Monday, March 20, 2017

Current Affairs Update - 18 to 20 March, 2017

Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs Update of 18 to 20 March, 2017. These are important for the upcoming SBI PO Mains, NIACL Assistant Mains as well as other insurance and bank exams.



Current Affairs at a Glance - 18-20 March, 2017 - Tap to show
  1. Idea Cellular, owned by Kumar Mangalam Birla, on 20 March 2017 announced that its board has approved the merger of Vodafone India and its wholly-owned subsidiary Vodafone Mobile Services Limited with itself. This merger will lead to the creation of the country's largest telecom entity with about 400 million customers.
  2. The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 20 March 2017 approved four GST related bills.
  3. The India-Russia Military Industrial Conference was on 17 March 2017 jointly inaugurated by the Union Minister of Defence, Finance and Corporate Affairs Arun Jaitley and Russia’s Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturovon in New Delhi.
  4. India’s longest road tunnel, connecting Cheneni and Nashiri towns on the new Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, has successfully completed its trial run. The 9.2 km long twin tube is expected to be opened for public usage by the end of March 2017.
  5. The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in the third week of March 2017 announced that it is expected to deliver 123 Tejas aircrafts to the Indian Air Force (IAF) by 2024.
  6. The Indo-Oman joint military exercise Al Nagah-II 2017 concluded on 19 March 2017 at Bakloh in Himachal Pradesh.
  7. The first fully made-in-India train, Medha was flagged off at Dadar station on 18 March 2017 for its maiden run to Borivali at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus. The train made stops at Bandra and Andheri.
  8. Yogi Adityanath was on 19 March 2017 sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh by the Governor of the State Ram Naik.
  9. Trivendra Singh Rawat was on 18 March 2017 sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand by the State Governor Krishna Kant Paul at the Parade Ground in Dehrandun.
  10. Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara was in news on 19 March 2017 for his marathon knock that lasted for over 11 hours. His 202 off 525 balls in the first innings during the third test-match against Australia at the JSCA Stadium at Ranchi helped the team to take the first innings lead.
  11. The World Sparrow Day was observed across the world on 20 March 2017



Financial and Banking News:

Idea approves merger with Vodafone India


  • Idea Cellular, owned by Kumar Mangalam Birla, on 20 March 2017 announced that its board has approved the merger of Vodafone India and its wholly-owned subsidiary Vodafone Mobile Services Limited with itself.
  • This merger will lead to the creation of the country's largest telecom entity with about 400 million customers.
  • The merger will also help the company in holding 35 per cent market share as well as 41 per cent revenue market share.
Highlights of the merger

  • Vodafone will hold 45.1 per cent in the combined entity.
  • Idea promoters will hold 26.1 per cent of the entity.
  • Aditya Birla Group will have right to buy 9.5 per cent stake in the new entity.
  • Under the terms of the agreement, the merger should be completed within 24 months.
  • Idea will have the sole right to appoint the chairman.
  • Vodafone has right to appoint CFO of the company.
  • On the other hand, the appointment of CEO and COO will require an approval of both the companies.

Union Cabinet approved four GST related Bills

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 20 March 2017 approved the following four GST related bills -

  1. The Central Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 (The CGST Bill)
  2. The Integrated Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 (The IGST Bill)
  3. The Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 (The UTGST Bill)
  4. The Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to the States) Bill 2017 (The Compensation Bill)
Features of the bills

  • The CGST Bill makes provisions for levy and collection of tax on intra-state supply of goods and services by the Union Government.
  • On the other hand, IGST Bill makes provisions for levy and collection of tax on inter-state supply of goods or services or both by the Union Government.
  • The UTGST Bill makes provisions for levy on collection of tax on intra-UT supply of goods and services in the Union Territories without legislature.
  • Union Territory GST is akin to States Goods and Services Tax (SGST), which shall be levied and collected by the States and Union Territories on intra-state supply of goods or services or both.

India-Russia Military Industrial Conference held in New Delhi


  • The India-Russia Military Industrial Conference was on 17 March 2017 jointly inaugurated by the Union Minister of Defence, Finance and Corporate Affairs Arun Jaitley and Russia’s Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturovon in New Delhi.
  • On the sidelines of the conference, two agreements were signed between Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and United Aircraft Corporation and United Engine Corporation of Russia.
  • The agreements are related to general terms and conditions governing long term supply of spares and rendering technical assistance over five years for the Su-30 MKI aircraft.
  • The primary objective of the conference is to address issues related to life-cycle support and maintenance of major Russian-origin equipments and platforms such as SU-30 MKI aircraft, Mi-17 Helicopters, MiG-29K aircraft, INS Vikramaditya and T-90 tanks.

