Daily Current Affairs January 23 2018

1) International Dam Safety Conference Held In Thiruvananthapuram

  • International Dam Safety Conference – 2018 begun at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala on 23rd January 2018. Dam safety conferences are organized every year under the Dam Safety Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP).
  • This two-day conference was inaugurated by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan while Arjun Ram Meghwal, Union Minister of State for of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation presided over the inaugural function.
  • International Dam Safety Conference – 2018 is being organised by Central Water Commission in association with Kerala Water Resources Department (KWRD), National Institute of Technology – Calicut, Kerala State Electricity Board and College of Engineering, Trivandrum.
  • Nearly 550 delegates from over 20 countries including leading dam safety specialists and seismic experts are participating in this conference.

2) India 5th Most Attractive Market For Investments

  • India has been adjudged as the 5th most attractive market for investments in a survey of CEOs conducted by consulting firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC).
  • Interestingly India ranked above Japan which received 8 per cent share.
  • PwC has stated that foreign direct investment (FDI) in India surged 17 per cent to over $25 billion during the first half of FY 2017-18. This surge can largely be attributed to opening up of several key sectors over the last few years.
  • However it outlined that private investment in India has remained muted due to excess capacity and high financial stress.

3) World Economic Forum Summit in Switzerland Concludes

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi returned home after concluding his visit to Davos, Switzerland. During the visit, the Prime Minister delivered a keynote address at the plenary session of the 48th annual meeting of World Economic Forum. He became the first Indian prime minister in two decades to join the world’s top business leaders in the Swiss resort town of Davos.
  • Mr Modi outlined climate change, terrorism and protectionism as three global threats. He also met his Canadian counterpart, Justin Trudeau. Both leaders discussed issues of mutual interest and reiterated their commitment to stand firm in combating terrorism. The Prime Minister also held a meeting with Queen Maxima of the Netherlands and discussed steps to deepen the bilateral relationship. At the end, Mr Modi interacted with top global CEOs at the International Business Council event.

4) Arunachal Pradesh CM inaugurates World War II Memorial Museum in Changlang

  • On January 21, 2018, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu inaugurated the World War II Memorial Museum in state’s Changlang district.
  • World War II Memorial Museum in Changlang has been built by the Union Culture Ministry at a cost of  Rs 2.25 crore.
  • It has been built in memory of those who laid down their lives in World War II.
  • Remnants of the war, personal belongings of the soldiers and other persons involved have been preserved at this museum. Traditional items from indigenous Tangsa community have also been displayed at the museum.

5) AYUSH Minister Lays Foundation Stone for Homeopathy Research Institute in Jaipur

  • The Minister of State (IC), for AYUSH, Shri Shripad Yesso Naik laid the foundation stone for Central Research Institute (CRI) in Jaipur, Rajasthan. This will be the third CRI under the aegis of Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy (CCRH).
  • In his address during the stone laying ceremony, Sh. Naik stated that Ministry of AYUSH is determined towards a focused infrastructural push to Homoeopathy and other systems of AYUSH.

6) Manipur CM N Biren Singh launches health assurance scheme for poor & disabled people

  • On January 21, 2018, Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh launched the Chief Minister-gi Hakshelgi Tengbang (CMHT), a health assurance scheme for the poor and disabled people.
  • Under this scheme, poor people of Manipur will be provided cashless treatment at government hospitals, health centres and other empanelled selected private hospitals.
  • All eligible families, identified from the Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC), will be provided Rs. lakh cover for treatment of seven critical identified critical ailments viz. cardiovascular diseases, neurological conditions, kidney ailments, liver ailments, neo-natal diseases, cancer and burns.

7) Shah Rukh Khan Honoured with Crystal Award at World Economic Forum

  • Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan was honoured with the 24th Crystal Award at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
  • According to the WEF, Shah Rukh Khan received Award for “his leadership in championing children’s and women’s rights in India”. Shahrukh received the award alongside Elton John and Hollywood actress Cate Blanchett.

8) FICCI Appoints Dilip Chenoy as Director General

  • Industry Chamber Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) has appointed Dilip Chenoy as its Director General.
  • Prior to this, he was Chairman of Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology and Member, Board of Advisors, IILM. He was awarded the Game Changer Award in 2015 and the Rashtriya Media Ratan Award in 2013.

9) Andhra Pradesh-Zurich Sign Sister State Agreement

  • The Andhra Pradesh Government and the Canton of Zurich signed a letter of intent, to promote mutual prosperity and development. The agreement was signed in the presence of Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh N Chandrababu Naidu and Government Counselor Minister Carmen Walker Spah for sister state relation.
  • This will bring the State of Andhra Pradesh and Canton of Zurich closer and ensure that a framework is created, which supports the exchange between both the parties.

10) 10th Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) held in Berlin

  • On 18th to 20th January 2018, the 10th Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) was held in Berlin, Germany.
  • he theme of the 10th Global Forum for Food and Agriculture was “Shaping the Future of Livestock – sustainably, responsibly, efficiently”.
  • The GFFA focuses on issues related to the future of global agri-food industry. It had participation from 69 agricultural ministers and heads of 6 international organisations such as FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), WTO (World Trade Organization) and World Organisation for Animal Health.

11) India to become fastest growing large economy in 2018

  • According to Sanctum Wealth Management report, India will overtake China to be the fastest growing large economy in 2018.
  • Rationale cited by Sanctum Wealth Management for this forecast is that “India is a reforming economy with the prospects of strong long-term growth”.
  • In the current global scenario where developed economies are posting 2-3% growth, Indian economy is on the track to cross the 7.5% growth mark.

12) India, 5th Most Attractive Market for Investments: PwC Survey

  • India has emerged as the fifth most attractive market for investments and the optimism over global economic growth is at a record level, as per the survey of CEOs by global consultancy PwC.
  • The US remains the top spot for global investment. Around 46% of global CEOs consider the US as one of the three most important countries for growth, followed by China (33%) and Germany (20%) at second and third places, respectively. India (9%) bumps Japan (8%) as the fifth most attractive market in 2018.

13) West Indies to Host 2018 Women’s World T20

  • The International Cricket Council (ICC) has announced, the 2018 edition of the Women’s World T20 will be hosted by West Indies in November 2018. Hosts Windies will defend the title they won over Australia in Kolkata in 2016.
  • The three venues were selected by Cricket West Indies through a bidding process and have been ratified by the ICC. The November event in the Caribbean will be the first stand-alone ICC Women’s World Twenty20 after the past five events were played alongside the men’s event.

14) Hugh Masekela, ‘Father of South African Jazz’ Passes Away

  • Trumpeter, composer and singer Hugh Masekela, affectionately known as the ‘father of South African jazz’, has died after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was 78.
  • In a career spanning more than five decades, Masekela gained international recognition with his distinctive Afro-Jazz sound. He opened the 2010 FIFA World Cup Kick-Off Concert and performed at the event’s opening ceremony in Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium.

Daily Current Affairs January 22 2018

1) India to Grow at 7.4% in 2018: IMF

  • According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), India is projected to grow at 7.4% in 2018 as against China’s 6.8%, making it the fastest growing country among the emerging economies. Due to demonetisation and implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), India’s economy slowed down a little bit to 6.7% in 2016.
  • In 2017, India’s growth rate dropped to 6.7%. In its latest World Economic Outlook update released in Davos, Switzerland on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, the IMF has projected a 7.8% growth rate for India in 2019.

2) India’s 1st Garbage Festival Organised in Chhattisgarh

  • The Raipur Municipal Corporation in Chhattisgarh organised the three-day ‘Kachra Mahotsav 2018′. It is India’s first Garbage Festival.
  • The festival aimed to increase awareness, use the waste generated in the city creatively, and to showcase multiple techniques for reusing things that are labelled as garbage.

3) 2018 to be observed as National Year of Millets

  • Govt has approved the observation of 2018 as National Year of Millets to boost production of the nutrient-rich millets and the sunrise agri industry involved in it. In Nov 2017, India had proposed United Nations (UN) for declaring year 2018 as ‘International Year of Millets’.
  • It will help in promotion of production and consumption of millets will substantially contribute in fight against targeted hunger and mitigate effect of climate change in long run.
  • Millets are smart food and good for consumers, farmers and planet multiple and has untapped uses such as food, feed, biofuels and brewing.

4) Government launches Protocol for Star Rating of Garbage-Free Cities.

  • The Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has launched the ‘Protocol for Star Rating of Garbage-Free Cities’ in Goa. It has been developed under Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban for rating cities on 7-star rating system based on multiple cleanliness indicators for solid waste management.
  • Cities will be rated as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 star based on their compliance with protocol conditions specified for each of rating. City will be given rating of 3 star or above only after it is declared ODF (Open Defecation Free).

5) India Ranks 62nd on WEF’s Inclusive Development Index

  • India was ranked at the 62nd place among emerging economies on an Inclusive Development Index of World Economic Forum (WEF). In the report, China is on 26th position and Pakistan is on 47th.
  • Norway remains the world’s most inclusive advanced economy, while Lithuania again tops the list of emerging economies, according to the report. India was ranked 60th among 79 developing economies in 2017. Among advanced economies, Norway is followed by Ireland, Luxembourg, and Switzerland in top three.

6) Malta’s Valletta Becomes Europe’s Capital of Culture

  • Valletta, the capital of Malta, was officially named European Capital of Culture 2018. Valletta will share the title with Leeuwarden, a city in the Netherlands.
  • Notably, the ‘European Capitals of Culture’ initiative aims to highlight the diversity of European culture and to increase the citizens’ sense of belonging to a common cultural area.

7) ONGC to acquire Government’s entire 51.11% stake in HPCL

  • The Union Government and state-run oil explorer ONGC clinched deal for acquisition of government’s 51.11% stake in Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) for a consideration of Rs. 36,915 crore. The deal will be closed by end of January 2018. Earlier empowered panel headed by finance minister Arun Jaitley had approved price bid for acquisition. The all-cash deal will help government boost its non-debt capital receipts and meet disinvestment target (Rs 72,500 crore)
  • Through this acquisition, ONGC is gaining midstream and downstream presence and access to marketing network. This acquisition will make ONGC India’s first vertically integrated oil major, having presence across value chain in sector.

8) Sudeep Lakhtakia Appointed New DG of National Security Guard

  • Senior IPS officer Sudeep Lakhtakia has been appointed as the new Director General (DG) of the ‘black cats’ commando force NSG. 
  • The officer is currently serving as a Special DG in the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) headquarters New Delhi.  He will take over from incumbent S P Singh who will retire from the post of NSG DG on January 31.

9) MeitY launches Cyber Surakshit Bharat initiative

  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) launched Cyber Surakshit Bharat initiative to strengthen cybersecurity ecosystem in India in line Govt’s vision for a ‘Digital India’.
  • It was launched in association with National e-Governance Division (NeGD) and industry partners.  The first public-private partnership of its kind will leverage the expertise of the IT industry in cybersecurity.
  • It will be operated on three principles of awareness, education and enablement.
  • It aims to spread awareness about cybercrime and building capacity for safety measures for Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) and frontline IT staff across all government departments.

