Current Affairs Update – 16 March, 2017

Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs Update of 16 March, 2017. These are important for the upcoming SBI PO Mains, NIACL Assistant Mains as well as other insurance and bank exams.

Current Affairs at a Glance – 16 March, 2017 – Tap to show
  1. Becoming one of the select few
    Indian start-ups to make a global entry, online mobile wallet major Paytm on Thursday said it has launched
    bill payments service in Canada.
  2. Online marketplace Snapdeal on Thursday announced its
    partnership with Japan External Trade
    Organization (JETRO)
    for an exclusive partnership to showcase products from
    popular SME brands from Japan on Snapdeal.  
    Customers can now purchase JETRO products across various categories
    including electronic devices, accessories, kitchenware and personal care
    directly from Snapdeal.
  3. The Union Cabinet on 15 March
    2017 approved a special financial assistance for bifurcated Andhra Pradesh. This financial assistance will be provided by special
    dispensation in funding of Externally Aided Projects (EAPs.)
  4. A Memorandum of Understanding was
    signed between Puducherry port and
    Chennai Port Trust to develop Puducherry port into a satellite port
    to
    handle containers from Chennai to the Union Territory
  5. Commerce Minister Nirmala
    Sitharaman launched the Trade
    Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES) on 15 March 2017.
  6. The Cabinet Committee on Economic
    Affairs (CCEA), chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 15 March 2017
    approved the proposal for setting up
    around 50 new Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) under Civil or Defence Sector in the
    country
    .
  7. Mercer on 14 March 2017 released the results of the 19th annual
    Quality of Living Survey. In the survey, while Vienna occupies the first place for overall quality of living for
    the 8th year running, Hyderabad was
    adjudged as the best Indian city in terms of living standards.
  8. The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UN Women on 15 March
    2017 launched the Women in Politics Map 2017. India placed at 148th number.
  9. Congress leader Captain Amarinder Singh was on 16 March
    2017 sworn in as the 26th Chief Minister
    (CM) of Punjab
    . Alongside, Navjot Singh Sidhu was sworn in as a Cabinet
    Minister of Punjab.
  10. Supreme Court lawyer and senior advocate Atul Nanda was on Thursday appointed as
    Punjab Advocate-General
    .
  11. Two-wheeler manufacturer Hero MotoCorp has signed up as a National
    Supporter for the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017
    which will be held across
    6 host cities between 6 to 28 October this year.
  12. Union Health Minister J P Nadda
    on 15 March 2017 launched the National
    Health Policy 2017 with an aim to provide healthcare in an assured manner to
    all
    , particularly to the undeserved and underprivileged. The policy
    proposes raising public health expenditure to 2.5 per cent of the GDP in a time
    bound manner.
  13. The students of Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT)
    Pune
    and technology giant IBM
    have developed a robot, Chintu,
    which would assist senior citizens in their everyday tasks.
  14. The Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune and Canon India Private Limited on 15 March
    2017 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote film education
    through short-term courses across several towns and cities in the country.
  15. The Executive Committee (EC) of National Mission for Clean Ganga on 15
    March 2017 approved 20 projects worth nearly Rs 1900 crore
    .

Financial and Banking News:
Paytm goes global, enters Canada with an App for bill payments

  • Becoming one of the select few
    Indian start-ups to make a global entry, online mobile wallet major Paytm on
    Thursday said that announced on Thursday that it has launched bill payments
    service in Canada.
  • According to the company, users
    in Canada will now be able to pay for their cell phone, cable, internet,
    electricity and water bills via the Paytm Canada app. Sources in the company
    said that while Paytm has started off with bill payment services, new features
    would be included into it as well. The company plans to assess the Canadian
    market and keep on adding services which are more in vogue and used in that
    country.
  • Back in May 2016, Paytm said that
    it plans to go global through its association with Alipay, owned by Alibaba
    Group. Beginning with 16 countries, Paytm’s international reach will grow every
    time Chinese mobile payment major expands its international footprint.
  • Vijay Shekhar Sharma, the founder
    and CEO of One97-owned Paytm had said that his company has been working with
    Alipay to make Paytm a global wallet.

