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- Current Affairs 2017 January
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Three Day Visit to India
i. The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan was on a three day visit to India from January 25-27, 2017 to be the Chief Guest at the 68th Republic Day Celebration on January 26, 2017 in New Delhi.
ii. India and UAE Signs 14 Agreements to Strengthen Bilateral Cooperation on elevating bilateral ties to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership
iii. India and the UAE committed to further boost wide-range of bilateral engagements in strategic areas of security, defence, energy
iv. A Central Power Sector PSU & Central Transmission Utility, Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL), signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA) & its group of companies on January 25, 2017 in Gurgaon, for cooperation in power sector.
v. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the visiting Crown Prince issued a joint statement on January 26, 2017 to oppose terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, wherever committed and by whomever, and declared that there could be no justification for terrorism anywhere.
Telangana Ranks Second in Walnut’s Cashless Score Card
i. Telangana has been ranked at second spot in the `Cashless India Scorecard’ released on January 26, 2017 and prepared by Walnut app to measure the growth level in digital payments in the country post demonetization.
ii. The top three states in the scorecard were Gujarat, Telangana and Haryana respectively with the highest growth in going cashless.
iii. The scorecard aims to compare the level of difference among each state in adopting the digital payment system and how each state is moving towards a cashless economy.
iv. The result is based on an aggregate analysis of Walnut’s over five million user data.
v. The States were ranked based on percentage increase in overall cashless transactions, growth in first time user of debit or credit card for shopping and growth in merchants accepting digital payments.
Indian Navy’s Theatre Level Exercise, TROPEX 17 Begins
i. The Theatre Readiness Operational Exercise (TROPEX), an annual Indian Navy exercise kicked started on January 24, 2017 off the Western Seaboard. The last edition of the exercise was conducted in January 2015.
ii. The exercise will be conducted in phased manner both in harbour and at sea to undertake tasks of war-fighting and combat operations. The exercise will strengthen the inter-operability and joint operations of the Indian Navy in a complex environment.
iii. The month long exercise will see the participation of ships and aircraft of both the Western and Eastern Naval Commands and assets from the Indian Air Force, Indian Army and the Indian Coast Guard exercising together.
iv. The air assets of the Indian Navy would include the aircraft carrier Vikramaditya, nuclear submarine Chakra, Landing Platform Dock (LPD) Jalashwa, the P-8I long range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft operating alongside SU-30 MKI, Jaguars, AWACS, IL-78 Flight Refuelling Aircraft of the Indian Air Force and Infantry units of the Indian Army.
v. TROPEX 17 exercise is aimed at testing combat readiness of the combined fleets of the Indian Navy, and the assets of the Indian Air Force, Indian Army and the Indian Coast Guard.
Andhra Pradesh Launches Rs 100 cr fund of funds for Fintech Startups
i. The Andhra Pradesh under Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has announced Rs 100-crore fund of funds on January 25, 2017 to invest in Fintech startups.
ii. Fintech is being seen as a promising space to generate job, thus the state has initiated an industry-academia-government partnership to tap and refine skilled talent available at cheaper costs to develop Visakhapatnam into a global fintech hub.
iii. The state has also appealed the Centre to partner by contributing money for the fund. The states fund is being launched as part of the government’s aim to boost fintech activities in the Vizag Fintech Valley, in Vishakapatnam, and the detail of this fund will be announced within two weeks.
iv. Apart from the fund of funds, the state has also created a fintech tower. Besides, a global fintech competition with a high prize-money will be organised in October 2017, while there will be monthly meet-ups where promising companies will be given grants of up to Rs 5 lakh.
v. The stat is making an effort to develop the entire ecosystem needed for development of the fintech sector.
India Ranks 79th in the 2016 Corruption Perception Index
i. India has been ranked at 79th spot out of 176 countries in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for the year 2016 released on January 25, 2017 by the Berlin-based corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI).
ii. New Zealand and Denmark jointly shared the first position as the least corrupt nations while Somalia was rated as the most corrupt country in the list.
