TNPSC Current Affairs March 2016 (English)
(For UPSC, TNPSC and All Competitive Exams)
The New Zealand Votes for Retaining the Country's Flag
- The New Zealand voted in favor of retaining the Country's Flag, the preliminary results of a referendum showed. The existing flag features the United Kingdom's Union Jack in the corner and four red stars in a Southern Cross formation, indicating New Zealand's location in the South Pacific.
- The alternate design has similarities to the current flag but ditches the British Union Jack in favor of the fern, which has become a national symbol and is worn by many sports teams, including the beloved All Blacks rugby team.
- Just over 1.2 million people voted to keep the flag, while around 900,000 people voted for an alternative, according to a statement from the New Zealand government.
Indian Appointed UN Adviser on Human Rights and Businesses
- Surya Deva, an India-born academician has been named by the UN Human Rights Council as an Adviser to one of its working group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.
- Surya Deva has been appointed by the Geneva-based UNHRC as the Asia-Pacific representative of the UN Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.
- He recently wrote a background paper for India’s National Framework on Business and Human Rights and in 2014.
India and Bangladesh Exchanges Power, Bandwidth
- Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi jointly inaugurating the supply of 100 MW power from India and leasing of 10 GBPS Internet bandwidth from Bangladesh.
- In exchange for 10 GBPS Internet bandwidth from Bangladesh, India will supply 100 MW electricity, which comes as a major stride into bilateral relationship in the warm ambiance of Holi festival in India.
- Bangladesh hopes to launch the Bangabandhu-1 Satellite by the end of 2017. At the beginning of the conference, Mr. Modi wished Bangladesh a happy Independence Day on March 26.
Mangadechhu Hydroelectric Project in Bhutan
India and Lithuania inks for Cooperation in the field of Agriculture
- The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to Revised Cost Estimate (RCE) of Rs. 4020.63 crore for the ongoing 720 MW Mangadechhu Hydroelectric Project (HEP) in Bhutan.
Survey Listed the World's Happiest Country
- Denmark is the world's happiest country while Burundi is the least happy according to a new survey.
- The Fourth World happiness Report also found that countries where there was less inequality were happier overall, Switzerland , Iceland, Norway and Finland, which like Denmark have strong Social Security System made up the rest of five.
- The USA , world's 13th happiest country, the UK 23rd, Chind 83rd and India 118th.
- The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between India and Lithuania for cooperation in the field of Agriculture.
- The MoU provides for cooperation in the fields of agriculture production including horticulture, Post-Harvest management, organic farming, cold chain development and agro processing industry, animal husbandry, dairying and aquaculture etc.
- The cooperation between the two countries shall be undertaken through biennial work plan to be drawn up mutually to give effect to the objectives of the instant MoU.
India, France Sign MoU for 6 Jaitapur Nuclear Reactors
- India and France have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for construction of Six Nuclear Reactors at Jaitapur in Maharashtra, two months after the two countries decided to conclude the techno-commercial negotiations for the project by the year end.
- The pact was inked at the end of the two-day visit of a high-level delegation of Electricite de France (EDF) French public utility to Mumbai for holding discussions with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) on the construction of the plants, diplomatic sources said.
Agasthiarmalai Biosphere Reserve (ABR) added to UNESCO's
World Network of Biosphere Reserves List
- Home to four wildlife Sanctuaries, one tiger reserve and more than 2,250 plant species, the Agasthiarmalai Biosphere Reserve (ABR), has been recently included in the Unesco's World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
- The Agasthiarmalai Biosphere Reserve (ABR), which spans the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, is among the seven reserves, such as Beaver Hills in Canada and Balmbangan in Indonesia, added in the list this year 2016.
- Inclusion of the site in the network would be a recognition of the conservation measures taken up there as well as being a status symbol, say forest officials.
Dial '112' for all Emergency Services in India
- Indian Citizens will soon be able to get help using a single number, ‘112’ for all Emergency Services in the Country, including the police, fire brigade and ambulance.