Snapdeal, Japan Trade Organization tie-up to bring Japanese products to India

  • Online marketplace Snapdeal on Thursday announced its partnership with Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) for an exclusive partnership to showcase products from popular SME brands from Japan on Snapdeal.   Customers can now purchase JETRO products across various categories including electronic devices, accessories, kitchenware and personal care directly from Snapdeal.
  • The partnership is a step forward for Snapdeal in its quest to expand its portfolio with international brands which are acclaimed for excellence in their product quality and standards. Via the partnership, JETRO also hopes to create a niche space for these companies and their products in the Indian market as well as reach out to a huge customer base of over thousands of Indians.
  • Snapdeal will feature a specially curated store exhibiting a slew of products ranging from contact lenses, stationery, electronic device accessories, kitchenware, personal care, storage and display as well as sewing.
Sale of 24% equity in Lubrizol India by Indian Oil to Lubrizol
Corporation, USA approved

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic
    Affairs (CCEA) gave its approval to permit Indian Oil Corporation Limited
    (IndianOil) to sell its 24 per cent equity in M/s Lubrizol India Private
    Limited (LIPL) to Lubrizol Corporation, USA (LC).
  • The approval was given at a
    meeting of the CCEA chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 15 March
    2017 in New Delhi.
  • The sale will enable the
    IndianOil to have a long term association with the Lubrizol Corporation.
Union Cabinet approves special assistance measure for Andhra Pradesh

  • The Union Cabinet on 15 March
    2017 approved a special financial assistance for bifurcated Andhra Pradesh.
    This financial assistance will be provided by special dispensation in funding
    of Externally Aided Projects (EAPs.
  • The financial assistance will be
    also provided for the irrigation component of Polavaram project.
  • The special assistance will be
    provided to the state towards repayment of loan and interest for EAPs signed
    and disbursed from 2015-16 to 2019-20. The decision to this effect was taken at
    a Union Cabinet meet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Modalities for implementation of the decision:

  • Externally Aided Projects: Andhra
    Pradesh will be provided with a special assistance measure by the Union
    Government. Under this measure, the centre would make up for the additional
    central share the state might have received during 2015-16 to 2019-20. This
    will be done is the funding of the Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) would have
    been shared at the ratio of 90:10 between the Centre and the State.
  • In addition to this, the special
    assistance will be provided by way of repayment of loan and interest for the
    Externally Aided Projects (EAPs) signed and disbursed during 2015-2016 to
    2019-20 by the State.
  • This support in repayment of the
    EAP loans will help Andhra Pradesh to put its finances on a firmer footing and
    promote economic growth.
  • Polavaram project: The Union
    Government will also fund 100 per cent of the irrigation component of the
    Polavaram project starting from 1 April 2014. Completion of the Polavaram
    project will help in increasing irrigation prospects in the state.
Puducherry port inks MoU with Chennai Port Trust

  • A Memorandum of Understanding was
    signed between Puducherry port and Chennai Port Trust to develop Puducherry
    port into a satellite port to handle containers from Chennai to the Union
    Territory
  • Chief Secretary to Puducherry
    government Manoj Parida and Chairman of Chennai Port Trust P Raveendran inked
    the MoU in the presence of Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and
    Shipping Nitin Gadkari, Chief Minister V Narayanasamy and Minister of State for
    Road Transport, Highways, Shipping and Fertilisers Mansukh L Mandaviya in New
    Delhi.
  • This was stated in a release from
    the office of the Chief Minister said.
  • The development of Puducherry
    port into a satellite port would help handle containers from Chennai and for
    their onward transit from hereeither by rail or road to other destinations,
    official sources said.
Commerce Minister launched a new scheme to address needs of exporters

