CURRENT AFFAIRS: IMPORTANT DAY

World Meteorological Day:

  • The World Meteorological Day is celebrated annually on March 23.
  • The World Meteorological Organisation was founded on this day and every year the organisation announces a slogan for World Meteorological Day and is celebrated in all member countries.
  • The WMO is “an intergovernmental organization with a membership of 191 Member States and Territories”.
  • It originated from the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), which was founded in 1873.
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Theme 2018Weather-Ready, Climate-Smart

CURRENT AFFAIRS: NATIONAL

Government decides to declare 2018 as National Year of Millets:

  • The government has decided to declare 2018 as ‘National Year of Millets to boost the cultivation of millets like ragi and jowar on a mission mode to achieve nutritional security.
  • This was stated by Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh in a consultative committee meeting in New Delhi.
  • The push will promote cultivation of jowar, bajra, ragi. Under NFSM, maize and jau are also promoted separately.

Navy warship INS Ganga decommissioned in Mumbai:

  • INS Ganga, an indigenously built frigate of the Indian Navy, was decommissioned in Mumbai after over three decades of service.
  • Commissioned on December 30, 1985, the ship represented a big step forward in the nation’s warship building capability.
  • The ceremony was attended by several officers and men, now retired, who had served on board the ship. The impressive ceremony saw the naval ensign hauled down for the last time at sunset.
  • The chief guest for the ceremony was Vice Admiral A K Bhal, himself a former crew member of the ship from 1989 to 1991.

Union Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot launches first Indian Sign Language (ISL) Dictionary:

  • Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot launched the first Indian Sign Language (ISL) Dictionary of three thousand words at a function in New Delhi.
  • The basic aim of developing the ISL Dictionary is to remove communications barriers between the deaf and hearing communities as it is focused on providing more information in Indian sign language.
  • Its aim is to give deaf people the constitutional right to speech and opportunity of freedom of expression and also bringing them into the mainstream of the society.
  • The dictionary has been developed by Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre under Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities. Soon many new words will be added in this dictionary.
  • The ISL dictionary has focused on providing more information in Indian Sign Language and hoped that more and more people use this dictionary and get the benefit.
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Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (Cabinet Minister)Thawar Chand Gehlot
Member of Rajya SabhaMadhya Pradesh
Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (Minister of State)Krishan Pal Gurjar, Vijay Sampla, Ramdas Athawale

Agricultural credit target for FY 2018-19 up to Rs 11 lakh crore:

  • The government has fixed the agriculture credit target of 11 lakh crore rupees for the year 2018-19 against last year’s target of 10 lakh crore rupees.
  • The government fixes agriculture credit disbursement targets for the banking sector every year and banks have consistently surpassed these targets.
  • With a view to ensuring agriculture credit at a reduced interest rate of 7 per cent per annum to farmers, the government is implementing an interest subvention scheme for short-term crop loans up to three lakh rupees.
  • The scheme provides interest subvention of two per cent per annum to banks on use of their own resources.
  • Besides, additional three per cent incentive is being given to the farmers for prompt repayment of the loan thereby reducing the effective rate of interest to four per cent.

India to be 3rd largest tourism economy in 10 years: Report

  • India is expected to establish itself as the third largest travel and tourism economy by 2028 in terms of direct and total GDP, a 2018 economic impact report by World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
  • The WTTC report, released globally, also stated that India will add nearly 10 million jobs in the tourism sector by 2028 and that the total number of jobs dependent directly or indirectly on the travel and tourism industry will increase from 42.9 million in 2018 to 52.3 million in 2028.

CURRENT AFFAIRS: INTERNATIONAL

US Federal Reserve hikes interest rate by 25 bps:

  • The US Federal Reserve raised interest rates and forecast at least two more hikes for 2018, highlighting its growing confidence that tax cuts and government spending will boost the economy and inflation and spur more aggressive future tightening.
  • In its first policy meeting under new Fed chief Jerome Powell, the US central bank indicated that inflation should finally move higher after years below its 2 percent target and that the economy had recently gained momentum.
  • The Fed also raised the estimated longer-term “neutral” rate, the level at which monetary policy neither boosts nor slows the economy, a touch, in a sign the current gradual rate hike cycle could go on longer than previously thought.
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US Federal Reserve HeadquartersWashington, D.C., United States
US Federal Reserve ChairpersonJerome Powell

Maldives lifts state of emergency after 45 days:

  • Maldives President Abdulla Yameen lifted a 45-day state of emergency which had outlawed protests amid political upheaval on the Muslim-majority Indian Ocean island chain.
  • Yameen imposed the emergency on February 5 for 15 days after a Supreme Court ruling quashed convictions against nine opposition leaders and ordered his government to free those held in prison.
  • He extended the state of emergency by another 30 days with parliament approval, a move challenged by the opposition.
  • Under the emergency, Yameen’s administration arrested former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the chief justice, another Supreme Court judge and a Supreme Court administrator on allegations of attempting to overthrow the government.
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Maldives CapitalMale
Maldives CurrencyMaldivian Rufiyaa
Maldives PresidentAbdulla Yameen

