UPSC Current Affairs
UPSC Current Affairs

Important Current affairs dated 23rd 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. 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

High Level committee to examine working of CCIM,  CCH and their governing legislation

  • Medical education of the modern medicine is regulated through central regulatory body namely, Medical Council of India (MCI) set up under the provisions of Indian Medical Council (IMC) Act, 1956 through its subordinate regulations.
  • With regard to AYUSH medical education, there are two statutory regulatory bodies namely, Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) and Central Council of Homoeopathy (CCH) set up as per the provisions of Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970 and Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973 respectively, which maintain central registers of Indian Medicine and Homoeopathy and regulate education and practice of AYUSH systems of medicine through its subordinate regulations.
  • A Committee under the Chairmanship of Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog, Additional Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), NITI Aayog and Secretary, Ministry of AYUSH as members has been set up to examine the working of the regulatory bodies namely, Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) and Central Council of Homoeopathy(CCH) and their governing legislations namely, Indian Medicine Central Council Act 1970 and Homoeopathy Central Council Act 1973 respectively, for suggesting suitable reforms.

A bill by RajyaSabha for HIV-AIDS Prevention and Control

  • The HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014, aimed at ensuring equal rights while seeking treatment, education and job by people living with HIV, was passed by the Rajya Sabha.
  • The Bill was first introduced in Parliament by the UPA government in its last days in 2014 and aimed to make anti-retroviral treatment a legal right of HIV/AIDS patients.
  • The Bill provides for fast-tracking of cases relating to HIV positive persons by courts on a priority basis.
  • In any legal proceeding, if an HIV infected or affected person is a party, the court may pass orders that the proceedings be conducted (a) by suppressing the identity of the person, (b) in camera, and (c) to restrain any person from publishing information that discloses the identity of the applicant.
  • When passing any order with regard to a maintenance application filed by an HIV infected or affected person, the court shall take into account the medical expenses incurred by the applicant.

Government approves 1.10 lakh houses for urban poor in 6 states

  • The centre approved the construction of over 1.10 lakh houses for the urban poor, in six states at a cost of Rs 5,773 crores under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) scheme. Out of the total investment, the central assistance will be Rs 1,816 crores under the PMAY (Urban).
  • With the recent approval, the total number of houses being taken up for construction under the scheme, has gone up to 17.60 lakh, at the total cost of Rs 96,018 crores. The central assistance for these will be Rs 27,714 crores.
  • The Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, has approved the construction of 1,17,814 affordable houses for the benefit of urban poor in six states.
  • Madhya Pradesh has been sanctioned a total of 27,475 new houses, Bihar 25,221 houses, Jharkhand 20,099 houses and Odisha 2,115 houses. Over 31,424 affordable houses were approved for Karnataka, while Kerala got the nod for 11,480 houses under the scheme.

Majuli to be India’s first carbon neutral district and biodiversity heritage site

Majuli to be India’s first carbon neutral district and biodiversity heritage site
Majuli to be India’s first carbon neutral district and biodiversity heritage site
  • Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Tuesday launched initiatives to develop Majuli as India’s first carbon neutral district and as a biodiversity heritage site, coinciding with the celebration of International Day of Forest at Brahmaputra State Guest House in the city.
  • Sonowal also launched ‘Forests are Lives’ campaign to celebrate the importance of Assam’s rich forest wealth and biodiversity.
  • The Chief Minister said that steps must be taken to generate more awareness among students to conserve nature.
  • Majuli is facing existential crisis and therefore initiatives like designating it carbon neutral district and biodiversity heritage site are needs of the hour to preserve the river island’s rich heritage and legacy.
  • Underlining the importance of making the people of Majuli aware of these plans and taking them on board for effective implementation of the same, the Chief Minister also electronically launched a registry on Majuli biodiversity district. The registry would record and analyze the impact on climate due to all proposed projects in Majuli.
  • The Sustainable Actions for Climate Resilient Development (SaCReD) Initiative is developing pathways to ensure that infrastructure in Majuli is low carbon.
  • Further, declaration of Majuli as a Biodiversity Heritage Site (BHS), the first in the State, enforces the rich biological diversity in the wild and cultivated areas of the island and cultural heritage of Majuli and gives it a renewed identity.