ICAR, ICRISAT signed collaborative agreement for crop improvement


  • The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) on 15 March 2017 signed a collaborative agreement for crop improvement.
  • The agreement was signed by Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra, Secretary (DARE) and Director General (ICAR) and  Dr David Bergvinson, Director General, ICRISAT in New Delhi.
  • The agreement, which is called as the ICAR-ICRISAT collaborative work plan for the years 2016-18, facilitates the transfer of agricultural technologies between the two institutes.
  • Climate smart crops, smart food and digitalization of breeding database are some of the core areas of research covered under the agreement.
  • The partnership includes funding to research grain legumes and dryland cereals and support for the smart food initiative to deliver sustainable and nutritionally rich products to consumers.

Solar Energy Scheme for Small Powerloom Units approved


  • The Union Minister of State for Textiles Ajay Tamta on 16 March 2017 informed the Lok Sabha that the ministry approved the Solar Energy Scheme for Small Powerloom Units.
  • The minister also announced that the scheme will come into force on 1 April 2017.
  • The scheme seeks to provide financial assistance in the form of capital subsidy to small powerloom units for installation of Solar Photo Voltaic (SPV) plants.
  • These SPV plants will alleviate the problem of power cuts and shortages faced by decentralized powerloom units in the country.
  • Under the scheme, the plants have two options -
  • (i) On-Grid Solar Power Plant in areas where power cuts and shortages are negligible and power tariff is high
  • (ii) Off-Grid Solar Power Plant in areas where there is a power shortage and on-grid power is not continuously available

Non-financial news related to India and states:

India’s longest road tunnel completes trial run


  • India’s longest road tunnel, connecting Cheneni and Nashiri towns on the new Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, has successfully completed its trial run. The 9.2 km long twin tube is expected to be opened for public usage by the end of March 2017.
  • Speaking on its opening, J S Rathore, the Project Director of the Chenani Nashiri Tunnelway stated that the tunnel would be formally thrown open to regular traffic after inauguration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which is expected to happen soon.  Rathore added that the road tunnel would help in reducing the traffic jams on National Highway-1A that occur due to snowfall and avalanches in winter.
  • The twin-tube tunnel will be the first one in the country to get the world class 'integrated tunnel control system'.
  • The system would allow ventilation, fire control, signals, communication and electrical systems to be automatically actuated.
  • It is located at an elevation of 1200 meters.
  • The trial run of the tunnel was conducted successfully during both peak hours and non-peak hours between 9 to 15 March 2017.

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited expected to deliver 123 Tejas aircrafts to IAF by 2024


  • The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in the third week of March 2017 announced that it is expected to deliver 123 Tejas aircrafts to the Indian Air Force (IAF) by 2024.
  • In order to achieve this goal, the HAL is in the process of setting up a new assembly line by involving the private sector.
  • The Light Combat Aircraft Tejas is a supersonic, single-seat, single-engine multirole light fighter aircraft.
  • The fourth generation aircraft was co-developed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) in cooperation with the Bengaluru-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

Indo-Oman joint army exercise Al Nagah-II 2017 concluded


  • The Indo-Oman joint military exercise Al Nagah-II 2017 concluded on 19 March 2017 at Bakloh in Himachal Pradesh.
  • The bilateral exercise of the Indian Army and the Royal Army of Oman was declared closed by Major General Naveen Kumar Airy of the Indian Army.
  • Al Nagah-II 2017 was the second edition of the joint exercise between the Indian and Oman armies. The previous edition of the exercise was held in Muscat, Oman in 2015.
  • The 14-day joint exercise began on 6 March 2017 with an opening ceremony.
  • The aim of the exercise was to acquaint both forces with each other’s operating procedures, improve the interoperability in conducting joint operations in the backdrop of counter-insurgency and counter- terrorism environment.

First ever Made-in-India train flagged off at Dadar station


  • The first fully made-in-India train, Medha was flagged off at Dadar station on 18 March 2017 for its maiden run to Borivali at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus. The train made stops at Bandra and Andheri.
  • The 12 coach train, part of India’s Make in India campaign, was flagged off by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu amidst the presence of Central and Western Railway general manager DK Sharma and other senior officials. The effort aims to boost rail connectivity in the region and enhance the convenience of the people.
  • Two Medha trains were on a trial since the last two years. Both the trains have been designed and built at the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai. They will be running on the Western Railway network.
  • It is powered by a Hyderabad-based firm Medha Servo Drives.
  • The company has installed LED lighting inside the train, which will help save energy by almost 30-35% in comparison to the existing trains.

