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Indian Affairs

India’s tallest tricolour hoisted near Indo-Pak border at Attari; Pakistan cries foul

India's tallest tricolour hoisted near Indo-Pak border at Attari; Pakistan cries foul
India’s tallest tricolour hoisted near Indo-Pak border at Attari; Pakistan cries foul

A 360-foot-high (110 metres) flag post said to be the country’s tallest, was inaugurated on March 05 at the Indo-Pak Attari Border.
Punjab state minister Anil Joshi inaugurated the flag post, atop which a Tricolour was hoisted. The post is 24 metres wide, and weighs 55 tonnes.
Built at an approximate cost of Rs 3.50 crore, the post was a project by the Amritsar Improvement Trust Authority, part of the Punjab government.
With the model code of conduct for the Assembly elections being in place in the state, the minister got special permission from Election Commission for the inauguration.
The flag post, installed at the border, became an attraction for thousands of tourists who had reached there to watch the daily beating retreat ceremony at sunset.
Before the Attari flag post came up, the country’s tallest was in Ranchi, Jharkhand. Amritsar already has a 170-foot high flag post, in the Ranjit Avenue Public Park. The original plan was to hoist the Tricolour at the new Attari post on Republic Day on 26 January, but it was delayed due to technical reasons.


More than half of under-5 kids in India are anaemic

More than half of under-5 kids in India are anaemic
More than half of under-5 kids in India are anaemic
  • In a stark and chilling reminder of the realities of life in India, the recently released family health survey (NFHS 4) results show that over 58% of children below five years of age are anaemic, that is, they suffer from insufficient haemoglobin in the blood, leaving them exhausted, vulnerable to infections, and possibly affecting their brain development.
  • The survey, which was carried out in 2015-16 and covered six lakh households, also showed that around 38% of children in the same age group were stunted, 21% were wasted and 36% underweight.
  • Based on the 2011 Census data, the total number of children under five in India in 2015 is projected at 12.4 crore. So, around 7.2 crore children are anaemic, nearly 5 crore are stunted, around 2.6 crore are wasted and 4.4 crore are underweight.
  • These numbers are not too different from those in 2005-06. Since population has increased, their share is down.
  • The World Health Organisation says high levels of these markers are clear indications of “poor socio-economic conditions” and “suboptimal health andor nutritional conditions”.
  • The survey also found that just over half of all pregnant women were anaemic. This would automatically translate into their newborn being weak. Overall, 53% of women and 23% of men in the 15-49 age group were anaemic.

Haryana Presents Over Rs. 1,02,329.25 Crore Budget for FY 2017-18 in State Assembly

Haryana Finance Minister Capt Abhimanyu proposed a budget of Rs 1,02,329.35 crore, an increase of Rs 9,041.59 (13.18 per cent) over the last budget.
The proposal comprises 21.88 per cent as capital expenditure of Rs 22,393.51 crore and 78.12 per cent as revenue expenditure of Rs 79,935.84 crore.
Salient features of the budget:

  • Fiscal deficit has remained within limit of 3 per cent of GSDP
  • Debt to GSDP has remained within prescribed limit of 25 per cent
  • Total revenue receipts during 2016-17 estimated at Rs 69,327.09 crore
  • Of this, tax revenue is estimated at Rs 45,087.63 crore and non-tax receipt at Rs 15,239.46 crore
  • Total capital expenditure is estimated to be Rs 19,657 crore
  • Nine priority areas: Agriculture, rural development, urban development, infrastructure, education, IT governance, health, women empowerment, development of youth and culture
  • No new taxes in Haryana Budget
  • No change in current VAT rates
  • Bio-diesel, solar devices and parts used for installation of solar power projects made tax-free
  • New scheme Deenbandhu Haryana Gram Uday Yojana to develop 1,500 villages having populations between 3,000 and 10,000; to be implemented in three years with an outlay of Rs 5,000 crore; the scheme is funded by Nabard. During the current fiscal Rs 1,200 crore to be spent
  • For maintenance of existing infrastructure a new scheme, Mangal Nagar Vikas Yogna, with outlay of Rs 1,000 crore
  • Demonetisation figures in the budget speech
  • Announces 5 per cent rebate for use of the Bhim app
  • Asset augmentation fund for strengthening public assets and asset management cell for asset mapping by revenue department
  • Saksham Scheme to provide up to Rs 9,000 earning potential for unemployed youth
  • To provide unemployment allowance and honorarium
  • Rural development gets Rs 4,963.09 crore in 2017-18 against Rs 3,167.55 last year
  • Panchkula becomes the first district where all villages are getting 24-hour electricity, claims the FM
Sectoral allocation
Agriculture: Rs 12,784 cr
Rural development: Rs 4,963 cr
Education: Rs 15,546 cr
Health: Rs 3,839 cr
Industry: Rs 400 cr
Social welfare, women and child development and welfare of SCs and STs: Rs 6,859 cr
Power: Rs 12,685 crore
Public health engineering: Rs 3,382 cr
Urban development: Rs 4,973 cr
District plan: Rs 400 cr
Transport:  Rs 2,549 cr
Buildings and roads: Rs 3,827 cr

