Current Affairs 7th March 2017 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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The Union Cabinet on 6 March 2017 gave its approval for India's accession to the Customs Convention on International Transport of Goods under cover of TIR Carnets (TIR Convention). The approval was given at a meeting of the Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. By joining the Convention, the need for inspection of goods at intermediate borders as well as physical escorts en route shall be obviated due to reciprocal recognition of Customs controls. Indian traders will have access to fast, easy, reliable and hassle free international system for movement of goods by road or multi-modal means across the territories of other contracting parties. Customs clearance can take place at internal Customs locations, thereby avoiding clearances at border crossing points and ports that may often be congested. Movement under the TIR can be allowed by checking only the seals and the external conditions of the load compartment or the container. This procedure will reduce border delays, transport and transaction costs, thereby leading to increased competitiveness and growth of the trade and transport sectors. Compliance with the Convention shall ensure enhanced security in the supply chain as only approved transporters and vehicles are allowed to operate in terms of the Convention. As the TIR Carnet represents a guarantee for Customs duties and taxes and traffic in transit, there is no need for payment of such taxes and duties en route. The TIR carnet also serves as a Customs declaration, and hence it precludes the need to file multiple declarations satisfying national laws of the different transiting countries.

The Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation organised a national conference on Jal Kranti Abhiyan on 7 March 2017 in New Delhi. The conference was inaugurated by Uma Bharti, the Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. Also in attendance were Sanjeev Kumar Baliyan and Vijay Goel, the Union ministers of state for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. The day-long conference saw around 700 participants, representing various stakeholder groups such as officials, farmers, students, NGOs and panchayat members.  Jal Kranti Abhiyan : The nation-wide programme was launched by Union Minister Uma Bharti on 5 June 2016. The programme mainly aims to create awareness among various stakeholders about the importance of water conservation and security and also to help resolve several water-related issues in the country. It was launched with the objective of consolidating water conservation and management in the country through a more integrated approach involving all stakeholders and making it a mass movement.  It aims to bring together all relevant existing and planned schemes of the Government of India on one platform to achieve the objectives. To strengthen grass root involvement of all stakeholders including local bodies and Panchayati Raj institutions in the water security and development schemes like Participatory Irrigation Management (PIM). - To encourage the adoption of traditional knowledge in water resources conservation and its management. - To utilize sector level expertise from different levels in the government, NGOs and citizens. - To enhance livelihood security through water security in rural areas.

K Srinath Reddy, a Padma Bhushan awardee was appointed as the adviser to the Odisha government on 6 March 2017. The announcement was made by Odisha’s Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik himself. Reddy has been roped in to advise the state government on proper implementation and smooth delivery of the state’s ongoing health service programmes. A communiqué from the chief minister’s office stated that Reddy would be accorded with the rank of a Cabinet minister along with other facilities. K Srinath Reddy : He is an eminent cardiologist, epidemiologist and the President of the Public Health Foundation of India and World Heart Federation. He also serves as the President of the National Board of Examinations that deals with post-graduate medical education in India. He is the first Bernard Lown Visiting Professor of Cardiovascular Health at the Harvard School of Public Health. Previously, Reddy served as the head of the cardiology department at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). He has played a pivotal role in strengthening training, research and policy development in the area of Public Health and was awarded Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award by the President of India for the same.  

The Union Cabinet on 6 March 2017 gave its ex-post facto approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Renewable Energy between India and Portugal. The approval was given at a meeting of the Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. Highlights  : The MoU establishes the basis for a cooperative institutional relationship to encourage and promote technical bilateral cooperation on new and renewable issues. The future partnership will be strengthened on the basis of mutual benefit, equality and reciprocity. The MoU envisages constitution of a Joint Working Group (JWG), which can include members from scientific institutions, research centers, universities, or any other entity, as and when considered essential. The MoU will also help in strengthening overall bilateral cooperation between the two countries. Relations with Portugal today remain close, friendly and devoid of irritants. Diplomatic relations between India and Portugal were established in 1949. However, following problems in negotiations over Goa, all diplomatic and consular links were severed in 1 September 1955. Goa was liberated in 1961. Having overcome the irritants of 1961, the two countries share an excellent political relationship today. Portugal has consistently supported India at multilateral fora, including for a permanent seat at the UNSC. It also supported India in its bid for a non-permanent seat in 2011-12. Cooperation between India and Portugal is also witnessed in the fact that Portugal agreed to extradite Abu Salem in 2004. With this, Portugal has become the first European Union nation to agree to extradition to India. Both the countries signed seven bilateral agreements in January 2017 during the visit of the Prime Minister of Portugal Antonio Costa to India. During the visit, both the countries released a Joint Declaration on Cooperation in Third Countries. The declaration is in tune with India’s ambition to extend soft power across the globe.  

