Current Affairs Today – March 18 2017
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Labour Ministry Proposes Labour Code to Provide Social Security Cover to All Workers
i. The Union Ministry of Labour & Employment has proposed a preliminary draft of Labour Code on March 16, 2017 to provide social security cover to the entire workforce in the country including self-employed and agricultural workers.
ii. The Code on Social Security & Welfare 2017 seeks to simplify, rationalize, consolidate, and amend the laws relating to social security of workforce so as to make them less complex for easier comprehension, implementation and enforcement.
iii. Preliminary draft of the Code on Social Security & Welfare has been prepared by amalgamating all existing Labour Laws related to Social Security (total 15 Labour Laws including EPF Act, ESI Act, Maternity Benefit Act, Payment of Gratuity Act, Employees Compensation Act, Unorganised Social Security Act, and various Welfare Cess /Fund Acts).
iv. This is for the first time that the ministry has formulated a code to cover agricultural workers along with self-employed people and target to provide social security benefits to 45 crore workers.
First-Ever Haryana Sahitya Sangam Began in Panchkula
i. The first edition of the Haryana Sahitya Sangam began on March 17, 2017 at Indradhanush Auditorium, Panchkula in Haryana.
ii. The three day event was inaugurated by the Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and has been organized as a part of the Haryana Swarna Jayanti celebrations.
iii. The aim of the festival is to highlight the contribution of Haryana in the field of literature and culture and to provide a platform for young and budding writers to get genuine and wide range of guidance.
iv. Governor of Haryana Prof. Kaptan Singh Solanki will attend the closing ceremony of Haryana Sahitya Sangam on 19th March 2017.
About the Sahitya Sangam
♦ The 3 day-long event will feature plays, Books Exhibition and cultural programmes.
♦ More than 2000 artists including scholars, writers, and thinkers belonging to Hindi, Sanskrit, Urdu, Punjabi and other languages are participating in Haryana Sahitya Sangam.
♦ A picture exhibition on “Yugo Yugo se Haryana” will be organized in the Sahitya Sangam.
♦ Besides, plays like “Kabir” by Shekhar Jain and “Chanakya” by Manoj Joshi will be a major attraction of Sahitya Sangam at Panchkula.
♦ The festival is being organised jointly by seven Haryana academies including Haryana Sahitya Academy, Haryana Sanskrit Academy, Haryana Punjabi Academy, Haryana Urdu Academy, Haryana Granth Academy, Haryana Kala Parishad and Haryana Itihaas Avam Sankriti Academy.
Sports Minister Vijay Goel Addresses Global Millennium Summit at Dubai
i. The Minister of State (I/C) for Youth Affairs and Sports Shri Vijay Goel was invited as the Chief Guest at the two-day Global Millennium Summit in Dubai on March 18, 2017.
ii. The Summit has been organized by the Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC), University of Delhi in association with the Office of International Programmes, SRCC and IIM-Ahmedabad.
iii. While addressing the gathering, Vijay Goel who himself is an alumni of the SRCC college, praised the role and dynamism of today’s youth and said that today’s youth are full of spark and they have written their fate themselves.
iv. He said that a National Youth Policy has been launched in 2014 replacing the previous National Youth Policy, 2003 for the youth of India.
v. The new policy empowers youth of the country to achieve their full potential, and through them enable India to find its rightful place in the community of nations.
vi. He also highlighted the strong bond of friendship between India and UAE and said that Dubai is fast emerging as the hub of business, trade and innovation and the pivot of the different cultures of the world.
About the Global Millennium Summit
♦ The Global Millennium Summit is a first-of-its-kind initiative where an Indian institute has organized an International Summit. The theme of the summit is ‘Future of this Millennium’.
♦ The Summit aims to provide the youth across the world with a platform to discuss, act and interact.
♦ The Summit will consist of panel discussions, workshops, competitions and keynote speaker sessions revolving around the theme
♦ Students from the world’s leading universities and notable leaders from the fields of governance, business, technology and academia are participating in the Summit.
BANKING & FINANCE
29 Lakh Debit Cards Subjected To Malware Attack Through ATM
i. As per a data presented by Minister of State for Finance Santosh Kumar Gangwar in the Parliament on March 17, 2017, in 2016 a total of 29 lakh debit cards were subjected to malware attack through ATMs that were connected with the switch of Hitachi.
ii. A report by Commercial bank stated that 2.9 million cards that were used at ATMs connected to switch of Hitachi were subjected to malware attack in 2016 but the data of only 3,291 cards faced unauthorized use.
iii. RBI also informed that Hitachi Payment Services (HPS) appointed SISA Infosec for PCI forensic investigation. The final report suggested that the ATM infrastructure of HPS was breached and the data between May 21 and July 11, 2016 were compromised but not the POS (point of sale) infrastructure.
iv. The RBI has advised banks to improve and maintain customer awareness and education with regard to cyber security risks.
v .RBI has also set up a Cyber Security and IT Examination (CSITE) Cell within its Department of Banking Supervision in 2015.
