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Current Affairs Today – January 17 2016

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Current Affairs Today 17 January 2016


World’s largest Tricolour to be hoisted in Ranchi

Jharkhand is all set to beat a record held by a flag in Faridabad, Haryana in March 2015 by getting the world’s largest Tricolour flying atop the country’s tallest flagpole at the Pahari temple in Ranchi.

  • The flag measuring 99 by 66 feet will be hoisted at a height of 293 feet.
  • For one week, the Tricolour will be up for a “trial run”.

President launches countrywide Pulse Polio Programme for 2016

President launches countrywide Pulse Polio Programme for 2016

The President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee launched the Pulse Polio programme for 2016 by administering polio drops to children less than five years old, at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

  • Around 4 crore children of less than five years across the country will be given polio drops as part of the drive of Government of India to sustain polio eradication from the country.

Government of India has introduced the injectable Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) into its routine immunization program along with oral polio vaccine from 30 November 2015.

  • In the first phase IPV has been introduced in six States – Assam, Gujarat, Punjab, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

Union government released draft for the right of transgender person bill, 2015

The right of the transgender person bill, 2015 was released in the 2nd week of January 2016 by the union government for the overall development and the welfare of the transgender persons over the whole country.

Highlights of transgender person bill, 2015 :

  • Transgender person should be proclaim as the third gender and have choice to identify themselves as either man or woman.
  • The state level authority of the respective state and authority should issue the certificate for the identification of the transgender persons. This certificate is acceptable to all the authority for the identification of the person for the official use like birth certificate, ration card, aadhaar card etc.
  • In accordance to this bill the Government starts necessary schemes and programmes like –Scholarships to transgender students, Pension to Transgender Persons subject to criteria as may be approved, financial help to the parents of Transgender children for empowerment of this community and to enable them to live independently in the community


UN demoted India GDP forecast for 2016 to 7.5%

Due to the slow progress in execution of reform policies, United Nations has reduced its GDP growth forecast for India for 2016 to 7.5% from 8.2%.

  • According to a report by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the potential for even higher economic growth in some other major economies in the region has been held back due to slow progress in implementing reform policies.
  • As per ESCAP economists, China’s growth also downgraded to 6.5% in 2016 from 6.8% estimated earlier.


World Development Report 2016 dubbed “Digital Dividends” released

Washington D.C. headquartered World Bank released its annual World Development Report (WDR) titled “Digital Dividends” with a focal point on the impact of the Internet, mobile phones and communication technologies (ICTs) on economic development.

  • The 350 plus page report by a 15 member team led by co-directors, Deepak Mishra and Uwe Deichmann took two years for completion.
  • The WDR 2016 is an answer to two questions: why should we focus on promoting digital technologies and how to achieve the digital dividends.

The report noted that the internet, mobile phones and other digital technologies are accelerating its speed throughout the developing world but digital dividends of higher growth, more jobs and better public services have fallen short of expectations.

Banks to issue 2nd tranche of gold bond scheme

The banks will “shortly” issue the second tranche of sovereign gold bonds. Reserve Bank had launched the first tranche of gold bond scheme in November. The subscription was for 915.95 kg amounting to Rs. 246 crore.

  • The Reserve Bank has fixed the public issue price at 2,600 per gram for the sovereign gold bonds.
  • The scheme is aimed at reducing the demand for gold in physical form by encouraging people to buy the commodity in demat or paper form.
  • The Gold Bond scheme will have an annual cap of 500 grams per person and such bonds would be issued for a period of five to seven years.

The gold bonds are issued in denominations of 5 grams, 10 grams, 50 grams and 100 grams for a term of five years to seven years with a rate of interest to be calculated on the value of the metal at the time of investment.

World Bank to be anchor investor in Rail Development Fund

Union Minister Suresh Prabhu has announced that World Bank would be the anchor investor in the new Railway Development Fund, which would be used to fund modernization of Indian railways.

  • It would be the largest ever provided by the World Bank to the Indian Railways.

Suresh Prabhu is in Washington DC to attend a World Bank meeting on transportation. During his meeting with US Transportation Secretary Anthony Renard Foxx the two leaders decided to create an umbrella agreement with the Department of Transportation about transportation sector in general.

  • Globally railways get 30-40% of their income from non-railway operations. In India it is not even 2%.

World Bank to extend $20 million for reconstructing Visakhapatnam’s IGZP

The World Bank is extending an assistance of USD 20 million to help reconstruct the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park (IGZP), which got devastated during cyclone Hudhud.

  • This is part of the USD 370 million Andhra Pradesh Disaster Recovery Project for which the bank is extending assistance of USD 250 million from 2015-2020.

The Vizag zoo situated on the northern limit of the Visakhapatnam houses 170 different species of animals on its 250-hectare campus. According to the Andhra Pradesh government, Hudhud affected about 9.2 million people in over 7,285 villages in 4 coastal districts of the state.

  • This unique one-of-its-kind push by the World Bank where it is providing assistance to an Indian zoo will add value to the 100 “Smart City” initiatives.


Flipkart, M&M in tie-up for online bookings of KUV100

Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd has entered into an arrangement with Flipkart for online booking of Mahindra KUV100.This is the first time that Mahindra has developed a petrol engine on its own. KUV100 will compete with Maruti’s Swift and DZire and Hyundai’s i10 Grand.

  • The base model of the petrol KUV100 is priced at Rs 4.42 lakh (EX showroom Pune) while the top end is priced at Rs 5.91 lakh ( EX showroom Pune).
  • As part of this tie up both Flipkart and Mahindra have assured in-a-month delivery to customers.Last month Flipkart had introduced Automobiles as a category with an objective to change the way vehicles are purchased in India.

Key points:

  • Flipkart CEO: Binny Bansal
  • M&M CEO: Anand Mahindra

FIPB clears 5 FDI proposals worth Rs 6,050 cr, Cadila gets nod      

The Government approved five foreign investment proposals involving an inflow of Rs. 6,050 crore, including a Rs. 5,000-crore plan of Cadila Healthcare for fresh equity infusion.

Accepted Proposals:

  • Cadila will infuse equity of up to Rs. 5,000 crore through issue of shares to QIBs through Qualified Institutional Placement for expansion.
  • Recipharm Participation BV, Pharma firm’s proposal ,Buimerc Core Investments Pvt ,Health Media Publishing Pvt Ltd

Rejected proposals:Nigeria’s Mokeme Chiwetal Izuchukwu and Lanarth Developers Pvt Ltd.

Economic Affairs Secretary: Shaktikanta Das.

About FIPB:

The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) is a national agency of Government of India, with the remit to consider and recommend foreign direct investment (FDI) which does not come under the automatic route. It provides a single window clearance for proposals on FDI in India.

HPCL gets green nod for Rs 18,400 cr Vizag refinery expansion

State-run HPCL has received the environmental clearance to expand its refinery at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh from 8.33 million tonne per annum to 15.0 MTPA. 

  • The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC), under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, in its meeting held last month cleared the Rs 18,400 crore expansion plan which was earlier rejected in 2013, citing moratorium on industrial expansion in some of parts of Visakhapatnam.
  • HPCL has two refineries, located in Mumbai (West coast) and Visakhapatnam (East coast), with capacities of 7.5 MMTPA and 8.3 MMTPA, respectively.

About HPCL:

Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) is an Indian state-owned oil and natural gas company with its headquarters at Mumbai, Maharashtra and with Navratna status. HPCL has been ranked 260th in the Fortune Global 500 rankings of the world’s biggest corporations (2013) and 4th among India’s Companies for the year 2012.

Chairman & MD : Nishi Vasudeva


2016 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature conferred upon Anuradha Roy

The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2016 has been conferred upon Anuradha Roy for her novel Sleeping on Jupiter at the Fairway Galle Literary Festival in Sri Lanka.

  • Her novel sleeping on Jupiter, deals with violence against women with story revolving around girl named Nomi and is set in Jarmuli, a city of temples.
  • US $50,000 DSC Prize and a trophy has been presented by Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to Anuradha Roy.
  • The jury panel was headed by journalist and writer Mark Tully.

61st Britannia Filmfare Awards 2015

The 61st Britannia Filmfare Awards 2015 were recently held to honor the best films of 2015 from the Hindi-language film industry in Mumbai.

Dr Jancy James selected for Prof MV Pylee Award

Dr Jancy James, the first woman Vice Chancellor of Kerala selected for the Prof MV Pylee Award for the Distinguished Academician of India.

  • The award is given for excellence in teaching and research and contribution to academic community. It carries an amount of 1 lakh rupees and a citation.

About Dr Jancy James:

  • She is an established author, literary critic, researcher and translator.
  • She is the former Vice Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University and founder Vice Chancellor of Central University of Kerala.
  • She served as member of Kendra Sahitya Akademi and as the National President of the Comparative Literature Association of India.
  • She is a post-doctoral Commonwealth Fellow in University of Warwick, UK.

About Prof MV Pylee Award: The award was instituted by Cochin University of Science and Technology in the name of MV Pylee. He is an Indian scholar, educationist and management guru and widely regarded as the father of management education in Kerala.

