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Current Affairs Today January 22 2018

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Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban Launches Smart Star-Rating for Garbage Free Cities
On January 20, 2018, Minister of State (I/C) for Housing and Urban Affairs, Hardeep Singh Puri along with the Chief Minister of Goa, Manohar Parrikar launched the ‘Protocol for Star Rating of Garbage-Free Cities’ in Goa.
Information about Protocol for Star Rating of Garbage-Free Cities:
i. This seven star-rating system has been developed by the Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban.
ii. Under this system, cities will be assessed on multiple cleanliness indicators for solid waste management . Some of the indicators are door to door collection, source segregation, bulk generator compliance, sweeping, scientific processing of waste, scientific land filling, plastic waste management and dump remediation.
iii. Based on the assessment, cities can be rated as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 star in accordance with the protocol conditions specified for each of the rating.
iv. This is a SMART rating (Single metric, Measurable, Achievable, Rigorous verification, Targeted towards outcomes) system that provides stakeholders with a single metric to rate a city’s cleanliness.

President Ram Nath Kovind approves disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs for Holding Office of Profit
On 21st January 2018, President Ram Nath Kovind approved disqualification of 20 MLAs of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for holding offices of profit.

Disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs:
i. Accepting recommendations of the Election Commission (EC) President Ram Nath Kovind has disqualified 20 members of the Delhi legislative assembly.
ii. The AAP MLAs were appointed as parliamentary secretaries. The Election Commission has stated that, being parliamentary secretaries, they held office of profit and they should be disqualified as MLAs of the Delhi Assembly.
iii. The members who have been disqualified are: Praveen Kumar, Sharad Kumar, Adarsh Shastri, Madan Lal, Charan Goel, Sarita Singh, Naresh Yadav, Jarnail Singh, Rajesh Gupta, Alka Lamba, Nitin Tyagi, Sanjeev Jha, Kailash Gehlot, Vijendera Garg, Rajesh Rishi, Anil Kumar Vajpayee, Somdutt, Sukhvir Singh, Avtar Singh Kalka and Manoj Kumar.
About Aam Aadmi Party (AAP):
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Leader – Arvind Kejriwal
♦ Founded – 2012

India’s automated ocean pollution system to begin operation from April
S S C Shenoi, Director of Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) has stated that India will soon have its own automated ocean pollution observation system.
Details about India’s automated ocean pollution system:
i. This new ocean data acquisition system (called automated moorings), which is expected to be functional in April 2018 will not only help in tracking ocean pollution levels but will also offer insights on how the marine system is changing.
ii. Estimated cost for setting up this system is Rs 100 crore.
iii. After being fully operational, this system will do away with the present practice of collecting water samples from sea and studying their pollution levels thereafter.
Quick Facts about INCOIS:
♦ Established in – 1999
♦ Located in – Hyderabad, Telangana
♦ Functions under – Union Ministry of Earth Sciences

Arunachal Pradesh CM inaugurates World War II Memorial Museum in Changlang
On January 21, 2018, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu inaugurated the World War II Memorial Museum in state’s Changlang district.

About World War II Memorial Museum in Changlang:
i. World War II Memorial Museum in Changlang has been built by the Union Culture Ministry at a cost of  Rs 2.25 crore.
ii. It has been built in memory of those who laid down their lives in World War II.
iii. Remnants of the war, personal belongings of the soldiers and other persons involved have been preserved at this museum. Traditional items from indigenous Tangsa community have also been displayed at the museum.
iv. This memorial museum is expected to boost international and domestic tourist inflow especially from Southeast Asian countries.
Quick Facts about Arunachal Pradesh
♦ Capital – Itanagar
♦ Current Governor – B. D. Mishra
♦ Current Chief Minister – Pema Khandu
♦ Important National Park – Mouling National Park

Manipur CM N Biren Singh launches health assurance scheme for poor & disabled people
On January 21, 2018, Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh launched the Chief Minister-gi Hakshelgi Tengbang (CMHT), a health assurance scheme for the poor and disabled people.
Information about Manipur Government’s Chief Minister-gi Hakshelgi Tengbang (CMHT):
i. Under this scheme, poor people of Manipur will be provided cashless treatment at government hospitals, health centres and other empanelled selected private hospitals.
ii. All eligible families, identified from the Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC), will be provided Rs. lakh cover for treatment of seven critical identified critical ailments viz. cardiovascular diseases, neurological conditions, kidney ailments, liver ailments, neo-natal diseases, cancer and burns.
iii. Chief Minister-gi Hakshelgi Tengbang (CMHT) will have convergence with Central Government programmes like Prime Minister Jana Aushadhi Programme and Free Diagnostic Programme.
Quick Facts about Manipur:
♦ Capital – Imphal
♦ Current Chief Minister – N Biren Singh
♦ Current Governor – Najma Heptulla
♦ Important National Park – Sirohi National Park

