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Current Affairs Today – January 17 2017

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INDIAN AFFAIRS

Akhilesh Yadav Gets Right over Party’s Symbol “Cycle”
i. The Election Commission (EC) on January 16, 2017 gave its decision that Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadavof Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh Yadav would be the owner of the Samajwadi Party Symbol “Cycle” and also acknowledged him as the national President of the party.
ii. The three-member EC committee headed by Nasim Zaidi and comprising of other two judges, O.P. Rawat and A.K. Jyoti gave the decision after the founder of the party Mulayam Singh Yadav approached EC as President of the party and claimed to be entitled for the symbol.
iii. The assembly election process will begin from January 17, 2017. The state will have seven-phase polling from February 11 to March 8.

Timothy Gonsalves Committee Suggests 20 Percent Reservation for Girl Students in IITs
i. A committee formed by the IIT Joint Admission Board (JAB) has recently given its suggestion to create 20 percent reservation seats for the girl students in IITs out of the total number of seats available.
ii. The committee headed by professor Timothy Gonsalves recommended the supernumerary seats to address the issue falling number of female students entering the institute.
iii. However, the recommendation of the committee will get the final approval after the decision of the Joint Admission Board (JAB) who will decide whether the reservation will come in effect from 2017 or 2018.
iv. The decision will not affect the number of seats available for male candidates and only those candidates who have already qualified in JEE-Advanced will be considered. The decision will enable IITs to achieve the 1 lakh target by 2020.

Petroleum Conservation Campaign ‘Saksham 2017’ Inaugurated in Nagaland
i. The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MOP & NG) inaugurated one month long oil and gas conservation campaign “Saksham-2017” at a function in Unity College, Dimapur in Nagaland on January 16, 2017.
ii. The mass awareness campaign was inaugurated by chief guest Ramongo Lotha, secretary Food and Civil Supplies. The campaign would be conducted from January 16 to February 15, 2017.
iii. The main aim of such campaign is to spread the awareness on fuel conservation so as to minimize the wastage of petroleum products as the demand for it remains high.
iv. The Oil Companies in the State would organize a number of events such as cycle rally, seminars and workshops for drivers and workers in motor workshops, quiz for students, motor rally etc. to spread awareness about the need to conserve fuel.
v. India is the Third largest global consumer of petroleum and imports 80 percent of the crude oil to meet the demand.
vi. The mass awareness campaign on oil and gas conservation is conducted every year by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MOP & NG across the country on January 16.

India & Mauritius Sign MoU for Cooperation in the field of Cooperatives
India and Mauritius signed an Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) for cooperation in the field of cooperatives and related areas on January 16, 2017
♦ The agreement was signed between Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, and the Indian Ocean island country’s Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives Minister Soomilduth Bholah.
Aim of the MoU :
i. To enable the two countries to collaborate in this vital sector and can significantly benefit thousands of Mauritians.India & Mauritius
ii. To exchange its expertise and technology  in agro industry, fisheries and dairy sector.
Mauritius :
♦ Capital: Port Louis
♦ Currency: Mauritian rupee
♦ President: Ameenah Gurib
♦ Prime minister: Anerood Jugnauth

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

India Ranks 60th in Inclusive Development Index 2017
i. India has been ranked at 60th position among 79 developing economies with a score of only 3.38 in the Inclusive Development Index (IDI) of the World Economic Forum (WEF).
ii. WEF released its ‘Inclusive Growth and Development Report 2017’ on January 16, 2017 in Davos, Switzerland. The list has been topped by Lithuania among the 79 developing countries.
Top 5 developing economies in IDI

1 Lithuania
2 Azerbaijan
3 Hungary
4 Poland
5 Romania

BANKING & FINANCE

Study by Oxfam Shows Richest 1% in India Holds 58% of Total Wealth
i. As per a report titled ‘An economy for the 99 per cent’ released by rights group Oxfam on January 16, 2017, the richest 1 percent of the population in India holds 58 percent of the country’s total wealth which is higher than the global figure of 50 percent.
ii. The report found that since 2015, the richest 1 percent population in India has continued to own more wealth than the rest of the countries.
iii. Besides, it also discovered that 57 billionaires in India having collective wealth of USD 216 billion was equal to the wealth that lowest 70 percent population held. However, when taken globally only 8 billionaires have the same amount of wealth as the poorest 50 percent of the world population.
iv. The study stated that India has 84 billionaires with a collective wealth of USD 248 billion. The total Indian wealth in the country was calculated at USD 3.1 trillion. Top 3 billionaires comprised of Mukesh Ambani (USD 19.3 billion), Dilip Shanghvi (USD 16.7 billion) and Azim Premji (USD 15 billion).

