Weekly Current Affairs January 2018 1st Week

1. Pakistan to set up $1.51 billion hydropower project in PoK

Pakistan has decided to set up a new hydropower project of over 700 megawatts in PoK through foreign financing at an estimated cost of USD 1.51 billion by 2022.

  • The Azad Pattan Hydropower Project (APHP) is a run of river scheme located on Jhelum River in the Sudhanoti district of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and about 90 kilometres from Islamabad.
  • The project would be completed by 2022 for which the authorities have sought an import tariff at Rs 8.05 per kilowatts.

2. India ranked 90th among 163 countries in the positive peace index

Despite the unrest in the last one year, there is an atmosphere of peace in 93rd countries.

  • In the ranking released by the Institute of Economics and Peace named Positive Peace Index 2017, India has been ranked 90th among 163 countries.
  • Sweden, Switzerland and Finland are the top three countries respectively In the index.

3. Saudi Arabia, UAE introduce VAT in first for Gulf

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates introduced value-added tax, a first for the Gulf which has long prided itself on its tax-free.

  • The five percent sales tax applies to most goods and services and analysts project that the two governments could raise as much as $21 billion in 2018, equivalent to 2.0 percent of GDP.
  • The other four Gulf states, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar are also committed to introducing VAT but have delayed the move until early 2019.

4. India Cancels $500 Million Deal For Israeli Anti-Tank Missiles

India has cancelled a $ 500 million deal to buy 1,600 Spike anti-tank guided missiles from Israel, the state-owned defence contractor Rafael Advanced Defence Systems announced.

  • Spike is a man-portable “fire and forget’ missile that can hit moving targets such as a tank.
  • India had opted for the Israel’s Spike over the Javelin missiles offered by Washington in 2014.

5. World Braille Day: 4 January

World Braille Day is annually celebrated on January 4, the birthday of Braille inventor, Louis Braille.

  • The day recognizes the contributions of Louis Braille in helping blind and visually impaired people to read and write.
  • Braille is a code that uses bumps and indentation on a surface to represent letters, which can be recognized by touch.
  • Louis Braille, a French man who was blinded in an accident at a very young age, invented it.

6. Iceland Becomes First Country to Enforce Equal Pay Laws

Iceland has become the first country in the world to legalize equal pay, charting a new history.

  • Under the new law, companies and government agencies that employ at least 25 people will be fined if they can’t prove they pay men and women equally.
  • Iceland has been ranked by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as No. 1 in gender equality for the past nine years.

7. US puts Pakistan on Special Watch List

The US has placed Pakistan on a ‘Special Watch List’ for “severe violations” of religious freedom.

  • It is the only country to be put under the newly-formed list.
  • The Special Watch List is for countries that engage in or tolerate severe violations of religious freedom but may not rise to the level of the CPC.

8. Centre releases Rs 24,500 crore to compensate states post GST

The revenue loss to states on account of GST implementation was Rs 24,500 crore between July-October and the Centre has released compensation to make up for it, Parliament was informed.

  • As per the details of GST compensation released to states as on November 30, Karnataka got maximum compensation from the Centre at Rs 3,271 crore, followed by Gujarat (Rs 2,282 crore) and Punjab (Rs 2,098 crore).
  • The other states that required hefty compensation include Rajasthan (Rs 1,911 crore), Bihar (Rs 1,746 crore), Uttar Pradesh (Rs 1,520 crore), West Bengal (Rs 1,008 crore) and Odisha (Rs 1,020 crore).

9. Arunachal Pradesh declared Open Defecation Free

Arunachal Pradesh has been emerged as the second state in the Northeast, after Sikkim, to be declared Open Defecation Free.

  • The three remaining districts – Upper Subansiri, Siang and Changlang — were declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) officially.
  • Arunachal has 21 districts and the state attained the feat much before the national deadline of October 2, 2019.

10. Kolkata cops ban public display of weapons

The Kolkata police has issued a notification banning public display of weapons in the city, to be effective from January 2, 2018, to January 1, 2019.

  • The notification issued by the Commissioner of Police, Rajeev Kumar prohibits “carrying of swords, spears, bludgeons, or other offensive weapons in any public place in the ‘Town of Calcutta’ or in the suburbs of the ‘Town of Calcutta’.”