Maharashtra to launch weather advisory system for farmers
Maharashtra State Government will soon start a system to issue daily district-wise weather advisory to farmers across the State.
i. Objective behind this initiative is to help farmer to minimise their crop losses due to adverse weather conditions.
ii. Maharashtra’s Agriculture commissionerate has already completed setting up of weather stations at 2050 sites across the state. These stations have started collecting data and are uploading it on central server of the state government.
iii. It is to be noted that Union and state governments get their weather alerts and inputs from the India Meteorological Department (IMD). However, information provided by IMD gives a broader view while the system that will be introduced by Maharashtra State Government will provide more accurate information, which will be beneficial for farmers in scheduling their activities.
Quick Facts about Maharashtra:
♦ Capital – Mumbai
♦ Current Chief Minister – Devendra Fadnavis
♦ Current Governor – Chennamaneni Vidyasagar Rao
♦ Important National Park – Sanjay Gandhi National Park

India’s First Garbage Festival ‘Kachra Mahotsav 2018’ organised in Chhattisgarh
On 19th to 21st January 2018, ‘Kachra Mahotsav 2018’, India’s first garbage festival was organised by the Raipur Municipal Corporation in Chhattisgarh.
Kachra Mahotsav 2018:
i. Kachra Mahotsav’s aim was to increase awareness, utilise the waste accumulated in a creative way, and to display various techniques for reusing things that are branded as garbage.
ii. Workshops, talks, and performances were conducted as a part of the event.
About National Parks in Chhattisgarh:
♦ Indravati National Park – Bijapur
♦ Kanger Ghati National Park – Jagdalpur


WEF ranks India at 62nd place on Inclusive Development Index
India has ranked at the 62nd place among 74 emerging economies on the annual ‘Inclusive Development Index 2018’ released by World Economic Forum (WEF). It is to be noted that, in 2017, India ranked 60th among 79 developing economies on this index.
i. Among advanced economies, Norway has topped the list, while Lithuania has topped the list of emerging economies. …………………………………...Click here to Read more
Most Inclusive Advanced Economies – Top 5


10th Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) held in Berlin
On 18th to 20th January 2018, the 10th Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) was held in Berlin, Germany.
10th Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA):
i. The theme of the 10th Global Forum for Food and Agriculture was “Shaping the Future of Livestock – sustainably, responsibly, efficiently”.
ii. The GFFA focuses on issues related to the future of global agri-food industry. It had participation from 69 agricultural ministers and heads of 6 international organisations such as FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), WTO (World Trade Organization) and World Organisation for Animal Health.
iii. Union Minister of State for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat lead the Indian delegation to GFFA.
iv. Gajendra Singh Shekhawat held talks with Agriculture Ministers from Germany, Argentina and Uzbekistan.
About Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO):
♦ Headquarters – Palazzo FAO, Rome, Italy
♦ Head – Jose Graziano da Silva

World Bank signs USD 300m loan for Nepal quake reconstruction
On January 21, 2018, World Bank approved USD 300 million loan to Nepal for undertaking reconstruction work post April 2015 earthquake.
i. In April 2015, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal which destroyed more than half a million homes and killed nearly 9000 people.
ii. Since then, only 10% homes have been rebuilt. Nepal is currently facing USD 1.2 billion shortfall in reconstruction funds.
iii. USD 300 million loan from World Bank will partially help to fill this gap. This loan also includes USD 80 million for a livestock project and another USD 60 million for vocational training.
Quick Facts about World Bank:
♦ Formation Date – 1945
♦ Headquarters – Washington D.C., US
♦ Current President – Jim Yong Kim

India to become fastest growing large economy in 2018
According to Sanctum Wealth Management report, India will overtake China to be the fastest growing large economy in 2018.
Growth Prospects of Indian Economy:
i. Rationale cited by Sanctum Wealth Management for this forecast is that “India is a reforming economy with the prospects of strong long-term growth”.
ii. In the current global scenario where developed economies are posting 2-3% growth, Indian economy is on the track to cross the 7.5% growth mark.
iii. The report also outlined that India’s equity market will become the fifth largest in the world.
iv. However, inflation and lack lustre corporate earnings have been identified as key factors that may halt the advance of equity markets in near term.

