GK Power Capsule – Current Affairs March 2014 (The Hindu Review)

1. Abdullah, the king of Saudi Arabia appointed his half-brother Moqren as the next heir to the throne.
2. Sunil Gavaskar was appointed as the interim president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) by the Supreme Court. Sunil Gavaskar replaced the present BCCI chief N Srinivasan.
3. Jens Stoltenberg was appointed as the Secretary General of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). He will replace the incumbent Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
4. General Sedki Sobhi was sworn-in as the new Defence Minister and Army Chief of Egypt.
5. Rajiv Takru was appointed as the Revenue Secretary. He will succeed Sumit Bose.
6. Rakesh Sethi was appointed as CMD of Allahabad Bank.
7. Sheila Dikshit, the former chief minister of Delhi was appointed as the 22nd Governor of Kerala. She will succeed Nikhil Kumar.
8. Indian-origin Gopal Rao won UK Twitter Prize.
9. Japanese architect Shigeru Ban won the Pritzker Architecture Prize 2014.
10. Govind Mishra, the renowned Hindi author will receive Sarawasti Samman for the year 2013 for his book Dhool Paudho Par published in 2008.
11. The 86th Annual Academy Oscar Awards 2014 - The best picture award was won by 12 Years A Slave of Steve McQueen. Best Actor – Matthew McConaughey (Film-Dallas Buyers Club), Best Actress - Cate Blanchett (Film - Blue Jasmine), Best Director - Alfonso Cuaron (Film – Gravity).
12. Physicist Rajesh Gopakumar was selected for G D Birla Award for scientific research for the year 2013.
13. The new Corporate Responsibility Regulations notified recently was not applicable to the State Bank of India, but it would comply voluntarily as SBI was created under SBI Act.
14. Indian journalist Shubranshu Choudhary won Google digital activism award for regional news service.
15. Tomas Halik, the Czech priest won the Templeton Prize for 2014.
16. President Pranab Mukherjee presented the President's Standard and Colours Award to 112 Helicopter Unit and President's Colour to 4 Base Repair Depot (BRD).
17. Indian writer Pankaj Mishra won Windham Campbell Literature Prize 2014 in non-fiction category.
18. US honoured Laxmi, an acid attack victim with the prestigious International Women of Courage Award.
19. Chandi Prasad Bhatt, the noted Gandhian environmentalist and social activist won the Gandhi Peace Prize for the year 2013. Bhatt was one of the pioneers of the Chipko movement.
20. Actor Arjun Kapoor was named as the brand ambassador of the Earth hour 2014. Earth hour is an initiative under which citizens are advised to switch off all electricity for an hour. It is organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
21. Grand jury of US indicted Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, the person accused for visa fraud and for under paying her housekeeper. Earlier, the virtually identical charges against Devyani were dropped by a court on the ground that she enjoyed diplomatic immunity.
22. Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, the Army Chief of Egypt resigned to contest in Presidential election.
23. Dr KC Chakrabarty, the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India resigned. Earlier, Anand Sinha retired from the position of Deputy Governor of RBI.
24. GK Pillai resigned as Chairman of MCX-SX on 14 March 2014. Consequently, current Vice Chairman and former LIC Chairman, Thomas Mathew T was elected as new Chairman.
25. Nandan Nilekani resigned as chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). He joined the Congress Party to contest Lok Sabha Polls from the Bangalore South constituency.
26. Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Apple Inc Peter Oppenheimer announced his retirement.
27. Veteran film actress of Hindi and Marathi films, Nanda died.
28. Khushwant Singh, the renowned author and journalist died.
29. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, the former President and leader of Sierra Leone died.
30. South China Sea-Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared in the South China Sea.
31. Union Ministry of Minority Affairs launched Nalanda Project for Minorities Higher Educational Institutions.
32. Union Ministry of Minority Affairs launched a new initiative Maulana Azad Sehat Scheme for the welfare of minorities.
33. India was ranked fourth in a Microsoft report in the list of the countries sending out spam e-mails. India has followed three nations namely USA, China, UK.
34. India’s import of weapon systems is three times more than Pakistan and China. The report published by as Swedish Think Tank, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has claimed that India continues to be the largest buyer of arms in the world.
35. Mumbai was the least expensive major city for expatriates among the major cities of the world. This was revealed in a report released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). After Mumbai, Karachi and New Delhi are the least expensive city in the world. Singapore was ranked as the most expensive city.