RBI Gets Centre’s Nod to Print Rs 10 Plastic Notes
i. The Reserve Bank of India has got the approval from the Central Government to conduct the field trial of plastic banknotes of Rs. 10 denomination prior to introducing it as legal tender.
ii. RBI got the approval to go ahead with the procurement of the requisite plastic substrate material for printing of Rs. 10 denomination notes. Substrate refers to the underlying substance or layer on which currency is printed.
iii. This information was shared by Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal in the Lok Sabha on March 17, 2017.
iv. The field trial will take place across five cities having diverse geographical and climatic conditions. These cities include Kochi, Mysore, Jaipur, Shimla and Bhubaneswar.
♦ Plastic notes are expected to last longer than cotton substrate based banknotes.
♦ Plastic notes are difficult to imitate and have an average life span. Plastic currency notes are cleaner than paper ones.
♦ Such notes were first introduced in Australia to safeguard against counterfeiting.
UBI gets Rs. 418-cr capital infusion From Centre
i. State run United Bank of India on March 16, 2017 received a capital infusion of Rs 418 crore from the Centre as a part of its turnaround-linked capital infusion plan.
ii. The bank said that the proposal for allotment of equity shares of face value of Rs 10 each at a premium to the Central Government through preferential allotment will be placed before the board of directors at a meeting scheduled on March 27.
United Bank of India
♦ Headquarters: Kolkata
♦ CEO: P. Srinivas
♦ Founded: 1950, India
Aeries Financial Tech Announces Strategic Tie-up with Rubique
i. CASHe, a fin-tech product promoted by Aeries Financial Technologies has entered into a strategic partnership with Rubique, an online marketplace for financial products on March 16, 2017.
ii. Under the partnership, Rubique will enlist CASHe on its online platform for borrowers to avail viable short-term loan products from CASHe.
iii. CASHe disburses multiple loan products ranging from Rs 5,000-1 lakh payable over 15, 30 and 90 days.
♦ CASHe is an Indian loan giving app promoted by fin-tech company Aeries Financial Technologies, for young salaried professionals. Within a period of less than a year of its operations, the app now disburses loans over Rs 1 crore per day.
♦ CASHe is India’s most preferred fintech company in the personal lending space, with an average loan processingcrossing 500 loan applications per day.
India & Russia Ink Long-Term Support Contract On Sukhoi Su-30MKI
i. India and Russia have inked two pacts for long-term maintenance support for Sukhoi-30MKI jets on March 17, 2017 during the India-Russia Military Industrial Conference in New Delhi.
ii. The agreement was signed by UAC President Yuri Slyusar, UEC Director General Alexander Artyukhov and HAL Chairman Suvarna Raju in presence of Finance-Cum-Defence Minister Arun Jaitley and Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov.
iii .The objective of having long-term supply agreements is to increase the efficiency of aircraft maintenance support and to ensure licensed production and strengthen the operational availability of the Sukhois.
iv. The agreement involves long-term supply of spares and rendering technical assistance for five years for Su-30 MKI aircraft at an expected cost of $300 million.
v. The agreement will include the after-sales service of 200 Su-30MKI which may be extended to the full contracted 272.
♦ The Sukhoi Su-30MKI super-maneuverable fighter jet is the latest version of the Su-30MK designed and developed by Russia’s Irkut Corporation.
♦ Indian Air Force has so far inducted 240 Sukhoi-30MKIs of the 272 contracted from Russia at a cost of over $12 billion. The licensed production of the aircraft takes place at HAL’s facility in Nashik, Maharashtra.
♦ Capital: Moscow
♦ Currency: Russian ruble
♦ President: Vladimir Putin
♦ Prime minister: Dmitry Medvedev
Boeing Signs $3.4 bn deal with US govt for AH-64E Apache helicopters
i. Boeing Co and the U.S. government have signed a $3.4 billion contract on March 16, 2017 under which the US Army and an international customer outside US will acquire the latest Apache attack helicopter, the Apache ‘E’ variant.
ii. The contract to acquire AH-64E Apache will span over a period of five years.
iii. Under the agreement, the US Army will get 244 re-manufactured Apaches while the international customer will receive 24 new ones.
iv .This is the first multi-year agreement for the Apache “E” variant. Boeing did not name the international customer.
