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Monday, March 21, 2016

Current Affairs Update – 20th - 21st March, 2016

Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 20 and 21 March, 2016.


Current Affairs at a Glance – 20th – 21st March, 2016
  1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 19 March 2016 launched Kisan Suvidha mobile application for farmers. It will provide information on subjects such as weather, market prices, seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and agriculture machinery.
  2. Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh today launched a new mobile app 'Pusa Krishi' for farmers in order to take the technology to farm fields.
  3. Microsoft has tied up with FreeCharge to offer users cash coupons that can be earned by redeeming points earned.
  4. Ola, India's largest taxi aggregator recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Maharashtra government, to skill, develop and create opportunities for entrepreneurship for 1,00,000 youth in the state.
  5. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 19 March 2016 conferred National Krishi Karman Awards for the year 2014-15 in New Delhi. Total foodgrain production – Category I States (production greater than 10 million tonnes): Madhya Pradesh, Category II States (production between 1 and 10 million tonnes): Himachal Pradesh and Odisha. Category III States (production less than 1 million tonnes):  Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya and Individual Crops – Rice - Haryana, Assam, Wheat- Rajasthan, Pulses – Chhattisgarh, Oil Seeds-West Bengal.
  6. Cinema exhibition chain PVR cinemas and mobile payments and commerce platform Paytm have announced a strategic relationship today that will bring PVR's movie tickets to Paytm's e-commerce platform as a part of its nationwide foray in the online movie ticket segment.
  7. The Indian Air Force (IAF) on 18 March 2016 successfully conducted Exercise Iron Fist in Pokhran, Rajasthan.
  8. India’s “unique” Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve in the Western Ghats is among 20 new sites added by the United Nations’ top cultural body UNESCO to its World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
  9. The Government of Andhra Pradesh and Cisco on 17 March 2016 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to design and implement the AP Fiber Net project.
  10. The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2016 was observed on 21 March 2016
  11. International Day of Forests was observed on 21 March 2016 across the globe with the theme Forest and Water.
  12. The tenth edition of the Earth Hour was observed globally on 19 March 2016 from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm local time.
  13. International Day of Happiness was observed on 20 March 2016 across the world.
  14. The World Sparrow Day was observed across the world on 20 March 2016.
  15. The royal scion of Kapurthala's Ahluwalia dynasty, Tikka Shatrujit Singh on 17 March 2016 was conferred the Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour).
  16. Wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt on 19 March 2016 won a gold medal in the Asian Olympic Qualification tournament at Astana in Kazakhstan.
  17. Gurmeet Singh on 20 March 2016 became the first Indian athlete to win a gold medal in the Asian 20 Kilometer (km) Race Walk Championships.
  18. India's fourth highest ranked men's badminton player HS Prannoy on 20 March 2016 won the men's singles title at the 2016 Swiss Open in Basel, Switzerland. He clinched the title by defeating Marc Zwiebler of Germany 21-18, 21-15 in the final.
  19. Shiv Shankar Prasad Chawrasia on 20 March 2016 won the Hero Indian Open title of golf played at the Golf Course in New Delhi.
  20. Fashion designer Ritu Beri on 17 March 2016 was appointed advisor to the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) for promotion of khadi in India and across the world.





Finance/Economy/Industry –

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Kisan Suvidha mobile app


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 19 March 2016 launched Kisan Suvidha mobile application for farmers. It will provide information on subjects such as weather, market prices, seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and agriculture machinery.
  • Kisaan Suvidha is an omnibus mobile app developed to help farmers by providing relevant information to them quickly.

Features of Kisan Suvidha App
To operate this app farmer should own a smart phone and should register his or her Mobile Number and enter details of the state, district and block or sub-district.
The information will be available in Hindi and English.
A tap on the weather button shows details of temperature, humidity, wind and rainfall for the current day and the forecast for the next five days.

Govt launches mobile app 'Pusa Krishi'

  • Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh today launched a new mobile app 'Pusa Krishi' for farmers in order to take the technology to farm fields.
  • The mobile app was launched at the valedictory session of the three-day 'Krishi Unnati Mela' here.
  • The app will provide farmers with information related to new varieties of crops developed by Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR), resource conserving cultivation practices as well as farm machinery and its implementation will help in increasing returns to farmers.