BANKING & FINANCE becomes India’s first major platform to offer direct mutual funds to consumers
On January 22, 2018,, an online marketplace for Loans and Credit Cards announced to offer direct Mutual Fund plans to retail customers and has thereby became India’s first major platform to come up with such offering.
Benefits of Direct Mutual Funds:
i. Broadly speaking, Mutual Fund plans are available in two variants – ‘Regular’ and ‘Direct’. Both these variants are exactly same in terms of investment strategy and fund management.
ii. However, the key difference is that, in Regular plans, a part of customers’ investment (1% in most cases) is paid to the brokers/financial advisor as commission by the mutual fund company, while in a direct mutual fund there is no such type of commission payout.
iii. Owing to this, net investible amount will always be higher in Direct plans and thus the ensuing returns too shall be higher. Moreover, for longer time horizon (10 years and above) returns from Direct plans are significantly higher as compared to Regular plans.
iv. Direct Plans have so far been less popular among retail investors due to lack awareness and vested interest of brokers/financial advisors in selling Regular plans.


NIIF, DP World to create investment platform for ports, logistics business
On 22nd January 2018, National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) announced that, it has partnered with DP World to develop an investment platform for ports, terminals, transportation and logistics businesses in India.
NIIF partners with DP World:
i. The platform will work on investment avenues in the ports sector, including sea ports, river ports and transportation.
ii. Investment will also be done in freight corridors, port-led special economic zones, inland container terminals, and logistics infrastructure including cold storage.
iii. This platform will invest $3 billion of equity to acquire assets and develop projects. This partnership is part of a MoU signed in May 2017.
About National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF):
♦ CEO – Sujoy Bose
♦ Executive Director – Prakash Rao

Mercedes unveils India’s first, locally made BS-VI car
On January 19, 2018, Mercedes-Benz unveiled India’s first Bharat Stage BS-VI-compliant car produced at its Pune facility.Mercedes unveils India's first, locally made BS-VI carMore Information about India’s first BS-VI-compliant car:
i. The unveiling of this car was does in presence of Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari.
ii. On January 19, 2018, Mercedes-Benz also received certificate of compliance to the Central motor vehicles rule (CMVR) from the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) for its BS-VI-compliant car.
iii. In context of this news, it is to be noted that in October 2016, Indian Government decided to skip one stage and migrate to BS-VI directly from BS-IV from April 2020.

ixigo introduces India’s first augmented reality feature for Train Passengers
ixigo, has launched AR Coach Position feature, India’s first augmented reality (AR) feature on its trains app.
AR Coach Position feature:
i. Using the AR Coach Position feature, train travellers can locate their coach positions exactly, for more than 13,000 passenger trains at nearly 7,000 railway stations in India.
ii. Using iPhone 6+ or latest versions of iPhone, users can get their coaches categorized and labeled and find out how far they are from their coach.
iii. ixigo has also released Station Alarm and Rescheduled trains features. The Station Alarm feature alerts users when they approach their destination station.
iv. The rescheduled trains feature helps users check if their train is cancelled, diverted or rescheduled.
About ixigo:
♦ Headquarters – Gurgaon
♦ CEO & Founder – Aloke Bajpai


Om Prakash Rawat appointed as new Chief Election Commissioner
On 21st January 2018, Om Prakash Rawat was appointed as the next Chief Election Commissioner.
Om Prakash Rawat – Chief Election Commissioner:
i. Om Prakash Rawat replaces AK Joti as Chief Election Commissioner. Om Prakash Rawat is a retired IAS officer of 1977 batch.
ii. He was joint secretary in the Ministry of Defence earlier. He became the Election Commissioner in August 2015. He becomes the 22nd Chief Election Commissioner of India.
iii. Ashok Lavasa has been appointed as an Election Commissioner in place of Om Prakash Rawat. Sunil Arora is another Election Commissioner at present.
Some important stadiums in India:
♦ Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium – Hyderabad
♦ Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium – Kochi
♦ Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium – Delhi
♦ DY Patil Stadium – Navi Mumbai

IPS Officer O P Singh takes charge as Uttar Pradesh DGP
O P Singh has been appointed as DGP (Director General of Police) of Uttar Pradesh.
O P Singh – Uttar Pradesh DGP:
i. O P Singh is a 1983 batch Indian Police Services (IPS) officer. He has taken charge as Director General of Police (DGP) of Uttar Pradesh.
ii. He has been relieved from the post of Director General of Central Industrial Security Force (DGCISF).
About wildlife sanctuaries of Uttar Pradesh:
♦ Bakhira Sanctuary – Sant Kabir Nagar district
♦ Chandra Prabha Wildlife Sanctuary – Chandauli district
♦ Kachhua Sanctuary – Varanasi district


