1) Environment Ministry Launches a Regional Project to Tackle Stubble Burning
- On December 28, 2017, Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change approved a regional project on ‘Climate Resilience Building among Farmers through Crop Residue Management’ under the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC).
- This project aims to contain the problem of stubble/crop residue burning which has intensified during recent years in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
- Stubble burning results in deterioration of air quality in surrounding region and thereby poses a serious health hazard.
2) Telangana becomes first state to offer free power to farmers 24 hours a day
- From January 1, 2018, farmers in Telangana will get 24-hour free power supply. This is a first of its kind initiative, undertaken by Telangana State Government which will benefit 23 lakh farmers in Telangana.
- Electricity supply is of utmost importance for farmers who use motorised pumps for irrigation.
- Supplying free 24-hour electricity to all farmers in the state will create an overall power demand of 11000 MW which will be fully met by March 2018.
3) India Ranks 5th in List of Countries with Highest NPA Levels
India has the highest level of non-performing assets (NPA) among BRICS countries and is ranked fifth on a list of countries with the highest levels of NPAs, as per the report by CARE Ratings.
The only countries ranked higher than India on the list are Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Ireland. All these countries, along with Spain, are commonly referred to as PIIGS, and have been victims of sovereign debt crises in recent years. At 9.85 percent, India’s NPA ratio is over 400 basis points higher. Spain is the only PIIGS country ranked lower than India on the list, with an NPA ratio of 5.28 percent.
4) SEBI Caps Cross-Shareholding in Rating Agencies at 10%
Markets regulator SEBI stated that cross-holding in credit rating agencies (CRAs) will be capped at 10 percentand also decided to raise the minimum networth requirement to Rs 25 crore from the current Rs 5 crore.
Also, the board of Sebi has approved a slew of measures for tightening the financial and operational eligibility of the promoters of CRAs, besides greater disclosure requirements for them.
5) China launches world’s largest human genome research project
- China has launched the world’s largest human genome research project to document the genetic makeup of one lakh people.
- The objective of this project is to detect the genetic links between health and sickness and use that information to generate precision medicines for the future.
- The project envisages to decode the hereditary information contained in each of the 25000 known human genes.
6) KKR gets RBI nod to start India’s 1st Foreign-owned ARC
- International investment firm, KKR & Co has received an approval from Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to start an asset reconstruction company (ARC) in India and has thereby become the first foreign investor to fully own ARC in India.
- Asset Reconstruction Company is a financial entity that buys the non-performing assets (NPAs) or bad assets from banks and financial institutions at a mutually agreed value and tries to revive it by using specialised knowledge and expertise. ARCs help banks/financial institution to get rid of NPAs and focus on their core business rather than chasing defaulters.
- In a bid to tackle the mounting NPAs problem in Indian banking system, in May 2016, Indian Government allowed foreign institutions to have 100% ownership in asset reconstruction companies in India. KKR is known for its big ticket financing and private equity deals in India.
7) Pluto Exchange launches India’s first bitcoin trading app
- Pluto Exchange, a Dubai-based cryptocurrency dealer has announced the launch of India’s first mobile application for transacting in virtual currencies.
- Pluto Exchange’s app will be India’s first app-based wallet that enables bitcoin transactions using a mobile number.
- Users of Pluto Exchange’s app will be able to buy, sell, store and spend bitcoins via a mobile by number using a four-digit personal identification number (PIN).
8) Cristiano Ronaldo wins best player at Globe Soccer Award
- On 28th December 2017, Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid was awarded the Globe Soccer’s Best Player award, in Dubai.
- Cristiano Ronaldo has won the Globe Soccer’s Best Player award for the second consecutive year and fourth time overall.
- Also, Real Madrid club was named the best club of the year. Also, Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane was given the best coach award.
9) Sumita Misra appointed as joint secretary in PM’s economic advisory council
- Senior bureaucrat Sumita Misra has been appointed as joint secretary in Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, EAC-PM.
- Sumita Misra is 1990 batch IAS officer of Haryana cadre. She has been appointed to this post for a period of five years.
- EAC-PM was set up in September 2017. Its task is to analyse all critical issues, economic or otherwise, that are referred to it by the Prime Minister and offer advise on the same.
10) Viswanathan Anand wins World Rapid Chess Championship in Riyadh
India’s ace chess player Viswanathan Anand won the World Rapid Chess tournament title in Saudi Arabia by beating Russia’s Vladimir Fedoseev 2-0 in a two-game tie-break.
Saudi Arabia hosted the world chess tournament for the first time. The women’s title was won by China’s Ju Wenjun.Dronavalli Harika was the best-placed Indian, finishing 19th.