Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs Update of 14th, 15th and 16th January, 2017. These are important for the upcoming RBI Assistant Mains, IPPB Mains and Other exams.
Financial and Banking News:
India inks financing pact with World Bank for $48 million for the 'Nagaland Health Project'
- Multilateral lending agency World Bank and India on Monday signed a financing agreement for IDA credit of $48 million (equivalent) for the 'Nagaland Health Project'.
- "The objectives of the project are to improve health services and increase their utilisation by communities in targeted locations in Nagaland," the Finance Ministry said in a statement.
- Communities in targeted locations will benefit from project activities at the community and health facility levels while the population of the state as a whole will benefit from improvements in higher-level facilities as well as system-wide investments, it added.
- According to the statement, the project will directly benefit about 600,000 people.
- "It will support and complement existing systems and mechanisms involving communities under the National Health Mission," it said.
- The closing date of Nagaland health Project is March 31, 2023.
- The agreement was signed by Economic Affairs Joint Secretary Raj Kumar and World Bank (India) Acting Country Director Genevieve Connors.
Railway ministry, Karnataka sign MoU for suburban railway system
- The Karnataka government and the Railways Ministry today signed a memorandum of understanding in what is seen as a step towards realising the city's long standing demand for a suburban railway system to address its notorious traffic congestion. The MoU for the development of suburban railway system in Bengaluru was released by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah at a function here.
- Counting on the credentials of Bengaluru as a global city and technology capital of the country, Prabhu said it is the duty of the government, at the Centre and the state, that transportation needs of the people are taken care of. With this in mind, a decision has been taken to start suburban railway system for the city, he said. A special company would be set up for the project and it will be financed through an "innovative" way, Prabhu said.
- Promising that Bengaluru-Mysuru track doubling would be commissioned before March-end, Prabhu also sought the state government's cooperation in quadrupling of the line between Bengaluru to Whitefield as it will help in easing the traffic congestion.
IMF cuts India's growth projection to 6.6%
- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has cut India’s economic growth rate forecast by one percentage point to 6.6 per cent for 2016-17 — from its earlier estimate of 7.6 per cent — because of the effect of demonetisation on consumption and payments.
- Last week, the World Bank lowered projections by 0.6 percentage points to seven per cent for the year. But this was only a shade lower than the Advanced Estimates of 7.1 per cent. IMF estimates were more in line with those of other agencies (see chart).
- IMF also lowered India’s GDP forecast for 2017-18 by 0.4 percentage points to 7.2 per cent from its earlier estimates. The World Bank had projected the growth rate to be 7.6 per cent — a percentage point lower than its previous assessment.
IRDAI forms Amitabh Chaudhry panel to review life insurance product norms
- The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has constituted a committee to review life insurance product regulations.
- Amitabh Chaudhry, Chief Executive officer, HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company, has been appointed as chairman of the eight-member panel.
- The members of the committee include K S Gopalakrishnan, CEO, Aegon Religare Life Insurance, Sai Srinivas, Appointed Actuary, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance and Sandeep Bakshi, CEO, ICICI Prudential Life.
- The committee will review the existing framework of IRDA-linked and non-linked insurance product regulations besides other key aspects such as changing economic and insurance market environment, customers’ needs and expectations and insurance product flexibility and innovations.
- It should submit its report to the regulator on or before March 15, 2017, according to a notification issued by IRDAI.
CBDT signed BAPA with Indian subsidiary of Japanese trading company
- The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on 13 January 2017 entered into a Bilateral Advance Pricing Agreement (BAPA) with an Indian subsidiary of a Japanese trading company.
- With the signing of this agreement, the total number of bilateral APAs entered into by the CBDT has reached eight.
- Recently, the CBDT modified an existing Bilateral APA with another Indian subsidiary of a Japanese company.
- All these bilateral APAs were signed as part of the Advance Pricing Agreement Scheme of the Union Ministry of Finance.
- The Union Government has introduced the Advance Pricing Agreement (APA) Scheme as part of the Finance Act, 2012 and Income Tax (Tenth Amendment) Rules, 2012. The scheme came into force on 30 August, 2012.
- The APA Scheme endeavours to provide certainty to taxpayers in the field of transfer pricing through an agreement in advance.
- Such an agreement is entered into by the CBDT with the tax payers on the transfer price of international transactions between associated entities.
India, USA signed MoU for collaboration in third world countries
- India and the USA on 14 January 2017 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for collaboration in third world countries.
- The MoU was signed between the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and Development Partnership Administration (DPA) of the Union Ministry of External Affairs in Washington DC.
- The MoU facilitates bilateral cooperation between India and the USA for exchange of information and experience in sectors pertaining to project development in partner countries.
- Under the MoU, both the countries will provide technical assistance to third countries regarding policy reform, project and sector management, project implementation and economic growth promotion strategies.
India-Sri Lanka sign MoU to construct 3000 Rain Water Harvesting systems
- India and Sri Lanka on 13 January 2017 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to construct rain harvesting systems in the northern Jaffna District. The project will be executed at an expense of Sri Lankan Rupees (SLR) 30 crore.
- The MoU was signed by Arindam Bagchi, Acting High Commissioner of India in the presence of Abdul Hameed Mohamed Fowzie, State Minister of National Integration and Reconciliation of Sri Lanka.
Highlights of the project
- It envisages construction of rainwater harvesting systems for 3000 households in selected divisions of Tamil majority Jaffna District.
- The scope of the project also includes training of the households on operation and maintenance of the systems.
- The project aims at assisting people by supporting resettlement efforts focused on reintegrating internally displaced families in Jaffna. The support includes providing clean drinking water supply facility to households.
App named 'SEZ India' launched by Commerce Ministry
- The Commerce Ministry in January 2017 launched a mobile app named SEZ India under its broader e-Governance initiative. The app was launched by the Commerce Secretary.
- The app will help the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Units and Developers to find information easily and track their transactions on Online System. It will also facilitate them to file all their transactions digitally through SEZ Online system and track the status on the go through the SEZ India mobile app.
- The app that can be used by SEZ Developers, Units, officials and others is available on Android platforms. The app has four sections, namely SEZ Information, Trade Information, SEZ Online Transaction and Contact details. Salient Features of the four sections are as under:-
- SEZ Information: It is a compendium of the SEZ Act, 2005, MOCI Circulars, SEZ Rules, 2006, details of SEZs and Units among others. This section will provide up to date comprehensive details on all the above aspects.
Reports & Indexes:
India slips to 92nd rank on global talent competitiveness
- India has slipped 3 places to 92nd rank on the global index of talent competitiveness that measures how countries grow, attract and retain talent, a list topped by Switzerland.
- India’s ranking is worst among the five BRICS countries. While China was ranked at the 54th place, Russian Federation was placed at 56th, followed by South Africa at 67th and Brazil 81st.
- Switzerland topped the overall index, followed by Singapore and the United Kingdom in second and third places respectively, in the list released today by INSEAD Produced in partnership with The Adecco Group and the Human Capital Leadership Institute of Singapore (HCLI).
- Others in the top 10 include the United States (4th), Sweden (5th), Australia (6th), Luxembourg (7th), Denmark (8th), Finland (9th) and Norway (10th).
- Last year, India came in at 89th on the index.
- The report noted that the BRICS countries are not getting stronger and both China and India have slipped from their year-ago rankings. “Although China attains an impressive 4th place in the sub-pillar of Talent Impact and is solid in the Grow pillar — mainly supported by good formal education (23rd) and lifelong learning (20th), the shortage of vocational and technical skills shows up clearly,” the report said.
