World Water Day: World Water Day is observed every year on 22 March. The day focusses on importance of universal access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities in developing countries. It also advocates for sustainable management of freshwater resources. The WWD was first formally proposed in Agenda 21 of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992. The theme for the WWD 2017 is ‘Why Wastewater?’
World Happiness Report: This is the annual report prepared by United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network. It was presented on the eve of World Happiness Day i.e. March 20th. The first World Happiness Report was presented in 2012 and in 2017 it is the sixth report. India has been ranked 122nd out of 155 countries. Norway followed by Denmark and Iceland are the top 3 nations on the chart. Tanzania, Burundi and Central African Republic are the least happy countries in the world. India has been shockingly placed 7th among the SAARC nations – Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. India is also 5th among the BRICS Nations – Brazil, Russia, China, South Africa and India.
Amendment to NABARD Act, 1981: NABARD or National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development is an apex development bank in India with RBI having majority stake in it. Its headquarters is in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It was established on recommendations of Shivaraman Committee to implement the NABARD Act, 1981. The amendments have been sought to increase the authorised capital of NABARD from present Rs. 5,000 crore to Rs. 30,000 crore and beyond, if necessary (in consultation with RBI). The amendment will also transfer the 0.4% equity of RBI in NABARD to Union Government thereby settling alleged conflict of interest between role of RBI as regulator of banks as well as stakeholder in NABARD.
North East Road Network Connectivity Project: The phase 1 of the project has been approved by Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs. In Phase 1 403 kilometres of National Highway will be constructed. The project has been financed by JICA – Japan International Cooperation Agency.
Human Development Index: India has been ranked 131 in the Human Development Index out of 188 countries for the year 2016. India scored 0.624 out of 1 that places India in the medium human development category. The top 3 countries were Norway, Australia and Switzerland. Among the SAARC Countries Sri Lanka bagged the top position followed by Maldives, India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Sri Lanka and Nepal were placed in the high human development categories. India performed the poorest in the BRICS countries. Russia begged the top position amongst the BRICS nations followed by Brazil, China, South Africa and India. India’s overall rank fell by 1 rank i.e. it was 130 in 2015 and is 131 in 2016. India’s life expectancy at birth is 68.3 years (69.9 for males and 66.9 for females). Gross National Income based on per capita purchasing power parity also increased from $5,497 to $5,663. Gender Inequality Index: India ranked 125 out of 159 countries in the GII. Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index yields new HDI value for India as 0.455 which is a fall of 27.2%.
Cheneni-Nashiri Road Tunnel: India’s longest surface tunnel in J&K has successfully completed its trial run. It is constructed in Udhampur district. It is 9 kilometre in length at an elevation of 1,200.
Medha: It is first fully India made train rake. It has been dedicated to serve as local train in Mumbai Local Railway.
National Hydrology Project: India’s National Hydrology project was in news recently as World Bank has approved loan for the project. The project improving extent, quality, and accessibility of water resources information, decision support system for floods and basin level resource planning and strengthen capacity of institutions in India.