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- Current Affairs 2017 January
Jharkhand Annual Budget 2017-18
i. The Chief Minister of Jharkhand Raghubar Das presented the state’s annual budget for 2017-18 on January 23, 2017 under the theme of “Garib Kalyan Varsh” The main focus of the budget is on agriculture, education and skill development, rural development and eliminating poverty.
ii. The Minister has presented a budget worth Rs 75,673.42 crore out of which Rs 57,861.32 crore would be revenue expenditure and Rs 18,812.10 crore would be capital expenditure.
iii. The total allocated state budget for 2017-18 is 19.7 percent more than the current year.
Stamp Cover on Sindhu, Sakshi and Dipa Released by Postal Department
i. The Indian postal department released a special stamp cover titled “Golden girls of India – Pride of Nation” on January 21, 2017 during a district-level philatelic exhibition in Agartala to honor the sporting personalities in the country.
ii. The special covers feature the 2016 Olympic medalist gymnast Dipa Karmakar, shuttler PV Sindu and wrestler Sakshi Malik. They were also awarded the nation’s highest sports award Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 2016.
iii. Besides the three, the cover also depicted the image of Dipa’s coach Bishweshwar Nandi who was awarded the 2016 Dronacharya award.
Tamil Nadu Assembly Unanimously Passes Jallikattu Bill
i. Tamil Nadu assembly under the chairmanship of Chief Minister O Panneerselvam unanimously passed the Jallikattu Bill on January 23, 2017 to replace the ordinance issued on January 21, 2017 to allow the states traditional sport.
ii. The bill amends the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, making Jallikattu a permanent sport in rural Tamil Nadu.
iii. The bill defines Jallikattu as a traditional sport involving bulls that would be conducted in places notified by the state government on any day from January to May.
iv. It also includes other sports involving bulls like manjuviratu, vadamadu and erudhuvidumvizha performed in different parts of Tamil Nadu.
Goa First State to Send Postal Ballots Electronically to Service Voters
i. The Chief Election Commissioner(CEC) of India, Syed Nasim Zaidi on January 22, 2017 informed that the state government of Goa has opted for an initiative involving electronic transmission of postal ballot to service voters in the upcoming assembly polls. This initiative will make Goa the first state in the country to do so.
ii. The returning officers will transfer the postal ballots to service voters by electronic means so that the service voters can download it, fill it and send it via e-mail to returning officer.
iii. Electronically sending the ballot papers will cut down the time in transmission of postal ballot to the service voters and ensure transparency of the process to the voter. It will also assure that the vote has gone to the right candidate.
iv. Goa has 822 service voters who are either in the defense, para-military forces or on diplomatic missions. Goa would also be the first state where all assembly constituencies will be covered by (VVPAT) Voter- Verified Paper Audit Trail machines.
N.K. Singh Committee on Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Presents its Report to the Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley
i. The Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Committee under the chairmanship of Shri N.K. Singh, former Revenue and Expenditure Secretary and former Member of Parliament presented its Report to the Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley on January 23, 2017 in New Delhi.
ii. The Committee was constituted by the Union Cabinet in May 2016 to review the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act.
iii. The Committee had wide-ranging Terms of Reference (ToR) to review the existing FRBM Act based on the past outcomes, global economic developments, best international practices and to recommend the future fiscal framework and roadmap for the country.
iv. The Committee sought consultations with a wide range of stakeholders, eminent national and international organizations and domain experts, various Ministries of Government of India as well as with the State Governments to present the report.
v. Other members of the committee include, Dr. Urjit R. Patel, Governor, Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Shri Sumit Bose, former Finance Secretary, Dr. Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Adviser and Dr. Rathin Roy, Director, National Institute of Public Finance & Policy (NIPFP).
Nepal Launches 10-year-plan to Reduce Depending on India for Vegetable Imports
i. In a move to decrease dependence on vegetable imports from India, the Nepal Government has launched a 10-year plan on January 22, 2017 to boost domestic production.
ii. The 10-year scheme aims to adopt modern farm techniques to boost vegetable productivity in the country and make the country self-reliant in food.
iii. According to official data, Nepal is witnessing a continuous rise in the imports of vegetables from India to meet the demand of the citizens. It imports around 25,000 metric tons of vegetables worth 55 billion rupees every year from India.
iv. In Nepal, the vegetable is cultivated on 4,450 hectares in Kanchanpur district and the output is 56,000 metric tons annually. But it fails to meet the demand due to which the country has to import from neighboring states.
v. Under the plan, Nepal aims to achieve self-sufficiency in wheat and vegetables by the end of 2017, and for paddy and potato in the next two-year, maize and fish by the next three years, fruits like bananas, papaya and litchi by four years and by the end of the plan, envisages to be self-sufficient in fruits like kiwi, apple and orange.
