Current Affair Of Mar 2016

  • UN Population Fund appointed Ashley Judd as Goodwill Ambassador

    Date: Mar 18, 2016

    The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on 15 March 2016 appointed Ashley Judd as its Goodwill Ambassador. Judd is an acclaimed humanitarian, actor, writer and political activist.

    As a UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador, the American actress will support the agency’s efforts to stop women dying giving life and to empower women to choose when and how often to become pregnant.

    Her appointment is also aimed at generating awareness about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Agenda that was adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2015.

    The agenda through its Goals 3 and 5 seeks to end discrimination against women in all forms and promote their well-being.

    About United Nations Population Fund

    • It is the lead UN agency for delivery a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

    • It is formerly known as the United Nations Fund for Population Activities that was established in 1969.

    • It supports programs in more than 150 countries, territories and areas spread across 4 geographic regions.

    • The four regions are Arab States and Europe, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa.

    • Its headquarters is located in New York, the USA

  • UNSDN released 2016 World Happiness Report

    Date: Mar 18, 2016

    The United Nations Social Development Network (UNSDN) on 17 March 2016 released World Happiness Report (WHR) 2016 in Rome. The fourth edition of WHR was released ahead of the UN World Happiness Day, which will be observed on 20 March 2016.

    According to the report, Denmark topped the list as the happiest place in the world, while Burundi was ranked at the bottom as the least happy nation.

    In the report, India was ranked 188th out of 156 countries compared to 117th out of 158 countries in the 2015 World Happiness Report. In terms of Changes in Happiness from 2005-2007 to 2013-2015, India has been ranked at 120th position out of 126 countries.

    Main Highlights of the Report

    • The report ranks 156 countries by their happiness levels and reflects growing global interest in using happiness and subjective well-being as primary indicators of the quality of human development.

    • The report also found that countries where there was less inequality were happier overall.

    • Denmark that was displaced by Switzerland in 2015 after being at top in 2012 and 2013 is followed by Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Canada, Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden. 

    • Most of the happiest nations in the world are fairly homogeneous nations with strong social safety nets.

    • Burundi ranked as the least happy country is followed by war-ravaged Syria, Togo, Afghanistan along with six other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, namely Benin, Rwanda, Guinea, Liberia, Tanzania and Madagascar.

    • All the bottom ranked nations in the happiness index are poor, and have been destabilized by war, disease or both.

    • For the first time, the Report gives a special role to the measurement and consequences of inequality in the distribution of well-being among countries and regions.

    • The report argues that the inequality of well-being provides a broader measure of inequality.

    • It finds that people are happier living in societies where there is less inequality of happiness.

    • It highlights that happiness inequality has increased significantly (comparing 2012-2015 to 2005-2011) in most countries, in almost all global regions, and for the population of the world as a whole.

    • When the global population is split into ten geographic regions, the resulting distributions vary greatly in both shape and average values. Only two regions—the Middle East and North Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean— have more unequally distributed happiness than does the world as a whole.

    • It calls for a movement called Action for Happiness to address both the need for and the power of collaborative action to design and deliver better lives.

    • It has introduced a new index called Sustainable Development Index (SDI) to account for cross national patterns of happiness even after controlling for GDP per capita and unemployment.

    Rankings of world’s most populous nations

    • China - 83

    • India – 118

    • The United States – 13

    • Indonesia – 79

    • Brazil – 17

    • Pakistan – 92

    • Nigeria – 103

    • Bangladesh – 110

    • Russia – 56

    • Japan - 53

    • Mexico – 21

    How the Happiness Index is prepared?

    The first World Happiness Report was published in April 2012. The happiness ranking is based on individual responses to a global poll conducted by Gallup. The poll included a question, known as the Cantril Ladder. The question was “Please imagine a ladder, with steps numbered from 0 at the bottom to 10 at the top. The top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst possible life for you. On which step of the ladder would you say you personally feel you stand at this time?”

    The World Happiness Report is based on six variables and they are

    • Gross domestic product per capita (the rawest measure of a nation’s wealth)

    • Healthy years of life expectancy

    • Social support (as measured by having someone to count on in times of trouble)

    • Trust (as measured by perceived absence of corruption in government and business)

    • Perceived freedom to make life choices

    • Generosity (as measured by donations)

    The report was prepared by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, an international panel of social scientists that includes economists, psychologists and public health experts convened by the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon.

  • Fazle Kabir appointed Governor of Bangladesh Bank

    Date: Mar 18, 2016

    Fazle Kabir on 15 March 2016 was appointed the 11th Governor of the Bangladesh Bank, the central bank of Bangladesh.

    Kabir replaced Atiur Rahman, who had resigned after taking moral responsibility over electronic theft of 101 million US dollars from the central bank's account with the New York Federal Reserve Bank.

    Who is Fazle Kabir?

    • A Bangladeshi economist and banker, Fazle Kabir served as the chairman of state-owned Sonali Bank prior to his appointment in the Bangladesh Bank.

    • He has also served as a Director of state-owned Janata Bank.

    • A graduate from University of Chittagong in economics, he started his career in 1980 with Bangladesh Railway as an Assistant Traffic Superintendent.

    • He was appointed as a senior secretary to the Ministry of Finance in 2012.


    Between 4 February and 5 February 2016, unknown cyber criminals hacked into the computer systems of Bangladesh Bank and stole around 101 million US dollars from its account at the Reserve Bank of New York between. The money was then allegedly transferred electronically to casinos in the Philippines.

    The hackers had reportedly bombarded the New York Fed with 35 separate requests to withdraw money.

    The theft is one of the biggest cyber heists in history.

  • UNESCO released eAtlas of Gender Inequality in Education

    Date: Mar 18, 2016

    The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute of Physics (UIS) on 2 March 2016 released the eAtlas of Gender Inequality in Education.

    The eAtlas shows gender gaps from primary to tertiary education and educational pathways of girls and boys in more than 200 countries and territories.

    Highlights of eAtlas of Gender Inequality in Education

    • If the current trend continues, almost 16 million girls between the ages 6 and 11 will never get the chance to learn to read or write in primary school compared to about 8 million boys.

    • Gender disparities remain highest in the Arab States, sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia. Across sub-Saharan Africa, 9.5 million girls will never set foot in a classroom compared to 5 million boys.

    • The gender gap is even wider in South and West Asia, where 80 per cent of out of schoolgirls will never enter formal education compared to 16 per cent of out-of-school boys.

    • One out of eight children between the ages of 6 and 15 are denied a basic education, and girls are the first to be excluded. More than 63 million girls are out of school and data suggest that the number is rising.

    • The greatest progress in reducing the gender gap in School life expectancy (SLE) has been made in South and West Asia, where a girl starting school can expect to receive 11 years of education, compared to only 6 years in 1990.

    • On average, girls are less likely to enroll in primary school than boys. The situation has improved, however, with girls now representing 52 percent of primary school-age children out of school, compared to 58 percent in 2000.

    • In total, 15 million girls or 4 percent of girls enrolled in primary education repeated a grade in 2013, compared to 18 million boys (5 percent). At the same time, 16 million girls dropped out of primary school compared to 19 million boys.

    • Globally, about 10 percent of all girls roughly between the ages of 6 and 11 are denied the right to education, compared to 8 percent of all boys.

    • Women outnumber men at the level of the Bachelor's degree with men accounting for about 47 percent of graduates and women accounting for 53 percent.

    • Women are also more likely to pursue a Master's degree representing 54 percent of graduates.

    • However, men account for 55 percent of graduates from PhD programmes and 72 percent of all researchers.

    • Globally, about 757 million adults and 115 million youths cannot read or write a simple sentence. Two-thirds of them are women and there has been virtually no progress in reducing this figure, even though the global illiterate population has been shrinking.

  • Punjab State Budget 2016-17 presented

    Date: Mar 18, 2016

    Punjab Finance Minister, Parminder Singh Dhindsa on 15 March 2016 presented the Annual State Budget 2016-17 in the legislative assembly. The size of budget is 86 thousand 387 crore rupees.

    The tax free budget focuses on social farmers with agriculture, welfare sector, youth and women as the priority areas.

    The revenue deficit in the financial year 2015-16 (RE) stood at 1.85 percent of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP), whereas for the year 2016-17 (BE) it has been estimated at 1.76 percent of GSDP.

    On the other hand, fiscal deficit in the financial year 2015-16 (RE) stood at 2.99 percent of GSDP, whereas for the year 2016-17 (BE) it has been estimated at 2.88 percent of GSDP.

    Major initiatives of Punjab Budget 2016-17:

    Women’s Empowerment:

    • Swasth Kanya Yojna: Provide free school bags containing stationery items to girl students. Bags will contain “benefit eligibility card” showing benefits being provided to girls under various schemes.

    • Mai Bhago Women Empowerment Scheme: Loan at subsidized rate of 5% per annum will be provided to women members to establish small business enterprises.

    • Special women patrolling teams will be created.

    • Women safety application, Shakti will be launched.


    • 200 skill development centres will be opened for training in rural areas.

    • Employability allowance of 1000 rupees per month will be provided.

    • Interest free education loan up to 5 lakh rupees for the duration of the course to EWS.

    • Financial Assistance will be provided to Start-ups.


    • Interest free crop loan of 50000 rupees per crop to small and marginal farmers having land holding up to 5 acres.

    • Insurance cover of 5 lakh rupees shall be provided to the family in case of death or disability of head of the family and family will also be entitled to free medical facility up to 50000 rupees per year, to approximately 11 lakh farmers in the State under Bhagat Puran Singh Sehat Bima Yojna.

    • To provide for secure and stable income to the farmers, Farmers Provident Fund-cum-Pension Scheme will be started.

    • Kisan Vikas Chamber will be opened in Mohali district. This chamber will help in bridging the gap between the farmers and the policy makers and to redress the problems faced by the farming community.

    • Abolish VAT on raw honey and bee keeping equipment which currently attract tax rate of 6.05%. Pig feed which attracts tax rate of 6.05%, is proposed to be exempted from VAT.

    • To showcase the innovative initiatives of farmers in these subsidiary occupations, and to motivate others to emulate them suitable awards shall be instituted.


    • SC Scholarship Fund will be provided.

    • Uniforms, school bags and stationery items will be provided to the children of Scheduled Caste families working as agricultural labourers in the state.


    • 400 middle Schools will be upgraded to High Schools.

    • 400 High Schools will be upgraded to Senior Secondary Schools.

    • An education channel, Vidya TV will be started.

    Rural Development

    • Instead of separate cremation grounds, Common Cremation Grounds with all basic amenities will be created.

    • Three Gram Panchayats will be awarded in each district for their outstanding work in Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

    Housing and Urban Development

    • Housing for All (Urban) Policy will be undertaken for the benefit of economically weaker sections.

    a) 50% rebate on CLU, EDC and License fee on all affordable housing projects.

    b) Additionally, 50% rebate on stamp duty charges on all conveyance deeds in the affordable housing sector.

    c) 25% rebate on CLU, EDC and License fee on all new housing sector projects coming up in the State.

    • Stamp duty will be reduced by 20% on the first purchase conveyance deed of all new flats.


    • Two Mega Food Parks will be created, one to be set up by Punjab Agro Industries Corporation near Ludhiana and the second will come up in the private sector near Phagwara.

    • To boost industrial production that will create more jobs, power will be provided at 4.99 rupees per unit to all new investments for a period of five years from the date they attain commercial production and to the existing industry on their increased additional power consumption.

    • Industrial focal point measuring about 200 acres at village Pabra and Thaktu Majra near Rajpura, district Patiala.

    • Another industrial focal point is also being developed at Dhanansu district Ludhiana on about 300 acres of land.

    • State procurement policy will be amended to encourage local manufacturing sector. This policy would enable the state government, board and corporations to make purchases of the goods manufactured locally in Punjab.

    Excise and Taxation

    • Rate of VAT on cotton and other types of yarns will be reduced from 6.05% to 3.63%. 100% polyester filament yarn has been excluded from this reduction.

    • “Apna Tax Scheme” will be launched for the general public. This will encourage customers to procure bills from retail vendors which would ensure tax compliance in a systematic, non-intrusive and non-regulatory manner.


    • 1.65 lac tube well connections will be provided to various categories of AP applicants to whom demand notices have been issued.

    • Tube well connections on priority to all those farmers who have applied for the same and have land holding below 2.5 acre

    • All old tube well pump sets will be replaced with energy efficient pump sets in a tie up with Energy Efficiency Services Limited.

    • 24 hours Urban Pattern Supply (UPS) will be provided to 8263 deras and dhanies.


    • Bhagat Puran Singh Sehat Bima Yojana will be launched for providing health insurance cover of 50000 rupees per annum to 10 lakh rupees to farmers and 2 lakh rupees construction workers & small traders in the year 2016-17.

    Heritage and Culture

    • For promoting Punjabi language and culture, entertainments tax on cultural and theatre shows will be abolished.

    • Mukh Mantri Tirath Darshan Yatra will be launched.

    • 350th Birth Anniversary of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji will be celebrated at an expense of 50 crore rupees.

    Preservation of Biodiversity

    • Inami Bagh will be acquired and declared as a National Biodiversity Heritage site, first of its kind in the state.

  • Famous magician Paul Daniels passed away

    Date: Mar 18, 2016

    Famous magician Paul Daniels passed away on 17 March 2016 due to brain tumour. He was 77.

    Daniels was best known for his BBC TV series The Paul Daniels Magic Show, which ran from 1979 to 1994.

    About Paul Daniels

    • Daniels was born in 1938 in South Bank, Middlesbrough, where he began his career as a magician and entertainer.

    • A major turning point in Daniels' career came in 1969 when he was offered a summer season at Newquay.

    • He made his television debut on the long-running talent show Opportunity Knocks in 1970.

    • Later, he was given a regular spot on a show The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club for Granada Television.

    • In 1982, he was awarded the prestigious Magician of the Year Award by the Academy of Magical Arts. He was the first magician from outside the US to receive it.

  • India, WB signed USD 35 Million loan agreement for MP Citizen Access to Responsive Services Project

    Date: Mar 18, 2016

    India on 17 March 2016 signed loan agreement of 35 Million dollars with the World Bank for Madhya Pradesh Citizen Access to Responsive Services Project. The objective of the project is to improve access and quality of public services in the state.

    The project has been designed as a result based financing programme, under which funds will be released on achievement of agreed results.

    Objective of the Project

    • To improve access and quality of public services in Madhya Pradesh through implementation of the 2010 Public Service Delivery Guarantee Act.

    • To deliver key results in terms of improving access to services and citizen outreach, simplification of Government services, performance management and strengthening the capacity of implementing agencies.

    The project size is 50 million dollar, of which 35 million dollar will be financed by the Bank, and the remaining amount will be funded out of State Budget. The duration of the project is five years.

  • Bharti Airtel acquired Videocon's spectrum in 6 circles for 4428 crore rupees

    Date: Mar 18, 2016

    Bharti Airtel Ltd., India’s largest mobile phone operator, on 17 March 2016 announced the acquisition of Videocon Telecommunications Ltd’s entire spectrum for 4428 crore rupees.
    It is the second such acquisition in India’s fragmented telecom sector after the Union Government allowed trading of airwaves in October 2015.
    The deal gives Bharti Airtel the rights to use 2x5MHz spectrum in the 1800 megahertz (MHz) band in six licence areas, which are Bihar, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, eastern Uttar Pradesh, western Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.
    After the deal, Bharti Airtel’s 4G coverage will go up to 19 circles from the current 15.

  • US Federal Reserve decided to keep Interest Rates unchanged

    Date: Mar 18, 2016

    Federal Open Market Committee of US Federal Reserve on 16 March 2016 release an implementation note with a decision to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 0.25 to 0.5 percent.

    The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, thereby supporting further improvement in labor market conditions and a return to 2 percent inflation.

    And it also decided to maintain its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities and of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction. It anticipates doing so until normalization of the level of the federal funds rate is well under way.

    The US central bank last raised rates in December 2015, saying it expected to raise rates four times in the year 2016 but at present it expects to raise rates just twice.


    The Committee met in January 2015 and suggested that economic activity has been expanding at a moderate pace despite the global economic and financial developments of recent months. Household spending has been increasing at a moderate rate, and the housing sector has improved further; however, business fixed investment and net exports have been soft.

    A range of recent indicators, including strong job gains, points to additional strengthening of the labor market. Inflation picked up in recent months. However, it continued to run below the Committee's 2 percent longer-run objective, partly reflecting declines in energy prices and in prices of non-energy imports.

  • Bharti Airtel acquired Videocon's spectrum in 6 circles for 4428 crore rupees

    Date: Mar 18, 2016

    Bharti Airtel Ltd., India’s largest mobile phone operator, on 17 March 2016 announced the acquisition of Videocon Telecommunications Ltd’s entire spectrum for 4428 crore rupees.

    It is the second such acquisition in India’s fragmented telecom sector after the Union Government allowed trading of airwaves in October 2015.

    The deal gives Bharti Airtel the rights to use 2x5MHz spectrum in the 1800 megahertz (MHz) band in six licence areas, which are Bihar, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, eastern Uttar Pradesh, western Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.

    After the deal, Bharti Airtel’s 4G coverage will go up to 19 circles from the current 15.

  • Amar Abrol appointed as CEO of AirAsia India

    Date: Mar 18, 2016

    AirAsia India on 17 March 2016 announced the appointment of Amar Abrol as its chief executive officer with effect from 1 April 2016.

    Abrol will succeed Mittu Chandilya, who led AirAsia India from 1 June 2013 and ends his contract on 31 March 2016.

    Besides, AirAsia India also announced the appointments of Ankur Khanna as the Chief Financial Officer and Kiran Jain as the Head of Commercial.

    About Amar Abrol

    • He was graduated from Delhi University and is a Chartered Accountant from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.

    • He has over 20 years of experience, was most recently the CEO of Tune Money, a start-up that aims to deliver low-cost financial products in South East Asia.

    • He spent 19 years with American Express, leading diverse teams across multiple markets including Hong Kong, Singapore, UK, India and Malaysia before joining Tune Money in 2013.

  • Bangkok to impose curfew during Songkran festival, the world’s biggest water festival

    Date: Mar 18, 2016

    Songkran festival, often referred to as the world's biggest water fight festival, was in news in the third week of March 2016. The festival came in news after the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration decided to impose a curfew during the festival season that will be celebrated in April 2016.

    The Songkran festival is celebrated in Thailand as the traditional New Year's Day from 13 to 15 April. The word "Songkran" comes from the Sanskrit word saṃkrānti literally "astrological passage", meaning transformation or change.

    It coincides with the rising of Aries on the astrological chart, the New Year of many calendars of South and Southeast Asia. The festive occasion is in keeping with the Buddhist/Hindu solar calendar.

    Why the curfew was imposed?

    The curfew was imposed to show solidarity with farmers hit by drought. In form of solution, the Bangkok authority cut festival days down from four to three and imposed a curfew.

    At present, Thailand is facing its worst water shortage in two decades, with 14 out of 76 provinces hit and large swathes of agricultural land at risk.

    Thailand has entered its annual dry season, which typically runs from March to May, meaning the drought is likely to get worse.

  • Punjab Government notified Swine Flu under Epidemic Disease Act

    Date: Mar 17, 2016

    The Department Of Health and Family Welfare, Punjab on 16 March 2016 notified the disease of swine flu (H1N1) under the Epidemic Disease Act.

    Before issuing the notification, the department had constituted a state advisory committee under the chairmanship of Dr. D Behera. The committee observed that swine flu patients, who suffered from other chronic diseases, had a high mortality rate as compared to patients who did not have chronic diseases.

    It was also observed that patients who were treated by private doctors were referred to higher centres only when they became critical, thereby increasing the death rate.

    Key highlights of the notification

    • The notification stated that all government and private hospitals will have to inform the Department of Health about a case of ILI (Influenza like Illness) having chronic diseases.

    • It also stated that such cases should be treated at the earliest and proper guidelines of the government should be followed.

    • All hospitals will have to keep a suspected as well as confirmed case of swine flu in isolation in order to contain the spread of the disease.

    • All hospitals will have to inform the Health department in case a suspected or confirmed case of swine flu is reported.

    • The treatment of swine flu will be provided free of cost to all the patients as recommended by the Government.

  • NRDC signed License Agreement with Kudos Laboratories for commercialization of anti-diabetic drug Ayush-82

    Date: Mar 17, 2016

    The National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) on 16 March 2016 signed a License Agreement with Kudos Laboratories India for commercialization of Ayush-82, an Ayurvedic formulation for prevention and management of diabetes.

    The agreement will now allow Kudos Laboratories India to commercialize the drug under their trade name with due acknowledgement to Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India.

    Ayush-82 was developed by CCRAS. The CCRAS is an apex organization for research in Ayurveda under the Ministry of AYUSH.

    About Kudos Laboratories India

    • Kudos Laboratories India, a 100 years old organization, is engaged in marketing, manufacturing and exports of the widest range of Ayurvedic / Herbal products and range of Cosmetics.

    • The company holds G.M.P & ISO Certifications.

  • Obama nominated Merrick Garland for Chief Justice of US Supreme Court

    Date: Mar 17, 2016

    President Barack Obama on 16 March 2016 nominated appeals court judge Merrick Garland to be the next US Supreme Court Justice. 63-year-old Garland will be 113th Supreme Court justice of the US.

    Garland, who is the Chief Judge on the US Court of Appeals in D.C. Circuit, will succeed Justice Antonin Scalia who died on 13 February 2016.

    Justice Garland is viewed as a moderate and has won praise from senior Republican figures. The appointment has to be ratified by the Senate, but its Republican majority has vowed to block a vote on any Supreme Court nominee from Obama.

  • Rajya Sabha passed Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2016

    Date: Mar 17, 2016

    Rajya Sabha on 16 March 2016 passed the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to exclude Sehajdharis from voting in Sikh body polls. The Bill envisages amending certain provisions of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925 retrospectively with effect from October 2003.        

    Union Cabinet gave its approval for amending the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925 on 10 March 2016.

    Key Features of the Amendment Bill

    It proposed to remove the exception given to Sehajdhari Sikhs in 1944 to vote in the elections for selecting members of the board and the committees constituted under the Act.

    The proposed amendment was carried out by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs’ (MHA) Notification on 8 October 2003 that had debarred Sahjdhari Sikhs voting rights. As Sehajdhari Sikhs are continuously exercising their voting rights in the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections since 1949.

    However, the notification was quashed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on 20 December 2011, leaving it to the appropriate and competent legislature to decide as to whether or not to amend the Act to that effect.

  • American singer Frank Sinatra Junior died

    Date: Mar 17, 2016

    American singer Frank Sinatra Junior died due to heart attack on 16 March 2016 in Daytona Beach in Florida. He was 72.

    Junior, who carried on his father Frank Sinatra’s legacy with his own career in music, was due to give a concert Sinatra Sings Sinatra at Peabody Audito in Florida.

    He followed his father in the music business as a teenager, and later became his father's musical director and conductor.

    He did some acting appearing in several shows like the animated series Family Guy and playing himself in an episode of The Sopranos. He also had a guest appearance in an episode of Son of the Beach.

  • British mathematician Sir Andrew Wiles won 2016 Abel Prize

    Date: Mar 17, 2016

    ritish mathematician Sir Andrew Wiles on 15 March 2016 was named as the winner of the 2016 Abel Prize by the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters in Oslo.

    Wiles won the award for solving a centuries-old hypothesis, Fermat's Last Theorem.

    Crown Prince Haakon will present the award to Wiles in May 2016 for an achievement that the academy described as an epochal moment for mathematics.

    Who is Sir Andrew Wiles?

    • Sir Andrew John Wiles is a Royal Society Research Professor at the University of Oxford, specialising in number theory.

    • He is most notable for proving Fermat's Last Theorem.

    • He earned his bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1974 at Merton College, Oxford, and a PhD in 1980 at Clare College, Cambridge.

    • In 1985–86, he was a Guggenheim Fellow at the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques near Paris and at the École Normale Supérieure.

    • From 1988 to 1990, he was a Royal Society Research Professor at the University of Oxford. He rejoined Oxford in 2011 as Royal Society Research Professor.

    About Fermat's Last Theorem

    • In number theory, Fermat's Last Theorem states that no three positive integers a, b, and c satisfy the equation an + bn = cn for any integer value of n greater than two. The cases n = 1 and n = 2 are known to have infinitely many solutions since ancient times.

    • The theorem was first conjectured by Pierre de Fermat in 1637.

    • However, the first successful proof was released in 1994 by Andrew Wiles. It was formally published in 1995, after 358 years of effort by mathematicians.

    • It is among the most notable theorems in the history of mathematics and prior to its proof it was in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most difficult mathematical problem.

    About Abel Prize

    • The Abel Prize is a Norwegian prize awarded annually by the Government of Norway to one or more outstanding mathematicians.

    • It is named after Norwegian mathematician Niels Henrik Abel.

    • The award was established in 2001 by the Government of Norway.

    • It comes with a monetary award of 6 million Norwegian kroner.

    • The Abel Prize is described as the mathematician's Nobel Prize.

    • John F. Nash, Jr. And Louis Nirenberg were the winners of the 2015 Abel Prize.

  • Shehnai exponent Ustad Ali Ahmad Hussain Khan died

    Date: Mar 17, 2016

    Eminent Shehnai exponent Ustad Ali Ahmad Hussain Khan died on 16 March 2016 in Kolkata. He was 77.

    Ustad Khan was known as one of the best-known players of the instrument after the legendary Bismillah Khan (1916-2006).

    About Ustad Ali Ahmad Hussain Khan

    • He hailed from a family of renowned shehnai exponents. His grandfather Wazir Ali Khan, father Ali Jan Khan and uncle Nazir Hussain Khan were also renowned shehnai specialists.

    • In fact, Wazir Ali Khan was the first to demonstrate Indian classical music on shehnai at Buckingham Palace.

    • He was famously known for his innovative style and mastery over the classical and semi-classical and folk music repertoire.

    • He, along with sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar, played Shehnai at the inauguration ceremony of Doordarshan in 1973. He also rendered its signature tune.

    • He was a top-graded artiste of All India Radio (AIR) and taught in the ITC Sangeet Research Academy in Kolkata.

    • His concert tours have included countries like United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, France, etc.

    • In 2010, he was felicitated with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his contribution to Hindustani instrumental music.

    • In 2012, he was felicitated with the Bangabhushan Award by the Government of West Bengal.

  • India became second biggest investor in London

    Date: Mar 17, 2016

    London & Partners, the official promotional company for London, on 15 March 2016 announced that India has emerged as the second biggest investor in London after the US.

    The company revealed that there has been a 117 per cent increase in Indian companies across all business sectors investing in London since 2005. Also, there has been a 133 per cent increase in tech companies investing in the city, which accounts for 46 per cent of all projects.

    Software testing service Cigniti Technologies and customer support company Kayako and many others invested majorly in technology sector.

    The figures were released at the inaugural India Emerging 20 (IE20) event that brought together leading entrepreneurs from India and Britain.

    About India Emerging 20 (IE20)

    • India Emerging 20 programme was led by London & Partners, which is supported by the Mayor of London.

    • The programme was also supported by BDO, Newland Chase and UK Trade and Investment with British Airways to identify the top 20 high-growth companies in India with global aspirations.

  • UNDP appointed Michelle Yeoh as Goodwill Ambassador

    Date: Mar 17, 2016

    The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on 15 March 2016 appointed award-winning action heroine Michelle Yeoh as its Goodwill Ambassador.

    With this, Yeoh joined the current roster of UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors that include Spanish actor Antonio Banderas, US actress Connie Britton, Japanese actress Misako Konno, soccer legends Didier Drogba, Iker Casillas, Ronaldo, Marta Vieira da Silva and Zinedine Zidane.

    As an ambassador, Yeoh’s mission is to mobilize support for the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 that was approved by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015.

    She will also leverage her influence as an actress and advocate on global development issues, including gender equality and the eradication of poverty.

    UNGA adopted Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

    About Michelle Yeoh

    • She is internationally acclaimed for her roles in the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies, Ang Lee’s Academy Award-winning Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon.

    • Her previous engagements concerning development issues include appointments as Global Ambassador for Live to Love and Make Roads Safe campaign in 2012, advocacy during the Zero Discrimination Campaign (UNAIDS) in 2013.

    • She also participated in the Live to Love humanitarian aid trip to Nepal in 2015 in support of earthquake victims that killed around 10000 people.

    • She is a Malaysian born actress and was chosen by People magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World in 1997.

  • UN suspended Maria Sharapova as goodwill ambassador after doping allegations

    Date: Mar 16, 2016

    The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on 15 March 2016 suspended Maria Sharapova as a goodwill ambassador.

    The five-time grand slam winner who became a goodwill ambassador in February 2007 was suspended after she tested positive for the banned substance meldonium at 2016 Australian Open.

    The New York based UNDP in a statement said that it was suspending Sharapova, who worked as a goodwill Ambassador, until the outcome of the investigation into her case is known.

    Maria Sharapova provisionally suspended after failing drug test at Australian Open

    The statement said that the UNDP remains grateful to Maria Sharapova for her support of our work, especially around the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster recovery.

    On 7 March 2016, the Russian tennis player announced that she tested positive for a drug called meldonium, also known as Mildronate, at the Australian Open.

  • India-based software engineer Abdulqadir Rashik won First Prize in UN #LinksSDGs Data Visualization Challenge

    Date: Mar 16, 2016

    India-based software engineer Abdulqadir Rashik on 15 March 2016 won the Unite Ideas #LinksSDGs Data Visualization Challenge.  

    Rashik, entrepreneur and founder of India-based Miavy Systems, was awarded the Challenge’s top prize for his submission Links to Sustainable Cities, an interactive visualization that identifies and maps the links between Sustainable Development Goal 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities, and the other 16 Goals.

    The project was a collaboration between the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ Division for Sustainable Development and the Office of Information and Communications Technology.  