International Affairs

Taiwan Signs MoU to Build Home Grown Submarines

Taiwan Signs MoU to Build Home Grown Submarines
Taiwan Signs MoU to Build Home Grown Submarines
  • Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing­wen launched the island’s first ever home­grown submarine project on March 21, 2017 at a naval base in southern city of Kaohsiung because the island faces rising navy threats from China as relations deteriorate.
  • An MoU has been signed for the project between the navy, Taiwanese shipbuilder CSBC Corporation and the National Chung­Shan Institute of Science and Technology, which develops combat system integration.
  • The project is a part of the island’s indigenous defence policy and the delivery of the submarine is expected to take eight years and deployed within 10 years.
  • Taiwan’s navy currently operates a fleet of 4 submarines which are purchased from abroad, however only two of them may be deployed in the occasion of warfare.
  • The other two have been constructed by the United States in the 1940s and are solely used in training as they’re too outdated for fight.

India Ranks 131 in Human Development Index 2016

India Ranks 131 in Human Development Index 2016
India Ranks 131 in Human Development Index 2016
  • India came down by one slot and was ranked 131st among 188 countries on Human Development Index (HDI) 2016 released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  • ndia fell under the “medium human development category” and its HDI, at 0.624, was behind Sri Lanka and the Maldives in South Asia.
  • Sri Lanka and the Maldives were ranked 73 and 105 respectively and figure in the “high human development” section.
  • India was placed behind countries like Gabon (109), Egypt (111), Indonesia (113), South Africa (119) and Iraq (121) among others. The report lists a total of 188 countries.
  • China occupies the 90th spot. Bhutan is at 132, Bangladesh 139, Nepal 144 and Pakistan is at 147.
  • Devised and launched in 1990, HDI is a statistic which ranks countries into four tiers of human development on the basis of indicators like life expectancy, education and per capita income.
  • A higher lifespan, higher level of education and higher GDP per capita results in a country scoring higher HDI.
  • The top three countries in HDI were Norway (0.949), Australia (0.939) and Switzerland (0.939).

Banking and Finance

Government Lowers to Cash Transaction Limit To 2 Lakh

Government Lowers to Cash Transaction Limit To 2 Lakh
Government Lowers to Cash Transaction Limit To 2 Lakh
  • The Rs 3-lakh limit proposed for cash payments in the Budget for 2017-18 would be brought down to Rs 2 lakh as part of an unprecedented 40 amendments to the Finance Bill.
  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley moved the amendments in the lower House on Tuesday. This is aimed at tightening the noose on those dealing in cash.
  • Most other amendments — making Aadhaar mandatory for filing tax returns, applying for permanent account numbers (PAN) and allowing payments by only non-cash modes such as cheques, bank drafts or electronic transfers for electoral trusts — are also aimed at curbing black money.
  • A few are aimed at rationalising tribunals by merging these to reduce the number to 12 from 40.
  • The amendment related to reducing the cap on cash transactions comes amidst reports that digital transactions had declined after a spurt afterdemonetisation.

Russian bank VTB to shut only office in India

Russian bank VTB to shut only office in India
Russian bank VTB to shut only office in India
  • Russian bank VTB has decided to close its only office in India to cut costs but will continue to work in India.
  • The decision to shut the branch in India was taken as part of a strategy of VTB Group aimed at optimising costs. We will continue to work on the Indian market, expanding our cooperation with local partners,.
  • While closing its office in New Delhi, VTB added that it saw commodities and investment banking as priority areas for the bank in India.
  • VTB is also planning to cut costs in Europe by slimming down its operations to focus on Frankfurt.

