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DAILY GK -- MARCH 2016 -- 301 TO 350

301. Asia most exposed to disasters, Africa most vulnerable: Study
i. Countries and mega-cities across Asia are highly exposed to natural hazards ranging from cyclones to earthquakes, but people in sub-Saharan Africa are more vulnerable, according to a report.


ii. Nearly 1.4 billion people in South Asia — India, Bangladesh, Pakistan — face at least one major threat from nature, especially flooding, severe storms boosted by rising seas, and quakes.
iii.In the case of Bangladesh, 100% of its population is exposed, compared to 82% for India and 70% in Pakistan.
iv. China, Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines are also among the nations with the largest numbers of people in harm’s way.
v. The United States, Mexico and Brazil round out the top ten.

302. Jaitley visiting Australia soon to woo investments
i. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will fly to Australia on March 28 on a four-day visit to attract foreign investments in the infrastructure sector.

ii. The objectives of the finance minister's visit to Australia is to attract foreign investment in India, especially in the infrastructure sector among others.
iii. He will arrive in Sydney on March 29 and will address an interactive session of S.P. Jain School of Global Management followed by a meeting with Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and unveiling of the state-run Union Bank of India's Sydney branch.
iv. On March 30, the finance minister will deliver the keynote address at 'Make in India' conference in Sydney, meet prominent chief executives of Australia, hold a bilateral meeting with Australian lawmaker and treasurer Scot Morrison and interact with the Indian community.
v. Jaitley will also have one-to-one meeting with chief executives of various Australian firms and visit the University of Melbourne to meet its vice chancellor Daniel Andrews.

303. Himachal, Mumbai to have electric buses
i. Department of heavy industry has granted in-principle approval to Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to introduce zero-emission retrofitted electric buses.


ii. It is a flagship scheme under FAME India (faster adoption and manufacturing of hybrid & electric vehicles in India). 
iii. HRTC and MMRDA will roll out 25 electric buses each. Under FAME India, the department will fund up to 75 per cent cost of the buses.
iv. Himachal Pradesh would be the first state in India to introduce zero-emission electric buses. 
v. The chief minister also announced exemption from token tax, registration charges and value-added tax on all electric vehicles for five years to promote eco-friendly transport services in the state.

304. Tech Mahindra expands presence in France
i. The information technology services entity of Tech Mahindra has announced the launch of a development centre in Toulouse, France, to work on projects for existing partners and customers in the aerospace industry.

ii. There are significant investments planned in terms of people, infrastructure, recruitment and training, as a part of Tech Mahindra’s commitment to strengthening its presence in France.
iii. The company delighted to announce the inauguration of the new, expanded Delivery Centre in Toulouse, which marks a significant milestone for our organization. 
iv. The investment not only demonstrates our continued commitment to the region but also ensures that we are well positioned to fully support our partner's core activities with world class Engineering and IT services."
v. Tech Mahindra's local operation will have strategic importance by providing on-the-ground services to support this growing collaboration, increasing the size of the local team, and expanding recruitment in Toulouse and Midi Pyrenees' region.

305. Microsoft shuts Artificial Intelligence Robot – Tay
i. Microsoft, which launched artificial intelligence (AI)-powered bot on Twitter for a playful chat with people, only to silence it within 24 hours as users started sharing racist and offensive comments with the bot.


ii. Launched on Twitter as an experiment in “conversational understanding” and to engage people through “casual and playful conversation”, Tay was soon bombarded with racial comments and the innocent bot repeated those comments back with her commentary to users.
iii. Tay — an AI project built by the Microsoft Technology and Research and Bing teams — was coded with information which can tell users jokes or offer up a comment on a picture you send her.
iv. The bot is also designed to personalise her interactions with users. Microsoft has since deleted some of the most damaging tweets from nearly the 96,000 that Tay tweeted.
v. However, a website called Socialhax.com made screenshots of several of Tay’s comments before they were removed. Tay was seen referring to feminism as a “cult” and a “cancer”, as well as noting “gender equality feminism” and “i love feminism now.”

306. ITC acquires Technico Agri Sciences for Rs 121 crore
i. FMCG ITC Ltd said that it has completed the full acquisition of Technico Agri Sciences Ltd (TASL).

ii. The company owned by its direct subsidiary, Technico Pty Limited (TPL), Australia for a cash value of Rs 121 crore.
iii. As per a BSE filing by ITC The acquisition it is expected to “improve business and operational synergies”.
iv. The acquired company which is into production and sales of a registered category and field generated seed potatoes has been revenue positive for the past three fiscal years. 
v. In 2012-13, TASL's turnover stood at Rs 64.89 crore which climbed to Rs 73.94 crore in 2013-14 and further rocketed to Rs 105.54 crore in 2014-15. The value of the acquisition is the same as TASL's net worth.