India, China agrees to explore possibility of strengthening cooperation through exchange of visits and institutionalized dialogue mechanisms:

  • India and China have agreed to explore the possibility of strengthening cooperation through exchange of visits and institutionalized dialogue mechanisms in order to promote better understanding and cooperation between the two defense forces.
  • During the meeting of 11th round of the Working Mechanism on Consultation and Coordination for India-China Border Affairs in New Delhi, both sides exchanged views on ways to improve border management.
  • India underlined that maintenance of peace and tranquility in the India-China border areas is an important pre-requisite for further development of bilateral relations between the two countries.
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China CapitalBeijing
China CurrencyRenminbi
China PresidentXi Jinping

Current Affairs Today: STATE

Andhra Pradesh Government launches NAIPUNYA RATHAM or World on Wheels:

  • The Andhra Pradesh Government launched, NAIPUNYA RATHAM or World on Wheels, a multi-utility vehicle which aims to bring technology to the remote corners.
  • It was launched at the Secretariat in Amaravathi. Chief Minister N.Chandrababu Naidu announces that the Government will roll out 12 more Naipunya Rathams by May this year.
  • As part of the Smart village Smart Ward Programme, the Naipunya Rathaams will facilitate and look to improve digital literacy, digital skills and create an awareness on various government schemes that are underway in the new state of Andhra Pradesh.
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Andhra Pradesh CapitalHyderabad, Amaravati
Andhra Pradesh Chief MinisterN.Chandrababu Naidu
Andhra Pradesh GovernorE.S Lakshmi Narasimhan

Delhi government announces new scheme to reduce dust:

  • Announcing a slew of initiatives, including the launch of ‘landscaping of PWD roads’ to reduce dust and installation of LED street lights, the Delhi government allocated over Rs 846 crore to the PWD for 2018-19 fiscal.
  • The allocation translates into an increase of 4.75 per cent compared to the previous budget estimate of Rs 800 crore.
  • “The scheme ‘landscaping of PWD roads’ initiates edge-to-edge paving or greening and beautification of all PWD roads.
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Delhi Chief MinisterArvind Kejriwal
Delhi Lieutenant GovernorAnil Baijal

CURRENT AFFAIRS: CABINET APPROVALS

Parliament passes bill to double tax-free gratuity to Rs.20 Lakhs:

  • The Parliament has passed The Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, raising the ceiling for maximum amount of gratuity to Rs20 lakh from the existing limit of Rs 10 lakh.
  • Employees are paid gratuity if they have completed five years of continuous service at the time of leaving the company.
  • Earlier the government increased the gratuity ceiling limit from Rs 10 lakhs to Rs 20 lakhs for government employees only.
  • It is now that the private sector and public sector employees will also enjoy benefits of increased limit.

CURRENT AFFAIRS: SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY

Google developing its own blockchain-related technology:

  • Technology giant Google is developing a blockchain-like ledger system in order to differentiate its cloud business from rivals.
  • The company would also reportedly offer a version that other companies can run on their own servers.
  • Blockchain technology, which powers Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, is used to securely record transactions and process data over the Internet.
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Google HeadquartersCalifornia, United States
Google FoundersLarry Page, Sergey Brin
Google CEOSundar Pichai

BrahMos missile with indigenous seeker tested for 1st time:

  • India successfully test-fired the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile with an indigenous seeker for the first time from Rajasthan’s Pokhran test range.
  • The seeker was developed by Research Centre Imarat (RCI), Hyderabad, in collaboration with other DRDO labs.
  • The seeker technology, which determines the accuracy of a missile, is a closely guarded secret. Mastering it is a significant milestone in missile technology and would reduce import dependence.
  • BrahMos is a joint collaboration between India and Russia and the missile is capable of being launched from land, sea, sub-sea and air against surface and sea-based targets.

CURRENT AFFAIRS: BANKING and ECONOMY

Allahabad Bank gets nod to amalgamate subsidiary with itself:   

  • Allahabad Bank has received approval from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs for merger of its fully-owned subsidiary AllBank Finance with itself.
  • “The Scheme of Amalgamation for amalgamation of bank’s wholly owned subsidiary namely AllBank Finance with the bank has been confirmed by the regional office (eastern region), Ministry of Corporate Affairs, vide their confirmation order dated March 14, 2018,”.
  • Earlier in September last year, the bank had announced merging AllBank Finance with itself.
  • AllBank Finance is engaged in fee-based services like debenture trusteeship, investment advisory and portfolio management, distribution of mutual fund schemes and security valuation, among others.
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Allahabad Bank HeadquartersKolkata
Allahabad Bank TaglineA tradition of trust
Allahabad Bank MD and CEOUsha Ananthasubramanian

IRDAI extends deadline for linking Aadhaar with insurance policies:

  • The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has extended the deadline for linking of insurance policies with Aadhaar numbers.
  • As per an an earlier order, all insurers should complete linking of insurance policies with Aadhaar before March 31, 2018.
  • The present direction has come in the wake of a recent decision of the Supreme Court to extend deadline till the final disposal of a writ petition filed challenging mandatory Aadhaar linkage.
  • For existing insurance policies, the date of linking Aadhaar is extended till the matter is finally heard and judgement is pronounced by the Supreme Court of India.
  • For the new insurance policies, a customer is allowed six months from the date of commencement of account based relationship (or buying of policy) to submit Aadhaar number and PAN/Form 60 to the insurers.
  • In the absence of Aadhaar, a customer can submit any of the officially allowed document as mentioned in the Prevention of Money-laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules 2005.
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IRDAI HeadquartersHyderabad
IRDAI ChairmanTS Vijayan

Equitas Bank ties up with CSK, launches Yellow Army Savings Account:

  • Equitas Small Finance Bank has launched a new ‘Yellow Army Savings Account’ to increase its customer base through its association with the Chennai Super Kings (CSK), a franchise of the Indian Premium League (IPL).
  • The Chennai-based new entrant into the banking sector has joined the list of the companies that use IPL boom and their association with franchises to promote products.
  • The yellow army savings account will offer an interest rate of six per cent per annum for balance below ₹10 lakh and 6.5 per cent per annum for balance above ₹10 lakh.
  • The average quarterly balance requirement will be ₹10,000 per account.
  • The Yellow Army Visa debit card comes with personal accident cover of up to ₹5 lakh, air accident cover of ₹30 lakh and lost card liability of up to ₹25,000.
  • Customers can also avail themselves of exclusive offers on movie ticket-booking, food, entertainment and lifestyle and earn reward points for all purchases.
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Equitas Small Finance Bank HeadquartersChennai
Equitas Small Finance Bank (Part-time Chairman)Arun Ramanathan

Lakshmi Vilas Bank, Fisdom team up for digital NPS:

  • Bengaluru-based start-up Fisdom and Lakshmi Vilas Bank have entered into a partnership to enable investments in the National Pension Scheme (NPS) in a completely digital and paperless manner.
  • Fisdom provides the NPS digitally through its mobile app with which any registered user can invest in the NPS within a couple of minutes.
  • Under the partnership, the customers of LVB will be able to plan their investments under the pension scheme in accordance with their goals.
  • The Fisdom app provides services such as getting KYC done, investing money in various instruments like mutual funds and pension funds, viewing account summary, and withdrawing invested money.
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Lakshmi Vilas Bank HeadquartersChennai
Lakshmi Vilas Bank TaglineThe Changing Face of Prosperity
Lakshmi Vilas Bank MD and CEOParthasarathi Mukherjee

New India Assurance launched mediclaim policy named ‘New India Global Mediclaim Policy’:

  • New India Assurance Company, India’s largest non-life insurance company launched a comprehensive worldwide mediclaim policy named ‘New India Global Mediclaim Policy’.
  • The policy will cover an insured’s hospitalisation expenses for treatments like cancer, neurosurgery, heart surgery, organ transplant and bone marrow transplant in hospitals outside India.
  • There are two major plans, one covering hospitalisation at medical centres in Asian countries, and another which offers the same service, worldwide.
  • The medical coverage plan in Asian countries offers a lifetime cover of $1 million and the worldwide lifetime coverage insures an individual for $2 million.
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New India Assurance HeadquartersMumbai
New India Assurance TaglineIndia’s premier general insurance company
New India Assurance MD and CEOG. Srinivasan

CURRENT AFFAIRS: SPORTS

Elavenil Valarivan wins 10m Air Rifle gold in junior ISSF World Cup:

  • Indian shooter Elavenil Valarivan shattered the qualification world record and claimed the gold medal in 10m women’s air rifle event of the season’s first junior ISSF World Cup in Sydney.
  • Besides her individual podium finish, Elavenil also combined with Shreya Agrawal and Zeena Khitta to claim the team gold medal.
  • Arjun Babuta bagged his second junior world cup medal, claiming a bronze in men’s 10m air rifle event.
  • The 18-year-old Elavenil, competing in her second World Cup and first final, shot 249.8 in the women’s final to claim the top individual honours. Her 631.4 in the qualification was a new world record.

Pankaj Advani qualifies for knockouts at Asian Billiards Championship:

  • All four Indian cueists, including multiple-time world champion Pankaj Advani, qualified for the knockout stage at the Asian Billiards Championship in Myanmar.
  • In the event being held at Yangon, Advani will be up against home favorite Aung Htay, while Dhvaj Haria faces Singapore’s Peter Gilchrist in the quarterfinals.
  • In the other half of the draw, B Bhaskar meets another local Nay Thway Oo while Rupesh Shah will lock horns with Thawat Sujaritthurakarn of Thailand in the final quarter.
  • In the women’s snooker draw, Amee Kamani got the top seed spot while Varshaa Sanjeev and Keerath Bhandaal found a berth in the knockouts. Vidya Pillai failed to qualify.The under-21 knockout saw no Indian qualifying.