IMF Lowers India’s GDP Growth Rate to 6.6% from 7.6% for FY17
i. According to the World Economic Outlook report, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on January 16, 2017 has lowered the India’s GDP growth rate for the current fiscal year by one point to 6.6 percent from its previous estimate of 7.6 percent due to the effect of demonetization on consumption and expenditure.
ii. IMF also cut India’s GDP forecast for 2017-18 by 0.4 points to 7.2 percent as against previous forecast of 7.6 percent. For the year 2018-19, the projected growth rate remained unchanged at 7.7 percent.
iii. Besides, IMF estimated the growth rate of China at 6.7 percent for 2016-17, 6.5 percent for 2017-18 and 6 percent for 2018-19.
iv. The global growth for 2016 was estimated at 3.1 percent that remained unchanged from previous forecast while for 2017 the global forecast is estimated at 3.4 percent for advanced and 3.6 percent for developing economies.
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
♦ Headquarters: Washington, D.C.
♦ CEO: Christine Lagarde
♦ Founded: 27 December 1945

Yes Bank Launches Business Accelerator Program Yes Fintech
i. Private sector lender YES BANK in collaboration with T-Hub, Anthill and Lets Talk Payments launched a unique business accelerator program “YES FINTECH” to provide start-ups a platform for creating sustainable and market ready products as well as provide innovative banking solutions to the customers.
ii. YES FINTECH has invited start-ups applications from across the global community, till FintechFebruary 3, 2017 on its website www.yesfintech.com. It would select top 12 start-ups for 15 week dual destination program to be held in Mumbai and Hyderabad.
iii. The 15-week programme would be conducted in four phases with three weeks of on-site interventions and 11 weeks off-site interventions. Each stage will be focussed on creating a market-ready product and a sustainable business model.
iv. The focus areas will be payments, forex & treasury, capital markets, lending, trade finance, customer value added services, government risk & compliance, and enterprise software.
v. T-Hub is India’s fastest growing start-up engine specialized in innovation, scale and deal flow. Anthill and LetsTalkPayments are global platform for financial technology (Fintech).

Yes Bank Launches India’s First Customisable Savings Account
i. YES Bank has launched a first of its kind unique Customizable Savings Account to enable the customers to design an account as per their convenience.
ii. Mumbai based bank has become the first bank in India to launch such type of account that enables the customer to choose various features of a savings accounts that suits one’s own lifestyle.
iii. The Customizable Savings Account will also protect the customer from unwarranted charges by eliminating unnecessary account features.
iv. Customers can choose options like debit cards, alternatives to minimum balance requirements, and banking benefits such as ATM usage, digital banking products, branch banking and family grouping.
YES BANK
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai
♦ Founded: 2004
♦ CEO: Rana Kapoor

RBI Hikes Cash Withdrawal Limit from ATMs to Rs. 10,000 per Day
i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) from January 16, 2017 has increased the limit of cash withdrawal from ATMs to Rs 10,000 per day from the current Rs 4,500 with immediate effect.
ii. However the bank made no changes to the weekly withdrawal limits which is Rs 24,000.
iii. Besides, the total limit to withdraw from current accounts has also been increased to Rs 1,00,000 per week from the current limit of Rs 50,000 per week which will also be applicable on the overdraft and cash credit accounts.
Reserve Bank of India (RBI)
♦ Headquarter: Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Founded: April 1, 1935
♦ Governor: Urjit R Patel

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Kolkata’s Sitalpati Gets place in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage
i. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has registered Sitalpati or cool mat from the Cooch Behar district, West Bengal as an Sitlapati“intangible cultural heritage”.
ii. The Sitalpati are the mats that are used for siting or hanging on the doors or windows during summer season. They are made up of weaved green cane slips of murta plants widely found in the region.
iii. The traditional weaving culture of the reagion was facing gradual decline, as a result it was placed in a project by UNESCO “Rural Craft Hub project”.
iv. The project envisages setting up of training, marketing centres and museums in 10 locations across nine districts of the state to help in promoting and marketing crafts famous in the regions to national and international tourists.

