Important Current affairs dated 22nd March 2017 for Competitive Exams in India.
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BIRAC’s 5th Foundation day Celebrated on March 20-21 2017
- The Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC); a Public Sector Undertaking of Department of Biotechnology (DBT) is completing 5 years and will be celebrating its 5th Foundation Day on 20th – 21st March, 2017.
- The Theme of the Foundation Day is “BIRAC@5: Impacting the Biotech Ecosystem”.
- The Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences – Dr. Harsh Vardhan will be the Chief Guest and the Minister of State for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences – Shri Y S Chowdary will be the Guest of Honour.
The impact the Biotech Ecosystem is making on the Indian economy and the opportunities which exist for the Indian Biotech Sector as a global player.
- The Foundation Day will be followed by the Grand Challenges India Meeting 2017 being organized by the BIRAC – PMU of DBT – BMGF and Wellcome Trust.
- BIRAC was incorporated on 20th March, 2012 as a non-profit Public Sector Enterprise under the aegis of Department of Biotechnology (DBT). BIRAC completed 5 years of establishment in March, 2017.
Government Set to Launch India’s First Sign Language Dictionary soon
- The government is all set to come up with the country’s first-of-its-kind dictionary which aims to bring uniformity in sign languages used by hearing and speech impaired people across the nation.
- The Indian Sign Language (ISL) dictionary, which is being developed by the Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC), has so far compiled 6,032 Hindi and English words and their corresponding graphic representation of the signs which are used in daily life.
- The dictionary is being developed in both print and video format.
- A comprehensive Indian Sign Language Dictionary is the need of the hour to facilitate communication between the hearing and speech impaired and create a basic database for further policy-making.
Assam Government approves recommendation of 7th Pay Commission
- The Assam state cabinet has decided to implement the recommendation of the Seventh Pay Commission.
- The implementation will make state exchequer bear an additional burden of over Rs. 3000 in the next financial year and the proposed pay structure would come into effect from 1 April 2016.
- The commission was constituted for over 4 lakh employees. The Cabinet also decided to set a directorate of the Information Technology Department in Assam.
4 Indian cities among cheapest globally: Economist Intelligence Unit
Four Indian cities are among the cheapest to live in globally, while Singapore has been ranked as the most expensive for the fourth consecutive year, as per a report by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
Bangalore (3rd place), Chennai (6th), Mumbai (7th) and New Delhi (10th) have been ranked by EIU among the 10 cheapest cities in the world.
Almaty in Kazakhstan has been ranked as the cheapest city in the world followed by Lagos. Karachi was placed 4th, Algiers (5th), Kiev (8th) and Bucharest (9th) rank.
India home to 101 billionaires, Mukesh Ambani tops list: Forbes
- India is home to world’s fourth highest number of billionaires with Reliance Industries chief Mukesh Ambani leading the club of more than 100 super rich Indians, according to a new list released by Forbes magazine.
- The Forbes list of the ‘World’s Billionaires’ 2017 consists of 2,043 of the richest people in the world who have a combined net worth of $7.67 trillion, a record 18 percent increase over past year.
- The list has been topped by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates for the fourth year in a row. He has been the richest person in the world for 18 out of the past 23 years.
- Gates has a fortune of $86 billion, up from $75 billion last year, followed by Berkshire Hathaway chief Warren Buffet with a new worth of $75.6 billion.
- Amazon’s Jeff Bezos added $27.6 billion to his fortune; now worth $72.8 billion, moving into the top three in the world for the first time, up from number five a year ago.
- US President Donald Trump is ranked 544th on the list with his net worth of $3.5 billion.
- India is home to 101 billionaires, the first time it has more than 100 super rich individuals.
Second India-UAE conference on globalization to be held in Dubai
The second India-UAE conference on globalization will be held in Dubai.
Aim: To promote cooperation between the two countries.
Organized by All India Management Association (AIMA), the conference will be attended by leading industry figures from both countries to discuss strategies to win in a fast-changing world.
Theme: Resetting Globalisation: Collaborating in a Fast-Changing World.
Health care innovation will be among the subjects discussed during the conference.
Disruptive technologies and new models of delivery are changing the economics and delivery of the health care industry.
The conference will bring together policy makers, CEOs, entrepreneurs, investors and senior managers from both India and the UAE to discuss strategies to promote cooperation between the two countries.
A special plenary session will be addressed by Rekha Sethi, Director General AIMA, while the inaugural address will be delivered by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Cabinet Member and Minister of Culture & Knowledge Development, UAE.
Banking and Finance
RBI Proposes to fix upper limit in PPIs At Rs 1 Lakh
- The RBI today proposed to fix the upper limit for Pre-paid Payment Instruments at Rs 1 lakh in view of growing usage of PPIs for purchase of goods and services.
- The RBI had received requests from stakeholders and other entities for relaxations in certain areas while strengthening the norms for safety and security, risk mitigation and customer protection aspects related to usage of PPIs.
