Important Current affairs dated 31st March 2017 for Competitive Exams in India.
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India Becomes associate member of International Energy Agency
India has become part of IEA Association that will allow the country play a more “visible and influential” role in the global energy landscape.
The “Activation of Association” is expected to serve as a bridge and platform for wider-ranging and deeper co-operation and collaboration between IEA member and Association countries in the future.
India’s engagement with the International Energy Agency (IEA) has enhanced over the last two decades and the “Association” status would facilitate it to participate in meetings of the standing groups, committees and working groups that constitute the IEA governance structure.
India 170th country for anemia among women: report
- As per the Global Nutrition Report 2016, India is ranked 114th in terms of under-five stunting prevalence, 120th in terms of under-five wasting prevalence and 170th in terms of anemia prevalence in women.
- Global Nutrition Targets were set for 2025 in 65th World Health Assembly 2012 for stunting and wasting in under-five children and anemia in women of reproductive age group.
- The targets are – childhood stunting: 40 per cent reduction in the number of stunted children, childhood wasting: reduce and maintain childhood wasting to less than 5 per cent, anemia in women reproductive age: achieve a 50 per cent reduction of anemia in women of reproductive age.
Himachal Pradesh Assembly passes Annual Budget 2017-18
The Himachal Pradesh Assembly passed the annual budget for 2017-18 and related Appropriation Bill authorising the state government to spend Rs.37,939.97 crore from consolidated fund.
The budget was presented in the state assembly by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who also holds the finance portfolio, on March 10.
The house discussed the demands with regard to Irrigation and Public health and Urban development and housing today, while remaining demands were passed without discussion after the Speaker applied guillotine at 4 pm.
Gujarat assembly passes stricter law to curb cow slaughter
- Gujarat cleared a new bill on Friday calling for severe punishment against those who kill cows in the state.
- Gujarat Animal Preservation (amendment) – Bill 2017 was passed by the majority votes in the absence of opposition members.
- The amendment bill makes the law stricter and provides for harsher punishment and higher penalties to prevent cow slaughter in the state.
- The minimum jail term for illegal ferrying of cows for slaughter has been raised from 7 to 10 years against the current provision of 3 to 7 years. The monetary penalty has also been increased from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh.
Namami Brahmaputra’ Festival Inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee in Assam
The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the five-day Namami Brahmaputra River Festival in Assam on March 31, 2017.
To showcase the trade, tourism and rich cultural practices of Assam as well as is a tribute to the Brahmaputra River which is the lifeline and source of livelihood for the people of Assam.
The event was inaugurated by the President by lighting a ceremonial lamp at the Kachamari Ghat near Fancy Bazar in Guwahati.
The Prime Minister of Bhutan, Tshering Tobgay was the special guest at the event.
El Salvador – the 1st Country to ban Metals Mining
- Central America’s smallest nation, El Salvador became the first country in the world to ban Metals Mining nationwide. This was made into a law, which was passed by the Law-makers of that country.
- In addition to that, the law which is passed also bans the usage of Cyanide and Mercury for mining. The bill was passed after it got 69 votes which were required to make it a law. In fact only 43 votes were required.
Banking and Finance
India Inks $350 mn loan agreement with NDB for Roads Projects in MP
- India today signed the first loan agreement with the New Development Bank for USD 350 million for development and upgradation of road project in Madhya Pradesh.
- The project, which is to be implemented over 5 years, is expected to improve transport connectivity to the interior regions and resultant boost to economic activity in the rural hinterland.
- The agreement was signed between Government of India and the New Development Bank (NDB) and this is the first loan agreement for NDB assisted project in India.
- The objective of the project is upgradation of major district roads in the state of Madhya Pradesh to improve connectivity of the interior areas of the state with the national and state highway networks.
- “The project would include upgradation, rehabilitation or reconstruction of 1,500 km of district roads to intermediate lane, all-weather standards, with road safety features and improved road asset maintenance and management.
