Current Affairs Daily Updates: 20th March 2017

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Current Affairs Daily Updates: 20th March 2017
Yogi Adityanath sworn in as 21st CM of UP
  • Five-time Parliamentarian and BJP’s firebrand leader Yogi Adityanath (44) was sworn in as the 21st Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma were sworn in as Deputy Chief Ministers.
  • They were administered the oath to the office and secrecy by Governor Ram Naik at oath taking ceremony held in Kanshiram Smriti Upvan in Lucknow.
  • Besides them 47-member council of ministers consisting of 22 cabinet ministers, 9 ministers of state (MoS) with independent charge and 13 ministers of states (MoS) also took oath. 
  • The cabinet has 5 female ministers and 1 Muslim Minster, Mohsin Raza.
Sun Pharma’s Dilip Shanghvi appointed as member on RBI’s western board
  • The central government has appointed Dilip Shanghvi, managing director of Sun Pharmaceuticals as a member on the western area local board of Reserve Bank of India.
  • His period of tenure is four years with effect from March 11, 2017.
Indian-American Computer Scientist Anshumali Wins NSF’s CAREER Award
  • An Indian-American computer scientist, Anshumali Shrivastava, was honored with the National Science Foundation’s prestigious CAREER Award for his research on redesigning current machine-learning processes.
  • Each year about 400 scholars receives the CAREER Award across all disciplines to support the research and educational development of young scholars likely to become leaders in their fields.
  • Shrivastava, who is currently working an assistant professor of computer science at Rice University, hopes to come up with clever algorithmic strategies to enable faster, more scalable computations required by big data and machine-learning technologies.
  • He has done his MS and BS in mathematics and computing from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur in 2008 and a PhD in computer science from Cornell University in 2015 and then in the same year he joined the Rice faculty.
World Bank announces 57 billion US dollar for sub-Saharan Africa
  • World Bank has announced 57 billion US dollar financing for sub-Saharan Africa over the next three fiscal years (2017-2019).
  • Of that total, 45 billion dollars will come from the International Development Association (IDA), 8 billion dollars from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and USD 4 billion dollars will come from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).
Finance Minister finalized capital infusion for 10 PSU banks
  • Coming in support of weak and non-performing Public Sector Banks (PSBs), the Finance Ministry has chalked out a turnaround-linked Rs 8,586-crore capital infusion plan for 10 PSBs.
  • The Top five capital gaining banks are IDBI Bank (Rs 1,900 crore), Bank of India (Rs 1,500 crore), UCO Bank ( Rs 1,150 crore), Andhra Bank and Indian Overseas Bank with Rs (1,100 crore) each.
ONGC Signs Pact to Acquire Entire Stake of GSPC in KG Block for $1.2 billion
  • State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has signed definitive agreements to buy Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation’s (GSPC) entire 80% stake in KG-basin natural gas block for $1.2 billion.
  • The company will close the deal and pay debt-ridden GSPC the money after getting the regulatory approvals like government nod for transfer of participating interest (PI) and change of operatorship.
  • Under the farm-in and farm-out agreement, ONGC will pay $995.26 million for three discoveries in the KG-OSN-2001/3 block that are under trial production since August 2014.
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.
Renowned Meteorologist Dev Raj Sikka passes away
  • Renowned Meteorologist and former director of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (Pune) Dev Raj Sikka passed away. He was 85.
  • He is famously known as Monsoon Man and the Father of Indian Meteorology.
  • He was first proposed a link between the El Nino phenomenon and the Indian monsoon in 1982, but that time less importance was given to it.
Former Odisha MP Pyarimohan Mohapatra passes away
  • Former Rajya Sabha member Pyarimohan Mohapatra passed away in Mumbai after a prolonged illness. He was 77.
  • Mohapatra was the Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister when Biju Patnaik occupied the top post.
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.
Indian-American Sandeep Matharani Ranks 4th Among 25 Overpaid CEOs in US
  • An Indian-American CEO, Sandeep Matharani, has been ranked 4th on a list of top 25 overpaid CEOs in the United States, as per the report by US based NGO ‘As You Sow’.
  • Sandeep Matharani, CEO of General Growth Properties, Chicago was paid a total compensation of USD 39.2 million in 2016. According to the report, he was overpaid by USD 26 million.
