1. India to host 8th BRICS Summit in October in Goa
1. India will host the eighth annual Summit of BRICS from October 15-16 in Goa in its capacity as chair of the influential bloc comprising five countries with 42 per cent of the world population and combined GDP of over USD 16 trillion.
2. India has assumed BRICS Chairmanship from the Russian Federation for the year 2016. BRICS is an association of five countries viz. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. On this occasion, Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj formally unveiled the BRICS Logo for the duration of India’s BRICS Chairmanship and also launched website. India has assumed BRICS Chairmanship for second time and had hosted the BRICS Summit in 2012 for first time in New Dehli.
3. The 7th BRICS Summit was held in the Russian city of Ufa in July 2015.
2. Ashok Lahiri Committee constituted to review excise duty imposed on different jewellery articles in Budget 2016-17
1. The Union Ministry of Finance on 21 March 2016 constituted a Sub-Committee under the aegis of the High Level Committee (HLC) to review issues related to excise duty.
2. The committee will be headed by former Chief Economic Advisor Dr Ashok Lahiri and will review excise duty imposed on different jewellery articles in Budget 2016-17.Before finalising its report the committee will interact with trade and industry on tax laws.
3. Lori Robinson nominated as first US female Combatant Chief
1. US Defence Secretary Ash Carter announced on 18 March 2016 that President Barack Obama has nominated General Lori Robinson to lead the United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and NORAD. This will make her the first woman to command a major Unified Combatant Command.
2. The position is one of the most senior in the US military and must be confirmed by the Senate. If approved by the Senate, US Air Force General Lori Robinson will be the new North command chief and will be responsible for any missile threats against the homeland.
4. Nepal signed agreement with China to extend the strategic Tibet rail link to Nepal
1. Nepal signed 10 agreements with China on 21 March 2016 in Beijing. These include a landmark transit treaty to end its total dependence on India and extension of the strategic Tibet rail link to Nepal.
2. The agreements were signed during the Nepalese Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s maiden visit to China and held wide-ranging talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and called on President Xi Jinping.
3. China firmly supported efforts of Nepal to safeguard sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity as well as the Nepali people's choice of development path. China also promised that it will not interfere in internal affairs of Nepal.
The two countries have also started working on the first draft of a free trade agreement.
5. March 22: World Water Day
1. Every year World Water Day (WWD) is observed globally on 22 March to preserve and ration consumption of water.
2. Theme: “Better Water, Better Jobs”. It focuses on the central role that water plays in creating and supporting good quality jobs. Almost half of the world’s workers (nearly 1.5 billion) people work in water related sectors and nearly all jobs depend on water and those that ensure its safe delivery.
6. Indian Coast Guard ship Arnvesh commissioned at Visakhapatnam
1. The fast patrol vessel (FPV) of the Indian Coast Guard ICGS Arnvesh was commissioned at Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. The ship is primarily intended to undertake coastal patrol, surveillance at sea, anti-smuggling, anti-piracy operations and search and rescue operations.2. The vessel among the 20 FPVs indigenously built by Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL). It is capable of carrying a crew of five officers and 34 men on board. The ship is 50-metre long, 300-tonne vessel. The vessel is propelled by triple Rolls Royce Kamewa water jets. It can achieve a maximum speed of 33 knots.