36. The Third Nuclear Security Summit was held in The Hague, Netherlands from 24 to 25 March 2014.
37. A non-profit group Vandana Foundation launched AQUATM in Mumbai. The AQUATM is a water vending machine from which water can be purchased.
38. A multi-pronged National campaign on Dengue, U & Me Against Dengue, was launched to eradicate dengue across six Indian cities with public private partnership.
39. Union Defence Ministry ordered a CBI investigation into the purchase of jet fighter engines from Britain’s Rolls-Royce that worth 10000 crore rupees.
40. Indian Navy successfully completed Theatre Level Operational Readiness Exercise (TROPEX), one of its largest war drills spread over Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal region.
41. India and Nepal started a joint military exercise at Saljhandi in Rupandehi district of Nepal. The two week exercise named Ex-Surya Kiran Drills VI.
42. Third BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) Summit was held from 1 March to 4 March 2014 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. Indian Prime Minster visited Myanmar.
43. Sumith Nakandala was appointed as the first Secretary General of BIMSTEC.
44. The Union Cabinet gave its approval for the setting up of 54 Kendriya Vidyalayas, four National Institutes of Design (NIDs), and 3,500 model schools at the block level in Educationally Backward Blocks (EBBs). The proposal to set up new KVs during the 12th Five Year Plan period.
45. Various Central agencies cleared seven major National Highway projects, including the Delhi-Meerut Expressway, pertaining mostly to Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana and Punjab and Rajasthan.
47. The Centre assailed the January 21 Supreme Court verdict commuting the death sentence of 15 convicts to life term, saying the President’s decision in disposing of a mercy petition was beyond judicial review.
48. With a view to promoting affordable and effective generic drugs, the Centre has asked the States to provide space in government hospitals for their sale so that more Jan Aushadhi Stores could be opened.
49. President Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent to the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, 2014 that would pave way for the creation of the State of Telangana, and approved the Cabinet’s recommendation to impose Central rule in the State.
50. Russia’s Parliament has approved the use of armed force in Ukraine, even as the West warned Moscow not to intervene in the troubled post-Soviet state.
51. Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung approved a proposal to bring back trams in Chandni Chowk area.
52. Justice G. Rohini is set to become the first woman Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court.
53. Two fund houses of SBI and Axis have filed papers with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to start mutual fund schemes linked to inflation-indexed bonds.
54. Former Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman J. S. Sarma, an advocate of telecom sector reforms, has passed away.
55. The Union government has raised by 10 to 20 basis points the interest rates on select fixed deposit schemes offered by post offices. The rate hike will come into effect from April 1, 2014. The rate hike decision is in line with the recommendations of the Shyamala Gopinath Committee.
56. With the provisional exclusion of the Indian Boxing Federation (IBF), the International Boxing Association (AIBA) has suggested that a new national federation be floated to revive the country’s relations with the international boxing community. The AIBA, which suspended the IBF on December 6, 2012 due to alleged irregularities in its elections held that year.
57. RBI decided to allow foreign inward remittances received under money transfer service scheme (MTSS) directly into the bank account of the beneficiary through electronic modes such as national electronic funds transfer (NEFT) and immediate payment service (IMPS).
58. The elections for the 16th Lok Sabha, along with the Assembly polls in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim, will be held on nine different dates. The first date is April 7 and the last is May 12. Counting of votes will be held on May 16. Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath, accompanied by Election Commissioners H.S. Brahma and S.N.A. Zaidi, said Bihar and Uttar Pradesh would have the maximum of six polling dates each.
59. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has urged the Uttar Pradesh government to take immediate action to end the strike by government doctors which has resulted in "violation of people’s right to health and life.”
60. India’s current account deficit (CAD) narrowed sharply to $4.2 billion (0.9 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP)) in the third quarter of the current financial year.
61. Telecom subscribers across the country can now register complaints by dialling a special toll free number 1063.
62. At Graphic Era University in Dehradun as Arvind Mishra, a young assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering, broke the Guinness record of 121 hours in the non-stop lecturing category.
63. For the first time candidates will have the option of e-filing their affidavits in the coming Lok Sabha and Assembly polls. The mandatory affidavits (Form 26), to be submitted at the time of filing nomination papers, include information on the candidate’s assets (movable and immovable property), property and accounts abroad, liabilities, educational qualifications and criminal antecedents, if any, and the name of the spouse and dependents.
64. Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) will celebrate International Women's Day by organising financial literacy camps for women. All the 12 branches of the bank will organise financial literacy camps on March 8.
65. China announced its biggest hike in military spending in three years, with its defence budget set to cross $130 billion in the coming year.
66. Tata Motors said it had tied up with Bharatiya Mahila Bank to provide retail finance to its passenger vehicle customers.
67. Bihar is India’s fastest growing State with its Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) growing at 15.05 per cent during 2012-13. According to the CSO data, Gujarat grew at 7.96 per cent, ranked sixth, behind Bihar, Madhya Pradesh (9.89 per cent), Goa (8.47 per cent), Kerala (8.24 per cent) and Odisha (8.09 per cent). The all-India economic growth in 2012-13 was 4.47 per cent.
68. A high-power committee under the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) has been set up to find ways for the banking sector to comply with Basel-III capital norms. The decision was taken at a sub-committee meeting of FSDC chaired by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan.
69. Myanmar received the award of World’s Best Tourist Destination for 2014 by the European Union Council on Tourism and Trade.
70. To expedite proceedings against sitting MPs and MLAs in criminal cases, the Supreme Court asked lower courts to complete trial within a year of framing of charges.
71. Two Russian cosmonauts and an American astronaut landed back on Earth in Kazakhstan after a stay of more than half a year aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
72. China said it would allow, for the first time, the setting up of five private banks on a trial basis.
73. Bharatiya Mahila Bank Limited, the first women’s bank and a wholly-owned government institution, proposes to open 55 more branches in Tier 4, Tier-5 and Tier-6 cities in 2014-15.
74. Gold and silver imports declined by 71.4 per cent to $1.63 billion in February mainly due to restrictions imposed by the government.
75. The Supreme Court declined to review its January 21 verdict, commuting the death sentence of 15 convicts to life term because of inordinate delay on the part of the President in disposing of their mercy petitions.
76. Rakesh Sethi took over as Chairman and Managing Director of Allahabad Bank.
77. The U.S. financial regulator warned consumers that using the online currency Bitcoin was fraught with risks, including theft by hacking and fraud.
78. The Director General of Civil Aviation has come out with new detailed guidelines for the physically challenged travelling by air, making it clear that no airline can refuse to fly them.
79. India and Bangladesh are keen to increase business relations by setting up inland waterways for hassle-free movement of cargo.
80. Singapore’s central bank said it would regulate ‘intermediaries’ for the Bitcoin virtual currency to prevent them from being used for money laundering and terrorist financing.
81. India’s foreign exchange reserves jumped by $1.088 billion to touch $295.45 billion during the week ended March 7, 2014.
82. Crimea declared independence from Ukraine and applied to rejoin Russia. Nearly 97 percent of voters said “yes” to revert to Russia.
83. Designed and built using a $777,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the self-contained, waterless toilet with its innovative technology converts human waste to biochar, a highly porous charcoal. It aims to provide an eco-friendly solution to help some of the 2.5 billion people around the world lacking safe sanitation.
84. Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said he had called President Barack Obama to complain that the U.S. government is undermining confidence in the Internet with vast, secret surveillance programmes.
85. Wholesale Price Index Inflation slipped to a nine-month low of 4.68 per cent in February.
86. Goldman Sachs Asset Management (India) has announced the launch of CPSE-ETF (Central Public Sector Enterprise Exchange Traded Fund) new fund offer, which tracks the central public sector enterprises (CPSE) index. Through this fund, investors can invest in Maharatnas, Navratnas and Miniratnas companies.
87. The Andhra Pradesh State government has in principle decided for the Rs. 1,000-crore Missile Test Launch Facility project proposed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in Nagayalanka mandal of Krishna district.
88. For the first time, a large section of the still classified Henderson Brooks Report, which details a comprehensive operational review of India’s military debacle in India China war 1962, has been made public.
89. El Salvador’s election officials declared Sanchez Ceren the winner in presidential election.
90. Ludhiana and Kanpur are among the 10 most polluted cities in the world, says the World Health Organisation. Ludhiana made it to the fourth position along with Quetta in Pakistan. Kanpur made it to the ninth position. The most polluted city in the world is Ahvaz in Iran.
