Current Affairs 15th March 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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First woman president and speaker, Nepal is set to have its first woman chief justice.A meeting of the Judicial Council on Monday recommended Sushila Karki, the senior most judge in Nepal's Supreme Court, as the next chief justice of the country.The Judicial Council decided to forward her name to the Constitutional Council headed by the prime minister which is responsible for approving the head of the judiciary.Karki will take charge once President Bidhya Devi Bhandari clears her nomination.She will take charge after April 13 when incumbent Chief Justice Kalyan Shrestha retires, Judicial Council Secretary Krishna Giri said after the meeting. Karki's recommendation was hailed by the social media.Karki is known to be a fearless judge with zero tolerance for corruption.She holds a post-graduate degree in political science from Banaras Hindu University in India.

Food safety regulator FSSAI has launched a mobile app through which consumers can raise their concerns related to quality of packaged food and the food served in ready-to-eat outlets.Since most of the times the form of food consumed is either packed or serviced, the app provides food safety tips and food safety laws as prescribed by the regulator through its regulations, says the description of the mobile app launched by FSSAI."FSSAI App will allow consumers to raise their food safety related concerns. Whether it is a Packaged Food or a Food Service Establishment, now consumers are empowered to know about the food business operators and get informed about the food safety information," according to the description.The app for Android smartphone users has built-in functionalities to locate the consumer's geographical location and consumers can raise any food incidents witnessed along with the captured pictures. The app also empowers consumers to check many parameters on which the food safety is compromised for both packaged foods and food served in ready-to-eat establishments.For served food, the consumer is given an option to rate the Overall Hygiene of the food service establishment. It also has provision for consumers to enter FSSAI issued license/registration number if available will provide accurate information about the food business operator's adherence to food safety requirements.

The 60th Session of Commission on the Status of Women was inaugurated on 14 March 2016. The 11-day long session will take place at the United Nations headquarters in New York, the USA.During the session, the Commission will discuss on its priority theme -Women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development.In addition, it will evaluate progress in the implementation of the agreed conclusions from the fifty-seventh session (2013) on ‘The elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls’.The session will be attended by the representatives of UN Member States, UN entities, and ECOSOC-accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from all regions of the world.45 member States of the UN, including India, were chosen as the members of the session.Commission on the Status of Women:It is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.It is a functional commission of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and was established by Council resolution 11(II) of 21 June 1946.It is instrumental in promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women.All aspects of the Commission’s work is supported by the UN Women that was created by the UN General Assembly in 2010 for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women.

The Government of Malawi and UNICEF on 14 March 2016 successfully tested the use ofUnmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs or drones) to explore cost effective ways of reducing waiting times for HIV testing of infants.As part of the test, simulated blood samples were transported from a community health centre to the Kamuzu Central Hospital laboratory that is located at a distance of 10 kilometers.Though drones were used in the past for surveillance and assessments of disaster, this is the first known use of UAVs in Africa for improvement of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) services.After successful completion of further tests, the drone services will be integrated into the health system alongside others existing mechanisms such as road transport and short message service (SMS).The successful completion of tests and integration of UAVs with HIV services of significance for Malawi due to the following scenario.In 2014, nearly 40000 children in Malawi were born to HIV positive mothers. It is also estimated that around 10000 children deaths occur every year due to the infection.The high incidence of deaths is attributed to the fact that there is a considerable delay in diagnosis of the infection in infants. This isbecause of transport challenges and associated delays experienced by health workers in remote areas of the country.Samples are currently transported by road, either by motorbike or local authority ambulances. Various factors including the high cost of diesel fuel, poor state of roads and limited distribution schedules have resulted in extreme delays in lab sample transport.It currently takes an average of 11 days to get samples from health centre to a testing lab, and up to 8 weeks for the results to be delivered back.The longer the delay between test and results, the higher the default rate of the patient. The delay also constitutes a significant impediment for the scaling up of pediatric Antiretroviral therapy or ART’s effectiveness.Against this backdrop, the successful deployment of UAVs could be the breakthrough in successful prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV in Malawi.