  • Commerce Minister Nirmala
    Sitharaman launched the Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES) on 15
    March 2017.
  • Speaking on the occasion,
    Sitharaman said that the scheme aims to address the needs of the exporters and
    added that the focus is not just on creating infrastructure but to make sure it
    is professionally run and sustained.
  • An empowered committee will be
    set up to periodically review the progress of the approved projects in the
    scheme.
  • The committee will also take the
    required steps to ensure that the objectives of the scheme are achieved.
  • The committee chaired by Commerce
    Secretary Rita Teaotia would also look over the proposals of the implementing
    agencies for funding.
CCEA approves setting up of 50 new Kendriya Vidyalayas

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic
    Affairs (CCEA), chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 15 March 2017
    approved the proposal for setting up around 50 new Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs)
    under Civil or Defence Sector in the country.
  • The total project cost for the
    proposed 50 new Kendriya Vidyalayas is Rs 1160 crore based on Kendriya
    Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) norms.
  • New KVs will be opened from
    classes I to V for which 650 regular posts shall be created in all 50 Kendriya
    Vidyalayas.
  • When the school will grow up to
    class XII and becomes a full-fledged school with two sections in each class,
    then about 4000 regular posts of various categories will be created including
    2900 teaching posts and about 1100 non-teaching posts.
  • When fully functional, these new
    KVs will provide quality education to approximately 50000 students in addition
    to the approximately 12 lakh students that are already studying in present KVs.
Union Cabinet approves MoU between LBSNAA and NIPAM for capacity
building of public officials

  • The Union Cabinet on 15 March
    2017 approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Lal Bahadur Shastri
    National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA), Mussoorie and Namibia Institute of
    Public Administration and Management (NIPAM), Namibia.
  • The MoU will be signed in the
    field of capacity building of public officials of Namibia and other training
    activities for the benefit of both the institutes.
  • The MOU will help the Lal Bahadur
    Shastri National Academy to disseminate some of its experience in running a
    training institution for higher civil services in the country to NIPAM.
  • It will also help the two sides
    to engage in collaborative activities in the sphere of public administration
    and capacity building.
Lists & Indexes:
Mercer released 2017 Quality of Living Survey

  • Mercer on 14 March 2017 released
    the results of the 19th annual Quality of Living Survey. In the survey, while
    Vienna occupies the first place for overall quality of living for the 8th year
    running, Hyderabad was adjudged as the best Indian city in terms of living
    standards.
Highlights of 2017 Quality of Living Survey

  • The European cities that figured
    in the top 10 list are  Zurich (2),
    Munich (4), Dusseldorf (6), Frankfurt (7), Geneva (8), Copenhagen (9) and
    Basel, a newcomer to the list, in 10th place.
  • The only non-European cities in
    the top ten are Auckland (New Zealand) and Vancouver (Canada). They were placed
    at the 3rd and 5th position respectively.
  • The survey also includes a city
    infrastructure ranking that assesses each city’s supply of electricity,
    drinking water, telephone and mail services.
  • Singapore tops the city
    infrastructure ranking, followed by Frankfurt and Munich. Baghdad (230) and
    Port au Prince (231) rank last for city infrastructure.
  • In the infrastructure rankings,
    Mumbai was ranked the highest at 141, which was followed by Kolkata (149) and
    Pune (151).
UN launches Women in Politics Map 2017; India placed at 148th number

  • The Inter-Parliamentary Union
    (IPU) and UN Women on 15 March 2017 launched the Women in Politics Map 2017.
  • The rankings showed that the
    number of women Heads of State or Heads of Government fell from 19 to 17 since
    2015, and progress in the number of women in parliament continues to be slow.
  • The report was launched on the
    sidelines of the 61st Commission on the Status of Women, known as the largest
    inter-governmental forum on women’s rights and gender equality. For 2017, the
    theme is on women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work.
  • India ranked 88 in the number of
    women Ministers with five or 18.5 per cent in the cabinet. However, women hold
    important positions. For instance, Sumitra Mahajan is the Speaker and Sushma
    Swaraj is the Union External Affairs Minister.
  • Rwanda topped the list followed
    by Bolivia and Cuba 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Appointments:
Captain Amarinder Singh sworn in as Chief Minister of Punjab

