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Chandrababu Naidu Launches Arogya Raksha Scheme to cover APL Families
i. Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh launched a new health scheme, Arogya Raksha Scheme on January 1, 2017 at Tummalapalli Kalakshetram in Vijayawada to provide the medical treatment to the people of the Above Poverty Line at Rs. 1200 premium per annum.
ii. The Arogya Raksha Scheme would provide health insurance coverage to about 35 Lakh Above Poverty Line families in the state.
iii. Under the scheme, an end-to-end cashless service would be rendered to a total of 1044 diseases covered under the scheme. Unlike other insurance schemes pre existing disease will not be considered.
iv. To avail the Arogya Raksha scheme benefits, every individual of the family would be required to pay Rs. 100 per month or Rs. 1200 per annum as policy premium.
11- Days Gala Festival Bargarh Dhanua Jatra Begins in Odisha
i. The World famous 11-day gala festival Bargarh Dhanua Jatra began on 2 January 2017 in western Odisha. All rituals were performed before Goddess Samaleswari, the presiding deity of the event.
ii. Dhanu Jatra is an annual drama-based open air theatrical performance celebrated in and around Bargarh city spanning over an area of 6 km radius. It is considered to be the world’s largest open air theatrical festival.
iii. The 11-day gala event showcases all mythological places related to Lord Krishna by arranging a huge stage in the city. Bargarh stages Mathuranagari and Ambapalli area is staged as Gopapur, the parenting place of Krishna. Jeera River is considered as river Yamuna and Hatapada mandap is taken as the Raj darbar of king Kansa.
India and Pakistan signs agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear Installations and Facilities
i. India and Pakistan exchanged the list of nuclear installations and facilities covered under the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear Installations between India and Pakistan on January 1, 2017.
ii. The bilateral agreement which is signed between the two countries every year on January 1 prohibits the two countries to carry out any surprise attack and pledged not to assist foreign powers to attack each other’s atomic facilities.
iii. The agreement was signed on December 31, 1988 between the Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and her Indian counterparts Rajiv Gandhi and came into force on January 27, 1991. This is the 26th consecutive exchange of such lists between the two countries with the first one signed on January 1, 1992.
iv. Besides, the two countries also exchanged lists of prisoners (including civil prisoners and fishermen) of each country captured in their respective jails as per provisions of the Agreement on Consular Access.
♦ Capital: Islamabad ♦ Currency: Pakistani rupee
♦ Prime minister: Nawaz Sharif ♦ President: Mamnoon Hussain
Maharashtra Government Bans use of Purse Seine Nets for Fishing
i. Maharashtra Government has declared to ban the use of Purse Seine Nets for fishing across Maharashtra from January 1, 2017 to safeguard the Fingerlings, a fish species.
ii. The move is aimed at curbing the exploitation of fish by safeguarding the fingerlings and its eggs to increase their population.
iii. The decision is expected to benefit the traditional fisherman community that use much smaller nets in shallow waters. It will increase fish catch and protect the fish population as larger pores will allow fishlings and eggs to slip out during the daily catch.
iv. Purse seine nets are large fishing nets used to catch fish in bulk. It can stretch from 500 metres up to 1 kilometres and sometimes fishermen attach two or three such nets and cover an area of 3 kilometres to catch large proportion of fish population. The nets have mesh spanning from 25 mm to 35mm that blocks small fish, fishlings and fish eggs from falling back into the ocean, thereby stopping them from multiplying.
Seeking Votes in the name of caste, language or religion is Corrupt and not Permissible: SC
i. The Supreme Court on January 1, 2017 ruled out that no politician can seek votes in the name of caste, language or religion and seeking votes in this manner would be considered as a corrupt practice and not permissible.
ii. A 7-judge constitution bench passed the judgment in the 20 year old Hindutva case which questions whether a religious leader’s appeal to his followers to vote for a particular political party amount to electoral malpractice under Section 123 of the Representation of People Act.
iii. The court’s bench agreed by a 4:3 majority and stated that elections are a secular exercise and religion has no role in it and that the relationship between people and whom they worship is an individual choice.
iv. The bench was headed by outgoing Chief Justice of India TS Thakur, and Justice Sharad Bobde, Justice Madan Lokur and Justice Rao agreed with the decision while three judges, Justice UU Lalit, Justice Adarsh Goel and Justice DY Chandrachud, went against the judgement.
