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March 19, 2016

19th March 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • The UK today lifted a 15-year-old ban on the International Sikh Youth Federation (ISFY), a pro-Khalistan group. 
    • The House of Commons claimed "sufficient evidence" did not exist to link the ISFY with terrorism. 
    • Note : The group, established in the 1980s in Punjab, has been accused of assassinations and bombings. 
    • The ISFY continues to be banned in other countries.

National Affairs
  • India has observed the 10th Earth Hour today between 8.30 pm and 9:30 pm. 
    • Important Points to Note
      • Earth Hour is a global movement dedicated to protecting the planet and highlighting the effects of climate change.
      • The annual international event aims at conserving energy by urging people to voluntarily switch off non-essential lights and electrical appliances for an hour.
      • Last year, Delhi saved 200 MWs of energy during the Earth Hour. 
  • The Maharashtra government will observe 2016 as the 'Year of Farmers Self-respect' in view of the prevailing drought across the state.
    • The spirit of overall development of the farmers and rural development constitutes the core" of this year's state budget. 
    • Note : The state allocated Rs. 25,000 crore for various schemes in the agriculture sector.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated a 3 day 'Krishi Unnati Mela' in Delhi for disseminating information on modernising the country's agricultural practices. 
  • Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar today announced that the state government will set up 17 new colleges for girls, set to start from the coming academic session. 
    • The colleges will be located within 20 kilometres of villages, towns and cities. 
    • Note : An educational institute in the name of Captain Pawan Kumar, who was martyred in Pampore, will also be set up.
  • Uttarakhand Governor KK Paul has asked Chief Minister Harish Rawat to prove majority in state Assembly by March 28.
    • The move came after political crisis in the state deepened with BJP claiming the support of rebel Congress MLAs. 
    • BJP also claimed majority in the state Assembly and said the party should be invited to form a new government

People in News
  • Pope Francis, the 266th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, has officially joined photo-sharing social network Instagram today. 
    • Joined under the user handle 'Franciscus', his first image shows him praying, and has a caption saying “pray for me” in different languages. 
    • Note : He already has over one lakh followers on the platform. 
    • This mark’s his second social media presence after Twitter.

Awards & Honors
  • 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' was named the Best Film at the Times of India Film Awards (TOIFA) 2016, held in Dubai today. 
    • Sanjay Leela Bhansali bagged the Best Director award.
    • Ranveer Singh won the Best Actor award for 'Bajirao Mastani'. 
    • Kangana Ranaut won Best Actor (Female) award for 'Tanu Weds Manu Returns'. 
    • Amitabh Bachchan won the Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • Union urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu has been conferred with the Skoch Lifetime Achievement Award
    • He was bestowed with this award at 43rd SKOCH summit held in New Delhi for his contributions to inclusive growth and towards poverty alleviation in India.

New Appointments
  • China-based multinational networking company Huawei appointed Barcelona and Argentina player Lionel Messi as their Global Ambassador. 
  • Jawaharlal Nehru University has appointed Pramod Kumar, currently an associate professor at Delhi University's Aurobindo College, as its new Registrar
    • He will be replacing Bhupinder Zutshi, whose tenure ends on March 31. 
  • Former Wipro finance chief Suresh Senapaty, who retired from the outsourcing firm after spending over three decades at the company, has been named chairman of Honeywell Automation's India operations. 

Business & Economy
  • Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah today presented a ₹1.63 lakh crore annual budget for the state. 
    • The budget proposed a hike in the taxes on petrol, diesel, liquor and soft drinks along with abolishing the agriculture income tax. 
    • A new scheme Suvarna Krishi Grama Yojana to disburse ₹11,000 crore loans to 23 lakh farmers has also been proposed.
    • Note : He was forced to present the state Budget for 2016-17 using the torch of a mobile phone, as the power went off twice in the Assembly.
  • The RBI today said that it is discontinuing a two-year-old provision where banks had to submit data pertaining to NEFT transactions by walk-in customers not having a bank account, from the quarter ending March 31. 
    • However, banks should continue to maintain the relevant records, RBI added. 
    • Earlier, incognito visits by RBI at banks had resulted in the provision's introduction.
  • The Finance Ministry today announced that artisans and job workers in the jewellery industry need not pay the proposed 1% levy on jewellery
    • In case the jewellery is manufactured on job work basis, the duty is to be paid by the manufacturer, it added. 
  • The government has relaxed FDI norms for the insurance sector by permitting overseas companies to buy 49% stake in domestic insurers, subject to verification by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India.
    • Important Note : Currently, FDI up to 26% is permitted through automatic approval route and up to 49% with the approval of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board.
  • The World Health Organization has suspended the approval of tuberculosis drugs made by Mumbai-based Svizera Labs, a major supplier to developing countries, citing the company's unreliable manufacturing standards as the reason. 
    • The company's recent batches of medicine in the market should also be retested for quality, it added. 
    • Earlier, WHO had issued a warning letter to Svizera last year for the same.

  • The Indian Institutes of Technology have accepted a government proposal to set up an interactive learning portal called IITPAL (IIT professor-assisted learning) for giving free coaching to IIT aspirants for JEE exams. 
    • Former Director of IIT Bombay Ashok Misra will lead the initiative. 
    • The portal will have videos on physics, chemistry and mathematics as well as previous years' question papers.
  • Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore declared the results of Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) 2016 on its official website on Friday. 
    • The list of toppers from various branches included Delhi's Ashok Bansal (Mechanical Engineering), Delhi's Swapnil Pandey (Instrumentation Engineering) and Jaya Jha (Electronics and Communication Engineering).

  • Bangladesh left-arm spinner Arafat Sunny and pacer Taskin Ahmed were suspended from bowling in international cricket with immediate effect after having been found guilty of illegal bowling actions. 
  • Defending champion Lewis Hamilton clinched his career's 50th pole position after finishing first in qualifying at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. 
  • Shweta Rathore, the silver medallist at the 2015 Asian body building event, has bagged the Gold medal at the National body building Championship in New Delhi. 
    • Important Note : Shweta, who hails from Jaipur, now also has three titles to her name Miss Mumbai, Miss Maharashtra and Miss India.
  • Haryana-born wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympics after defeating Lee S of South Korea in the semi-finals of the 65 kg Freestyle category at the Asian Olympic Qualifying event today. 
    • Note : This will be the fourth Olympic games for the Indian wrestler, who has won the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics.
  • 10 soldiers of Indian Army qualified for Rio Olympics 2016.

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