307. RuPay to launch credit cards in Sept
i. RuPay the domestic card payment service provider will be venturing into the credit card space this September after increasing its market share to 38 per cent in the debit card segment.
ii. The NPCI plans to issue 100,000 such cards in the first year of its launch. 
iii. It will initially focus on two variants of a credit card — Regular and Platinum — and gradually extend its portfolio to offer co-branded cards.
iv. RuPay is a brand owned and developed by NPCI (from 2012) to compete against global payment schemes of the likes of Visa and MasterCard. NPCI was promoted by 10 Indian banks. 
v. From 2017, the target is to issue 500,000 to a million such credit cards every year. The market size of credit cards is presently 22.75 million users and the average value of spending a year is about Rs 2.5 lakh crore.

308. Lakshmi Vilas Bank Ties Up With NBHC For Collateral Management & Warehousing
i. Private sector Bank Lakshmi Vilas has tied up with National Bulk Handling Corporation (NBHC) for collateral management and warehousing services.

ii. The primary objective of these services will allow industry traders and farmers in financing their capital requirements at all stages of supply chain, ranging from pre-harvesting to the marketing and export stages.
iii. This would allow the bank to provide financial flexibility to farmers, minimizing the seasonal price fluctuations and distress sales during crop harvest season. 
iv. NBHC services to the needs of the members of the commodities future exchange for strong commodities and delivery through designated warehouses.

309. Hero Cycles Acquires 60% In Sri Lanka's BSH Ventures
i. Hero Cycles, the world’s largest bicycle manufacturer by volume has acquired 60 % stake in one of Sri Lanka's leading bicycle manufactures BSH Ventures. 
ii. It is third major acquisition within six months. 
iii. The acquisition comes to strength its global presence and to spruce up its manufacturing proficiency to feed a rapidly rising global demand.
iv. This comes within months of the company’s significant acquisitions in UK-based Avocet Sports and Firefox Bikes. But Hero Cycles has not disclosed its investments in the deals involved. 
v. presently Hero Cycles has been aggressively driving growth by clocking a robust 11% growth in the Indian market. It will further invest in ramping up the plant capacity in Sri Lanka to half a million units per year with clear plans laid out to fuel the domestic as well as ever-growing global demand. 

310. Paytm hires Alibaba’s former executive as President
i. Paytm, India’s mobile payment and commerce platform has appointed ex-head of Alibaba Group Holding’s wholesale business, Bhushan Patil as the company’s new President.
ii. Bhushan Patil joins Paytm as President after serving 5.5 years at the Chinese company, where he was handling operations of Alibaba.com. 
iii. He will now focus on building Paytm’s cross border commerce.
iv. At the largest B2B marketplace, Bhushan was instrumental at leading new initiatives for Global Markets business development across SME linked associations, Banks and Government trade organizations, local trade services and e-companies.
v. Paytm’s Indian business is growing increasingly as it is aiming to sell USD two billion worth of products in 2016 with a growth of five lakh from 1.7 lakh currently.

311. Govt To Create 2.5Lakh Dalit Entrepreneurs Under Stand Up India
i. The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi launched the  Stand up India Start up India initiative in New Delhi in January. 


ii. The launch by the prime minister was done at the virtual exhibition and interaction with Startup entrepreneurs.
iii. At the inauguration of the 5th National Industrial & Trade Fair organised by Dalit Indian Chamber Commerce & Industry (DICCI) , Union Minister for MSME (Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises) Kalraj Mishra has announced that, Under Stand-up India initiative, each of the 1.25 lakh bank branches would be encouraged to fund a SC/ST and woman entrepreneurs to create 2.5 lakh new entrepreneurs in the country.
iv. According to Mishra’s observation the availability of adequate credit was always been a major issue and his ministry has taken several initiatives to address the challenges .
v. The dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry has been encouraging and facilitating Dalit enterprise as a means of empowerment and has also ensured that the community contributes in the economy, and be the job givers, not job seekers.
312. ISRO Has Established GIRI Radar System In Andhra Pradesh
i. The Gadanki Ionospheric Radar Interferometer (GIRI) has been set up at the National Atmospheric Research Laboratory (NARL) near Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh by The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). 

ii. NARL is an autonomous research institute of the Department of Space.
iii. Gadanki Ionospheric Radar Interferometer System is a 30 MHz radar system that will be engaged in meteor and space weather research in a comprehensive way. 
iv. It consists of a rectangular antenna array of 160 two-element Yagi-antenna, arranged in a 20x8 matrix, 20 transmitter units, 6 digital receivers including data processing systems, a radar controller, and a host computer.
v. The main aim of GIRI is to carry out unattended observations towards studying the forcing from the sun like variation in solar flux, solar flare and magnetic storm on the ionospheric irregularities. 

313. Fourth unit of NTPC-Bihar govt owned 195-Mw plant synchronised
i. The 4th unit of 195-Mw Muzaffarpur Thermal Power Station (MTPS) has been successfully synchronised with the national grid.


ii. The plant is owned by Kanti Bijlee Utpadan Nigam Ltd, a joint venture between NTPC and Bihar State Power Generation Company Ltd, in which the two companies have 64.57% and 35.43% shares. 
iii. First unit of 110 Mw at MTPS started generation in November, 2013, while the second unit of 110 Mw started generation in November, 2014, after successful renovation and modernisation work carried out by BHEL. Both the units, each of 110 Mw, had stopped generation in 2003.
iv. The plant, which is being constructed at the existing site of an old power plant, would draw water from the river Burhi Gandak. 
v. It would get coal supply from a coal block of Central Coalfield Ltd located in Jharkhand.