Appointments:

Yogi Adityanath sworn-in as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh


  • Yogi Adityanath was on 19 March 2017 sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh by the Governor of the State Ram Naik.
  • Besides Yogi Adityanath, Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma took the oath as the Deputy Chief Ministers of the State.
  • At present, Yogi Adityanath is an MP of the Lok Sabha. So far, he was elected as an MP from the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha constituency in the 1998, 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014 elections.

Justice Navanithi Prasad Singh sworn in as Kerala HC Chief Justice


  • Justice Navanithi Prasad Singh was on 20 March 2017 sworn in as the new Chief Justice of Kerala High Court.
  • The Governor of Kerala Justice (retd) P Sathasivam administered the oath of office to Justice Singh at a function held at the Raj Bhavan in Thiruvananthapuram.
  • He was designated as a Senior Advocate on 11 December 2004 by the Patna high court. He was elevated as a Judge of the Patna High Court on 6 March 2006.

Trivendra Singh Rawat sworn-in as Uttarakhand Chief Minister


  • Trivendra Singh Rawat was on 18 March 2017 sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand by the State Governor Krishna Kant Paul at the Parade Ground in Dehrandun.
  • TS Rawat succeeded Harish Rawat of the Indian National Congress (INC) in the aftermath of the recent general elections to the State Legislative Assembly.
  • In the February 2017 elections, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 57 out of the 69 seats by garnering 46.5 per cent of the total votes polled, the ruling INC got only 11 seats and 33.5 per cent of the total votes polled.

Sports News:

Cheteshwar Pujara plays India's longest innings


  • Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara was in news on 19 March 2017 for his marathon knock that lasted for over 11 hours. His 202 off 525 balls in the first innings during the third test-match against Australia at the JSCA Stadium at Ranchi helped the team to take the first innings lead.
  • With this, Pujara became first Indian batsman to face 500 balls in an innings. This was his 3rd double century in his Test career.
  • The fete also helped Pujara to join the elite list of players like Rahul Dravid, Navjot Sidhu, Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri and VVS Laxman. In short, he is the sixth Indian batsman to face 450 balls in an innings.
  • The previous record of facing maximum balls in Test inning was held by Rahul Dravid (270 off 495 balls). Dravid’s record was created in 2004 during a match against Pakistan in Rawalpindi. 270 during the inning at Rawalpindi was Dravid’s career-best score.

Sports Ministry to launch a search portal to spot young sports talent in rural India


  • The Indian Sports Ministry will soon be launching a talent search portal that will help spot, groom, support and encourage young Indians from across the country, especially from the rural region.
  • The announcement was made by the Union Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs, Vijay Goel while interacting with the Indians in Dubai. Explaining the intention behind the move, the sports minister stated that the main idea is to ensure that the grassroot population in India also gets an opportunity to contribute their share in sports.

Days:

World Sparrow Day 2017 observed globally


  • The World Sparrow Day was observed across the world on 20 March 2017. The day was created with an aim to raise awareness about the house sparrow and then other common birds to urban environments.
  • The World Sparrow Day also speaks of threats to their populations. The day also provides an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of the common biodiversity which is taken so much for granted.
  • World Sparrow Day is an international initiative of the Nature Forever Society of India in collaboration with several national international organisations including the Eco-Sys Action Foundation (France). The first World Sparrow Day was celebrated in 2010 across the world.

Obituaries:

Former Odisha MP Pyarimohan Mohapatra passes away


  • Former Rajya Sabha member Pyarimohan Mohapatra passed away tonight at a hospital in Mumbai after a prolonged illness.
  • Mohapatra had been undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Mumbai. He passed away tonight, his family said.
  • Regarded as the chief strategist and mentor of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the former IAS officer of 1963 batch played a key role in deciding the shape and contours of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) after the regional party was formed in 1997.

Renowned Meteorologist, Dev Raj Sikka passes away


  • Former Director of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Dev Raj Sikka passed away on 18 March 2017, after suffering from a cardiac arrest. He was 85.
  • Remembering Raj Sikka, Madhavan Rajeevan, Secretary in the Ministry of Earth Sciences said that he was the first person to propose a connection between El Nino phenomenon and the Indian monsoon but that was the time when meteorologists would give more importance to the words of the western scientists.
  • The El Nino Southern Oscillation phenomenon, the irregularly periodical variation in winds and sea in the equatorial Pacific, is now seen by the meteorologists as one of the most significant factors to forecast the performance of the Indian monsoon. Out of 10 El Nino years, almost six have been linked to below-normal rainfall in India.


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