Current Affairs Daily Updates: 21st March 2017

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Current Affairs Daily Updates: 21st March 2017
Justice Navanithi Prasad Singh sworn in as Kerala HC Chief Justice
  • Justice Navanithi Prasad Singh was 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.
Kumar Mangalam Birla to be Chairman of Vodafone-Idea merged entity
  • British telecom major Vodafone and Aditya Birla group-run Idea Cellular today announced the merger of their operations, creating the largest mobile operator by customer and revenue market share.
  • The merged entity, which will come into force over the next two years, will be headed by Kumar Mangalam Birla as Chairman.
  • Vodafone will have its nominee as the chief financial officer, its CEO Vittorio Colao said here at a press meet, which was also attended by Birla.
Snapdeal appoints Jason Kothari as CEO of FreeCharge
  • E-commerce firm Snapdeal has announced the appointment of Jason Kothari as the Chief Executive Officer of its digital payment platform FreeCharge and a commitment to invest an additional $20 million in the company.
  • In addition to taking on the role of CEO, Jason will continue his key leadership role as Chief Strategy and Investment Officer at Snapdeal.
  • Most recently, Kothari was CEO of Softbank-backed online real estate company Housing.Com, where he led the successful turnaround of the company from a position of distress to a market leader in one-and-a half years using organic and inorganic growth.
  • Prior to joining Housing.Com, Kothari was CEO and Vice Chairman of character-based entertainment company Valiant Entertainment.
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.
ICICI Bank launches 'Mera iMobile' for rural customers
  • Private sector bank ICICI Bank Ltd on Monday announced the launch of a unique mobile banking app 'Mera iMobile' for rural customers that will allow them to access banking services as well as information on agri services.
  • The app allows users in rural areas to avail as many as 135 services, some of which are unprecedented in the industry.
  • It will enable the users to save the time and cost of visiting a branch to avail these services. The list of services include Kisan Credit Card, Gold Loan, Farm Equipment Loan and loans to Self-Help Groups (SHGs).
  • The app also enables them to undertake an array of frequently used banking services from their smartphone, without using mobile internet services.
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) and Andhra Bank and Indian Overseas Bank with Rs 1,100 crore each.
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.
  • 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.
Hazira's first private sector township to go cashless
  • Essar's Nand Niketanat Hazira has become India's first private sector township to go cashless, using the mobile wallet for performing digital transactions.
  • A Mumbai-based tech company was roped into provide smartphone based application for mastercard-enabled mobile wallets.
  • Till now around 8,000 prepaid cards have been issued in the Nand Niketan township to the employees, merchants and shop owners operating within its precincts.
  • An average of Rs 2 lakh worth of digital transactions are being executed every day.
RCOM gets CCI approval for Aircel merger
  • Reliance Communications has received approval of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for the demerger of its wireless division into Aircel Ltd and Dishnet Wireless Ltd.
  • Reliance Communications Ltd has received an approval of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for the proposed Scheme of Arrangement for demerger of the Wireless division of the company into Aircel Ltd and Dishnet Wireless Ltd
  • Reliance Communications and Aircel in September last year announced the merger of their wireless operations to create a combined entity with assets worth Rs 65,000 crore.
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.
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.
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.
India, Mauritius signed MoU to execute USD 20 million social housing project
  • India and Mauritius on 20 March 2017 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to execute a USD 20 million social housing project in Mauritius.
  • The MoU was signed in the presence of the Union Minister of Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu and the visiting Mauritius’s Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Housing and Lands Showkutally Soodhun.
  • As per the MoU, the NBCC (India) Limited of the Union Government will undertake construction of 700 duplex type houses with 50 square meters net floor area.
  • Each house consists of two bedrooms, living and dining rooms, kitchen, bathrooms and toilets.
India ranks 122 in 2017 World Happiness Report
  • India ranked at 122 out of 155 countries in the World Happiness Report 2017 published by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network on the eve of International Day of Happiness (20 March).
  • The rankings are based factors such as  inequality, life expectancy, GDP per capita, public trust (i.e. a lack of corruption in government and business), and social support.
  • Together they are used to generate a happiness score of country on a scale from 1 to 10.This year it is fifth such report since the first was published in 2012.
  • 10 Happiest Countries: Norway (1), Denmark (2), Iceland (3), Switzerland (4), Finland (5), Netherlands (6), Canada (7), New Zealand (8), Australia (9) and Sweden (10).