British govt to launch new one-pound coin at end of March
The British Treasury has decided to introduce a new 12-sided one-pound coin at end of March 2017 and scrap the 30 year old one pound coin by October 2017
♦ A new coin will be produced by the Royal Mint in Wales and a total of 1.5 billion coins will be issued in the first minting.
About New One Pound Coin :
i. The new coin will have 12-sided shape, recognizable even by touch and it is made of two metals, the outer ring is gold-coloured (nickel-brass) and the inner ring is silver-coloured (nickel-plated alloy).
ii. If the coin is tilted it shows a latent image like a hologram, which changes from a pound sign to the number one.
iii. It will feature the 5th coinage portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.
BSF to Soon Install Laser Walls and Smart Sensors at Indo-Bangla Border
i. A Laser walls and smart sensors will be soon installed at the Indo-Bangla International Border in West Bengal especially in the porous riverine and unmanned terrain that do not have proper fencing to keep a tight vigil to check infiltration and terrorism.
ii. A pilot project would be set up within a few months in the Indo-Bangla riverine border area in West Bengal. A team of technical experts will handle a pilot project for deploying technological solutions in riverine areas and the areas that lack fences.
iii. The paramilitary force use the Farheen laser wall technology at the Indo-Pakistan border and that has benefited through better management of the borders.
BANKING & FINANCE
26 crore accounts open under Jan Dhan Yojana across country
i. According to latest data released by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, 26 crore three lakh accounts have been opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) across the country till date.
ii. 15.86 crore accounts are opened in rural area and 10.17 crore accounts opened in urban area.
iii. Over 71 thousand 500 crore rupees have been deposited in these accounts and zero balance accounts has come down to 23.86 per cent.
iv. Nearly 20 crore RuPay Debit cards have also been issued under the scheme.
Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) :
♦ Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana(PMJDY) is India’s National Mission for Financial Inclusion to ensure access to financial services, namely Banking Savings & Deposit Accounts, Remittance, Credit, Insurance, Pension in an affordable manner.
♦ The Scheme was launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August, 2014 with the objective of covering all households with at least one bank account.
Bank of Baroda ties up with CNX Corporation
i. Public sector lender Bank of Baroda has announced a partnership with CNX Corporation (CNX) to provide collateral management services towards the loans against warehouse receipt sanctioned to the farmers through the network of the bank’s branches across the country.
ii. This will benefit the farmers from distress sale of their commodities
Bank of Baroda :
♦ Headquarters: Vadodara
♦ Tagline : India’s International Bank
♦ CEO: P. S. Jayakumar
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Pakistan awards Nishan-e-Imtiaz to Army chief Qamar Bajwa
i. Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain honoured Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa with Nishan-e-Imtiaz to recognize his valuable servicesin Islamabad.
ii. Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Zubair Mahmood Hayat was also awarded with Nishan-e-Imtiaz (military).
About Nishan-e-Imtiaz :
♦ The Nishan-e-Imtiaz is one of the state organized civil decorations of State of Pakistan.
♦ The award is not limited to citizens of Pakistan and, while it is a civilian award, it can also be awarded to military personnel and worn on the uniform.
PSPCL awarded with Best Performing Power Distribution Utility in Power Sector by CBIP
i. The Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) was awarded with “Best Performing Power Distribution Utility in Power Sector” by Central Board of Irrigation & Power (CBIP).
ii. Union Minister Sanjeev Kumar Balyan presented this award to Karan Deep Chaudhri, Chairman-cum-Managing Director, PSPSCL in New Delhi.
iii. Punjab is first state to provide unique phone number 1912 for registration of all types of complaints across 24X7 by phone and sms.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
SC removes BCCI President Anurag for violating the order of implementing Lodha Committee recommendations
i. The Supreme Court has removed BCCI President Anurag Thakur and Secretary Ajay Shirke from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on January 2, 2017, for failing to implement the reforms suggested by the RM Lodha panel to reform BCCI.
ii. Supreme Court Bench comprising of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud has also issued a showcause notice to be replied until January 19 in regards to perjury charges and violating courts order levied against the duo.
iii. On July 18, 2016, the Supreme Court had passed its judgment and asked BCCI to implement a majority of Lodha Committee proposals within four to six months for transparent functioning of BCCI.
iv. The Lodha committee was formed in January, 2015 by the Supreme Court to suggest sweeping reformsin the structuring and governance of cricket in the country.
v. On December 15, 2016 Supreme Court observed that the BCCI and state board officials have failed to implement its orders to bring transparency and accountability in the cricket body. Anurag Thakur was charged for committing perjury, that is he was found guilty of lying under oath in an attempt to obstruct the Lodha Committee reforms.
vi. Meanwhile, senior-most Vice President of BCCI will act as President and Joint Secretary will act as Secretary. The SC has also appointed senior advocates Fali S Nariman and Gopal Subramaniam to suggest the names capable of administering the BCCI.