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affair (CCEA) on 6 March 2017 approved the proposal for revival of 50 un-served airports and airstrips of the state governments, Airports Authority of India and Civil enclaves. These 50 airports and airstrips will be revived in three financial years starting from 2017-18. The total cost of the project is estimated to be 4500 crore rupees. The approval was granted at the CCEA meet held in New Delhi under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Details of revival in accordance to different financial years Revival in the financial year 2017-18: 15 airports and airstrips each would be revived Revival in the financial year 2018-19: 15 airports and airstrips each would be revived Revival in the financial year 2019-20: 20 airports and airstrips each would be revived Outcome of the approval  This approval will help in connecting small cities and towns with flights. This could be achieved by commencing operation of flights to these under-served and un-served airports. It will help in bring the economic development on these areas as well as surrounding areas, as it will help in job creations and development of related infrastructure. The revival of airstrips and airports will be demand driven, depending upon the firm commitment from airline operators as well as from the State Governments for providing various concessions as Airports will be developed without insisting on financial viability.  

The United Nations Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on 8 March 2017 to discuss the latest missile launches by North Korea. North Korea on 6 March 2017 fired four banned ballistic missiles into the sea off Japan’s northwest coast, alarming both Japan and South Korea. The move came days after the nuclear-armed country promised retaliation over the large-scale military exercise launched jointly by the United States and South Korea to test their defence alertness, which it viewed as a preparation for war against it. The launch hence has angered and alerted the entire international community, especially the United States and Japan, both of whom requested UNSC to hold the emergency meeting. Highlights : The emergency meeting is scheduled to begin from 10 am on 8 March. The launches were the latest among the series of tests that violate UN’s ban on North Korea from developing missile technology. While condemning the missile test, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged North Korea to refrain from further such provocations.  According to South Korea, four missiles were fired from Tongchang County in the North Pyongan province of North Korea into the sea of Japan. Though South Korea’s military stated that the missiles were unlikely to have been intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) that can reach the United States, they flew on an average of 1000 km and are reported to have reached an altitude of 260 km. According to Tomomi Inada, Japan’s Defence minister, some of the missiles landed as close as 300 km from Japan's northwest coast.

The Union Cabinet, presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 6 March 2017 approved the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and the United Nations Entity of Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women). The MoU seeks to provide technical support to the Ministry of Panchayati Raj in strengthening capacities of governance institutions including Panchayati Raj Institutions(PRIs) to better leverage opportunities created for gender equality through legislation, policies and programmes. It is interesting to note that the decision has come just a couple of days before the International Women's Day 2017. The Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) and UN-Women have worked in collaboration with each other to promote participation of women in PRIs. The collaborations seeks to enhance building capacities of Elected Women Representatives. Highlights : The proposed MoU will facilitate the achievement of time-bound results in the implementation of specific activities identified jointly by Ministry of Panchayati Raj and UN Women within the broader framework for cooperation under the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF). As per the terms of the MoU, activities will be implemented at the district and sub-district level in six States i.e. Telengana, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. The MoPR and the UN-Women will work together towards participatory design of governance processes and effective implementation of laws, policies and programmes to promote gender responsive governance. The parties are in agreement that engendering the initiatives of MoPR will be of mutual benefit. Also, it will promote their shared mission of good governance, gender equality and women’s empowerment. In the long run, it will also enable an improvement in the status of rural women in India. Also, the initiative will contribute to meeting India’s commitment to the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Beijing Platform for Action and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Trade Mark Rules, 2017 came into effect on 6 March 2017. This newly notified trade mark rules will replace the erstwhile Trade Mark Rules, 2002 and streamline and simplify the processing of Trade Mark applications. The best part of the revamped trade mark rules is that the number of Trade Mark (TM) forms has been brought down to eight from existing 74. Commerce and Industry Ministry said, the fee for online filing has been kept at 10 per cent lower than that for physical filing, this will help the government to promote e-filing of trade mark applications. Highlights  : The fees for individuals, start-ups and small enterprises were reduced to Rs 4500 for e-filing of trade mark applications. Under the proposed draft rules, the fee for application was kept at Rs 8000.  The number of adjournments in opposition proceedings has been restricted to a maximum of two by each party, which will help dispose-off the matters in time. The procedures relating to registration as registered user of trademarks have also been simplified.It is the first time when the modalities for determination of well-known trademarks were laid out. The provisions in relation to the expedited processing of the application for registration of a trade mark were extended to registration stage (hitherto, it was only up to examination stage). Overall fees were rationalised by reducing the number of entries in Schedule I to 23 from 88. The modalities for service of documents from applicants to the registry and vice-versa through electronic means have been introduced; this will help in expediting the process. E-mail has been made an essential part of the address for service to be provided by the applicant or any party to the proceedings so that the office communication may be sent through email.  It introduces the process of hearing through video conferencing. Earlier in January 2017, the examination time for the TM application was brought down to 1 month from the previous time period of 13 months. TM filings went up by 35 per cent in 2015-16 vis a vis the previous year. It is expected that the new rules will give a boost to the Intellectual Property Regime in India.