    India Inc became first in world to formally adopt UN's sustainable goals

    The global data science competition aimed to engage the public in sharing ideas about how to visualize the inter-linkages between the Sustainable Development Goals, a set of 17 global goals and 169 targets that form the basis of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

    About #LinksSDGs

    • #LinksSDGs is the third challenge issued by Unite Ideas, a big data crowd sourcing platform developed by the Office of Information and Communications Technology.

    • It was developed to facilitate collaboration among academia, civil society and United Nations offices and to mobilize data scientists and software developers worldwide to help tackle the complex issues faced by the Organization and its Member States though the creation of open source solutions.

  • Lok Sabha passed Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2015

    Date: Mar 16, 2016

    Lok Sabha on 15 March 2016 passed the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2015. The Bill seeks set up a Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) for the orderly growth of the real state sector.

    The bill aims at protecting the interests of the large number of aspiring house buyers and enhances the credibility of construction industry. Earlier, it was passed by the Rajya Sabha on 10 March 2016.

    The bill seeks to create a set of rights and obligations for both the consumers and developers.

    The mandatory registration for projects has been brought down to 500 sq m area, or those comprising eight flats. It also provides for a clear definition of carpet area and a system that would require the consent of two-thirds of the buyers in case there are changes in project plans.

  • Union Government and Jammu & Kashmir Government signed MoU on UDAY Scheme

    Date: Mar 16, 2016

    Union Government and Jammu & Kashmir Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under the Scheme Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) on 15 March 2016 for operational and financial turnaround of the State’s Power Distribution Department.

    With this, J&K became the ninth state to sign MoU with the combined DISCOM debt around 1.94 lakh crore rupees. The main aim for signing the MoU is to restructure high interest rate of the total discom debt thereby improving financial condition of State Discom

    An overall net benefit of approximately 9800 crore rupees would accrue to the State by opting to participate in UDAY, by way of savings in interest cost, reduction in Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT & C)and transmission losses, interventions in energy efficiency, coal reforms etc. during the period of turnaround.

    Features of the MoU

    • It will enable Jammu & Kashmir to raise funds at cheaper rate to clear the outstanding dues of around 3538 crore rupees of Community and Public Sector Union (CPSUs), which would entail an annual saving of 1200 crore rupees over 4 years towards interest cost to the State.

    • Compulsory Distribution Transformer metering, consumer indexing & GIS mapping of losses, upgrade/change transformers, meters etc., smart metering of high-end consumers, feeder audit etc would improve the operational efficiency of the Power Distribution Department of the State.

    • AT & C Losses and transmission losses would be brought down, besides eliminating the gap between cost of supply of power and realisation.

    • Union government would also provide incentives to the DISCOMs and the State Government for improving Power infrastructure in the State and for further lowering the cost of power.

    • The State shall also be supported through additional coal at notified prices and in case of availability through higher capacity utilization, low cost power from NTPC and other CPSUs.

    • Other benefits such as coal swapping, coal rationalization, correction in coal grade slippage, availability of 100 percent washed coal would help the state to further reduce the cost of Power. The State would gain around 785 crore rupees due to these coal reforms.

    Benefits for the People of Jammu & Kashmir

    • Cost per unit of electricity will be reduced for the consumers.

    • The scheme would allow speedy availability of power to around 108 villages and 3.56 lakh households in the State that are still without electricity.

    • Availability of 24x7 power to hitherto unconnected villages/households etc. would boost the economy, promote tourism and industries, thereby improving employment opportunities for the people of the State.

    About UDAY

     The Scheme UDAY was launched by the Union government on 20 November 2015 to ensure a sustainable solution to enable the distribution utilities across the country to break out of a long standing debt of almost 4.3 Lakh crore rupees.

  • 7th Governing Board meeting of Indo-German Science and Technology Centre held in New Delhi

    Date: Mar 16, 2016

    7th meeting of the Governing Board of the Indo-German Science and Technology Centre (IGSTC) was held on 15 March 2016 in New Delhi. The meeting was chaired by the Union Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan.

    During the meeting, Dr. Vardhan highlighted the achievements and progress of IGSTC in accelerating the bilateral Science & Technology collaboration.

    Main achievements under IGSTC

    • India is investing approximately 14 million euro for the construction of an India focussed beam line and access to the synchrotron facility at PETRA-III in DESY at Hamburg, which will be ready for inauguration later in 2016.

    • India is also an equity share holder with investment of 36 million euro in the construction of the international Facility for Antiproton-Ion Research (FAIR) at Darmstadt.

    • Innovative projects on affordable biomedical devices, lab-on-chip for water pathogen detection and nano-materials for adsorption of uremic toxins for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients have been initiated.

    About IGSTC

    The IGSTC was established under an agreement between India and Germany in October 2007 and started operation in 2011. It is registered as a “society’ under Societies Registration Act, 1860 in India.

    Presently IGSTC is supporting joint industrial R&D projects in following priority areas:

    (a) Advanced manufacturing (Make in India)

    (b) Embedded System and ICT (Digital India)

    (c) Sustainable Energy / Environment Biotechnology / Bio-economy (Food Security)

    (d) Bio-Medical Technology (Healthy India)

    (e) Water & Wastewater Technology (Clean India)

    In 2015, a Joint Declaration was signed between India and Germany for the extension of tenure of the bilateral IGSTC for a period of five years beyond 2017 till 2022. It also provided for enhancement of funding allocation from 2 million Euros per year to a maximum of 4 million Euros per year by each side.

  • World Consumer Rights Day 2016 observed with theme Antibiotics off the Menu

    Date: Mar 16, 2016

    The World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) 2016 was observed on 15 March 2016. The day was celebrated by the Consumers International (CI) across the world with the theme Antibiotics off the Menu.

    The theme was taken up to ensure that fast food companies make a global commitment to stop the sale of meat raised with the routine use of antibiotics important to human medicine.

    Significance of the theme

    Antibiotic resistance is rising to dangerously high levels in all parts of the world. The World Health Organisation (WHO) cautioned that the world is heading for a post-antibiotic era, in which important medicines stop working and common infections and minor injuries can once again kill.

    Growing antibiotic resistance is driven by over use of antibiotics. Around half of the antibiotics produced globally are used in agriculture, with much of this being used to promote faster growth and to prevent, rather than treat, disease.

    Despite worldwide concern about the overuse of antibiotics, their use in agriculture is due to increase by two thirds by 2030 - from 63200 tons in 2010 to 105600 tons in 2030.

    Against this backdrop, consumers have an important role to play in persuading food companies to make the changes that are needed to stop this global public health threat and protect our medicines for the future.

    About World Consumer Rights Day

    • It is an opportunity to promote the basic rights of all consumers, for demanding that those rights are respected and protected, and for protesting the market abuses and social injustices which undermine them.

    • Every year, the CI chooses a theme and organizes various consumer awareness activities in close coordination with the governmental and non-governmental organizations.

    • The CI is the world federation of consumer groups that serves as the only independent and authoritative global voice for consumers.

    • The WCRD is observed on 15 March every year to commemorate the historic address given by the then US President John F Kennedy to the US congress in 1962.

    • In the speech he outlined the definition of consumer rights for the first time. He was the first world leader to formally define ‘consumer rights’.

    • WCRD was first observed on 15 March 1983 and has since become an important occasion for mobilizing citizen action.

    • In 2015, WCRD was observed with the theme Fix Our Phone Rights Helping consumers choose healthy diets.

  • Reliance Industries, Tata Motors among top 10 sustainable firms: Sustainable Plus Survey

    Date: Mar 16, 2016

    The Sustainable Plus survey on 14 March 2016 revealed that RIL, Vedanta, Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Motors and Wipro are among the top 10 companies, which have received the tag of India's most sustainable firms. These companies were followed by ITC, Tata Power, Tata Chemicals, Hindustan Zinc and ACC.

    The survey conducted by CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development also revealed that the banking sector benefited from the high scores of HDFC and Axis banks. On the other hand, scores of Tech Mahindra and Wipro gave a boost to performance of software and services sector.

    However, out of 100 firms profiled belonging to 20 sectors, only 18 companies responded to the Information Request (IR), while two companies partially responded. The remaining companies either did not respond to the IR or declined to participate.

    Key highlights of the survey

    • Ten companies, including Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Motors, Hindustan Zinc, Vedanta, ACC and Reliance Industries, were classified as Sustainable Plus Platinum. These companies showed the highest levels of adherence to sustainable business practices.

    • Seven companies, including Bajaj Auto, Ambuja Cements, Hindustan Unilever and Tata Steel, received a Sustainable Plus Gold classification.

    • The remaining 83 companies got Sustainable Plus Bronze.

    • Social governance was the next highest scorer due to the adoption of occupation health & safety management systems and dedicated Corporate Social Responsibility norms.

    • The environment dimension had the lowest overall performance scores.

    About Sustainable Plus

    • The Sustainable Plus survey looks at the 100 largest companies by market capitalisation across 20 sectors in the country.

    • It is aimed at checking the environment, social and governance dimensions of business and measures the progress of Indian companies in adopting sustainable business practices.

    • Sustainable Plus rates the companies across three levels, which are platinum, gold and bronze.

    • The label is accorded to companies based on their responses.

    • They are graded on parameters like governance and social and environmental initiatives.

    • Companies that receive the Sustainable Plus Platinum are India's most sustainable firms.

  • ICICI Bank launched NFC-based mobile payment solution Touch & Pay

    Date: Mar 16, 2016

    ICICI Bank on 15 March 2016 announced a new mobile payment solution Touch & Pay. This solution is based on Near Field Communication (NFC) technology and will enable the bank’s customers to make secure contactless payments at retail stores using smartphones.

    Features of Touch & Pay

    • The feature will be incorporated into the existing Pockets application of the bank.

    • Customers can make payment by tapping smart phone at a NFC enabled merchant terminal and make the payment through account linked ICICI Bank Debit/Credit Card.

    • To ensure security of the card details, for every payment done at a merchant store using this service, a one-use unique token is created by the Bank's server and will be sent via encryption to the merchant,

    • The facility will be available in the last week of March 2016 at more than 60000  merchants across the country.

  • Lok Sabha passed Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2016

    Date: Mar 16, 2016

    Lok Sabha on 15 March 2016 passed Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The bill seeks to amend the Constitution Scheduled Castes Order 1950.

    The bill was passed on proposals of five states, namely Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Kerala, Odisha and West Bengal, to modify the list of Scheduled Castes in their states.

    The proposal relates to the inclusion of certain communities, modification and removal of area restriction in respect of certain communities and exclusion of certain communities in the case of State of Odisha.

    Following castes/ communities have been included/excluded/modified in the list of Scheduled Castes:


    Inclusion/ Exclusion/Other modification




    (i) Sais, Sahis, Sarathi, Soot-Sarathi, Thanwar



    (ii) Aheria, Aheri, Hari, Heri, Thori, Turi

    (iii) Rai Sikh


    Modification in the area of specification






    (vi) Bariki


    West Bengal

    Removal of area restriction

    (viii) Chain

    The Registrar General of India (RGI) and the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) has already conveyed their concurrence to the modifications.

    The amendment to the Constitution Schedule Caste Order 1950 was done in accordance with the clause (2) of Article 341 of the Indian Constitution. Clause (2) of the aforesaid article empowers the Parliament to modify 1950 order from time to time.

    Earlier on 27 November 2014, Lok Sabha passed the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Orders Amendment Bill, 2014 to include more castes under Scheduled Castes category in four states namely Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Tripura; and exclude Majhi (Nepali) community from it in Sikkim.

  • Gandhi: An Illustrated Biography authored by Pramod Kapoor

    Date: Mar 16, 2016

    Gandhi: An Illustrated Biography authored by Pramod Kapoor was in news in the second week of March 2016.  It is a biography of Mahatma Gandhi who played a key role in Indian independence movement.

    The book is an intimate study into the evolution of a mischievous, fun-loving boy, into the Mahatma. It also seeks to decode Gandhi for modern generation.

    The chronological text and accompanying photographs in the book bring out Gandhi’s unique complexities – his failures and successes, the intimate relations he shared with his contemporaries, and the difficult one he shared with his own family.

    The books covers all the important aspects of his life – schooling, early marriage in Kathiawar, his college days in London, employment in South Africa, train ride in Pietermaritzburg, etc.

    About Pramod Kapoor

    • He is the founder and publisher of Roli Books that was established in 1978.

    • He has conceived and produced award-winning books that include Then and Now series, Made for Maharajas, New Delhi: The Making of a Capital.

    • Gandhi: An Illustrated Biography is his first book as an author. It will be followed by another book My Experiments with Gandhi.

  • 90% of domestic workers excluded from social protection: ILO

    Date: Mar 16, 2016

    The International Labour Organisation (ILO) on 14 March 2016 announced that around 90 percent of domestic workers in the world are excluded from social protection.

    It was revealed by the ILO in its Social Protection Policy Paper 16 entitled Social protection for domestic workers: Key policy trends and statistics.

    Highlights of Social Protection Policy Paper 16

    • 60 million of the world’s 67 million domestic workers still do not have access to any kind of social security coverage.

    • The vast majority of domestic workers are women, accounting for 80 per cent of all workers in the sector globally.

    • Most of their work is undervalued and unprotected. When domestic workers become old or injured, they are fired, without a pension or adequate income support.

    • As female workforce highly subject to social and economic vulnerability, policies to extend social protection to domestic workers are key elements in the fight against poverty and the promotion of gender equality.

    • The largest gaps in social security coverage for domestic work are concentrated in developing countries, with Asia and Latin America representing 68 per cent of domestic workers worldwide.

    • The study revealed that social protection deficits for domestic workers also persist in some industrialized countries.

    • In Italy, for example, some 60 per cent of domestic workers are not registered with, or contributing to, social security systems.

    • In Spain and France, 30 per cent of domestic workers are excluded from social security coverage.

    • It cautioned that migrant domestic workers – currently estimated at 11.5 million worldwide – often face even greater discrimination.

    • Around 14 per cent of countries whose social security systems provide some type of coverage for domestic workers do not extend the same rights to migrant domestic workers.

    • Apart from mandatory coverage, the strategies to protect them should include fiscal incentives, registration plans, awareness-raising campaigns targeting domestic workers and their employers as well as service voucher mechanisms.

    • Domestic work should also be integrated into broader policies aimed at reducing informal work.

    • The coverage of domestic workers by social security schemes is feasible and affordable, including in lower middle and low-income countries, as evidence from Mali, Senegal and Viet Nam clearly demonstrates.

  • Priyanka Kakodkar and Raksha Kumar won Chameli Devi Jain Award

    Date: Mar 16, 2016

    Priyanka Kakodkar and Raksha Kumar on 15 March 2016 were named as joint winners of the 2015-16 Chameli Devi Jain Award. They were awarded for their work that clubs social concern and compassion with pioneering reportage and analytical skills.

    Kakodkar's reports, which targeted on the acute farming crisis in Maharashtra, were published on the front page of The Times of India in the year 2015. More than 50 of her reports were published in a year by the paper.

    Independent journalist Raksha Kumar won the honour as her reports focused on the perilous features of the Union Government's proposal to amend the Land Acquisition Act, the Forest Rights Act and the Coal Act.

    The award will be presented by former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh on 17 March 2016 at the India International Centre, Delhi.

    About Chameli Devi Jain Award

    • The annual Chameli Devi Award of The Media Foundation is the premier award for women media persons in India.

    • It was first awarded in 1982.

  • Union Tourism Ministry and Ecotourism Society signed MoU for Responsible and Sustainable Tourism

    Date: Mar 16, 2016

    Union Tourism Ministry on 15 March 2016 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ecotourism Society of India (ESOI) for promoting responsible and sustainable tourism.

    Through this MOU, the Sustainable and Responsible Tourism will take the forefront and achieve the commitments of the action plan of the Union Ministry.

    ESOI has been declared as the official partner by the Tourism Ministry in helping it to develop policy guidelines, code of conduct and ethical practices for Sustainable Tourism, to position India as a Global eco-tourism destination.

    Further, ESOI has been recognized as the partner in driving and advocating Sustainable Tourism Criteria for India (STCI) initiatives across the country. In this context ESOI will prepare a 10-year Road Map for advocacy and certification under the Sustainable Tourism Criteria for India.

    About Ecotourism Society of India (ESOI)

    It was established formed by a group of eminent professionals from the tourism industry as well as Environmentalists under the advice of Ministry of Tourism in 2008. It is a non-profit organization to promote environmentally responsible and sustainable practices in the tourism industry across the country.  

    What is Sustainable and Responsible Tourism?

    It would ensure wide participation and consensus building and minimize negative social, economic and environmental impacts and generate greater economic benefits for local people and enhance the well-being of host communities.

  • India’s first education focused accelerator programme Edugild started at MIT, Pune

    Date: Mar 16, 2016

    Pune-based Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT) in the second week of March 2016 set up India's first education technology accelerator called Edugild. The accelerator will be the first one in the country to focus only on the education sector.

    The programme, in its first year, received applications from 300 entrepreneurs focused on the education sector from all over the country. Of these, four companies were selected by Edugild for its accelerator programme.

    The shortlisted start-ups are:

    • Classboat: It helps students to find and select classes in the city.

    • Instafeez: It is a Bengaluru based start-up which has developed a payment solution. Their services also provide a seamless fee reconciliation platform.

    • Simulanis: It is a Delhi-based start-up that uses 3D gaming and augmented reality based tools for engineering learning.

    • Gradopedia: It is a start-up dedicated for graduates to experience simulated job profiles of their aspirations and then make a wise choice of the career paths to pursue.

    About Edugild

    • Founded by MIT, Pune, Edugild is India’s first accelerator with an exclusive focus on EdTech.

    • Based in Pune, it offers a 16-week intensive mentorship and product realization program to any EdTech start-up in the world.

  • Maharashtra Assembly passed amendment to Public Trusts Act, 1950

    Date: Mar 16, 2016

    Maharashtra Assembly on 15 March 2016 passed a bill to amend the Maharashtra Public Trusts Act 1950. The bill provides for de-registration of long-defunct trusts among other things.

    Once passed by the Legislative Council, the law would pave way for initiating action against 3.5 lakh such charitable trusts, about 50 percent of the total trusts registered under the Trusts Act.

    Highlights of the Amendment Bill

    • It will allow initiating action against the trusts whose trustees have defaulted on reporting the change of details or audited accounts or making other compliances in last five years.

    • It allows for de-registration of trusts whose purpose of formation is either fulfilled or became impossible to fulfill.

    • The bill provides for taking over of management of de-registered trusts and disposal of their properties by sale and depositing of proceeds in government treasury.

    • It also makes it compulsory for the trusts to take previous permission of the charity commissioner before borrowing money.

    Other Bill passed by the Assembly

    The state Assembly cleared a bill to amend the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act 1960, barring tainted directors of banks from contesting polls to any cooperative bank post for 10 years.

    The provision will be applicable to all members of the board of directors dissolved by the state government in the past as per the directives of the Reserve Bank of India. If such a person is currently a director for various banks, he will have to resign from the post, if any bank governed by him was dissolved for financial irregularities in the past 10 years.

    The state cabinet has already taken a decision in this regard and issued an ordinance which has been imposed with retrospective effect.

  • Glenmark Pharma received final approval of USFDA for migraine drug

    Date: Mar 16, 2016

    Glenmark Pharmaceuticals on 14 March 2016 announced that it received the final approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) to manufacture and market Frovatriptan Succinate tablets in the American market.

    The Frovatriptan Succinate Tablets, 2.5 mg, which is therapeutical equivalent of Endo Pharmaceutical's Frova tablets 2.5 mg, has an estimated market size of 87.8 million US dollars for the 12 months ended January 2016.

    Used of Frovatriptan Succinate

    • Frovatriptan is used to treat migraines and helps to relieve other migraine symptoms.

    • It belongs to a class of drugs known as triptans.

    • It affects a certain natural substance (serotonin) that causes narrowing of blood vessels in the brain.

    About Glenmark Pharmaceuticals

    • Glenmark Pharmaceuticals is a pharmaceutical company headquartered in Mumbai, India.

    • It manufactures and markets generic formulation products and active pharmaceutical ingredients, both in the domestic and international markets.

    • The company's current portfolio consists of 61 ANDAs pending approvals from the USFDA and 108 products authorised for distribution in the US.

  • My Biosphere, My Future campaign launched in Lima

    Date: Mar 16, 2016

    My Biosphere, My Future campaign of UNESCO was launched on 14 March 2016 at the 4th World Congress of Biosphere Reserves in Lima,Peru. UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves aspires for sustainable development through different projects.

    Budget 2016-17

    The biodiversity hotspot, Oxapampa- Ashaninka -Yanesha biosphere reserve in the Amazon is being disturbed by the human activities like deforestation and overfishing of endangering local species of tropical fish. In order to address the threats to their ancestral home (Biosphere), Ashaninka people have developed projects to support sustainable consumption and resource management

    The campaign will help them to address the problems of their biosphere and improve their income and quality of life through these projects.

  • Punjab passed Punjab Sutlej Yamuna Link Canal land (Transfer of Proprietary Right) Bill, 2016

    Date: Mar 16, 2016

    Punjab Assembly on 14 March 2016 unanimously passed the 'Punjab Sutlej Yamuna Link Canal land (Transfer of Proprietary Right) Bill, 2016'. The bill was passed against the construction of contentious Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL).

    The bill is an attempt to divest its neighbouring states from getting share from Punjab’s river waters.

    Highlights of the Bill

    • It seeks to provide transfer of proprietary rights back to the land owners from whom the land was acquired by the state government for the construction of SYL free of cost.

    • The state government shall notify suitable machinery for settlement of claims of any landowner or any other party

    • No suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings shall lie against the state government or any person for anything which is done in good faith or intend to be done in pursuance of this Act.

    • Section 8 of the Bill empowers the state government to make rules to carry out the purposes of this Act.

    The Bill was passed hours before the SYL issue was being heard in the Supreme Court. In the apex court, the Attorney General of India Mukul Rohtagi stated that Central Government will not become party to any of the state.

    The passage of the bill has been criticised by Haryana’s Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. He termed it as "unconstitutional" and an "injury" to the federal structure and said his state would reciprocate.

    What is River Water Dispute between Punjab and Haryana?

    The 61-year-old water dispute between the two states started after the first agreement was signed in 1955. As per the agreement reached during an inter-state meeting convened by the Union Government, the waters of the Ravi and the Beas were allocated to various states in following manner:

    • Rajasthan 8.00 MAF (9,767.8 MCM);

    • Punjab 7.20 MAF (8,881 MCM); and

    • Jammu and Kashmir 0.65 MAF (801.76 MCM)

    This allocation was based upon the basis of flow data available from 1921-45 that estimated the mean flow of the two rivers at 15.85 MAF (19550.66 MCM) over and above the actual pre-partition use. This agreement was followed by numerous agreements like the 1960 Indus Water Treaty, 1966 Punjab Reorganization Act, the 1981 Indira Gandhi and 1985 Rajiv Longowal Accord.

    With the reorganization of the state of Punjab with effect from 1 November 1966, the question of Haryana's share in the waters allocated to Punjab under the 1955 agreement was raised. This led Punjab to approach the apex court in 1976.

    March 1976 Notification

    Subsequently, in exercise of the power conferred by the Punjab Reorganization Act, Union Government issued a notification in March 1976 allocating 3.5 MAF (4,317 MCM) to Haryana out of the 7.2 MAF (8,881 MCM) earlier allocated to the composite Punjab state.  However, Punjab was not happy with this decision.

    December 1981 Agreement

    After a number of discussions, a fresh agreement was accepted between the party states in December 1981 whereby the available supplies were estimated to be 17.17 MAF (21,178.86 MCM) on the basis of the 1921 to 1960 flow series.

    These were allocated to different states as: Punjab 4.22 MAF (5,205 MCM); Haryana 3.50 MAF (4,317 MCM); Rajasthan 8.60 MAF (10,608 MCM); Jammu and Kashmir 0.65 MAF (801.76 MCM); and Delhi Water Supply 0.20 MAF (246.7 MCM).

  • Union Government imposed anti-dumping duty on plastic-processing imports

    Date: Mar 16, 2016

    Union Government on 15 March 2016 imposed anti-dumping duty of up to 44.7 percent on import of plastic-processing machines for five years. It will be implemented on the imports from Chinese Taipei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

    The duty will be levied on all kinds of plastic-processing or injection-moulding machines, also known as injection presses.

    According to Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), the safeguard duty was imposed after it was noticed that these imports from other countries led to deterioration of performance of the domestic industry.

    Country wise levied charges

    • Anti-dumping duty of 27.98 percent has been imposed on plastic-processing machines imported from Chinese Taipei.

    • Safeguard duty of 44.74 percent and 30.85 percent has been imposed for the same products imported from Malaysia and the Philippines.

    • Imports from Vietnam will attract a levy of 23.15 percent.

    Plastic-processing or injection-moulding machines are used for processing or moulding plastic materials. 

    Anti-dumping measures are taken to ensure fair trade and provide a level-playing field to the domestic industry. They are not a measure to restrict imports or cause an unjustified increase in cost of products.

  • Union Government imposed anti-dumping duty on plastic-processing imports

    Date: Mar 16, 2016

    Union Government on 15 March 2016 imposed anti-dumping duty of up to 44.7 percent on import of plastic-processing machines for five years. It will be implemented on the imports from Chinese Taipei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

    The duty will be levied on all kinds of plastic-processing or injection-moulding machines, also known as injection presses.

    According to Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), the safeguard duty was imposed after it was noticed that these imports from other countries led to deterioration of performance of the domestic industry.

    Country wise levied charges

    • Anti-dumping duty of 27.98 percent has been imposed on plastic-processing machines imported from Chinese Taipei.

    • Safeguard duty of 44.74 percent and 30.85 percent has been imposed for the same products imported from Malaysia and the Philippines.

    • Imports from Vietnam will attract a levy of 23.15 percent.

    Plastic-processing or injection-moulding machines are used for processing or moulding plastic materials. 

    Anti-dumping measures are taken to ensure fair trade and provide a level-playing field to the domestic industry. They are not a measure to restrict imports or cause an unjustified increase in cost of products.

  • Booker prize-winner Anita Brookner died

    Date: Mar 15, 2016

    The Booker prize-winning British author and renowned art historian Anita Brookner died on 10 March 2016. She was 87.
    Brookner, who won the Booker in 1984 for her novel Hotel du Lac, was a bestselling author and wrote more than 25 novels.
    Brookner, who in 1967 became the first female to be named a Slade professor of art at Cambridge University, was known for her style and stories centering on the theme of middle-class loneliness, often featuring female protagonists.
    In 1990, she was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). She was a Fellow of King's College London and of Murray Edwards College, Cambridge.
    She was born in Herne Hill, a suburb of London to a Polish immigrant family. Her family changed the family’s surname to Brookner because of anti-German sentiment in Britain.
    Brookner was educated at the private James Allen's Girls' School. In 1949 she received a BA in History from King's College London, and in 1953 a doctorate in Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London.
    Some of her works includes
    • A Start in Life, 1981 (her first novel)
    • Greuze 1725-1805: The Rise and Fall of an Eighteenth-century Phenomenon (1972)
    • Jacques-Louis David (1980)
    • A Start in Life (1981, US title The Debut)
    • Providence (1982)
    • Look at Me (1983)
    • Hotel du Lac (1984) (won the Booker Prize)
    • Family and Friends (1985)
    • Latecomers (1988)
    • Lewis Percy (1989)
    • The Next Big Thing (2002, US title Making Things Better), longlisted for the Booker Prize
    • The Rules of Engagement (2003)
    • At The Hairdressers (2011), novella, available as an e-book only
    Honours conferred on Brookner
    • 1984 Man Booker Prize, Best English Language Novel, Hotel du Lac
    • 1990 Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)
    • 2010 James Tait Black Memorial Prize, Strangers (shortlist)

  • Indian Scholar H Deep Saini appointed Vice Chancellor of Canberra University

    Date: Mar 15, 2016

    Renowned Indian scholar and plant physiologist H Deep Saini on 9 March 2016 was appointed as the Vice Chancellor of the prestigious University of Canberra.

    Saini, currently the Vice-President of the University of Toronto and Principal of the University of Toronto Mississauga campus in Canada, will succeed Vice Chancellor Stephen Parker in September 2016.

    Who is H Deep Saini?

    • Hargurdeep Saini, also known as Deep Saini, is a notable scientist and plant physiologist.

    • He has previously served as the dean of the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario.

    • An alumnus of Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana, and later the University of Adelaide, Australia, he joined many Indian-origin educationists holding high positions in Canadian universities.

    • He began his academic career in Canada in 1982 when he joined the University of Alberta as a post-doctoral fellow.

    • He is currently a member of the NSERC's Biological Systems and Functions grant selection panel, the Associate Editor of the Canadian Journal of Botany.

  • NBFC Altico Capital appointed Naina Lal Kidwai as independent non-executive director

    Date: Mar 15, 2016

    Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) Altico Capital India on 14 March 2016 appointed former HSBC India chairperson Naina Lal Kidwai as an independent non-executive director on its board.

    Kidwai retired as Executive Director on the board of HSBC Asia-Pacific and Chairperson of HSBC India after a 13-year stint in December 2015.

    About Naina Lal Kidwai

    • Naina Lal Kidwai is an Indian banker, Chartered Accountant and business executive.

    • She is also a former President of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

    • She holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics from University of Delhi and an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1982. She was the first Indian woman to graduate from Harvard Business School and also the first woman to guide the functioning of a foreign bank in India.

    • She has also been honoured with the Padma Shri award for her contributions in the areas of trade and industry.

    • She has also received ALL Ladies League's Delhi Women of the Decade Achievers Award 2013 for Excellence in Banking.

  • YES Bank inked MoU with India Brazil Chamber for strategic cooperation

    Date: Mar 15, 2016

    India's fifth largest private sector Bank, YES Bank on 11 March 2016 signed a strategic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with India Brazil Chamber of Commerce (IBCC) to enable significant cooperation in terms of knowledge partnerships, project consultancy, B2B opportunities, skill and technology initiatives.

    As per the announcement of YES Bank, the MoU signing comes in the run up to the 8th Annual BRICS Summit to be held in New Delhi in 2016.