AP IT minister Nara Lokesh receives Kalam Innovations in Governance Award (KIGA)
On 20th January 2018, Andhra Pradesh IT minister Nara Lokesh was honoured with the Kalam Innovations in Governance Award (KIGA) at an event organised by the APJ Abdul Kalam International Foundation, in New Delhi.
Nara Lokesh – Kalam Innovations in Governance Award:
i. The Kalam Innovations in Governance Award (KIGA) award was presented to Nara Lokesh by Desh Deepak Verma, Rajya Sabha Secretary General, for outstanding work in improving governance.
ii. A P J Abdul Kalam International Foundation was established in memory of former President A P J Abdul Kalam. It focuses on development of the society in various fields.
About A. P. J. Abdul Kalam:
♦ 11th President of India
♦ Profession – Professor, Author, Aerospace scientist
♦ Born – 15 October 1931


L&T Shipyard launches 2nd Coast Guard offshore patrol vesssel “Vijaya”
On January 20, 2018, Larsen Toubro Shipbuilding Ltd. launched ‘Vijaya’, the second offshore patrol vessel (OPV) for the Indian Coast Guard.

Details about offshore patrol vessel “Vijaya”
i. ’Vijaya’ has been indigenously built at L&T Shipbuilding Ltd’s Kattupalli Shipyard in Tamil Nadu.
ii. 2100 tonne- ‘Vijaya’ is equipped with state-of art radar, navigational and communication system. It is 98 metre long and 14.8 metres wide.
iii. Indian Coast Guard will deploy it for day and night patrol and surveillance, anti-smuggling operations and for enhancing coastal security.
iv. In March 2017, Union Ministry of Defense had awarded Rs 1,432-crore contract to L&T to build seven offshore vessel patrol vessels for the Indian Coast Guard. Under this contract, the first OPV, ‘VIkram’, was handed over to Indian Coast Guard in October 2017.


Hockey Haryana crowned champions in 8th Hockey India Sub Junior (Women) National Championship 2018 (A Division)
On 21st January 2018, Hockey Haryana became champions of the 8th Hockey India Sub Junior (Women) National Championship 2018 (A Division), in Haryana.
Hockey Haryana – champions in in 8th Hockey India Sub Junior (Women) National Championship 2018 (A Division):
i. Hockey Haryana defeated Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy 6-1 in the finals and became the champions of the 8th Hockey India Sub Junior (Women) National Championship 2018 (A Division).
ii. The Championship was hosted by Haryana. Hockey Haryana scored the first goal of the match through Deepika.
iii. Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy scored only one goal and it was by Priyanka Yadav.
Some stadiums in Haryana:
♦ Chaudhary Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium – Lahli, Rohtak
♦ Haryana Agricultural University Stadium – Hisar
♦ Mahabir Stadium – Hisar

Soloman Deksisa wins 15th edition of Mumbai Marathon
On 21st January 2018, Ethiopia’s Solomon Deksisa won the 15th edition of Mumbai Marathon.
Soloman Deksisa wins – Mumbai Marathon:
i. Soloman Deksisa won the 15th edition of Mumbai Marathon with a time of two hours, nine minutes and 33 seconds. Around 44,407 runners participated in the Mumbai Marathon.
ii. India’s Gopi Thonakal won the Indian Men’s Elite category. Amane Gobena won the top spot in the International Women’s Elite Category.
About stadiums in Maharashtra:
♦ Aurangabad District Cricket Association Stadium – Aurangabad
♦ Dadaji Kondadev Stadium – Thane
♦ Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium – Pune


Zimbabwean opposition leader Roy Bennett passes away
On 17th January 2018, Roy Bennett, Zimbabwean opposition leader, was killed in a helicopter accident, in New Mexico, US.
Death of Roy Bennett:
i. Five people including Roy Bennett’s wife Heather were killed in the accident. One person survived with injuries.
ii. Roy Bennett was 60 years old. He was the treasurer-general of the Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change opposition party.
iii. Earlier he fled Zimbabwe after receiving death threats. He returned to Zimbabwe in 2009 when he was made deputy agriculture minister.
About Roy Bennett:
♦ Positions held – Member of the Senate of Zimbabwe, Member of the House of Assembly of Zimbabwe for the seat of Chimanimani
♦ Political Party – Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai