Today Current Affairs 31st March 2017

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The Supreme Court relaxed the age limit and allowed candidates above 25 years of age to appear in the NEET examinations 2017. The bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra also extended the last date of filling up the forms till April 5. The age limit can be fixed from the next academic year. Earlier, an eligible student above the age of 17 could apply, and there was no cap on the number of attempts. NEET Full Form : National Eligibility cum Entrance Test. NEET 2017 exam will be held for admission to MBBS/ BDS courses in Medical Council of India (MCI) and Dental Council of India.

3rd G20 Framework Working Group meeting held in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh Important Notes:- • The focus of the meeting was to deliberate on the inclusive growth agenda of the G20 and formulation of a framework for country specific inclusive growth policies. • In the two-day meeting, officials from more than 30 countries discussed the growth strategy to raise the world GDP by 2 per cent till 2018. • Since the inception of the Framework Working Group in 2009, this is the fourth occasion India is hosting this meeting. • The meeting was co-hosted by the Union Ministry of Finance and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). •  Hosting of the event assumes significance, as the G20 group is helping India to enhance the production from the manufacturing capacity to the tune of Rs 2 lakh crore under the Make In India initiative. • Besides, the delegates were also taken to the banks of river Ganga to witness the famous Ganga Aarti. The delegates were also given exposure to the rich culture and cuisine of Kashi. Union Ministry of Finance: Arun Jaitley. About G20:- The Group of Twenty (G20) is the premier forum for its members’ international economic cooperation and decision-making. It is deliberating on global economic issues and other important development challenges. It comprises total 19 countries plus the European Union (EU), representing 85% of global GDP, 80% of international trade, 65% of world’s population. It was started in 1999 as a meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in the aftermath of the Southeast Asian (Tiger economies) financial crisis. G-20 Member countries:- Its members include India, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Turkey, South Africa, UK, US and EU.

After dominating the skies above the seas for 29 years, the Indian Navy’s TU-142M aircraft were given a ceremonial farewell at the INS Rajali, India’s premiere Naval Air Station in Arakkonam, Tamil Nadu. In the farewell flight, the TU-142M were accompanied by three Chetak helicopters, two Dorniers, one IL-38 and one Boeing P-8I. The Tu-142M maritime snooping aircraft, better known as 'Albatross' for its massive wing-span, had on several occasions picked up Chinese and Pakistani submarines operating close to Indian waters. The fuel-guzzling Tupolev142M's were the primary genuine long-range maritime reconnaissance of the Indian Navy. The TU-142MKE has a speed of around 850 kmph, and a battle range of 6,500-km.

The Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh has become the first tiger reserve in India to officially introduce a mascot, which has been named Bhoorsingh the Barasingha.  The Barasingha or swamp deer is the state animal of Madhya Pradesh. Bhoorsingh was chosen among four variations by the Madhya Pradesh forest department. Kanha Tiger Reserve, also called Kanha National Park, is one of the tiger reserves of India and the largest national park of Madhya Pradesh, state in the heart of India.It was established in 1955.

Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar started his digital innings as a mobile phone app dedicated to him, 100MB Cricket, was launched in Mumbai. 100MB Cricket is now available for Android via Google Play, and for iOS via the App Store. The app is conceptualised and developed by JetSynthesys and has been envisioned by Sachin himself. A song entitled Cricketwalli Beat sung by Sachin with the ace singer Sonu Nigam will feature on the app on Sunday at 10pm IST.  

Park Geun-hye, the former South Korean president, has been arrested and jailed over a high profile corruption scandal that has already seen her ousted from office and prompted early elections. Ms Park, 65, was immediately driven to a detention centre in the south of the capital, Seoul. Political crisis:- Park Geun-hye’s presidency reached a crisis in October 2016, after it was revealed she was being secretly advised by a female friend, Choi Soon-sil. Ms Choi, dubbed “Korea’s Rasputin”, guided President Park on everything from clothes to policy on North Korea. She is currently facing criminal charges of using her influence to extort millions of dollars from businesses. The Korean parliament voted to impeach Park Geun-hye in December 2016. She was arrested by South Korean prosecutors in March 2017.