314. Mizoram, JICA Sign Pact for Promoting Sustainable Agriculture
i. The Mizoram government and Japanese International Cooperative Agency (JICA) signed an agreement on Capacity Enhancement for Sustainable Agriculture and Irrigation Development.

ii. The Memorandum of Understanding(MoUs) was signed by top officials of Agriculture, Minor Irrigation, Horticulture and Soil and Water Conservation departments in the presence of state chief secretary Lalmalsawma. 
iii. The Mizoram government and Japanese International Cooperative Agency (JICA) signed an agreement on Capacity Enhancement for Sustainable Agriculture and Irrigation Development.
iv. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by top officials of Agriculture, Minor Irrigation, Horticulture and Soil and Water Conservation departments in the presence of state chief secretary Lalmalsawma.

315. BHEL commissioned 600 MW Jaipur Thermal Power Plant in Telangana
i. Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), a Maharatna central public sector enterprise, has successfully commissioned a 600 Mw coal-based thermal power plantin Telangana. 


ii. The company has built 600 Mw rating sets which comprise of a four cylinder turbine, designed in-house. With the commissioning of the unit, Singareni Collieries Company Ltd (SCCL) has successfully diversified into the power generation business.
iii. The heavy engineering major had earlier commissioned a 600 Mw thermal power plant at Kakatiya in the state in last December.
iv. The company commissioned 85 per cent of the coal-based power stations in Telangana amounting to 5,180 Mw.
v. The state government has recently placed orders with the company for executing around 6,000 Mw of thermal power projects in the state on engineering procurement construction basis.

316. Andhra govt set to inaugurate country's first lift irrigation project
i. Andhra government which is known for its innovations and use of technologies in various sectors has also become the first Indian state to implement lift irrigation. 

ii. Andhra Pradesh government is all set to inaugurate Pattiseema lift irrigation project, described as the first river linking project in country, connecting Godavari with Krishna in this lower riparian state, as it has been completed in a record time of one year.
iii. The first pump of this Rs 1,300-crore project was installed and switched on in September, 2015, about six months after the project contract was awarded to Hyderabad-based Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited (MEIL) on condition to complete the entire project in one year.
iv. The project was designed to lift 80 tmc (trillion metric cubic feet) of flood water in a span of 110 days during the flooding season between July and October from Godavari as was permitted by the Godavari Water Dispute Tribunal (GWDT) from the ongoing Polavaram Multi-purpose Irrigation Project.

317. Iran signs oil contract with France's Total
i. Iran signed a confidential oil agreement with France's Total to develope the South Azadegan oil field shared by Iran and Iraq, Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh said.


ii. Iran reached an agreement with the Japanese Inpex a decade ago to develop the oil field, however, the Japanese company quit the project as a result of US sanctions against Iran's energy sector because of the disputed nuclear issue. 
iii. Iran and the world powers clinched a nuclear deal in July last year which enables the country to re-engage with the world's energy giants to develop its oil and gas fields.

318. Pakistan and Iran agree to boost cooperation on security, trade
i. Iran and Pakistan have mutually agreed to boost bilateral cooperation on regional security and trade. 

ii. Decision in this regard was taken by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during intensive talks in Islamabad. 
iii. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is on official state visit to Pakistan and is the first visit by an Iranian head of state in 14 years. 
iv. Both the countries have agreed to fight extremist and terrorist groups in their countries’ shared border. They also announced the opening of two new crossing points to encourage trade long hampered by sanctions. 
v. The opening will contribute to economic integration in the region and also promote tourism and people to people contacts. 

319. Garry Shandling The Comedian And Actor Has Passed Away
i. Garry Shandling, the famous comedian who was best known for his faux docudrama and the show " it's Garry Shandling's " has passed away due to an apparent heart attack. He was 66 year old. 


ii. Mr. Shandling became a hero to a generation of comedians for his self aware comedy and groundbreaking shows. 
iii. He performed standup comedy and became a regular guest host of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
iv. Shandling was born in Chicago and grew up in Arizona. He moved to Los Angeles in the early 1970s, beginning as an advertising copywriter before getting a job writing for the sitcom Sanford and Son.
v. It’s Garry Shandling’s Show first graced American TV sets in 1986 with the eponymous protagonist portraying a high-strung comedian whose love life was on the rocks. The Larry Sanders Show debuted in 1992, earning the comedian cult status and numerous awards. 

320. Actor Peter Brown passes away
i. Peter Brown, who had starring roles in two television westerns in the 1950s and ’60s and later acted in soap operas, has died at the age of 80 due to Parkinson’s disease.
ii. Mr. Brown played Deputy Johnny McKay on “Lawman,” which was seen on ABC from 1958 until 1962. His character was the wide-eyed but tough sidekick of Marshal Dan Troop, played by John Russell, tasked with bringing order to Laramie, Wyo.
iii. He was born Pierre Lind de Lappe in New York City on Oct. 5, 1935, and his name was changed when his mother remarried. He moved with his family to the West Coast when he was young. 
iv. Mr. Brown’s last acting credit came in 2005 when he returned to the western genre in the movie “Hell to Pay,” but his family said he continued to make appearances at collectors’ shows and western festivals.