    The core sectors covered in the MoU will be Sports, Media and Entertainment with special focus on IT, Infrastructure, Broadcast and Innovative solutions driven business opportunities.

    YES BANK and IBCC will jointly endeavour to explore exchange of best practices in Sports goods Manufacturing, CSR in sports, SM&E talent management.

    Moreover, IBCC will also recommend YES BANK as the Preferred Bank to Brazilian companies looking to do business in India.

    Key highlights of the MoU

    • Knowledge partnerships: Including with various industry bodies/chambers and at Brazil Government/ Embassy forums.

    IBCC and YES BANK will also create knowledge reports together by facilitating industry and Government participation on the same.

    • Project Consultancy: Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) on entry strategies for Brazil companies in the Sports, Media and Entertainment space into India.

    • B2B Opportunities: Identifying the right business partners in India for Brazil companies for strategic/business tie-ups and for Indian companies interested in strategic tie-ups/investments in the Brazil.

    Assist in financing advisory covering strategic advisory, fund raising, direct & structured financing.

    • Skill Initiatives: Jointly facilitating imparting of soft skills in Sports, Media and Entertainment sector (to individuals/corporate/NGO community, education institutions etc.)

    • Education in SM&E: Exchange program for education institutes in SM&E and imparting best global practices/education systems.

    • Introduction to existing Brazil companies in India: More than 13 Brazil companies are currently operating in India.

    • Preferred Banker status to YES BANK as well as Sports, Media and Entertainment Advisor recommendation to potential companies, looking at investing in/entering India for strategic partnerships with Indian entities.

    • Introduction to companies in Information and Technology in SM&E: Would provide a platform for both companies in India and Brazil to showcase/exchange technology/knowledge.

    • Introduction to companies in Infrastructure development in Sports: Enhancement of state of the art infra installations in Media and Entertainment.

    • SM&E Value chain analysis and trade policy advisory with Government and industry associations.

    • Harness business opportunity specifically in Sports goods Manufacturing, CSR in sports, SM&E talent management.

    About India-Brazil Chamber of Commerce

    • India-Brazil Chamber of Commerce was founded in 2003 in Brazil.

    • It is a non-profit organisation, which aims to foster the economic, cultural and tourism ties between India and Brazil, facilitating bilateral business and assisting its members in relevant matters, providing them its operational infrastructure and its knowledge of both cultures.

    • The Chamber promotes imports-exports of Indian and Brazilian members offering quality customized services, through a professional team committed to the order of their members.

  • Delhi clinched Lloyd Business Today Pro-Am of Champions golf title

    Date: Mar 15, 2016

    Delhi on 13 March 2016 won the 20th edition of the Lloyd Business Today Pro-Am of Champions golf tournament.

    The final of this event was played at the Jack Nicklaus designed Classic Golf Resort in Gurgaon.

    Delhi, comprising of Bharat Dhawan (Mazars), Avesh Bhatnagar(M/S Bhatnagar Agencies), Ravi Khanna (Kwikforms Structurals) and Saurabh Sood (GATX,) prevailed with a combined score of 105 points in the event where India's top corporate decision makers and leading golfing professionals played together.

    The Mumbai team, comprising of Subrat Mohanty, Pramod Bhambani, Jayen Ramesh Shah and Paras Shah, ended as runners-up with 101 points.

    About Lloyd Business Today Pro-Am of Champions

    • Lloyd Business Today Pro-Am of Champions is one of India's most prestigious corporate Golf events. It is an exclusive invitational event for CEOs and corporate heads across India.

    • In its 20th edition, the tournament was played across 4 regions and culminated with the national finals in Delhi.

  • UP Cabinet approved Senior Citizen Policy

    Date: Mar 15, 2016

    Uttar Pradesh Government on 14 March 2016 approved a policy for senior citizens. Under the policy the state government will set up old age homes and also announced increase in monthly pension by 100 rupees, that is, monthly pension will increase from existing 300 rupees to 400 rupees.

    The decision was taken during a cabinet meet chaired by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. The policy will come into effect from 1 April 2016 and the social welfare department has been made the nodal agency for this new policy.

    Highlights of the Policy

    • The policy was formulated under which old age homes and juvenile homes would be set up under one roof.

    • The Government would provide land free of cost and the NGO would be asked to operate the same at no profit no loss basis.

    • The new policy reserves 25 percent seats in these old age homes for the BPL families who will be provided free residence and food.

    • A tribunal would be set to hear the cases related to the atrocities against the senior citizen.

    • All the police stations would also have a separate senior citizen register.

    • Any offence against senior citizen, like throwing them out of their houses by children, would be punishable for up to three years of jail and 10000 rupees fine.

    • The schools and colleges would be asked to celebrate Dada-dadi and nana-nani diwas on regular basis.

    Some other decisions taken at the meet

    • Free dialysis at district hospitals will be created: The scheme will be operated with the help of private players under PPP model. Under this scheme 180 dialysis machines would be set up in select district hospitals.

    • Detailed Project Report (DPR) of Kanpur metro to the tune of 17000 crore rupees was approved. The DPR is prepared by RITES. The total length of the Kanpur metro would be 32 km divided in two corridors. It will have 31 stations – 19 of which will be elevated. Now the proposal would be sent to the Union Government for approval.

    • The implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana under which houses will be made available to all by 2022 was approved. Under the scheme, Union Government would finance 60 percent of the project while the rest would be shared by the state government.

    • Decision to construct Taj Orientation Centre and Shilpgram at the eastern gate of Taj Mahal was made. DPR of 23185.25 lakh rupees was approved.

    • It approved demolition of the structure of UP Animal Husbandry Department at CG City to facilitate construction of cancer institute.  

    • It also approved the Mobile (Trolley-based) Solar Panel and Pump Programme.

  • Myanmar Parliament elected Htin Kyaw as first civilian President

    Date: Mar 15, 2016

    Myanmar's Parliament on 15 March 2016 elected Htin Kyaw as the first civilian president to lead the country after 53 years of military rule. Army took power in a 1962 coup.

    He is a close aide and adviser of Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of National League for Democracy (NLD) party.

    He was elected with 360 of the total 652 votes casted while, military-nominated Myint Swe received 213 votes and stood second followed by the other NLD candidate, Henry Van Thio, who got 79 votes.

    They will serve as first vice-president and second vice-president respectively.

    Kyaw will replace Thein Sein who will step down at the end of March 2016 after five years of army-backed rule.

    Htin Kyaw was elected under a complex system in which the two chambers of parliament nominated two presidential candidates and military MPs nominated a third, assuring the army continued influence.

    The army also retains 25 percent of seats in parliament under a 2008 constitution that it drafted, giving it an effective veto on constitutional change. It also keeps key ministerial portfolios related to security.

    Back ground

    The NLD swept to victory in historic elections in November 2015 with a huge majority in both houses of parliament. However, Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of NLD, could not run for president because a clause in the constitution says that anyone whose children have another nationality cannot become president. Her children hold British passports.

  • Jammu & Kashmir State Administrative Council approved Industrial Policy-2016

    Date: Mar 15, 2016

    Jammu & Kashmir State Administrative Council (JKSAC) under the chairmanship of Governor NN Vohra on 14 March 2016 approved the Industrial Policy-2016.

    The aim of the Industrial Policy 2016 is to attract over 2000 crore rupees investment per annum and will be effective for next 10 years that is up to 31 March 2026.

    The policy was formulated by the Industries and Commerce Department after thorough consultation with all the stakeholders.

    Key Features of the Industrial Policy-2016

    • It will enable creating business-friendly environment in the state through Ease of Doing Business which will facilitate the investors to establish Industrial Units and pave way for the establishment of mega units including that of Electronic City in the State.

    • Apart from investment generation it also targets to create annually 15000 direct and indirect employment opportunities through upgradation and creation of infrastructure and establishment of new industries.

    • It targets creation of land bank of 2500 acres across the state, zoning of districts in the state based on the extent and degree of industrial development in different districts, and supply of additional 150 Mw power every year.

    • To set up an asset reconstruction company in partnership with J&K Bank was envisaged for the revival of sick industrial units.

    • An investment facility cell was constituted at SIDCO and SICOP to facilitate the investors.

    • Entrepreneurship and skill development fund was created for skill development of entrepreneurs.

    • Environmental protection through setting up of green industries and adoption of green technologies were also incorporated in the Policy.

    • The policy proposes setting up of industrial grievance forums to speedily sort out grievances and solve interdepartmental issues faced by entrepreneurs.

  • Parytak Mitra Programme to enable Students to act as Tourist Facilitators

    Date: Mar 15, 2016

    Parytak Mitra Programme: Skill initiatives to improve the sectoral service standards
    Parytak Mitra Programme was in news on 14 March 2016. It came in news after the information on the same was provided in the Lok Sabha by the Minister of State for Culture and Tourism (I/C) Dr. Mahesh Sharma.
    The programme was launched by Union Ministry of Tourism on 12 January 2016 (National Youth Day) to inculcate appropriate tourism traits and knowledge amongst the trainees to enable them to act/work as Tourist Facilitators (Prayatak Mitra).
    The programme seeks to improve the sectoral service standards, which is one of the pre-requisites for attracting tourists in larger numbers. 
    Objective of the Programme
    i) To inculcate appropriate tourism traits and knowledge amongst the trainees to enable them to act/work as Tourist Facilitators (Prayatak Mitra).
    ii) To expect the young men and women so trained to act as catalyst / resource persons in turn for similar effort.
    iii) To gradually work towards a tourism-sensitive citizenary
    Target Group & Eligibility
    College going student including those enrolled with the NCC & NSS in the age group of 18 – 28 years. The age will be reckoned on the last date prescribed for application for admission. The applicant will also furnish a no-objection / sponsorship letter issued by the Principal concerned as to his/her joining the programme.

  • Telangana State Budget 2016-17 presented

    Date: Mar 15, 2016

    Telangana State Finance Minister Etala Rajender on 14 March 2016 presented the State Budget for the financial year 2016-17 in the legislative assembly.

    Though the Budget for 2016-17 is the third Budget of the State since its formation 2 June 2014, it is the first Budget to be prepared after a comprehensive review of all items of expenditure and a realistic assessment of resources based on the facts and figures.

    Macroeconomic scenario

    • The budget was built on the vision of Bangaru (Golden) Telangana. For this purpose an outlay of 130415 crore rupees were proposed. Out of this planned expenditure is 67631 crore rupees.  The budget size for 2015-16 was 115000 crore rupees.

    • GSDP is estimated to grow at 11.7 percent in 2015-16 at current prices. This growth rate is more than the national average of 8.6 percent.

    • The fiscal deficit was estimated at 23467 crore rupees or 3.5 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) for 2016-17. Lower than 4 percent deficit can be achieved on account of surplus in the revenue account.

    • Revenue receipts are proposed at 72412 crore rupees in 2016-17 as compared with 54256 crore rupees in 2015-16.

    • Transfers from the Centre proposed at 28512.52 crores as compared to 25223 crore rupees in 2015-16.

    • The per capita income of the State at current prices improved by 12.7 per cent in 2014-15 to 129182 rupees and is estimated to further improve by 10.7 percent to 143023 in 2015-16, much higher than the national average of 93231 rupees.

    General Highlights of the Budget

    • Irrigation: It is the major beneficiary of the Budget. The ultimate objective is to provide irrigation water to every acre of cultivated land in the State and making agriculture in the State totally drought-proof.

    • For the construction of irrigation projects and Mission Kakatiya, the amount proposed in 2016-17 is 25000 crore rupees.

    • 7861 crore rupees allocated for Palamuru Rangareddy lift irrigation scheme, 6286 crore rupees for Kaleshwaram project and 1152 crore rupees for Sitharama and Bhakta Ramadasu lift irrigation projects.

    • Agriculture and allied sectors: A total of 6759 crore rupees allocated to this sector.

    • Government proposed to cover 600 SC and ST farmers under poly house cultivation in 2016-17 with 100 percent subsidy.

    • Telangana State Horticulture Development Corporation will be set up to promote cultivation of horticulture crops, procurement, storage, processing and marketing of horticulture produce. It will also facilitate implementation of water saving technologies like micro irrigation.

    • Medical and health sector: Stabilisation, standardization and consolidation of medical and health services in the State are the main focus areas in 2016-17. 5967 crore rupees allocated for this sector.

    • About 40 Dialysis and 40 Diagnostic centres are also proposed.

    • Community Health Centres will be transferred to Telangana Vaidya Vidhana Parishad for better administration.

    • Housing: Two lakh two-bedroom houses will be constructed in 2016-17. Funds will be raised in the form of loans from the Housing and Urban Development Corporation (Hudco).

    • Special Development Fund: The fund will be set up with 4675 crore rupees to allow ministers and MLAs to take up impromptu developmental works.

    Sector wise allocation of funds

    • Irrigation projects - 25000 crore rupees

    • Mission Bhagiratha - 40000 crore rupees

    • Health sector - 5967 crore rupees

    • Education sector – 10738 crore rupees

    • SC welfare - 7122 crore rupees

    • ST welfare - 3552 crore rupees

    • BC welfare - 2538 crore rupees

    • Aasara pensions - 4693 crore rupees

    • Kalyana Lakshmi scheme - 738 crore rupees

    • Women and Child Welfare - 1553 crore rupees

    • Brahmin Welfare Corporation - 100 crore rupees

    • Roads and Buildings - 3333 crore rupees

    • Panchayat Raj and Rural Development - 10731 crore rupees

    • Urban Development - 4815 crore rupees

    • Industries - 967 crore rupees

    • IT and Communications - 254 crore rupees

    • Special Develpment Fund - 4675 crore rupees

  • UK Anti-Doping appointed as Secretariat for International Olympic Committee Anti-doping Taskforce

    Date: Mar 15, 2016

    United Kingdom Anti-Doping (UKAD) on 14 March 2016 was granted a role of organising a worldwide fight against performance-enhancing drugs in the run-up to 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

    It was appointed as the secretariat for an International Olympic Committee anti-doping taskforce which will seek to standardise testing procedures.

    The announcement came with Russia still banned by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and on course to be excluded from the Olympics following a report into mass doping violations.

    UKAD was asked to oversee drug testing procedures in Russia for the time because its own anti-doping agency, RUSADA was found to be non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code in early March 2016. The present role was granted beyond the UKAD’s Borders.

    It is an opportunity for international federations and national anti-doping organisations to collaborate to ensure pre-Games testing programmes are targeted, meaningful and effective.

    It's the first time that a global co-operation is a vital aspect of protecting clean sport and developing a level playing field for all athletes.


    There was a renewed focus on the use of drugs in sport followed the recent admission of Russian tennis star Maria Sharpova that she had taken the banned substance meldonium during 2016 Australian Open.

    Meldonium is intended to be used in the treatment of Ischaemia (restriction in blood supply to tissues), or poor blood flow to improve endurance. It was added to the WADA list of banned substances on 1 January 2016.

  • India Post selected Deloitte as consultant for payments bank

    Date: Mar 15, 2016

    India Post in the second week of March 2016 selected Deloitte to advise it on setting up a payments bank. An agreement between the two was signed on 14 March 2016.

    The Public Investment Board (PIB) has already approved the 800-crore rupees proposal of India Post. The proposal will be sent to the Union Cabinet within two weeks for final approval.

    India Post payments bank will largely target unbanked and under-banked customers in rural, semi-rural and remote areas, with a focus on providing simple deposit products and money remittance services.

    The pilot for the payments bank is set to start from January 2017 and the full-fledged operations may start by March 2017.

    The Reserve Bank of India had granted payments bank permit to India Post, which is already into providing financial services and has 1.55 lakh branches across the country.

    As many as 40 international financial conglomerates including World Bank and Barclays had shown interest to partner the postal department for setting up the bank.

  • Venezuela president extended economic emergency to protect citizens from economic warfare

    Date: Mar 15, 2016

    Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro on 14 March 2016 declared a two-month extension on emergency powers meant to help shore up the country's crippled economy.

    The declaration will bestow more time on the government of President Nicolas Maduro to intervene in the market, boost productivity and redress a flagging financial sector.

    It will also allow the government to take more anti-crisis measures to reduce fiscal moratorium and to tap up funds from the 2015 budget to address short-term social needs.

    The extension will bring in measures to enhance positive impacts on the national economy. These include actions on healthcare, nutrition, education, employment.


    Venezuela has the biggest known oil reserves in the world but has suffered from the plunge in world oil prices since mid-2014. The official inflation rate topped 180 percent in 2015 which is one of the highest in the world. Non-government economists estimate the real rate is several times higher.

    The Venezuelan government declared a state of economic emergency on 16 January 2016. It was to last for 60 days, in order to lead a transformation of the country's beleaguered economy.

  • Odisha Cabinet approved constitution of Food Commission as per NFSA

    Date: Mar 15, 2016

    Odisha Cabinet on 14 March 2016 approved a proposal to constitute a State Food Commission (SFC) as per the National Food Security Act (NFSA) 2013. It will monitor and evaluate the implementation of the NFSA Act and advice for its effective implementation to the State government.

    The Commission will have five members and one member secretary including a chairperson. The chairperson will hold the rank of chief secretary, while members and member secretary will be in the ranks of principal secretary and joint secretary respectively. The tenure of the members will be three years.

    In accordance to the NFSA, 2013, a regular food commission will be constituted to frame the Odisha State Food Commission Rules, 2016. The proposed rules would deal with appointment and functions of appointment of chairperson and its members in detail.

    The commission will also hear appeals against order of the District Grievance Redressal Officers and inquire either suo-motu or on receipt of complaint into violation of entitlements provided under the Act.

    Some other decisions taken during the cabinet meet includes

    • It approved the proposal of nominating Sulabh International Social Service Organisation as implementing agency, on a pilot basis, for design, built, operation and maintenance and transfer of hybrid toilets in nine towns of the State. The organisation will construct 5957 community toilets in nine AMRUT towns at a cost of 70 crore rupees. The nine towns are Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Sambalpur, Rourkela, Berhampur, Puri, Balasore, Bhadrak and Baripada.

    • It approved the proposals of amendment of the Odisha Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2005. These amendments will empower the state government to borrow more money from market.

    • It also approved amendment to Orissa Subordinate Finance Service Rules 1995, village agricultural workers recruitment and training rules and Orissa Electricity Duty Act 1961.

  • RUSA for achieving Equity, Access and Quality in Higher Education

    Date: Mar 15, 2016

    Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) was in news on 14 March 2016. It came in news after the information on the same was provided in the Lok Sabha by the Union Human Resource Development Minister, Smriti Zubin Irani

    It was launched in 2013 with an aim to provide strategic funding to eligible state higher educational institutions.

    It is implemented and monitored through an institutional structure comprising of the National Mission Authority, Project Approval Board and the National Project Directorate at the centre and the State Higher Education Council and State Project Directorate at the state level.

    Salient Features of the RUSA are

    • To improve the overall quality of state institutions by ensuring conformity to prescribed norms and standards and adopt accreditation as a mandatory quality assurance framework.

    • To usher transformative reforms in the state higher education system by creating a facilitating institutional structure for planning and monitoring at the state level, promoting autonomy in State Universities and improving governance in institutions.

    • To ensure reforms in the affiliation, academic and examination systems.

    • To ensure adequate availability of quality faculty in all higher educational institutions and ensure capacity building at all levels of employment.

    • To create an enabling atmosphere in the higher educational institutions to devote themselves to research and innovations.

    • To expand the institutional base by creating additional capacity in existing institutions and establishing new institutions, in order to achieve enrolment targets.

    • To correct regional imbalances in access to higher education by setting up institutions in un‐served & underserved areas.

    • To improve equity in higher education by providing adequate opportunities of higher education to SC/STs and socially and educationally backward classes; promote inclusion of women, minorities, and differently abled persons.

    Funding to RUSA

    • The central funding in the ratio of 65:35 for general category States and 90:10 for special category states which would be norm based and outcome dependent.

    • The funding would flow from the Union Human Resources Ministry through the state governments/union territories to the State Higher Education Councils before reaching the identified institutions.

  • Malawi, UNICEF tested first UAV flights for early diagnosis of HIV in infants

    Date: Mar 15, 2016

    The Government of Malawi and UNICEF on 14 March 2016 successfully tested the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs or drones) to explore cost effective ways of reducing waiting times for HIV testing of infants.

    As part of the test, simulated blood samples were transported from a community health centre to the Kamuzu Central Hospital laboratory that is located at a distance of 10 kilometers.

    Though drones were used in the past for surveillance and assessments of disaster, this is the first known use of UAVs in Africa for improvement of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) services.

    After successful completion of further tests, the drone services will be integrated into the health system alongside others existing mechanisms such as road transport and short message service (SMS).

    Significance of UAVs for Malawi

    The successful completion of tests and integration of UAVs with HIV services of significance for Malawi due to the following scenario.

    In 2014, nearly 40000 children in Malawi were born to HIV positive mothers. It is also estimated that around 10000 children deaths occur every year due to the infection.

    The high incidence of deaths is attributed to the fact that there is a considerable delay in diagnosis of the infection in infants. This is because of transport challenges and associated delays experienced by health workers in remote areas of the country.

    Samples are currently transported by road, either by motorbike or local authority ambulances. Various factors including the high cost of diesel fuel, poor state of roads and limited distribution schedules have resulted in extreme delays in lab sample transport.

    It currently takes an average of 11 days to get samples from health centre to a testing lab, and up to 8 weeks for the results to be delivered back.

    The longer the delay between test and results, the higher the default rate of the patient. The delay also constitutes a significant impediment for the scaling up of pediatric Antiretroviral therapy or ART’s effectiveness.

    Against this backdrop, the successful deployment of UAVs could be the breakthrough in successful prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV in Malawi.

    Usage of drones in health services


    The deployment of UAVs in the provision of health services is of significance due to the following factors -

    • Severe weather conditions

    • Navigating in densely populated and traffic congestion areas

    • Lesser availability of physicians

    • Sparsely populated areas with limited accessibility

    • To relieve physicians of certain petty duties

    Further, as a fully autonomous machine, drones could be programmed with specific delivery points and delivery schedules making the technology viable in healthcare delivery. According to the WHO, 45.8 percent of WHO Member States have less than one physician per 1000 people.

    At present, the USA-based Matternet has been experimenting with medical deliveries by drone in developing countries such as Haiti, Bhutan and Papua New Guinea in recent years.

    In 2014, the Government of Bhutan collaborated with the World Health Organization for deployment of UAVs in the provision of health services in remote and hilly areas of the country.

    Another drone project, called Redline, plans to deliver medical supplies to remote parts of Rwanda in 2017.

    Phantom Project

    In August 2015, the Hyderabad-based Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH) started experimenting with a UAV, named Phantom, to transport medicines to chronic patients who need a fixed amount of drugs every month.

    Based on the results, the researchers are planning to expand this project to transport drugs to the sub-centres and from there directly at the doorstep of the patient.

  • China to set up International Maritime 'Judicial Centre'

    Date: Mar 15, 2016

    Supreme Court of China on 13 March 2016 announced to create its own international maritime judicial centre. The centre will be established to handle territorial disputes and protect China’s sovereignty, maritime rights and other core interests at sea.

    The announcement of the centre was made by the Chief Justice Zhou Qiang during the ongoing annual meeting of China's parliament. This centre would help China to become a maritime power. 

    Details of the location, kind of cases it would have jurisdiction over were not provided.

    PCA began hearing on the Nine-dash line of South China Sea

    Territorial disputes of China

    It seems that it was against the backdrop of ongoing South China Sea dispute, the international maritime judicial centre is planned. China have territorial dispute interlinked to South and East China Sea with countries like Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Japan.

    Earlier in July 2015, Philippines lodged a case against China on nine-dash line at the UN's Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. But China has refused to participate.

  • 60th Session of Commission on the Status of Women inaugurated in New York

    Date: Mar 15, 2016

    The 60th Session of Commission on the Status of Women was inaugurated on 14 March 2016. The 11-day long session will take place at the United Nations headquarters in New York, the USA.

    During the session, the Commission will discuss on its priority theme - Women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development.

    In addition, it will evaluate progress in the implementation of the agreed conclusions from the fifty-seventh session (2013) on ‘The elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls’.

    The session will be attended by the representatives of UN Member States, UN entities, and ECOSOC-accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from all regions of the world.

    45 member States of the UN, including India, were chosen as the members of the session.

    About Commission on the Status of Women

    • It is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.

    • It is a functional commission of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and was established by Council resolution 11(II) of 21 June 1946.

    • It is instrumental in promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women.

    • All aspects of the Commission’s work is supported by the UN Women that was created by the UN General Assembly in 2010 for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women.

  • Pope Francis announced Mother Teresa to be granted Sainthood

    Date: Mar 15, 2016

    Pope Francis on 15 March 2016 announced that Mother Teresa will be made a saint of the Roman Catholic Church at a ceremony on 4 September 2016.

    The pope cleared the way for sainthood to Mother Teresa, who was famed for her lifetime of service to the poor, establishing shelters for homeless, orphanages, soup kitchens and clinics around the world.

    The Vatican credited her with the 2008 cure of a Brazilian man who had been suffering from brain tumors.

    The first step toward making her a saint took place in 2002 when Mother Teresa was credited with the healing of a Bengali woman who suffered from tuberculosis and cancer.

    The process of Cannonisation

    Originally, individuals were recognized as saints without any formal process. Later, different processes, such as those used by the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church were developed.

    There are four steps to canonization that the saints have to go through:

    Servant of God   →   Venerable   →   Blessed   →   Saint

    About Mother Teresa

    Teresa was born Agnese Gonxha Bojaxhiu of Albanian parents in 1910 in what was then part of the Ottoman Empire and is now Macedonia. She lived in India for much of her life, where she founded a religious congregation called the Missionaries of Charity. She died in India in 1997 at the age of 87.

    She won a Ramon Magsaysay Peace and International Understanding (PIU) Award in 1962 and a Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.

    She was known as saint of the gutters.

  • 59th Session of Commission on Narcotic Drugs inaugurated in Vienna

    Date: Mar 15, 2016

    The 59th Session of Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) was inaugurated on 14 March 2016 in Austria’s capital Vienna.

    The 9-day long session seeks to promote a comprehensive understanding of the world drug problem and evolve appropriate strategies to deal with it.

    Around 1500 delegates representing Member States, inter-governmental organizations, and civil society will be participating in the session.

    During the session, the Commission will discuss 10 draft resolutions and hold 74 side events and over 25 exhibitions.

    Among other things, the session’s work includes preparations for the UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS 2016) to be held in April 2016.

    The focus of the UNGASS 2016 will be on what actions Member States can take by 2019 to achieve the goals set forth in a policy document titled - Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem.

    The draft outcome document for the UNGASS is expected to be written at the this session.

    About Commission on Narcotic Drugs

    • It was established by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in 1946, to assist the ECOSOC in supervising the application of the international drug control treaties.

    • In 1991, the General Assembly further expanded the mandates of the CND to enable it to function as the governing body of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

    • It is also mandated to approve the budget of the Fund of the United Nations International Drug Control Programme, which accounts for over 90 per cent of the resources available to the United Nations for drug control.

    • As per the UNODC, some 27 million people suffer from drug use disorders worldwide that include 12 million people who inject drugs.

  • Mauritania ratified 2014 Protocol to the Forced Labour Convention

    Date: Mar 15, 2016

    Mauritania on 14 March 2016 became the second African country to ratify the 2014 Protocol to the Forced Labour Convention 1930.

    Prior to Mauritania, Niger (Africa), Norway (Europe) and the United Kingdom (Europe) ratified the protocol.

    The protocol requires States to take effective measures for prevention of forced labour, protection of victims and ensuring their access to justice and compensation.


    • The ILO estimates that about 21 million men, women, and children are in forced labour – trafficked, held in debt bondage, or working under slave-like conditions.

    • The vast majority of these forced labourers – almost 19 million – are exploited in the private economy, by individuals or enterprises.

    • Another 2.2 million (10 percent) are in state-imposed forms of forced labour, including forced labour imposed by paramilitary forces.

    • To address the issue, governments, employers, and workers at the ILO International Labour Conference supported the adoption of the new ILO Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930.

    • Besides, a Recommendation on supplementary measures for addressing forced labour was also adopted.

    • If widely ratified and implemented by ILO member countries, the Protocol and Recommendation promise to act as a catalyst for achieving the vision of a world without forced labour.

  • India, Indonesia joint training exercise Garuda Shakti IV began at Magelang

    Date: Mar 14, 2016

    The fourth edition of the joint exercise Garuda Shakti between India and Indonesia commenced on 10 March 2016 at Magelang, Indonesia.

    The joint training exercise will see an Indian Army platoon strength contingent carrying out cross training with a platoon from the Airborne battalion of the Indonesian Army. The selected Indian unit has had varied operational experience in Counter Insurgency and Counter Terrorist operations in the Northern, Western and Eastern theatres.

    The Garuda Shakti IV will be a 13 days long exercise, which will conclude on 23 March 2016 at Magelang.

    Features of Garuda Shakti IV

    • The exercise is being conducted as joint Counter Insurgency operations exercise in urban and rural scenario and encompass various facets of tactical Counter Insurgency operations.

    • The aim of the exercise is to build and promote positive relations between the armies of India and Indonesia and to enhance the ability of Indian and Indonesian Army to undertake joint tactical level operations in a Counter Insurgency environment under United Nations Charter.

    • The scope encompasses visualization of insurgency related crisis situation in rural/urban setting in Counter Insurgency environment, learn each other's Counter Insurgency doctrines, tactics and share experience of Counter Insurgency operations.

    • It also includes the ambit of identifying areas of expertise/specialization of each other, evolution of combat tactical drills for conduct of tactical Counter Insurgency operations and to undertake combined training for neutralization of insurgency threat.

    About Garuda Shakti 

    • Indo-Indonesia Joint Training Exercise Garuda Shakti is conducted as part of military diplomacy between Indian and Indonesian Army alternatively in India and Indonesia respectively.

    • The exercise is conducted on a reciprocal basis and its first edition was conducted in the year 2012 in India.

    • The second edition was conducted in Indonesia in 2013 and third in India in 2014.

    • The exercise is aimed at building and promoting positive relations between the two Armies of India and Indonesia.