11. Centre approves Rs 4,066 cr for internet in all panchayats

The government has approved Rs 4,066 crore for providing internet connectivity to people in all gram panchayats under BharatNet project, Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha informed the Parliament.

  • “Rs 4,066 crore has been approved for providing last-mile connectivity, through Wi-Fi or any other suitable broadband technology, at all the Gram Panchayats (approximately 2,50,000) in the country,” Sinha said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
  • The government is rolling BharatNet project to provide high-speed broadband connectivity at gram panchayat (GP) levels.
  • The government plans to connect all GPs with high-speed broadband by March 2019.

12. Maneka Gandhi to inaugurated online portal ‘NARI’

In a big leap forward to empower women, the Minister of Women & Child Development, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi has inaugurated an online portal NARI in New Delhi.

  • Developed by the Ministry of Women & Child Development, the portal will provide women citizens with easy access to information on government schemes and initiatives for women.
  • Further to provide a platform for NGOs and Civil Societies to interact with the Ministry of Women & Child Development, e-Samvad portal has also been developed which was inaugurated by the WCD Minister.
  • The NARI portal summarizes over 350 government schemes and other important information for the benefit of women, with more being added everyday.
  • There are tips on good nutrition, suggestions for health check ups, information on major diseases, tips for job search and interview, investment and savings advice, information on crimes and against women and reporting procedures, contacts of legal aid cells, simplified adoption procedures and much more.

13. UP declares Noida, Yamuna E-way as electronics manufacturing zone

The Yogi Adityanath government has released its ‘Uttar Pradesh Electronics Manufacturing Policy’ under which Noida, Greater Noida and the Yamuna Expressway region has been declared as an electronics manufacturing zone.

  • A minister said the aim of this policy is to ensure that the state gets the status of a favourite investment destination.
  • The target of the policy is to attract investments worth Rs 20,000 crore in the ESDM sector and 3 lakh jobs by 2022.

14. Nagaland declared as ‘disturbed area’ for 6 more months

The entire Nagaland has been declared as “disturbed area” for six more months, till June- end, under the controversial AFSPA, which empowers security forces to conduct operations anywhere and arrest anyone without any prior notice.

  • There have been demands from various organisations in the northeast as well as in Jammu and Kashmir for repealing the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), which, they say, gives “sweeping powers” to security forces.
  • The AFSPA has been in force in Nagaland for several decades.

15. Andhra CM declares 2018 as Telugu promotion year

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has declared 2018 as Telugu promotion year.

  • He made this announcement at 29th edition of Annual Book Exhibition of Vijayawada.
  • Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and the Chief Minister inaugurated the fest, which will remain open till January 11 at Swaraj Maidan.
  • He also recognised Vijayawada as the centre for Telugu magazines, newspapers, and literary publications.

16. Jharkhand CM launches programme

Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das has launched “Saubhagya Yojana”, a programme that would provide electricity to all the 29,376 villages in the state.

•    Launching the “Saubhagya Yojana” here, Das said only 38 lakh households out of 68 lakh households in the state could get electricity in 67 years.

•    However, this government has provided electricity to 13 lakh households in just three years.

•    By December 2018, the target is to provide electricity to the rest 17.64 lakh households.

17. Joint Schemes for SC, OBC, Safai Karamcharis and Disabled Persons

The Government is implementing a Scheme, namely the Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme (DDRS) that provides grant-in-aid to non-governmental organizations for various projects relating to rehabilitation of persons with disabilities.

•    The objective of the scheme is to enable persons with disabilities to reach and maintain their optimal, physical, sensory, intellectual, psychiatric or social functional levels.

18. UP theme state for Surajkund crafts mela

The Haryana tourism department has disclosed that Uttar Pradesh would be the theme state for the 32nd Surajkund International Crafts Mela, which would be organized at Surajkund, Faridabad from February 2 to 15.

•    Apart from all other states, about 24 countries would also participate in it.

•    The fair organized by the Haryana Tourism and Surajkund Fair Authority in collaboration with the Union ministries of tourism, textiles, culture and external affairs, exhibited handicrafts, handloom variety and prosperity of India at global level.

19. Indian Railways to install GPS devices on 2,700 electric locomotives

In a bid to provide real time train information, the government plans to install GPS devices on over 2,700 electric locomotives by December 2018, Parliament was told.