US President Donald Trump signed a new executive order on 6 March 2017, reinstating a ban on immigration from six of the previously banned Muslim majority countries for three months and all refugees for four months. The countries featuring on the banned list include Libya, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Yemen and Somalia. Iraq, which was included in the previous ban, was spared from the current one after agreeing for additional visa vetting measures. The decision to exclude Iraq from the list was welcomed by the Iraqi foreign ministry and it said that this order will enhance US-Iraqi cooperation in the fight against Islamic State terrorists. Highlights :  The new ban will come into effect on 16 March 2017. The new order exempts permanent residents and current visa holders who had initially been covered by the previous order. It also dropped language offering preferential status to persecuted religious minorities for refugee settlement, a provision that had been viewed as targeting Muslims. This revised order was unveiled by the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Department of Homeland Security John Kelly. The order also gives permission to refugees who had already received approval from the State department to enter the United States. It also lifts the indefinite ban imposed on all Syrian refugees. Trump’s previous executive order, his first immigration directive, was faced with wide-scale protests, especially at the nation’s airports. It was ultimately blocked by a federal appeals court.

Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas on 6 March 2017 defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-4 to win Brasil Open Men’s Singles title. It is the third straight Brasil Open title for Cuevas. In the rain-delayed clay-court tournament, Cuevas finally wrapped up the title on 6 March 2017 with a victory against Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain. Ramos-Vinolas had won the first set on 5 March 2017; however, the second set was stopped by rain at 3-3 and deuce with Ramos Vinolas serving. Once the game resumed, Cuevas, the world No 33, quickly took control, winning the second set 6-4 and then taking the third by the same score against the Spaniard. Pablo Cuevas : Born on 1 January 1986, Pablo Cuevas is an Argentine-born Uruguayan professional tennis player.  He won the 2008 French Open men's doubles title with Luis Horna.He has won 5 singles titles. In April 2009, he had achieved his career-high doubles ranking of World no. 14.  Brasil Open : The Brasil Open is a tennis tournament held annually in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It is a part of the ATP World Tour 250 series. The tournament is one of the main events in the Brazilian tennis calendar. Since 2004, the competition has been a part of the South American clay court circuit. Before that, it was held on hard courts. Spain’s Nicolas Almagro and Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas hold the record for most titles at the tournament. The 2016 Brasil Open Men’s Singles title was won by Pablo Cuevas. The 2017 Brasil Open Men’s Doubles title is won Rogerio Dutra Silva and Andra Sa.

Odisha observed the 101st birth anniversary of former Chief Minister Biju Patnaik on March 5, 2017. As a part of the occasion, the mini-marathon was flagged off by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik from Biju Patnaik Park in Bhubaneswar which ended at the Kalinga Stadium. Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tributes to Biju Patnaik and acknowledged his diligence with which he served the society. Biju Patnaik was born on March 5 in 1916. He had serve as the Chief Minister of Odisha for two times, in 1961 and 1990. Patnaik who is also known as ‘Sher-e-Utkal’ (Lion of Odisha) died in 1997. Odisha has made considerable development under his leadership in infrastructure, job creation, attracting investment and women empowerment.