    • To coordinate modalities of training of the exercise, an Exercise Planning Conference was held at Yogyakarta, Indonesia on 22 September and 23 September 2015.

    • During the conference, both Armies finalized the modalities of conduct of joint training and signed an agreement.

    • The operational part of the exercise commenced with individual Armies training in respective countries and this would translate in exchange of expertise during the Joint Training Exercise in Indonesia.

    • The opening ceremony for the exercise was conducted on 11 March 2016 at Magelang, Indonesia.

  • Services won Santosh Trophy of

     Football 2-1

    Date: Mar 14, 2016

    Services on 13 March 2016 won the Santosh Trophy National Football Championships title. In the summit clash at SEC Railway Stadium in Nagpur, Services defeated host Maharashtra 2-1.

    Arjun Tudu, a national camper for the SAFF Cup in 2015, scored twice in the space of 11 minutes (26th and 37th) to help Services clinch their fifth title overall.

    Services took away 5 lakh rupees for winning the tournament while Maharashtra got 3 lakh rupees for finishing runners-up.

    Santosh Trophy

    Santosh Trophy, started in 1941, is an annual Indian football tournament. It is contested by states and government institutions. It was the premier football competition in the country before the National Football League started in the year 1996. The first winners were Bengal, who also leads the all-time winners list with 31 titles to date.

    The trophy is named after the late Maharaja Sir Manmatha Nath Roy Chowdhary of Santosh (now in Bangladesh) who had been the President of the Indian Football Association, the football organisation of Bengal and the donators of the trophy.

    The runners-up trophy, Kamla Gupta Trophy, was also donated by late Dr. SK Gupta, ex-president, IFA in the memory of his wife. Third place teams receive the Sampangi Cup which was presented by the Mysore Football Association (now KSFA) in 1952, in the memory of Sampangi, a renowned footballer from Mysore.

  • Lin Dan won All England Badminton title

    Date: Mar 14, 2016

    China’s Lin Dan on 13 March 2016 earned his sixth All England badminton title. In the summit clash in Birmingham, Dan defeated compatriot Tian Houwei 21-9, 21-10.

    Dan, also a five times world champion and double Olympic champion, secured his sixth championship 12 years after his first and four years after his last.

    Lin, nicknamed Super Dan by his fans, added the title to his collection of wins in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2012.

    In the women's final later, Nozomi Okuhara of Japan defeated two-time champion Wang Shixian of China 21-11, 16-21, 21-19.

  • Jazz Singer and Grammy Nominee Ernestine Anderson died

    Date: Mar 14, 2016

    nternationally renowned Jazz vocalist Ernestine Anderson died on 10 March 2016 in Seattle. She was 87.

    Over the course of a six-decade career, she received four Grammy nominations and released more than 30 albums.

    She sang along with music legends Russell Jacquet, Eddie Heywood, Shifty Henry and Johnny Otis and gained notoriety in the early 1940’s. She also performed with a Seattle contemporary and fellow Garfield High School graduate Quincy Jones, another famous black American musician.

    Seattle’s Bumbershoot arts festival awarded her its Golden Umbrella, an honour that evolved into the Mayor’s Arts Awards in 2002. The Low Income Housing Institute named one of its projects as Ernestine Anderson Place in 2012.

  • Kerala Tourism campaign won Golden City Gate Award

    Date: Mar 14, 2016

    Kerala Tourism's campaign on responsible tourism on 11 March 2016 bagged the prestigious Golden City Gate Award at the world's leading travel trade show Internationale Tourismus-Borse Berlin (ITB-Berlin) 2016.

    The multimedia campaign, titled New Worlds, won the silver prize of 2016 Das Golden Stadttor or Golden City Gate, also known as the Oscar of tourism communication, at the ITB-Berlin 2016.

    The winning campaign that contained three short films was directed by Malayalam filmmaker Anwar Rasheed.

    Wolfgang Jo Huschert, President, Jury of the Golden City Gate Award presented the award to Abraham George, President, Kerala Travel Mart.

    Kerala Tourism had earlier won the Ulysses Prize of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) for its contribution as a global leader to sustainable tourism.

    About New Worlds campaign

    • The New Worlds campaign was launched internationally by UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai at the World Travel Mart in London.

    • New Worlds portrays the importance of Responsible Tourism initiatives, which have led to several life-changing stories that have become the heart of the campaign.

    • The film has common people instead of actors and models and the stories are set in the actual locations in Kerala.

    • The film, which shows tourists visiting local communities, sharing home-made meals, and watching and engaging in cultural performances, demonstrates the vision that when the world comes to Kerala.

    • The film attempts to present in a real and authentic environment a set of true stories of transformation and preservation involving tourism and the local communities.

  • Palestinian Hanan Al Hroub won 2016 Global Teacher Prize

    Date: Mar 14, 2016

    A Palestinian primary school teacher from a refugee camp, Hanan Al Hroub, on 13 March 2016 won one million dollar Global Teacher Prize. She was awarded for her outstanding contribution to the profession.

    Hroub, who runs the Samiha Khalil High School in Al-Bireh, Palestine, defeated nine other finalists from around the world, including India’s Robin Chaurasiya to win the award.

    The 2016 Winner of the Global Teacher Prize was announced by Pope Francis in a ceremony held at the Atlantis Palm Hotel in Dubai.

    Hroub uses a specialist approach in her school, which she developed, detailed in her book 'We Play and Learn' to overcome tense environments of the region under the shadow of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Hroub's approach has led to a decline in violent behaviour in schools where it was a frequent occurrence. She has also inspired her colleagues to review the way they teach and their classroom management strategies.

    Robin Chaurasiya runs a not-for-profit school in Mumbai for girls from the city's red light district of Kamatipura.

    Top ten finalists for the award included

    • Hanan Al Hroub from Palestine

    • Aqeela Asifi from Pakistan

    • Ayub Mohamud from Kenya

    • Colin Hegarty from United Kingdom

    • Joe Fatheree from Unites States of America

    • Kazuya Takahashi from Japan

    • Maarit Rossi from Finland

    • Michael Soskil from Unites States of America

    • Richard Johnson from Australia

    • Robin Chaurasiya from India

    About The Global Teacher Prize

    The Global Teacher Prize is a 1 million US dollar award presented annually to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession.

    The prize serves to underline the importance of educators and the fact that, throughout the world, their efforts deserve to be recognised and celebrated. It seeks to acknowledge the impacts of the very best teachers – not only on their students but on the communities around them.

    The prize was set up by Kerala-born entrepreneur and educational philanthropist Sunny Varkey, to recognise one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession as well as to shine a spotlight on the important role teachers’ play in society.

  • 4th World Congress of Biosphere Reserves inaugurated at Lima

    Date: Mar 14, 2016

    4th World Congress of Biosphere Reserves was inaugurated on 14 March 2016 at Lima in Peru. The event will be held from 14 March to 17 March 2016 to address different issues related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Post 2015 Development Agenda.

    It is a world meeting of the Committees of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program (MAB) and experts directly involved in the practical implementation of biosphere reserves including representatives of governments, biosphere reserves, local communities, UN agencies, NGOs, academic institutions, and organizations and institutions from all over the world working with the MAB Programme.

    The Congress will discuss on education for sustainable development, the economic viability of nature conservation systems, human migrations and protection of natural resources, among others.

    main objectives of The 4th World Congress of Biosphere Reserves are:

    • To review of the implementation of the Madrid Action Plan for Biosphere Reserves 2008-2013, the Seville Strategy and the Statutory Framework of 1995.

    • To assess the lessons learned and the new challenges to be faced by the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.

    • To develop and launch an Action Plan for Biosphere Reserves for 2016-2025.

  • Maritime India Summit 2016 to be held in Mumbai

    Date: Mar 14, 2016

    Maritime India Summit 2016 (MIS 2016), the maiden flagship initiative of the Union Ministry of Shipping, will be organised from 14 to 16 April 2016 at Bombay Convention and Exhibition Centre, Mumbai. Republic of Korea is the partner country for MIS 2016.

    The summit will provide a unique global platform for investors to explore potential business opportunities in the Indian Maritime Sector.

    The conference aims to foster interaction between stakeholders through B2B and G2B meetings. It will have special sessions on factors and services related to Indian Maritime Sector.

    The conference will also highlight investment opportunities in the Indian Maritime States and Union Territories.

    The Summit will showcase exciting investment opportunities in:

    • Shipbuilding, Ship Repair and Ship Recycling

    • Port Modernization and New Port Development

    • Port-based Industrial Development, Port-based Smart Cities and Maritime Cluster Development

    • Hinterland Connectivity Projects and Multi-Modal Logistics Hubs

    • Inland Waterways and Coastal Shipping for Cargo and Passenger movement

    • Dredging

    • Lighthouse Tourism and Cruise Shipping

    • Renewable Energy Projects in Ports

    • Other Maritime Sector related services (Financing, Legal, Design etc.)

  • Thumbnail-size frog named Microhyla Laterite discovered in India’s wastelands

    Date: Mar 14, 2016

    A team of researchers, including scientists from Gubbi Labs, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) and the National University of Singapore, discovered a new species of frog in the laterite rock formations of India's coastal plains.

    The tiny frog measures 1.7 cm and is called Laterite narrow-mouthed frog (Microhyla laterite), after the laterite rock formation from where the frog was discovered.

    The research paper about the frog’s discovery was published on 9 March 2016 in PLOS One journal.

    The new species belongs to the genus Microhyla, which now comprises 39 species, distributed across South and Southeast Asia.

    This study was conducted along the West coast of India. The new species of Microhyla was observed between years 2013–2015 in laterite habitats in and around the coastal town of Manipal, Udupi District, Karnataka.

    The researcher’s analysis showed that the frog is found only in a 150 sq km area of coastal Karnataka, making it eligible for a classification under the endangered category of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

    India’s wasteland

    • Laterite is a predominant metamorphic rock formation common along the west coast of India.

    • It dates back to about 35 million years, and is a result of the weathering process.

    • Due to their rocky appearance and lack of trees, laterite plateaus are considered wastelands and are heavily mined for construction material in the form of bricks.

    • Though devoid of tertiary vegetation, these areas are rich in microhabitats as there is an abundance of ephemeral pools and associated vegetation.

  • Union Government notified Maximum Sale Price of Bt Cotton Seed

    Date: Mar 14, 2016

    The Union Government on 9 March 2016 notified maximum sale price of Bt cotton seed for 2016-17. An announcement in this regard was made by the Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh.

    As per the notification, the price of BG-I version of Bt cotton hybrid (9450 grams of Bt Cotton plus 120 grams refugia) was fixed at 635 rupees, while the price of BG-II version was fixed at 800 rupees.

    The notification was released as per the Cotton Seed Price (Control) Order, 2015 that was issued under the Section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.


    In India, the Bt cotton seed market has been largely controlled by the private companies especially by the multinational companies like Monsanto.

    Though these companies ensured adequate supply of the seeds there were wide scale allegations that they were charging exorbitant prices that consequently became a cause of concern for small and marginalized cotton growing farmers.

    Against this backdrop, the Union Government issued the Cotton Seed Price (Control) Order, 2015 on 7 December 2015 in order to regulate Bt cotton seed prices and there by safeguard the interests of the farming community.

    As per this order, a nine-member committee was set up to recommend the maximum sale price after taking into consideration the seed value, licence fees including one-time and recurring royalty (trait value), trade margins and other taxes.

  • ExoMars 2016, an unmanned spacecraft to Mars, launched jointly by Europe and Russia

    Date: Mar 14, 2016

    Europe and Russia on 14 March 2016 launched an unmanned spacecraft, named ExoMars 2016, to smell Mars' atmosphere for gassy evidence that life once existed on the Red Planet, or may still be.

    ExoMars 2016, the first of a two-phase Mars exploration, was hoisted from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on a Russian Proton rocket.

    With its suite of high-tech instruments, the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) shall arrive at the Red Planet on 19 October 2016 after completing a seven month long journey of 496 million kilometers through space.

    A key goal of the mission is to analyse methane, a gas which on Earth is created in large part by living microbes, and traces of which were observed by previous Mars missions.

    What is ExoMars?

    The ExoMars programme is a joint endeavour between European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian space agency, Roscosmos.

    Indian space programme created history as Mangalyaan entered Mars orbit successfully

    The primary goal of the ExoMars programme is to address the question of whether life has ever existed on Mars. This relates to its name, with the ‘exo’ referring to the study of exobiology – the possible existence of life beyond Earth (sometimes also referred to as astrobiology).

    Two missions of ExoMars

    The programme comprises of two missions. The first launched in March 2016 and consists of the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and Schiaparelli, an entry, descent and landing demonstrator module. The second mission of Exo Mars will be launched in 2018.

    On the one hand, TGO’s main objectives are to search for evidence of methane and other trace atmospheric gases that could be signatures of active biological or geological processes. On the other, Schiaparelli will test key technologies in preparation for ESA's contribution to subsequent missions to Mars.

    The second mission planned for launch in 2018 comprises of a rover and surface science platform. It will carry a drill and a suite of instruments dedicated to exobiology and geochemistry research. The 2016 TGO will act as a relay for the 2018 mission.

    At present there are two rovers functional on the Mars. These are Curiosity and Opportunity which were sent by NASA, the space agency of the US.

  • India successfully test-fired Agni-I ballistic missile

    Date: Mar 14, 2016

    India on 14 March 2016 successfully test-fired indigenously built nuclear-capable intermediate range Agni-I ballistic missile. It was launched from launch pad-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Abdul Kalam Island (Wheeler Island) on the Odisha coast.

    The trial was as part of training exercise by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of Indian Army.

    The sophisticated missile covered 700 km distance within 9 minutes and 36 seconds.

    The latest trial of Agni-I followed the first successful test-fire that was conducted on 27 November 2015 from the same base.

    About Agni-I ballistic missile

    • Agni-I was developed by Advanced Systems Laboratory, the premier missile development laboratory of DRDO in collaboration with Defence Research Development Laboratory and Research Centre Imarat and integrated by Bharat Dynamics Limited, Hyderabad.

    • The missile is 15-metre-long and weighed 12 tonnes and equipped with sophisticated navigation system which ensures it reaches the target with a high degree of accuracy and precision.

    • It is designed to carry a payload of more than one tonne. Its strike range can be extended by reducing the payload.

    • The launch was undertaken as a part of periodic training activity by SFC to further consolidate operational readiness

    • The missile is a surface-to-surface and single-stage missile powered by solid propellants and capable of hitting a target 700 kilometers away.

    • The trajectory of the trial was tracked by a battery of sophisticated radars, telemetry observation stations, electro-optic instruments and naval ships from its launch till the missile hit the target area with accuracy.

  • 13th meeting of Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development held in Dubai

    Date: Mar 14, 2016

    The 13th meeting of Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development was held on 14 March 2016 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The meeting was held to promote the power of broadband networks and services for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

    It brought the leaders from the public, private and social sectors together to seek the solutions to achieving education, equity and employment for all. The Broadband Commission also discussed among other issues like how to innovate in education through technology.

    The full meeting of the Commission revisited the issue of new broadband targets to help achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

    The meeting set the ground for new concrete, measurable broadband targets to be agreed for the next full meeting of the Commission in September 2016 at the New York meeting.

    The Dubai meeting of the Commission was held at the invitation of Broadband Commissioner Sunny Varkey, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, in the context of the Global Education and Skills Forum, and right after the joint ITU/UNESCO Policy Forum during UNESCO Mobile Learning Week.

    The Broadband Commission works to ensure that no one is left behind by leaving no one off-line.

    In 2015, 44 percent world population remains offline, including 36 percent of LDC population while there are 200 million fewer girls and women online than boys and men.

  • Fossils of 250-million-year-old reptile Teyujagua discovered in Brazil

    Date: Mar 14, 2016

    An international team of scientists have discovered 250-million-year-old new fossil of reptile, named Teyujagua (fierce lizard) from Rio Grande do Sul, southernmost Brazil.

    The team comprising of scientists from three Brazilian Universities and one UK University discovered the fossil that gives insight into life just before dinosaurs appeared. It also helps in clarifying the initial evolution of the group that gave rise to dinosaurs, pterosaurs (flying reptiles), crocodiles and birds.

    The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group) on 11 March 2016. The fossil is beautiful and fills an evolutionary gap, say scientists.

    The fossil was discovered in 2015 by a team from the Paleobiology Laboratory of the Universidade Federal do Pampa (Unipampa), in a Triassic rock exposure near the city of São Francisco de Assis.

    About Teyujagua

    • It was a small, quadrupedal animal, and grew up to about 1.5 metres in length.

    • Its teeth were re-curved with fine serrations and sharply pointed, indicating a carnivorous diet.

    • The nostrils were placed on the upper part of the snout, a typical feature of some aquatic or semi-aquatic animals, such as modern day crocodiles.

    • It likely lived in the margins of lakes and rivers, hunting amphibians and procolophonids, extinct, small bodied reptiles similar to lizards.

    • Its anatomy is intermediate between the more primitive reptiles and a diverse and important group called 'archosauriforms'. Archosauriformes include all the extinct dinosaurs and pterosaurs, along with modern day birds and crocodiles.

    • The species has been identified from a mostly complete and well preserved fossil skull that the team has named Teyujagua paradoxa.

    • The reptile, named Teyujagua or fierce lizard, is the close relative of a group that gave rise to dinosaurs, crocodiles and birds.

    The name Teyujagua is derived from the language of the Guarani ethnic group. The word means 'fierce lizard'. It references a mythological beast called Teyu Yagua, usually depicted as a lizard with a dog´s head.

    Why its discovery is important?

    Discovery of Teyujagua is important as it survived the great Permian–Triassic mass extinction event that wiped out about 90 percent of all species. The Permo-Triassic mass extinction (Great Dying or the Great Permian Extinction) occurred about 252 million years ago forming the boundary between the Permian and Triassic geologic periods, as well as the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras.

  • Lloyd Stowell Shapley, Nobel Prize winner in Economics, died

    Date: Mar 14, 2016

    Lloyd Stowell Shapley, an American mathematician and Nobel Prize-winning economist, died on 12 March 2016. He was 92.

    Shapley, who contributed to the fields of mathematical economics and especially game theory, won the Nobel Prize for economics in 2012.

    About Lloyd Stowell Shapley

    • He made fundamental contributions to economic theory and game theory.

    • His work is central to the modern understanding of competitive behavior and its game theoretic underpinnings.

    • In 1967, he, along with Bondareva, proposed the Bondareva-Shapley theorem. This work introduced the notion of “balanced,” a key notion to this day for understanding when games have nonempty cores.

    • His interest areas include Non-cooperative market models, political games, cost allocation and organization theory.

    • He, along with Alvin Roth, won the Nobel Prize for his work on the theory of stable allocations and the practice of market design.

    • The theory offers solution to a key economic problem - How to bring different players together in the best possible way?

    • Alvin Roth used Shapley's theoretical results to explain how markets function in practice. Through empirical studies and lab experiments, Roth and his colleagues demonstrated that stability was critical to successful matching methods.

    • Roth also developed systems for matching doctors with hospitals, school pupils with schools, and organ donors with patients.

    • Apart from the Nobel, he won innumerable awards and honours that include John von Neumann Theory Prize and Golden Goose Award in 1981 and 2013 respectively.

  • Andhra Pradesh State Budget 2016-17 presented

    Date: Mar 14, 2016

    ndhra Pradesh Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu on 10 March 2016 presented the Annual Budget for 2016-17 in the State Legislative Assembly. This was the first e-Budget presented by any state in India.

    The state government has provided copies of the e- budget for the first time to the members of the Assembly by tablets.

    The current budget growth is about 20.13 percent compared to 2015-16 fiscal budget and State’s own revenue increased by 16 percent.

    Highlights of Annual Budget 2016-17: 

    • The total Budget estimate for 2016-17 is 135000 crore rupees

    • Non-plan Expenditure pegged at 86554.55 crore rupees

    • Planned Expenditure pegged at 49134.44 crore rupees

    • Revenue Deficit for 2016-17 is estimated to be 4868 crore rupees

    • Actual deficit for 2016-17 is 20497 crore rupees

    Various Proposals made in the Budget 

    • Training to one lakh people as a part of Skill Development. 

    • Green Field Airports in Bhogapuram, Dagadarti, Orvakallu, Nagarjunasagar and Donakonda.

    • To build 120000 houses under Prime Minister Awas Yojana. Already 73041 have been approved by the Union Government.

    • Setting up of Industrial zone with an investment of 23000 crore rupees in 5079 acres in Donakonda of Prakasam district. 

    • To create 5 lakh jobs in manufacturing zones. 

    • To complete the mission of electrifying 4.6 lakh homes by June 2016. 

    • Target of 4800 MW of additional power generation in the next 3 years

    • 5000 hectares of National Investment and Manufacturing Zone in Chittoor.

    • 1.87 crore LED Bulbs to be distributed to 93.5 lakh houses.

    Allocations made in the Budget

    • Law and Order – 4785.14 Crore Rupees

    • Land Administration – 3119.72 Crore Rupees

    • 1500 Crore Rupees for the construction of Amaravati, the Capital of the State. 

    • 3100 Crore Rupees for Smart Wards and Villages.

    • 320 Crore Rupees for Sanitation. 

    • 4728.95 Crore Rupees for Urban Administration. 

    • 4764.71 Crore Rupees for Employment Guarantee Scheme.

    • 1195.63 Crore Rupees for rural water supply.

    • 4467 Crore Rupees for rural development.

    • 215 Crore Rupees to the Ministry of Sports.

    • 1000 Crore Rupees for Kapu Corporation. 

    • 65 Crore Rupees for Brahmin Corporation.

    • 710 Crore Rupees for the welfare of Minorities. 

    • 8832 Crore Rupees for the welfare of Backward Classes.

    • 3100 Crore Rupees for the welfare of Scheduled Tribes.

    • 8.724 Crore Rupees for the welfare of Scheduled Castes.

    • 252 Crore Rupees for Youth Empowerment. 

    • 642 Crore Rupees for Women Empowerment. 

    • 1132 Crore Rupees for housing.

    • 4020 Crore Rupees for Energy security. 

    • 150 Crore Rupees for the safety of the road safety. 

    • 3184 Crore Rupees for development of roads.

    • 250 Crore Rupees for Krishna Pushkaralu. 

    • 227 Crore Rupees to the Ministry of Tourism. 

    • 360 Crore Rupees for Information Technology. 

    • 772 Crore Rupees for ICDS scheme.

    • 2933 Crore Rupees for Medical and Health.

    • 2642 Crore Rupees for Higher Education.

    • 17502 Crore Rupees for Primary Education.

    • 127 Crore Rupees for the Handloom sector.

    • 100 Crore Rupees to the food industry.

    • 147 Crore Rupees for the silk industry (Sericulture). 

    • 659 Crore Rupees for the Department of Horticulture. 

    • 3660 Crore Rupees for Polavaram project.

    • 7325 Crore Rupees for Irrigation Department. 

    • 674 Crore Rupees for Minor Irrigation sector.

    • 77 Crore Rupees for new Entrepreneurs

  • UNESCO and CJ Welfare Foundation signed agreement to start a pre-school animation series Rainbow Ruby

    Date: Mar 14, 2016

    UNESCO on 12 March 2016 signed an agreement with CJ Welfare Foundation to start a pre-school animation series Rainbow Ruby to support girls’ education globally. The agreement was signed during the 2016 Global Education and Skills Forum, hosted by the Varkey Foundation in partnership with UNESCO.

    UNESCO joined a global partnership centered on an animation based character for its key initiative for the first time.

    The partnership builds between UNESCO and CJ E&M builds on the Better Life for Girls campaign which was launched in November 2014. It aims to help address the lack of access to quality education faced by girls in developing regions.

    What is Rainbow Ruby?

    Rainbow Ruby follows a six-year old girl named Ruby as she transports to Rainbow Village where her toys come alive. Throughout the series Ruby experiences different professions, introducing preschool girls to the concept of a dream job, letting them imagine how their jobs can improve their lives in the future.

    The animation series will also brings awareness to the harsh reality that girls and young women in many developing regions may face because of their lack of education, preventing them from reaching their full potential and in turn, hindering economic growth and social progress.

    Rainbow Ruby is the first original global animation series by CJ E&M, Asia's leading content and Media Company as a co-production project with China Entertainment. It aims to help empower young girls to dream big and look to a bright future.

    CJ E&M is Asia’s leading content and media company headquartered in Seoul, Korea whereas China Entertainment Co., Ltd. is a subsidiary of the China Animation Group which is mainly engaged in the films and TV serials production.

    DHX Media is the appointed distributor of Rainbow Ruby in the U.S., Canada, and (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) EMEA countries excluding France.

  • India Inc became first in world to formally adopt UN's sustainable goals

    Date: Mar 14, 2016

    India Inc. on 12 March 2016 formally adopted the United Nations' (UN) agenda for the world's sustainable development and the 17 goals identified for its implementation in Mumbai.

    The 11th National Convention on Sustainable Development Goals organized by the Global Compact Network in Mumbai, which was inaugurated by Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, assumed significance as this is for the first time the UN is involving private and public sector corporates globally to drive its development agenda. This was the first such meeting which was held globally.

    Top 50 domestic corporate leaders such as the Tata Group, the Aditya Birla Group, Reliance, Vedanta, the Adani Group and public sector behemoth Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and several MNCs will officially adopt the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 (SDGs).

    The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the continuum of the 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which were under implementation from January 2000 to December 2015. These 17 SDGs are being implemented from January 2016 to December 2030.

    17 Sustainable Development Goals are:

    • No Poverty

    • Zero Hunger

    • Good Health and Well Being

    • Quality Education

    • Gender Equality

    • Clean Water and Sanitation

    • Affordable and Clean Energy

    • Decent Work and Economic Growth

    • Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

    • Required Inequalities

    • Sustainable Cities and Communities

    • Responsible Consumption and Production

    • Climate Action

    • Life Below Water

    • Life on Land

    • Peace Justice and Strong Institutions

    • Partnerships for the Goals

    About United Nations Global Compact

    • United Nations Global Compact is a UN initiative to encourage businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible polices, and to report on their implementation.  

    • Under the Global Compact, companies are brought together with UN agencies, labour groups and civil society.

    • It is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative with 13000 corporate participants and other stakeholders over 170 countries.

    • The Global Compact Network India, an association of over 300 companies, functions as the Indian Local Network of UN Global Compact, New York.

  • Sanjay Gupta, Jagran Group CEO and Dainik Jagran editor, chosen IAA Editor of the Year

    Date: Mar 14, 2016

    Sanjay Gupta, the Jagran Group CEO and Dainik Jagran editor was on 12 March 2016 presented with the Editor of the Year award at the 4th Indian Advertising Association (IAA) Awards in Mumbai.

    Sanjay Gupta received the award from Union Minister of State (Home Affairs) Kiren Rijiju.

    Other awards announced on the occasion include

    • Brand Endorser of the Year: Varun Dhawan, a Bollywood actor

    • TV Anchor of the Year award: Rajat Sharma of India TV

    • Media Person of the Year: Raj Nayak of Colors

    • CEO of the year: Kumar Mangalam Birla

    Bharat Patel from Procter and Gamble was inducted in the IAA Hall of Fame for building the Vicks brand in India and making it a household name.

    International Advertising Association (IAA)

    The International Advertising Association (IAA) is a unique strategic institution that addresses the common interests of all the disciplines across the full spectrum of marketing communications from advertisers to media companies as well as breitling replica advertising and interactive agencies, direct marketing firms and even individual practioners.

    The India Chapter of IAA was incorporated in July 1991. IAA-IC promotes the freedom to compete through responsible commercial speech while defending consumer choice.

    The IAA recognises excellence and leadership in the fields of marketing, advertising and media.

  • Health Minister JP Nadda launched project ‘Clean Street Food’

    Date: Mar 14, 2016

    Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare JP Nadda on 13 March 2016 launched Project ‘Clean Street Food’. The project of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) aims at to raise the safety standards of foods sold on streets across the capital city of New Delhi.

    In the first phase of the project, about 20000 roadside vendors will be trained on aspects of health and hygiene.

    Key characteristics of Clean Street Food

    • FSSAI will partner with the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship to train street food vendors at more than 40 centres across Delhi

    • The food vendors will receive training under the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) category of the Government’s flagship skills training scheme - Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY).

    • Under the Delhi Project, 20000 food street vendors would be trained, assessed and certified by seven training partners over the next four weeks at 40 training centres set up for the purpose across Delhi.

    • The Tourism and Hospitality Sector Skill Council (THSC), an affiliate of the National Skill Development Corporation, Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship will be the training provider under the Project.

    • Food vendors will receive Smart Skill-cum-Registration cards on completion of the training.

    Delhi Food Safety Commissioner and the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) are engaged in mobilization of street vendors across Delhi.

  • Maharashtra Cabinet approved Prohibition of Social Boycott Bill, 2016

    Date: Mar 14, 2016

    Maharashtra Cabinet on 1 March 2016 approved the Maharashtra Prohibition of Social Boycott Bill, 2016. The bill provides for the prohibition of social boycott of a person or group of persons including their family members by an individual or a group like Caste Panchayat.

    Once the bill is approved by the State legislature, Maharashtra will become the first State in the country to enact a law against social boycott.

    Features of Maharashtra Prohibition of Social Boycott Bill, 2016

    • The social boycott is prohibited and its commission shall be an offence.

    • The maximum punishment for social boycotting will be 7 years in prison or fine up to 5 lakh rupees or both.

    • The maximum punishment for extending aid in relation to the commission of offence will be 3 years or 3 lakh rupees or both.

    • The victim or any member of his family may file a complaint either through the police or directly to the Magistrate.

    • To ensure speedy justice, the trial shall be completed within a period of six months from the date of filing of the charge sheet.

    • Social Boycott Prohibition Officers will be appointed to detect the commission of offences, to assist the Magistrate and police officers in discharge of their duties under the Act.

    • The burden of proving that no offence under this Act have been committed by the accused, shall lie on the accused.

