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Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Current Affairs Update – 8th March, 2016

Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 8th March, 2016.


Current Affairs at a Glance – 8th March, 2016
  1. Private lender Yes Bank on Tuesday launched an all-women operated bank branch ‘Yes Grace’ on Cunningham Road in Bengaluru aimed at offering customised banking solutions to women.
  2. Multinational Field Training Exercise (FTX) – Exercise FORCE 18, involving ASEAN Plus countries commenced in Pune by displaying true joint manship and team spirit. This is the largest Ground Forces Exercise ever conducted on Indian soil and would be conducted from March 2 to 8, 2016 with themes based on ‘Humanitarian Mine Action’ and ‘Peacekeeping Operations’. The Indian Army contingent of 40 soldiers is being led by Lt Col Sophia Qureshi, a Woman Officer from the Corps of Signals, who now has the rare distinction of becoming the first woman officer to lead an Indian Army training contingent in such a large multinational exercise.
  3. Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Sanjay Gandhi on 7 March 2016 launched Mahila e-Haat portal in New Delhi.
  4. Swedish furniture retail giant IKEA on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the government of Haryana for an investment of Rs 2,000 crore. The company would be opening its stores in the state. Its first store is likely to come up in Telangana though.
  5. Online payment solutions provider PayPal has tied up with budget hotel room aggregator OYO Rooms to help it source payments from global consumers and allow Indian users to make international bookings.
  6. 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.
  7. Telangana and Maharashtra governments have decided to set up an inter-state river water dispute resolution board to settle the issues pertaining to the irrigation projects, both old and new, being proposed in Godavari basin on both sides.
  8. On June 18, India will in all likelihood get its first women fighter pilots. Bhawna Kanth, Avani Chaturvedi and Mohana Singh are likely to create history as India’s first women fighter pilots if they put on the wings and are inducted into the IAF fighter stream. Who among the three, or all of them, make the final cut depends on them clearing the advanced stage training.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. The US and South Korean troops on 7 March 2016 began their largest ever military exercises off the coast of the Korean peninsula.
  13. International Labour Organization (ILO) on 8 March 2016 released a report titled Women at Work: Trends 2016.
  14. 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.



Finance/Economy/Banking –

Yes Bank launches all women branch "YES Grace" in Bengaluru


  • Private lender Yes Bank on Tuesday launched an all-women operated bank branch ‘Yes Grace’ on Cunningham Road here aimed at offering customised banking solutions to women.
  • The new branch, served by eight employees currently and with plans to raise the count to 12, will also drive for financial literacy, family banking, safety and wellness amongst women.
  • Simultaneously on Tuesday, two more all-women bank branches were opened in at Kalkaji, New Delhi and Vile Parle (E), Mumbai with plans to open more branches in major cities.
  • Ravichander said the number of Yes Bank branches will go up to 60 by 2018 in Bengaluru and Hyderabad and 1,500 all over the country by 2020.
  • Founded in 2004 after receiving a greenfield bank license from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) by Rana Kapoor and Ashok Kapoor, the lender’s branch network currently stands at 850 across India.


Union Government launched online marketing platform Mahila e-Haat


  • 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, http://mahilaehaat-rmk.gov.in, 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.
  • 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.


IKEA to invest Rs 2,000 cr in Haryana


  • Swedish furniture retail giant IKEA on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the government of Haryana for an investment of Rs 2,000 crore. The company would be opening its stores in the state. Its first store is likely to come up in Telangana though.
  • The company said it would employ about 1,000 workers directly and engage around 3,000 more for providing services such as furniture assembly, delivery services, among others.         
  • The MoU stands for mutual commitment from both parties and intends to provide clarity on working methods and ensure a legally and ethically compliant business environment. In 2015, IKEA had signed MoUs with Karnataka, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra to set up stores.    