- At present, callers need to dial in different numbers for different emergencies like 100 for police, 101 for fire, 102 for ambulance and 108 for emergency disaster management.
- The move, recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in April 2015, was approved by the Telecom Commission.
India’s Rota-virus vaccine to combat diarrhea deaths launched
- Inching a step closer to Universal Immunization, the Health Ministry launched the Country’s First, Indigenous Rotavirus Vaccine (IRV) to Combat Diarrhoeal Deaths. Diarrhoea caused by Rotavirus is one of the leading causes of severe diarrhoea and death among children less than five years of age.
- In India, between 80,000 to one lakh children die due to Rotavirus diarrhoea annually while nearly 9 lakh children are admitted to hospital with severe diarrhoea. Another 32.7 lakh children visit the hospital as out patients due to the disease.
- Health Minister J.P. Nadda called it an ‘historic moment’ for the country, adding that the launch of Rotavac was “a new milestone towards expanding the coverage of full immunisation in the country aimed at reducing child mortality”.
- The vaccine was being introduced initially in four States - Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Odisha and would be expanded to the entire country in a phased manner. The Rotavac is in addition to three new vaccines that have been introduced in India’s Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) including Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV), Measles, Rubella (MR) vaccine, and Adult Japanese Encephalitis (JE) vaccine.
- With these new vaccines, India’s UIP will provide free vaccines against 12 life threatening diseases, to 27 million children annually, the largest birth Cohort in the world.
- The Government embarked upon a scheme to fund ‘Pure Science’ scholars, who have completed their PhDs, to enable them continue their post-doctoral research in India.
- The scholars would be paid Rs. 50,000 per month for a period of three years and given a basic grant of Rs. 7 lakh per year for conducting research.
- The National Postdoctoral Fellowship was launched a month ago and would fund around 1000 scholars this year.
- The Prime Minister reviewed the progress towards handling and resolution of public grievances. Urging the officers to further speed up the pace of work in this regard, And he emphasized that grievance redressal is one of the biggest aspects of democracy.
- He called for focused action within the next one month, to ensure that barring exceptions, grievances are disposed off within 60 days.
- The Karnataka government is in the process of bringing about a ‘Good Samaritan Act’, and could be the first State to do so. Although the Supreme Court had made the guidelines binding on all States earlier this month, making it into an Act is expected to strengthen its implementation.
- Aimed at insulating citizens who help accident victims, the Act is expected to make the police as well as hospital authorities follow the ‘Good Samaritan’ guidelines by binding them to a law.
- The scheme promises cashless treatment for accident victims during the first 48 hours, considered the golden hour, with a maximum entitlement of Rs. 25,000 per victim per episode.
- The Central Government Employees and Pensioners, the Union Cabinet increased Dearness Allowance by 06 % to 125 % of their basic pay with effect from January.
- The decision will cost the exchequer Rs. 14,724.74 crore a year. Of this, Rs. 6,795.5 crore will go to employees and Rs. 7,929.24 crore to pensioners during 2016-17.
- The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for India to accede to the Ashgabat Agreement, an international transport and transit corridor facilitating transportation of goods between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf.
- The Ashgabat Agreement has Oman, Iran, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan as founding members. Kazakhstan has also joined this arrangement subsequently.
- Accession to the Agreement would enable India to utilize this existing transport and transit corridor to facilitate trade and commercial interaction with the Eurasian region. Further, this would synchronize with our efforts to implement the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) for enhanced connectivity.
- India’s intention to accede to the Ashgabat Agreement would now be conveyed to the Depository State (Turkmenistan). India would become party to the Agreement upon consent of the founding members.
- The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the implementation of the rural housing scheme of Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana - Gramin. Under the scheme, financial assistance is provided for construction of pucca house to all houseless and households living in dilapidated houses.
- The expenditure involved in implementing the project in a span of 3 years from 2016-17 to 2018-19 is Rs.81975 crore.