  • Congress leader Captain Amarinder
    Singh was on 16 March 2017 sworn in as the 26th Chief Minister (CM) of Punjab.
    Alongside, Navjot Singh Sidhu was sworn in as a Cabinet Minister of Punjab.
  • Amarinder Singh was administered
    oath of office and secrecy by Punjab Governor VP Singh Badnore at an impressive
    ceremony at the Punjab Raj Bhawan.
  • Nine ministers including two
    women were also inducted in the state cabinet. The ministers inducted included
    Brahm Mohindra, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Manpreet Badal, Charanjit Singh Channi,
    Rana Gurjeet Singh, Sadhu Singh Dharamsot and Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa. The
    two women inducted are Aruna Chaudhary and Razia Sultana.
Atul Nanda appointed Punjab Advocate-General

  • Supreme Court lawyer and senior
    advocate Atul Nanda was on Thursday appointed as Punjab Advocate-General. He
    replaces senior advocate Ashok Aggarwal, who resigned as the state’s top law
    officer soon after the change of guard in Punjab almost six years after he was
    appointed by the previous SAD-BJP government.
  • A prominent lawyer, Nanda has
    even appeared for the Supreme Court in its cases and is familiar with Punjab
    and its politics. Among other things, he has dealt with alleged corruption
    cases against Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh. One of the first tasks
    before him would be appointment of law officers in terms of Supreme Court’s
    March, 2016, order.
  • The Apex Court order makes it
    clear that the State would have to fix eligibility criterion before
    constituting a search committee. After its nod, the names would be sent to the
    Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice Shiavax Jal Vazifdar.
New Chairperson of National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Manhar
Valji assumed office

  • Manhar Valji on 16 March 2017
    became the chairperson of the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis. Along
    with Valji, two members – Manju Diler and Dalip Kallu Hathibed – assumed
    office.
  • The National Commission for Safai
    Karamcharis seeks to study, evaluate and monitor the implementation of various
    schemes meant for the welfare of  safai
    karamcharis.
  • The commission was constituted in
    August 1994 as per the provisions of the National Commission for Safai
    Karamcharis Act, 1993.
  • The commission consists of a
    chairperson, a vice-chairperson and five members. Among them, at least one of
    the members  shall be a woman.
Sports:
Hero MotoCorp signs up as ‘national supporter’ of FIFA U-17 World Cup

  • Two-wheeler manufacturer Hero
    MotoCorp has signed up as a National Supporter for the FIFA U-17 World Cup
    India 2017 which will be held across 6 host cities between 6 to 28 October this
    year.
  • The company has a long-standing
    association with various disciplines of sports through sponsorships across
    cricket, hockey and football. With the signing of the agreement, Hero MotoCorp
    has filled the second of six National Supporter slots for the FIFA U-17 World
    Cup India 2017, the first being Bank of Baroda.
  • Hero MotoCorp is also associated
    with Indian Super League, promoted by IMG-Reliance and Star India, and has been
    the title sponsor for Hockey India League as well. It has also advertised on
    the Indian Premier League and on international cricket matches played by Team
    India.
Non-financial news related to India and states:
Union Government approves National Health Policy 2017

  • Union Health Minister J P Nadda
    on 15 March 2017 launched the National Health Policy 2017 with an aim to
    provide healthcare in an assured manner to all, particularly to the undeserved
    and underprivileged.
  • The policy proposes raising
    public health expenditure to 2.5 per cent of the GDP in a time bound manner.
Highlights of the National Health Policy 2017

  • It envisages providing larger
    package of assured comprehensive primary health care through the ‘Health and
    Wellness Centers’.
  • It aims at ensuring availability
    of 2 beds per 1000 population in hospitals to enable access within golden hour,
    the first hour after a traumatic injury, when emergency treatment is most
    likely to be successful.
  • In order to provide access and
    financial protection, the policy proposes free drugs, free diagnostics and free
    emergency and essential healthcare services in all public hospitals.
  • It seeks to increase life
    expectancy at birth from 67.5 to 70 by 2025 and reduce infant mortality rate to
    28 by 2019.
  • It also seeks to achieve and
    maintain elimination status of Leprosy by 2018, Kala-Azar by 2017 and Lymphatic
    Filariasis in endemic pockets by this year.
MIT Pune, IBM unveil robot ‘Chintu’ to assist senior citizens