♦ The Boeing Company is an American multinational corporation that designs, manufactures, and sells airplanes, rotorcraft, rockets, and satellites worldwide. The company also provides leasing and product support services.
♦ Founded: July 15, 1916
♦ Headquarters: Chicago, Illinois, United States
♦ CEO: Dennis Muilenburg
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
11 Indian Women Awarded with ‘Women Icons’ Award in Singapore
Eleven Indian women were honored with the ‘Women Icons’ Award among 25 Asian Women on March 17, 2017 in Singapore for dedicating their lives to social work.
♦ The award was organised by Business Excellence & Research Group Pte Ltd and supported by Nanyang Technological University of Singapore.
i. Among the award winners was Vandana Sharma who served for a decade in the Indian Armed Forces and also ventured into the corporate world. She currently mentors a lot of young start-up founders on building effective organisations.
ii. Besides, another winner, Revathi Siddharthe Roy holds several ‘Women Empowerment’ campaign. Though she is has Masters in Economics degree but drove taxi for 10 months in Mumbai to support her family after her husband died in 2007.
iii. Roy now runs a training school named Zaffiro Learning for women to learn to ride two-wheelers and serve as “last mile” delivery person for e-commerce companies.
iv .Joining in the awards was Dr Srimathy Kesan, who motivates children into Aerospace and Aeronautics subjects at her Chennai-based company, Space Kidz India. Her students have built and shipped to NASA a cube satellite which will be launched on a US rocket.
v. Other winners were: Dr Aparna Hegde of ARMMAN, Deepshikha Kumar of SpeakIn, Kanika Gupta Shori of Square Global, Minal D’Rozario of Ideosphere, Mini Dwivedi Gopinathan of PlayStreet Specially Abled Educare Trust, Saloni Mardia Kothari of Mtlexs Online, Sonia Kulkarni of Ketchum Sampark PR, and Swati Nathani of Team Pumpkin.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Trivendra Singh Rawat Sworn in as New Chief Minister of Uttarakhand
i. Former Uttarakhand BJP chief Trivendra Singh Rawat was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of the state on March 18, 2017 at the Parade Grounds in state capital Dehradun.Uttarakhand Governor K K Paul administered the oath of office and secrecy to 56-year-old Rawat and nine ministers at a ceremony.
ii. The other members who took oath includes Satpal Maharaj, Harak Singh Rawat, Madan Kaushik, Arvind Pandey, Subodh Uniyal, Yashpal Arya and Prakash Pant who have been made Cabinet ministers
iii. Besides, Rekha Arya and Dhan Singh Rawat took oath as ministers of state.
iv. Rawat is the 8th Chief Minister of Uttarakhand and 5th BJP Chief Minister of the state.
Former Gujarat BJP MLA Manhar Valji Bhai Zala Appointed Head of Safai Karamcharis Commission
i. Manhar Valji Bhai Zala was appointed as the new Chairperson of the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK) with effect from March 16, 2017 which was headless since past one year.
ii. Besides, Manju Diler from Uttar Pradesh and Dilip Kallu Haathived from Maharashtra have been appointed as the members of the NCSK.
iii. The NCSK did not had a member after the retirement of the chairperson and other members on March 31, 2016.
About National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK)
i. The NCSK is an Indian statutory body established in 1994 to promote and safeguard the interests and rights of safai karamcharis.
ii. The government had extended the tenure of the Commission for another three years from April 1, 2016
About Manhar Valji Bhai Zala
♦ Zala is a former MLA from Jamnagar who has been associated with the BJP since 1991. He was the mayor of Jamnagar from 2005 to 2008.
♦ He also served as the Gujarat vice-president of Anu Suchit Jati Morcha from 1999 to 2004 and was the Director of Safai Kamdar Vikas Nigam in Gandhinagar in 2014.
ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS
Parliamentary Panel Suggests Merging BSNL & MTNL
i. A Parliamentary panel on March 16, 2017 suggested merging state-run telecom firms BSNL and MTNL for their long-term survival and success.
ii. The decision regarding the merger was taken by the Committee on Petitions chaired by BJP MP Bhagat Singh Koshyari in Lok Sabha.
iii. The panel said that the merger would give both the entities a chance for competing against private sector players.
iv .The committee was formed to take necessary steps for the improvement in services provided by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL).
v. The Department of Telecom (DoT) informed the panel that both the public sector firms are in financial losses and are facing declining revenues from loss of market share and increasing expenditure.