List of Top 5 Least Corrupt Nations
India at Sixth Position among Eight Great Powers of 2017 List by American Foreign Policy Magazine
i. India has been ranked at the sixth position in the latest annual list of eight great powers for the year 2017 published by leading American foreign policy magazine. The list has been topped by US.
ii. The American Interest magazine in its latest annual report of eight great powers said that India is the world’s largest democracy, home to the second-largest English-speaking population in the world and has one of the most emerging economies of the world.
iii. However, it is often overlooked in the lists of the world’s great powers, but it occupies a rare and attractive position globally.
List of Eight Great Powers of 2017
|2||China & Japan (both share same position)|
Surya Namaskar Yajna Recognised in US Congress
i. The annual “Surya Namaskar Yajna” or “Health for Humanity Yogathon” has been recognized in the US House of Representative on the occasion of its 10th anniversary.
ii. Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh has organized the “Yoga for Health, Health for Humanity Yogathon” from January 14 to January 29 to mark Makar Sankranti.
iii. The 16-day event will raise awareness about yoga and its advantages in achieving a healthy body, mind, and spirit.
BANKING & FINANCE
SBI Launches Wealth Management Product “SBI Exclusif” in Kochi
i. The State Bank of India has launched a new wealth management product named “SBI Exclusif” in Kochi, Kerala. Later it will be rolled out in other cities of the state during the course of the year.
ii. The product was launched by Chief General Manager, SBI, Kerala Circle, S Venkataraman on January 24, 2017.
iii. SBI Exclusif is targeted at fast growing affluent and high net worth customer segments of the bank.
iv. SBI Exclusif offers an electronic wealth center that equips the customers with a convenience and flexibility to track their portfolio, conduct transactions and make investments through digital channels such as internet and mobile
v. SBI has tied up with leading technology and product partners to provide an extensive suite of privileged products and lifestyle benefits. These include top-tier credit and debit cards and concessions/waivers in charges, among others.
Karnataka Bank Signs MoU with Tirth Agro Technology
Mangaluru based private sector bank Karnataka Bank Ltd signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the leading agricultural equipment/implements manufacturer Tirth Agro Technology Pvt Ltd, Rajkot, on January 25, 2017 in to finance farmers for agri mechanisation.
Aim of the MoU
i. To establish a platform for co-operation between the two in identifying farmers in need of buying agricultural implements/equipment and financing them by the bank on its terms.
ii. To promote agriculture mechanization in India by utilizing bank’s experience in agricultural finance through its branches across India.
iii. To use expertise of the company in field of manufacturing of high quality agriculture equipment and implements.
iv. Further enhancement of agricultural finance to the farmers, particularly small and marginal farmers.
iv. The Tirth Agro Technology Pvt Ltd manufactures agricultural implements under the brand name ‘Shaktiman’. It has a network of more than 685 dealers and 42 distributors across India.
Karnataka Bank Limited
♦ Headquarters: Mangalore
♦ CEO: Polali Jayarama Bhat
♦ Founded: 1924
♦ Motto: Your family bank. Across India
Government to Launch Aadhar Pay for Cashless Transactions through Biometrics
i. The Government on January 27, 2017 informed about its plan to launch the biometric based Aadhaar Pay payment platform in few weeks for BHIM App.
ii. Aadhaar Pay service will enable people to make and receive payments using their Aadhaar number and biometrics.
iii. The government enabled the Bharat Interface for Mobile (BHIM) app with Aadhaar number on January 26, 2017.
iv. With Aadhaar Pay, people will not require to carry their phone for payments. They can visit any merchant, share their Aadhaar number and verify themselves using biometrics to pay and receive money.
iv. Till date, 14 banks have come forward to avail Aadhaar Pay and the government is in talks with other banks too, Prasad added.