321.India, China led investments in Renewable Energy in 2015: UN report 
i. India and China have led the developing countries in investments made in renewable energy in 2015. 
ii. It was revealed by the ‘Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment’ Report published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). 

Key facts 
  • For the first time commitments of emerging economies in solar, wind and other renewables’ capacity have surpassed those by wealthy nations. 
  • The developing world committed a total of 156 billion dollars in new renewables capacity in 2015 year, these figures up 19% on 2014. 
  • Within the developing-economy category, the “Big Three” of India, China and Brazil saw investment rise 16% to USD 120.2 billion. 
  • In contrast, renewable energy investments by developed countries were down by 8 per cent in 2015 to 130 billion dollars. 
  • A large part of the record-breaking investment in developing countries took place in China, with its investment commitment up by 17% to 102.9 billion dollars. 
  • India was also among the top 10 investing countries in renewable energy with its commitments rising 22% to USD 10.2 billion.
  • It for the second time since 2011, India enjoyed a second successive year of increasing investment, breaching the USD 10 billion. 
  • United States, Japan, UK Brazil, South Africa, Mexico and Chile also made it to the top 10 investing countries in 2015.

322. Arvind Kejriwal named among World’s 50 Greatest Leaders by Fortune Magazine 
i. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been named among the world’s 50 greatest leaders by Fortune magazine. He is sole leader from India in the list and has been placed at 42nd position. 
ii. 2016 edition is Fortune magazine’s third annual ‘World’s 50 Greatest Leaders’ list and it has been topped by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. 
Key facts 
  • Top 10: Jeff Bezos (1st position), Angela Merkel (2nd), Aung San Suu Kyi (3rd), Pope Francis (4th), Tim Cook (5th), John Legend (6th), Christiana Figueres (7th), Paul Ryan (8th), Ruth Bader Ginsburg (9th) and Sheikh Hasina (10th). 
  • Indian Americans in the list: Indian-American Nikki Haley and Resham Saujani were placed at 17th and 20th position respectively. 
  • Nikki Haley is South Carolina’s Governor and Resham Saujani is founder and CEO of tech organization ‘Girls Who Code’.
  • Others in the list: US astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko (22th), IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde (36), Melinda Gates and Susan Desmond-Hellmann (41th), Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (48) and Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay (50). 

About World’s 50 Greatest Leaders list 
The ‘World’s 50 Greatest Leaders’ list of Fortune Magazine features men and women from across the globe from the fields of government, business, arts and the philanthropy who are transforming the world and inspiring others to do the same. 

323.Mint plant can help fight cancer: CIMAP Researchers 
i. Scientists at Lucknow​ based CSIR-Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP​) have found that mint plant has medicinal values that can cure cancer. 
ii. They have identified that a medicinal compound called ‘L-Menthol’ derived from Mentha plant popularly known as mint.​ ​ 

Key findings 
  • L-Menthol compound can kill the colon cancer cell line without affecting the normal cell line.
  • The compound inhibits the division of cancer cell and prevents its growth and spread to other organs of the body. 
  • Its production is cost-effective, non-destructive and easily available in comparison to anti-cancer compound used at present obtained from the bark of European Yew tree. 
  • The Mentha is available in abundance across the world compared to the European Yew tree which is found only in Europe and some parts of Africa and Asia.​ 
  • ​Menthol can be derived easily without damaging the plant, whereas the European Yew tree has to be cut down for using bark for deriving anti-cancer compound. 
  • The discovery can be very useful for farmers in ​India where Mentha is grown in large quantity.

324.Union Government releases self-regulation Code of ethical business conduct for industry 
i. The Union Consumer Affairs Ministry has released a self-regulation Code of ethical business conduct to be adopted by the Industry on providing best products and services. 
ii. In this regard, Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) was inked between Department of Consumer Affairs and the industry bodies related to self-regulated code of fair business. 
iii. The code contains provision of trustworthy products and services for the consumers, comply with the competition and anti-trust laws and respond to consumer complaints promptly. 
iv. It covers six broad principles to be adopted by the industry viz (i) safety of products and services, (ii) building sustainable supply chains, (iii) marketing products ethically, (iv) non-indulgence in unfair trade practices, (v) complying with competition and anti-trust laws, (vi) prompt response to consumer complaints. 

325. Padma Award Has Been Presented By The President Pranab Mukherjee
i. Today President Pranab Mukherjee has presented five Padma Vibhushan, eight Padma Bhushan and forty-three Padma Shri awards at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. 


ii. The government had announced Padma awards for 112 eminent persons on the eve of Republic Day. But today 56 persons have received the awards. 
iii. The list comprises 10 Padma Vibhushan, 19 Padma Bhushan and 83 Padma Shri awardees. 19 of the awardees are women and the list also includes 10 persons in the category of foreigners, NRIs, PIOs (include one posthumous) and 4 posthumous awardees.
iv. Here is the list of recipients:

Padma Vibhushan : 
1.Founder of Reliance Industries late Dhirubhai Hirachand Ambani (posthumous), 2.Former Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Jagmohan, 3.Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, 4.Indian-American economist Avinash Kamalakar Dixit and 5.Renowned dancer Yamini Krishnamurti.

326. President Rule Imposed In Uttarakhand
i. President’s Rule has been imposed in Uttarakhand. 

ii. The decision has been come up a day before the crucial trust vote in the state assembly for the Harish Rawat government. 
iii. The Cabinet had recommended the imposition of Central rule in the state last night following an hour-long emergency meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and also received the formal nod from President Pranab Mukherjee. 
iv. The Centre on Sunday brought Uttarakhand under President’s rule citing a constitutional breakdown in the wake of a rebellion in the ruling Congress, which slammed the decision calling it a “murder of democracy” and a “black” day. 
v. President Pranab Mukherjee signed the proclamation under Article 356 of the Constitution dismissing the Congress government headed by Harish Rawat and placing the Assembly under suspended animation this morning on the recommendation of the Union Cabinet. The Government justified the imposition of President’s Rule saying the Harish Rawat government was “unconstitutional” and “immoral” since March 18, when the “failed” Appropriation Bill was shown as passed.

327. National Film Awards: Amitabh Bachchan, Kangana Ranaut, Baahubali Won Big
i. Bollywood won big at the 63rd National Awards with Amitabh Bachchan and Kangana Ranaut scooping up Best Actor and Best Actress awards for Piku and Tanu Weds Manu Returns respectively.
ii. SS Rajamouli’s magnum opus Baahubali emerged as the Best Film and Sanjay Leela Bhansali won in the best director category for his period drama, Bajirao Mastani. 
iii. Earlier, Bollywood director Ramesh Sippy and actor-director Satish Kaushik handed over the recommendations for the awards to information and broadcasting minister Arun Jaitley.
iv. This is 4th National Amitabh Bachchan who had earlier won for Agneepath, Paa and Black. 
v. For Kangana, this comes as the second consecutive win. She was adjudged the Best Actress last year for Vikas Bahl’s Queen, which also emerged as the Best Film. 

328. Rotavirus Vaccine Has Been Launched By The Union Health Minister 
i. The government launched the vaccine for Rotavirus vaccine  as part of Universal Immunization Programme to prevent child mortaility due to Rotavirus diarrhoea. 

ii. The vaccine, developed indigenously under a public-private partnership by the science and health ministries.
iii. It's a landmark achievement under the Prime Minister's "Make in India" initiative. 
iv. Launching the vaccine at a function in Bhubaneswar, Union Health Minister J P Nadda said, the vaccine is initially being introduced in 4 States which are Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Odisha. 
v. The introduction of Rotavirus vaccine will enable the government to directly address the problem of diarrheal deaths.

329. Madhya Pradesh To Get Its First ITBP Modern Weapon Training Centre
i. Madhya Pradesh is going to have its first Indo Tibetan Border Police weapon training centre at Batiagarh, Damoh. 


ii. ITBP's Weapon and Support Weapon Training Centre will be the first of its kind in the state.
iii. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has issued orders to set up in Damoh," Patel told reporters yesterday in the presence of MP finance minister Jayant Mallaiya. 
iv. The newly recruited constables of ITBP will be given training at the center for operating all kinds of small and big weapons including cannons capable of firing up to 5-km range and sten guns. 
v. A similar training center is already operational in Allahabad.

330. Haryana Launches Scheme For The Differently-Abled
i. Haryana Government has launched a new scheme ‘Adapting Homes for the Differently-abled’, under which pension of 6 months would be given in advance to such persons for adapting their homes as per their requirement.

ii. The grant for diet money to hearing impaired has been increased from Rs 400 to Rs 1,000 per month. 
iii. Similarly, the grant for the visually-impaired children has also been increased from Rs 600 to Rs 1,600 per month.
iv. Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Kavita Jain here said this amount would be recovered over a period of 42 months under the 'Adapting homes for the differently-abled' scheme. 
v. Haryana has been selected by the Centre as a pilot state for universal ID for persons with disability, for which work has already been started. 

331. Maharashtra Gets Its First Set Of Women Commanders To Protect Forest
i. Women have been finding a place for themselves in all the challenging fields. 


ii. Recently Indian Navy announced to recruit 3 female fighter pilots. Similarly, Women have been chosen as forest guards in Maharashtra.
iii. A batch of 20 women are likely to become the first women commandos of the state forestry department.
iv. They were trained from Gadchiroli’s Jungle Tactic and Survival Course (JTSC).
v. The one-month training has began on February 8 and it include women of the age group 19-24

332. Haryana Cabinet Has Approved Jat Reservation Bill
i. The Haryana cabinet today approved the Jat reservation bill. 
ii. This comes a day after the Akhil Bhartiya Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti (ABJASS), the body that spearheaded the Jat quota stir in February, today threatened to resume the agitation if its demands are not met by the end of this month.
iii. The Haryana cabinet today cleared the bill that proposes to provide reservation to five communities, including the politically-dominant Jat community.
iv. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had said earlier that the state government would introduce a new bill in the assembly's budget session for reservation to five communities, namely Jat, Jat Sikh, Tyagi, Bishnoi and Ror.
v. Mr Khattar had made it clear that the existing 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in the state would not be disturbed. The OBC community is opposing inclusion of Jats in their category for reservation. A five-member committee under the chairmanship of the chief secretary was formed earlier this month to prepare draft of the Bill to grant reservation under the ambit of constitution.

