Current Affairs 8th March 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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Former world number one female tennis player Maria Sharapova (28) from Russia has revealed that she failed a drugs test at the Australian Open. Due to this failure the International Tennis Federation (ITF) has provisionally suspended her till further action from Tennis for violating Anti-Doping Rule. She has been tested positive for meldonium, a substance that has been added in the forbidden list by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on 1 January 2016. The Russian star tested positive for meldonium, a substance, she has been taking since 2006 for health issues. She had provided the anti-doping sample day after she had lost to Serena Williams (United States) in the Australian Open quarter finals. Currently she is ranked world No. 7 by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA).  She has won total 35 singles titles and five Grand Slam titles, two at the French Open and one each at the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and US Open.

Recently released report of International Labour Organization (ILO) titled-Women at Work: Trends 2016, gender equality still remains elusive in the workplace. The report highlights trends in 2016 in 178 countries and it has been found that millions of women worldwide are not getting the same kind of quality, well-paying jobs as men.In past 20 years, the gender gap in employment, wages and social protection has changed little. They continue to work longer hours per day than men in both paid and unpaid work. Women are overrepresented in clerical service and sales work, which are among the lowest paying jobs.Significant progress has been made by women in education during the past two decades, but this has not translated into improvements at work. It shows that women are less likely to participate in the labour market compared to their counterpart men. Women are more likely to be unemployed than men and young women are at a disadvantage. Globally, women represent nearly 65% of people who have reached retirement age without any regular pension. They lose out in terms of social and retirement benefits since they earn less money.

The Haryana government signed 11 MOUs involving a total investment of Rs 18,159 crore with different companies on the first day of the two-day "Happening Haryana Global Investors' Summit-2016" held in Gurgaon. Singed MoUs are MoU of Rs 15,000 crores investment with ICICI Bank for financial services. MoU of Rs 2,000 crore investment with Bharti Airtel for Electronics, Information Technology and Information Technology Enabled Services (ITeS). MoU of Rs 283 crores investment with Star Wire (India) Limited for manufacturing special and critical steel adopting high-tech technologies. Rs 200 crores investment MoU with Minda Kosei Aluminium Wheel Private Limited for automobile parts, alloy wheels. Rs 150 crores investment MoU with Plasser India Private Limited for manufacturing unit for track maintenance machines. Rs 190 crore investment MoU with Honda for worker housing. MoUs of Rs 100 crores each were signed with Minda Industries Limited and Mindarika Private Limited for automobile parts switches. Rs 80 crores investment MoU was signed with T.G. Minda Private Limited for automobile parts rubber hoses.

Telangana and Maharashtra governments will be signing Memoranda of Understanding to construct five barrages across Godavari and Pen Ganga rivers. A high level meeting to sign the MoUs will be held in Mumbai this morning in which Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will take part.Telangana will also construct Thammidihatti barrage across Pranahita a tributary to Godavari in Adilabad district and Medigadda barrage across Godavari in Karimnagar district. Maharastra government has conveyed its assent during several rounds of talks held earlier for Telangana to construct Tummidihatti Barrage at 148 meters height and Medigadda at about 102 meters.The two states will share irrigation water from Medigadda. On completion of all these projects, over 18 lakh acres will get irrigation facility in the two states. A high level team including Telangana irrigation minister Harish Rao and senior officials reached Mumbai and called on Maharashtra Governor Vidyasagar Rao who played a key role in resolving the inter-state dispute over irrigation projects.Irrigation experts say that these agreements between Maharashtra and Telangana on water sharing will script a new history especially when several projects are being delayed due to inter-state water disputes in the country.

The bullet train is expected to cover the 508km between Mumbai and Ahmedabad in about two hours, running at a maximum speed of 350 kmph and operating speed of 320 kmph.Indian Railways have formed a new Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to implement the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Bullet Train project.Estimated to cost about Rs 97,636 crore, 81 per cent of the funding for the project would come by way of a loan from Japan. The project cost includes possible cost escalation, interest during construction and import duties.It is a soft loan for 50 years at 0.1 per cent annual interest with 15 years’ moratorium period, said a senior Railway Ministry official.Maharashtra and Gujarat are expected to participate in the equity for the SPV, while the Railways will have 50 per cent.Joint Committee has been formed under the Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog with the secretaries of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Departments of Economic Affairs and Foreign Ministry as its members along with the Railway Board Chairman.The contract for the project to be completed as a lot of new technologies would be used to construct the high-speed corridor.According to a survey, approximately 13 million passengers per annum will be availing the service once it is launched.

