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March 16, 2016

16th March 2016 - Important Current Affairs updates

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International Affairs
  • The world’s first fully electric-powered double-decker bus has been unveiled in London a month ahead of its road release.
    • The five models, built by Chinese manufactures BYD, will be able to travel 180 miles on a single charge.
  • Holi, Diwali and Easter may soon be declared official holidays in Pakistan, based on a resolution adopted by Pakistan's National Assembly today. 
  • Indian Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry today exchanged courtesies at the SAARC dinner in Nepal. 
    • The meet marks the first official interaction between the two foreign secretaries since the January 2 terror attacks on the Pathankot airbase, which derailed bilateral ties between the nations.
  • 7th meeting of the Governing Board of the Indo-German Science and Technology Centre (IGSTC) was held in New Delhi.
    • The meeting was chaired by the Union Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan.
    • During the meeting, Dr. Vardhan highlighted the achievements and progress of IGSTC in accelerating the bilateral Science & Technology collaboration.
National Affairs
  • The Rajya Sabha today passed the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill after it was introduced by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. 
    • The bill aims to remove the exception given to the Sahajdhari Sikhs in 1944 to vote in the elections, and select the members of the Board and committees constituted under the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925.
  • Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh has told the Lok Sabha that over ₹1,500 crore was spent by the government ministries on foreign travel over the last three years. 
    • Note : Under the new regulations issued in January, officials cannot go on more than four official visits in a year and these visits cannot exceed five working days.
  • Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today appealed people to celebrate dry Holi, amid water shortage in the state. 
    • Note : There is only 25% water left in dams across Maharashtra. 
  • Food processing industries minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal inaugrated International Food and
    Hospitality Fair, AAHAR 2016
    in New Delhi.
    • Over 90 countries are participating in 31st edition of AAHAR fair.
    • This fair is being organised by India trade promotion organization at Pragati Maidan.
  • President Pranab Mukherjee today formally inaugurated the 5th edition of the India Aviation 2016 and the five-day biennial aviation show is being jointly organised by the Union Civil Aviation Ministry and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) at the Begumpet airport, Hyderabad.
    • About 25 countries are taking part this time in the India Aviation show, being held with the theme of Indian civil aviation sector: Potential as global manufacturing hub.
Awards & Honors
  • Priyanka Kakodkar and Raksha Kumar were named as joint winners of the 2015-16 Chameli Devi Jain Award.
    • They were awarded for their work that clubs social concern and compassion with pioneering reportage and analytical skills.
    • The award will be presented by former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh on 17 March 2016 at the India International Centre, Delhi.
    • Important Note : The annual Chameli Devi Award of The Media Foundation is the premier award for women media persons in India.
  • The Madame Tussauds wax museum today announced that PM Narendra Modi's wax statue will be unveiled at its branches across Europe and Asia in April. 
    • In a "signature kurta" with a jacket, Modi's statue will show him "making a namaste gesture". 
    • The museum said Modi was chosen for his importance in world politics and his "massive social media presence".
  • As many as 14 Indians have figured in a list of top 100 global venture capitalists (VCs), according to investment tracking firm CB Insights. 
    • Sameer Gandhi of Accel Partners ranked 25th globally was the top-ranked Indian-origin investor followed by Promod Haque of Norwest Venture Partners at rank 32. 
    • The list was compiled based on their investments since 2008.

  • State-owned Pawan Hans has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with IRCTC to implement the 'Heli Project' to promote helicopter tourism in India. 
    • The MoU envisages both sides to jointly identify areas of cooperation and enable selling of online tickets for regular and chartered helicopter services and joy rides. 
    • Note : Pawan Hans is a PSU of the Civil Aviation Ministry.

Business & Economy
  • ICICI Bank today launched a Contactless option in its app 'Pockets'.
    • This will allow users to make payments at outlets by tapping their smartphones. 
    • Currently, the feature is made available to the bank's employees which will be extended to all ICICI card holders. 
    • The service creates 'virtual' cards for the physical cards, that are stored on the banks' servers.
  • HDFC Bank in partnership with Mumbai-based startup accelerator Zone Startups India has launched a dedicated banking solution for startups called 'SmartUp'. 
    • The service includes payment and banking solutions for startups along with advisory and forex services. SmartUp will be available across India including tier-2 and tier-3 cities that are emerging as startup hubs.
  • India and China have exchanged offers on the removal of a list of tariffs on import of goods
    • Against India's offer to remove 42.5% of tariff lines, China has expressed willingness to abolish the same amount of tariff. 
    • Note : India's merchandise exports to China for 2014-15 stood at $11.9 billion against China's $60.4 billion exports to India.
  • Shehnai exponent Ustad Ali Ahmad Hussain Khan (77) passed away. 
    • He is known for composing the signature tune for Doordarshan along with Pandit Ravi Shankar. 
    • He was felicitated with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2009 for his contribution to Hindustani instrumental music.
  • For the first time in close to three decades, Viswanathan Anand has lost his India number one ranking
    • With a current Elo rating of 2763, Anand is narrowly behind Pentala Harikrishna’s 2763.3, after suffering a fourth round loss at the 2016 Candidates Championship in Moscow. 
    • Note : Anand has lost eight of his previous 26 matches.
  • Playing against England in the ICC World T20 today, West Indies player Chris Gayle recorded the most number of sixes in T20I cricket with 98 in 46 matches, surpassing Brendon McCullum's record of 91 sixes in 71 matches. 
    • Note : Gayle also became the first player to hit 50 sixes in World T20, the highest, ahead of Yuvraj Singh's 31.
  • The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is planning to launch an Under-13 I-League
    • The decision was taken at the Executive Committee meeting in New Delhi, after the proposal was given the green signal by AIFF President Praful Patel. 
    • The main motive behind this particular move is to increase the number of players between the age of 15-17 in the I-League. 

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