Daily Current Affairs Update - 18-19 January, 2017

Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs Update of  18th and 19th January, 2017. These are important for the upcoming IDBI PGDBF, IPPB Mains and Other exams.


Daily Current Affairs at a Glance - 18-19 January, 2017
  1. The World Economic Forum, NITI Aayog, the World Intellectual Property Organization and the Cornell University will work together to develop an India Innovation Index that will provide impetus to Indian states to drive the innovation spirit.
  2. Private sector HDFC Bank has set a target to provide training to 25,000 people, including businessmen, in Madhya Pradesh in carrying out cashless transactions at special camps.
  3. The tax department has asked banks to report deposits in any account aggregating Rs. 10 lakh in a year, as well as cash payments of Rs. 1 lakh or more on credit card bills.
  4. The Union Cabinet on 18 January 2017 excluded States and Union Territories except Arunachal Pradesh, Delhi, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh from National Small Savings Fund (NSSF) investments with effect from 1 April 2016.
  5. Google is acquiring Twitter's mobile application developer platform Fabric, a move which could give some breathing room for the social network after charting an independent path without a suitor.
  6. Union Railway minister Suresh Prabhu on 17 January 2017 launched Mission 41k, a programme that will save energy worth Rs 41000 crore over 10 years through an integrated energy management system.
  7. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 18 January 2017 gave its in-principle approval for listing five government-owned General Insurance Companies in stock exchanges. The approval was given at a cabinet meet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  8. All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi on 17 January 2017 signed three Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs). The three MoUs have a cumulative net worth of Rs 7670 crore.
  9. The Union Minister of State for Petroleum & Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan on 16 January 2017 launched a month long petroleum awareness programme 'Saksham - 2017'.
  10. The Union Human Resources Development Minister Prakash Javadekar on 18 January 2017 launched a dedicated web portal ‘ShaGun’ for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) at New Delhi.
  11. The Legislative Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir on 19 January 2017 passed a resolution on return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits and other migrants back to Kashmir valley. The resolution was passed unanimously in the house.
  12. Priyanka Chopra on 18 January 2017 won the Favourite Dramatic TV Actress at the 43rd People’s Choice Award. She won the honour for her role in the American drama TV series Quantico.
  13. Chinese online giant Alibaba today became the worldwide Olympic partner through 2028 after signing the first long-term partnership with International Olympic Committee (IOC).




Financial and Banking News:

India Innovation Index to measure performance of Indian states


  • The World Economic Forum, NITI Aayog, the World Intellectual Property Organization and the Cornell University will work together to develop an India Innovation Index that will provide impetus to Indian states to drive the innovation spirit.
  • "Prime Minister Modi believes that competitive and cooperative federalism is key to India's progress. This index will encourage states to compete with each other and, in turn, lead to better policies for inclusive growth," said Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog.
  • Each partnering organisation will nominate a working group member to work on the index. The first ranking is expected to be released at the India Economic Summit in New Delhi on October 4-6, 2017.
  • The index will be based on key pillars of innovation and sub-indices that together will assist in tailoring policies that promote inclusive growth. The pillars include the strength of institutions, capacity of human capital and research, supporting infrastructure and the level of business sophistication among others.
  • The index will measure and rank the innovation performance of all Indian states with the aim of moving India towards an innovation-driven economy.


HDFC Bank to train 25,000 people in cashless transactions in Madhya Pradesh


  • Private sector HDFC Bank has set a target to provide training to 25,000 people, including businessmen, in Madhya Pradesh in carrying out cashless transactions at special camps.
  • For this purpose, "Digital Literacy Camps" will be organised at 275 different places in the state.
  • Jaisinghani informed that at present there are 130 branches of HDFC Bank in the State and 50 per cent of them are in semi urban and rural areas.
  • The leading private lender will open five new branches in the State in near future, he added.


Banks to report cash deposits above Rs 10 lakh to I-T


  • The tax department has asked banks to report deposits in any account aggregating Rs. 10 lakh in a year, as well as cash payments of Rs. 1 lakh or more on credit card bills.
  • In a January 17 notification, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) listed cash transactions which need to be reported to tax authorities and set up an e—platform for doing so.
  • It reiterated its November 2016 instruction asking banks to report all cash deposits of Rs. 2.5 lakh or more made in one or more accounts of a person during November 9 to December 30, 2016.
  • Post-demonetisation of old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, the government had allowed the junked currency to be deposited in bank accounts during a 50-day window ending December 30, 2016.
  • “Cash deposits during the period November 9, 2016 to December 30, 2016 aggregating to Rs. 12.50 lakh or more in one or more current account of a person (and) Rs. 2.5 lakh or more in one or more account (other than a current account) of a person” will have to be reported to tax authorities, it said.
  • Also, cash deposits during April 1, 2016 to November 9, 2016 in any account that are reportable should also be intimated to the the tax authorities by January 31, 2017, the notification said.
  • It made it mandatory for a banking company or a cooperative bank to report cash deposits aggregating to Rs. 10 lakh or more in a financial year, in one or more accounts (other than a current account and time deposit) of a person.
  • Payments made by any person of an amount aggregating to Rs. one lakh or more in cash towards credit card dues will have to be reported. Also to be reported are Rs. 10 lakh or more of payments made by any mode (including cheque or wire transfer) to settle credit card dues in a financial year, CBDT said.