  • “Railway Ministry in collaboration with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is implementing Real-Time Train Information System (RTIS) which involves tracking of train by placing GPS/GAGAN (GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation System) based devices on locomotives,” Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain told the Lok Sabha in a written reply.
  • “In Phase one, the RTIS project will cover about 2,700 electric locomotives in which the GPS device will be installed.
  • This phase is planned to be completed by December 2018,” he said.

20. Government approves Rs 6,809-crore Zojila Pass tunnel project in J&K

The Union Cabinet has approved the construction of Asia’s longest bi-directional Zojila Pass tunnel at an estimated cost of Rs 6,089 crore, which will reduce the travel time between Srinagar and Leh to 15 minutes from the current 3.5 hours.

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave its go-ahead to the 14.2-km long tunnel project in Jammu and Kashmir to provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh, which remains cut-off from the rest of India during winters due to heavy snowfall.

21. Cabinet approves MoU between India and ‘Transport for London’

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the signing and implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and ‘Transport for London’, a statutory body established under the Greater London Authority Act, 1999 (UK) to improve Public Transport in India.

  • The MoU will help to improve the overall public transport system in the country, improve passenger services and promote the use of high capacity buses in India.
  • It will go a long way in strengthening ties and promoting bilateral relations between India and United Kingdom.

22. Cabinet approves setting up of new AIIMS in Bilaspur

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for establishment of new AIIMS in Bilaspur (Himachal Pradesh) under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY).

  • The cost of the project is Rs.1351 crore.
  • Under this scheme, AIIMS have been established in Bhubaneshwar, Bhopal, Raipur, Jodhpur, Rishikesh and Patna while work of AIIMS Rae Bareli is in progress.

23. Setting up of National Security Commission

In pursuance of directions given by the Hon’ble Supreme Court for setting up a National Security Commission, a Committee namely “Committee on National Security and Central Police Personnel Welfare (CNS & CPPW)” has been constituted for recommending the names of IPS officers to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet for appointment at the level of Director General at the centre on 2nd January, 2017.

The composition of the Committee is as under:-

  • Union Home Minister- Chairman
  • National Security Adviser- Member
  • Cabinet Secretary- Member
  • Union Home Secretary- Member
  • Director, Intelligence Bureau- Member

24. Govt launches Swachh Survekshan 2018

The government has announced the launch of cleanliness survey for this year as part of Swachh Bharat Mission.

  • The Swachh Survekshan 2018 will rank 500 cities on national level which have more than 1 lakh population, while 3,541 cities with less than 1 lakh population will have State and Regional ranking.
  • The 2017 edition was conducted in January-February 2017 covering 434 Urban Local Bodies. Indore emerged as the cleanest city in the country in that survey.

25. Health Ministry launch first digital Online Oncology Tutorial

Smt Preeti Sudan, Secretary (HFW) launched the country’s first digital Online Oncology Tutorial Series designed by the Tata Memorial Center in collaboration with the Health Ministry.

  • The oncology tutorial series aim to train the doctors across the country to educate them in early detection, prevention, palliation, rehabilitation and treatment of various cancers.
  • This is part of a national program that will be rolled out across the country by Tata Memorial Centre in collaboration with state governments.

26. Namami Gange projects worth Rs. 295 crore approved by NMCG

National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has approved five projects worth Rs. 295.01 crore.

  • Three projects pertain to sewage management in West Bengal at an estimated cost of Rs 278.6 crore, one relates to sewage management in Uttarakhand at an estimated cost of Rs 4.68 crore and one project worth Rs 11.73 crore is related to ghat improvement works in Varanasi.
  • With these approvals, all projects related to sewage management in high pollution load towns along river Ganga have been sanctioned.

27. Rs 372.51 crore sanctioned by NABARD to Odisha

The NABARD has sanctioned Rs 372.51 crore loan assistance under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) to Odisha towards irrigation and rural bridge projects for the last quarter of this fiscal.

  • A total number of 17,322 lift irrigation projects including bore wells, shallow tube wells, digging wells, micro river lifts shall be taken up with Rs 130.17 crore from the assistance.
  • This will provide assured irrigation to about 36,440 hectares of agricultural land directly benefiting about 40,000 farmers of state.

28. Tamil Nadu leads the nation in higher education enrolment

Tamil Nadu has emerged as the leader in the country in terms of Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education.

