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Governors’ committee submits report to President Kovind
On January 10, 2018, Committee of Governors submitted a report, titled ‘Rajyapal —Vikas Ke Rajdoot: Catalytic Role of Governors as Agents for Change in Society’ to President Ram Nath Kovind.
i. The report outlines best practices that have been adopted by offices of Governors, issues and an action-outcome framework to deal with them.
ii. The report suggests that governors should play a mentoring role in overall implementation of developmental schemes in their respective states…………………………………………..Click here to Read more
Ministry of Road Transport & Highways signs MoU with Transport for London
On January 10, 2018, Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with ‘Transport for London’ (TFL) in New Delhi.
Details about Ministry of Road Transport & Highways – Transport for London (TFL) MoU:
i. Under this MoU, expertise of TFL will be used to revamp the public transport system in India.
ii. TFL is a statutory agency that manages the transport system for Greater London. It has been responsible for creating a strong and dependable public transport system in the city.
iii. The MoU will focus on capacity augmentation, improving customer services, conducting scientific data analysis, promoting digital transactions in ticketing and implementing effective IT systems in Indian transport sector.
iv. Emphasis will also be laid on use of electric vehicles in public transport and adopting public-private partnership (PPP) models for operations.
West Bengal government launches water ATM Project in city and suburbs
On 10th January 2018, West Bengal Panchayat and Rural Development and Public Health Engineering minister Subrata Mukherjee announced the launch of water ATM project to ensure bacteria-free drinking water in schools.Water ATM project in West Bengal:
i. Water ATMs are being set up in the city and suburbs of West Bengal. The machines are made in Germany.
ii. Pilot projects have been launched in some parts of Kolkata already. Nearly 50 water ATMs are to be set up in Kolkata.
iii. Mainly, schools and hospitals will be covered under this project. This project is carried out with the help of Japan International Cooperation Agency, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.
iv. Subrata Mukherjee said that, if anyone proves the presence of harmful bacteria in any of the water ATMs, they will be handed Rs 2 lakh.
About Asian Development Bank (ADB):
♦ President – Takehiko Nakao
♦ Headquarters – Metro Manila, Philippines
CABE sub-committee recommends free education for girls up to PG level
A sub-committee of Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) looking into the issues of girl education in India has recommended free and compulsory education for girls up to post-graduate level across India.
Information related to CABE sub-committee recommendations:
i. This sub-committee of CABE was formed by Union Human Resources Development (HRD) Ministry in February 2017. It is headed by Telangana’s Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister Kadiyam Srihari.
ii. Announcement pertaining to the recommendation of free and compulsory education for girls was made after sub-committee’s meeting which was attended by Assam Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma, Jharkhand Education Minister Neera Yadav, Human Resources Development Department Special Secretary, Rinarayi and Member Secretary Meenakshi Garg.
iii. In the interim report which will be submitted to Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Prakash Javadekar on January 15, 2018 sub-committee has made several recommendations including setting up exclusive residential degree colleges for Schedules Castes (SC)/Scheduled Tribes (ST) women and provision of health and hygiene kits for girls.
Bhopal Becomes 1st Railway Station to have Sanitary napkin Vending Machine
On January 1, 2018, Bhopal station has become the first railway station in the country to have Sanitary napkin Vending Machine.Sanitary napkin Vending Machine at Bhopal Railway Station:
i. This machine has been named ‘Happy Nari’.
ii. It was installed by the Railway Women Welfare Association of Bhopal division with help from a local NGO ‘Arushi’.
iii. Women passengers can get two napkin for just in Rs. 5 from this machine.
iv. The machine has a capacity of storing 75 sanitary napkins at once. It will be refilled by a female staff attendant at the waiting room.
v. Total cost of setting up the machine (including monitoring staff’s compensation and sanitary napkins) was only Rs. 20,000.
