INTERNATIONAL

China Approves New Nuclear Reactors In Industry Revival
China is reviving growth of its nuclear power industry with approval of its first new project since Japan’s 2011 Fukushima disaster. The Cabinet’s planning agency on 11 March approved construction of two additional reactors at a power plant in the northeastern province of Liaoning.China is the world’s biggest energy consumer and nuclear power plays a key role in government plans to curb surging demand for imported oil and gas.

North Korea and Russia Declared 2015 as Friendship Year
North Korea and Russia will mark 2015 as a year of friendship and step up bilateral exchanges in political, economic and cultural sectors.”The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation decided to make 2015, in which falls the 70th anniversaries of Korea’s liberation and the victory in the great Patriotic War in Russia, as a year of friendship between the two countries.

Japan and France Signed Defence Agreement
Japan and France on 13 March signed a agrrment on military equipment and technology transfers , in a move to drive cooperation and joint development of defence gear, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe strengthens security ties with major powers.

Muhammadu Buhari Elected As Nigerian President
Former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari was elected as the president of Nigeria on 31 March, making him the first opposition candidate to win a presidential vote in the country’s history. This Presidential Election was held on 28 March 2015 all across Nigeria, which is the most populous country in Africa and is also the largest economy of the continent. Gen. Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) defeated President Jonathan’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) by over 2 million votes.


INDIA & WORLD

India and Spain Signed Agreement On Defence Ties
India and Spain on 5 March signed an agreement on ‘Mutual Protection of Classified Information’ to provide the framework for an enhanced cooperation in the defence sector. The agreement was signed after the meeting between Spanish Defence Minister Pedro Moremes and his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar in New Delhi.

Saudi Arabia Becomes Top Arms Importer
According to the IHS company study report released on 8 March,  Saudi Arabia overtook India to become the world’s biggest weapons importer in 2014, a year when global defence trade rose for the sixth straight year to a record $64.4 billion. The top five importers in 2014 were Saudi Arabia, India, China, UAE and Taiwan.

India and Seychelles Signed Four Agreements
India on 11 March signed four agreements with the Indian Ocean island nation to boost security and maritime partnership. They were signed in the fields of renewable energy, hydro graphic survey, electronics navigation and infrastructure development at the island of Seychelles.These agreements and MoU’s were signed by Secretary (West) Navtej Sarna from Indian side in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President of Seychelles James Alix Michel.

India and Sri Lanka Signed Four Agreements
India and Sri Lanka on 13 March signed four agreements to cement cooperation between the two neighbours, including a customs pact to balance trade, a credit line of more than $300 million, a currency swap agreement and visa on arrival for Sri Lankan nationals in India. The agreements were signed in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Srilankan President Maithripala Sirisena in Colombo.

New UK scholarship Announced For Indian Finance Professionals
United Kingdom (UK) Chancellor George Osborne has on 13 March launched the first-of-kind scholarships for Indian finance professionals who want to study in Britain. The Chevening Financial Services Leadership programme was launched by Osborne in London.


NATIONAL

Govt To Launch Atal Pension Yojna (APY) On 1 June
Atal Pension Yojna (APY), announced in the 2015-16 Budget , will be launched on 1st of June 2015 and will focus on all citizens in the unorganised sector entitling them to a pension of up to Rs 5,000 per month after 60 years of age. The existing subscribers of Swavalamban Scheme would be automatically migrated to the APY pension scheme, unless they opt out. The minimum age of joining APY is 18 years and maximum age is 40 years.

Parliament Passes Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2015
Parliament on 4 March passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2015. The bill was passed by Lok Sabha on 2 March and was cleared by the upper house also called Rajya Sabha on 4 March 2015. The bill seeks an amendment in the Citizenship Act, 1955 and to merge the Person of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) schemes.

Lok Sabha Passed Land Acquisition (amendment) Bill, 2015
Lok Sabha on 10 March 2015 passed the Land Acquisition (amendment) Bill, 2015. The bill was passed by voice vote along with incorporated 9 new amendments moved by Union government. The bill amends the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (RFCTLARR) Act, 2013.

