Daily Current Affairs - 09th Mar 2017

Ashwin, Jadeja jointly ranked number one in ICC Test rankings

  • The Indian duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja became the first set of spinners to be jointly ranked number one in the ICC Test rankings for bowlers. The last time two bowlers shared the top spot was in April 2008, when Dale Steyn and Muttiah Muralidaran were at the top. Among batsmen, Steven Smith leads the position then followed by Joe Root and Virat Kohli.

Atoll not sold to Saudis, says Maldives

  • The Maldivian government has denied allegations that it was selling a cluster of small islands to Saudi Arabia, following opposition protests against such a deal, but said it was seeking foreign investment to develop the area. The Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) had accused the government of ceding control of the inhabited atoll of Faafu to Saudi Arabia, whose king is due to visit the country. In 2015, the government lifted a ban on foreign ownership of land. Maldives Capital: Male

Cash seizure up by 263 % in ongoing assembly polls: EC

  • The Election Commission has said that cash seizure in the ongoing assembly elections in five states has seen a 263 per cent rise as compared to the 2012 polls.
  • The election authorities have been working toward ending distribution of cash, drugs and liquor to ensure that these are not used as means to lure voters ahead of polls.
  • The data provided by the poll body showed that ` 50.78 crore was recovered in the 2012 assembly polls in these very states while this time `184.85 crore has been seized.
  • The quantity of drugs and narcotics seized this time has also gone up.

Centre launches Web Portal for obtaining CRZ Clearances

  • The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has launched a web portal for obtaining Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearances. The portal is a web-based system for obtaining clearances required from the Ministry under the (CRZ) by the Project proponents for ease of doing business.
  • The user-friendly portal enables submission of applications for CRZ clearance in a single-window interface and facilitates quick flow of information related to CRZ clearances.
  • The objectives of the web portal are (i) Enhance efficiency, transparency and accountability in the process of CRZ clearances
  • (ii) Enhance responsiveness through workflows and availability of real-time information on the status of CRZ clearance proposals
  • About Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ):
  • CRZ is the zone along the coastal stretches of seas, bays, estuaries, creeks, rivers and backwaters along the coastline specially demarcated for regulated development activity.

China seeks Korea talks

  • China proposed a “double suspension” formula to defuse the crisis on the Korean Peninsula as part of its new assertive approach to shoulder greater global responsibilities within the framework of the UN.
  • Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi suggested as a first step, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) have to suspend its nuclear and missile activities in exchange for the suspension of large-scale U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) military exercises.
  • This will help the parties to break out of the security dilemma and return to the negotiating table. This will follow the dual-track approach of de-nuclearising the peninsula on the one hand and establishing a peace mechanism on the other.

Cultural festival 'India by the Nile' starts in Egypt

  • In Egypt, the mega cultural festival 'India by the Nile' got off to a colourful start at the foot of the Pyramids in Cairo with a Crafts Mela, showcasing joint handicraft exhibition of India and Egypt.
  • The event is a special moment as this year India celebrate 70 years of independence and also 70 years of its diplomatic relations with Egypt
  • The festival, which is a celebration of Indian music, dance, theatre, visual arts, food and wellbeing, is the largest foreign festival in Egypt showcasing 70 events across the country.
  • The Handicraft Exhibition which runs from 8-14 March, is an initiative to promote Indian and Egyptian handicrafts.
  • It is organised by the Embassy of India in partnership with the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India; Export Promotion Council For Handicrafts (India), the Ministry of Social Solidarity (Egypt) and the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI).
  • India's Ambassador to Egypt: Sanjay Bhattacharyya

D Mart IPO subscribed 1.36 times on first day

  • The initial public offer (IPO) of Avenue Supermarts, which operates supermarkets under the brand name D Mart, was subscribed 1.36 times on the first day of the offering.
  • As per NSE data, the issue received bids for 6.02 crore shares as against 4.44 crore shares on offer in the price band of Rs. 295 to Rs. 299
  • Further, the portions reserved for institutional and retail investors have already been oversubscribed on the first day.

DRS issue: ICC not to take any action against Kohli, Smith

  • The International Cricket Council (ICC) has decided not to press charges against Australian skipper Steven Smith, Indian captain Virat Kohli, or any other player in connection with the Umpire Decision Review System or DRS incident during the Bengaluru Test.
  • The controversy erupted following India's win in Bengaluru Test, when Kohli said, Australia took help from their dressing room at least thrice before deciding on DRS reviews, which is against the rules of the game.
  • ICC said, no action will be taken, adding that they would encourage both teams to focus their energies on the third Test in Ranchi next week.

Fifth round of Intra-Syrian talks to take place in Geneva on March 23

  • The fifth round of United Nations-backed intra-Syrian talks will take place in Geneva on the 23rd of this month. The UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura has confirmed the date.
  • The participants in the peace talks had defined a clear agenda for further negotiations, reflected by four baskets of issues for crisis resolution - governance, constitution, elections and counter terrorism.
  • Geneva is in Switzerland
  • Switzerland capital: Berne

Former Governor Jon Huntsman to be US Ambassador to Russia

  • Former Utah Republican Governor Jon Huntsman has accepted President Donald Trump's offer to be Ambassador to Russia. The job requires Senate confirmation.
  • Huntsman had served as Ambassador to China under former President Barack Obama.