  • Cabinet Ministers are Public Authorities under Right to Information Act, 2005: CIC

    Date: Mar 14, 2016

    The Central Information Commission (CIC) on 13 March 2016 ruled that Cabinet Ministers in the States and the Union are pubic authorities under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005. In effect, they are liable to provide information to the public as per the demands of the RTI applications filed under the Act.

    This ruling was given by Central Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu while adjudicating the case filed by Hemant Dhage of Ahmednagar.

    Details of the ruling

    • To provide information asked under the RTI Act, public information officers (PIOs) should be appointed in the office of ministers.

    • The Union and State Governments were recommended to assist the ministers by designating or appointing some officers as PIOs and First Appellate Authorities.

    • The phrase of ‘oath of secrecy’ of ministers should be replaced with ‘oath of transparency’ in tune with the spirit of the RTI Act, which is built on the foundation that the right to information is a fundamental right and is intrinsic in Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution.

    • The term Public Authority in the Section 2 (h) of RTI Act would include all persons/individuals (like ministers) or bodies (like the legislature) conferred with power to perform the functions entrusted to them under the Constitution

    About the case

    Hemant Dhage, in his RTI application, sought to know from the staff of the then Union Minister for Law and Justice the scheduled time for people to meet the Cabinet Minister and Minister of State. In response, the staff directed the appellant to check with the minister himself and take the appointment.

    However, in the absence of any designated public information officer in the office of the minister, he approached higher appellant authorities, and finally the CIC, for redress.

  • Arab League declared Lebanese movement Hezbollah a terrorist group

    Date: Mar 13, 2016

    The Arab League on 11 March 2016 declared Lebanese movement Hezbollah a terrorist group. The announcement came only days after the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) adopted the same stance.

    The move came during the Arab League Foreign Ministers' meeting at the organisation's seat in Egypt's capital Cairo. Nearly all-22 Arab League members supported the decision, except Lebanon and Iraq, which expressed reservations.

    This Arab League decision came a day after Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader, accused Saudi Arabia of pressuring Lebanon to silence his group.

    Hezbollah, a Shia political organisation with an armed wing, fights in neighbouring Syria to support the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

  • Rock legend Keith Emerson died

    Date: Mar 13, 2016

    British Keyboardist and progressive rock legend Keith Emerson died on 10 March 2016. He was 71.

    Emerson, the co-founder of British prog-rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer, was widely considered one of the top keyboard players of the progressive rock era.

    Apart from ELP, founded in 1970, Keith Emerson is best remembered for his role in The Nice, formed in 1967. The British musician and composer was born in Yorkshire in 1944.

    ELP rose to become one of the most popular bands of the 1970s, and were voted in at number seven on Rolling Stone’s 2011 Reader Poll of the best prog-rock acts of all time.

  • Union Power Minister announced name 'UJALA' for LED based Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme

    Date: Mar 13, 2016

    Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal on 11 March 2016 announced the name 'UJALA' for the LED based Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme (DELP).

    DELP is currently running successfully in over 120 cities across India.

    UJALA, an acronym for Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All, is being implemented by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL).

    The National LED programme was launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 2015 with a target of replacing 77 crore incandescent lamps with LED bulbs.

    UJALA is successfully running across 12 states in India namely Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Puducherry, Jharkhand, Bihar and Uttarakhand. While more states are expected to join the initiative very soon.

  • India, IMF signed an agreement to set up SARTTAC

    Date: Mar 13, 2016

    India and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on 12 March 2016 signed an agreement to set up a South Asia Regional Training and Technical Assistance Center (SARTTAC) for training officials in dealing with macro-economic and financial issues.

    A memorandum of understanding (MoU) to set up the centre was signed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde in New Delhi in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    The SARTTAC will become the focal point for planning, co-ordinating and implementing IMF's capacity development activity in the region on a wide range of issues.

    The Center will help address existing training needs and respond to the demand for IMF training in India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, while bringing the region’s training volume on par with those of other regions.

    SARTTAC will offer courses and seminars for policymakers and other government agencies from the six countries of SAARC, namely India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. It will also build upon the IMF’s in-depth experience with capacity development by drawing on the experiences of the IMF’s Regional Technical Assistance Centers and Regional Training Centers, which have a proven track record of delivering technical assistance on economic institution building.

    India, Australia and the Republic of Korea have pledged financial support for the centre.


    The IMF offers technical assistance and training to member countries in addition to economic and financial surveillance, and lending operations. The IMF’s technical assistance helps member countries develop institutions that are more effective and legal frameworks and policies that can be used to promote economic stability and growth, while training strengthens the capacity of member countries’ officials to analyze economic developments and formulate and implement effective policies.

  • CCEA approved revised policy on gas production from Deep Waters & HPHT areas

    Date: Mar 12, 2016

    The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 10 March 2016 approved revised policy on gas production from deep water, ultra deep water and high pressure-high temperature (HPHT) areas.

    The revised policy seeks to grant marketing and pricing freedom for new gas production from these areas so that domestic gas production is improved and dependence on imports is reduced.

    Salient features of the revised policy

    • The producers will be allowed marketing including pricing freedom. It is applicable to all the discoveries in these areas which are yet to commence commercial production as 1 January 2016 and for all future discoveries also.

    • To protect user industries from any market imperfections, this freedom would be subject to a ceiling price on the basis of landed price of alternative fuels.

    • The ceiling shall be based on publicly available prices of substitute fuels and shall be calculated as lowest of the - Landed price of imported fuel oil, weighted average import landed price of substitute fuels (namely coal, fuel oil and naphtha) and landed price of imported LNG.

    • The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas will notify the periodic revision of gas price ceiling under these guidelines.

    This revised policy is in addition to the Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP) which was approved by the CCEA on 10 March 2016. The policy, among other things, provided for concessional royalty regime for deep water and ultra-deep water areas.

    As per the provision, these areas shall not have any royalty for the first seven years and thereafter shall have a concessional royalty of 5 percent in deep water areas and 2 percent in ultra-deep water areas.

    Benefits of the revised policy

    • The decision is expected to improve the viability of some of the discoveries already made in such areas and also would lead to monetization of future discoveries as well.

    • The associated reserves are valued at 180000 crore rupees.

    • There would be substantial employment generated during the development phase of these discoveries and a part of it would continue during the production phase of the block.

    • By keeping the domestic gas price below import parity price, user industry will be benefitted to a large extent.

    In terms of macro-economic impact and also in terms of energy security, it is of paramount importance that domestic production of hydrocarbons be increased. This revised policy is expected to achieve this objective.

    Why the revision in the policy?

    • Much of the unexploited oil and gas available in India is in areas characterized by deep water/ultra-deep water or high pressure/high temperature.

    • Recognizing the need for incentivizing gas production from these areas, the CCEA, in October 2014, approved premium on the gas produced from these areas.

    • However, in the subsequent period, due to the fall in the global oil gas prices affected the attractiveness of the sector to potential investors. As a result, there are a number of discoveries of gas in these areas which have not been developed.

    • ONGC and other operators are also requesting a higher price for gas to be produced from such fields, without which they may not be economical to bring to production.

    • Meanwhile, domestic gas production is showing a declining trend in recent years. It has witnessed a decline of 17 percent in two years from 40.66 BCM in 2012-13 to 33.65 BCM in 2014-15.

    • With the economy growing at over 7 percent, demand for petroleum products including gas is increasing.

    • Thus, the sector is facing a situation of rising demand, falling production and consequently rapid increase in hydrocarbon imports which occupy a large share of India’s total imports.

    • Currently, over three-quarters of the domestic requirement of crude oil and approximately a third of domestic requirement of gas are met through imports.

    Against this backdrop, the CCEA felt that rather than fixing a premium, it would be more appropriate to provide marketing and pricing freedom to the gas to be produced from the deep water, ultra deep water and high pressure-high temperature areas.

  • Assure call drops do not exceed 2%: SC to Telecom operators

    Date: Mar 12, 2016

    The Supreme Court on 10 March 2016 asked telecom operators to give an undertaking that they have not exceeded the two percent threshold limit of call drops as mandated in the regulations of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

    A bench headed by Justice Kurian Joseph also asked the cellular operator associations to inform the court whether any penalty was ever levied on them for call drops.

    Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), a body of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India and 21 telecom operators challenged the Delhi High Court order upholding the 16 October 2015 decision of the TRAI.

    TRAI made mandatory for telecom operators to compensate for call drops from 1 January 2016

    The TRAI made it mandatory for cellular operators to pay consumers one rupee per call drop experienced on their networks, subject to a cap of 3 rupees a day. The High Court allowed telecom regulator to implement its decision with effect from 1 January 2016.

    If the TRAI's recommendation is implemented the telecom operators will end up paying around 50000 crore rupees to the consumers in a year.

  • NITI Aayog launched Women Transforming India campaign in partnership with UN and MyGov

    Date: Mar 12, 2016

    The NITI Aayog on 8 March 2016, celebrated as International Women’s Day, launched the Women Transforming India initiative in partnership with the UN in India and MyGov.  

    Through the initiative, NITI Aayog seeks for entries in the form of written essays/stories, preferably accompanied by photographs that set a context to the narrative. These stories should reflect new ground broken by women in empowering themselves/others, or of challenging stereotypes.

    Why the campaign is launched?

    • To encourage and recognize women who have made a difference, particularly, by demonstrating leadership in the economic, socio-cultural and environmental front.

    • To encourage the stories of change fostered through the setting up of small businesses/enterprises to generate livelihood opportunities for communities, challenging discriminatory practices/norms, or preserving the environment and responding to challenges of climate change.

    • To identify successes in leading change achieved either through the use of technology or by employing innovating on-ground methods.

    • Spread across a period of over one month, the initiative will also sensitize citizens to gender issues and seek to promote gender equity and equality, through a variety of media.

    • Women Transforming India is consistent with the government’s renewed commitment to advancing gender equality.

    • The many interventions including Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Sukanya Samridhi Yojana, Janani Suraksha Yojana are testimony to its resolve to empower and educate of girls, and to tackle discrimination against girls and women.

    • This initiative is also a step forward in furthering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which have Gender as a stand-alone goal.

  • Rajya Sabha passed Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2015

    Date: Mar 12, 2016

    Rajya Sabha on 10 March 2016 passed the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2015. The bill among other provisions seeks to set up a Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) for the orderly growth of the real state sector.

    The bill also aims at protecting the interests of the large number of aspiring house buyers. It also wants to enhance the credibility of construction industry by promoting transparency, accountability and efficiency in execution of projects.

    The bill was approved by legislators across the political spectrum, a rare sight as the last two parliamentary sessions had ended in a whitewash.

    Main highlights of the Bill

    • The Bill seeks to regulate transactions between buyers and promoters and provides for setting up of state level regulatory authorities.

    • It also provides for registration of promoters and agents with the authorities.

    • The promoters are mandated to deposit 70 percent of the money collected from buyers in a separate bank account, to be used only for construction of that project.

    • They will also have to disclose project information including details of the promoter, land status, status of approvals, agreements along with details of real estate agents and contractors.

    • The commercial real estate has also been brought under the ambit of the Bill.

    • Projects under construction are also required to be registered with the RERA.

    • If builders cause delays in transferring properties to buyers, the appellate tribunal would intervene and slap fines on them within 60 days. In case consumers fail to make payments to developers, the appellate tribunal can fine them, too.

    • It provides for imprisonment of up to three years in case of promoters and up to one year in case of real estate agents and buyers for any violation of orders of Appellate Tribunals or monetary penalties or both.

    • The builders would also be responsible for fixing structural defects for five years after transferring the property to a buyer.

    • Buyers will now be paying only for the carpet area and not the super built-up area.

    • The developers will now have to take consent of 66 per cent of the homebuyers in case they have to increase the number of floors or change the building plans. This will protect the buyers from any ad-hoc changes that are a norm presently.

    • Projects only below the size of 500 square meters are exempted from the accountability ambit compared to earlier 1000 square meters or 12 apartments.

    The bill was first introduced in the Lok Sabha by Congress leader Kumari Selja in 2013, when she was Union Urban Development Minister but was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee. In December 2015 Union Cabinet approved the bill after incorporating 20 amendments suggested by the Standing Committee.

    The real state sector is the second largest employer after agriculture and contributes 9% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

  • Lok Sabha passed Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016

    Date: Mar 12, 2016

    The Lok Sabha on 11 March 2016 passed the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016.

    The bill seeks to provide for targeted delivery of subsidies and services to individuals residing in India by assigning them unique identity numbers, called Aadhaar numbers.

    Since it was introduced as a Money Bill, it requires only approval of the President to become an Act of the Parliament.

    Features of the Aadhaar Bill, 2016

    • Eligibility: Every resident shall be entitled to obtain an Aadhaar number.  A resident is a person who has resided in India for 182 days, in the one year preceding the date of application for enrolment for Aadhaar.

    • Information to be submitted: To obtain an Aadhaar number, an individual has to submit his (a) biometric (photograph, finger print, iris scan) and (b) demographic (name, date of birth, address) information.  The Unique Identification Authority (UID) may specify other biometric and demographic information to be collected by regulations.

    • Enrolment: At the time of enrolment, the individual will be informed of the manner in which the information will be used, the nature of recipients with whom the information will be shared and the right to access this information.

    After verification of information provided by a person, an Aadhaar number will be issued to him.

    • Usage of Aadhaar number: To verify the identity of a person receiving a subsidy or a service, the government may require them to have an Aadhaar number.  If a person does not have an Aadhaar number, government will require them to apply for it, and in the meanwhile, provide an alternative means of identification.

    Any public or private entity can accept the Aadhaar number as a proof of identity of the Aadhaar number holder, for any purpose. However, Aadhaar number cannot be a proof of citizenship or domicile.

    Functions and composition of authority: The following are the key functions of the UID authority -

    1) Specifying demographic and biometric information to be collected during enrolment

    2) Assigning Aadhaar numbers to individuals

    3) Authenticating Aadhaar numbers

    4) Specifying the usage of Aadhaar numbers for delivery of subsidies and services.

    • UID Authority composition: The UID authority will consist of a chairperson, two part-time members and a CEO.  The chairperson and members are required to have experience of at least 10 years in matters such as technology, governance, etc.

    • Authentication: The UID authority will authenticate the Aadhar number of an individual, if an entity makes such a request.  A requesting entity (an agency or person that wants to authenticate information of a person) has to obtain the consent of an individual before collecting his information.  The agency can use the disclosed information only for purposes for which the individual has given consent.

    • Response to authentication query: The UID authority shall respond to an authentication query with a positive, negative or other appropriate response.  However, it is not permitted to share an individual’s finger print, iris scan and other biological attributes.

    • Maintenance of Authentication records: The UID authority shall record the entity requesting verification of a person’s identity, the time of request and the response received by the entity.  The purpose for which an individual's identity needs to be verified will not be maintained.

    Understanding the issue of Right to Privacy

     • Privacy: Biometric information such as an individual’s finger print, iris scan and other biological attributes will be used only for Aadhaar enrolment and authentication and for no other purpose.  Such information will not be shared with anyone, nor will it be displayed publicly, except for purposes specified by regulations.

    However, in two instances, information may be revealed – In the interest of national security and on the order of court.

    1) National security: In the interest of national security, a Joint Secretary in the Union Government may issue a direction for revealing Aadhaar number, biometric information, demographic information and photograph. Such a decision will be reviewed by an Oversight Committee (comprising Cabinet Secretary, Secretaries of Legal Affairs and Electronics and Information Technology) and will be valid for six months.

    2) Court order: On the order of a court an individual’s Aadhaar number, photograph and demographic information may be revealed.

    • Offences and penalties: A person may be punished with imprisonment up to 3 years and minimum fine of 10 lakh rupees for unauthorized access to the centralized data-base, including revealing any information stored in it.

    If a requesting entity and an enrolling agency fail to comply with rules, they shall be punished with imprisonment up to one year or a fine up to 10000 rupees or one lakh rupees, in case of a company, or with both.

    • Cognizance of offence: No court shall take cognizance of any offence except on a complaint made by the UID authority or a person authorised by it.

  • Long march against Indo-Bangladesh power plant near Sundarbans started

    Date: Mar 12, 2016

    A 250 km-long protest march against plans to build Rampal Power Station, Indo-Bangladesh coal-fired power plant near the Sundarbans, was kick-started on 10 March 2016.

    The protest march calls for scrapping the project that supposedly will harm the ecosystem of the world's largest mangrove forest.

    Environmentalists, cultural and political activists, and eminent individuals began the four-day march from Jatiya Press Club in Dhaka to persuade the Bangladeshi Government to drop its backing for construction of the plants near the Sundarbans, an area of rice paddies, shrimp farms and vast mangrove forests.

    The proposed Rampal Power Station

    • The Rampal Power Station is a proposed 1320 megawatt coal-fired power station at Rampal Upazila of Bagerhat District in Khulna, Bangladesh.

    • It is a joint partnership between India's state owned National Thermal Power Corporation and Bangladesh Power Development Board.

    • The joint venture company is known as Bangladesh India Friendship Power Company (BIFPC).

    • The proposed project, on an area of over 1834 acres of land, is situated 14 kilometres north of the world's largest mangrove forest Sundarbans which is a UNESCO world heritage site.

    • When constructed, it will be Bangladesh’s largest power plant.

    About Sundarbans

    • The Sundarbans is a natural region comprising southern Bangladesh and a small part in Eastern India.

    • It is the largest single block of tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world.

    • It covers approximately 10000 square kilometres most of which is in Bangladesh with the remainder in India.

    • It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    • Sundarbans South, East and West are three protected forests in Bangladesh. This region is densely covered by mangrove forests, and is the largest reserves for the Bengal tiger.

  • Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu launched “Clean My Coach” service

    Date: Mar 12, 2016

     Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu

    Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on 11 March 2016 launched an online Clean My Coach service. The service allows travelers to get their compartments cleaned by sending an SMS or by using an app or a designated website. 

    The service was launched through Video Conferencing from Rail Bhawan in New Delhi/Northern Railway, Mumbai Central/Western Railway and Lucknow Jn/North Eastern Railway.

    Salient Features of Clean My Coach service

    • As per the scheme, for any cleaning requirement in the coach, passenger will have to send an SMS on a mobile number 58888. Alternatively, passenger can also use android app ‘Cleanmycoach Indian Railways’ or webpage ‘’ for logging the request.

    • Passenger’s request is immediately acknowledged via SMS on mobile phone along with a code.

    • A message is also sent by the server to the mobile number of On Board House Keeping (OBHS) staff travelling on the same train along with the details of the passengers such as coach number, berth number.

    • OBHS staff contacts the passengers, carries out the cleaning work as per demand.

    • If the passenger is satisfied, he discloses the code received during acknowledgement and OBHS staff in turn sends the same code through SMS and the complaint is then treated as closed. If the passenger is not satisfied, he/she doesn’t disclose the code and the complaint is treated as not closed.

    This Clean My Coach service was announced by the Railway Minister in his Rail Budget Speech of 2016-17.

  • Rest of India defeated Mumbai to lift Irani Cup Cricket Title

    Date: Mar 11, 2016

    Rest of India on 10 March 2016 won the Irani Cup Cricket title. In the match played in Mumbai, Rest of India defeated 41-time Ranji Champions Mumbai by four wickets.

    Rest of India overhauled the victory target of 480 by making 482 for 6 on the fifth and final day in Mumbai.

    Rest of India’s chase was also the best-ever run-chase in the Irani history. It bettered Rest’s 424, chasing 421 set by Delhi at the Ferozshah Kotla in 1982-83.

    • Man-of-the-match - Karun Nair

    • The final scores: Mumbai-603 and 182; Rest of India - 306 and 482 for 6

    About Irani Cup

    The Irani Cup (earlier called Irani Trophy) tournament was conceived during the 1959-60 season to mark the completion of 25 years of the Ranji Trophy championship.

    It was named after the late ZR Irani, who was associated with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) from its inception in 1928, till his death in 1970. The fixture is always played between the previous year's Ranji Trophy winners and the Rest of India Team.

  • Former SC Judge BS Chauhan appointed 21st Law Commission Chairperson

    Date: Mar 11, 2016

    Union Government on 10 March 2016 appointed former Supreme Court judge Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan as the chairperson of the 21st Law Commission. The post was vacant since September 2015 when the commission was constituted.

    At present, Justice Chauhan is heading the Cauvery River Water Disputes Tribunal. He was a judge of the Supreme Court from May 2009 to July 2014. Earlier from July 2008 to May 2009, he served as the Chief Justice of Orissa High Court.

    The 21st Law Commission was constituted through a Union Government Order with effect from 1 September 2015. It has a three-year term, ending on 31 August 2018. The Commission presently comprises of three members, Member-Secretary and Secretary to the Union Government, two ex-officio members and Secretary to the Law Commission of India. Present members are:

    • Justice Ravi R Tripathi, a former judge of the Gujarat High Court, was appointed as the member of the commission. He retired as judge May 2015.

    • PK Malhotra, Member-Secretary and Secretary to the Union Government

    • PK Malhotra, Law Secretary Member (Ex-Officio)

    • Dr. G Narayana Raju, Secretary (Legislative) Member (Ex-Officio)

    • Dr. Pawan Sharma, Secretary to the Law Commission of India

    Terms of Reference of the 21st Law Commission are as follows:

    • Review/Repeal of obsolete laws including laws which are not in tandem with atmosphere of economic liberalization.

    • Examine the Laws which affect the poor, carry out post-audit for socio-economic legislations and take all such measures as may be necessary to harness law and the legal process in the service of the poor.

    • Keep under review the system of judicial administration to ensure that it is responsive to the reasonable demands of the times.

    • Examine the existing laws in the light of Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) and to suggest ways of improvement and reform and also to suggest such legislations as might be necessary to implement the DPSP and to attain the objectives set out in the Preamble to the Constitution.

    • Examine the existing laws with a view for promoting gender equality and suggesting amendments thereto.

    • Revise the Central Acts of general importance so as to simplify them and to remove anomalies, ambiguities and inequities.

    • Recommend to the Government measure for making the statute book up-to-date by repealing obsolete laws and enactments or parts thereof which have outlived their utility.

    • Consider and to convey to the Government its views on any subject relating to law and judicial administration that may be specifically referred to it by the Government through Ministry of Law and Justice (Department of Legal Affairs).

    • Consider the requests for providing research to any foreign countries as may be referred to it by the Government through Ministry of Law and Justice (Department of Legal Affairs).

    • Examine the impact of globalization on food security, unemployment and recommend measures for the protection of the interests of the marginalized.

  • Union Cabinet approved Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy

    Date: Mar 11, 2016

    The Union Cabinet, presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 10 March 2016 approved the Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP).

    The decision will enhance domestic oil and gas production, bring substantial investment in the sector and generate sizable employment. The policy also targets the enhancement of transparency and reduction of administrative discretion.

    Four main components of the policy are:

    • Uniform license for exploration and production of all forms of hydrocarbon

    The uniform licence will enable the contractor to explore conventional as well as unconventional oil and gas resources including CBM, shale gas/oil, tight gas and gas hydrates under a single license.  

    • An open acreage policy

    The concept of Open Acreage Policy will enable Exploration & Production (E&P) companies choose the blocks from the designated area.

    • Easy to administer revenue sharing model

    Present fiscal system of production sharing based on Investment Multiple and cost recovery /production linked payment will be replaced by a easy to administer revenue sharing model.

    The earlier contracts were based on the concept of profit sharing where profits are shared between Government and the contractor after recovery of cost. Under the profit sharing methodology, it became necessary for the Government to scrutinize cost details of private participants and this led to many delays and disputes.

    Under the new regime, the Government will not be concerned with the cost incurred and will receive a share of the gross revenue from the sale of oil, gas etc. This is in tune with Government’s policy of Ease of Doing Business.

    • Marketing and pricing freedom for the crude oil and natural gas produced

    Recognising the higher risks and costs involved in exploration and production from offshore areas, lower royalty rates for such areas have been provided as compared to NELP royalty rates to encourage exploration and production.

    A graded system of royalty rates have been introduced, in which royalty rates decreases from shallow water to deepwater and ultra-deep water. At the same time, royalty rate for onland areas have been kept intact so that revenues to the state governments are not affected.

    On the lines of NELP, cess and import duty will not be applicable on blocks awarded under the new policy.  This policy also provides for marketing freedom for crude oil and natural gas produced from these blocks. 

  • Tezpur University and JNU won the annual Visitor’s Awards for Central Universities

    Date: Mar 11, 2016

    Tezpur University on 10 March 2016 won the annual Visitor’s Award for the Best University. Rakesh Bhatnagar and the Molecular Parasitology Group of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) have also won the Visitor’s Awards for Research and Innovation respectively.

    President Pranab Mukherjee will present Visitor’s Awards for 2016 to the winners at a function to be held at Rashtrapati Bhavan on 14 March 2016, as part of the Festival of Innovations.

    The Visitor’s Award for Innovation will be given to Professor Rakesh Bhatnagar of Jawaharlal Nehru University for development of a genetically engineered vaccine and a therapeutic antibody against anthrax.

    The Visitor’s Award for Research will be presented to the Molecular Parasitology Group of Jawaharlal Nehru University of pioneering work in the area of molecular parasitology, especially anti-malaria, leishmaniasis and amoebiasis.

    The Best University will receive a Citation and Trophy while winners of Visitor’s Award for Innovation and Research will receive a citation and cash award of one lakh rupees.

    About Visitor’s Award

    • The institution of Visitor’s Awards for Central Universities was announced by President Pranab Mukherjee at the Vice Chancellors’ Conference 2014.

    • The awards were instituted with an aim of promoting healthy competition amongst Central Universities and motivating them to adopt best practices from across the world.

    About Festival of Innovations

    • A week-long Festival of Innovations will be held in Rashtrapati Bhavan from 12 March to 19 March 2016.

    • It will commence with the inauguration of an exhibition of grassroot innovations on 12 March 2016 by President Pranab Mukherjee.

    • The Festival will witness a number of exhibitions, roundtable discussions on different topics related to innovations, group discussions, an award for Gandhian Young Technological Innovation, a meeting of Innovation Clubs set up in institutions of higher education, a workshop for children and a hackathon and more.

  • Brazilian percussionist, Nana Vasconcelos, died

    Date: Mar 10, 2016

    Eight time Grammy Award-winning Brazilian percussionist, Nana Vasconcelos, died on 9 March 2016 in Recife, Brazil. He was 71.

    The musician from Brazil was known for his wide instrumental range and major role in free spirited jazz and world music of the 1970s and 1980.

    Nana Vasconcelos

    • He was a master of the single-string percussion instrument known in Portuguese as the berimbao (multi-toned Afro-Brazilian instrument).

    • The American jazz magazine DownBeat named Vasconcelos percussionist of the year every year from 1983 to 1991.

    • Nana who learnt music from his father and started playing drum kit at the age of 12 rose to prominence after he moved to Rio de Janeiro in the 1960s and started playing with Nascimento.

    • He is best known for collaborations with Brazilians Milton Nascimento and Egberto Gismonti, Argentine Gato Barbieri and Americans Don Cherry and Pat Metheny.

  • Union Government signed Raptor MoU on conservation of birds of prey

    Date: Mar 10, 2016

    The Union Government on 7 March 2016 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on conservation of birds of prey in Africa and Eurasia at the Convention on Migratory Species Office in Abu Dhabi.

    The MoU was signed by T.P Seetharam, the Ambassador of India to the UAE.

    With the signing of the Raptor MoU, India became the 56th signatory state to sign it.

    The MoU is also in conformity with the provisions of the existing Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, wherein the birds have been accorded protection.

    What is a Raptor MoU?

    • The Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia is an international, legally non-binding, agreement to protect migratory birds of prey.

    • It was concluded on 22 October 2008 and came into effect on 1 November 2008.

    • It is an agreement under Article IV paragraph 4 of the CMS.

    • It seeks willingness of the signatory Range States for working for conservation of the raptor species and their habitats.

    • An action plan has been formulated which primarily envisages the conservation action for Raptor species.

    • The MoU extends its coverage to 76 species of birds of prey out of which 46 species including vultures, falcons, eagles, owls, hawks, kites, harriers, and more which are also found in India.

    • The CMS or Bonn Convention, under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), aims to conserve migratory species throughout their range.

    • India has been a party to the CMS since 1 November 1983.

  • Rajya Sabha passed National Waterways Bill, 2015

    Date: Mar 10, 2016

    The Rajya Sabha on 9 March 2016 passed National Waterways Bill, 2015. The Bill seeks to unleash the navigation potential of India’s larger river ways resources.

    As part of this Bill, under entry 24 of the Union List of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, the Union government can make laws on shipping and navigation on inland waterways that are classified as national waterways.

    The Bill identifies additional 101 waterways as national waterways. It also specifies the extent of development to be undertaken on each waterway.

    Earlier, the Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on 21 December 2015.

    The National Waterways Bill, 2015 was introduced in Lok Sabha on 5 May 2015 by the Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways and Shipping, Nitin Gadkari.


    This National Waterways Bill, which was passed by both the houses of Parliament, on being a law, will provide an alternative form of transportation in India. It will also open economic opportunities to new regions.

    At present, this transportation facility is dominated by road and rail.

  • Lupin completed acquisition of GAVIS Pharma

    Date: Mar 10, 2016

    Drug major Lupin on 9 March 2016 announced completion of the acquisition of privately held US-based GAVIS Pharmaceuticals LLC and Novel Laboratories (GAVIS).

    The acquisition of GAVIS Pharma was announced by Lupin of 23 July 2015.

    The deal was cash-free and debt-free and it was funded by a bridge loan, with 10 crore rupees from existing cash reserves deployed for it.

    With this acquisition, Lupin received access to a host of specialty generic drugs and niche products, mainly in dermatology, gastro-intestinal and injectables. GAVIS’s New-Jersey based manufacturing facility will now become Lupin’s first manufacturing site in the US.

    Both the companies will now have a portfolio of 120 in-market products, 185 cumulative filings pending approval and a deep pipeline of products under development for the US.

    The acquisition created the fifth largest portfolio of Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) filings with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). GAVIS has 62 ANDA filings pending approval with the US FDA and a pipeline of over 65 products under development. 72% of these filings pending approvals represent niche dosage forms with 18 Para IVs and 8 FTFs products. GAVIS’ pending approvals address a market of over 9 billion US dollars.

