Daily Current Affairs 8th March, 2017
China overtakes eurozone as world’s biggest bank system
- China’s banking system has overtaken the eurozone to become the world’s biggest by assets.
- Statistics show Chinese bank assets hit $33 trillion at the end of 2016, versus $31 trillion for the eurozone. US assets stood at $16 trillion and the Japanese at $7 trillion.
- The value of China’s banking system is more than 3.1 times the size of the country’s annual economic output, compared with 2.8 times for the eurozone and its banks.
Commonwealth unveils initiative to stamp out domestic violence
- The programme, which is being launched on Women’s Day, will continue through till 2018, when there is expected to be an accord on ending domestic violence in the Commonwealth.
- The “Peace in the home” programme will include toolkits to help governments across the Commonwealth involve multiple agencies — such as schools, doctors and hospitals, as well as government — and law enforcement agencies to work together effectively, and will help countries highlight and share details of initiatives that had been particularly successful at dealing with domestic violence.
- There will also be a mentoring programme for women, and an initiative to address the issue of violence around elections and politics.
- The Commonwealth initiative will build a coalition of governments, businesses, human rights institutions, civil society and individual citizens to choral efforts to address domestic violence.
- An initiative to map the economic cost of domestic violence in Commonwealth countries, as well as focus on strengthening laws protecting women and girls across the group will also be launched.
SBI launches ‘Work from Home’ facility for employees
- Country’s largest lender State Bank of India launched a new facility to enable its employees to ‘work from home’.
- The Board of the bank has recently approved the ‘Work from Home’ policy to enable its employees to work while at home using mobile devices to address any urgent requirement they may have, that prevents their traveling to work.
- The lender will be using mobile computing technologies and shall have continuous control over all the enabled devices.
- The use of technology and services shall be monitored through carefully designed Management Information System (MIS) and dashboard to enable improvements and refinements.
MakeMyTrip, PayPal partner for hotel bookings
- Payments platform PayPal announced an extension of its merchant partnership with MakeMyTrip, Indian online travel booking company, to facilitate hotel and holidays booking in addition to airline tickets.
- The partnership with MakeMyTrip will help foreign tourists continue to enjoy the seamless and secure PayPal experience to book hotels and holiday packages and tide through the recent challenges they are facing post the demonetization of select Indian currencies.
Government announces new licensing policy to boost oil output
- The Union Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas has announced new Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP)for oil and gas exploration.
- The new policy will allow bidders to carve out areas where they want to drill. It will help energy hungry India and world’s third-largest oil consumer to attract greater foreign investment to boost output.
- The objective of OLAPis to increase India’s indigenous oil and gas production by maximising the potential of already discovered hydrocarbon resources in the country.
- OALP offers single licenseto explore conventional and unconventional oil and gas resources to propel investment in and provide operational flexibility to the investors. It provides operational flexibility to the investors.
- It is departure from the current licensing policy of government identifying the oil and gas blocks and then putting them on auction.
- Under it, Government will conduct auction of oil and gas blocks twice a year, with the first round being held in July 2017.
- The selection of oil blocks will be based on seismic and well data provided by Directorate-General of Hydrocarbons in National Data Repository which offers total of 160TB data of India’s 26 sedimentary basins
- The OALP auction will be held under the overhauled exploration licensing policy, allowing pricing and marketing freedom to operators and shifts to a revenue sharing model.
PM Modi Inaugurates Petrochemicals Complex at Dahej & Extradosed Bridge Across River Narmada at Bharuch in Gujarat
- During his visit to Gujarat, PM Modi dedicated a 4-lane 1.4-kilometre ‘Extradosed’ Cable-Stayed Bridge over the river Narmada in Bharuch. It is considered as the longest bridge of India.
Features of the Baruch Bridge
- The bridge has been built by Larsen and Turbo at a cost of Rs. 379
- crore in the time span of two years.
- It is 1344 metres long and 22.8 metres wide. The bridge consists of total 216 cables that are about 25 to 40 meter long.Extradosed Bridge
- The Bharuch Bridge has 17.4-metre wide 4-lane road and the footpath on the bridge is 3 metres long. The lighting in the bridge has more than 400 LED lights spread over 1.344 km long.
- The Bharuch Bridge is expected to reduce the heavy traffic from Ahmedabad-Mumbai section of National Highway-8 (NH8) which is considered to be the busiest national highways in the country.
- PM Modi also dedicated ONGC Petro Additions Ltd (OPAL) Petrochemicals Complex at Dahej (Bharuch, Gujarat) to the nation.
- Features of OPAL Plant
- OPAL is a Joint Venture Company promoted by ONGC, GAIL and GSPC for an integrated petrochemical complex in Special Economic Zone (SEZ) under Petroleum, Chemical and Petrochemical Investment Region (PCPIR) at Dahej, Gujarat.
- The petrochemical plant has been set up an investment of Rs 30,000 crore and will produce 14 lakh metric tonnes of polymers such as linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE), high density polyethylene (HDPE), polypropylene (PP) and 5 lakh metric tonnes of chemicals such as benzene, butadiene, and pyrolysis gasoline.
- Besides, Modi also inaugurated a national convention of women sarpanch on the occasion of International Women’s Day in Gandhinagar. He also laid the foundation stone for a bus port in Baruch
Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah launches ‘Pratibimba” to project achievements
- Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah launched a comprehensive web-based platform Pratibimba to showcasing the government’s performance and achievements to the citizens on March 7, 2017.