Tribal festival ‘Bhagoria’ begins

The annual tribal festival ‘Bhagoria’ will begin here and in four other districts of Madhya Pradesh from March 6.
The week-long festival is organised at different Bhagoria haats (local markets) in Jhabua, Alirajpur, Dhar, Khargone and Barwani districts in western Madhya Pradesh.
The event is going to be organised at 34 places.the tribal troupes donning their traditional robes will be felicitated during the festival.
Young tribal men and women, attired in colourful dresses, turn up at the haats with their traditional musical instruments to sing and dance as a part of the festival.

International Affairs

Cabinet gives ex-post facto approval to the MoU between India and the United Arab Emirates in the field of providing Energy Efficiency Services

Under the MoU, the National Productivity Council will provide the following services:

  • 1. Energy Assessment Services
    2. Training & Certification of Energy Auditors
    3. Demand Side Management.Meanwhile, Al Etihad ES will provide the following services to all the relevant projects on a case by case basis:
  • Customer Support with UAE Government and Private owned organizations in the United Arab Emirates
  • All local support for Field Auditing Professionals in the UAE
  • All local support for Training & Certification of Energy Auditors in UAE
  • All support related to Demand Side Management of industries based in UAE

The MoU will enable NPC avail high value opportunities such as energy building and develop institutional mechanism in area of energy efficiency in Dubai and other Gulf Cooperation Council, (GCC) member countries. It will provide recognition and exposure to further build NPC’s capacities and competencies in rapidly changing international business scenario.

Joint Military Exercise AL NAGAH-II Begins Between India-Oman in Himachal Pradesh

  • In an effort to build bilateral military-to-military relations and skills, a 14-day joint defence exercise ‘Al-Nagah-II’ between the armies of India and Oman will begin in Himachal Pradesh from March 6.
  • “Indo-Oman Joint Army Exercise ‘AL NAGAH-II 2017’ will be conducted between the Indian and Oman Army from 6 to 19 March in the Dhauladhar Ranges at Bakloh in Himachal Pradesh.
  • This is the second joint military exercise between the two countries which have a history of extensive cooperation in the defence arena, the first one was held in Oman in January 2015.
  • The participating troops for this exercise have been drawn from one infantry battalion each from the Indian Army and the Royal Army of Oman.
  • Approximately 60 troops from both countries will participate in the exercise.
  • The aim of the exercise is to build and promote bilateral Army-to-Army relations and enhance interoperability while exchanging skills and experiences between the Indian Army and the Royal Army of Oman.

Banking and Finance

Vijaya Bank opens its 2,000th branch in Tirupati

  • Vijaya Bank has opened its 2000th branch in Tirupati. The branch was opened by Chadalawada Krishna Murthy, Chairman, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams. This is the region’s 65th branch and the second in Tirupati city.
  • Speaking on the occasion, Murthy said Vijaya Bank was the first bank to start banking operations in Tirumala and has been extending yeoman service to the devotees of Lord Venkateswara.
  • It has been receiving accolades for its digital initiatives from all sections of society and the same can be validated from the many awards conferred on it by distinguished organisations and institutions.

SBI to Impose Renalty on Non-Maintenance of Monthly Average Balance in Accounts from April 1

  • State Bank of India has earlier decided to increase manifold the minimum balance required for maintaining savings account from April 1, hitting 31 crore depositors including pensioners and students.
  • The monthly average balance (MAB) requirement has been increased to as high as Rs 5,000 for branches in six metros.
  • India’s largest bank has now decided to fix separate MABs for ‘metro’, ‘urban’, ‘semi-urban’ and ‘rural’ areas from the beginning of next financial year. The benchmark for MAB and penalties are likely to be followed by other public sector banks.
  • MAB for metro branches will be Rs 5,000 and penalty for non-maintenance of minimum balance will be between Rs 50 and Rs 100. For urban and semi-urban branches, the MAB has been fixed at Rs 3,000 and Rs 2,000 respectively.
  • In case of rural branches, the minimum balance has been fixed at Rs 1,000. Breach of MAB will attract a penalty ranging between Rs 20 and Rs 50.