- The agreement was signed by Department of Economic Affairs Joint Secretary Raj Kumar on behalf of India and NDB VP and Chief Operating Officer Xian Zhu.
Awards and Recognition
Asian Hockey Player of Year – S.V Sunil and Harmanpreet Singh in Awardees list
- Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) on March 30, 2017 named SV Sunil as the Asian Player of the Year 2016 and Harmanpreet Singh as Asian Promising Player of the Year 2016 (Junior team).
- The nominations for these awards were made by coaches of the national teams across Asia and the criteria of nomination were based on the performance in the previous year.
Appointments & Resigns
Dr. Navrang Saini takes charge as Whole Time Member, IBBI
- Dr. Navrang Saini took charge as Whole Time Member, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India in New Delhi.
- Dr. Saini will look after Registration & Monitoring wing comprising Insolvency Professionals, Information Utilities, Insolvency Professional Agencies & Entities, Valuers, Surveillance, Investigation and Grievance Redressal. He will also look after Legal Affairs and Establishment.
- Dr. Saini served as a member of the Indian Corporate Law Service (ICLS). He has served Ministry of Corporate Affairs in various capacities and played a key role in the implementation of MCA 21. His last assignment was Director General, Ministry of Corporate Affairs. He also served as a Commissioned officer in Territorial Army from July 1985 to March 2011 and superannuated as Lt. Colonel.
- Dr. Saini has post-graduation degrees in Management and Law and also professional qualification as a Company Secretary.
Indian Origin Iqbal Surve Appointed Head of SA’s BRICS Business Council
- Dr. Iqbal Surve, an Indian-Origin South African billionaire has been appointed as the new Chairman ofBRICS Business Council of South Africa.
- Soon after his appointment, Surve headed to New Delhi, India to attend the mid-term meeting of the BRICS Councils of the respective nations in the bloc- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Vanaja N Sarna Appointed New Chairman of Central Board of Excise and Customs
- Senior bureaucrat, Vanaja N. Sarna, has been appointed as the new Chairman of the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) with effect from March 31, 2017.
- She is taking over Shri Najib Shah upon his superannuation on March 31.
- Her appointed was confirmed by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 30, 2017.
About Central Board of Excise and Custom
- The Central Board of Excise and Custom was established in 1855 by the then ruling British Governor General of India to administer customs laws and collection of import duties / land revenue in India.
- CBEC is the nodal agency under the Finance Ministry that is responsible for administering Customs, Central Excise, Service Tax & Narcotics.
- The Central Board of Excise & Customs (CBEC) consists of a Chairperson and six Members.
- The board will be renamed as Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) after necessary legislative approval in the GST regime.
Pakistani American Ali Javed becomes first Muslim, to join NYPD Elite unit
- A Pakistani-American has become the first-ever Muslim to join New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) Emergency Services Unit.
- Sergeant Ali Javed has made history by becoming the first Muslim and first Pakistani-American to join the elite unit.
NTPC Commissions 260 MW Bhadla Solar Project In Rajasthan
- State-run power giant NTPC has commissioned 260 MW Bhadla solar project in Rajasthan.
- NTPC said that Consequent upon testing and commissioning, 260 MW capacity (4×65 MW) of Bhadla Solar PV Project at Bhadla Rajasthan, is declared on commercial operation with effect from 0000 hrs of March 25, 2017,” in BSE filing.
- With this, the commercial capacity of NTPC and NTPC group has become 40,522 MW and 47,293 MW respectively.
Bhoorsingh the Barasingha Official Mascot for Kanha Tiger Reserve.
- The Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh is the first tiger reserve in India to get the official mascot named ‘Bhoorsingh the Barasingha’. The mascot was introduced by reserve’s field director of Kanha Tiger Reserve, Sanjay Shukla.
- Barasingha was made the mascot after the idea given by the award-winning cartoonist Rohan Chakravarty from Nagpur, who makes cartoons and illustrations on wildlife.