Odisha Cabinet on 14 March 2016 approved a proposal to constitute a State Food Commission (SFC) as per the National Food Security Act (NFSA) 2013. It will monitor and evaluate the implementation of the NFSA Act and advice for its effective implementation to the State government.The Commission will have five members and one member secretary including a chairperson. The chairperson will hold the rank of chief secretary, while members and member secretary will be in the ranks of principal secretary and joint secretary respectively. The tenure of the members will be three years.In accordance to the NFSA, 2013, a regular food commission will be constituted to frame the Odisha State Food Commission Rules, 2016. The proposed rules would deal with appointment and functions of appointment of chairperson and its members in detail.The commission will also hear appeals against order of the District Grievance Redressal Officers and inquire either suo-motu or on receipt of complaint into violation of entitlements provided under the Act.Some other decisions taken during the cabinet meet includes for approved the proposal of nominating Sulabh International Social Service Organisation as implementing agency, on a pilot basis, for design, built, operation and maintenance and transfer of hybrid toilets in nine towns of the State. The organisation will construct 5957 community toilets in nine AMRUT towns at a cost of 70 crore rupees. The nine towns are Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Sambalpur, Rourkela, Berhampur, Puri, Balasore, Bhadrak and Baripada.It approved the proposals of amendment of the Odisha Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2005. These amendments will empower the state government to borrow more money from market.It also approved amendment to Orissa Subordinate Finance Service Rules 1995, village agricultural workers recruitment and training rules and Orissa Electricity Duty Act 1961.

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro on 14 March 2016 declared a two-month extension on emergency powers meant to help shore up the country's crippled economy.The declaration will bestow more time on the government of President Nicolas Maduro to intervene in the market, boost productivity and redress a flagging financial sector.It will also allow the government to take more anti-crisis measures to reduce fiscal moratorium and to tap up funds from the 2015 budget to address short-term social needs.The extension will bring in measures to enhance positive impacts on the national economy. These include actions on healthcare, nutrition, education, employment.Venezuela has the biggest known oil reserves in the world but has suffered from the plunge in world oil prices since mid-2014. The official inflation rate topped 180 percent in 2015 which is one of the highest in the world. Non-government economists estimate the real rate is several times higher.The Venezuelan government declared a state of economic emergency on 16 January 2016. It was to last for 60 days, in order to lead a transformation of the country's beleaguered economy.

India Post in the second week of March 2016 selected Deloitte to advise it on setting up a payments bank. An agreement between the two was signed on 14 March 2016.The Public Investment Board (PIB) has already approved the 800-crore rupees proposal of India Post. The proposal will be sent to the Union Cabinet within two weeks for final approval.India Post payments bank will largely target unbanked and under-banked customers in rural, semi-rural and remote areas, with a focus on providing simple deposit products and money remittance services.The pilot for the payments bank is set to start from January 2017 and the full-fledged operations may start by March 2017.The Reserve Bank of India had granted payments bank permit to India Post, which is already into providing financial services and has 1.55 lakh branches across the country.As many as 40 international financial conglomerates including World Bank and Barclays had shown interest to partner the postal department for setting up the bank.

United Kingdom Anti-Doping (UKAD) on 14 March 2016 was granted a role of organising a worldwide fight against performance-enhancing drugs in the run-up to 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.It was appointed as the secretariat for an International Olympic Committee anti-doping taskforce which will seek to standardise testing procedures.The announcement came with Russia still banned by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and on course to be excluded from the Olympics following a report into mass doping violations.UKAD was asked to oversee drug testing procedures in Russia for the time because its own anti-doping agency, RUSADA was found to be non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code in early March 2016. The present role was granted beyond the UKAD’s Borders.It is an opportunity for international federations and national anti-doping organisations to collaborate to ensure pre-Games testing programmes are targeted, meaningful and effective.It's the first time that a global co-operation is a vital aspect of protecting clean sport and developing a level playing field for all athletes.There was a renewed focus on the use of drugs in sport followed the recent admission of Russian tennis star Maria Sharpova that she had taken the banned substance meldonium during 2016 Australian Open.Meldonium is intended to be used in the treatment of Ischaemia (restriction in blood supply to tissues), or poor blood flow to improve endurance. It was added to the WADA list of banned substances on 1 January 2016.

