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Daily Current Affairs for 22nd March 2017 ( English)

1.     India was ranked 131 in the 2016 Human Development Index (HDI) among the 188 countries.  India scored 0.624 and was placed in medium human development category. The index was unveiled recently as part of the Human Development Report (HDR) 2016 titled Human Development for Everyone published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Top three countries: Norway (0.949 score), Australia (0.939) and Switzerland (0.939). SAARC countries: Sri Lanka (73) and Maldives (105) were placed in “high human development” category, followed by India (131), Bhutan (132), Bangladesh (139), Nepal (144), Pakistan (147) and Afghanistan (169). BRICS Countries: India ranks lowest among BRICS nations. Russia (49), Brazil (79), China (90), South Africa (119) and India (131).
2.     Life expectancy at birth: In India, it has increased from 68 years to an average of 68.3 years — 69.9 years for women and 66.9 years for men.
3.     Access to knowledge: India’s expected years of schooling remains at 11.7 years, while mean years of schooling increased from 5.4 to 6.3 years
4.     India’s Gross National Income (GNI) based on per capita purchasing power parity (PPP): It has risen from $5,497 to $5,663.
5.     Gender Inequality Index (GII): India ranked 125 among 159 countries. Only 12.2% of Parliament seats are held by women. 8% of women above the age of 15 years are part of India’s labour force — compared to 79.1% men. The ratio of maternal mortality is 174 against every 100,000 live births.
6.     The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) created history by commissioning the world’s third-largest hypersonic wind tunnel at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. next only to the ones in the United States (US) and Russia.In this regard, ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar commissioned two facilities – a 1-m Hypersonic Wind Tunnel and a 1-m Shock Tunnel. These wind tunnels will be used to study the effects of air flowing past a solid object and in ISRO’s case, space vehicles. These new facilities will help aerodynamic characterisation of advanced space transportation systems in a hypersonic environment.
7.     The World Water Day (WWD) is observed every year on 22 March 2017 with  Theme: “Why Wastewater?”. It focuses on wastewater and ways to reduce and reuse as over 80% of all the wastewater. It also highlights that untreated wastewater flows from homes, industry, cities and agriculture to nature causing pollution and leading to loss of valuable nutrients and other recoverable materials. It also highlights that waste water as a valuable resource and its safe management as an efficient investment in the health of humans and ecosystem
8.     The Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) suspended the Environmental Clearance (EC) granted to the India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO). It has asked the project proponent to make a fresh application. It  is country’s most ambitious basic science project proposed to come up in Bodi west hills of Theni district of Tamil Nadu. It aims at building a world-class underground laboratory with a rock cover of approximately 1200 meter. Its mandate is to conduct basic research on the elementary particle called neutrino. It is jointly supported by Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Department of Science & Technology (DST), with DAE acting as the nodal agency. The observatory will be located underground in order to provide adequate shielding to the neutrino detector from cosmic background radiation. It will comprise a complex of caverns which will house detector which is 130 metres long, 26 metres wide and 30 metre high. INO is a category ‘A’ project, which means  EIA study has to be done by an accredited agency. Since the project was near a national park, INO needs to get a clearance from the National Board for Wildlife. It also needs to get necessary clearance from the Kerala government as well. NGT suspended the EC after petitioner submitted that the INO project was just 4.5 km away from Mathikettan Shola National Park in Idukki district (Kerala) and one kilometre from Kerala-Tamil Nadu border and falls under category ‘A’ project in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). 
9.       The GRAPES-3 experiment at TIFR’s (Tata Institute of Fundamental Research) Cosmic Ray Laboratory in Ootacamund in Tamil Nadu is getting upgraded to detect solar storms. GRAPES-3 (Gamma Ray Astronomy PeV EnergieS phase-3) experiment had detected the effect of a solar storm that hit the earth in June 2015. It was started as a collaboration of the TIFR and the Japanese Osaka City University, and now also includes the Japanese Nagoya Women’s University. It is specially designed to study cosmic rays with an array of air shower detectors and a large area muon detector. It aims to probe acceleration of cosmic rays in the four astrophysical settings. The Sun is at a distance of 150 million kilometres from the earth. Satellites are placed at a distance of nearly 1.5 million kilometres, at the so-called L1 point (between Earth and Sun), where they orbit the Sun along with the Earth. The satellites act as an early warning system as the charged particles from a solar storm first impact the satellites before hitting the earth. GRAPES-3 has an important role in understanding the propagation of storms from the L1 point (Lagrange point 1) to its impact on the Earth. The upgraded detector will have an increased coverage and improved capacity to determine the direction of incident cosmic rays. It will play a major role in getting precise information about the propagation of storms in the last million miles (from the L-1 point) of their journey from the Sun to the earth.
10.   The Supreme Court of the United States limited the power of President to fill vacant Govt Posts temporarily  while nominations are tied up in partisans political fights.
11.   The Supreme Court warned the Sahara Group that its Aamby Valley property in Pune  worth Rs 39000Crore will be auctioned if the company fails to deposit Rs 5092 Crore  with SEBI by 17th April 2017
12.   Upendra Tripathy was appointed as  Full Time Interim Director General of International Solar alliance ( ISA)
13.   World Down Syndrome day was celebrated on 21st March 2017 with the Theme “ My Voice My Community “.
14.   International Day of forests is celebrated on 21st March with the Theme “ Forests and Energy”.
15.   Pramod Sawant was appointed as the Speaker of Goa Assembly.
16.   Assam’s Majuli Island is going to become India’s first carbon neutral  district and bio diversity heritage site.
17.   Ravindra Jadeja  was recently ranked no: 1 in the ICC  Test Bowling rankings.
18.   Ghanshyam Singh was recently appointed as the new member of Traction railway Board
19.   Madhabi  Puri Buch , first woman from Private sector to be appointed as the full time member of SEBI

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