India misses 2017 deadline for Kala Azar elimination
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while presenting the General Budget 2017-18 said that the Government has prepared an action plan to eliminate Kala-Azar by 2017.
i. Kala-azar also known as black fever, and Dumdum fever is a slow progressing indigenous disease caused by a single-celled parasite of the Leishmania family.
ii. India has not only missed Kala–Azar elimination deadline announced by Finance Minister, but Kala- Azar endemic blocks have increased from 61 to 68 in 17 districts of Bihar and Jharkhand.
iii. However, according to Dr P K Sen of the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), active case findings rather than an actual increase in the disease is the reason for increase in number of endemic blocks.
iv. Elimination in this context is defined as reducing the annual incidence of Kala Azar (KA) to less than 1 case per 10000 people at the sub-district level.
v. Health Ministry officials are of the view that pending construction of concrete houses since 2001-02, was the primary reason behind the failure to control this disease.
Prez Kovind inaugurates three-day 4th International Dharma Dhamma conference
On January 11, 2018, President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated 4th International Dharma-Dhamma Conference on “State and Social Order in Dharma-Dhamma Traditions” at Rajgir in Nalanda district of Bihar.Details about 4th International Dharma Dhamma conference:
i. This conference has been organised by Nalanda University, in collaboration with the India Foundation, Centre for Study of Religion and Society, Vietnam Buddhist University and Union Ministry of External Affairs.
ii. It is a part of the commemorative events to celebrate the Silver Jubilee year of ASEAN-India Dialogue Partnership.
iii. Other dignitaries who will attend this three-day event include Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Bihar Governor Satya Pal Malik, Kingdom of Thailand’s Minister for Culture, Vira Rojpojchanarat and Sri Lankan Minister of Foreign Affairs and Development Assignments Tilak Marapana
iv. The conference will conclude on January 13, 2018.
5th Bilateral Meeting between India and Malaysia held in New Delhi
On 10th January 2018, the 5th Bilateral Technical Meeting on cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine between Government of India and Malaysia was conducted at New Delhi.
5th Bilateral Meeting between India and Malaysia:
i. 5th Bilateral Meeting between India and Malaysia was presided by Pramod Kumar Pathak, Joint Secretary, Ministry of AYUSH, India and Deputy Director General Health (Medical), Ministry of Health from Malaysia.
ii. The following topics were discussed in the meeting:
1.Setting up of Ayurveda Chair in University of UTAR, Malaysia
2.Professional training for Malaysian experts in Panchakarma therapy, in India
3.Evaluation of safety and effectiveness of combination of Ayurvedic and traditional products
4.Safety evaluation of Ayurvedic products through Good Laboratory Practices (GLP)
5.Bilateral MoU between National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB), Ministry of AYUSH and Malaysia for cooperation in the field of medicinal plants
6.Registration of Homeopathic Practitioners in Malaysia
About National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB):
♦ CEO – Shomita Biswas
♦ Finance & Administrative Officer – Ashok Kumar
UN Environment, WHO to jointly curb environmental health risks
On January 10, 2018, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and World Health Organisation (WHO) agreed to collaborate for accelerating action to curb environmental health risks.
Details about UNEP-WHO Collaboration:
i. The agreement was signed between Erik Solheim, head of UNEP and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO.
ii. It is to be noted that environmental health risks cause an estimated 12 million deaths every year, mostly in developing countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America.
iii. As per the agreement, both the entities will put joint efforts for combating air pollution, improve coordination on waste and chemicals management, addressing problems of climate change and anti-microbial resistance, improving water quality and issues related to food and nutrition.
Quick Facts about UNEP & WHO:
|Headquarters||Nairobi, Kenya||Geneva, Switzerland|
|Current Head||Erik Solheim||Tedros Adhanom|
Shanghai installs first 3D printed bus stops
Shanghai has set up the world’s first 3D-printed bus stops in Fengjing, Shanghai.World’s first 3D printed bus stops in Shanghai:
i. The bus stops have a closed loop design, accommodating two-round stools inside the structure. The outer portion is a grey coloured rectangle frame.
ii. The original print marks are still visible for visitors to see how the structure was fabricated layer-by-layer.
iii. The grey coloured raw materials are eco-friendly. They are made of recycled materials from demolished buildings.