The World Consumer Rights Day Celebrated on 15th March, 2016. The World Consumer Rights Day is an occasion of solidarity among consumers for promotion of the rights of consumers and to ensure that consumers are protected from unscrupulous traders and their consumer grievances  are  redressed. The theme for  the  World  Consumer  Rights  Day  2016  is – “Antibiotics off the menu”. It is a campaign to stop the sale of meat raised with the use of antibiotics important to human medicine.WCRD is observed on 15 March to commemorate the historic address given by the then US President John F Kennedy to the US congress in 1962. In his historic address he had outlined the definition of consumer rights for the first time. He was the first world leader to formally define ‘consumer rights’. The first WCRD was observed on 15 March 1983 and has since become an important occasion for mobilizing citizen action. In 2015, WCRD was observed with the theme “Helping consumers choose healthy diets”. In India, 24th December is observed as National Consumer Day. On this day in 1986, Consumer Protection Act, 1986 had received the assent of the President.

Parytak Mitra Programme was in news on 14 March 2016. It came in news after the information on the same was provided in the Lok Sabha by the Minister of State for Culture and Tourism (I/C) Dr. Mahesh Sharma.The programme was launched by Union Ministry of Tourism on 12 January 2016 (National Youth Day) to inculcate appropriate tourism traits and knowledge amongst the trainees to enable them to act/work as Tourist Facilitators (Prayatak Mitra).The programme seeks to improve the sectoral service standards, which is one of the pre-requisites for attracting tourists in larger numbers. To inculcate appropriate tourism traits and knowledge amongst the trainees to enable them to act/work as Tourist Facilitators (Prayatak Mitra).To expect the young men and women so trained to act as catalyst / resource persons in turn for similar effort.To gradually work towards a tourism-sensitive citizenary.College going student including those enrolled with the NCC & NSS in the age group of 18 – 28 years. The age will be reckoned on the last date prescribed for application for admission. The applicant will also furnish a no-objection / sponsorship letter issued by the Principal concerned as to his/her joining the programme.

Procter and Gamble (P&G) has discontinued the manufacture and sale of its popular brand ‘Vicks Action 500 Extra’ with immediate effect after the government banned fixed dose combination drugs.“The Government of India has prohibited the manufacture for sale, sale and distribution of fixed dose combination drugs (Paracetamol + Phenylephrine + Caffeine) with immediate effect,” Pfizer said in a BSE filing.Drug majors Pfizer and Abbott stopped sale of their popular cough syrups Corexand Phensedyl respectively, after the government banned over 300 fixed dose combinations (FDCs) drugs.Pfizer said it has stopped the sale of its Corex cough syrup that garnered sales ofRs. 176 crore in the nine-month period ended December 31, and said the government’s move will have an adverse impact on it.In view of the government ban on manufacture and sale of Corex, the “company has discontinued the manufacture and sale of its drug ‘Corex’ with immediate effect.Abbott also stopped sale of its Phensedyl cough syrup.In a gazette notification on March 10, the government had, among others, banned manufacture, sale and distribution of fixed does combination of chlopheniramine maleate plus codiene syrup which is used in the cough syrups.Vicks is an American brand of over-the-counter medications owned by the American company Procter & Gamble.The Vicks brand also produces Formula 44 cough medicines, cough drops, Vicks VapoRub, and a number of inhaled breathing treatments.Vicks products were manufactured by the family-owned company Richardson-Vicks, Inc., based in Greensboro, North Carolina.Richardson-Vicks, Inc., was eventually sold to Procter & Gamble in 1985.In Japan the product is distributed by Taisho pharmaceutical but is manufactured by P&G in India. In Belgium the product is imported by Procter & Gamble and is called “Vicks”.In German-speaking countries, the brandname Vicks was changed to Wick in order to avoid possible sexual connotations linked to Vicks or Vick.In Portuguese and Spanish-speaking countries, the brand name is changed to Vick.Unfortunately Vicks Action 500 is not a very safe medicine because one of its ingredients (PPA) is banned in nearly all European and North American countries. PPA has been implicated in causation of stroke – a potentially dangerous and life-threatening side effect. Unfortunately the Indian drug control system due to a variety of non-scientific reasons has not banned the use of PPA in India (before March 15, 2016)

