International Women’s Day observed with campaign theme “PledgeForParity”
i. 8 March: International Women’s Day (IWD) , International Women’s Day was observed across the world on 8 March 2016.
ii. This year’s theme for the Day is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”. The campaign theme for the day is #PledgeForParity.
iii. United Nations observance and the idea of this theme reflect on how to accelerate the 2030 Agenda, building momentum for the effective implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals.
iv. The theme will also focus on new commitments under UN Women’s Step It Up initiative, and other existing commitments on gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s human rights.
v. 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.
Fitch Maintains India’s Growth Forecast At 7.5 %
i. Fitch, the global rating agency has maintained India’s growth forecast for India at 7.5 % for this fiscal ( 2015-2016 ) and also sees higher growth around 7.7 % & 7.9 % over the next two financial years. However, 8 per cent growth will remain elusive in the short term. The GDP growth in the first three quarters of this fiscal stands at 7.6%, 7.7% and 7.3%.
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ii. The growth rate for the April-June quarter was revised sharply upward from a provisional 7% to to 7.7%, which has driven up the projections for the entire 2015-16 fiscal.
iii. Despite a slowdown in the third quarter, India’s economic growth still outpaced China’s 6.8% for the same period. Fitch also pitched for monetary policy easing.
iv. Fitch expects another 25 bps of monetary policy loosening, facilitated by the government’s recent announcement to maintain its fiscal targets for 2016-17 and 2017-18.
v. Fitch Ratings Inc. is one of the three nationally recognized statistical rating organizations (NRSRO) designated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 1975, together with Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, and the three are commonly known as the “Big Three credit rating agencies”. Fitch Ratings is dual-headquartered in New York, USA, and London, UK.
E- Haat : A Online Marketing Platform Launched By Union Government
i. Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Sanjay Gandhi launched Mahila e-Haat portal in New Delhi to facilitate women entrepreneurs to sell their products to buyers.
ii. It will provide access to markets to thousands of women who make products and are spread all over the country. The Mahila e-Haat portal, http://mahilaehaat-rmk.gov.in, is an online marketing platform.
iii. 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.
iv. On the occasion of the launching Mrs. Menka Gandhi, the minister for Women & Child Development said that this empowerment of women will take place in three stages in which Mahila E-Haat is the first stage. In the second stage, it is planned to integrate it with e-commerce portals to provide a larger platform for selling and buying. Ultimately it will culminate into Women’s Entrepreneurs Council which will help to expand this initiative further and give it an institutional shape.
v. It is a Joint initiative of Union Women and Child Development Ministry and Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) for meeting the needs of women entrepreneurs. And the objective of this platform is to strengthen the financial inclusion of women entrepreneurs by providing continued support to their creativity.
PM selects another village in Varanasi for development under SAGY
i. Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY) is a rural development programme broadly focusing upon the development in the villages which includes social development, cultural development and spread motivation among the people on social mobilization of the village community.
ii. Prime Minister Narendra modi is member of parliament from varanasi utter pardesh.
iii. PM has selected another village for adoption in his Varanasi Constituency of U.P. for development under the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY).
iv. Nagepur, a village dominated by backward castes has been selected under the second phase of the Yojana.
v. Earlier, Prime Minister had adopted Jayapur village in the same Varanasi constituency in the first phase in 2014.
Govt to import 8,500 tonnes of pulses
i. Government has contracted import of Eight thousand Five Hundred tonnes of pulses and the shipments are on the way.
ii. The pulses procurement for buffer stock has also surpassed the target of 50 thousand tonnes set for this kharif season.
iii. Consumer Affairs Secretary C Viswanath today reviewed the prices and availability of essential commodities at an inter ministerial meeting in New Delhi.
iv. According to an official release, consumer affairs, agriculture and commerce ministries now have been asked to start procurement of masoor, gram dal and other rabi pulses.
v. During the meeting, the representative of the agriculture ministry said the area under oilseed production in 2015-16 rose by 2.1 per cent and mustard output is expected to be higher by 6 lakh tonnes. The meeting also reviewed production of tomato in the country and its price trends. Tomato output is also expected to increase by 11.6 per cent in 2015-16.