Currency: Nepalese rupee
Prime minister: Pushpa Kamal Dahal
President: Bidhya Devi Bhandari
Turkish Parliament Approves Presidential Rule Paving Way for Referendum
i. The parliament of Turkey approved a constitutional reform on January 21, 2017 to strengthen the powers of the presidency by introducing presidential rule in the country and has led the way for a referendum on the issue by the public.
ii. If the bill will be passed then the President Tayyip Erdogan would serve the office until 2029. Erdogan was appointed the president in 2014 after over a decade as prime minister. Since then he used his powers to the limit that he dominated politics by dint of his personal popularity.
iii. The legislation needed at least 330 deputies to support the plan in order to go to a public vote. The constitutional reform bill was approved with 339 votes in the 550-member assembly on January 21, 2017.
iv. If the reform is passed it would enable the president to issue decrees, declare emergency rule, appoint ministers and top state officials and dissolve parliament – powers.
v. The plan also envisages that presidential and general elections be held together in 2019 and president be eligible to serve a maximum two five-year terms.
President: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Currencies: Turkish lira sign, Turkish lira
BANKING & FINANCE
Utkarsh Micro Finance Launches its Small Finance Bank
i. Varanasi-based Utkarsh Micro Finance started operating its banking business as Utkarsh Small Finance Bank on January 23, 2017 to cater to the needs of the poor mainly in the northern belt. UK’s Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) has infused Rs. 150 crore in the tier II capital in the company.
ii. This makes Utkarsh the third company to operate as small finance bank after Capital Small Finance Bank and Equitas Small Finance Bank all of which got final approval from RBI to operate banking business on November 28, 2016.
iii. Utkarsh Small Finance Bank has started its operation with five full-fledged branches. It has removed the 1 percent processing fees for new borrowers and looks forward to reducing the lending rates to capture the market. At present, it lends at 15-25 percent annually.
iv. The bank will offer 6% interest on savings bank accounts while deposit rates for one year would be 8.25-8.50% which is about 150 basis points higher than State Bank of India.
v. Utkarsh Small Finance Bank has plans to open about 490 branches by March 2018 including 351 existing microfinance branches which will be into general banking branch. The company has also approached RBI for 138 new branch licenses.
Rescheduled Education Loan will not be Considered for Computing NPAs:RBI
i. In a bid to encourage banks to provide loans for education, the Reserve Bank of India has declared that rescheduling the period of payment of education loans due to the inability of the borrower because of unemployment will not be treated as restructured accounts for computing NPAs.
ii. Banks can allow three rounds of extension periods, each not more than 6 months, during the entire lifecycle of the education loan, to be applicable only on unemployment/underemployment borrowers.
iii. However, banks are required to maintain a higher provisioning of 5 percent during the additional moratorium period and one year thereafter to cover risk.
IRDAI okays Swiss Re move to open Mumbai branch
i. Wholesale reinsurance provider Swiss Re has received approval from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) to open a branch in the city.
ii. With the composite branch license, Swiss Re will be able to operate in India and it can offer both non-life and life and health reinsurance solutions directly to clients and brokers in the country.
iii. Swiss Reinsurance Company, India Branch, will begin its operation from February 1.
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.
Head Quarters: Hyderabad
Vodafone India signs MoU with West Bengal, to invest Rs 3,000 crore in West Bengal
i. UK-headquartered Vodafone India signed an MoU with the West Bengal government to invest Rs 3,000 crore for capacity augmentation and new business initiatives over next three years.
ii. The MoU signed on the sidelines of Bengal Global Business Summit 2017.
iii. Aim: To improve Vodafone’s leadership position in the state by offering customers a SuperNet experience through enhanced network.
New Universal Rail Mill Worth Rs. 1200 crore Inaugurated in Bhilai Steel Plant
i. Moving towards the Make in India initiative, the Steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh inaugurated the new Universal Rail Mill at Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP) of Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) on January 23, 2017 and flagged off the mills first and world’s longest single rail of 130 meters from the new Universal Rail Mill(URM).
ii. URM established at a cost of about Rs 1200 crore. It will take BSP’s total capacity to produce rails at 2.0 million tons per annum (MTPA). This will be the largest rail production capacity in any single location for a plant world over.
iii. The URM complex would enable SAIL to meet Indian Railways’ specific demand and produce rails with improved surface quality, less residual stress and improved straightness.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
PM Modi Confers National Bravery Awards to 25 Young Recipients
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the National Bravery Awards 2016 in New Delhi on January 23, 2017 and distributed bravery awards to 25 young recipients.
ii. Among the 25 children, 12 were girls and 13 boys out of which 4 awards were given posthumously.
iii. The coveted Bharat Award has been conferred on eight-year-old Late Km. Tarh Peeju of Arunachal Pradesh, who sacrificed her life in an attempt to save two of her friends from drowning.
iv. Each awardee will be given a financial assistance until they complete their schooling. Some state governments also provide financial assistance to them.
v. ICCW also provides financial assistance under its Indira Gandhi Scholarship Scheme to those undertaking professional courses such as engineering and medicine.