Jammu & Kashmir State Administrative Council (JKSAC) under the chairmanship of Governor NN Vohra on 14 March 2016 approved the Industrial Policy-2016.The aim of the Industrial Policy 2016 is to attract over 2000 crore rupees investment per annum and will be effective for next 10 years that is up to 31 March 2026.The policy was formulated by the Industries and Commerce Department after thorough consultation with all the stakeholders.Industrial Policy will enable creating business-friendly environment in the state through Ease of Doing Business which will facilitate the investors to establish Industrial Units and pave way for the establishment of mega units including that of Electronic City in the State.Apart from investment generation it also targets to create annually 15000 direct and indirect employment opportunities through upgradation and creation of infrastructure and establishment of new industries.It targets creation of land bank of 2500 acres across the state, zoning of districts in the state based on the extent and degree of industrial development in different districts, and supply of additional 150 Mw power every year.To set up an asset reconstruction company in partnership with J&K Bank was envisaged for the revival of sick industrial units.An investment facility cell was constituted at SIDCO and SICOP to facilitate the investors.Entrepreneurship and skill development fund was created for skill development of entrepreneurs.Environmental protection through setting up of green industries and adoption of green technologies were also incorporated in the Policy.The policy proposes setting up of industrial grievance forums to speedily sort out grievances and solve interdepartmental issues faced by entrepreneurs.

Myanmar's Parliament on 15 March 2016 elected Htin Kyaw as the first civilian president to lead the country after 53 years of military rule. Army took power in a 1962 coup.He is a close aide and adviser of Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of National League for Democracy (NLD) party.He was elected with 360 of the total 652 votes casted while, military-nominated Myint Swe received 213 votes and stood second followed by the other NLD candidate, Henry Van Thio, who got 79 votes.They will serve as first vice-president and second vice-president respectively.Kyaw will replace Thein Sein who will step down at the end of March 2016 after five years of army-backed rule.Htin Kyaw was elected under a complex system in which the two chambers of parliament nominated two presidential candidates and military MPs nominated a third, assuring the army continued influence.The army also retains 25 percent of seats in parliament under a 2008 constitution that it drafted, giving it an effective veto on constitutional change. It also keeps key ministerial portfolios related to security.The NLD swept to victory in historic elections in November 2015 with a huge majority in both houses of parliament. However, Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of NLD, could not run for president because a clause in the constitution says that anyone whose children have another nationality cannot become president. Her children hold British passports.

Delhi won the 20th edition of the Lloyd Business on on 13 March 2016 Today Pro-Am of Champions golf tournament.The final of this event was played at the Jack Nicklaus designed Classic Golf Resort in Gurgaon.Delhi, comprising of Bharat Dhawan (Mazars), Avesh Bhatnagar(M/S Bhatnagar Agencies), Ravi Khanna (Kwikforms Structurals) and Saurabh Sood (GATX,) prevailed with a combined score of 105 points in the event where India's top corporate decision makers and leading golfing professionals played together.The Mumbai team, comprising of Subrat Mohanty, Pramod Bhambani, Jayen Ramesh Shah and Paras Shah, ended as runners-up with 101 points.Lloyd Business Today Pro-Am of Champions is one of India's most prestigious corporate Golf events. It is an exclusive invitational event for CEOs and corporate heads across India.In its 20th edition, the tournament was played across 4 regions and culminated with the national finals in Delhi.

India's fifth largest private sector Bank, YES Bank on 11 March 2016 signed a strategic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with India Brazil Chamber of Commerce (IBCC) to enable significant cooperation in terms of knowledge partnerships, project consultancy, B2B opportunities, skill and technology initiatives.As per the announcement of YES Bank, the MoU signing comes in the run up to the 8th Annual BRICS Summit to be held in New Delhi in 2016.The core sectors covered in the MoU will be Sports, Media and Entertainment with special focus on IT, Infrastructure, Broadcast and Innovative solutions driven business opportunities.YES BANK and IBCC will jointly endeavour to explore exchange of best practices in Sports goods Manufacturing, CSR in sports, SM&E talent management.Moreover, IBCC will also recommend YES BANK as the Preferred Bank to Brazilian companies looking to do business in India.Knowledge partnerships: Including with various industry bodies/chambers and at Brazil Government/ Embassy forums.IBCC and YES BANK will also create knowledge reports together by facilitating industry and Government participation on the same.Project Consultancy: Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) on entry strategies for Brazil companies in the Sports, Media and Entertainment space into India.B2B Opportunities: Identifying the right business partners in India for Brazil companies for strategic/business tie-ups and for Indian companies interested in strategic tie-ups/investments in the Brazil.Assist in financing advisory covering strategic advisory, fund raising, direct & structured financing.Skill Initiatives: Jointly facilitating imparting of soft skills in Sports, Media and Entertainment sector (to individuals/corporate/NGO community, education institutions etc.)Education in SM&E: Exchange program for education institutes in SM&E and imparting best global practices/education systems.Introduction to existing Brazil companies in India: More than 13 Brazil companies are currently operating in India.Preferred Banker status to YES BANK as well as Sports, Media and Entertainment Advisor recommendation to potential companies, looking at investing in/entering India for strategic partnerships with Indian entities.Introduction to companies in Information and Technology in SM&E: Would provide a platform for both companies in India and Brazil to showcase/exchange technology/knowledge.Introduction to companies in Infrastructure development in Sports: Enhancement of state of the art infra installations in Media and Entertainment.SM&E Value chain analysis and trade policy advisory with Government and industry associations.Harness business opportunity specifically in Sports goods Manufacturing, CSR in sports, SM&E talent management.India-Brazil Chamber of Commerce was founded in 2003 in Brazil.It is a non-profit organisation, which aims to foster the economic, cultural and tourism ties between India and Brazil, facilitating bilateral business and assisting its members in relevant matters, providing them its operational infrastructure and its knowledge of both cultures.The Chamber promotes imports-exports of Indian and Brazilian members offering quality customized services, through a professional team committed to the order of their members.

Uttar Pradesh Government has approved a policy for senior citizens on 14 March 2016. Under the policy the state government will set up old age homes and also announced increase in monthly pension by 100 rupees, that is, monthly pension will increase from existing 300 rupees to 400 rupees.The decision was taken during a cabinet meet chaired by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. The policy will come into effect from 1 April 2016 and the social welfare department has been made the nodal agency for this new policy.The policy was formulated under which old age homes and juvenile homes would be set up under one roof.The Government would provide land free of cost and the NGO would be asked to operate the same at no profit no loss basis.The new policy reserves 25 percent seats in these old age homes for the BPL families who will be provided free residence and food.A tribunal would be set to hear the cases related to the atrocities against the senior citizen.All the police stations would also have a separate senior citizen register.Any offence against senior citizen, like throwing them out of their houses by children, would be punishable for up to three years of jail and 10000 rupees fine.The schools and colleges would be asked to celebrate Dada-dadi and nana-nani diwas on regular basis.Free dialysis at district hospitals will be created: The scheme will be operated with the help of private players under PPP model. Under this scheme 180 dialysis machines would be set up in select district hospitals.Detailed Project Report (DPR) of Kanpur metro to the tune of 17000 crore rupees was approved. The DPR is prepared by RITES. The total length of the Kanpur metro would be 32 km divided in two corridors. It will have 31 stations – 19 of which will be elevated. Now the proposal would be sent to the Union Government for approval.The implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana under which houses will be made available to all by 2022 was approved. Under the scheme, Union Government would finance 60 percent of the project while the rest would be shared by the state government.Decision to construct Taj Orientation Centre and Shilpgram at the eastern gate of Taj Mahal was made. DPR of 23185.25 lakh rupees was approved.It approved demolition of the structure of UP Animal Husbandry Department at CG City to facilitate construction of cancer institute.  It also approved the Mobile (Trolley-based) Solar Panel and Pump Programme.