OYO Rooms partners PayPal for global payments, bookings


  • Online payment solutions provider PayPal has tied up with budget hotel room aggregator OYO Rooms to help it source payments from global consumers and allow Indian users to make international bookings.
  • The companies, however, did not provide any financial details.
  • PayPal's technology protects merchants such as OYO Rooms against unauthorised transactions and mitigates associated risks, he added.
  • The partnership with PayPal will enable OYO Rooms' customers to pay for their bookings in Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries, the two companies said in a joint statement.


Union Government announced to withdraw tax proposal on Employee Provident Fund


  • 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.
  • 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.


Union Government re-classified industries on four-colour scheme based on pollution potential

  • 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 –

  1. Industry Category – PI Score – No of Industries Covered
  2. Red - 60 and Above - 60
  3. Orange - 41 to 59 - 83
  4. Green - 21 to 40 - 63
  5. White - Up to 20 - 36


India –

Telangana, Maharashtra sign historic pact on irrigation projects


  • Telangana and Maharashtra governments have decided to set up an inter-state river water dispute resolution board to settle the issues pertaining to the irrigation projects, both old and new, being proposed in Godavari basin on both sides.
  • Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and his Telangana counterpart K Chandrasekhara Rao on Tuesday signed an agreement in Mumbai for establishing a dispute resolution mechanism for the inter-state projects on Godavari.
  • The inter-state board, a rare step volunteered by two neighboring Indian states, will be headed by one of the two chief ministers by rotation.
  • The new board will strive to resolve the disputes through consultations in line with the river water allocations made by the Godavari Water Dispute Tribunal (GWDT) in the past.


'Exercise FORCE 18', largest Ground Forces Exercise on Indian soil, commences in Pune


  • Multinational Field Training Exercise (FTX) – Exercise FORCE 18, involving ASEAN Plus countries commenced in Pune by displaying true jointmanship and team spirit.
  • This is the largest Ground Forces Exercise ever conducted on Indian soil and would be conducted from March 2 to 8, 2016 with themes based on ‘Humanitarian Mine Action’ and ‘Peacekeeping Operations’.
  • In its first phase, over 28 foreign trainers were trained by the Indian Army from February 24 and March 1, 2016. These trainers will form the training backbone for the conduct of ‘Exercise FORCE 18’.
  • The Indian Army contingent of 40 soldiers is being led by Lt Col Sophia Qureshi, a Woman Officer from the Corps of Signals, who now has the rare distinction of becoming the first woman officer to lead an Indian Army training contingent in such a large multinational exercise.
  • The officer also happens to be the only Woman Officer Contingent Commander amongst all other ASEAN Plus contingents present for the exercise.


IAF to get first batch of women fighter pilots in June

  • On June 18, India will in all likelihood get its first women fighter pilots.
  • Bhawna Kanth, Avani Chaturvedi and Mohana Singh are likely to create history as India’s first women fighter pilots if they put on the wings and are inducted into the IAF fighter stream. Who among the three, or all of them, make the final cut depends on them clearing the advanced stage training.
  • This was announced by the Chief of the Indian Air Force Air Chief Marshal (ACM) Arup Raha on Tuesday while speaking on the occasion of the International Women’s Day.


Days –

International Women's Day observed with campaign theme #PledgeForParity


  • 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.


Sports –

Maria Sharapova provisionally suspended after failing drug test at Australian Open


  • 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.


Patna Pirates defeated U Mumba to win 2016 Pro Kabaddi League title

  • 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.


Golfer Adam Scott won 2016 WGC-Cadillac Championship

  • 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.


World –

South Korea, US began largest ever military exercises

  • 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.


Reports –

Women at Work: Trends 2016 report released by International Labour Organization


  • 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.
  • 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.


Awards & Honors –

Amrita Patel awarded with Mahindra Samriddhi Krishi Shiromani Samman

  • 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.


Obituaries –

Renowned Malayalam actor Kalabhavan Mani passed away

  • 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.





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