British Poet Jacob Polley wins 2016 TS Eliot Prize for Jackself
i. Jacob Polley, a British Poet was Conferred with the 2016 T.S. Eliot prize for poetry at a ceremony at the Wallace Collection gallery in London on January 16, 2017 for his poetry collection “Jackself”.
ii. Jackself is his fourth collection that consists of various poems that is inspired from his childhood in Cumbria, England. Polley is the 23rd winner of the award and received £20,000 ($24,000) prize money.
iii. The selection panel called the book as a “firework of a book”. It was chosen from 10 competeting books.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Researchers identifies Silicon as Undiscovered Element of Earth’s Core
i. Researchers from Tohoku University in Japan have claimed that they have discovered the unidentified element that formed the 5 percent of earth’s core after Iron and Nickel leading to new ways for better understanding of earths formation.
ii. According to the researchers, earth’s core is composed of 85 percent Iron, 10 percent Nickel and the rest 5 percent was composed of Silicon.
iii. To study the missing element, the researchers created a very high temperatures and pressures as found in the deep interior of the Earth.
iv. They then created alloys of iron and nickel and mixed them with silicon and subjected them to the immense pressures and temperatures that exist in the inner core. They discovered that the mixture matched with the Earth’s interior with seismic data.

BSNL launches mobile TV service Ditto TV
i. Indian state-owned telecommunications company Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has launched mobile TV service ‘Ditto TV‘ and ‘Limited Fixed Mobile Telephony’ in New Delhi on January 16, 2017.
ii. Ditto TV is a mobile TV service wherein subscriber can view live TV for 80 plus channels with 7 days back-up facility .
iii. The service also comes with various additional features i.e. single sign-in across multiple devices, persistent play back, interactive search, electronic program guide, easy channel switching for Live TV, intuitive user interface consistent across all devices, social login.
iv. Limited Fixed Mobile Telephone is facility of fixed telephone number with O/G and I/C calls on smart mobile devices such as smart phones with Wi-Fi facility.

Lightest Watch of the World made Using Graphene Launched
i. The world’s ultralight high-performance mechanical watch RM 50-03 was inaugurated on January 16, 2017 at the 27th edition of the Salon International De La Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva.
ii. The watch made up of graphene composite has been developed by the University ofLightest Watch of the World made Using Graphene Launched Manchester, UK in collaboration with the watchmaking brand Richard Mille and McLaren F1. The overall weight of the ultralight watch is 40 grams only and is extremely durable.
iii. The RM 50-03 watch was made using a unique composite incorporating graphene to manufacture a strong but lightweight new case to house the delicate watch mechanism.
iv. The graphene composite “Graph TPT” is very light weight as compared to previous materials used in watchmaking.
v. Besides the watch, the strap of the new watch has also been improved with the addition of graphene material. Grapheme was also injected into the rubber of the strap to improve its mechanical properties and its wear and tear properties.
Graphene
♦ Graphene is the world’s thinnest and lightweight material having the potential to enhance the quality of composites. Scientists and researchers have named it “a miracle material”.
♦ The presence of graphene can enhance the conductivity and strength of bulk materials and create composites that are conductive and resistant to heat and pressure.

SPORTS

Indian Women Boxing Team Placed Third Wins Six Medals At Nations Cup In Serbia
i. The Indian Women’s boxing team coached by Gurbax Singh Sandhu was placed third at the 6th Nations Cup held in Vrbas, Serbia on January 15, 2017. India won total six medals comprising of one gold, four silver and one bronze.
ii. Kazakhstan won the tournament at first spot followed by Russia at second in the elite category.
iii .The gold medal was clinched by national champion Neeraj (51 kg) of Haryana by defeating Jaina Shekerbekova of Kazakhstan.
iv. Similarly, Sarjubala Devi (48 Kg), Priyanka Chowdhary(60kg), Pooja(69 Kg) and Seema Indian Women Boxing Team Placed Third Wins Six Medals At Nations Cup In SerbiaPoonia (+81 kg) won silver. The bronze medal was won by former Asian Games bronze-medallist Kavita Goyat.
Serbia:
♦ Capital: Belgrade
♦ Currency: Serbian dinar
♦ Prime minister: Aleksandar Vučić