Some tallest buildings of the world:
♦ Burj Khalifa – Dubai
♦ Shanghai Tower – Shanghai
♦ Abraj Al-Bait Clock Tower – Mecca
♦ Ping An Finance Centre – Shenzhen
BANKING & FINANCE
IndusInd Bank to introduce India’s First Battery-Powered Interactive Payment Card
On January 10, 2018, IndusInd Bank and Dynamics Inc announced plans to introduce the first battery-powered, interactive payment cards in the Indian market in 2018.i. Dynamics Inc, is a Pennsylvania-based company which designs and manufactures intelligent, battery-powered payment cards.
ii. The new IndusInd bank card will have multiple buttons which will allow consumers to pay in multiple ways viz. through credit points or monthly instalments. Each selected option will activate a different colour light.
iii. IndusInd Bank has stated that introduction of these cards will not require any changes in existing payment infrastructure or merchant systems.
Quick Facts about IndusInd Bank:
♦ Founded in – 1994
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Current CEO – Romesh Sobti
IFC to provide $440 mn debt to Rewa solar park developers
International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member institution of the World Bank Group will provide $440 million debt to Mahindra Renewables Pvt. Ltd, Acme Group and global private equity fund Actis Llp to build the Rewa solar park in Madhya Pradesh.
i. Earlier, Rewa Ultra Mega Power Ltd had invited bids for the solar projects. Based on the bidding, three 250MW projects were awarded to Acme Solar Holdings Pvt. Ltd, Mahindra Renewables Pvt. Ltd and Actis LLP’s Solenergi Power Pvt. Ltd.
ii. Rewa Ultra Mega Power Ltd, is a joint venture of Madhya Pradesh Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd (MPUVNL) and Solar Energy Corp. of India Ltd (SECI).
iii. Rewa Solar project is to be commissioned in December 2018.
Quick Facts about IFC:
♦ Formed in – 1956
♦ Headquarters – Washington D.C., US
♦ Parent Organisation – World Bank Grou
Government divests 2.52 % of paid-up capital in NMDC
Central Government has successfully divested 2.52 % of paid-up capital in National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) for an amount of Rs. 1200 crore (approx).
Details pertaining to Divestment in NMDC:
i. Rs. 980.05 crore has been raised from non-retail investors while Rs. 232 crore (approx.) from retail investor through Offer for sale (OFS) mechanism.
ii. Floor price for this divestment was set at Rs.153.50 per share. However, retail investors were offered a discount of 5% on the cut off price.
iii. Retail portion was over-subscribed by 439.64% while the overall issue got over-subscribed by three times.
iv. The issue also received positive response from foreign investors, Domestic institutional investors and mutual funds.
v. Post this divestment, Government of India’s shareholding in NMDC has dropped down to 72.42% from 74.94%.
Quick Facts about NMDC:
♦ Founded in – 1958
♦ Headquarters – Hyderabad, Telangana
♦ Under Administrative control of – Union Ministry of Steel
Indigo ranks world’s fourth best airline in punctuality among ‘mega carriers’
IndiGo airlines of India, has been named the fourth most punctual ‘mega carrier’ in the world, in OAG’s list of the world’s most punctual ’mega carriers’.IndiGo – world’s fourth most punctual ‘mega carrier’:
i. The Punctuality League 2018 was an annual review conducted by OAG. The parameter taken into account for the ranking was performance on timekeeping.
ii. OAG has created two separate punctuality lists – one for all airlines, big and small & other for ‘mega carriers’.
iii. Carriers which arrive or depart within 14 minutes and 59 seconds of their scheduled arrival/departure times are described as ‘on-time performance’ (OTP) as per OAG.
iv. List of punctual ‘Mega carriers’:
1.Japan Airlines – 85.27% OTP
2.All Nippon Airways – 83.81%
3.Delta Air Lines – 82.76%
4.IndiGo – 81.22%
v. List of most punctual airlines:
2.Hong Kong Airlines (88.83%)
3.Hawaiian Airlines (87.24%)
4.Copa Airways (86.39%)
♦ Type – air travel intelligence company
♦ Headquarters – Luton, England
♦ CEO – Phil Callow
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
V J Mathew appointed as Chairman of Maritime Board
On 11th January 2018, V J Mathew was appointed as Chairman of Maritime Board.
V J Mathew – Maritime Board Chairman:
i. The decision of V J Mathew’s appointment as Maritime Board Chairman was taken by the Kerala cabinet.
ii. V J Mathew is a legal consultant of Vizhinjam International container terminal company. He is also Co-President of Indian Maritime Association.
iii. Four other persons have also been appointed in the Maritime Board as representatives of the government. The Indian Maritime Board focuses on developing small and medium ports.
