Current Affairs: 21 March 2017

Published on Tuesday, March 21, 2017

ICICI Bank launches Mera iMobile banking app for rural customers

  • ICICI Bank has launched a mobile banking app for rural customers that allow them to access banking services as well as information on agricultural services. Anyone including non-ICICI Bank customers can download and use the app which is available in eleven Indian languages.

Features of the app

  • 'Mera iMobile' allows users in rural areas to avail as many as 135 services on their mobile phone. The list of services include 'Kisan Credit Card', 'Gold Loan', 'Farm Equipment Loan' and loans to self-help groups (SHGs). 
  • The app also enables them to undertake an array of frequently used banking services from their smartphone, without using mobile internet services.
  • The app offers agriculture-related information like crop-wise mandi prices of nearly 230 crop varieties across 460 mandis. 
  • It also displays taluka-wise weather update for close to 3,700 talukas and over 300 districts in the country. 
  • The app is available in Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Bengali, Odia, Assamese and Punjabi. It also offers UPI services in multiple Indian languages.

India ranks a low 122 among world’s happiest countries

  • India ranked a lowly 122 on a list of the world’s happiest countries, dropping four slots from last year and coming behind China, Pakistan and Nepal. 
  • Norway ranks as the happiest country in the world, according to The World Happiness Report 2017
  • India comes in on the 122nd spot, down from 118 in the 2013-2015 report, which maps happiness on the parameters of GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity and perceptions of corruption.
  • The World Happiness Report continues to draw global attention around the need to create sound policy for what matters most to people — their well-being
  • Iceland, Switzerland, Singapore and Australia rounded out the top five most-healthy countries in the index.
  • This year the report gives special attention to the social foundations of happiness, including happiness at workplace.

Five Indians in WEF's 2017 young global leaders list

  • Five Indians, including Paytm Founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma and Shruti Shibulal of The Tamara Hospitality, have made it to the World Economic Forum's 100 Young Global Leaders list.
  • The other individuals who represented India in the list include Ambarish Mitra Founder and CEO Blippar,
  • Hindol Sengupta Editor-at large Fortune India and Rwitwika Bhattacharya - Agarwal Founder and CEO Swaniti Initiative.
  • Each year, the World Economic Forum (WEF) selects 100 young leaders, under the age of 40, who are tackling the world's most complex challenges with innovative approaches.
  • The Class of 2017 features two of the world's top scientists on genome editing: Luhan Yang, chief scientist at eGenesis Biosciences, and Feng Zhang, a core member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
  • From the public sector, the list features Aja Brown the youngest mayor to be elected in Compton, California.
  • Among those representing the private sector is Katie Hill, an innovator who leads Apple's ambitious new clean energy programme, converting the company's manufacturing worldwide to renewable energy. DRR BAL

World Economic Forum (WEF)

  • The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a Swiss nonprofit foundation, based in Cologny, Geneva. Recognized by the Swiss authorities as an international body.
  •  Its mission is cited as "committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas".
  • The forum was founded in 1971 by Klaus Schwab, a German-born business professor at the University of Geneva.

Federer Wins Fifth Indian Wells Crown

  • Roger Federer won a record-tying fifth BNP Paribas Open crown as he defeated Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 7-5 in an all-Swiss final at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
  • Victory in Indian Wells marks Federer’s 90th tour-level crown and his 25th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title. At 35 years old, he is the oldest Masters 1000 champion since a 34-year-old Andre Agassi won the 2004 Cincinnati title.
  • Federer has played seven finals in the desert, previously lifting the trophy in 2004-‘06 and 2012, while also finishing runner-up in 2014-15.
  • It is the second time this year Wawrinka has fallen to Federer, having suffered a heartbreaking five-set loss in the Australian Open semifinals in January.

Government swaps chief executives of IDBI Bank, Indian Bank

  • In an unprecedented move, the Centre has swapped the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of state-owned Indian Bank and IDBI Bank.
  • Mahesh Kumar Jain, who was Managing Director & CEO at Indian Bank, has been appointed as Managing Director & CEO of IDBI Bank, which is now in some financial trouble and faced with several legacy issues.
  • Jain was named Indian Bank chief in November 2015. Kishore Piraji Kharat, who was appointed as IDBI Bank CEO in August 2015, has now been appointed as Managing Director and CEO of Indian Bank.
  • Jain will assume charge of IDBI Bank at a challenging time when the bank's morale is down following the recent arrest of some of its top officials. Also, the huge Rs. 2,255 crore loss in December quarter has also made things difficult for this PSB.
  • This was also seen in the matter of Government conditionally infusing capital in certain select banks.

Ganga and Yamuna rivers are living entities: Uttarakhand HC

  • It is the first time a court has recognized a non-human as a living entity in India.
  • The recognition came while the court was hearing a 2014 public interest litigation (PIL).
  • The bench comprising Justices Rajiv Sharma and Alok Singh also held that if the state government failed to fulfil its responsibility regarding the rivers, then the central government should step in.
  • The court also directed the central government to constitute the Ganga Management Board within eight weeks to look into the issue of cleaning and maintaining the river.
  • Recognizing the rivers as a living entity grants them new found legal identity and all rights laid out in the Constitution of India.
  • The two rivers thus have the right to be legally protected and not be harmed/destroyed
  • The court’s recognition of the rivers comes just days after New Zealand according a living entity status to its third largest river, Whanganui

Cheteshwar Pujara becomes first Indian to face 500 balls in Test innings

  • India's most consistent middle-order batsman Cheteshwar Pujara stormed his way into record books after playing a marathon innings against Australia on fourth day of the third Test match
  • Pujara became the first Indian batsman to face 500 balls in a Test innings by surpassing Rahul Dravid's previous best of 495 balls.
  • Before Pujara, Dravid had played a marathon knock of 270 against Pakistan in Rawalpindi in 2004 and took 495 balls. But Pujara surpassed Dravid
  • Pujara joined the elite league by becoming second Indian batsman to slam two double hundreds against Australia. Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman are the other two Indian batsmen to have scored a double ton against Australia

Private township becomes first to go cashless

  • Essar's Nand Niketan at Hazira has become India's first private sector township to go cashless, using mobile wallet for performing digital transactions.
  • A Mumbai-based I-T company was roped in to provide smartphone-based application for mobile wallets. So far, around 8,000 prepaid cards have been issued in the Nand Niketan township to the employees, merchants and shop owners operating within its precincts. An average of Rs 2 lakh worth of digital transactions are being executed every day.

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