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- Current Affairs 2017 January
PM Modi Inaugurates Second Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi
i. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the second edition of Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi on January 17, 2017. The conference has been organized by the Ministry of External Affairs and Delhi based prestigious think tank Observer Research Foundation.
ii. The theme of the three day conference is “The New Normal: Multilateralism in a multipolar world”.
iii. More than 250 participants from 65 countries attended the flagship geo-political conference.
iv. PM Modi highlighted that India’s economic development is deeply impacted by the developments in the world and vice-versa. World needs India’s sustained rise as much as India needs world’s rise. India’s economic and political rise represents a regional and global opportunity of great significance.
58th India International Garment Fair Begins in New Delhi
i. The 58th edition of India International Garment Fair (IIGF) was inaugurated by the Union Textiles Minister Smriti Zubin Irani on January 18, 2017 in New Delhi. The three day long fair has been organized by Apparel Export Promotion Council India.
ii. The events is Asia’s largest apparel Fair providing a platform for the overseas buyers to source garments products and develop business relationships with India in the apparel and fashion accessories sector.
iii. The Fair will witness a total of 312 participants from 14 states including Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Gujarat and Karnataka.
iv. The sellers would showcase products ranging from women’s wear, accessories, kids wear and menswear. Besides, the event will also have theme pavilion and best display awards and fashion shows.
About India International Garment Fair (IIGF)
♦ The India International Garment Fair was started in 1988. The objective of the event is to showcase the latest trends in garment and fashion accessories and to leverage brand India across the globe.
10th Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) Begins in Jaipur
i. The 10th edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) was inaugurated on January 19, 2017 at the historic Diggi Palace, Jaipur, Rajasthan jointly by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, veteran lyricist Gulzar, American poet Anne Waldman and spiritual writer Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev.
ii. The theme of the 10th edition of JLF is The Freedom to Dream: India at 70. JLF is considered as the ‘Greatest Literary Show on Earth’
iii. The five day event would see the participation by over 250 authors, thinkers, politicians, popular culture icons, speakers, connoisseurs, book lovers among others.
J&K Assembly Unanimously Passes Resolution for Return of Kashmiri Migrants to Valley
i. The Jammu & Kashmir Assembly unanimously passed a resolution on January 19, 2017 for the return of Kashmiri Pandits and other migrants to the Valley.
ii. Hundreds of Kashmiri Pandit families had left the Valley when militancy broke out in 1989.
iii. Former Chief Minister and National Conference (NC) working president Omar Abdullah had proposed to J&K government to move a resolution to favour the return of all sections of people who have migrated in the last 27 years.
iv. The assembly agreed upon creation of good conducive atmosphere for the safe return of the Kashmiri migrants to the valley
Karnataka allows sale of white kerosene in open market
i. Karnataka government lead by Siddaramaiah , has decided to allow the sale of white kerosene in open market. An official order was issued by State Food and Civil Supplies Minister UT Khader on January 18, 2017
ii. The dealers who have interest in selling white kerosene in open market can approach the office of the Food and Civil Supplies in their districts.
Entrepreneurship Development Scheme inaugurated in Mizoram
The Entrepreneurship Development Scheme (EDS) was launched under the New Economic Development Policy (NEDP) by Lalmalsawma in Mizoram, Mizoram Chief Secretary on January 19, 2017.
♦ The State government has allocated Rs.2 Crore for New Economic Development Policy (NEDP)
Benefits of EDS :
i. EDS would be instrumental in the state government’s efforts to achieve market economy from subsistence economy.
ii. It could be instrumental in implementation of 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations with minimum harm to the environment.
♦ Under British rule, Mizoram was a part of Assam Province under the name Lushai Hills district and Aizawl was its headquarters.
♦ Mizoram is landlockd with three other states – Assam in north, Manipur in northeast and Tripura in southwest. Mizoram shares international borders with two countries Myanmar in east and Bangladesh in west.
