Current Affairs Update – 18 to 20 March, 2017

Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs Update of 18 to 20 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 – 18-20 March, 2017 – Tap to show
  1. 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
    .
  2. The Union Cabinet, chaired by the
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 20 March 2017 approved four GST related bills.
  3. The India-Russia Military Industrial Conference was on 17 March 2017
    jointly inaugurated by the Union Minister of Defence, Finance and Corporate
    Affairs Arun Jaitley and Russia’s Minister of Industry and Trade Denis
    Manturovon in New Delhi.
  4. India’s longest road tunnel, connecting Cheneni and Nashiri towns
    on the new Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, has successfully completed its
    trial run. The 9.2 km long twin tube is expected to be opened for public usage
    by the end of March 2017.
  5. The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in the third week of March 2017
    announced that it is expected to deliver 123 Tejas aircrafts to
    the Indian Air Force (IAF) by 2024
    .
  6. The Indo-Oman joint military
    exercise Al Nagah-II 2017 concluded
    on 19 March 2017 at Bakloh in Himachal Pradesh.
  7. The first fully made-in-India train, Medha was flagged off at Dadar
    station on 18 March 2017 for its maiden run to Borivali at Lokmanya Tilak
    Terminus. The train made stops at Bandra and Andheri.
  8. Yogi Adityanath was on 19 March 2017 sworn-in as the Chief Minister
    of Uttar Pradesh by the Governor of the State Ram Naik.
  9. Trivendra Singh Rawat was on 18 March 2017 sworn-in as the Chief
    Minister of Uttarakhand by the State Governor Krishna Kant Paul at the Parade
    Ground in Dehrandun.
  10. Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara was in news on 19
    March 2017 for his marathon knock that lasted for over 11 hours. His 202 off
    525 balls in the first innings during the third test-match against Australia at
    the JSCA Stadium at Ranchi helped the team to take the first innings lead.
  11. The World Sparrow Day was observed across the world on 20 March 2017

Financial and Banking News:
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.
Highlights of the merger

  • Vodafone will hold 45.1 per cent
    in the combined entity.
  • Idea promoters will hold 26.1 per
    cent of the entity.
  • Aditya Birla Group will have
    right to buy 9.5 per cent stake in the new entity.
  • Under the terms of the agreement,
    the merger should be completed within 24 months.
  • Idea will have the sole right to
    appoint the chairman.
  • Vodafone has right to appoint CFO
    of the company.
  • On the other hand, the
    appointment of CEO and COO will require an approval of both the companies.
Union Cabinet approved four GST related Bills

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 20 March 2017 approved the following four GST
related bills –

  1. The Central
    Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 (The CGST Bill)
  2. The Integrated
    Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 (The IGST Bill)
  3. The Union
    Territory Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 (The UTGST Bill)
  4. The Goods and
    Services Tax (Compensation to the States) Bill 2017 (The Compensation Bill)
Features of the bills

  • The CGST Bill makes provisions
    for levy and collection of tax on intra-state supply of goods and services by
    the Union Government.
  • On the other hand, IGST Bill
    makes provisions for levy and collection of tax on inter-state supply of goods
    or services or both by the Union Government.
  • The UTGST Bill makes provisions
    for levy on collection of tax on intra-UT supply of goods and services in the
    Union Territories without legislature.
  • Union Territory GST is akin to
    States Goods and Services Tax (SGST), which shall be levied and collected by
    the States and Union Territories on intra-state supply of goods or services or
    both.
India-Russia Military Industrial Conference held in New Delhi