The government has lowered interest rates by 0.1% on small savings instruments, such as Kisan Vikas Patra, Senior Citizens Savings Scheme, Public Provident Fund (PPF) and Sukanya Samriddhi Account, effective from April 1, 2017. PPF will fetch an interest rate of 7.9% starting from April 1, 2017, which was earlier 8%. In similar fashion, Five-Year Senior Citizens Savings Scheme at 8.4%, Five-Year National Savings Certificate at 7.9% and Kisan Vikas Patra will come down to 7.6%. Reason: Due to overall decline in interest rate in the financial system, the aforesaid interest rates have been reduced. Union Finance Minister: Arun Jaitley (Since 26 May 2014)

India's Ace forward SV Sunil has been named as the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) 'player of the year 2016'. Sunil has been honoured in the senior men’s section. While Harmanpreet was named the 'promising player of the year 2016'. He has been honoured in the Junior men’s section. Harmanpreet had a stupendous 2016 with the Indian junior men's team winning the Junior World Cup in Lucknow. He was also part of the senior men's team at the 2016 Rio Olympics and the FIH Champions Trophy in London where India won a historic silver medal. Sunil, on the other hand, played a vital role in India's successful outing at FIH Champions Trophy in London last year where he led the forwardline. Considered to be one of the fastest men on the pitch in the world, Sunil has also served as the team's vice-captain.

ACT Fibernet announced the launch of 1Gbps (gigabits per second) wired broadband internet services in Hyderabad. This makes the `City of Pearls’ India’s first `Giga City’. In Hyderabad, the 1 Gb plan will be offered at Rs 5,999 per month. The services were launched by Telangana IT minister K T Rama Rao. ACT Fibernet CEO: Bala Malladi ACT Fibernet's 1 Gbps wired internet service will be launched in 10 other cities in the near-term. It also plans to invest around Rs 1,200 crore over the next two financial years to boost its presence in the country. About ACT Fibernet:- Full form: Atria Convergence Technologies Pvt. Ltd Headquarters: Bengaluru Founded: 2000 Areas served: Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Delhi

SpaceX successfully re-launched one of its Falcon 9 rockets into orbit and had it return to Earth safely. This rocket was first used last year, when it was the first Falcon 9 rocket to successfully land on one of SpaceX’s autonomous drone ships at sea.  About SpaceX:- Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, better known as SpaceX, is an American aerospace manufacturer. SpaceX CEO: Elon Musk Founded : 2002 Headquarters : Hawthorne, California, United States

Kerala, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura joined the Ujwal DISCOM  Assurance Yojana (UDAY) for operational improvement of the Power Utility and for the revival of debt-stressed discoms, taking the total number of states under the scheme to 26. An overall net benefit of approximately Rs 4,178 crore, Rs 309 crore and Rs 810 crore would accrue to the states of Kerala, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura respectively, by opting to participate in UDAY, by way of cheaper funds, reduction in AT&C (aggregate technical and commercial) and transmission losses, interventions in energy efficiency, etc during the period of turnaround. About UDAY:- Full Form : Ujwal DISCOM  Assurance Yojana Mission statement:  "Financial turnaround of Power Distribution Companies" Owner : Supported by Ministry of Power (India) Founder : Ujwal patel Established: November 2015 Present Ministry of Power (India): Piyush Goyal

The Government of India signed a contract for the Discovered Small Fields (DSF) Bid 2016 with GEM Laboratories for extracting Hydrocarbons at Neduvasal, a village in Pudukkottai district, in Tamil Nadu. The contract was one of the many signed for 31 areas under the DSF Bid Round 2016. The estimated total revenue would be approximately Rs 46,400 crore, of which royalty collection and Government's revenue share is expected to be around Rs 5,000 crore and Rs 9,300 crore, respectively. It is also estimated that employment for about 37,500 persons would be generated through these fields.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will dedicate to the nation Asia’s longest bi-directional road tunnel 'Chennai-Nashri Tunnel' on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway on 2 April, which will cut down travel time between the two cities by two hours. 10 facts about the project:-  1. The length of the tunnel is 9.28 km. The world’s longest highway tunnel is 24.51 km and is in Norway. 2. It will reduce the travel distance between Jammu and Srinagar by 30.11 km, which will help save fuel worth Rs 27 lakh daily. 3. Built on the lower Himalayan range at a height of 1,200 metres, it will cut travel time between the two cities by at least two hours. 4. The project cost is Rs 3,720 crore, Rs 1,200 crore more than the initial estimated cost. 5. Work on the tunnel system started on May 23, 2011. 6. The main tunnel is 13 metre in diametre, the parallel escape tunnel is 6 metre diametre and are connected by 29 cross passages at 300-metre gap. 7. The tunnel boasts of an integrated system that will control communication, ventilation, video surveillance, power supply, SOS call box, fire fighting and incident detection and an FM signal repeater. 8. It is part of a 286-km-long four-lane project on the Jammu-Srinagar highway. 9. It is meant to avoid stretches of National Highway 44 prone to avalanches and landslides. Patnitop, Kud, and Batote will be bypassed now. 10. The speed limit in the tunnel will be 50km/hour and headlights will have to be low beam.

