Please find the important current affairs 02-Jan-2018 from all newspapers such as The Hindu, The Economic Times, PIB, Times of India, India Today, Indian Express, Business Standard, all Government official websites. Our complete current affairs helps you to get more marks in Banking, insurance, UPSC, SSC, CLAT, Railway and all other competitive Exams.
Nagaland declared as ‘disturbed area’ for 6 more months
Union Home Ministry has declared entire state of Nagaland as “disturbed area” for six more months (till June 2018) under Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act – AFSPA.
i. Union Home Ministry has justified this extension by citing that killings, loot and extortion have been going in various parts of Nagaland, making it necessary to grant special powers to armed forces in tackling such incidences.
ii. It is to be noted that, AFSPA is in force in Nagaland since several decades.
iii. Under AFSPA, armed forces attain several overriding powers including authority to open fire and use force against any person acting against the law. Moreover any person can be arrested without a warrant. Armed forces also have authority to enter and search any premise. Over and above, officers of armed forces have legal immunity for their actions.
Quick Facts about Nagaland:
♦ Capital – Kohima
♦ Current Governor – Padmanabha Acharya
♦ Current Chief Minister – T.R. Zeliang
♦ Important National Park – Ntangki National Park
Defence ministry clears procurement of Barak missiles, guided bombs
On January 2, 2017, Union Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman cleared two proposals to procure Barak Missiles from Israel and precision guided bombs for the Indian Air Force from Russia.
i. 131 Barak missiles and associated equipment will be procured from Israel’s Rafael Advance Defence Systems Ltd at a cost of Rs 460 crore.
ii. Barak Missiles (surface-to-air missiles) will be used as a ship-borne anti-missile defence system against anti-ship missiles.
iii. 240 precision guided bombs will be procured from M/s JSC Rosonboron Exports, Russia at a cost of Rs 1254 crore. This procurement will address the deficiency of Precision Guided Munitions in Indian Air Force and will thereby enhance its offensive capabilities.
Karnataka govt to obtain electric vehicles under FAME-India scheme
On January 1, 2018, Karnataka State Government announced that it would be obtaining electric vehicles under the Central Government’s Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME-India) Scheme.i. Under FAME-India Scheme, Karnataka State Government will procure 40 electric buses, 100 four wheelers and 500 three wheelers. It will also set up charging infrastructure for these vehicles in Bengaluru.
ii. FAME India scheme was announced in Union Budget 2015-16 with an initial allocation of Rs. 75 crore. It is being administered by Union Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises.
iii. Under this scheme, Govt. encourages buyers to purchase hybrid and electric vehicles by providing monetary subsidy. For purchase of electric buses, the subsidy component is up to 60 per cent of purchase cost. For electric four wheelers and electric three-wheeler subsidy is Rs. 1.24 lakh and Rs 61000 respectively.
Quick Facts about Karnataka:
♦ Capital – Bengaluru
♦ Current Governor – Vajubhai Vala
♦ Current Chief Minister – Siddaramaiah
♦ Important National Park – Bandipur National Park
171st Araadhanai Music Festival begins in Tamil Nadu
On 2nd January 2017, the 171st Araadhanai Music Festival started in Thiruvaiyaru, Tamil Nadu.
171st Araadhanai Music Festival:
i. The Araadhanai Music Festival of musician Thyagaraja was inaugurated by Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit. Thyagaraja is one of the Trinities of Carnatic music.
ii. The highlight of the festival is choral singing of Thyagaraja’s 5 kritis in Ghana ragas. Around 1000 musicians from various countries are participating in this festival to pay homage to the music saint Thyagaraja.
About Saint Tyagaraja:
♦ Birth name – Kakarla Tyagabrahmam
♦ Occupation – Carnatic composer
Gujarat government bans bird care NGOs during Uttarayan festival
Gujarat Animal Husbandry department has banned all voluntary animal care and NGOs working under ‘Karuna Abhiyan’ to function in residential areas during the 2018 Uttarayan festival.Bird care NGOs banned during Uttarayan:
i. Usage of abrasive thread for flying kites during Uttarayan festival injures a lot of birds. To prevent such injuries around 40 organisations have been working to treat birds, mainly at time of this festival.
ii. These organisations function under the Ahmedabad forest department. Now, the Gujarat government has banned these organisations to function in residential areas during Uttarayan, because of high bird flu outbreak in January 2017 and a Gujarat High Court order issued in 2017.
iii. Two animal shelters – Asha Foundation and Jeev Daya Charitable Trust have been permitted to carry out follow-up of injured birds after treatment at seven care centres in Ahmedabad.
