21 March 2017 Current Affairs

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21 Mar, 2017

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1) The Union Government on 20 March 2017 announced its decision to merge Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) with State Bank of India (SBI). BMB, India’s first bank devoted primarily to women banking, became operational in which year? – 2013

Explanation: Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on 19 November 2013 on the occasion of the 96th birth anniversary of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Although initially reported as a bank exclusively for women, BMB now allows deposits to flow from everyone, but lending is made available predominantly to women.

The government on 20 March 2017 announced its decision to merge BMB with State Bank of India (SBI) to ensure greater banking services outreach to more women at a faster pace. The decision to merge BMB with SBI has also been taken in view of the advantage of the large network of SBI among other things.

BMB had a loan book worth Rs. 620 crore and deposit base worth Rs. 927 crore at the end of March 2016.

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2) The merger between which two telecom entities, as announced on 20 March 2017, will change telecom industry’s pecking order and catapult it as country’s largest telecom company by replacing Bharti Airtel? – Vodafone India and Idea Cellular

Explanation: A huge consolidation in India’s telecom industry was ushered in on 20 March 2017 as U.K.’s Vodafone and Aditya Birla group firm Idea Cellular announced that they have kickstarted a mega merger deal.

Vodafone will own 45.1% of the merged entity, after it transfers about 4.9% to promoters of Idea and/or their affiliates for Rs. 38.74 billion rupees.

Kumarmangalam Birla will be the Chairman of merged Vodafone-Idea entity and both the companies will have equal stakes in the merged entity over a period of time.

The combined market shares of both entities add up to 43%, making it the largest telecom firm, surpassing Bharti Airtel. The merger will create an entity with a revenue of around Rs. 77,500-80,000 crore besides eliminating duplication of spectrum and infrastructure capex.

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3) The trial run of India’s longest road tunnel built on Jammu-Srinagar Highway was completed during March 2017. The tunnel, which will open to traffic very soon, connects which two places? – Chenani and Nashri

Explanation: The work on the 9.2 km-long twin-tube Chenani and Nashri tunnel started in lower Himalayan mountain range on 23 May 2011. It is part of Jammu-Srinagar Highway.

Chenani-Nashri Tunnel will reduce the travel time between the two state capitals of Jammu and Srinagar by two-and-a-half hours. The road distance from Chenani and Nashri will now be 10.9 km, instead of the existing 41 km.

It will be the first tunnel in India to be equipped with world class “integrated tunnel control system” through which ventilation, fire control, signals, communication and electrical systems will be automatically actuated. The total cost of the tunnel is Rs. 3,720 crore.

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4) Dev Raj Sikka, who passed away on 18 March 2017, was a renowned personality associated with which field? – Rain prediction

Explanation: Dev Raj Sikka was a former Director of Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) and was known as the ‘monsoon man’ for his role in helping scientists develop better prediction systems for India’s rainy season.

Over an illustrious career as a weather scientist, Sikka became known for his work on the prediction of monsoon – notoriously erratic in the subcontinent – and tropical meteorology, including extreme weather events.

Sikka was honoured with the lifetime achievement award by the Indian Meteorological Society (IMD) in December 2016 in recognition of his contribution to Indian meteorology spanning over six decade.

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5) Chuck Berry, who passed away on 18 March 2017, was a legend associated with which field? – Rock and roll music

Explanation: Chuck Berry (Charles Edward Anderson “Chuck” Berry) was an American guitarist, singer and songwriter and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music.

He received a lifetime achievement Grammy in 1984 and was among the first inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. He was 90.

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