Current Affairs: 11 March 2017

National Saftey Week: 4-10 March

  • 46th National Safety Day/National Safety Week Campaign commenced on 4th March 2017 and concluded on 10th March 2017.
  • The idea of commemorating the Foundation Day of the National Safety Council, 4th March; and the first National Safety Day (NSD) Campaign was launched in 1972 and has since been organised every year. The Campaign now entering its 46th year, Started for a single day on 4th March as NSD, the Campaign has now been spread over a week from 4-11 March.
  • The Campaign is aimed at renewing the commitment of employees and the general public to work safely throughout the year. The ultimate objective of the Campaign is to ensure integration of OSH in work culture and lifestyle.

Theme of the year

Keep Each Other Safe

Iran Successfully Test-Fires Hormuz-2 Ballistic Missile

  • The commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps announced that the Iranian military successfully test-fired a Hormuz-2 ballistic missile this week. 
  • The missile destroyed a floating target at a distance of approximately 155 miles 
  • Hormuz-2 is a naval strike ballistic missile intended to hit moving targets at sea with high precision, and has a range of nearly 300 kilometres (186 miles), Press TV reported. The missile is similar in appearance to the anti-ship Khalij-e-Fars (Persian Gulf) ballistic missile.

Missiles Tested by Iran this week

  • S-300 surface-to-air missile defence system
  • Fateh-110 short-range ballistic missiles
  • Khorramshahr medium-range ballistic missile

Punjab Agriculture University develops Bt cotton variety with reusable seeds

  • Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has developed the first genetically modified (Bt) cotton seeds that can be reused, resulting in saving of input cost to farmers. 
  • The new cotton variety is among few others identified by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) for cultivation in North region. 
  • The three Bt cotton varieties include PAU Bt 1, F1861 and RS 2013. 
  • PAU Bt 1 and F 1861 were developed by PAU, whereas, RS 2013 was developed at Rajasthan Agricultural University (RAU), Bikaner. While the PAU Bt 1was completely developed at Punjab Agricultural University, the F 1861 and RS 2013 varieties were converted to Bt version by Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR), Nagpur. 
  • Cotton is the only genetically-modified seed legally allowed in India. Punjab alone needs around 20-25 lakh packets of Bt cotton seed for the sowing of the crop which roughly amounts to around Rs 225 crores.

What is Bt cotton?

  • Bt cotton is a genetically modified organism (GMO) cotton variety, which produces an insecticide to bollworm. 
  • Bt cotton has been genetically modified by the insertion of one or more genes from a common soil bacterium, Bacillus thuringite NSIS. These genes encode for the production of insecticidal proteins, and thus, genetically transformed plants produce one or more toxins as they grow.

Government releases draft rules for wallet companies

  • In a bid to make transactions through e-wallets safer and strengthen the grievance redressal mechanism for consumers, the government has released a set of guidelines for wallet firms. 
  • The draft Information Technology (Security of Prepaid Payment Instruments) Rules 2017 which have been released for public consultation by the ministry of electronics and IT cover an entire spectrum such as protecting consumer information, especially financial data.

Information Technology (Security of Prepaid Payment Instruments) Rules 2017

  • The Rules mandate that each Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPI) company or wallet firm will have a privacy policy posted on its website. It will also have to appoint a chief grievance officer, the contact details of whom will have to be prominently displayed on the website. 
  • The grievance officer will have to "act upon" any complaint within 36 hours and "close" it in a month's time. 
  • The draft also mandate that companies have enough safeguards in place to avoid any hacking attacks and if there is one, it is to be swiftly reported to the government agencies 
  • Every e-PPI issuer shall have in place and publish on its website and mobile applications the privacy policy and the terms and conditions for use of the payment systems operated by it in simple language, capable of being understood by a reasonable person 
  • The personal information of the customers will be treated under Section 72A of the Information Technology Act, and the financial data of the customer shall be deemed to be sensitive personal data under the "Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive.

President of India inaugurated the 12th CII-Exim bank conclave on India-Africa Project Partnership

  • The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the 12th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India-Africa Project Partnership in New Delhi. 
  • The first CII- EXIM Bank Conclave on India-Africa Project Partnership was held in the year 2005. The initiative was launched by CII in partnership with EXIM Bank of India and with the support of the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India. Over the last eleven editions, it has emerged as the pioneer event in building partnerships and enhancing the economic engagement between the two regions

Objective of the conclave

  • To discuss cooperation in Trade, Regional Integration & Infrastructure Development, Finance & Consultancy, Mining & Minerals, Agriculture & Agro-Processing, Power & Alternative Energy, Healthcare, Small & Medium Enterprises, Human Capital Development and People-to-People Contacts.

NBFC cash loan against gold restricted to Rs 25,000

  • Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFCs) cannot lend more than Rs 25,000 in cash against gold, as stated by RBI. 
  • The earlier provision for NBFC was that high-value loans against the gold of Rs 1 lakh and above must only be disbursed by cheque. RBI reduced the amount to Rs 25,000 from the earlier Rs 1 lakh in line with the provisions of the Income Tax Act.

What is NBFC?

  • Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) is a company registered under the Companies Act, 1956 engaged in the business of loans and advances, acquisition of shares/stocks/bonds/debentures/securities issued by Government or local authority or other marketable securities of a like nature, leasing, hire-purchase, insurance business, chit business but does not include any institution whose principal business is that of agriculture activity, industrial activity, purchase or sale of any goods (other than securities) or providing any services and sale/purchase/construction of immovable property. 
  • A non-banking institution which is a company and has a principal business of receiving deposits under any scheme or arrangement in one lump sum or in instalments by way of contributions or in any other manner is also a non-banking financial company (Residuary non-banking company).
  • NBFC cannot accept demand deposits;
  • NBFCs do not form part of the payment and settlement system and cannot issue cheques drawn on itself;
  • Deposit insurance facility of Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation is not available to depositors of NBFCs, unlike in the case of banks.

Maternity Leave Raised To 26 Weeks

  • Women working in the organised sector will now be entitled to paid maternity leave of 26 weeks, up from 12 weeks, as Parliament today passed a bill in this regard that will benefit about 1.8 million women.
  • The new law will apply to all establishments employing 10 or more people and the entitlement will be for only up to first two children. For the third child, the entitlement will be for only 12 weeks.
  • The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, protects the employment of women during the time of her maternity and entitles her full paid absence from work, to take care of her child.
  • Among other things, the bill provides for 12 weeks of maternity leave to a woman who legally adopts a child below three months of age and a commissioning mother (defined as a biological mother) who uses her egg to have a surrogate child.
  • The amendments would ensure that full maternal care is provided during the full bloom period and will encourage more women to join the workforce in the organised sector, he added.
  • The central government has already amended its service rules and is providing 26 weeks maternity leaves to its employees.

ICC appoint Sachin Tendulkar as official ambassador of women's World Cup 2017

  • Indian cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar was announced as the official ambassador of Women's Cricket World Cup 2017 by the International Cricket Council (ICC) 
  • The women’s World Cup this year starts on June 24 in England and Wales with eight top cricketing countries locking horns to grab the coveted trophy. The 21-day tournament having 28 matches will be played at five different venues with the final at Lord's.
  • Sachin Tendulkar is perhaps the biggest icon of the game. The ICC could not have got anyone bigger to promote the women’s game and therefore it is a very wise decision to appoint Sachin as the brand ambassador.


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  • Chairman: Shashank Manohar
  • President: Zaheer Abbas
  • CEO David Richardson

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