Current Affairs Update - 21 March, 2017

Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs Update of 21 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 - 21 March, 2017 - Tap to show
  1. ICICI Bank has launched the Mera iMobile app, which is designed as a one stop shop for a range of digital services for rural customers.
  2. Government today moved a fresh proposal to cap cash transactions at Rs 2 lakh instead of Rs 3 lakh as provided in the Budget, as it introduced as many as 40 amendments to the Finance Bill in an 'unprecedented move'.
  3. Union Government has decided to merge the Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) with the State Bank of India (SBI). The three-year-old BMB will be merged with SBI to provide better banking services to a larger number of women, at a faster pace.
  4. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its release on 20 March 2017 said,All branches of State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur (SBBJ), State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH), State Bank of Mysore (SBM), State Bank of Patiala (SBP) and State Bank of Travancore (SBT) will function as branches of State Bank of India from 1 April 2017.”
  5. Forbes on 20 March 2017 released The World's Billionaires List 2017. It was the first time ever that Forbes pinned down more than 2000 ten-figure-fortunes of the billionaires. The total net worth of these billionaires rose by 18 per cent to USD 7.67 trillion. Bill Gates topped the list.
  6. The World  Poetry Day was celebrated on 21 March 2017 across the globe.
  7. The International Day of Forests 2017 was observed globally with the theme ' Forests and energy'.
  8. The International Day of Happiness was celebrated on 20 March 2017 across the world. To mark the occasion, the United Nations released the World Happiness Report 2017, which ranked 155 countries by their happiness levels. Norway topped while India was ranked 122.
  9. The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was observed globally on 21 March 2017 with the theme 'Racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration'.
  10. The Uttarakhand High Court on 20 March 2017 accorded the status of "living human entities" to the Ganga and Yamuna, the two most sacred rivers of India. The court accorded the status of living human entities to these two rivers while hearing a PIL filed by Haridwar resident Mohammad Salim.
  11. Madhabi Puri Buch was today appointed as a Whole-Time Member of capital markets regulator SEBI.
  12. Tamil Nadu on 20 March 2017 won the Vijay Hazare Trophy of Cricket, for the fifth time. In the Final played at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi, they defeated Bengal by 37 runs.
  13. Roger Federer on 19 March 2017 won the ATP Indian Wells Masters title.
  14. Maggie MacDonnell, a Canadian teacher was named the winner of the annual Global Teacher Prize at a ceremony conducted on 19 March 2017 at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai.



Financial & Banking News:

ICICI Bank launches ‘Mera iMobile’, a multilingual mobile banking app for rural customers


  • ICICI Bank has launched the Mera iMobile app, which is designed as a one stop shop for a range of digital services for rural customers.
  • The application allows electronic transfer of funds through multiple payment mechanisms, provides weather updates, up to date prices of vegetables in mandis, and is available in eleven local languages.
  • The application lets you manage your bank accounts, track cards and loans, manage fund transfers, make payments for utility services, and find out information relevant to farmers.
  • ‘Mera iMobile’ is a result of extensive research and has evolved into the country’s first comprehensive offering for rural customers on smartphone with 135 services and in eleven Indian languages.
  • It enables any user, even if they are not ICICI Bank customers, to download the app and get access to agri related advisory on mandi prices and weather.
  • These aid in saving time and effort of travel to the branch and the mandi for various services.

Govt proposes to lower cash transaction limit to Rs 2 lakh


  • Government today moved a fresh proposal to cap cash transactions at Rs 2 lakh instead of Rs 3 lakh as provided in the Budget, as it introduced as many as 40 amendments to the Finance Bill in an 'unprecedented move'.
  • As the Finance Bill was taken up for consideration in the Lok Sabha, opposition parties like TMC, BJD and RSP protested against the introduction of the amendments to 40 Acts, saying it was being done in the form of "back-door entry".
  • The amendments to the laws like Companies Act, Employees Provident Fund, Smuggling and Foreign Exchange Act, TRAI Act and Information Technology Act, have been moved with an aim of making the functioning of tribunals more efficient by merging the smaller ones and reducing their numbers from 40 to 12.
  • The objections by the opposition parties were overruled by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan who ruled that the 'incidental provisions' involved in the amendments constitute a 'Money Bill' and therefore can be considered as part of the Finance Bill.