  • The All India Survey on Higher Education report (2106-2017), released by Minister of Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar , saw the State lead with a GER of 46.9%.
  • Among Union Territories, Chandigarh recorded 56.1%.
  • GER for higher education is calculated with reference to the age group 18-23.

29. Mamata Banerjee launches West Bengal govt’s official emblem

 

The West Bengal government has launched its official emblem in a programme at Nabanna, two days after getting the approval from the central government.

  • The official emblem is conceptualised and designed by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
  • Terming the occasion as historic, she said the state emblem – the “Biswa Bangla” logo with Ashoka Pillar of the national emblem – would be used in all the official works and documents of the Bengal government from now on.

30. New Delhi World Book Fair 2018

The New Delhi World Book Fair (NDWBF), which has emerged as one of the most significant events in the publishing world, will be held in the Capital during January 6-14 at Pragati Maidan.

  • The fair, organised by National Book Trust, India, promotes titles, trade, co-publication titles and the habit of reading.
  • The fair serves as a meeting point of readers and publishers and had started in 1972.
  •  Considering the ramifications of climate change and in a bid to promote the same, this year the theme of the event is “Environment & Climate Change”.
  • European Union will be the guest of honour for this year.

31. 3rd meeting of the Council for Trade Development and Promotion

Shri Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister for Commerce and Industry will chair the 3rd meeting of the Council for Trade Development and Promotion at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on 8th of January, 2018.

  • The Council for Trade Development and Promotion was constituted on 03.07.15 under the chairpersonship of the Union Minister for Commerce and Industry, in pursuance to the provisions of Foreign Trade Policy statement 2015-20.
  • The objective was to ensure a continuous dialogue with the governments of states and Union Territories on measures for providing an international trade enabling environment in the states and to create a framework for making the states active partners in boosting India’s exports.

32. Nitin Gadkari to inaugurate ASEAN India Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

Shri Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation is in Singapore to inaugurate the ASEAN India Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on 6th of January 2018.

  • Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is celebrated every year to strengthen the engagement of the overseas Indian community with the Government, reconnect them with their roots and celebrate their achievements and contributions.

33. Goa to host third edition of Science Film Festival

Goa will be hosting the third edition of the Science Film Festival of India between January 16-19.

  • The festival, titled SCI-FFI Goa, is being organised by the state-based Vidnyan Parishad, Goa’s Department of Science and Technology, the Entertainment Society of Goa and the Goa College of Art.
  • There would be cash prizes for the best film apart from awards for categories including Direction/Research Presentation, Cinematography, Editing and Design.

34. Bengaluru most well read city in India: Survey

Bengaluru has emerged as the most well read city in India, while Mumbai and Delhi stands at second and third position, respectively, according to a survey conducted by Amazon India’s Annual Reading Trends Reports for 2017.

  • Among books, ‘Indian Polity (5th Edition)’ ranked as the top selling book on Amazon India across the country while ‘Sita – Warrior of Mithila’ emerged as the highest selling fiction book of 2017.

35. Govt to set up FTII in Arunachal Pradesh

Arunachal Pradesh would get its first Film and Television Institute, being set up by the union government as part of tapping the potential of the North Eastern region, Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh said.

  • This would be the second such one in the country.

Points to Remember

  • The first Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) was set up in Pune, an autonomous institute operating under the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.
  • It was established in 1960. Anupam Kher is its present Chairman.

36. 18th All India Whips Conference to start from Jan 8

Deliberations on paperless parliament and state legislatures by rolling out e-Sansad and e-Vidhan are on the agenda of 18th All India Whips Conference to be held in Udaipur.

  • Union Parliamentary Affairs minister Ananth Kumar is slated to inaugurate the conference to be held on January 8 and 9.
  • It will be attended by whips of various political parties from different states.

37. India’s first National Park for differently abled people inaugurated in Hyderabad

Telangana government has inaugurated country’s first National Park for people with special needs.

  • Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister K.T. Rama Rao inaugurated the park, which has speech therapist, physiotherapist, vocational training instructors for the differently-abled children.

38. International kite festival begins in Gujarat

The international kite festival was inaugurated by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani at Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad.

  • Governor O P Kohli was also present on the occasion.
  • Kite enthusiasts from across India and also foreign countries are participating in the week-long festival that is being celebrated across cities in Gujarat.
  • The state government-sponsored festival will culminate on January 14, which is celebrated as Uttarayan (Makar Sankranti).

