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Indian Affairs

National conference on Jal Kranti Abhiyan begins in New Delhi

Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has organized a national conference on Jal Kranti Abhiyan in New Delhi on March 07,2017.
About 700 participants representing various stakeholder groups such as farmers, Panchayat members, officials, NGOs and students will be attending the daylong conference.
Aim: To consolidate water conservation and management in the country through a holistic and integrated approach involving all stakeholders making it mass movement.
Objectives: Strengthening grass root involvement of all stakeholders including Panchayati Raj institutions and local bodies for Participatory Irrigation Management.
Important components of Jal Kranti Abhiyan: 

  • Jal Gram Yojana,
  • Development of Model Command Area,
  • Pollution Abatement and
  • Mass Awareness Programme

Under Jal Gram Yojana two water stressed villages in each district of the country are to be selected and a comprehensive water security plan is formulated to achieve water security for these villages.

High Court Declares Over 4 Month Long Economic Blockade in Manipur as Illegal

  • The High Court of Manipur has declared as illegal the over four-month-long economic blockade in Manipur called byUnited Naga Council (UNC).
    The HC also directed the authorities to deal with those supporting the blockade according to the law.
  • A bench of Chief Justice R R Prasad, Justice N Kotiswar Singh and Justice Kh Nobin Singh passed the order on a public interest litigation.
  • The UNC protesting against creation of seven new districts in the state, saying this would bifurcate the ancestral land of the Naga people.
  • UNC president Gaidon Kamei and its information secretary UNC Stephen Lamkang are in jail in connection with the blockade.

PM Narendra Modi releases Special Commemorative Postage Stamp on 100 years of Yogoda Satsang Math

PM Narendra Modi releases Special Commemorative Postage Stamp on 100 years of Yogoda Satsang Math
PM Narendra Modi releases Special Commemorative Postage Stamp on 100 years of Yogoda Satsang Math

Prime Minister Narendra Modi released a special commemorative postage stamp on 100 years of Yogoda Satsang Math on March 7, 2017
One major aim of YSS is to reveal the complete harmony, basic oneness, and common foundations of all true religions.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh Presents Rs 76,032 crore Budget for 2017-18


Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh Presents Rs 76,032 crore Budget for 2017-18

  • Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh presented the annual budget of Rs 76,032 crore for 2017-18 in the state legislative assembly giving thrust on digital inclusion and infrastructure development.
  • The budget focuses on welfare of poorest of poor and inclusive growth.
  • In a major initiative, the state government announced to launch Suchna Kranti Yojna (SKY) under which 45 lakh smartphones will be provided to family belonging to below poverty line (BPL) and college students. The beneficiaries would also get SIM cards along with the phone.
  • A provision of Rs 200 crore (for 2017-18) has been made for the first phase of the scheme, which will be fully implemented over a period of 2-2.5 years.
  • Under the ‘Bastar Net’ project, ‘digital information highway’ will be set up in Bastar division (a Left Wing Extremism affected region.
  • The state budget underlined that the estimated expenditure is 7.58 per cent higher than the revised estimate of 2016-17.
  • While the revenue surplus is estimated at Rs 4,781 crore, the Gross fiscal deficit is estimated at Rs 9,647 crore, which is 3.49 per cent of the GSDP.
  • The budget allocates 36 per cent of expenditure in development heads for scheduled tribe sector and 12 per cent for the scheduled caste sector.
  • The social sector expenditure is estimated at 41 per cent and economic sector expenditure is 38 per cent of the total expenditure.
  • A Divyang (specially-abled people) college at a cost of Rs 2.56 crore will be set up at Raipur for educational upliftment of special children.


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


International Affairs

China overtakes eurozone as world’s biggest bank system

China’s banking system is now the biggest in the world, new analysis has shown. The country’s banks have more assets than those of the eurozone for the first time.
The value of China’s banking system is more than 3.1 times the size of the country’s annual economic output, compared with 2.8 times for the eurozone and its banks.
Top 3 Assets countries at the end of 2016:
1.Chinese bank assets hit $33 trillion  against $31 trillion for the eurozone.
2.US assets at $16 trillion
3.Japan assets at $7 trillion.

Indo-Nepal joint Military exercise ‘Surya Kiran-Xi’ begins in Uttarakhand

  • A joint military exercise `Surya Kiran-Xi` between India and Nepal began in thePithoragarh area of Uttarakhand on Tuesday.
  • This is a battalion level joint exercise between the two armies.
  • The two-week long exercise is aimed at training of both the troops in the area of various counter insurgency operations over a prolonged period.
  • It will also focus on other important aspects such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations and environmental conservation.
  • Both the armies will mutually benefit from the varied experiences gained during the exercise.
  • The Surya Kiran series of exercises are being conducted biannually, alternatively in India and Nepal.

