Current Affairs Daily Updates: 7th March 2017

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Current Affairs Daily Updates: 7th March 2017
K Srinath Reddy appointed as adviser to the Odisha Government
  • K Srinath Reddy, a Padma Bhushan awardee was appointed as the adviser to the Odisha government on 6 March 2017. The announcement was made by Odisha’s Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik himself.
  • Reddy has been roped in to advise the state government on proper implementation and smooth delivery of the state’s ongoing health service programmes.
  • A communiqué from the chief minister’s office stated that Reddy would be accorded with the rank of a Cabinet minister along with other facilities.
P K Purwar appointed as CMD of MTNL
  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has appointed P K Purwar as Chairman and Managing Director of state-run telecom major Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL).
  • His name for the appointment was suggested by search-cum-selection committee which was earlier constituted under the chairman of Public Enterprises Selection Board.
M P Veerendra Kumar Presented Moortidevi Award
  • Eminent Malayalam author and journalist M P Veerendra Kumar was presented the 30th Moortidevi award by Bharatiya Jnanpith organisation in Kozhikode Kerala.
  • The Sahitya Akademi award winning writer was chosen for the prominent award for his Malayalam travelogue Hymavathabhoovil, which dwells upon ancient trails of Indian culture,myth, literature and people strewn in the plains, valleys and mountains of India”.
  • The book also portraits environmental concerns over “fragile mountain ecosystem” and calls for action over lack of water resources and waste disposal systems.
Canara Bank bags medals at PR Council's communication conclave
  • Public sector Canara Bank has won a number of medals in the Collateral Awards Category at the 11th Global Communication Conclave held in Bengaluru by the Public Relations Council of India (PRCI).
  • The bank won a gold medal for a radio jingle and silver medals for Corporate Film and Brochure (CSR). 
  • It won bronze medals for its in-house magazine (regional language), corporate advertisement – print, table calendar - 2017 and Big Diary 2017.
Vaikom Vijayalakshmi becomes first to play Gayathri veena for record five hours
  • Kerala’s playback singer Vaikom Vijayalakshmi created a new world record by playing the maximum number of songs in the shortest time (5 hrs) on Gayathri veena during a program in Kochi.
  • She played a total of 69 songs including various classical and filmy songs on the Gayathri veena became the first person to achieve the feat in the world.
HDFC Bank launched chatbot Eva for customer services
  • Mumbai-headquartered HDFC Bank has launched India’s first artificial intelligence based banking chatbot Electronic Virtual Assistant (EVA) for customer services.
  • Eva is India's first AI-based banking chatbot and can answer millions of customer queries across multiple channels instantly. It can assimilate knowledge from thousands of sources and provide answers in simple language in less than 0.4 seconds.
Vijaya Bank opens its 2,000th branch in Tirupati
  • Vijaya Bank has opened its 2000th branch in Tirupati.
  • The branch was opened by Chadalawada Krishna Murthy, Chairman, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams.
  • This is the region's 65th branch and the second in Tirupati city.
  • Speaking on the occasion, Murthy said Vijaya Bank was the first bank to start banking operations in Tirumala and has been extending yeoman service to the devotees of Lord Venkateswara.
Ola Signs MoU with MP Government to Train 25,000 People
  • Online cab aggregator Ola has signed MoU with Government of Madhya Pradesh on March 4, 2017 to impart training to 25,000 youths in the state.
  • The MoU was signed between Madhya Pradesh State Skill Development Mission (MPSSDM) and Directorate of Skill Development (Technical Education & Skill Development Dept).
  • The aim of the MOU is to provide training, skill development and empowerment of 25,000 driver partners in the next two years.
Trade Mark Rules 2017 came into effect on 6 March
  • The Trade Mark Rules, 2017 came into effect on 6 March 2017. This newly notified trade mark rules will replace the erstwhile Trade Mark Rules, 2002 and streamline and simplify the processing of Trade Mark applications.
  • The best part of the revamped trade mark rules is that the number of Trade Mark (TM) forms has been brought down to eight from existing 74.
  • Commerce and Industry Ministry said, the fee for online filing has been kept at 10 per cent lower than that for physical filing, this will help the government to promote e-filing of trade mark applications.
Google India and Telangana inks MoU for supporting digitisation efforts
  • Google India and Telangana Govt have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at supporting the digitisation efforts of the state.
  • Under it, Google India will provide Google Cloud access and credits to all cloud platform products to eligible startups engaged with Telangana government’s T—Hub initiative.
  • It will also provide technical mentorship and advisory support to various startups through its Developer Relations.
  • Google India will introduce Android Fundamentals courses to skill students pursuing engineering and MCA on mobile app development.
  • They will also work on promoting digital literacy among rural women through programme ‘Internet Saathi’.
Former Lok Sabha Speaker Rabi Ray passes away:
  • Noted socialist leader and former Lok Sabha speaker Rabi Ray (91-year) passed away at a Hospital in Cuttack (Odisha).
  • He was the union minister of health and family welfare in the Morarji Desai ministry and the speaker of ninth Lok Sabha from 1989-1991.
  • In 1991, he was re-elected to the 10th Lok Sabha from Kendrapada in Odisha.
  • He was born at Bhanragarh village in Khurda district of Odisha.
Haiti’s former President Rene Preval passes away
  • Former President of Haiti Rene Preval passed away. He was 74.
  • He was an agronomist and champion of the poor.
  • He had served for two terms from 1996-2001 and 2006-2011 as President of Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere.
Former IFS and MP Syed Shahabuddin passes away
  • Former IFS and MP Syed Shahabuddin passed away at the age of 82 after suffering from prolonged illness.
  • He had worked as a diplomat for the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), but later became a politician.
Indo-Nepal joint Military exercise 'Surya Kiran-X' begins today:
  • The two-week long joint military exercise between India and Nepal “SURYA KIRAN-XI” has begun in Pithoragarh area of Uttarakhand.
  • Exercise is aimed at training of both the troops in the area of various counter-insurgency operations over a prolonged period.
  • It will also focus on other important aspects such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations and environmental conservation.
  • The Surya Kiran series of exercises are being conducted biannually, alternatively in India and Nepal.
Indo-Oman military exercise 'Al-Nagah-II' begins in Himachal:
  • Indian and Royal Oman armies has begun joint exercise “Al Nagah-two” in Bakloh area of Chamba district in Himachal Pradesh.
  • Total sixty contingents from both sides are taking part in the exercise.
  • The exercise would be mainly focused on counter-terrorism and forest warfare.
  • Earlier this kind of exercise was conducted in the year 2015.
India to supply additional 60 MW power to Bangladesh
  • North Eastern state Tripura has agreed to supply an additional 60 MW to Bangladesh over the 100 MW of power the north-eastern state is supplying to the neighbouring country.
  • This development comes after Bangladesh sought 100 MW electricity from India to solve its power crisis in the eastern part of the nation.
  • The Country has been receiving 100 MW since March 23, 2016, besides it has also been provided 500 MW by the West Bengal government.
IMF Reaches Preliminary Agreement with Ukraine
  • The International Monetary Fund reached a preliminary agreement with Ukraine on an updated Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies on March 4, 2017.
  • The agreement will pave way for the IMF’s Executive Board to consider the third review of the arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) and disburse fresh aid of $1 billion (0.9 billion euros) to Ukraine in the first half of March 2017.
China hikes defence budget to $150 billion
  • People’s Republic of China has increased its defence budget by 7% for 2017, the lowest increase in seven years and second year in row.
  • In real terms, the defence budget of the world’s largest armed forces, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is likely to be close to the $ 145 billion-mark.
  • China’s defence budget is much smaller compared to that of the US, which announced a 10% increase in its defence outlay after the change of oval office.
  • The country minimised its defence expenditure is a follow suit of its neighbours with many of whom Beijing has maritime disputes.
India, Portugal MoU on renewable energy approved
  • The Union Cabinet on 6 March 2017 gave its ex-post facto approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Renewable Energy between India and Portugal at a meeting of the Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
  • The MoU establishes the basis for a cooperative institutional relationship to encourage and promote technical bilateral cooperation on new and renewable issues.
  • The future partnership will be strengthened on the basis of mutual benefit, equality and reciprocity.
  • The MoU envisages constitution of a Joint Working Group (JWG), which can include members from scientific institutions, research centers, universities, or any other entity, as and when considered essential.
  • The MoU will also help in strengthening overall bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
India to train Myanmar Navy
  • Indian Navy will set up meteorological facilities and impart training for the Myanmar Navy.
  • This was agreed upon during a recent visit of a Myanmar delegation to Kochi.
  • Myanmar will soon send a proposal with its requirements.
  • This fits into India’s overall effort to boost strategic cooperation under the ‘Act East’ policy and will help offset increasing Chinese presence in its neighbourhood.
Haryana State Budget 2017-18 presented
  • Haryana Finance Minister Captain Abhimanyu on 6 March 2017 presented the State annual budget for 2017-18 in the legislative assembly.
  • In tune with the changes proposed in the Union Budget 2017-18, the Government of Haryana has dispensed with the plan and non plan classification of expenditure and presented the budget in terms of revenue and capital classification.
  • Haryana State Budget 2017-18 : The total size of the budget was pegged at over Rs 1,02,329 crore for the fiscal year 2017-18, which is an increase of 13.8 per cent over revised estimates for the FY 2016-17.
  • The proposal comprises 21.88 per cent as capital expenditure of Rs 22,393.51 crore and 78.12 per cent as revenue expenditure of Rs 79,935.84 crore.
  • This is for the first time that the State budget has crossed the figure of one lakh crore rupees excluding food grain procurement operations.
National Conference on Jal Kranti Abhiyan to be held today:
  • The Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti has inaugurated the day-long national conference on ‘Jal Kranti Abhiyan’ in New Delhi.
  • About 700 participants representing various stakeholder groups such as farmers, panchayat members, NGOs, and students will attend the conference.
  • The objectives of the Abhiyan is strengthening grass root involvement of all stakeholders including Panchayati raj institutions and local bodies for participatory irrigation management.
PM Narendra Modi to release Special Commemorative Postage Stamp
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will release commemorative Postage Stamp on 100th Anniversary of the Yogoda Satsang Society of India at a function in New Delhi .
  • Yogoda Satsanga Society is a non-profit religious organization founded by Paramahansa Yogananda in 1917. Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (YSS) will celebrate its 100 years journey on 10th March 2017.
Haryana Government announces Tirtha Darshan Scheme for senior citizens
  • Haryana Government has announced Tirtha Darshan Scheme under which senior citizens above 60 years of age in the state will be able to go on a pilgrimage within the country at government expense Announcement in this regard was made by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar while replying to the discussion on the Governor’s address during the budget session of the Haryana Assembly.
  • Under the scheme, state government will bear the entire cost of the tour of senior citizens belonging to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families.
  • In case of a couple, the expenses of the spouse belonging to BPL family will also be borne by the statet government.
  • Under the scheme, over 400 destinations can be visited. The maximum number of pilgrims will be only 250 every year. Selection of pilgrims will be made by a district committee headed by the deputy commissioner.
Finance Minister gives in-principle nod to ESOPs by PSU banks
  • The Union Finance Ministry has given its in-principle nod to allow Public Sector Banks (PSUs) to offer stock options to their employees from 2017-18.
  • However, the Employee Stock Option Plans (ESOPs) can only be given by those banks which have earned a substantial profit as well as made a remarkable improvement in managing NPAs.
  • The proposal of ESOP by the Banks Board Bureau (BBB) will help to motivate employees to work towards strengthening the financial status of their banks and hence increase its share value.
Cabinet approves MoU with UN Women:
  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the signing of an agreement between India and UN Women to strengthen gender equality in governance institutions.
  • The MoU between India and the United Nations Entity of Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) seeks to provide technical support to the Ministry of Panchayati Raj to improve the opportunities for gender equality through legislation, policies, and programs in ministry's institutions.
  • Activities under this MoU will be implemented at the district and sub-district level in six states - Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
India’s tallest Tricolor hoisted at Attari border in Punjab
  • India’s tallest national flag measuring 360 feet was hoisted at Attari-Wagah joint checkpost in Punjab.
  • It broke earlier record of national flag hoisted in Ranchi which is 293 feet high.
  • The flag at Attari-Wagah is 120 feet in length, 80 feet in breadth.
  • It is hosted on a pole which is 360 feet high, having concrete base is 30 feet in length and another 30 feet in breadth.
World’s oldest fossils discovered in Quebec, Canada
  • Scientists have claimed that they have discovered oldest fossils on Earth in rocks from Quebec, Canada. Carbon dating techniques suggest that these rocks are at least 3.8 billion years old and might even be 4.3 billion years old.
  • The fossils are tiny and consist of tubes and filaments up to half a millimetre in length and around half the width of a human hair.
  • The fossils are thought to be the remains of bacteria that lived on iron and dwelt around hydrothermal vent systems i.e. mineral rich hot springs on the seafloor.
World’s oldest aircraft carrier INS Viraat decommissioned
  • The world’s longest serving warship INS Viraat was decommissioned by the Indian Navy at Naval Dockyard in Mumbai, Maharashtra after nearly six decades of service.
  • This marks the end of an era of Viraat being the flagship of the Indian Navy as it had provided utmost protection to the country during many tense situations.
  • The decision on the warship’s future has not been taken yet.
  • INS Viraat holds Guinness Books of record of being the longest serving warship in the world.
  • It was also the last British-built ship serving with the Indian Navy.
  • It was built in 1943 during the Second World War and was first commissioned as the HMS Hermes into the British Royal Navy in November 1959.
Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau win Dubai Tennis Championships Men’s Doubles title
  • Jean-Julien Rojer from the Netherlands and Horia Tecau from Romania on 4 March 2017 won the Dubai Tennis Championships Men’s Doubles title. It is the 13th doubles title of the duo.
  • Rojer and Tecau defeated India’s Rohan Bopanna and Poland’s Marcin Matkowski 4–6, 6–3, [10–3] in the finals to grab the title.
  • The Dubai Tennis Championships was the second final for Bopanna in the year 2017. He had started the season by winning the Chennai Open with compatriot Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan.
Pablo Cuevas wins 2017 Brasil Open
  • Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas on 6 March 2017 defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-4 to win Brasil Open Men’s Singles title.
  • It is the third straight Brasil Open title for Cuevas.
  • In the rain-delayed clay-court tournament, Cuevas finally wrapped up the title on 6 March 2017 with a victory against Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain.
  • Ramos-Vinolas had won the first set on 5 March 2017; however, the second set was stopped by rain at 3-3 and deuce with Ramos Vinolas serving.
  • Once the game resumed, Cuevas, the world No 33, quickly took control, winning the second set 6-4 and then taking the third by the same score against the Spaniard.