39. Nearly 8,500 stations to get Wi-Fi facility at Rs 7-bn cost: Railways

All railway stations, nearly 8,500 across the country, including those in rural and remote areas – will be equipped with Wi-Fi facilities at an estimated cost of Rs 7 billion.

  • As part of the government’s ambitious Digital India initiative, the national transporter has currently commissioned Wi-Fi services at 216 major stations enabling about seven million rail passengers to log on to the free Internet facility.
  • According to the the plan finalised at a recent meeting, while 1,200 stations have been identified for this facility to primarily cater to rail passengers, about 7,300 stations have been earmarked to not only serve passengers but also local people in rural and remote areas.

40. Himachal CM announces 24X7 helpline for women

In a significant decision after taking over as Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Jai Ram Thakur has announced setting up of a 24×7  helpline, called Gudiya, for women.

  • Thakur, who was at Press Club Shimla, said three special crime cells would be set up, one each at Mandi, Shimla and Kangra, as part of this initiative.
  • Officers of these cells will be entrusted with the task to report cases of crime against women without any delay.
  • Gudiya is a nickname given to the 16-year-old Kotkhai victim of rape and murder during the rule of the previous Congress government.

41. BSF Launches ‘Operation Alert” Along 200 Km Border

The Border Security Force (BSF) has launched “Operation Alert” along the over 200 kilometer long International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir to curb the increasing movement of infiltrating terrorists from across the border.

  • “There are inputs that there is movement of militants and accordingly, we have declared ‘Operation Alert’ on the border,” Inspector General of BSF Jammu Frontier, Ram Awatar told.

42. Ripple becomes second-largest crypto currency by market cap

Ripple surged nearly 56 percent to an all-time high, surpassing ethereum as the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization.

  • Officially called XRP, ripple climbed 55.9 percent to a record high of $2.23, according to Coin Market Cap.
  • The digital currency had a market cap of $86.3 billion, surpassing ethereum’s $73 billion.

43. Banks gearing up to refer 24 of 28 large NPA accounts to NCLT

With the closure of RBI s deadline to resolve the 28 identified large stressed accounts in the second list, banks are gearing up to refer as many as 24 of them for insolvency proceedings.

  • In August, the Reserve Bank had asked banks to either resolve the 28 more large stressed accounts or refer them to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) by December 31.
  • These accounts together account for 40 per cent of bad loans of around Rs 4 lakh crore.
  • The biggest of the 28 cases is Videocon Industries at Rs 47,000 crore.
  • RBI has also asked SBI to move to NCLT against Anrak Aluminium.

44. SBI to start insolvency proceedings against 12 defaulters

State Bank of India is set to initiate insolvency proceedings against at least a dozen defaulting companies including Videocon Industries after failing to recast their loans by the December deadline.

  • The country’s largest bank in terms of assets will refer Videocon Industries, Visa Steel, Monnet Power, Uttam Steel, Essar Projects, Videocon Telecom, Jaiswal Neco and Jai Balaji to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) starting January 2.

45. India’s GDP growth rate may accelerate to 7% in 2018-19: HSBC


India’s growth rate is expected to accelerate over the coming year and is likely to improve further to 7.6 per cent by 2019-20 as key sectors would revive from disruptions related to the implementation of GST and demonetisation.

•    According to an HSBC report, India’s GDP growth rate is expected to accelerate to 7.0 per cent in 2018-19 from 6.5 per cent in this fiscal.

46. Parliament gives nod to NABARD (Amendment) Bill, 2017

The Parliament has gave its nod to a Bill that allows the central government to increase from Rs 5,000 crore to Rs 30,000 crore the limit to which it can increase the capital of NABARD.

•    The bill seeks to amend the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Act, 1981.

•    The 1981 Act provides for the establishment of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), responsible for providing and regulating facilities like credit for agricultural and industrial development in the rural areas.

47. RBI puts Allahabad Bank under prompt corrective action

Public sector Allahabad Bank said the Reserve Bank has put the lender under prompt corrective action framework post an on-site inspection of high NPAs and negative return of assets for fiscal 2016-17.

