Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs from 12th to 14th March, 2016.
ICICI bank ties up with Ferrari for co-branded credit card
- Country’s largest private sector lender ICICI Bank today said it has tied up with marquee sports car maker Ferrari to launch co-branded credit card.
- “The ‘Ferrari Credit Card’ comes in two variants on the Visa platform and offers customers a host of offers including an all-expenses-paid trip for top spenders to Italy and also includes a Scuderia Ferrari watch as a joining gift,” the bank said in a statement here.
- Details of the fees, if any, were not immediately shared by the bank. ICICI bank’s General Manager Kusal Roy said this is the first-ever Ferrari range of credit cards in the country.
- The bank had over 34.69 lakh outstanding credit cards as of November, that saw transactions of over Rs 2,393 crore at ATMs and POS terminals.
- Other benefits which come with the card include discount on Ferrari branded products at the Ferrari Store in Maranello, Italy, and merchandise sold online at the Ferrari Store and Myntra.com, the statement said.
- The cardholder also gets complementary access to domestic airport lounges in the country and a ‘buy one, get one free’ offer on bookings done through bookmyshow.com, it added.
Yes Bank in pact with India-Brazil chamber for strategic cooperation
- In the run-up to the next BRICS Summit to be held here this year, Yes Bank today inked a pact with the India Brazil Chamber of Commerce for cooperation in knowledge sharing, consultancy, skill and technology.
- Yes Bank has signed a strategic Memorandum of Understanding with India Brazil Chamber of Commerce (IBCC) to enable significant cooperation in terms of knowledge partnerships, project consultancy, B2B opportunities, skill and technology initiatives.
- The core sectors covered in the MoU will be sports, media and entertainment with special focus on IT, infrastructure, broadcast driven business opportunities.
- The MoU also seeks for building ground for innovative business integrations for businesses from India and Brazil.
- Yes Bank said the MoU signing comes in the run up to the 8th Annual BRICS Summit, to be held in New Delhi this year.
- Further, Yes Bank and IBCC will jointly endeavour to explore exchange of best practices in sports goods manufacturing, CSR in sports, SM&E talent management.
- IBCC will also recommend Yes Bank as the preferred bank to Brazilian companies looking to do business in India, it said.
Wipro wins IT deal from Danish energy firm NRGi
- Global software major Wipro on Monday announced winning a multi-year contract to develop a new IT platform for Danish energy firm NRGi's operations.
- The Northern European state is opening up its energy sector and tweaking its regulatory policy to ensure transparency for consumers, energy suppliers and utility firms in a competitive market.
- As a strategic IT partner, the outsourcing major will design, build, host and deploy a customer information system (CIS) for the utility provider in a platform as a service (PaaS) model.
India Inc became first in world to formally adopt UN's sustainable goals
- 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.
India, IMF signed an agreement to set up SARTTAC
- 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.
ACC, Wipro, Reliance among India’s most sustainable companies: survey
- ACC, Wipro, Reliance Industries, Mahindra & Mahindra and Tata Power are among India’s most sustainable companies, a new survey by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said.
- The industry chamber on Monday announced ‘Sustainable Plus’ labels for 100 largest companies by market capitalisation across 20 sectors.
- Awarded across three levels (platinum, gold and bronze), corporate sustainability label ‘Sustainable Plus’ is based on a comprehensive analysis of companies across environment, social and governance dimensions of business, CII said in a release.
- ACC, Wipro, Reliance Industries, Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Power, Tata Motors, Tata Chemicals, Hindustan Zinc, Vedanta and ITC were given Sustainable Plus Platinum.
- Seven companies got Sustainable Plus Gold, and the remaining 83 got Sustainable Plus Bronze, the survey said.
Health Minister JP Nadda launched project ‘Clean Street Food’
- 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.
- 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.
India successfully test-fired Agni-I ballistic missile
- 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.
Maharashtra Cabinet approved Prohibition of Social Boycott Bill, 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.
Long march against Indo-Bangladesh power plant near Sundarbans started
- 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.
India to supply 18 Meter Gauge Diesel Electric Locomotives to Myanmar
- RITES (Public Sector Enterprise under Ministry of Railways) signed a contract to supply 18 Meter Gauge 1350 HP Diesel Electric Locomotives to Myanmar Railways. This supply will help Myanmar to meet increasing demand for passenger and freight traffic.
- This contract was signed at Naypyitaw, Myanmar on 4 March 2016.
- The supply contract of locomotives is a vital project being funded under an existing line of credit extended to Myanmar by Union Government. These locomotives will be manufactured by Diesel Locomotive Works, Varanasi with several modern features like microprocessor controls, fuel-efficient engine and ergonomic cab design etc.
India, US launched Fulbright - Kalam Climate Fellowship
- India and the US on 11 March 2016 launched the Fulbright - Kalam Climate Fellowship. The fellowship programme will enable Indian research scholars to work with American institutions in the field of climate change.
- Under the fellowship will 6 Indian PhD students and post-doctoral researchers will be sponsored to work with US institutions for a period up to one year.
- The first call for applicants was announced for the fellowship jointly funded by both the governments. The fellowship will be operated by the bi-national US-India Educational Foundation (USIEF) under the umbrella of the prestigious Fulbright programme.
Union Power Minister announced name 'UJALA' for LED based Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme
- 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.
Maritime India Summit 2016 to be held in Mumbai
- 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.
Awards & Honors –
Kerala Tourism campaign won Golden City Gate Award
- 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.
Palestinian Hanan Al Hroub won 2016 Global Teacher Prize
- 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.
UNESCO and CJ Welfare Foundation signed agreement to start a pre-school animation series Rainbow Ruby
- 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.
ExoMars 2016, an unmanned spacecraft to Mars, launched jointly by Europe and Russia
- 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.
13th meeting of Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development held in Dubai
- 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).
4th World Congress of Biosphere Reserves inaugurated at Lima
- 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.
Services won Santosh Trophy of Football 2-1
- 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.
Lin Dan won All England Badminton title
- 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.
H Deep Saini appointed Canberra University V-C
- Noted plant physiologist and alumnus of Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, H Deep Saini, has been appointed the next vice-chancellor of the prestigious University of Canberra.
- Saini, 60, 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 who steps down from the post in July after over nine years.
- Chancellor and chair of university council Tom Calma AO said the university’s governing body was delighted that the internationally experienced university leader and academician has agreed to become the University of Canberra’s fifth vice-chancellor.
Lloyd Stowell Shapley, Nobel Prize winner in Economics, died
- 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.
Jazz Singer and Grammy Nominee Ernestine Anderson died
- Internationally 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.