Indian Railways Unveils ‘Mission 41K’ to Save Energy Worth Rs 41,000 crore
i. The Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu launched ‘Mission 41K’ on January 17, 2017 to revamp the existing railway system.
ii. The mission aims to save the Indian Railways’ expenditure of Rs 41,000 crore on energy consumption over the next 10 years.
iii. To achieve this target, the railway has planned a series of measures that includes: switching over 90 percent of traffic to electric traction from diesel, procure electricity at cheaper rates through open market instead of sourcing it through DISCOMs. This would save about 25 percent of energy expenses.
iv. Besides, the railway is exploring new technologies to bring down electric consumption. The railways have already set a target of generating 1000 MW of solar power and 200 MW of wind energy in the last Budget.
Govt inks MoU to set up 1,000 ‘Janaushadhi Kendras’
i. The Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI) has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Yuva Cooperative Society to set up 1,000 ‘Janaushadhi Kendras‘ under the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) scheme. This was announced by Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Ananth Kumar.
ii. Aim : To provide medicines at an affordable price.
iii. The central government has targeted to open 3,000 such centers across India by the end of this fiscal year. Nearly 750 Janaushadhi Kendras are opened still now.
iv. Janaushadhi Kendras will be opened in each block and Gram Panchayat
Govt gets 45 initial bids for more than 200 regional routes
i. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has received 45 initial proposals coming in from 11 bidders covering more than 200 regional routes under Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) said by Civil Aviation Minister P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju on January 18, 2017.
ii. These proposals will cover 65 airports out of of which 52 are unserved and 13 are underserved airports.
Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) :
♦ The Regional Connectivity Scheme, UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) was launched on October, 2016 to enhance air passenger traffic in the country by stimulating demand on regional routes.
♦ It will be in operation for a period of 10 years.
BANKING & FINANCE
CBDT Clarifies No TDS or Advance Tax Credit for Income under PMGKY
i. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on January 18, 2017 cleared that income declared under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojna (PMGKY) would not be entitled to get any credit by way of advance tax paid or the tax deducted at source (TDS) or tax collected at source (TCS)
ii. This is in contrast to the earlier Income Declaration Scheme (IDS) under which these credits were allowed.
iii. PMGKY was set up to give an opportunity to those who deposited tax-evaded money in bank-demonetised currencies. It was opened on December 17, 2016 and will remain open till March 31.
iv. Under the scheme, a person declaring undisclosed income would need to pay a tax of 30%, in addition to a penalty of 10% and a Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan cess of 33% on the tax.
v. Under the Income Declaration Scheme (‘IDS’), the government has allowed TDS credit in those cases where such credit has not already been claimed in the income-tax return.
Lloyd’s Gets Final Approval from IRDAI to Open First Branch in India
i. London’s insurance giant Lloyd has received the final approval from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) on January 19, 2017 to set up its first branch in India.
ii. The specialist insurance and reinsurance company would open its first branch office in India before April 2017 and will be located at Mumbai.
iii. Lloyd’s will bring expertise and specialist capacity to India’s insurance market and work in partnership with local insurance businesses to develop innovative solutions that meet the unique needs of the growing economy.
Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA)
♦ The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) is an autonomous, statutory agency tasked with regulating and promoting the insurance and re-insurance industries in India.
♦ Headquarter: Hyderabad, Telangana
♦ Chairman: T.S. Vijayan
PNB and IPPB team up for technology support
New Delhi based Punjab National Bank signed a memorandum of understanding(MoU) with India Post Payments Bank(IPPB) to provide technology platform for pilot launch of IPPB on receipt of regulatory nod from the Reserve Bank of India.
India Post Payments Bank(IPPB) :
i. The India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) has been recently incorporated as a Public Limited Company under the Department of Posts with 100% GOI equity.
ii. The total corpus of the payments bank is of Rs 800 crore
World Bank Sanctions Rs 1,376 Cr For Tripura Power Upgradation
i. Washington based World Bank has sanctioned Rs 1,376 crore for upgradations and improvement of the Tripura power system network on January 19, 2017. This was announced by Tripura’s power minister Manik Dey.
ii. The Power Upgradation project is divided into 5 phases. SPML Infra Ltd has got the contract of the first phase with the budget of Rs 461 crore .
iii. A large number of 132 KV and 33 KV substations will be constructed and upgraded under the project across Tripura.
