Current Affairs Daily Digest: January 3, 2017

The Current Affairs Daily Digest for January 3, 2017 with important tid-bits on current affairs.

National Current Affairs

National Green Tribunal orders stay on Pune Metro Rail work

The Western Zone Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued an interim stay on the proposed portion of Pune Metro Rail project route passing through the Mula-Mutha river bed in the city. The directive was given by a two-judge Bench of justices UD Salvi and Ajay Deshpande acting on an Environmental Interest Litigation (EIL) filed in the NGT by a group of prominent personalities.  The petitioner had contended that in the proposed metro rail alignment, a 1.7 km stretch passing through the left bank of the Mula-Mutha river could spell the death knell for the riverbank ecosystem along that route. Read more

CCPA decides to convene Budget Session of Parliament from January 31

The meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA) has decided to convene Budget Session of Parliament from January 31, 2017. The meeting was chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh. The general budget will be present on 1st February 2017 and the first part of the Budget Session will run till 9th February 2017. The recommendations of CCPA have been sent to President Pranab Mukherjee for his assent. The CCPA meeting was also attended by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Core sector output growth slows to 4.9% in November 2016

The annual output growth of eight infrastructure sectors slowed to 4.9% in November 2016 as against 6.6% in October and 5.01% in September. The slowdown was attributed to a decline in crude oil and natural gas production, and also due to impact of the cash crunch, triggered by the demonetisation exercise. Output in electricity and coal posted healthy growth rates of 10.2% and 6.4% respectively in November 2016 as against 2.85% and (-) 1.5% respectively in October 2016. The eight core industries comprise close to 37.9% of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP). The electricity has the maximum weight (of 10.32%) among the eight sectors followed by Steel (6.68%), Petroleum Refinery (5.94%), Crude Oil production (5.22 %), Coal production (4.38 %), Cement (2.41%), Natural Gas production (1.71 %) and Fertilizer production (1.25%).

2017 Pravasi Bharatiya Divas to highlight social innovations

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2017, annual global convention for the Indian diaspora to be held in Bangalore from January 7 to 9, 2017 will focus on social innovators. The main highlight is social innovations by Indians and twenty social innovations will be highlighted. It will be the first full-fledged festival of diaspora Indians under a new format adopted by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2016. The event will be attended by more than 4,000 delegates and high-power delegations from Mauritius, Malaysia and Qatar.

BHIM becomes most popular Android app in the country

Union Government’s online payments app Bharat Interface for Mobile (BHIM) has become the most popular Android app in the country days after it was launch. The Aadhaar-based payments app has topped the charts on Google’s Play Store in India. Since the launch the app was downloaded in 3 million times and over 5 lakh transactions have took place since then. Presently, the app is only available to download through Google Play Store on Android smartphones and soon will be available on iOS platform as well. The app is inter-operable with Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and it connects directly to your bank account. The application is developed by the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI). It is named after Dr B R Ambedkar and will empower small traders, tribals and farmers.

Laser walls, smart sensors to be installed at Indo-Bangla International Border

The Border Security Force (BSF) is going to install laser walls and smart sensors at Indo-Bangla International Border in West Bengal to plug the porous riverine and unmanned terrain. The purpose of this high-tech fencing is to keep continuous tight vigil on border to check infiltration and terrorism. It will be done on an urgent basis so that it becomes operational by the year 2018. A pilot project will take off within a few months in the Indo-Bangla riverine border areas in West Bengal. Currently, the paramilitary force is using Farheen laser wall technology at the Indo-Pakistan border that has helped for better management of the borders.

Persons in News

Antonio Guterres takes charge as UN Secretary General

Portuguese politician and diplomat Antonio Guterres (67) took charge as the UN Secretary Genera, world’s top diplomat. He succeeded Ban Ki-moon and shall have five-year term. Antonio Guterres was Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002. He was the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) from June 2005 to December 2015. He led the UNHCR through during one of the world’s worst present refugee crises, including those in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Read more

K V Pusa, former NPCC president and minister, passes away

Nagaland’s former Minister and former President of Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) K V Pusa passed away following a brief illness. He was 63. He was the sitting member of All India Congress Committee and had served as Minister for Veterinary and Animal Husbandry (1998-1999) and Minister for Roads and Bridges (2000-2003) in S C Jamir led Congress government in Nagaland. Before joining Congress in 1998, Pusa had won the first time in 1993 in state assembly elections as independent candidate from Southern Angami Assembly Constituency under Kohima district. He also had served as leader in students organisation and chairman of renowned educational institutions like Baptist English and Mezhur HSS.

Karnataka Minister H S Mahadeva Prasad passes away

Karnataka Cooperation and Sugar Minister H S Mahadeva Prasad passed away in Chikamagalur following a massive cardiac arrest. He was 58. Prasad had become a minister in the Siddaramaiah cabinet after winning Assembly polls representing Gundlupet in Chamarajanagar district for the fifth time. He had become a minister in Karnataka for the third time. Earlier he had served as Minister for food and civil supplies, and consumer affairs in the JD(S)-BJP coalition government headed by H D Kumaraswamy during 2005-07 and quit JDS and joined the Congress.

International Current Affairs

Finland to pay unemployed basic income of USD 587 per month

Finland became the first country in Europe to pay its unemployed citizens a basic monthly income, amounting to 560 euros (USD 587). This announcement was made as part of a social experiment hoped to cut government red tape, reduce poverty and boost employment. It will be two-year trial in which 2,000 randomly picked citizens will receive unemployment benefits from January 1, 2017. The unemployment rate of Finland stood at 8.1% in November 2016 with some 213,000 people of total 5.5 million population was without a job.

Nepal’s Supreme Court gives go ahead to Government on crucial Constitution amendment bill

Nepal’s Supreme Court has given nod to government to go ahead with a crucial Constitution amendment bill to accommodate the demands of the agitating Madhesi and ethnic groups. The division bench of SC held that the judiciary cannot not bar legislature from using its wisdom in the formulation of legislation, on the basis of the principle of separation of powers. The Constitution amendment bill seeks to resolve issues related to citizenship and boundary demarcation issues among others.

Sports Current Affairs

Sports ministry constitutes committee to suggest improvements to Sports Code

Union Sports Ministry has constituted a committee to suggest improvements in the National Sports Development Code and functioning of Sports Federations etc. It will be headed by Secretary (Sports) and will give its report within one month. The committee has been constituted in the wake of Indian Olympic Association (IOA) episode of appointing scam tented Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Chautala Life Presidents. The Sports Ministry already has suspended the IOA till the time it reverses its decision to appoint Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Chautala.

Sergey Karjakin wins clinch World Blitz Chess Championship

Sergey Karjakin of Russia won Gold medal in the World Blitz Chess Championship title held in Doha, Qatar by defeating Norway’s Magnus Carlsen in a tie-breaker. Both players had scored 16.5 points at the end of 21 rounds of competition that was shortest format of chess. But after tie-break the first place went to Karjakin, leaving silver for Carlsen and Russia’s Daniil Dubov won the Bronze medal. This was Karjakin’s first world title in blitz chess while Carlsen has won it twice, in 2009 and in 2014.

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