Eminent Malayalam author and journalist M P Veerendra Kumar was presented the 30th Moortidevi award by Bharatiya Jnanpith organisation in Kozhikode Kerala. The Sahitya Akademi award winning writer was chosen for the prominent award for his Malayalam travelogue Hymavathabhoovil, which dwells upon ancient trails of Indian culture,myth, literature and people strewn in the plains, valleys and mountains of India”. The book also portraits environmental concerns over “fragile mountain ecosystem” and calls for action over lack of water resources and waste disposal systems.  

Online cab aggregator Ola has signed MoU with Government of Madhya Pradesh on March 4, 2017 to impart training to 25,000 youths in the state. The MoU was signed between Madhya Pradesh State Skill Development Mission (MPSSDM) and Directorate of Skill Development (Technical Education & Skill Development Dept). The aim of the MOU is to provide training, skill development and empowerment of 25,000 driver partners in the next two years. Besides, the company has also set a goal of nurturing micro entrepreneurship and skilling 50 lakh drivers by 2020. Ola will work closely with the Skill Development Department of the state in providing essential training infrastructure, utilities and technology framework to ensure an improved employment scenario for the youth of Madhya Pradesh. In addition, Ola will organize on-ground events, build communication modules and create conducive ecosystem for aspiring driver partners to get requisite training and skills.  

People’s Republic of China has increased its defence budget by 7% for 2017, the lowest increase in seven years and second year in row. In real terms, the defence budget of the world’s largest armed forces, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is likely to be close to the $ 145 billion-mark. China’s defence budget is much smaller compared to that of the US, which announced a 10% increase in its defence outlay after the change of oval office. The country minimised its defence expenditure is a follow suit of its neighbours with many of whom Beijing has maritime disputes.

The International Monetary Fund reached a preliminary agreement with Ukraine on an updated Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies on March 4, 2017. The agreement will pave way for the IMF’s Executive Board to consider the third review of the arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) and disburse fresh aid of $1 billion (0.9 billion euros) to Ukraine in the first half of March 2017. The International Monetary Fund approved a $17.5 billion loan program for 4 years for Ukraine in 2015 to help the former Soviet republic financially amid a conflict with pro-Russia rebels. Disbursements under the programme have seen repeated delays over the past two years due to stop-start progress on reforms. So far Ukraine has received $7.7 billion under the programme. After the latest consultations with the IMF conclude, the disbursement of the fourth tranche must be approved by the Fund’s Board at a meeting in Washington.  

According to the GSM Association report released in Barcelona, India will lead the world in Smartphone adoption with a net addition of 350 million connections in 2016-20. The report was based on the estimates of the GSMA Intelligence Consumer Survey 2016 conducted across 56 countries on the mobile usage trend. As per the report, the developing world is set to add 1.6 billion smartphone connections between 2016 and 2020. It also stated that the Smartphone adoption across developing markets will increase from an average of 47 percent in 2016 to 62 percent in 2020 which would be led by India, China and Indonesia. In developing region, the Smartphone accounted for 51 percent of all mobile connections at the end of 2016 which was greater than that of basic and feature phone in all regions except sub-Saharan Africa.

The Maharashtra government led by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has decided to implement the Maharashtra City Taxi Regulations 2017 to regulate the web-based taxi services in the state. The aim of the move is to ensure affordable travel for passengers and commuters and bring transparency. The decision was based on the complaints that web-based taxis like Ola, Uber, Taxi for Sure charged fares as per the supply of the taxi services and demand by the commuters.As per the new regulation, the vehicle would have GPS/GPRS system in the vehicle and there will be a display of the route and fare to be recovered for the same. Besides, the service providers will have to register in the city where they wish to operate the taxi service. These taxi services will have separate permits and will be air-conditioned. They will run on clean fuel. The taxi drivers would be required to give a bill for the payment made by the commuters. Government will formulate the maximum and minimum fare. The fares will be different for small taxis, medium luxury taxis and large taxis. The normal black and yellow taxis that run in the city can also upgrade to air-conditioned and register as app-based service but they would not be allowed to shift back again to meter system.

North Eastern state Tripura has agreed to supply an additional 60 MW to Bangladesh over the 100 MW of power the north-eastern state is supplying to the neighbouring country. This development comes after Bangladesh sought 100 MW electricity from India to solve its power crisis in the eastern part of the nation.  The Country has been receiving 100 MW since March 23, 2016, besides it has also been provided 500 MW by the West Bengal government.