Banking and Finance

HDFC Life brings country’s first life insurance Chatbot with Haptik

HDFC Life, one of India’s leading private life insurance companies, announced the launch of India’s first life insurance chatbot in collaboration with Haptik, India’s largest chatbot platform. The chatbot will act as a financial guide to help users choose the most suitable life insurance plans and solutions.

  • To assist the customers with insurance advice – ranging from Health to Tax Planning & Retirement, based on a simple 60-second quiz which enables it to compute their Insurance Quotient.
  • Calculated using different parameters under each insurance category, the Insurance Quotient is an indicative score for each individual, based on which, HDFC Life can recommend the best-suited insurance plans for the user.
  • The chatbot not only works as a personal financial advisor but also brings to the forefront the universal need for life insurance.

Fitch Estimates Indian Economy to Grow 7.1% in 2016-17

  • Global rating agency Fitch said Indian economy will grow by 7.1 per cent in the current fiscal before stepping up to 7.7 per cent in the next two financial years.
  • The US-based agency termed the 7 per cent GDP growth for the October-December quarter as “surprising”, a tad lower than 7.4 per cent in the previous quarter.
  • This number looks somewhat surprising, as real activity data released since demonetisation pointed to weak consumption and services activity because these transactions are cash-intensive.
  • Fitch expects Indian GDP to grow by 7.1 per cent for 2016-17, before picking up to 7.7 per cent in both 2017-18 and 2018-19.
  • This raises the possibility that these initial estimates of the growth impact of demonetisation could well be underestimated, with the possibility of revisions to official GDP data later on.

Awards and Recognition

Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar Presents National Awards for Innovation in Educational Administration

  • Union HRD Minister Shri Prakash Javadekar today presented the National Awards for Innovation in Educational Administration to the participants.
  • The Awards have been instituted by the National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA), New Delhi.
  • Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangaluru, which has been ranked eighth in the list of world’s best small universities.
  • Shri Prakash Javadekar also announced organising of `innovation conventions’ in future at regional as well as at national level where teachers, parents, NGOs, concerned departments and related stakeholders involved in innovation will be participating.
  • The Minister also urged the teachers not to kill inquisitive spirit as every student possesses a unique kind of creativity.

Indian Institute Of Science Makes it to Top 10 Best Small Universities in the World Ranking

The Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (IISc) is the eighth best small university in the world.
IISc is also the first and only institute from India to make it to the top 10 in these rankings.
The World’s Best Small Universities 2017 ranks universities with less than 5,000 students and teach and research across more than four disciplines.
The Best Small Universities in the World for 2017 highlights that small universities provide high student satisfaction and good working relationships between students and their professors. Many students are drawn to smaller class sizes, higher teacher to student ratios and the community-like feel that a small university can provide.

Hyderabad Airport Gains 1st Rank Worldwide in Airport Service Quality Survey

Hyderabad Airport Gains 1st Rank Worldwide in Airport Service Quality Survey
Hyderabad Airport Gains 1st Rank Worldwide in Airport Service Quality Survey
  • GMR’s Hyderabad International Airport has secured first position in the world in the prestigious Airports Council International (ACI)-Airport Service Quality (ASQ) survey in the 5-15 million passengers per annum (MPPA) category for the year 2016.
  • The survey shows that Hyderabad Airport has steadily improved its score from 4.4 in 2009 to 4.9 in 2016 (measured on scale of 1 to 5), according to a GHIAL statement.
  • The immense efforts put in by our partner airlines, concessionaires, housekeeping and other support staff have played a major role in this achievement.
  • As the industry’s most comprehensive passenger service benchmarking tool, the ACI ASQ survey has reliably captured passengers’ immediate appraisal from check-in through departure at the gate at more than 300 airports worldwide.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan Wins Best Actress for Sarbjit at IFFA Australia

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan Wins Best Actress for Sarbjit at IFFA Australia
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan Wins Best Actress for Sarbjit at IFFA Australia
  • Actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who was applauded for her performance in ‘Sarbjit’, won the Best Actress Award at the International Film Festival and Awards of Australia (IFFAA).  The actress played the role of Sarabjit’s sister Dalbir Kaur, and actor Randeep Hooda was seen as Sarabjit in the film.
  • Directed by Omung Kumar, ‘Sarabjit’ was based on the real-life story of an Indian farmer who was given death sentence by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 1991 on the charges of spying.
  • The film became the talk of the town ever since its trailer was released. Aishwarya and Randeep’s impactful acting forced audience to watch the film.