NDMC signs MoU to revive Mahila Haat

  • In its latest bid to revive the ‘Mahila Haat’, an ambitious project of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation to provide space and impetus to women entrepreneurs, the corporation has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO).
  • With the objective of serving as a marketplace for women artisans and entrepreneurs, the Haat will also serve as a cultural centre, “thereby encouraging and promoting entrepreneurship and skill development at the grassroots level among women”.
  • The project was relaunched Sunday and “a centrally located area has been allocated by the Delhi government”.


Bing ties up with FreeCharge; offers redeemable points for searches

  • To activate the programme, users are required to sign in to their Microsoft accounts (or create it if they don't have one) and start using Bing. For every unique search query, Bing will award users one point and a maximum of ten points can be earned in one day. Users are awarded ten free points for signing up for the programme and will need to remain signed in while using Bing for the points to accrue.
  • Microsoft has tied up with FreeCharge to offer users cash coupons that can be earned by redeeming points earned.
  • Currently, users have two options of redeeming their earned points. They can either accrue 90 points or redeem them for an Rs 30 FreeCharge coupon, or they can accrue 210 points and receive a coupon worth Rs 70 in exchange.
  • The cash value of these coupons can be realised by entering the coupon code in the FreeCharge app or at FreeCharge's website.


Ola, Maharashtra government sign MoU to skill one lakh youth

  • Ola, India's largest taxi aggregator recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Maharashtra government, to skill, develop and create opportunities for entrepreneurship for 1,00,000 youth in the state.
  • The MoU, which will also take into consideration the employment of women, will work towards skilling people to be independent driver-entrepreneurs over the next five years.
  • The company will work closely with the Maharashtra government to expand its network of driver owned cabs across multiple categories like Micro, Mini, Prime etc.
  • The government will also work with Ola towards making concerted efforts in providing the right training infrastructure and technology framework to make a meaningful difference in the current employment scenario.


Paytm ties up with PVR to sell online movie tickets


  • Cinema exhibition chain PVR cinemas and mobile payments and commerce platform Paytm have announced a strategic relationship today that will bring PVR's movie tickets to Paytm's e-commerce platform as a part of its nationwide foray in the online movie ticket segment.
  • In the first year of this relationship, PVR targets to sell tickets worth Rs 250-300 crore on Paytm's e-commerce platforms in addition to revenues from ticket sales at box offices and other channels.


Union Government notified new Plastic Waste Management Rules to curb 6000 tonnes of plastic waste

  • Union Environment Ministry on 18 March 2016 notified new Plastic Waste Management Rules to curb over 6000 tonnes of uncollected plastic waste generated daily by industries.
  • It made the rules related to usage and production of plastic to be more stringent as it tries to bring in more eco friendly society.
  • Rules related to plastic waste management to give thrust on plastic waste minimization, source segregation,recycling, involving waste pickers, recyclers and waste processors in collection of plastic waste were also reviewed and revised.

Key aspects of the new rules
  • Rural areas have been included and Gram Panchayats were given responsibility and the concept of extended producer responsibility (EPR) is introduced.
  • Responsibility of waste generators is being introduced.
  • It also banned plastic carry bags thinner than 50 microns and the producers are asked to keep record of vendors to whom they supply raw material for manufacturing carry bags, plastic sheets and multilayered packaging to curb manufacturing of the products in the unorganized sector
  • The rules also have the provision to fine retailers and street vendors who provide their products in plastic packaging which do not conform to the new rules.


India –

Indian Air Force successfully conducted Exercise Iron Fist in Pokhran


  • The Indian Air Force (IAF) on 18 March 2016 successfully conducted Exercise Iron Fist in Pokhran, Rajasthan.
  • The event was attended by the President of India Pranab Mukherjee, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha.
  • The day-night exercise was aimed at demonstrating IAF’s combat and fire power and reassure the nation about its commitment and capabilities in safeguarding the national interests.
  • It also showcased more than 22 types of platforms and Weapons Systems including Sukhoi-30, Mirage-2000, Jaguar, MiG-29, Attack helicopters, Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), etc.
  • The event comprised six packages depicting six themes in which more than 180 aircraft, including fighters, transport and helicopters participated.


