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Indian Affairs

Dr. Jitendra Singh lays foundation stone of 10 KW FM Radio Station at Malhar in Udhampur

  • The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Dr Jitendra Singh laid the foundation stone of 10 KW FM Radio Station at Malhar village in Udhampur district, Jammu.
  • The long pending aspirations of the people living in Udhampur district have finally come true with the commissioning of this station. He said that the need was felt in order to entertain the defence employees working in far flung areas of the district and to promote the talent.
  • It would go a long way in providing an opportunity to the youth of the district to prosper their talent and promote the folk culture of the district.
  • The project will be completed at the cost of Rs.9.24 crores excluding the cost of the land and shall take about one and a half year for getting completed. The land has been donated by Shri Kaka Ram who was felicitated on the occasion by the dignitaries.

Andhra Pradesh Renames Tirupati Airport and Vijayawada Airport
The Andhra Pradesh State Cabinet meeting, headed by Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu, has approved proposals to rename the airports in the Andhra Pradesh state. The Renigunta airport near Tirupati in Chittoor district would be renamed as Sri Venkateswara International Airport. The Gannavaram Airport near Vijayawada would be renamed as Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao Amaravati International Airport.

Maharashtra Cabinet Plans to Regulate Web-Based Taxi Services

The Maharashtra government led by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has decided to implement theMaharashtra City Taxi Regulations 2017 to regulate the web-based taxi services in the state.
To ensure affordable travel for passengers and commuters and bring transparency.
The decision was based on the complaints that web-based taxis like Ola, Uber, Taxi for Sure charged fares as per the supply of the taxi services and demand by the commuters.
According to the draft rules, “Aggregator means a person who is an operator or an intermediary/marketplace who canvasses or solicits or facilitates passengers for travel by a taxi or any other public service vehicle and who connects the passenger/intending passenger to a driver of a taxi or any other public service vehicle through phone calls, internet, web-based services or GPS/GPRS-based services whether or not any fare, fee, commission, brokerage or other charges are collected for providing such services.” No taxi will be offered for hire through an aggregator who is not registered under these rules.

The draft rules say that open-type or nonhard-top or fibre-top vehicles are not allowed. The vehicles attached to any aggregator will be operated under a permit to be called the “App-Based City Taxi Permit”.

India to supply additional 60 MW power to Bangladesh

  • Tripura would supply an additional 60 MW of electricity to Bangladesh, over the 100 MW of power.
  • The 100 MW electricity being supplied to the neighbouring country since March 23, 2016, is in addition to the 500 MW Bangladesh is already receiving from West Bengal.
  • Bangladesh has sought 100 MW electricity from India to solve its power crisis in the eastern part of the country

Haryana Government announces Tirtha Darshan Scheme for Senior Citizen

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Friday announced that the state government had prepared a Tirtha Darshan scheme under which senior citizens above 60 years of age and of Haryana domicile would be able to go on a pilgrimage within the country at government expense.
The government would bear the entire cost of the tour of senior citizens belonging to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families.
In case of a couple, the expenses of the spouse belonging to BPL family would also be borne by the government. They would also be able to take along an assistant. In case of senior citizens of non-BPL families, the government would bear only 70 per cent of the cost.
The senior citizens would be selected for the pilgrimage on the basis of draw of lots. Over 400 destinations can be visited under the scheme.
The maximum number of pilgrims would be only 250 every year

International Affairs

India To Lead The world in Smartphone Adoption During 2016-2020: GSMA Report

The estimates are based on the GSMA Intelligence Consumer Survey 2016 conducted across 56 countries on the mobile usage trend. India will lead the world in smartphone adoption with a net addition of 350 million connections in 2016-20.
The developing world is set to add 1.6 billion smartphone connections between now and 2020.
Led by India, China and Indonesia, smartphone adoption across developing markets will increase from an average of 47% in 2016 to 62% four years later.
Smartphones accounted for 51% of mobile connections at the end of 2016, with smartphone penetration greater than that of basic and feature phone in all regions except sub-Saharan Africa.