- It is proposed that one crore households would be provided assistance for construction of Pucca House under the project during the period from 2016-17 to 2018-19.
- The scheme would be implemented in rural areas throughout India except Delhi and Chandigarh. The cost of houses would be shared between Center and States
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana - Scheme for Providing Free LPG connections to Women from BPL Households.
- Under the scheme, Rs 8000 crore has been earmarked for providing five crore LPG connections to BPL (Below Poverty Line) households.
- The Scheme provides a financial support of Rs 1600 for each LPG connection to the BPL households. The identification of eligible BPL families will be made in consultation with the State Governments and the Union Territories.
- This Scheme would be implemented over three years, namely, the FY 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19.
- Providing LPG connections to BPL households will ensure universal coverage of cooking gas in the country. This measure will empower women and protect their health.
- It will reduce drudgery and the time spent on cooking. It will also provide employment for rural youth in the supply chain of cooking gas.
- The Lok sabha has passed a bill to amend electoral laws to allow a limited Delimitation Exercise in West Bengal for granting voting rights to people who become Indian Citizens following the exchange of Enclaves with Bangladesh.
- The Election laws (Amendment) Bill 2016, seeks to amend the Delimitation Act, 2002 and the Representation of the Peoples Act,1950.
- It enables the Election Commission to carry out a limited delimitation of assembly and parliamentary Constituencies in Cooch Behar district of West Bengal following the exchange of 51 Bangladeshi and 111 Indian Enclaves in July last year.
- The enclaved were exchanged pursuant to the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement and 2011 Protocol and instruments of Ratification during Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi's visit to Bangladesh last year.
- The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, launched the National Rurban Mission from Kurubhat, in Rajnandgaon district of Chhattisgarh.
- This scheme would complement the Smart Cities initiative by creating Smart Villages. Rurban Clusters as Centres of economic activity, which would spur growth, and improve the quality of life in nearby villages.
- The Union Cabinet given its approval for introduction of steps for promotion of payments through cards and digital means.
- The move aims at reducing cash transactions. Several short term (to be implemented within one year) and medium term measures (to be implemented within two years) have been approved for implementation by the Government Ministries/ Departments/ Organisations.
- Promotion of payments through cards and digital means will be instrumental in reducing tax avoidance, migration of Government payments and collections to cashless mode, discourage transactions in cash by providing access to financial payment services to the citizens to conduct transactions through card/ digital means and shifting payment ecosystem from cash dominated to non-cash/less cash payments.
Chief Ministers in Advertisements
- The Supreme Court has allowed publication of Photographs of Governors, Chief Ministers and the Ministers of the department concerned Government advertisement.
- Ruling in this regard was given by a SC bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogai on pleas by Union Government and States which had sought review of the Supreme Court has modified its earlier 2015 order which only had permitted photographs of President, Prime Minister and Chief Justice of India (CJI) in the government advertisements.
- The Government has notified the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 in suppression of the earlier Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011.
- Under the new rules, the minimum thickness of plastic carry bags has been increased from 40 microns to 50 microns. The rules, which were earlier admissible upto municipal areas, have now been extended to all villages.
- The Union Government has launched Depot Online System of State run Food Corporation of India (FCI) to bring transparency and minimize storage losses of food grains. Depot Online System will help real time monitoring of FCI operations and enhance transparency and efficiency.
- The project is being implemented in the FCI hired godowns will be also brought under the ambit of the project later. The system will bring the automation of the entire process from entry and exit of food grains at FCI depots.
- The India Meteorology Department (IMD) has deployed indigenously developed DRISTI, an instrument will provide real time visibility information to pilots and help in quick decision-making during critical landings and takeoffs of aircraft particularly during foggy or rainy days.
- The system transfer the crucial visibility updates to the pilots in in real time who can now use this information that will be updated every minute.
- The Government will allot 16 coal mines to Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) for commercial mining. Of these 16 blocks are earmarked for State PSUs for sale of coal.
- Five mines are in Madhya Pradesh, three in Telangana, two blocks each in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Maharashtra and one each in Odisha and West Bengal.
- For the first time in over 40 years, the coal sector for commercial mining, which is being undertaken by the central PSU Coal India.
- The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will sell tickets for the Pawan Hans Helicopter Service. The IRCTC and Pawan Hans have joined hands under an agreement that will allow flyers to book tickets through the IRCTC website.
- This Heli Project by making joint use of their capabilities and facilities and give a major fillip to tourism initiatives by IRCTC.
- Rajya Sabha has passed the Real Estate Regulation and Development Bill, 2015 to protect the interests of consumers and curb the malpractices in the real estate sector. The bill seek to create a uniform regulatory mechanism across the country and enhance the growth of construction sector.
- It provides for establishment of state level regulatory authorities called Real Estate Appellate Tribunals (REAT) to settle disputes. It will enforce the contract between the developer and buyer and fast track the mechanism to settle disputes.
- 70 % of the amount collected from buyers for a project must be maintained in a separate bank (escrow) account and must only be used for construction of the project.
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved Rs. 8000 Crore scheme to provide Cooking Gas LPG connections free of cost to women members of poor households.
- It will provide access to clean cooking and preserve the health of women and families and this will be implemented from ensing financial year 2016-17.
- The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the for the MoU between India and United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Technical Cooperation in Cyber-crime to cooperate in combating cyber crime in the wake of the serious security threat posed by it to safety of people.
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully put into orbit the nation's sixth exclusive navigation satellite IRNSS 1F using the Rocket PSLV C32.
- The launch was the 33rd continuously successful mission for the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
- The Election Commission has announced the dates of polling in four states and Union Territory of Puducherry, The elections will be held two Phases for 120 constituencies in Assam, on April 4 & 11.
- In West Bengal, elections will be held in Six phases, the first phase alone will voting in 2 days i.e. April 4 & 11. Remaining phases will be conducted on April 17, 21, 25, 30 and May 5.
- Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry will have a single phase poll on May 16. Counting of polls will be held on may 19, 2016.
- In Assam for the first time, Voter Verifiable Paper Trail (VVPT) will be introduced in 10 constituencies in upcoming assembly polls.
A five-Member Task Force to Rationalize Central Government Staff
- The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has constituted a five-member task force to rationalise Central Government staff and ensure their maximum optimization.
- The task force will be headed by Rajiv Kumar, Additional Secretary in Department of Personnel and Training. The task force will submit report next month.
- The Cabinet Committee on Security (CSS) hs cleared a proposal to purchase two Phalcon Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS), surveillance aircrafts from Israel, This Defence deal will cost India Rs. 7500 Crore as per a Tripartite Agreement signed with Israel and Russia.
- AWACS are advanced radars mounted on an aircraft to give an ability to see deep inside enemy territory and 360 degree coverage to detect incoming aircraft and missiles at long ranges.
- Chemical Scientist and well-known researcher Goverdhan Mehta has been conferred with Germany's prestigious Award Crosss of the Order Merit.
Afghanistan Cricket Team makes History
- The six-run victory, completed after veteran off-spinner Mohammad Nabi conceded just three runs in the last over, helped Afghanistan register its first victory in the group phase in its fourth appearance in the World cup T20 Cricket
- Despite the narrow loss, West Indies finished on top of its group,
- The West Indies women’s Cricket team enters final after defeating Indian Women will clashes on 03.04.2016 on Sunday. with three-time defending champions Australia in the final of the ICC World Twenty20, in Kolkata.
- The Aussie women team are known in the cricketing circuit, have been on a roll since winning the second edition of the Women’s World Twenty20 in 2010.
- West Indies Cricket Team take on England in the final T20 world Cup final on 03.04.2016 on Sunday.
- There will be little to choose between both the sides who will be bidding to become the first nation to clinch the WT20 silverware for a second time, with England having won the tournament in 2010, followed by the West Indies two years later.