Bharatiya Mahila Bank to be merged with State Bank of India


  • Union Government has decided to merge the Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) with the State Bank of India (SBI). The three-year-old BMB will be merged with SBI to provide better banking services to a larger number of women, at a faster pace.
  • An official statements said, “The objectives of affordable credit to women as well as propagation of women-centric products need to be quickly achieved through a wider network and lower cost of funds.“
  • The decision to merge the BMB with SBI was taken with view of the advantage of the large network of SBI among other things.
  • SBI has a large outreach of more than 20000 branches and operates with a workforce of around 2 lakh employees of which around 22% are women. SBI group already has 126 exclusive all-women branches across the country while BMB has only seven.
  • Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) was established as an Indian financial services banking on 19 November 2013, on the occasion of the 96th birth anniversary of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The company is based in Mumbai, India.
  • In the three years since established, BMB has extended loans of Rs 192 crores to women borrowers, while the SBI group has provided loans of about Rs.46000 crore to women borrowers.
  • India is the third country in the world to have a bank especially for women, after Pakistan and Tanzania.

Branches of SBBJ, SBH, SBM, SBP and SBT to operate as branches of SBI from April 1, 2017


  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its release on 20 March 2017 said, “All branches of State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur (SBBJ), State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH), State Bank of Mysore (SBM), State Bank of Patiala (SBP) and State Bank of Travancore (SBT) will function as branches of State Bank of India from 1 April 2017.
  • The release said that customers including depositors of all these associate banks will be treated as customers of the State Bank of the India from 1 April 2017.
  • Earlier in February 2017, the proposed merger of the five subsidiaries of the State Bank of India (SBI) with the bank was approved by the Union Cabinet. For this purpose, the union government also issued acquisition orders of these banks. 

The acquisition orders for these banks were

    • Acquisition of State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur Order 2017
    • Acquisition of State Bank of Travancore Order 2017
    • Acquisition of State Bank of Patiala Order 2017
    • Acquisition of State Bank of Hyderabad Order 2017
    • Acquisition of State Bank of Mysore Order 2017

  • The orders dated 22 February 2017 issued by the Union Government were published under Extraordinary Part II-Section 3-Sub-section (i) in the Gazette of India sanctioning the Acquisition of State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala and State Bank of Travancore by State Bank of India in terms of sub-section (2) of Section 35 of the State Bank of India Act, 1955 (23 of 1955).
Effects of the merger

  • With this merger, SBI will turn up to be a lender of global proportions.
  • Its asset base after the merger with its associate banks will be about Rs 37 lakh crore (about Rs 37 trillion or USD 555 billion).
  • It will have 22500 branches and 58000 ATMs across India and the world.
  • This number of branches and ATMs will help the bank in handling its customer base which will be more than 50 crores in numbers.
  • Post merger, the employees of all associate banks, with exceptions, will become employees of SBI. Exceptions will be of the board of directors and executive trustees of the associate banks.

Lists & Indexes:

Forbes World's Billionaires List 2017 released: Bill Gates tops the list


  • Forbes on 20 March 2017 released The World's Billionaires List 2017. It was the first time ever that Forbes pinned down more than 2000 ten-figure-fortunes of the billionaires. The total net worth of these billionaires rose by 18 per cent to USD 7.67 trillion.
  • This year's list marks the record for the richest people on earth as the number of billionaires jumped 13 per cent to 2043 from 1810 last year. This change in the number of billionaires is the biggest in the 31 years that Forbes has been tracking billionaires globally.
  • The top three in the list are Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos.
Highlights of the World's Billionaires List 2017

  • Bill Gates topped the list with fortune of USD 86 billion. He is not only the Number 1 in the list for the fourth year in a row, but also is the richest person in the world for 18 out of the past 23 years.
  • Warren Buffett had the second-best year. His USD 14.8 billion jump in 12 months was enough for him to get him 2nd spot in the list.
  • Amazon’s Jeff Bezos had the best year as it added USD 27.6 billion to his fortune making the total fortune of USD 72.8 billion. He was ranked at third position in the list.
  • Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg moved up to number five position for the first time, after his fortune rose to USD 56 billion.
  • Meanwhile, Carlos Slim Helu of Mexico, once the world’s richest man, fell to number six. It was the first time that Carlos is out of the top five in a dozen years.
  • There were 195 newcomers. Notable newbies include Patagonia sportswear founder Yvon Chouinard; Viking Cruises founder Torstein Hagen of Norway; US hedge fund tycoon Cliff Asness and John and Patrick Collison, founders of Stripe.

