Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Current Affairs Update – 22nd March, 2016

Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the important Current Affairs of 22nd March, 2016


Current Affairs at a Glance – 22nd March, 2016
  1.  Terming agriculture as "absolutely critical to the country's economy", Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday launched the "Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana" and "Unified Package Insurance Scheme" here.
  2. The government has further relaxed the norms for the Atal Pension Yojana to give an option to the spouse to continue to contribute for the balance period on premature death of the subscriber. The spouse of the subscriber will receive the same pension amount as that of the subscriber until the death of the spouse.
  3. A Committee on Taxation of e-commerce constituted by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to examine the business models for e-commerce submitted its report on 21 March 2016. The 8-member committee was headed by Akhilesh Ranjan, Joint Secretary (FT&TR-I), CBDT, Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance.
  4. Ashok Leyland Defence Systems (ALDS), a division of Hinduja Group flagship company Ashok Leyland, today said it has selected US-based Lockheed Martin to develop light specialist vehicle and light armoured multi-purpose defence vehicles for armed forces.
  5. The Union Ministry of Finance on 21 March 2016 constituted a Sub-Committee under the aegis of the High Level Committee (HLC) to review issues related to excise duty. The committee will be headed by former Chief Economic Advisor Dr Ashok Lahiri and will review excise duty imposed on different jewellery articles in Budget 2016-17.
  6. The Government of Telangana on 20 March 2016 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Aero Campus Aquitaine and Bordeaux Metropole to set up aviation training institute in Hyderabad.
  7. India will host the eighth annual Summit of BRICS from October 15-16 in Goa in its capacity as chair of the influential bloc comprising five countries with 42 per cent of the world population and combined GDP of over USD 16 trillion.
  8. World Water Day (WWD) 2016 was globally observed on 22 March 2016 with the theme Water and Jobs.
  9. US Defence Secretary Ash Carter announced on 18 March 2016 that President Barack Obama has nominated General Lori Robinson to lead the United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and NORAD. This will make her the first woman to command a major Unified Combatant Command.
  10. Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) on 21 March 2016 declared the incumbent President Ali Mohamed Shein of Tanzania ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) as winner of the presidential elections.
  11. The Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs and Information & Broadcasting Arun Jailey on 21 March 2016 presented 5th National Photography Awards in New Delhi. Bhawan Singh received Life Time Achievement Award.
  12. World No 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Victoria Azarenka of Belarusia on 20 March 2016 won men's and women’s singles titles of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Southern California.
  13. Indian wrestler Hardeep Singh on 20 March 2016 won silver medal in the Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament held in Astana, Kazakhstan. With this win, Hardeep became the first Indian in 12 years to get an Olympic berth in the Greco-Roman category.
  14. The Hinduja Brothers, G P Hinduja and S P Hinduja topped the Asian Rich List 2016, which was released on 18 March 2016 in London.
  15. Andrew Grove, former Chairman and CEO of Intel, passed away on 21 March 2016. He was 79.



Finance/Economy/Industries –

Arun Jaitley launches "Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana" and "Unified Package Insurance Scheme"


  • Terming agriculture as "absolutely critical to the country's economy", Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday launched the "Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana" and "Unified Package Insurance Scheme" here.
  • He said the revamped insurance schemes now launched have the potential to reduce distress in the farm sector and would be rolled out in a "mission mode" from April 1 to cover Kharif crops.
  • Though the country had crop insurance schemes in the past, they were partially successful as they were mainly linked to crop loans, Jaitley pointed out.
  • While the farmers' premium would be 2 percent for Kharif food grain and oilseeds, it would be 1.5 percent for Rabi crops, and in the event of a crop failure, the farmers would be paid more.
  • The government plans to cover 50 percent of the farmers in the country, mostly those dependent on rain-fed agriculture, and this would be a significant step to making India an "insured and pensioned society", Jaitley said.
  • Noting that agriculture will have to grow faster for the country to get rid of poverty and push the overall GDP, Jaitley said after two successive monsoons, poor rainfall this year (2016) could put the systems to test.


Govt further relaxes Atal Pension Yojana norms


  • The government has further relaxed the norms for the Atal Pension Yojana to give an option to the spouse to continue to contribute for the balance period on premature death of the subscriber.
  • The spouse of the subscriber will receive the same pension amount as that of the subscriber until the death of the spouse. After the death of both the subscriber and the spouse, the nominee of the subscriber will receive the pension wealth, as accumulated till the age of 60 years of the subscriber.
  • Under current provisions of the scheme, the spouse is handed over the lumpsum amount accumulated in case of death of the subscriber before he or she reaches 60 years of age.