An unmanned spacecraft named ExoMars 2016 was successfully launched jointly Europe and Russia to search for biosignatures on Mars (or Martian life) in past or present. The spacecraft was launched on a Proton-M rocket operated by Russia’s Roscosmos from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. ExoMars 2016 is the first of a two-phase of ExoMars (Exobiology on Mars) program.ExoMars program is an astrobiology mission of European Space Agency (ESA) and Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos). Primary Goal: To address the question of whether life has ever existed on Mars. The program comprises two missions: ExoMars 2016 and ExoMars 2018. ExoMars 2016: It consists of the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and Schiaparelli, an entry, descent and landing demonstrator module. Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO): Its sole purpose is to search (trace) evidence of methane (CH4) and other atmospheric gases that could be signatures of active biological or geological processes on Mars. TGO has 4 suites of science instruments. They are ACS (Atmospheric Chemistry Suite), FREND (Fine Resolution Epithermal Neutron Detector), CaSSIS (Color and Stereo Surface Imaging System) and NOMAD (Nadir and Occultation for MArs Discovery). Schiaparelli: It will obtain measurements of electric fields on the Mar’s surface combined with measurements of the concentration of atmospheric dust. For the first time it will provide new insights into the role of electric forces on dust lifting, the trigger for dust storms on the Martian surface. ExoMars 2018: It is planned to be launched in 2018. It comprises a unmanned rover and surface science platform. The rover that will carry a drill and a suite of instruments dedicated for the exobiology and geochemistry research. At present there are two rovers functional on the Mars viz. Curiosity and Opportunity which were sent by NASA, the federal space agency of United States.

Eon Electric Limited (EEL)  one of the leaders in manufacturing a wide range of energy-efficient LED Lighting products  has reached another milestone by bagging a further contract worth around Rs.40 crore for installing LED streetlights in Rajasthan.The previous successful installation of LED streetlights in Jodhpur, Aligarh, Varanasi etc.This Project Eon will install over 1 lac LED streetlights across various citiesin the state, including Jaisalmer, Gangapur, Sri Ganga Nagar, etc. In this phase, Eon Electric will install high lumen (minimum 95 lumen/watts) streetlights to improve road lighting and enhance visibility on the streets.The project is a part of the Rajasthan Government’s initiative to conserve energy through replacement of conventional lights with LED Street Lights.Earlier this year, Eon Electric had secured over Rs.51 crore contract to install LED streetlights in Jodhpur and Aligarh through competitive bids involving other leading players.The Company is in the process of installing over 60,000 LED streetlights in Jodhpur.

Telangana government on Monday presented a revenue surplus Budget for the year 2016-17 while allocating more than 50% of the total estimated expenditure of Rs 1.30 lakh crore under the plan outlay.In an effort to fully utilise the state's share in the river waters, the government has allocated a whopping Rs 25,000 crore for the irrigation sector under plan outlay in this Budget as compared to an expenditure of Rs 8,500 crore for irrigation in the current financial year.The Budget indicates a revenue surplus of Rs 3,718.37 crore and a fiscal deficit of Rs 23,467.29 crore, which is 3.5% of estimated GSDThe government expenditure in the current year fell short by Rs 15,000 crore. The minister attributed this to lower plan transfers from the Centre as well as lower than anticipated proceeds from the sale of land due to court litigation. The government plans to raise Rs 29,500 crore debt to support the plan outlay.Apart from irrigation, the government has made a substantial plan allocations to Panchayat Raj (Rs 8,919 crore), roads (Rs 3,525 crore) and health (Rs 2,462 crore), besides social sectors. In addition to this, a massive drinking water grid development programme costing over Rs 40,000 crore and the construction of 2 lakh double-bedroom houses for weaker sections, at a cost of Rs 11,000 crore, are going on outside the budgetary allocations.Work on phase-1 of the National Investment and Manufacturing Zone at Medak is expected to commence in 2016-17 and an amount of Rs 967 crore has been proposed under the plan for the promotion of industries during the new financial year.To achieve a power generating capacity of 23,912 Mw with in the next three years as compared to a little over 7,000 Mw of existing capacity.The non-plan items in the annual Budget for 2016-17 include Rs 4,250 crore towards debt waiver to farmers, Rs 4,470 crore towards power subsidy and Rs 2,200 for the rice subsidy.

