CURRENT AFFAIRS – March Week IV
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Awards and Honours
- I&B Minister Arun jaitley gives away 5th National Photography Awards. The Life Time Achievement award was presented to Shri Bhawan Singh for his illustrious career and contributions to the field of Photography.
- Renowned Malayalam writer M Sukumaran in the third week of March 2016 was chosen for the CV Kunhiraman Literary Prize.
- Punjab assembly has passed a bill which states that whoever causes injury, damage or sacrilege to Guru Granth Sahib with an intention to hurt the religious feelings of the people will be punished with imprisonment for life.
- Arvind Kejriwal has been named among the world’s 50 greatest leaders by Fortune magazine with the Delhi Chief Minister being the sole Indian leader on the list topped by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
- Late Captain Shankar Laxman won the coveted Major Dhyan Chand Lifetime Achievement Award while goalkeeper PR Sreejesh and Deepika won the Dhruv Batra Player of the Year Award for Men and Women respectively at the Hockey India (HI) Annual Awards.
- Justice HL Dattu, chairperson,National Human Rights Commission, India emerged as the unanimous choice to be appointed as a member of the International Coordinating Committee of NHRIs (ICC) Bureau in Geneva.
- Mukund Padmanabhanwill be the new Editor for the The Hindu, one of the largest English dailies in the country.
- The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the appointment of Justice Permod Kohli, retired Chief Justice of Sikkim High Court, as Chairman in the Central Administrative Tribunal.
- Paytm, India’s mobile payment and commerce platform has appointed ex-head of Alibaba Group Holding’s wholesale business,Bhushan Patil as the company’s new President.
- Indian-origin law professor Surya Deva has been appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council as an adviser on human rights and multinationals and businesses. The Council approved his appointment to the position formally known as “Special Procedure Mandate Holder“.
Banking and Economy
- The Department of Posts will offer core banking solutions (CBS) to its customers at 25,000 post offices by April, against 20,494 CBS-enabled branches.
- South Indian Bank has announced that its personnel department has achieved the ISO 9001:2008
- The Reserve Bank has revised certain rules on measuring liquidity for Basel-III norms, providing exemption to branches of foreign banks from submitting statement with regard to foreign currency.
- After increasing its market share to 38 per cent in the debit card segment, RuPay, domestic card payment service provider, will be venturing into the credit card space this September.
- Sri Lanka’s much-awaited Right to Information (RTI) Bill was tabled in Parliament fulfilling an election promise of the Sirisena government.
- The US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed an MoU to facilitate USD 848 million (Rs. 5,681 crore) in funding to develop solar parks across India.
- Kerala-based private sector lender Federal Bank is opening incubation centres for startups in Bangalore and Ernakulam. These specialised lounges in the bank’s branches will offer advice on capital, regulatory support and even disburse funds.
- State-owned Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) has become the first lender to start distribution of recently launched Indian Gold Coins (IGC).
- The World Bank Board approved a 250 million US dollar Development Policy Loan (DPL) for Rajasthan.
- Defence Minister Manohar Parrikargave final approval to the new Defence Procurement Policy (DPP) 2016, which will come into effect from April 1, 2016.
- Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh launched a new mobile app ‘Pusa Krishi’ for farmers in order to take the technology to farm fields. The mobile app was launched at the valedictory session of the three-day ‘Krishi Unnati Mela’.
- The Union Cabinet has approved the national capital goods policy. The government believes implementation of the capital goods policy is critical and needed to give a boost to the sector and the ‘Make in India‘ initiative.
- In the eve of Holi festival, the government hiked dearness allowance (DA) by 6 per cent, benefiting over 1 crore central government employees and pensioners.
- Waking up to the challenge of managing hazardous e-waste, the Centre notified new rules to dismantle and recycle all electrical and electronic waste in the country by expanding its ambit and introducing a clause of penalty for violators.
- The government has amendedAtal Pension Yojana (APY) to give an option to the spouse to continue to contribute for balance period on premature death of the subscriber.
- India’s “unique”Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve is among 20 new sites added by the UN’s top cultural body UNESCO to its World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
- The Ministry of road, transport and highways has approved 11 National highways projects worth Rs. 6,284 crore.
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval for extension of time period of the “Special Industry Initiative for J&K” (SII J&K) Udaan scheme till 2019-20.
- Government unveiled its plan to plant over four crore trees in next five years as Union Water Resource Minister Uma Bharati stressed on planting of Himalayan species vegetation that will produce Brahmadrav, which she said, ensures clean river water.
- The Union Cabinet approved a$1.5 billion (about Rs 9,000 crore) offer of World Bank support for the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) in rural areas.
- The Fast Patrol Vessel (FPV),ICGS Arnvesh, of the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) was commissioned on 21 March 2016 in Visakhapatnam.
- The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare launched the Longitudinal Ageing Study in India (LASI). The main objective is to assess the needs of its elderly people and frame policies accordingly.
- Government has decided to construct 95 crore houses in rural areas under its ambitious Housing for All by 2022 scheme.
- The Mizoram government and Japanese International Cooperative Agency (JICA) signed an agreement on‘Capacity Enhancement for Sustainable Agriculture and Irrigation Development.’