President Appoints Prof. David R. Syiemlieh to Chair UPSC
i. President Pranab Mukherjee has appointed Prof. David R. Syiemlieh, to perform the duties of the post of Chairman of Union Public Service Commission, with effect from the forenoon of January 4, 2017 till further orders or till completion of his term as member on 21.01.2018, whichever is earlier.
ii. Prof. David is currently, a member of the Union Public Service Commission.
♦ The Union Public Service Commission is India’s central agency authorized to conducts exam for IAS (Indian Administrative Services), IPS (Indian Police Services) IFS (Indian Forest Services), IES (Indian Engineering Services), SCRA (Special Class Railway Apprentice) etc.
♦ Formation: 1 October 1926
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
Air Marshal SB Deo takes over as Vice Chief of the Air Staff of Indian Air Force
i. Air Marshal SB Deo taking over as Vice Chief of the Air Staff (VCAS) at the Air Headquarters (Vayu Bhawan) on January 2, 2017.
ii. Air Marshal SB Deo was commissioned as a fighter pilot in the IAF on 15 Jun 79. Prior to this he was the AOC-in-C of Western Air Command (WAC).
iii. He was awarded with Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Vayu Sena Medal, Vishisht Seva Medal and ADC by the President of India.
♦ Air Marshal C Harikumar assumed charge as the chief of the Western Air Command (WAC) and Air Marshal Anil Khosla took over the charge of the Indian Air Force’s Shillong-based Eastern Air Command (EAC).
Akhilesh Yadav Dismisses Shivpal and appoints Naresh Uttam as Party’s Chief
i. Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh Yadav has removed Shivpal Singh Yadav as Samajwadi Party’s Chief on January 1, 2017 and appointed MLC Naresh Uttam in his place.
ii. The decision comes soon after Akhilesh Yadav was appointed as the National President of the Party in a disputed National Convention replacing his father Mulayam Singh Yadav on January 1. Akhilesh Yadav will now reconstitute all state party bodies.
iii. Mulayam Singh Yadav was declared the supreme guide or margdarshak of the party, to advise the new leadership.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Leap Second added to Indian Clock to Synchronize with Earth’s Spin
i. An extra second was added to the Indian clock at 5:29.59 hours at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) on January 1, 2017 as the atomic clock was struck at 23:59:59 the previous night.
ii. The ‘leap second’ was added to the Indian clock to synchronize the Indian Standard Time (IST) with the Earth’s Rotational Clock. The atomic clock was programmed to add an extra second to 2017 to compensate for a slowdown in the Earth’s rotation.
iii. Addition of the leap second to the Indian clock is done by the NPL under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. The NPL, one of the oldest laboratories in the country, has five atomic clocks and nearly 300 such pieces exist across the globe.
India Successfully Test Fires Agni IV Ballistic Missile off Odisha Coast
India successfully conducted the test firing of the nuclear-capable strategic ballistic missile, Agni IV from the Abdul Kalam Island, Balasore, off the Odisha coast on January 2, 2017 at about 11.50 a.m.
Features of Agni IV
i. Agni IV is a two-stage solid-propelled, surface-to-surface ballistic missile which is designed to carry a payload of 1-tonne up to a distance of 4,000 km.
ii. Designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) the missile is 20 meters in length and weighs 17 tonnes.
iii. It is equipped with state-of-the-art technologies, which include indigenously developed ring laser gyro and composite rocket motor. Agni-IV missile has 5th generation onboard computer and distributed architecture. It has the latest features to correct and guide itself for in-flight disturbances.
iv. This was the sixth test fire of Agni IV over the course of five years out of which one failed and five were successful.
v. India currently has the Agni-I (700-km range), Agni-II (2,000-km range), Agni-III and the Agni-V. The 5,000-km range Agni V missile was successfully flight tested on December 26, 2016.
vi. The DRDO is reportedly in the process of building Agni-VI, which will have a strike range of 8,000 km to 10,000 km.
Defence Research and Development Organisation
♦ The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is an agency of the Republic of India which conducts
military’s research and development.
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ Founded: 1958
♦ Chairman: Avinash Chander
MUI Launches Android App for Indian Merchant Navy Officers
i. Country’s oldest union, the Maritime Union of India (MUI), representing Indian Merchant Navy Officers since 1939, has launched an android based mobile app named MUI.
ii. The app was launched in the presence of MPs Kirit Somaiya (Mumbai North-East constituency) and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat (Jodhpur).
iii. The app will help Indian merchant navy officers to share, comment, knowledge, latest updates, and also engage in video chats to bolster the growth of skilled Indian seafarers working aboard specialized cargo ships across the globe.
iv. The app will also share regular information on various initiatives including the updates related to joint initiatives and latest representation by MUI and National Union of Seafarers of India.
Image of world’s most powerful Rocket Falcon Heavy shared by SpaceX
i. Space Exploration Technologies Corporation or SpaceX has released a new teaser
image of the world’s most powerful rocket Falcon Heavy rocket which will ferry a crewed Red Dragon capsule on Mars in 2018.
ii. Falcon rocket initial launch was scheduled for 2016 which is later postponed to 2017 due to the explosion of a Falcon 9 in September.
iii. Falcon Heavy rocket have the ability to lift over 54 metric tons (119,000 lbs) into orbit, which is equivalent to 737 jetliners loaded with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel.
iv. This rocket is designed to carry humans into space and it restores the possibility of flying missions with a crew to the Moon or Mars.
Ministry of Minority Affairs Launches Mobile App for Haj Pilgrimage
i. The Minister of State for Minority Affairs (I/C) and Parliamentary Affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi launched a Mobile App on January 2, 2017, at Haj House in Mumbai that will provide information and facilitate e-payments for the pilgrimage.
ii. It is for the first time that Haj application process would be digital. The mobile app will be available on Google Play store from January 2 and the application for the next Haj schedule is also being registered while the last date for submitting applications is January 24.
iii. The app features the information regarding the application for Haj, enquiry and information, news and updates and e-payment. The application can be made directly on the app.
iv. Five adults and two infants can apply as a group. A PDF copy of the form will go to applicant’s email. After affixing the photo, the printout with documents is to be sent to the state Haj committees. Registration fees can also be paid through this app.
v. The Ministry is continuously focusing to make Haj Management digital and it also launched a new website for the same in December.
Sergey Karjakin beats Magnus Carlsen to clinch World Blitz Chess Championship
i. Sergey Karjakin of Russia defeated Norway’s Magnus Carlsen in a tie-breaker to win Gold in the World Blitz Chess Championship title in Doha, Qatar on December 30, 2016.
ii. Both players scored 16.5 points at the end of 21 rounds of competition spread over two days in the shortest format of chess. But the first place went to Karjakin after tie-break, leaving silver for Carlsen.
iii. Earlier in November 2016, Karjakin lost to Carlsen in the Classical Chess World Championship but was awarded the title for having better individual results between the two.
iv. This is Karjakin’s first world title in blitz chess in his career while Carlsen has won it twice, in 2009 and in 2014.
v. Russia’s Daniil Dubov ckinched the Bronze medal
Former Captain Ricky Ponting named Australia’s assistant coach for Twenty20 Series
i. The former Australian Captain Ricky Ponting will join Australia’s coaching staff as an assistant to coach the team for next month’s home Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka.
ii. Ponting will work alongwith former team-mates Justin Langer and Jason Gillespie for the series which would begin in Melbourne on February 17 before heading to Geelong (February 20) and Adelaide (February 22).
iii. The trio coaching staff led by Langer will serve in an interim staff as the incumbent coach Darren Lehmann is away for Australia’s Test tour of India.
iv. It is Ponting’s first chance to coach the national side. The 42-year-old previously coached the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League, leading the T20 side to a championship in 2015.
Former NPCC President K V Pusa Passes Away
i. Former Minister of Nagaland and former President of Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) K V Pusa passed away in Kohima on January 2,2017. He was 63.
ii. Pusa had won the election first time in 1993 as independent candidate from Southern Angami Assembly Constituency under Kohima district.
iii. He had served as the Nagaland Minister for Veterinary and Animal Husbandry from 1998-1999 and Minister for Roads and Bridges from 2000-2003.
iv. He was also the member of Nagaland Assembly in the opposition bench for two terms from 2003-08 and 2008-2013.