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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