India And ADB Sign $350 Million Loan for Upgrading 1,500 kms of District Roads in State Of Madhya Pradesh

  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a $350 million loan for improving about 1,500 kilometers of major district roads in Madhya Pradesh in line with the State’s Road Development Plan.
  • The signatories to the Loan Agreement for the Madhya Pradesh District Connectivity Sector project were Mr. Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions), Department of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance, Government of India who signed on behalf of the Government of India, and Mr.  L. B. Sondjaja, Deputy Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission, who signed for ADB.
  •  It would provide an easier access to basic services and markets to people.
  • Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Sondjaja said that ADB’s continued participation in the State’s Road Development, through this project, will help further the state-wide road improvement program, stabilize and deepen institutional capacity, and improve road safety and accident response initiatives.
  • A key element of the project is the use of concrete pavements to ensure better ride quality and reduce lifecycle maintenance costs.
  • The Project will involve upgrading roads with concrete pavements, strengthening culverts and bridges, and maintaining the improved road assets for a period of five years after construction, on a performance based payment format.
  • The Project will also develop and introduce a cashless accident victim treatment facility in the state, and improve the accident response system.

Appointments & Resigns

Indian Ankur Khanna appointed ICC’s new CFO

  • The International Cricket Council appointed Ankur Khanna as its Chief Financial Officer.
  • Khanna will join the ICC at the end of March leaving Air Asia India where he has held the post of CFO for the last twelve months.
  • He has worked in senior roles at Air France/ KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and ITC, an associate company of British American Tobacco.

Shri Upendra Tripathy Appointed as Full Time Interim Director

  • Shri Piyush Goyal, Union Minister for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines, Government of India and Ms. Ségolène Royal, Minister for Environment, Energy and Marine Affairs Government of France jointly decided to appoint Mr. Upendra Tripathy, as the Interim Director General (IDG) of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) on a full time basis.
  • Mr. Upendra Tripathy was the Former Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy from 1st April, 2014 until 31st October 2016. Mr. Tripathy is an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of Karnataka Cadre. He has worked with local, provincial and union governments in India for the last 36 years.

Background on International Solar Alliance (ISA)
The International Solar Alliance (ISA) was launched on 30th November, 2015 as a coalition of the solar resource rich countries jointly by Shri. Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India and Mr.François Hollande, Hon’ble President of France in the presence of Mr. Ban Ki Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations on the first day of the Paris Climate Conference or CoP21.
ISA’s mission and vision:
To provide a dedicated platform for cooperation among solar resource rich countries where the global community including bilateral and multilateral organizations, corporates, industry, and stakeholders can make a positive contribution to assist and help achieve the common goals of increasing use of the solar energy in meeting energy needs of prospective ISA member countries in a safe, convenient, affordable, equitable and sustainable manner.

P.V. Sindhu to endorse PepsiCo’s sports drink Gatorade

P.V. Sindhu to endorse PepsiCo's sports drink Gatorade
P.V. Sindhu to endorse PepsiCo’s sports drink Gatorade
  • P.V. Sindhu, the first Indian woman to win an Olympic silver medal, will officially endorse Gatorade, a sports drink sold by American food and beverage maker PepsiCo Inc, the firm’s local entity PepsiCo India Holdings Pvt. Ltd.
  • PepsiCo launched Gatorade in India in 2004, but this is the first time it has hired an Indian to endorse the brand in India.


Government sets target to triple nuclear power generation by 2024

Government sets target to triple nuclear power generation by 2024
Government sets target to triple nuclear power generation by 2024
  • Nuclear power generation capacity in the country is expected to reach nearly 15,000 MW by 2024 as the government has expedited the process of setting up new plants, Lok Sabha was informed.
  • In 2014, India’s nuclear power generation capacity was 4,780 MW.
  • Minister of State for PMO Jitendra Singh said a number of steps have been taken by the Narendra Modi government to fast-track all ongoing nuclear projects and setting up of new plants in different parts of the country.
  • However,  for generating targeted nuclear power, there has to be enough uranium available – both from domestic as well as foreign sources.
  • The government was actively pursuing the process of acquiring uranium from different sources, including exploration in new places like Bihar and Meghalaya.

