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- Current Affairs 2017 January
8th Edition of Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit 2017 Concluded in Gandhinagar
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on a two day visit to Gujarat from January 9-10, 2017 to inaugurate the eighth edition of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit 2017 at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar, Gujarat on January 10, 2017.
ii. The theme of the three day Summit is “Vibrant Gujarat: Connecting India to the World”
iii. Narendra Modi inaugurated India’s first international exchange –India INX — at the International Financial Service Centre (IFSC) of GIFT City in Gandhinagar.
iv. Prime Minister inaugurated the Nobel Prize Series exhibition at Gujarat Science city near Ahmedabad on January 9, 2017 . This exhibition featured works of nine Nobel laureates from across the world who were invited by the Gujarat government to be a part of the Vibrant Summit.
v. As a part of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, the Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani addressed the ‘Make in Gujarat’ theme seminar on Trends and Innovation impacting the Textile Value Chain on January 12, 2017
The Gujarat government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) worth Rs 67,000 crore with the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL)
NITI Aayog calls for review of Right to Education Act
i. The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog has called for a review of the provisions of the Right To Education (RTE) Act that specifies that children who don’t perform well cannot be held back up to class VIII regardless of his performance.
ii. This means that a child is entitled to an eighth grade diploma even if he cannot recognise a single letter or a number if he has spent eight years in school.
iii. The move is aimed to minimise the drop-out rate. However, the negative impact of the decision will lower the learning process as it would take away the pressure to learn and to compete.
iv .The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2014 report, the proportion of children aged 6-14 years enrolled in school in rural areas has been above 96% for the past six years however more than 50% of the 5th graders cannot read second standard level text.
Fourth International Kite Festival begins in New Delhi
i. The three day International Kite Festival was inaugurated by Delhi Tourim Minister Kapil Mishra at Dwarka’s DDA Ground in New Delhi on January 14, 2017. The festival was organised by Delhi Tourism department
ii. Professional kite flying experts from Germany, Korea, the US, China, Thailand, Ukraine, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Netherlands and Malaysia participated and demonstrated their talent during the fourth Delhi International Kite Festival.
iii. Expert kite flyers from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Jaipur, Chennai, Kerala, Punjab and Delhi also displayed their skills in the kite festival.
India signs MoU with US to Aid Third World Countries
i. The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) of US and Development Partnership Administration (DPA) of the Ministry of External Affairs of India on January 13, 2017 have signed an MoU for collaboration in the fields of developmental activities and assist the third world countries.
ii .Under the MoU the two countries would collaborate on exchange of information and experience in issues pertaining to project development or implementation in partner countries.
iii. The agreement also includes providing advisory or technical assistance to third countries regarding sector policy reform, project and sector management, project implementation, and economic growth promotion strategies in relevant sectors.
iv. MCC is a US agency providing eligible countries with grants to fund country-led solutions for reducing poverty through sustainable economic growth.
v. DPA looks after implementation of India’s development cooperation programmes with partner countries.
Ken-Betwa River Linking Project Receives Green Signal from Panel
i. The Ken-Betwa River Linking Project received clearance from the green panel and Tribal Affairs Ministry on January 13, 2017.
ii. The ambitious Rs. 9,393 crore project aims to transfer surplus water from the Ken River to the Betwa basin through concrete canals to irrigate India’s worst drought-prone Bundelkhand region.
iii. The project will benefit Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in terms of meeting irrigation, drinking water and electricity needs of people across 6 districts in the two states.
iv. Under the project a dam will be constructed across river Ken in Chhatarpur district in Madhya Pradesh to irrigate 6.35 lakh hectares of land, serve drinking water purposes in Bundelkhand region and generate 78MW hydropower.
v. Of the 6.35 hectare land 3.69 lakh hectares of land falls in Madhya Pradesh to benefit districts Chattarpur, Tikamgarh and Panna while the remaining 2.65 lakh hectares of area falls Uttar Pradesh for districts Mahoba, Banda and Jhansi.
vi. The two powerhouses of would be 2×30 MW and 3×6 MW each, two tunnels of 1.9 km long upper level, 1.1 km long tunnel lower level and a 221 km long Ken-Betwa link canal, proposed on the left bank of the river.