♦ International Kite Festival
♦ Date – 14 January every year
♦ Frequency – Annual
♦ Location – Gujarat
Puducherry launches tourist-friendly police force
On 1st January 2018, the Puducherry goverment launched a special police force to safeguard tourists.
Tourist-friendly police force in Puducherry:
i. The tourist-friendly police are provided with special blue colour head gears. They will also wear blue badges with police emblem.
ii. Usually the territorial police wear red colour caps. The colour has been changed for easy identification of the police by tourists.
iii. This has been done to improve the safety of tourists. The tourist police would safeguard both domestic and international tourists.
iv. The tourist police would coordinate with the coastal police. This wing was launched by Director General of Police S K Gautam.
Important tourist sites in Puducherry:
♦ Sri Aurobindo Ashram
♦ Auroville (City of Dawn)
♦ French War Memorial
UNESCO enters Turkey’s endangered ‘bird language’ in Intangible Cultural Heritage list
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has entered the “bird language” of Black Sea villagers (in northern Turkey) in the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.i. The highly-developed and high pitch system of whistling to communicate in the rugged terrain in Black Sea Regions dates back to some 500 years ago.
ii. This whistle language has been traditionally passed on through generations – from grandparent to parent, from parent to child.
iii. However, this system is now under threat due to advent of technology and increasing usage of cellular mobile systems.
About Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage:
♦ Practices, expressions, representations, as well as skills and knowledge that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognise as part of their cultural heritage are defined as intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO’s Convention for Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
♦ Intangible Cultural Heritage comprises oral traditions, social practices, performing arts, rituals, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe, festive events and traditional craftsmanship knowledge and techniques.
♦ The convention was adopted by the UNESCO General Conference in 2003 and came into force in 2006.
California launches legal sale of cannabis for recreational use
On January 1, 2018, California became the sixth U.S. state to permit the sale of cannabis for recreational use.
Legal Sale of Cannabis across US:
i. Five U.S. states where sale of cannabis for recreational use is permitted are Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Nevada.
ii. However, sale of cannabis in these states is regulated by the government and is taxable. Besides, it can be sold only to adults 21 years and older.
iii. Cannabis, popularly known as marijuana is a psychoactive drug from the Cannabis plant. It can be consumed by smoking, vaporising or by mixing with food.
iv. In context of this news, it is important to note that, in July 2017, Uruguay became the first country to legalize sale of marijuana for recreational use.
China develops underwater surveillance networks in Indian Ocean, SCS
China has developed a new underwater surveillance network which will help its submarines to accurately track target vessels and will protect its interests in the Indian Ocean and South China Sea.More Information about China’s underwater surveillance network:
i. This surveillance network works by acquiring information about the underwater environment (water temperature, salinity etc.), streaming acquired information to intelligence centres and providing actionable information to Chinese navy which will use it for tracking, navigation and positioning.
ii .Information is acquired through satellites, surface vessels, underwater gliders and by deploying buoys in South China Sea and the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans.
iii. The acquired information is streamed to three intelligence centres — in the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea, the southern province of Guangdong, and a joint facility in South Asia. These centres will process and analyse the acquired information and will transmit it to Chinese Navy.
iv. The network has been developed by South China Sea Institute of Oceanology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
Quick Facts about China:
♦ Capital – Beijing
♦ Currency – Renminbi
♦ Current President – Xi Jinping
♦ Important Rivers – Yangtze, Yellow River
BANKING & FINANCE
Finance Ministry to relaunch GoI bonds with 7.75% rate
Subhash Chandra, Secretary of Department of Economic Affairs under Ministry of Finance, has tweeted that new subscription to GoI Savings (Taxable) Bonds, 2003would now bear 7.75 per cent interest rate as compared to 8% earlier.
i. On January 1, 2018, Central Government notified that 8% GoI Savings (Taxable) Bonds, 2003 shall be closed for subscription from the close of business on January 2, 2018.
ii. Since April 2016, this instrument had become a preferred choice amongst fixed income investors as the interest rates on fixed deposits and small savings instruments dropped below 8% mark.
iii. However, Mr. Garg has clarified that this scheme is not being closed rather it is being replaced by 7.75 per cent Savings Bonds Scheme.
iv. Even at 7.75 per cent interest, these bonds will fetch highest returns as compared to other fixed-income products.