SERB Fellowship Award To Lalji Singh

SERB Fellowship Award To Lalji Singh
SERB Fellowship Award To Lalji Singh
  • Lalji Singh, former Director,the center for cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) has been selected for the award  of SERB Fellowship.
  • It is given by the science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) which is a statutory body of the Government of India.
  • The Award supports research of scientists who are active and performing even after superannuation.



Trade Mark Rules 2017 Becomes Effective From March 6, 2017

The Trade Mark Rules, 2017 have been notified and have come into effect from 06th March, 2017.
These Rule replace the erstwhile Trade Mark Rules 2002, will streamline and simplify the processing of Trade Mark applications.
Some salient features of the revamped Rules are as follows:
• Number of Trade Mark (TM) Forms have been reduced from 74 to 8.
• To promote e-filing of TM applications, the fee for online filing has been kept at 10% lower than that for physical filing.
• Based on stakeholders feedback, the fees for Individuals, Start-ups and Small Enterprises have been reduced from that proposed in the draft Rules – i.e. only Rs 4,500 as against Rs 8,000 for e-filing of TM applications proposed at the draft stage.
• Modalities for determination of well-known trademarks have been laid out for the first time.
• The provisions relating to expedited processing of an application for registration of a trade mark have been extended right upto registration stage (hitherto, it was only upto examination stage).
• Over all fees have been rationalized by reducing the number of entries in Schedule I from 88 to just 23.

India Adopts New Licensing Policy To Boost Oil Output

  • India today announced an open acreage licensing policy for oil and gas exploration, allowing bidders to carve out areas where they want to drill as the energy- hungry country looks at greater foreign investment to boost output.
  • OALP auction will be held under the overhauled exploration licensing policy allows pricing and marketing freedom to operators and shifts to a revenue sharing model.
  • OALP will be a departure from the current licensing policy of government identifying the oil and gas blocks and then putting them on auction.
  • It gives an option to a company looking for exploring hydrocarbons to select the exploration areas on its own.
  • Environment

Science and Technology

Hubble Space Telescope Captures Massive Galaxy UGC 12591

  • The Hubble space telescope has captured an image to showcase an incredible massive galaxy, UGC 12591, that lies just under 400 million light-years away from the Earth.
  • The galaxy and its halo together contain several hundred billion times the mass of the Sun – four times the mass of the Milky Way, NASA said.
  • It also whirls round extremely quickly, rotating at speeds of up to 1.8 million kilometers per hour.
  • UGC 12591 sits somewhere between a lenticular and a spiral.
  • Observations with Hubble are helping astronomers to understand the mass of UGC 12591, and to determine whether the galaxy simply formed and grew slowly over time, or whether it might have grown unusually massive by colliding and merging with another large galaxy at some point in its past.


45% of country’s bird species in Himachal Pradesh: Great Backyard Bird Count

  • As per eBird data, as many as 564 bird species, nearly 45 per cent of the 1,263 Indian bird species, were reported from Himachal during the 4-day bird count from February 17 to 20.
  • a total of 2,833 bird check lists have been uploaded to eBird from all districts of Himachal, with highest number 453 bird species reported from Kangra district.
  • During four days of GBBC-2017, 319 species were reported from across 8 districts of Himachal, 83 bird check lists were uploaded to eBird and over 16000 birds were counted.


2017 Brasil Open – Overview

  • 2017 Brasil Open was a tennis tournament was the 17th edition of the Brasil Open, and part of the ATP World Tour 250 series of the 2017 ATP World Tour.
  • The Sao Paulo ATP World Tour is played on outdoor clay-court has been won by the top players on the ATP World Tour in São Paulo, Brazil.


Famous folk singer Kalika Prasad dies in road accident

Famous folk singer Kalika Prasad dies in road accident
Famous folk singer Kalika Prasad dies in road accident
  • Famous folk singer and leader of Bengali folk band “Dohar” Kalika Prasad Bhattacharjee was today killed in a car accident, in which five others were critically wounded after their vehicle fell on a ditch at Gurap in the Hoogly district.
  • The singer, in his mid 40s, was declared brought dead at a Burdwan hospital.
  • Kalika Prasad Bhattacharya is known for his work on Jaatishwar (2014), Moner Manush (2010) and Bhuban Majhi (2017).
  • The accident happened on the Durgapur Expressway at Gurap in Hooghly district while the singer was returning to Kolkata on a vehicle with five other members of Dohar.
  • The FIR said that their four-wheeler, which was hit by a truck from rear, fell into a roadside ditch injuring the singer fatally.

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