  • The RBI inspection has revealed high net NPAs (non performing assets) and negative ROA (return on assets) for two consecutive years, it said further.
  • For the fiscal 2016-17, the bank had trimmed its net losses to Rs 313.51 crore against Rs 743.31 crore in 2015-16.

48. Nabard, SBI sign MoU with NGOs for financing of JLGs in Bengal

The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) and State Bank of India (SBI) have jointly signed an MoU with non-government organisations (NGOs) from West Bengal for financing of 2,500 Joint Liability Groups (JLGs), or informal credit group of farmers.

  • The agreement was with five NGOs for promotion of JLGs in Purulia, Paschim Medinipur, Purba Medinipur, Burdwan and North 24 Parganas districts of the state.
  • SBI’s Chief General Manager, Kolkata circle, Partha Pratim Sengupta said JLGs are basically are credit groups of small and marginal farmers who do not have proper title to their farmland.

49. GOI announces launch of 7.75% Savings (Taxable) Bonds, 2018

Government of India has announced to launch of 7.75% Savings (Taxable) Bonds, 2018 commencing from 10th January 2018 to enable resident citizens/HUF to invest in a taxable bond, without any monetary ceiling.

  • The Bonds are open to investment by individuals (including Joint Holdings) and Hindu Undivided Families. NRIs are not eligible for making investments in these Bonds.
  • The Bonds will be issued for a minimum amount of Rs.1,000/- (face value) and in multiples thereof. Accordingly, the issue price, will be Rs.1,000/- for every Rs.1,000/- (Nominal).
  • There will be no maximum limit for investment in the Bonds.
  • The Bonds will have a maturity of 7 years carrying interest at 7.75% per annum payable half- yearly.  The cumulative value of Rs. 1,000/- at the end of seven years will be Rs. 1,703.

50. ICICI Bank takes Western India Shipyard to NCLT

Private lender ICICI Bank has initiated insolvency proceeding against Western India Shipyard, a subsidiary of ABG Shipyard which too is facing bankruptcy proceedings.

  • The company has outstanding debt of Rs 130 crore and had reported losses of Rs 39 crore as on March 2016.
  • Over 475 companies have been referred to National Company Law Tribunal by lenders for recovery of dues.

51. APGVB introduces Desktop ATMs in rural India

In a trendy initiative, the Andhra Pradesh Grameena Vikas Bank (APGVB) has operationalised it’s first desktop ATM at Kasibugga in Mandi Bazar of Warangal.

  • The mini-ATM within the branch premises will facilitate customers to withdraw small amounts.
  • At the same time regular bank account holders can withdraw money and do other banking activities.
  • The model will be scaled up to 100 in the near future, said Narasi Reddy, Chairman.

52. RBI to issue new Rs 10 currency notes

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will shortly introduce new Rs 10 currency notes under the Mahatma Gandhi series.

  • The old Rs 10 banknotes will remain legal.
  • The central bank has already printed around 1 billion pieces of the new Rs 10 banknotes.
  • The new banknotes will have chocolate brown colour as the base and will also bear the picture of Odisha’s Konark Sun Temple on the reverse side.

53. Govt pegs GDP growth rate at 6.5% for the current fiscal

The advance estimates of the GDP growth stood at 6.5% for the current fiscal FY18, according to the Central Statistics Office.

  • The GDP growth in the previous fiscal (FY 17) stood at 7.1%.
  • The GDP for the first half of FY18 registered a growth rate of 6%. The GDP growth rate for the first quarter of FY18 fell to a three-year low of 5.7%.
  • The numbers come just days ahead of the Union Budget 2018 which will be presented on February 1, 2018.

54. Yes Bank, Nearby Tech bring cardless-pinless ATM service

Fintech startup Nearby Technologies has tied up with Yes Bank to provide Aadhaar- enabled cardless and pinless ATM service by which customers can deposit or withdraw money at retailers’ place.

  • Using the PayNEARBY mobile application on a smart phone, a retailer can become an Aadhaar ATM/Aadhaar Bank branch for cash withdrawals and deposits by a customer
  • Yes Bank and Nearby worked closely with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to launch this service.

55. Paytm Payments Bank, IndusInd tie-up for fixed deposit facility

Paytm Payments Bank has partnered Induslnd Bank to introduce a facility to create a fixed deposit when the customer balance exceeds Rs1 lakh at the end of day.

