1. India Inc first in the world to formally adopt UN’s SDGi. India Inc. is set to formally adopt the United Nations’ (UN) agenda for the world’s sustainable development and the 17 goals identified for its implementation.
ii. SDG- Sustainable Development Growth;
iii. MDG- Millenium Development Growth
iv. SDG- 17 goals; MDG- 8 goals
v. SDG will be a evaluated, monitored and reported in a time-bound manner
2. SAARC Programming Committee meet begins in Pokhara
i. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will leave for Nepal to attend SAARC ministerial meet. Before the Ministerial meeting, a session of Programming Committee of SAARC will be held in Pokhara (Nepal). Standing Committee of the SAARC, which is a Foreign Secretaries-level Forum, will be held on 16th of this month.
ii. External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said the meetings are part of regular interactions within the SAARC framework.
iii. India's focus would be not only to take stock of the decisions but also to work out the way forward on priority issues.
3. Anil Wadhwa concurrently accredited as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of San Marino
i. Anil Wadhwa, Ambassador of India to Italy, has been concurrently accredited as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of San Marino with residence in Rome. He is an Indian Foreign Service Officer of the 1979 batch was also posted as Secretary (East) in 2014.
ii. He has also served as the Indian Ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand (Nov 2011 to Jan 2014) and previously as the Ambassador to Poland and to the Sultanate of Oman.
4. Myanmar Parliament elected Htin Kyaw as first civilian President
i. 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.
ii. 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.
iii. They will serve as first vice-president and second vice-president respectively. Kyaw will replace Thein Sein who will step down at the end of March 2016 after five years of army-backed rule.
iv. Htin Kyaw was elected under a complex system in which the two chambers of parliament nominated two presidential candidates and military MPs nominated a third, assuring the army continued influence.
v. The army also retains 25 percent of seats in parliament under a 2008 constitution that it drafted, giving it an effective veto on constitutional change. It also keeps key ministerial portfolios related to security.
5. Parytak Mitra Programme to enable Students to act as Tourist Facilitators
i. 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.
ii. 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).
iii. The programme seeks to improve the sectoral service standards, which is one of the pre-requisites for attracting tourists in larger numbers.
iv. 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 applicant will also furnish a no-objection / sponsorship letter issued by the Principal concerned as to his/her joining the programme.
6. Venezuela president extended economic emergency to protect citizens from economic warfare
i. 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.
ii. 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.
iii. 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.
iv. The extension will bring in measures to enhance positive impacts on the national economy. These include actions on healthcare, nutrition, education, employment.
v. Venezuela has the biggest known oil reserves in the world but has suffered from the plunge in world oil prices since mid-2014. The official inflation rate topped 180 percent in 2015 which is one of the highest in the world. Non-government economists estimate the real rate is several times higher.
7. YES Bank inked MoU with India Brazil Chamber for strategic cooperation
i. India's fifth largest private sector Bank, YES Bank on 11 March 2016 signed a strategic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with India Brazil Chamber of Commerce (IBCC) to enable significant cooperation in terms of knowledge partnerships, project consultancy, B2B opportunities, skill and technology initiatives.
ii. As per the announcement of YES Bank, the MoU signing comes in the run up to the 8th Annual BRICS Summit to be held in New Delhi in 2016. The core sectors covered in the MoU will be Sports, Media and Entertainment with special focus on IT, Infrastructure, Broadcast and Innovative solutions driven business opportunities.
iii. YES BANK and IBCC will jointly endeavour to explore exchange of best practices in Sports goods Manufacturing, CSR in sports, SM&E talent management.
iv. Moreover, IBCC will also recommend YES BANK as the Preferred Bank to Brazilian companies looking to do business in India.
8. Altico Capital names Naina Lal Kidwai as Non-Executive Director
i. Mumbai based Non-banking financial company Altico Capital India has appointed former HSBC India chairperson Naina Lal Kidwai as an independent non-executive director.
ii. Altico, focused on real estate, is looking to invest about Rs 2,500 crore every year for five years in the Indian real estate market. Naina lal Kidwai retired as executive director on the board of HSBC Asia Pacific and chairperson of HSBC India last year, after a 13-year stint.
iii. She is on the boards of Larsen & Toubro Limited, Advent Private Equity, Nestle SA, Cipla Ltd and Max Financial Services Ltd besides being chairperson of South Asia Harvard Business School. iv. She is currently involved with several industry associations and has previously been president of FICCI.
9. India Post Selects Deloitte As Consultant For Payments Bank
i. India Post has selected Deloitte to advise it on setting up a payments bank and an agreement between the two will be signed on March 14. The Public Investment Board has already approved the Rs 800-crore proposal of India Post and in 15 days, it will go to the Cabinet for final approval.
ii. Trail run project for the payments bank is set to start from January and the full-fledged operations will start by March As many as 40 international financial firms including World Bank and Barclays have shown interest to partner the postal department for setting up the bank. India Post has 55 lakh branches across the country.
iii. The Department of Posts, trading as India Post, is a government-operated postal system in India; it is generally referred to within India as "the post office". As of 31 March 2011, the Indian Postal Service had 154,866 post offices, of which 139,040 (89.78 percent) were in rural areas and 15,826 (10.22 percent) in urban areas.
iv. It had 25,464 departmental Post Offices and 129,402 Extra-Departmental Branch Post Offices. At the time of independence, there were 23,344 post offices, primarily in urban areas.
v. The postal service is under the Department of Posts, which is part of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology of the Government of India.
10. 253 Indian Villages Lit Up In Just One Week Under The Scheme Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojna
i. 323 villages have been electrified across the country during last week (from 6th to 13th March 2016) under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojna (DDUGJY).
ii. Out of these electrified villages, 86 in Odisha, 73 in Jharkhand , 61 villages in Uttar Pradesh, 42 in Arunachal Pradesh , 33 in Bihar, 16 in Assam, 6 in Chhattisgarh, 3 in Madhya Pradesh and 3 in Rajasthan.
iii. In view of the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi’s address to nation, on Independence Day, Government of India has decided to electrify remaining 18,452 un-electrified villages within 1000 days i.e. by 01st May, 2018.
iv. The project has been taken on mission mode and strategy for electrification consists of squeezing the implementation schedule to 12 months and also dividing village electrification process in 12 Stage milestones with defined timelines for monitoring.
11.Lin Dan Earns His Sixth All England Badminton Title
i. Lin Dan from China has won the prestigious 2016 All England Badminton title in the men’s singles category.In the final match played at Birmingham, England he defeated Chinese teammate Tian Houwei by 21-9, 21-10 score.
ii. It was his overall sixth All England badminton title and earlier he had won it in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012. Nozomi Okuhara of Japan marked her 21st birthday with her first All England title after beating two-time champion Wang Shixian of China 21-11, 16-21, 21-19 in their thrilling final.
iii. Lin Dan is a professional badminton player from China. He is a two-time Olympic champion, five-time world champion, and six-time All England champion.
12. Mother Teresa will be made a saint on September 4, Pope Francis announced. 19 years after the death of the Nobel Laureate who spent 45 years serving the poor and sick on the streets of Kolkata.ii. “Pope Francis today approved Mother Teresa’s elevation to sainthood and set September 4 as the date for her canonisation,” said a message from the Vatican to the Mother House — the headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata.
iii. Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity and spent 45 years serving the poor, the sick, the orphaned, and the dying on the streets of Kolkata. She died at the age of 87 here in 1997.
13. 7th Governing Board meeting of Indo-German Science and Technology Centre held in New Delhi
i. 7th meeting of the Governing Board of the Indo-German Science and Technology Centre (IGSTC) was held on 15 March 2016 in New Delhi. The meeting was chaired by the Union Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan.
ii. During the meeting, Dr. Vardhan highlighted the achievements and progress of IGSTC in accelerating the bilateral Science & Technology collaboration.
iii. India is investing approximately 14 million euro for the construction of an India focussed beam line and access to the synchrotron facility at PETRA-III in DESY at Hamburg, which will be ready for inauguration later in 2016.
iv. India is also an equity share holder with investment of 36 million euro in the construction of the international Facility for Antiproton-Ion Research (FAIR) at Darmstadt.
v. Innovative projects on affordable biomedical devices, lab-on-chip for water pathogen detection and nano-materials for adsorption of uremic toxins for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients have been initiated.