    About Lupin Limited

    • Lupin Limited is a transnational pharmaceutical company based in Mumbai.

    • It is the seventh-largest company by market capitalization and the 10th-largest generic pharmaceutical company by revenue globally.

    • Lupin is the fifth-largest generic pharmaceutical company in the US by prescription-led market share and 3rd largest Indian pharmaceutical company by revenue.

    • It has the distinction of being the fastest growing generic pharmaceutical player in the US and Japan.

  • Allahabad HC asked UP government to stop illegal mining in Sonbhadra district

    Date: Mar 10, 2016

    The Allahabad High Court (HC) on 9 March 2016 asked the Uttar Pradesh (UP) to immediately stop illegal mining in reserved forest areas of Sonbhadra district.

    High Court’s bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Yashwant Varma took a strict note of illegal mining in the Sonbhadra and ordered the state Principal Secretary of Mining, District Magistrate and Senior Superintendent of Police of Sonbhadra to take immediate action.

    Frightening Level of Mercury Content in the Environment of Sonbhdra District: CSE

    The High Court also instructed the State government to take action against those officials, who are responsible for illegal mining.

    While disposing off a PIL, the bench also asked the State to take necessary steps to recover all losses occurred due to illegal mining.

    About Sonbhadra district

    Sonbhadra or Sonebhadra is the 2nd largest district of Uttar Pradesh. It is the only district in India which borders four states namely Madhya Pradesh, Chhattishgarh Jharkhand and Bihar.

    It lies between Vindhya and Kaimur hills. It is a hilly region with natural beauty due to which first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru called Sonbhadra “The Switzerland of India”.

  • Jean Arnault appointed as head of UN Political Mission in Columbia

    Date: Mar 10, 2016

    Jean Arnault was on 9 March 2016 appointed as the head of United National Political Mission in Columbia. An announcement in this regard was made by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York, the USA.

    In his new capacity, Arnault, a French national, will also serve as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Colombia.

    Before the present elevation, he had been serving as the Delegate of the Secretary-General to the Sub-Commission on End of Conflict Issues within the Colombia peace process.

    Earlier, Arnault moderated the peace process in Guatemala before being appointed the head of the verification mission in the country (MINUGUA).

    He also worked in senior positions with the UN in Afghanistan, Burundi, Georgia, and was the UN Special Adviser to the Group of Friends of Democratic Pakistan.

  • First-ever NCC Girls Everest Expedition flagged off

    Date: Mar 10, 2016

    The Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh on 9 March 2016 flagged off the first-ever all girls National Cadet Corps (NCC) Mount Everest expedition.

    The aim of mountaineering expeditions in NCC is to strengthen the character and instill qualities of courage, comradeship, discipline and leadership in the cadets. NCC has always been in the forefront in adventure activities.

    The all girls team comprising of 10 girl cadets and 15 service personnel will be led by Colonel Gaurav Karki.

    The plan of conducting the first-ever NCC Girls Expedition to Mt Everest was proposed by Director General NCC Lt. Gen. A. Chakravarty in 2014.


    The first mountaineering course for NCC Cadets was conducted for 42 days at Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI), Darjeeling in 1961. Every year, NCC sponsors 354 boy and girl cadets for basic mountaineering courses at HMI, Darjeeling, NIM Uttarkashi, ABVIMAS Manali and Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering and Winter Sports (JIM & WS), Pahalgam.

    Mountaineering Expedition as an adventure activity was introduced in NCC in the year 1970. Since then, NCC conducts two mountaineering expeditions every year, one each for boy and girl cadets thus having launched more than 70 expeditions to various peaks.

  • Lok Sabha passed Enemy Property Amendment Bill 2016

    Date: Mar 10, 2016

    Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament, on 9 March 2016 passed the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016. The bill seeks to make amendments to the 48-year-old Enemy Property Act, 1968.

    The amendments are aimed at plugging the loopholes in the Enemy Property Act to ensure that the enemy properties that have been vested in the Custodian of Enemy Property for India remain so and they do not revert back to the enemy subject or enemy firm.

    Main highlights of the Bill

    • The bill guards against claims of succession or transfer of properties left by people who migrated to Pakistan after the 1965 and 1971 wars.

    • The bill also includes the properties of those persons who migrated to China after the Indo-China War of 1962.

    • Once an enemy property is vested in the Custodian, it shall continue to be vested in him as enemy property irrespective of whether the enemy, enemy subject or enemy firm has ceased to be an enemy due to reasons such as death and others.

    • The law of succession does not apply to enemy property.

    • There cannot be transfer of any property vested in the Custodian by an enemy or enemy subject or enemy firm and that the Custodian shall preserve the enemy property till it is disposed of in accordance with the provisions of the Act.

    Earlier on 7 January 2016, President Pranab Mukherjee promulgated the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 2016 to make amendments to the Enemy Property Act, 1968.


    In the wake of Indo-China War 1962 and Indo-Pak war of 1965 and 1971, many people from India migrated to China and Pakistan respectively and adopted their nationality. The properties and companies of such persons were taken over by the Union Government under the Defence of India Rules framed under the Defence of India Act, 1962.

    The Central Government through the Custodian of Enemy Property for India is in possession of enemy properties spread across many states in the country. In addition, there are also movable properties categorized as enemy properties.

  • Tata Power arm inked agreement with IRRL to acquire 30 MW wind farm in Maharashtra

    Date: Mar 10, 2016

    Tata Power Renewable Energy Limited (TPREL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Power, on 9 March 2016 signed a Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) with Indo Rama Renewables Limited (IRRL) to acquire its 100% subsidiary Indo Rama Renewables Jath Limited (IRRJL). IRRJL owns a 30 MW wind farm in Sangli District of Maharashtra.

    IRRJL’s wind farm is fully operational since July 2013 and has executed a long-term power purchase agreement with Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Limited. The wind farm is registered under the Generation Based Incentive scheme of Ministry of New & Renewable Energy.

    With this acquisition, Tata Power’s total generation capacity will increase to 9130 MW and its operational Wind power generation capacity to 570 MW with wind turbines located across five states, which are Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. TPREL also has 250 MW of wind projects under construction across Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.

    About Indo Rama

    • Indo Rama Renewables Jath Limited (IRRJL) is a 100% step down subsidiary of Indo Rama Synthetics India Limited (IRSL).

    • IRSL is one of India’s largest players in the business of manufacturing polyester.

    • It has an integrated manufacturing complex spread over 250 acres at Butibori, near Nagpur in Maharashtra with a capacity of more than 6 Lac tonnes per annum.

    • IRRJL operates a 30 MW wind farm in District Sangli of Maharashtra comprising of 15 numbers of 2000 KW G 97 Wind Turbine Generators (WTGs) supplied by Gamesa India.

    About Tata Power Renewable Energy Limited

    • TPREL is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Tata Power Company Ltd.

    • TPREL is Tata Power’s primary investment vehicle for the clean and renewable energy based power generation capacity.

    • TPREL’s present operating capacity is 244 MW, comprising 190 MW wind and 54 MW solar, located in the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan.

  • DIPP gave approval for 12 industrial licenses to Reliance Defence Ltd

    Date: Mar 10, 2016

    The DIPP on 9 March 2016 announced that it gave approval for 12 industrial licenses to the Reliance Defence Ltd, which a subsidiary of Anil Ambani-led Reliance Infrastructure Ltd.

    The licenses were sanctioned to the Strategic Business Units (SBUs) of the company in February 2016 by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) under the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

    Reliance Defence Technologies Pvt. Ltd, Reliance Helicopters Ltd, Reliance Propulsion Systems Ltd, Reliance Aerostructure Ltd and Reliance Naval Systems Ltd are some of the SBUs under the Reliance Defence Ltd that got licenses.

    Under the licenses, Reliance Defence will be allowed to manufacture systems to address the defence requirements in India and overseas markets and forge tie-ups with international original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

    Some of the defence systems that will be manufactured under the licenses will be - helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), all-terrain combat vehicles (ATCVs), night-vision devices, sensors, etc.

  • Chhattisgarh State Budget 2016-17 presented

    Date: Mar 10, 2016

    Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh on 9 March 2016 presented the Annual State Budget 2016-17 in the legislative assembly. This was his 10th successive budget as he also holds the portfolio of Finance Minister.

    The focus and attention of the budget is agriculture, Infrastructure, and social sector.

    The Budget pegged the Annual Development Plan for the year 2016-17 at 70056 crore rupees and estimated the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) at 7.6 percent in the fiscal 2016-17.

    Main Highlights

    •    Seven Pillars of Development: Farmers, Inclusive Development, Communications, Health, Security, Self-reliance and Capacity-building

    •    Capital expenditure for infrastructure: Share of the sector in the budget was raised by 18.6 percent. In the fiscal year 2015-16, it was raised nu 16.9 percent. 

    •    Social sector expenditure: It was increased by over 16 percent, with its share in the budget increasing from 37% to 40%.

    •    Agriculture Department’s budget: It was increased by 26 percent.


    a)    Development of road network: Government announced plans to construct 13000 kilometer long road with an investment of 42000 crore rupees over the next three years. The budget allocation for this is a massive 6101 crore rupees representing an increase of 56% over the preceding year.

    b)    Expansion of rail network: Government decided to develop 780 kilometres of railway lines on three arterial routes, namely Raipur Baloda Bazar-Jharsuguda, Ambikapur-Barvadih and Dongargarh Kawardha-Mungeli-Bilaspur-Katghora. For the purpose, it opted to continue unique Public-Private Partnership (PPP) strategy, with equity infusion from Railways and the State Government.

    c)    Development at Airports: It seeks to develop Raigarh and Jagdalpur (Bastar) airstrips as airports for regular flights.

    d)    Electricity: It will be provided to un-electrified 818 villages and all 9000-plus un-electrified schools by March 2017. The project will be executed through project outlays totaling 761 crore rupees, besides a massive 700 crore rupees programme of network strengthening for the Bastar and Sarguja regions, involving the setting up of 80 sub-stations in two years.

    e)    Urban development: 225 crore rupees was allocated for AMRUT Mission. Under this, sewerage system for Raipur has been approved at a cost of 650 crore rupees. Provision has also been made for buying the Raipur-Kendri railway line land to decongest Raipur traffic and to create public transport facilities to the airport and Naya Raipur. Naya Raipur too has received sizeable allocations for basic civic infrastructure like sewerage and a bus rapid transit system (BRTS).

    Social Sectors

    a)    Health: The public health system will be strengthened by expanding bed capacity by 44 percent through creation of 2400 additional hospital beds. Besides, the D.K.S. Hospital campus at Raipur will be developed as a super specialty hospital with ultramodern facilities, including the first PET-scan facility in the State. A 100-bed hospital cum trauma centre for Bastar will be developed at Jagdalpur in the PPP mode and a 100-bed super specialty hospital too would be established there with NMDC’s help. At present, Chhattisgarh is running the most inclusive health insurance scheme in the country, providing universal health insurance with cover of 30000 rupees per year.

    b)    Insurance: Cover under the Mukhyamantri Swasthya Bima Yojana was enhanced to 50000 rupees.

    c)    Malnutrition: To combat malnutrition, Mukhya Mantri Amrit Yojana was announced under which flavoured milk will be given weekly to children in all anganwadis, and soya milk in all elementary schools of select three districts.

    d)    Prime Minister’s Housing for All by 2022 Mission: The government will provide an additional support from the State exchequer in the form of additional subsidy of up to 4 lakh rupees per house, over and above the subsidy of 1 lakh rupees per house already provided for, for in-situ housing redevelopment in slums.

    e)    Urban sanitation: It doubled the subsidy on toilet construction through the state exchequer.

    f)    Education: 7 general public universities will each receive 20 crore rupees, while Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Universities will together get another 40 crore rupees.

    i.    Swami Vivekanand Gyanodaya Yojana was announced for all-round improvement of colleges, with an outlay of 84 crore rupees.

    ii.    Vivekanand Gurukul Unnayan Yojana will be launched for all-round development of weaker section students in residential schools.

    iii.    Youth will be the beneficiaries of various entrepreneurship development schemes such as incubator-cum-accelerator, interest-free loans for startups and a venture capital fund.

    iv.    Mukhya Mantri Yuva Swavlamban Yojana was launched to train and place 5000 college students in IT and BPO sectors. 144 crore rupees was allocated for skill development schemes.

    v.    For development of urban facilities in rural areas under Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission, four clusters have been identified in Rajnandgaon, Dhamtari, Kabirdham and Bastar districts.


    To tackle the agricultural distress caused due to drought, the government pledged its resources for interest-free converting crop loans of drought affected farmers to medium term loans and offering them partial waiver, besides providing them to one quintal of free improved seeds for the next kharif season.

    i.    200 crore rupees was allocated for launching Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana.

    ii.    The outlay for irrigation projects this year stands increased by 173 crore to 2891 crore rupees.

    iii.    Land records will be comprehensively made available online under the comprehensive new e-Dharti Yojana.

    iv.    Fire stations will be established this year in 10 cities across the State.

    Tax concessions

    Tax concessions in VAT were announced for consumers. These include removal of VAT from cycle and cycle parts, brooms, mops, brushes and wipers.

    a)    In order to create a level playing field for local retailers competing with online retailers, VAT on mobile phones has been reduced from 14% to 5%.

    b)    In a major tax relief for the state’s steel industry, the Chief Minister announced reduction in the VAT rate on iron ore, pig iron, sponge iron, iron ore pellets, ingots, billets and ferro-alloys from 5% to 2%.

    Fiscal Discipline

    The 2016-17 budget projects a revenue surplus and a fiscal deficit of 2.88 percent, well within the FRBM limit of 3% of GSDP.

    The State’s overall debt-to-GSDP ratio is the lowest among all states and Chhattisgarh is among the leading states in terms of the ratio to GSDP of both tax revenue and non-tax revenue.

    It also has the highest ratio of developmental expenditure to GSDP in the country and the second highest social sector expenditure to GSDP ratio.

  • Indian Army’s cycling event for nature flagged off from Pangsau Pass

    Date: Mar 10, 2016

    Pangsau Pass (Pan Saung Pass) was in news in the second week of March 2016. It came into news after a cycling expedition with the theme ‘Cycle to Recycle’ was flagged off by the Indian Army on 8 March 2016 as part Assam Rifles’ 181st raising day celebrations. 

    Pangsau Pass is at an altitude of 3727 feet and lies on the crest of the Patkai Hills on the India-Burma border. The Pass offers one of the easiest routes into Burma from the Assam plains. It is named after the closest Burmese village, Pangsau that lies 2 km beyond the pass to the east.

    Key characteristics of the Pangsau Pass

    • It is the reputed route of the 13th century invasion of Assam in India by the Ahoms, a Shan tribe.

    • In the late 19th century, the pass was recognised as the possible railway route from India to Myitkyina in north Burma through the Hukawng Valley.

    • The pass became famous during World War II for being the initial obstacle encountered by American General "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell's forces in their effort to build a land route to isolated China after the fall of Burma to the Japanese.

    • Because of the fierce gradients and the mud which makes getting up to the pass difficult, it was nicknamed "Hell Pass" during the World War-II.

    • The Pangsau Pass Winter Festival is celebrated every year at Nampong, Arunachal Pradesh and is the second most popular tourism event of the State. The festival unearths the magnificent isle of culture of the Tangsa tribes, their cuisines and the exotic countryside.

  • India, Bangladesh signed 2 billion US dollar Line of Credit

    Date: Mar 10, 2016

    India and Bangladesh on 9 March 2016 signed a 2 billion US dollar Line of Credit (LOC) to implement socio-economic development projects in Bangladesh and strengthen bilateral relations. The LOC was extended by Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) on behalf of the Government of India.

    The 2 billion US dollar LOC is the biggest credit line India has so far extended to any country.

    The LOC agreement to this effect was signed in Dhaka, Bangladesh by Yaduvendra Mathur, Chairman & Managing Director, EXIM Bank, and Mohammad Mejbahuddin, Senior Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

    The agreement was inked in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement during his visit in Bangladesh in June 2015.

    Key highlights of the LOC

    • The LOC of 2 billion US dollars is the largest ever GOI-supported LOC extended by Exim Bank to any country.

    • With the signing of the LOC, EXIM Bank, till date, has extended two LOCs to Bangladesh, on behalf of Government of India, taking the total value of LOCs to 2.862 billion US dollars.

    • India first extended a LOC of 1 billion US dollars to Bangladesh in 2010.

    • Of this, 200 million US dollar was later converted into grant and the line of credit was enhanced from 800 million US dollar to 862 million US dollar in 2015 by means of an amendment to the agreement.

    • The Second Line of Credit will fund social and infrastructure development projects in the power, railways, road, transport, information and communication technology, shipping, health and technical education sectors.

    Projects covered under the first LOC of 862 million US dollars include:

    • Procurement of buses, locomotives, passenger coaches and other rolling stock, laboratory equipment.

    • Construction of 2nd Bhairab and 2nd Titas Bridge, Khulna-Mongla port rail line, 3rd and 4th Dual Gauge track between Dhaka-Tongi section and doubling of dual gauge track between Tongi-Joydebpur, rehabilitation of the Kulaura-Shahbajpur section of Bangladesh Railway.

    • Replacement and modernization of signalling system of three stations between Ashuganj and Akhaura section of Bangladesh Railway.

  • Tapan Kumar Chand elected President of Aluminium Association of India

    Date: Mar 10, 2016

    Tapan Kumar Chand was elected as the President of the Aluminium Association of India (AAI). His election took place unanimously on 29 February 2016 at the National Governing Council Meeting of the AAI in Bhubaneshwar.

    He succeed SK Roongta who is the former Chairman of Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) and Vedanta Group.

    At present, Tapan Chand is the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of National Aluminium Company Ltd (Nalco), which is a Navaratna Central Public Sector Undertaking.

    About Aluminium Association of India

    • It is the apex body representing the entire spectrum of Indian aluminium industry.

    • It was founded in 1981 and is registered under the Karnataka Societies Registration Act and operates from Bengaluru in Karnataka.

    • It is being recognized and supported by the Union Government through various ministries and in particular the Ministry of Mines.

    • It represents entire spectrum of Indian Aluminium Industry - primary producers, downstream manufacturers, equipment & product manufacturers, end users, technologist, metallurgists, research and development organisations etc.

    • It is internationally recognized and a member of International Body of Aluminium Associations.

  • Signing and ratification of BIMSTEC Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters approved

    Date: Mar 10, 2016

    The Union Cabinet, presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 10 March 2016 gave its approval for signing and ratification of the Bay of Bengal Initiative on Multi Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters.

    The Ministry of Home Affairs has been designated as the Central Authority under Article 15 of the Convention.

    The need for signing BIMSTEC Convention:

    The establishment of regional arrangements for mutual assistance in criminal matters will greatly contribute to more effective cooperation in the control of criminal activities.

    The Convention aims to extend widest measures of assistance to each other through mutual cooperation for enhancing capability and effectiveness of the Member States in investigation and prosecution of crimes, including crimes related to terrorism, transnational organized crime, drug trafficking, money laundering and cyber-crimes.

    After signing as well as ratification of the Convention from the Indian side, the Instrument of Ratification will be deposited to the Secretary-General of BIMSTEC and the Convention will enter into force on 30th day of the deposit of last instrument of ratification.

    About BIMSTEC

    • The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation is an international organisation involving a group of countries in South Asia and South East Asia.

    • It comprises of seven countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

    • The main objective of BIMSTEC is technological and economical cooperation among South Asian and South East Asian countries along the coast of the Bay of Bengal.

  • Union Cabinet approved MoU between India and Bahrain on Cooperation for Prevention of Human Trafficking

    Date: Mar 10, 2016

    The Union Cabinet, presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 10 March 2016 gave its approval for a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Bahrain on cooperation for prevention of human trafficking, especially trafficking in women and children, rescue, recovery, repatriation and re-integration of victims of trafficking.

    This MoU aims at increasing the bilateral cooperation between the two nations on the issues of prevention, rescue, recovery and repatriation related to human trafficking especially women and children expeditiously.

    The MoU is expected to be signed during Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s upcoming visit to Bahrain in the first week of April 2016.

    Key highlights of the MoU

    • To strengthen cooperation to prevent all forms of human trafficking, especially that of women and children and ensure speedy investigation and prosecution of traffickers and organized crime syndicates in either country.

    • Taking preventive measures that will eliminate human trafficking in women and children and in protecting the rights of victims of trafficking.

    • Anti-trafficking Cells and Task Force will work on both sides to prevent human trafficking.

    • Police and other concerned authorities will work in close cooperation and exchange information which can be used to interdict human traffickers.

    • The repatriation of victims will be done as expeditiously as possible and home country will undertake the safe and effective re-integration of the victims.

    • A Joint Task Force with representatives from both sides will be constituted to monitor the working of the MoU.

  • Union Cabinet approved MoU between India and IMF for setting up South Asia Regional Training and Technical Assistance Center

    Date: Mar 10, 2016

    The Union Cabinet on 10 March 2016 gave its approval for entering into the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and the IMF for setting up of South Asia Regional Training and Technical Assistance Center (SARTTAC) in India.

    The Cabinet also authorised the Finance Minister to approve related decisions in respect of India’s contribution for setting up of the centre, including Letter of Understanding for financial contribution by India, site of the SARTTAC, representative of India on the Steering Committee on SARTTAC, etc.

    Features of SARTTAC

    • It will be a collaborative venture between the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and 6 member countries belonging to South Asia.

    • It will help in capacity building of Government officials including State level in macro, fiscal, monetary policies by the IMF and greater coordination between the six member countries of South Asia.

    • The six member countries are India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Additional member countries could join SARTTAC at a later stage.

    • It will bring in the best practices from across the globe, as well as the South Asian region, resulting in innovative solutions to fiscal, monetary and financial issues and effective response through use of IT and innovative techniques.

    • It will enhance revenue mobilization and development of policies aimed at more effective public and financial management. This will result in economic development and inclusive growth in the country.

  • ISRO launched Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System-1F

    Date: Mar 10, 2016

    The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on 10 March 2016 launched the country’s sixth Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS)-1F, on board the trusted launch vehicle PSLV C-32. 

    The lift off took place from the second launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre(SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikotta, India’s spaceport at 4:01pm. Satellite IRNSS-1F was launched after the 54-and-a-half hour countdown that started on 8 March 2016.

    XL version of PSLV was used in PSLV-C32 and it was the twelfth time that the 'XL' configuration was flown. 

    Salient features of Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS)-1F

    • The lift off mass of IRNSS – 1F is 1425 kg and the dry mass is 598 kg.

    • Its configuration is similar to that of IRNSS-1A, 1B, 1C, 1D AND 1E.

    • The two solar arrays of IRNSS-1F consisting of Ultra Triple Junction solar cells generate about 1660 watts of electrical power.

    • The Mission life of IRNSS-1F is 12 years

    • IRNSS-1F carried two types of payloads – navigation payload and ranging payload. The navigation payload of IRNSS-1F will transmit navigation service signals to the users. 

    • This payload will be operating in L5 band (1176.45 MHz) and S band (2492.028 MHz). 

    • Highly accurate Rubidium atomic clock is the part of the navigation payload of the satellite. 

    • The ranging payload of the satellite consists of C-band transponder which facilitates accurate determination of the range of the satellite. 

    • IRNSS-1F also carries Corner Cube Retro Reflectors for laser ranging. 

    IRNSS-1F will form part of the home-grown seven satellites Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) to provide accurate position information services, similar to the GPS in the whole country and up to 1500 km around it.

    This is India’s second mission in 2016, and the first one was also the successful insertion of an IRNSS-1E navigation satellite by PSLV C-31 on 20 January 2016. 

    The other four IRNSS satellites which were launched

    • IRNSS-1A Mission launched by PSLV C-22 in July 2013

    • IRNSS-1B Mission launched by PSLV C-24 in April 2014

    • IRNSS-1C Mission launched by PSLV C-26 in October 2014

    • IRNSS-1D Mission launched by PSLV C-27 in March 2015

  • Union Cabinet approved creation of Nominated Authority in Ministry of Coal

    Date: Mar 10, 2016

    he Union Cabinet on 10 March 2016 approved creation of a post of Nominated Authority in the Ministry of Coal.

    The post will be of Joint Secretary level and was created as per the Section 6 of Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015.

    The Union Government shall act through the Nominated Authority for the following purposes -

    • Conduct the auction process and allotment with the assistance of experts

    • Execution of the vesting order for transfer and vesting of Schedule I coal mines pursuant to the auction

    • Executing the allotment order for any Government company or corporation in pursuance of Section 5 of Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015

    • Recording and mutating incorporeal rights of whatsoever nature including, consents, permissions, permits, approvals, grants, registrations

    • Collection of auction proceeds, adjustment of preferential payments and transfer of amount to the respective State Governments where Schedule I coal mine is located in accordance with the provisions of the Act

    The creation of Nominated Authority post would resolve the uncertainties that had affected the coal sector and improve coal availability to the core sectors of the economy thereby enabling it to develop at faster pace.

  • CCEA approved Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana to provide free LPG connections to BPL households

    Date: Mar 10, 2016

    The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 10 March 2016 approved Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana.

    The scheme seeks to provide free LPG connections to women from below poverty line (BPL) households and builds on the objective of achieving universal coverage of cooking gas in the country.

    Incidentally, this is the first time the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas would implement a welfare scheme benefitting crores of women belonging to the poorest households.

    Features of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana

    • Under the scheme, a financial support of 1600 rupees will be provided for each LPG connection to the BPL households.

    • The identification of eligible BPL families will be made in consultation with the State Governments and the Union Territories.

    • This will benefit about 1 crore 50 lakh households below the poverty line in 2016-17.

    • It will be implemented at an estimated cost of 8000 crore rupees over three years between April 2016 and March 2019 to cover 5 crore BPL households.

    • It is complimentary to Prime Minister’s Give It Up campaign under which 75 lakh middle class and lower middle class households have voluntarily given up their cooking gas subsidy.

    Significance of the scheme

    In India, the poor have limited access to cooking gas (LPG). The spread of LPG cylinders has been predominantly in the urban and semi-urban areas with the coverage mostly in middle class and affluent households.

    But, there are serious health hazards associated with cooking based on fossil fuels. According to an estimate of the World Health Organisation (WHO), about 5 lakh deaths in India alone occur due to unclean cooking fuels.

    Most of these premature deaths were due to non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer. Indoor air pollution is also responsible for a significant number of acute respiratory illnesses in young children.

    According to experts, having an open fire in the kitchen is like burning 400 cigarettes an hour.

    Against this backdrop, the Union Government took up the challenge of providing LPG connections to BPL households. This measure will empower women and protect their health.

    It will also reduce drudgery and the time spent on cooking and provide employment for rural youth in the supply chain of cooking gas.

  • Maharashtra, Telangana singed 5 MoUs to facilitate construction of irrigation barrages across Godavari

    Date: Mar 9, 2016

    Telangana and Maharashtra on 8 March 2016 signed 5 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) to facilitate construction of irrigation barrages across the River Godavari and its tributary Penganga.

    The MoUs were signed by Chief Ministers of Maharashtra and Telangana Devendra Fadnavis and K Chandrashekar Rao respectively in Mumbai.

    Highlights of MoUs

    • An inter-state water board will be formed to oversee implementation of previously agreed and future inter-state river projects on Godavari.

    • It will oversee the implementation of the Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal award of 1979.

    • The chairmanship and vice-chairmanship of the board will be held by chief ministers of respective States in rotation manner in alternative years.

    • Ministers and secretaries of various departments of two States will be the members of the board.

    • The head office of the board will be located in Hyderabad.

    • Among other projects, the board will oversee the implementation of following –

    1) Lendi Project

    2) Pranahita Project (tummidi hatti project), Kaleshwaram Project (Medigadda barrage)

    3) Barrage on Penganga, a tributary of Godavari, at Raju Peta

    4) Barrage on Penganga at Chanaka-Korata

    5) Lower Penganga project

  • President Pranab Mukherjee presented 2015 Nari Shakti awards

    Date: Mar 9, 2016

    President Pranab Mukherjee on 8 March 2016 presented Nari Shakti Puraskar for the year 2015 to 15 women, 5 organisations, one state and panchayat. The awards were conferred on the occasion of International Women's Day at Rashtrapati Bhawan.

    The awards are annually given by the Union Ministry of Women & Child Development to institutions and individuals who have made exceptional contribution towards empowerment of women specially belonging to vulnerable and marginalised sections of society. It carries cash award of two lakh rupees and a certificate for institutions and one lakh rupees and a certificate for individuals.

    Haryana was awarded as a state for demonstrating improvement with work in improving Child Sex Ratio (CSR) and Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) during 2015. Anganwadipuram Gram Panchayat, Mallapuram of Kerala was awarded for their work towards women empowerment. Through its activities the panchayat helped women to hold leadership roles and promoted women in decision making.

    Other awardees of Nari Shakti Puraskar include 

    Individual awardees include

    • Lucky Kurien, Maharashtra - Sister Lucky Kurien has been working for Women and Children from the past 18 years. She founded the Maher NGO and helped 2691 women to get sheltered, rehabilitee 2339 and provides help to 59 women in marriage.

    • Dr. Saurabh Suman, Bihar – She is the Secretary of NGO Bihar Seva Sansthan that works for the welfare and empowerment of women in Bihar, with a focus on the District of Nawada. She organized ISRO sponsored research programme for participation of women in agriculture development, and training on basic information technology and mobile training course.

    • Basanti Devi, Uttarakhand - She is an environmentalist, who educated women woodcutters in Uttarakhand on the dangers of deforestation, and prevented the Kosi from drying up. She convinced the women in the valley to fight opposition from men and forest guards and form community based organizations for forest conservation.  

    • Suparna Baksi Ganguly, Karnataka – She is committed environmentalist and animal activist. She is founder member of an animal welfare agency Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA). Her organisation supported various animal welfare initiatives and running four centres in Bangalore for wildlife rescue and rehabilitation for monkeys, snakes and birds

    • Meena Sharma, Rajasthan – She is renowned journalist from the rural background who took up fighting gender discrimination as her mission in life. She highlighted the state of old parents neglected by their own children and illegal sex determination and sex selective abortions through various sting operations.