Union Cabinet approves the exclusion of States from National Small Savings Fund


  • The Union Cabinet on 18 January 2017 excluded States and Union Territories except Arunachal Pradesh, Delhi, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh from National Small Savings Fund (NSSF) investments with effect from 1 April 2016.
  • On the occasion, the cabinet also approved one-time loan of Rs 45000 crore from NSSF to Food Corporation of India (FCI) to meet its food subsidy requirements.

Key Highlights
  • Arunachal Pradesh will be given loans to the tune of 100 per cent of NSSF collections within its territory, while Delhi, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh will be provided with 50 percent of collections.
  • Servicing of interest and principal of debt will be extended to Food Corporation of India through the budget line of Department of Food and Public Distribution.
  • The repayment obligation of the FCI in respect of NSSF Loans will be treated as the first charge on the food subsidy released to the Food Corporation of India.
  • Moreover, FCI will be required to reduce the amount of its current Cash Credit Limit with the banking consortium to the extent of the NSSF loan amount.
  • An agreement will also be signed between FCI, Department of Food and NSSF on the modalities for repayment of interest rate and the restructuring of FCI debt will be made possible within 2-5 years.


Google acquires Twitter app platform Fabric


  • Google is acquiring Twitter's mobile application developer platform Fabric, a move which could give some breathing room for the social network after charting an independent path without a suitor.
  • Terms of the deal were not announced.
  • Twitter last year was in talks to sell itself with several firms including Google parent Alphabet, but without a deal decided to continue on an independent path, cutting jobs and refocusing on its core services.
  • The sale of Fabric will shift to Google the platform used by developers for mobile apps.


Railway Ministry launches Mission 41K to save energy worth Rs 41000 crore


  • Union Railway minister Suresh Prabhu on 17 January 2017 launched Mission 41k, a programme that will save energy worth Rs 41000 crore over 10 years through an integrated energy management system.
  • This programme will be aimed at revamping the Indian railways.

Highlights of the Mission 41k
  • Under this initiative, Indian railways will electrify 24000 km of rail tracks over the next five years.
  • It will double the annual rate of electrification from 2000 km to 4000 km in the next two years.
  • The railways will award contracts on Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Model for railway electrification projects in order to achieve this target.
  • It will also mechanise the execution of the project through self-propelled wiring trains.
  • Under Mission 41k, more green energy will be used through 1000 megawatt (MW) solar and 200MW wind plants.
  • LED lights and bulbs will be also be installed across all the railway stations, trains and offices.


Union Cabinet approves listing of General Insurance Companies at the stock exchanges


  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 18 January 2017 gave its in-principle approval for listing five government-owned General Insurance Companies in stock exchanges. The approval was given at a cabinet meet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • The companies are National Insurance Company, New India Assurance Company, Oriental Insurance Company, United India Insurance Company and General Insurance Corporation of India.
  • The listing will open a way for the companies to raise resources from the capital market to meet their fund requirements. Shareholding of these PSGICs (Public Sector General Insurance Companies) will be divested from 100 per cent to 75 per cent.
  • This disinvestment process will be carried on as per the existing rules and regulations of Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDA) and Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) will be followed.

Benefits that can be generated by listing these General Insurance Companies are
  • It will necessitate compliance to disclosures and accounting requirements of SEBI. These disclosures will act as an additional oversight mechanism and bring equity and transparency in the companies functioning.
  • It will lead to improved corporate governance and risk management practices in the companies, which will lead to improved efficiency. It will also help in focusing on earnings and growth.
  • It is expected that this listing will also help the companies in raising resources from the capital market and meet the requirements of funds when they think of expanding their businesses. At present, they depend on government for capital infusion.


Union Cabinet approved amendment in Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme


  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 18 January 2017 gave its approval for an amendment in the Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (M-SIPS).
  • The proposed amendment seeks to further incentivize investments in the electronic sector and will help India in achieving the goal of Net Zero Imports in Electronics by 2020.