World Bank :
♦ CEO: Dr. Jim Yong Kim
♦ Headquarters: Washington, D.C., United States
♦ Founded: 27 December 1945
♦ Motto: Working for a World Free of Poverty
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Priyanka Chopra wins her 2nd People’s Choice Award for TV Series Quantico
i. The Bollywood Actress Priyanka Chopra won her second People’s Choice Award for Favourite Dramatic TV Actress at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California on January 18, 2017.
ii. Priyanka won for her role as CIA agent Alex Parrish in the ABC thriller TV series Quantico. She defeated her ABC counterparts Ellen Pompeo, Kerry Washington, Taraji P. Henson, and Viola Davis to win the Favourite Dramatic TV Actress award.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Birender Singh Yadav concurrently accredited as the High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Sierra Leone
i. Former IFS officer Shri Birender Singh Yadav was appointed as the High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Sierra Leone, with residence in Accra (Ghana).
ii. Currently Yadav is working as the High Commissioner of India to Republic of Ghana.
Sierra Leone :
♦ Capital: Freetown
♦ Currency: Sierra Leonean leone
♦ President: Ernest Bai Koroma
ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS
Alphabet’s Google Buys Mobile App Tool Fabric From Twitter
i. US based Google is announced to acquire Twitter’s mobile application developer platform Fabric for an undisclosed amount on January 19, 2017
ii. The sale of Fabric will shift to Google the platform used by developers for mobile apps.
Fabric was launched Fabric in 2014 to provide the best tools to help developers create amazing apps
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Government Launches Web-Portal ‘ShaGun’ for Monitoring Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan
i. The Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar launched a dedicated web portal ‘ShaGun’ on January 18, 2017 for continuous monitoring of the elementary education scheme Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and promote the development of education sector of India.
ii. The portal has been developed by World Bank in collaboration with Ministry of Human Resource Development. ShaGun has been coined from the words ‘Shala’ meaning schools and ‘Gunvatta’ meaning quality.
iii. The newly developed portal and first-of-its kind platform would perform dual function. Firstly it would focus on displaying positive stories in the field of education in the form of videos, testimonials, case studies, and images on the web portal for further improvement in performance under SSA.
iv. Secondly it provides an online monitoring module to measure state-level performance and progress against key educational indicators to enable the government and administrators to track the efficiency with which SSA funds are being utilised and the results that this is delivering.
v. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is a centrally sponsored scheme providing universal access to education to children in the age group of six to fourteen years of age.
ISRO Successfully Realignes Orbit of Mars Mission “Mangalyaan”
i. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully realigned the orbit of its Mars Orbiter Mission ‘Mangalyaan’ on January 19, 2017 since it could not withstand long duration eclipse.
ii. The need for changing the orbit of Mangalyaan was felt to protect it from the long duration eclipse otherwise the Mangalyaan’s battery capacity would have got exhausted due to lack of sun rays.
iii. It would help to keep the power supply strong during the eclipse caused by shadow of Mars falling on it for 7-8 hours so that Mangalyaan could continue to function longer.
iv. The spacecraft has 30kg fuel left as per the scientists and with realignment it is expected to work for a very long time to come.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
♦ Headquarters: Bengaluru
♦ Founded: 15 August 1969
♦ Director: A. S. Kiran Kumar
High Resolution Weather Prediction System Commissioned by Ministry of Earth Sciences
i. The Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) led by Dr. Harsh Vardhan commissioned a very high resolution of 12km global deterministic weather prediction model, Ensemble Prediction System (EPS), on January 16, 2017 that will be used to generate operational weather forecasts.
ii. Aim: The new system would be beneficial to overcome the problem of uncertainties in the forecasts. It would also help to generate multiple forecasts with slightly varying initial conditions and predict probabilistic forecasts and quantify the uncertainties.
iii. The newly commissioned system was on a trail run since September 2016 and will replace the earlier model of the system that had a horizontal resolution of 25 km. The previous systems made significant contribution in predicting the track and the intensity of the Cyclonic Storm Vardah and the cold wave over the northern parts of India.
iv. Besides the existing systems that are operating under MoES will also be upgraded to 12 km resolution that has an operating horizontal resolution of 25 km.
v. The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) is responsible to provide Weather, Climate and Hydrological Services to users throughout the year which are implemented by India Meteorological Department (IMD), National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF), Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) and Indian National Centre for Ocean Information System (INCOIS).