  • Paytm Payments Bank customers can redeem their deposits instantly, anytime without paying any pre-closure or miscellaneous charges and can earn up to 6.85% annual interest.
  • Additionally, if a customer becomes a senior citizen before the maturity period, the account will be auto renewed under the senior citizen scheme.

56. TIHCL gets RBI nod to operate as NBFC

Telangana Industrial Health Clinic Ltd (TIHCL), a State government initiative, has got RBI clearance to register and function as a non-banking finance company (NBFC).

  • It will be the first State promoted and co-financing NBFC, according to B Yerram Raju, TIHCL’s advisor and director.
  • TIHCL was floated in 2017 with a corpus of ₹100 crore, which included contributions from the State and Central governments, financial institutions, industrial units and high networth individuals.

57. Vijay Keshav Gokhale appointed foreign secretary

Senior diplomat Vijay Keshav Gokhale was y appointed foreign secretary for a two-year fixed term, succeeding S Jaishankar who completes his tenure on January 28, according to an official order.

  • Gokhale, a 1981 batch officer of the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), was India’s envoy to China.
  • He is at present secretary (economic relations) in the Ministry of External Affairs.
  • Jaishankar was appointed foreign secretary on January 29, 2015, for two years. He was given a one-year extension in January last year.

58. Mali president names new govt after PM’s shock resignation

Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has appointed Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga – a former defence and foreign minister and intelligence chief – as the new prime minister.

  • Boubeye Maiga is expected to form a new government in the coming day after his predecessor Abdoulaye Idrissa Maiga and his entire cabinet resigned.

59. Government appoints Rajinder Khanna as Deputy National Security Advisor

Rajinder Khanna, former chief of the country’s external intelligence agency RAW, was appointed as Deputy National Security Adviser.

•    The post was lying vacant since Arvind Gupta, a former Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer, completed his tenure in August last year. Gupta was in August 2014 appointed to the post.

•    Khanna is at present Officer on Special Duty (Neighbourhood Studies) in the National Security Council Secretariat.

60. Salil Parekh takes over as Infosys CEO and MD

Salil S Parekh has formally takes over as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director (MD) of Infosys.

•    Parekh, who was one of Capgemini’s five deputy CEOs, has experience in the cloud computing business, ability to handle large acquisitions and a strong grip on technology and sales.

•    On December 2, 2017, Infosys had announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Salil S Parekh as CEO and MD of the company effective January 2, 2018.

61. AB Mathur appointed government interlocutor for talks with ULFA

The Central Government announced the appointment of AB Mathur as the interlocutor on their behalf to hold talks with the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA).

  • A 1975-batch IPS officer, Mathur served as the former Special Secretary of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), following his appointment on December 10, 2009.
  • The ULFA is a separatist outfit operating in Assam for the indigenous Assamese and seeks to establish a sovereign Assam with an armed struggle in the Assam conflict.
  • In 1990, the government of India banned the organisation, citing it as a terrorist organisation.

62. Diplomat T S Tirumurti Appointed Economic Relations Secretary

India’s High Commissioner to Kuala Lumpur T S Tirumurti was appointed the Secretary (Economic Relations) in the External Affairs Ministry.

  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved his appointment to the post, in place of Vijay Keshav Gokhale, who was recently named as the Foreign Secretary.

63. FM Arun Jaitley -chaired panel to look into old port projects

The government has formed a ministerial committee headed by finance minister Arun Jaitley to decide what to do with old, pre-existing projects in ports, which have become unviable.

  • Around 10 old projects, under the shipping ministry, have been stuck in non-profitability because operating under the contract conditions which existed a decade or so ago have kept them in a state of unviability for years.
  • The government wants to address this legal tangle.
  • The combined value of the projects is an estimated Rs 20,000 crore, shipping ministry officials said.

64. JNPT wins ‘Samudra Manthan – Caring Organisation of the Year’ award

The Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, India’s Premier Container Port, has won the ‘Samudra Manthan – Caring Organisation of the Year’ award.

  • The award was instituted by Bhandarkar Shipping, which is a leading publication in the maritime industry.
  • JNPT is India’s top container port in terms of volume and efficiency parameters.

65. MAS chief Ravi Menon named best central bank governor in Asia-Pacific

The managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Ravi Menon, has been named the best central bank governor in Asia-Pacific for 2018 by UK-based magazine, The Banker.

  • Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat was also given this award in 2011 when he was then MAS’s managing director.
  • Over the last three years, the award went to the central bankers of Vietnam, India and Bangladesh.

66. Indian golfer Shiv Kapur wins Royal Cup at Pattaya

Indian golfer Shiv Kapur won the Royal Cup at Pattaya, which is his third Asian Tour title of 2017.

  • The 35-year-old, who had just one win in almost 11 years till April this year, has now won three times in last eight months
  • Kapur first won on Asian Tour in his debut season in December 2005, but it took more than 11 years and four months for the next Asian Tour win, which came in April 2017.

67. Ranji Trophy: Vidarbha beat Delhi to win maiden title

Vidarbha claimed their maiden Ranji Trophy after beating Delhi by nine wickets in the final of India’s premier domestic tournament in Indore.

  • Chasing a target of 29, Vidarbha completed the task with loss of skipper Faiz Fazal’s wicket.

Points to Remember

  • The Ranji Trophy is a domestic first-class cricket championship played in India between teams representing regional and state cricket associations.
  • The competition is named after first Indian cricketer who played international cricket, Ranjitsinhji, who was also known as “Ranji”.
  • Mumbai is the most successful team in the Ranji Trohy winning the title 41 times.

68. Shahzar Rizvi Wins Men’s 10m Air Pistol Gold

Shooter Shahzar Rizvi ended a brilliant 2017 by winning the Men’s 10m Air Pistol Gold at the 61st National Shooting Championship (NSCC), at the Karni Singh Shooting Range in New Delhi.

  • Representing the Air Force, Shahzar won with a new finals national record score of 241.7, leaving Army’s Yashwant Singh in silver medal position with a score of 237.7.
  • Yashwant’s teammate Omprakash Mitherwal won bronze, securing 218.0 in the finals.
  • Earlier this year, the 23-year-old Meerut shooter won gold medals at the Commonwealth Shooting Championships and at the 10th Asian Airgun Championship in Japan as well.

69. Meghalaya signs deal to host National Games in 2022

The Meghalaya government, the Indian Olympic Association and the Meghalaya State Olympic Association has signed the host city contract to hold the 39th National Games in the state in 2022.

  • The mega sports event will coincide with the 50th year of Meghalaya’s statehood.
  • An estimated 14,450 athletes and officials are expected to visit the state during the Games.

70. Roger Federer & Belinda Bencic win Hopman Cup for Switzerland

Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic beat Germany’s Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber to win the Hopman Cup for the first time since 2001.

  • Federer went a set down to Zverev in the opener, but the 19-time Grand Slam champion recovered to win 6-7 (4-7) 6-0 6-2 and give Switzerland a 1-0 lead.
  • Federer was joined by Martina Hingis when Switzerland last won the trophy in Perth 17 years ago.

71. Khelo India logo launched

The Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore has launched the simple yet vibrant Khelo India logo at the Nehru Stadium.

  • Khelo India School Games will be staged from January 31.
  • The three-stroke Khelo India logo was designed by Ogilvy India, and offers flexibility in adapting to numerous pictorial forms.

72. Eminent Urdu poet Anwar Jalalpuri dies at 71

Eminent Urdu poet Anwar Jalalpuri, also known for his translation of the Bhagavad Gita from Hindi to Urdu, passed away following cardiac arrest. He was 71.

•    Jalalpuri was admitted to the trauma centre of King George’s Medical University (KGMU) on December 28 following a brain stroke.

•    Jalalpuri was awarded the Yash Bharati by the Uttar Pradesh government.

73. Former WTO, Goldman Sachs chief Peter Sutherland dies at 71

Former World Trade Organisation director general and Goldman Sachs international chairman Peter Sutherland died at the age of 71.

  • Sutherland, who also served as Ireland’s European Union commissioner and as attorney general during the 1980s, had been ill for some time.

74. Bollywood actor Shrivallabh Vyas passes away

Bollywood actor Shrivallabh Vyas of ‘Lagaan’ and ‘Sarfarosh’ fame passed away at the age of 60 in Jaipur.

  • Owing to financial crisis, he had apparently shifted to Jaipur.
  • The late actor has done films like ‘Sarfarosh’, ‘Lagaan’, ‘Abhay’, ‘Aan : Men at Work’, ‘Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: The Forgotten Hero’ and ‘Sankat City’.
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