Parliament Passed Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2015
Parliament has passed Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2015.It was first passed in Lok Sabha on 4 March 2015 and later in Rajya Sabha on 12 March 2015. In both the houses the bill was passed by voice vote. The amendment bill replaces ordinance promulgated in this regard and aims to bring improvements and revisions in the existing laws relating to insurance business in India.The amendment bill hikes Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) cap in the insurance sector to 49 percent from present 26 percent.

Parliament Passed Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015
Parliament has passed Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015. The bill was first passed in Rajya Sabha and later in Lok Sabha on 20 March 2015.The Bill was passed in Rajya Sabha after the Union government had accepted the recommendations of the Select Committee. The amendments in the bill were made in the bill passed by Lok Sabha on 4 March 2015.It seeks to amend the Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957 and replace the ordinance promulgated in January 2015.


STATES

‘ Aapki Beti Humari Beti ‘ Scheme Launched In Haryana
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on 8 March launched a scheme for girl child – ‘Aapki Beti Humari Beti’ – with an aim to combat the problem of declining child sex ratio in the state. The scheme will cover first-born girl child of Scheduled Caste (SC) and Below Poverty Line (BPL) families and all second girl child born on or after 22nd January 2015 of all families in the state.

Maharashtra Government Launched Bhagyashree Scheme
Maharashtra Government has launched ‘Bhagyashree Scheme’ for girl child from Below Poverty Line (BPL) families, on 8 March.’ Bhagyashree Scheme’ has replaced the state government’s previous ‘Sukanya Scheme’. Bollywood actress Bhagyashree is the brand ambassador of the scheme. The Bhagyashree scheme aims at providing one lakh rupee on maturity after the girl completes 18 years of age.

Assam Govt Launched “Momai Tamuli Barbaruah Krishak Bondhu” Scheme
Assam government has on 15 March launched the “Momai Tamuli Barbaruah Krishak Bondhu Scheme” to increase agricultural production. Under the programme ‘Momai Tamuli Barbaruah Krishak Bondhu Scheme’, facilities and assistance will be provided for double cropping in all the crop areas which have so far been utilised for single cropping only.

Gujarat Legislative Assembly Passes Anti-Terror Bill
The Gujarat Legislative Assembly on 31 March 2015 passed Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organized Crime (GUJCOC) Bill, 2015. It is third time this controversial Bill being passed by state assembly. Earlier, passed bill was rejected two times by the then Presidents in 2004 and 2008 for reconsideration.


CONFERENCES

International Conference On Counter Terrorism
India’s first conference on Counter-Terrorism was held from 19 – 21 March 2015 in Jaipur, Rajasthan. The conference was named as International Counter-Terrorism Conference 2015 and it was organised by India Foundation in association with the Sardar Patel University of Police Security and Criminal Justice-Jodhpur. The central theme of the Conference is Integrated Approach to Counter-Terrorism. The Conference was inaugurated by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.The focus of the deliberations was on exploring the contours of 21st century terrorism and sharing the Counter-Terrorism expertise. Some of the sub-themes on which the conference focused include 26/11 Mumbai Terror Attack, Talibanisation of Af-Pak region, New Caliphate in West Asia, Maritime Terrorism and Piracy, Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Terrorism and Cyber and Space terrorism.


AWARDS & HONOURS

Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba Won Mo Ibrahim Prize
Hifikepunye Pohamba, outgoing Namibian President, on 2 March won the Mo Ibrahim prize for achievement in African leadership for year 2014.Pohamba served as Namibian President two terms. For first time he was elected in 2004 and again in 2009. The award is named after Mo Ibrahim, a British-Sudanese mobile communications entrepreneur and philanthropist, who had made billions of fortune from investing in Africa.

Veerappa Moily Selected For Saraswati Samman 2014
Former Union minister and senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily was on 9 March selected for the prestigious Saraswati Samman for 2014 for his famous Kannada poem ‘Ramayana Mahanveshanam’. Divided into five volumes, Ramayana Mahanveshanam was first published in 2007 in Kannada. Later the poem was translated into English, Hindi, Telugu and Tamil.

Activist Rajendra Singh Won Stockholm Water Prize – 2015
Rajendra Singh, an eminent environment activist, has been conferred the prestigious Stockholm Water Prize 2015 for his innovative water restoration efforts and extraordinary courage to empower communities in Indian villages. He is popularly known as Water Man of India.