333. Federal Bank To Open Startup Incubation Centres
i. Federal Bank is all set to open an incubation centers for startups in Bangalore and Ernakulam. 
ii. These branches will offer advice on capital, regulatory support and even disburse funds in these specialized lounges.
iii. These lounges centres named as Launchpad and are equipped with fast internet connections, support staff from the financial world and advisory mechanisms. 
iv. These lounges would be the perfect breeding ground for future entrepreneurs because these lounges would be manned by bank executives capable of dealing with the financial requirements of startups as well as local specialists who would be able to advise on regulatory issues.
v. In addition to that Federal Bank brings to the ‘Chillr’ application is that they would allow even non-Federal Bank users to instantly open a Federal Bank account through a selfie and an ‘Aadhaar’ identification number and allow them to receive payments through ‘Chillr’.

334. China Launches First Cyber Security Organization
i. China has launched its first cyber security public organization aimed at better safeguarding national cyber security and guiding Internet companies in perform their duties.

ii. The Country’s first cyber security public organisation has been launched by China which consists of academic institutes, individuals and internet companies including Tencent and popular internet Security Company Qihu 360. 
iii. The organization will focus on promoting self-discipline in the industry, accelerating the establishment of industry standards and cyber security studies and participating in international cooperation.
iv. During the launch, Wang Xiujun, deputy director of the China Administration of Cyberspace, the country’s Internet regulator, said that she hoped the association could emphasize on safeguarding the country’s internet security and building up China as an internet power, while attracting more cutting-edge cyber security enterprises and talent to enhance the industry’s authority.
v. The organization will focus on promoting self-discipline in the industry, accelerating the establishment of industry standards and cyber security studies and participating in international cooperation.

335. Syrian Army Recaptures Historic City Of Palmyra From IS
i. Syrian Army and popular defence forces have regained control of the ancient city of Palmyra from Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group. 
ii. The liberation of the historic city of Palmyra from the ISIS terror group was undertaken by joint efforts of Syrian Army with support of national aviation and Russian Aerospace Forces. 
iii. The ancient city of Palmyra is a UNESCO designated World Heritage site and home to some of the world’s most magnificent ancient ruins. 
iv. ISIS had taken complete control of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra in May 2015. After the seizure of entire ancient city, they had destroyed many ancient ruins.
v. The city is situated in a strategically important area on the road between Syria’s capital Damascus and the oil rich eastern city of Deir al-Zour. Oil and gas produced from the fields located in Deir al-Zour, Syrian government used to generate electricity for areas under its control in the west of the country. Earlier in March 2015, ISIS had demolished several ancient sites that pre-date Islam in Iraq, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites Hatra and Nimrud.

336. Singapore Ingapore Corvette Test Fires Barak Missile 
i. The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) has successfully test-fired a Barak missile from its Victory-class missile corvette RSS Vigour during Fleet Exercise conducted in the South China Sea.

ii. Singapore’s Minister for Defence and Commanding Officer of the RSN’s Missile Corvette Squadron, on the conduct of the exercise and the capabilities of the missile corvette, the defense ministry said in a press statement. 
iii. Speaking of the exercise, Dr. Ng commented that the RSN personnel’s professionalism and commitment to maintaining operational readiness and ensuring mission success. He said, “I watched the entire life firing from another ship alongside. 
iv. It was deeply satisfying to see the system work like clockwork. It detected and tracked the target and launched the Barak missile to hit spot-on. 
v. It gives us confidence that all our investments into sophisticated systems will be able to defend Singapore when we need to”.

337. Surya Deva Appointed As UN Human Rights Commissioner
i. Indian origin law professor Surya Deva has been appointed as an adviser on human rights and multinationals and businesses by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). 


ii. The Council has approved his appointment to the position formally known as Special Procedure Mandate Holder. 
iii. According to officials he will be a member of the 4 member working group on the issue of human rights, transnational corporations and other business enterprises. 
iv. These advisers report annually to the Council and in most cases to the UN General Assembly. 
v. They will take up cases and broader concerns in their fields with government and contribute to the development of international human rights standards.

338. Indo American Appointed As The President & CEO Of Bank Of The West
i. Nandita Bakshi an Indian-American has been appointed as the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bank of the West. 

ii. Bank of the West is the unit of French banking giant BNP Paribas. 
iii. She will take over the roles of President and CEO-designate effective from 1 April 2016 and will assume the role on 1 June 2016.
iv. She will succeed Michael Shepherd who has been appointed as chairman of the BNP Paribas USA, a new holding company for all BNP Paribas subsidiaries in the United States. 
v. Presently she also serves on the board of the Consumer Bankers Association. She is recipient of a New England News ‘Woman of the Year’ award in 2002. 