  • The India-Russia Military
    Industrial Conference was on 17 March 2017 jointly inaugurated by the Union
    Minister of Defence, Finance and Corporate Affairs Arun Jaitley and Russia’s
    Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturovon in New Delhi.
  • On the sidelines of the
    conference, two agreements were signed between Hindustan Aeronautics Limited
    (HAL) and United Aircraft Corporation and United Engine Corporation of Russia.
  • The agreements are related to
    general terms and conditions governing long term supply of spares and rendering
    technical assistance over five years for the Su-30 MKI aircraft.
  • The primary objective of the
    conference is to address issues related to life-cycle support and maintenance
    of major Russian-origin equipments and platforms such as SU-30 MKI aircraft,
    Mi-17 Helicopters, MiG-29K aircraft, INS Vikramaditya and T-90 tanks.
ICAR, ICRISAT signed collaborative agreement for crop improvement

  • The Indian Council of
    Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the International Crops Research Institute for
    the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) on 15 March 2017 signed a collaborative
    agreement for crop improvement.
  • The agreement was signed by Dr.
    Trilochan Mohapatra, Secretary (DARE) and Director General (ICAR) and  Dr David Bergvinson, Director General,
    ICRISAT in New Delhi.
  • The agreement, which is called as
    the ICAR-ICRISAT collaborative work plan for the years 2016-18, facilitates the
    transfer of agricultural technologies between the two institutes.
  • Climate smart crops, smart food
    and digitalization of breeding database are some of the core areas of research
    covered under the agreement.
  • The partnership includes funding
    to research grain legumes and dryland cereals and support for the smart food
    initiative to deliver sustainable and nutritionally rich products to consumers.
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.
  • 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.
  • Under the scheme, the plants have
    two options –
  • (i) On-Grid Solar Power Plant in
    areas where power cuts and shortages are negligible and power tariff is high
  • (ii) Off-Grid Solar Power Plant
    in areas where there is a power shortage and on-grid power is not continuously
    available
Non-financial news related to India and states:
India’s longest road tunnel completes trial run

  • India’s longest road tunnel,
    connecting Cheneni and Nashiri towns on the new Jammu-Srinagar National
    Highway, has successfully completed its trial run. The 9.2 km long twin tube is
    expected to be opened for public usage by the end of March 2017.
  • Speaking on its opening, J S
    Rathore, the Project Director of the Chenani Nashiri Tunnelway stated that the
    tunnel would be formally thrown open to regular traffic after inauguration by
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which is expected to happen soon.  Rathore added that the road tunnel would help
    in reducing the traffic jams on National Highway-1A that occur due to snowfall
    and avalanches in winter.
  • The twin-tube tunnel will be the
    first one in the country to get the world class ‘integrated tunnel control
    system’.
  • The system would allow
    ventilation, fire control, signals, communication and electrical systems to be
    automatically actuated.
  • It is located at an elevation of
    1200 meters.
  • The trial run of the tunnel was
    conducted successfully during both peak hours and non-peak hours between 9 to
    15 March 2017.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited expected to deliver 123 Tejas aircrafts
to IAF by 2024

  • The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited
    (HAL) in the third week of March 2017 announced that it is expected to deliver
    123 Tejas aircrafts to the Indian Air Force (IAF) by 2024.
  • In order to achieve this goal,
    the HAL is in the process of setting up a new assembly line by involving the
    private sector.
  • The Light Combat Aircraft Tejas
    is a supersonic, single-seat, single-engine multirole light fighter aircraft.
  • The fourth generation aircraft
    was co-developed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) in cooperation
    with the Bengaluru-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
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.
  • 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.
First ever Made-in-India train flagged off at Dadar station

  • The first fully made-in-India
    train, Medha was flagged off at Dadar station on 18 March 2017 for its maiden
    run to Borivali at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus. The train made stops at Bandra and
    Andheri.
  • The 12 coach train, part of
    India’s Make in India campaign, was flagged off by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu
    amidst the presence of Central and Western Railway general manager DK Sharma
    and other senior officials. The effort aims to boost rail connectivity in the
    region and enhance the convenience of the people.
  • Two Medha trains were on a trial
    since the last two years. Both the trains have been designed and built at the
    Integral Coach Factory in Chennai. They will be running on the Western Railway
    network.
  • It is powered by a
    Hyderabad-based firm Medha Servo Drives.
  • The company has installed LED
    lighting inside the train, which will help save energy by almost 30-35% in
    comparison to the existing trains.
Appointments:
Yogi Adityanath sworn-in as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh

  • Yogi Adityanath was on 19 March
    2017 sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh by the Governor of the
    State Ram Naik.
  • Besides Yogi Adityanath, Keshav
    Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma took the oath as the Deputy Chief Ministers of
    the State.
  • At present, Yogi Adityanath is an
    MP of the Lok Sabha. So far, he was elected as an MP from the Gorakhpur Lok
    Sabha constituency in the 1998, 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014 elections.
Justice Navanithi Prasad Singh sworn in as Kerala HC Chief Justice

  • Justice Navanithi Prasad Singh
    was on 20 March 2017 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.
  • He was designated as a Senior
    Advocate on 11 December 2004 by the Patna high court. He was elevated as a
    Judge of the Patna High Court on 6 March 2006.
Trivendra Singh Rawat sworn-in as Uttarakhand Chief Minister

  • Trivendra Singh Rawat was on 18
    March 2017 sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand by the State Governor
    Krishna Kant Paul at the Parade Ground in Dehrandun.
  • TS Rawat succeeded Harish Rawat
    of the Indian National Congress (INC) in the aftermath of the recent general
    elections to the State Legislative Assembly.
  • In the February 2017 elections,
    while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 57 out of the 69 seats by garnering
    46.5 per cent of the total votes polled, the ruling INC got only 11 seats and
    33.5 per cent of the total votes polled.
Sports News:
Cheteshwar Pujara plays India’s longest innings

  • Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara
    was in news on 19 March 2017 for his marathon knock that lasted for over 11
    hours. His 202 off 525 balls in the first innings during the third test-match
    against Australia at the JSCA Stadium at Ranchi helped the team to take the
    first innings lead.
  • With this, Pujara became first
    Indian batsman to face 500 balls in an innings. This was his 3rd double century
    in his Test career.
  • The fete also helped Pujara to
    join the elite list of players like Rahul Dravid, Navjot Sidhu, Sunil Gavaskar,
    Ravi Shastri and VVS Laxman. In short, he is the sixth Indian batsman to face
    450 balls in an innings.
  • The previous record of facing
    maximum balls in Test inning was held by Rahul Dravid (270 off 495 balls).
    Dravid’s record was created in 2004 during a match against Pakistan in
    Rawalpindi. 270 during the inning at Rawalpindi was Dravid’s career-best score.
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.
Days:
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.
Obituaries:
Former Odisha MP Pyarimohan Mohapatra passes away

  • Former Rajya Sabha member
    Pyarimohan Mohapatra passed away tonight at a hospital in Mumbai after a
    prolonged illness.
  • Mohapatra had been undergoing
    treatment at a private hospital in Mumbai. He passed away tonight, his family
    said.
  • Regarded as the chief strategist
    and mentor of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the former IAS officer of
    1963 batch played a key role in deciding the shape and contours of the Biju
    Janata Dal (BJD) after the regional party was formed in 1997.
Renowned Meteorologist, Dev Raj Sikka passes away

  • Former Director of the Indian
    Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Dev Raj Sikka passed away on 18 March 2017,
    after suffering from a cardiac arrest. He was 85.
  • Remembering Raj Sikka, Madhavan
    Rajeevan, Secretary in the Ministry of Earth Sciences said that he was the
    first person to propose a connection between El Nino phenomenon and the Indian
    monsoon but that was the time when meteorologists would give more importance to
    the words of the western scientists.
  • The El Nino Southern Oscillation
    phenomenon, the irregularly periodical variation in winds and sea in the
    equatorial Pacific, is now seen by the meteorologists as one of the most
    significant factors to forecast the performance of the Indian monsoon. Out of
    10 El Nino years, almost six have been linked to below-normal rainfall in
    India.

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