Salient features of the amendment are -
  • The applications will be received under the scheme up to 31 December 2018 or till such time that an incentive commitment of Rs 10,000 crore is reached, whichever is earlier.
  • In case the incentive commitment of Rs 10,000 crore is reached, a review will be held to decide further financial commitments.
  • For new approvals, the incentive under the scheme will be available from the date of approval of a project and not from the date of receipt of application.
  • The incentives will be available for investments made within 5 years from the date of approval of the project.
  • Approvals will normally be given to eligible applicants within 120 days of submission of the complete application.


All India Institute of Medical Sciences signed 3 MoUs worth Rs 7670 crore


  • All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi on 17 January 2017 signed three Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs). The three MoUs have a cumulative net worth of Rs 7670 crore.
  • The signing ceremony was presided over by Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda and Union Minister for Urban Development, Urban Poverty Alleviation and Information and Broadcasting Venkaiah Naidu.
  • On this occasion, both the ministers also presented All India Institute of Medical Sciences Leadership Excellence awards.

Details related to MoUs
  • All India Institute of Medical Sciences signed the Memorandums of Understanding with NBCC (India) Limited, HSCC (India) Limited and HITES HLL Life Care Ltd.
  • The Memorandums of Understanding seek to expand infrastructure and other facilities in the AIIMS, New Delhi with an investment of Rs 7670 crore.
  • This is the largest ever health sector investment commitments made by government in a public health project at one event.
  • The MoU with NBCC is of worth Rs 4441 crore. The amount will be utilized for construction of 3060 residential apartments at Ayur Vigyan Nagar campus and 868 apartments at West Ansari Nagar campus.
  • The total augmentation of 3928 units would take the total available residential units of AIIMS to 4505.
  • The detailed proposal will be prepared after wide consultations and deliberations by a broad based committee of faculty.


Union Petroleum Ministry launches petroleum awareness programme Saksham 2017


  • The Union Minister of State for Petroleum & Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan on 16 January 2017 launched a month long petroleum awareness programme 'Saksham - 2017'.
  • On the occasion, the Ministry also distributed awards such as visit to Japan, laptops & cash prizes to National school winners of essay and painting competitions in order to encourage them for continuing their efforts and enhancing their knowledge on energy conservation.
  • Saksham - 2017 is also named as Sanrakshan Kshamta Mahotsav.
  • It is aimed at creating awareness amongst the masses towards judicious utilization and conservation of petroleum products along with efficient use of energy capable appliances and switching to cleaner fuels.
  • The programme will be organized by PCRA (Petroleum Conservation Research Association) and other Oil & Gas PSUs under the aegis of Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
  • During this one-month long programme, various workshops will be held for drivers of commercial vehicles, housewives and cooks on adopting simple fuel saving measures. 
  • It will also educate the public on various steps for fuel conservation through activities like Saksham Asian Cycling Championship, Quiz Show, Walkathons, concerts and other activities across the country.


Non-financial News – India and States:

ShaGun, a web-portal for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, launched


  • The Union Human Resources Development Minister Prakash Javadekar on 18 January 2017 launched a dedicated web portal ‘ShaGun’ for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) at New Delhi.
  • ShaGun was coined from the words ‘Shala’ that means schools and Gun, which is Gunvatta meaning Quality. It was developed with a twin track approach.
  • Aim: ShaGun was created with an aim to capture and showcase innovations and progress in Elementary Education sector of India by continuous monitoring of the flagship scheme - Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).
  • ShaGun will help in monitoring progress in the implementation of SSA by assessing the performance of Union Territories and the states on key parameters. This monitoring will allow the government to plan and deliver its promise of quality education to all.


Union Government empowers EPCA to implement plan to tackle air pollution

  • The Union Government has empowered the Supreme Court mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) to enforce the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) to tackle air pollution in Delhi-NCR.
  • As per a notification, GRAP can be implemented if the air pollution stays above the emergency level for 48-hours. In such cases, the odd-even scheme may be enforced and construction work can be halted in the national capital.
  • First of its kind, the ambitious Graded Response Action Plan envisages to roll out a host of emergency measures like the closure of power plants and schools. It will also issue advisories asking people to avoid polluted areas and restrict outdoor movement.


Union Cabinet approves India’s membership in International Vaccine Institute


  • The Union Cabinet on 18 January 2017 gave its approval to the proposal for India’s taking full membership of the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) Governing Council.
  • The decision was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet in New Delhi. The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • The Internatioanl Vaccine Institute (IVI) is located in Seoul, the capital city of South Korea.
  • Its vision is to make vaccines available and accessible for vulnerable populations in developing countries.
  • Its mission is to discover, develop and deliver safe, effective and affordable vaccines for global public health.
  • The IVI was established in 1997 on the initiatives of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).