Awards and Recognition

Canara Bank bags medals at PR Council’s communication conclave

Public sector Canara Bank has won a number of medals in the Collateral Awards Category at the 11th Global Communication Conclave held in Bangaluru by the Public Relations Council of India (PRCI).

The bank won a gold medal for a radio jingle and silver medals for Corporate Film and Brochure (CSR). It won bronze medals for its in-house magazine (regional language),corporate advertisement – print, table calendar – 2017 and Big Diary 2017.

Kerala’s Vaikom Vijayalakshmi Sets Record to Play Gayathri veena for Continous Five Hours

  • Kerala’s playback singer Vaikom Vijayalakshmi created a new world record on March 5, 2017 by playing the maximum number of songs in the shortest time on Gayathri veena during a programme in Kochi.
  • She played a total of 69 songs including various classical and filmy songs on the Gayathri veena continuously for over five hours and became the first person to achieve the feat.
  • Vijayalakshmi beat her own earlier record of 51 songs but still she went on till the 69th song.
  • Besides singing for the Malayalam movies, Vijayalakshmi has also sung in Tamil and Telugu films.

President of India presents visitor’s awards for ‘Best University’, ‘Research’ and ‘Innovation’

The Third day of the Festival of Innovation in Rashtrapati Bhavan concluded with presentation of Visitor’s Awards for the year 2017 by President Pranab Mukherjee at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The President presented the Visitor’s Award for the ‘Best University’ to Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. The Visitor’s Award for ‘Innovation’ was presented to Dr. Deepak Pant, Department of Environmental Science, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Central University of Himachal Pradesh for development of a reactor for direct conversion of waste plastic to LPG in small scale. The Visitor’s Award for ‘Research’ was jointly received by Dr. Shyam Sunder, Department of Medicine, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University for his work in the area of diagnosis and treatment of Indian Kala-azar and Prof. Niranjan Karak, Department of Chemical Sciences, Tezpur University for development of renewable resource based bio-degradable hyper-branched polymer nano-composites as self-cleaning, self-healing and bio-compatible smart sustainable futuristic material.


Govt nod for strategic sale of 3 SAIL plants

The government has approved outright sale of state-owned SAIL’s three special steel units, including Salem and Alloy Steel plants.
In pursuance of the decision, SAIL has now sought advisors, including legal and merchant bankers, to carry out the strategic sale along with transfer of management control in the three steel plants—Alloy Steels Plant (ASP), Salem Steel Plant (SSP) and Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Plant (VISP).
The maharatna PSU is scouting for transaction advisor from professional consulting firm, investment bankers, financial institutions, to provide advisory services and manage the disinvestment process.
ASP is located at Durgapur in West Bengal spread over around 467.22 hectares. It has a diverse product portfolio of over 400 grades catering to end-use by strategic sectors like defence, railways, automobiles, power plants, heavy engineering and manufacturing industries.
SSP in Tamil Nadu can produce stainless steel in the form of coils and sheets with an installed capacity of 70,000 tonnes a year in cold rolling mill and 3.64 lakh tonnes a year in hot rolling mill.


Centre Launches First Ever Survey in the River Ganga to Count Population Of Aquatic Life

  • The Centre has launched the first ever across-the-river survey in the Ganga to determine the population of aquatic life, including that of the endangered Gangetic doplhin.
  • The survey will create a baseline scientific data for the government to take suitable measures to improve quality of the river water, the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG)
  • The first leg of the census was launched on March 1 from Narora in Uttar Pradesh to Bijnor (covering distance of nearly 165 km) to establish the number of the national aquatic animal.


Science and Technology

Iran’s S-300 air defence system becomes operational 

  • Iran’s advanced S-300 air defence system, delivered by Russia following a July 2015 nuclear deal after years of delay, is now operational.
  • Iran had been trying to acquire the system for years to ward off repeated threats by Israel to bomb its nuclear facilities, but Russia had held off delivery in line with UN sanctions imposed over the nuclear programme.
  • The S-300 air defence system has been tested… in the presence of government and military officials.