- PPIs are payment instruments that facilitate purchase of goods and services, including financial services, remittance facilities against the value stored on such instruments.
- There are three types of PPIs — Closed system (valid under the issuing enity only), Semi-closed system (valid in group of clearly identified merchant locations/ establishments) and Open system (these are issued by banks and can be used at any merchant locations).
- Amount in a PPI should not exceed Rs 1 lakh at any point of time if the customer provides full KYC and Rs 20,000 if the customer provides minimum KYC details to the PPI issuing entity.
- the maximum value of any prepaid payment instrument, where specific limits have not been prescribed, should not exceed Rs 50,000. Also, cash loading to PPIs should be limited to Rs 50,000 per month subject to overall limit of the PPI.
- The PPIs could be issued as smart cards, magnetic stripe cards, Internet wallets, mobile wallets, and any instrument which can be used to access the PPI and to use the amount therein. PPIs in the form of paper vouchers cannot be issued, the draft proposes.
Awards and Recognition
Canadian Maggie MacDonnell wins $1-million award for teaching excellence
- A Canadian schoolteacher whose teaching philosophy underscores hope and acts of kindness in an isolated corner of Quebec won a $1-million prize.
- Maggie MacDonnell was awarded the annual Global Teacher Prize during a ceremony in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, beating out thousands of applicants from around the world.
- The prize was established three years ago to recognize one exceptional teacher a year who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession, employs innovative classroom practices and encourages others to join the teaching profession.
Major Rohit Suri awarded Kirti Chakra
Major Rohit Suri, who led the surgical strikes against terror pads in PoK in September 2016, was awarded Kirti Chakra by President Pranab Mukherjee at a ceremony held in Rashtrapati Bhawan.
The citation for the Parachute Regiment officer said he executed the task flawlessly and killed four terrorists in close-quarter combat.
The Kirti Chakra, which is the second-highest peacetime gallantry award, was conferred on Major Suri for his “decisive thinking, warrior ethos, exemplary leadership, and courage beyond the call of duty”.His team was able to eliminate four terrorists in close-quarter combat
Appointments & Resigns
ICMR head Soumya Swaminathan named to UN group on antimicrobial resistance
- Indian Council of Medical Research director Soumya Swaminathan has been named to a high-level group set up by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to provide expertise on and coordinate the global fight against antimicrobial resistance.
- Swaminathan, 57, has been named to the ad hoc Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance, which will be co-chaired by Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed and World Health OrganisationDirector-General Margaret Chan.
- Swaminathan is also Secretary, Department of Health Research in India’s Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
- A multi award-winning pediatrician and clinical scientist, she is known for her research on tuberculosis. She joined the Tuberculosis Research Centre, Chennai in 1992 and has spent the past 23 years in health research.
- She has a Fellowship in Neonatology and Paediatric Pulmonology from at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles at the University of Southern California and is also Chair, HIV Section, at the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases.
Acquisitions & Mergers
Centre approves Merging Bhartiya Mahila Bank With SBI
- The Union Cabinet has approved the merger of Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) with State Bank of India.
- BMB’s total business of Rs 2,000 crore and its 103 branches will be merged with the country’s largest bank soon.
- The approval comes after last month’s Cabinet approval for the merger of SBI’s five associate banks with the larger entity, which will be effective from April 1.
- The proportion of administrative and managerial cost in the BMB is much higher to reach the same coverage. For the same cost, a much higher volume of loans to women could be given through the SBI.
- Although the addition of 103 branches of BMB and business of approximately Rs 2,000 crore would not make significant impact on the branch network and business levels of SBI, it will be ensured that the merger strengthens and reinforces SBI’s focus on financing of women entrepreneurs in order to fulfil the objectives behind setting up of Bharatiya Mahila Bank.
Madhabi Puri Buch appointed as Sebi whole time member
- The government announced Madhabi Puri Buch as new whole time member of Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi). This appointment also marks a departure from the regular practise of hiring Sebi board members, who typically were men coming from the public sector.
- This is the first time that a women and a person from private sector has been chosen for a key post with the market regulator.
- This is the first time that a women and a person from private sector has been chosen for a key post with the market regulator.
- Buch, who is currently serving at the New Development Bank in Shanghai has been appointed for a period of three years, the department of personnel and training (DoPT).
- She has been appointed at a salary of Rs375,000 per month.
NBCC to execute social housing project in Mauritius
- NBCC, a Navratna construction major under the Ministry of Urban Development will execute a US $ 20 million (Rs.130 cr) social housing project in Mauritius.
- A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in this regard was signed here today in the presence of Minister of Urban Development Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu and the visiting Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Housing and Lands Shri Showkutally Soodhun.
- As per the MoU, NBCC will undertake construction of 700 duplex type houses with 50 sq.mt net floor area with two bedrooms, living and dining rooms, kitchen, bathrooms and toilets each in 18 months in Dagotiere and Mare Tabac The visiting dignitary also informed that NBCC will also execute construction of new Supreme Court Building at a cost of US $ 33 million (Rs.220 cr) in Port Louis in 24 months. An agreement has been signed earlier this month in this regard.