Some important ports in India:
♦ Kandla port – Gujarat
♦ Paradip port – Odisha
♦ Jawaharlal Nehru Port – Maharashtra
Dr. Sivan K appointed as Chairman of ISRO
Renowned rocket scientist, Sivan K has been appointed as the chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).About Dr. Sivan K:
i. Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved Sivan K’s appointment as secretary, Department of Space and Chairman of Space Commission for a tenure of three years.
ii. According to bio data of Sivan K, he graduated from Madras Institute of Technology in aeronautical engineering in year 1980. In 1982 he completed Master of Engineering in Aerospace engineering from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore.
iii. He joined ISRO in 1982. Since then, he has played instrumental role in mission design, end to end mission planning, mission integration and analysis.
iv. During the course of his career, he has received numerous awards including Shri Hari Om Ashram Prerit Dr Vikram Sarabhai Research award.
v. Mr. Sivan K is currently the Director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre. He will succeed A S Kiran Kumar as the Chairman of ISRO. Mr. Kumar was appointed in January 2015.
Quick Facts about ISRO:
♦ Established in – 1969
♦ Headquarters – Bengaluru, Karnataka
Retired Justice Shiv Narayan Dhingra to supervise probe into reopened anti-Sikh riot cases
Retired Justice Shiv Narayan Dhingra has been appointed as head of a new committee to re-investigate 186 closed cases related to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
Retired Justice Shiv Narayan Dhingra – head of new committee to re-investigate anti-Sikh riot cases:
i. Other two members of the committee are retired IAS officer Rajdeep Singh and IPS officer Avishek Dullar. The committee would submit an interim reportin two months to the Supreme Court.
ii. On 10th January 2018, the Supreme Court ordered re-investigation of 186 cases that were earlier closed by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) related to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
iii .Next hearing regarding this case will be on 19 March 2018 by the Supreme Court.
Chief Justices of various High Courts:
♦ Jammu and Kashmir High Court – Badar Durrez Ahmed
♦ Madhya Pradesh High Court – Hemant Gupta
♦ Meghalaya High Court – Dinesh Maheshwari
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Coast Guard patrol vessel ‘Charlie-435’ commissioned at Karaikal
On January 9, 2018, a state-of-the-art patrol vessel of the Indian Coast Guard, ‘Charlie-435’, was commissioned at Karaikal in the Union Territory of Puducherry.More Information about Indian Coast Guard patrol vessel ‘Charlie-435’:
i.‘Charlie-435’ was commissioned by Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy.
ii.‘Charlie-435’ is equipped with modern navigation and communication systems. Its presence would strengthen coastal security between Chennai and Kanyakumari.
iii.Besides, ‘Charlie-435’ would also play an important role in rescuing fishermen who go adrift in the sea due to bad weather conditions.
Quick Facts about Indian Coast Guard:
♦ Established in – 1978
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Current Director General – Rajendra Singh
Indian Railways introduces OCR Kiosk Machines for quick printing of tickets through UTS Mobile App
Indian Railways has decided to introduce modern Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Kiosk Machines for fast and easy printing of tickets booked through UTS App.
OCR Kiosk Machines:
i. Western Railway has become the first railway zone to introduce the OCR Kiosk Machines in Mumbai.
ii. The screen of the mobile phone containing the SMS of the ticket booked through UTS App should be placed in the slot of the OCR Kiosk machine. The machine will immediately read the SMS and print the ticket.
iii. In the first phase, 25 OCR Kiosk Machines were planned to be installed by the Western Railway. Out of this 20 OCR Kiosk machines have already been installed and started functioning on 11th January 2018.
About Western Railway zone:
♦ Headquarters – Churchgate, Mumbai
♦ One of the 17 zones of Indian Railways, and one of the busiest railway networks in India
Railways launches SFOORTI App for freight managers
Ministry of Railways has launched Smart Freight Operation Optimisation & Real Time Information (SFOORTI) App for monitoring and managing freight business through Geographic Information System (GIS) Views and Dashboard.SFOORTI App:
i. The SFOORTI App enables freight managers to monitor and manage freight business through GIS Views and Dashboard.
ii. Using this app, both passenger and freight trains can be tracked using Geographic Information System (GIS).
iii. This will also help to analyse new traffic captured and traffic lost. It will give a Bird’s eye view of all Freight Assets in a single window.
iv. A Freight Operation Information System (FOIS) Map View has been developed as a Geographic Information System (GIS) based monitoring and management tool.
v. The FOIS Map provides layered views of freight trains on Indian Railways network. This will help to plan the traffic flows and optimize freight operations.
About Indian Railways:
♦ Minister of Railways – Piyush Goyal
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
IIT’s first food testing lab unveiled in IIT Kharagpur
The Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) has set up its first food testing lab in IIT Kharagpur campus.
IIT’s first food testing lab in IIT Kharagpur:
i. The National Accreditation Board for Calibration and Testing Laboratories (NABL) accreditation received by the agricultural and food engineering department’s Analytical Food Testing Laboratory enabled IIT Kharagpur to certify food items based on nutritional value and perform adulteration checks.
ii. IIT Kharagpur has already started certification process for few Kolkata-based companies.
iii. In-charge of the Analytic Food Testing Lab is Rintu Banerjee, professor of the department of agriculture and food engineering, in IIT Kharagpur.
About National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL):
♦ Headquarters – Gurgaon
♦ CEO – Anil Relia
BJP MLC Satyendra Kushwaha passes away
On 10th January 2018, Satyendra Kushwaha, BJP MLC (Member of the Legislative Council), passed away due to long time illness, at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS) in Patna, Bihar.
Death of Satyendra Kushwaha:
i. Satyendra Kushwaha was 49 years old. He was admitted to the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences before two years as he had a brain stroke.
ii. He is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter. He was also a co-incharge of BJP’s Uttar Pradesh unit.
Units of BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party):
♦ Youth wing – Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha
♦ Women’s wing – BJP Mahila Morcha
♦ Peasant’s wing – BJP Kisan Morcha
♦ Minority wing – BJP Minority Morcha
Nuclear Physicist and NIAS Director Baldev Raj passes away
On 6th January 2018, Baldev Raj, Director of National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), passed away in Pune.Death of Baldev Raj:
i. Baldev Raj was serving as the Director of National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bengaluru, since 2014.
ii. He is also a nuclear physicist and professor. He has written nearly 1,000 academic papers in peer reviewed journals. He has also authored more than 70 books.
iii .He had been honoured with nearly 100 awards and assignments in more than 30 countries.
About National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS):
♦ Focus – interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research in natural sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities
♦ Founder – J. R. D. Tata
25th Raising Day of Army Air Defence – 10 January
On 10th January 2018, Raising Day of Army Air Defence was celebrated all over India.
Raising Day of Army Air Defence:
i. Lt Gen Ashwani Kumar, Adjutant General & Senior Colonel Commandant AAD (Advanced Air Defence) and Lt Gen P S Jaggi, Director General of Corps of Army Air Defence, laid wreaths (flower arrangements) and paid homage to the soldiers at a ceremony in ‘Amar Jawan Jyoti’, New Delhi.
ii. Personnel of Army Air Defence, rededicated themselves to the service of our country and their motto, ‘Akashe Shatrun Jahi’ (Kill the Enemy in the Sky).
iii. The Corps of Army Air Defence was raised on 10 Jan 1994. This day (10 January) is celebrated as Raising Day of Army Air Defence every year.
About Corps of Army Air Defence (AAD):
♦ Director General of Corps of Army Air Defence – Lt Gen Parminder Singh Jaggi
♦ Role – Air Defence Warfare
♦ Size – 85,000 soldiers and 6,000 officers
World Hindi Day – January 10
On 10th January 2018, World Hindi Day was celebrated all over the world.World Hindi Day:
i. Every year, 10 January is celebrated as ‘World Hindi Day’ all over the world. As, the first “World Hindi Conference” was held on 10 January 1975.
ii. This day aims to promote Hindi language all over the world. Celebrations were done in various places on 10 January 2018
iii. The Indian Mission to Nepal celebrated the World Hindi Day in Kathmandu. Jitendra Narayan Dev, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Nepal, presided over the event.
iv. Celebrations were done on World Hindi Day in various places like Telangana, Bangladesh, Mauritius etc.
Languages spoken by large number of native speakers in the world:
♦ Mandarin, Spanish, English and Hindi