Unemployment in India pegged at 18 million in 2018: ILO
- The International Labour Organisation (ILO) in January 2017 released a report entitled World Employment and Social Outlook – Trends 2017. As per the report, the global unemployment is expected to rise by 3.4 million in 2017.
Highlights of World Employment and Social Outlook – Trends 2017
- The global unemployment rate is expected to rise modestly from 5.7 in 2016 to 5.8 per cent in 2017. When compared to 2016, it represents an increase of 3.4 million in the number of jobless people.
- While the global unemployment rate is expected to hold relatively steady in 2018, the pace of labour force growth will outstrip job creation resulting in an additional 2.7 million unemployed people globally.
Report with respect to India
- Among all the regions, South Asia has created most of the new employment in 2016. In this region, employment expanded by 13.4 million in 2016. The majority of this new employment was created in India.
- In 2016, unemployment in India was at 3.5%. In 2017 and 2018, it will be 3.4%.
- The number of unemployed in 2016 was 17.7 million. This number is set to increase to 17.8 million and 18 million in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
Gujarat Cricket Association, L&T lay foundation for world's largest stadium
- Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA), along with principal contractor L&T, on Monday laid the foundation stone for redevelopment of what will become the world's largest cricket ground in terms of seating capacity at Motera in Sabarmati area of Ahmedabad.
- Spread over 63 acres, a redeveloped Motera Stadium will accommodate 110,000 spectators as against the current largest cricket ground at Melbourne, Australia that can have 100,024 spectators. The foundation stone laying ceremony for redevelopment of the cricket stadium was performed by GCA vice president Parimal Nathwani and joint secretary Jay Shah.
- Apart from L&T as principal contractor, GCA has roped in STUP Consultant Pvt Ltd as project management consultant and Populus as the architect and designer of the new stadium. Incidentally, Populus had also designed the Melbourne Cricket Stadium.
Gujarat wins 2016-2017 Ranji Trophy
- Gujarat on 14 January 2017 won its maiden Ranji Trophy title. The team defeated Mumbai by five wickets in the final at the Holkar stadium in Indore.
- Parthiv Patel’s 143 and Munprit Juneja’s 54 runs helped Gujarat to chase down a score of 265 on the final day. It was the highest successful run-chase in the final of the Ranji Trophy.
- In the semi-finals, Gujarat defeated Jharkhand by 123 runs to reach only their second final in the history of the Ranji Trophy. Gujarat had previously played in the finals during the 1950–51 Ranji Trophy. In the second semi-finals, Mumbai beat Tamil Nadu by 6 wickets to progress to their 46th final in the tournament.
- Gujarat’s Parthiv Patel was declared as the Player of the match for the final.
Awards & Honors:
62nd Filmfare awards presented in Mumbai
- The 62nd Filmfare awards were presented on 14 January 2017 at the NSCI Dome, Mumbai. The award is annually presented by Filmfare magazine to honour the best Indian films.
- Aamir Khan’s Dangal swept away three of the four major awards, namely Best Film, Best Actor and Best Director. The year’s award ceremony was co-hosted by Shahrukh Khan, Karan Johar and Kapil Sharma.
- Shatrughan Sinha bagged the 2016 Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award.
62nd Filmfare awards winners
- Best Film: Dangal
- Best Director: Nitesh Tiwari for film Dangal
- Best Actor: Aamir Khan for film Dangal. He played the role of Mahavir Singh Phogat in the film.
- Best Actress: Alia Bhatt for film Udta Punjab. She played the role of Bauria in the film.
Kiran Doshi’s book titled ‘Jinnah Often Came to Our House’ won 2016 Hindu Prize
- The book titled Jinnah Often Came to Our House was in news as the author Kiran Doshi on 15 January 2017 was awarded The Hindu Prize 2016.
- The book, which is a work of fiction, is set against the political turmoil of the Indian Subcontinent from the early part of the 20th century, ending with the Partition and Independence.