  • The list was topped by Leslie Moonves, CEO of CBS. Moonves earned compensation worth USD 56.7 million in 2016.
  • Marc Benioff of Salesforce ranked second on the list with a total compensation of USD 33.4 million.
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.
  • Features of Solar Energy Scheme for Small Powerloom Units: 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.
Cheneni-Nashiri: India’s Longest Road Tunnel completes trial run
  • India’s longest surface tunnel in Jammu and Kashmir’s Udhampur district is complete. It will be open to traffic soon, following successful completion of trial runs for peak and off-peak hours. 
  • The 9-km-long tunnel at Chenani passes through the lower Himalayan mountain range on Jammu- Srinagar National Highway.
  • Cheneni-Nashiri Road Tunnel was started in May 2011. It took nearly six years for completion of the project at a cost of over Rs. 3,720 crore.
  • The 9-km-long twin-tube tunnel located at an elevation of 1,200 metres. It is an important part of a 286-km-long four-lane project on the highway.
Delhi High Court rules that parents can evict abusive children from their house
  • The Delhi High Court passed a ruling stating that children who assault or abuse their parents while staying with them in their house can be evicted from the property.
  • The ruling was delivered by Justice Manmohan who specified that the house need not be self-acquired or owned by the parents.
  • This is a major shift from the 2007 law that left it upon the state governments to frame rules to protect the life and property of senior citizens.
First fully India-made train Medha flagged off at Dadar station
  • First fully India-made train (rake) Medha was flagged off at Dadar station in Mumbai, capital of Maharashtra by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu via videoconferencing.
  • The rake (group of coaches) costs Rs.43.23 crore, approximately Rs. 1 crore less than imported German-made Bombardier rake, which is Rs. 44.36 crore.
  • It will save foreign exchange worth $50 lakh per EMU rake along with 25% manufacturing cost.
Punjab to provide 33 percent reservation for women in govt jobs
  • Punjab cabinet has decided to provide 33 per cent reservation for women in all government jobs.
  • The cabinet also decided to increase representation of women in the Panchayati Raj Institutions and Urban Local Bodies from the present 33 per cent to 50 per cent.
Amitabh Bachchan launches world's first app for breast health
  • Mumbai-based Ushalakshmi Breast Cancer Foundation has released an app to provide information under one roof. Launched by Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan, the app – ‘ABC of Breast Health’ – will provide information in 12 languages.
  • Ushalakshmi Breast Cancer Foundation has been established in 2007, working with a missionary zeal to make significant and meaningful difference to the lives of people affected by breast cancer or with Breast health concerns through the provision of high quality, innovative, responsive services and by campaigning for excellence in breast cancer treatment and care.
Five-month-long economic blockade of Manipur comes to an end
  • The nearly five-month-long economic blockade imposed in Manipur by the United Naga Council (UNC) came to an end.
  • Till date, the council was blocking the two National Highways of Manipur namely the Imphal-Dimapur and Imphal-Silchar highways.
  • The economic blockade ended after successful tripartite talks between the representatives of the union government, the state government and the Naga groups at Senapati District Headquarters.
  • The success of the tripartite talks is based on the agreement on certain demands of the United Naga Council.
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.
  • Highlights of Al Nagah-II 2017: 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.
Shahid Afridi appointed ambassador of Blind Cricket World Cup
  • Former captain of the Pakistan national cricket team ‘Boom Boom’, Shahid Afridi has roped as the ambassador for the 5th Blind Cricket World Cup by the Pakistan Blind Cricket Council (PBCC).
  • Blind Cricket World Cup will be hosted by PBCC in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Pakistan in January 2018.
  • This tournament to be played in ODI format.
Mumbai lose its permanent status in BCCI
  • Mumbai lost its permanent voting status in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
  • It lost the voting rights in accordance with the new constitution of the Indian Cricket Board, which was finalised by the Committee of Administrators (COA) appointed by the Supreme Court of India.
  • The new rules of Memorandum of Associations (MOA) and Rules & Regulations of BCCI clearly states, there could be only one full member from a state.
  • In addition to it, the new constitution of the Indian cricket board also grants full membership with voting rights to all the North Eastern states, namely Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Sikkim.
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.