Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Current Affairs Update – 16th March, 2016

Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the important Current Affairs of 16th March, 2016.


Current Affairs at a Glance – 16th March, 2016
  1.  Country's largest lender State Bank of India will extend vehicle loans to driver-partners of Uber, the on-demand transport aggregation company. All these loans are collateral free and carry a very competitive interest rate and will get covered under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana.
  2. 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.
  3. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Pawan Hans Limited (PHL) signed an MoU to set up a joint venture at Rohini in Delhi to carry-out the maintenance work related to all types of helicopters and address the needs of defence and civil markets in India and other countries at India Aviation-2016 on Wednesday.
  4. 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.
  5. World Kidney Day (WKD) was observed globally on 10 March 2016 with the theme Kidney Disease & Children. Act Early to Prevent It!
  6. The World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) 2016 was observed on 15 March 2016
  7. India-based software engineer Abdulqadir Rashik on 15 March 2016 won the Unite Ideas #LinksSDGs Data Visualization Challenge. 
  8. Priyanka Kakodkar and Raksha Kumar on 15 March 2016 were named as joint winners of the 2015-16 Chameli Devi Jain Award.
  9. Denmark overtook Switzerland as the world's happiest place, according to a report on Wednesday that urged nations regardless of wealth to tackle inequality and protect the environment. The report, prepared by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Earth Institute at Columbia University, showed Syria, Afghanistan and eight sub-Saharan countries as the 10 least happy places on earth to live.
  10. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on 15 March 2016 suspended Maria Sharapova as a goodwill ambassador.
  11. Hollywood actress Ashley Judd has been appointed a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA).




Finance/Industry –

SBI to finance Uber's driver-partners


  • Country's largest lender State Bank of India will extend vehicle loans to driver-partners of Uber, the on-demand transport aggregation company.
  • All these loans are collateral free and carry a very competitive interest rate and will get covered under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana.
  • The loans will be sanctioned instantly using an inbuilt digital offering.
  • This new product will enable thousands of skilled drivers to overcome liquidity crunch and excess documentation requirements, to become an entrepreneur, SBI said in statement.
  • Access to quick and easy finance will provide necessary push to the growth of SME segment. The boom of on-demand transportation business will also provide impetus to the MSME sector.


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

  • 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.

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.


HAL, PHL sign MoU to set up maintenance work JV


  • Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Pawan Hans Limited (PHL) signed an MoU to set up a joint venture at Rohini in Delhi to carry-out the maintenance work related to all types of helicopters and address the needs of defence and civil markets in India and other countries at India Aviation-2016 on Wednesday.
  • Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation Rajiv Nayan Choubey and CMDs of HAL and PHL T Svarna Raju, and B P Sharma respectively were present on the occasion.
  • According to the minister, both the companies will form a joint working team and conduct detailed studies, work on business plan, time line and other required documents for the success of the venture.
  • HAL has been manufacturing and overhauling its Cheetah/Chetak and Dhruv helicopters besides providing support for Speaking helicopter.The PHL is the largest civil helicopter operator in the country.


India –

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


  • 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.


Career Guidance Counselling Centres launched in Delhi to improve employment opportunities for women

  • Career Guidance Counselling Centres were launched on 14 March 2016 in Delhi-NCR. The centres were set-up to provide dedicated career services to young women seeking employment in the region.
  • The career counselling centres are set up as part of a collaboration between United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the IKEA Foundation, Xyntéo, and the India Development Foundation.
  • The aim of these centres is to impact the lives of women in India through training, entrepreneurial skill development and employment.
  • The Counselling Centres, which is first of its kind for women, is built on the findings of a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) commissioned study.


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

  • 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.


Days –

World Kidney Day 2016 observed with theme Kidney Disease & Children. Act Early to Prevent It!


  • World Kidney Day (WKD) was observed globally on 10 March 2016 with the theme Kidney Disease & Children. Act Early to Prevent It!
  • The theme was taken up to inform parents, caregivers, young patients, policy makers and the general public of the importance of identifying and treating childhood kidney diseases.
  • The World Kidney Day is annually observed on the second Thursday in March.


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


  • 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.


Awards & Honors –

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


  • 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. 


Priyanka Kakodkar and Raksha Kumar won Chameli Devi Jain Award


  • 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.


Lists/Reports –

Denmark world's happiest country, Burundi least: report


  • Denmark overtook Switzerland as the world's happiest place, according to a report on Wednesday that urged nations regardless of wealth to tackle inequality and protect the environment.
  • The report, prepared by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Earth Institute at Columbia University, showed Syria, Afghanistan and eight sub-Saharan countries as the 10 least happy places on earth to live.
  • The top 10 this year were Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Canada, Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, and Sweden. Denmark was in third place last year, behind Switzerland and Iceland.
  • The bottom 10 were Madagascar, Tanzania, Liberia, Guinea, Rwanda, Benin, Afghanistan, Togo, Syria and Burundi.
  • The United States came in at 13, the United Kingdom at 23, France at 32, and Italy at 50.


Appointments/Resignations –

UN suspended Maria Sharapova as goodwill ambassador after doping allegations

  • 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.



Ashley Judd appointed U.N. Goodwill Ambassador


  • Hollywood actress Ashley Judd has been appointed a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA).
  • In a press conference, the “Divergent” and “Double Jeopardy” actress said she was honoured to be an advocate for women's rights.
  • Other celebrity UN Ambassadors include: David Beckham, Emma Watson, and Angelina Jolie.


Books & Authors –

Gandhi: An Illustrated Biography authored by Pramod Kapoor

  • 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.





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