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Current Affairs Today January 20 2018

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25th GST Council meet held in New Delhi
25th meeting of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council was held in New Delhi on January 18, 2018.
GST Meeting:
i. The meeting was chaired by Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley
ii .Highlight of the 25th GST Council meet was the reduction of tax rates on 29 goods and 53 categories of service.
iii .The new rates will be applicable from January 25, 2018.…………………Click Here to Read more

Government announces commencement of Liveability Index Programme in 116 cities
On January 19, 2018, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep S Puri, announced commencement of the Liveability Index Programme in 116 Indian cities.
i. Goal of assessing the cities on liveability standards and thereafter compiling the index rankings is to make Indian cities more ‘Liveable’.
ii. This programme would be funded by the World Bank.
iii. The list includes the identified Smart Cities and few more cities with a population of over 1 million.……………………………………Click Here to Read more

MEITY launches Cyber Surakshit Bharat Yojna to strengthen cyber security
On January 19, 2018, Minister of State for Electronics & Information Technology. KJ Alphons launched Cyber Surakshit Bharat initiative.MEITY launches Cyber Surakshit Bharat Yojna to strengthen cyber securityAbout Cyber Surakshit Bharat initiative:
i. Objective of this initiative is to spread awareness about cybercrime and to train and prepare Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) and frontline IT staff of all government departments to effectively deal and neutralise cyber threats.
ii. This initiative has been launched in association with National e-Governance Division (NeGD) and leading companies of Information Technology Industry.
iii. Microsoft, Intel, Redhat, Wipro and Dimension Data are the founding partners while Organisations such as Cert-In, NIC, CISCO, NASSCOM and the FIDO Alliance, and consultancy firms Deloitte and EY are knowledge partners for this initiative.
iv. Cyber Surakshit Bharat initiative is the first public-private partnership in the area of cyber security.
v. An awareness programme on the importance of cybersecurity will be conducted,  followed by a series of workshops on best practices. During the workshops, CISOs and IT staff will be familiarised with usage of cybersecurity health tool kit to manage and mitigate cyber threats.

Sushma Swaraj inaugurates Puducherry’s first POPSK at Karaikal
On January 19, 2018, Union Minister for External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj inaugurated Post Office Passport Seva Kendra (POPSK) at Karaikal in the Union Territory (UT) of Puducherry.
Details about POPSK at Karaikal:
i. This  POPSK is expected to benefit people of Karaikal, as now they can avail passport related services without having to travel to Puducherry.
ii. POPSK is a joint initiative by the Ministry of External Affairs (India) (MEA) and the Department of Posts (DoP), where the Head Post Offices (HPO) and post offices across India will be utilized as Post Office Passport Seva Kendra for delivering passport related services to the citizens.
iii. Objective of this initiative is to ensure wider coverage of passport related services.
iv. This initiative was started in January 2017.  POPSK at Karaikal is the 60th POPSK under this initiative.

Odisha launches e-Hospital Management system “OeHMIS”
On January 19, 2018, Odisha State Government launched Odisha e-Hospital Management Information System (OeHMIS), an online platform which hosts all clinical parameters of patients and reporting of performance criteria of hospitals.
About OeHMIS:
i. Through OeHIMS, patients can be registered online. Besides, individual electronic health records can be viewed and downloaded online through web portal or mobile application.
ii. Technical support for OeHMIS is being provided by Centre for the Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC).
iii. Odisha State Government has allocated Rs. 14.16 crore for implementation of this project.
iv. Pilot projects of OeHMIS have been launched at Capital Hospital, Bhubaneswar and SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack. It will be extended to other health institutions in near future.
Quick Facts about Odisha
♦ Capital – Bhubaneswar
♦ Current Governor – S.C. Jamir
♦ Current Chief Minister – Naveen Patnaik
♦ Important National Park – Bhitarkanika National Park

