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Current Affairs Today – January 29 2017

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CAT January


IMD to Set up Weather Stations in 660 Districts by 2019
i. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has decided to set up weather stations in 660 districts of the country for better and prompt weather forecasting with major focus on rain-fed and non-rain-fed areas to give crop specific advisories
ii. The system would be launched in phased manner. Initially, IMD has planned to set up the system in 130 districts and gradually increase it to 660 by 2019. The plan will be taken at block level after successful functioning at district level.
iii. The IMD has also tied up with the Ministry of Agriculture to use the Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in the districts, as weather forecasting observatories.
iv. Weather forecasts will be issued four days a week between Monday to Thursday.
v. Currently, India has weather forecasting system in 130 districts which gives forecasts for a cluster of neighbouring districts.
vi. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) is an agency of the Ministry of Earth Sciencesof the Government of India responsible for meteorologicalobservations, weather forecasting and seismology.
India Meteorological Department (IMD) :
♦ The India Meteorological Department (IMD), also referred to as the Met Department, is an agency of the Ministry of Earth Sciences of the Government of India
♦ Formed:1875
♦ Headquarters: Mausam Bhavan,  New Delhi
♦ Director : Dr. K.J. Ramesh

Nitin Gadkari Announces to Develop 1,253 km road in Assam as National Highways
i. The Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways and Shipping, Nitin Jairam Gadkari, Roadinaugurated a 3-lane Brahmaputra Bridge at Saraighat  in Guwahati on January  29, 2017.
ii. As a part of the event, the Minister announced that the government would spend Rs 15,000 crores to develop 1,253 kilometres of roads in Assam into National Highways over the next few years.
iii. Besides, the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL) will spend Rs 8,000 crores over the next two years for developing 143 kilometres of road, including a few bridges over Brahmaputra.
iv. The 3-lane Bridge has been developed at a cost of Rs. 475 crore and aims to solve the problem of traffic conjestion at Jalukbari and Amingaon points.
v. The Centre has also increased the roads funds from Rs. 450 crore to Rs. 800 crore.


Inheritance Court for Non-Muslims to be Set up in Abu Dhabi
i. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has issued a resolution to set up a Personal Status and Inheritance Court for non Muslims in Abu Dhabi.
ii. The aim of setting up the Court is to ensure access to services for all segment of the society and promote the culture of tolerance and acceptance of other communities values at the judiciary level.
iii. The strategic goals of the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department is to enhance the effectiveness and sustainability of the judicial procedures in harmony with the prevailing norms in the community


RBI Gives Final License to India Post to Start Payment Bank Operations
i. The India Post has received the final license from the Reserve bank of India to start its operation as payment bank with the name India Post Payment Bank (IPPB).
ii. With this India Post has become the third entity to get the license from the Central Bank RBIto start payment bank services. Earlier, Bharti Airtel and digital payments firm Paytm got the approval from RBI and till now only Airtel has started operations
iii. AP Singh has been anointed as the interim MD and CEO of the India Post Payment Bank by the government.
iv. Initially each post office in the country will offer post bank services. The department of Post has planned to open 650 new branches for the payment banks in the postal district headquarters and all the branches under it would provide the payment services. The Department of Post has a network of about 1,55,000 post offices.
v. IPPB has been incorporated as a Public Sector Bank under the Department of Posts with 100% GOI equity. Payments banks can accept deposits from individuals and small businesses of up to Rs 1 lakh per account.

India’s Foreign Exchange Reserves Rises by $ 932.4 million to $ 360.775 billion
i. The Reserve Bank of India on January 29, 2017 informed that the Foreign Exchange Reserves of India rose by 932.4 million dollars to 360.775 billion dollars for the second consecutive week ended January 20.
ii. In the previous week, India’s forex reserve increased by 687.9 million dollars to 359.843 billion dollars.
iii. Besides, the foreign currency assets had gone up by 926.4 million dollars to 338.434 billion dollars during the week.
iv. However, the gold reserves remained unchanged at 18.584 billion dollars during the week, while its special drawing rights (SDRs) went up by 2.3 million dollars to 1.442 billion dollars.
v. In addition, India’s reserve position increased by 3.7 million dolars to 2.315 billion dollars during the week in the International Monetary Fund (IMF).


India’s largest startup incubator to be built at Hubballi
i. Indian-American entrepreneur, philanthropist and venture capitalist Gururaj Deshpande has decided to launch India’s largest startup incubation centre at Hubballi (earlier Hubli) in Karnataka.
ii. The decision is based on the idea of expansion of the Deshpande Foundation’s initial incubation center, Sandbox, which was founded by Deshpande and his wife Jaishree in 2008. Nearly 50 startups are part of the Sandbox. All of them will move to the new facility once it is ready.
iii. The new incubator centre would be spread over an area of 85,000 sq ft alongside the new campus of information technology giant Infosys and will be able to house 1,200 people at a time. This will pave way for at least 200 startups.
iv. The Deshpande Foundation’s startup incubation centre will be built at a cost of Rs 30 crore, and is expected to be completed by September 2017.
v .As of now, T-Hub, in Telangana, built on a space of 70,000 sq.ft. is the biggest incubation centre in the country.
vi. The new facility will have a makers’ lab, 3D printing lab, IoT (internet-ofthings) lab. It will focus on all sectors -from manufacturing and agriculture to IoT.
vii. The incubation centre aims to encourage entrepreneurs, especially the young generations, from any background and across the sectors, to come up with innovative new-age solutions, business models and social entrepreneurship projects.


Indian Navy Issues RFI to procure 57 Carrier-Borne Fighter Jets
i. According to IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly, the Indian Navy has officially issued a Request for Information (RFI) on January 17, 2017 to procure new carrier-based multirole warplane.
ii. The Navy intends to procure 57 naval fighter aircraft from a foreign supplier for its rapidly growing fleet of aircraft carriers. The government also wants to manufacture these planes in India under Indian Prime Minister’s Modi’s Make in India initiative and tender has asked the original equipment manufacturers to respond to it.
iii. Responses are due by May 24, 2017. Delivery of the first aircraft is expected to begin three years following the inking of a contract and completed within three additional years.
iv. The three likely contenders for the contract are Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet, a naval version of the Dassault Rafale, and the Russian-made MiG-29K Fulcrum fighter jet.
v. The details of aircraft in RFI includes: capable of operations during day and night in all weather conditions, suitable for shipborne air defense, air-to-surface, ‘buddy-buddy’ aerial refueling, reconnaissance, electronic warfare, and other unspecified roles.
vi. Currently, six planes are compatible for aircraft carrier flying. They are Rafale (Dassault, France), F-18 Super Hornet (Boeing, US), MIG-29K (Russia), F-35B and F-35C (Lockheed Martin, US) and Gripen (Saab, Sweden). While F-18, Rafale and MIG-29K are twin engine jets, the remaining three have single engine.
vii. The Indian Navy will not deploy a naval version of the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Light Combat Aircraft Tejas aboard its new class of aircraft carriers due to its heavy weight.

US Based Scientists Develops Human-Pig Hybrid
i. Based on a study report published in the journal Cell on January 26, 2017, an International Team of Scientists from United States have created a Human-Pig US Based Scientists Develops Human-Pig HybridHybrid in a research project paving way to address shortage of organ for transplantation.
ii. The team created an organism scientifically known as a Chimera, an organism that contains cells from two different species. The researchers injected human stem cells into early-stage pig embryos. These hybrid embryos were then transferred into surrogate sows and allowed to develop until the first trimester
iii. More than 150 of the embryos developed into chimeras, which meant that they had developed the precursors of organs including the heart and liver, but they contained a small amount of human cells, around one in 10,000 of the hybrids’ cells were human.
iv. The experiment proved that human-pig hybrids are possible and human cells can be introduced into a non-human organism, survive, and even grow inside a host animal.


