Current Affairs Update - 8-9 March, 2017

Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs Update of 8 and 9 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 - 8-9 March, 2017 - Tap to show
  1. The Reserve Bank of India has sharply brought down the threshold above which non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) can disburse loans against gold only by cheque. The central bank said with immediate effect such loans amounting to Rs. 20,000 and above can be disbursed only by cheque as against the earlier threshold of Rs. 1 lakh and above. This move is in line with the rules issued under the Income Tax Act.
  2. India and Belgium on Thursday signed a Protocol to amend the existing Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between the two countries.
  3. India's largest automobile company by revenues Tata Motors and Europe's largest car maker Volkswagen Group on Wednesday have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, on the sidelines of the 87th Geneva International Motor Show to explore a possible joint technical colloboration or joint venture on vehicle architecture, engines and component sourcing.
  4. Google on Thursday announced a strategic partnership with European multinational software corporation SAP to develop and integrate Google's best cloud and machine learning solutions into SAP enterprise applications.
  5. The Employees' Provident Fund Organisation, the retirement fund body of India, in March 2017 extended the last date for submission of digital life certificate through Jeevan Pramaan Patra (JPP) up to 31 March 2017 under Employees' Pension Scheme (EPS).
  6. The Pension Fund and Regulatory Development Authority (PFRDA) on 7 March 2017 unveiled certain rules for transfer of funds from recognised provident and superannuation funds to the National Pension System (NPS).
  7. The fifth edition of the mega cultural festival ‘India by the Nile’ began in Cairo, Egypt on 8 March 2017.
  8. The two-day International Yoga festival is scheduled to begin in New Delhi on 8 March 2017.
  9. Choudhary Zulfkar Ali, Jammu and Kashmir Minister for food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, on 5 March 2017 inaugurated the first tribal model village Habbi in Kotranka in Jammu and Kashmir.
  10. The Indo-Nepal Joint Military Exercise Surya Kiran XI commenced on 7 March 2017 at Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand.
  11. The Chief Minister of Haryana Manohar Lal Khattar on 6 March 2017 announced the Tirtha Darshan Scheme. Under the scheme, senior citizens above 60 years of age in the State will be able to go on a pilgrimage within India at the expense of the government.
  12. President Pranab Mukherjee on 8 March 2017 presented the Nari Shakti Puraskar 2016 at a ceremony in New Delhi on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2017.
  13. Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in the first week of March 2017 won Best Actress Award at the International Film Festival and Awards of Australia (IFFAA). Aishwarya grabbed the award for her role in 2016 film 'Sarbjit'.
  14. The 2017 International Women's Day ((IWD)) was observed across the world on 8 March 2017. The year's theme for the Day is Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030.
  15. India’s Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja on 8 March 2017 became the first pair of spinners to be jointly top-ranked in the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for Test Bowlers.
  16. Indian women hockey team on 8 March 2017 dished out a disciplined performance to notch up a 3-1 win over Belarus to register their fifth consecutive victory.
  17. Pradeep Nair on 8 March 2017 was named the Ford Foundation Regional Director for its office serving India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
  18. Harm Ohlmeyer was on 7 March 2017 appointed as Chief Financial Officer of Adidas with effect from May 2017.
  19. A new analysis by the Financial Times shows that the banking system of China has overtaken the eurozone to become the world’s biggest by assets.





Financial and Banking News:

NBFC cash loan against gold restricted to Rs 20,000


  • The Reserve Bank of India has sharply brought down the threshold above which non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) can disburse loans against gold only by cheque.
  • The central bank said with immediate effect such loans amounting to Rs. 20,000 and above can be disbursed only by cheque as against the earlier threshold of Rs. 1 lakh and above. This move is in line with the rules issued under the Income Tax Act.
  • This move should be seen in the backdrop of the government scrapping Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 bank notes during the demonetisation period (November 9, 2016 to December 30, 2016) and its emphasis on digital payments.
  • The note scrapping exercise resulted in almost 86 per cent of the currency in circulation being sucked out of the economy. Viral Acharya, Deputy Governor, RBI, recently said that complete remonetisation will take a couple of more months.

India and Belgium sign Protocol to amend DTAA


  • India and Belgium on Thursday signed a Protocol to amend the existing Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between the two countries.
  • This Protocol was signed by Sushil Chandra, Chairman, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on behalf of India and Jan Luykx, Ambassador of Belgium to India, on behalf of Belgium.
  • The Protocol seeks to broaden the scope of the existing framework of exchange of tax related information. This in turn will help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance between the two countries and will also enable mutual assistance in collection of taxes, an official release said.
  • It may be recalled that the Union Cabinet had in June last year approved the signing of a Protocol to amend the existing DTAA pact with Belgium.

