Current Affairs: 18 March 2017

Published on Saturday, March 18, 2017

India ranks 148 in representation of women in government, Europe at top

  • India ranks 148 globally in terms of representation of women in executive government and parliament, according to a report published by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UN Women. The data published in the report Women in Politics 2017 Map showed that women make up only 11.8 per cent (64 MPs) of the 542-member Lok Sabha and 11 per cent (27) of the 245-member Rajya Sabha.
  • India ranks 148 globally in terms of representation of women in executive government and parliament, according to a report published by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UN Women. The data published in the report Women in Politics 2017 Map showed that women make up only 11.8 per cent (64 MPs) of the 542-member Lok Sabha and 11 per cent (27) of the 245-member Rajya Sabha.
  • Regionally, women’s representation in the Americas made the most significant gains, according to the report, rising from 22.45 per cent in 2015 to 25 per cent. 
  • In Europe, the total percentage stood at 22.5 per cent.
  • The report was launched on the sidelines of the 61st Commission on the Status of Women.
  • A total of 227 countries were analysed in the survey.

UN Women

  • The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, also known as UN Women, is a United Nations entity working for the empowerment of women.
  • Headquarters: New York City, United States
  • Head: Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)

  • The Inter-Parliamentary Union is a global inter-parliamentary institution established in 1889 by Frédéric Passy (France) and William Randal Cremer (United Kingdom). 
  • It was the first permanent forum for political multilateral negotiations.
  • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
  • President: Saber Hossain Chowdhury
  • Secretary General: Martin Chungong
  • Mission: To promote democracy and inter-parliamentary dialogue

Mallikarjun Kharge Set to Become Next PAC Chairman

  • The Congress's floor leader in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge is all set to become the next chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
  • Kharge will succeed his party colleague K V Thomas, who will complete his third term as Chairman of Public Accounts Committee on April 30.
  • The Congress leadership had yesterday written to the Lok Sabha Speaker recommending Kharge's name for the PAC chairmanship.
  • The chair of the PAC is given to an MP of the main Opposition party.
  • The PAC post will make him entitled to a Cabinet rank and an office at the Parliament House

Public Accounts Committee

  • The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is a committee of selected members of Parliament, constituted by the Parliament of India, for the auditing of the revenue and the expenditure of the Government of India.
  • The PAC is formed every year with a strength of not more than 22 members of which 15 are from Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Parliament, and 7 from Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament.
  • The term of office of the members is one year. The Chairman is appointed by the Speaker of Lok Sabha.

ESAF Small Finance Bank launched

  • SAF Small Finance Bank, Kerala’s first private sector in micro financing, was launched by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan
  • The bank, promoted by ESAF Microfinance and Investments (P) Ltd plans to open 85 branches in the first year, of which RBI approval has been obtained for opening 15 branches on the inaugural day.
  • Bank also launched ATM cum Debit cards, website and digital banking channels.
  • ESAF, which has own fund of over Rs 300 crore, recently raised another Rs 330 crore through the issue of commercial papers. The bank is targeting a business of Rs 20,000 crores by 2020

ESAF Microfinance

  • Evangelical Social Action Forum,better known as ESAF Microfinance, is a non-banking finance company-Microfinance Institution (NBFC-MFI), licensed by the Reserve Bank of India and
  •  It is headquartered in Thrissur City of Kerala. 

Lenovo appoints Subhankar Roy Chowdhury as head HR for Asia Pacific 

  • Lenovo has announced the appointment of Subhankar Roy Chowdhury to head its human resources team in Asia Pacific. 
  • He was previously the company's executive director and global head for HR Strategy, M&A and HR Analytics. 
  • In his new role, he will work on transformation and people strategy in Asia Pacific with focus on building leadership, cultural transformation and developing talent resources. 
  • Prior to this role, Subhankar and his team led the development of the company’s corporate HR strategy, integrating multiple business groups’ HR strategies, building HR Analytics function to support HR strategy, and consulting support on HR in M&A programmes. 
  • Subhankar succeeds Andrew Dahms, who departs at the end of March 

Australia research centre enters into agreement with Indian Railways 

  • A Railway research centre in Australia has entered into an agreement with the Indian Railways to support future research and technology development related to critical infrastructure in India. 
  • Representatives from Monash University Institute of Railway Technology (IRT) and Indian Ministry of Railways corporation DFCCIL (Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited) signed an agreement. 
  • IRT with partners - Balaji Railroad Systems Ltd (BARSYL), leading railway consultants in India, PwC, and Indian Institute of Bombay (IITB) were selected as the preferred supplier from a competitive global selection process. 
  • They will provide guidance on the establishment of a new applied research and development institute in India known as SRESTHA (Special Railway Establishment for Strategic Technology & Holistic Advancement). 
  • SRESTHA will be locally engaged, but have a global reach with the aim to become a world leader in the advancement of rail. 