An awareness programme would be organised on Monday in primary and secondary schools in Uttar Pradesh for conservation of sparrows. On March 14, the students would be administered an oath to conserve plants and trees and make sincere efforts towards conservation of sparrows Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan said in a directive issued in this regard. .The awareness will also be spread among the students to make the state clean and green under 'Clean UP - Green UP'. the students would also be administered an oath not to use plastic and contribute towards protecting the environment. He said persons and forest officials working in the field of sparrow protection would be felicitated with 'Gauraiya Mittra' award. Emphasised on the use of social and other media for the purpose. He said 'Gauraiya Diwas' would be celebrated in a big way at Janeshwar Mishra park on March 20 and Chief Minister would be requested to inaugurate the event. 

DBS Group Holdings, Southeast Asia's largest bank, is set to acquire Royal Bank of Scotland Group's Indian onshore operations for about Rs 1,000 crore, a much-awaited deal that will see the exit of Britain's biggest government owned bank from one of the fastest-growing economies. The transaction includes three main parts of RBS' India operations — a network of 10 branches, corporate loan platform and debt capital market, two people familiar with the matter told ET. RBS had a balance sheet of Rs 19,000 crore and loan book of Rs 11,150 crore as of March 2015, according to financial statements posted on its website. "For the entire business, including debt corporate market division, corporate loan portfolio and branch networks, the price is likely to be around Rs 1,000 crore. The chief executive Ross McEwan has decide to exit many countries around the globe and sold assets with an aim to take the lender back to an annual profit. The bank sold its offshore Indian loan assets in October. The sale also includes RBS' stakes in two non-bank financial companies in India. It has a majority stake in one of the companies, both of which conduct little business but would bring buyers a licence to offer certain types of financing .In March 2015, the British bank announced the sale of its private banking and wealth management business to Swiss-based Union Bancaire Privee (UBP). The deal included the sale of private wealth books managed out of Switzerland, Monaco, UAE, Qatar, Singapore and Hong Kong, but excluded India because the Swiss bank did not have any presence in the country.In a rare management buyout deal in the country's corporate landscape, the then head of the RBS Group's India wealth management operation, Shiv Gupta, had last year bought that business from the British bank for around Rs 200 crore. 

Out of 96,000 animal species in the country, more than 50 have been assessed as "critically endangered" and 310 as "endangered", the Rajya Sabha was informed.Studies conducted by Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) have recorded 96,000 species of animals from India.Among these, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has assessed 18 species of amphibians, 14 varieties of fish, 13 birds and 10 mammals as critically endangered and 310 species as endangered, including 69 fish, 38 mammals and 32 amphibians, Environment Minister Prakash Javadeka said.The data available with Botanical Survey of India (BSI), out of 19,156 species of vascular plants, 1,236 species belong to different threatened categories like critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable.conservation of threatened species, the government has established 730 Protected Areas, including 103 national parks, 535 wildlife sanctuaries, 26 community reserves and 66 conservation reserves, which primarily cover habitats of threatened megafauna such as tiger, rhino, elephant and others. Moreover, nine of the 18 biosphere reserves in India are part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves of UNESCO.the National CAMPA Advisory Council has approved the funding for recovery programme of various endangered species.These include Dugong with a budget of Rs 23.58 crore, Gangetic River Dolphin with Rs 23 crore, Great Indian Bustard with Rs 108.25 crore, Manipur Brow Antlered deer with budgetary support of Rs 99.95 crore and wild Buffalo with Rs 2 crore.

Non-banking financial company Altico Capital India has appointed former HSBC India chairperson Naina Lal Kidwai as an independent non-executive director. Altico Capital is a foreign owned and controlled NBFCs with a net worth Rs 2,000 crore and is well capitalized to capture loan growth opportunities being presented due to the capital constraints in the banking system.Altico, focused on real estate, is looking to invest about Rs 2,500 crore every year for five years in the Indian real estate market.It is promoted by Clearwater Capital, Abu Dhabi Investment Council and Varde Partners.Aina Lal Kidwai has a MBA from Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, Boston, Massachusetts.She is on the boards of Larsen & Toubro Limited, Advent Private Equity, Nestle SA, Cipla Limited, Max Financial Services Limited.She is also the chairperson of South Asia Harvard Business School.Before joining Altico she was the chairperson of British lender HSBC India last year and served the bank for 13 years.Before joining HSBC, Kidwai was vice-chairperson and head, investment banking, at JP Morgan Stanley