Union Government announced to withdraw tax proposal on Employee Provident Fund
i. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on 8 March 2016 announced to withdraw proposal to tax Employee Provident Fund (EPF) withdrawals.
ii. He announced to withdraw the proposal while clarifying NDA government’s stand on the issue in the Lok Sabha.
iii. He further stated that government would also like to comprehensively review EPF tax proposal.
iv. However, government retained the tax proposal for National Pension Scheme (NPS) withdrawals.
v. 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.
Indian Railways Signs Agreement With Bajaj Power
i. Bajaj Power Generation Company has signed an agreement with the Indian Railways for electrification of the Lalitpur-Udaipura rail section under the public private partnership (PPP).
ii. With the help of Bajaj the Railways would complete the electrification work in a year’s time under its customer funding scheme.
iii. It would cost nearly around Rs 47 crore. The electrified rail section is expected to facilitate uninterrupted coal supply to its plant and also help running of fast passenger trains in the area.
iv. Bajaj Power Generation Company (BPGC) is setting up a 1,980 megawatt (mw) thermal power plant in Lalitpur district of Uttar Pradesh. While, two units of 660 mw each had already been commissioned in September and December 2015 respectively, the third unit of 660 mw is scheduled to start generating later this month.
v. The total investment in the plant is pegged at Rs 16,000 crore. BPGC President (commercial) Dwarikesh Sharma and North Central Railway (NCR) Additional Divisional Railway Manager (ADRM) Jhansi Vinit Singh signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations.
Banks disburse over Rs 1.15 lakh cr under PM Mudra Yojana
i. Banks have so far disbursed over Rs 1.15 lakh crore under Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY), Financial Services Secretary Anjuly Chib Duggal said today.
ii. Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency Ltd (MUDRA) focuses on 5.75 crore self-employed who use funds totalling Rs 11 lakh crore and provide jobs to 12 crore people. Under PMMY, loans between Rs 50,000 and Rs 10 lakh are provided to small entrepreneurs. “We have been working with MUDRA. It has been a runaway success.
iii. we are looking at Rs 1.15 lakh crore plus right now,” she said at an event organised by MFIN here.
iv. The scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April last year.
v. Three products available under the PMMY are Shishu, Kishor and Tarun, to signify the stage of growth and funding needs of the beneficiary micro unit or entrepreneur.
SoftBank Splits Into Two Subsidiaries
i. Japanese investment bank SoftBank Group Corporation has announced a major reorganization of its businesses.
ii. The firm has said that it is in planning to separate its profitable domestic mobile business from its international business, which includes a majority stake in US mobile operator Sprint Corp. Both the subsidiaries will be 100-percent owned by SoftBank.
iii. According to the company, the “strategic” move will shift SoftBank’s stakes in U.S. wireless carrier Sprint and Chinese Internet company Alibaba Group Holding to a new global operations management subsidiary.
iv. SoftBanks Japanese assets including Yahoo Japan Corporation will funnel into a separate domestic operations management company.
v. SoftBank’s President Nikesh Arora will now head the overseas management company, whose holdings also include a 32 % share of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and a range of other Internet and technology firms. SoftBank’s Japanese telecom business and shares in domestic Internet firms such as Yahoo Japan will be managed by a separate company led by Ken Miyauchi, who now heads SoftBank’s Japanese mobile operations, the company said in a statement
Countdown for launch of India’s 6th navigational satellite IRNSS-1F begins in Sriharikota
i. Countdown for the launch of PSLV-C32 to place India’s sixth navigational satellite IRNSS-1F in the orbit started at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota this morning.
ii. ISRO’s workhorse PSLV-C32 will lift off at 4 PM on Thursday.
iii. ISRO sources said, Mission Readiness Review committee and the Launch Authorisation Board met at Sriharikota yesterday evening and cleared the 54 and half hour countdown which started at 9:30 AM today. The sources said, during the countdown, propellant filling operations would be taken up in the four stage vehicle.