Tata Motors-Volkswagen sign an MoU to explore partnership or joint venture


  • India's largest automobile company by revenues Tata Motors and Europe's largest car maker Volkswagen Group on Wednesday have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, on the sidelines of the 87th Geneva International Motor Show to explore a possible joint technical colloboration or joint venture on vehicle architecture, engines and component sourcing.
  • Several meetings including preliminary due diligence have taken place. To be sure, this is not a firm partnership, but both companies have agreed to discuss potential opportunities to develop vehicle platforms, share technology etc.
  • Tata Motors MD, Guenter Butschek on Wednesday confirmed the talks and said they are in midst of a discussion. To a query sent to Volkswagen India last month, the spokerperson had said, Volkswagen Group is committed to the Indian market, as India is an integral part of its growth strategy – especially in the emerging markets. With its future programme “TOGETHER – strategy 2025” Volkswagen Group empowers its brands with new responsibilities in the respective regions.

Google Cloud partners with SAP to develop enterprise solutions


  • Google on Thursday announced a strategic partnership with European multinational software corporation SAP to develop and integrate Google's best cloud and machine learning solutions into SAP enterprise applications.
  • The partnership, which includes certification of the in-memory database SAP HANA on Google Cloud Platform (GCP), new G Suite integrations, Google's machine learning capabilities and data governance collaboration offers Google Cloud, SAP and customer's more scope and scalability.
  • "Google Cloud is the first public cloud vendor to make SAP HANA express edition available to developers in an on-demand deployment model," said Nan Boden, Head of Global Technology Partners, Google Cloud.
  • Developers can now use SAP HANA express edition to build custom enterprise applications on GCP with the flexibility of on-demand, near instantaneous deployment leveraging Google Cloud Launcher.

EPFO extends Digital Life Certificate submission through Jeevan Pramaan Patra by March 31


  • The Employees' Provident Fund Organisation, the retirement fund body of India, in March 2017 extended the last date for submission of digital life certificate through Jeevan Pramaan Patra (JPP) up to 31 March 2017 under Employees' Pension Scheme (EPS).
  • Earlier the last date was 28th February 2017. An official release said, members and pensioners of the EPS are required to furnish Aadhaar number by the end of March 2017.
  • The date of submission of the Aadhaar–authenticated Jeevan Pramaan as life certificate was extended as several pensioners failed to submit their life certificates for the continuation of drawal of their pension.
  • An official release said, members and pensioners of the EPS are required to furnish Aadhaar number by the end of this month.
Highlights of the notification

  • It said, in case a member has not been allotted Aadhaar number, a copy of Aadhaar enrolment ID slip is sufficient for settlement of the claim under EPS.
  • It said Aadhaar number is not required in case a member of pension scheme having less than 10 years of service chooses to withdraw by making an application.
  • Jeevan Pramaan- an Aadhar based Digital Life Certificate for pensioners
  • The Aadhaar-based digital life certificate named Jeevan Pramaan was launched for pensioners in November 2014. This certificate was launched with an aim to help crore of pensioners in getting the benefits of pension by producing life certificates each year in a digital instead of the physical life certificate.

Funds transferred from Provident Fund to National Pension System not taxable PFRDA


  • The Pension Fund and Regulatory Development Authority (PFRDA) on 7 March 2017 unveiled certain rules for transfer of funds from recognised provident and superannuation funds to the National Pension System (NPS).
  • The regulator mentioned that as per the provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961, the amount transferred from recognised provident or superannuation fund to NPS was not treated as income for the current year and hence it is not taxable.
Key Highlights

  • As per the rules, funds transferred from Provident Fund to the National Pension System will not be taxable.
  • The transferred recognised provident fund or the superannuation fund will not be treated as contribution of the current year by employee or employer and accordingly the subscriber cannot make income tax claim of contribution for this transferred amount.
  • Any subscriber interested in such a transfer should have an active NPS Tier I account.
  • The NPS Tier I account can be opened either through the employer (where NPS is implemented) or through the points-of-presence (POPs) or online through eNPS on the NPS Trust website.
  • The subscriber should approach the recognised provident or superannuation fund trust through the current employer requesting transfer to the NPS account.

Non-financial news related to India and states:

SC asked Union Government to secure India-Bangladesh border


  • To check cross-border influx of illegal Bangladesh nationals into Assam, the Supreme Court (SC) on 8 March 2017 directed the Union Government to release funds for fencing the India-Bangladesh border.
  • The bench comprising Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice RF Nariman perused the status report on the progress made in the works relating to securing and fencing the border, which was presented by the Union Government and said the task has to be completed soon. It also said the Madhukar Gupta committee would "oversee and supervise" it.
  • Additional Solicitor General (ASG) PS Patwalia, who appeared in the court on the behalf of the Union Government, said some tenders have been finalised and work orders issued to successful bidders to undertake the exercise of border fencing.
  • The court issued the direction to the center while hearing the pleas of Assam Sanmilita Mahasangha, Assam Public Works and All Assam Ahom Association. The pleas were filed in the aftermath of large-scale riots in 2012 and 2014 resulting in the death of many people.

Cultural festival 'India by the Nile' starts in Egypt


  • The fifth edition of the mega cultural festival ‘India by the Nile’ began in Cairo, Egypt on 8 March 2017. The festival aims to showcase the diversity in India’s culture, art and cuisine and also to strengthen India’s partnership with Egypt.
  • Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the festival, India’s Ambassador to Egypt, Sanjay Bhattacharyya said that the event is a special moment as this year commemorates 70 years of India’s independence as well as 70 years of its diplomatic relations with Egypt.
  • The festival will continue till 27 April 2017 and will be held in Cairo as well as several other cities.
  • The inaugural ceremony was attended by the Egyptian Minister of Antiquities, Khaled Al-Anani and other prominent dignitaries.
  • It took off with a Crafts Mela, which will run from 8 to 14 March. The mela showcases a joint handicraft exhibition of India and Egypt.

International Yoga fest to begin in New Delhi


  • The two-day International Yoga festival is scheduled to begin in New Delhi on 8 March 2017.
  • The festival is expected to witness participation from more than 3500 participants including well-known yoga gurus, masters, scholars, policy makers and representatives from over 15-18 countries from across the world.
  • The event is reportedly going to be inaugurated by Venkaiah Naidu, the Information and Broadcasting Minister at the Talkatora stadium.
  • It is being organised by the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga in association with the Indian Yoga associations.
  • The mega event will include parallel yoga workshops, lectures, satsang, yoga demos and various other cultural programmes.
  • It would also include an exhibition comprising more than 50 stalls with yoga appliances, other yoga related products, dvds and books on display.

First smart tribal village Habbi inaugurated in Jammu and Kashmir


  • Choudhary Zulfkar Ali, Jammu and Kashmir Minister for food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, on 5 March 2017 inaugurated the first tribal model village Habbi in Kotranka in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Kotranka is located Rajouri District of the state.
  • The village is developed under the Rural Development Department of the State Government.  The village has been introduced with smart classes in the schools, better roads, electricity and water facility.

Indo-Nepal joint military exercise Surya Kiran XI commences


  • The Indo-Nepal Joint Military Exercise Surya Kiran XI commenced on 7 March 2017 at Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand.
  • During the 14-day long exercise, the Nepal Army is being represented by the officers and troops of the elite Durga Baksh Battalion. The Indian Army is represented by the Ekta Shakti Battalion of the Punjab Regiment.
  • Surya Kiran XI is the eleventh such battalion level exercise between the two nations. It is aimed at training of troops in counter insurgency operations in mountainous terrain.
  • The exercise formally incorporates issues related to Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Management (HADR). It will also help enhance defence co-operation and military relations between the two India and Nepal.

Union Environment Ministry launches web portal for obtaining CRZ Clearances


  • The Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Anil Madhav Dave on 8 March 2017 launched the web portal for obtaining Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearances by the project proponents.
  • The portal was launched as a part of ‘Ease of Doing Business’ module of the Union Government.
  • The system will enable the project proponents and the concerned State and Union Territory bodies like the State Coastal Zone Management Authorities (SCZMAs) and Municipal and Town Planning agencies in tracking the status of their proposals. 
  • The system is based on web architecture similar to the existing systems in place for according environmental and forest clearances.

Haryana Government announces Tirtha Darshan scheme for senior citizens


  • The Chief Minister of Haryana Manohar Lal Khattar on 6 March 2017 announced the Tirtha Darshan Scheme. Under the scheme, senior citizens above 60 years of age in the State will be able to go on a pilgrimage within India at the expense of the government.
  • The announcement was made by Khattar while replying to the discussion on the Governor’s address during the budget session of the State Assembly.
  • Under the scheme, the State government will bear the entire cost of the tour of senior citizens belonging to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families.
  • Couples belonging to the BPL category are also covered under the scheme.
  • In case of senior citizens of non-BPL families, the State government would bear only 70 per cent of the total cost.

Awards & Honors:

President Pranab Mukherjee presents Nari Shakti Puraskar 2016


  • President Pranab Mukherjee on 8 March 2017 presented the Nari Shakti Puraskar 2016 at a ceremony in New Delhi on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2017.
  • This year, the Selection Committee, chaired by the Minister of Women & Child Development Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, unanimously agreed to increase the number of Awards to 31 as more nominees were found to be deserving and the age criteria was also relaxed.
  • Some of the awardees of this year are scientists Anatta Sonney, B Codanayaguy and Subhu Varier, entrepreneurs Reema Sathe and Zuboni Humtsoe, trailblazer Mumtaz Kazi and many more.
  • The Nari Shakti Puraskar carries a cash award of Rs 1 Lakh and a certificate for individuals and institutions.

PM Narendra Modi presents Swachh Shakti Awards 2017 to women sarpanch


  • PM Narendra Modi on 8 March 2017 presented Swachh Shakti Awards 2017 to women sarpanch in Gandhinagar, Gujarat who have contributed immensely to the movement towards a clean India. The awards were presented on the occasion of International Women's Day 2017.
Awardees

  • PM Modi honoured ten women with the Swachh Shakti Samman for their exemplary work in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
  • Among the women awardees were Manju Maurya from UP, Uttara Thakur from Chhattisgarh, Kumari Neelam from Haryana, Shivani Dakoy from West Bengal, Asha Putri from Rajasthan, Sumitra Kumari from Assam, Ramila Ben Rai Singh Gavit from Gujarat, Akamma Harval from Karnataka, M. Malika from Tamil Nadu, and Sushila Kurkute from Maharashtra.
  • All of them were given the name of Swachhta Champion.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan wins Best Actress Award for Sarbjit at IFFAA


  • Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in the first week of March 2017 won Best Actress Award at the International Film Festival and Awards of Australia (IFFAA).
  • Aishwarya grabbed the award for her role in 2016 film 'Sarbjit'.
  • The movie Sarbjit is a 2016 Indian biographical drama film. It was directed by Omung Kumar. The film revolved around Sarabjit Singh, an Indian man, who was sentenced to death by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 1991. He consequently spent 22 years in prison for alleged terrorism and spying.

Harvard honoured Viola Davis with 'Artist of the Year' award


  • Viola Davis, the actress who took home some of this year’s biggest awards, was honoured with the Harvard foundation 'Artist of the Year' 2017 award at Harvard's 32nd Cultural Rhythms Festival in Cambridge on 4 March 2017.
  • Speaking on the occasion, S Allen Counter, director of the Harvard Foundation said that the foundation’s students and faculty were delighted to present the award to Davis, the much-acclaimed television and film artist, who has made outstanding contributions to American and International film and theatre.
  • The actress not only won an Oscar recently but also won the Golden Globe, BAFTA and the Screen Actors Guild Award for best supporting actress female for her performance as Rose Maxson in the film adaptation of August Wilson’s play ‘Fences’. Davis also acted in the play's 2010 Broadway revival with Denzel Washington, for which she won her second Tony award.

Days:

International Women's Day 2017 observed across the world


  • The 2017 International Women's Day ((IWD)) was observed across the world on 8 March 2017. The year's theme for the Day is Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030.
  • The idea of the theme is to consider how to accelerate the 2030 Agenda, building momentum for the effective implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals, especially goal number 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls; and number 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.
  • The theme focuses on new commitments under UN Women’s Step It Up initiative.

Sports News:

Ashwin and Jadeja jointly rank Number One in ICC Test rankings


  • India’s Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja on 8 March 2017 became the first pair of spinners to be jointly top-ranked in the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for Test Bowlers.
  • The rankings released a day after the second Test against Australia in Bengaluru. Jadeja’s seven wickets in the match helped him move up one rank to reach the top position for the first time in his career.
  • Before Ashwin and Jadeja, Dale Steyn and Muttiah Muralidaran shared the top spot in April 2008.
  • In the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen, Steve Smith, captain of Australian cricket team, maintained his reign at the top for 77 Tests, going past Ricky Ponting’s 76 matches.