Rajnath Singh launches Bharat Ke Veer anthem, short film on India’s bravehearts
On January 20, 2018, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh launched ‘Bharat Ke Veer’ graphic novel series on Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) martyrs, ‘Bharat Ke Veer’ anthem and a short film on India’s bravehearts.Rajnath Singh launches Bharat Ke Veer anthem, short film on India’s braveheartsCompensation for martyrs:
i. At the launch event, Mr. Singh stated that no amount of monetary compensations can be enough for those who lay their lives in the line of duty.
ii. Earlier, Mr. Singh had stated that Central Government was making all efforts to ensure that the kin of martyred troops are provided a compensation of not less than Rs one crore.
iii. As per the current norms, family of a slain soldier of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) gets about Rs.50-60 lakh compensation.
iv. It is to be noted that in April 2017,  Mr. Singh had launched web portal that enables common people to make monetary donations (up to combined upper limit of Rs. 15 lakh for each martyr) to families of paramilitary troops killed in action.

Maharashtra approves Rs 4000-cr for climate resilient agriculture project
On January 17, 2018, Maharashtra State Government approved Rs 4000 crore – Nanaji Deshmukh Krishi Sanjivani Yojna. 
Details about Maharashtra Government’s Nanaji Deshmukh Krishi Sanjivani Yojna:
i. Nanaji Deshmukh Krishi Sanjivani Yojna is aimed at promoting climate-resilient agriculture in 5142 villages across 15 districts of Maharashtra.
ii. Under this yojana, efforts will be made to improve soil quality, bringing in necessary changes in the crop pattern as per the availability of water in a particular region and develop food grain varieties which can sustain climate variations
iii. This yojana will be rolled out in 2018-19 and will continue till 2023-24.
iv. 70% funds for Nanaji Deshmukh Krishi Sanjivani Yojna will be provided by World Bank, while Maharashtra State Government will bear remaining 30% over the six-year implementation period.
Quick Facts about Maharashtra:
♦ Capital – Mumbai
♦ Current Chief Minister – Devendra Fadnavis
♦ Current Governor – Chennamaneni Vidyasagar Rao
♦ Important National Park – Sanjay Gandhi National Park

Telangana, Tokyo body sign MoU for municipal waste incineration
On January 19, 2018, Telangana State government announced that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Clean Authority of Tokyo for municipal solid waste incineration facilities.
Details about Telangana – Clean Authority of Tokyo MoU:
i. Clean Authority of Tokyo runs incineration plant for burning up combustible waste taken out from home and office in 23 wards of Tokyo, Japan.
ii. The MoU was signed between Yoshimi Sato, Vice-President of Clean Authority of Tokyo and Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary, Industries & Commerce (I&C), Telangana State Government.
iii. As per the terms of the MoU, Telangana State Government and Clean Authority of Tokyo will exchange knowledge on municipal solid waste incineration facilities. In future, both the sides may also exchange human resource for the same.
Quick Facts about Telangana:
♦ Capital – Hyderabad
♦ Current Chief Minister – K Chandrashekar Rao
♦ Current Governor – E S L Narasimhan
♦ Important National Park – Mrugavani National Park

100 divyang-friendly websites launched to empower disabled
On Jan 19 2017, during the occasion of ‘National Conference on Improving Accessibility’, Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot launched 100 accessible websites for Divyangs to empower the disabled persons in all over the country.
i.Divyang-friendly websites were launched especially for visually impaired, use features such as screen readers and screen magnifiers, which can relay website content to the user in audio format.
ii.Now 100 accessible websites are made accessible under the project. Minister also stated that another 900 such websites will be launched in a phased manner.

4th India International Science Festival To Be Held In Lucknow
Ministry of Science & Technology has confirmed that 4th edition of the India International Science Festival will be held in Lucknow.
i.The decision was taken at the first preparatory meeting for the 4th India International Science Festival (IISF) chaired by Union Minister for Science & Technology, Environment, Forest & Climate Change and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan.
ii.Officials of Ministries of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences and DG, CSIR and representatives of Vijnana Bharti (VIBHA) were also attended the meeting.
Facts about India International Science Festival events:-
i.The 1st IISF was held at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) New Delhi in December, ii.The 2ndIISF Festival at CSIR-National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi in December 2016.
iii. The 3rd IISF was held in October 2017 in Chennai.