Nokia Gets Vodafone’s 4G contract Worth Rs 3,650 crore
i. Nokia Indian operation has bagged a contract worth $500 million (Rs 3,650 crore) from Mumbai based Vodafone for deployment and expansion of 4G network in the country.
ii. Nokia will cover 10 out of 22 telecom zones for Vodafone India in the country. It would cover Kolkata, Mumbai, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu-Chennai, Haryana, UP East, West Bengal, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.
iii. With this contract, Finland based telecom major’s Nokia India unit aims to expand its network expansion and ramping up capacities to counter the threat from bigger rival Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio.
iv. Chinese equipment vendor Huawei would supply 4G base stations and other equipment for Vodafone’s networks in Karnataka, Kerala and Delhi circles.
Aditya Birla Group Plans to Invest Rs 7,000 crore in Andhra Pradesh
i. The Aditya Birla Group on January 27, 2017 announced its plans to invest Rs 7,000 crore in the next two years in Andhra Pradesh.
ii. The company aims to expand its existing businesses in the state.
iii. The conglomerate already has investments of Rs 10,000 crore in the state across sectors like telecom, retail and cement.
iv. The company has set up a cement plant with capacity of 5.6 million tonnes n Andhra Pradesh. In the telecom sector, Idea cellular currently serves 8 million customers through 69,000 outlets and nearly 9,400 cell sites. In the branded apparel and retail business, the company has 240 stores.
About Aditya Birla Group
♦ The Aditya Birla Group is an Indian multinational conglomerate named after Aditya Vikram Birla, headquartered in the Aditya Birla Centre in Worli, Mumbai, India. It operates in 40 countries with more than 120,000 employees worldwide.
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai
♦ Founder: Ghanshyam Das Birla
♦ Founded: 1857
HPCL, GAIL sign pact with AP for Rs 40K crore petrochem project
i. Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd(HPCL) and GAIL India Ltd signed a pact with Andhra Pradesh for setting up a Rs 40,000 crore petrochemical plant in the state.
ii. The 50:50 joint venture will set up a 1.5 million tons Ethylene Derivatives plant.
iii. The plant will produce a wide range of petrochemical raw materials for the manufacture of detergents, paints and coatings, cosmetics, textiles and adhesives.
iv. It will be set up at the Petroleum, Chemical and Petrochemicals Investment Region (PCPIR) sites identified by the state government at Kakinada.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
3 Indian-origin conferred with Australia’s highest civilian award
i. Three Indian-origin persons have been awarded Australia’s highest civilian honor this year for their contributions in the field of medicine and work towards the community.
ii. Purushottam Sawrikar, a Sydney-based medical practitioner, received Order of Australia medal for the year 2017 in General division category for his service to medicine, and to the Indian community.
iii. Sawrikar was a former President of Australian Indian Medical Graduates Association and also founded a community radio called Akashwani Sydney.
iv. Makhan Singh Khangure from Perth received the award for his for significant service to medicine in the field of neuroradiology, to education, and to a range of professional medical associations.
v. Vijay Kumar received the award for his significant service to medical research in the disciplines of nuclear medicine and biology, to professional organizations, and to the community.
vi. Kumar, a founding Member of Sydney Tamil Sangam Association, was also awarded Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation Award in 2007 and 2014.
Two Scientists from National Geophysical Research Institute Named for 2016 National Geoscience Award
i. Dr. A Keshav Krishna, a scientist at the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI), Hyderabad has been selected for the 2016 National Geoscience Award in recognition of his work in the field of geo-environmental studies in Applied Geosciences.
ii. Besides, Dr. N. Purnachandra Rao, Chief Scientist at the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI), has been selected for 2016 National Geoscience Award for recognition of his work in the field of Geophysics.
iii. Dr. Krishna has 16 years of research experience in Environmental Geochemistry specialization and has made significant contributions in the field of Applied Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Applied Geochemistry, and Environmental Geochemistry in soil, water management and related environmental pollution and risk assessment studies.
iv. Dr. Rao has made significant contributions to earthquake studies. He has brought in application of new techniques like seismic moment tensor inversion and seismic ambient noise correlation to the Indian region.