Easterine Kire wins The Hindu Prize, 2015

Easterine Kire wins The Hindu Prize, 2015Easterine Kire, poet, novelist and children’s writer from Nagaland, won The Hindu Prize, 2015, for her novel When the River Sleeps, a book about a lone hunter seeking a faraway river, to take from it a stone that will give him untold powers.

  • Kire was one of the six authors shortlisted from nearly 60 entries for the sixth edition of the prize.

The award consists of a citation and a cash prize of Rs. 5 lakh. It was given away by author Alexander McCall Smith at Lit for Life event organised by The Hindu at Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall, Chetpet, Chennai.

The Look of Silence won award at 9th Annual Cinema Eye Honours

Director Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Look of Silence“, based on the examination of the Indonesian genocide of the 1960s has won the Top Documentary Award at the 9th Annual Cinema Eye Honours.

  • Chris King won his third Cinema Eye editing award for “Amy“, making him the first person to win three awards in the same category.

Other Awards :

  • Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin mountain-climbing film “Meru” won The latter award was shared with “Cartel Land” cinematographers Matthew Heineman and Matt Porwoll.
  • Graphic Design Award: Stefan Nadelman and Hisko Hulsing for for “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck”
  • Outstanding Debut Award: Crystal Moselle for “The Wolfpack”
  • Short Film Award: “Hotel 22” by Elizabeth Lo and “Buffalo Juggalos” by Scott Cummings


Tsai Ing-wen chaired as the Taiwan’s first Female President

Taiwan has elected its first female president in a landmark election that could unsettle relations with Beijing. Tsai Ing-wen defeated Eric Chu, the Nationalist Party’s Presidential candidate for Taiwan’s presidential election.

  • She will succeed Ma Ying – jeou as President of Taiwan.
  • Tsai Ing-wen, leader of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), won the presidency with 1% of the vote after eight years under the government of the pro-China Kuomintang (KMT) or Nationalist Party.
  • The election also marked the first time the KMT has lost control of the island’s legislature. The DPP took 68 of the 113 seats in Taiwan’s parliament.

HSBC appoints Ravi Menon as CEO of Indian asset mgmt arm

HSBC has appointed Ravi Menon as the chief executive of its asset management arm in the country, after the elevation of Puneet Chaddha as business head for South East Asia.Menon’s appointment is effective from February 1

About Ravi Menon :
Menon joined the group in 1998.Currently serves as the head of strategy and planning for HSBC India and was appointed as a director on the board of HSBC Asset Management India last year.

About HSBC:

HSBC Bank plc is one of the largest banking and financial services organisations in the world. HSBC’s international network comprises around 7,500 offices in over 80 countries.

  • HSBC HQ: London, UK
  • HSBC CEO: Alan Keir


China to land probe on dark side of moon in 2018

China has begun preparations for a new lunar mission in 2018 when it plans to send a probe to the dark side of the moon not explored by humans so far, in a bid to create a new landmark in space exploration.

  • The Chang’e-4 probe will be the first mission in human history to embark on this expedition under China’s State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND).


  • China plans to launch its Chang’e-5 lunar probe to finish the last chapter in China’s three-step (orbiting, landing and return) moon exploration programme.By 2022, China also plans set up its own space station rival to Russia’s space station Mir that is jointly operated with the U.S.
  • Mangalyaan stole a march over China in 2015, making India the first Asian country to orbit the red planet.
  • The U.S. has sent more than 20 spacecraft to Mars since 1964, among which several probes have landed on the surface of the red planet.


Virat Kohli breaks De Villiers’ record to reach 7000 ODI runs

Virat Kohli breaks De Villiers' record to reach 7000 ODI runs

Indian batsman Virat Kohli broke AB de Villier’s record to become the fastest batsman to reach 7000 runs in One Day Internationals.

  • Kohli made history during India’s third ODI against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
  • Kohli also registered his 24th ODI century on the day, thus becomes the quickest batsman in the world to reach the milestone.

The 27-year-old smashed six boundaries and a six to reach the record during the third ODI, Few days back, Virat Kohli will be presented with Polly Umrigar Award for BCCI cricketer of the year.


Veteran journalist Gopal Krishna Roy dead

Veteran journalist Gopal Krishna Roy dead

Veteran journalist Gopal Krishna Roy passed away at the age of 82.

About Gopal Krishna Roy:

  • Roy worked with news agency UNI for several years.
  • Roy was known for his proximity to late legendary actress Suchitra Sen and journalists would often fall back on him for information about her as she had lived in seclusion since her last film in 1978.
  • Roy had also written a biographical book on Sen named “Suchitra-r kotha“.