Pact signed for research incubator at IIT Bhubaneswar 
On Jan.20 2017, The Odisha government has signed an agreement to setting up an incubator for promoting research with Software Technology Park of India (STPI), philanthropist Sushmita Bagchi, and IIT Bhubaneswar in Bhubaneswar , Odisha.
i.As per the above agreement ,The Centre of Excellence for Virtual & Augmented Reality” (VARCoE) will be set up at the campus of IIT, Bhubaneswar and it will become a landmark initiative for promoting research, technology incubation and product development in the country.
ii.Odisha state government has contributed the cheque of Rs 2.5 crore to Director, IIT, Bhubaneswar for this initiative. Susmita Bagchi, a philanthropist, also  contributed Rs 2.5 crore to Director of IIT.
Key Facts about Odisha:-
i.It is also known as “Utkal” which comes in National Anthem. Every April 1st is celebrated as “Utkal Diwas” which is the foundation day of Odisha.
ii.One of the biggestChilika Lake and India’s biggest and world’s second biggest coastal lagoon Brackish Water Lagoon were situated in Odisha.
iii.The One and only White Tiger Safari in the world & The largest Lion Safari of India are situated in Nandankanan National Park, Bhubaneswar.


Maitre-2 bus services to connect India and Bangladesh
Maitre-2, a second passenger bus to Kolkata via Dhaka was flagged off from Agartala, Tripura on January 19, 2018.India - Pakistan bus serviceMore Information about Maitre-2 bus service:
i. The bus was flagged off by Tripura MLA Ratan Das  and Tripura Road Transport Corporation Chairman Rajendra Reang.
ii. This bus service is expected to strengthen trans-border relationship between India and Bangladesh and enhance people-to-people connectivity.
iii. The distance between Kolkata and Agartala is about 1650 km, by Indian route. This distance is cut to 515 km if the buses go through Dhaka.
iv. Maitre-2 bus will run twice a week. It will take 20 hours for reaching the destinations. Fare for this bus service has been fixed at Rs. 2200.


Mauritius largest FDI source in 2016-17: RBI
According to Census on Foreign Liabilities and Assets of Indian Direct Investment Companies 2016-17, released by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on January 19, 2018, Mauritius was the largest source of foreign investment (FDI) in India during 2016-17.Sources of FDI in India:
i. This census provides comprehensive information on the market value of foreign liabilities (on account of FDI) and assets (on account of overseas direct investment, ODI  and other investments) of Indian companies. Indian companies’ investment in a foreign entity by way of contribution to the capital or subscription to the Memorandum of Association is referred to as ODI.
ii. Total 18667 companies participated in this census. Out of these, 17020 companies had FDI/overseas direct investment (ODI) in their balance sheets in March 2017.
iii. The Census revealed that 80 per cent of the 15169 companies that reported inward FDI were subsidiaries of foreign companies.
iv. Mauritius, with 21.8 per cent share was the largest source of FDI in India, while Singapore with 19.7 per cent was the major ODI destination.
FDI & ODI – Top 4 Countries

FDI SourceODI Destination


Ex-Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel becomes Madhya Pradesh governor
Former Gujarat CM Anandiben Pate appointed as Governor Of Madhya PradeshGujarat’s first woman former Chief Minister Anandiben Patel has been appointed Governor of Madhya Pradesh.
i.Patel had joined BJP as the president of party’s women wing in 1986. She succeeded PM Narendra Modi when he moved on to Delhi as the CM of Gujarat.
ii.She was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1994. In 1998, she became education minister of Gujarat. She retained the portfolio after being re-elected in 2002 from Patan. In 2012, Patel shifted Ghatlodia in Ahmedabad.