Ecuador appointed new Chairman of UN Group of 77
i. Ecuador was on January 13, 2017 appointed as the new Chairman of the United Nations Group of 77 which promotes the interests of the 134 developing countries it represents at the United Nations, including China.
ii. The country took over from Thailand which focused on how to implement the 17 UN goals for 2030 to promote development and good governance, and preserve the environment.
iii. Thailand’s Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai handed over the chairmanship of the United Nations Group of 77 to Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa at Washington DC in the presence of the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres.
♦ Capital: Quito ♦ Capital: Bangkok
♦ Currency: United States Dollar ♦ Currency: Thai baht
♦ President: Rafael Correa ♦ King: Vajiralongkorn
India-Sri Lanka Signs MoU for constructing 3,000 Rain Water Harvesting Systems
i. India and Sri Lanka has signed an MoU on January 13, 2017 for the construction of 3000 rain water harvesting systems in northern Jaffna District of Sri Lanka at a cost of 30 crore Sri Lankan Rupees.
ii. The MoU was signed by Mr. Arindam Bagchi, Acting High Commissioner of India in the presence of Hon. A. H. M. Fowzie, State Minister of National Integration and Reconciliation.
iii. Besides the construction of the system, MoU also includes training of the households on operation and maintenance of the systems.
♦ Capitals: Colombo ♦ Prime minister: Ranil Wickremesinghe
♦ President: Maithripala Sirisena ♦ Currency: Sri Lankan rupee
Australia, Japan boost defense ties amid China’s growing military might
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull signed an upgraded defence agreement to boost cooperation between their militaries on January 14, 2017.
♦ Beside with this they also reaffirmed their support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement the 12-nation trade pact
Benefits of the Agreements :
i. The pact will allow their militaries to provide each other with logistical support during exercises.
ii. It will enhance their coordination on activity in the disputed South China Sea and the nuclear threat posed by North Korea
♦ Capital: Canberra
♦ Currency: Australian dollar
BANKING & FINANCE
SBI Signs $ 50 mn Pact with Oman’s SGRF
i. State Bank of India has signed a pact with the State General Reserve Fund of Oman (SGRF), a Sovereign Wealth Fund to infuse $50 million in private equity fund Oman India Joint Investment Fund (OIJIF) while the SGRF would infuse $150 million.
ii. The SBI aims at backing the private equity fund for its second offering (Fund II).
iii .This decision is driven by the performance in the first fund and capital requirement for mid-size companies in the country. The first fund of $100 million, has been fully invested across seven companies and has returned around 50 per cent of the capital invested.
♦ Capital: Muscat
♦ Currency: Omani rial
♦ Sultan: Qaboos bin Said al Said
Tax department, Japanese company sign advance pricing pact
The tax department signed a Bilateral Advance Pricing Agreement (BAPA) with Indian subsidiary of a Japanese trading company to include rollback provisions to reduce litigations by providing certainty in transfer pricing on January 13, 2017
Now the total number of BAPAs entered into by the CBDT is increased to 8.
i. BAPA is an important step towards ascertaining transfer pricing matters of multinational company cases and dispute resolution.
ii. Under BAPA, certainty in tax treatment is provided for the next five years while rollback provides dispute redressal for a maximum of four past years preceding APA years.
iii. It will strengthens the government’s mission of fostering a non-adversarial tax regime.
Advance pricing agreement(APA):
♦ An advance pricing agreement (APA) is an ahead-of-time agreement between a taxpayer and a tax authority on an appropriate transfer pricing methodology (TPM) for a set of transactions at issue over a fixed period of time.
♦ The concept of Advanced Pricing Agreement (APA) was introduced in India via the Finance Act 2012.