The Union Minister announced in Parliament that the proposal to tax 60 per cent of Provident Fund (EPF) withdrawals. He announced to withdraw the proposal while clarifying NDA government’s stand on the issue in the Lok Sabha.He further stated that government would also like to comprehensively review EPF tax proposal. However, government retained the tax proposal for National Pension Scheme (NPS) withdrawals.The proposal was made by the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while presenting the Union Budget 2016-17 in the Lok Sabha on 29 February 2016. As per the proposal 60 percent of the amount deposited in the EPF account of the employee would be taxable at the time of withdrawal, and 40 percent would be tax free. This proposal would have become effective from 1 April 2016.The proposal to tax EPF withdrawals was made with an aim of to create a pensioned society, especially among employees in the private sector who have no provision for pension.The EPF is a retirement benefit scheme for salaried employees. Any company with over 20 employees is required by law to register with the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO)

International Women's Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women's Day, is celebrated on March 8 every year. In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation, and love towards women to a celebration for women's economic, political, and social achievements.Celebrations of IWD in India : 2016 International Women's Day (IWD) was observed in India by conferring the Nari Shakti Awards by President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhawan. On the other hand, the day was observed in different states of India in different ways like around 40 acid attack survivors were felicitated with the Rani Laxmi Bai award and provided financial assistance in Uttar Pradesh.International Women's Day (IWD)The United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March during International Women’s Year 1975. Two years later, in December 1977, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.

SoftBank heir apparent Nikesh Arora has been appointed as the chief executive of SoftBank's global operations as the Japanese conglomerate splits into two companies, one focused on its domestic operations and another focused on its global operations.Arora joined the company as vice chairman of SoftBank Corp. and CEO of SoftBank Internet and Media (now called SB Group US) in September 2014.SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said that he views Arora as a strong potential successor but that a leadership change won’t take place in the near future.His new appointment, which will be effective June 19, is part of SoftBank’s effort to transform itself from a Japanese company to “a global business which will strive to create sustainable growth for the very long-term,” the company said in a statement.SoftBank also said it will change its name to SoftBank Group Corp to reflects its position as a holding company with international investments and consolidate all company assets, including SoftBank Mobile Corp. and investments in Yahoo Japan Corporation and Alibaba Group, under the name SBG.

Germany will partner with India to develop Kochi, Bhubaneswar and Coimbatore as smart cities."Germany would contribute to India's smart city programme and will help develop the cities of Kochi(Kerala), Bhubaneswar (Odisha) and Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) as smart cities," State Secretary in Germany's Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Gunther Adler.The three cities are among the 20 cities which are to be developed as smart cities, announced by Urban Development Ministry in January this year.Germany had earlier set up a six-member joint committee with India to identify the cities which it could develop as smart cities.The committee had two representatives of Urban Development Ministry, one from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, and three from Germany.Germany had already been engaged in various fields related to smart cities-such as sustainable urban mobility, water and waste-water management, renewable energies and energy efficiency important Indian initiatives such as 'Swachh Bharat', National Mission for Clean Ganga and Atal Mission for Urban Rejuvenation and Transformation," he added.Germany is India's second largest bilateral donor with a record commitment of 1.5 billion Euros (Rs 11,0000 crore) agreed last year.India and the US have also agreed on formulating action plans for the development of smart cities in Allahabad, Ajmer and Visakhapatnam.

Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish  fifth British gold at UCI Track, winning the Track Cycling World Championships Madison title here at Lee Valley VeloPark, eight years after their first win as a pair.Wiggins and Cavendish won the 2008 title in Manchester before their road careers took off. Wiggins became the first British Tour de France winner in 2012, while Cavendish has won 26 Tour stages and the 2011 road race world title before returning to the track. The pair reprised their partnership for one last time at world level and won in emphatic fashion before saluting the crowd and Wiggins kissed the track after Britain’s fifth gold of the five-day event. Laura Trott had earlier won her second gold of the championships in the omnium as the hosts topped the medal table.The 30-year-old Manxman hit the deck inside the final 10 laps as Wiggins crossed the line to seal victory.Cavendish now has three world titles in the discipline and four in all, after also winning the 2005 title with Rob Hayles in Los Angeles. Wiggins, who supported Cavendish in his road race win in 2011, has eight world titles: the 2014 road time-trial world title plus seven on the track.

Nancy Reagan, the former actress who was fiercely protective of husband Ronald Reagan through a Hollywood career, eight years in the White House, an assassination attempt and her husband's Alzheimer's disease, died on 6 March,2016 at age 94.The cause of death was congestive heart failure.Nancy Reagan was born Anne Frances Robbins on July 6, 1921, in New York City.The former Nancy Davis, the wife of Ronald Reagan, the 40th U.S. president and 33rd governor of California.She acted on the big screen in just one more film after that 1958’s Crash Landing and so did he, in The Killers (1964). He announced his campaign to run for governor of California in 1965 and served until 1975.Nancy had an opportunity to play the title role in Albert Brooks’ Mother (1996), but she turned down the writer-director, saying she needed to care for her ailing husband, then plagued with Alzheimer’s. (Doris Day also said no, but Debbie Reynolds signed on and earned a Golden Globe nomination).As first lady, Nancy used the White House as a venue to showcase young performers, especially in the PBS series In Performance at the White House.In 1987, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and spoke candidly about a decision to have a mastectomy. Two years later, her autobiography, My Turn, was published; in it, she addressed her reliance on astrology.In late 1989, she established the Nancy Reagan Foundation, which aimed to continue to educate people about the dangers of substance abuse.Her husband, Ronald Reagan –the former US President was diagnosed with Alzheimer disease following which he died in 2004

Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Maneka Sanjay Gandhi launched “Mahila e-Haat”, an online marketing platform for women here Monday. Mahila e-Haat is a unique online platform where participants can display their products. It is an initiative for women across the country as a part of ‘Digital India’ and ‘Stand Up India’ initiatives of Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi.Secretary WCD, Shri V. Somasundaran said that the Mahila E-Haat will help to meet the goal of financial inclusion of women and it is a big step forward for empowerment of women.Mahila E-Haat is an initiative for meeting aspirations and need of women entrepreneurs which will leverage technology for showcasing products made/manufactured/sold by women entrepreneurs. They can even showcase those services being provided by them which reflect creative potential e.g. tailoring. This unique e-platform will strengthen the socio-economic empowerment of women as it will mobilize and provide better avenues to them. More than 10000 Self Help Groups (SHGs) and 1.25 Lakh women beneficiaries would be benefited from the day of launch of the site itself. Participation in e-Haat is open to all Indian women citizens more than 18 years of age and women SHGs desiring for marketing their legal products/services after indemnifying RMK from any or all acts of transaction.The e-Haat is expected to result in paradigm shift enabling women to exercise control over their finances. The entire business of e-Haat can be handled through mobile phone. The product, along with photograph description, cost and mobile no./address of the participants will be displayed on the e-Haat enabling direct contact between sellers/service providers and buyers

Australian golfer Adam Scott won the 2016 WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral, Florida, U.S.Scott recovered from two double bogeys in his first five holes with six birdies the rest of the round to prevail by one stroke over United States’ Bubba Watson.The victory was Scott's second consecutive win on the PGA Tour, having won The Honda Classic in February 2016.Dam Scott is a Australian professional golfer, Adam Derek Scott plays mainly on the PGA Tour.He was the World No. 1 ranked golfer from mid-May to August 2014. He has won 29 professional tournaments around the world.His biggest win to date was the 2013 Masters Tournament, his first major championship and the first Masters won by an Australian in its 77-year history.The WGC-Cadillac Championship is a professional golf tournament, one of the four annual World Golf Championships.It is sanctioned and organized by the International Federation of PGA Tours and the prize money is official money on both the PGA Tour and the European Tour.