About GoI Savings (Taxable) Bonds, 2003:
♦ Government of India (GoI’s) Savings Bonds Scheme is also known as RBI Bonds Scheme.
♦ It was launched by Government of India in 2003, offering 8% interest to encourage retail investors.
♦ It has a fixed tenure of six years and there is no upper limit for investment.
India’s GDP growth at 6.5% in FY18, will accelerate to 7.6% in FY20: HSBC
As per a report by HSBC, India economy is expected to grow at 6.5 per cent in this fiscal (FY 2017-18) while in FY 2018-19 it will register 7.0 per cent growth.Indian Economy’s Growth Forecast – HSBC:
i. HSBC report has outlined that in FY 2018-19, Indian economy will strongly emerge from the impact of demonetisation and roll out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
ii. In the immediate term, HSBC expects that recovery in India’s Gross Domestic product (GDP) growth will be gradual preventing any price rise and thereby allowing Reserve Bank of India to keep rates on hold.
iii. As per the report, once the economy fully absorbs the effects of two major events, the inflation will settle around RBI’s 4 per cent target.
iv. For FY 2019-20, HSBC has forecasted that Indian economy will grow at 7.6 per cent and after that period, India will reap the benefits of recently undertaken structural reforms.
Quick Facts about HSBC:
♦ Incorporated in – 1866
♦ Headquarters – London, UK
No charges on debit card transactions up to Rs 2000: Finance Ministry
Rajiv Kumar, Secretary of Financial Services under Union Finance Ministry has stated that from January 1, 2018, customers will not have to pay any transaction charges for payments made through debit card, BHIM app and Aadhaar-enabled payment systems for up to Rs 2000.
Charges on debit card transactions to be borne by Government:
i. This has been made possible as the merchant discount rate (MDR) will now be borne by the government for two years with effect from January 1, 2018.
ii. Government will straightaway reimburse MDR to the banks. Bearing the MDR for two years will cost the Government Rs 2512 crore.
iii. Proposal in this regard was approved by Union Cabinet in December 2017.
iv. Fee charged to a merchant by a bank for providing debit and credit card payment services is referred to as merchant discount rate (MDR).
Crisil launches index to track FPI investments in fixed markets
On January 2, 2017, rating agency Crisil launched Crisil FPI Index, an index to measure the performance of investments of foreign portfolio investors (FPI) in the fixed-income market.
About Crisil FPI Index:
i. This index is expected to serve as benchmark for performance of FPI investments in government securities and high rated corporate bonds with maturity greater than three years.
ii. The index holds significance owing to the current tilt of FPIs towards fixed-income securities and recent enhancement of investment limits by Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
iii. Apart from the FPI index, Crisil maintains 47 indices tracking bond, money market, gilt, hybrid and commodity segments. These indices are used by fund managers for benchmarking their products and portfolios.
Quick Facts about Crisil:
♦ Founded in – 1987
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
HDFC Bank, Rajasthan govt in tie-up to help start-ups
HDFC Bank has entered into a partnership with Rajasthan State Government to promote and nurture the start-ups in the state.Details about HDFC Bank – Rajasthan tie-up:
i. Under this agreement, HDFC Bank will provide end-to-end solutions like current accounts, credit cards and other solutions to start-ups in Rajasthan under its SmartUp programme.
ii. Besides, HDFC Bank will evaluate the offerings by such Startups and will also give them an opportunity to showcase their solutions/technologies.
iii. HDFC Bank’s SmartUp is is a complete banking solution exclusively meant for startups. It also includes forex and advisory services.