♦ Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) CEO: Shri Anupam Shrivastava
♦ Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) CEO: Pravin Kumar Purwar
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Arunachal Teen Develops Goggles to Help Visually Impaired
i. Anang Tadar, a Class XI student of New Galaxy Academy, Nirjuli, Arunachal Pradesh has invented a unique pair of goggles that uses ultrasound and infrared sensors to help the visually impaired detect obstacles on their path.
ii .Tadar was awarded the Dinanath Pandey Smart Idea Innovation Award for inventing the gadget named Goggle for Blind (G4B).
iii. Impressed by his innovation and keen to launch it in the market, the National Innovation Foundation, set up by the Department of Science and Technology, has asked Anang to create a few prototypes for the visually impaired to test.
iv. The Arunachal Pradesh government has assured all financial support to Tadar so that he can continue with his innovation to make it easier to handle and is able to produce it on a large scale.
About the G4B Goggle
♦ The technology used to make the gadget is similar to what is used in parking sensors used in cars.
♦ There are two ultrasound sensors on the left and right of the goggles to detect obstacles while there is an infrared sensor in the middle of the gadget to detect obstacles in case both the ultrasound sensors fail.
♦ The goggles could be used by visually impaired to detect any obstacles on all sides within a distance of two metres without using a stick.
♦ When an obstacle is detected, a beep sound is heard through the audio output along with vibration to alert the person. With the intensity of the beep and vibration the person could know how far and near the obstacle is.
ICRISAT & ICAR Collaborates For Crop Improvement
i. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) have signed an agreement on March 16, 2017 in New Delhi to work together for crop improvement and agronomy programmes for grain legumes and dryland cereals.
ii .The aim of the agreement is to strengthen their partnership to benefit the Indian as well as the global farmers.
iii. The core area of research in the agreement includes climate smart crops, smart food and digitalisation of breeding database. Dryland cereals and grain legumes are branded as smart foods
iv .Other areas of focus over the next three years include: Integrating systems modelling tools enabling informed decisions for upscaling climate resilient agriculture, developing genetic and genomic resources of finger millet and enhancing genetic gains for priority traits.
v. On the crop improvement front, the agreement will also facilitate research activities on transgenic pigeonpea and chickpea for insect resistance.
Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)
♦ The Indian Council of Agricultural Research is an autonomous body responsible for co-ordinating agricultural education and research in India. It reports to the Department of Agricultural Research and Education, Ministry of Agriculture.
♦ Founded: 16 July 1929
♦ President: Radha Mohan Singh
Former Car Racer Ashwin Sundar Died in Car Accident
i. National car racer Ashwin Sundar and his wife Niveditha were burnt to death early morning on March 18, 2017 in an accident that took place at the Pattinapakkam area, on the Santhome High Road in Tamil Nadu.
ii. As per the Chennai Police, Sundar and Niveditha who lived in Alapakkam near Porur were returning home after meeting a friend and died on the spot after their BMW hit a tree and burst into flames around 3:30 a.m.
iii. The bodies have been sent to the nearby hospital for post-mortem. Further details are awaited.
iv .Ashwin, 27, was the national champion in LGB Formula 4 category in 2012 and 2013. He had also won the MRF Formula 1600 International Challenge competition on two occasions.
v. His wife Nivedha, 26, was a doctor at a private hospital.
Nobel laureate poet and playwright Derek Walcott Passes at 87
i. Nobel laureate poet and playwright Derek Walcott died on March 17, 2017 at his home on the Caribbean island of St Lucia after a long illness. He was 87.
ii. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992 and the TS Eliot Prize for Poetry in 2011.
iii. Among his best known collections are, In A Green Night: Poems 1948 – 1960 and the epic Omeros, inspired by Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey.
iv .In his later life, Walcott acted as Professor of Poetry at the University of Essex from 2010 to 2013.
US State Kansas declares March 16 as ‘Indian American Appreciation Day’
i. The US state of Kansas has declared to observe March 16 as “Indian American Appreciation Day” to honour Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla who was killed in an apparent hate crime on February 22, 2017.
ii. Srinivas Kuchibhotla (32) was killed when 51-year-old U.S. Navy veteran Adam W. Purinton opened fire at him and his friend Alok Madasani at the Austins Bar & Grill in
Olathe. However, Mr. Madasani and an American national Ian Grillot were injured in the attack.
iii. Before starting to shoot, Purinton shouted at them “Get out of my country” believing them to be Arabs.
iv. Kuchibhotla of Hyderabad and his colleague Madasani from Warangal district in Telangana were working as aviation programme managers at Garmin Ltd, an MNC in United States
v. Purinton has been charged with first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating the shooting as a hate crime.
♦ Capital: Topeka
♦ Governor: Sam Brownback (R)