    • Preeti Patkar, Maharashtra – She is social worker and human rights activist and co-founder of the organization Prerana. She done pioneering work in the red-light districts of Mumbai to protect children vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking for the past 28 years.

    • Uttara Padwar, Madhya Pradesh – She runs a grassroots organisation named  Prayas Shiksha Samiti working for fighting extreme poverty, malnutrition and diseases in tribal communities like Baigas, Gonds, Abhujhmarias.  

    • Polumati Vijaya Nirmala, Andhra Pradesh - She is working on Women and Child Right issues and conducted number of trainings, workshops, campaigns and awareness meetings on Gender Sensitization and Human Trafficking in West and East Godavari Districts. She has participated in 27rescue operation and provides counseling services. She has formed 27 community vigilance group, 35 Adolescents groups, and 15 red light area level victim collectives for prevention of Human Trafficking and abuse. 

    • Vasu Primalni, Delhi – She is a triathlete, rock climber and is also well-known for her international stand-up comedy with shows done all over the world. Her comedy picks up on issues of contemporary relevance including environment, women’s safety, rape, and diversity issue

    • Sujata Sahu, Haryana – She is the founder of 17000ft foundation that is working to create an impact and improve the quality of school education in the remote villages of Ladakh.  She  started  with  distributing  story  books  to  the  children  in  their native language in Ladakh and her organization made 600 visits in one year to schools in far flung areas of Ladakh to inculcate in children the habit of learning better through reading books

    • Jyoti Mhapsekar, Maharashtra - She is founding members of Stree Mukti Sanghatana. She is a renowned playwright and has written numerous plays on women’s issues, children’s education, child labour, waste management and the environment. She has participated in several International Women Playwrights conferences and was Convener of VIII conference in 2009.

    • Sumita Ghosh, Delhi - She is the founder and managing director of Rangsutra, a social enterprise  which  seeks  to  bring  about  socio  economic  development  and inclusive growth in rural  India by  engaging both:  the community and the market.

    • Anjali Sharma, Delhi - She is practicing law as a senior associate in a New Delhi based Law Firm called "Integral Law Offices", which does extensive work in the commercial, corporate, contract and arbitration law fields. Anjali is also an animal rights activist, and is an Executive Committee Member of and Legal Advisor to the Animal Welfare Board of India, which a statutory body is functioning under the aegis of the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

    • Krishna Yadav, Delhi – She is an Illiterate woman and working in the field of rural development and entrepreneurship. At present, she is a successful food processing entrepreneur with annual turnover of more than 3 crore rupees. 

    • Shakuntala Majumdar, Maharashtra - She is the founding member of Thane SPCA, is among the most influential people in the Country's Animal Welfare environment with 20+ years of rich experience in this space.  She is an Honorary Animal Welfare officer appointed by the Government of India and by the Committee to Monitor Animal Welfare laws in India by the Bombay High Court.

    Organisations who were awarded include 

    • Gudiya Shyam Sevi Sansthan, Varanasi

    • Jagori, Delhi 

    • Kanaklata Women Urban Cooperative Bank (Institution), Assam

    • Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (Institution), Delhi

    • Breakthrough Trust

  • Indian men and women won Gold at World Team Table Tennis Championship

    Date: Mar 9, 2016

    Indian men's and women's team on 6 March 2016 bagged the gold medals at the Second Division of the World Team Table Tennis Championship held in Kuala Lumpur.

    Indian women’s team defeated Luxemburg 3-1 in the event final of the Second Division, while Indian men’s team emerged victorious over Brazil with a score of 3-2.

    In the women's team final, Mouma Das gave a winning start to her team when she defeated Danielle Konsbruck 3-0. Then, Manika Batra led India 2-0 against Tessy Gonderinger, who managed to win the third game. However, Manika clinched the fourth game to win 3-1 and provide India with a 2-0 lead.

    Thereafter, India’s K Shamini lost her singles to Sarah De Nutte in straight games but Manika defeated Danielle 3-0 in the reverse singles to secure a win for India.

    About World Table Tennis Championships

    • The World Table Tennis Championships have been held since 1926, biennially since 1957.

    • Five individual events, which include men's singles, women's singles, men's doubles, women's double and mixed doubles, are currently held in odd numbered years.

    • The World Team Table Tennis Championships, which include men's team and women's team events, are held in even numbered years.

  • Amrita Patel awarded with Mahindra Samriddhi Krishi Shiromani Samman

    Date: Mar 8, 2016

    Amrita Patel, chairman of Charutar Arogya Mandal and former chairman of the National Dairy Development Board, on 3 March 2016 was conferred with the prestigious Mahindra Samriddhi Krishi Shiromani Samman (Lifetime Achievement Award) in Delhi.

    Radha Mohan Singh, Union Minister of Agriculture, presented the award to Patel for her contribution that made a difference in the field of agriculture to increase productivity and rural prosperity.

    Instituted in 2011, the Mahindra Samriddhi India Agri Awards are bestowed upon the farmers and institutions to recognize their noteworthy and purposeful contribution to the field of agriculture.

    Other winners of the Mahindra Samriddhi India Agri Awards (MSIAA) 2016 are:



    Mahindra Samriddhi  Krishi Samrat Samman - Farmer of the Year Award (Male)

    Land holding less than 5 acres - Mahendra Patidar

    Land holding from 5 to 20 acres -Krishnpal Singh Mourya

    Land holding more than 20 acres - Neelam Dutta

    Mahindra Samriddhi Krishi Prerna Samman - Farmer of the Year Award (Female)

    Sugan Bai Patidar

    Mahindra Samriddhi Krishi Yuva Samman- Farmer of the Year Award (Youth) 

    P Jawahar Raja

    Mahindra Samriddhi Krishi Sansthan Samman - Recognition for Public Sector organization

    Indian Institute of Soil Science Bhopal

    Mahindra Samriddhi Krishi Shiksha Samman - Recognition for Agricultural Universities

    Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University, Hyderabad

    Mahindra Samriddhi Krishi Sahyog Samman - Recognition for NGOs / SHGs

    Rajasthan Rural Institute of Development Management, Udaipur

    Mahindra Samriddhi Krishi Vigyan Kendra Samman -  Recognition for KVK of the year

    Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Kadapa

    About Amrita Patel

    • Amrita Patel played an important role in the implementation of Operation Flood, the largest developmental programme in the world.

    • The programme helped to promote, finance and deliver a variety of supporting services to a national cooperative dairy structure that transformed the lives of millions of marginalised and small farmers and milk producers.

    • She was awarded Padma Bhushan in 2002.

  • South Korea, US began largest ever military exercises

    Date: Mar 8, 2016

    The US and South Korean troops on 7 March 2016 began their largest ever military exercises off the coast of the Korean peninsula. The bilateral exercises come just days after the UN passed new sanctions against Pyongyang, North Korea following its recent nuclear test and rocket launch.

    The 8-week long drill will involve about 300000 South Korean troops and 15000 US personnel. These are being conducted near the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas and off the eastern coast of South Korea.

    Drills will include ground, air, naval and Special Operations components apart from the computer-simulated training.

    Meanwhile, North Korea has warned South Korea and US of indiscriminate and pre-emptive nuclear strikes if the two allies go further with the drills. The threat from Pyongyang follows its leader Kim Jong-Un's order last week asking country's nuclear arsenal to be placed on standby for use at any moment against the South.

  • Union Government launched online marketing platform Mahila e-Haat

    Date: Mar 8, 2016

    Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Sanjay Gandhi on 7 March 2016 launched Mahila e-Haat portal in New Delhi.

    The Mahila e-Haat portal,, is an online marketing platform. It will provide access to markets to thousands of women who make products and are spread all over the country.

    Features of Mahila e-Haat

    • It is a unique initiative since this is the first time that the government will help women to sell products online.

    • Products & services: It allows women entrepreneurs to leverage technology for showcasing products made or manufactured or sold by women entrepreneurs. This facility is also available to services, like tailoring, also.

    • The product, along with photograph description, cost and mobile no./address of the participants will be displayed on the e-Haat enabling direct contact between sellers/service providers and buyers.

    • Participation: It is open to all Indian women citizens more than 18 years of age and women SHGs desiring for marketing their legal products/services after indemnifying RMK from any or all acts of transaction.

    • Rahstriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) is primarily involved in the creation of the portal and the entire business of e-Haat can be handled through mobile phone.

    • 3-Stages of women empowerment: The launch of Mahila E-Haat is the first stage towards achieving the objective of women empowerment.

    • In the second stage Mahila E-Haat will be integrated with e-commerce portals to provide a larger platform for selling and buying.

    • In third and final stage, it will culminate into Women’s Entrepreneurs Council which will help to expand this initiative further and give it an institutional shape.

    • Benefits: It will benefit more than 10000 Self Help Groups (SHGs) and 1.25 Lakh women beneficiaries spread across the country.

    • This unique e-platform will strengthen the socio-economic empowerment of women as it will mobilize and provide better avenues to them.

    • It will act as a catalyst in creating a new generation of business women and help women to make financial and economic choices.

    • It is an initiative for women across the country as a part of Digital India and Stand Up India initiatives.

  • International Women's Day observed with campaign theme #PledgeForParity

    Date: Mar 8, 2016

    8 March: International Women's Day (IWD)

    International Women's Day was observed across the world on 8 March 2016. This year's theme for the Day is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”. The campaign theme for the day is #PledgeForParity.

    United Nations observance and the idea of this theme reflect on how to accelerate the 2030 Agenda, building momentum for the effective implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals.

    The special focus is on Goal Number 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls; and Goal Number 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.

    The theme will also focus on new commitments under UN Women’s Step It Up initiative, and other existing commitments on gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s human rights.

    Some key targets of the 2030 Agenda

    • By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and Goal-4 effective learning outcomes.

    • By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and preprimary education so that they are ready for primary education.

    • End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.

    • Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.

    • Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

    Celebrations of IWD in India

    2016 International Women's Day (IWD) was observed in India by conferring the Nari Shakti Awards by President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhawan. On the other hand, the day was observed in different states of India in different ways like around 40 acid attack survivors were felicitated with the Rani Laxmi Bai award and provided financial assistance in Uttar Pradesh.

    In context of Uttar Pradesh, a special eating joint ''Café Sheroes'', was inaugurated for acid attack survivors. In addition, Asha Jyoti Centres in 11 districts and 181 helpline were also launched along with the rescue vans associated with the centres. 

    About International Women's Day (IWD)

    The United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March during International Women’s Year 1975. Two years later, in December 1977, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.

  • Renowned Malayalam actor Kalabhavan Mani passed away

    Date: Mar 8, 2016

    Popular Malayalam actor and folk singer Kalabhavan Mani passed away on 6 March 2016 in Kochi. He was 45.

    The winner of National Special Jury Award in 2000 for his performance in Malayalam film Vasanthiyum Lakshmiyum Pinne Njaanum, Mani died allegedly because of methyl alcohol consumption.

    About Kalabhavan Mani

    • Mani Raman, better known by his stage name Kalabhavan Mani, started his career as a mimicry artist with the Kalabhavan troupe.

    • He starred in over 200 films, including Malayalam, Tamil, and Telugu films.

    • He is renowned for his comedy, character and villain roles.

    • He won the National Film Award and Kerala State Film Award in 1999 for his performance as Ramu in Vasanthiyum Lakshmiyum Pinne Njaanum.

  • Sri Lanka Cricket Board constituted Arvinda de Silva-led National Cricket Selection Panel

    Date: Mar 8, 2016

    Sri Lankan Cricket Board (SLCB) on 8 March 2016 constituted a new National Cricket Selection Panel headed by former cricketer Arvinda de Silva. Other members of the panel are Kumar Sangakkara (retired from international cricket recently), Romesh Kaluwitharana, Lalith Kaluperuma and Ranjith Madurasinghe.

    The panel will succeed the Kapila Wijegunawardena-headed selection committee which was appointed in April 2015. Wijegunawardena selection panel was sacked by Sri Lankan board ahead of the 2016 ICC World T20, which will begin with the qualifiers on 8 March 2016 in India.

    They were sacked in the wake of the national team’s poor performances in the just-concluded Asia Cup in Bangladesh and the preceding bilateral series in India. In January 2016, Sri Lanka had also lost its No 1 ICC Twenty20 ranking after they lost to New Zealand.

    Besides, the Board also announced that Angelo Mathews will be the captain and Dinesh Chandimal the Vice Captain of the team for the T-20 Cricket World Cup.

  • Union Government announced to withdraw tax proposal on Employee Provident Fund

    Date: Mar 8, 2016

    Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on 8 March 2016 announced to withdraw proposal to tax Employee Provident Fund (EPF) withdrawals. He announced to withdraw the proposal while clarifying NDA government’s stand on the issue in the Lok Sabha.

    He further stated that government would also like to comprehensively review EPF tax proposal. However, government retained the tax proposal for National Pension Scheme (NPS) withdrawals.

    What was the proposal?

    The proposal was made by the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while presenting the Union Budget 2016-17 in the Lok Sabha on 29 February 2016. As per the proposal 60 percent of the amount deposited in the EPF account of the employee would be taxable at the time of withdrawal, and 40 percent would be tax-free. This proposal would have become effective from 1 April 2016.

    It also said that if the employee re-invested 60 percent of the EPF in an annuity or pension fund then it will not be taxed. At present, the entire amount is tax-free at the time of withdrawal if the employee has completed five years of continuous service.

    The proposal to tax EPF withdrawals was made with an aim of to create a pensioned society, especially among employees in the private sector who have no provision for pension.

    The EPF is a retirement benefit scheme for salaried employees. Any company with over 20 employees is required by law to register with the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO).

  • Patna Pirates defeated U Mumba to win 2016 Pro Kabaddi League title

    Date: Mar 8, 2016

    The Patna Pirates on 5 March 2016 defeated U Mumba 31-28 to lift their maiden Pro Kabaddi League trophy in the final played in New Delhi.

    Rohit Kumar of Patna Pirates was awarded Best Raider and Mohit Chillar of U Mumba was announced the Best Defender of the Match.

    U Mumba’s Rishank Devadiga finished the season as the Most Successful Raider with 106 points.

    About Pro Kabaddi League

    • The Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) is a professional kabaddi league in India.

    • It is known as the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi for sponsorship reasons.

    • The first edition of the tournament was played in 2014 with eight franchises representing various cities in India.

    • Star Sports Pro Kabaddi is organized by Mashal Sports and Star India in association with the International Kabaddi Federation, Asian Kabaddi Federation and the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India.

    • U Mumba was the winner of the 2015 Pro Kabaddi League

  • Union Government re-classified industries on four-colour scheme based on pollution potential

    Date: Mar 8, 2016

    The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar on 5 March 2016 released the list of re-classified industries based on pollution levels.

    The new four-colour scheme was announced as per the resolution adopted at the two-day State Environment and Forest Ministers' Conference in April 2015.

    The re-classification of industries is based on the Pollution Index (PI) scores and the new categories are as follows –

    Industry Category

    PI Score

    No. of industries covered


    60 and Above



    41 to 59



    21 to 40



    Up to 20


    Salient features of the four-colour scheme

    • The purpose of the categorization is to ensure that the industry is established in a manner which is consistent with the environmental objectives.

    • The new criteria will prompt industrial sectors willing to adopt cleaner technologies, ultimately resulting in generation of fewer pollutants.

    • Due importance was given to relative pollution potential of the industrial sectors based on scientific criteria.

    • Wherever possible, splitting of the industrial sectors was also considered based on the use of raw materials, manufacturing process adopted and in-turn pollutants expected to be generated.

    • Another feature of the new categorization system lies in facilitating self-assessment by industries as the subjectivity of earlier assessment has been eliminated.

    • The re-classification is a part of the efforts, policies and objective of the government to create a clean and transparent working environment in the country and promote the ease of doing business.

    • While no Red category of industries shall normally be permitted in the ecologically fragile area or protected area, the White category was created to identify non-polluting industries.

    Features of White category industries

    • It is a newly-introduced industry category and contains 36 industrial sectors which are practically non-polluting.

    • There shall be no necessity of obtaining the Consent to Operate for this category of industries and intimation to concerned SPCB / PCC shall suffice.

    • Some of the industries included in the category are - biscuit trays, etc. from rolled PVC sheet (using automatic vacuum forming machines), Cotton and woolen hosiers making (dry process only without any dying/washing operation) and electric lamp (bulb) among others.

    Why the re-classification?

    The old system of categorization was creating problems for many industries and was not reflecting the pollution of the industries.

    For example, 25 industrial sectors which were not critically polluting were also earlier categorized as Red. This was creating wrong impression to everyone.

    Hence, the exercise of re-categorization of industries took place on scientific basis based on their pollution load.

  • New species of burrowing snake discovered in Western Ghats

    Date: Mar 8, 2016

    A group of Indian and British researchers discovered a new species of burrowing snake in the Western Ghats.
    The snake has been named after well known herpetologist from Maharashtra, Neelam Kumar Khaire, as Melanophidium Khairei.
    The research paper about it has been published in the scientific journal, Zootaxa in the first week of March 2016.
    The discovery is the result of the collaborative efforts of scientists from Natural History Museum (NHM), London, National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore, the Indian Herpetological Society (IHS), Pune, and the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS).
    Researchers were studying the species since 2001 and confirmed the new species.
    Key facts related to Melanophidium Khairei
    • The genus Melanophidium, commonly referred to as Black shieldtail, is endemic to the Western Ghats.
    • Three species of the genus were previously known.
    • The new species, Melanophidium khairei is distinct from three other species.
    • Melanophidium khairei is a highly iridescent burrowing snake that inhabits evergreen forests.
    • It is rarely seen above ground.
    • It eats earthworms and is believed to bear young as mammals.
    • At present, it is known in a few locations in southern Maharashtra, Goa and northern Karnataka.
    • It is a small snake. The largest known specimen is 550 mm in length.
    • It is non-venomous.

  • Women at Work: Trends 2016 report released by International Labour Organization

    Date: Mar 8, 2016

    International Labour Organization (ILO) on 8 March 2016 released a report titled Women at Work: Trends 2016. The Women at Work report provides the latest ILO data on women’s position in labour markets and examines the factors behind these trends and explores the policy drivers for transformative change.

    The report which was released on International Women’s Day says that gender equality in the workplace remains elusive. It finds millions of women worldwide are not getting the same kind of quality, well-paying jobs as men.

    New data of 178 countries present a gloomy picture of the current state of working women. The report shows the gender gap in employment, wages and social protection has changed little in 20 years.

    Major Highlights of the report

    • Globally, 812 million of the 865 million women who have the potential to contribute to their national economies through employment live in emerging and developing countries.

    • Between 1995 and 2015, the global female labour force participation rate decreased from 52.4 to 49.6 percent. The corresponding figures for men are 79.9 and 76.1 percent, respectively. Worldwide, the chances for women to participate in the labour market remain almost 27 percentage points lower than those for men.

    • In 2015, the gender gap in the employment rate amounted to 25.5 percentage points in women’s disfavour, only 0.6 percentage points less than in 1995.

    • Only marginal improvements have been achieved since the Fourth World Conference on Women of Beijing in 1995, leaving large gaps to be covered in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the United Nations in 2015.

    • Women are more likely to be unemployed than men, with global unemployment rates of 5.5 percent for men and 6.2 percent for women. With the exception of Eastern Asia, Eastern Europe and Northern America, male unemployment rates are lower than female unemployment rates in all other regions of the world.

    • Globally, youth unemployment remains an issue of concern. Unemployment is affecting young women more than young men in almost all regions of the world.

    • Globally, the share of contributing family workers has decreased significantly among women (by 17.0 percentage points over the last 20 years) and to a lesser extent among men (by 8.1 percentage points over the same period), resulting in a decrease in the gender gap from 19.5 percentage points in 1995 to 10.6 percentage points in 2015.

    • 52.1 percent of women and 51.2 percent of men in the labour market are wage and salaried workers. This in itself constitutes no guarantee of higher job quality. In fact, globally, nearly 40 percent of women in wage employment do not contribute to social protection.

    • Since 1995, women’s employment in services has increased from 41.1 percent to 61.5 percent.

    • Across the world, women represent less than 40 percent of total employment, but make up 57 percent of those working on a part-time basis.

    • Globally, the gender wage gap is estimated to be 23 per cent; in other words, women earn 77 per cent of what men earn. If current trends prevail, it will take more than 70 years before gender wage gaps are closed completely.

    • Nearly 65 per cent of people above retirement age without any regular pension are women. This means that 200 million women in old age live without any regular income from social protection (old age or survivors pension), compared to 115 million men.

    Main Recommendations of the report

    • An integrated policy framework is needed to promote women’s access to more and better quality jobs.

    • Affirmative action policies represent an important measure that can be applied by governments, trade unions, employers’ organizations and companies to help remedy the severe underrepresentation of women and their concerns in decision-making in business and societies.

    • Education, outreach and training programmes must be designed to encourage and enable girls, boys and young women and men to venture more into non-stereotypical fields of study and work.

    • More determined efforts to eliminate outright discrimination and to embed the principle of equal opportunity and treatment between women and men in laws and institutions constitute a key first step.

    • Further progress can be made by promoting equal remuneration for work of equal value through wage transparency, training and gender-neutral job evaluations. These measures will help significantly in identifying discriminatory pay practices and unfair pay differences.

    • In addition, countries need to support adequate and inclusive minimum wages and to strengthen collective bargaining as key tools in efforts to address low pay, improve women’s wages and hence reduce gender wage gaps.

    • Unpaid care work must be recognized, reduced and redistributed and harmonization achieved between work and family life.

    Report with respect to India

    • If female employment rates were to match male rates, the GDP of India would increase by 27 per cent.

    • In India, the minimum wages for domestic workers is lower than that of the cleaning workers, who are the lowest paid. Despite the low minimum wage set for domestic workers in India and other countries that were studied, the compliance rate is less than 50 per cent in the majority of the countries.

    • In India, Estonia, Japan, Mexico, Portugal, Republic of Korea and Turkey, women devote more than three times as much time to unpaid care work as men do.

    • India has 100 percent deficit in terms of percentage of total population not covered by national legislation related to long-term care (LTC) coverage in 2015. In the face of these LTC shortages, family members remain the main caregivers of their ageing relatives. Similarly, in India, children can be prosecuted if they fail to provide care for their parents.

    • In countries with social insurance systems such as India, employers are still statutorily responsible for the full payment of providing maternity protection, when women do not qualify for contributory social security benefits.

    Women at Work: Trends 2016 

    ILO’s Women at Work: Trends 2016 is a key contribution to these efforts and seeks to further the central goals of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. The report provides a picture of where women stand today in the world of work and how they have progressed over the past 20 years.

  • Climate change could kill more than 500000 adults in 2050 worldwide: Study

    Date: Mar 8, 2016

    Climate change could result in more than 500000 adult deaths in 2050 worldwide due to changes in diets and bodyweight from reduced crop productivity.

    It was revealed in the research published in the Lancet journal on 2 March 2016. The research, which was done by the Oxford Martin Future of Food Programme, is the first of its kind to assess the impact of climate change on diet composition and bodyweight.

    The study estimated the number of deaths due to the changes in two factors - diet composition and body weight - in 2050 in 155 countries and concluded that China will see more deaths than any other country.

    In 2050, an estimated 251 deaths per one million population will occur in China due to the two factors, While in India, which ranked 7 overall, the deaths were pegged at 105 per million.

    Highlights of the Study

    • Unless action is taken to reduce global emissions, climate change could cut the projected improvement in food availability by about a third by 2050.

    • It will lead to average per-person reductions in food availability of 3.2 percent (99 kcal per day), in fruit and vegetable intake of 4.0 percent (14.9g per day) and red meat consumption of 0.7 percent (0.5g per day).

    • In 2050, these changes could be responsible for around 529000 extra deaths worldwide, far exceeding the health benefits of reductions in red meat consumption (29000 deaths prevented).

    • By 2050, reduced fruit and vegetable intake could cause twice as many deaths as under-nutrition.

    • Three-quarters of all climate-related deaths due to changes in food production are estimated to occur in China (248000) and India (136000 additional deaths).

    • The countries that are likely to be worst affected are low- and middle-income countries, predominantly those in the Western Pacific region (264000 additional deaths) and Southeast Asia (164000).

    • Cutting emissions could have substantial health benefits, reducing the number of climate-related deaths by 29–71 percent depending on the strength of the interventions.

    • For example, in a medium emission scenario (increases in global average surface air temp of 1.3-1.4°C in 2046–65 compared to 1986–2005), the numbers of diet- and weight-related deaths could be reduced by about a third compared with the worst-case, high-emission scenario

  • Renowned Dogri poetess Padma Sachdev awarded Krutitava Smagra Samman

    Date: Mar 7, 2016

    Renowned Dogri poetess and writer Padma Sachdev was 6 March 2016 was awarded Krutitava Smagra Samman for the year 2015.

    The award was given by Bharatiya's Bhasha Parishad in Kolkata for her outstanding contribution in literature and great service to Dogri Language.

    She was presented with the award by the West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi. The Award carries an amount of one lakh rupees, a shawl and citation.

    About Padma Sachdev

    She writes both in her mother tongue Dogri and the national language Hindi

    She has to her credit six collections of Dogri poetry, eight books of Hindi prose including two novels.

    She also writes an occasional article in Hindi for newspapers and journals.

    She won the Sahitya Akademi Award at the young age of thirty for her first collection of Dogri poetry title Mere Kavita, Mere Geet (1969)

    She also has won Soviet Land Nehru Award, Hindi Academy Puraskar, U.P. Hindi Academy Pruaskar, Raja Ram Mohan Roy Puraskar, Joshua Poetry Award, and the Jammu & Kashmir Government’s Robe of Honour.

    Her collection of Dogri poetry

    Meri Kavita, Mere Geet (1969)

    Tawi Te Chanhaan (1976)

    Nehriyan Galiyan (1982)

    Pota Pota Nimbal (1987)

    Uttarbaihni (1992)

    Tainthiyaan (1999)

  • Ray Tomlinson, the inventor of E-mail inventor passed away

    Date: Mar 7, 2016

    Raymond Samuel Tomlinson, the inventor of E-mail and the man who picked @symbol for addresses, passed away in Washington on 6 March 2016. He was 74.

    He was an American computer scientist who became a cult figure for his invention in 1971 of a program for APRANET, the internet predecessor that allowed people to send person to person messages to other computer users on other servers.

    He was working at Bolt Beranek and Newman – now Raytheon BBN Technologies – when he made his email breakthrough

    In 2000, he received the George R. Stibitz Computer Pioneer Award from the American Computer Museum. He also received Webby Award from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Science. He also won Innovation award from Discover magazine, and the Eduard-Rhein Cultural Award.

    In 2012, Tomlinson was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame by the Internet Society.

    He was born on 23 April 1941 in Amsterdam in New York, Unites States (US).

  • India won Asia Cricket Cup for record Sixth time

    Date: Mar 7, 2016

    Indian cricket team led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the Asia Cup for the record sixth time. 2016 Asia Cup was played from 24 February to 6 March 2016.

    To win the trophy, India defeated Bangladesh by eight wickets in the final played at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur, Bangladesh.

    Batting first, Bangladesh made 120 runs by losing 5 wickets in rain truncated 15 over while India chased down the target by losing two wickets and seven balls to spare.

    Shikhar Dhawan was adjudged Man of the Match for his 44-balls 60 runs.

    This was the first time that Asia Cup was played in T20 format and the countries that played in 2016 Asia Cup were India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and United Arab Emirates (UAE).

    Sri Lanka has won the Asia Cup title five times including the 2014 Asia Cup and Pakistan has won it two times.

    About Asia Cup

    Asia Cup is a men's One Day International & Twenty20 International cricket tournament. It was established in 1983 when the Asian Cricket Council was founded as a measure to promote goodwill between Asian countries. It was originally scheduled to be held every two years.

    The first edition of the Rothmans Asia cup was held in 1984 in Sharjah in UAE where the council's offices were based (until 1995). The inaugural tournament was won by India and Sri Lanka was the runner up.

  • Current Affairs Recap of the Day : 07 March 2016

    Date: Mar 7, 2016 brings the Current Affairs Recap of the Day to provide the reader a tool to recap and revise the important current affairs of the day in bulleted form. It will be helpful in preparation for competitive exams like IAS/PCS, SSC, Bank, MBA and etc.

     India defeated this country in the final to win the record Sixth Asia T20 Cup of Cricket in Mirpur – Bangladesh

    The year by which China plans to land a probe on Mars so as to coincide with 100th year of founding of Communist Party of China – 2021

      He was inventor of E-mail who passed away in Washington at the age of 74 on 6 March 2016 – Ray Tomlinson

    The place where National Conference of Women Legislators was held – New Delhi

      The name of the inquiry commission that give clean chit to the Uttar Pradesh Government in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots: Justice Vishnu Sahai Inquiry Commission

     The place where 17th International Congress on Infectious Disease was held – Hyderabad

     The four colour classification scheme released by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for industries based on their pollution level – Red, Orange, Green, White

      He is an Iranian billionaire who was sentenced to death for corruption by the Iran judiciary – Babak Zanjani

    World Table Tennis Team Championship won by India in both the men and women category was held in this city – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

      He will head a 17-member Indian wrestling team named for the Asian Olympic Qualification tournament, to be held in Astana, Kazakhstan from 18 March to 20 March 2016 – Olympian Yogeshwar Dutt

     India agreed to collaborate with this country in standardization and improving the quality of AYUSH products – United States (US)

    The economic growth rate set by China for the financial year 2016 – 6.5%

     The Indian bank that was granted operating license along with three Asian Banks by the Myanmar government – State Bank of India

     Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the services sector surged 85.5 percent in the first nine months of the financial year 2015-16 to reach - 4.25 billion dollars

    She is a renowned Dogri poetess and writer who was awarded Krutitava Smagra Samman for 2015 by Bharatiya's Bhasha Parishad, Kolkata - Padma Sachdev

  • Current Affairs Quiz : 07 March 2016

    Date: Mar 7, 2016 brings for its reader daily updated quizzes that cover the topics like 2016 Asia Cricket Cup, Death of E-Mail inventor and World Table Tennis Team Championship among others.