Science and Technology
Four Lithium-Ion (Li-ion) Batteries developed by ISRO
- ISRO has developed lithium-ion battery for satellite and launch vehicle applications. Four types of batteries have been developed – 1.5Ah, 5Ah, 50Ah and 100Ah.
- Out of these, 1.5Ah & 50Ah have been used for space applications and 5Ah & 100Ah batteries are qualified and is ready for induction in space applications.
- ISRO has supplied 50 Ah lithium-ion cells to Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI).
- Lithium-ion battery developed by ISRO was successfully demonstrated in a prototype two-wheeler at the Symposium on International Automotive Technologies (SIAT 2017) on 19th January 2017.
- The prototype uses a 48V, 50Ah lithium-ion battery, which can attain speeds of 40-50 kmph and can run up to 98 km once charged for 2 hrs.
ACT Fibernet Launches 1Gbps Wired Broadband Internet Service in Hyderabad
- In a new development, ACT Fibernet has announced the launch of 1Gbps wired broadband Internet service in India.
- The first city to get such high speeds is Hyderabad, with a 1TB (terabyte) FUP cap on high-speed data priced at Rs. 5,999 per month.
- ACT Fibrenet has also announced that it plans to introduce its 1Gbps wired Internet service in 10 other Indian cities soon.
SpaceX successfully launches first recycled rocket
- SpaceX reached a historic feat that could help drive down the costs of space travel: it successfully launched and retrieved the world’s first reflight of an orbital class rocket.
- Falcon 9’s first stage for the SES-10 mission previously supported the successful CRS-8 mission in April 2016.
- Falcon 9 rocket will deliver the SES-10, a commercial communications satellite for SES, to a Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO). SES provides reliable and secure satellite communications solutions across the globe.
Sachin Tendulkar launches mobile app 100MB Cricket
- India’s batting legend Sachin Tendulkar started his digital innings by launching a mobile phone app named 100MB Cricket.
- The app is conceptualised by JetSynthesys and envisioned by the ‘Master Blaster’ himself.
- 100MB Cricket is now available for Android via Google Play, and for iOS via the App Store.
- The app will also have all the social media updates of Tendulkar.
- The app is a one stop destination for all things related to the Indian icon.
- It has a Live Forum feature allowing users to have live interaction with Sachin Tendulkar as well as have access to his personal social media updates.
- The app will feature a song by veteran singer Sonu Nigam and Sachin Tendulkar himself on April 2, 2017.
- The app will also run special contests during IPL season which will offer prizes through Sachin merchandise.
Most Spacewalks by a Woman – US Astronaut Peggy Whitson Breaks Sunita Williams Record
- American astronaut Peggy Whitson made history when she floated outside the International Space Station on Thursday, breaking the record for the most spacewalks by a woman.
- Whitson, 57, is making her eighth career spacewalk, surpassing the record of seven previously held by American Sunita Williams.
- The spacewalk formally began at 7:29 am (local time) when Whitson and Shane Kimbrough switched their spacesuits to battery power before venturing outside the airlock and into the vacuum of space.
- Today’s walkabout is the second in a series of three spacewalks to outfit the exterior of the orbiting outpost with parking spots for a new generation of space taxis ferrying astronauts to the station. SpaceX and Boeing are currently designing crew vehicles that will begin flying people to the ISS as early as next year.
Asian Athletics Championships to be hosted by Bhubaneswar
- Bhubaneswar will host the Asian Athletics Championships from July 6-9, the continent’s governing body of the sport announced today (March 30) at its Council Meeting in Bangkok.
- Kalinga Stadium of the Odisha capital will host the continent’s flagship event.
- Capital of Jharkhand, Ranchi was to host the event from June 1-4 but it made a late pull out due to financial issues and Bhubaneswar was then chosen by the Athletics Federation of India as the venue.
- India has hosted the event earlier on two occasions — in New Delhi (1989) and Pune (2013).
Kerala Based Historian Namboodiri Passes Away
Dr N M Namboodiri, renowned Indian historian and writer, died on March 30, 2017 after prolonged illness at Mannar in Alapuzha district of Kerala.He was 73.
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