Social networking site Facebook launched a new initiative 'SheLeadsTech', to support women-founded or co-founded startups. Facebook also aimed at expanding its 'SheMeansBusiness' program that supports women-led small businesses. SheLeadsTech will give women-founded or co-founded start-ups access to a year-long program that provides tools, mentorship and resources. The announcement which came ahead of Women's Day aim to bring women on board India's digital revolution in a bigger way.

Haryana Government has announced Tirtha Darshan Scheme under which senior citizens above 60 years of age in the state will be able to go on a pilgrimage within the country at government expense Announcement in this regard was made by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar while replying to the discussion on the Governor’s address during the budget session of the Haryana Assembly. Under the scheme, state government will bear the entire cost of the tour of senior citizens belonging to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families.  In case of a couple, the expenses of the spouse belonging to BPL family will also be borne by the statet government.  They will also be able to take along an assistant. In case of senior citizens of non-BPL families, state government would bear only 70% of the cost. Senior citizens will be selected for the pilgrimage on the basis of lottery system.  Under the scheme, over 400 destinations can be visited. The maximum number of pilgrims will be only 250 every year. Selection of pilgrims will be made by a district committee headed by the deputy commissioner.  The tour packages will include journey in sleeper class by chartered train and night accommodation on multi-sharing basis. Besides, travel insurance provision will be mandatory for the pilgrims.

Scientists have claimed that they have discovered oldest fossils on Earth in rocks from Quebec, Canada. Carbon dating techniques suggest that these rocks are at least 3.8 billion years old and might even be 4.3 billion years old. The fossils are tiny and consist of tubes and filaments up to half a millimetre in length and around half the width of a human hair.  The fossils are thought to be the remains of bacteria that lived on iron and dwelt around hydrothermal vent systems i.e. mineral rich hot springs on the seafloor. They’re made of haematite, a type of iron oxide (known as rust). Some of the filaments are branched, some resemble loose coils and others appear to be joined to knobs of haematite.  These structures were found to contain graphite as well as the minerals apatite and carbonate which are basically associated with biological matter. Iron—oxide granules was also found and in other sections of the rocks, structures such as carbonate rosettes were discovered which might have formed as biological matter broke down.  The rocks in which the fossils were found are metamorphic i.e. they have experienced high temperatures and pressures since they were formed. The size and arrangement of the haematite structures indicates that these microbes were breathing oxygen at a time when oxygen is thought to have been scarce. This discovery supports the idea that life emerged from hot, seafloor vents shortly after planet Earth formed. Thus, provides strong evidence that the first life on Earth and formed around nutrient-rich hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the ocean. It is one of leading theories to show signs of how life spawned on Earth, as opposed to other theories such as panspermia, which suggests that life was deposited by asteroid or other rocky body that crashed into Earth.

Jean-Julien Rojer from the Netherlands and Horia Tecau from Romania on 4 March 2017 won the Dubai Tennis Championships Men’s Doubles title. It is the 13th doubles title of the duo. Rojer and Tecau defeated India’s Rohan Bopanna and Poland’s Marcin Matkowski 4–6, 6–3, [10–3] in the finals to grab the title. The Dubai Tennis Championships was the second final for Bopanna in the year 2017. He had started the season by winning the Chennai Open with compatriot Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan. Dubai Tennis Championships : The Dubai Tennis Championships is a professional tennis tournament. It is owned and organized by Dubai Duty Free and held annually in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is held on outdoor hardcourts. The championship usually takes place at the end of February. It takes place under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai. In 2001, the Association of Tennis Professionals upgraded the tournament from a 250 level to a more prestigious 500 level tournament.  In 2016, the Dubai Tennis Championships Men’s Doubles title was won by Simone Bolelli and Andreas Seppi. The 2017 Dubai Tennis Championships Men’s Singles is won by Andy Murray. The 2017 Dubai Tennis Championships Women’s Singles is won by Elina Svitolina. The 2017 Dubai Tennis Championships Women’s Doubles title is won by Ekaterina Makarova and Russia Elena Vesnina.