ABB India bags award for restoring 1,035 MW Sharavathi plant in Karnataka

ABB India bags award for restoring 1,035 MW Sharavathi plant in Karnataka
ABB India bags award for restoring 1,035 MW Sharavathi plant in Karnataka
  • ABB India has restored and modernised the critical 1,035 MW Sharavathi hydropower plant in Karnataka that accounts for 25 per cent of Karnataka Power Corporation’s generation.
  • The Sharavathi project with seamless integration of complete plant data, is an example of ABB’s future-ready technologies enabling the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and aligns with the government’s push for 24×7 reliable power for all with focus on smart power infrastructure and digitalisation.
  • Such projects will be key to realising the objective of India’s National Smart Grid Mission, for customers to reap the full benefits of digitalisation with seamless integration, thereby, contributing to reliable supply of electricity.
  • The award is a testimony to our customer focus and speed, complementing ABB’s next level automation platform with timely delivery and execution.


Green nod for Neutrino project suspended

Green nod for Neutrino project suspended
Green nod for Neutrino project suspended
  • The Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal 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.
  • During the arguments, the 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 kilometre away, making it a Category ‘A’ project.

Science and Technology

IIT-Kharagpur to get Supercomputing facility

  • The Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, is the first academic institution to get a supercomputing facility under the National Supercomputing Mission (NSM).
  • This will provide large computational support to users to carry out both research and teaching activities that involve state-of-the-art High Performance Computing (HPC) and usher in a new age in research and innovation in the country.
  • The Peta-Flop new system with both CPU and CPU-GPU based servers along with the already existing HPC equipment will provide about 1.5 Peta-Flop capacity support to several areas where the researchers of IIT-KGP are actively involved.
  • The facility will cover cutting-edge research scope in different inter-disciplinary areas like bio molecular simulations, drug design and bio-informatics, climate change and digital earth, geo-scientific exploration, infrastructure design and sustainable cities.
  • The objective of NSM is to achieve a self-reliant supercomputing platform in the country and to develop and expand the scope of using HPC systems to solve complex problems of national importance in different fields of science and technology
  • The initiative is supported by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and the mission envisages building supercomputing capacity and capability in the country with an estimated budget of Rs 4,500 crore over a period of seven years.

GRAPES-3 Telescope upgraded to detect solar storms

GRAPES-3 Telescope upgraded to detect solar storms
GRAPES-3 Telescope upgraded to detect solar storms
  • The GRAPES-3 experiment at TIFR’s Cosmic Ray Laboratory in Ootacamund is getting upgraded. The telescope made news last year when it detected the effect of a solar storm that hit the earth in June 2015.
  • The upgrade will play a major role in getting precise information about the propagation of storms in ‘the last million miles’ (from the L-1 point) of their journey from the Sun to the earth.
  • The upgraded detector will have an increased coverage of the sky and improved capacity to determine the direction of incident cosmic rays.
  • The latter property, of being able to discern the direction of detected particles, makes it unique among cosmic ray detectors in the world; it can also to measure the intensity of the particles. Since the enhanced facility can cover a wider field of view (from present 37% to 57%), the chances of spotting solar storms will be higher.
  • The sun is at a distance of 150 million kilometres from the earth, and satellites have been placed at a distance of nearly 1.5 million kilometres, at the so-called L1 point, where they orbit the Sun along with the Earth.
  • Since charged particles from a solar storm will first impact the satellites before hitting the earth, they act as an early warning system. Depending on the speed of the storm, it will take about 20-40 minutes to reach the earth from the L1 point.
  • However, the GRAPES-3 may differ from the satellite estimates of the travel time.
  • GRAPES-3 has an important role in understanding the propagation of storms from the L1 point to its impact on the Earth.