2017 Vodafone Premier Badminton League won by chennai smashers
i. Chennai Smashers won the Premier Badminton League season 2 title after defeating Mumbai Rockets 4-3 in the final match held at Siri Fort Complex in New Delhi.
ii. It consists of 15 league ties, both the teams winning two matches each.
iii. The final match was held between India’s Ajay Jayaram of Mumbai and Thailand’s Tanongsak S.

Mercedes sign Valtteri Bottas to replace F1 champion Nico Rosberg
i. Mercedes named the new teammate Valtteri Bottas who replaced  Formula One world champion Nico Rosberg on January 17, 2017
ii. Bottas signed one year contract with Mercedes for the 2017 campaign and Rosberg will stay on with Mercedes in an ambassadorial role.
iii. Felipe Massa has been persuaded to extend his career by one more season to replace the Finn.

Tajikistan’s Amonatov Wins Delhi International Chess Tournament
i. Tajikistan’s chess player Grandmaster (GM) Farrukh Amonatov won the 15th Parsvnath Delhi International Chess tournament on January 16, 2017.
ii. The player scored 8.5 points out of 10 to win after a draw with the Indian counterpart AmonatovGM Diptayan Ghosh in the 10th and final round who scored 8 to be placed at second position.
iii .Dzhumaev Marat of Uzbekistan also scored 8 points at second spot but due to better tie breaker Diptayan Ghosh was declared runner-up
iv. Amonatov was awarded by Rs. 4 lakh, Diptayan received Rs. 3 lakh and Dzhumaev got Rs. 2 lakh prize money.

OBITUARY

Renowned Actress Gita Sen Passes Away
i. Veteran actress Gita Sen who was the wife of renowned filmmaker Mrinal Sen passed away on January 16, 2017 in Kolkata of cerebral hemorrhage. She was 86.
ii. He is known for her excellent work in films like “Chorus”, “Calcutta 71”, “Kharij”, “Akaler Sandhane”, “Ekdin Pratidin” and “Khandahar”.

Eugene Cernan, the Last Human on the Moon Passed Away at 82
i. The commander of Apollo 17 and the last man who walk on the moon, Astronaut Eugene Cernan, the Last Human on the Moon Passed Away at 82Eugene Cernan has passed away in Washington D.C, USA. He was 82.
ii. Cernan was flied to space three times and to moon twice.He was one of 14 astronauts selected by NASA in October 1963. He piloted the Gemini 9 mission with Commander Thomas P. Stafford.
iii. He ended his historic space exploration career as commander of the last human mission to the moon in December 1972

Former C’garh minister Tarun Prasad Chatterjee no more
i. Senior Congress leader and former state minister of  Chhattisgarh, Tarun Prasad Chatterjee passed away in Raipur,Chhattisgarh on January 17, 2017. He was 68.
ii. Tarun was elected as member of Legislative Assembly for the first time from Raipur rural constituency in 1980, 1990, 1993 and 1998
iii. He was the Public Works Department (PWD) minister between 2002 and 2003 during the Ajit Jogi-led Congress government in Chhattisgarh.
iv. He was the general secretary of Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee from 2003 to 2013

IMPORTANT DAYS

MGR’s birth centenary was celebrated on January 17, 2017
i. Tamil Nadu government celebrate the birth centenary of Former CM of Tamil Nadu, M G Ramachandran on January 17, 2017MGR
ii. AIADMK General Secretary V K Sasikala and CM O Panneerselvam were organised the birth centenary celebrations in Chennai.Sasikala gave away welfare assistance to many persons.
iii. T Murthy, Director General of Postal Services, India Post released the special postage stamp as a part of this celebration
About MGR :
♦ MGR is a legendary hero in Tamil cinema. He is well Known for his flamboyant acting and songs preaching values and virtues.
♦ He was the AIADMK founder and he has served as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu between 1977 and 1987.