IMF Reaches Preliminary Agreement with Ukraine

  • The International Monetary Fund reached a preliminary agreement with Ukraine that could see the war-scarred and cashed-starved nation receive aid in the first half of the year.
  • The IMF staff has reached agreement with the Ukrainian authorities on an updated Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies. This paves the way for consideration of the third review of the arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) by the IMF?s Executive Board.
  • The International Monetary Fund approved a $17.5 billion loan program for 4 years for Ukraine in 2015 to help the former Soviet republic financially amid a conflict with pro-Russia rebels.
  • Disbursements under the programme have seen repeated delays over the past two years due to stop-start progress on reforms. So far Ukraine has received $7.7 billion under the programme.

China hikes defence budget to $150 billion

  • China’s finance ministry pegged the defence budget at 1.044 trillion Yuan or $151 billion, a 7% increase from last year’s outlay.
  • The 7% hike was announced by National People’s Congress spokesperson Fu Ying. In comparison, in the fiscal year starting April, India plans to spend 3.6 lakh crore rupees or $51 billion.

Banking and Finance

IRDAI Proposes 50% Hike In Motor Insurance Premium From April 1

  • Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) has proposed up to 50 per cent increase in insurance premium for cars, motor cycles as well as commercial vehicles from April 1.
  • There is no proposal to increase the third partyfor small cars (up to 1,000 cc) from Rs 2,055 currently.
  • The hike proposed in mid-segment cars (1,000 – 1,500 cc) as well as bigger cars and SUVs is 50 per cent. The proposal is to increase premium to Rs 3,355 for cars up to 1,000 cc and Rs 9,246 for bigger ones.
  • The increase has also been proposed for entry level bikes (77-150 cc) and performance category (150-350 cc).
  • Irdai has released exposure draft on premium rates for motor third party insurance covers for the financial year 2017-18 and invited stakeholders comments till March 18.
  • The proposed premiums for the next fiscal have been calculated on the accident related data from 2011-12 to 2015-16 provided by the Insurance Information Bureau of India (IIBI).

PAC Favors Naming and Shaming of Corporate Houses to Deal with NPA

  • Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chief K V Thomas hopes “naming and shaming” such corporate houses may help financial institutions get back their money.
  • Out of the Rs 6.8 lakh crore of Non-Performing Assets of public sector banks, a whopping 70 per cent are those of big corporate houses, Thomas said, adding hardly one per cent of it constitutes loans to farmers.
  • In case of farmers or small traders, banks act strong and they go to their houses to recover money.
  • The PAC intends to give names of such big defaulters who owe money to banks in their reports to be submitted in Lok Sabha before the end of budget session.

China sets 2017 GDP growth target at around 6.5%

  • China today set its GDP growth target at around 6.5 per cent for 2017, compared with a target range of 6.5 to 7 per cent last year as the world’s second largest economy braced for further slowdown of its growth.
  • China will pursue better results in actual economic work setting the 6.5 per cent target.
  • The projected target is in line with both economic principles and realities, that it will help stabilise market expectations and facilitate the country’s structural adjustments.
  • The NPC in its target report mentioned that it is targeting over 11 million for urban job creation this year emphasizing the greater importance China attaches to employment.

Awards and Recognition

M P Veerendra Kumar Presented Moortidevi Award

M P Veerendra Kumar Presented Moortidevi Award
M P Veerendra Kumar Presented Moortidevi Award
  • Eminent Malayalam author and journalist M P Veerendra Kumar was presented the 30th Moortidevi award by Bharatiya Jnanpith organisation.
  • Kumar was chosen for the prestigious award for his Malayalam travelogue Hymavathabhoovil, which dwells upon ancient trails of Indian culture, myth, literature and people strewn in the plains, valleys and mountains of India”.
  • The award was presented by Jnanpith laureate M T Vasudevan Nair at a function at the Tagore Centenary Hall.
  • Moortidevi award, which is presented annually for “contemplative and perceptive work”, consists of a Saraswati statue, a citation plaque and cash award of Rs four lakh.
  • The award is given annually for books written in all Indian languages besides English pertaining to Indian philosophy.