Samsung Launches its Mobile Payments Service Samsung Pay in India

Samsung Launches its Mobile Payments Service Samsung Pay in India
Samsung Launches its Mobile Payments Service Samsung Pay in India
  • Samsung Electronics today announced the launch of its flagship mobile payments service, Samsung Pay, in India. Simple and Secure, Samsung Pay can be used to make purchases almost everywhere you can swipe or tap your debit or credit card to make payments.
  • Apart from allowing users in India to simply tap and pay on the go using their registered cards, Samsung Pay has integrated Paytm as well as the government’s Unified Payments Interface into the app. Samsung has also created a unique digital payment ecosystem by partnering with a number of issuers and card networks. Our Card Network and Issuer partners include Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, SBI Cards and Standard Chartered Bank. Citibank India is a forthcoming issuer and its credit cards will be live on Samsung Pay shortly.
  • Samsung Pay is a highly secure platform as it works with three levels of security—fingerprint authentication, card tokenization and Samsung’s defense-grade mobile security platform Samsung KNOX.
  • To launch Samsung Pay, a user needs to swipe up on an eligible Samsung Galaxy smartphone, select the card, authenticate using a fingerprint or PIN and bring the phone near the Point of Sale terminal.


Ravindra jadeja outclasses Ashwin to rank top test Bowler In ICC Ranking

Ravindra Jadeja has whizzed ahead of India spin-twin Ravichandran Ashwin to take the sole top spot in the ICC Player Rankings for Test Bowlers after grabbing 9 wickets in the drawn 3rd Test against Australia which puts the 4-match series interestingly poised at 1-1.
Jadeja, who grabbed five for 124 and four for 52 in Ranchi, has gained 7 points after starting joint-first with Ashwin at 892 points. The left-arm spinner has become only the 3rd India player after Ashwin and Bishan Bedi to top the bowling charts on his own, the International Cricket Council (ICC).
ICC Rankings for Test Bowlers (Top 10) (Read as Rank (+/-), Player, Team, Points)
1. ( – ) Ravindra Jadeja (India) 899
2. (-1) Ravichandran Ashwin (India) 862
3. (+1) Rangana Herath (Sri Lanka) 854
4. (-1) Josh Hazlewood (Australia) 842
5. (+2) James Anderson (England) 810
6.(+2) Stuart Broad (England) 803
7. ( – ) Dale Steyn (South Africa) 803
8. (-3) Kagiso Rabada (South Africa) 802
9. ( – ) Vernon Philander (South Africa) 767
10. ( – ) Neil Wagner (New Zealand) 762


Veteran journalist Govind Talwalkar passes away in US

Veteran journalist Govind Talwalkar passes away in US
Veteran journalist Govind Talwalkar passes away in US
  • Veteran Marathi journalist, writer, and social historian Govind Talwalkar passed away at a hospital in the United Stated, at 91.
  • He was living with his daughters for several years. His latest book was sent for printing on the day he breathed.
  • Born in Dombivli near Mumbai, on July 22, 1925, Talwalkar started his career with the Marathi daily Loksatta and later joined the Maharashtra Times , where he served as an editor for 27 years.
  • He wrote prolifically on politics, international affairs, and literature. He also wrote for The Times of India , The Telegraph , The Illustrated Weekly , Deccan Herald and Frontline .

Liverpool great Ronnie Moran has died at the age of 83

Liverpool great Ronnie Moran has died at the age of 83
Liverpool great Ronnie Moran has died at the age of 83
  • Moran played 379 games for the club and spent more than 30 years on the coaching staff at Anfield, including a couple of spells in caretaker charge of the first team, and left having been involved in winning 44 trophies.
  • Crosby-born Moran started his playing career with Liverpool in 1949 as a part-timer and turned professional in 1952, linking up with legendary boss Bill Shankly in 1959 in a relationship that would endure.
  • Moran spent time in charge of the first team after Dalglish resigned in 1991 and again when Souness had heart surgery in 1992, leading the club out on Souness’ request at the FA Cup final, which they beat Sunderland 2-0 to win.
  • He eventually retired from coaching in 1998, just short of 50 years with the club.

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