Mers, Lassa, Nipah Virus May Cause Next Global Health Emergency
i. Scientists have discovered three new lesser known diseases namely Mers, Lassa fever and Nipah virus that could cause the next global health emergency.
ii. To overcome this to happen, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) has contributed a sum of $460 million for the development of the vaccine against these would-be deadly disease. Besides, CEPI has also asked help of $500 million from World Economic Forum Davos.
iii. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) is a group consisting of government representatives, private sector representatives, civil societies/NGOs and individual members.
iv. CEPI aims to have two new experimental vaccines ready for each disease within five years. New vaccines usually take about a decade to develop and cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
v. Earlier Ebola outbreak in West Africa and Zika epidemic in Latin America lead to global health emergency.
New Species of Moth Named after Donald Trump
i. A Canadian Biologist named Dr. Vazrick Nazari, has discovered a new species of moth in a densely populated part of southern California and named it after US President-elect Donald Trump.
ii. The moth, Neopalpa donaldtrumpi, has been named in honor of Donald J. Trump who is to be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States on January 20, 2017 because of the resemblance of the scales on the head of the moth to Mr Trump’s hairstyle.
iii. The researcher believes that naming the species after the 45th US President would create public awareness about its conservation. It is an endangered species and some of still contains some undiscovered species.
2016 hottest year on record : WMD
i. According to World Meteorological Organisation’s ,recent report 2016 was the hottest year with an average temperature 1.1 degrees Centigrade (2 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than in pre-industrial times.
ii. The World temperature was analyzed from the data collected from NASA, the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the British Meteorological Office and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts are combined to analyze the world temperatures.
iii. The long-term indicators of human-influenced climate change also reached their highest levels in 2016.
iv. The high temperatures have also resulted in the lowest registered amounts of ice in the Arctic and Antarctic and the destruction of large areas of coral.
World Meteorological Organisation :
♦ Formation: 1950
♦ Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
♦ Head: Petteri Taalas
Babar Azam Becomes Fastest Pakistani Player to Reach 1000 ODI runs
i. Pakistani batsman Babar Azam became the fastest player in Pakistan’s One Day International (ODI) history to score 1,000 runs in 21 innings during the 3rd ODI against Australia at WACA Ground in Perth, Australia on January 19, 2017.
ii. He started the series requiring 114 runs in the first two matches to break the record of reaching 1,000 runs in 20 innings. However he could score only 33 and 34. In the third ODI Azam reached the record by scoring 47 not out against and made 84 runs off 100 balls.
iii. With this score the 22-year-old right hand batsman, Azam, became the joint-fastest player to reach 1000 runs in ODIs. The first such record was made by Sir Viv Richards of West Indies in 1980 during an ODI against England in Sydney.
iv. Other in the list includes Kevin Pietersen (England), Jonathan Trott (England), Quinton de Kock (South Africa).
Alibaba Becomes Worldwide Sponsor of Olympic Games through 2028
i. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba Group entered into a long-term partnership through 2028 on January 19, 2017 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. This makes Alibaba the worldwide sponsor of Olympic
Games through 2028.
ii. The partnership was agreed between IOC President Thomas Bach, Alibaba Group Founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma and Alibaba Group Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang.
iii. With this Alibaba has become the first company in the world to make a long-term commitment to the IOC through 2028 as well as first Chinese company to commit to the
Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
iv. By joining The Olympic Partner (TOP) worldwide sponsorship programme, Alibaba will become the official “Cloud Services” and “E-Commerce Platform Services” Partner, as well as a Founding Partner of the Olympic Channel.
International Olympic Committee (IOC)
♦ Founded: 23 June 1894
♦ Headquarters: Lausanne, Switzerland
♦ President: Thomas Bach