Saturday, 18 March 2017

Daily GK Update 18th March 2017: Current Affairs

Current Affairs and GK Update 18th march 2017
1. Dalai Lama Inaugurated the International Buddhist Conference in Bihar:
  • The three-day International Buddhist conference has been jointly inaugurated by respected religious leader Dalai Lama and the Union Minister for Tourism and Culture, Mahesh Sharma at Nava Nalanda Mahavihara, Rajgir (Bihar).
  • More than 1000 delegates from 35 countries including Indonesia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Singapore is participating in the event.
  • The main topic of the conference is Buddhism in the 21st century. Last year, it was held in Kathmandu, Nepal.
2. Trivendra Rawat sworn in as the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand:
  • Former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) pracharak and MLA of Doiwala ‘Trivendra Singh Rawat’ (57-year)sworn in as a new Uttarakhand Chief Minister (9th) in the state capital Dehradun.
  • Governor KK Paul administered the oath.
  • Earlier, he was elected from Doiwala in the state's first legislative assembly elections in 2002, retained his seat in 2007 and 2017 elections.
  • In recent Uttarakhand Assembly elections, BJP won 57 of the 70 seats.
  • As a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party, he served as Jharkhand's in-charge and Uttarakhand cadre's president.
3. GST Council Approves SGST & UTGST Draft Bills:
  • The Goods and Service Tax (GST) council headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley cleared the remaining State GST (SGST) and Union Territory GST (UTGST) draft bills during its 12 Council meeting.
  • Now with this Council has approved all five draft bills for GST which is likely to be rollout by July 1, 2017.
  • The UTGST draft law is for the Union Territories like Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, which do not have legislative assemblies.
4. Karan Avtar Singh appointed as Chief Secretary of Punjab:
  • Senior IAS officer Karan Avtar Singh (1984-batch) has been appointed as the Chief Secretary of Punjab.
  • He succeeded Shri Sarvesh Kaushal who was posted as Special Chief Secretary-cum-Director General of the Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration.
  • Singh was also given the charge of the Principal Secretary of Department of Personnel, General Administration and Vigilance and Investment Promotion.
5. Sanjauli police post becomes first in India to be linked with CCTNS:
  • Sanjauli police station of Sanjauli the main suburb of the city of Shimla, Himachal Pradesh has become the first police post in the country to be linked with Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS), a nationwide online tracking system. 
  • The system will facilitate people in lodging online/offline complaints, police verification of job applicants, tenants, character verification and migrant labourer registration. 
6. India, Brazil finalise social security agreement:
  • India and Brazil have finalised text of the Social Security Agreement (SSA). It will come in force by early 2018 after it is ratified. 
  • It will be the first such agreement between the BRICS countries. 
  • This SSA takes forward the spirit of Goa Declaration adopted at 8th BRICS Summit, outcomes of the meetings of BRICS Labour & Employment Ministers held in June 2016 in Geneva and September 2016 in New Delhi.
7. India, Russia ink long-term support pact on Sukhoi Su-30MKI:
  • India and Russia have signed two long-term support agreements for the Sukhoi Su-30MKI combat aircraft fleet, covering around 57,000 spares and components related to the aircraft.
  • The agreements were signed by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) with Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation and United Engine Corporation at the first India-Russia Military Industrial Conference held in New Delhi.
  • India has contracted 272 Su-30 fighter jets from Russia in various batches and has so far inducted over 230 jets.
8. Germany to use voice recognition to identify migrant origins:
  • Germany is to begin testing new voice recognition software that can tell which country migrants without documentation come from.
  • The automated new system would begin within two weeks.
  • The new software is similar to the voice authentication technology used by banks and insurance companies and is capable of differentiating between dialects.
  • The aim is to detect Arabic-speaking migrants claiming to be Syrian to increase their chances of asylum.
9. India’s contribution to UN increases to Rs 244 crore in 2015-16: 
  • India’s contribution to the United Nations has rose by 55% to Rs 244 crore in 2015-16 compared with the previous fiscal. In 2014-15, India had contributed Rs 157 crore. 
  • It was announced by Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in the Lok Sabha. In the same period, India also made voluntary contributions to tune of Rs 22 crore to international organisations, including UN agencies. 
  • For the period 2016-18, India’s Scale of Assessment for the UN’s Regular and Peacekeeping budgets has been fixed at 0.737% and 0.1474%, respectively.
10. RBI to print Rs 10 plastic notes:
  • RBI has been authorized by Government of India (GOI) to conduct field trials of plastic notes of Rs 10 in five cities across the country viz Kochi, Mysore, Jaipur, Shimla and Bhubaneswar.
  • The main purpose of introducing plastic note is to extend the life cycle of banknotes. Moreover, Plastic notes are cleaner, lasts longer and are difficult to counterfeit.
11. World Bank approves $175 million loan for India’s National Hydrology Project:
  • The World Bank has approved $175 million for India’s ambitious National Hydrology Project to improve its ability to forecast floods and reduce vulnerability to recurring floods and droughts. 
  • The loan has been issued from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) with maturity of 23 years. It also has a six-year grace period in which no interest payments will be due.
12. Kerala gets first private bank: ESAF Small Finance Bank:
  • Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan launched ESAF (Evangelical Social Action Forum) Small Finance Bank, Kerala’s first private sector bank since the country’s Independence, in Thrissur, Kerala.
  • R Prabha, former Chairman, Kerala Grameen Bank, is the Chairman of ESAF Small Finance Bank. The Bank will launch a new social deposit scheme ‘Hridaya Deposits’ for HNI and NRI customers.
13. Essar group: India’s first private sector township to go cashless:
  • The Essar group’s township at Hazira in Surat district of Gujarat has become India’s first private sector township to go cashless.
  • This will prove to be an important step towards making India a cashless economy.
  • TMW is a Mumbai-based financial technology company whose wallet is powered by Mumbai-headquartered RBL Bank Ltd.
14. CCEA approves setting up of 50 new Kendriya Vidyalayas:
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the proposal for setting up around 50 new Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) under Civil or Defence Sector in the country.
  • The Kendriya Vidyalayas are considered as model schools in the country in terms of physical infrastructure, teaching resources, curriculum and academic performance.
  • There are over 1100 functional Kendriya Vidyalayas at present, including three international branches at Moscow, Kathmandu, and Tehran.
15. Michael Clarke’s launches his autobiography ‘My Story’:
  • Former Australia captain Michael Clarke has launched his autobiography named ‘My Story’ in Kolkata.
  • This book was triggered by how he was affected by Phil Hughes’ death when India was touring Australia in 2014-15.
16. Former racing champion Ashwin Sundar dies in mishap:
  • Former national racing champion Ashwin Sundar and his wife Niveditha died in a mishap at MRC Nagar, Chennai.
  • The car in which the two were traveling caught fire after it hit a roadside tree.
  • Sundar had won the national title in car racing and two-wheeler events on several occasions and his wife was a doctor in a private hospital in Chennai.
17. Nobel laureate Derek Walcott Caribbean poet passes away:
  • A Nobel-prize winning poet, playwright, and painter "Derek Alton Walcott" (87-year) has passed away at his home in Cap Estate, Saint Lucia.
  • Walcott known for capturing the essence of his native Caribbean.
  • The prolific and versatile poet received the Nobel Prize in literature in 1992 after being shortlisted for the honor for many years.

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