Spicejet signs $22-bn deal to buy 205 Boeing aircraft
i. India based Budget carrier SpiceJet and US based aircraft manufacturer Boeing has signed a deal worth $22 billion (Rs 150,000 crore) for the purchase of up to 205 aircraft on January 13, 2017.
ii. This is one of the largest orders ever made in the airline history. The agreement also provided a big boost for Boeing in India.
iii. The deal includes 100 new 737 Max 8 jets, builds upon an existing order for 55 aircraft.
♦ SpiceJet is a low-cost airline. It is the fourth largest airline in the country by number of passengers
♦ It is established as air taxi provider ModiLuft in 1994, the company was acquired by Indian entrepreneur Ajay Singh in 2004 and re-christened as SpiceJet.
♦ Headquarters: Gurgaon
♦ CEO: Ajay Singh
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Fred Ramsdell , Alexander Rudensky from US and Shimon Sakaguchi from Japanese Scientists Awarded 2017 Crafoord Prize
i. The 2017 Crafoord Prize has been conferred upon two American and one Japenese scientists for their fundamental discoveries in immune regulation.
ii. The awardees of the scientific prize include Japan’s Shimon Sakaguchi of Osaka University, Fred Ramsdell from the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy in San Francisco, and Alexander Rudensky of the New-York-based Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of America.
iii. They will share the six million Swedish krona, or $660,000, award.
iv. The researchers are being rewarded for their work on the discovery of regulatory T cells, which function as security guards for the immune system by curbing overzealous white blood cells that attack healthy cells in the body.
Darpan Basak & Ankit Kumar won the Young Travel Photographer Of The Year (TPOTY) award 2016
i. Darpan Basak(14) and Ankit Kumar(13)won the Young Travel Photographer of the year (TPOTY) in the Places and Experiences category.
ii. It is an annual award which was founded by photographers Chris and Karen Coe in 2003.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Ashish Shelar appointed as MCA president
i. Ashish Shelar has been appointed as Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) president.He is the succeedor of Sharad Pawar.
ii. Shelar is currently working as the Vice President of Mumbai Cricket Association from 17 June 2015.
iii. He is the president of Mumbai unit of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).
Cricket Stadium in Maharashtra :
Wankhede Stadium, Gymkhana Ground, Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium, New Vca Stadium, Nehru Stadium, Brabourne Stadium, Guru Gobind Singh Stadium, Dadaji Kondadev Stadium
ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS
Government to Disinvest 51% Stake in Pawan Hans Ltd
i. The government has decided to sell its entire 51% stake in Pawan Hans Ltd to a strategic buyer and transfer the management control of the helicopter service operator.
ii. For this, it has sought applications from reputed consulting firm, investment bankers, merchant bankers, financial institutions and banks on January 11, 2017 to provide advisory services and manage the strategic disinvestment process.
iii. The company is a joint venture where Government held 51% while state-owned ONGC Ltd. holds 49% stake.
iv. The government has budgeted for Rs 56,500 crore of revenue from disinvestment for 2016-17, including Rs 20,500 crore from strategic sales.
Pawan Hans Ltd
♦ Pawan Hans Limited is a Mini Ratna-I category PSU. It was incorporated with the primary objective of providing helicopter support services to the oil sector for offshore exploration operations, services in remote and hilly areas as well as for charter services.
♦ Pawan Hans currently has a fleet of 46 helicopters. The company reported a net profit of Rs 38.8 crore in FY15.
♦ Headquarter: Noida
♦ Founded: 1985
Study Finds that India was not Isolated Before Colliding Eurasia
i .As per a study published in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists from University of Bonn in Germany has found that there must have been a connection between the separated India, Europe and Asia about 54 million years ago.
ii. The researchers believed that India was largely isolated for at least 30 million years during its migration before it collided with the Eurasian plate.
iii. The finding was based on the study conducted using tiny midges (two-winged tiny flies) encased in amber. Certain midges that occurred in India at this time display great similarity to examples of a similar age from Europe and Asia
iv. Paleontologists investigated a total of 38 biting midges encased in amber and compared them with examples of a similar age from Europe and China.
v. The researchers assume that a chain of islands that existed at that time between India, Europe and Asia could have helped the biting midges to cross the oceans.