339. Hockey India Annual Awards : Sreejish And Deepika Won Hockey Player Of The Year
i. Deepika and PR Sreejesh has won the Dhruv Batra Player of the Year Award for Women and Men respectively at the Hockey India (HI) Annual Awards. The award has been given in the 2nd Hockey India Annual Awards ceremony for 2015. 
ii. The best hockey players in India and former greats of the game came together for the awards, whose total prize money was in excess of Rs.2 crore.
iii. Apart from them Late Captain Shankar Laxman has won the coveted Major Dhyan Chand Lifetime Achievement Award, Mr. Baldev Singh for Invaluable Contribution, Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy for Outstanding Achievement etc. 
iv. The first set of awards marking important milestones in the careers of players were presented to Dharamvir Singh, Kothajit Singh, Birendra Lakra and Sushila Chanu for making 100 appearances for India. They were also presented with a cheque of Rs.50,000. 
v. While Mr. Gurbaj Singh and V.R. Raghunath were awarded for turning out in India colours 200 times and were presented with a cheque of Rs.1 lakh each.


340. Prime Minister To Launch "Stand Up India" Scheme On 5th Of April
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to inaugurate the 'Stand Up India' scheme on 5th April. 


ii. The scheme aims to creating jobs and promoting entrepreneurs among SC, ST and women. The scheme will loans to these segments at cheaper rates. 
iii. The Prime Minister Modi will launched the scheme at a function in Noida (UP).
iv. According to this scheme PSB will provide the loans facility at the least applicable rate of interest with the help of  approx 1.25 lakh bank branches. 
v. Apart from PSB the private sector bank will also provide the loans between rs. 10 lakh to 1 crore to atleast one SC, ST and one women entrepreneur.

 341. India Sends 1st Ever Direct Box Vessel To Bangladesh
i. The 1st direct container vessel between India and Bangladesh have been send from Krishnapatnam port. The container vessel was carrying cotton set. 

ii. This step is a part of coastal shipping agreement between the two countries to facilitate easy trade, many existing norms were relaxed by both countries as part of the pact.
iii. The vessel MV Harbour-1, owned by Neepa Paribahan of Bangladesh was formally flagged off as part of a coastal shipping agreement signed by India and Bangladesh during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh in June, 2015. 
iv. According to officials the port was aiming to become the gateway port to Bangladesh in addition to being a transshipment port because the trade potential with Bangladesh is huge.
v. Earlier the shipments from Indian ports being transported to Bangladesh were routed either via Colombo or Singapore. With the launch of the direct service, time taken for such shipments would come down from 2-5 days. 

342. Government to launch Gram Uday to Bharat Uday Abhiyan from 14th to 24th April, 2016
i. Starting with Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar’s 125th Birth Anniversary on 14th April 2016 and culminating in Panchayati Raj Day on 24th April 2016, in the period between 14th April to 24th April 2016, the Central Government, in collaboration with States and Panchayats, will organize a ‘Gram Uday Se Bharat Uday Abhiyan’ (Village Self Governance Campaign). 

ii. The campaign aims to generate nation-wide efforts to increase social harmony across villages, strengthen Panchayati Raj, promote rural development, and foster farmers’ progress. 
iii. Hon’ble Prime Minister will inaugurate the Gram Uday se Bharat Uday Campaign of 14th April 2016 at MHOW in Madhya Pradesh. 
iv. On 24th April 2016 i.e. National Panchayati Raj Day, Hon’ble Prime Minister will address all the Gram Sabhas of the country from Jamshedpur, which will be beamed to all the villages in the country, where villagers will gather together to listen to the Prime Minister’s address. 
v. In the preceding days, between 14th April to 16th April, 2016 a ‘Social Harmony Programme’ will be conducted in all Gram Panchayats, supported collaboratively by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj and the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. 


343. Govt plans to infuse Rs. 5,050 crore in PSU banks
i. Government is planning to infuse additional capital of about Rs. 5,050 crore in some public sector banks this week, according to reports.

ii. Parliament has approved Rs 5,050 crore for meeting additional expenditure on recapitalisation of public sector banks, as per a report. 
iii. The likely contenders for the fresh round of infusion include Central Bank of India, Indian Bank, UCO Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Vijaya Bank and United Bank of India,  report added. 
iv. It will be part of the Rs 25,000 crore capital infusion plan earmarked for the current fiscal.

344. India to host 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup
i. The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval for holding of Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Under-17 World Cup to be held in India in 2017. 
ii. It is likely to be held in the month of September -October 2017.
iii. The venues of the game will be, 1-JLN Stadium, New Delhi; 2-D.Y. Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai; 3-JLN Stadium, Kochi; 4-Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata; 5 JLN Stadium, Fatorda Goa and I.G. Stadium Guwahati.
iv. Expenditure towards overlays and equipment including display boards, etc. may be incurred. The total cost, however, will be within Rs.95 crore as approved earlier.
v. In the eventuality of any additional requirement of funds, Department of Sports will take up the matter with the Department of Expenditure.