Norway ranked 1 in World Happiness Report, India slips to 122


  • Norway beat its close competitors, Denmark and Iceland to clinch the 1st place in the World Happiness Report 2017. The country was ranked fourth in 2016’s report.
  • The top five in the list included Norway at rank 1 followed by Denmark at rank 2, Iceland at 3 and Switzerland and Finland at rank 4 and 5 respectively. All the top countries ranked highly on the main factors that are found to support happiness like caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, good governance and income.
  • The averages of the top countries are so close that small changes can cause the rankings to change every year.
  • Norway was ranked one in spite of the weakening of oil prices.
  • The top ten was rounded up with Netherlands at the 6th position, Canada at 7, New Zealand at 8 and Australia and Sweden at 9 and 10 positions respectively.
  • All the countries in the top ten were found to have high values in all six key variables used to define happiness differences among countries including income, freedom, life expectancy, generosity, social support and the absence of corruption in business and government.
  • Though money is not the only measure to define happiness, all the countries featured in the top 10 are affluent and developed.
  • The differences in happiness levels in the wealthier countries, in fact, had a lot to do with differences in physical and mental health and personal relationships.
  • The countries that ranked the lowest on the list include Rwanda at 151, Syria at 152, Tanzania at 153, Burundi at 154 and the Central African Republic at 155.

Days:

World Poetry Day 2017 celebrated globally


  • The World  Poetry Day was celebrated on 21 March 2017 across the globe. The objective behind the day is to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression as well as to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their societies.
  • The day also provides an occasion to honour poets, revive oral traditions of poetry recitals, promote the reading, writing and teaching of poetry.
  • The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) first adopted 21 March as World Poetry Day during its 30th General Conference in Paris in 1999.

International Day of Forests 2017 observed globally


  • The International Day of Forests 2017 was observed globally with the theme ' Forests and energy'.
  • The Day aims to raise awareness of the importance of all types of woodlands and trees and celebrate the ways in which forests sustain and protect us.
  • This year theme highlights the importance of wood energy in improving the lives of people, powering sustainable development and mitigating climate change.
  • The Day was proclaimed through the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on 21 December 2012.

International Day of Happiness celebrated on 20 March 2017


  • The International Day of Happiness was celebrated on 20 March 2017 across the world. To mark the occasion, the United Nations released the World Happiness Report 2017, which ranked 155 countries by their happiness levels.
  • In the report, while Norway was adjudged as the happiest country in the world, India was ranked 122, much behind most of the SAARC nations including Pakistan and Nepal.
  • The General Assembly of the United Nations created the International Day of Happiness through a resolution on 12 July 2012. Consequently, the annual day was celebrated for the first time in 2013.
  • 20 March was declared as the day of International Happiness following a Bhutanese concept that was coined by the fourth king of Bhutan Jigme Singye Wangchuck in 1970’s.

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2017 observed globally


  • The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was observed globally on 21 March 2017 with the theme 'Racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration'.
  • Racial and ethnic profiling is defined as a reliance by security and border control personnel on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin as a basis for subjecting persons to detailed searches, identity checks and investigations.
  • Refugees and migrants are in particular the targets of racial profiling and incitement to hatred. In September 2016, the United Nations launched an initiative titled 'Together' to promote respect, safety and dignity for refugees and migrants.
  • For the same purpose, UN launched other initiatives as well including Let's Fight Racism! and the International Decade for People of African Descent.
  • Moreover, the UN Human Rights Office also launched a campaign 'Stand up for Someone's Rights Today' to encourage and support actions in our daily lives to defend the human rights of others.

