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Current Affairs Today January 1 2018

We are here for you to provide the important current affairs January 1 2018 which have unique updates of all daily events from all newspapers such as The Hindu, The Economic Times, PIB, Times of India, India Today, Indian Express, Business Standard, all Government official websites. Our complete current affairs helps you to get more marks in Banking, insurance, UPSC, SSC, CLAT, Railway and all other competitive Exams.

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INDIAN AFFAIRS

Assam publishes first draft of NRC with 1.9 crore names
Assam State Government has published first draft of Supreme Court monitored National Register of Citizens (NRC). 
Details about Assam’s first draft of NRC:
i.As per Supreme Court directive, draft NRC for Assam was to be published on or before December 31, 2017.
ii.Registrar General of India, Sailesh has stated that first draft of NRC contains names of 1.9 crore applicants. Names of these applicants have been verified out of 3.29 crore population.
iii.NRC application process in Assam started in 2015 with an objective to weed out illegal immigrants from the state. 
iv.Assam Chief Minister, Sarbananda Sonowal has stated that all those individuals whose name did not appear in the draft of the NRC, may submit claims and objections against the same.
Quick Facts about Assam:
Capital – Dispur
Current Governor – Jagdish Mukhi
Current Chief Minister – Sarbananda Sonowal
Important National Park – Kaziranga National Park

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.SaubhagyaSalient Features of Jharkhand Government’s ‘Saubhagya Yojana’:
i .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.
ii. Jharkhand State Government is also putting efforts to provide electricity to cottage industries and agriculture.
iii. Under this scheme, above poverty line (APL) families would get electricity connection by paying Rs 500 (Rs 50 each month for 10 months).
Quick Facts about Jharkhand:
♦ Capital – Ranchi
♦ Current Governor – Draupadi Murmu
♦ Current Chief Minister – Raghubar Das
♦ Important Wildlife Sanctuary – Hazaribag Wildlife Sanctuary

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.
Highlights of 9th High Powered Review Board Meeting of Brahmaputra Board:
i. The meeting was chaired by Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Nitin Gadkari.
ii. Assam Chief Minister, Sarbananda Sonowal along with other ministers and senior officers of Assam State Government also attended this meeting.
iii. HPRB approved restructuring of Brahmaputra Board.
iv. Rs. 237 crore project for protection of Majuli Island from flood and erosion has been ratified.
v.Approval has been granted for establishment of Brahmaputra Board office complex in Majuli.
vi. 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.

Arunachal Pradesh declared Open Defecation Free
On December 31, 2017, Arunachal Pradesh was declared as the second state in the Northeast (after Sikkim), to be declared Open Defecation Free (ODF).APi. Arunachal has attained ODF status much before the national deadline of October 2, 2019.  
ii. This was made possible as under Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) – SBM (G), Arunachal Pradesh State government offered an incentive of Rs 8000 per toilet. This amount is in addition to the Central Government’s support of Rs 12000 per toilet, thereby raising the total grant for constructing a toilet to Rs 20000.
iii. On October 2, 2017, Arunachal Pradesh State Government had also launched Swachh Arunachal Mission which envisaged Swachh Protocol (Cleanliness Protocol), aimed at ensuring sustainability of assets created under SBM (G).
Quick Facts about Arunachal Pradesh:
♦ Capital – Itanagar
♦ Current Governor – B. D. Mishra
♦ Current Chief Minister – Pema Khandu
♦ Important National Park – Mouling National Park

Andhra CM declares 2018 as Telugu promotion year
On 1st January 2018, year 2018 was declared as Telugu promotion year by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.
2018 – Telugu promotion year:
i. This was announced at the 29th edition of Annual Book Exhibition of Vijayawada. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu inaugurated the exhibition.
ii. Chandrababu Naidu also recognised Vijayawada as the centre for Telugu magazines, newspapers, and literary publications.
iii. The Annual Book Exhibition of Vijayawada is organized by Vijayawada Book Festival Society. This edition was supported by Andhra Pradesh government and NTR trust.
About NTR Trust:
♦ Trustee – Nara Lokesh
♦ CEO – T Vishnu Vardhan
♦ Formation – 1997

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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.
VAT in Saudi Arabia & UAE:
i. 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.
ii. 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.
iii .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.
Largest oil producing countries in the world:
♦ Russia, Saudi Arabia,United States and Iraq

India and Pakistan exchange list of nuclear sites for the 27th consecutive year
On 1st December 2018, India and Pakistan exchanged the list of nuclear installations and facilities through diplomatic channels simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad.Nuclear DealExchange of list of nuclear installations and facilities:
i. The list of nuclear installations and facilities covered under the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear installations were exchanged between India and Pakistan.
ii. This agreement was signed on 31st December 1988. As per this agreement, India and Pakistan exchange information on nuclear installations and facilities on January 1 every year. This is the 27th consecutive exchange of nuclear installations.
Some of the nuclear power stations in India:
♦ Tarapur Atomic Power Station – Maharashtra
♦ Kakrapar Atomic Power Station – Gujarat
♦ Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant – Tamil Nadu

Nepal bans solo, amputee and visually impaired form climbing Everest
In a bid to reduce accidents and make mountaineering safer, Nepal has brought in new regulations that prohibit solo mountaineers, double amputee and blind climbers from attempting to scale its mountains including Mt. Everest.
Nepal’s new regulations for mountaineers:
i. In case of double amputee and blind climbers, prohibition applies only to those without a valid medical certificate.
ii. Eight of the world’s 14 highest peaks are located in Nepal. Every year, thousands of climbers arrive in Nepal to scale these peaks. However, not all are successful. As per the data, since 1920, more than 200 people have lost their lives in an attempt to scale Mt. Everest.
iii. Avalanches, falls and mountain sickness are main reasons for death while attempting to scale mountain peaks.
iv. Besides, a new regulation has been introduced mandating that foreign climbers should be accompanied by a guide. This rule is expected to create more job opportunities for Nepali mountain guides.

BANKING & FINANCE

SBI cuts base rate by 30 basis points to 8.65%
On January 1, 2017, India’s large bank, State Bank of India, reduced its base rate by 30 basis points. Post this reduction, SBI’s base rate is 8.65%.SBIi. This base rate cut will benefit those borrowers who availed floating rate loans, including home loans, before April 2016 and have not migrated to marginal cost of lending rate (MCLR) regime.
ii. Marginal Cost of Funds Based Lending Rate (MCLR), introduced by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) from April 1, 2016 is the minimum interest rate of a bank below which it cannot lend. It serves as an internal benchmark for the bank. Interest rate on corporate and retail loan products is fixed above this rate. Higher difference between benchmark rate and loan rate is more beneficial for the bank from revenue standpoint.
iii. It is to be noted that MCLR was introduced as the base rate regime was found to be rigid and weak for rate transmission (passing the benefit of benchmark rate reduction by RBI to borrowers).
iv. In context of this news, it is important to note that SBI has not made any changes in its current MCLR.
Quick Facts about State Bank of India (SBI):
♦ Renamed in – 1955
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Current Chairman – Rajnish Kumar

BUSINESS

Venezuela raises minimum wage 40 %, stoking world’s fastest inflation
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced a 40 percent increase to the minimum wage with effect from January 2018.
i. In recent times, Venezuelan economy has witnessed world’s fastest inflation. Although Venezuelan government no longer publishes inflation data on a regular basis, internal assessment has revealed that prices went up 1369 percent between January and November 2017.
ii. To counter this situation, Maduro has been raising the minimum wage. However galloping inflation along with a depreciating bolivar currency has plunged millions of Venezuelans into poverty.
iii. Economists are of the opinion that these approach is putting Venezuela through a vicious cycle. However, Maduro believes that wage hike will protect workers against US Government’s ‘economic war’ to sabotage socialism in Venezuela.
Quick Facts about Venezuela:
♦ Capital – Caracas
♦ Currency – Bolivar fuerte
♦ Current President – Nicola Maduro
♦ Important Rivers – Orinoco, Caroni

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Pankaj Jain assumes charge as IIFCL Managing Director
Pankaj Jain has taken charge as Managing Director of India Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd (IIFCL).IIFCLPankaj Jain – Managing Director of India Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd (IIFCL):
i. Pankaj Jain is currently Joint Secretary in the Department of Financial Services (DFS). He will hold additional responsibility as Managing Director of India Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd (IIFCL).
ii. Pankaj Jain is a 1990 batch IAS officer of Assam-Meghalaya cadre.
About India Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd (IIFCL):
♦ Deputy Managing Director – Sanjeev Kaushik
♦ Established – 2006

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

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.
Details about NASA’s Parker Solar Probe:
i. 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.
ii. 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.
iii. Besides, Parker Solar Probe, NASA has lined up several missions which will be launched during 2018.
iv. InSight Mars lander for studying the interior and subsurface of Mars and Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) for searching planets outside our solar system are some of the missions which will be launched by NASA during 2018.
Quick Facts about NASA:
♦ Founded in – 1958
♦ Headquarters – Washington D.C., US

ENVIRONMENT

New night frog species “Nyctibatrachus mewasinghi” discovered in Western Ghats
A new frog species named “Nyctibatrachus mewasinghi” has been discovered from Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kozhikode, in Kerala.FrogNyctibatrachus mewasinghi:
i. The study has been published in The Journal of Threatened Taxa. Nyctibatrachus mewasinghi is in light brown colour. It has slightly wrinkled skin and granular projections.
ii. Scientists from Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (Pune, Maharashtra) and the Zoo Outreach Organisation (ZOO, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu) were involved in the research.
iii. This new species has been named after Mewa Singh, a wildlife scientist. These are endemic to Western Ghats.
About Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune:
♦ Chairman – T. V. Ramakrishnan
♦ Director – Krishna N. Ganesh
♦ Established – 2006

SPORTS

Vidarbha seal maiden Ranji title against New Delhi
Vidarbha has won the Ranji Trophy title for the first time by defeating Delhi in the final match.Vidarbhai. The final match was played at Holkar Stadium in Indore.
ii. Vidarbha’s victory in the finals match can be attributed to performances of Rajneesh Gurbani and Akshay Wadkar. Rajneesh Gurbani picked 6 wickets (including a hat-trick) by conceding 59 runs, while Akshay Wadkar scored a century.
Rajneesh Gurbani becomes 2nd bowler to take hat-trick in Ranji final
On December 30, 2017, during Ranji Trophy final match, Vidarbha’s Rajneesh Gurbani took a hat-trick against Delhi.
i. Rajneesh Gurbani is a right-arm medium fast bowler.
ii. Gurbani’s hat-trick proved instrumental in restricting Delhi’s total to 295.
iii. B Kalyanasundaram from Tamil Nadu was the first bowler to take hat-trick in Ranji finals. B Kalyanasundaram accomplished this feat while playing Ranji finals against Bombay in 1972/73 in Chennai.
Quick Facts about Ranji Trophy:
♦ Format – First Class Cricket
♦ First tournament held in – 1934
♦ Administrator – Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)

Indian golfer Shiv Kapur wins Royal Cup golf tournament in Thailand
On 31st December 2017, India’s Shiv Kapur won the title of the Royal Cup golf tournament at the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club in Pattaya, Thailand.
Shiv Kapur wins Royal Cup golf tournament:
i. Shiv Kapur shot four-under 67 and finished at 14-under. His rival Prom Meesawat of Thailand finished at 13-under.
ii .He was handed a trophy and cheque of $90,000. This is his third Asian Tour title of 2017.
Some golf courses in India:
♦ Cosmopolitan Club – Chennai
♦ DLF Golf and Country Club – Gurgaon
♦ East Point Golf Club – Visakhapatnam

OBITUARY

Odia actor, director Ananta Ojha passes away
On 31st December 2017, Ananta Ojha, famous Odia playwright, actor and director passed away after suffering from prolonged illness in Bengaluru, Karnataka.AnantaDeath of Ananta Ojha:
i. Ananta Ojha was 59 years old. He was admitted at a private hospital in Bengaluru due to illness.
ii. He has scripted over 200 plays. He has acted and also directed in many jatras.
Some National Parks in Odisha:
♦ Bhitarkanika National Park
♦ Simlipal National Park