India’s Agasthyamala among 20 UNESCO world biosphere reserves


  • India’s “unique” Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve in the Western Ghats is among 20 new sites added by the United Nations’ top cultural body UNESCO to its World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
  • The International Coordinating Council added the new sites during a two-day meeting on Saturday in Lima, capital of Peru, bringing the total number of biosphere reserves to 669 sites in 120 countries, including 16 trans-boundary sites.
  • The newly adopted sites include 18 national sites and one trans-boundary site shared between Spain and Portugal.
  • The Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve (ABR) was established in 2001 and is spread across the two States of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
  • Biosphere reserves are places for learning about sustainable development aiming to reconcile the conservation of biodiversity with the sustainable use of natural resources.
  • New reserves are designated each year by the International Coordinating Council of the UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, which brings together elected representatives of 34 UNESCO Member States.


AP Government signed MoU with Cisco to launch AP Fiber Net


  • The Government of Andhra Pradesh and Cisco on 17 March 2016 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to design and implement the AP Fiber Net project.
  • The MoU was signed during the launch of phase one of the project by State Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu in Visakhapatnam.

Features of AP Fiber Net project
  • It is aimed at providing broadband connectivity at affordable rates to all households and institutions in the State.
  • It is considered as the first statewide broadband project in India and was launched to realize the vision of Digital Andhra Pradesh.


Days & Observance –

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2016 observed

  • The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2016 was observed on 21 March 2016 with the theme Challenges and Achievements of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.
  • In 2016, the day is marked by the fifteenth anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action at the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in 2001.


International Day of Forests observed with theme Forest and Water


  • International Day of Forests was observed on 21 March 2016 across the globe with the theme Forest and Water. The theme highlights the importance of forests in sustaining planet’s supply of freshwater, which is essential for life.
  • To mark the Day, a joint celebration of the International Day of Forests and World Water Day was held on 21 March 2016 in New York. The UNFF Secretariat and UN-Water are organizing the event, in collaboration with the Sweden Government.
  • The event entitled Forests and Water|Sustain Life and Livelihoods will raise awareness of the interconnections between forests and water, and their contributions to implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


Earth Hour 2016 observed globally from 8.30 pm to 9.30 pm local time

  • The tenth edition of the Earth Hour was observed globally on 19 March 2016 from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm local time.
  • While the focus of the global event was to engage people in critical climate conversations and solutions, the country-specific theme for India was to encourage usage of solar energy by individuals and organizations.


International Day of Happiness 2016 observed

  • International Day of Happiness was observed on 20 March 2016 across the world.
  • On the other hand, Red, the leader of the Angry Birds mobile game characters, was appointed by the United Nations as an envoy to inspire climate action toward a sustainable and happier future for all.
  • Red’s appointment, as Honorary Ambassador for Green, is part of a UN campaign launched on 18 March 2016 in partnership with the globally renowned characters to make a direct link between tackling climate change and people’s happiness and well-being on the occasion of the International Day of Happiness.


World Sparrow Day 2016 observed globally


  • The World Sparrow Day was observed across the world on 20 March 2016 with the theme Rise for the SPARROW-Experience the power of one. The theme has been inspired by the hope that more and more of us will celebrate the relationship between People and Sparrows.
  • The day is designated to raise awareness of the house sparrow and other common birds to urban environments, and of threats to their populations.


Awards & Honors –

Prime Minister conferred National Krishi Karman Awards 2014-15


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 19 March 2016 conferred National Krishi Karman Awards for the year 2014-15 in New Delhi. The awards were presented to 8 State Governments, which were received by the Chief Minister of respective states.
  • The objective of these awards is to encourage and motivate the states to enhance production and productivity of rice, wheat, pulses and coarse cereals and oilseeds.