Appointments & Resigns

Baichung Bhutia removed as AIFF advisor

  • The All India Football Federation (AIFF) due to differences in opinion, former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia is no longer advisor to both the AIFF and president Praful Patel.
  • In fact, India’s most decorated footballer was removed from the post last December.
  • Bhutia was roped in as advisor two years back and has since then been instrumental in bringing India coach Stephen Constantine back and also extending his contract till February 2018.


Facebook Launches ‘SheLeadsTech’ to Support Women Founded Startups in India

  • Social networking site Facebook launched a new initiative, SheLeadsTech, to support women-founded or co-founded startups and said it will also be expanding its SheMeansBusiness program that supports women-led small businesses.
  • SheLeadsTech will give women-founded or co-founded start-ups access to a year-long program that provides tools, mentorship and resources.
  • The announcement which came ahead of Women’s Day aim to bring women on board India’s digital revolution in a bigger way.

Ola Signs MoU with MP Government to Train 25,000 People

  • In a major step ahead, towards its goal of nurturing micro entrepreneurship and skilling 50 lakh drivers by 2020, taxi aggregator Ola has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Madhya Pradesh State Skill Development Mission (MPSSDM) and Directorate of Skill Development.
  • the MOU is focused towards training, skill development and empowerment of 25,000 driver partners in the next two years.
  • As part of this initiative, the transportation app Ola will work closely with the State’s Skill Development Department in providing essential training infrastructure, utilities and technology framework that will ensure an improved employment scenario for the youth of Madhya Pradesh


Study Finds Earth’s Mantle 60 degrees Hotter than Thought

  • The mantle – the mostly solid, rocky part of Earth’s interior – is about 60 degrees Celsius hotter than previously thought.
  • The findings led by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in the US could change how scientists think about many issues in Earth science including how ocean basins form.
  • According to researchers, a 60-degree increase may not sound like a lot compared to a molten mantle temperature of more than 1,400 degrees Celsius.
  • However, the result is significant as a hotter mantle would be more fluid, helping to explain the movement of rigid tectonic plates.


2017 Dubai Tennis Championships 

The Dubai Tennis Championships (also known as the 2017 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships for sponsorship reasons) were held at the Aviation Club Tennis Centre in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
ii. Britain’s Andy Murray claimed his first title of the year with a straight-sets victory over Fernando Verdasco despite a soggy start in the high octane game.

Category Winner
Men’s Singles Andy Murray (United Kingdom)
Women’s Singles Elina Svitolina(Ukraine)
Men’s Doubles Netherlands Pair
Jean-Julien Rojer / Romania Horia Tecău
Women’s Doubles Ekaterina Makarova(Russia) / Elena Vesnina(Russia)

Armoured Corps Polo Championship Concludes 

Armoured Corps Polo Championship Concludes
Armoured Corps Polo Championship Concludes
  • Armoured Corps Polo Trophy was fiercely contested at the Army Equestrian Centre, Delhi on 05th March in the presence of Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, Eastern Army Commander among other serving and retired senior officers.
  • The event witnessed participation of 15 teams, highest in the Delhi Polo Season with a thrilling final claimed by Armoured Corps beating Empress/Destination with eight goals to six.
  • Armoured Corps and horses go a long way back along the history with Horseback Cavalry evolving into the heavy punch of Armoured Tank Corps as the warfare evolved.
  • It was the initiative by Lt Gen AB Shivane, Director General Machanised Forces to institute the Armoured Corps Polo Trophy. Awards were given away by Gen VN Sharma (Retd), Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi and Lt Gen AB Shivane.


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