Non-financial news related to India and States:

Uttarakhand HC accords human status to Ganga, Yamuna


  • The Uttarakhand High Court on 20 March 2017 accorded the status of "living human entities" to the Ganga and Yamuna, the two most sacred rivers of India.
  • Exercising extraordinary jurisdiction vested in the court, a division bench of Justice Rajeev Sharma and Justice Alok Singh of the Nainital High Court said, "Holy Rivers Ganga and Yamuna have been declared to be treated as living human entities."
  • The court accorded the status of living human entities to these two rivers while hearing a PIL filed by Haridwar resident Mohammad Salim.
  • Giving the "legal status" of living humans to the holy rivers, the court ordered to the Director of Namami Gange project to clean and rejuvenate the river.
  • The Chief Secretary and the Advocate General of Uttarakhand will act as the "legal parents" of the holy rivers.
  • The Chief Secretary and Advocate General will work as a human face to protect, conserve and preserve them and their tributaries.

Appointments:

Madhabi Puri Buch appointed as Sebi Whole-Time Member


  • Madhabi Puri Buch was today appointed as a Whole-Time Member of capital markets regulator SEBI.
  • She is founder-director of Agora Advisory Pvt Ltd and currently at the New Development Bank in Shanghai, China.
  • Buch has been appointed to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) post for a period of three years, an order issued by the Personnel Ministry said.

Sports News:

Tamil Nadu lifts Vijay Hazare Trophy


  • Tamil Nadu on 20 March 2017 won the Vijay Hazare Trophy of Cricket, for the fifth time. In the Final played at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi, they defeated Bengal by 37 runs.
  • It was Tamil Nadu's third victory over Bengal in the final of this competition.
  • Opting to bat, Tamil Nadu posted 217, riding on a century by Dinesh Karthik. He made 112. In reply, they bundled out Bengal for 180 in 45.5 overs. Aswin Crist, Rahil Shah and M. Mohammad bagged 2 wickets each, while for Bengal, Sudip Chatterjee top scored with 58.
  • The Vijay Hazare Trophy is a domestic 50-over competition of Cricket played in India. It is also known as the Ranji One Day Trophy. The tournament started in 2002-03 involves state teams from the Ranji Trophy plates. It is named after the famous Indian cricketer Vijay Hazare.

Roger Federer wins ATP Indian Wells Masters title


  • Roger Federer on 19 March 2017 won the ATP Indian Wells Masters title. This was his record fifth BNP Paribas Open crown. In the finals at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, Federer defeated Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 7-5.
  • With this triumph in the all-Swiss final, Federer joined Novak Djokovic as the only man to win five Indian Wells titles.
  • He had earlier won this title consecutively three times between 2004 and 2006 and in 2012. This victory at Indian Wells marks Federer’s 90th tour-level crown. This was also his 25th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title.
  • At 35, Federer is the oldest ATP player to win one of the elite Master's titles, supplanting Andre Agassi who was 34 when he won in Cincinnati in 2004.
  • Earlier in January 2016, Federer won the Australian Open title. This was his first title after returning back from the knee surgery that kept him out of the game for some six months. The Australian Open was his 18th Grand Slam title.

Awards & Honors:

President Pranab Mukherjee presents KCK International Award for excellence in print Journalism


  • President Pranab Mukherjee on 20 March 2017 presented the KCK International Award for excellence in Print Journalism. The awards were organized by Rajasthan Patrika in New Delhi.
  • The award for the year 2014 was conferred upon Wanjohi Kabukuru's team for the story How East Africa Lost Its Innocence that was published in New African magazine, London.
  • The award for the year 2015 was awarded to Rakesh Sharma and his team for an investigative news series Sexual Harassment in Nari Niketan, published in Amar Ujala.
  • The award carries the cash prize of USD 11000.

Canadian teacher wins global teacher prize

  • Maggie MacDonnell, a Canadian teacher was named the winner of the annual Global Teacher Prize at a ceremony conducted on 19 March 2017 at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai.
  • Maggie who teaches at the Ikusik School in Salluit, an Inuit village deep in the Canadian Arctic, was awarded for her achievements within the local community that survives amidst harsh conditions and her effort in helping to reduce teenage suicide rates.
  • She was awarded a cash prize of US $1m. She received the honour from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and the Emir of Dubai.


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