Shashi Kapoor Selected For ‘Dadasaheb Phalke Award 2014′
Veteran actor and film producer Shashi Kapoor has been named for the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke Award 2014. He is the 46th winner of the honour, conferred by the government for outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Indian Cinema. The 2014 Dadasaheb Phalke award to Shashi Kapoor made him the third member of Kapoor family to receive the award after Prithviraj Kapoor and Raj Kapoor.

62nd National Film Awards 2014
The 62nd National Film Awards for year 2014 was announced on 24 March 2015. Court  directed by Chaitanya Tamhane was selected as the Best feature film. Mary Kom (Hindi) directed by Omung Kumar was selected as the Best Popular film providing wholesome entertainment. The 62nd National Film Awards in the various categories are as follows:-
* Best Actor – Vijay for Nanu Avanalla Avalu (Kannada).
* Best Actress – Kangana Ranaut for Queen (Hindi).
* Best Direction -Srijit Mukherji, Director of Chotushkone (Bengali).
* Best Hindi Film – Queen
* Best Children’s Film - Kaakkaa Muttai (Tamil) and Elizabeth Ekadashi (Marathi).
* Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Film of a Director  – Aditya Vikram Sengupta for Asha Jaoar Majhe (Bengali).
* Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration – Chotoder Chobi (Bengali) directed by Kaushik Ganguly.


SPORTS & GAMES

Karnataka Won Ranji Trophy 2015
Karnataka on 12 March won their eighth Ranji Trophy title of cricket. In the title clash played at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai, Karnataka defeated Tamil Nadu by an innings and 217 runs. Karnataka defeated Tamil Nadu by an innings and 217 runs in the final day of match played at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai.The man of the match was Karnataka’s Karun Nair who had scored 338 runs.

India Open Super Series Badminton 2015 Winners
Women’s Singles :- India’s ace shuttler Saina Nehwal on 29 March won India Open Super Series Badminton Women’s Singles 2015 Title. She defeated Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon in the final match played at Siri Fort Indoor Complex in New Delhi.
Men’s Single’s :- India’s Srikanth Kidambi has won India Open Super Series Badminton Men’s Singles 2015 Title. In the final match he defeated Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen.

Australia Won ICC Cricket World Cup For 5th time
Australia on 29 March 2015 won the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 for the record fifth time. In the final match Australia defeated co-hosts of the tournament, New Zealand by 7 wickets played at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Australia. Australia fast bowler Mitchell Starc was named the Player of the Tournament who finished with a figure of 22 wickets in the tournament. He was tied with New Zealand left-arm seamer Trent Boult for taking highest wickets in the tournament. Australian all-rounder James Faulkner was adjudged man of the match, while the man of the series award went to Mitchell Starc. He finished the tournament with 22 wickets.

Saina Nehwal Becomes First Indian Woman To Attain World No.1 Ranking
Ace shuttler Saina Nehwal on 28 March created history by becoming first Indian woman to be ranked number one in the world in Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings in Women’s Singles category. She achieved this rare feat after Spain’s Carolina Marin’s lost her semi-final match to Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon in the Indian Open Super Series. Saina has overtaken China’s Li Xuerui to become the highest ranked player in the world. Saina Nehwal is the second Indian badminton player to achieve this feat, after legendary shuttler Prakash Padukone. He had achieved the top rank in 1980 in Men’s Single Category.


ECONOMY

RBI reduced Repo Rate By 25 Basis Points To 7.5 percent
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 4 March reduced the repo rate by 25 basis points to 7.5 percent with immediate effect. This is the second time since January 2015 that RBI reduced the repo rate by 25 basis points. With this, the reverse repo rate under the LAF stands adjusted to 6.5 percent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank rate to 8.5 percent.

India’s Billionaires To Rise 104% By 2024
According to the latest Knight Frank Wealth Report, as of 2014,Wealth creation in India is likely to accelerate significantly with the number of ultra-wealthy individuals expected to double to 3,371 by 2024. India is home to 1,652 ultra high net worth individuals (UHNWIs), which is likely to swell to 3,371 by the year 2024, registering a jump of 104 per cent. The number of UHNWIs in India has increased from 622 in 2004 to 1,652 in 2014, registering a rise of 166 per cent over the past decade (2004-2014). At 0.1 UHNWI per lakh population, India ranks a distant 84 among 97 countries globally in terms of equitable distribution of wealth.

Indian Railways Signed MoU with LIC For Rs 1.5 lakh crore Investments
Indian Railways on 11 March signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) to raise Rs 1.5 lakh crore for financing the development of its various commercially viable infrastructure projects. Under this MoU, LIC will make available a Financial Assistance of 150000 crore rupees to the Indian Railways for implementing Railway projects over the next five years. The Financial Assistance will be available from the Financial Year 2015-16.

India Becomes 3rd Biggest Steel Producer Over Takes US
India has become the third-largest steel producer in the world by overtaking United States (US) in first two months of year 2015. It was revealed in the Data compiled by World Steel Association (WSA) on 22 March.India’s production in first two months i.e. January- February of 2015 was 14.56 million tonnes (MT). This production growth was the highest during this two month period at 7.6% as compared to the global average of just 0.6% at 127.6 MT.China tops in steel production and accounts for nearly half of the global steel production. During this period China has produced 65 MT steel.


SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

SpaceX Rocket Lifts Off with World’s First All Electric Satellites
World’s first electric satellites were successfully lifted off by a Space Exploration (SpaceX) Technologies rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, United States on 1 March. The rocket was carrying two all-electric commercial satellites built by Boeing. The satellites are owned by the French satellite provider Eutelsat and Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS).

NASA’s Dawn Spacecraft Completed Its Orbit Around Dwarf Planet Ceres
NASA’s Dawn space probe has on 6 March completed its orbit around dwarf planet Ceres which is the largest object in the Solar System between Mars and Jupiter. With the completion of orbit, Dawn probe has become first spacecraft to visit dwarf planet. Dawn has taken 7.5 years to reach the orbit of Ceres.

‘ Solar Impulse – 2′ Begins Its Journey Around the World
‘ Solar Impulse – 2′, a solar-powered airplane, started its historic 35,000-km round-the-world journey from Abu Dhabi on 9 March 2015. Solar Impulse-2 took off from Abu Dhabi on its 5-month long journey in which it will skip from continent to continent, crossing both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans in the process. Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard are the two pilots of this mission.

Pakistan Successfully Tests Indigenous Drone Burraq and Barq
Pakistan on 13 March successfully tested its first indigenously built all-weather armed drone named Burraq and a laser guided missile named Barq.By successfully testing of Burraq, Pakistan became the 9th country in the World to develop an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) domestically.

ISRO successfully Launched Fourth Navigation Satellite ‘ IRNSS 1D ‘
Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on 28 March 2015 successfully launched fourth navigation satellite Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) 1D.  Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C27 injected IRNSS 1D into the designated orbit from the first launch pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. This was the 28th consecutive successful flight of PSLV.  IRNSS is a navigation system that will cover India, and also extend 1,500 kms from its boundaries.  It will provide accurate position information to users in India. Basically it will provide two kinds of services, Standard Positioning Services, which is available to all users, and an encrypted service that is provided only to authorized users.


PERSONS IN NEWS

A) APPOINTMENTS

Jagmohan Dalmiya Elected as BCCI president
agmohan Dalmiya was unanimously elected as the President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) at Annual General meeting held in Chennai on 2 March.Dalmiya had served BCCI as its President between 2001 and 2004. He also served as the President of International Cricket Council (ICC) between 1997 and 2000.

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan Named as President of Britain’s Royal Society
Nobel laureate Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan on 18 March was named as the President of Britain’s prestigious Royal Society, a communion of the many of the world’s most distinguished scientists. Ramakrishnan, who will take up the post on the 1 December 2015, will succeed geneticist Sir Paul Nurse, also a Nobel Laureate.

B)RESIGNS

Union Minister Dadarao Danve Resigns
Union Minister Minister of State (MoS) for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Raosaheb Dadarao Danve on 5 March resigned from the office. Raosaheb Danve resigned from the Union Council of Ministers  following the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJPs) one-man, one-post principle after he was appointed President of Maharashtra in January 2015. He took over as Maharashtra BJP president after Devendra Fadnavis became the Chief Minister state who had led the party to power in  October 2014 Assembly elections.

