21 March 2017 Current Affairs : Ganga Yamuna living entity status, Navroz today, BMB merger with SBI, RBI PPI new draft

///21 March 2017 Current Affairs : Ganga Yamuna living entity status, Navroz today, BMB merger with SBI, RBI PPI new draft

This Daily Current Affair Capsule is a brief collection of important news from national dailies and government releases on PIB useful for UPSC IAS, CDS, SSC CGL, NDA, etc. It covers national, international, economic, sports news.


National Important Current Affairs – 21 March 2017

■ The Uttarakhand High Court has accorded the status of “living human entities” to the Ganga and Yamuna, two of India’s most sacred rivers. Exercising extraordinary jurisdiction vested in the court, a division bench of Justices Rajeev Sharma and Alok Singh of Nainital High Court has said, “Holy rivers Ganga and Yamuna have been declared to be treated as a living human entities.”

  • Giving the “legal status” of living humans to the holy rivers, the court ordered that the Director, Namami Gange project, the Chief Secretary and the Advocate General of Uttarakhand will act as the “legal parents” of the holy rivers and work as a the human face to protect, conserve and preserve them and their tributaries.


■ Today Navroz is being celebrated as the Iranian and Persian New Year on 21st March by Parsi Zoroastrians of central Asian origin.

  • President Pranab Mukherjee has extended his greetings and felicitations to the Government and people of Iran on the occasion of Nouroz.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has greeted the Parsi Community on the occasion.

India’s longest road tunnel connecting Chenani and Nashri in Jammu and Kashmir will be opened shortly. It is being called the ‘Tunnel of Hope’ in Kashmir. The structure ensuring all-weather connectivity will reduce the distance between Jammu and Kashmir by 38 km. It has taken nearly six years for the project’s completion, since the work started in May 2011 in the lower Himalayan mountain range.


■ A recent report tabled in the Lok Sabha has stated that West Bengal has the highest number of arsenic-affected people in the country, with more than 1.04 crore arsenic-affected persons as on March 4, 2017. Bihar comes second with 16.88 lakh persons, with Assam is in third spot with 14.48 lakh victims.

The total number of arsenic-affected people in the country is about 1.48 crore.


  • According to the WHO’s guidelines for drinking water quality (2011), the permissible limit of Arsenic in groundwater is .01 mg per litre. However, in India the permissible limit in drinking water has recently been revised from .05 mg per litre to .01 mg per litre.
  • Arsenic in ground water is a geogenic contaminant i.e. caused by natural geologic processes. Arsenic-containing groundwater in Ganga River basin is hosted by the sediments deposited by the rivers. Over the last three decades numerous measures have been initiated which includes alternate arrangement for supply of arsenic free water to the affected populace and providing arsenic removal plants.


■ Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amrinder Singh would seek legal opinion whether cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu could work in TV shows or not. Sidhu is Local Bodies and Tourism minister of Punjab cabinet, and appears in a TV show.

■ The Election Commission of India (ECI) has told the Supreme Court that it was in favour of barring convicted persons from contesting polls for life and also stopping their entry into judiciary and the executive.

  • The commission is also in favour of setting up special courts to decide criminal cases related to people’s representatives, public servants and members of the judiciary.
  • EC made these points in an affidavit filed in the top court in response to a PIL seeking setting up special courts for trial of criminal cases against people from the legislature, executive and judiciary.



International Current Affairs Capsule – 21 March 2017

■  FBI Director James Comey has confirmed for the first time that the FBI is investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election. Russia has always denied attempting to influence the US presidential election. The FBI would also assess whether crimes were committed.

■ India is ranked at 122 out of 155 countries in the 5th World Happiness Report 2017 published by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network on the eve of International Day of Happiness (20 March).

  • The rankings are based factors such as inequality, life expectancy, GDP per capita, public trust (i.e. a lack of corruption in government and business), and social support.
  • Together they are used to generate a happiness score of country on a scale from 1 to 10.
  • The top Happiest Countries are : Norway (1), Denmark (2), Iceland (3), Switzerland (4), Finland (5), Netherlands (6), Canada (7), New Zealand (8), Australia (9) and Sweden (10).
  • Most Sad Countries are : Rwanda (151), Syria (152), Tanzania (153), Burundi (154) and Central African Republic (155).


Economics Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 21 March 2017


■ The government has announced its decision to merge Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) with State Bank of India (SBI) to ensure greater banking services outreach to more women at a faster pace. After the merger with its associate banks, SBI is set to be among the top 50 large banks of the world.

  • In the three years since Bharatiya Mahila Bank was established, women have been extended loans of Rs192 crore by Bharatiya Mahila Bank and about Rs 46,000 crore by SBI group.
  • SBI group has 126 all-women branches across the country, while Bharatiya Mahila Bank has seven.



■ Chinese handset vendor Xiaomi has partnered Foxconn to set up its second manufacturing unit in India at Sri City in Andhra Pradesh.

  • The move will help Xiaomi meet about 95% of its demand in India from these two facilities.
  • Xiaomi had entered India in July 2014 and started local manufacturing just over a year later.
  • The new facility will be exclusive to Xiaomi, while the older one may see Foxconn making handsets for other vendors too.
  • However, it will continue to import accessories, ecosystem products and its premium product, Mi5 from China.


■ The RBI has proposed to fix the upper limit for Pre-paid Payment Instruments(PPIs) at Rs 1 lakh in view of growing usage of PPIs for purchase of goods and services.

  • Amount in a PPI should not exceed Rs 1 lakh at any point of time if the customer provides full KYC and Rs 20,000 if the customer provides minimum KYC details to the PPI issuing entity, the draft said.
  • Further, only banks shall be permitted to issue open system PPIs after full KYC in addition to semi closed PPIs.

About Pre-paid Payment Instruments(PPIs) :

PPIs are payment instruments that facilitate purchase of goods and services, including financial services, remittance facilities against the value stored on such instruments.

There are three types of PPIs —

  1. Closed system (valid under the issuing entity only),
  2. Semi-closed system (valid in group of clearly identified merchant locations/ establishments)
  3. Open system (these are issued by banks and can be used at any merchant locations).



Sports Today’s Current Affair Capsule – 21 March 2017

■ Roger Federer has won the ATP Indian Wells Masters title with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Stan Wawrinka. Federer claimed a record-equalling fifth title at Indian Wells, continuing his career resurgence. He had returned to win his 18th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January after a brief spell of injury. With this triumph, Federer has joined Novak Djokovic as the only man to win five Indian Wells titles. 

■  The Ranchi Cricket test match between India and Australia has ended in a draw.  This was the penultimate Test of the 4-match series, which is currently locked at 1-1.

■ In Cricket, Tamil Nadu has won the Vijay Hazare Trophy, the domestic 50-over competition, for the fifth time. In the Final match played at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi, they defeated Bengal by 37 runs. It was Tamil Nadu’s third victory over Bengal in the final of this competition.



■ Senior advocate and noted constitutional expert Anil Divan has passed away following a fatal asthma attack. Divan was a former president of the Bar Association of India.

David Rockefeller, Philanthropist and Head of Chase Manhattan, died at 101 years age. The banker with the fabled family name who controlled Chase Manhattan bank for more than a decade. David Rockefeller wielded vast influence around the world for long as he spread the gospel of American capitalism around the world.


“Current Affairs Questions for UPSC IAS Prelims”

Q1. Which Indian personality has been selected to newly formed United Nations (UN) group on AntiMicrobial Resistance?

  • A) Soumya Swaminathan
  • B) Meghnad Saha
  • C) P K Joshi
  • D) Amitabh Kant


Q2. Chuck Berry, the rock and roll legend who passed away, hailed from which country?

  • A) United States
  • B) Russia
  • C) United Kingdom
  • D) South Africa

Q3. Who of the following took charge as new deputy Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh?

  • A) Lalji Tandon and Sangeet Som
  • B) Anil Rajbhar and Manoj Sinha
  • C) Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma
  • D) Kalraj Mishra and Bhupendra Singh Yadav


Q4. Who has become the new brand ambassador for 2018 ODI Blind Cricket World Cup?

  • A) Virat Kohli
  • B) Shahid Afridi
  • C) Saurav Ganguly
  • D) Sachin Tendulkar

Answer these questions in the comments below. Discuss your thoughts on the news and issues mentioned in today’s current affairs post.

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