time of declaration, the river became the first in the world to be legally recognised as a living entity. It was also granted rights as a human being.

Science and Technology

New Wi-Fi system to offer super-fast connectivity

Scientists have developed a new wireless Internet based on infrared rays that is reportedly 100 times faster than existing Wi-Fi networks.
The wireless network developed by researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology in The Netherlands not only has a huge capacity — more than 40 Gigabits per second (Gbit/s) — but does away with the need to share Wi-Fi as every device gets its own ray of light.
The wireless data comes from a few central ‘light antennas’, which can be mounted on the ceiling, that are able to precisely direct the rays of light supplied by an optical fibre.
The antennas contain a pair of gratings that radiate light rays of different wavelengths at different angles (‘passive diffraction gratings’).
Changing the light wavelengths also changes the direction of the ray of light. A safe infrared wavelength is used that does not reach the retina in the eye.

 If a user is walking about and a smartphone or tablet moves out of the light antenna’s direction, then another light antenna takes over,
Features
The network tracks the precise location of every wireless device using its radio signal transmitted in the return direction.
Different devices are assigned different wavelengths by the same light antenna and so do not have to share capacity.
Current Wi-Fi uses radio signals with a frequency of 2.5 or five gigahertz. The new system uses infrared light with wavelengths of 1,500 nanometres and higher. Researchers managed to achieve a speed of 42.8 Gbit/s over a distance of 2.5 metres.

Sports

Federer beats Wawrinka for fifth Indian Wells title

Federer beats Wawrinka for fifth Indian Wells title
Federer beats Wawrinka for fifth Indian Wells title
  • Roger Federer claimed a record-equalling fifth ATP Indian Wells Masters title continuing his career resurgence with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Stanislas Wawrinka.
  • Federer, sidelined some six months after knee surgery last year, returned to win his 18th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January.

 
 

Obituary

 Former Rajya Sabha member Pyarimohan Mohapatra passes away

Former Rajya Sabha member Pyarimohan Mohapatra passes away Former Rajya Sabha member Pyarimohan Mohapatra passes away
Former Rajya Sabha member Pyarimohan Mohapatra passes away
  • Former Rajya Sabha member Pyarimohan Mohapatra passed away tonight at a hospital in Mumbai after a prolonged illness.He was 77.
  • Regarded as the chief strategist and mentor of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the former IAS officer of 1963 batch played a key role in deciding the shape and contours of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) after the regional party was formed in 1997.
  • Mohapatra was the Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister when Biju Patnaik occupied the top post.
  • He was Rajya Sabha member from 2010 to 2012.

Gujrati poet Chinu Modi Passes Away

Gujrati poet Chinu Modi Passes Away
Gujrati poet Chinu Modi Passes Away
  • Gujarati poet, novelist, story-writer and critic, Chinu Modi, known by his pen name ‘Irshad’, passed away at the age of 78 on Sunday evening due to multipleorgan failure following a massive cardiac arrest.
  • He breathed his last at his residence in Paldi area of the city.
  • He started hotel poetry club where he used to encourage young friends to read, write and to critique. His plays were gems and were performed for many years.
  • Besides, his contribution in translation, especially in Hindi, and adapting stories of previous era and putting them into the current era was magnificent,

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