  • The students of Maharashtra
    Institute of Technology (MIT) Pune and technology giant IBM have developed a
    robot, Chintu, which would assist senior citizens in their everyday tasks.
  • Chintu, under 2ft tall robot, was
    developed after MIT Pune received a grant of Rs 10 lakh last year from IBM.
  • It is powered by the US-based
    company’s cognitive assistant, IBM Watson. Chintu can move his hands and read
    books to an audience.
  • While ‘Chintu’ is still a few
    years from becoming mainstream, the students will continue to work on him to
    add functionalities.
FTII and Canon sign MoU to promote short courses in Film &
Television

  • The Film and Television Institute
    of India (FTII), Pune and Canon India Private Limited on 15 March 2017 signed a
    Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote film education through short-term
    courses across several towns and cities in the country.
  • The courses are proposed to be
    held in non-metros such as Guwahati, Jaipur, Vishakhapatnam, Raipur,
    Chandigarh, Raipur, Bhopal, Leh and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
  • Basically, Canon partnered FTII
    for its Skilling India in Film and Television (SKIFT), an initiative designed
    to spread the art of cinematography and film making across the country. 
  • Under FTII’s unique initiative
    SKIFT (Skilling India in Film and Television), several short courses, mostly of
    skill-oriented nature have been proposed to be held in collaboration with
    several State Governments, Universities and Educational institutions.
  • Initially SKIFT will conduct
    courses such as Digital Cinematography, Documentary Film Making, Screenplay
    Writing, Acting, Film Criticism & Journalism and Film Appreciation.
Twenty projects approved for implementation of Namami Gange Programme
in Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand and Delhi

  • The Executive Committee (EC) of
    National Mission for Clean Ganga on 15 March 2017 approved 20 projects worth
    nearly Rs 1900 crore.
  • Out of 20 projects, 13 are in
    Uttarakhand that includes creating new sewage treatment plants, upgrading
    existing STPs and laying of sewage networks in Haridwar at an estimated cost of
    around Rs 415 crore.
  • The approved plan for Haridwar is
    aimed at treating sewage water generated by not only city’s 1.5 lakh local
    dwellers, but also by people who visit the place for various purposes.
  • All the projects will be
    completely funded by the Union Government, including the expenditure on
    operation and maintenance of these projects.
  • Out of 13 projects approved for
    Uttarakhand, four pertain to pollution abatement works for river Alakananda to
    ensure cleaner flow of the river downstream. This includes interception and
    diversion of drains along with creation of new small STPs at four crucial
    locations at an estimated cost of nearly Rs 78 crore. These locations are
    Joshimath, Rudraprayag, Karnprayag and Kirti Nagar.
  • A pollution abatement project for
    River Ganges at Rishikesh has also been approved at an estimated cost of more
    than Rs 158 crore.
  • The construction of a new 26 MLD
    STP at Lakkar Ghat with online monitoring system has also been envisaged in the
    Rishikesh-specific project.
  • In New Delhi, a project to
    construct new state-of-the-art 564 MLD Okhla sewage treatment plant with best
    effluent standards has also been approved at an estimated cost of Rs 665 crore.
    The new project will replace the existing STPs phase-I, II, III and IV.
  • In addition, two projects for
    laying new sewage pipelines in Pitampura and Kondli in Delhi have also been
    approved. These new pipelines will prevent leakages and they have an estimated
    cost of more than Rs 100 crore.
  • The Union Cabinet also approved
    sewage related works in Karmalichak in Patna and Rajmahal in Jharkhand for a
    cost of over Rs 335 crore.
  • For River Ganges in Varanasi, a
    project under Hybrid-Annuity PPP model worth almost Rs 151 crore has also been
    given EC approval.

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