- Doshi was among the five authors shortlisted from around 60 entries for the seventh edition of the prestigious prize. The shortlisted works included Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar’s The Adivasi Will Not Dance, Kunal Basu’s Kalkatta, Anil Menon’s Half of What I Say and Manjula Padmanabhan’s The Island of Lost Girls.
Rudensky, Sakaguchi and Ramsdell win 2017 Crafoord Prize
- Immunologist Alexander Rudensky, Shimon Sakaguchi of Osaka University in Japan, and Fred Ramsdell of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy in San Francisco won the 2017 Crafoord Prize.
- They won the honour for “their discoveries relating to regulatory T cells, which counteract harmful immune reactions in arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.”
First Ever Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union Dance Festival concluded in Hyderabad
- The first ever Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union Dance festival concluded on 15 January 2017. The festival was inaugurated by Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu at the Shilpakala Vedika in Hyderabad.
Highlights of 1st Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union Dance Festival
- It was aimed at introducing the unique diversities of the Asia Pacific region and sharing the joys that varied communities across this region feel while they dance.
- The objective was to create a “bridge” between young people from different parts of the world through dance as an international language.
- Countries including the Maldives, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Philippines, Fiji, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Malaysia and India took part in the festival.
Ecuador takes chair of UN group of 134 developing countries
- Ecuador on 14 January 2017 took over the chair of the United Nations Group of 77. It took the charge of Group of 77 from Thailand.
- After taking the chairmanship of the group, Ecuador's President Rafael Correa said that the group will continue promoting "social and economic equality." He also said that this quality can be brought only if "poverty, inequality and exclusion" are eradicated. This eradication will allow people to live with "sovereignty, dignity and in peace."
- Thailand Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said that in 2016 his country focused on how to implement the 17 UN goals for 2030, which would help in promoting development and good governance, and preserve the environment. Thailand passed the baton of the group to Ecuador.
Non-Financial News –India and states:
India's first solar power boat launched in Kerala
- Kerala Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on 12 January 2017 launched the first solar-powered boat 'Aaditya' at Vaikom. The boat will do service between Vaikom and Thavanakkadavu.
- Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal was also present at the launch event. Goyal launched the service in Vaikom-Cherthala-Thavanakadavu waterways.
- Kerala Government sought financial assistance from the Union Government to roll out this solar power boat. The government will soon launch ten more solar power boats with an aim to replace the existing fleet of diesel boats with solar-powered ones.
Days & Observances:
69th Army Day celebrated on 15 January
- Indian Army on 15 January 2017 celebrated the 69th Army Day.
- The Army Day is celebrated annually to commemorate the day, when Lieutenant General (later Field Marshal) K M Cariappa became the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army in post independence period. He took over the command of the Army from General Sir FRR Bucher, the last British Commander-in-Chief on 15 January 1949.
- The day is celebrated in the form of parades and other military shows in the National Capital as well as in all headquarters.
- To mark the occasion, General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Army Staff, reviewed the Army Day Parade at the Cariappa Parade Ground, Delhi Cantonment. The parade was commanded by Major Geneal Rajesh Sahai, Chief of Staff, Delhi Area.
National award-winning filmmaker Deepak Roy dead at 67
- Deepak Roy, known for his movie "Limit to Freedom" which won him a National award in 1996 under the category of best investigative film, has passed away at the age of 67.
- Roy died on January 11 after suffering a cardiac arrest at his residence, here.
- He started his career as a film critic in 1974 and ventured into direction in 1982. Roy helmed more than 90 documentary films, which he produced under his banner "Angik Films".
Surjit Singh Barnala, former Chief Minister of Punjab, dies
- Former Chief Minister of Punjab, Surjit Singh Barnala, passed away on 14 January 2017. He was 91.
- Barnala served as the Chief Minister of Punjab from 29 September 1985 until 11 May 1987, a period of Sikh militant movement in Punjab. He was a member of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal).