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Cabinet Approvals On January 10, 2018
In a bid to liberalise and simplify the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy and to provide ease of doing business in India, Union Cabinet has approved a number of amendments in the existing policy.
i. Cabinet approves MoU between India and Canada for cooperation in Science & Technology
ii. Cabinet approves implementation of CCEA decision on closure of Tungabhadra Steel Products Limited
iii. Cabinet approves continuation of Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme till the term of the 14th Finance Commission i.e. till March 31, 2020.
iv. Cabinet has approved proposal to amend Section 4(1) and Section 5(1) of the National Trust for the Welfare of Person with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999……………………………………...Click here to Read more
India, Indonesia hold 1st security dialogue, vow to combat terrorism
On January 9, 2018, India and Indonesia held their first bilateral security dialogue in NewDelhi
i. During the dialogue, India and Indonesia agreed on operational cooperation in security and counter-terrorism.
ii. 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.
iii. 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.
Quick Facts about Indonesia:
♦ Capital – Jakarta
♦ Currency – Indonesia rupiah
♦ Current President – Joko Widodo
♦ Important Rivers – Mahakam, Citarum
Supreme Court stays High Court verdict against 85% pictorial warning on tobacco
On January 8, 2018, Supreme Court of India stayed a Karnataka High Court order quashing 85% pictorial warnings on packets of cigarettes and other tobacco products.Information about Pictorial Warning on packets of cigarettes and other tobacco products:
i. On December 15, 2017, Karnataka High Court had struck down the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Amendment Rules, 2014 which mandated 85% pictorial warning on tobacco products packaging space.
ii .A Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud stated that it was “unimpressed” with the submissions of the Tobacco Institute of India (TII) asserting that the stay would infringe tobacco manufacturers’ fundamental right to do business.
iii .The bench is of the opinion that health of citizens should be accorded highest priority.
iv. In context of this news, it is to be noted that as per a report by World Health Organisation (WHO), pictorial warnings prove to be very effective especially in creating awareness among illiterate consumers.
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.
Details of the inter-ministerial committee:
i. The committee is headed by B.R. Sharma, Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs.
ii. 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.
iii. First meeting of this committee will be held on January 19, 2018 and it will submit its final report within six months.
iv. This committee has been formed in wake of Supreme Courts observation – ‘it could not be assumed that if a person did not stand up for the national anthem, he or she was “less patriotic.”
v. The committee will make recommendations in context of existing Acts and orders relating to the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.
Government to launch new scheme for free treatment of Hepatitis C
From financial year 2018-19, Union Health Ministry will roll out a National Programme for Control of Viral Hepatitis, with a focus on Hepatitis C.Details about National Programme for Control of Viral Hepatitis:
i. Under the programme, an anti-viral treatment for Hepatitis C will be provided free at all government health set-ups.
ii. Rs 600 crore for the next three years has been sanctioned for executing this programme.
iii. In India, about 1.2 crore people are reported to be suffering from Hepatitis C.
iv. Union Health Ministry is considering to screen vulnerable groups, including drug users and people who underwent surgeries/ blood transfusion before 2002, as screening protocol at that time was not robust.
v. Hepatitis C is an infectious disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). It primarily affects the liver.
3rd Meeting of Council of Trade Development and Promotion held in New Delhi
On 8th January 2018, the 3rd meeting of Council of Trade Development and Promotion was held at Vigyan Bhavan, in New Delhi.
3rd Meeting of Council of Trade Development and Promotion:
i. The 3rd Meeting of Council of Trade Development and Promotion was chaired by Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister for Commerce & Industry.
ii. Suresh Prabhu unveiled a study named “LEADS-Logistics Ease Across Different States”. This is the first ever sub-national logistics performance index.
iii. He also unveiled a compendium named the “State Exports Booklet”. This compendium is on the status of exports from the states in the past 10 years.
iv. He expressed the need for a new agricultural exports policy focussed on increasing exports of value-added agricultural products.
About India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO):
♦ Chairman & MD – LC Goyal
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
Rajasthan to digitise all historical records
The Rajasthan government has started to digitise 10,000 pages every day, in order to preserve administrative and historical records of Rajputana’s princely states.
Rajasthan to digitise all historical records:
i. This has been done in a move to protect old and fragile documents. This includes a dedicated startup policy and various e-governance measures.
ii. The online records will benefit research scholars, administrative departments of state government, judiciary and general public.
iii. Rajasthan State Archive consists of 30-40 crore administrative and historical records of 22 princely states.
iv. It has decided to digitise 3-4 crore documents that are considered to be important. Already around one crore documents have been digitised.
About dams of Rajasthan:
♦ Bisalpur Dam – Banas River
♦ Jakham Dam – Jakham River
♦ Jawahar Sagar Dam – Chambal River
♦ Jawai Bandh – Jawai River
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.Restriction on national flag made of plastic:
i. 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.
ii. 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.
iii. 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.
iv. 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.
v .The government has insisted everyone to comply with the Flag Code of India and The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.
National birds of few countries:
♦ United States – Bald eagle
♦ United Kingdom – European robin
♦ Singapore – Crimson sunbird
UIDAI introduces ‘Virtual ID’ for Aadhaar to address privacy concerns
On 10th January 2018, the UIDAI launched ‘Virtual ID’, which an Aadhaar-card holder can generate from UIDAI website.
Virtual ID for Aadhaar:
i. Virtual ID has been introduced to reduce privacy issues. This virtual ID that can be generated from UIDAI website can be used for purposes like SIM verification, instead of sharing the actual 12-digit biometric ID.
ii. The Virtual ID will be a random 16-digit number. Along with biometrics of the user, it will furnish limited details like name, address and photograph, required for verification to authorised agencies like mobile companies.
iii. Users can generate any number of Virtual IDs they want. The older ID gets automatically cancelled once a new ID is developed.
iv. UIDAI will accept Virtual ID from 1 March, 2018. From 1 June 2018 it will be made mandatory for all agencies that perform authentication to accept Virtual ID for verification.
v. The virtual ID will be valid for a particular period of time, or till the user generates a new one.
About UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI):
♦ Established – 12 July 2016
♦ Functions under – Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY)
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.North and South Korea to hold military talks:
i. 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.
ii .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.
About 2018 Winter Olympics:
♦ Host city – Pyeongchang, South Korea
♦ Motto – Passion. Connected.
♦ Dates – 9 – 25 February 2018
BANKING & FINANCE
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.Highlights of 2018 Global Economics Prospect:
i. 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).
ii. Chinese economy grew at 6.8 per cent in 2017. For 2018, its growth rate is projected at 6.4 per cent.
iii. The report outlined that in the next decade, India will register higher growth rate as compared to other major emerging market economies.
Quick Facts about World Bank:
♦ Formed in – 1945
♦ Headquarters – Washington D.C., US
♦ Current President – Jim Yong Kim
South Korea, GCCI sign MoU for business cooperation
On January 9, 2018, an official delegation from South Korea and the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for co-operation between South Korea and industries in Gujarat.
Details about South Korea –GCCI MoU:
i. The MoU focuses on cooperation in automobile, defence and textiles sectors.
ii. Through this MoU, Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Gujarat will get an opportunity to form joint ventures with South Korean firms in the above stated sectors.
iii. Technological help from Korean companies will enhance the export competitiveness of Gujarat’s textile industry.
Quick Facts about South Korea:
♦ Capital – Seoul
♦ Currency – South Korean won
♦ Current President – Moon Jae-in
♦ Important Rivers – Nakdong, Geum
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
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 – richest person ever:
i. Jeff Bezos has become the richest person of all time. Earlier, this position was held by Bill Gates, Microsoft founder.
ii. 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.
iii .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.
About Blue Origin:
♦ Founder – Jeff Bezos
♦ Headquarters – Washington, United States
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
JK Tyre appoints Rajiv Prasad as President of India Operations
On 10th January 2018, JK Tyre & Industries appointed Rajiv Prasad as president of India Operations.
Rajiv Prasad – President of JK Tyre India Operations:
i. Rajiv Prasad has a vast experience in managing large businesses. His career spans over 30 years.
ii. JK Tyre Chairman and Managing Director Raghupati Singhania said that the appointment of Rajiv Prasad as President of JK Tyre India operations will enhance growth of the organisation.
About JK Tyre & Industries Ltd:
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Chairman – Raghupati Singhania
Balochistan CM Nawab Sanaullah Zehri resigns ahead of no-confidence motion
On 9th January 2018, Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, Chief Minister of Balochistan, resigned before a no-confidence motion was taken against him in the provincial assembly.Resignation of Nawab Sanaullah Zehri:
i. Nawab Sanaullah Zehri’s resignation was accepted by Balochistan Governor Mohammad Khan Achakzai.
ii. Nawab Sanaullah Zehri has resigned after he was advised to do so by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, keeping in mind the no-confidence motion.
iii .It is said that, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi advised Nawab Sanaullah Zehri to resign in order to control the political situation in Balochistan. A political crisis started in Balochistan after no-confidence motion was initiated.
About Nawab Sanaullah Khan Zehri:
♦ Political party – Pakistan Muslim League (N)
♦ Profession – Politician, chief of Jhalawan, nawab of zehri tribe
Lt. Gen. Y V K Mohan takes over as Commander of 9 Corps
On 10th January 2018, Lieutenant General Yenduru Venkata Krishna Mohan took charge as the 13th Corps Commander of the Rising Star Corps.
Lieutenant General Yenduru Venkata Krishna Mohan – Corps Commander of the Rising Star Corps:
i. Lieutenant General Yenduru Venkata Krishna Mohan replaced Lt Gen S K Saini as Corps Commander of the Rising Star Corps (9 corps).
ii. Lt. Gen. Y V K Mohan is a soldier of the 7th Battalion of the 11th Gorkha Rifles. He had commanded an Infantry Brigade in High-Altitude Area and a Mountain Division along the India-China border.
iii. He is a graduate of the Defence Service Staff College, Wellington and the Royal College of Defence Studies, London.
About Rising Star Corps:
♦ Also known as – The 9 Corps
♦ Established in – 2005
♦ Youngest corps of Indian Army
♦ Based in – Yol cantonment town in Kangra Valley, Himachal Pradesh
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 – WBCSD Chairman:
i. 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.
ii. He has become the first World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Chairman from the agri-sector. He has replaced Paul Polman.
About World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD):
♦ Founded – 1992
♦ Founder – Stephan Schmidheiny
♦ Location – Geneva, Switzerland
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Railways launches transparent and efficient New Online Vendor Registration System
Research Designs & Standards Organisation (RDSO), Ministry of Railways’ research unit, has launched “New Online Vendor Registration System”.
New Online Vendor Registration System:
i. The New Online Vendor Registration System has been launched to make systems and procedures digital and transparent.
ii. This system is easy and user-friendly. Vendors need not visit RDSO office for any activity related to his case for registration, they can do it online.
iii. This system has been developed after Piyush Goyal, Minister for Railways and Coal performed comprehensive review of the functioning of the RDSO.
About Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO):
♦ Director General – M. Hussain
♦ Members – Additional Director General, 23 Senior Executive Directors and Executive Directors
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 – Chef De Mission for Winter Olympics Games 2018:
i. Harjinder Singh is at present the General Secretary in the Ice Hockey Association of India.
ii. IOA President Narinder Dhruv Batra announced the appointment of Harjinder Singh as Chef De Mission for Winter Olympics Games 2018.
About Ice Hockey Association of India (IHAI):
♦ President – K. L. Kumar
♦ Member of – International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF)
Aanchal Thakur becomes first Indian to win an international medal in skiing
On 9th January 2018, India’s Aanchal Thakur became the first Indian to win an international medal in skiing, by winning a bronze medal in the Alpine Ejder 3200 Cup.Aanchal Thakur -first Indian to win an international medal in skiing:
i .Aanchal Thakur hails from Manali. She won a Bronze medal in the slalom race category at Alpine Ejder 3200 Cup.
ii. The Alpine Ejder 3200 Cup was organised by Federation International de Ski (FIS) at the Palandoken Ski Centre, in Erzurum in Turkey.
About International Ski Federation:
♦ Headquarters – Oberhofen am Thunersee, Switzerland
♦ President – Gian-Franco Kasper