Global financial services firm Nomura has said that India's third largest private sector lender - Axis Bank BSE 0.19 % is better placed than private sector behemoth ICICI Bank BSE -1.70 % and other PSU bank peers in terms of corporate book profitability. Banks with heavy corporate books have seen significant stock correction in the recent times, a reflection of the stress build-up across their portfolios. Despite valuing Axis higher over ICICI, Nomura has flagged off NPA concerns in the private lenders corporate book adding that the stress in Axis' corporate book is just marginally lower than that of PSU banks.Nomura expects NPA levels in the corporate book to inch up to 14-15 per cent of corporate loans. It also expects rise in near-term delinquency and credit costs as stressed metal names have not been recognised.Terming Axis Banks' retail good as "good bank", Nomura indicate that the private lenders retail and SME book will continue to deliver ROEs of 18-20 per cent. 

Indian scientist developed herbal medicine for Dengue. For 50 per cent of the global population estimated to be at risk from the disease.The project was undertaken jointly by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), under the Ministry of Science and Technology, the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (IGCEB) and Ranbaxy Research Laboratory (now owned by Sun Pharma), and employed Ayurveda in devising the drug."Using the knowledge of traditional Indian medicine -- Ayurveda -- we developed a systematic bioassay-guided screening approach to explore the indigenous herbal bio- resource to identify plants with pan-DENV (dengue virus) inhibitory activity," said Navin Khanna, senior scientist at ICGEB and the group leader of the project.Dengue, a mosquito-borne viral disease, poses a significant global public health risk. In tropical countries such as India, where periodic dengue outbreaks can be correlated to the high prevalence of the mosquito vector circulation of all four dengue viruses (DENVs) and the high population density, a drug for dengue is being increasingly recognised as an unmet public health need.India represents 50 per cent of the global population estimated to be at risk of dengue. Severe dengue, which is potentially fatal, correlates with very high virus load, reduction in platelet counts and haemorrhage.

Dr Amrita Patel has been conferred with the Mahindra Samriddi India Agri Lifetime Achievement Aear-Krishi Shiromani Samman in New Delhi.Dr Patel is a Charutar Arogya Mandal Chairman and the former Chairman of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB). She served as its chief from 1998 to 2014.The prestigious award has been conferred by Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh.The award is given for her purposeful contribution that made a difference in the field of agriculture to increase productivity and rural prosperity.Dr Patel had played an important role in the implementation of Operation Flood, the largest developmental programme in the world. The programme helped to promote, finance and deliver a variety of supporting services to a national cooperative dairy structure that transformed the lives of millions of marginalised and small farmers and milk producers.The Mahindra Samriddhi India Agri Awards were instituted by Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, Farm Equipment Sector.The lifetime achievement award is presented to a renowned personality in the agri space whose contribution is recognized at national and international levels.The awards are a platform to share best practices in agriculture for a larger community benefit.

Mathura, March 6 (PTI) Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan laid the foundation stone of country’s first-of-its-kind Octomax unit at the Mathura refinery that will help in the production of high-octane gasoline.Octomax, a "novel technology" developed in-house by Research and Development Centre of Indian Oil, involves conversion of cracked C4 streams to high-octane gasoline blending stock for production of Euro-IV/V equivalent gasoline.The refinery will setup a plant of 55 KTA capacity at an estimated cost of Rs 43 cr and is expected to be completed by October 2017."The unit at Mathura refinery will be the first-of-its- kind in India addressing the emerging scenario in petroleum refining," an official statement said.The unit on Octomax technology has been conceptualised and designed based on indigenous efforts.Mathura refinery will play major role in meeting governments target of introducing BS-VI standards in petrol and diesel by 2020.The plan is to further increase the capacity of Mathura Refinery to 11.0 MMT/yr at a cost of Rs 5,000 crore but it depends on Uttar Pradesh government facilitating the refinery by withdrawing five per cent entry tax.

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