    1.Which one of the following countries won the 2016 Asia Cricket Cup for the record sixth time on 6 March 2016 in the final played at Mirpur, Bangladesh?




    d)Sri Lanka

    2.Name the inventor of E-mail who passed away at the age of 74 on 6 March 2016.

    a)Scott Aaronson

    b)Mahindra Agrawal

    c)David P Anderson

    d)Ray Tomlinson

    3.Who headed the Inquiry Commission on 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots that gave clean chit to Uttar Pradesh government in March 2016?

    a)Justice V K Shukla

    b)Justice Arun Tandon

    c)Justice Vishnu Kumar Sahai

    d)Justice Ran Vijai Singh

    4.Which ministry released the four colour classification scheme for industries based on their potential pollution level in March 2016?

    a)Ministry of Environment and Forest

    b)Ministry of Heavy Industries

    c)Ministry of Finance

    d)Prime Minister’s Office

    5.Which country won the men and women team championship at the World Table Tennis Team Championship held at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in March 2016?





    6.Olympian Yogeshwar Dutt will head a 17-member Indian wrestling team that was named for Asian Olympic Qualification tournament scheduled to be held from 18 – 20 March 2016 in

    a)Doha, Qatar

    b)Astana, Kazakhstan

    c)Canberra, Australia

    d)Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    7.Which Indian bank was granted operating license along with three Asian banks by the Myanmar government in March 2016?

    a)Bank of Baroda

    b)ICICI Bank

    c)State Bank of India

    d)YES Bank

    8.Name the renowned Dogri poetess and writer who was awarded Krutitava Smagra Samman for 2015 by Bharatiya's Bhasha Parishad, Kolkata in March 2016.

    a)Nilmani Phookan

    b)Mahim Bora

    c)Padma Sachdev

    d)Nandini Sahu

    9.Which Indian football club was slapped a fine of 50 lakh rupees fine by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for boycotting medal ceremony during the recently concluded Indian Super League (ISL)?

    a)Churchill Brothers


    c)Bengaluru FC

    d)FC Goa

    10.Deepika Padukone won the Best Actress Award at Zee Cine Awards 2016 for her role in which film?

    a)Bajirao Mastani



    d)Happy New Year


    1-(a)    6-(b)    

    2-(d)    7-(c)    

    3-(c)    8-(c)

    4-(a)    9-(d)

    5-(c)    10-(c)

  • Golfer Adam Scott won 2016 WGC-Cadillac Championship

    Date: Mar 7, 2016

    Australian golfer Adam Scott on 6 March 2016 won the 2016 WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral, Florida, U.S.

    Scott recovered from two double bogeys in his first five holes with six birdies the rest of the round to prevail by one stroke over United States’ Bubba Watson.

    The victory was Scott's second consecutive win on the PGA Tour, having won The Honda Classic in February 2016.

    About Adam Scott

    • Australian professional golfer, Adam Derek Scott plays mainly on the PGA Tour.

    • He was the World No. 1 ranked golfer from mid-May to August 2014.

    • He has won 29 professional tournaments around the world.

    • His biggest win to date was the 2013 Masters Tournament, his first major championship and the first Masters won by an Australian in its 77-year history.

    About WGC-Cadillac Championship

    • The WGC-Cadillac Championship is a professional golf tournament, one of the four annual World Golf Championships.

    • It is sanctioned and organized by the International Federation of PGA Tours and the prize money is official money on both the PGA Tour and the European Tour.

    • The 2016 WGC-Cadillac Championship was played on the TPC Blue Monster course at Trump National Doral in Doral, Florida.

    • The 2016 WGC-Cadillac Championship was the 17th WGC-Cadillac Championship tournament and the first of the World Golf Championships events in 2016.

  • Maria Sharapova provisionally suspended after failing drug test at Australian Open

    Date: Mar 7, 2016

    Former world number one Maria Sharapova on 7 March 2016 in a press-conference at Los Angeles announced that she failed a drug test at the Australian Open. Due to this failure, she was provisionally suspended from Tennis.

    The International Tennis Federation said Sharapova, a five time Grand Slam champion, is provisionally suspended from 12 March 2016 pending further action. She was charged on 2 March 2016 with an Anti-Doping Rule Violation after testing positive for meldonium.

    The 28-year-old Russian star tested positive for meldonium, a substance, she has been taking since 2006 for health issues. World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on 1 January 2016 included meldonium in its forbidden list.

    Sharapova, who lives in Florida, provided the anti-doping sample in question on 26 January 2016, the day she lost to Serena Williams in the Australian Open quarter finals. Maria said that she received an email from WADA with the list of substances forbidden in 2016 back in December 2015, but she didn’t look at that list.

  • Sirshendu De selected for Innovation Award 2016 for developing laterite based arsenic water filter

    Date: Mar 6, 2016

    Prof. Sirshendu De, Head of the Chemical Engineering department of the IIT, Kharagpur on 4 March 2016 was selected for the Innovation Award 2016 given by the Indian Desalination Association (IDA), South Zone.

    He was selected for the award for developing an ultra low-cost eco-friendly laterite based arsenic water filter.

    The cost-effective filter would provide safe drinking water in areas contaminated with arsenic. The indigenous filter, made from naturally occurring red laterite soil, is capable of absorbing arsenic to the extent of 32mg per gram.

    This material has undergone chemical treatment to enhance its capabilities to adsorb arsenic. Moreover, an optimized design of a filter, with the material, has been formulated as well which enjoys plethora of advantages like:

    • Ultra low cost of the filter media compared to available such filters, appropriate for the socio-economic conditions of our country

    • Arsenic concentration of filtrate is always within the WHO drinking water permissible limit, independent of the ground water concentration

    • Extremely long life of the filters (about five years)

    • No regeneration of the adsorbent (filter medium) is required during its lifetime

    • No power requirement for the household filter

    • Removal of arsenic (below 10 ppb), iron (below 0.3 ppm) and bacteriological contamination (more than 98%) together in a single unit

    • Upon exhaustion of the filter, the filter medium can be safely dumped without any risk of leaching and further contamination

    • The capacity of domestic filter is in the range of 80-100 litres/day

    • Easy operation and maintenance free, as the filter does not require any regeneration or backwashing

    • Cost of the treated water is less than 3 paisa/liter

  • Prince of Tides author, Pat Conroy, died

    Date: Mar 6, 2016

    US novelist Pat Conroy, who wrote several acclaimed novels and memoirs, died on 4 March 2016 in Beaufort, South Carolina. He was 70. 

    He was suffering from pancreatic cancer. 

    Two of his novels, The Prince of Tides and The Great Santini, were made into Oscar-nominated films. He is recognized as a leading figure of late-20th century Southern literature.

    Donald Patrick Conroy was born on Oct. 26, 1945, in Atlanta had written numerous books. Some of his works includes

    • Prince of Tides 

    • Water is Wide 

    • The Great Santini

    • The Lords of Discipline

    • My Losing Season (memoir)

    • The Boo 

    • Beach Music

    • The Pat Conroy Cookbook: Recipes and Stories of My Life

    • My Reading Life 

    • The Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and His Son

    • Unrooted Childhoods: Memoirs of Growing up Global (contributing author)

    • South of Broad

  • Two-day National Conference of Women Legislators held

    Date: Mar 6, 2016

    A two-day National Conference of Women Legislators held in New Delhi from 5 March to 6 March 2016 with theme Women Legislators-Building Resurgent India.

    The conference organised by the Parliament was inaugurated by the President Pranab Mukherjee. Speaker of Bangladesh Shirin Chaudhary attended the conference and was the Chairperson of the Plenary Session.

    The conference will equip the women legislators from across India with latest knowledge in relevant areas and provide them with the right perspective, motivation and guidance in their roles as legislators and powerful agents of socio-economic progress and change as well as good governance. It will update them about current national and international issues that are relevant to their field of work.

    It was attended by Vice President Mohammed Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and women MLAs, MLCs, MPs and Union Ministers.

  • President Mukherjee presented Standard to 119 HU & Colours to 28 ED of IAF

    Date: Mar 6, 2016

    President of India and the Supreme Commander of Indian Armed Forces Pranab Mukherjee on 4 March 2016 presented President’s Standard to 119 Helicopter Unit (HU) and President’s Colours to 28 Equipment Depot (ED) of the Indian Air Force. The awards were given away at Air Force Station in Jamnagar, Gujarat.  

    Indian Air Force's operational squadrons become eligible for award of Presidential Standard after completion of 18 years of service to the Nation. The selection is based on the unit's performance and achievements during peace as well as hostilities. The honour is an acknowledgement of the meritorious service rendered by the units.

    The helicopter Unit has recently saw the induction of new acquired most modern fixed wing aircraft Mi-17 V5. The Unit, also known as ‘the Stallions’, was among the first to fly Mi-8 choppers.

    It took part in several challenging missions after being raised exactly 44 years ago. Our correspondent reports, Mi-17 V5, the aircraft had already seen action and proved its mettle in different terrains, be it in the laps of Himalayas, the deserts of Rajasthan or the naxal infested central India.

    Apart from this, the President also released a commemorative postage stamp at the presentation of the Standard to 119 Helicopter Unit and Colours to 28 Equipment Depot of Indian Air Force.

  • EC announced schedule for Assembly polls in four states and one Union territory

    Date: Mar 6, 2016

    Election Commission of India on 4 March 2016 announced the schedule for the Legislative Assemblies of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry.

    The elections of the four states and the Union Territory will be held between 4 April and 16 May 2016. The Counting for all Assembly Constituencies in all five States and Union Territories will be held on 19 May 2016.

    Announcing the poll schedule in New Delhi, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said that Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry will go to poll in a single phase on 16 May 2016, while, election in West Bengal will be held in 6 phases and in Assam in two phases.

    Details of the phases in West Bengal

    • 1st phase - on 4 April and 11 April 2016

    • 2nd phase - 17 April 2016

    • 3rd phase - 21 April 2016

    • 4th Phase – 25 April 2016

    • 5th Phase - 30 April 2016

    • 6th Phase - 5 May 2016

    Details of the phases in Assam

    • 1st Phase - 4 April 2016

    • 2nd Phase - 11 April 2016

    With the announcement of the poll schedule, the model code of conduct has come into force.  Zaidi said, this time in the electronic voting machines, the commission had decided to display photos of the contesting candidates to dispel confusion about the identities of the candidates, as many have similar names. This time a symbol of NOTA will also be provided in the EVMs.

    Constitutional Provisions for the election

    Article 324 of the Constitution of India confers the relevant powers, duties and functions upon the Election Commission of India to hold General Elections and Legislative Assemblies of the States whose terms expire around the same time, together.

    By virtue of its powers, duties and functions under Article 324 read with Article 172(1) of the Constitution of India and Section 15 of Representation of the People Act, 1951, the Commission announced the date of elections in the four states and the Union Territory before expiry of their present terms.

  • Film Archivist PK Nair died

    Date: Mar 6, 2016

    Indian film archivist and film scholar Paramesh Krishnan Nair died on 4 March 2016. He was 82.

    He was the founder and former director of the National Film Archive of India (NFAI) in 1964.

    In 2012, Celluloid Man, an award-winning documentary was made on his life and works, by Shivendra Singh Dungarpur. Later it won two National Awards at the 60th National Film Awards, including Best Biographical Film and Best Editing.

    The film was released in India on 3 May 2013 to coincide with the centenary of Indian cinema.

    About Paramesh Krishnan Nair

    • Born on 6 April 1933 in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, Nair is regarded as the Henri Langlois of India because of his lifelong dedication towards the preservation of films in India.

    • A passionate film archivist, he worked at the NFAI for over three decades, collecting films from India and from all over the world.

    • He continued with the NFAI till 1991 and by the time he retired as NFAI director, he had acquired a whopping 12000 films for the archive (8000 were Indian and the rest foreign films)

    • He was instrumental in acquiring for the archive several landmark Indian films like Dadasaheb Phalke's Raja Harishchandra and Kaliya Mardan, Bombay Talkies films such as Jeevan Naiya, Bandhan, Kangan, Achhut Kanya and Kismet, SS Vasan's Chandralekha and Uday Shankar's Kalpana.

    • He joined the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune as a research assistant in 1961 and later in 1965 was appointed assistant curator.

    • In 2008, he was awarded the Satyajit Ray Memorial Award

  • Long-term aspirin use linked to lower risk for certain cancers

    Date: Mar 5, 2016

    A group of Harvard scientists reported that taking low-dose aspirin every day may lower the overall risk of cancer by 3 percent.

    The study was published on 3 March 2016 in Jama Oncology. The study concluded that long-term aspirin use was associated with a modest but significantly reduced risk for overall cancer, especially gastrointestinal tract tumours. Regular aspirin use may prevent a substantial proportion of colorectal cancers and complement the benefits of screening.

    How the study was done?

    • Data were collected from 2 ongoing prospective studies:

    The Nurses’ Health Study (NHS): a cohort study of 121 700 US female nurses aged 30 to 55 years at enrolment in 1976.

    The Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS): a cohort study of 51 529 US male health care professionals aged 40 to 75 years at enrolment in 1986.

    • In the NHS, aspirin use was first assessed in 1980 and every 2 years thereafter except in 1986, and the participants were asked whether they took aspirin most weeks, the number of tablets taken per week, and the duration of aspirin use.

    • In the HPFS in 1986 and every 2 years thereafter, participants were asked whether they used aspirin 2 or more times per week.

    • In each cohort, incident cancers were ascertained by biennial questionnaire reports and the National Death Index.

    • Data were analyzed from 15 September 2014 to 17 December 2015.

    • Regular aspirin use in relation to the risk for any type of cancer, gastrointestinal tract cancer and other non–gastrointestinal tract cancers was analysed in the main analyses. Analysis according to organ site was also conducted.

    Key highlights of the study

    • Taking aspirin of 81mg a day for at least six years saw the risk of cancer of any kind drop by 3 percent.

    • The middle-aged people who regularly took aspirin were less likely to be diagnosed with cancer of any kind.

    • It is particularly effective at warding off cancers of the digestive system.

    • The most dramatic impact was seen for bowel cancer, with people who took aspirin every day for six years seeing their risk drop by 19 percent.

    • The experts, who tracked 136000 people for 32 years, predicted that regular aspirin use in the US could prevent 30000 tumours a year.

  • Jitu Rai won gold in 50m pistol event at ISSF World Cup

    Date: Mar 5, 2016

    Indian shooter Jitu Rai on 4 March 2016 clinched the 50m pistol gold at the ISSF World Cup in Bangkok. The gold medal winner scored 191.3 points in the final round.

    Former World and Olympic champion Pang Wei of China took second place with 186.5. While Olympic medallist Wang Zhiwei finished third at 165.8 points.

    Jitu beat China's former World and Olympic Champion Wei to second place, shooting 191.3 to Pang's 186.5.

    India's Prakash Nanjappa shot 549 in the qualification round to be placed 17th.

    Jitu Rai is the current 50m pistol gold medallist at both the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, winning the championships in 2014.

  • FIH promoted Napoleon Singh as international Umpire

    Date: Mar 5, 2016

    The International Hockey Federation (FIH) on 3 March 2016 promoted Hockey India national-level umpire Napoleon Singh as the International Outdoor Umpire.

    The FIH took the decision after seeing his performance in the recently-concluded 12th South Asian Games 2016, held at Guwahati from 5 to 16 February 2016.

    Napoleon started his career as an umpire from Manipur in the third Hockey India Junior Women National Championship 2013 held at Ranchi, Jharkhand.

    Earlier, he was also appointed as umpire in the eighth Junior Men Asia Cup, held at Kuantan, Malaysia in 2015.

    The 30 year-old Napoleon is among those young umpires from India who have recently been upgraded to international-level outdoor umpire. With Napoleon's promotion, a total of 14 Indian umpires (10 men, 4 women) are now in the category of international-level umpires.

    He has been a national level hockey player and completed a diploma in Sports Coaching from the National Institute of Sports, Patiala in 2011. He is presently working as a coach at Kokrajhar, Assam.

  • IFC launched 300 million rupee Uridashi Masala Bonds in Japan

    Date: Mar 5, 2016

    International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, on 1 March 2016 launched its first Uridashi Masala Bond. The bonds are worth 300 million rupees and will be utilised to promote private sector development in India.

    The three-year Uridashi Masala Bond is Japan-specific and builds on IFC’s Masala bond Program.

    While Masala bonds are rupee-denominated instruments sold only to offshore investors, Uridashi bonds are sold to Japanese household investors.

    Earlier, in November 2014, the IFC issued first-ever Masala Bonds in London. The bonds were worth 10 billion rupee and listed in the London Stock Exchange.

    So far, the IFC raised 1.7 billion US dollars from international investors under the Masala Bond Program.

  • WEF released Global Energy Architecture Performance Index Report 2016

    Date: Mar 4, 2016

    World Economic Forum (WEF) on 2 March 2016 released the fourth edition of the Global Energy Architecture Performance Index Report 2016 (EAPI) compiling 126 countries. India has been ranked at 90th position which is topped by Switzerland.

    The annual index provides a benchmark to help countries address energy transformation challenges and identify opportunities across their energy systems.

    It explored the energy architecture of 126 countries based on their ability to provide energy access across three dimensions of the "energy triangle" affordability, environmental sustainability, security and access.

    WEF prepared the report in collaboration with Accenture which noted that large emerging economies are pressed both by the need to support economic growth and build resilient and sustainable energy architecture.

    Highlights of the Report

    • The list was topped by Switzerland followed by Norway and Sweden in the second and third place, respectively while, India stood at 90.

    • Others in the top 10 include France (4), Denmark (5), Austria (6), Spain (7), Colombia (8), New Zealand (9) and Uruguay (10).

    • Among the BRIC nations, Brazil was the top performer as it was ranked at the 25th place, followed by Russia (52), India (90), and China (94).

    • Among other major economies Germany was ranked at the 24th place, while the United States was at the 48 rank and Japan was at the 50 rank.

    • World energy production and imports rose by 3200 million tonnes of oil equivalent over the last decade driven by the boom in the Asian economies and led by China and India.

    • As a result, fuel trade patterns have dramatically changed during this period. In particular, Asia accounted for less than 20 per cent of the world fuel trades in 2004, but this figure has sharply risen to 35 per cent in 2014, leading to a redistribution of forces and new alliances around the world, it said.

    Regarding India

    Placing India at 90th position, the report noted that the country is facing challenges that include the need to increase energy delivery to meet its growth targets and expand access to energy. Nevertheless, electrification has progressed and is now accessible to 79 percent of the population.

    The need to become more energy-efficient, more diverse and less carbon-intensive is especially acute for major emerging economies, making it critical to progress with government responses to these pressures through energy reform.

  • CCS cleared proposal to acquire two more AWACS

    Date: Mar 4, 2016

    Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on 1 March 2016 cleared the proposal to acquire two more Phalcon Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems (AWACS). These surveillance aircraft will be bought at an expense of 7500 crore rupees under a tripartite agreement with Israel and Russia.

    The decision to this effect was taken ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel later in 2016. His visit to Israel will be the first by an Indian Prime Minister.

    AWACS are advanced radars mounted on an aircraft to give 360 degree coverage to detect incoming aircraft and missiles at long ranges. It can help monitor the military build-up, troop and aircraft movements nearly 200 km while flying.

    India had procured three Phalcon AWACS, Israeli radars mounted on Russian IL-76 transport aircraft, in 2003 at cost of 1 billion dollars. These AWACS were inducted in Indian Air Force in January 2009.

  • Mumbai U-23 team clinched CK Nayudu Trophy 2015-16

    Date: Mar 4, 2016

    The Mumbai under-23 team on 3 March 2016 clinched the Col CK Nayudu Trophy by defeating Madhya Pradesh at the Holkar Stadium, Indore.

    Mumbai bowled out Madhya Pradesh for 442 and took a first innings lead of 135 runs to be declared the winner.

    This was Mumbai’s second big title of the season, having pocketed theRanji Trophy for the 41st time earlier.

    Winning team’s right-arm seam bowler Tushar Deshpande made the most of the third new ball in the closing minutes of the game on 2 March 2016.

    The Mumbai team, winners of the 2015, 2016, U23 Col C K Nayudu Trophy, will be awarded with a cash prize of 20 lakh rupees on clinching the title

  • Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman won ACM 2015 A M Turing Award

    Date: Mar 3, 2016

    Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman on 1 March 2016 were honoured with the Association for Computing Machinery's 2015 A.M. Turing Award.

    Diffie and Hellman were given the award for their fundamental contributions to modern cryptography. Their groundbreaking 1976 paper, New Directions in Cryptography, introduced the ideas of public-key cryptography and digital signatures, which are the foundation for most regularly-used security protocols on the internet at present.

    Who is Whitfield Diffie?

    • Whitfield Diffie is a former Vice President and Chief Security Officer of Sun Microsystems.

    • A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he received the 1996 ACM Paris Kanellakis Theory and Practice Award (with Leonard Adleman, Martin Hellman, Ralph Merkle, Ronald Rivest and Adi Shamir), and received the 2010 IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal (with Martin Hellman and Ralph Merkle).

    • He is a Marconi Fellow, a Fellow of the Computer History Museum and received an honorary doctorate from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

    Who is Martin Hellman?

    • Martin E. Hellman is Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University.

    • A graduate of New York University, he earned his Master's degree and his Ph.D. from Stanford.

    • He received the 1996 ACM Paris Kanellakis Theory and Practice Award (with Leonard Adleman, Whitfield Diffie, Ralph Merkle, Ronald Rivest and Adi Shamir), as well as the 2010 IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal (with Whitfield Diffie and Ralph Merkle).

    • He is a Marconi Fellow, a Fellow of the Computer History Museum, and a member of the US National Academy of Engineering.

    About ACM A. M. Turing Award

    • The ACM A.M. Turing Award is an annual prize given by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

    • It is given to an individual selected for contributions of a technical nature made to the computing community.

    • The Turing Award is generally recognized as the highest distinction in computer science and is considered the Nobel Prize of computing.

    • The award is named after Alan Turing, mathematician and reader in mathematics at the University of Manchester.

    • The award carries a 1 million US dollar prize with financial support provided by Google, Inc.

    • The first recipient, in 1966, was Alan Perlis, of Carnegie Mellon University.

    • Frances E. Allen of IBM, in 2006, was the first female recipient in the award's 40-year history.

  • Mrugank Paranjape appointed as MD and CEO of MCX

    Date: Mar 3, 2016

    Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd (MCX), the country's largest commodity exchange, on 29 February 2016 appointed Mrugank Paranjape as its Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Office (CEO).

    The appointment of Paranjape is valid for a period of three years, subject to prior approval from SEBI.

    Since May 2014, the exchange was functioning without an MD. P K Singhal was handling the affairs of the exchange as joint MD.

    Who is Mrugank Paranjape?

    • Mrugank Paranjape has been working with Deutsche Bank since last 14 years.

    • At present, he is the India Head of Deutsche Bank.

    • He has also served as the Asia Pacific Head of Trust & Securities Services/Cash Management for Financial Institutions and Regional Head of Securities for The Global Network Banking Division, Deutsche Bank (Malaysia) Berhad.

    About Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd

    • MCX is an independent commodity exchange based in India.

    • It was established in 2003 and is based in Mumbai.

    • In 2009, it was the world's sixth largest commodity exchange.

    • It is India's No. 1 commodity exchange with 84% market share in 2014-15.

    • The exchange's main competitor is National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange Ltd.

  • Who was Shivaji? authored by Govind Pansare

    Date: Mar 3, 2016

    Book titled “Who was Shivaji?” authored by Govind Pansare came in news in first week of March 2016. It came in news because of Shiv Jayanti, the birth anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, which was celebrated across Maharashtra on 19 February 2016.

    Introduction of the book was written by Anirudh Deshpande and Afterword was written by Prabhat Patnaik.

    The book focuses on historic evidences which are mostly ignored or overshadowed by other historic adventures of Shivaji. It also provides a new perspective on a popular hero of Indian history, which is very important to understand the great personality of the King.

    The book questions the way in which dominant Maratha historiography enforced modern, that is, colonial and post-colonial, religious categories on a past where people lived and did things differently compared with the age of modernity.

    The authors through the book have tried to rationally re-interpret the facts of Shivaji’s career and show how anyone can interrogate the past.

  • Delhi became first state to launch HPV vaccine as public health programme in schools

    Date: Mar 3, 2016

    Delhi on 29 February 2016 became the first state in the country to launch the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine as a public health programme for school children.

    The HPV vaccine protects people against the group of 150-odd HPVs, some of which can cause cervical cancer.

    Key highlights of the programme

    • As part of the programme, girls studying in Class VI in government schools will be targeted in the first year. This will be completed in the current academic year over two phases.

    • The programme will target 1-1.5 lakh girls in the first phase.

    • Children will be given two doses of the vaccine. The first and the second doses will be administered within 30 days of each other.

    • A third booster dose will be given within 240 days of the first vaccine, which will be covered in the next phase.

    • The Delhi Government will purchase the vaccines from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and MSD Pharmaceuticals at a subsidised cost of 450 rupees per dose.

    About Human Papillomavirus

    • Human papillomavirus is a DNA virus from the papillomavirus family that is capable of infecting humans.

    • Like all papillomaviruses, HPVs establish productive infections only in keratinocytes of the skin or mucous membranes.

    • Most HPV infections are subclinical and will cause no physical symptoms; however, in some people subclinical infections will become clinical and may cause benign papillomas, premalignant lesions that will drive to cancers of the cervix.

    • In particular, HPV16 and HPV18 are known to cause around 70% of cervical cancer cases.

    • Researchers have identified over 170 types of HPV, more than 40 of which are typically transmitted through sexual contact and infect the anogenital region.

  • South Korea passed anti-terror bill

    Date: Mar 3, 2016

    South Korea's parliament on 2 March 2016 passed the country's first anti-terror bill.

    Among almost 300 parliamentary seats, only 156 ruling Saenuri Party lawmakers and one minority party member participated in a vote on the country's first anti-terrorism legislation, which was passed through the National Assembly with 156 in favour.

    The country's filibuster, invoked for the first time in 38 years, was aimed at blocking the passage of the bill which triggered fears that it may grant excessive power to the National Intelligence Service (NIS).

    A total of 38 opposition lawmakers participated in the filibuster that ran for 192 hours and 25 minutes.

    Key highlights of the proposed bill

    • The security bill proposes to set up a new anti-espionage unit reporting to the chief of the country's spy agency and will coordinate surveillance, analysis and investigation into leads that point to a possible attack.

    • It will allow the NIS agents to collect personal information, location and conversation in mobile phones from suspected terrorists, while enabling the agency to track bank accounts and immigration records of the suspects.

    However, the opposition objects to greater power for the spy agency and seeks to scrap a bill provision that would authorize the intelligence agency to monitor private communications.

  • World Wildlife Day observed with theme The future of wildlife is in our hands

    Date: Mar 3, 2016

    World Wildlife Day was observed on 3 March 2016 across the world. 2016 theme is “The future of wildlife is in our hands”, with African and Asian elephants being the main focus of global campaigns.

    World Wildlife Day is an opportunity to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora and to raise awareness of the multitude of benefits that conservation provides to people. The Day reminds us of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime, which has wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts.

    At the same time, 2016 theme reinforces the inextricable link between wildlife, people and sustainable development. It says that it is the responsibility of each generation to safeguard wildlife for the following generation. It also imparts the pressing need for national action to ensure the survival in the wild of both charismatic and lesser known species.

    The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) at its 68th session held on 20 December 2013 decided to proclaim 3 March as World Wildlife Day. The date is the day of the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973. CITES plays an important role in ensuring that international trade does not threaten the species’ survival.

  • CCEA approved winding up of National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council

    Date: Mar 3, 2016

    The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 2 March 2016 gave its approval for winding up of National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council (NMCC) with immediate effect. The Council was winded up as it has fulfilled the mandate for which it was constituted.

    Dr. V Krishnamurthy, the former Chairman of the Council resigned from the post on 28 May 2014. Ajay Shankar, IAS (Retd.) demitted office as Member-Secretary of the Council upon expiry of his tenure on 22 November 2014.

    In the absence of a Chairman and no fresh constitution, the NMCC had become non-functional.

    National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council (NMCC)

    The NMCC was established in 2004 as a part of the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) of erstwhile government to provide a continuing forum for policy dialogue to energize and sustain the growth of manufacturing industry.

    It was set up as an autonomous organization with its Chairman in the rank of a Cabinet Minister and members from Government and Industry.

    Since its inception in 2004, NMCC conducted various studies independently in consultation with several Government Ministries/Departments and also industry association, and shared these studies/reports with the Ministries/Departments concerned during the decade of its functioning.

  • Forbes list of World Billionaires 2016 released

    Date: Mar 3, 2016

    Forbes list of World Billionaires 2016 was released on 1 March 2016. In its 30th annual guide to the world’s richest, Forbes found 1810 billionaires in 2016 compared to 1826 in 2015.

    Bill Gates remained as the richest person in the world with a net worth of 75 billion US dollars. He has been No. 1 for 3 years in a row and topped the list 17 out of 22 years. 

    Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg and Head of Amazon, Jeff Bezos made their first appearance in the top ten of Forbes’ annual ranking of the world’s wealthiest.

    The 31-year-old Zuckerberg added 11.2 billion US dollars in this year and moved up to No. 6 from 16.

    Forbes list of top 10 World Billionaires 2016            




    Net Worth in Billion Dollars


    Country of Citizenship


    Bill Gates



    United States


    Amancio Ortega





    Warren Buffett


    Berkshire Hathaway

    United States


    Carlos Slim Helu





    Jeff Bezos


    United States


    Mark Zuckerberg



    United States


    Larry Ellison



    United States


    Michael Bloomberg


    Bloomberg LP

    United States


    Charles Koch



    United States


    David Koch



    United States