Akhilesh Ranjan Committee on Taxation of E-Commerce submitted report to Union Government


  • A Committee on Taxation of e-commerce constituted by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to examine the business models for e-commerce submitted its report on 21 March 2016.
  • The Report of the Committee was received by the Government of India and taken into consideration in the preparation of Finance Bill, 2016.
  • The Report provides the view of the Committee on issues related to taxation of e-commerce and recent international developments in this area.
  • The Committee included officers of the CBDT, representatives from the industry, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and tax experts. The 8-member committee was headed by Akhilesh Ranjan, Joint Secretary (FT&TR-I), CBDT, Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance.

Key recommendations of the committee are:
  • Equalization Levy may be imposed on payments to non-residents for specified services by a separate chapter in the Finance Act, 2016.
  • The Equalization Levy should be chargeable on any sum that is received by a non resident from a resident in India or a permanent establishment in India as a consideration for the specified digital services.
  • The rate of Equalization Levy may be between 6 to 8 percent of the gross sum received.
  • Equalization Levy should not be charged unless the consideration received for specified services in a year from a person in India is more than one lakh rupees.


Ashok Leyland to partner with US firm to develop defence systems


  • Ashok Leyland Defence Systems (ALDS), a division of Hinduja Group flagship company Ashok Leyland, today said it has selected US-based Lockheed Martin to develop light specialist vehicle and light armoured multi-purpose defence vehicles for armed forces.
  • Ashok Leyland would serve as the prime contractor and provide “cost effective” manufacturing hub for global requirements of the vehicles, it said.
  • As a licensed manufacturer of CVNG, the association with Lockheed Martin opens up a huge opportunity towards exports of vehicle platform as a Made in India product, it added.


Ashok Lahiri Committee constituted to review excise duty imposed on different jewellery articles in Budget 2016-17


  • The Union Ministry of Finance on 21 March 2016 constituted a Sub-Committee under the aegis of the High Level Committee (HLC) to review issues related to excise duty.
  • The committee will be headed by former Chief Economic Advisor Dr Ashok Lahiri and will review excise duty imposed on different jewellery articles in Budget 2016-17.
  • Before finalising its report the committee will interact with trade and industry on tax laws.


Telangana, French aviation companies signed MoU to set up training centre in Hyderabad

  • The Government of Telangana on 20 March 2016 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Aero Campus Aquitaine and Bordeaux Metropole to set up aviation training institute in Hyderabad.
  • The MoU was signed on the sidelines of the India Aviation Show 2016 and in the presence of Jupally Krishna Rao, Minister for Industries and the representatives of the two companies.

Features of the MoU
  • As part of the MoU, the two French firms will set up an aviation training institute at the Begumpet Airport in Hyderabad.
  • The facility will be used to train in aviation and aerospace sectors. The training modules will also include the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) segment.
  • In a year, at least 1000 students will be offered courses that will be of various durations from few weeks to one year. The students will be offered residential facilities also.


India –

India to host 8th BRICS Summit in October in Goa


  • India will host the eighth annual Summit of BRICS from October 15-16 in Goa in its capacity as chair of the influential bloc comprising five countries with 42 per cent of the world population and combined GDP of over USD 16 trillion.
  • External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj made the announcement today during a function where she also unveiled a logo and a website of the Summit.
  • India assumed chairmanship of BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) from Russia on February 15 and it will last till December 31.
  • The External Affairs Minister said India’s core-theme during BRICS chairmanship will be building responsive, inclusive and collective solutions for the grouping.
  • The logo for the Summit is a lotus having colours from all the five member countries and a traditional ‘namaste’ in the centre.


Days –

World Water Day 2016 observed with the theme Water and Jobs


  • World Water Day (WWD) 2016 was globally observed on 22 March 2016 with the theme Water and Jobs. The theme for the WWD 2016 talks about how water links to jobs as three out of four of the jobs worldwide are water-dependent.
  • In fact, water shortages and lack of access may limit economic growth in the years to come.
  • On the occasion of the WWD, the report titled 2016 United Nations World Water Development Report, Water and Jobs, was launched in Geneva.


