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Current Affairs Today – January 20 2017

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Shri Kalraj Mishra Inaugurates Workshop on MSME Cooperation among IORA
i. Union Minister of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), Shri Kalraj Mishra inaugurated a Workshop on MSME Cooperation amongst Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Member countries on January 19, 2017 in New Delhi
ii. The Ministry of MSME finalised the MoU on MSME Cooperation with Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) member countries on January 20, 2017. This finalized MoU will be signed at an appropriate forum soon. The MoU will come into effect after 5 countries signs it.
iii. The IORA Secretariat at Mauritius will be the coordinating agency for the implementation of the MoU. Special funds have also been created by IORA for the member countries to utilize the fund for implementing the MoU.
iv. India has already signed Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with 18 countries for cooperation in MSME sector. The National Small Industries Corporation of India, Public Sector Enterprise under the Ministry of MSME has 34 MoUs with its counterpart organizations of foreign countries for cooperation in MSME sector.

Divorce Granted Through Church Court Cannot be Held Legal: SC
i. The Supreme Court on January 19, 2017 said that Divorce granted by any ecclesiastical tribunals or ‘Church Courts’ under Christian personal law will not be taken as valid. It said that Church Courts cannot veto the statutory law of divorce.
ii. A bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud dismissed the plea filed by Clarence Pais, a former president of a Karnataka Catholic association that sought legal sanction to such separations granted by the Church Court.
iii. The Apex Court said that the divorce granted through Canon Law may have significance for Christian community but after the Divorce Act came into force, a dissolution granted under such personal law cannot have any legal impact as statute has provided a different procedure and a different code for divorce or annulment.

Over 3.81 lakh Winners of Rs 61 cr in NITI Aayog’s Lucky Draw Scheme
i. According to a statement by NITI Aayog, till date over 3.81 lakh consumers and 21,000 merchants have been declared as the winner of the NITI Aayog’s lucky draw schemes namely Lucky Grahak Yojana (LGY) for consumers and Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojana (DVY) for merchants.
ii. It also stated that daily as well as weekly prize money worth Rs 60.90 crore has been declared at 24 Digi-Dhan Melas organized across the country. Besides, most of the winners were in the age group of 21-30 years.
iii. The top 5 states that had most of the winners are Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka.

Civil Aviation Ministry Announces First Flight under UDAN Scheme to Take off in February 2017
i. The Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha, on January 19, 2017 announced that the under UDAN (Ude Desh Ke Aam Naagrik) Scheme is likely to take off in February 2017.
ii. Presently there are 75 operational airport in the country and after the implementation of Regional Connectivity SchemeUDAN scheme 43 new airports will be added.
iii. The UDAN scheme aims to boost regional air connectivity to and from un-served and under-served airports and make flying more affordable. Besides, it also aims to provide various incentives to airlines.
iv. The ministry announced that total 11 bidders have come forward to connect 30 airports which are currently operational, 12 which are underserved and 43 where not a single flight lands under the scheme.
v. The fare for a one hour journey of approximately 500 km on a fixed wing aircraft or for a 30 minute journey on a helicopter has been fixed at Rs. 2500 under the scheme.

Centre Sanctions Rs. 2207 Cr Special Assistance to J&K
i. The Central Government has sanctioned special assistance of Rs 2,207.30 crore to Jammu & Kashmir during 2016-17 in order to help the state to complete the area-specific schemes in speedy manner.
ii. In 2015-16 the Central Government had released Rs.1194.37 crore for the State of Jammu & Kashmir to fulfill the need of the state in completing the damaged /severely damaged/partially damaged houses. Again with the release of Rs. 2,207.30 cr the total amount provided to J&K becomes Rs. 3401.67 cr.
iii. Besides a similar special assistance of Rs. 1,129.40 cr was provided by the Center for the completion of a project in Bihar in 2016-17. So far Bihar has been given Rs 6,934.61 crore help.
iv .Other states that received such benefit includes Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Odisha.

Government Constitutes Negotiation Committee on Mahanadi & its Tributaries
i. The Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation led by Uma Bharti has formed a Negotiations Committee on January 19, 2017 to determine the availability and utilization of waters of the river Mahanadi and its tributaries.
ii. The committee has been asked to submit its report within three months. The committee would be consisting of 11 members under the chairmanship of a representative from Water Planning and Projects Wing (WP&P) and Central Water Commission (CWC).
iii. Besides the other member would comprise of member from the States of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Jharkhand, Union Ministries of Agriculture, Environment Forest and Climate Change, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, India Meteorological Department and Central Water Commission.
iv. The committee will also be responsible to examine the existing water sharing agreements on river Mahanadi and consider the claims of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Jharkhand regarding availability and utilization of waters of these rivers.
v. The decision regarding the constitution of the committee comes after the complaint of State of Odisha under section 3 of the Inter-state River Water Disputes (ISRWD) Act, 1956 regarding utilisation of waters of Mahandi Basin.

Himachal Pradesh Declares Dharamsala as the Second Capital of the State
i. Dharamsala town in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh has been declared as the second capital city of the state by the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on HPJanuary 19, 2017.
ii. Dharamshala is located about 250 km from the state capital Shimla and has a unique significance and history of its own. It is of special value to the lower areas of the state comprising Kangra, Chamba, Hamirpur and Una districts.
iii. With the development has a capital city, the people of all these areas would not have to travel to longer distance to Shimla for their work that ought to be done in the capital city.
iv. Dharamshala has much significance including religious, natural and adventurous tourism spots and also the home of Tibetan Spiritual head Dalai Lama. Besides, 25 out of 68 assembly seats fall in Kangra, Una and Hamirpur districts

President Mukherjee inaugurates 28th Dantan Gramin Mela in West Bengal
i. 28th Dantan Gramin Mela was inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee in Midnapore district in West Bengal on January 20, 2017.
ii. The mela display the rural handicraft skills of the people of the region and the different goods ranging from textile to terracotta.


India Ranked Low on Being an Influencer in Global System
i. The Credit Suisse Research Institute published its “Getting over Globalization Report” on January 20, 2017 that ranks global economy in terms of being an influencer in the global system and moving towards multi polar world.
ii. India has achieved a very low rank of 2 among the countries across the world while the list was topped by countries such as US, UK, Japan.
iii. The index ranks each country on a scale between 1-5 with 5 being the highest and 1 being the lowest. It also considers 5 broad criteria, economic size, hard power, soft and diplomatic power and governance quality & distinctiveness.
Ranking List

5US, Luxembourg, Hong Kong, Singapore, Switzerland, Belgium, Ireland, Denmark, Iceland
4UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain and Japan
2India, Brazil and Russia
1South Africa

WEF, UCSB partner to protect world’s $2.5 trn ocean economy
i. Switzerland based World Economic Forum announced a partnership with the UCSB’s Marine Science Institute to improve health of world’s oceans and maritime resources on January 20, 2017
ii. Aim: To protect world’s USD 2.5 trillion ocean economy.
iii. This partnership will help the international community to meet the ocean sustainable development goal.
iv. It will be supported by the Benioff Ocean Initiative, an applied programme within the WEFUniversity of California, Santa Barbara’s (UCSB) Marine Science Institute, using science to improve ocean health, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, a fund to advance ocean science, protection and management.
♦ Headquarters: Cologny, Switzerland
♦ Founder: Klaus Schwab
♦ Founded: 1971


IT Department Expands Deposits & Transactions List under Scrutiny
i. The Income Tax Department released its detailed guidelines on January 17, 2017 expanding the list of high end deposits and transactions made during the demonetization period to be reported by the banks, companies, post offices and businesses for scrutiny.
ii. As per the guidelines, banks need to report deposits made by individuals’ upto Rs. 2.5 lakh or more in savings account during the demonetisation period. Besides, for current account holders, this limit is Rs 12.5 lakh.
iii. Banks will also have to report all cash deposits and fixed deposits made above Rs 10 lakh during the year. Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has also sought details of all such deposits made since April 2006.
iv. This deposit would also consider bank drafts and prepaid instruments of Rs 10 lakh or more purchased using cash.

RBI Set to Increase Focus on IT and Cyber Security Issues
i. According to a notification published by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on January 18, 2017, RBI has planned to increase the focus on IT & Cyber Security in a move to combat the increasing threat of cyber-security issues arising after the governments Digital Payment initiative.RBI
ii. RBI with the help of its arm Reserve Bank Information Technology Private Ltd (ReBIT) will implement the IT & Cyber Security in the financial sector and assist in IT systems audit and assessment in entities such as banks, payments banks, wallets, among others.
iii. ReBIT has invited applications for various roles across its four verticals of Cyber Security, Systems Audit, Research and Innovation, and Project Management and Administration for this purpose.
iv. The cyber security vertical of ReBIT would run a security operations centre and look after any similar incidents that may occur on systems of RBI or any of the financial institutions.

RBI imposes Rs 75 lakh penalty on Bombay Mercantile Co-operative Bank
India’s central banking institution, Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has imposed a penalty of Rs 75lakhs on Bombay Mercantile Co-operative Bank for violations of norms related to KYC and anti-money laundering.
RBI had issued a notice regarding this to the bank and the bank has submitted its written reply.
Bombay Mercantile Co-operative Bank:
♦ The Mercantile Bank of Bombay was an Anglo-Indian bank with business focus in the Far East.
♦ The Mercantile Bank of Bombay was renamed to Mercantile Bank of India, London, and China  in 1857.
♦ Founded:1853
♦ Headquarters: London


CCI Imposes Penalty of Rs 206 cr on 7 Cement Companies
i. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) imposed a penalty of Rs. 207 crore on seven major cement companies on January 19, 2017 for being involved in bid rigging and cartelisation to get tenders in Haryana government orders.
ii. The companies violated the competition norms on a tender floated by a Haryana state agency in 2012, for supply to government departments, boards and corporations.
iii. CCI has imposed the penalty at 0.3 percent of the average turnover of these companies for three financial years.
iv. Shree Cement: Rs 18.44 crore, UltraTech Cement: Rs 68.3 crore, Jaiprakash Associates: Rs 38.02 crore, JK Cement: Rs 9.26 crore, Ambuja Cements: Rs 29.84 crore, ACC Cement: Rs 35.32 crore and JK Lakshmi Cement: Rs 6.55 crore.
v. Bid rigging is a form of fraud in which a commercial contract is promised to one party even though for the sake of appearance several other parties also present abid.
Competition Commission of India (CCI)
♦ Competition Commission of India is a body of the Government of India responsible for enforcing The Competition Act, 2002 throughout India and to prevent activities that have an appreciable adverse effect on competition in India.
♦ Formed: October 14, 2003
♦ Headquarter: New Delhi
♦ Chairman:  Dhanendra Kumar Sikri


ISKCON’s Govardhan eco village bags UN award
i. ISKCON’s Govardhan eco village in Thane district has been conferred with the UNWTO Award for Innovation in the category of Non-Governmental Organisations(NGO) at he annual United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism at Madrid in Spain on January 19, 2017
ii. Govardhan eco village become the first village in India has recognized by UN in the NGO sector.ISKCON's Govardhan eco village bags UN award
iii. The village received this honour for its initiative of eco tourism as a catalyst for rural development.
World Tourism Organisation :
♦ Formation: 1975
♦ Headquarters: Madrid, Spain
♦ Head: Taleb Rifai


Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Kumar Verma Appointed the Director of CBI
i. Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Kumar Verma was appointed as the new Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on January 19, 2017 by a three member committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Chief Justice of India Jagdish Singh Khehar and Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge as members.
ii. Alok Kumar Verma will replace the interim director Rakesh Asthana who was appointed since the post was lying vacant after the former director Anil Sinha retired on December 2, 2016.

Adama Barrow sworn in as Gambia’s president
i. Adama Barrow was sworn is as third official President of Gambian at the Gambian Adama BarrowEmbassy in Dakar, capital of Senegal on January 19, 2017. He replaced  Yahya Jammeh.
ii. Barrow has won the presidential election which was held on  December 2, 2016
Gambia :
♦ Capital: Banjul
♦ Currency: Gambian dalasi

Ashok Warrier concurrently accredited as the Ambassador of India to the Central African Republic  
i. Ashok Warrier was appointed as the Ambassador of India to the Central African Republic, with residence in Kinshasa.
ii. Currently he is working as the Ambassador of India to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Bishwadip Dey concurrently accredited as the High Commissioner of India to Grenada    
i. Former IFS officer Bishwadip Dey was concurrently accredited as the High Commissioner of India to Grenada with residence in Port of Spain.
ii. Presently, Dey was  working as the High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
♦ Capital: St. George’s
♦ Currency: East Caribbean dollar


Israeli Air Force Receives First Anti-Missile Interceptors for Arrow 3 System
i. The first anti-missile interceptors for the Arrow 3 Missile Defense System was inducted into the Israel Defense Forces on January 18, 2017 by both Israel’s Defense Ministry and the US Missile Defense Agency during a ceremony held on the Palmachim Air Base.Israeli Air Force Receives First Anti-Missile Interceptors for Arrow 3 System
ii. Each Arrow 3 Missile is estimated to cost about $2.2 million. They have been designed to enable interception of ballistic missiles beyond the earth’s atmosphere. Interception at that altitude enables missiles carrying nuclear warheads to be blocked farther from Israel and stops the enemy missile to harm the territory.
iii. The Arrow-3 interceptor is a part of Israel’s Arrow weapon system (AWS) and has been jointly developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), U.S. Department of Defense’s Missile Defense Agency and Boeing.
iv. With a partial failure in testing in 2014, the system was successfully tested by Israel in December, 2015.

US launches Geo-3 satellite into Space to Detect & Defeat Missiles
i. The US military launched a Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) GEO Flight 3 mission on January 20, 2017.
ii. Under the mission, Geo-3 satellite has been send into the space mounted on Atlas V rocket from Florida where it will detect any possible missile attack to meet national security threats.
iii. The satellite based on infrared technology will serve the defence need of the country that includes missile warning, missile counter-defense, intelligence gathering, and geospatial situational awareness to support troops.
iv. Earlier the Air Force had fired the Geo-1 and Geo-2 satellites into space in 2011 and 2013.


Report Finds Over Half of World’s Wild Primate Species Face Extinction
i. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list, more than half of the world’s wild species including apes, monkeys, lemurs and lorises are now on the verge of extinction.
ii. 60 percent of primate species are threatened with extinction and about 75 percent have declining populations.
iii. The main reason behind this is agriculture and industrial activities that destroy forest habitats and the animals are hit by hunting and trade.
iv. There is an increase in industrial agriculture, large-scale cattle ranching, logging, oil and gas drilling, mining, dam building and road construction.
v. The illegal trade in bushmeat by killing apes and monkeys for their flesh is also declining the rate of animals.
vi. Primates are very vital part of our ecosystem no matter large or small.
vii. It is very necessary to reduce the demands for tropical hardwoods, beef, palm oil, soy, rubber, minerals and fossil fuels ‘among other goods’, and increase sustainable use of resources for primate conservation.


Punjab Royals Wins Pro Wrestling League Season 2
i. The NCR Punjab Royals won the Pro Wrestling League Season 2 on January 19, 2017 defeating two-time finalists Haryana Hammers 5-4 in the finals at the K D Jadhav Indoor Stadium, New Delhi.
ii. The winners were presented with the Champions trophy along with a prize money of Punjab Royals Wins Pro Wrestling League Season 2whopping 1.90 crore. The runners up took home a prize money of 1.10 crore.
iii. The Haryana Hammers were ahead of Punjab Royals in the first two matches and scored 4-3 until 7 matches. However the 8 match was won by Punjab’s Nirmla Devi with Haryana’s Indu Chaudhary in 48 kg women’s category.
iv. After this the tie breaker was also won by Punjab Royals played between Haryana’s Sumit Sehrawat with Punjab’s Jitendra in the 74 kg Men’s category.