Georgian nationals allowed to visit EU countries without visa from March 28

  • The Georgian nationals will be allowed to visit countries of the European Union for a period of up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa starting from 28th of this month.
  • The Council of the European Union adopted the regulation on visa liberalization for Georgia.
  • Georgia had been striving for visa liberalization with the 28-nation bloc for years.
  • In March last year, the European Commission issued a proposal to waive visas for the Georgians.
  • Georgia Capital:Tbilisi
  • President: Giorgi Margvelashvili
  • Currency:Georgian lari

India and SL discuss to release all fishermen in each other's custody

  • India and Sri Lanka are in discussions to release all fishermen in each other's custody.
  • The decision comes as there are protests in Tamil Nadu over the killing of a fisherman in alleged firing by the Sri Lankan Navy.
  • There are 85 Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan prisons, while 19 fishermen from Sri Lanka are in the Indian custody, mainly on charges of poaching into each other’s waters.
  • The Indian fishermen, mainly from Tamil Nadu, have been arrested by the Sri Lankan navy on regular basis.
  • Both countries are engaged in high-level talks to resolve the longstanding issue.

Indian government announces new licensing policy to boost oil output

  • The Union Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas has announced new Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) for oil and gas exploration.
  • The new policy will allow bidders to carve out areas where they want to drill.
  • It will help energy hungry India and world’s third-largest oil consumer to attract greater foreign investment to boost output.
  • OALP offers single license to explore conventional and unconventional oil and gas resources to propel investment in and provide operational flexibility to the investors.
  • OALP is part of the strategy to make India a business and investor friendly destination and cut import dependence by 10% and achieve the plan to double existing oil production from current 80 million metric tons to about 150-155 million metric tons by 2022.

Karur Vysya Bank to leverage on technology

  • Karur Vysya Bank, which has invested about Rs. 80 crore a year on technology for the last two years, will leverage on technology for its next phase of growth. The bank has now launched three technology services - FASTag in association with Indian Highways Management Company, United Payment Interface mobile app and Bharat Bill Payment System.
  • The bank will focus on introducing such applications for the convenience of customers and will continue to invest the same amount that it has been investing annually on technology.
  • After the demonetisation period, use of many of its digital tools jumped three to five times.

MD and CEO of Karur Vysya Bank:K. Venkataraman

  • Women's Hockey Test: India beat Belarus 3-1 to clinch series 5-0
  • The Indian women’s hockey team defeated a fighting Belarus side 3-1 to make a clean sweep of the five-match Test series in Bhopal .
  • Vandana Katariya, Gurjit Kaur and Rani scored for India, while Yuliya Mikheichyk scored the solitary goal for Belarus.
  • Captain of Indian Women's hockey Team: Rani

MGNREGA job scheme wage rate hiked to Rs. 236 a day

  • There is some good news for the beneficiaries of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.
  • The wage rate has been revised, with effect from April 1, from Rs. 224 to Rs. 236 a day. The revision will prevail for the year 2017–18.
  • "Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act" (or, MGNREGA), is an Indian labour law and a social security measure that aims to guarantee the 'right to work'. It aims to enhance livelihood and social security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.

Minimum Balance Penalty to Offset Costs of Jan Dhan Accounts, Says SBI Chief

  • The State Bank of India has justified its move to levy penalty on non-maintenance of minimum balance, saying that it will balance the burden of managing a large number of no-frills Jan Dhan accounts.
  • All the banks in India have minimum balance requirement for account holders and SBI has the lowest minimum balance requirement.
  • The penalty on non-maintenance of minimum balance will not be applicable on Jan Dhan accounts.

Supreme Court asks HCs not to keep review pleas pending for long

  • The Supreme Court has asked all high courts not to keep the applications seeking review of any order pending for long, as it delays matters in every court.
  • The court's observation came as it was dealing with a matter in which the Kerala High Court had kept a review plea pending for almost four years.
  • The review plea should be disposed of as expeditiously as possible and it is the duty of the high court registry to place the matter before the concerned judge so that the application can be promptly dealt with.

Union Cabinet approves accession to global customs convention

  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval for India’s accession to the Customs Convention on International Transport of Goods under cover of TIR Carnets (TIR Convention) and necessary procedures for ratification.
  • By joining the convention, Indian traders will get 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.
  • It will avoid clearances at Border Crossing Points and ports that may often be congested, as under the convention customs clearance can take place at internal Customs locations.
  • TIR Convention: TIR Carnets, 1975 (TIR Convention) is an international transit system under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).
  • It facilitates the seamless movement of goods within and amongst the Parties to the Convention. At present there are 70 parties to the Convention, including 69 states and the European Union.

Vijay Goel constitutes committee to look in to women players' grievances

  • Sports Minister Vijay Goel has constituted a high level committee to look in to the grievances of women players.The five member committee will be headed by Joint Secretary of Sports Ministry. The panel will included two women player and one sports journalist.
  • The Union government will soon start a diploma course for women coaches and will help those women players who want to become coach.
  • The Sports Ministry also announced that the 1st Gramin Khel Mahotsav will be held from 25th to 31st of this month in New Delhi. This festival will help participation of rural youth in large numbers in popular sports and encourage them to achieve excellence and adopt healthy life style.