Appointments –

Lori Robinson nominated as first US female Combatant Chief


  • US Defence Secretary Ash Carter announced on 18 March 2016 that President Barack Obama has nominated General Lori Robinson to lead the United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and NORAD. This will make her the first woman to command a major Unified Combatant Command.
  • The position is one of the most senior in the US military and must be confirmed by the Senate. If approved by the Senate, US Air Force General Lori Robinson will be the new North command chief and will be responsible for any missile threats against the homeland.


Ali Mohamed Shein declared winner of Presidential Elections of semi-autonomous region Zanzibar


  • Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) on 21 March 2016 declared the incumbent President Ali Mohamed Shein of Tanzania ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) as winner of the presidential elections. He won with 91.4 percent of the votes.
  • The presidential elections held on 20 March 2016 was the re-run of the elections held in October 2015, which were cancelled by the ZEC on grounds of fraud.


Awards & Honors –

M Sukumaran chosen for CV Kunhiraman Literary Prize


  • Renowned Malayalam writer M Sukumaran in the third week of March 2016 was chosen for the CV Kunhiraman Literary Prize.
  • The prize consists of 10001 rupees in cash, a citation, and a statuette designed by artist BD Dathan.
  • The themes of all of his writings deal with the plight of the dispossessed and advocate an armed struggle for the liberation of the oppressed.


5th National Photography Awards presented


  • The Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs and Information & Broadcasting Arun Jailey on 21 March 2016 presented 5th National Photography Awards in New Delhi.
  • The annual awards are meant to honour and recognize those creative professionals who defined moments in history through their creative pictorial mastery.

Recipients of major awards
  1. Bhawan Singh - Life Time Achievement Award
  2. Javed Ahmed Dar - Professional Photographer Award
  3. Himanshu Thakur - Amateur Photographer


Sports –

Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka won BNP Paribas Open titles


  • World No 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Victoria Azarenka of Belarusia on 20 March 2016 won men's and women’s singles titles of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Southern California.
  • Novak Djokovic defeated Milos Raonic of Canada 6-2, 6-0 in the men's final while Victoria Azarenka defeated top seed Serena Williams 6-4, 6-4.
  • Djokovic won his fifth Indian Wells title and third in a row. He equaled Rafael Nadal’s 27 ATP Masters titles.
  • On the other hand, Victoria Azarenka lifted her second BNP Paribas Open crown and her 19th singles title.


Wrestler Hardeep Singh won silver medal in Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament

  • Indian wrestler Hardeep Singh on 20 March 2016 won silver medal in the Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament held in Astana, Kazakhstan.
  • Even before the win, by virtue of reaching the final in the 98 kg category, he was qualified for participation in the Rio Olympics 2016 in Greco-Roman category and joined other two Indian wrestlers.
  • Earlier, Yogeshwra Dutt and Narsingh Yadav qualified for the Olympics in men's freestyle category.
  • With this win, Hardeep became the first Indian in 12 years to get an Olympic berth in the Greco-Roman category. The previous participation was that of Mausam Khatri in 2004 Athens Games.


Lists & Indexes –

Hinduja Brothers topped Britain’s Asian Rich List 2016


  • The Hinduja Brothers, G P Hinduja and S P Hinduja topped the Asian Rich List 2016, which was released on 18 March 2016 in London.
  • The Hinduja Brothers emerged as the richest Asian-origin entrepreneurs in Britain for the fourth consecutive year with an estimated personal fortune of 16.5 billion pounds.
  • Steel tycoon Lakshmi Niwas Mittal was ranked second in the list, which was released by the Indian high commissioner to the UK Navtej Sarna.
  • Sri Prakash Lohia, chairman of the Indorama Corporation, was listed 3rd richest with fortune worth 3 billion pounds.
  • The Arora Brothers, Simon, Bobby and Robin, owners of discount retail chain were listed as the 4th richest with a fortune worth 2.1 billion pounds.
  • Cyrus Vandrevala, with 2 billion pounds, stood at number five in the list.



Obituaries –

Former Intel Chairman and CEO Andrew Grove died
  
  • Andrew Grove, former Chairman and CEO of Intel, passed away on 21 March 2016. He was 79.
  • Grove became Intel’s President in 1979 and CEO in 1987. He served as Chairman of the Board from 1997 to 2005.






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