J&K Legislative Assembly passes resolution on return of Kashmiri Pandits back to Kashmir


  • The Legislative Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir on 19 January 2017 passed a resolution on return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits and other migrants back to Kashmir valley. The resolution was passed unanimously in the house.
  • Various members of the assembly also rendered their full support to the motion. They said with the improvement in situation government should facilitate the return and rehabilitation of Kashmir migrants who have to shun their places due to militancy.
  • The issue of return of Kashmiri Pandits was raised in the assembly by the leader of opposition Omar Abdullah. The former Chief Minister of the state said that the Assembly should pass a resolution that calls for the return of Kashmiri Pandits along with other migrants.
  • Calling for the resolution, Abdullah also said that 27-years-ago, unfortunate circumstances in the state forced Kashmiri Pandit community, along with Sikh community and few Muslims to the migrant.
  • After end of the question hour, Abdul Rehman Veeri, the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs of the state approved the resolution for presentation in the House. Later, the motion was endorsed and moved by the speaker of the house Kavinder Gupta.


Awards & Honors:

Priyanka Chopra wins People's Choice Awards for Favourite Dramatic TV Actress


  • Priyanka Chopra on 18 January 2017 won the Favourite Dramatic TV Actress at the 43rd People’s Choice Award. She won the honour for her role in the American drama TV series Quantico.
  • This is the second People’s Choice Award for Chopra. She had won her first award in 2016 in the ‘Favourite Actress in a New TV series’ category for her role in Quantico.


Sports News:

Kapil Dev inducted into Legends Club’s Hall of Fame

  • Former Indian skipper Kapil Dev on 17 January 2017 was inducted into Legends Club 'Hall of Fame' in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • Dev was inducted in presence of former captains Sunil Gavaskar, Nari Contractor and Ajit Wadekar at the Cricket Club of India.
  • Madhav Apte, President of the Legends Club and the former Indian cricketer, presented the honour to Kapil Dev.


Alibaba becomes worldwide Olympic partner through 2028


  • Chinese online giant Alibaba today became the worldwide Olympic partner through 2028 after signing the first long-term partnership with International Olympic Committee (IOC).
  • Alibaba will become the official cloud services and e-commerce platform services partner as well as the founding partner of the Olympic Channel, Alibaba Founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma announced at a press conference here on the sidelines of WEF Annual Meeting 2017.
  • IOC President Thomas Bach said Alibaba will help the organisation move ahead in the new digital era.
  • Ma said Alibaba has become the first Chinese company to commit to the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 and also the first ever company globally to make a long-term commitment to the IOC through 2028.
  • He said Alibaba has origins in China but it is a truly global company today.


Books & Authors:

Khullam Khulla: Rishi Kapoor Uncensored authored by Rishi Kapoor and Meena Iyer


  • Rishi Kapoor’s autobiography, Khullam Khulla: Rishi Kapoor Uncensored was in news in the second week of January 2016.  The book is authored by Rishi Kapoor and Meena Iyer.
  • Released on 20 January 2017, the book came in news because it reveals certain facts about Rishi Kapoor’s life, like meeting with Dawood Ibrahim, one of India’s most-wanted men, on two occasions in Dubai.
  • For the first time, they met in 1998 when Rishi Kapoor was invited to Dawood’s house in Dubai for tea. Defending his meet with the gangster, the actor says that he met him before 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts took place. At that time, Dawood was not an enemy of the state.
  • They, Rishi and Dawood, once again met in 1989, when he was shopping with his wife Neetu Singh in Dubai.


Appointments:

Antonio Tajani is new President of European Parliament

  • The Italian conservative Antonio Tajani on 17 January 2017 was elected as the President of the European Parliament. To be elected for the post, Tajani defeated another Italian Gianni Pitella with 71 votes. Tajani secured 351 votes, against 282 for Pittella, a socialist. The contest ran to the maximum four rounds.
  • With this election, Tajani succeeds Germany's Martin Schulz. In November Schulz announced that he would return to German politics.


Obituaries:

CV Vishveshwara, pioneer in black hole research work, passes away

  • Professor CV Vishveshwara who did pioneering work on black holes, passed away on 16 January 2017 in Bengaluru following a brief illness. He was 77. He is survived by wife and two daughters.
  • Popularly called Vishu, he was celebrated as the 'Black Hole Man of India'.
  • In the 1970s at the University of Maryland, he was among the first to study black holes even before they were named.
  • He was also the founding director of the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium in Bengaluru.


Eugene Cernan, last man to walk on Moon, passes away

  • Astronaut Eugene Cernan, who was the last man to set foot on the Moon, passed away on 16 January 2017. He was 82.
  • Currently, there are only six people who have walked on the moon- Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, Charles Duke, Harrison Schmitt, John Young and David Scott.






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