The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in Dehradun plan to use drones to monitor tiger population in the reserves. The conservation drones would map select tiger reserves in the country. Apart from monitoring the tiger population, the drones would collect and transmit visual data on animal movements, poaching activities and forest fires from the inaccessible areas of the forest. The data provided could be used for management of habitats and species. Highlights : The project, which would mark the beginning of significant technological intervention in wildlife conservation, will be launched in 10 tiger reserves across the country. Each reserve would get five unmanned vehicles, each of which is expected to cost around Rs 400000. Though the project has been given clearance by the Union ministries of Defence and Civil Aviation, strict conditions have been imposed for the usage of the drones.  Drone tests have been conducted previously in Kaziranga Tiger Reserve, Assam and in Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh. According to the researchers in WII, advanced technological solutions are required for the protection of wildlife populations, especially large animals such as tiger, rhino and elephant, as they move beyond the protected boundaries and are often popular targets of poachers. According to V.B. Mathur, Director of WII, the drones have programmable auto-pilot and telemetry systems that are capable of recording information and doing its live transmission. He further continued by saying that the use of drones could also make night patrolling of forest terrains, radio-tracking of animals and habitat monitoring possible. Mathur also added that while deployment and data collection would be carried out by a team of trained professionals working with the Wildlife Institute of India and the State Forest Departments, the research and development activities for further improvisation of the technology for various purposes would be continued in collaboration with national and international organisations.

Haryana Finance Minister Captain Abhimanyu on 6 March 2017 presented the State annual budget for 2017-18 in the legislative assembly. In tune with the changes proposed in the Union Budget 2017-18, the Government of Haryana has dispensed with the plan and non plan classification of expenditure and presented the budget in terms of revenue and capital classification. Haryana State Budget 2017-18 : The total size of the budget was pegged at over Rs 1,02,329 crore for the fiscal year 2017-18, which is an increase of 13.8 per cent over revised estimates for the FY 2016-17. The proposal comprises 21.88 per cent as capital expenditure of Rs 22,393.51 crore and 78.12 per cent as revenue expenditure of Rs 79,935.84 crore. This is for the first time that the State budget has crossed the figure of one lakh crore rupees excluding food grain procurement operations. The demonetization initiative of the Union Government had slowed economy. However, the economy is expected to rebound before the end of the 2016-17 financial year. Captain Abhimanyu said Gross State Domestic Product is expected to rebound to 9 per cent plus growth in 2017-18 and in 2016-17 it is growing at 8.7 per cent. Rs 5000 crore rupees allocated for the development of 1500 villages under the Deen Bandhu Haryana Gram Uday Yojana. Mangal Nagar Vikas Yojana was proposed in the name of former Deputy Chief Minister Late Dr Mangal Sain to create modern infrastructure and for maintenance of existing infrastructure in urban areas. In order to promote all government payments of more than Rs 5000 through digital mode, 5 per cent rebate will be given on bill payments and other government payments through Bhim app subject to a maximum rebate of Rs 50. No fresh taxes have been proposed in the budget. Biodiesel B100, solar devices and parts used in solar power projects have been made tax free by exempting them from VAT.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on 6 March 2017 announced that more than 1 in 4 deaths of children under 5 years of age are attributable to unhealthy environments. The revelations were made by the agency in its two new reports, titled Inheriting a Sustainable World: Atlas on Children’s Health and the Environment and Don't pollute my future! The impact of the environment on children's health. The WHO went on to state that indoor and outdoor air pollution, unsafe water, lack of sanitation, second-hand smoke and inadequate hygiene take the lives of 1.7 million children under 5 years.  Highlights : Diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia are the most common causes of death among children aged 1 month to 5 years. The reports state that these causes are preventable access to safe water and clean cooking fuels. Infants and pre-schoolers have an increased risk of pneumonia in childhood, and a lifelong increased risk of chronic respiratory diseases, such as asthma, when they are exposed to indoor and outdoor air pollution and second-hand smoke. Every year, 570000 children under 5 years die from respiratory infections attributable to indoor and outdoor air pollution and second-hand smoke. Each year, 270000 children die during their first month of life from conditions, including prematurity. These conditions can be easily prevented through sanitation, hygiene in health facilities, access to clean water and reducing air pollution. Malaria is responsible for 200000 deaths of children under 5 years annually. These deaths could be prevented through environmental actions, like reducing breeding sites of mosquitoes or covering drinking-water storage. Every year, 361000 children under 5 years die due to diarrhoea, as a result of poor access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene. 200000 children under 5 years die each year from unintentional injuries attributable to the environment, such as poisoning, falls and drowning.

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