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Daily Current Affairs for 21st March 2017 ( English )

1.     The Union Finance Ministry has decided to merge the Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) with the State Bank of India (SBI). This merger seeks to ensure greater banking services outreach to a larger number of women, at a faster pace. SBI group already has 126 exclusive all-women branches across the country while BMB has only seven.

2.     The Assam state cabinet has decided to implement the recommendation of the Seventh Pay Commission. The implementation will make state exchequer bear an additional burden of over Rs. 3000 in the next financial year and the proposed pay structure would come into effect from 1 April 2016.  The commission was constituted for over 4 lakhs employees. The Cabinet also decided to set a directorate of the Information Technology Department in Assam.

3.     The four-month-long economic blockade in Manipur was lifted after successful tripartite talks involving the United Naga Council (UNC), representatives of the Central and the Manipur governments. 

4.     The North Korean military has tested a new high-performance rocket engine, giving new birth to isolated country’s rocket industry. The new engine will help North Korea to achieve world-class satellite launch capability.

5.     Five Indians were named in 2017 World Economic Forum’s 100 Young Global Leaders list. They are Vijay Shekhar Sharma (Paytm Founder and CEO), Shruti Shibulal (The Tamara Hospitality), Ambarish Mitra (Founder and CEO Blippar), Hindol Sengupta (Editor-at large Fortune India) and Rwitwika Bhattacharya-Agarwal (Founder and CEO Swaniti Initiative).

6.     Essar’s Nand Niketan at Hazira (in Surat district, Gujarat) became India’s first private sector township to go cashless, using the mobile wallet for performing digital transactions.

7.     The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has given its approval to demerger of Reliance Communications (RCom) wireless division into Aircel Ltd. and Dishnet Wireless Ltd. The combined entity will have assets worth Rs. 65,000 crore.  The merger already has received approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) as well as from the stock exchanges BSE and NSE. It will also reduce RCom’s debt by Rs 20,000 crore while Aircel’s debt would go down by Rs 4,000 crore closing in 2017.

8.     Rock and roll legend Chuck Berry passed away. He had received a lifetime achievement Grammy in 1984. He was among the first inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.

9.     Senior BJP legislator V. Hangkhalian was sworn-in as Protem Speaker of the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly. He was administered oath of office by State Governor Najma Heptulla at the Raj Bhawan. 

10.  Canadian teacher Maggie MacDonnell who teaches at a school in a fly-in only village of Salluit in the Arctic region has won a $1-million Global Teacher Prize. She was bestowed with this award for changing the lives of her students and transforming her communityGlobal Teacher Prize is Nobel-style award, set up in 2014 by the Dubai-based Varkey Foundation. The prize is paid in instalments and requires the winner to remain a teacher for at least five years.

11.  Roger Federer won ATP Indian Wells Masters title by defeating Stan Wawrinka. It was his record-equalling fifth title at Indian Wells. With this win, Federer joined Novak Djokovic as the only man to win five Indian Wells titles. Earlier, he had won this title consecutively three times between 2004 and 2006 and in 2012.

12.  Pakistan Blind Cricket Council (PBCC) has appointed former all-rounder Shahid Afridi (37) as the ambassador for the fifth edition of the Blind Cricket World Cup. The PBCC is going to host fifth edition of the tournament which will be played in ODI format in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Pakistan in January 2018. Nine members of World Blind Cricket Ltd will participate in the tournament and four of them have agreed to play in Pakistan.

13.  China is going to participate in the five-day Brahmaputra river festival titled Namami Brahmaputra organized by  Assam Government. The event is described as the “biggest river festival of India. Various other countries such as Vietnam and Singapore are also attending. The Brahmaputra is 2,900 km long international river originating in southwestern Tibet, China. Of its total length, 918 km flows in India, 1625 km in China and 337 km in Bangladesh.

14.  India ranked at 122 out of 155 countries in the World Happiness Report 2017 published by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network on the eve of International Day of Happiness (20 March). The rankings are based factors such as  inequality, life expectancy, GDP per capita, public trust (i.e. a lack of corruption in government and business), and social support. Together they are used to generate a happiness score of country on a scale from 1 to 10.This year it is fifth such report since the first was published in 2012.10 Happiest Countries: Norway (1), Denmark (2), Iceland (3), Switzerland (4), Finland (5), Netherlands (6), Canada (7), New Zealand (8), Australia (9) and Sweden (10). 5 Saddest Countries: Rwanda (151), Syria (152), Tanzania (153), Burundi (154) and Central African Republic (155). India was placed behind the majority of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations, apart from war-ravaged Afghanistan (141). In the previous edition of the report, India ranked 118. Eight SAARC nations: Pakistan (80), Nepal (99), Bhutan (97), Bangladesh (110) and Sri Lanka (120). Maldives did not figure in the report. BRICS Countries: Brazil (17), Russia (56), China (79), South Africa (116) and India (122).

15.  The Uttarakhand High Court has recognized the Ganga and Yamuna Rivers as so-called living entities. It is for the first time any court in India has recognized a non-human as a living entity. The two rivers are sacred for the Hindus, sustain millions of people in the country but have seen years of damage at the hands of humans. Earlier in March 2017, New Zealand Parliament passed a bill declaring 145km long Whanganui River as ‘legal person’, making it first river to get this status. Ecuador was first country to recognize Rights of Nature in its Constitution adopted in September 2008. The new Ecuadorian Constitution includes a Chapter: Rights for Nature.

16.  The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the four Goods and Services Tax (GST) related bills. The passage of these four GST related bills will pave the way for the biggest reform in the area of Indirect Taxes in the history of the country. These four bills are i) The Central Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017 (CGST Bill), ii)The Integrated Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017 (IGST Bill), iii)The Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017 (UTGST Bill), iv)The Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to the States) Bill 2017 (The Compensation Bill)

17.  The Union Government will soon launch country’s first-of-its-kind Indian Sign Language (ISL) dictionary which aims to bring uniformity in sign languages used by hearing and speech impaired people. It is being developed in both print and video format by the Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC).  It will give an uniform language to 50 lakh hearing and 20 lakh speech impaired people in the country.

18.  Kishore Piraji Kharat was appointed as the CEO and Managing director of Indian Bank.

19.  Mahesh Kumar Jain was appointed as the CEO and Managing Director of IDBI Bank

20.  The World Poetry Day was celebrated on 21stMarch 2017

21.  Bill Gates has  topped the Forbes World Billionaires list 2017, This is 4th time for him to be in the Top most ranking. He is the richest men in the world for 18 out of past 23 years  Warren Buffet ( 2nd), Jeff Bezos ( 3rd) , Mukesh Ambani stands at 33rd position.

22.  App launched by Amitabh Bachchan “ ABC of Breast Health “ on breast health.

23.  Soumiya Swaminathan ( Indian Personality ) was  selected to the newly formed United Nation’s group on antimicrobial resistance.

24.  The 18th edition of FICCI frames  convention which is Asia’s largest on the business of media and entertainment which began on 21st March 2017 in Mumbai.

25.  Tamil Nadu won “Vijay Hazare Trophy “ Cricket 2017 for recording  fifth time.Tamil Nadu has won the trophy in 2002–03, 2004-05, 2008–09 and 2009–10 seasons. In the final match played at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium (New Delhi) they defeated Bengal by 37 runs. It was Tamil Nadu’s third victory over Bengal in the final of this competition. Karthik was named man of the match.

26.  UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres is proposing to shut down the peace keeping mission in Haiti by October 2017

              27. All branches of State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur ( SBBJ), State Bank of Hyderabad( SBH), State Bank of Mysore ( SBM), State Bank of Patiala ( SBP) and State Bank of Travancore ( SBT)  will function as State Bank of India from 1st April 2017.
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