1. Tarak Mehta (87), the popular Gujarati writer and noted play writer, has recently passed away in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The famous humorist was best known for his column "Duniya Ne Undha Chasma" in Mumbai based Gujarati news weekly "Chitralekha". He was awarded Padma Shri in 2015. His weekly column first featured in Chitralekha news weekly in March 1971. He has written around 80 books on various pressing issues. The popular comic television serial 'Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah' is a television adaptation of Padma Shri Taarak Mehta's column 'Duniya Ne Undha Chasma'.
2. The World Bank (WB) will provide $63 million loan to India to empower approx 6.8 lakh adolescent girls in Jharkhand under the 'Tejaswini: Socio-Economic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Young Women' project. For this, a financing agreement for International Development Association (IDA) credit of $ 63 million (equivalent) has recently signed between the WB and the Government of India (GoI). The Tejaswini project will be delivered in 17 districts of Jharkhand. It has three main components — expanding social, educational and economic opportunities; intensive service delivery; and state capacity-building and implementation support. The closing date for the project is June 30, 2021.
3. Recently, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has imposed a 5-year ban on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and its journalists from filming in all Indian tiger reserves for allegedly misrepresenting facts in a documentary on poaching in the Kaziranga National Park in Assam. The BBC documentary "Killing for Conservation" by its journalist Justin Rowlatt, talks about Kaziranga's rhino conservation which claims that forest guards have the power to 'shoot and kill' poachers. The documentary also criticizes anti-poaching policies in wildlife reserves as affecting the life of tribal people living in the vicinity of the park. The NTCA is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) constituted under enabling provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, as amended in 2006, for strengthening tiger conservation.
4. Internationally acclaimed author Neil Gaiman has been appointed the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Goodwill Ambassador to raise awareness about the plight of forcibly displaced people and to generate much needed funds. His notable works include the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book.
5. Amjad Hussain B Sial, a senior Pakistani diplomat, has become the new Secretary-General of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). He succeeded Arjun Bahadur Thapa of Nepal. Sial has 33 years of experience in Pakistan's Foreign Service. He has also served at SAARC Secretariat as director in Kathmandu. The Secretary-General tenure is of three years and is the head of the SAARC Secretariat, which is headquartered in Kathmandu, Nepal. The SAARC Secretariat coordinates and monitors the implementation of activities, hosts meetings, and serves as a channel of communication between the Association and its member states as well as other regional organizations.
6. Ajay Tyagi, a 1984 batch IAS officer of the Himachal Pradesh cadre, has become the 9th Chairman of markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for a period of 3-years on March 1, 2017. He succeeded U K Sinha. Prior to this appointment, he has handled capital markets division in the Finance Ministry. Tyagi also has diverse experience at the Centre. He was Joint Secretary in Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change before joining Finance Ministry in November 2014 as Additional Secretary. He has also worked in ministries of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Steel and Rural Development. The chairman of SEBI receives a consolidated pay package of Rs 4.5 lakh per month.
7. Telecom Secretary J S Deepak, a 1982 batch IAS officer from Uttar Pradesh, has been appointed as India's permanent representative to World Trade Organization (WTO) from June 1, 2017. According to the official order, he has been shifted from the telecom ministry and has made Officer on Special Duty (OSD) in the Department of Commerce in the Ministry of Commerce and Industries with immediate effect till May 31, 2017. The WTO is a global international organisation dealing with the rules of trade between nations.
8. On 1 March 2017, Bakri Hassan Saleh has been appointed by President Omar al-Bashir as Sudan's first Prime Minister since the post was abolished in 1989. The post of Prime Minister was re-established with limited powers, while most power remained in the hands of the President. As Prime Minister, Saleh retained his post as First Vice President of SUdan.
9. The Zero Discrimination Day (ZDD) is observed every year on March 1 to promote and celebrate everyone's right to live a full life with dignity—no matter what they look like, where they come from or whom they love. The symbol for Zero Discrimination is the butterfly, widely recognized as a sign of transformation. The 2017 theme is "Make Some Noise for Zero Discrimination".
10. Robyn Rihanna Fenty, a Barbadian singer and songwriter, has been conferred with the 2017 Harvard Humanitarian of the Year award in recognition for her work to improve cancer treatment in her home country of Barbados and for setting up a college scholarship to bring Caribbean students to study in the United States. The annual award by the prestigious university is given to an individual whose works and deeds have served to improve the quality of lives and have inspired people to greater heights.
11. Indian grandmaster Harika Dronavalli has won a bronze medal at the 2017 Women's World Chess Championship in Tehran. This is Harika's 3rd bronze medal at the World Championship level. The first two were in Khanty-Mansiysk in 2012 and Sochi in 2015. Harika has won the World Juniors in 2008, Commonwealth women's title in 2010, Asian Championship in 2011 as well as World Online Blitz Championship in 2015. She received the Arjuna Award in 2008.
12. Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli will be conferred with the 2017 Polly Umrigar Award at the BCCI award ceremony in Bangalore on March 8, 2017. Kohli, who received the award in 2011-12 and 2014-15, becomes the first Indian cricketer to get it on the third occasion. The award is given to the international cricketer of the year by the Indian cricket board. Beside this, all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin will also become the first Indian to receive the Dilip Sardesai award twice for his best performance in bilateral series.
13. The Assam government has made Sanskrit education compulsory in all state board schools till Class VIII. Apart from making Sanskrit mandatory, the cabinet also created a post to monitor cleanliness in government-run schools under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Assam government has also decided to appoint a computer teacher in all high schools to provide students access to computer education.
14. China will build its first national underwater observatory in the disputed South China Sea. Such a platform will reportedly allow the country to keep a check on underwater physical, chemical, and geological dynamics in real time and will also be used for other purposes. The construction work on the platform will be done with the help of Shanghai's Tongji University and the Institute of Acoustics. By building this underwater observation platform, China will become an active part of the international competition. China has maritime disputes in the South China Sea and East China Sea. It claims almost all the waters, which carry a third of the world's maritime traffic and has huge amounts of oil and natural gas. The waters are also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. China also contests Japan's hold over the islands in the East China Sea.