First Airbus training centre in Asia to come up near Delhi's IGI Airport

  • Union Minister of Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapathi Raju performed the ground-breaking ceremony for the first ever Airbus India Training Centre in Asia.
  • Airbus will be setting up a greenfield training facility in Aerocity, close to Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport. 
  • This training facility is being set up to cater to the growing demand of skilled people in the domestic aviation space.
  • It is expected to be operational by the end of 2018.

Characteristics of the centre

  • The centre would be constructed over an area of around 7,000 square metres. Once complete, the facility will have two A320 full flight simulators, which could be increased to six, as and when the need arises. 
  • Initially, the centre was expected to train 800 pilots and 200 service and maintenance engineers. At present, Airbus has more than 250 aircraft in service in India and state carrier Indian Airlines has placed order for 550 more aircraft.


  • Airbus is a division of the multinational Airbus Group SE that manufactures civil aircraft.
  • Founder: Roger Béteille, Felix Kracht, Henri Ziegler, Franz Josef Strauss 
  • Headquarters:  Blagnac, France 
  • President: Fabrice Brégier
  • Chief Executive Officer: Tom Williams 

 MIT Pune, IBM unveil robot 'Chintu' to assist senior citizens

  • The students of Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT) Pune and technology giant IBM have developed a robot, Chintu, which would assist senior citizens in their everyday tasks.
  • Chintu, under 2ft tall robot, was developed after MIT Pune received a grant of Rs 10 lakh last year from IBM.
  • It is powered by the US-based company's cognitive assistant, IBM Watson. Chintu can move his hands and read books to an audience.
  • Chintu will assist senior citizens in conducting everyday tasks such as reading the newspaper/book and generate reminders on their daily medication

Sanjauli police post becomes first in India to be linked with CCTNS

  • Sanjauli police station has become the first police post in the country to be linked with Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS), a nationwide online tracking system.
  • The system will facilitate people in lodging online/offline complaints, police verification of job applicants, tenants, character verification and migrant labourer registration.
  • People, specially senior citizens, differently abled and women, in far-flung areas of the state can lodge First Information Reports (FIRs) through the nearest police post. 
  • He added that in future, all police posts in Himachal Pradesh would be linked with CCTNS.


  • The Crime and Criminal Tracking Networks and Systems, abbreviated to CCTNS, is a project under Indian government for creating a comprehensive and integrated system for effective policing through e-Governance. 
  • The system includes nationwide online tracking system by integrating more than 14,000 police stations across the country. 
  • The project is implemented by National Crime Records Bureau

India, Brazil conclude social security agreement 

  • India and Brazil initialled the finalised text of the Social Security Agreement taking forward the spirit of the Goa Declaration at the 8th BRICS Summit, outcomes of the meetings of BRICS Labour & Employment Ministers held on 9 June 2016 in Geneva and on 27-28 September 2016 in New Delhi.
  • The SSA between India and Brazil once in force (by early 2018) will also be the first such agreement between the BRICS countries. 

Highlights of the agreement

  • Detached workers of the two countries are exempted from making social security contributions in either countries so long as they were making such contributions in their respective countries. 
  • The text establishes the rights and obligations of nationals of both countries and provides for equal treatment of the nationals of both countries and unrestricted payment of pensions even in the case of residence in the other contracting state 
  • It will favorably impact the profitability and competitive position of Indian and Brazilian companies with foreign operations in either countries by reducing their cost of doing business abroad. 
  • The SSA will also help promote more investment flows between the two countries. 

Whanganui river granted same legal rights as human being

  • In a world-first a New Zealand river has been granted the same legal rights as a human being.
  • The local Māori tribe of Whanganui in the North Island has fought for the recognition of their river – the third-largest in New Zealand – as an ancestor for 140 years.
  • The new status of the river means if someone abused or harmed it the law now sees no differentiation between harming the tribe or harming the river because they are one and the same.
  • Two guardians will be appointed to act on behalf of the Whanganui river, one from the crown and one from the Whanganui iwi.

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