91. The Election Commission has directed content managers of social networking sites to make sure that candidates do not post anything violative of the model code of conduct. The guidelines will be applicable to a range of Internet-based social media including Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Wikipedia.
92. The All India Bank Employees’ Association has sought the immediate intervention of Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath to disqualify top loan defaulters from entering the poll fray.
93. The Home Ministry has taken action against about 19,000 non-government organisations which did not file returns within the stipulated time period.
94. Reserve Bank of India has warned all domestic banks to take steps before Microsoft ends its Windows XP software support from April 8, 2014.
95. A city court directed Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and her close aide N. Sasikala to appear before it on April 3 to face trial in cases pertaining to alleged failure to file Income Tax returns.
96. The Central Government will sell 4.2 crore shares or 9 per cent stake in Axis Bank. The government holds about 20.72 per cent of the shares of the third largest Indian private sector bank through the Specified Undertaking of UTI (Unit trust of India).
97. The EU welcomed Ukraine into the Western fold, signing the political provisions of a landmark accord. European Union leaders agreed sanctions against top Russian politicians and stepped up efforts to cut the bloc’s debilitating energy dependence on Russia.
98. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan said that the central bank was yet to take a decision on Urjit Patel committee report which had suggested an inflation target and was still in discussion with the government on the subject.
99. British retail major Tesco announced that it was forming an equal joint venture with Trent Ltd., a part of the Tata Group, by picking up 50 per cent stake in Trent Hypermarket Ltd (THL) for about Rs.850 crore.
100. North Korea test-fired 30 short-range missiles into the sea. The missiles are estimated to have flown about 60 km.
102. ‘Book your own coach’ – is the latest initiative rolled out by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) for the benefit of foreign travellers, tourists and students.
103. The Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) will open three more branches in three capital cities of the northeastern States - Agartala (Tripura), Shillong (Meghalaya) and Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh).
104. Prime Minister Muhammed Nawaz Sharif said that Pakistan had postponed giving India the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status.
105. The Election Commission of India (ECI) has clarified that poll campaign-related news appearing in newspapers and channels owned by political parties will fall under the purview of paid news.
106. Bank of India launched IMT (Instant Money Transfer), which allows cardless cash withdrawal at its IMT-enabled ATMs, a first-of-its-kind initiative by any public sector bank. The facility can be initiated by the bank’s customer over bank’s ATM and retail Internet banking. The sender initiates IMT by providing receiver’s mobile number, four digits sender code and the IMT amount. Monthly withdrawal limit prescribed for IMT transaction is Rs.25,000 for receiver, and per transaction limit of Rs.10,000. IMT, once issued, is valid for 14 days.
107. The Election Commission (EC) has directed the government to defer notification of the order on gas price hike till the end of the general election in the third week of May.
108. After having launched its first ATM a year ago, Tata Communications Payment Solutions Limited (TCPSL) which is the first non-banking firm to launch its ATM network or white label ATMs said it plans to roll out 15,000 ATMs across India by June 2016.
109. The G8 group of top economic powers have suspended Russia for annexing Crimea, and has threatened to impose far-reaching sanctions if Moscow continued its incursion into Ukraine. The U.S. and six other economic powers also scrapped the G8 summit to be hosted by Russia in Sochi in June.
110. More than a year after the shocking Delhi gang rape, the Indian Ordinance factory launched a light-weight revolver, “Nirbheek,” designed especially for women to defend themselves from assault.
111. Shigeru Ban, Japanese architect known for his creative and inexpensive designs for disaster relief shelters, has won the 2014 Pritzker Architecture Prize.
112. The death sentence passed by an Egyptian court against 529 supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy has triggered an outcry among a wide cross section of the legal community.
113. The Reserve Bank of India simplified foreign portfolio investment norms. The portfolio investor registered in accordance with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) guidelines shall be called Registered Foreign Portfolio Investor (RFPI). The existing portfolio investor class, namely, Foreign Institutional Investor (FII) and Qualified Foreign Investor (QFI) registered with SEBI shall be subsumed under RFPI.
114. Creating a new Guinness world record, over two-and-half lakh Bangladeshis performed a chorus of their national anthem at the national parade ground to mark the country’s 43rd Independence Day.