Delhi Airport Bags Golden Peacock Award for CSR in Aviation Sector
i. Delhi International Airport Ltd.(DIAL) has bagged the prestigious Golden Peacock Award on January 20, 2017 for Corporate Social Responsibility in the transportation sector under the aviation category for the year 2016.
ii. The award was declared at a special presentation ceremony during the 11th International Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility held in Bengaluru from January 20-21, 2017 on the theme: Embedding CSR in Corporate Strategy for Responsible Growth.
iii. Earlier, DIAL also won the 6th EPC World Awards for its contribution in the infrastructure and construction sector.
iv. The GMR Group-led consortium Delhi airport has been declared as the world’s no. 1 airport in ACI ASQ survey (Airports Council International-Airport Service Quality) in the 25-40 million passengers per annum category for two consecutive years from 2014.
v. The Golden Peacock Awards were founded by the Institute of Directors (India) in 1991 for recognizing corporate excellence. The national quality award was instituted to encourage total quality improvements in both manufacturing and service organizations in India.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Birender Singh Yadav and Ashok Warrier accredited as the Ambassador of India to the Republic of Burkina Faso & Republic of Congo
i. Shri Birender Singh Yadav, 1997 batch IFS officer, presently High Commissioner of lndia to Ghana, has been concurrently accredited as the Ambassador of lndia to the Republic of Burkina Faso, with residence in Accra.
ii. Shri Ashok Warrier, presently Ambassador of lndia to the Democratic Republic of Congo, has been concurrently accredited as the Ambassador of lndia to the Republic of Congo.
Ola appoints former PepsiCo executive Vishal Kaul as COO
i. Transportation app Ola has appointed former PepsiCo executive Vishal Kaul as its Chief Operating Officer (COO).
ii. He succeeds Pranay Jivrajka, Ola’s first employee.
iii. Jivrajka has now been appointed as Founding Partner and will continue to work closely with Bhavish Aggarwal, Ola co-founder and CEO.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Scientists Discover Faster Method to Diagnose HIV, Lyme, Rotavirus Infection
i. Scientists at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in the U.S. made a research work in which they have developed a new method of medical testing for faster diagnosis of diseases like HIV, Lyme disease, syphilis and rotavirus infections.
ii. As per the research published in the journal “Small”, researchers combined cutting-edge nanoscience with a magnetic phenomenon to create the method for speedy medical tests.
iii. Under the testing, the team coated nanoparticles with the antibody to Bovine Serum Albumin (BSA) which is commonly used as the basis of a variety of diagnostic tests. When the nanoparticles are mixed in a test solution, the BSA proteins bind with the antibodies surrounding the nanoparticles.
iv. In the test, researchers used nanoparticles with an iron core and applied a magnetic field to the solution, causing the particles to align in a particular formation. As proteins bind to the antibody-coated particles, the rotation of the particles becomes sluggish, which is easy to detect with laser optics.
v. The method could be used to produce biochemical immunology test results in about 15 minutes compared to several hours for enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) which is currently a standard approach for biomolecule detection.
Uber To Bring Food Delivery App ‘UberEATS’ In India
i. Transportation app Uber will soon launch its on-demand food delivery app ‘UberEATS’ in the Indian market.
ii. UberEATS is currently available in 58 cities globally, including Bangkok, Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Taipei.
iii. The new app will give consumers, restaurant partners, and delivery partners more options across India.
Bengal Clinches U-19 Cooch Behar Cricket Trophy for 2016-17 season
i. Bengal won the Under-19 Cooch Behar Trophy 2016-17 season against Delhi in the final at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi on January 22, 2017.
ii. Bengal was declared winner in the drawn finals on the basis of a first innings lead with 79-run.
iii. Earlier Bengal won the U-19 Cooch Behar Cricket Trophy title in 1997-98 season.
Virat Becomes Fastest Batsman to Score 1000 Runs as ODI Captain
i. Virat Kohli became the fastest batsman in the world to score 1,000 runs as captain in One-Day Internationals (ODIs) on January 22, 2017 in the third ODI against England at the Eden Gardens.
ii. The 28-year-old batsman took 17 innings to reach the landmark, breaking the earlier record set by South Africa’s AB deVilliers which was achieved in 18 innings.
iii. Earlier only 4 batsman achieved the victory of scoring 1000 runs as ODI captain including: AB deVilliers-18 innings, Kane Williamson-20 innings, Alastair Cook-21 innings and Sourav Ganguly-22 innings.
iv. Besides, Virat is the seventh Indian batsman to reach this landmark after Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, Mohammad Azharuddin and Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Nation pays homage to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose on his 120th birth anniversary
i. Nation pays homage to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose on his 120th birth anniversary on 23 January 2017.
ii. It was on this day in 1897, Netaji was born in Cuttack, Odisha.
iii. Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on his birth anniversary.
iv. The files relating to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose are available on netajipapers.gov.in