Lakhtakia Appointed as New DG Of National Security Guard
Sudeep-LakhtakiaOn Jan 19 2017 , Senior IPS officer Sudeep Lakhtakia has been appointed the new Director General (DG) of the ‘black cats’ commando force National Security Guard (NSG)He replacesSudhir Pratap Singh. 
Lakhtakia is a 1984-batch IPS officer of Telangana cadre.The officer was serving as a Special DG in the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) headquarters.
About National Security Guard (NSG):-
The National Security Guard (NSG) is an Indian special forces under the authority of Ministry of Home Affairs. NSG, commonly known as black cat commandos, is a special forces unit which was raised in 1984.
Headquarters –     New Delhi
Minister responsible  –    Rajnath Singh, Ministry of Home Affairs


FM Arun Jaitley launches National Corporate Social Responsibility Data Portal
On Jan 19 2017, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley launched the National Corporate Social Responsibility Data Portal in New Delhi.
i.The portal will able to broadcast CSR related data to the general public. It will be able to assist in social audits or projects, making Indian corporate sector socially responsible.
ii.At the launch of National CSR Data Portal and Corporate Data Portal of the MCA , Arun Jaitley also stated that because of online availability of data, it has become easier to dissect any impropriety, including that of funds being channeled through shell companies.
iii.From proposing direct development sector, interactive reports and depth search for individual company contribution, the portal is not only a knowledge based but will also act as a catalyst for change.


Jammu and Kashmir to host international martial arts event
During the first week of October 2018 ,  Jammu and Kashmir will host its first maiden international martial arts games event in the in the summer capital Srinagar.
i.Rameez Khan, general secretary of J-K State KiAiDo Association, the organisers of the event stated that more than 15 countries were expected to participate.
ii.‘Asian Martial Arts Games’ will provide a platform to the young martial art players of the state toperform and gaining experience from different countries’ players.
Key Facts about Jammu & Kashmir
i.K2  is the highest peak in India and also the second highest in the world after Mt. Everest .
ii.Dhumal and Rouff are traditional folk dances of Kashmir valley.Dhumal is for men and Rouff is for women.
iii.Dal Lake is one of the important lake which situated in Sri Nagar City.


Former MP Assembly Speaker Sriniwas Tiwari Passed Away
Former MP Assembly Speaker Sriniwas Tiwari passes awayi.On Jan 19 2017, Former Speaker of the Madhya Pradesh assembly and Congress leader Shriniwas Tiwari ,93 passed away in a hospital in New Delhi.
ii.Tiwari, popularly known as “White Tiger”. He is survived by his MLA son, Sunderlal Tiwari.

Ex-Proteas all-rounder Sulaiman ‘Dik’ Abed passes away
Former South Africa all-rounder Sulaiman ‘Dik’ Abed ,73 passed away  in The Netherlands.He was an outstanding all-rounder such as batsman and a fast bowler with a fine leg cutter.
Subsequently, he took up a contract with Enfield in the Lancashire Leagues in England and went on to amass more than 5,000 runs beside also bagging more than 800 wickets over a 10-year period from 1967 to 1976.

Senior journalist Anindya Sengupta dead
Senior journalist and Indian Journalists Association Secretary Anindya Sengupta,52 has passed away due to cancer.
i.Sengupta started his career with Bengali newspaper ‘Bartaman’, and then worked with English dailies ‘The Statesman’ and ‘The Telegraph’.
ii.He had served as the secretary of Kolkata Press Club for six terms, and was presently the secretary of the Indian Journalists Association (IJA).


President launches ‘The Heartfulness Way’ – book on self development in Delhi
President launches 'The Heartfulness Way' - book on self development in DelhiOn Jan 19 2017,President Ram Nath Kovind launched a book on heartfulness techniques and principles titled ‘The Heartfulness Way’. 
i.The author of the book is Kamlesh Patel, widely known as Daaji, the fourth Global Guide of Heartfulness, and Joshua Pollock, a heartfulness trainer and practitioner.
ii.This book guaranteed to be a treat for those who are curious about what is heartfulness and how it can change our day-to-day lives. It was launched by Commerce and Industries Minister Suresh Prabhu.