115. European Union member states decided to ban the import of five types of fruits and vegetables from India.
116. The U.N. Human Rights Council launched an inquiry into alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka, despite Colombo’s fierce efforts to block an investigation. In a 23-12 vote, the council backed a Western-sponsored resolution to investigate into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights. India, for the first time, abstained from voting.
117. The discovery of two more mounds in January at the Harappan site of Rakhigarhi in Hisar district, Haryana, has led to archaeologists establishing it as the biggest Harappan civilisation site.
118. Supreme Court directed all the States to abolish manual scavenging and take steps for rehabilitation of such workers.
119. The World Health Organisation (WHO) South-East Asia Region, home to a quarter of the world’s population, was certified polio-free by an independent commission under the WHO certification process.
120. Russian mathematician Yakov Grigorevich Sinai, one of the most influential mathematicians of the 20th Century, has been chosen for the 2014 Abel Prize by the Norwegian Academy of Science Letters.
121. The U.N. General Assembly adopted a Western-backed resolution declaring Crimea’s referendum illegitimate and refusing to recognise Russia’s annexation of the peninsula. The non-binding resolution was passed in the 193-member body, with 100 votes in favour and 11 against.
122. Outgoing Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has threatened action by India against Switzerland at global forums such as G20 for its persistent denial to share information on Indians stashing money in its banks. Indian tax authorities have sought information on Indians with accounts in Swiss banks under the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA).
123. Srei Infrastructure Finance is planning to start roll-out of its while label ATMs (WLAs) between July and September starting with a pilot of 200 Tier-III towns in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
124. The Reserve Bank of India extended the transitional period for banks to complete the full implementation of Basel-III capital regulations up to March 31, 2019, instead of March 31, 2018.
125. Government has set up a Tax Administration Reform Commission comprising officials from public and private sector agencies. Parthasarathi Shome is the chairman this Commission.
126. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) imposed a penalty of Rs 1 crore on Google for failing to provide information related to an investigation into its alleged unfair trade practices in India.
127. Tata Group and Singapore Airlines received the mandatory security clearance. While both partners will initially invest $100 million, Tata Sons will be the majority partner with 51% stake. SIA will hold 49%.
128. Indian exports will fall short of the USD 325 billion target envisaged in the current fiscal. For the April-February period, the country's merchandise exports were up 4.79 per cent to USD 282.7 billion. Imports during the 11-month period fell 8.65 per cent to USD 410.86 billion. The trade deficit during this period was USD 128 billion.
129. The Supreme Court restrained the Centre and the Unique Identification Authority of India from sharing the vast biometric database of Aadhaar cards with any third party or agency without the consent of the registered person. It also ruled that people cannot be denied any service or benefit for not having an Aadhaar card.
130. Consumer Price Index Inflation declined to 8.1 per cent.
131. Foreign direct investment (FDI) into the services sector declined by about 60 per cent to USD 1.59 billion in the first nine months of this financial year.
132. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion had proposed relaxation of FDI norms in the construction sector and 100 per cent FDI in the railway sector.
133. India and the United States have decided to enhance cooperation for automatic exchange of information on tax evasion and detection of financial crimes, shoring up efforts to crackdown on black money cases involving economic channels of the two countries.
134. China has emerged India’s biggest trading partner in the current fiscal replacing the UAE.
135. Kotak Mahindra Bank announced the launch of Jifi, a first-of-its-kind fully integrated social bank account that transcends normal digital banking by seamlessly incorporating social networking platforms like Twitter and Facebook with mainstream banking.
136. Country's largest lender the State Bank of India (SBI) will sell bad loans amounting to Rs 3,000 crore in the last quarter of the ongoing fiscal to the Asset Reconstruction Companies.
137. RBI has decided to withdraw the pre-2005 currency notes from circulation and asked the holders of such currency to exchange them by January 1, 2015. The earlier deadline was June 30. Thereafter, people would have had to produce identity proof to exchange more than 10 notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000. Meanwhile, banks have been advised to stop re-issue of the pre-2005 series notes over the counters/through ATMs.
138. Central Bank of India has sold its entire stake in credit information provider CIBIL to Transunion International Inc. Central Bank had a 5 per cent stake in CIBIL while Transunion is the majority shareholder in CIBIL at 27.5 per cent. 
Download PDF file of Current Affairs March 2014
  • CLICK HERE for the Current Affairs of February 2014
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