- This dash board will serve as a tool to improve efficiency in governance and allow citizens to track government’s progress.It is available both in English and Kannada.
- After Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka has such dash board which will help to report, track and measure departmental performance on programmes, projects and promises made.
Mobile World Congress to be held in India on September 27
- India to host its first mobile congress with a special focus on reaching out to the South East Asian markets at Pragati Maidan on 27th September 2017. This was announced by Rajan S Mathews, COAI Director General
- The the three-day event will be organised by GSM Association
- All Indian mobile operators, Facebook, Huawei, Ericsson, Cisco etc are likely to participate in the mobile congress.
About Mobile World Congress :
- The GSMA Mobile World Congress is a combination of the world’s largest exhibition for the mobile industry and a conference featuring prominent executives representing mobile operators, device manufacturers, technology providers, vendors and content owners from across the world.
- The 2017 event was held in Barcelona between 27 February to 2 March 2017 and Mobile World Congress Shanghai will be held from 28th June 2017 to 1st July 2017.
International Yoga Fest Began in New Delhi on March 8, 2017
- The International Yoga Festival was inaugurated on March 8, 2017 by the Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu in New Delhi.
- The two-day long event has been organized by the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga in association with the Indian Yoga Associations.
Indo-Nepal joint Military exercise Surya Kiran-XI held in Uttarakhand
- The eleventh edition of joint military exercise ‘Surya Kiran 2017‘ between India and Nepal began in Pithoragarh area of Uttarakhand.
- It is two-week long battalion level joint exercise between armies of both countries.
- It will focus on skills required for natural disaster management, counter-insurgency and jungle warfare.
- It will focus on other important aspects such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations and environmental conservation.
- In this exercise, Indian Army is represented by the officers and troops of Ekta Shakti Battalionof the Punjab Regiment. While, Nepali Army is being represented by Durga Baksh Battalion.
ENVIRONMENT,SCIENCE AND TECH
PAU develops country’s first Bt cotton varieties:
- Punjab Agricultural University has successfully developed the country’s first Bt cotton varieties.
- The ICAR has identified three varieties, namely PAU Bt 1, F1861 and RS 2013, for cultivation in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan. It is a cheaper alternative to Bt cotton hybrid seed.
International Women’s Day being observed
- International Women’s Day is observed globally on 8th March every year. It is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
- The theme of International Women’s Day (IWD) 2017 campaign is‘Be Bold For Change’. IWD has been observed since in the early 1900’s – a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies.
- IWD is all about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action – whatever that looks like globally at a local level.
AWARDS & HONOURS
Hyderabad airport ranks 1st in the world in airport service quality
- GMR group led Rajiv Gandhi Hyderabad International Airport has secured first position in the world in the prestigious Airports Council International (ACI) Airport Service Quality (ASQ) survey in the 5-15 million passengers per annum (MPPA) category for the year 2016.
- The survey shows that Hyderabad Airport has steadily improved its score from 4.4 in 2009 to 4.9 in 2016, according to a GMR’s Hyderabad International Airport limited (GHIAL).
- Besides, the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) in Delhihas been ranked world’s second best airport in the category of passenger handling capacity of more than 40 million passengers annually.
Nari Shakti Puraskars
- Nari Shakti Puraskars 2016 will be presented by the President on the eve of International Women’s Day.
About Nari Shakti Puraskars:
- To acknowledge Women’s achievements, the Government of India confers Nari Shakti Puraskars on eminent women and institutions in recognition of their service towards the cause of women empowerment. The Nari Shakti Awards were initiated in the year 1999.
- The awards recognize the efforts made by women & institutions in rendering distinguished services for the cause of women, especially vulnerable and marginalized women.
- The Ministry of Women and Child Development announces these national level awards for eminent women, organisations and institutions.
- The Nari Shakti Puraskar carries a cash award of Rs.1 Lakh and a certificate for individuals and institutions.
IISc among world’s best 10 varsities:
- The Indian Institute of Science (IISc.) has been ranked in the top 10 of Times Higher Education’s (THE) Best Small Universities-2017 global rankings that looks only at universities with fewer than 5,000 students.
- At rank 8, IISc. is the only Indian university in the list of 20, and is also the second-highest ranked Asian University.
- The list is topped by California Institute of Technology (Caltech). In the world university ranking, however, it sits in the range of 201-250 when compared with larger universities also.
- IISc, a public university for scientific research and higher education, was established in 1909 with active support from Jamsetji Tata and Sir Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, the Maharaja of Mysore.
- In 2015-16, it became the first Indian institute to be ranked among the top 100 in THE World University Rankings for engineering and technology at 99th position.
- The Times Higher Education World University Rankings was founded in 2004 by the U.K.-based Times Higher Education (THE) magazine. It provides the definitive list of the world’s best universities, evaluated across teaching, research, international outlook, reputation and more.
PERSONS IN NEWS
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan wins best actress award
- The actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan who played the character of Sarabjit Singh’s sister Dalbir Kaur, has won the Best Actress award for Sarabjit at the International Film Festival and Awards of Australia (IFFAA).
SERB Fellowship Award To Lalji Singh
- Former director of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) Lalji Singh has been sBrasil Openelected for ‘SERB Distinguished Fellow’ award by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) to support his research.
- The award carries an amount of Rs.60,000 per month and a research grant of Rs.5 lakh a year for three years extendable by two years.
Cuevas wins third Brasil Open tennis title
- Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas won his third consecutive Brasil Open title by beating Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas in a final.