South Korea, US began largest ever military exercises
i. The US and South Korean troops on 7 March 2016 began their largest ever military exercises off the coast of the Korean peninsula.
ii. The bilateral exercises come just days after the UN passed new sanctions against Pyongyang, North Korea following its recent nuclear test and rocket launch. The 8-week long drill will involve about 300000 South Korean troops and 15000 US personnel.
iii. These are being conducted near the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas and off the eastern coast of South Korea. Drills will include ground, air, naval and Special Operations components apart from the computer-simulated training.
iv. Meanwhile, North Korea has warned South Korea and US of indiscriminate and pre-emptive nuclear strikes if the two allies go further with the drills. The threat from Pyongyang follows its leader Kim Jong-Un’s order last week asking country’s nuclear arsenal to be placed on standby for use at any moment against the South.
France Highest Honour “Legion d’Honneur” To Saudi Prince
i. President Francois Hollande has awarded the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest honour, to visiting Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Nayef. Nayef was cited for his “efforts in the fight against terrorism and extremism.”
ii. But the France has been accused of devaluing its highest national honour after that the Legion of Honour was quietly awarded to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia on a visit to Paris.
iii. Earlier this year, The French government was among the most vocal outside the Middle East in its condemnation of Saudi mass executions, calling the kingdom’s killing of 47 people “deeply deplorable”. Yet almost two months to the day after that statement was issued, President François Hollande awarded his nation’s most prestigious award to the heir to the Saudi throne, Prince Mohammed bin Naif.
iv. The Legion of Honour is regarded as among the first and most prestigious modern orders of merit in the world. In both France and the UK, there was anger at the decision to award the symbolically significant medal to the deputy leader of a country which has executed 70 people since the start of the year.
Dogri Poetess Padma Sachdev Awarded Krutitava Smagra Samman
i. Renowned Dogri poetess and writer Padma Sachdev has been awarded Krutitava Smagra Samman for 2015. The award was given by the Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad in Kolkata, West Bengal. Sachdev received this award for her outstanding contribution in literature and great service to Dogri Language.
ii. West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi presented the award to the poetess. The award carries an amount of Rs. one lakh, a shawl and citation.
iii. Padma Sachdev is an Indian poet and novelist. Padma Sachdev is first modern woman poet of Dogri language.
iv. She also writes in Hindi. She has published her several poetry collection and some of them are Tavi Te Chanhan (Rivers Tavi and Chenab, 1976), Nheriyan Galiyan (Dark Lanes, 1982), Pota Pota Nimbal (Fingertipful Cloudless Sky, 1987), Uttar Vahini (1992) and Tainthian (1992).
v. She has won the Sahitya Akademi Award at the young age of thirty for her first collection of Dogri poetry title Mere Kavita. She has also received the Padma Shri, the Indian fourth highest civilian award in 2001 and the Kabir Samman for poetry for the year 2007-08, given by Government of Madhya Pradesh.
vi. She also has won Soviet Land Nehru Award, Hindi Academy Puraskar, U.P. Hindi Academy Pruaskar, Raja Ram Mohan Roy Puraskar, Joshua Poetry Award, and the Jammu & Kashmir Government’s Robe of Honour.
Maria Sharapova provisionally suspended after failing drugs test at Australian Open
i. Former world number one Maria Sharapova has revealed she failed a drugs test at the Australian Open. The 28 year old Russian star tested positive for meldonium, a substance, she has been taking since 2006 for health issues.
ii. The International Tennis Federation said, Sharapova, a five time Grand Slam champion, is provisionally suspended from March 12th pending further action.
iii. Meanwhile, sportswear maker Nike has suspended their relationship with Sharapova till the investigation continues. Sharapova, who lives in Florida, provided the anti-doping sample in question on January 26th, the day she lost to Serena Williams in the Australian Open quarter finals.