15. The World Wildlife Day (WWD) is observed every year on March 3 to mark the signing of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and to raise awareness of the world's wild fauna and flora. The 2017 theme is "Listen to the young voices". The World Wildlife Day is an opportunity to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora and to raise awareness of the multitude of benefits that conservation provides to people. At the same time, the Day reminds us of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime, which has wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts.
16. Raymond Kopa (85), the French football legend, has recently passed away in Paris, France. He was one of the best attacking midfielders of all time. Kopa is best remembered for a series of superb performances for France that helped his country to third place in the World Cup finals of 1958. But he was also a key member of the great Real Madrid side that won the European Cup three years running in 1957, 1958 and 1959.
17. P K Purwar has been appointed the new Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of state-run telecom major Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL). Currently, Purwar is working as Director (Finance) in MTNL, which has been without a full-time CMD since May 31, 2014, following superannuation of A K Garg.
18. India will attend the meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC), which is scheduled to be held in Lahore, Pakistan on March 2017. The PIC is a bilateral commission of officials from India-Pakistan, created to implement and manage goals of Indus Waters Treaty (IWT). Under the IWT treaty, it is required that India and Pakistan meet every financial year. As per the provisions in the treaty, India can use only 20% of the total water carried by the Indus River. The treaty which was signed in 1960 by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan President Ayub Khan, gives India control over the three eastern rivers of the Indus basin, the Beas, the Ravi and the Sutlej, while Pakistan has the three western rivers, the Indus, the Chenab and the Jhelum.
19. The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) summit will be held in Jakarta, Indonesia on March 7 with the theme of "Strengthening Maritime Cooperation for a Peaceful, Stable and Prosperous Indian Ocean". The summit will discuss ways to strengthen maritime cooperation and fight against violent extremism. Leaders and representatives of the 21 member states and seven dialogue partners of IORA are expected to attend the summit. From India, Vice President Hamid Ansari will attend the IORA Summit. The IORA Summit is expected to provide momentum to the strengthening of cooperation in the Indian Ocean region.
20. The book "When Crime Pays – Money and Muscle in Indian Politics" has been authored by Milan Vaishnav. It is the most systematic analysis of corruption and criminalization in Indian politics. The author shows that it is growing because of societal, political, and economic factors. This remarkable book will change readers' view of democracy in India.
21. The annual tribal festival 'Bhagoria' will be held in Jhabua and four other districts of Madhya Pradesh from March 13, 2017. The week-long festival is organised at different Bhagoria haats (local markets) in Jhabua, Alirajpur, Dhar, Khargone and Barwani districts in western Madhya Pradesh. The haat festival is organized in the form of a 'swayamvar' or a marriage market where young girls and boys are allowed to choose their partners. Bhagoria Haat Festival has an agricultural significance attached to it, that is, it coincides with the end of harvesting. So some people also celebrate it to mark the completion of harvesting. Foreign tourists also converge in large numbers at these haats to catch a glimpse of the traditional festival.
22. Dr. Thomas Earl Starzl (90), the renowned American surgeon and expert on organ transplants, has recently passed away Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He performed the world's first human liver transplant and has often been referred to as "the father of modern transplantation". Since then, thousands of lives have been saved by the procedure. Beside this, he was also the driving force behind the world's first baboon-to-human liver transplants and research on anti-rejection drugs.
23. Thiruvananthapuram has topped the list of Indian cities in the urban governance ranking of the 4th edition of Annual Survey of India's City-Systems (ASICS)-2016. The survey conducted by Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy, which evaluated 21 cities across 18 states. Pune stood at 2nd position followed by Kolkata, Mumbai and Hyderabad. The ASICS highlighted inadequacies in urban governance that could affect public service delivery and quality of life. Janaagraha recommends changes in planning laws to address the issues challenging the efficient planning of the cities.
24. The National Safety Week/Day (NSW) is celebrated every year in India from March 4 to 10 to raise safety awareness among people, and to prevent and lessen the loss of human life and tackle financial losses to the family by availing them of safety, health and environment-related support services. The 2017 theme is "Keep Each Other Safe". It is observed by the National Safety Council (NSC) of India.
25. Recently, the West Bengal government has granted official language status to endangered tribal language "Kurukh" of the Dravidian family. The language is spoken by Oraon and Kisan tribes. Apart from this, the state government has granted official status to Rajbanshi-Kamtapuri language spoken by the Koch Rajbanshi community.
26. Mobile manufacturer OPPO Mobiles India Pvt Ltd has become the new team sponsor for the Indian cricket team for 5 years. The company in association with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will start from April 2017 for a period of five years. The team sponsor gets to have its commercial logo on the both the men's and women's kits. Oppo will replace broadcasting giants Star India, whose tenure will expire in March 2017.
27. The Global rating agency Fitch has forecasted India's GDP growth for FY 17 to 7.1% and for both FY 2017-18 and FY 2018-19 to 7.7%. Fitch stated that the December quarter GDP number suggests that economic activity was hardly hit by the cash crunch after the government's move to remove 86% of currency in circulation overnight. It expects the policy interest rate to stay at its current level of 6.25%. Fitch projection of growth for this fiscal is in line with the estimates of global think-tank Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
28. The 2nd edition of joint military exercise "Al Nagah-II" has started between India and Oman in the Dhauladhar Ranges at Bakloh in Himachal Pradesh from March 6, 2017. The purpose of the 14-day exercise is to build and promote bilateral Army-to-Army relations and enhance inter-operability while exchanging skills and experiences between the Indian Army and the Royal Army of Oman. The exercise would be mainly focused on counter terrorism and forest warfare and approx 60 troops from both countries will participate in the exercise.