v. The award is given by the Union Ministry of Mines, Govt. of India
3 Soldiers from Rashtriya Rifles Awarded Sena Medal for Encoutering Hizbul terrorist Burhan Wani
i. Three personnel of Rashtriya Rifles have been awarded the Sena Medal on the occasion of Republic Day in New Delhi for gunning down terrorist Burhan Wani in July 2016.
ii. The awardees include Major Sandeep Kumar, Captain Manik Sharma and Naik Arvind Singh Chauhan. On July 8, 2016, Major Sandeep Kumar discovered that Sartaj Aziz and two other militants were hiding in a house in Bumdoora village, 18 km southeast of Anantnag in J&K.
iii. Major Kumar, Captain Manik Sharma and Naik Arvind Singh Chauhan stormed into the house where all the militants were killed in the encounter.
iv. It was later discovered that the last militant killed was Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, a popular resurgent militant leader in Kashmir who carried a reward of Rs 10 lakh on his head, whose death resulted in a five-month-long unrest in the valley.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Meghalaya Governor V Shanmuganathan resigns over sexual assault allegations
i. Meghalaya governor, V Shanmuganathan finally resigned after Raj Bhavan staff accused him of sexual misconduct.
ii. Shanmuganathan is a veteran RSS activist from Tamil Nadu and was appointed Meghalaya Governor in May 2015.
iii. Last year, he was also given additional charge of Arunachal Pradesh.
ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS
Alibaba’s Financial Arm, Ant Financial Acquires MoneyGram
i. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s financial arm, Ant Financial on January 26, 2017 reached an agreement to acquire U.S money transfer company MoneyGram for USD 880 million.
ii. With the acquisition, Alibaba aims to expand its business in America after India and Thailand. Earlier, it acquired Paytm in India and Ascend Money in Thailand.
iii. The transaction will lead to the connection of MoneyGram’s money transfer network of 2.4 billion bank and mobile accounts and 350,000 physical locations with the customers of Ant Financial. However MoneyGram will remain headquartered in Dallas and continue to operate under its existing brand.
iv. The transaction is subject to approval of MoneyGram’s stockholders and regulatory approvals and the acquisition is expected to finish in second half of 2017.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
ISRO Successfully Tests Cryogenic Engine for Upper Stage of GSLV Mk III
i. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully tested its indigenously developed Cryogenic engine designated as C25, on January 25, 2017 for 50 seconds at ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) at Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu.
ii. The cryogenic engine has been developed for use in the Upper Stage of GSLV Mk III rocket, which is scheduled to be launched within the first quarter of 2017. Cryogenic engines are used in the upper stage of a rocket launch as they provide the maximum thrust to a launcher vehicle.
iii.This was the first test in a series of two tests. The next one has been planned for flight duration of 640 seconds.
iv. The C25 stage is the most powerful upper stage developed by ISRO and uses Liquid Oxygen and Liquid Hydrogen propellant combination.
v. GSLV MkIII is a next generation launch vehicle of ISRO, capable of launching 4 ton class spacecraft in Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).
David Boon, Matthew Hayden inducted into Australian Cricket Hall of Fame
i. Two of Australia’s greatest top-order batsmen, David Boon and Matthew Hayden, and the brilliant women’s all-rounder Betty Wilson will be inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame (ACHoF) at the 2017 Allan Border Medal ceremony in Sydney
ii. ACHoF chairman Peter King announced that Boon, Hayden and Wilson were the selection committee’s choice for induction this year.
International Holocaust Remembrance Day Celebrated on January 27, 2017
i. The 72nd International Holocaust Remembrance Day, anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, was observed on January 27, 2017 by United Nation.
ii. The day was designated by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution on November 1, 2005 as an international memorial day to honor the memory of the victims of the Holocaust.
iii. Holocaust is the genocide that resulted in the annihilation of six million European Jews as well as millions of others by the Nazi regime.
iv. The annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day urges every member nation of the U.N. to encourages the development of educational programs about Holocaust history to help prevent future acts of genocide.