Weekly Current Affairs January 2018 4th Week

1. WEF launches Global Centre for Cybersecurity

In a bid to safeguard the world from hackers and growing data breaches, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has announced a new Global Centre for Cybersecurity.

  • Headquartered in Geneva, the centre will become operational from March.
  • Cyber breaches recorded by businesses are on the rise. In the last five years, these have almost doubled to an average of 130 breaches per business in 2017.

2. World Economic Forum Summit in Switzerland Concludes

Prime Minister Narendra Modi returned India after concluding his visit to Davos, Switzerland for World Economic Forum Summit.

  • During this visit the Prime Minister delivered a keynote address at the plenary session of 48th Annual meeting of world economic forum.
  • He became the first Indian Prime Minister in two decades to join the world’s top business leaders in the Swiss report town of Davos.
  • Mr Modi outlined climate change, terrorism and protectionism as 3 Global threats.

3. India Ranks 81st On Global Talent Competitiveness Index

India has moved up on a global index of talent competitiveness to the 81st position, but remains a laggard among the BRICS nations.

  • While Switzerland continues to top the list released every year on the first day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting, India has improved its position from 92nd last year.
  • European countries dominate the top ranks, with 15 out of the top 25 places.

4. India ranks 177 out of 180 in Environmental Performance Index

India is among the bottom five countries on the Environmental Performance Index 2018, plummeting 36 points from 141 in 2016, according to a biennial report by Yale and Columbia Universities along with the World Economic Forum.

  • Its overall low ranking — 177 among 180 countries — was linked to poor performance in the environment health policy and deaths due to air pollution categories.
  • While India is at the bottom of the list in the environmental health category, it ranks 178 out of 180 as far as air quality is concerned.

5. India offers to create digital villages in ASEAN countries

India has offered to enhance rural connectivity in fellow Association of Southeast Asian Nations during the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit.

  • Prime Minister, Narendra Modi said, “India offers to undertake a pilot project on rural connectivity, which would create digital villages in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam.”
  • PM Modi also proposed the ASEAN countries declare 2019 as the ASEAN-India Year of Tourism.

6. India Second Cheapest Country to Live in: Survey

India is ranked second only to South Africa as the cheapest country to live or retire, according to a recent survey of 112 countries.

  • The survey by GoBankingRates ranked nations on the bases of four key affordability metrics provided by online pricing database Numbeo.
  • Bermuda, Bahamas, Hong Kong, Switzerland and Ghana are the five most expensive countries in the survey respectively.

7. India 6th wealthiest country with total wealth of $8,230 billion: Report

India has been ranked sixth in the list of wealthiest countries with total wealth of USD 8,230 billion, while the United States topped the chart, says a report.

  • According to a report by New World Wealth, the United States is the wealthiest country in the world as the total wealth held in 2017 amounted to USD 64,584 billion.
  • It was followed by China at the second place with USD 24,803 billion and Japan with USD 19,522 billion at third.

8. AP-Zurich sign sister state agreement

The Andhra Pradesh Government and the Canton of Zurich have signed a letter of intent, to promote mutual prosperity and development.

  • The agreement was signed in the presence of Chief Minister Naidu by Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu and Government Counselor Minister Carmen Walker Spah for sister state relation.
  • This will bring the State of Andhra Pradesh and Canton of Zurich closer and ensure that a framework is created, which supports the exchange between both the parties.

9. AYUSH Minister lays foundation stone for Homeopathy Research Institute

The Minister of State (IC), for AYUSH, Shri Shripad Yesso Naik laid the foundation stone for Central Research Institute (CRI) in Jaipur on 22nd January 2018.

  • This will be the third CRI under the aegis of Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy (CCRH), an autonomous body of Ministry of AYUSH for undertaking scientific research in Homoeopathy, with 23 institutes across the country.
  • The institute is also contributing to the Swasthya Rakshan Program at five adopted villages.

10. Inauguration of ASEAN India Business and Investment and Expo

The ASEAN – India Business and Investment Meet and Expo was jointly inaugurated by Mr Suresh Prabhu, Hon’ble Minister of Commerce and Industry, India with the ASEAN Ministers and Gen. (Dr.) (Retd.) V K Singh, Hon’ble Minister of State for External Affairs, India.

  • The inaugural plenary, on the theme of ‘Promoting Mutual Trade and Investment for Shared Prosperity’ covered discussions on strengthening India’s economic relations with the countries in the East with both sides aiming to scale up bilateral trade and investment in the region.
  • The session focused on trade facilitation measures taken to promote trade between India and ASEAN countries in manufacturing sector, promoting SME ecosystem to enhance entrepreneurship quotient in the region and startup culture to create new pipeline of ideas.

11. 2500 government buildings to be fitted with super-efficient ACs

The Government has decided to install super-efficient air-conditioners in 2, 500 of its buildings for the first time in the country.

  • Launching the replacement of conventional lights with LED lights in East Delhi, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr Harsh Vardhan said that one lakh conventional air conditioners will be replaced by super-efficient ACs that will consume 30% less power and will be environment-friendly.
  • Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that all automobiles will be converted to electric vehicles, keeping in view the government’s commitment to shift to electric mobility by the year 2030.
  • “Over 88 crore LED bulbs have been distributed across India, both by government and private agencies under the Mission Innovation scheme of the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi.
  • The procurement cost of these bulbs was Rs. 310/- in 2014, whereas it is procured at Rs. 70/- now,” the Minister said.

12. Raipur organises nation’s first ‘Kachra Mahotsav’

The Raipur Municipal Corporation in Chhattisgarh has organised the India’s first garbage festival that in Raipur.

  • The aim is to increase awareness, use the waste generated in the city creatively and to showcase multiple techniques for reusing things that are labelled as garbage.
  • The three-day festival was filled with workshops, talks, performances and also some interesting installations.

13. Maharashtra to launch weather advisory system for farmers

The Maharashtra government is all set to introduce a system to issue daily district-wise weather advisory to farmers across the state.

  • The system has a capacity to generate weather alerts for every ten minutes, if required.
  • The state is taking a step forward to explore the possibility of issuing weather advisory for farmers to minimise their crop losses due to adverse weather conditions,” Agriculture Commissioner Sachindra Pratap Singh told.

14. Khandu inaugurates World War II Memorial Museum in Arunachal

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu inaugurated the World War II Memorial Museum in the state’s Changlang district bordering Myanmar.

  • Built by the Union Culture Ministry, the Rs 2.25 crore museum in memory of those who laid down their lives in WWII is located adjacent to the historic Stilwell Road.
  • Khandu visited the war memorial where remnants of the war, personal belongings of the soldiers and others involved were preserved.

15. International Conference on ‘Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in the Election Process’

Flagging off the 8th National Voters Day Celebrations scheduled to be held on 25th January 2018, Election Commission of India (ECI) hosted a one-day International Conference on the subject ‘Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in the Election Process’ in New Delhi.

  • Chief Election Commissioner of India Mr. O.P.Rawat, reiterated ECI’s resolve to uphold the sanctity of free, fair and peaceful elections in keeping with the rich democratic traditions of India.

16. SARAS PT1N makes its maiden flight

SARAS PT1N (14 seater) designed and developed by CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories (CSIR-NAL), a frontline aerospace research laboratory, has successfully made its maiden flight.

  • Union Minister for Science & Technology, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, has congratulated the scientists of CSIR-NAL and other agencies involved in the successful maiden flight.
  • The aircraft took off at about 11 a.m from HAL airport and flew for about 40 minutes at the maximum height of 8500 ft at the speed of 145 knots.

17. Rapid Reporting System for the Scheme for Adolescent Girls launched

Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Shri Rakesh Srivastava launched the Phase -1 i.e. the beneficiary module of the Rapid Reporting System for the Scheme for Adolescent Girls – a web based on line monitoring for the Scheme for Adolescent Girls in New Delhi.

  • This Portal has been developed in collaboration with National Informatics Centre (NIC).

18. Nitin Gadkari to lay the foundation stone for Ghazipur Intermodal Terminal

Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation Shri Nitin Gadkari, will lay the foundation stone for an Intermodal Terminal at Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh.

  • The Rs 155 Cr terminal is being constructed by the Inland Waterways Authority of India as part of the World Bank aided Jal Marg Vikas Project on river Ganga or the NW-I, that aims to augment the navigational capacity of the river.
  • The terminal is expected to provide between 5000 direct and indirect jobs. The first phase of the terminal construction is expected to be completed by April, 2020.

19. India to host 16th International Energy Forum meet

The 16th International Energy Forum (IEF) Ministerial meeting will be held in New Delhi on April 10 to 12.

  • It will be hosted by Government of India in New Delhi and co-hosted by the Government of China and South Korea.
  • Representatives from 92 countries will be participating in the conference, including 72 member countries of IEF and 20 guest countries.
  • India had last hosted the IEF ministerial conference in 1996.

20. 7th Asia Steel International Conference from Feb 6

The 7th Asia Steel International Conference will be held in Bhubaneswar from February 6 to 9.

  • Tata Steel, in association with the Indian Institute of Metals, announced it.
  • The last Asia Steel conference was held in 2015 at Yokohama, Japan.
  • This major conference is held every three years and provides a platform for exchange of knowledge on various aspects of the global steel industry.

21. National Voters’ Day: 25 January

In order to encourage more young voters to take part in the political process, Government of India has decided to celebrate January 25 every year as ‘National Voters’ Day’.

  • It started from January 25, 2011 to mark Commission’s foundation day.
  • This year, National Voters’ Day theme is ‘Accessible Elections’.

22. Jammu & Kashmir Student Exchange Programme ‘Maitreyi Yatra’ concludes

The closing ceremony of Jammu & Kashmir Student Exchange programme ‘Maitreyi Yatra’ was held at National Bal Bhawan.

  • The Student Exchange Programme organized by Ministry of Human Resource development provides a good opportunity for the youth of J&K to be acquainted with culture, language and development story of different parts of the country.
  • Union Minister for Human Resource Development Shri Prakash Javadekar was the chief guest for the function.

23. President of India Receives Asean Heads of State and Government

The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, received the ASEAN Heads of State and Government at Rashtrapati Bhavan on January 25, 2018 and hosted a lunch in their honour.

  • Speaking on the occasion, the President said that India-ASEAN relations have come a long way since we established our Dialogue Partnership with ASEAN on January 28, 1992.
  • Today, ASEAN is a Strategic Partner for India.
  • We have 30 dialogue mechanisms between India and ASEAN, including Annual Summits and 7 Ministerial Meetings in a wide range of sectors.

24. Ministry of Highways signs MoU with IL&FS for construction of Zojila tunnel

An MoU was signed between National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL) under the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, and M/S IL&FS Transportation Networks Ltd for construction of the 14.150  km long,  2-lane bi-directional Zojila Tunnel in Jammu & Kashmir .

  • This would be India’s longest road tunnel and the longest bi-directional tunnel in Asia.
  • The construction of this tunnel will provide all weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh and will bring about all round economic and socio-cultural integration of these regions.

25. Kolkata becomes first Indian metro to get a floating market

Kolkata is now witness to a floating market, the first of its kind across any metro.

  • The market, as the name suggests, will be located on a water-body with boats doubling up as shops.
  • The market, located on the eastern fringes of the city, was inaugurated by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and it is now open to the public.

26. India is the leading country in coconut production

Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Radha Mohan Singh said that the Coconut Development Board’s (CDB) major schemes are focusing on coconut production, productivity, processing for coconut products, value addition, marketing, and export promotion in Bihar.

  • The Minister said this on the occasion of the inauguration of the Farmers’ Training Centre cum Regional Office Building of Coconut Development Board in Patna.
  • The Minister said that India is leading in the global coconut production and productivity.
  • He said that the annual coconut production is 2395 crore from 20.82 lakh hectare and the productivity is 11505 coconuts/hectare.
  • Coconut contributes to about Rs.27900 crore to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

27. Himachal CM launches women safety helpline and mobile app

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has launched 24X7 ‘Gudiya’ helpline, named after 16-year old rape and murder victim of Kotkhai.

  • Chief Minister also launched ‘Shakti Button’- a mobile app linked to police control rooms for ensuring the safety of women in the state.
  • Any women at the time of an untoward incident can press the red button on the mobile app and an alert will immediately reach the police response team.
  • Also, the Chief Minister also launched Hoshiyar Singh help line on toll free number 1090.

28. Delhi to host informal WTO Ministerial meet in March

India will host an informal WTO Ministerial meeting in March this year. The meeting will be held in Delhi on March 19 – 20.

  • India’s offering to host the meeting was made after trade ministers from various countries including Australia, Japan and Switzerland met for an informal WTO ministerial gathering in Davos.
  • Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the WTO Deepak Jagdish Saksena attended the informal meeting held on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual summit in Davos.

29. 21st edition of India International Seafood Show opens in Goa

The 21st edition of the biennial India International Seafood Show opened in Margao in South Goa.

  • Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar inaugurated the three-day flagship trade event.
  • It is being organized by the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA and the Seafood Export Association of India (SEAI).

30. Government to set up apex cyber crime coordination centre

To deal with cyber crimes such as financial frauds, circulation of communal and pornographic contents, the Union Home Ministry is planning to set up an apex coordination centre and has asked states to establish a similar mechanism in every district.

  • It has also released Rs 83 crore for setting up of a cyber forensic training laboratory-cum-training centre for police officials in each state.
  • The funds were given under the Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children Scheme.
  • The apex centre – Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) – would be set up in Delhi.

31. Siddheshwar Swami turns down Padma Shri

Karnataka-based seer, Siddheshwar Swami, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to express his unwillingness to accept the prestigious Padma Shri award.

  • In the letter, he mentioned that he was grateful to the Indian government, but he has little interest in awards.
  • According to media reports, he has clarified that his refusal has nothing to do with politics. He has never accepted honours in his life.
  • He even refused to receive Hon. Doctorate Award announced by Karnataka University a few years back.

32. ‘Aadhaar’ is Oxford’s first Hindi word of the year

The Hindi Word of the Year for 2017 is ‘AADHAAR’. This was announced by Oxford Dictionaries at the Jaipur Literature Festival.

  • ‘Aadhaar’ also becomes the first Oxford Dictionaries Hindi Word of the Year.
  • The accompanying shortlisted words include Notebandi, Swachh, Vikaas, Yoga and Bahubali.

33. First ever ‘Khadi Haat’ inaugurated in Delhi

Marking the 69th Republic Day celebrations, Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) and New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) have launched the first ever ‘Khadi Haat’ in the country.

  • The Khadi Haat was inaugurated on January 25 by Union Minister of State Giriraj Singh in Connaught Place, New Delhi.
  • New Delhi Lok Sabha MP Meenakshi Lekhi, KVIC Chairman V K Saxena and NDMC Chairman Naresh Kumar were present on the occasion.

34. Acid attack victims to get quota in central government jobs

People with autism, mental illnesses, intellectual disability and victims of acid attacks will now get quota in central government jobs.

  • In case of direct recruitment, four per cent of the total number of vacancies, up from the existing three per cent, in groups A, B and C shall be reserved for people with benchmark disabilities.
  • Benchmark disability means a person with not less than forty per cent of a specified disability.

35. 3-day international bird festival at Dudhwa National Park

A three-day international bird festival will be held at the Dudhwa National Park in Uttar Pradesh from February 9 with nearly 200 leading ornithologists expected to attend.

  • Eminent documentary maker Mike Pandey would act as the brand ambassador of the festival.
  • During the three-day event, the bird experts would visit various parts of Dudhwa to gather information about the 450 bird species existing there.

36. Over Rs 5 lakh crore allocated for Bharatmala project

President Ram Nath Kovind said that Rs 5,35,000 crore have been allocated for the Bharatmala Project aimed at boosting road connectivity in the country.

  • About 53,000 km of national highways have been identified to increase efficiency of the national corridor.
  • Bharatmala is an umbrella programme of the Centre that seeks to improve efficiency of road traffic movement in the country by bridging critical infrastructure gaps.

37. International spice conference in Jaipur from Feb 4-7

The third edition of international spice conference will be held at Jaipur from February 4 to 7.

  • Over 750 delegates from various countries, including representatives of international spice associations, policy makers, and farmers, are expected to participate in the four-day meet.
  • The central theme of the 2018 conference would be ‘Managing Disruptions through Transformation and Collaboration’.

38. Stree Swabhiman Initiative launched for Women Health and Hygiene

The Information Technology and Electronics Ministry of the country has announced to launch the new scheme initiative under Stree Swabhiman Drive.

  • The new initiative has been introduced by the Ministry and CSC to ensure and maintain perfect health for Women and at the same time to maintain Health Hygiene.

39. Indian, Vietnamese armies hold first military exercise

Armies of India and Vietnam have began a six day-long military exercise in Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh.

  • It is the first military exercise between the two countries.
  • The exercise named ‘VINBAX’ will continue for six days.
  • India and Vietnam have been exploring ways to strengthen defence cooperation.

40. Prime Minister to launch Khelo India School Games in the Capital

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will launch the first Khelo India School Games at Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in New Delhi on January 31, 2018.

  • The Khelo India programme has been introduced to revive the sports culture in India at the grass-root level by building a strong framework for all sports played in our country and establishing India as a great sporting nation.
  • Talented players identified in priority sports disciplines at various levels by a High-Powered Committee will be provided annual financial assistance of Rs. 5 lakh per annum for 8 years.
  • The Khelo India School Games are being held from 31st January to 8th February, 2018 in New Delhi.
  • Under-17 athletes have been invited to participate across 16 disciplines.

41. IOB, NHB tie up for rural housing push

Indian Overseas Bank has signed an MoU with National Housing Bank for the Rural Housing Interest Subsidy Scheme (RHISS) of the Ministry of Rural Development.

  • The aim of the RHISS is to provide subsidy for housing loans taken by those living in rural areas for construction and modifications of their dwelling units.
  • The interest subsidy under the scheme is 3 per cent for a loan amount of Rs 2 lakh for 20-year tenure.

42. WEF to set up C4IR in Mumbai in partnership with RIL

The World Economic Forum (WEF) in partnership with India’s most valued firm Reliance Industries (RIL) has agreed to set up a new Centre for Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR) in Mumbai.

  • This would be first (C4IR) opened outside Silicon Valley at San Francisco, which is already home to several exciting developments in the digital space.

43. Japan’s Development Loan Assistance to India for an amount of Yen 45 billion

The Government of Japan has committed JICA Official Development Assistance loan for an amount of Yen 45 billion (Rs.2587 crore approx.) for the project.

  • The Notes in this regard were exchanged between Mr. S. Selvakumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India and H.E. Mr. Kenji Hiramatsu, Ambassador of Japan to India on Japanese official development assistance loan for Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Project (Phase 3) (I).
  • This Project will provide residents of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) area especially in 110 villages with safe and stable water supply and sewerage services by carrying-out construction of water treatment plant and sewage treatment plants thereby improving living conditions of the residents as well as the investment environment in the concerned areas in BBMP in the State of Karnataka.
  • India and Japan have had a long and fruitful history of bilateral development cooperation since 1958. In the last few years, the economic cooperation between India and Japan has steadily progressed.
  • This further consolidates and strengthens the Strategic and Global Partnership between India and Japan.

44. Centre to infuse over Rs. 88,000 cr in PSU banks this fiscal

The Centre has announced that it would infuse over Rs. 88,000 crore as capital in public sector banks this fiscal, including Rs. 80,000 crore through recapitalisation bonds and Rs. 8,139 crore as budgetary support.

  • Financial Services Secretary Rajeev Kumar said that banks would have to first accept and adopt the reforms package finalised by the Finance Ministry.
  • The recapitalisation bonds will be non SLR status and non-tradeable.

45. Small Finance Banks and Payment Banks to offer Atal Pension Yojana

To strengthen the existing channels of APY distribution, it is felt that these new Payments Banks and Small Finance Banks will provide a boost to the outreach of subscribers under APY .

  • Participation in APY not only builds a pensioned society but also adds sustainable fee income to Banks by way of attractive incentive for mobilizing APY @ Rs 120-150 for each Account.

Points to Remember

  • Atal Pension Yojana (APY) is a Government of India’s Old Age Pension Scheme being implemented through all Banks across the country as per the mandate received from the Ministry of Finance and monitored periodically at PMO.
  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi had launched the Social Security Scheme on 9th May 2015 and dedicated the First Ever Guaranteed Pension Product to the people of the country.

46. Highlights of Economic Survey 2018

The Economic Survey, which sets the stage for Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s annual budget on February 1, was by Arvind Subramanian.

  • The survey was prepared by the finance ministry’s Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian.

Growth

  • 2018/19 Growth seen at 7 Percent to 7.5 Percent.
  • 2017/18 GDP growth seen at 6.75 Percent.
  • 2017/18 industry growth seen at 4.4 Percent.
  • 2017/18 farm sector growth seen at 2.1 Percent.
  • Economic management will be challenging in the coming year.
  • Biggest source of upside to growth to be from exports.
  • Cyclical conditions may lead to lower tax and non-tax revenues in 2017/18.
  • Private investment poised to rebound.

FISCAL DEFICIT

  • Target for fiscal consolidation specially in a pre-election year can carry a high risk of credibility.
  • Current account deficit for 2017/18 expected to average 1.5-2 pct of GDP.

INFLATION, POLICY RATES

  • Persistently high oil prices remain a key risk, to affect inflation.
  • If inflation doesn’t deviate from current levels policy rates can be expected to remain stable.
  • Average CPI inflation seen at 3.7 pct in 2017/18.

Points to Remember

  • The Department of Economic Affairs, Finance Ministry of India presents the Economic Survey in the parliament every year, just before the Union Budget.
  • It is prepared under the guidance of the Chief Economic Adviser, Finance Ministry.
  • It is the ministry’s view on the annual economic development of the country.

47. India and World Bank sign $100 Million Project for Tamil Nadu

The Government of India and the World Bank have signed a $100 million Loan Agreement that is expected to promote rural enterprises, facilitate their access to finance, and create employment opportunities for youth, particularly women, in selected blocks of Tamil Nadu across 26 districts, directly benefitting over 400,000 people.

  • The Tamil Nadu Rural Transformation Project will create an enabling environment for producer organizations and enterprises to promote businesses across select value chains. Based on the analysis, communities will identify commodities and subsectors in the value chain for preparing business plans.
  • Thirty percent of the financing for these business plans will be through a matching grant program from the project and the remaining 70 percent will be leveraged from other financial institutions.

48. India and Asian Development Bank (ADB) sign $250 Million Loan

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India have signed a $250 million loan to finance the construction of 6,254 kilometers all-weather rural roads in the States of Assam, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal under the Prime Minister’s Rural Roads Program (PMGSY).

  • The First Tranche Loan is part of the $500 million Second Rural Connectivity Investment Program for India approved by the ADB Board in December 2017.
  • The program is aimed at improving rural connectivity, facilitating safer and more efficient access to livelihood and socio-economic opportunities for rural communities through improvements to about 12,000 kilometers Rural Roads across the 5 States.

49. SBI inks information utility pact with NeSL

State Bank of India said it has signed an Information Utility (IU) agreement with National E-Governance Services Ltd (NeSL) to share financial and security information under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IU) regulation 2017.

  • NeSL is the first IU registered with IBBI.
  • The company has been set up by 17 financial institutions, including State Bank of India, Life Insurance Corporation of India, Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank, ICICI Bank.

50. Somanath takes charge as VSSC director

Noted scientist S Somanath took charge as Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram.

  • He succeeds K Sivan, who was appointed as ISRO Chairman recently.
  • Somanath took charge at a function in ISRO headquarters Bengaluru.
  • He is currently the Director of Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre at Valiamala, the lead centre responsible for liquid engines and stages for all launch vehicles and satellite programs of ISRO.

51. Dilip Chenoy appointed FICCI Director General

Industry Chamber FICCI said that it has appointed Dilip Chenoy as its Director General.

  • He had resigned from NSDC in late 2015 amid reports that the government was unhappy with the functioning of the skills development body.
  • He was appointed by the previous Congress-led UPA government.

52. Government appoints six new Joint Directors in CBI

Gujarat-cadre senior police officer Praveen Sinha is among six-newly appointed Joint Directors in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

  • Sinha and two other police officers Ajay Bhatnagar and Pankaj Kumar Srivastava have been inducted in the CBI as Joint Directors.
  • Three other IPS officers  Sharad Aggarwal, Gajendra Kumar Goswami and V Murugesan have also been appointed as JDs in the probe agency.

53. Usha Ananthasubramanian elected as first woman Chairman of IBA

Usha Ananthasubramanian, MD & CEO, Allahabad Bank, has been elected as the first woman Chairman of Indian Banks’ Association (IBA).

  • Ms Usha was elected IBA Chairman for the year 2017-18 by its Managing Committee.
  • IBA Chairman’s position was vacant following the superannuation of Jatinder Bir Singh.
  • Rajnish Kumar, Chairman, State Bank of India was elected as Deputy Chairman of IBA for the year 2017-18.

54. US Senate confirms Jerome H Powell as next Federal Reserve chairman

The United States Senate has confirmed Jerome H Powell as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve, a powerful post having an influence on global economy.

  • Powell (64) will replace Janett Yellen, whose term ends in February.
  • He was confirmed by the US Senate by an overwhelming vote of 84-12.
  • Currently a Fed governor and former financial-firm executive, Powell is expected to mostly continue with Yellen’s policies.

55. Finland re-elects President Sauli Niinisto for 2nd term

Finland has re-elected its popular and pragmatic president Sauli Niinisto, who is credited for maintaining a balanced relationship with the nation’s powerful neighbour Russia.

  • Niinisto, 69, avoided the need for a second-round of voting and won outright, a first since Finland introduced a two-round presidential election by popular vote in 1994.
  • Niinisto’s main rival Pekka Haavisto of the Green party won just 12 percent of the votes.

Points to Remember

  • Finland, officially the Republic of Finland is a sovereign state in Northern Europe.
  • Helsinki is its Capital and largest city. Euro is the currency of Finland.
  • Juha Sipila is the prime minister of Finland.

56. Nara Lokesh receives Dr. Kalam Innovation in Governance Award 2018

Andhra Pradesh Information Technology (IT) Minister Nara Lokesh was felicitated with Dr. Kalam Innovation in Governance Award 2018 at the Dr. Kalam Centre.

  • Nara Lokesh outlined a number of innovative initiatives that the Andhra Pradesh Government is taking to improve its governance.
  • The award was presented by Rajya Sabha Secretary-General Desh Deepak Verma during the second edition of Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Summit on innovation in governance.

57. Naveen Patnaik conferred ‘Ideal Chief Minister’ award

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was conferred the “Ideal Chief Minister” award by former President Pratibha Patil at Bharatiya Chhatra Sansad in Pune.

  • He received the award in a special event organised by Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT) School of Governance.

58. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan receives First Ladies Award

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan received the prestigious First Ladies Award by President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

  • The Ministry of Women & Child Development has selected 112 women who have been the first to achieve a milestone in their respective fields and Aishwarya was one of them.

59. Tamilnadu CM Edappady K Palaniswami receives Unesco award

Tamilnadu Chief Minister Edappady K. Palaniswami received the Unesco Award of Merit awarded to the iconic Ranganathaswamy temple in Srirangam (Tiruchy).

  • The Award of Merit, 2017, was given by Unesco Asia Pacific region for the cultural heritage conservation activities taken up at the temple without altering its original splendor.
  • The ancient Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu who is seen in reclining form.

60. Padma awards 2018 announced

This year 85 recipients have been selected for the prestigious Padma awards including two duo cases.

  • This includes 3 Padma Vibhushan, 9 Padma Bhushan and 73 Padma Shri awards.
  • Fourteen of the awardees are women, while 16 persons are foreigners and three are being awarded posthumous.
  • Padma Vibhushan:
  • Illaiyaraja
  • Ghulam Mustafa Khan
  • P. Parameswaran
  • Padma Bhushan:
  • Pankaj Advani
  • Philipose Mar Chrysostom
  • Mahendra Singh Dhoni
  • Alexander Kadakin (Foreigner/Posthumous)
  • R. Nagaswamy
  • Ved Prakash Nanda (Overseas Citizen of India)
  • Laxman Pai
  • Arvind Parikh
  • Sharda Sinha

61. Republic Day Parade: Maharashtra wins best tableau award

The tableau from Maharashtra depicting the coronation of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj at the Republic Day Parade at the Rajpath won the first prize.

  • Among the three military services, the contingent from the Army’s Punjab Regiment was awarded the best marching contingent trophy, while the Indo-Tibetan Border Police team won the best marching contingent prize among the para-military and other auxiliary forces.
  • Among the ministries, the best tableau award went to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. The tableau depicted ‘Khelo India’, the national programme for development of sports.
  • Among performances by schoolchildren, South Central Zone Cultural Centre’s ‘Baredi Dance’ (from Madhya Pradesh) was awarded the first prize.

62. Najma, Azad among 5 to be conferred outstanding Parliamentarian Awards

Indian Parliamentary Group (IPG) has decided to confer Outstanding Parliamentary Awards to five Parliamentarians which includes senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and Manipur Governor and former Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla.

  • The Parliamentarians who have been chosen for the award include three MPs from Lok Sabha and two from Rajya Sabha.
  • The awards are being given for the years starting from 2013 till 2017.

Here is the year wise list:

  • Bhartruhari Mahatab: 2017
  • Dinesh Trivedi: 2016
  • Ghulam Nabi Azad: 2015
  • Hukumdev Narayan Yadav: 2014
  • Najma Heptulla: 2013

63. Documentary based on Kailash Satyarthi wins top honour

The documentary film Kailash, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, has won the US Grand Jury Prize at the festival.

  • The Derek Doneen-directed documentary is based on Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist Kailash Satyarthi.
  • Satyarthi’s crusade against child slavery has helped rescue thousands of children.
  • He also heads the organisation Bachpan Bachao Aandolan in India.

64. Asha Bhosle To Get Yash Chopra Memorial Award

Bollywood playback doyenne Asha Bhosle will be given the ‘Yash Chopra Memorial Award’.

  • She will be the fifth winner of the award.
  • Previous recipients are Asha Bhosale’s elder sister and Bollywood playback singer Lata Mangeshkar, and actors Amitabh Bachchan, Rekha, and Shah Rukh Khan.
  • Evergreen Asha Bhosle has been giving playback in Hindi films for nearly seven decades, earning her an entry into the Guinness World Records for recording over 11,000 songs in 20 different languages.

65. Venkiah Naidu confers BAI’s Lifetime Achievement Award on Padukone

Vice President Venkiah Naidu conferred Badminton Association of India (BAI) Lifetime Achievement Award to 1983 World Championship medallist Prakash Padukone.

  • The Mysuru-born Prakash had won gold medals at the 1978 Commonwealth Games and the All England Championships in 1980.

66. Global Recognition for Dr Vinod Paul, Member, NITI Aayog

Dr Vinod Paul, Member, NITI Aayog has been awarded the prestigious IhsanDoğramacı Family Health Foundation Prize by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

  • He is the first Indian to receive this global honour, which is conferred in recognition to his services in the field of family health.
  • The award, confirmed by the WHO Executive Board on 27thJanuary, will be presented to Dr Paul formally at the World Health Assembly to be held in Geneva, Switzerland in May 2018.
  • He was chosen unanimously from six other shortlisted candidates from Algeria, China, Malaysia, Mexico, Russian Federation, Uzbekistan.

