Prepared by D.Sarala, Viluppuram
1. The United Nations Human Rights Council has granted a two year extension to Sri Lanka to probe into the alleged war crimes committed during civil war.
2. Terror attack happened in United Kingdom recently outside the Parliament
3. Assam Government has signed MoU with State Bank of India (SBI) to provide Housing and Educational Loan at subsidised interest rates to the employees of the state government. As per the MoU, state government will provide interest subsidy at the rate of 3.50% for housing loan and education loan at 4%. It will benefit state government employees in terms of interest rates and reduced EMI. It also has provisions for collateral free loan, Zero Margin, Zero Processing Fee with longer repayment tenure.
4. Bihar government has launched an ambitious programme to provide free WiFi facilities in colleges and universities on the occasion of Bihar Diwas. The program aims to provide free Wi-Fi facility to help youths to move ahead in life and to become digital smart. The foundation day of Bihar (also known as Bihar Diwas) is celebrated every year on March 22. On this day in 1912, then British India Government had carved out the state from Bengal Presidency in 1912.
5. India’s first vertical garden was set up at the Hosur Road Electronics City Flyover in Bengaluru, Karnataka. The garden is an initiative of SayTrees, NGO determined to protect nature. The vertical garden will help to control the pollution level of the city and also act as a sound proofing barrier. It covers pillar of the flyover by flaunting lovely organic and refreshing saplings. It also has an automatic drip irrigation system allowing the plants to get water on a daily basis.
6. The third edition of International Conference on “Alternate Fuels and Raw Materials in Cement Industry -Towards Realising Swachh Bharat Dream” was held in New Delhi. It was organized by the Cement Manufacturer’s Association India (CMA). The 2-day conference aimed to facilitate technical, financial and regulatory solutions for increasing alternate fuels and raw materials usage in the cement industry.
7. The 23rd edition of Conference of Auditors General of Commonwealth Countries and British Overseas Territories was held in New Delhi, India. The theme of the conference was “Fostering Partnerships for Capacity Development in Public Audit”. The conference was attended by 52 commonwealth countries and 9 British overseas territories.This was the first time India had hosted this prestigious conference i.e. by Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG). The last edition of such conference was held in Malta in 2014.
8. The 5th edition of ‘Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav (RSM) – 2017’ was held in Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. It was organized by the Union Ministry of Culture to preserve, promote and popularize the heritage and cultural diversity of Indian culture and reconnect the new generation with Indian culture. Later it was extend to other North Eastern states including, Dimapur (Nagaland), Majuli (Assam), Aizawl (Mizoram), Imphal (Manipur), Gangtok (Sikkim), Shillong (Meghalaya).
9. Prominent Tamil writer Ashokamitran, passed away. He was 86. He was known for powerfully portraying the lives and struggles of the urban middle-class life in his literary works.He was born as Tyagarajan, but later assumed the pen name, Ashokamitran. In a career spanning over six decades, he had written 8 novels, 20 novellas, hundreds of short stories, commentaries on a wide range of issues, and profiles of personalities. He was awarded Sahitya Akademi Award in 1996 for his work Appavin Snegidhar, a collection of short stories.
10. Senior executive editor of NDTV India Ravish Kumar was awarded inaugural Kuldip Nayar journalism award at in recognition of his outstanding contribution in the world of Journalism. The award was set up to honour those working in vernacular media. It will be awarded every year from now on and carries a plaque along with a cash amount of Rs 1 lakh.
11. Airtel has acquired 4G business of Tikona Networks including the Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) business for Rs 1600 crore. With this acquisition, Airtel will be second company after Reliance Jio to have pan-India presence in 2300 Mhz band. The 2300 Mhz band has second largest ecosystem of 4G devices. Currently, Tikona has 20 MHz spectrum in the 2300 MHz band in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh (West), Uttar Pradesh (East), Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh circles.
12. India’s largest private sector lender ICICI Bank has launched the Mera iMobile app, India’s first one stop banking app for a range of digital services for rural customers. The multi-lingual app allows electronic transfer of funds through multiple payment mechanisms. It also provides weather updates, up to date prices of vegetables in mandis. It helps customers to manage bank accounts, track cards and loans, manage fund transfers, make payments for utility services, and find out information relevant to farmers.
13. Indian Navy successfully conducted maiden test of short range surface-to-air Barak missile from country’s sole aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya. The test was conducted in the Arabian Sea in which missile was fired against a live, low-flying, high-speed target. The missile successfully engaged and destroyed the target, validating operational readiness inspection of the Western Fleet of the Indian Navy. INS Vikramaditya is the country’s sole aircraft carrier (after retirement of INS Viraat in March 2017). It was built in 1987 and had served the Soviet navy (named as Baku). It was later renamed Admiral Gorshkov under the Russian navy. The Indian navy purchased the vessel in 2004 and commissioned it in November 2013 at Severodvinsk in Russia. The Kiev-class vessel weighs 44,500 tonne. Its overall length is 284 meters and has maximum beam of about 60 meters It can carry over 30 aircraft comprising MiG-29Ks, Kamov-28s, Kamov-31s, ALH-Dhruv and Chetak helicopters. It was retrofitted with a Barak missile system under joint development with Israel.
14. Government has notified that Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), a statutory advisory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF) will now be permanently chaired by a senior MoEF official. Recently, new Board of 18 members, chaired by Sharad Singh Negi, Special Secretary and Director-General (Forests), MoEF came into effect for three years term.
15. The Law Commission of India (LCI) in its 267th Report has laid out that bare the danger of hate speech to the Union Government and called for action from the government and Parliament. It held that hate speech has the potential to provoke individuals and society to commit acts of genocides, terrorism and ethnic cleansing. The Supreme Court of India in 2014 had referred to the Law Commission for means to arm the Election Commission to crack down on hate speech. The commission also has drafted a new law The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2017 by inserting new Sections to fortify democracy against hate speeches. The law defined hate speech as any word written or spoken, signs, visible representations within the hearing or sight of a person with the intention to cause fear or alarm, or incitement to violence. Its Section 153C penalises incitement to hatred and Section 505A for the first time makes ‘causing fear, alarm, or provocation of violence in certain cases’ a specific criminal offence. Section 153C calls for punishing guilty person with two years’ imprisonment or Rs. 5,000 in fine or both. Section 505A provides a punishment of one year imprisonment or Rs. 5,000 in fine or both.