Five Indian's Named in WEF's 100 toung Global Leaders list 2017
  • Five Indians, have made it to the World Economic Forum's 100 Young Global Leaders list.
    • Vijay Shekhar Sharma - Founder and CEO Paytm
    • Shruti Shibulal - The Tamara Hospitality,
    • Ambarish Mitra Founder - CEO Blippar, a mobile phone app business valued at USD 1.5 billion;
    • Hindol Sengupta Editor- at large  Fortune India
    • Rwitwika Bhattacharya - Agarwal Founder and CEO Swaniti Initiative.
  • There were nine global leaders from South Asia, out of which five are from India. Besides, there are some persons of Indian origin in the US and Europe were also named in the list.
Uttarakhand HC recognise Ganga and Yamuna Rivers as living entity
  • The Uttarakhand High Court has recognized the Ganga and Yamuna Rivers as so-called living entities. It is for the first time any court in India has recognized a non-human as a living entity.
  • The two rivers are sacred for the Hindus, sustain millions of people in the country but have seen years of damage at the hands of humans.
  • The HC Division Bench comprising Justice Alok Singh and Justice Rajiv Sharma gave a landmark judgment while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition filed by one Mohammad Salim in 2014.
Union Cabinet approves four GST Bills
  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the four Goods and Services Tax (GST) related bills.
  • These Bills were earlier approved by the GST Council after clause by clause, discussion over 12 meetings in past 6 months.
  • The passage of these four GST related bills will pave the way for the biggest reform in the area of Indirect Taxes in the history of the country.
  • These four bills are:
    • The Central Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017 (CGST Bill)
    • The Integrated Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017 (IGST Bill)
    • The Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017 (UTGST Bill)
    • The Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to the States) Bill 2017 (The Compensation Bill)
India’s first sign language dictionary to come up soon: Government
  • The Union Government will soon launch country’s first-of-its-kind Indian Sign Language (ISL) dictionary which aims to bring uniformity in sign languages used by hearing and speech impaired people.
  • It is being developed in both print and video format by the Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC).
  •  It will give an uniform language to 50 lakh hearing and 20 lakh speech impaired people in the country.
Surya Kiran XI Joint Military Exercise concludes in Pithorgarh
  • It was the 11th edition of the Surya Kiran exercise. The 14-day long exercise began on 7 March 2017.
  • The EKTA SHAKTI Battalion of the Punjab Regiment of Indian Army and the DURGA BAHSH Battalion of Nepalese Army participated in the joint military exercise.
  • The aim of the exercise was to train troops in counter insurgency operations and enhance defence cooperation and military relations between the two countries.
  • The Surya Kiran XI provided an ideal platform for the personnel of the two armies to share their experiences.
  • The training was conducted in the hills adjoining Pithoragarh to give a realistic environ to the contingents to practice and rehearse drills.
  • The exercise formally incorporated issues related to Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Management (HADR).
Union Government designated 14 Olympians as National Observers
  • The Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Vijay Goel on 20 March 2017 designated the following 14 Olympians as ‘National Observers’ for 12 sports disciplines.
  • Sports Discipline-Name of National Observer(s)
    • Athletics-PT Usha, Anju Bobby George
    • Archery-Dr Sanjeev Kumar Singh,
    • Badminton - Aparna Popat
    • Boxing- Mary Kom, Akhil Kumar
    • Hockey-Jagbir Singh
    • Shooting-Abhinav Bindra
    • Tennis-Somdev Devvarman
    • Weightlifting-Karnam Malleshwari
    • Wrestling-Sushil Kumar
    • Football-I M Vijayan
    • Swimming-Khajan Singh
    • Table Tennis- Kamlesh Mehta
Roger Federer claims fifth Indian Wells Masters title
  • Roger Federer (Switzerland) claimed his fifth BNP PARIBAS OPEN, ATP Indian Wells Masters title after defeating Stan Wawrinka in California, USA.
  • Federer joined Novak Djokovic as the only men to win five Indian Wells titles, adding to those he won in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2012. At 35, Federer is also the oldest ATP player to win one of the elite Masters titles, surpassing Andre Agassi who was 34 when he won in Cincinnati in 2004.
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.
  • Man of the match: Dinesh Karthik