India Jumps at 129th Spot in FIFA Ranking
i. According to data released by the world football governing body FIFA on January 12, 2017, the Indian football team jumped six places up to 129th in January 2017 which is the best FIFA ranking in over a decade.
ii. It is India’s best ever ranking since December, 2005, when they were at the 127th spot. India won nine of 11 international matches since last one year.
iii. Indian team was placed at 135th position in December 2016 which was the six-year highest annual ranking since 2009.
iv. The top 3 positions remain unchanged with Argentina, Brazil and Germany holding first, second and third place respectively.
The Federation Internationale de Football Association is the international governing body of association football, futsal, and beach soccer.
♦ President: Gianni Infantino ♦ Motto: For the Game. For the World.
♦ Headquarters: Zürich, Switzerland ♦ Founded: 21 May 1904
Gujarat Wins Maiden Ranji Trophy Title Against Mumbai
i. Gujarat won its maiden Ranji Trophy title on January 14, 2017 by 5 wickets after beating Mumbai at the Holkar Stadium in Indore. Man of the Match: Parthiv Patel.
ii. Gujarat scored 47/0 on the final day to create history. This was the highest total run-chase in Ranji Trophy finals. Earlier, the highest was 310 by Hyderabad vs Nawanagar way back in 1937-38.
iii. With the win Gujarat became the 17th side in the history of domestic cricket to win the tournament.
iv. Mumbai, which has won the Ranji title 41 times in the past, ended up as the runner-up in the tournament for the fifth time. Earlier Mumbai had stood second in 1990-91 after losing to Haryana in the final match by 2 runs.
IOC Disqualifies Three Chinese Weightlifters Olympic Title for Doping
i. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has taken away the Olympic gold medals from three Chinese women weightlifters for doping at 2008 Beijing Games. This bans China from International Championship for one year.
ii. They three weightlifters were Cao Lei in the 75-kilogram class; Chen Xiexia at 48kg; and Liu Chunhonog at 69kg. All the three Chinese weightlifters tested positive for the banned growth hormone GHRP—2. Liu also tested positive for sibutramine.
iii. Besides, the IOC also disqualified five more athletes from both the Beijing and London 2012 Olympics, including Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus, who took a bronze medal in women’s shot put competition in Beijing Olympics, whose sample was positive for anabolic steroids.
iv. Ostapchuk previously lost her gold medal and Olympic title from the 2012 London Games in a separate doping case.
International Olympic Committee (IOC)
♦ The International Olympic Committee is the supreme authority of the worldwide Olympic movement.
♦ Formation: 23 June 1894
♦ Headquarters: Lausanne, Switzerland
♦ President: Thomas Bach
Renowned Political And Social Activist Mangal Negi Dies At 86
i. Noted political and social activist and president of All India Tribes and Minorities Front Mangal Singh Negi passed away in Chandigarh on January 10, 2017 at the age of 86.
ii. He was born in tribal Kinnaur district in Himachal Pradesh and later settled in Shimla.
iii. He was one of the first civil servants from the tribal region of Himachal Pradesh and served on various senior positions in the governments of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir and at the Centre.
Former Chief Minister of Punjab Surjit Singh Barnala Dies at 91
i. Former Chief Minister of Punjab, Surjit Singh Barnala passed away on January 14, 2017 at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh. He was 91.
ii. Barnala served as the Chief Minister of Punjab from 1985 to 1987.
iii. He had also served as the governor of Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and the Andaman and Nicobar islands.
Former Minister of Maharashtra Chandrakant Chhajed passes away
i. Senior Congress leader and former Maharashtra minister Chandrakant Chhajed passed away in Pune, Maharashtra on January 13, 2017.He was 67.
ii. Chandrakant was a former Minister of State for Tourism in 2003
iii. He served the party as a state unit general secretary and co-ordinator of the Congress Legislature Party till the last.