The Booker prize-winning British author and renowned art historian Anita Brookner died on 10 March 2016. She was 87.Brookner, who won the Booker in 1984 for her novel Hotel du Lac, was a bestselling author and wrote more than 25 novels.Brookner, who in 1967 became the first female to be named a Slade professor of art at Cambridge University, was known for her style and stories centering on the theme of middle-class loneliness, often featuring female protagonists.In 1990, she was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). She was a Fellow of King's College London and of Murray Edwards College, Cambridge.She was born in Herne Hill, a suburb of London to a Polish immigrant family. Her family changed the family’s surname to Brookner because of anti-German sentiment in Britain.Brookner was educated at the private James Allen's Girls' School. In 1949 she received a BA in History from King's College London, and in 1953 a doctorate in Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London.Some of her works includes A Start in Life, 1981 (her first novel), Greuze 1725-1805: The Rise and Fall of an Eighteenth-century Phenomenon (1972),Jacques-Louis David (1980),A Start in Life (1981, US title The Debut),Providence (1982),Look at Me (1983),Hotel du Lac (1984) (won the Booker Prize,Family and Friends (1985), Latecomers (1988),Lewis Percy (1989),The Next Big Thing (2002, US title Making Things Better), longlisted for the Booker Prize,The Rules of Engagement (2003),At The Hairdressers (2011), novella, available as an e-book only.The Honours conferred on Brookner has 1984 Man Booker Prize, Best English Language Novel, Hotel du Lac.1990 Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE),2010 James Tait Black Memorial Prize, Strangers (shortlist)

The Central Information Commission (CIC) on 13 March 2016 ruled that Cabinet Ministers in the States and the Union are pubic authorities under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005. In effect, they are liable to provide information to the public as per the demands of the RTI applications filed under the Act.This ruling was given by Central Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu while adjudicating the case filed by Hemant Dhage of Ahmednagar.To provide information asked under the RTI Act, public information officers (PIOs) should be appointed in the office of ministers.The Union and State Governments were recommended to assist the ministers by designating or appointing some officers as PIOs and First Appellate Authorities.The phrase of ‘oath of secrecy’ of ministers should be replaced with ‘oath of transparency’ in tune with the spirit of the RTI Act, which is built on the foundation that the right to information is a fundamental right and is intrinsic in Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution.The term Public Authority in the Section 2 (h) of RTI Act would include all persons/individuals (like ministers) or bodies (like the legislature) conferred with power to perform the functions entrusted to them under the Constitution.Hemant Dhage, in his RTI application, sought to know from the staff of the then Union Minister for Law and Justice the scheduled time for people to meet the Cabinet Minister and Minister of State. In response, the staff directed the appellant to check with the minister himself and take the appointment.However, in the absence of any designated public information officer in the office of the minister, he approached higher appellant authorities, and finally the CIC, for redress.

Maharashtra Cabinet on 1 March 2016 approved the Maharashtra Prohibition of Social Boycott Bill, 2016. The bill provides for the prohibition of social boycott of a person or group of persons including their family members by an individual or a group like Caste Panchayat.Once the bill is approved by the State legislature, Maharashtra will become the first State in the country to enact a law against social boycott.The social boycott is prohibited and its commission shall be an offence.The maximum punishment for social boycotting will be 7 years in prison or fine up to 5 lakh rupees or both.The maximum punishment for extending aid in relation to the commission of offence will be 3 years or 3 lakh rupees or both.The victim or any member of his family may file a complaint either through the police or directly to the Magistrate. To ensure speedy justice, the trial shall be completed within a period of six months from the date of filing of the charge sheet.Social Boycott Prohibition Officers will be appointed to detect the commission of offences, to assist the Magistrate and police officers in discharge of their duties under the Act.The burden of proving that no offence under this Act have been committed by the accused, shall lie on the accused

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