67. Wozniacki beats Simona Halep to win Australian Open women’s title

Caroline Wozniacki has beaten Simona Halep in a classic Australian Open final 7-6(2) 3-6 6-4 to claim her first grand slam title.

  • The result ensured Wozniacki swiped Halep’s world number one ranking, six years after losing it at the 2012 Australian Open.

68. Delhi wins Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy 2018

In the finals of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy final Delhi defeated Rajasthan by 41 runs to lift the title for the first time.

  • Chasing a competitive total of 154, Rajasthan began well but folded up for just 112.

Points to Remember

  • The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy is a Twenty20 cricket domestic championship in India, organized by Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), among the teams from Ranji Trophy.
  • The 2008-09 season was the inaugural season for this trophy.
  • It is named after a famous Indian cricketer, Syed Mushtaq Ali.

69. Roger Federer wins sixth Australian Open and 20th Grand Slam title

Roger Federer won his sixth Australian Open and 20th Grand Slam title with a five-set victory over Marin Cilic.

  • He beat Marin Cilic 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 3-6 6-1 to win.
  • Federer, 36, becomes only the fourth player after Margaret Court, Serena Williams and Steffi Graf to win 20 or more major singles titles.
  • Here is the list of winners this year:
  • Men’s Singles: Roger Federer
  • Women’s Singles: Caroline Wozniacki
  • Men’s Doubles: O. Marach and M. Pavic
  • Women’s Doubles: K. Mladenovic and T. Babos
  • Mixed Doubles: G. Dabrowski and M. Pavic

70. Sandeep Lamichhane becomes first Nepal player to get IPL contract

Sandeep Lamichhane became the first cricketer from Nepal to land a deal an IPL contract when he was picked by Delhi Daredevils in the ongoing players auction.

  • The 17-year-old, the only Nepal player in the IPL auction, was sold at his base price of Rs 20 lakh.
  • The leg-spinner rose to prominence with a successful outing at the 2016 U-19 World Cup where he guided Nepal to a creditable eighth place.

71. Paes wins 25th Challenger doubles title at Newport Beach

Veteran Indian tennis star Leander Paes won his 25th ATP Challenger level doubles title with partner James Cerretani after beating Denis Kudla and Treat Huey in the final of the Newport Beach event.

  • The second-seeded Indo-American pair defeated the American-Filipino combine 6-4 7-5 in the summit clash of the USD 150,000 hard court tournament.
  • Paes, winner of 11 singles titles on the Challenger Tour, had ended the 2017 season with consecutive trophies.

72. Sunil Chhetri’s birthday to be celebrated as Delhi’s Football Day

Football Delhi honoured the Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri and announced his birthday to be celebrated as Delhi’s Football Day.

  • The 33-year-old Sunil has appeared in 97 International matches for India and scored 56 goals for the national team since his first appearance in 2005.
  • Football Delhi also decided to celebrated Coach Santosh Kashyap’s birthday ‘June 12′ as Football Delhi’s Coach Education Day.

73. Veteran Bengali actress Supriya Devi passes away

Veteran Bengali film actress and Padmashri awardee, Supriya Devi (Supriya Chowdhury), passed away at her residence in Kolkata. She was 83.

  • Supriya Devi made her debut in the Uttam Kumar-starrer Basu Parivar in 1952.
  • During her over five-decade career in the Bengali film industry she delivered many hit and classic films.

74. Chhattisgarh’s first governor D N Sahay passes away

Former governor of Chhattisgarh and Tripura Dinesh Nandan Sahay has died after prolonged illness. He was 82.

  • Born in 1936, Sahay began his career with the Indian Police Service and rose to the position of the DGP of Bihar.
  • He became the first Governor of Chhattisgarh after the state was carved out of Madhya Pradesh in 2000.
  • In 2003, Sahay took over as the Governor of Tripura and held the post till 2009.

75. Maharashtra BJP MP Chintan Wanaga dead

A senior BJP MP from Maharashtra Chintaman Wanaga died in New Delhi at Ram Manohar Lohia hospital. He was 67.

  • Mr. Wanaga, who was born on June 1, 1950, was elected to the Lok Sabha from Palghar in Maharashtra.
  • He was a Member of the 11th and the 13th Lok Sabha as well.

76. ‘Dilli Meri Dilli: Before and After 1998’- A book by Sheila Dikshit

Ex-CM Sheila Dikshit makes debut as author, in her first book Dilli Meri Dilli: Before and After 1998, looks at the Capital’s changing face.

  • The pictorial book traces the evolution of the city of Delhi over the centuries, and puts in perspective its impressive transformation since the beginning of the new millennium.
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