Indian women hockey team beat Belarus to clinch five-match test series


  • Indian women hockey team on 8 March 2017 dished out a disciplined performance to notch up a 3-1 win over Belarus to register their fifth consecutive victory.
  • With the win, Indian eves clinched the five-match Test series 5-0 against Belarus.
  • In the final match, India’s Vandana Katariya, Gurjit Kaur and Rani scored for the team on 6th minute, 15th minute and 55th minute, respectively. On the other hand, Yuliya Mikheichyk scored the solitary goal for Belarus on the 52nd minute.
  • The Indian team was captained by striker Rani, the Indian eves were quick to get off the blocks as Vandana scored a field goal in the 6th minute of the match.

Formation of committee to resolve grievances of women sports persons announced


  • The Union Government on 8 March 2017 decided to constitute a high level committee to resolve the grievances and complaints of women sports persons.
  • An announcement in this regard was made by the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs and Sports Vijay Goel at a conference on ‘Women and Sports in India’ in New Delhi.
  • The conference was organised by the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to mark the International Women’s Day to deliberate upon various issues for encouraging more and more women to take up sports.

Appointments:

Pradeep Nair named Regional Director of Ford Foundation for India, Nepal and Sri Lanka


  • Pradeep Nair on 8 March 2017 was named the Ford Foundation Regional Director for its office serving India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
  • Nair previously headed the then US President Bill Clinton's Climate Initiative in India.
  • Pradeep Nair is a seasoned public and private sector leader.
  • He holds a deep regional expertise and more than 20 years of experience building partnerships among government, corporate, philanthropic and civil society partners in the dynamic South Asia region.
  • He joined the Ford Foundation with a record of guiding the growth and development of regional institutions.
  • As India Country Director, he established the organisation's India office and played pivotal role in forming strong relationships with the Indian government, the private sector and NGO communities across Asia.
  • As head of Clinton's Climate Initiative in India, he helped to grow the regional chapter of the global cities network.

Harm Ohlmeyer appointed as Chief Financial Officer of Adidas


  • Harm Ohlmeyer was on 7 March 2017 appointed as Chief Financial Officer of Adidas with effect from May 2017. He will succeed Robin Stalker, who served the post for 16 years.
  • Presently, Ohlmeyer is serving as the Head of the global eCommerce business of Adidas.
  • This appointment is the second executive change at Adidas since activist shareholders bought stakes in the company in 2015 after its shares tumbled following a series of profit warnings as it failed to keep pace with US rival Nike.

World News:

China overtakes eurozone as world’s biggest bank system


  • A new analysis by the Financial Times shows that the banking system of China has overtaken the eurozone to become the world’s biggest by assets.
  • The analysis indicates China’s increasing global influence and its reliance on growth driven by debt.
  • Key highlights of the analysis
  • China’s GDP surpassed that of the European Union’s in 2011 at market exchange rates. However, its banking system did not take over the top spot until the end of 2016.
  • That lag was stimulated by an extraordinary increase in bank lending since 2008 when the Chinese government unleashed aggressive monetary and fiscal stimulus to soften the impact of the global crisis.

Leaders' Summit in Commemoration of 20th Anniversary of IORA concluded in Jakarta


  • The Leaders' Summit in Commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) concluded on 7 March 2017 in Jakarta, Indonesia.
  • In the summit, India was represented by the Vice President Hamid Ansari.
  • It was held with the theme - Strengthening Maritime Cooperation for a Peaceful, Stable, and Prosperous Indian Ocean.
  • In a historic first, the summit brought together the leaders of the 21 IORA Member States, including India, and its 7 Dialogue Partners as well as other special invitees including Myanmar.
Member States issued the Jakarta Concord, which sets out a vision for a revitalized and sustainable regional architecture.

Obituaries:

Bengali singer Kalika Prasad Bhattacharjee passes away


  • Famed Bengali singer Kalika Prasad Bhattacharjee passed away in a car accident on 7 March 2017 in Hooghly district's Gurap town. He was 56. He is survived by his wife and a daughter.
  • He was on his way to a show in Birbhum, when his car was hit by a truck. Following the smash, his car fell into a ditch on Durgapur expressway at Gurap, Hooghly. Four other singers of Kalika Prasad's band Dohar were also in the car. However, driver and other three people were injured.


Veteran journalist Arvind Padmanabhan dies

  • Veteran journalist Arvind Padmanabhan passed away on 8 March 2017 of cardiac arrest.  He was 49.
  • Arvind worked as an Executive Editor at IANS.
  • With the news agency, he first assumed charge of the Business Bureau of the wire service and subsequently became the Business Editor of IANS and then the Bureau Chief.
  • Soon, he was elevated as the Executive Editor. He headed the business and economy team.

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