Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Mar 21, 2017

1)   Which meteorologist was called the Monsoon Man of India?

a. Ram Narain Arya
b. Jagadish Shukla
c. Dev Raj Sikka
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Dev Raj Sikka

Dev Raj Sikka, the former director of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, who first proposed a link between the El Nino phenomenon and the Indian monsoon, died of a cardiac arrest at age 85.

Six out of 10 El Nino-years have been associated with below-normal rainfall over India.

Former Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) director Dev Raj Sikka, known as the ‘monsoon man’ for his role in helping scientists develop better prediction systems for India’s rainy season, died on March 19.

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.

Born in Jhang Maghiana (western Punjab) in Pakistan Sikka joined the India Meteorological Department (IMD) in 1954 before moving to the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) in Pune, from where he retired as its director.

Sikka became known for his work on the prediction of monsoon - notoriously erratic in the subcontinent - and tropical meteorology, including extreme weather events.

Dev Raj Sikka was the force behind the Monsoon Mission, an India-UK scientific collaboration that aimed at setting up the infrastructure and man-power to improve the prediction at all-time scales.

This mission enabled the meteorologists to predict perfect seasonal and extended range prediction system. It also helped to predict better short and medium range prediction system.

Sikka was also chairman of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR’s) committee on climate change, and chairperson of the Research and Advisory Council of the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecast.

CSIR: Know More

  • Established: 26 September 1942
  • Chairman: Prime Minister of India
  • Director General: Dr. Girish Sahni
  • Staff: 17,000 - contain over 4000 active scientists, over 12000 technical/ support personnel and over 5000 students.

2)   Who was the former RS MP and President of Odisha Janamorcha Party?

a. Pyari Mohan Das
b. Pyari Mohan Pattnaik
c. Pyari Mohan Mohapatra
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Pyari Mohan Mohapatra

Former Rajya Sabha MP and president of Odisha Janamorcha party Pyari Mohan Mohapatra passed away in Mumbai after a prolonged illness at the age of 77. Mohapatra, who was also called ‘Chankya of Odisha politics’.

Mohapatra was the Principal Secretary to the chief minister when Biju Patnaik occupied the top post.

Mohapatra, a career bureaucrat, guided the Odisha CM in 1997 soon after the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader landed in Odisha, after the death of his father, Biju Patnaik.

He was dubbed ‘super chief minister’ and ‘Chanakya’ of Odisha politics.

He changed the DNA of BJD and made it a politically winning machine.

Naveen sent Mohapatra to Rajya Sabha in 2004.

Mohapatra helped the BJD win 109 of the 147 seats in the assembly.

But post-2009 polls, the bond between the two men showed signs of cracks.

Mohapatra lost out on May 29, 2012 when he allegedly tried to engineer a coup in the BJD. He formed his own party after that.

3)   Which country has been ranked the healthiest on earth, by the Bloomberg Global Health Index?

a. Italy
b. Spain
c. Israel
d. Luxembourg
Answer  Explanation 


Italy has been ranked the healthiest country on Earth in the Bloomberg Global Health Index of 163 countries.

According to the study, the average life expectancy in the country is 80-89 years.

Iceland, Switzerland, Singapore and Australia are also among the top five most healthy countries in the index.

Singapore was placed on the fourth spot.

Also on the top ten are Spain, Japan, Sweden, Israel, and Luxembourg.

Italy: Know More

  • Capital: Rome
  • Code: +39
  • Currency: Euro
  • Prime minister: Paolo Gentiloni
  • Official language: Italian

4)   Which Indians made it to the WEF Young Global Leaders List?

a. Vijay Shekhar Sharma
b. Ambarish Mitra
c. Ambarish Mitra
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: All of the above

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, a mobile phone app business valued at USD 1.5 billion.

Also part of the list were Hindol Sengupta Editor-at large Fortune India and Rwitwika Bhattacharya - Agarwal Founder and CEO Swaniti Initiative.

There were nine global leaders from South Asia, out of which five are from India.

Besides, there are some persons of Indian origin in the US and Europe were also named in the list.

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.

In this year's class of 100 Young Global Leaders, half the intake come from emerging economies, reflecting a trend towards greater diversity in global leadership.

Selected into a five-year programme, this year's class of 100 Young Global Leaders is split evenly between business and not-for-profit sectors building a global community of peers who can capitalise on diverse talents, experiences and networks to bridge divides that exist in society and achieve more together than they could separately.

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.

5)   Which river has been recognised as the first living entity of India?

a. River Ganga
b. River Mahanadi
c. River Godavari
d. River Krishna
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: River Ganga

The Uttarakhand High Court has recognised river Ganga as the first living entity of India.

This is a move that grants it the same legal rights as a human being.

The new status means that if someone pollutes the Ganga - considered to be the holiest river in the country - the law will see it equal to harming a human being.

The court also ruled that the government form a Ganga Administration Board for better maintenance and cleaning of the river.

River Ganga: Know More

  • Length: 2,525 km
  • Basin area: 1.08 million km²
  • Mouth: Ganges Delta
  • Sources: Gangotri Glacier, Nanda Kot, Satopanth Glacier, Kedarnath, Nanda Devi, Kamet, Trisul
  • Cities: Varanasi, Haridwar, Allahabad, Kolkata, Patna, Kanpur, Ghazipur

6)   Who has been appointed the CEO of FreeCharge?

a. Rahul Yadav
b. Jason Kothari
c. Binny Bansal
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Jason Kothari

Snapdeal has appointed former online real estate portal executive Jason Kothari to the position of Chief Executive Officer of its digital payments subsidiary Freecharge.

It is also committing to invest a further $20 million into the firm.

Kothari’s appointment to the role comes a month after former Freecharge CEO Govind Rajan quit the company.

This is amid growing concerns of Freecharge losing out to larger rival Paytm in India’s fast growing digital payments space.


  • Owner : Snapdeal
  • Founded : August 2010
  • Founder : Kunal Shah , Sandeep Tandon
  • Headquarters : Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

7)   Which persons should be barred from contesting polls for a lifetime, as per ECI?

a. Convicted
b. Alleged criminals
c. On Parole
d. Pending criminal investigation
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Convicted

The Election Commission of India on March 20, 2017 informed the SC it was in favour of barring convicted persons from contesting polls for life and stopping the entry into judiciary and the executive.

Commission also said it will set up special courts to decide criminal cases linked to judiciary, bureaucracy and people's reps.

In its affidavit filed in response to a PIL seeking setting up special courts for trial of criminal cases against people from the legislature, executive and judiciary, the Election Commission said the issues raised by the petitioner, Delhi BJP spokesperson and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhaya, are not adversarial.

With regard to direction for setting a minimum qualification and maximum age limit for legislators, the commission said the issue is in legislative domain and will require amendment to the Constitution.

The commission said it has been championing the cause of decriminalisation of politics within the constitutional and statutory framework, wherever possible with the aid of article 324, relating to the functions and powers of the poll body.

It has also issued necessary instructions in support of the mandate to conduct free and fair elections and to decriminalize democracy.

8)   Which two telecom majors have started a mega merger deal on 20th March 2017?

a. Vodafone, Airtel
b. Idea Cellular, Vodafone
c. Ideal Cellular, Airtel
d. Aircel, Airtel
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Idea Cellular, Vodafone

The U.K.’s Vodafone and Aditya Birla group firm Idea Cellular on March 20, 2017 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 ?38.74 billion rupees, Idea said.

Idea will have the sole right to appoint the chairman.

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 share of both the telcos add up to 43%, making it the largest telecom firm, surpassing Bharti Airtel.

The merger will create an entity with a revenue of around INR 77,500-80,000 crore besides eliminating duplication of spectrum and infrastructure capex, Ind-Ra assesses.

The spectrum of Vodafone India in seven circles and that of Idea in two, whose permits are expiring in 2021-22, is together valued at around INR 12,000 crore as per the last auction price.

These permits are not in common circles, and hence there could be potential spectrum capex synergies between the two companies, the report said.

The Merger Deal: Know More

  • Complete business of VIL and VMSL, excluding VIL's investment in Indus Towers, international network assets and IT platforms, to vest in co.
  • Once amalgamation of VMSL becomes effective, co shall issue shares of co to VIL equal to 47% of post issue paid-up capital of co.
  • Vodafone to own 45.1% of combined co after transferring about 4.9% to promoters of Idea and/or affiliates for INR 38.74 billion in cash
  • Board of combined entity will be comprised of 12 directors including 3 directors appointed by each of Vodafone and Aditya Birla Group
  • Promoters of Idea, Vodafone have the right to nominate 3 directors each
  • Promoters of Idea have the sole right to appoint chairman
  • Vodafone has the right to appoint CFO of company
  • Appointment of CEO, COO will require approval of promoters of Idea and Vodafone
  • Promoters of Idea have right to buy up to 9.5% additional stake from Vodafone under the agreed mechanism with view of equalising shareholdings over time
  • Agreement contemplates completion of proposed amalgamation with a period of 24 months
  • Till equalisation is achieved, voting rights of additional shares held by Vodafone will be restricted and votes will be exercised jointly
  • Idea to give all of its assets including standalone towers with 15.4k tenancies and 11.15% stake in Indus Towers
  • Vodafone to give Vodafone India including standalone towers with 15.8k tenancies but excluding 42% stake in Indus Towers
  • Vodafone will add 25 billion rupees more net debt than Idea at completion
  • Post-closing, combined company will be a JV by Vodafone and accounted for under equity method
  • As combined entity will be controlled jointly by Vodafone & Aditya Birla Group, Vodafone will de consolidate Vodafone India immediately

9)   Which bank is being merged with SBI to ensure banking outreach to women?

a. Regional Rural Bank
b. Central Bank
c. Punjab National Bank
d. Bharatiya Mahila Bank
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Bharatiya Mahila Bank

GoI on 20th March 2017 announced the decision to merge Bharatiya Mahila Bank with the State Bank of India to ensure greater banking services outreach to women at a faster pace.

The decision to merge BMB with SBI has been taken in view of advantage of a large network of SBI.

In the 3 years since BMB was set up, women have been granted loans of INR 192 crore by the bank and INR 46,000 crore by SBI.

SBI has a wide range of more than 20,000 branches and the lowest cost of funds among banks.

Of the 200,000 workers, 22% are women. SBI has 126 all women branches across the country. BMB has 7.

This merger will help SBI get paid capital worth INR 1,000 crore lying on the books of BMB.

Bharatiya Mahila Bank had a loan book worth INR 620 crore and deposit base worth INR 927 crore at the end of March 2016.

The government on 23 February indicated 1 April will be the record date for the merger of SBI with five of its associate banks—State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Travancore, State Bank of Hyderabad and State Bank of Patiala.

All the shares of these associate banks would cease to exist as individual entities and would stand transferred to SBI.

According to the RBI, all branches of associate banks will now function as branches of SBI.

After the merger with its associate banks, SBI is set to be among the top 50 large banks of the world.

SBI was ranked 52 in the world in terms of assets in 2015 and a merger will see it break into the top 50.

Bharatiya Mahila Bank: Know More

  • Industry: Banking, Financial services
  • Founded: 2013
  • Headquarters: Delhi, India
  • Head: S. M. Swathi (ED)
  • Products: core banking, credit card, consumer banking, corporate banking, finance and insurance, investment banking, mortgage loans, private banking, private equity, wealth management
  • Owner: Government of India

10)   Which observatory’s environment clearance has NGT suspended?

a. Neutrino observatory, Theni
b. Radio Observatory, Thrissur
c. Neutrino Observatory, Thrissur
d. Radio Observatory, Theni
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Neutrino observatory, Theni

Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal on 20th March 2017 suspended the environmental clearance granted to the India based Neutrino Observatory to come up in Theni and asked a fresh application for the project proponent.

Madhikettan Shola National Park in Idukki, Kerala is just 4.9 lm from the proposed site.

The TN-Kerala border was just a km away,making this, a category A project.

MoEF had called it a Category B project for which EIA is not necessary, but the department processed it as an additional measure.

Any project falling 5 km from the interstate boundary or within a notified national park or sanctuary to be considered a Category A project.

This requires numerous processes before EC is granted.

The INO promises to bring scientific advancement, according to Sekhar Basu, Chairman of DAE.

11)   Which country was named the world's happiest, as per the World Happiness report 2017?

a. Italy
b. Norway
c. Sweden
d. Spain
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Norway

Norway has received the status of the World's Happiest country on 20th March 2017.

It moved from 4th place in the previous UN assessment all the way to the top spot, as per the World Happiness Report 2017.

Top countries besides Norway included Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland.

All 4 countries ranked high on happiness in terms of caring, freedom, honesty, generosity, health, income and good governance.

Also in the top 10 were Finland (5), the Netherlands (6), Canada (7), New Zealand (8) and Australia plus Sweden tied for 9th place.

The entire top 10 were affluent, developed nations. Money was not the only ingredient for happiness though.

The wealthier countries also had differences in meta health, physical health and personal relationships.

The largest source of misery is mental illness, as per the report.

While China has made rapid economic strides in recent times, it ranked 79th in a study of 155 countries.

The World Happiness Report 2017 was released by UN on the International Day of Happiness.

The first report was published in 2012.

Norway: Know More

  • Capital: Oslo
  • Code: +47
  • Currency: Norwegian krone
  • Official languages: Norwegian, Bokmål, Nynorsk

12)   In which year was the Rail Budget first merged with the general budget?

a. 1924
b. 1945
c. 2005
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: None of the above

Lok Sabha passed the Railway Appropriation Bills and supplementary demands for grants this year.

The total proposed outlay for 2017-218 is INR 131,000 crore. This marks an 8 percent increase from the 2016-2017 budget estimate of INR 121,000 crore.

Railway revenue for 2017-2018 is estimated at INR 178,350 crore recording a 9 percent increase from revised estimates of 2016-2017.

The total revenue in 2016-2017 undershot budget estimates by INR 6300 crore.

The House also passed Railways supplementary demands for grants 2016-2017 and the demands for excess grants for 2013-2014.

Railway finances were presented along with the Union Budget. This is the first time since 1924 that the Railway Budget was merged with the Union Budget.

Lok Sabha: Know More

  • Speaker: Sumitra Mahajan, BJP (Since 6 June 2014)
  • Deputy Speaker: M. Thambidurai, AIADMK (Since 13 August 2014)
  • Leader of the House: Narendra Modi, BJP (Since 26 May 2014)