Quick Facts about HDFC Bank:
♦ Founded in – 1994
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Current MD – Aditya Puri
♦ Tagline – ‘We Undertand Your World’
Karnataka government to hold ‘Karnataka International Travel Expo’ (KITE), “largest” B2B travel event in India
The ‘Karnataka International Travel Expo’ (KITE), considered the “largest” B2B travel eventin India, will be held in Bengaluru, from February 28, 2018.
Karnataka International Travel Expo (KITE):
i. The ‘Karnataka International Travel Expo’ (KITE) will be held for 3 days. Around 400 delegates from 25 countries are expected to part in the expo.
ii. Estimated budget for the expo is Rs 7 crore. Aim of this expo is to project Karnataka globally and attract tourism.
iii. For the first time, blogathon will be conducted in the expo. Also, a startup pavilion will be setup for promoting new technologies and innovations in the tourism sector.
Some National Parks of Karnataka:
♦ Anshi National Park – Uttara Kannada
♦ Bandipur National Park – Chamarajanagar
♦ Bannerughatta National Park – Bengaluru
GAIL commissions India’s second largest rooftop solar plant in UP
On January 1, 2018, GAIL India Ltd announced that it has commissioned India’s second largest rooftop solar power plant in Uttar Pradesh.Details about India’s second largest rooftop solar plant commissioned by GAIL:
i. This plant has been installed at GAIL’s petrochemical complex at Pata in Uttar Pradesh.
ii. Over 79 lakh KWh (or units) of electricity will be generated from this rooftop solar plant, which will be used within the petrochemical complex itself.
iii. Captive solar power initiatives like this will help GAIL to reduce its carbon emissions by 6300 tonnes per annum.
Quick Facts about GAIL:
♦ Founded in – 1984
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Current Chairman and Managing Director – B.C. Tripathi
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Mohamed Salah named Arab football player of the year 2017
On 1st January 2018, Mohamed Salah, Liverpool and Egypt striker, was named Arab Football Player of the Year 2017.Mohamed Salah – Arab football player of the year 2017:
i. A poll was conducted with around 100 sports journalists from various Arab countries. Mohammed Salah won the poll and claimed the Arab football player of the year 2017 title.
ii. Mohammed Salah is 25 years old. Syria’s Omar Khribin secured the second position and another Syrian player Omar Al-Soma came third.
iii. Mohammed Salah is also nominated for the African Player of the Year title, which is to be announced on 4th January 2018.
About Mohammed Salah:
♦ Team – Liverpool and Egyptian national team
♦ Playing position – Forwar
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Devika Shah assumes office as Indian Clearing Corporation Ltd (ICCL) MD, CEO
Devika Shah has taken charge as the managing director and chief executive officer of Indian Clearing Corporation Ltd (ICCL).
Devika Shah – MD & CEO of Indian Clearing Corporation Ltd (ICCL):
i. Devika Shah has worked in several areas like regulatory and business, surveillance, investigation and inspection, trading operations, clearing and settlement, listing membership, etc.
ii. She graduated in Commerce from the University of Mumbai. She is a fellow member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.
About Indian Clearing Corporation Ltd (ICCL):
♦ A wholly owned subsidiary of BSE (Bombay Stock Exchange)
♦ Functions – clearing, settlement, collateral management and risk management for various segments of the exchange
Vijay Keshav Gokhale appointed as Foreign Secretary of India
Vijay Keshav Gokhale, current secretary (economic relations) has been named as India’s next foreign secretary.
More Information about Vijay Keshav Gokhale:
i. Mr. Gokhale is a 1981-batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer. He is considered an expert on China.
ii. He is the only IFS officer to have served as India’s Representative both in Taiwan and China. He has also served as India’s high commissioner to Malaysia and as an ambassador in Germany.
iii .Besides, he has also handled East Asia Division in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). This division focuses on India’s ties with China, South Korea, North Korea, Japan, Mongolia and Taiwan.
iv. Mr. Gokhale will succeed current foreign secretary, S Jaishankar whose extended tenure will end on January 28, 2018.
Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga appointed as new Prime Minister of Mali
On 30th December 2017, Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga was appointed the new Prime Minister of Mali.Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga – Prime Minister of Mali:
i. Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, President of Mali, appointed Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga as the new prime minister of Mali.
ii. Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga is a former defense and foreign minister and intelligence chief. He replaces Abdoulaye Idrissa Maiga.
iii. Abdoulaye Idrissa Maiga and his cabinet resigned on 29th December 2017. He did not mention any reason for his resignation.
Some firsts in India:
♦ First Prime Minister of India – Jawaharlal Nehru
♦ First female Prime Minister of India – Indira Gandhi
♦ First President of India – Rajendra Prasad
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Health Secretary launches Allied Health Professionals Database Portal
On January 1, 2018, Ms. Preeti Sudan, Secretary, Health and Family Welfarelaunched the Allied and Healthcare Professionals’ database portal in New Delhi.
More Information about Allied and Healthcare Professionals’ database portal:
i. The portal will serve as a robust data repository of healthcare workers in India.Allied and Healthcare Professionals’ can visit the portal and provide basic personal, qualification and professional information.
ii. The portal will help the Government to track the number of professionals and streams of allied and healthcare professions in India. It will also expedite the processes of licensing of professionals and will bring transparency in the system by maintaining standards of educational and clinical practice and workforce policy planning.
iii. Over 3000 professionals have already registered on the portal during the testing phase.
iv. However, Ms. Sudan stated that this portal is a provisional measure to track and reach out to all the allied and healthcare professionals in India until a statutory body is established.
Women & Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi inaugurates online portal NARI
On 2nd January 2018, Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, Minister of Women and Child Development inaugurated NARI, an online portal.NARI:
i. The NARI portal has been launched to provide women easy access to information on government schemes and various initiatives for women.
ii. The NARI portal provides a summary of more than 350 government schemes and other important information useful for women.
iii. Also, it provides links to the ministries, departments and autonomous bodies offering these schemes. Easy access to online applications and grievance redressal is also provided.
Organisations under Ministry of Women and Child Development:
♦ National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD)
♦ National Commission for women (NCW)
♦ National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)
♦ Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA)
♦ Central Social Welfare Board (CSWB)
♦ Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK)
World to become drier with global warming of 2 degrees Celsius
Scientists have said that, more than a quarter of Earth’s land area will become drier even if we manage to reduce global warming to two degrees Celsius.
World to become drier:
i. If the average global warming is reduced to 1.5 C, the drying will be limited to about one tenth. This was stated in a study published in Nature Climate Change.
ii. At 1.5 C global warming, certain regions of southern Europe, southern Africa, central America, coastal Australia and Southeast Asia would become dry.
iii. This drying would increase land degradation and desertification, loss of plants and trees, droughts and wildfires.
About Nature Climate Change:
♦ Edited by – Bronwyn Wake
♦ Publisher – Nature Publishing Group
♦ Discipline – Atmospheric sciences, environmental sciences
G Sathiyan becomes India’s highest ranked player in latest ITTF rankings
G Sathiyan has become India’s highest ranked player in the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) rankings.G Sathiyan – India’s highest ranked player in ITTF rankings:
i. G Sathiyan, who has become India’s highest ranked player in ITTF rankings has scored 49th position at the world level. He is followed by Sharath Kamal who is at 51st world rank.
ii. In women’s ranking, Manika Batra has topped the list among Indians with world rank 62. She is followed by Mouma Das at 74 and Madhurika Patkar at 81.
About International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF):
♦ Headquarters – Lausanne, Switzerland
♦ Membership – 226 member associations
♦ President – Thomas Weikert
Famous Urdu poet Anwar Jalalpuri passes away
On 2nd January 2018, Urdu poet Anwar Jalalpuri died due to cardiac arrest at King George’s Medical University (KGMU) in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.Death of Anwar Jalalpuri:
i. Anwar Jalalpuri was 71 years old. He was admitted to the KGMU’s Trauma Centre in critical condition after he was affected by brain stroke.
ii. Some of his important works are “Rahrau se Rahnuma Tak” and translations of Gitanjali and Bhagwat Gita in Urdu. He also wrote dialogues for TV serial “Akbar the Great”.
Some power stations in Uttar Pradesh:
♦ Sumera Hydroelectric Power Plant – Aligarh
♦ Singrauli Super Thermal Power Plant – Sonebhadra