Japan says India’s nuclear MoU “legally binding”
- India had committed to adhere to the “control of nuclear material, traceability [of nuclear fuel] and consequence in case of a nuclear accident”
- Memorandum of understanding (MoU) on civil nuclear cooperation with Japan signed in April 2015
- India will be financially accountable if it is found to be violating the principles.
- MoU may also destabilize India’s established nuclear deals with Russia and France. Previous demand for such commitments were denied.
- The bilateral agreement leaves out India’s military nuclear program
Prime minister launched Kisan Suvidha mobile app
- Will provide information on subjects such as weather, seeds,market prices, pesticides, fertilizers, and agriculture machinery.
- Developed to help farmers by providing relevant information to them quickly.
Indian Air Force successfully conducted exercise Iron Fist in Pokhran
- The day and night exercise was aimed at demonstrating IAF’s combat and fire power
- It showcased its commitment and capabilities in safeguarding national interests.
Freedom of expression does not mean call to destroy country
- Two-day national executive kept its political preoccupations, both with the debate on nationalism and its attempts at making up with the Dalit community
- Gave political resolution that “freedom of expression and nationalism do necessarily co-exist” but that this fundamental right does not cover calls to destroy the country
- The party and the government “was accepting of political criticism of itself, but not of the nation
Agreement between the EU and Turkey to tackle the migrant crisis
- Migrants arriving in Greece will be sent back to Turkey if their asylum claim is rejected.
- EU will resettle Syrian migrant for each Syrian returned to Turkey.
- Priority will be given to those who have not tried to illegally enter the EU.
- By June 2016, it will be mandatory for Turkish nationals to have access to the Schengen passport-free zone.
- EU is to speed up the allocation of €3 billion ($3.3 billion) in aid to Turkey to help migrants’ crisis.
U.S. President to make historical Cuba visit
- The visit attempts to reverse generations of U.S. attempts to cut Cuba from the outside world
- Obama was due to see old town Havana, hold talks with Cuban President Raul Castro on Monday, and attend a baseball game.
- For Cubans dreaming of escaping isolation and reinvigorating their threadbare economy, the visit has created huge excitement.
- Republicans and some human rights activists have also criticized Obama for dealing with Castro.
- Freedom in Cuba, ranging from the media to politics and economic entrepreneurship, remain highly curtailed.
Business and Economy
Interest rate cut to help economy
- Economy needs lower interest rates to become more efficient and high deposit rates would keep it “sluggish.”
- To make the economy more efficient rather than sluggish, the country has to move towards lower interest rates in lending and deposits.
- Interest rates will be reset every quarter based on a formula linked to the rate of return on government securities.
- Returns on Public Provident Fund savings cut from 8.7% to 8.1% and one year post office deposits from 8.4% to 7.1%.
Banks are likely to reduce interest rates on home and car loans
- Banks likely to announce revised interest rates, starting April 1, which will lower the amount on deposits and make home and car loans cheaper.
- Reserve Bank of India has been urging banks to cut lending rates in line with the reduction in policy interest rate.
- Cut in small savings rate now gives more room to banks to reduce their deposit rates.
- Banks will shift to Marginal Cost of Funds based Lending Rate (MCLR) from 1 April, as directed by RBI.
- This new regime of loan pricing will replace the existing regime of Base Rate
Science and Technology
Fund to tackle anti-microbial resistance
- Launched by of Biotechnology to tackle the threat faced by India from resistance to antimicrobial drugs
- This is an India-focused seed fund.
- DBT has invested an initial $1, 00,000 in this fund.
- Also expected to encourage biotechnology start-ups in the country.
Solar for Refrigerator and air conditioner
- Chennai-based company has showed that solar power can be used to power air conditioner and refrigerator.
- Possible by the use of thin film solar panels.
- Company has replaced the conventional silicon crystalline panels with thin film solar panels.
- Energy yield of thin film is higher than silicon panel.
- For every 1 degree Celsius increase in temperature, the loss in power rating is 0.5% in the case of silicon panels; it is only 0.25% with thin films.
Space probe New Horizons result revealed by NASA
- After a 5-year, three-billion-mile journey New Horizons zipped by Pluto on July 14 last year.
- NASA scientists have revealed the former “astronomer’s planet” and its “intriguing system of small moons” in a comprehensive set of papers describing results from last summer’s Pluto system flyby.
- New Horizons’ seven science instruments collected about 50 gigabits of data on the spacecraft’s digital recorders
Environment & Ecology
National Green Tribunal seeks Centre’s response on ban of micro plastics
- It has sought response from the Centre on a plea seeking ban on use of micro-plastics in cosmetic and body care products in India
- Their use is extremely dangerous for aquatic life and environment.
People in News
Pfizer appoints Sridhar as its MD
- Sridhar has worked as the Chief Financial Officer of the company for seven years
- Was appointed the Executive Director on the Board in May 2013.
Honeywell appoints Suresh Senapaty as its Chairman
- Honeywell Automation India Ltd (HAIL) announced appointment of former Wipro CFO Suresh Senapaty as its Chairman.
- He has been appointed as an Additional Director (Non-Executive, Independent) and as Chairman of its Board of Directors
PM presents 2014-15 Krishi Karman Awards
- Awards were presented in two different categories viz. Total food grain production and Individual Crops.
- Madhya Pradesh: For production greater than 10 million tonnes in Category I States.
- Himachal Pradesh and Odisha: For production between 1 and 10 million tonnes in Category II States.
- Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya: For production less than 1 million tonnes in Category III States.
- Individual Crops: Total 5 winning states were awarded a trophy, a citation and a monetary award of 2 crore rupees. These states are
- Haryana, Assam: Rice.
- Rajasthan: Wheat.
- Chhattisgarh: Pulses.
- West Bengal: Oil Seeds.
Yogeshwar Dutt gets gold medal in Asian Olympic qualification tournament
- He got the gold medal in the 65kg category for freestyle wrestling.
- In the final match he defeated Katai Yeerlanbieke from China
- He secured an Olympic quota place for India in 2016 Rio Olympic games.
Hs Prannoy wins 2016 Swiss Open Grand Prix gold Badminton title
- He defeated Marc Zwiebler of Germany to win the title
- Women’s Singles Title was won by He Bingjiao from China after defeating Wang Yihan
- Men’s Doubles was won by Denmark pair of Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen after defeating Chinese Taipei pair of Lee Sheng-mu and Tsai Chia-hsin
- Women’s Doubles was won by Japanese pair of Shizuka Matsuo and Mami Naito after defeating Japanese pair of Naoko Fukuman and Kurumi Yonao.
ICC suspends Bangladesh bowlers
- International Cricket Council (ICC) has suspended Bangladesh bowlers Taskin Ahmed and Arafat Sunny for bowling with an illegal action
- The suspension is with immediate effect.
- Their international suspensions will also be recognized and enforced by all the members for domestic cricket events played in their own jurisdiction.
Art and Culture
Sculpture of Chandesvarar found in Tamil Nadu
- Believed to belong to 10th century AD
- Found at Sundaikkai village near Umaiyalpuram in Tamil Nadu.
- The sculpture was an early Chola icon.