- A National level AROGYA Fair organized by the Ministry of AYUSH in association with Goa State Government and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) began in Goa at Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium at Goa University Campus at Bambolim near Panaji.
- With the aim of finding new enemy properties, the government has launched a survey in five States, for identification of movable and immovable assets once held by people who migrated to Pakistan. The five states are Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Delhi.
- President’s Rulehas been imposed in Uttarakhand a day before the crucial trust vote in the state assembly for the Harish Rawat government.
- The electoral authority of Tanzania’s semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar, the ZEC, announced incumbent President Ali Mohamed Shein had won his re-election bid, after polls boycotted by the main opposition party.
- Lori Robinson, 56, a four-star Air Force general, has been nominated to take charge of the first line of defence of any invasion of the US mainland – the United States Northern Command.
- Nepal and China have issued a 15-point joint communique from Beijing which said both sides have agreed to seal the petrol trade
- Nepal has become a dialogue partner of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a Beijing-based regional security grouping.
- Nepal on 22 March 2016 became a dialogue partner of the Beijing-based regional security grouping,Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
- Every year on March 25, the International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave trade offers the opportunity to honor and remember those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system.
- Pakistan and Iran aim to increase annual trade volumes between the two countries to $5 billion by 2021.
- The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on 24 March 2016 extended the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) till 31 March 2017.
- Syrian government forces have recaptured Palmyra, inflicting a significant defeat on the Islamic State group which seized the city last year and dynamited its ancient temples.
India and the World
- 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 $16 trillion.
- The Indian Navy has deployed a P 8I maritime reconnaissance aircraft to Seychelles since 20 Mar 16, for surveillance in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Seychelles, in accordance with the MoU between the Governments of India and Seychelles.
- Prime Ministers of India and Bangladesh commissioned international gateway of internet service in Agartala and supply of 100 MW power to Bangladesh from Tripura.
- The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave its ex-post facto approval for a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed on 11th February, 2016 to mobilise long term investment into the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF).
- India and France have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for construction of six nuclear reactors at Jaitapur in Maharashtra, two months after the two countries decided to conclude the techno-commercial negotiations for the project by the year end.
- The Union Cabinet on 23 March 2016 gave its ex-post facto approval for a MoU between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to mobilise long term investment into the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF).
Science and Technology
- Researchers have developed a new map of Mars’ gravity with three NASA spacecraft that is the most detailed to date, providing a revealing glimpse into the hidden interior of the Red Planet.
- India is among five countries where projects are underway to develop vaccines to fight the deadly Zika virus affecting newborns in 38 countries.
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on 21 March 2016 established theGadanki Ionospheric Radar Interferometer (GIRI) near Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh.
- Humans will be humans and the latest victim is Microsoft, which launched artificial intelligence (AI)-powered bot on Twitter for a playful chat with people, only to silence it within 24 hours as users started sharing racist and offensive comments with the bot.
- Content delivery network services provider Akamai Technologies released its Fourth Quarter, 2015 State of the Internet report. Based on data gathered from the Akamai Intelligent Platform, the report provides insight into key global statistics such as connection speeds, broadband adoption metrics, notable Internet disruptions, IPv4 exhaustion and IPv6 implementation.
- Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc has received patent in India for multifocal contact lens designs, for contact lens for the aged especially patients with presbyopia.
Snippets from the States
- Ola, India’s largest taxi aggregator recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Maharashtra government, to skill, develop and create opportunities for entrepreneurship for 1,00,000 youth in the state.
- The Punjab Government in its pre-poll budget (Assembly elections in Punjab expected in early 2017) has provided a partial rollback of VAT (value added tax) on cotton spinning. The new rate of VAT on cotton spinning will be63% compared to the earlier 6.05%. Punjab has 165 spinning mills with 4.25 million active spindles and consume 6.5 lakh to 7 lakh cotton bales annually.
- In a landmark move, the Punjab government passed a Bill with a framework to regulate and settle agriculture debts.
- The department of heavy industry has granted in-principle approval to Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to introduce zero-emission retrofitted electric buses under its flagship scheme FAME India (faster adoption and manufacturing of hybrid & electric vehicles in India).
- Mizoram government and Japanese International Cooperative Agency (JICA) have signed an MoU on ‘Capacity Enhancement for Sustainable Agriculture and Irrigation Development’.
- Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), a Maharatna central public sector enterprise, has successfully commissioned a 600 Mw coal-based thermal power plantin Telangana.
- Andhra Pradesh government is all set to inaugurate Pattiseema lift irrigation project. The project is described as the first river linking project in country. The project deals with connecting Godavari with Krishna.
- Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel said that the state will set up country’s first university exclusively focussing on organic farming. The main objective is to help farmers in switching to unconventional methods of farming.
- The Haryana Cabinet approved the Jat reservation bill to provide reservation to Jats and four other castes in government jobs and educational institutions.
- Haryana becomes 1st to launch injectable contraceptive. The ‘Project Salamati’ which is being implemented by state health department with the assistance of Pathfinder International, is initially being implemented in nine health blocks of four districts of the state.
- The Haryana government launched a new scheme under which six months’ pension would be given in advance to persons with disabilities for adapting their homes as per their requirement.
- A 19-member Indian team left for Bordeaux in France to compete in the 9th International Abilympics, an event for persons with disabilities, from March 23 to 27.
- Australia all-rounder Shane Watson will retire from all international cricket after the World Twenty20 in India.
- The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval for holding of Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)Under-17 World Cup to be held in India in 2017.
- California Chrome justified his status as joint favorite by landing the Dubai World Cup with a perfectly timed run under jockey Victor Espinosa. Chrome won the $10-million Dubai World Cup at Meydan Racecourse in the United Arab Emirates.
- Andy Grove, who fled from Nazi and Soviet oppression to become one of the most powerful business leaders in the global tech industry as the chairman and CEO of Intel, died on Monday.
- Football legend Johan Cryuff passes away.
- Garry Shandling, groundbreaking comedian and actor, dies aged 66.
- Malayalam actors VD Rajappan and Jishnu Raghavan passed away.
- Malayalam actor Jishnu Raghavan dies of cancer
- Actor Peter Brown dies at 80.
- Former minister Anand Gajapathi Raju passes away.
- March 22 – World Water Day
- March 23 – World Meteorological Day (WMD)
- March 24 – World Tuberculosis Day
- March 25 – International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade
- March 27 – World theatre day
- Twitter is 10 years old now. Dorsey, then an undergrad at New York University, later the company’s first CEO, is now CEO again. Twitter describes March 21 as its birthday.
- The government of India has notified new norms for plastic waste management across the country. The Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, which is aimed at curbing the over 6,000 tonnes of uncollected plastic waste generated daily, will target plastic manufacturers and industries that use it.
- Edelweiss Asset Management announced on that it had agreed to acquire the onshore fund schemes managed by JPMorgan Asset Management India (JPMAM), including its India-based onshore mutual fund business and the international fund of funds.
- Bajaj Finance is entering theRs 20,000-crore life care segment under which it will finance expenses for stem cells storage units, cosmetics-based hair treatment, dental and eye care, IVF & maternity care, laproscopic cure for a dozen ailments, and elective medical/paramedical care for many other issues.
- The book entitled Anything But Khamosh: The Shatrughan Sinha Biography was in news in the fourth week of March 2016. The book was authored by Bharathi S Pradhan.
- BPO transport service provider Wings Travels has closed the acquisition of taxi aggregator Bookmycab for an undisclosed amount.
- Countries and mega-cities across Asia are highly exposed to natural hazards ranging from cyclones to earthquakes, but people in sub-Saharan Africa are more vulnerable, according to a report.
- According to the report by UN,India and China led developing countries in investments made in renewable energy in 2015.
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A long time ago, there was a huge apple tree. A little boy loved to come and play around it everyday. He climbed to the treetop, ate the apples, and took a nap under the shadow. He loved the tree and the tree loved to play with him. Time went by, the little boy had grown up and he no longer played around the tree every day.
One day, the boy came back to the tree and he looked sad. “Come and play with me”, the tree asked the boy. “I am no longer a kid, I do not play around trees any more” the boy replied.
“I want toys. I need MONEY to buy them.” “Sorry, but I do not have MONEY, but you can pick all my apples and sell them. So, you will have money.” The boy was so excited. He grabbed all the apples on the tree and left happily. The boy never came back after he picked the apples. The tree was sad. One day, the boy who now turned into a man returned and the tree was excited. “Come and play with me” the tree said. “I do not have time to play. I have to work for my family. We need a house for shelter. Can you help me?”
“Sorry, but I do not have any house. But you can chop off my branches to build your house.” So the man cut all the branches of the tree and left happily. The tree was glad to see him happy but the man never came back since then. The tree was again lonely and sad. One hot summer day, the man returned and the tree was delighted.
“Come and play with me!” the tree said. “I am getting old. I want to go sailing to relax myself. Can you give me a boat?” said the man. “Use my trunk to build your boat. You can sail far away and be happy.” So the man cut the tree trunk to make a boat. He went sailing and never showed up for a long time.
Finally, the man returned after many years. “Sorry, my boy. But I do not have anything for you anymore. No more apples for you”, the tree said. “No problem, I do not have any teeth to bite” the man replied.
“No more trunk for you to climb on.” “I am too old for that now” the man said. “I really cannot give you anything, the only thing left is my dying roots,” the tree said with tears.
“I do not need much now, just a place to rest. I am tired after all these years,” the man replied.
“Good! Old tree roots are the best place to lean on and rest, come sit down with me and rest.” The man sat down and the tree was glad and smiled with tears.
This is a story of everyone. The tree is like our parents. When we were young, we loved to play with our Mum and Dad. When we grow up, we leave them; only come to them when we need something or when we are in trouble. No matter what, parents will always be there and give everything they could just to make you happy.
You may think the boy is cruel to the tree, but that is how all of us treat our parents. We take them for granted; we don’t appreciate all they do for us, until it’s too late.
~ Moral ~ Treat your parents with loving care…. For you will know their value, when you see their empty chair…We never know the love of our parents for us; till we have become parents .