14. Singareni 600 MW power unit synchronised in Telangana
i. The first of two 600 MW power generation units at the Singareni Thermal Power Plant (STPP) at Pegadapalli in Jaipur mandal of Adilabad District, was synchronised with top officials including Singareni Collieries Chairman and Managing Director N. Sridhar participating in it.
ii. The power generation unit will be inaugurated by Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Raoin April.
iii. According to chairman the STPP at Jaipur will eventually bring down the deficit in power generation in Telangana State.
iv. Among the officials who were present were Singareni Director (Projects and Planning) A. Manohar Reddy, Director (E&M) P. Ramesh Babu, Director Finance, Pavithran Kumar, General Manager, STPP, Sudhakar Reddy, GM (Civil) Muralikrishna and GM, Srirampur are, Sd. M. Subhani.
15. MoU Signed Between M/O Tourism And Ecotourism Society Of India For Responsible And Sustainable Tourism
i. The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India has 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.
ii. In accordance, Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, M/o Tourism and Steve Borgia, Honorary President, Ecotourism Society of India signed the MOU in the presence of Vinod Zutshi, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism in New Delhi on March 15, 2016.
iii. The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India has officially declared ESOI as their partner in helping develop policy guidelines, code of conduct and ethical practices for Sustainable Tourism, to position India as a Global ecotourismdestination embracing Responsible Tourism guidelines across the various sectors of Tourism & Hospitality, Transport, Aviation etc.
iv. In this context ESOI will prepare a 10-year Road Map for advocacy and certification under the Sustainable Tourism Criteria for India. The Road Map will be based on regional workshops held with relevant stakeholders across the country.
16. March 15 World Consumer Rights Day
i. World Consumer Day is celebrated across the World on 15th March 2016.
ii. The Day is an occasion of solidarity among consumers and to promote the basic rights of all consumers, for demanding that those rights are respected and protected, and for protesting the market abuses and social injustices which undermine them.
iii. Theme for the World Consumer Rights Day 2016 – Antibiotics off the menu. It is a campaign to stopover the sale of meat raised up with the use of antibiotics important to human medicine.
17. Anita Brookner, Booker Prize-Winning Author, Dies Aged 87
i. Anita Brookner, the Booker prize-winning British author and renowned art historian, has died at the age of 87.
ii. She won the Booker in 1984 for her novel Hotel du Lac, one of 24 novels she wrote after a distinguished career as an art historian. She was highly regarded as a stylist and her novels explore themes of emotional loss and difficulties associated with fitting into society, and typically depict intellectual, middle-class women.
iii. London born novelist graduated in BA History from King’s College London In 1949, was the first woman to hold the prestigious Slade Professorship of fine art at Cambridge University. She also taught at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Her first novel, A Start in Life was published in 1981 at the age of 53. Her most recent novel was published in 2011.
iv. She has awarded with Man Booker prize in 1984 and in 2010 she had won James Tait Black Memorial.
18. ICICI Bank launched NFC-based mobile payment solution Touch & Pay
i. ICICI Bank on 15 March 2016 announced a new mobile payment solution Touch & Pay. This solution is based on Near Field Communication (NFC) technology and will enable the bank’s customers to make secure contactless payments at retail stores using smartphones.
ii. The feature will be incorporated into the existing Pockets application of the bank. Customers can make payment by tapping smart phone at a NFC enabled merchant terminal and make the payment through account linked ICICI Bank Debit/Credit Card.
iii. To ensure security of the card details, for every payment done at a merchant store using this service, a one-use unique token is created by the Bank's server and will be sent via encryption to the merchant,
iv. The facility will be available in the last week of March 2016 at more than 60000 merchants across the country.
19.Union Government and Jammu & Kashmir Government signed MoU on UDAY Scheme
i. Union Government and Jammu & Kashmir Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under the Scheme Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) on 15 March 2016 for operational and financial turnaround of the State’s Power Distribution Department.
ii. With this, J&K became the ninth state to sign MoU with the combined DISCOM debt around 1.94 lakh crore rupees. The main aim for signing the MoU is to restructure high interest rate of the total discom debt thereby improving financial condition of State Discom
iii. An overall net benefit of approximately 9800 crore rupees would accrue to the State by opting to participate in UDAY, by way of savings in interest cost, reduction in Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT & C)and transmission losses, interventions in energy efficiency, coal reforms etc. during the period of turnaround.
iv. It will enable Jammu & Kashmir to raise funds at cheaper rate to clear the outstanding dues of around 3538 crore rupees of Community and Public Sector Union (CPSUs), which would entail an annual saving of 1200 crore rupees over 4 years towards interest cost to the State.