Australian Open tournament 2017 Overview
The 105th edition of the Australian Open tournament 2017 was held at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia from January 16 to January 29, 2017.
List of Winners

Men’s SinglesRoger FedererRafael Nadal
Women’s SinglesSerena WilliamsVenus Williams
Men’s DoublesHenri Kontinen /John PeersBob Bryan/Mike Bryan
Women’s DoublesBethanieMattek-Sands /Lucie          SafarovaAndrea Hlaváčková/Peng Shuai
Mixed DoublesAbigail Spears /Juan Sebastián    CabalCroatia’s Ivan Dodig/Sania Mirz

Abul Hossain Wins 2017 Kolkata Marathon
i. Siliguri based Abul Hossain won the Kolkata Full Marathon on January 29, 2017 by completing the race in 02:34:02.
ii. He defeated Kolkata lad Biswanath Pal who ran in 2:39.16. Paritosh Roy finished third with a timing of 02:52:48 seconds.
iii. Besides, in Women’s Half Marathon Category, Sikkim’s Mangali Tamang won the race with a timing of 01:31:13. Meghalaya’s Kyntimon Marwein stood second with a timing of 1:33.04 seconds while her younger sister Dateibankynmaw finished third at 1:35.48.
iv. In Men’s Half Marathon Category Shubhankar Ghosh  stood first at 1:09.07, Jomsing Star Ramsiej second at 1:11.03 and Uttam Bhujel third at 1:13.23 seconds.


Hollywood Legend & Harry Porter actor John Hurt dies at 77
i. Sir John Hurt, the British actor who starred in The Elephant Man and Harry Potter, John Hurt dies at 77died on January 25, 2017 at his residence in Norfolk, London due to Cancer. He was 77.
ii. He had won two Oscar nominations for The Elephant Man and Midnight Express. He was well known for his role as wand merchant Mr. Ollivander in Harry Potter.
iii. Hurt’s career spanned six decades. He had roles in more than 129 films with dozens of television roles.


World Leprosy Day-January 9, 2017
i. The World Leprosy Day was celebrated on January 29, 2017 all over the world.
ii .The World Leprosy Day is celebrated worldwide on January 30 annually or its nearest Sunday, as the day coincide with the anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s death on 30 January 1948. He worked tirelessly to help those afflicted with leprosy.
iii. The main aim of the day is to increase the public awareness of the Leprosy also known as Hansen’s Disease.
iv. In 2017, International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations will continue its call for the proactive, early detection of leprosy to reduce disability caused by leprosy in children to zero by 2020.
v. Leprosy is one of the oldest recorded diseases in the world. It is an infectious chronic disease that targets the nervous system, especially the nerves in the cooler parts of the body like the hands, feet, and face.

President Mukherjee Launches Pulse Polio Programme on National Immunization Day
i. The National Immunization Day was observed on January 29, 2017 to spread awareness about eradicating polio.
ii. As a part of the day, President Pranab Mukherjee launched the pulse polio programme on January 28, 2017 by administering polio drops to children aged below five years at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
iii. Around 17 crore children of less than five years across the country will be given polio drops as part of the drive of Government of India to sustain polio eradication from the country.
iv. On March 27, 2014, the entire South-East Asia Region of the World Health Organisation, including India got the polio-free certification. However, the risk of National Immunization Dayimportation still persists from three countries namely Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria, where poliovirus is still circulating.
v. Thus the day is marked to maintain the immunity among the population and sensitive surveillance till the global polio eradication is achieved.
vi. For this, the government is conducting continuous polio vaccination at the international borders with India. A travel advisory has also been issued to vaccinate all travelers who are travelling between India and other South East Asian countries including Bangladesh, Bhutan, North Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, the Maldives and Myanmar.
vii. Besides, an Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan (EPRP) has been set up by the Union Health Ministry led by Shri JP Nadda, under which Rapid Response Teams (RRT) have been formed in all states and UTs to respond urgently to any importations of poliovirus.
viii. In addition, the Ministry will soon introduce Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine that will help reduce the risk of diarrhea, pneumonia and meningitis and (launch) a countrywide campaign with Measles-Rubella vaccine in a phased manner.