Prepared by D.Sarala, Viluppuram
1. India and Pakistan have agreed on redesigning the Miyar Hydroelectric project at the end of two-day talks of Indus Water Commissioners held in Islamabad, capital of Pakistan. The Pakistani delegation was headed by Mirza Asif Saeed while P.K. Saxena led the Indian team. Both countries also agreed that the Lower Kalnai and the Pakal Dul projects would be inspected again.
2. The Union Home Ministry has issued an advisory to all states and UTs, ministries and departments of Central government to ensure strict compliance of provisions contained in the Flag Code of India, 2002 and The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.
3. The Bakshi Stadium in Jammu and Kashmir is all set to be developed into a world class facility as per FIFA norms.
4. The Taliban has captured the crucial city of Sangin in southern Afghanistan after a year-long battle. The fall of Sangin came amid the insurgents’ year-long push to expand their footprint in the Taliban heartland of Helmand province. It signals growing strength of Taliban in Afghanistan.
5. Singapore and Vietnam have ramped up their business ties, signing off agreements on a string of new collaborations in banking, power generation and infrastructure. These agreements were signed on the third day of an official visit by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
6. US President Donald Trump signed a bill known as the NASA Transition Authorization Act, authorising $19.5 billion funding for the NASA programmes and setting a new goal to send humans to Mars. It gives the US space agency the funding for fiscal year 2018 and opens a new vista to human exploration of the space. It also asks the agency to create a plan to send a crewed mission to Mars in the 2030s. The bill will make sure that NASA’s most important and effective programmes are sustained.
7. National Helicopter Operator Pawan Hans is going to launch “Delhi Darshan Rides “service from 1st April 2017.
8. Indian-American legal luminary Amul Thapar (47) was nominated by US President Donald Trump to a key judicial position on the Court of Appeals. If confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Thapar will be part of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. He will be second Indian American on a circuit court of appeal, joining Sri Srinivasan. Currently he is district judge in the US state of Kentucky, as a judge on court of appeals for the sixth circuit, a high court.
9. 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).
10. Indian shooter Ankur Mittal won Gold medal in the Men’s Double Trap event at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World24 Cup held in Acapulco, Mexico
11. 2017 Abel Prize was awarded to Yves Meyer for his pivotal role in the development of mathematical theory of wavelets. This is a Norwegian prize awarded annually by the Government of Norway to one or more outstanding mathematicians.
12. The World Tuberculosis Day (WTD) is observed every year on March 24 to raise public awareness about the global epidemic of Tuberculosis (TB) and efforts to eliminate the disease. WTD is observed to commemorate discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, bacillus (bacteria) causing TB on 24th March, 1882 by German microbiologist Dr Robert Koch. 2017 Theme (Campaign): “Unite to End TB”. This year it is second year of a two year “United to End TB” Campaign. WHO has placed special focus on uniting efforts to “Leave no one behind” including actions to address stigma, discrimination, marginalization and overcome barriers to access care.
13. The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes ( NCST) has approved the proposal for five additional seats for tribes in Sikkim Assembly
14. Researchers including Indian origin from University of Glasgow have developed new prototype prosthetic limbs having solar-powered skin. The solar-powered skin will give amputees with prosthetic limbs a better sense capabilities of touch, temperature and texture compared to battery powered prosthetics. The new technology involves installing a thin layer of pure carbon around a prosthetic arm, hand or leg. This allows light to pass through it and be easily used as solar energy.
15. “Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana”, a ‘Scheme for providing Physical Aids and Assisted-living Devices for Senior citizens belonging to BPL category’ will be launched in District Nellore, Andhra Pradesh on 1st April, 2017.
16. India ranked 87th among the surveyed 127 countries on a Global Energy Architecture Performance Index (EAPI) released as part of report of Geneva- based World Economic Forum (WEF). EAPI is a composite index developed by WEF in collaboration with Accenture Strategy. It focuses on tracking specific indicators to measure the energy system performance of the countries. It has 18 indicators defined across the three sides of the ‘energy triangle’- economic growth and development, energy access and security and environmental sustainability. Top 5 Countries: Switzerland (1), Norway (2), Sweden (3), Denmark (4) and France (5). India related Facts: India is gradually improving its performance on the index, but faces an uphill battle to increase energy access and security (95th) indicators. A large percentage of the population of India still lacks access to electricity (101st) and uses solid fuels for cooking (108th) indicators. India’s commitment to increase solar power capacity to 100 gigawatts (GW) by 2022, will make it a leader in renewable capacity. India, just like China, boasts strong score on indicator for diversification of import counterparts (5th), but its energy system continues to face some significant challenges, particularly on environmental sustainability (109th) indicator. India has some of the lowest scores in CO2 emissions from electricity (117th) production and PM2.5 levels (123rd) indicators.
17. Raghu rai , the veteran photographer was recently conferred with Life time achievement award at the 6th National Photography Awards.
18. According to US and European scientists, the extent of sea ice at both poles has hit new record lows for this time of the year. The disappearing sea ice comes as the Earth marks three consecutive years of record-breaking heat and temperature rise, raising fresh concerns about the accelerating pace of global warming. Antartic region: The ice in the Antarctic also follows a seasonal cycle but its maximum comes in September and its minimum around February (summer in Southern Hemisphere). For the past two years, Antarctica saw record high sea ice extents and decades of moderate sea ice growth. Artic region: The ice floating in the Arctic Ocean grows and shrinks on a seasonal cycle every year, reaching its largest size in March and smallest at the end of the summer melt in September. The Arctic sea ice maximum has dropped by an average of 2.8% per decade since 1979. There was a lot of open ocean water and very slow ice growth because the water had a lot of accumulated.
19. The Parliament has passed The Employees Compensation (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The Bill amends the Employee’s Compensation Act, 1923. It ensures compensation up to Rs 1 lakh to employee if an injured in an industrial accident and imposes hefty penalty in case of any violation by the employers.
20. The Lok Sabha has approved amendments to The Finance Bill, 2017 proposed by the Union Government to wind up eight tribunals .These eight tribunals currently exclusively deal with disputes pertaining to employees’ provident fund (EPF), Competition law, Airports economic regulation, IT law, National highways, railways, copyrights and Forex. The amendments in the Finance Bill of 2017 also has proposed changes in the norms for tribunals, appellate tribunals and other boards associated with the administration of 17 central laws.
21. The Union Water Resources Ministry has drafted new dam safety bill to contemplate an institutional mechanism to improve safety of around 5300-odd dams across in India. The failure of these dams due to lack of safety could cause massive disaster such as the 1979 Machchu dam failure in Morbi, Gujarat, in which estimated 25,000 people were killed. Recent analysis of the state of India’s dams also has found that half of them did not meet contemporary safety standards. So there is need of much stricter safety criteria.
22. A tiny Shrimp like fossil which is found to be around 430 million years old is named after the naturalist David Attenborough.
23. The Union Finance Ministry has notified third Protocol amending India-Singapore Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA). The agreement came into force in February 2017and was signed in December 2016. The Third Protocol amends the DTAA between both countries to provide for source-based taxation of capital gains arising on sale of shares in a company. It also provides certainty to investors, investments in shares made before April 1, 2017 subject to fulfilment of conditions in Limitation of Benefits clause as per 2005 Protocol. Further, it also provides a two-year transition period from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2019 during which capital gains on shares will be taxed in source country at half the normal tax rate.24. The Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Radhan Mohan Singh ,launched a Coffee Table Book titled “ 50 years – The Great Indian Milk revolution “