29. The 11th edition of joint military exercise "SURYA KIRAN-XI" has started between India and Nepal in Pithoragarh area of Uttarakhand from March 7, 2017. This is a battalion level joint exercise between the two armies. The purpose of the two week long exercise is to train both the troops in the area of various counter insurgency operations over a prolonged period. It will also focus on other important aspects such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations and environmental conservation. Both the armies will mutually benefit from the varied experiences gained during the exercise. The exercise is part of a series of joint training with friendly foreign countries by the Indian armed forces.
30. Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru has been ranked at 8th among top 10 in Times Higher Education 2017 list of world's best small universities. The list is topped by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) (United States), followed by Ecole Normale Superrieure (France), Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) (South Korea) and Ecole Polytechnique (France). According to Times Higher Education (THE), to be eligible for the Best Small Universities rankings, the institutions must appear in Times Higher Education's World University Rankings 2016-17, teach at least four subjects, and have fewer than 5,000 students. The Best Small Universities in the World for 2017 highlights that small universities provide high student satisfaction and good working relationships between students and their professors.
31. The Haryana government has recently launched "Tirtha Darshan" scheme for senior citizens. As per the scheme, senior citizens above 60 years of age and of Haryana domicile would be able to go on a pilgrimage within the country at government expense. Under the scheme, the government would bear the entire cost of the tour of senior citizens belonging to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families. The senior citizens would be selected for the pilgrimage on the basis of draw of lots. Over 400 destinations can be visited under the scheme.
32. The International Women's Day (IWD) is observed every year on March 8 to commemorate the struggle for women's rights and to highlight the achievements of women while calling for greater equality. The 2017 theme of IWD is "Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030" and its' campaign theme is "#BeBoldForChange".
33. M P Veerendra Kumar, the noted Malayalam author and journalist, has recently bestowed with the 30th edition of Moortidevi award 2016 by Bharatiya Jnanpith organization for his Malayalam travelogue "Hymavathabhoovil", which dwells upon ancient trails of Indian culture, myth, literature and people strewn in the plains, valleys and mountains of India. The book also highlights environmental concerns over "fragile mountain ecosystem" and calls for action over lack of water resources and waste disposal systems. The award consists of a Saraswati statue, a citation plaque and cash award of Rs four lakh and is given annually for books written in all Indian languages besides English pertaining to Indian philosophy. Kumar is Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of the Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi and a Rajya Sabha MP.
34. HDFC Bank has recently launched India's first Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based banking chatbot "Electronic Virtual Assistant (EVA)" for customer service. EVA can answer millions of customer queries across multiple channels instantly. Eva can assimilate knowledge from thousands of sources and provide answers in simple language in less than 0.4 seconds.
35. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recently inaugurated the India's longest cable-bridge over the Narmada River on the Ahmedabad-Mumbai section of NH-8 (New NH-48) in Bharuch, Guajarat. The four-lane extra-dosed bridge is 20.8m wide, with 14.5m carriageway and 3m footpath. It is supported on 9 Pylons of 36 meter height on pile foundation of 1.5m diameter. The bridge will be lit by more than 400 LED lights. The bridge is built by Larsen and Turbo, as a part of the Rs. 379 crore project of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).
36. The Jammu and Kashmir government will organise a first-of-its-kind "Tulip festival" from April 1, 2017 in the summer capital of Srinagar. The 15-day mega tulip festival will be part of Bahaar-e-Kashmir (Spring in Kashmir) event to showcase Asia's largest tulip garden "Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden". The garden has more than 20 lakh tulips of 46 varieties and its opening marks the beginning of tourism season in the Valley. At the festival site, decorated kiosks and stalls will showcase rich handicrafts and cuisine of the Valley with traditional and ethnic touch. Apart from this mega festival, an 'Aalmi Mushaira' event will be held wherein world famous poets will enthral the audience with their latest Urdu compositions. This too would be first-of-its-kind in the Valley.
37. The mega cultural festival 'India by the Nile' has started at the foot of the Pyramids in Cairo, Egypt from March 8 and will continue till March 14, 2017. The event is a special moment as this year India celebrates 70 years of independence and also 70 years of its diplomatic relations with Egypt. The Handicraft Exhibition which runs from March 8-14, is an initiative to promote Indian and Egyptian handicrafts. It is organised by the Embassy of India in partnership with the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India; Export Promotion Council For Handicrafts (India), the Ministry of Social Solidarity (Egypt) and the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI). The festival is a celebration of Indian music, dance, theatre, visual arts, food and wellbeing.
38. IDFC Bank has become the India's first bank to launch the biometric-based digital payment system 'Aadhaar Pay' through its network that will allow even those without mobile phones to do cashless transactions. The Aadhar Pay service is for merchants which will enable them to receive Aadhaar-enabled payments by passing credit and debit cards, pin and password.
39. The State Bank of India (SBI) has recently launched a new "Work from Home" facility to enable its employees to work while at home using mobile devices to address any urgent requirement they may have, that prevents their travelling to work. SBI will use mobile computing technologies and shall have continuous control over all the enabled devices centrally to manage and secure the data and applications on the mobile devices.
40. Mahabaleshwar Sail, the noted Konkani writer, has been honoured with the 2017 Saraswati Samman for his novel 'Hawthan'. The Goa-based Sail is a renowned bi-lingual writer who has four Marathi dramas and seven Konkani novels to his credit. The award carries a cash prize of Rs.15 lakh and a citation.
41. Donald Tusk from Poland has been re-elected for a second term as the President of the European Council. His reappointment will be until November 30, 2019. The European Council is the institution of the European Union (EU) that charged with defining the EU's overall political direction and priorities.
42. The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill 2016, which is recently passed in the Lok Sabha, will raise the maternity leave for working women in public and private sector from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for the first two children. The maternity leave beyond the first two children will continue to be 12 weeks. The bill will now be sent to the President for his assent before it becomes an Act. It has already been passed by the Rajya Sabha during last winter session. 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. In such cases, 12-week period of maternity leave will be calculated from the date the child is handed over to the adoptive or commissioning mother. The bill also makes it mandatory for employers in establishments with 30 women or 50 employees, whichever is less, to provide crèche facilities either in office or in any place within a 500-metre radius.
43. Indian Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar has been officially appointed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) as the UNICEF and Cricket For Good Ambassador for the Women's World Cup 2017, which will be hosted in the United Kingdom from June. Both UNICEF and the ICC will engage the broader cricketing community to empower adolescent girls in particular, during the many ICC events over the next 5 years, develop and implement various community outreach programs and initiatives in collaboration with coaches, cricketers and cricketing personalities.
44. Iran has successfully test fired naval strike ballistic missile "Hormuz 2", which is intended to hit moving targets at sea with high precision and has a range of nearly 300 kilometers (186 miles).
45. B.P. Kanungo has been appointed the new Deputy Governor in the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for a period of 3 years and will succeed R. Gandhi. The Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) has approved his appointment to the post with effect from the date of taking over the charge i.e. on or after April 3, 2017 or until further orders, whichever is earlier.
46. Manjeev Singh Puri, a 1982 batch IFS officer, has been appointed as the new Ambassador of India to Nepal. He will succeed Ranjit Rae. Currently, Puri is India's Ambassador to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg.
47. Shiv Shankar Prasad Chawrasia from India has won the 2017 the Hero Indian Open golf tournament by seven-strokes at the redesigned DLF golf and country club in Gurugram, Haryana. This was his 6th win on the Asian Tour and overall 6th international victory. With this win, Chawrasia became only the third Asian player after Jeev Milkha Singh and Thongchai Jaidee to win four or more European Tour titles. Beside this, Chawrasia became only the second Indian golfer after Jyoti Randhawa to successfully defend the Hero Indian Open title.
48. The book "Aurangzeb: The Man and the Myth" has been authored by historian Audrey Truschke that retells the complex and contested life of the sixth Mughal emperor "Aurangzeb". It is a fascinating biography of an emperor who continues to dominate the contemporary discourse on the Hindu-Muslim relationship and beyond. The book addresses Aurangzeb's concern at the time of his death that he came as a stranger and would leave as a stranger. The novel is an example of how historical biographies of complex characters can be written.
49. Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia has won the men's singles at the 2017 All England Open badminton championships in Birmingham, United Kingdom by defeating Shi Yuqi of China in the final by 21-12, 21-10. It is his 5th singles title. Apart from this, the Chinese pair of Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong won the Mixed Doubles title by defeating the Malaysian duo of Peng Soon Chan and Liu Ying Goah in the final by 18-21, 21-19, 21-16.
50. The United Kingdom (UK) will host the 25th edition of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in April 2018 after a gap of over 20 years. The Commonwealth Summit is held in every two years and the position of Commonwealth Chair-in-Office will be transferred at the 2018 summit from the Prime Minister of Malta to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom who will hold the post until the 26th CHOGM expected in 2020.
51. The World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) is observed every year on March 15 to promote the basic rights of all consumers, demanding that those rights are respected and protected. It also gives people a chance to protest against the market abuses and social injustices. The 2017 theme is 'Building a Digital World Consumers can Trust'. In India, besides the WCRD, we observe the National Consumer Day (NCD) on 24th of December every year.
52. The committee constituted under the Chairmanship of Madhukar Gupta, has submitted its report to the Government of India (GoI) to strengthen border protection and address vulnerabilities in fencing along the Indo-Pakistan border. The Committee has given its recommendations broadly on the issues of threats and border protection, assessment of force level, deployment on the border, infrastructure and technology issues for protection of border and administrative issues. It has been decided to initiate action in light of the recommendations of the Committee in consultation with the stakeholders. This was stated by the Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju in a written reply to question by J.J.T. Natterjee and E.T. Mohammed Basheer in the Lok Sabha on March 14, 2017.
53. The Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer's Welfare has launched Mission Fingerling programme with a total expenditure of about Rs. 52000 lakh to achieve Blue Revolution. The focus of the programme is to create an enabling environment for an integrated and holistic development and management of fisheries for the socio-economic development of the fishers and fish farmers. The target of the mission is to increase the fisheries production from 10.79 mmt (2014-15) to 15 mmt by 2020-21.
54. India has been ranked 148th out of 193 countries in the world for the number of women MPs in Parliament, according to the 2017 edition of "Women in Politics 2017 Map" published by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UN Women. Rwanda topped the list, followed by Bolivia, Cuba, Iceland, Nicaragua and Sweden. The map of Women in Politics not only provides a country ranking for both ministerial and parliamentary representation, but also statistics on women in political leadership positions – Heads of State or government, women Speakers of Parliament, as well as ministerial portfolios held by women throughout the world.
55. The G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' Meeting has started in Baden-Baden, Germany from March 17, 2017. The 2-day meeting is an opportunity to discuss developments in the global economy with my international counterparts and decide on actions we can undertake to respond to the major challenges we all face.
56. The 3-day International Buddhist conference on "Buddhism in 2lst Century: Perspectives and Responses to Global Issues" has started at Nava Nalanda Mahavihara, Rajgir in Nalanda district, Bihar on March 17, 2017. During the conference, the scholars will give their deliberations on Perspective and Responses to global challenges and crisis. Over one thousand delegates from 35 countries including Sri Lanka, Nepal, Singapore and Indonesia are participating in it. The session would focus on issues like perspectives and responses to global challenges and crisis, conflicts, peace building and Buddhist responses, environment and nature conservation and Buddhist perspectives, women and Buddhism, among others.
57. Trivendra Singh Rawat, the senior BJP leader, has been sworn-in as the 8th Chief Minister of Uttarakhand. In recent Uttarakhand Assembly elections 2017, BJP won 57 of the 70 seats. This was the biggest ever win by any party in the state so far.
58. Chuck Berry (90), the rock and roll legend, has recently passed away in Missouri, United States. He was the well-known guitarist and songwriter and recognized as one of the fathers of rock 'n' roll. He refined and developed rhythm and blues into the major elements that made rock and roll distinctive. He received a lifetime achievement Grammy in 1984 and was among the first inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.
59. The first fully India-made 12-coach train "Medha" has flagged off between Dadar to Borivali at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The rake can run at a speed of 110 kmph and has a capacity of 6,050 passengers and the number of seats is 1,168. Medha rake costs Rs. 43.23 crore and has been manufactured by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai, which has installed LED lighting to reduce energy consumption. This will save energy by approximately 30-35% as compared to the existing rakes. This rake has in-built systems to minimise breakdowns during the travel.
60. Yogi Adityanath has been sworn-in as the 21st Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh (UP). Prior to this appointment, he has been a Member of Parliament (MP) from the Gorakhpur Constituency, Uttar Pradesh for five consecutive terms since 1998. Adityanath is also the head priest of the Gorakhnath Mutt, a Hindu temple in Gorakhpur. He is also the founder of the Hindu Yuva Vahini, a militant youth organisation that has been involved in communal violence. Apart from this, BJP's state unit chief Keshav Prasad Maurya and party's national vice president Dinesh Sharma also took charge as deputy chief ministers of UP.
61. The International Diamond Conference has started at Hotel Grand Hyatt, Mumbai from Match 19, 2017 to bring together miners, diamond companies, experts, retailers, bankers and analysts from across the globe on a platform to discuss the supply and demand issues faced by the Global Diamond Industry. The theme of the conference is "Mines to Market 2017" and is organized by the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council of India (GJEPC). The conference is sponsored by the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India (GoI). The conference will witness Ministers from mining countries, delegates from Mining Companies, heads of Retail and Luxury brands, Int. Diamond heads of various banks and other prominent personalities of the Diamond industry.
62. Shahid Afridi, the former Pakistan captain, has become the new brand ambassador for the 5th edition of the ODI Blind Cricket World Cup, which is scheduled to be held in January 2018. The World Cup will be played in One Day International (ODI) format and will be hosted by Pakistan Blind Cricket Council (PBCC) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Pakistan.
63. The 2-day meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) has started in Islamabad, Pakistan on March 20, 2017. The 10-member Indian delegation led by Indus Water Commissioner P K Saxena is attending the meeting. The delegation comprises of Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) officials and technical experts. The Pakistan side will be headed by Indus Water Commissioner Mirza Asif Saeed. The meeting is taking place nearly 6 months after India decided to suspend talks on the pact in the wake of the Uri terror attack by Pakistan based outfits. The PIC is a bilateral commission of officials from India-Pakistan, created to implement and manage goals of Indus Waters Treaty (IWT). Under the IWT treaty, it is required that India and Pakistan meet every financial year. As per the provisions in the treaty, India can use only 20% of the total water carried by the Indus River.
64. The International Day of Forests is observed every year on March 21 to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests and of trees outside forests for the benefit of current and future generations. The 2017 theme is 'Forests and Energy'. The theme highlights the importance of wood energy in improving people's lives, powering sustainable development and mitigating climate change.
65. The Tamil Nadu cricket team has won the 15th season of the Vijay Hazare Trophy by defeating Bengal by 37 runs in the final played at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi. Dinesh Karthik was named man of the match. It is 5th time that Tamil Nadu cricket team has won this tournament.
66. India has been ranked at 122nd out of 155 countries in the 2017 United Nations's World Happiness Index (WHI), as per recently released World Happiness Report (WHR) 2017. Among the 8 SAARC nations, Pakistan is at 80th position, Nepal stood at 99, Bhutan at 97, Bangladesh at 110 while Sri Lanka is at 120. The list is topped by Norway, followed by Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and Finland. The rankings are based on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per person, healthy life expectancy with four factors from global surveys. In those surveys, people give scores from 1 to 10 on how much social support they feel they have if something goes wrong, their freedom to make their own life choices, their sense of how corrupt their society is and how generous they are.
67. Italy has been ranked first in the latest 2017 Bloomberg Global Health Index of 163 countries. According to the study, the average life expectancy in the country is 80-89 years. Iceland stood at 2nd position followed by Switzerland, Singapore and Australia. Each country in the index was graded based on variables such as life expectancy, causes of death and health risks ranging from high blood pressure and tobacco use to malnutrition and the availability of clean water.
68. Upendra Tripathy, an IAS officer of Karnataka Cadre, has been appointed as the full-time Interim Director General (IDG) of the International Solar Alliance (ISA). The purpose of the ISA is to provide a dedicated platform for cooperation among solar resource rich countries where the global community including bilateral and multilateral organizations, corporates, industry, and stakeholders can make a positive contribution to assist and help achieve the common goals of increasing use of the solar energy in meeting energy needs of prospective ISA member countries in a safe, convenient, affordable, equitable and sustainable manner. The headquarters of ISA is located at National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), Gwalpahari, Gurgaon.
69. Maggie MacDonnell of Canada has won the 2017 Global Teacher Prize for changing the lives of her students and transforming her community in village of Salluit, which has a high rate of suicide. Salluit is an Inuit village deep in the Canadian Arctic. It is one of the world's most remote regions, surrounded by snow and ice. The Global Teacher Prize is awarded by the Varkey Foundation under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister, and Emir of Dubai.
70. The Chief Minister of Assam, Sarbananda Sonowal has recently launched initiatives to develop Majuli as India's first carbon neutral district and as a biodiversity heritage. Apart from this, Assam government has also launch "Forests are Lives" campaign to celebrate the importance of Assam's rich forest and biodiversity.
71. India has been ranked 131st out of 188 countries in the 2017 Human Development Index (HDI), as per latest Human Development Report (HDR) 2016 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). As per the report, India's rank of 131 puts it in the "medium human development" bracket, which also includes nations like Bangladesh, Bhutan, Pakistan, Kenya, Myanmar and Nepal. The report also stated that regional disparities in education, health and living standards within India or inequality in human development has caused India's downfall to 27% on HDI score. The list is topped by Norway, followed by Australia and Switzerland.
72. French mathematician Yves Meyer has won the prestigious 2017 Abel Prize for his pivotal role in the development of the mathematical theory of wavelets (small waves or ripples). Meyer will receive 6 million Norwegian krone (about £600,000) for the prize, which recognizes outstanding contributions to mathematics and is awarded annually by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.
73. Veteran photojournalist Raghu Rai has been bestowed with the Life Time Achievement (LTA) award at the 6th National Photography Awards-2017 by the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) for his remarkable contribution to the field. He is known for his books, Raghu Rai's India: Reflections in Colour and Reflections in Black and White. The subjects of his photographs include MS Subbulakshmi, Bismillah Khan, Mother Teresa, Satyajit Ray, Indira Gandhi, Raj Kapoor and Mrinal Sen. The National Photography Awards (NPA) is an annual event organized by the I & B Ministry to promote art, technique of photography and to encourage professional and amateur photographers from all corners of the country.
74. Ravish Kumar, the senior executive editor of NDTV India, has been honoured with the first-ever Kuldip Nayar journalism award at India International Centre (IIC) in New Delhi on March 19, 2017 in recognition of his outstanding contribution in the world of Journalism. The award carries a plaque along with a cash amount of Rs 1 lakh. The Kuldip Nayar journalism award was set up to honour those working in vernacular media and will be awarded every year from now on.
75. The Kane Wildlife Sanctuary (KWS) is located at the West Siang District in Arunachal Pradesh. It is spread over an area of 55 sq km and is one of the famous tourist's attractions to visit in this region. It is home to various and rare species of flora and fauna.
76. The well-known Tamil novelist and essayist Thiagarajan (85), popularly known as Asokamitran, has recently passed away in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. He was noted for his subtlety and refreshing creativity in expression. His work "Appavin Snegithargal", a collection of short stories won him the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1996. His work includes over 200 short stories, eight novels, some 15 novellas besides prose. "18-vadhu Atchakkodu", translated into English as "The Eighteenth Parallel", is one of his highly acclaimed novels. Many of his works have been translated into English, Hindi, Malayalam, Telugu and other languages.
77. The World Meteorological Day (WMD) is observed every year on March 23 to mark the establishment of a United Nations body specializing exclusively in meteorology. The 2017 theme "Understanding Clouds" highlights the enormous importance of clouds for weather climate and water. Clouds are central to weather observations and forecasts and play a critical role in the water cycle and shaping the global distribution of water resources.
78. The Bihar government has recently launched an ambitious programme to provide free WiFi facilities in colleges and universities on the occasion of Bihar Diwas. The purpose of the program is to provide free Wi-Fi facility to help youths to move ahead in life and to become digital smart. The foundation day of Bihar which is also known as Bihar Diwas (or Bihar Sthapana Diwas) is celebrated every year on March 22. It was on this day when the British carved out the state from Bengal Presidency in 1912.
79. Indian-origin British director Gurinder Chadha has been honoured with the 2017 Sikh Jewel Award for 2017 for her immense contribution to British cinema. She received the award from UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon at the Vaisakhi Dinner organised by the British Sikh Association at the Lancaster Hotel on March 24, 2017. Her noted films include "Bhaji on the Beach", "Bend It Like Beckham" and "Bride and Prejudice". Chadha's latest film, "Viceroy's House" tells the true story of the final five months of British rule in India and coincides with the 70th anniversary of the Independence of India and the founding of Pakistan.
80. Veteran actor Anupam Kher will be honoured with the Kala Ratan Award by Vice President Hamid Ansari. Kher was honoured with the Padma Shri in 2004 and the Padma Bhushan in 2016 for his contribution in the field of cinema and arts. The actor has worked mainly working in Hindi films and has also appeared in acclaimed international films like Bend It Like Beckham, Bride and Prejudice, The Mistress Of Spices, Ang Lee's Lust, Caution, and David O. Russell's 2013 Oscar-winning Silver Linings Playbook.
81. India's first vertical garden has set up at the Hosur Road Electronics City Flyover in Bengaluru, Karnataka to control the pollution level of the city. It will also act as a soundproofing barrier. The garden is an initiative of NGO "SayTrees", who are firm to protect nature. The vertical garden is designed in such a way that a pillar of the flyover is covered with the garden flaunting lovely saplings that are organic and refreshing. The garden also has an automatic drip irrigation system allowing the plants to get 100 milliliters of water on a daily basis.
82. The 3rd edition of 'World Conference on Environment' has been organized by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in New Delhi on March 25, 2017. It was inaugurated by the honorable President of India Pranab Mukherjee. The 2-day conference will discuss various issues like air pollution, water pollution, economics and clean technology, and the role of courts and tribunals. The sessions of the conference will deliberate — to what extent can we allow environmental degradation; what are we going to leave behind for future generation; what steps can be taken to curb the perils of environmental degradation; and can we completely squander the assets received from forefathers without leaving anything for our future.
83. The World Sparrow Day (WSD) is observed every year on March 20 to raise awareness about the importance of birds dwelling in urban areas and to educate the public about the threat of polluted urban environments and non-caring humans to the house sparrow population, as well as to other common bird species. The day is an international initiative by the Nature Forever Society of India (NFSI) in collaboration with the Eco-Sys Action Foundation (France) and numerous other national and international organizations across the world.
84. The 9th World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC) will be held at the Vancouver Convention Centre in Canada from September 9-15, 2017 with the theme "Culture/Environment: Weaving New Connections". The WEEC is an international congress that addresses education for environment and sustainability.
85. As per latest report by the Sydney-based aviation think-tank Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), India has become the third largest aviation market globally in terms of domestic passenger traffic. The report stated that India's domestic air passenger traffic at 100 million in 2016 has overtaken that of Japan (97 million) and was behind only US (719 million) and China (436 million).
86. The West Bengal football team has won the 71st edition of the Santosh Trophy Football tournament-2017 for the 32nd time by defeating Goa in the final at Bambolim, Goa. With this win, West Bengal ended a six-year wait having last won the title in 2011.
87. The 105th edition of the Indian Science Congress (ISC) will be held at the Osmania University (OU) in Hyderabad from January 3-7, 2018. The theme of the conference will be 'Science and Technology – Reaching the Unreached'. This will be the 6th time the university will be hosing the conference and ISC will be meeting in Hyderabad for the 7th time. Approx 25 Nobel laureates are expected to participate in the conference.
88. Tanushree Pareek from Rajasthan has become the first woman field officer in the Border Security Force (BSF), the country's largest border guarding force. She was inducted into the BSF after a convocation ceremony in the BSF academy at Tekanpur in Madhya Pradesh's Gwalior district. Primarily, the BSF is tasked to guard two of the most sensitive Indian frontiers with Pakistan and Bangladesh while it is extensively deployed for conducting anti-Naxal operations and rendering other duties in the internal security domain.
89. Sebastian Vettel, a German racing driver, has won the 2017 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit in Australia.
90. The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) is a statutory advisory body under the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF) and its headquarters is located at Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The AWBI is in news because the organization will now be permanently chaired by a senior MoEF official. Thus, Dr. Sharad Singh Negi, who is the Director General of Forests & Special Secretary (MoEF), has been appointed the chairman of the newly created 18-member Board of AWBI for 3 years. The AWBI derives its legal structure from the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and frames a range of rules on how animals ought to be humanely treated everywhere. It has also frequently litigated to have stricter laws to ensure animals were not unduly harassed or tortured.
91. The Kinnerasani Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Khammam district of Telangana. The wildlife sanctuary is spread over an area of 635.40 square kilometers with the picturesque Kinnerasani Lake with densely forested islands in the middle of the sanctuary. This sanctuary got its name after the river Kinnerasani. This river divides the sanctuary and meets Godavari. The fauna found in this sanctuary are Panthers, Chinkara, Chousinghas, Sambar, Cheetal, Gaurs, Hyena, Jackals, Wild Boars, Tigers, Sloth Bear, and Black Bucks. Tourists can also spot a number of birds like Jungle Fowl, Quails, Partridges, Peafowl, Nuktas, Spoonbills, Teals, and Doves.
92. Ahmed Kathrada (87), the veteran Indian-origin South African anti-apartheid activist, has recently passed away in Johannesburg, South Africa. He was one of the Nelson Mandela's closest colleagues in the struggle against white minority rule and a fellow Robben Island prisoner. Kathrada was among three political prisoners who were sentenced to life imprisonment together with the South African anti-apartheid icon after the infamous Rivonia Trial of 1964. The two others were Andrew Mlangeni and Denis Goldberg. They played major roles in shaping the country's policies after Mandela's election as the first democratic President of South Africa in 1994. In 2005, Kathrada also received the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award from Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, the then President of India.
93. The National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) is the India's premier R&D institution responsible for the country's research activities in the polar and Southern Ocean realms. Recently, it is in news because the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has joined the 36th scientific mission to Antarctica(36-ISEA) i.e. organised by the NCAOR. The climate change is the thrust area of the 36-ISEA. The main purpose of this expedition is to install stakes on ice for Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) measurements around Bharati and Maitri to validate glacier surface velocity derived from satellite data to estimate thickness of snow over land and sea ice using Ground Penetrating Radars (GPR's) and also to verify conditions of snow over sea and land ice. The headquarters of the NCAOR is located at Vasco da Gama in Goa.
94. The first-ever Houston India Conference was hosted by Asia Society Texas Center in Houston, United States with the theme of 'Make in India -The Inside Story' from March 24, 2017. The 2-day conference is designed to bring together the various constituencies that have an interest in India, and discuss with them the latest developments and the best practices of doing business in India. The central focus of the conference is to provide a collaboration platform and share today's India story with the audience in Texas who are interested in investing in India, by the people who are playing an important role in shaping up the modern.
95. Odisha has become the first Indian state to carry financial inclusion and extend banking services to unbanked areas through Self Help Groups (SHGs). For this, the state government has signed an agreement with State Bank of India (SBI) to provide banking facilities to people in unbanked areas. In the first phase, SHGs would be engaged as Banking Correspondents (BCs) in around 1,000 remote Gram Panchayats having no banking facilities. Gradually, it would be extended to 4,000 non-banked panchayats. The system would be of great help to people in rural areas under social security schemes like Pradhan Mantri Bima Surakshya Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Yojana, Atal Pension Yojana etc and would also be helpful in promotion of digital banking.
96. Tehmtan R. Andhyarujina (84), the senior Advocate and eminent jurist, has recently passed away. He was the Solicitor General of India from 1996 to 1998. He authored "The Kesavananda Bharati Case: The untold story of struggle for supremacy by Supreme Court and Parliament "about the landmark Judgment in Kesavananda Bharati Case in which he was also appeared. He was widely regarded for his expertise in a branch of constitutional law relating to parliamentary privileges.
97. Indian-American Vanita Gupta has been appointed as President and CEO of 'The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights'. The conference is an umbrella group of American civil rights interest groups. With this, she has become the first woman to head the prestigious organisation. She will succeed Wade Henderson on June 1, 2017. She is known for her fearless advocacy of all human beings and also headed civil rights division in the Department of Justice in the Obama Administration. Vanita will also lead its sister organisation 'The Leadership Conference Education Fund'.
98. The category-4 cyclone "Debbie" has recently hit north-east Australian coast with the speed of 263km/h and caused major damage, torrential rain and power cuts to tens of thousands of homes. landfall in Queensland, northeastern Australia. This powerful cyclone has left at least 45,000 homes without power and damaged buildings. More than 25,000 people were asked to evacuate their homes ahead of predictions that the cyclone would be Queensland's most damaging since 2011.
99. David Muldrow Beasley, the former Governor of South Carolina, will be the new executive director of the United Nations (UN) World Food Programme (WFP). He will succeed Ertharin Cousin, who has been the WFP executive director since 2012. The WFP is the world's largest humanitarian organization that provides food assistance to an average of 80 million people in 75 countries each year. The headquarters of the WFP is located at Rome, Italy.
100. Carrie Lam, a Beijing-backed civil servant, will become the first woman Chief Executive (CE) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. She will succeed Leung Chun-ying on July 1, 2017. The Chief Executive of Hong Kong is the head and representative of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and head of the Government of Hong Kong.
101. Ravichandran Ashwin has recently won the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for the ICC Cricketer of the Year 2016 as well as the ICC Test Cricketer of the Year 2016 from former India captains Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar. With this, he became the 3rd Indian to win the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for the ICC Cricketer of the Year after Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar and also the second cricketer ever after Dravid to win the two awards in the same year. The Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy is a cricket trophy awarded annually by the International Cricket Council to its chosen world player of the year. It was first awarded in 2004 to Rahul Dravid.
102. Bob Dylan, the renowned US musician and poet, will finally accept his Nobel Literature Prize at a meeting with the Swedish Academy in Stockholm, Sweden in April 2017. The 2016 Nobel Prize has bestowed to Dylan for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition. The American singer was awarded the prize in October 2016 but failed to travel to pick up the award, or deliver the lecture that is required to receive the 8m kroner prize. He has become the first songwriter to win the prestigious award and the first American since novelist Toni Morrison in 1993.
103. Montenegro is set to become the 29th member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) after US Senate ratify its entry into NATO. Though, ratification from Spain and the Netherlands is still pending ahead of a NATO summit in May 2017. The move was strongly opposed by Russia because it considers Montenegro and other western Balkan states part of its sphere of interest. Thus, Russia opposes the Western military alliance's expansion in the Balkans. It must be noted that Montenegro was the former ally of Russia. Under NATO's principle of collective defense, an attack against one ally is considered an attack against them all.
104. Anil Ambani, the Chairman of Reliance Group, has been inducted into the international advisory board of global think-tank "Atlantic Council". The Atlantic Council is a foreign policy think-tank headquartered in Washington, DC. The purpose of the Atlantic Council is to shape policy choices and strategies and provide an essential forum for navigating the dramatic, economic and political changes that define the 21st century.
105. The Government of India (GoI) has signed first loan agreement with New Development Bank (NDB) US$350 million for development and up-gradation of major district roads project in Madhya Pradesh. The objective of the Project is upgradation of major district roads in the state of Madhya Pradesh to improve connectivity of the interior areas of the state with the national and state highway networks. The project implementation is 5 years.
106. The 3rd edition of World Conference on Environment has been organized by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in New Delhi from March 25-26, 2017 and was inaugurated by the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee. The two day conference concluded with a high note in urging the importance for the sustainable development balancing which is the need to protect the environment.
107. The popular tribal festival of nature worshipping – 'Sarhul' has started in all over Jharkhand with enthusiasm. The festival marks the beginning of New Year by worshiping trees. This annual festival is celebrated during the spring season when trees and other elements of nature are worshiped. Sarhul literally means 'Worship of Sal'. The festival is dedicated to Dharti mata — Mother Earth. Tribals believe that they can use new crop mainly paddy, leaves of the trees, flowers and fruits of the season only after this festival is celebrated.
108. The Kaundinya Wild Life Sanctuary (KWLS) is a wildlife sanctuary and an elephant reserve loacted in Andhra Pradesh. It is the only sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh with a population of Asian elephants, which migrated after 200 years from neighbouring regions. The sanctuary is covered by southern tropical dry deciduous and thorn forests. Some of the important flora consists of Albizia amara, Acacia, Lagerstroemia, Ficus, bamboo, and a species which is a regeneration of Santalum album.
109. The Kanha Tiger Reserve has become the India's first tiger reserve to officially introduce a mascot "Bhoorsingh the Barasingha". The Barasingha or swamp deer is the state animal of Madhya Pradesh. It is one of the tiger reserves of India and the largest national park of Madhya Pradesh. The park has a significant population of Bengal tiger, Indian leopards, the sloth bear, barasingha and Indian wild dog. The lush sal and bamboo forests, grassy meadows and ravines of Kanha provided inspiration to Rudyard Kipling for his famous novel Jungle Book.
110. The 2nd annual meeting of the New Development Bank (NDB) has started in New Delhi on March 31, 2017 with a focus on building a sustainable future. The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who is also the NDB Governor for India will deliver the address. Other speakers include NDB President K V Kamath, Minister of Finance of China among others. In the 3-day meeting, 5 MOUs are likely to be signed by NDB one each with European Investment Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Eurasian Development Bank and International Investment Bank. Apart from this, the two seminars will be held on Financing Sustainable Development and Urban Planning and Sustainable Infrastructure Development.
111. The biggest river festival of India "Namami Brahmaputra" has started in 21 districts of Assam on March 31, 2017. President Pranab Mukherjee has inaugurated the 5-day festival on the banks of the river, which is considered country's only male river. Various cultural programmes, traditional sports, Brahmaputra Aarti, exhibition, film shows, seminars and competitions will be the part of the festival. Spiritual leader Dalai Lama and several Union ministers will also attend the festival. This festival is likely to give a boost to the investment and tourism prospect in the state. Prime Minister of Bhutan, Governor of Assam and Chief Ministers of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh will also attend the inaugural ceremony.
112. Sumitra Mahajan, the Lok Sabha Speaker, will lead Indian Parliamentary delegation in the 136th Assembly Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) 2017 at Dhaka, Bangladesh from April 1 to 5, 2017. The IPU Assembly is the principal statutory body that expresses the views of the IPU on political issues. It brings together parliamentarians to study international problems and make recommendations for action. The next 137th IPU Assembly will be held at St. Petersburg in Russian Federation from October 14 to 18, 2017.
113. El Salvador, Central America's smallest nation, has become the world's first country to ban metals mining nationwide following a long-running dispute with a Canadian-Australian company over an environmentally questioned gold project. For this, El Salvador passed a law that prohibits all metal mining in an attempt to protect the environment and natural resources.