Daily Current Affairs January 19, 20 and 21 2018

1) Government Names Nine New Smart Cities Under Smart Cities Mission

  • On January 19, 2018, Central Government announced names of nine new cities selected under the Smart Cities Mission. Announcement in this regard was made by Minister of State, Housing & Urban Affairs, Hardeep S Puri.
  • The nine cities that have been selected have proposed an investment of Rs. 12824 crore.
  • Minister of State, Housing & Urban Affairs, Hardeep S Puri has stated that with the selection of nine new cities, total investment proposed under Smart Cities Mission has reached Rs.203979 crore. 
  • List of Nine Cities Selected for Smart Cities Mission:
    Serial Number City Name State/Union Territory
    1 Silvassa Dadra and Nagar Haveli
    2 Erode Tamil Nadu
    3 Diu Daman & Diu
    4 Bihar Sharif Bihar
    5 Bareilly Uttar Pradesh
    6 Itanagar Arunachal Pradesh
    7 Moradabad Uttar Pradesh
    8 Saharanpur Uttar Pradesh
    9 Kavaratti Lakshadweep

2) Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Visit To India – Overview

  • Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was on a six-day official visit to India starting from January 14, 2018.
  • Netanyahu was accompanied by a 130-member Israeli delegation comprising company representatives from various sectors including agriculture, information technology and defence.
  • It is to be noted that Mr. Netanyahu is the second Israeli Prime Minister after Ariel Sharon to visit India in the last 25 years of India-Israel diplomatic relationship.
  • On January 14, 2018, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu attended a ceremony to rename Teen Murti Chowk in Central Delhi as Teen Murti Haifa Chowk.
  • Israel will invest $68.6 million to boost cooperation with India in areas like technology, tourism, agriculture and innovation over a period of four years.
  • On January 15, 2018, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu announced joint research and development projects under the India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (I4F).
  • Quick Facts about Israel:
    ♦ Capital – Jerusalem
    ♦ Currency – Israeli new shekel
    ♦ Current Prime Minister – Benjamin Netanyahu
    ♦ Important Rivers – Yarkon, Kishon

3) Kerala to set up Blockchain Academy

  • Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management-Kerala (IIITM-K) and Blockchain Education Network (BEN) have planned to jointly set up Kerala Blockchain Academy at Technopark campus, in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
  • This Blockchain academy is said to be the first of its kind in India. Michael Gord, founder and CEO of MLG Blockchain Consulting, launched the website for the Blockchain academy.
  • Michael Gord is on the Advisory Board of BEN. The Blockchain academy aims to utilise blockchain technology for the welfare of public, promote innovations and entrepreneurship with blockchain technology.

4) Government Announces Commencement Of Liveability Index Programme In 116 Cities

  • On January 19, 2018, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep S Puri, announced commencement of the Liveability Index Programme in 116 Indian cities.
  • Goal of assessing the cities on liveability standards and thereafter compiling the index rankings is to make Indian cities more ‘Liveable’. This programme would be funded by the World Bank.
  • This index will be compiled by assessing liveability standards of 116 Indian cities. The list includes the identified Smart Cities and few more cities with a population of over 1 million.
  • Delhi’s three municipal corporations, Kochi (Kerala), Bangalore (Karnataka), Ghaziabad, Meerut, Varanasi, Allahabad and Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) and Faridabad in Haryana are some of the cities that will be assessed under Liveability Index Programme.
  • All 116 selected cities, together account for a total population of 13.4 crore people.

5) Sushma Swaraj Inaugurates Puducherry’s 1st POPSK at Karaikal

  • The first Post Office Passport Seva Kendra (POPSK) of Puducherry was inaugurated by Smt. Sushma Swaraj, Minister for External Affairs at Karaikal.
  • The POPSK at Karaikal is the 60th POPSK to have become functional since the launch of the scheme in January 2017. It is the first POPSK to become operational in the UT of Puducherry.

6) PM Modi Leaves for Davos to Attend World Economic Forum

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi left for Davos, Switzerland to attend the 48th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. He will lead the largest-ever Indian delegation comprising Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu among others.
  • The theme of the WEF Annual Meeting this year is ‘Creating a shared future in a fractured world’. As many as six union ministers, two chief ministers, over 100 CEOs and several other high-profile attendees from India will be are a part of the India contingent at WEF. WEF 2018 will also see the largest ever proportion of women leaders including all co-chairs being women this time.

7) MEITY launches Cyber Surakshit Bharat Yojna to strengthen cyber security

  • On January 19, 2018, Minister of State for Electronics & Information Technology. KJ Alphons launched Cyber Surakshit Bharat initiative.
  • Objective of this initiative is to spread awareness about cybercrime and to train and prepare Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) and frontline IT staff of all government departments to effectively deal and neutralise cyber threats.
  • This initiative has been launched in association with National e-Governance Division (NeGD) and leading companies of Information Technology Industry.
  • Microsoft, Intel, Redhat, Wipro and Dimension Data are the founding partners while Organisations such as Cert-In, NIC, CISCO, NASSCOM and the FIDO Alliance, and consultancy firms Deloitte and EY are knowledge partners for this initiative.

8) Rajnath Singh launches Bharat Ke Veer anthem, short film on India’s bravehearts

  • On January 20, 2018, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh launched ‘Bharat Ke Veer’ graphic novel series on Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) martyrs, ‘Bharat Ke Veer’ anthem and a short film on India’s bravehearts.
  • At the launch event, Mr. Singh stated that no amount of monetary compensations can be enough for those who lay their lives in the line of duty.
  • Earlier, Mr. Singh had stated that Central Government was making all efforts to ensure that the kin of martyred troops are provided a compensation of not less than Rs one crore.
  • As per the current norms, family of a slain soldier of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) gets about Rs.50-60 lakh compensation. It is to be noted that in April 2017,  Mr. Singh had launched

9) Om Prakash Rawat Appointed New Chief Election Commissioner

  • Election Commissioner Om Prakash Rawat was appointed as the next chief election commissioner (CEC) of India. Mr Rawat is the 22nd CEC of India. He succeeded Achal Kumar Joti.
  • The government also appointed former finance secretary Ashok Lawasa as an Election Commissioner. Mr Rawat will take over the office from 23rd January 2018 onwards. Sunil Arora is the other Election Commissioner.

10) India joins Australia Group, Boost for NSG membership

  • On January 19, 2018 India formally became the 43rd member of the Australia Group (AG).
  • Australia Group is a cooperative and voluntary group comprising countries that are working to prevent the spread of materials, equipment and technologies that could be used to develop or acquire chemical and biological weapons (CBW).
  • As Australia had initiated to establish such group, the group has been named as ‘Australia Group’.
  • It was established in year 1985. Secretariat of Australia Group is managed by Australia.

11) International Solar Alliance Forum Held At WFES In Abu Dhabi

  • International Solar Alliance (ISA) hosted a two-day event, ‘International Solar Alliance Forum’ during 17-18th January, 2018 at the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) 2018 in Abu Dhabi, UAE. WFES is an annual event, dedicated to advancing future energy, clean technologies and energy efficiency. It is held under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.
  • On January 17, 2018, a Ministerial plenary of ISA Energy Ministers was held, which was attended by seven Energy Ministers of ISA Member countries.
  • During the plenary session, the ministers presented their views on benefits of international collaboration to scale up solar energy for universal energy access and investing in Innovations, Technology and Research & Development for solar projects.
  • At this forum, India was represented by Raj Kumar Singh, Minister of State (IC) for Power and New & Renewable Energy.

12) Microsoft Tops Thomson Reuters Top 100 Global Tech Leaders List

  • On January 16, 2018, Thomson Reuters Corp published its debut “Top 100 Global Technology Leaders” list.
  • This list identifies tech industry’s top financially successful and organizationally sound organizations.
  • The rankings are based on a 28-factor algorithm that measures performance across eight benchmarks.
  • Eight Benchmarks are – financial performance, management and investor confidence, legal compliance, risk and resilience, innovation, environmental impact, people and social responsibility and reputation.
  • The assessment also takes into consideration patent activity for technological innovation and sentiment in news and selected social media as a measure of a company’s public reputation.

13) Maitre-2 bus services to connect India and Bangladesh

  • Maitre-2, a second passenger bus to Kolkata via Dhaka was flagged off from Agartala, Tripura on January 19, 2018.
  • The bus was flagged off by Tripura MLA Ratan Das  and Tripura Road Transport Corporation Chairman Rajendra Reang.
  • This bus service is expected to strengthen trans-border relationship between India and Bangladesh and enhance people-to-people connectivity.

14) Mauritius largest FDI source in 2016-17: RBI

  • According to Census on Foreign Liabilities and Assets of Indian Direct Investment Companies 2016-17, released by Reserve Bank of India (RBI)on January 19, 2018, Mauritius was the largest source of foreign investment (FDI) in India during 2016-17.
  • This census provides comprehensive information on the market value of foreign liabilities (on account of FDI) and assets (on account of overseas direct investment, ODI  and other investments) of Indian companies. Indian companies’ investment in a foreign entity by way of contribution to the capital or subscription to the Memorandum of Association is referred to as ODI.

15) Lakhtakia Appointed as New DG Of National Security Guard

  • On Jan 19 2017 , Senior IPS officer Sudeep Lakhtakia has been appointed the new Director General (DG) of the ‘black cats’ commando force National Security Guard (NSG)He replacesSudhir Pratap Singh. 
  • Lakhtakia is a 1984-batch IPS officer of Telangana cadre.The officer was serving as a Special DG in the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) headquarters.

16) WhatsApp launches ‘Business’ app for SMEs (Small and medium-sized enterprises)

  • WhatsApp has launched Business app to help small enterprises to connect efficiently with their customers.
  • he WhatsApp Business app has been launched for Android systems. It has been released in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the UK and the US.
  • It is expected to release soon in India. Currently the WhatsApp Business app is free of cost. A small enterprise owner can create a Business Profile containing details like business description, email or store addresses, and website with the app. This will be highlighted to regular users on WhatsApp.

17) 63rd Filmfare Awards 2018: Complete List Of Winners

  • On 20th January 2018, the 63rd Jio Filmfare Awards 2018, was held at the NSCI Dome in Worli, Mumbai.
  • The 63rd Jio Filmfare Awards was hosted by Bollywood’s top actor Shah Rukh Khan. Film maker Karan Johar co-presented the event.Awards and recipients of the 63rd Jio Filmfare Awards are listed below:
    Award Awardee
    Best Film Hindi Medium
    Critics’ Award for Best Film Newton
    Best Actor In A Leading Role (Female) Vidya Balan for ‘Tumhari Sulu’
    Best Actor In A Leading Role (Male) Irrfan Khan for ‘Hindi Medium’
    Critics’ Award for Best Actor (Male) Rajkummar Rao for ‘Trapped’
    Critics’ Award for Best Actor (Female) Zaira Wasim for ‘Secret Superstar’
    Best Director Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari for ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’
    Best Debut Director Konkona Sensharma for ‘A Death in the Gunj’
    Best Actor In A Supporting Role (Male) Rajkummar Rao for ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’
    Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Female) Meher Vij for ‘Secret Superstar’
    Best Dialogue Hitesh Kewalya for ‘Shubh Mangal Saavdhan’
    Best Screenplay Shubhashish Bhutiani for ‘Mukti Bhavan’
    Best Original Story Amit Masurkar for ‘Newton’
    Best Actor (Male) in a Short Film Jackie Shroff for ‘Khujli’
    Best Actor (Female) in a Short Film Shefali Shah for ‘Juice’
    People’s Choice Award for Best Short Film ‘Anahut’
    Best Short Film (Fiction) ‘Juice’
    Best Short Film (Non Fiction) ‘Invisible Wings’
    Best Music Album Pritam for ‘Jagga Jasoos’
    Best Playback Singer (Male) Arijit Singh for ‘Roke na ruke naina’ – ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’
    Best Playback Singer (Female) Meghna Mishra for ‘Nachdi phira’ – ‘Secret Superstar’
    Best Lyrics Amitabh Bhattacharya for ‘Ullu ka pattha’ – ‘Jagga Jasoos’
    Lifetime Achievement Award Mala Sinha and Bappi Lahiri
    Best Choreography Vijay Ganguly and Ruel Dausan Varindani for ‘Galti se mistake’ – ‘Jagga Jasoos’
    Best Background Score Pritam for ‘Jagga Jasoos’
    Best Action Tom Struthers for ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’
    Best Cinematography Sirsha Ray for ‘A Death In The Gunj’
    Best Editing Nitin Baid for ‘Trapped’
    Best Production Design Parul Sondh for ‘Daddy’
    Best Sound Design Anish John for ‘Trapped’
    Best Costume Rohit Chaturvedi for ‘A Death In The Gunj’

 

18) Iconic cartoonist Chandi Lahiri passes away

  • On 18th January 2018, Cartoonist Chandi Lahiri passed away following respiratory ailments, at R G Kar Hospital, in Kolkata.
  • Chandi Lahiri was 86 years old. He is survived by his wife and a daughter. He started his a career as a journalist.
  • His cartoons were published in several English and Bengali newspapers and magazines. He was also called the creator of ‘pocket cartoons’ in Bengal.

19) President launches ‘The Heartfulness Way’ – book on self development in Delhi

  • On Jan 19 2017,President Ram Nath Kovind launched a book on heartfulness techniques and principles titled ‘The Heartfulness Way’. 
  • The author of the book is Kamlesh Patel, widely known as Daaji, the fourth Global Guide of Heartfulness, and Joshua Pollock, a heartfulness trainer and practitioner.
  • This book guaranteed to be a treat for those who are curious about what is heartfulness and how it can change our day-to-day lives. It was launched by Commerce and Industries Minister Suresh Prabhu.

Daily Current Affairs January 16 2018

1) PM Modi Inaugurates Project Commencement of Rajasthan’s first Oil Refinery in Barmer

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the project commencement of the Rajasthan Refinery at Pachpadra in Barmer district. This is the first oil refinery in the state. The 43,000 crore rupee project is a joint venture between HPCL and the Rajasthan government. 
  • The refinery is expected to be operational in 4 years and the state will have an additional income of 34,000 crore rupees from it. The project is expected to generate thousands of direct and indirect jobs.

2) 65th meeting of Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) held in New Delhi

  • 65th meeting of Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) was held in New Delhi on January 15, 2018. CABE is the highest advisory body to advise the Central and State Governments in the field of education.
  • While speaking at the meeting, Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Prakash Javadekar stated that Centre and state governments have resolved to identify the number of children out of school in the country. Scheme to identify ‘out of school children’ will start from September, 2018.
  • However, sub-committee on out of school children, which will submit its final report on January 31, 2018, has recommended the need to have a standardised definition of out of school children.

3) Indian Oil signs LoI with 2 Israeli Firms

  • Indian Oil Corporation has signed Letters of Intent (LoI) with Phinergy, an Israeli start-up company, and YEDA, a technology spin-off company from Weizmann Research Institute, Israel.
  • The agreement with Phinergy will allow Indian Oil to work on adoption of advanced energy systems for the Indian market both for mobility and stationary industrial applications. This association could lead to the setting up of manufacturing units for these energy systems initially in India.

4) Bar Council of India forms 7-member delegation to mediate between Supreme Court judges

  • Bar Council of India (BCI) has announced that it has formed a seven-member delegation that will meet honourable judges of the Supreme Court and will try to bridge their differences with the incumbent Chief Justice of India (CJI), Dipak Misra.
  • On January 12, 2018, the four senior most judges of Supreme Court – Justices Chelameswar, Madan B Lokur, Ranjan Gogoi and Kurian Josephhad called a press conference and alleged that CJI Dipak Misra has been arbitrarily assigning important cases to benches headed by junior SC judges, ignoring senior ones.
  • It was stated that they were forced to hold the press conference as a letter they had sent to the CJI two months ago pointing out mistakes had gone unanswered.

5) DIPP arm Launches Competition for College Students

  • Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM), under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), has launched a competition for college and university students to foster a culture of innovation and creativity in theyouth. 
  • The competition – IPrism – invites students to submit films on piracy and counterfeiting under two categories of 30 and 60 seconds. Another category in the competition is for a mobile gaming app on intellectual property (IP). Cash prizes of Rs 4 lakh will be given to the winning teams along with mementos and certificates.

6) BBIN pact: India, Bangladesh, Nepal okay vehicle movement procedure

  • On January 15, 2018, Bangladesh, India and Nepal agreed upon operating procedures for trans-border movement of passenger vehicles under Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) motor vehicles agreement.
  • BBIN motor vehicles agreement (MVA), aimed to facilitate seamless flow of passenger and cargo traffic in the sub-region was signed by the transport ministers of the BBIN countries in Thimphu, Bhutan on 15 June 2015.However Bhutan did not ratify the same.
  • Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has stated that Bangladesh, India and Nepal have agreed on the text of the operating procedures for passenger vehicle movement under the BBIN MVA and will soon complete the internal approval processes for signing of the passenger protocol.

7) India, Israel ink Nine Pacts on Cyber Security, Other Sectors

  • India and Israel signed nine documents to further the cooperation. These include cooperation in Cybersecurity, cooperation in the field of Petroleum and natural gas, document for the amendment to the air transport agreement, cooperation in film co-production, cooperation in the homoeopathy medicines, co-operation in the field of space science, boosting investment, cooperation in metal-air batteries and cooperation in solar thermal technology.
  • The documents were signed in the presence of the two prime ministers. The two leaders also addressed a joint press conference.

8) India attends its first SCO military cooperation meeting in Beijing

  • On 15th and 16th January 2018, India attended a meeting of the international military cooperation departments of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) for the first time, in Beijing, China.
  • India joined Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in 2017. The Indian delegation was led by Major General Ajay Seth.
  • Main issues discussed were related to practical cooperation among SCO countries. India and China consider SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) as an important platform to enhance bilateral ties.

9) Exports rise more than 12% Riding on Engineering Goods and Petroleum Products

  • The Country’s exports grew by 12 point 36 percent in December 2017 to 27 point 03 billion US dollars on account of strong performance by sectors like engineering goods and petroleum products.
  • According to data released by Ministry of Commerce and Industry, exports have been on a positive trajectory since August 2016 to December 2017 with a dip of 1.1 percent in the month of October last year. Exports of engineering goods as well as petroleum products showed an increase of over 25 percent in December.

10) AB Singh takes over as Chief of Staff Western Naval Command

  • On 15th January 2018, Vice Admiral Ajendra Bahadur Singh, AVSM, VSM took charge as Chief of Staff, Western Naval Command.
  • Vice Admiral Ajendra Bahadur Singh replaces Vice Admiral Ravneet Singh as Chief of Staff, Western Naval Command.
  • Earlier, Vice Admiral AB Singh was the Deputy Commander-in-Chief, Strategic Forces Command.
  • He is a specialist in Navigation and Aircraft Direction. He has commanded IN Ships Veer (Missile Vessel), Vindhyagiri (Frigate), Trishul (Guided Missile Frigate) and Viraat (Aircraft Carrier).

11) Khelo India anthem launched by sports minister Rajyavardhan Rathore

  • Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore made the announcement during the launch of the official anthem and mascot of Khelo India School Games, beginning January 31.  “Now when an athlete wins a medal at Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and Olympics, the coach gets incentive.
  • The video features India’s eminent sports personalities such as Sardar Singh, Sunil Chhetri, Devendra Jhajharia, Baichung Bhutia, Pullela Gopichand, Leander Paes, Mary Kom, Akhil Kumar, Sakshi Malik and Saina Nehwal.

Daily Current Affairs January 15 2018

1) Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu in India

  • India and Israel have agreed to enhance co-operation in the areas of agriculture, science and technology and security.
  • Benjamin Netanyahu, who is the second Israeli PM to visit India after Ariel Sharon, was accorded a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhawan. The first one took place when PM Narendra Modi visited Israel in July 2017, becoming the first Indian leader to visit the Jewish state

2) India contributes USD 50,000 to UN Youth Envoy’s Office

  • India has contributed USD 50,000 to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’s Office of Envoy on Youth to help with its mission of involving young people in the world body’s goals.
  • The contribution is voluntary with no strings attached and is in addition to the regular payments India makes to the UN’s general and peacekeeping budgets.

3)  Chhattisgarh HC Makes Aadhaar Mandatory for Bail

  • Chhattisgarh High Court has issued a directive to all trial courts in the state to mandatorily obtain Aadhaar Cards of accused persons and sureties before issuing release warrant of a prisoner/accused.
  • The order is an attempt to curb the rampant practice of obtaining bail on the basis of forged revenue papers or by impersonating the real surety.
  • Chhattisgarh High Court has also instructed that trial courts should verify the genuineness of Aadhaar card and revenue papers. In case if these documents are found to be forged, a First  Information Report (FIR) should be lodged against such person.
  • However, some legal experts are of the opinion that this directive may hamper the rights of the prisoners/common people who have yet not enrolled for Aadhar card.

4)  Ministry of Petroleum launches Saksham 2018 Campaign

  • Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) has launched a month-long ‘Saksham-2018’ campaign. PCRA (established in 1978, under the aegis of Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas) is engaged in promoting energy efficiency in various sectors of Indian economy.
  • Saksham (Sanrakshan Kshamta Mahotsav) is an annual flagship event of PCRA aimed at creating focused attention on fuel conservation through people centric activities. Activities undertaken under Saksham also create awareness among masses about conservation and efficient use of petroleum products, which consequentially leads to better health and environment.
  • People centric activities under Saksham 2018 would include Training Programs for Drivers,Fleet Operators, Group Talk with Ladies, Cooks, Maids on fuel saving & benefits of LPG/PNG over biomass, Fuel Efficient Driving Competitions, Educational Programs for Schools/Colleges/Universities, Awareness Programs for Farmers, Walkathons, Concerts, Exhibitions, etc.

5)  Indian peacekeepers rebuild Akoka bridge in record time in South Sudan

  • Indian peacekeepers in UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) have re-built a key bridge in record time in strife-torn South Sudan’s Akoka village.
  • In June 2017, heavy rains washed away a 300-metre-long road segment across a river in Akoka village.
  • Indian Peacekeepers rebuilt it in record 10 days in collaboration with the local government.

6) Johnson & Johnson Partners with Maharashtra Govt. on Health Interventions

  • Maharashtra’s mine workers who face an increased risk of tuberculosis will be part of awareness programmes on the illness, as part of a partnership that the Maharashtra Government recently formalized with Johnson & Johnson. Other interventions under the ambit of the agreement include hospital acquired infections and maternal and infant mortality.
  • The collaboration would also look at infection prevention, diabetes, obesity and menstrual hygiene and support healthcare professionals and nurses in the State to develop skills in these areas

 7)  Actor Sudhir Dalvi gets Janakavi P Sawlaram award

  • On 12th January 2018, actor Sudhir Dalvi was presented the Janakavi P Sawlaram award at a function in Thane, Maharashtra.
  • Sudhir Dalvi was handed over the Janakavi P Sawlaram award along with a citation by Meenakshi Shinde, Thane Mayor.
  • The Janakavi P Sawlaram award is instituted by Thane Municipal Corporation in association with the Janakavi P Savlaram Kala Samiti.

8)  NASA discovers farthest known galaxy in the universe “SPT0615-JD”

  • NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) scientists have discovered “SPT0615-JD”, the farthest known galaxy in the universe
  •  “SPT0615-JD” galaxy is a cluster of 500 million year-old stars. The image of SPT0615-JD was captured by NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes.
  • The images were captured through gravitational lensing. SPT0615-JD was found in Hubble’s Reionization Lensing Cluster Survey (RELICS) and companion S-RELICS Spitzer programme.

9)  Assam wins 8th Sub-junior National Hockey Championship

  • On 14th January 2018, Assam Hockey won the 8th Hockey India Sub Junior Men National Championship 2018 (B Division), at Hojai Hockey stadium, in Assam.
  • Assam Hockey beat Hockey Rajasthan 3-2 in the final and won the 8th Hockey India Sub Junior Men National Championship 2018 (B Division).

10)  Veteran journalist and writer Gnani Sankaran passes away

  • On 15th January 2018, Gnani Sankaran, Tamil writer and journalist passed away at his residence in Chennai.
  • Gnani Sankaran was 64 years old. He had been suffering from kidney ailment for a long time.
  • He was also a dramatist and political analyst. He was the editor of Dheemtharikida, a Tamil magazine. He also worked with the drama troupe Pariksha.

11) Veteran Actress Charu Rohatgi Passes Away

  • TV actress Charu Rohatgi, known for her roles in serials like ‘Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon?‘ and ‘Uttaran’, passed away.
  • She reportedly passed away after a cardiac arrest. While Charu had played Parineeti Chopra’s mother in the film ‘Ishaqzaade’, she had also starred in films like ‘1920: London’.

12) 15th January 2018: 70th Army Day

  • The 70th Army Day is being celebrated today (15th January 2018). The day is celebrated to pay homage and salute to the courageous and brave Indian soldiers who have been sacrificing their lives for protecting the country.
  • Every year on this day, the ‘Army Day’ is celebrated to commemorate the day when General (later Field Marshal) K.M Carriappa took over the command of Army from General Sir F.R.R Bucher, the last British Commander-in-Chief in 1949 and became the first Commander-in-Chief of Indian Army post Independence.

 

Daily Current Affairs January 13 and 14 2018

1) Finance Minister Unveils India’s First Agri-Options By NCDEX 

  • On January 14, 2018, Union Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister, Arun Jaitley launched India’s First Agri-commodity Options in Guar Seed on National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange Limited (NCDEX) platform.
  • The launching ceremony was held in New Delhi in presence of farmers & Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) from various States of India.
  • Options contract offers the buyer the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell a stock/commodity/asset at an agreed-upon price (referred to as strike price) during a certain period of time up to a specific date.
  • Guar seed options, which have been uniquely designed by NCDEX and approved by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), will prove to be a useful tool for farmers in hedging the price fluctuation risk.
  • In June 2017, SEBI had granted approval to commodity exchanges to launch options trading. However, one of the important conditions was that, the Options contract of only those commodities that are among the top five in terms of total trading turnover value of previous 12 months will be permitted.
  • NCDEX has played an important role in hedging/trading of agricultural commodities in India. As of December 2017, 59 FPOs across various States of India have participated on NCDEX, and more than 2.3 lakh farmers have already opened their trading account.
  • Quick Facts about NCDEX:
    • Founded in – 2003
    • Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
    • Current MD & CEO – Samir Shah

2) Delhi is the richest state, Bihar the poorest: NFHS-4

  • As per data collected through National Family and Health Survey (NFHS-4) conducted among more than 6 lakh households in 2015-16, Delhi is the richest state while Bihar is the poorest.
  • Information collected through NFHS-4 has been used to classify all households into wealth quintiles (five equal parts, each representing 20%).
  • Wealth in this context is represented by ownership of consumer goods such as television and bicycles, and household characteristics such as availability of clean drinking water.
  • Households that rank in the lowest quintile would be the poorest 20%, while those featuring in the top would be the richest 20% of the lot.

3) WEF Ranks India 30th On Global Manufacturing Index; Japan Tops List

  • India has ranked 30th on Global Manufacturing Index released by World Economic Forum (WEF). As per ‘Readiness for the future of production report’, related to Global Manufacturing Index, Japan has been found to have the best structure of production. 
  • t has categorised 100 countries into four groups viz. ‘Leading’, ‘High Potential’, ‘Legacy’ and ‘Nascent’
  • Countries in ‘Leading’ Group have strong current base and high level of readiness for future while countries in ‘High Potential’ group have limited current base and high potential for future.
  • Countries in ‘Legacy’ group have strong current base but are at risk for future. Countries in ‘Nascent’ group have limited current base and low level of readiness for future
  • India’s ranking on various sub-parameters related to manufacturing sector:
    Parameter Rank
    Scale of Production 9th
    Market Size 3rd
    Complexity 48th
    Female participation in labour force, trade tariffs, regulatory efficiency and sustainable resources. 90th or even lower

     

4) President of India Inaugurates Economic Democracy Conclave in Maharashtra

  • On January 14, 2018, President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated the ‘Economic Democracy Conclave’ at Thane, Maharashtra.
  • This conclave has been organised by Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini.
  • Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini is a charitable organisation working in the domain of training of social-political activist.
  • The objective of the conclave is to serve as a platform for young entrepreneurs and self-employed individuals and provide them motivation, mentoring and networking opportunities.

5) India Signs Pact with UK on Illegal Migrants

  • India has signed an MoU with the United Kingdom to enable the return of illegal Indian migrants within a month of their detection by authorities abroad.
  • Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju confirmed that the pact was signed by him and UK Minister of State for Immigration Caroline Nokes in Britain during his visit along with an Indian delegation.

6) Anil Khanna to Head IOA Finance Commission

  • Senior sports administrator Anil Khanna was named Chairman of the Finance Commission of the Indian Olympic Association, which also formed a four-member advisory committee. The advisory committee comprises Tarlochan Singh, GS Mander, S Regunathan and BS Landge.
  • The IOA also formed a Medical Commission and Games Technical Conduct Committee and nominated office bearers of IOA and National Sports Federations (NSFs) to the Committees.

7) India, Top Borrower from China-Sponsored AIIB in 2017

  • India has emerged as a top borrower from the China-sponsored Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) with USD 1.5 billion worth of loans last year and USD three billion more in the pipeline.
  • India’s Ambassador Gautam Bambawale met AIIB President Jin Liqun in Beijing and held in-depth talks on deepening India’s engagements with the bank. Next to India, Indonesia has emerged as the second largest borrower with about USD 600 million loans.

8) India INX lists IRFC’s green bonds, becomes first debt security at IFSC

  • On January 13, 2018, Bombay Stock Exchange’s (BSE’s) India International Exchange (India INX) listed Indian Railway Finance Corporation’s (IRFC’s) green bonds on its debt listing platform, Global Securities Market (GSM).
  • Green Bonds: Main difference between regular bond  and Green Bond is that funds raised through Green Bonds are used for financing projects/business activities that are environment-friendly. Examples – projects in the areas of renewable energy, sustainable water management and clean transportation.
  • IRFC’s green bonds have thus become the first debt security to be listed on an exchange at International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in Gujarat’s GIFT city. 

9) ‘IRON FIST’- US, Japan Joint Military Drill Begins

  • American and Japanese military forces have launched joint exercise named Iron Fist. The 13th annual Iron Fist exercises kicked off in the U.S. western state of California.
  • More than 500 U.S. Marines and sailors are partnering with about 350 members of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force to train in fire support operations and amphibious assaults.

10) 4th ASEAN-India Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture & Forestry Held in New Delhi

  • Agriculture ministers of ASEAN countries met for the fourth sitting in New Delhi. The topic of discussion was based on food and agricultural future developments.
  • On this occasion, Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh stated that India is committed towards the agenda set by United Nations and ASEAN countries have been working together for the prosperity of the agriculture sector as well.

11) Kagiso Rabada becomes world’s highest ranked Test bowler

  • Kagiso Rabada, South African fast bowler, has become the number-one ranked bowler in the MRF Tyres ICC Test Player Rankings.
  • Kagiso Rabada achieved this feat after helping his team win over India in the first Test at Newlands on 13th January 2018.
  • Kagiso Rabada is the 7th South Africa bowler to top the ICC Test Bowling Rankings. In the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen, Australian Steve Smith has secured the first position.

12) Sanjay Manjrekar launches autobiography, titled ‘Imperfect’

  • On 10th January 2018, Sanjay Manjrekar launched his autobiography named ‘Imperfect’, in Mumbai.
  • The book ‘Imperfect’ was released by Dilip Vengsarkar, Sanjay Manjrekar’s first international captain.
  • The book was published by Harper Collins. Sanjay Manjrekar has played 37 Test matches. His first test appearance was in the Delhi Test against the West Indies.

13) Indu Malhotra Becomes 1st Woman Lawyer Directly Appointed for SC Judgeship

  • The Supreme Court collegium has recommended the name of senior advocate Indu Malhotra as the first woman lawyer to be directly appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court of India.
  • She will be the seventh woman judge since independence to make it to the Supreme Court. At present, Justice R Banumathi is the lone woman judge in the apex court.

14) Nuclear Physicist and NIAS Director Baldev Raj Passes Away

  • Baldev Raj, the director of the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bengaluru, and a renowned administrator of nuclear power technologies in the country has passed away. He was 70 years old.
  • Mr Raj had assumed leadership of the NIAS in 2014. Before that, he was president of research at P.S.G. Institutions (2011-2014), Coimbatore, and director of the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (2004-2011).

Daily Current Affairs January 10 2018

1) Cabinet Approves Amendments in FDI Policy, Policies Further Liberalized

  • In the financial year 2016-17, total FDI of US $ 60.08 billion has been received, which is an all-time high. The Cabinet chaired by PM Narendra Modi has approved amendments in FDI Policy and further liberalized few of the policies of FDI.
  • Government approval no longer required for FDI in Single Brand Retail Trading (SBRT)
    Extant FDI policy on SBRT allows 49% FDI under automatic route, and FDI beyond 49% and up to 100% through Government approval route. It has now been decided to permit 100% FDI under automatic route for SBRT.
  • Civil Aviation
    As per the extant policy, foreign airlines are allowed to invest under Government approval route in the capital of Indian companies operating scheduled and non-scheduled air transport services, up to the limit of 49% of their paid-up capital. However, this provision was presently not applicable to Air India, thereby implying that foreign airlines could not invest in Air India. It has now been decided to do away with this restriction and allow foreign airlines to invest up to 49% under approval route in Air India.
  • Construction Development: Townships, Housing, Built-up Infrastructure and Real Estate Broking Services
    It has been decided to clarify that real-estate broking service does not amount to real estate business and is therefore, eligible for 100% FDI under automatic route.
  • Power Exchanges
    Extant policy provides for 49% FDI under automatic route in Power Exchanges registered under the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (Power Market) Regulations, 2010. It has now been decided to do away with this provision, thereby allowing FIIs/FPIs to invest in Power Exchanges through primary market as well.

2) Paytm Launches Investment Arm, to Invest $10 million

  • Paytm has set up a new entity called Paytm Money Ltd that will offer investment and wealth management products and will invest close to $10 million upfront in the new entity.
  • Paytm Money is the fourth product from One97’s stable after Paytm Mall, Paytm Payments Bank and Paytm wallet. It will be available as a separate mobile application to users.

3) India, Indonesia hold 1st security dialogue, vow to combat terrorism

  • On January 9, 2018, India and Indonesia held their first bilateral security dialogue in NewDelhiDuring the dialogue, India and Indonesia agreed on operational cooperation in security and counter-terrorism.
  • Indian side was led by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval  while Indonesian side was led by H Wiranto, Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs.
  • At the 5th Indonesia-India joint commission meeting in Jakarta, held in first week of January 2018 during Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s Indonesia visit, both countries had agreed to strengthen strategic partnerships across various key areas, including defence, security, maritime and economy.

4) Panel under B.R. Sharma to take a call on national anthem in cinema halls

  • Union Home Ministry has appointed a 12-member inter-ministerial committee to recommend changes in the existing law of playing of the national anthem in cinema halls and public places.
  • The committee is headed by B.R. Sharma, Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs.Other members of this committee include officers of the Joint Secretary rank representing Ministries of Home Affairs, Defence, Culture, External Affairs, Women and Child Development, Parliamentary Affairs, Human Resource Development, Law and Information and Broadcasting, Minority Affairs and the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.
  • First meeting of this committee will be held on January 19, 2018 and it will submit its final report within six months.

5) Dr Sivan K Appointed New ISRO Chairman

  • Noted rocket scientist Sivan K was appointed as the 9th chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). He has replaced A.S. Kiran Kumar.
  • The appointment has been made for the tenure of three years. Sivan was the Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Kerala. Sivan joined the ISRO in 1982 in Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) project.

6) Government restricts use of national flag made of plastic

  • On 9th January 2018, the central government insisted people not to use national flag made of plastic, ahead of Republic Day celebrations.
  • An advisory from the Union Home Ministry has said that, since plastic flags are not biodegradable like paper flags, they do not decompose for a long time.
  • Keeping in mind the proper disposal of national flag made of plastic, without affecting its dignity, the advisory has restricted the usage of plastic flags.
  • The advisory has stated that on important national, cultural and sports events, only flags made of paper are to be used by public as per the Flag Code of India, 2002.
  • These paper flags should not be discarded or thrown on the ground after the event. They should be disposed of, in private, without affecting the dignity of the flag.

7) World Bank projects 7.3 per cent growth for India in 2018

  • According to the 2018 Global Economics Prospect released by the World Bank on January 9, 2018, Indian economy is projected to grow at 7.3% in 2018 and 7.5% in next two years.
  • In 2017, India economy is estimated to have grown at 6.7 per cent despite lingering effects of demonetisation and teething problems related to implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Chinese economy grew at 6.8 per cent in 2017. For 2018, its growth rate is projected at 6.4 per cent.
  • The report outlined that in the next decade, India will register higher growth rate as compared to other major emerging market economies.

8) North and South Korea agree to hold military talks

  • North Korea has agreed to conduct talks with South Korea to reduce military tensions, to send a delegation to the upcoming Winter Olympics 2018 in  Pyeongchang, South Korea.
  • This outcome has come after officials from North and South Korea met for the first time in more than 2 years in Panmunjom, North Korea.
  • North Korea has decided to send a high-level delegation consisting of athletes, cheering squad, art troupe, visitors’ group, a Taekwondo demonstration team and press personnel for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

9) Jeff Bezos surpasses Bill Gates’ net worth, becomes richest person ever

  • On 8th January 2018, Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, made a new record in terms of amount of wealth owned by a single person, with net worth of $105.1 Billion, as per Bloomberg’s Billionaire Tracker.
  • Jeff Bezos has become the richest person of all time.  Earlier, this position was held by Bill Gates, Microsoft founder.
  • Jeff Bezos had been declared as the world’s richest person twice earlier also. Jeff Bezos also owns the Washington Post and Blue Origin, apart from Amazon.
  • Bill Gates’ current net worth is $91.9 billion according to Forbes and $93.3 billion as per Bloomberg. And he has secured second position in both of these lists.

10) India’s 1st All-Women Railway Station in Mumbai Enters Limca Records

  • The Matunga suburban station on the Central Railway (CR) has found its way into the Limca Book of Records for having an all-woman staff.
  • The achievement comes six months after Matunga became the first railway station in the country to be run by an all-woman staff. The station is being manned exclusively by women staffers since July 2017, a first on the Indian Railways.

11) Indian-origin businessman Sunny Verghese appointed as WBCSD Chairman

  • Sunny Verghese, Singapore-based Indian-origin businessman, has been appointed as the Chairman of World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).
  • Sunny Verghese is 57 years old. He is the Co-Founder and the CEO of Olam International Limited. Tenure of Sunny Verghese as chairman of WBCSD is 2 years.
  • He has become the first World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Chairman from the agri-sector. He has replaced Paul Polman.

12) Harjinder Singh appointed as Chef De Mission for Winter Olympics Games 2018

  • On 10th January 2018, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) appointed Harjinder Singh as the Chef De Mission for the 23rd Winter Olympic Games to be held in Pyeongchang, in February 2018.
  • Harjinder Singh is at present the General Secretary in the Ice Hockey Association of India.
  • IOA President Narinder Dhruv Batra announced the appointment of Harjinder Singh as Chef De Mission for Winter Olympics Games 2018.

Daily Current Affairs January 9 2018

1) Central Government notifies the Companies (Amendment) Act, 2017

  • On January 3, 2018, Central Government notified the Companies (Amendment) Act, 2017. Certain provisions of this amendment act will ease the implementation of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016.
  • As per Section 53 of the Companies Act, 2013 companies were prohibited to issue shares at a discount. Amendment Act has now allowed companies to issue shares at a discount to its creditors in instances wherein its debt is converted into shares as part of any statutory resolution plan/debt restructuring under Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. 
  • For defaulting companies, payment of managerial remuneration in excess of 11 percent of the net profits will now require approval of all stakeholders involved viz. banks, public financial institutions and other creditors.

2) A R Rahman Becomes Sikkim’s Brand Ambassador

  • Music composer A R Rahman became the brand ambassador of Sikkim. The declaration was made by Sikkim CM Pawan Kumar Chamling.
  • Mr Chamling felicitated the legendary music composer during an inauguration of the 11-day Sikkim Red Panda Winter Carnival at Palzor Stadium in Gangtok.

3) Indian Railways Launches Transparent and Efficient “New Online Vendor Registration System”

  • Research Designs & Standards Organisation (RDSO), the research arm of Ministry of Railways, has launched “New Online Vendor Registration System”. This new system provides major improvements and big changes in the registration system over the earlier system.
  • Public access to the information, expeditious process completion with defined timelines, simplification of procedures, round-the-year services, availability of all related information on RDSO Website, constant monitoring at all levels, reduction in cycle timelines, regular updating of online data, user-friendly interface etc. are the hallmarks of the new system.

4) Delhi govt launches common card for bus, metro rides

  • On January 8, 2018, Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal launched a common card for rides on public buses and the metro.
  • Delhi is thus the first city in India to have such common mobility card.
  • This card can be used at on 200 Delhi transport Corporation (DTC) and 50 cluster buses running on different routes as well as on metro trains.
  • The common card can also function like a debit card. It will be operational in all DTC and cluster buses from April 1, 2018.

5) Direct Tax Collections for FY 2017-18 Show Growth of 18.2% up to December, 2017

  • The provisional figures of Direct Tax collections up to December 2017 show that net collections are at Rs. 6.56 lakh crore which is 18.2% higher than the net collections for the corresponding period of last year.
  • The net Direct Tax collections represent 67% of the total Budget Estimates of Direct Taxes for Financial Year 2017-18 (Rs. 9.8 lakh crore). Gross collections (before adjusting for refunds) have increased by 12.6% to Rs. 7.68 lakh crore during April to December 2017.
  • An amount of Rs. 3.18 lakh crore has been received as Advance Tax up to December, 2017 reflecting a growth of 12.7% over the Advance Tax payments of the corresponding period of last year. The growth in Corporate Income Tax (CIT) Advance Tax is 10.9% and that in Personal Income Tax (PIT) Advance Tax is 21.6%.

6) National Anthem Not Mandatory in Cinema Halls: Supreme Court

  • The Supreme Court said playing the national anthem before screening movies in cinema halls is not mandatory. The bench was headed by chief justice Dipak Misra. In November 2016, the Supreme Court had ordered all cinemas to play the anthem before screening a film “for the love of the motherland”.
  • It also said the national flag must be displayed on the screen for the duration of the anthem and that movie-goers should stand in a show of respect.

7) Gujarat Tops Logistics Performance Index Chart: Report

  • Gujarat has topped the logistics index chart, according to a Report released by Union Minister for Commerce & Industry Suresh Prabhu in New Delhi. The chart is an indicator of the efficiency of logistical services necessary for promoting exports in particular and economic growth in general.
  • Among 22 states, Gujarat is followed by Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra on the index. The ranking is based on the analysis of perception with regard to eight parameters, including infrastructure, services, regulatory process and safety of cargo.
  • Among the Union Territories, Daman & Diu occupied the top slot followed by Delhi and Chandigarh. As regards the hilly states, Tripura was on top followed by Mizoram and Meghalaya.

8) AIIB plans to issue first US dollar bonds in June 2018

  • Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is planning to issue its first US dollar-denominated bond by June 2018.
  • Soren Elbech, Treasurer of AIIB has stated that the minimum size of the issuance will be one billion dollars.
  • Maturity of these bond will be between three and five years depending on investor demand.
  • On account of its strong capital base and stable outlook, AIIB has received three top-notch ratings from the global credit rating agencies, S&P Global Ratings, Fitch and Moody’s.

9) World’s Largest Ice Festival Held in China

  • World’s largest Ice Festival ‘International Ice and Snow Festival’ was held in Harbin, China. This is one of China’s coldest cities in the winter. It is the 34th annual Ice Festival in Harbin, north-east China.
  • It features sculptures of Moscow’s Red Square and Bangkok’s Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

10) Actor Soumitra presented “Legion of Honour” award

  • On 8th January 2018, the French government will present the “Legion of Honour” award to actor Soumitra Chatterjee, at the 42nd International Kolkata Book Fair.
  • “Legion of Honour” award is considered as the highest order of merit in France. The award will be presented by French culture minister Francoise Nyssen.
  • Theme country for the International Kolkata Book Fair 2018 is France. Also, the Hindi version of the famous Asterix comic books will be launched at the fair.

11) Anchal Thakur Bags Bronze, India’s 1st International Medal in Skiing

  • Aanchal Thakur made history as she won India’s first ever international medal in skiing. The 21-year-old Manali resident clinched bronze in the coveted Alpine Ejder 3200 Cup.
  • The Championship was organised by the Federation Internationale de Ski (skiing’s international governing body) in Erzurum, Turkey. She won the medal in the slalom race category.

12) Peter Sutherland, 1st WTO Director-General, Passes Away

  • Peter Sutherland, the first Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), has passed away in Dublin, Ireland. He was 71.
  • Mr Sutherland became Ireland’s Attorney General in 1981 and served as the European Commissioner for Competition from 1985 to 1989. He left the WTO in 1995.

Daily Current Affairs January 8 2018

1) Shri Ananthkumar inaugurates 18th All India Whips’ Conference at Udaipur, Rajasthan

  • The 18th All India Whips’ Conference was inaugurated by Shri Ananthkumar, Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Chemical & Fertilizers at Udaipur, Rajasthan. The two-day conference is hosting around 90 Delegates belonging to 19 States and Centre.
  • On this occasion a coffee table book ‘New India – We Resolve to make’ showcasing exhibitions held at 39 destinations across the country on India’s freedom movement from 1857 to 1947 showing the various activities initiated to attain the freedom from British Rule and the five-year period from 2017 to 2022 to provide a unique opportunity of ‘Sankalp se Sidhi’ towards a ‘New India’ was released by Smt. Vasundhara Raje.

2) Defence innovation centre to come up in Coimbatore

  • Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled the Centre’s plan to set up a defence manufacturing innovation centre in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu and said she has asked the secretary of defence production to sanction Rs 20 crore for the purpose. This has been a long pending demand from the micro, small and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) in the city.
  • “A good number of micro units engaged in supply of components to the sector would converge and bring to the table the patented products for display. A visit to the expo will help you understand the needs of the defence sector,” she said and agreed to a suggestion from the audience on the need for creation of a data bank on the component production requirements and supply details of the same to the sector.

3) Bilateral Annual Haj 2018 Agreement between India and Saudi Arabia Signed

  • According to the Union Minister for Minority Affairs Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Saudi Arabia has given the green signal for India’s decision to revive the option of sending Haj pilgrims through sea route also.
  • The practice of ferrying Haj pilgrims between Mumbai and Jeddah by waterways was stopped from 1995. For the first time, Muslim women from India will go to Haj without “Mehram” (male companion). Separate accommodation and transport has been arranged for these women Haj pilgrims in Saudi Arabia and women “Haj Assistant” will be deployed for their assistance.

4) Iran bans English from being taught in primary schools

  • Iran has banned teaching the English language in primary schools, calling the subject a “cultural invasion”.
  • The education ministry “envisages strengthening Persian language skills and Iranian Islamic culture of pupils at the primary school stage”.

5) Haryana Becomes First State to Launch High Risk Pregnancy Portal

  • Haryana has become the first state in the country to launch High Risk Pregnancy (HRP) Portal. This portal not only helps in early identification of high-risk pregnant cases up to the grass-roots level but also ensures their timely referral to the civil hospitals for further management and delivery by specialists.
  • This innovative web application has been designed to track every high risk pregnant woman till 42 days after delivery, so that she receives adequate treatment during the ante-natal period for healthy outcome of pregnancy.

6) Indian Navy Signs MoU with Cochin Port Trust

  • The Indian Navy has inked an MoU with the Cochin Port Trust (CPT), Kerala towards leasing of 228 metres of berths at Mattancherry Wharf for a period of five years.
  • The MoU has been concluded to cater for the futuristic requirements of the Navy with the sizeable increase in its fleet scheduled in the near future. This is the first time such an agreement has been signed between the Navy and CPT.

7) NPCI appoints Dilip Asbe as new MD and CEO

  • Payment utility major National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) announced the appointment of Dilip Asbe as its Managing Director and CEO with immediate effect.

8) Akshay Kumar roped in by BMC for Swachh Survekshan 2018

  • Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar has been roped in by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation -BMC to promote cleanliness in Mumbai as part of the Swachh Survekshan 2018.
  • The Swachh Survekshan this year commenced from January 4 and will run till March 10 by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs ranking urban and rural areas of the country on the basis of cleanliness.

9) CM Nitish receives Mufti Mohammad Sayeed award in J&K

  • Bihar Chief minister Nitish Kumar has been given the first Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Award for Probity in Public Life.
  • The award was constituted recently by the Jammu and Kashmir government to commemorate the death anniversary of PDP founder and two-time J&K chief minister Sayeed who died on January 7, 2016 after nearly a week-long hospitalization in New Delhi. Sayeed was father of J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti.

10) Golden Globe Awards 2018: The Complete List of Winners

  • The 75th Golden Globe Award ceremony was held in Los Angeles, the USA.  “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” dominated the 2018 Golden Globes, taking home four statues, including best drama, best screenplay, and acting awards for Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell in the drama category. Seth Meyers hosted the star-studded show.
  • Here is the Complete List of Winners of Golden Globe Awards 2018-
     
    1. Best motion picture, drama: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
    2. Best motion picture, musical or comedy: Lady Bird.
    3. Best director, motion picture: Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”.
    4. Best performance by an actress in a motion picture, drama: Frances McDormand.
    5. Best performance by an actor in a motion picture, drama: Gary Oldman.
    6. Best performance by an actress in a motion picture, musical or comedy: Saoirse Ronan.
    7. Best performance by an actor in a motion picture, musical or comedy: James Franco.
    8. Best motion picture, animated: Coco
    9. Best motion picture, foreign language: In the Fade
    10. Best television series, drama: The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu
    11. Best performance by an actress in a television series, drama: Elisabeth Moss.
    12. Best performance by an actor in a television series, drama: Sterling K. Brown.

11) India’s first all-women station in Mumbai enters Limca records

  • The first all-women station in India, Matunga on Central Railway (CR) in Mumbai, manned by a staff of 41 women, has entered the Limca Book of Records. The unique initiative was taken by CR General Manager D.K. Sharma in July 2017 with the aim of empowering women.
  • Accordingly, women staffers were posted across all departments, like 17 ladies for operations and commercial, six Railway Protection Force, eight for ticket checking, two announcers and two conservancy staffers, and five point persons, totalling 41.

12) Senior sports journalist Shashikant Bhagwat passes away

  • Senior sports journalist Shashikant Bhagwat has passed away following a heart attack. Bhagwat was associated with `Sakal’, a leading Marathi daily, for several years and retired from the newspaper

“Daily Current Affairs January 6 and 7 2018”

1) World Book Fair Begins In New Delhi With Focus On Environment

  • New Delhi World Book Fair 2018 began on January 6, 2018 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.
  • This fair is being jointly organised by the National Book Trust (NBT) and India Trade Promotion Organisation(ITPO). It is spread over 30000 sq m space and has more than 1500 stalls.
  • ‘Environment and Climate Change’ is the main theme of New Delhi World Book Fair 2018. The theme pavilion (made from environmental-friendly material like bamboo, cane and jute) highlights various environment-related issues like global warming, climate change, water pollution and other relevant matters.
  • European Union (EU) is the Guest of Honour for this edition of New Delhi World Book Fair. Being the Guest of Honour, EU member states will exhibit select publications in English and other European languages. Besides, EU member states will also organise panel discussions, workshops, talks, children’s activities, special photo exhibits, screening of short films as well as cultural and musical performances during the course of this book fair.
  • Nearly 40 countries including Canada, Belgium, China, Egypt, Denmark, France, Germany, United Kingdom and Pakistan are participating in this book fair

2) Govt Releases AISHE 2016-17, Tamil Nadu Leads In Gross Enrolment Ratio

  • On January 5, 2018, Union Minister of Human Resource Development, Prakash Javadekar released All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) report 2016-2017.
  • All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) was launched by Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) in the year 2010-11 to build an authentic database to assess the true status of higher education in India.
  • Objective of AISHE is to identify and map all the institutions of higher learning across India and to collect the data from all such institutions on various aspects of higher education. AISHE 2016-2017 includes detailed information on 864 universities and 40026 colleges.
  • Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) has increased from 24.5% in 2015-16 to 25.2 in 2016-17. GER is a ratio of enrolment in higher education to population in the eligible age group (18-23) years.
  • Gender Parity Index (GPI) too has improved from 0.86 to 0.94 for the corresponding period. GPI is a ratio of proportional representation of female and male.
  • Among all states, Tamil Nadu topped in terms of Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education. Tamil Nadu recorded 46.9% GER.

3) India’s second FTII to be set up in Arunachal Pradesh

  • On January 6, 2018, Union Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region, Dr Jitendra Singh announced that Central Government will set up second Film and Television Institute of Indian (FTII) in Arunachal Pradesh.
  •  This announcement was made by Mr. Singh while addressing ‘Indian Entertainment Industry: Global Leader in Making’ conference organised by Bharat Niti and South India Film Chamber of Commerce in Itanagar. Objective behind setting up FTII in Arunachal Pradesh is to tap the potential of India’s North Eastern region.
  • FTII in Arunachal Pradesh would be second such institute in the country. The first Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) is located in Pune

4) Sports Minister Rathore Launches ‘Khelo India’ Logo

  • The vibrant Khelo India logo, reflecting the freshness, agility and vitality of New India was launched at a ceremony by the Union Minister of  State ( I/C) Youth Affairs and Sports Rajyavardhan Rathore at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.
  • The logo also conveys an impression of fitness and competitiveness. The three-stroke Khelo India logo, designed by Ogilvy India, has in-built modularity, allowing plenty of adaptability and flexibility into endless pictorial forms.

5) West Bengal CM Unveils Official Emblem of West Bengal Government

  • West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee unveiled the official emblem of the state government, which was recently approved by the centre.
  • The logo highlights the Ashoka emblem on the top with the theme of “Biswa Bangla” at the centre. Ms Banerjee has also contributed to the design of the emblem. This new logo will be used in all government documents, including government letterheads.

6) TIHCL Gets RBI Nod to Operate as NBFC

  • Telangana Industrial Health Clinic Ltd (TIHCL), a State government initiative, has got RBI clearance to register and function as a non-banking finance company (NBFC).
  • It will be the first State promoted and co-financing NBFC. It had won the SKOCH Platinum Award in September 2017 under the smart governance category in the MSME segment.

7) MAS Chief Ravi Menon Named Best Central Bank Governor in Asia-Pacific

  • The managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Ravi Menon, has been named the best central bank governor in Asia-Pacific for 2018 by UK-based magazine, The Banker.
  • Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat was also given this award in 2011 when he was then MAS’s managing director. Over the last three years, the award went to the central bankers of Vietnam, India and Bangladesh.

8) Iceland Becomes 1st Country to Legalise Equal Pay

  • Iceland has become the first country in the world to legalise equal pay between men and women. In Iceland now it will be illegal to pay men more than women for the work.
  • Under the new rules, companies and government agencies employing at least 25 people will have to obtain government certification of their equal-pay policies.

9) International Kite Festival launched in Gujarat

  • On 7th January 2018, the International Kite Festival started at Sabarmati River Front in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The International Kite Festival was inaugurated by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay RupaniGujarat Governor O. P. Kohli was also present at the occasion.
  • Nearly 149 foreign kite fliers from 44 countries are taking part in this festival. From India, around 96 kite fliers from 18 states and 290 kite fliers from Gujarat participate in this kite festival.

 10) Federer-Bencic Lead Switzerland to Hopman Cup Title

  • Switzerland won their third Hopman Cup as Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic beat Germany’s Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber in the deciding mixed doubles to secure a 2-1 victory in the final at the Perth Arena.
  • It was Federer’s second Hopman Cup triumph after victory in 2001 alongside then world number one Martina Hingis.

11) Paytm Payments Bank, IndusInd Tie up for FD Facility

  • Paytm Payments Bank has partnered Induslnd Bank to introduce a facility to create a fixed deposit (FD) when the customer balance exceeds Rs. 1 lakh at the end of the day.
  • Paytm Payments Bank customers can redeem their deposits instantly, anytime without paying any pre-closure or miscellaneous charges and can earn up to 6.85 percent annual interest.

12) Elina Svitolina Wins Brisbane International

  • Elina Svitolina secured her first WTA title in Australia with a straight-sets victory in the Brisbane International final. Svitolina beat Belarusian qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
  • Nick Kyrgios moved a step closer to claiming his first ATP title on home soil with a semifinal win over defending champion Grigor Dimitrov. He will face American Ryan Harrison in finals.

13) Actor and comedian Jerry Van Dyke dies at 86

  • On 5th January 2018, Jerry Van Dyke, comedian and actor died at his home in Arkansas, US.
  •  Jerry Van Dyke was 86 years old. His health was in a bad state after he met with a car accident two years back.
  • He is a famous comedian. He performed at military bases and in television programs. His first show was “The Dick Van Dyke Show.

14) First shuttle commander US astronaut John Young passes away at 87

  • On 5th January 2018, American astronaut John Young died due to complications from pneumonia in Houston, US.
  •  John Young flew the first space shuttle mission and walked on the moon. He was 87 years old.
  • He became the first human to fly in space six times. He flew the first manned Gemini mission in 1965. He became the first person to orbit the Moon alone for Apollo 10 in 1969.

 

Daily Current Affairs January 5 2018

1) RBI Introduces Rs. 10 banknote in Mahatma Gandhi (New) Series

  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will soon issue Rs.10 denomination banknotes in the Mahatma Gandhi (New) Series.
  • These notes will bear signature of Dr. Urjit R. Patel, the current Governor of Reserve Bank of India.
  • The new Rs. 10 denomination banknotes will have motif of Sun Temple, Konark on the reverse side.
  • Base colour of these new notes will be Chocolate Brown, while dimension will be 63 mm x 123 mm.
  • It is to be noted that, all Rs.10/- denomination banknotes issued by the RBI in the earlier series will continue to be legal tender.
  • See through register with denominational numeral 10. Denominational numeral १० will be printed in Devnagari.
  • Portrait of Mahatma Gandhi at the centre. Micro letters ‘RBI’, ‘भारत ‘, ‘INDIA’ and ’10’ .Windowed demetalised security thread with inscriptions ‘भारत’ and RBI
  • Year of printing of the note on the left. Swachh Bharat logo with slogan
  • Motif of Sun Temple, Konark

2) Sushma Swaraj 3 Nation Visit: Co-Chairs Meeting of India-Indonesia Joint Commission

  • External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj who is visiting Indonesia as part of her three-nation tour, co-chaired the fifth meeting of the India-Indonesia Joint Commission with her Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi.
  • Both the countries agreed to work together for a balanced and sustainable trade by providing greater market access, both in goods and services.

3) Government launches MyGov platform, seeks suggestions to make living easier for common man

  • Government has sought views and suggestions of people from all walks of life to move ahead on the idea.
  • The government has launched MyGov platform where it invites citizens, members of civil society, journalists, students, teachers, police officers, government employees, Parliamentarians, academics experts, bureaucrats, social media influencers, think tanks and all other interested people to give their considered view on the subject.

4) India’s Gross Enrolment Ratio in Higher Education up by 0.7%

  • The country’s Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education has registered an increase from 24.5% in 2015-16 to 25.2% in 2016-17, according to the All India Higher Education Survey (AIHES) launched by Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Prakash Javadekar.
  • According to AIHES of 2016-17, Tamil Nadu has the highest GER in the country at 46.9%. Bihar has the least GER of 14.9%.

5) India GDP Growth Likely at 6.5% in 2017-18: CSO

  • The Indian economy will expand by 6.5% in 2017-18, according to the new data of the government’s Central Statistics Office (CSO). It had released its first advance estimate for India’s GDP growth rate in the current financial year.
  • The economy had grown by 6.3% in the September quarter, after slumping to a three-year low of 5.7% GDP growth in the June quarter as the implementation of goods and services tax (GST) and demonetisation took their toll. The Indian economy grew at 7.1% in 2016-17.

6) Indian Coast Guard Ship C-161 commissioned in Porbandar

  • Indian Coast Guard Ship C-161 was commissioned at Porbandar in Gujarat. The induction is a part of ongoing efforts by the Coast Guard to strengthen coastal security.
  • It will strengthen the security umbrella of west coast and also help augment patrolling to prevent illicit activities such as infiltration, smuggling and illegal fishing.

7) ‘India @ 70’, theme for Kolkata literary festival

  • The ninth edition of Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival is set to host multifarious sessions on various critical issues in the country after 70 years of its Independence and has also tied up with prominent foreign literary festivals to add an international flavour this year.
  • The four day long literary fest starting on January 11 will have theme ‘India @70’.

8) Popular Russian painter Yankilevsky passes away at 79

  • Popular Russian painter Vladimir Yankilevsky has passed away. The Russian artist’s works are displayed at around 35 museums and galleries across the world.

Daily Current Affairs January 4 2018

1) World’s largest cleanliness survey Swachh Survekshan launched

  • On January 4, 2018, Indian government commenced Swachh Survekshan – 2018. It is being dubbed as the world’s largest cleanliness survey.
  • Under Swachh Survekshan 2018, all 4041 cities and towns in India will be rated and ranked on various parameters of sanitation and cleanliness. This will be the first such pan-India exercise.
  • Previous two editions of Swachh Survekshan did not cover all cities and towns. Under Swachh Survekshan-2016 (the first survey) 73 cities with over 10 lakh population and all the state capitals were ranked, while in the 2017 survey, 434 cities with over 1 lakh population and all the state capitals were ranked.
  • The survey is being carried out by Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs. It will conclude in March 2018.

2) Health Ministry and Tata Memorial Centre Launches India’s First Digital Online Oncology Tutorial

  • Smt Preeti Sudan, Secretary (Health and Family Welfare) launched the country’s first digital Online Oncology Tutorial Series designed by the Tata Memorial Center in collaboration with the Health Ministry.
  • The oncology tutorial series aims to train the doctors across the country to educate them in early detection, prevention, palliation, rehabilitation and treatment of various cancers.

3) FM Arun Jaitley chaired panel to look into old port projects

  • On January 3, 2018, Central Government formed a ministerial committee headed by Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley to take a decision on old, pre-existing projects in ports, which have become unviable.
  • Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar are also a part of this committee.
  • Currently, there are 10 such old projects, under Union Shipping Ministry, that have halted in non-profitability as operating under the decade old contract conditions have kept them in a state of unviability for years. Combined estimated value of these projects is Rs 20000 crore.

4) Goa to host third edition of Science Film Festival

  • Third edition of the Science Film Festival of India will be held between 16th – 19th January, 2018 in Goa. This festival has been titled SCI-FFI Goa.
  • This festival is being jointly organised by the Goa-based Vidnyan Parishad, Entertainment Society of Goa, Goa’s Department of Science and Technology and the Goa College of Art.
  • A Science Film Making Competition will be the highlight of this festival. The competition will include films of duration of five minutes and those above five minutes.
  • Winners will be selected for various categories viz. best film, Direction/Research Presentation, Design, Cinematography and Design.

5) India Excludes Pakistan from a SAARC Initiative

  • India has excluded Pakistan from the list of SAARC member countries with which it will be connecting its state-of-the-art National Knowledge Network (NKN) for sharing scientific databases and remote access to advanced research facilities.
  • The government has kicked off the process of appointing a telecom company that will connect and extend the NKN to research and education networks in six South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation member states — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

6) Namami Gange Projects Worth Rs. 295 crore Approved by NMCG

  • National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has approved five projects worth Rs. 295.01 crore.
  • Three projects pertain to sewage management in West Bengal at an estimated cost of Rs 278.6 crore, one relates to sewage management in Uttarakhand at an estimated cost of Rs 4.68 crore and one project worth Rs 11.73 crore is related to ghat improvement works in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.

7) NABARD Sanctioned Rs 372.51 crore to Odisha

  • The NABARD has sanctioned Rs 372.51 crore loan assistance under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) to Odisha towards irrigation and rural bridge projects for the last quarter of this fiscal.
  • NABARD has also sanctioned 14 Rural Bridge Projects under Biju Setu Yojana with RIDF loan assistance of Rs 242.34 crore.

8) Bharat Biotech’s typhoid vaccine gets WHO prequalification

  • Indian biotechnology company, Bharat Biotech, has received Pre-Qualification tag from the World Health Organisation (WHO) for Typbar TCV or Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine.
  • Bharat Biotech has spent Rs. 150 crore to develop this vaccine over a period of 12 years.
  • On attaining the Pre-Qualification tag from WHO, Bharat Biotech will now have access (procurement and supply) to global public vaccination programmes.
  • WHO has recommended usage of typhoid conjugate vaccines on infants between 6 and 23 months of age and for children between 2 and 15 years of age.

9) Rajinder Khanna Appointed Deputy National Security Adviser

  • Rajinder Khanna was appointed the deputy National Security Adviser (NSA). He was the former chief of the country’s external intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).
  • He headed the RAW for a fixed two-year period. Mr Khanna is at present officer on special duty (Neighbourhood Studies) in the National Security Council Secretariat.

10) MoU between India and Israel on Cooperation in Oil and Gas Sector Approved

  • Cabinet has approved the signing of MoU between India and Israel on cooperation in the Oil and Gas Sector.
  • The cooperation envisaged under the agreement will facilitate promotion of investments in each other’s countries, technology transfer, R&D, conducting joint studies, capacity building of human resources and collaboration in the area of Start-ups.

11) Meghalaya signs host city contract for 39th National Games in 2022

  • Meghalaya has signed the Host City Contract with the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to host the 39th National Games in 2022.
  • IOA, Meghalaya State Olympic Association and Meghalaya state government have signed the tripartite contract.
  • Meghalaya sports director Matsiewdor W Nongbri announced that the masterplan of the 39th National Games will be submitted by January 2019.
  • A working group under Sports Minister Zenith Sangma has been commissioned. Also, a Land Bank Committee and Team Preparation Committee have been formed.

12) World Braille Day – January 4

  • On 4th January 2018, World Braille Day was observed all over the world.
  • World Braille Day is celebrated on 4th January every year to mark the birthday of Louis Braille, inventor of Braille system.
  • Non-governmental organizations utilise this day to spread awareness on the challenges faced by visually impaired persons and to help create opportunities to support them.

Daily Current Affairs January 3 2018

1) Parliament passes Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code Amendment Bill

  • On January 2, 2018, Indian Parliament passed Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2017 as it was passed by Rajya Sabha. This amendment bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in December 2017. It replaces the ordinance that was promulgated in November 2017.
  • Undischarged insolvent, wilful defaulters and those whose accounts have been classified as non-performing assets have been declared as ineligible for being a resolution applicant.
  • The provision not only restricts such persons to participate in the resolution or liquidation process, but also stipulates that Committee of Creditors (CoC) should ensure the viability and feasibility of the resolution plan before approving it.
  • During liquidation process, property of a defaulter cannot be sold to such person who is ineligible to be a resolution applicant as per above stated parameters.

2) Assam Launches ‘Chah Bagichar Dhan Puraskar Mela 2017-18’ Scheme For Tea Garden Workers

  • On 2nd January 2018, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal launched ‘Chah Bagichar Dhan Puraskar Mela 2017-18’ at a function held at Sarbananda Singha auditorium in Tinsukia, Assam.
  • During the launch Sarbananda Sonowal distributed cheques to beneficiaries. Under this scheme people belonging to tea community who opened bank accounts during demonetisation will be credited Rs 2500 in their accounts.
  • In the demonetisation period, 6,58,250 tea community members opened bank accounts. Assam government will spend Rs. 182 crore for giving financial incentives to all the account holders.
  • In the next phase, another 2500 rupees will be credited to accounts which are continuously operated for 6 months from now

3) Sushma Swaraj Embarked on Tour of 3 Southeast Asian Nations

  • External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj left on a 5-day visit to three South East Asian countries – Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore. On the first leg of the visit, Ms Swaraj will reach Thailand and will hold an official meeting with Thai Foreign Affairs Minister Don Pramudwinai.
  • During the visit to Indonesia, Ms Swaraj will co-chair the 5th meeting of India-Indonesia Joint Commission. In Singapore, the External Affairs Minister will inaugurate the Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas of ASEAN countries. She will have bilateral meetings with the leaders in Singapore.

4) India-Myanmar Land Border Crossing Agreement Approved

  • Cabinet has approved the Agreement between India and Myanmar on Land Border Crossing. The Agreement will facilitate regulation and harmonization of already existing free movement rights for people of both countries.
  • It will also facilitate movement of people on the basis of valid passports and visas which will enhance economic and social interaction between the two countries. The Agreement is an enabling arrangement for movement of people across India-Myanmar border.

5) Cabinet Nod to India, UK Pact to Improve Public Transport

  • The Centre approved an MoU between India and London’s transportation authority to improve public transport in the country.
  • The MoU is aimed at improving the overall public transport system, improve passenger services and promote the use of high capacity buses in India. The Cabinet has approved the signing and implementation of the MoU between Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and ‘Transport for London’.

6) Centre Unveiled Contours of ‘Electoral Bonds’ Scheme

  • The Centre unveiled the contours of the ‘Electoral Bonds’ scheme, which seeks to ensure the flow of clean money to political parties, without revealing the donors’ names.
  • As per the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the electoral bonds will be a bearer instrument in the nature of a Promissory Note and an interest-free banking instrument. A citizen of India or a body incorporated in India will be eligible to purchase the bond from specified branches of the State Bank of India.
  • The bonds can be purchased for any value in multiples of Rs1,000; Rs10,000; Rs1 lakh; Rs10 lakh; and Rs1 crore.The bonds will not carry the name of the payee and will be valid only for 15 days during which it can be used to make a donation only to certain political parties.

7) Six countries enter United Nations Security Council

  • On 3rd January 2018, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kuwait, Peru, Poland and the Netherlands joined the United Nations Security Council as non-permanent members.
  • Ambassadors of the 6 countries placed their flag among flags of the UN Security Council’s 9 other members. The council has 15 members in total.
  • Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States have permanent seats in the council.On 31st December 2017, Egypt, Italy, Japan, Senegal, Ukraine and Uruguay left the United Nations Security Council.

8) SBI, NABARD tie up to promote joint liability groups in Bengal

  • State Bank of India (SBI) and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) have signed an agreement with five NGOs for the promotion of 2500 joint liability groups (JLGs) in select districts of West Bengal.
  • Informal groups comprising 4-10 members, undertaking similar economic activities, who are willing to jointly bear responsibility to repay loans taken by the group from a bank are referred to as joint liability groups.
  • SBI has taken this initiative to extend financial assistance to excluded sections of the society, especially small or marginal tenant farmers who do not have a proper title of their farmland.

9) RIL commissions world’s largest refinery off-gas cracker at Jamnagar

  • On 2nd January 2018, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) announced that, it has commissioned and achieved design throughput of the world’s largest refinery off the gas cracker at Jamnagar.
  • Reliance Industries Ltd stated that, this refinery will have a capacity of 1.5 million tonnes per annum along with downstream plants and utilities.
  • It said that, the facility uses off-gases from  two refineries of RIL at Jamnagar as feedstock. This will enable sustainable cost reduction.

10) Salman Khan appointed as brand ambassador of Emami’s edible oil brands

  • On 2nd January 2018, Emami Group announced actor Salman Khan as the brand ambassador for its edible oil brands.
  • Salman Khan will work with Amitabh Bachchan in promoting Emami’s edible oil brands. Emami Healthy & Tasty, Himani Best Choice and Rasoi are Emami’s edible oil brands.
  • Other actors like Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Kangana Ranaut, Shahid Kapoor and Sania Mirza promote Emami products.

11) AB Mathur appointed Government interlocutor for talks with ULFA

  • On 2nd January 2018, the central government appointed AB Mathur as interlocutor on its behalf to hold talks with the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA).
  • AB Mathur is an IPS officer of the 1975 batch. He is the former special secretary of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).
  • Earlier he worked with the Intelligence Bureau (IB). ULFA (United Liberation Front of Assam) functions in Assam. It fights for sovereign Assam.

12) R Margabandu, the noted politician passed away

  • On 28th December 2017, R Margabandu, former Rajya Sabha member passed away.R Margabandu was 83 years old. He was an advocate by profession.
  • He represented Tamil Nadu in Rajya Sabha from July 1995 to July 2001. He lead AIADMK party in Rajya Sabha.

Daily Current Affairs January 2 2018

1) Nagaland declared as ‘disturbed area’ for 6 more months

  • Union Home Ministry has declared entire state of Nagaland as “disturbed area” for six more months (till June 2018) under Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act – AFSPA.
  • Union Home Ministry has justified this extension by citing that killings, loot and extortion have been going in various parts of Nagaland, making it necessary to grant special powers to armed forces in tackling such incidences.It is to be noted that, AFSPA is in force in Nagaland since several decades.
  • Under AFSPA, armed forces attain several overriding powers including authority to open fire and use force against any person acting against the law. Moreover any person can be arrested without a warrant.
  • Quick Facts about Nagaland:
    ♦ Capital – Kohima
    ♦ Current Governor – Padmanabha Acharya
    ♦ Current Chief Minister – T.R. Zeliang

2) Assamese and Manipuri Versions of PM Modi’s Official Website Launched

  • The Assamese and Manipuri language versions of Prime Minister’s Official website- www.pmindia.gov.in were launched.
  • Now the PM INDIA website is available in 11 regional languages namely Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Odia, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu in addition to English and Hindi.

3) Women & Child Development Ministry Inaugurated Online Portal NARI

  • Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi inaugurated an online portal NARI in New Delhi for the empowerment of women. The portal will provide women with easy access to information on government schemes and initiatives for women.
  • The portal summarises over 350 government schemes and other important information. It provides links to the Ministries, Departments and autonomous bodies offering these schemes as well as easy access to online applications and grievance redressal.

4) Gujarat government bans bird care NGOs during Uttarayan festival

  • Gujarat Animal Husbandry department has banned all voluntary animal care and NGOs working under ‘Karuna Abhiyan’ to function in residential areas during the 2018 Uttarayan festival.
  • Usage of abrasive thread for flying kites during Uttarayan festival injures a lot of birds. To prevent such injuries around 40 organisations have been working to treat birds, mainly at time of this festival.
  • These organisations function under the Ahmedabad forest department. Now, the Gujarat government has banned these organisations to function in residential areas during Uttarayan, because of high bird flu outbreak in January 2017 and a Gujarat High Court order issued in 2017.

5) UNESCO enters Turkey’s endangered ‘bird language’ in Intangible Cultural Heritage list

  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has entered the “bird language” of Black Sea villagers (in northern Turkey) in the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
  • The highly-developed and high pitch system of whistling to communicate in the rugged terrain in Black Sea Regions dates back to some 500 years ago.
  • This whistle language has been traditionally passed on through generations – from grandparent to parent, from parent to child.
  • However, this system is now under threat due to advent of technology and increasing usage of cellular mobile systems.

6) Pankaj Jain Assumes Charge as IIFCL Managing Director

  • Pankaj Jain, Joint Secretary in the Department of Financial Services (DFS), has assumed charge as the Managing Director of India Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd (IIFCL).
  • He will be holding additional charge of IIFCL along with his present position as Joint Secretary at DFS. IIFCL is a state-owned company focused on infrastructure financing and development.

7) China develops underwater surveillance networks in Indian Ocean, SCS

  • China has developed a new underwater surveillance network which will help its submarines to accurately track target vessels and will protect its interests in the Indian Ocean and South China Sea.
  • This surveillance network works by acquiring information about the underwater environment (water temperature, salinity etc.), streaming acquired information to intelligence centres and providing actionable information to Chinese navy which will use it for tracking, navigation and positioning.
  • Information is acquired through satellites, surface vessels, underwater gliders and by deploying buoys in South China Sea and the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans.

8) Finance Ministry to relaunch GoI bonds with 7.75% rate

  • Subhash Chandra, Secretary of Department of Economic Affairs under Ministry of Finance, has tweeted that new subscription to GoI Savings (Taxable) Bonds, 2003would now bear 7.75 per cent interest rate as compared to 8% earlier.
  • On January 1, 2018, Central Government notified that 8% GoI Savings (Taxable) Bonds, 2003 shall be closed for subscription from the close of business on January 2, 2018.
  • Since April 2016, this instrument had become a preferred choice amongst fixed income investors as the interest rates on fixed deposits and small savings instruments dropped below 8% mark.

9) Pakistan State Bank Allows use of Chinese Currency Yuan for Bilateral Trade & Investment Activities

  • Pakistan has allowed Chinese currency Yuan for exports and financing transactions. According to Pakistan, external affairs ministry, both public and private sector enterprises of Pakistan and China are free to choose Yuan for bilateral trade and investment activities.
  • As per current foreign exchange regulations, Chinese Yuan is an approved foreign currency for denominating foreign currency transactions in Pakistan.

10) India’s GDP growth at 6.5% in FY18, will accelerate to 7.6% in FY20: HSBC

  • As per a report by HSBC, India economy is expected to grow at 6.5 per cent in this fiscal (FY 2017-18) while in FY 2018-19 it will register 7.0 per cent growth.
  • HSBC report has outlined that in FY 2018-19, Indian economy will strongly emerge from the impact of demonetisation and roll out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
  • In the immediate term, HSBC expects that recovery in India’s Gross Domestic product (GDP) growth will be gradual preventing any price rise and thereby allowing Reserve Bank of India to keep rates on hold.

11) No charges on debit card transactions up to Rs 2000: Finance Ministry

  • Rajiv Kumar, Secretary of Financial Services under Union Finance Ministry has stated that from January 1, 2018, customers will not have to pay any transaction charges for payments made through debit card, BHIM app and Aadhaar-enabled payment systems for up to Rs 2000.
  • This has been made possible as the merchant discount rate (MDR) will now be borne by the government for two years with effect from January 1, 2018. 
  • Government will straightaway reimburse MDR to the banks. Bearing the MDR for two years will cost the Government Rs 2512 crore.

12) GAIL commissions India’s second largest rooftop solar plant in UP

  • On January 1, 2018, GAIL India Ltd announced that it has commissioned India’s second largest rooftop solar power plant in Uttar Pradesh.
  • his plant has been installed at GAIL’s petrochemical complex at Pata in Uttar Pradesh. 
  • Over 79 lakh KWh (or units) of electricity will be generated from this rooftop solar plant, which will be used within the petrochemical complex itself.

13) Indian Golfer Shiv Kapur Wins Royal Cup at Pattaya

  • Indian golfer Shiv Kapur won the Royal Cup at Pattaya, which is his third Asian Tour title of 2017. The 35-year-old, who had just one win in almost 11 years till April 2017, has now won three times in last eight months.
  • This latest win marks Kapur’s fourth Asian Tour win and sixth international title as he won twice on European Challenge Tour also.

14) Famous Urdu poet Anwar Jalalpuri passes away

  • On 2nd January 2018, Urdu poet Anwar Jalalpuri died due to cardiac arrest at King George’s Medical University (KGMU) in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.
  • Anwar Jalalpuri was 71 years old. He was admitted to the KGMU’s Trauma Centre in critical condition after he was affected by brain stroke.
  • Some of his important works are “Rahrau se Rahnuma Tak” and translations of Gitanjali and Bhagwat Gita in Urdu. He also wrote dialogues for TV serial “Akbar the Great”

Daily Current Affairs January 1 2018

1) Jharkhand CM launches “Saubhagya Yojana” to provide electricity to all villages

  • On December 31, 2017, Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das launched ‘Saubhagya Yojana’, aimed at providing electricity to all the 29376 villages across the state
  • Currently, 17.64 lakh households in Jharkhand do not have electricity supply. Under ‘Saubhagya Yojana’, all such households will get 24X7 electricity supply by December 2018.
  • Jharkhand State Government is also putting efforts to provide electricity to cottage industries and agriculture.
  • Under this scheme, above poverty line (APL) families would get electricity connection by paying Rs 500 (Rs 50 each month for 10 months).

2) 9th High Powered Review Board Meeting of Brahmaputra Board Held in Assam

  • 9th meeting of High Powered Review Board (HPRB) of Brahmaputra Board was held at Kaziranga in Assam on December 30, 2017.
  • The meeting was chaired by Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Nitin Gadkari.
  •  Assam Chief Minister, Sarbananda Sonowal along with other ministers and senior officers of Assam State Government also attended this meeting.
  • HPRB suggested that a Centre for Brahmaputra Studies should be setup in IIT, Guwahati. The centre should cover multi-disciplinary aspects of hydrology, inland waterways, environment, agriculture and sociology.

3) Arunachal Pradesh Declared Open Defecation Free

  • Arunachal Pradesh has been declared open defecation free ahead of the national deadline of October 2, 2019. The milestone was achieved after the state announced an incentive of Rs 8,000 in addition to the Rs 12,000-grant provided by the Centre for building toilets.
  • Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Haryana were declared open defecation free states in October 2017.

4) Odisha police to go digital from January 2018

  • Odisha police will go digital from January 1, 2018, as routine work in police stations across the state will be computerised under the Criminal Tracking and Networking System (CCTNS).
  • CCTNS project is being implemented under the national e-governance initiative at a cost of Rs. 61 crore.
  • 589 out of 612  police stations across Odisha have been equipped with the necessary hardware and software for the implementation of CCTNS.
  • All routine police station work including registering cases, maintaining of registers, station diaries, case diaries and charge sheets will be done online from January 2018.

5) Vinay Sahasrabuddhe Named ICCR Chief

  • National vice-president of the BJP, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, who is also member of Rajya Sabha has been appointed the President of Indian Council of Cultural Relations.
  • He will replace Lokesh Chandra, who had been appointed by the NDA government in October 2014 and has completed his three-year-term.

6) Vijay Keshav Gokhale Appointed Foreign Secretary

  • Senior diplomat Vijay Keshav Gokhale has been appointed foreign secretary of India. He has succeeded S Jaishankar.
  • Mr Gokhale served as Indian Ambassador to China, Germany and as Indian High Commissioner to Malaysia in the past. He is at present secretary (economic relations) in the Ministry of External Affairs.

7) Saudi Arabia and UAE introduce VAT for first time

  • On 1st January 2018, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) introduced Value Added Tax (VAT) for the first time.
  • The VAT is levied on food, clothes, electronics, gasoline, phone, water, electricity bills, hotel reservations, etc. Most of the goods and services are levied5% tax.
  • Medical treatment, financial services and public transport also excluded from VAT. This is done in a move to boost income in Saudi Arabia and UAE apart from their oil field earnings.
  • In Saudi Arabia, tobacco and soft drinks have been levied tax. In UAE, road tolls have been increased and a tourism tax has been introduced.

8) SBI Reduces Base Rate and Benchmark Prime Lending Rates Each by 30 bps

  • The State Bank of India reduced the base rate and benchmark prime lending rates by 30 basis points each, which will benefit nearly 80 lakh customers on the old pricing regime.
  • SBI revised down the base rate to 8.65 percent for existing customers from 8.95 percent, while the benchmark prime lending rates are down from 13.7 percent, to 13.4 percent. The one-year MCLR of the bank stands unchanged at 7.95 percent.

9) Nepal Bans Solo Climbing on Mount Everest

  • Nepal has banned solo climbers from scaling its mountains, including Mount Everest, in a bid to reduce accidents.
  • The new safety regulations also prohibit double amputee and blind climbers from attempting to reach the summit of the world’s highest peak without a valid medical certificate. The law had been revised to make mountaineering safer and to decrease deaths.

10) Israel Withdraws from UNESCO

  • Israel has filed notice to withdraw from the UNESCO alongside the United States. Israel has blasted UNESCO in recent years over the organisation’s criticism of Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem and its decision to grant full membership to Palestine in 2011.
  • Israel was the member of UNESCO since 1949. Both Israel and the US have filed its own withdrawal notice in October 2017.

11) NASA to launch Parker Solar Probe to explore sun’s outer atmosphere

  • In 2018, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will launch Parker Solar Probe to explore Sun’s outer atmosphere.
  • Under this mission, the spacecraft will fly through Sun’s atmosphere as close as 6.2 million kilometres. This will be closer than any spacecraft has gone before.
  • The objective of this mission is to trace how energy and heat move through the solar corona. Besides it will also try to investigate, as to what accelerates the solar wind as well as solar energetic particles.

12) Vidarbha seal maiden Ranji title against New Delhi

  • Vidarbha have created history by winning the Ranji Trophy for the first time in history with a thumping nine-wicket win over Delhi at the Holkar stadium in Indore.
  • Rajneesh Gurbani’s 6/59, including a hat-trick and a century from Akshay Wadkar were the key moments in Vidarbha scripting a fairytale run. For Delhi, Dhruv Shorey was the star with a century and a fifty but Rishabh Pant’s side came up short on the given day.