- A government of India has sanctioned a grant of US $ 353 million for execution of five projects in Mauritius including Metro Express Project, new ENT Hospital and supply of digital tablets to primary school children.
Science and Technology
ISRO commissions two major facilities at VSSC
- ISRO commissioned two major facilities– a Hypersonic Wind Tunnel and Shock Tunnel– at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre at Thiruvananthapuram as part of its continuous and concerted efforts to minimise cost of access to space. ISRO Chairman Kiran Kumar said commissioning of such facilities would provide adequate data for design and development of current and future space transportation systems in the country.
- ISRO Chairman Kiran Kumar said commissioning of such facilities would provide adequate data for design and development of current and future space transportation systems in the country.
- The one meter Hypersonic Wind Tunnel and one meter Shock Tunnel have been established with a wide spectrum of simulation capabilities in terms of Mach number, Reynolds number and re-entry velocities, an official release said
- These facilities, indigenously designed, developed and ‘Made in India’ with the support of Indian industries, are the third largest in terms of size and simulation capability in the world, it said.
- A few critical technologies, which are under embargo, have been jointly developed by ISRO and industries for realisation of these facilities.
- VSSC Director Sivan in his presidential address said though excellent modeling capabilities exists with the advent of powerful computers, there was no other replacement for wind tunnel testing for aerodynamic characterisation.
- The new facility would help aerodynamic characterisation of advanced space transportation systems, he said.
- The facilities were dedicated in the memory of Satish Dhawan, a pioneer in the field and named as the Satish Dhawan Wind tunnel Complex.
- ISRO is planning future missions such as Reusable Launch Vehicles, Two Stage to Orbit, Air Breathing propulsion systems and Human Space Flight Programme, the release added.
Green nod for Neutrino project suspended
The Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal has suspended the Environmental Clearance (EC) granted to the India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) that was to come up in Theni and asked the project proponent to make a fresh application.
Tribunal was informed that the Madhikettan Shola National Park in Idukki district of Kerala was just about 4.9 km from the proposed project site and the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border was just a kilometer away, making it a Category ‘A’ project.
Under the guidelines laid down by the Environment Ministry, any project that falls within 5 km from an inter-State boundary or within a notified national park or a sanctuary has to be considered a Category ‘A’ project that involves a number of processes before an EC is granted.
In this case, the MoEF had called it a Category ‘B’ project, for which an Environmental Impact Assessment is not necessary, but the department processed it as an additional measure.
Since the proposed project is near a national park, the INO has also been asked to get clearance from the National Board for Wildlife.
The Project includes:
- Construction of an underground laboratory and associated surface facilities at Pottipuram in Bodi West hills of Theni District of Tamil Nadu.
- Construction of an Iron Calorimeter (ICAL) detector for studying neutrinos, consisting of 50000 tons of magnetized iron plates arranged in stacks with gaps in between where Resistive Plate Chambers (RPCs) would be inserted as active detectors, the total number of 2m X 2m RPCs being around 29000.
- Setting up of National Centre for High Energy Physics at Madurai, for the operation and maintenance of the underground laboratory, human resource development, and detector R&D along with its applications. The underground laboratory, consisting of a large cavern of size 132m X 26m X 20m and several smaller caverns, will be accessed by a 2100 m long and 7.5 m wide tunnel.
Tamil Nadu beats Bengal to lift fifth Vijay Hazare Trophy
- Tamil Nadu has shown it’s remarkable talent at Firoz Shah Kotla, New Delhi. The Tamil Nadu team defeated Bengal by 37 runs. The wicket keeper of TN State, Dinesh Karthik was the Man of the Match.
- The Tamil Nadu team defeated Bengal by 37 runs. The wicket keeper of TN State, Dinesh Karthik was the Man of the Match.
- The wicket keeper of TN State, Dinesh Karthik was the Man of the Match.
Vidya Pillai bags silver in Women World Snooker Championship
- India’s Vidya Pillai bagged the silver medal at the World Women Snooker Championship in Singapore.
- Pillai was playing the final against former World Champion Ng On Yee of Hong Kong. Pillai gained an early lead of 4-2.
- However, owing to unforced errors, Yee won the next three frames to take a 5-4 lead. However, Pillai won the next frame to send the set into a decider.
- After Pillai scored 22 points in the decider, Yee took a lead of 42-22. With 67 points remaining on board, Pillai made a splendid comeback, but fell short by four points with score a of 54-50 in favour of Yee.
- The former World champion potted the pink to win gold.
- Pillai won the first international medal for India in 2017.
- Pillai beat former European Champion, Tatjana Vasiljeva of Latvia 4-1 (last 16), Katrina Wan of Hong Kong 4-1 (quarter-final), and Rebecca Grenger of England 5-1 (semi-final) to enter the final.