Indian Navy’s Oldest Warship INS Viraat, Decommissions on March 6 After 30-Year Service

The ship, famously known as the ‘Grand Old Lady’, was with the British Royal Navy since 1959 before the Indian government bought it for Rs 6.5 crore in 1987.
INS Viraat, Indian Navy’s flagship aircraft carrier, will retire from service today. The aircraft carrier which holds the Guinness Record for the oldest carrier in service was inducted into the Indian Navy on May 12, 1987.
The ship, famously known as the ‘Grand Old Lady’, was with the British Royal Navy since 1959 before the Indian government bought it for Rs 6.5 crore in 1987.
About INS Viraat

  1. It was known as HMS Hermes before being rechristened as INS Viraat. The motto of INS Viraat was ‘Jalamev Yasya, Balmev Tasya’ (meaning – One Who Controls the Sea is All Powerful), which was first adopted by the great warrior king, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in the 17th century as the guiding principle of his naval-military strategy.
  2. It housed the fighters ‘White Tigers’ – the Sea Harriers of INAS 300, which were decomissioned in Goa in May 2016, anti-submarine aircraft Sea King MK42B, Sea King MK42C or Harpoons, SAR helicopter Chetan, besides ALH Dhruv and Russian twin rotor Kamov-31.
  3. INS Viraat played a major role in the Operation Jupiter in 1989 in Sri Lankan Peace Keeping operations, Operation Parakram in 2001-2002 when India and Pakistan were in a stand-off post-terror strikes on Indian Parliament, among others.
  4. With a full load displacement of 28,700 tonnes, the 226.5 metres long and 48.78 metres wide ship was manned by 150 officers and 1,500 sailors.
  5. While the final fate of the warship is yet to be decided, the Andhra Pradesh government had announced that it will turn the warship into a museum.
  6. As per the earlier reports, talks were underway with the Andhra Pradesh government to convert INS Viraat, into a luxury hotel-cum-museum after its decommissioning. The carrier is expected to berth on the coast of Visakhapatnam by mid-2017.
  7. At present, INS Vikramaditya is the only serving aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy and the second one, named Vikrant, is under construction at Cochin Shipyard Ltd.


Asia Men’s Rugby Sevens Trophy: Ind defeat Pak to secure 7th rank

  • India’s women’s hockey team led by Ritu Rani defeated Belarus 3-1 to clinch their third consecutive win in the five-Test Series held in Bhopal.
  • The another star Deepika who scored India’s third goal in the 42nd minute to take a 3-1 lead while the defenders did well to keep the visitors from scoring in the final quarter to confirm a win.

2017 Mexican Open – Overview

The the 24nd edition -2017 Mexicano Telcel tennis tournament was played on outdoor hard courts. It was 17th edition for the women and part of the 2017 ATP World Tour and the 2017 WTA Tour held in Acapulco, Mexico.
Spain’s Nadal was bidding to win his 70th ATP World Tour singles title and become the fifth player to achieve that feat. Rojer has 89 under his belt.

Category Winner
Men’s singles Sam Querrey (United States)
Women’s singles Lesia Tsurenko (Ukraine)
Men’s Doubles Jamie Murray / Brazil Bruno Soares (United Kingdom Pair)
Women’s Doubles Darija Jurak (Croatia) / Anastasia Rodionova (Australia)


Liver transplant surgical pioneer Dr. Thomas Starzl dies

  • Dr Thomas Starzl, the pioneer of liver transplantation and the driving force behind the world’s first baboon-to-human liver transplants and research on anti-rejection drugs, has died at the age 90.
  • Starzl performed the world’s first liver transplant in 1963, the world’s first successful liver transplant in 1967, and pioneered kidney transplantation from cadavers.
  • He later perfected the process by using identical twins and, eventually, other blood relatives as donors.

President of India condoles the passing away of Shri Rabi Ray

President of India condoles the passing away of Shri Rabi Ray
President of India condoles the passing away of Shri Rabi Ray
  • The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee has condoled the passing away of veteran Socialist leader and eminent Parliamentarian Shri Rabi Ray.
  • A freedom fighter, veteran Socialist leader and eminent Parliamentarian, Shri Ray served the nation in various capacities including as Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare and Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
  • In his death, the nation has lost a leader who was always in touch with the grassroots of society.

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