The ICC (International Cricket Council) is set to bid for inclusion of cricket, in its Twenty20 format, in the 2024 Olympic Games. ICC will take a decision in June. If ICC’s bid is accepted by the IOC (International Olympic Committee), cricket will return to the Olympics fold for the first time in 124 years. Cricket last appeared at the 1900 Paris Olympics when only two teams - Great Britain and France - were involved. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will choose between 2024 bid cities Paris and Los Angeles at a meeting in Lima in September, with new sports also under consideration. ICC Chief Executive Officer(CEO) : Dave Richardson IOC President : Thomas Bach

Sportspersons receive Padma Shri 2017 Award:- 1) Indian skipper Virat Kohli 2) Wrestler Sakshi Malik 3) Gymnast Dipa Karmakar, 4) Paralympian Mariyappan Thangavelu 5) Paralympian Deepa Malik 6) Hockey captain PR Sreejesh 7) Discus thrower Vikas Gowda 8) Blind cricket team captain Shekhar Naik Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India, bestowed the award upon them at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. About Padma Awards:- First instituted in 1954, the Padma awards were introduced in a bid to recognise distinguished and exceptional achievements in fields like art, literature, medicine, social work, sports, science, civil service, public affairs and others. The award is presented in three categories viz. Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri, in decreasing order of importance. The Padma Shri is the fourth highest civilian award in India.

El Salvador, Central America’s smallest nation, has become the first country in the world to ban metals mining nationwide following a long-running dispute with a Canadian-Australian company over an environmentally questioned gold project. The bill was passed by 69 votes. Robin Broad, a professor of development at the American University in Washington and supporter of the ban, said only 43 ballots were needed for it to pass. The law also bans the use of toxic cyanide and mercury for mining. More than 90% of El Salvador’s surface waters are estimated to be polluted by toxic chemicals, heavy metals and waste matter. About El Salvador:- Country in Central America Capital : San Salvador Currency : United States Dollar President : Salvador Sanchez Ceren

57 year old, US astronaut Peggy Whitson is set to surpass Indian-origin astronaut Sunita Williams’ record for the most spacewalks by a female astronaut when Whitson goes on her eighth spacewalk, recently. Williams has spent a total of 322 days in space on two missions. With 50 hours and 40 minutes, she also holds the record total cumulative spacewalk time by a female astronaut.

Tamil Nadu has become the first state to win all BCCI senior trophies after winning the Deodhar Trophy at Vizag. Tamil Nadu beat India 'B' by 42 runs to become the first state side to win the three-team one-day tournament. Tamil Nadu state, which has won the Ranji Trophy in the year 1987-88, also won the Vijay Hazare Trophy in the year 2017, making the state five-time winners in the tournament. Tamil Nadu has won the Irani Cup in the year of 1988-89 and the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in the year of 2007- TamilNadu's new coach: Hrishikesh Kanitkar Man of the match : Dinesh Karthik (Wicket-keeper batsman) About Deodhar Trophy:- The Deodhar Trophy is a List A cricket competition in Indian domestic cricket. It is named after Prof. D. B. Deodhar (known as the Grand Old Man of Indian cricket) and is a 50-over knockout competition played on an annual basis among the 5 zonal teams - North Zone, South Zone, East Zone, West Zone and Central Zone. Tamil Nadu is the current champion of the competition (2016-17). North Zone has won the tournament a record 13 times.