Winner States of Krishi Karman Awards 2014-15
Total foodgrain production
  1. Category I States (production greater than 10 million tonnes): Madhya Pradesh
  2. Category II States (production between 1 and 10 million tonnes): Himachal Pradesh and Odisha
  3. Category III States (production less than 1 million tonnes):  Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya

Each award winning state received a trophy, a citation and a cash award of 5 crore rupees

Individual Crops
  1. Rice - Haryana, Assam
  2. Wheat- Rajasthan
  3. Pulses - Chhattisgarh
  4. Oil Seeds-West Bengal

Each award winning state received a trophy, a citation and a cash award of 2 crore rupees


Tikka Shatrujit Singh conferred France’s Knight of the Legion of Honour

  • The royal scion of Kapurthala's Ahluwalia dynasty, Tikka Shatrujit Singh on 17 March 2016 was conferred the Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour).
  • French ambassador to India Francois Richier bestowed the honour on Singh in a ceremony held in New Delhi.
  • Singh was chosen for the highest French civilian distinction in recognition of his extraordinary work in exchanging the French lifestyle and Indian culture with each other.
  • He is known as the guru of luxury.


Sports –

Yogeshwar Dutt clinched gold medal in Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament

  • Wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt on 19 March 2016 won a gold medal in the Asian Olympic Qualification tournament at Astana in Kazakhstan.
  • With the win, Dutt secured an Olympic quota place for India in the men’s 65kg freestyle category.
  • Dutt became the second Indian wrestler after Narsingh Yadav to qualify for the Rio Games, to be held in August 2016.
  • The Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament is the second qualifying event for the Rio Games. The first was 2015 World Championship in Las Vegas, where only Narsingh Yadav bagged a quota place for the country in men’s 74kg freestyle.


Gurmeet Singh became first Indian to win Gold Medal in Asian 20 Kilometer Race Walk

  • Gurmeet Singh on 20 March 2016 became the first Indian athlete to win a gold medal in the Asian 20 Kilometer (km) Race Walk Championships.
  • His feat was the first time in 34 years that an Indian won a gold in either an Asian Championships or Asian Games in this event.
  • Hakam Singh and Chand Ram won a Gold medal each in 20-km road walk in 1978 and 1982 Asian Games respectively. Since then, no Indian won a Gold medal at the continental level in this event.
  • Gurmeet Singh took 1 hour 20 minutes and 29 seconds to complete the race while his close competitor Isamu Fujisawa of Japan took 1:20:49 with close fight in the last 5-km. Georgiy Sheiko of Kazakhstan won the bronze medal in 1:21:52.


HS Prannoy won 2016 Swiss Open men's singles title

  • India's fourth highest ranked men's badminton player HS Prannoy on 20 March 2016 won the men's singles title at the 2016 Swiss Open in Basel, Switzerland. He clinched the title by defeating Marc Zwiebler of Germany 21-18, 21-15 in the final.
  • The 2016 Swiss Open men's singles title is Prannoy’s second title at a Grand Prix Gold tournament, after he won the 2014 Indonesian Masters.


SSP Chawrasia won Hero Indian Open title of Golf

  • Shiv Shankar Prasad Chawrasia on 20 March 2016 won the Hero Indian Open title of golf played at the Golf Course in New Delhi.
  • He won the title with 71 points in the final round to defeat the defending champion Anirban Lahiri with 69 who stood second. Jeunghun Wang of Korea stood third with a score of 68 totaling 15-under 273.  In the past, Chawrasia had ended runner-up four times in the Hero Indian Open.
  • With this win, He pocketed 276660 US Dollars and moved to the fourth place in the Asian Tour Order of Merit.


Appointments –

Ritu Beri appointed advisor to Khadi and Village Industries Commission


  • Fashion designer Ritu Beri on 17 March 2016 was appointed advisor to the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) for promotion of khadi in India and across the world.
  • The commission appointed Beri as an advisor for a period of one year during which she will advise on ways to promote khadi.


Obituaries –

Former Danish PM Anker Joergensen died

  • Former Prime Minister of Denmark Anker Joergensen passed away on 20 March 2016 in Copenhagen. He was 93.
  • Joergensen served as the Prime Minister of the country from 1972 to 1973 and again from 1975 to 1982.
  • In 1950, Joergensen became a member of a trade union. He led the Danish Workers Union, SiD, between 1968 and 1972. While he served as the chairman of the Danish Workers Union, he was elected to the Parliament of Denmark for the first time in 1964.





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