345. BHEL commissions 40 MW hydropower plant in West Bengal
i. Public Sector Power equipment manufacturer Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has commissioned the second 40 MW hydropower generating unit at the Teesta low dam hydroelectric project (HEP) stage IV in West Bengal. 
ii. The hydropower generating unit was successfully installed at the Teesta low dam HEP, a run-of-the-river greenfield project, located in Darjeeling district of the West Bengal. 
iii. Teesta low dam HEP is being set up by National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC). 
iv. BHEL’s Bhopal, Jhansi, Rudrapur, Mumbai and Bengaluru facilities had supplied equipment for the project and execution of work was undertaken on site is being. 
v. The estimated annual energy (power) generation from the project is around 720 million units. It is expected to reduce green-house gas (GHGs) emissions and will help in achieving a low carbon development path for the state as well as the nation. So far, BHEL has commissioned nearly 400 hydro generating sets of various ratings with a cumulative capacity of around 20,000 MW in the country.

346. Himachal Pradesh government released Sixth Economic Census report
i. 6th Economic Census of Himachal Pradesh was released by Pradeep Chauhan, the Economic Advisor of Himachal Government. 


ii. The survey was started in 2012 and completed in two phases with 8303 enumerators, 3844 supervisors and 175 charge officers covering 24,932 enumeration blocks.
iii. Himachal Pardesh  was  first state in the country to complete the census and release the report and the parameters and methods adopted by the state are being followed by other states Economic Status 2016. 
iv. This is the first census in which nearly 100 % establishments, both in urban and remotest rural areas had been covered. 
v. The census was conducted in all the 12 districts of the state. More than 12 thousand trained employees completed this economic census operation.

347. US museum returns 10th century Rama statue to Cambodia
i. United States returned an ancient decapitated statue of Hindu god Rama stolen from Cambodia during the South East Asian country’s civil war in the 70s. 

ii. The sandstone Torso of Rama statue, which stands 157 centimetres tall and is missing its head, arms and feet, was formally handed over at a ceremony in Phnom Penh attended by government officials, the US ambassador and the director of the Denver Museum of Art.
iii. In May last year, a 10th century stone statue of Hanuman was returned to Cambodia by the Cleveland Museum of Art. 
iv. In January, a 7th century stone sculpture of Harihara, a deity that combines aspects of Vishnu and Shiva, was returned by France and reattached to its body for display at a museum in Phnom Penh, more than 130 years after it was spirited away.
348. USAID, ADB sign ‘Develop Solar Parks’ MoU
i. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed an MoU to facilitate USD 848 million (Rs. 5,681 crore) in funding to develop solar parks across India. 
ii. The agreement was signed by Jonathan Addleton, Mission Director, USAID/India and M. Teresa Kho, Country Director, India Resident Mission, Asian Development Bank.
iii. Through the agreement, USAID will align the technical resources of two of its programs to support ADB’s investments in the development of solar parks and renewable energy transmission infrastructure in states at the forefront of India’s efforts to promote clean energy.
iv. The collaboration will initially focus on the state of Rajasthan.
v. The cooperation will design and develop public-private partnership models as well as study options for managing grid reliability.
In particular, USAID technical activities will help place investments of USD 348 million (Rs. 2,331 crore) by ADB for transmission infrastructure for renewable energy deployment in western Rajasthan. USAID will also work with ADB across India with an additional USD 500 million (Rs. 3,350 crore) of investment in the design and development of solar parks.

349. Myanmar gets its first public listing
i. After a delay of more than 20 years, Myanmar’s stock exchange opened for its first day of business, with the trading of a single company.

ii. The move comes as the country’s development accelerates with a democratic government being formed after an election victory in November, part of a political and economic transformation that’s bringing an end to more than five decades of isolation.
iii. The listing debut was attended by First Myanmar’s Pun and officials including Maung Maung Thein, the country’s deputy finance minister and chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, who called it “a historic day in the development of the capital markets.”
iv. First Myanmar, Myanmar Citizens Bank and Myanmar Thilawa SEZ are among the initial batch of six companies approved for listing.
v. Myanmar’s equity-market journey began in the early 1990s, when executives from Daiwa Institute of Research Holdings, a unit of Japan’s second-largest brokerage, met with the nation’s military rulers in Yangon. Their initial target was to start a bourse by 2000.
As Myanmar emerges from economic isolation, it will need $80 billion of power, transport, and technology projects through 2030 to modernise its economy, according to the Asian Development Bank.

350. World Bank approved $100 million loan to Jordan
i. Jordan will get a cheap $100 million loan from World Bank to help create 100,000 jobs for Syrian refugees and its own citizen. 

ii. The World Bank’s Board extended the highly unusual financing offer because of the extraordinarily difficult situation facing both the refugees and their Jordanian hosts.

iii. The long-term loan, almost interest free, is part of an attempt by the international community to improve conditions for refugees in overburdened regional host countries, including Jordan and Lebanon.
iv. More than 4.8 million Syrians have fled their country since the start of the Syria conflict in 2011. Jordan hosts about 640,000 registered Syrian refugees and Lebanon more than 1 million.
v. Cheap loans by the World Bank and other donors are among the new tools meant to help finance education and job creation for refugees in the region. Such support is also meant to slow the migration of refugees to Europe

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DAILY GK -- MARCH 2016 -- 301 TO 350 Reviewed by sambasivan srinivasan on 8:57:00 AM Rating: 5

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