C)DEATHS

Senior Journalist Vinod Mehta Died
Senior journalist and former editor of Outlook, Vinod Mehta died on 8 March in New Delhi. He was 73. Mehta, who had founded the Outlook Magazine and served as its Editor-in-Chief, last held the post of editorial Chairman of the publication. Vinod Mehta was born on May 31, 1942 in Rawalpindi, West-Punjab region of undivided India (now in Pakistan). He wrote the best-selling autobiography ‘Lucknow Boy’ in 2011. He has authored a biography of Meena Kumari (movie actress and poet) and Sanjay Gandhi- The Sanjay Story (2012).

D)VISITORS

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Visited Sri Lanka
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Sri Lanka on 13 – 14 March 2015. The visit follows President Maithripala Sirisena’s first overseas visit to India in February 2015. During his two day visit Narendra Modi met Srilankan President Maithripala Sirisena in Colombo.In the visit, India and Sri Lanka signed four agreements. Narendra Modi also announced e-visa on arrival services for Sri Lankans, a $ 318 million Line of Credit to upgrade Sri Lanka’s railways, and a promise to build Trincomalee as a petroleum hub, while seeking movement on the 500 MW Sampur power project, that has been delayed for years due to environmental concerns.

E)MISCELLANEOUS

PM Narendra Modi Among 30 Most Influential People On Internet
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been named among the 30 most influential people on the internet by Time magazine in a list which also features US President Barack Obama. The list, which analysed social-media followings, site traffic and overall ability to drive news, also includes British author of the Harry Potter series J K Rowling and singers Taylor Swift and Beyonce. The list was released on 6 March 2015.


PLACES  IN  NEWS

World’s Largest and Tallest Indian Flag Unfurled In Faridabad
World’s largest and tallest Indian national flag was unfurled on 3 March 2015 at Town Park in Faridabad, Haryana.It was unfurled by Bhartiya Janta Party President Amit Shah.The flag has dimension of 96 feet by 64 feet and weighs 48 kilograms. Flag was hoisted at the height of 250 feet (75 meters). Thus, making it the world’s largest and the highest hoisted Indian flag in the world.


ABBREVIATIONS

NABARD —- National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development

BCCI —  Board of Control for Cricket in India

EPFO —  Employees’ Provident Fund Organization

UNICEF — United Nations Children’s Fund

NSE —   National Stock Exchange


BOOKS IN NEWS

The Modi Effect Authored by Lance Price
Book titled “The Modi Effect: Inside Narendra Modi’s Campaign to Transform India”  written by Lance Price, former media advisor to the then British Prime Minister Tony Blair.The book was published in the month of March 2015 in India by Hachette. The book is based on the author’s interviews with the prime minister, his Cabinet colleagues like Piyush Goyal, Prakash Javadekar and Smriti Irani and his team of advisers and analysts.


COMMITTEES

Ajay Shankar Committee Constituted To Review The Existing PPP Cell In Railway Board
The Ministry of Railways appointed Ajay Shankar committee on 25 March to review the performance of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) cell functioning under the Railway Board.Ajay Shankar is a former Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) under Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry.


IMPORTANT DAYS AND DATES

World Tuberculosis Day was Observed On 24 March
World Tuberculosis Day 2015 was globally observed on 24 March 2015. The theme for the year 2015 is continuation of the 2014 theme Reach the 3 Million. The main sub-theme and message for the year 2015 is Reach, Treat, Cure Everyone. The World Tuberculosis Day is annually celebrated on 24 March to commemorate the day on which Dr. Robert Koch discovered the cause of tuberculosis, the TB bacillus in 1882. The day aims to build public awareness about the global epidemic of tuberculosis (TB) and efforts to eliminate the disease.

World Water Day 2015
World Water Day 2015 was globally observed on 22 March 2015 with the theme Water and Sustainable Development. The theme for the WWD 2015 talks about how water links to all areas we need to consider creating the future we want. World Water Day is celebrated every year to make a difference for the members of the global population who suffer from water related issues. It’s a day to prepare for how we manage water in the future.

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