Current Affairs Update – 15th March, 2016

Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the important Current Affairs of 15th March, 2016.

Current Affairs at a Glance – 15th March, 2016
  1. ICICI Bank, country’s largest
    private sector lender, has launched a mobile solution that allows customers to
    make payments with their linked cards to its ‘pockets’ offering by just tapping
    the mobile phone
    . NFC employs radio transmission to ascertain contact
    when the cards are tapped or waved near a terminal. However, apart from NFC the
    bank is also using Host Card Emulation (HCE) technology for this offering.
  2. India Post in the second week of March 2016 selected Deloitte to advise it on setting up a payments bank. An
    agreement between the two was signed on 14 March 2016. The Public Investment
    Board (PIB) has already approved the 800-crore rupees proposal of India Post.
    The proposal will be sent to the Union Cabinet within two weeks for final
    approval.
  3. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) has been chosen to develop,
    manufacture and maintain the Russian
    KAMOV Ka226T helicopters for
    the Indian armed forces.
  4. Infosys Foundation has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with NGO Sahakara Mitra Samstha to
    enhance livelihood of the farming community in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
    .
  5. The Ministry of Tourism,
    Government of India signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the
    Ecotourism Society of India (ESOI) to take its commitments to Responsible and
    Sustainable tourism to the next level.
  6. Parytak Mitra Programme was in news on 14 March 2016. It came in
    news after the information on the same was provided in the Lok Sabha by the
    Minister of State for Culture and Tourism (I/C) Dr. Mahesh Sharma.
  7. Pope Francis on 15 March 2016 announced that Mother Teresa will be
    made a saint of the Roman Catholic Church
    at a ceremony on 4 September
    2016.
  8. The 59th Session of Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) was
    inaugurated on 14 March 2016 in Austria’s capital Vienna.
  9. Myanmar’s Parliament on 15 March 2016 elected Htin Kyaw as the first
    civilian president to lead the country
    after 53 years of military rule.
    Army took power in a 1962 coup.
  10. The Booker prize-winning British
    author and renowned art historian Anita Brookner died on 10 March 2016. She was
    87.

Finance/Banking –
ICICI Bank launches contactless mobile payments solution

  • ICICI Bank, country’s largest
    private sector lender, has launched a mobile solution that allows customers to
    make payments with their linked cards to its ‘pockets’ offering by just tapping
    the mobile phone.
  • Rajiv Sabharwal, Executive
    Director, ICICI Bank said this is one step ahead of the tap-and-pay solution that
    the bank has been offering.
  • “Near Field Communication
    enabled cards was introduced earlier but this is a step ahead. With this, you
    don’t need to have your card with you at the time of making a payment as long
    as the card is linked to Pockets,” he said.
  • Pockets, is a digital banking
    service offered by ICICI Bank which has had about 3.3 million downloads so far.
  • NFC employs radio transmission to
    ascertain contact when the cards are tapped or waved near a terminal. However,
    apart from NFC the bank is also using Host Card Emulation (HCE) technology for
    this offering.
  • The HCE technology creates
    ‘virtual’ cards for ‘physical’ credit or debit cards (Visa/MasterCard) of the
    Bank, as selected by the customer.
  • This virtual card will reside in
    the bank’s secure cloud server. By using the virtual cards, an ICICI Bank
    customer can initiate electronic payments from NFC enabled smartphones by just
    waving his/her phone near a contactless merchant terminal.

India Post selected Deloitte as consultant for payments bank

  • India Post in the second week of
    March 2016 selected Deloitte to advise it on setting up a payments bank. An
    agreement between the two was signed on 14 March 2016.
  • The Public Investment Board (PIB)
    has already approved the 800-crore rupees proposal of India Post. The proposal
    will be sent to the Union Cabinet within two weeks for final approval.
  • India Post payments bank will
    largely target unbanked and under-banked customers in rural, semi-rural and
    remote areas, with a focus on providing simple deposit products and money
    remittance services.
  • The pilot for the payments bank
    is set to start from January 2017 and the full-fledged operations may start by
    March 2017.
  • The Reserve Bank of India had
    granted payments bank permit to India Post, which is already into providing
    financial services and has 1.55 lakh branches across the country.

India –
HAL to manufacture Russian KAMOV Ka-226T helicopters

  • Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL)
    has been chosen to develop, manufacture and maintain the Russian KAMOV Ka-226T
    helicopters for the Indian armed forces.
  • “HAL has been identified in view
    of its capabilities in the field of design, development, manufacture and
    maintenance of aircraft,” Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said in a written
    reply to the Rajya Sabha.
  • The manufacturing unit will be
    coming up at Tumakuru near Bengaluru primarily to take up manufacture and MRO
    activities for indigenously designed and developed light utility helicopter and
    other helicopters, he said.
  • “The plan for setting up of the
    facility existed even before the finalization of manufacture of Kamov 226T
    helicopters,” Parrikar said.
  • The Defence Acquisition Council
    (DAC) had approved the purchase and joint production Ka-226T light multirole
    helicopters last year.
  • However, the deal was officially
    announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Moscow in last
    December.

Infosys Foundation signs MoU with NGO to boost rural livelihood in
Andhra Pradesh, Telangana

  • Infosys Foundation has signed a
    memorandum of understanding (MoU) with NGO Sahakara Mitra Samstha to enhance
    livelihood of the farming community in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
  • The philanthropic arm of Infosys
    has pledged Rs 5 crore to the NGO, also known as Center for Collective
    Development (CCD), to work on increasing revenue and profits of farmers and
    create awareness about sustainable agricultural practices by adopting efficient
    business models.
  • CCD will also aim to build
    sustainable farmer co-operative societies and facilitate pooling, processing as
    well as the sale of produce in two districts of Andhra Pradesh (Anantapur and
    Chittoor) and one district in Telangana (Adilabad), a company statement said.
  • It will also work towards
    bringing in new co-operatives from different areas to strengthen the federation
    activities of its association, set up new processing units and enable the
    creation of a district level forum where farmers can voice their issues, the statement
    added.

MoU Signed Between M/O Tourism and Ecotourism Society of India for
Responsible and Sustainable
Tourism

  • The Ministry of Tourism,
    Government of India signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the
    Ecotourism Society of India (ESOI) to take its commitments to Responsible and
    Sustainable tourism to the next level. In accordance, Shri Suman Billa, Joint
    Secretary, M/o Tourism and Mr. Steve Borgia, Honorary President, Ecotourism
    Society of India signed the MOU in the presence of Shri Vinod Zutshi, Secretary,
    Ministry of Tourism.
  • The Ministry of Tourism and the
    Ecotourism Society of India started the process a couple of years ago when they
    formulated & published the STCI (Sustainable Tourism Criteria for India)
    and carried it to the grass root level through series of advocacy workshops.
    Through this MOU, it is expected that sustainable tourism and Responsible
    Tourism will take the forefront and achieve the commitments of the Ministry’s
    action plan.
  • The Ecotourism Society of India
    (ESOI) was established in 2008 at the behest of the Ministry of Tourism (MOT)
    as a non-profit organization to promote environmentally responsible and
    sustainable practices in the tourism industry across the country.

Parytak Mitra Programme to enable Students to act as Tourist
Facilitators

  • Parytak Mitra Programme was in
    news on 14 March 2016. It came in news after the information on the same was
    provided in the Lok Sabha by the Minister of State for Culture and Tourism (I/C)
    Dr. Mahesh Sharma.
  • The programme was launched by
    Union Ministry of Tourism on 12 January 2016 (National Youth Day) to inculcate
    appropriate tourism traits and knowledge amongst the trainees to enable them to
    act/work as Tourist Facilitators (Prayatak Mitra).
  • College going student including
    those enrolled with the NCC & NSS in the age group of 18 – 28 years. The
    age will be reckoned on the last date prescribed for application for admission.
  • The programme seeks to improve
    the sectoral service standards, which is one of the pre-requisites for attracting
    tourists in larger numbers.

Objective of the Programme
  • To inculcate appropriate tourism
    traits and knowledge amongst the trainees to enable them to act/work as Tourist
    Facilitators (Prayatak Mitra).
  • To expect the young men and women
    so trained to act as catalyst / resource persons in turn for similar effort.

Odisha Cabinet approved constitution of Food Commission as per NFSA
  • Odisha Cabinet on 14 March 2016
    approved a proposal to constitute a State Food Commission (SFC) as per the
    National Food Security Act (NFSA) 2013. It will monitor and evaluate the
    implementation of the NFSA Act and advice for its effective implementation to
    the State government.
  • The Commission will have five
    members and one member secretary including a chairperson. The chairperson will
    hold the rank of chief secretary, while members and member secretary will be in
    the ranks of principal secretary and joint secretary respectively. The tenure
    of the members will be three years.

Awards & Honors –
Pope Francis announced Mother Teresa to be granted Sainthood

  • Pope Francis on 15 March 2016
    announced that Mother Teresa will be made a saint of the Roman Catholic Church
    at a ceremony on 4 September 2016.
  • The pope cleared the way for
    sainthood to Mother Teresa, who was famed for her lifetime of service to the
    poor, establishing shelters for homeless, orphanages, soup kitchens and clinics
    around the world.
  • The Vatican credited her with the
    2008 cure of a Brazilian man who had been suffering from brain tumors.
  • The first step toward making her
    a saint took place in 2002 when Mother Teresa was credited with the healing of
    a Bengali woman who suffered from tuberculosis and cancer.

World –
China to set up International Maritime ‘Judicial Centre’
  • Supreme Court of China on 13
    March 2016 announced to create its own international maritime judicial centre.
    The centre will be established to handle territorial disputes and protect
    China’s sovereignty, maritime rights and other core interests at sea.
  • The announcement of the centre
    was made by the Chief Justice Zhou Qiang during the ongoing annual meeting of
    China’s parliament. This centre would help China to become a maritime power.
  • Details of the location, kind of
    cases it would have jurisdiction over were not provided.

Malawi, UNICEF tested first UAV flights for early diagnosis of HIV in
infants

  • The Government of Malawi and
    UNICEF on 14 March 2016 successfully tested the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
    (UAVs or drones) to explore cost effective ways of reducing waiting times for
    HIV testing of infants.
  • As part of the test, simulated
    blood samples were transported from a community health centre to the Kamuzu
    Central Hospital laboratory that is located at a distance of 10 kilometers.
  • Though drones were used in the
    past for surveillance and assessments of disaster, this is the first known use
    of UAVs in Africa for improvement of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
    services.

59th Session of Commission on Narcotic Drugs inaugurated in Vienna
  • The 59th Session of Commission on
    Narcotic Drugs (CND) was inaugurated on 14 March 2016 in Austria’s capital
    Vienna.
  • The 9-day long session seeks to
    promote a comprehensive understanding of the world drug problem and evolve
    appropriate strategies to deal with it.
  • Around 1500 delegates
    representing Member States, inter-governmental organizations, and civil society
    will be participating in the session.
  • During the session, the
    Commission will discuss 10 draft resolutions and hold 74 side events and over
    25 exhibitions.

Mauritania ratified 2014 Protocol to the Forced Labour Convention
  • Mauritania on 14 March 2016
    became the second African country to ratify the 2014 Protocol to the Forced
    Labour Convention 1930.
  • Prior to Mauritania, Niger
    (Africa), Norway (Europe) and the United Kingdom (Europe) ratified the
    protocol.
  • The protocol requires States to
    take effective measures for prevention of forced labour, protection of victims
    and ensuring their access to justice and compensation.

60th Session of Commission on the Status of Women inaugurated in New
York
  • The 60th Session of Commission on
    the Status of Women was inaugurated on 14 March 2016. The 11-day long session
    will take place at the United Nations headquarters in New York, the USA.
  • During the session, the
    Commission will discuss on its priority theme – Women’s empowerment and its link
    to sustainable development.
  • In addition, it will evaluate
    progress in the implementation of the agreed conclusions from the fifty-seventh
    session (2013) on ‘The elimination and prevention of all forms of violence
    against women and girls’.

Venezuela president extended economic emergency to protect citizens
from economic warfare
  • Venezuela President Nicolas
    Maduro on 14 March 2016 declared a two-month extension on emergency powers
    meant to help shore up the country’s crippled economy.
  • The declaration will bestow more
    time on the government of President Nicolas Maduro to intervene in the market,
    boost productivity and redress a flagging financial sector.
  • It will also allow the government
    to take more anti-crisis measures to reduce fiscal moratorium and to tap up
    funds from the 2015 budget to address short-term social needs.

Appointments –
Myanmar Parliament elected Htin Kyaw as first civilian President

  • Myanmar’s Parliament on 15 March
    2016 elected Htin Kyaw as the first civilian president to lead the country
    after 53 years of military rule. Army took power in a 1962 coup.
  • He is a close aide and adviser of
    Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of National League for Democracy (NLD) party.
  • He was elected with 360 of the
    total 652 votes casted while, military-nominated Myint Swe received 213 votes
    and stood second followed by the other NLD candidate, Henry Van Thio, who got
    79 votes.
  • They will serve as first
    vice-president and second vice-president respectively.

Sports –
Delhi clinched Lloyd Business Today Pro-Am of Champions golf title
  • Delhi on 13 March 2016 won the
    20th edition of the Lloyd Business Today Pro-Am of Champions golf tournament.
  • The final of this event was
    played at the Jack Nicklaus designed Classic Golf Resort in Gurgaon.
  • Delhi, comprising of Bharat
    Dhawan (Mazars), Avesh Bhatnagar (M/S Bhatnagar Agencies), Ravi Khanna
    (Kwikforms Structurals) and Saurabh Sood (GATX,) prevailed with a combined
    score of 105 points in the event where India’s top corporate decision makers
    and leading golfing professionals played together.
  • The Mumbai team, comprising of
    Subrat Mohanty, Pramod Bhambani, Jayen Ramesh Shah and Paras Shah, ended as
    runners-up with 101 points.

UK Anti-Doping appointed as Secretariat for International Olympic
Committee Anti-doping Taskforce
  • United Kingdom Anti-Doping (UKAD)
    on 14 March 2016 was granted a role of organising a worldwide fight against
    performance-enhancing drugs in the run-up to 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
  • It was appointed as the
    secretariat for an International Olympic Committee anti-doping taskforce which
    will seek to standardise testing procedures.
  • The announcement came with Russia
    still banned by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)
    and on course to be excluded from the Olympics following a report into mass
    doping violations.

Obituaries –
Booker prize-winner Anita Brookner died

  • The Booker prize-winning British
    author and renowned art historian Anita Brookner died on 10 March 2016. She was
    87.
  • Brookner, who won the Booker in
    1984 for her novel Hotel du Lac, was a bestselling author and wrote more than
    25 novels.
  • Brookner, who in 1967 became the
    first female to be named a Slade professor of art at Cambridge University, was
    known for her style and stories centering on the theme of middle-class
    loneliness, often featuring female protagonists.

Regards

Team ExamPundit

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