Current Affairs Daily Digest: January 1-2, 2017
The Current Affairs Daily Digest for January 1-2, 2017 with important tid-bits on current affairs.
National Current Affairs
26 crore accounts open under Jan Dhan Yojana across country
According to latest data released by Finance Ministry over 26 crore accounts have been opened under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) across the country till date. Of the total, nearly 16 crore accounts are in rural areas and more than 10 crore in urban. Over 71 thousand 500 crore rupees have been deposited in these accounts and zero balance accounts has come down to nearly 24%. Around 20 crore RuPay Debit cards have also been issued under the scheme. The PMJDY was launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August 2014 with the objective of financial inclusion for covering all households with at least one bank account.
ECI to introduce mobile based monitoring system in upcoming Punjab Assembly elections
The Election Commission (ECI) has decided to introduce a mobile based monitoring system to ensure free and fair upcoming 2017 Assembly elections in Punjab. For this purpose number of mobile applications (app) based on Android Platform have been developed. These mobile apps are primarily meant for maintaining law and order and streamlining the functioning of polling staff. They have important features that would enable poll officials to feed real time information and data relating to polling. He also said that even the complaints received by the ECI would be dealt online. The poll officers and officials have been given specialized training to make them acquainted with the modern technology to be extensively used during the elections.
India, Pakistan exchange lists of nuclear sites
India and Pakistan exchanged the list of their nuclear installations and facilities under the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear installations. This is the 26th consecutive exchange of such list between the two countries after the first list was exchanged on 1 January 1992. Read more
International Current Affairs
UNSC approves Russian-drafted resolution on Syria ceasefire
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has unanimously passed a resolution drafted by Russia that endorses a nationwide Syrian ceasefire. The ceasefire between the rebels and Bashar al-Assad regime was brokered by Russia and Turkey. Two agreements were signed between Syrian government and seven armed opposition groups for ceasefire. The UNSC also expressed its support for the efforts taken by Russia and Turkey and aimed at stopping violence in Syria and launching a political process.
Russia delivers advanced Sukhoi jets to China after two year delay
Russia has finally delivered four fifth generation Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets to China after a delay of two years. The Su-35 is an advanced version of the Su-30s operated by the Indian Airforce (IAF). Russia had feared that its fifth generation Su-35 jet will lose its value after Chinese military unveiled its J-20 stealth fighter. However, Russia did not change its stance on the export of the Su-35 until the J-20 fighter was unveiled. Russia believes that with the commissioning of the J-20 by China, the Su-35 will soon lose its value in the Chinese market. While China made advances in manufacturing of new type of fighter jets, it is still dependent on Russia for engines aswell as avionics. In recent years, Russia has been selling some of its advanced weaponry to China due to economic crisis and sanctions faced by it over Crimean Crisis.
US imposes sanctions 7 Pakistani entities associated missile programme
United States Department of Commerce has announced sanctions against seven Pakistani entities allegedly associated with the country’s missile programme. These entities added to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) list determined by the US government to be acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States. Their placement on the list imposes a licence requirement for all items subject to the EAR and a licence review policy of presumption of denial.
States Current Affairs
India’s first laser technology-based advanced AVMS RTO check-post launched in Gujarat
Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani dedicated India’s first laser technology-based advanced Automatic Vechime Monitoring System (AVMS) RTO check-post at Shamlaji, Aravalli district. The check-post is equipped with advanced ray technology with a cost of 4.72 crore Rupees to check overloaded vehicles and fine them. It will help to eliminate influence of mafia and middlemen at checkposts.
PSPCL bags award for power supply
Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) was adjudged the country’s best power corporation for minimising transmission and distribution (T&D) losses. In this regard, the Central Board of Irrigation and Power awarded PSPCL the award as the best performing power distribution utility in the power sector. PSPCL was awarded on the basis of outstanding contribution to Punjab by providing reliable 24×7 cost-effective electricity to all categories of consumers.
Delhi registers India’s highest per capita income
National capital Delhi with Rs. 2,80,000 has registered the highest per capita income among all states and union territories of the country, during 2015-16. Delhi’s per capita income is over three times the national average i.e Rs. 93,293. It was followed by Chandigarh and Sikkim with per capita incomes of Rs.2,42,386 and Rs.2,27,465, respectively. According to the data released by Oxford Economics in November 2016, Delhi has emerged as the economic capital of India. It has overtaken Mumbai as per GDP in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP).
India’s first transgender school opens in Kerala
India’s first transgender school, Sahaj International, was inaugurated in Kochi, Kerala. It will be an alternative learning centre which will work in collaboration with the National Institute of Open Learning. The first batch of the school has 10 students and is headed by six transgenders working with the TransIndia Foundation. It will help the transgenders who dropped out of school to appear in Class X and XII examinations and will follow National Open School system. It will also provide various skill development programmes as part of the curriculum.
Science and Technology Current Affairs
ISRO to launch record 83 satellites in single launch in January
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch record 83 tiny satellites in one mission using its workhorse PSLV-C37 by end of January 2017. Of the 83 satellites, 80 belong to Israel, Netherlands, Switzerland Kazakhstan and US while the remaining three belong to India. The three Indian satellites are earth observation Cartosat-2 satellite series, weighing 730 kg (as primary payload) and INS-IA and INS-1B, weighing 30 kg. Earlier in June 2016, ISRO had set a record by successfully launching 20 satellites in a single mission on board PSLV-C34 from the spaceport in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. Prior to it, ISRO had earlier successfully sent 10 satellites into orbit on a single mission in 2008.
SpaceX releases images of Falcon Heavy, most powerful rocket in the world
Elon Musk-led aerospace manufacturer SpaceX has released images of Falcon Heavy rocket which is claimed to be most powerful operational rocket in the world. The Falcon Heavy rocket can lift 54,000 kg into the orbit and is designed to carry humans into space. It can carry twice the payload of the next most powerful rocket Delta IV Heavy, at one-third cost. It is scheduled to launch in 2017
Trial run of India’s first 700 MW PHWR in 2017
The trial run of India’s first 700 MW pressurised heavy water reactor (PHWR) coming up at Kakrapar is expected to take place in mid-2017. It was announced by Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL). India’s state owned atomic power plant operator NPCIL is building four 700 MW PHWRs—two each at Kakrapar Atomic Power Station (KAPS) in Gujarat and Rajasthan Atomic Power Station (RAPS) in Rajasthan. The construction of two 700 MW PHWRs at KAPS is at an advanced stage and the commissioning activities of the first unit has begun. Thee hydro test will be first conducted in May-June 2017 followed by hot conditioning of the unit, which would happen around two-and-a-half months after the hydro test.
NPL syncs Leap second with Indian time
An atomic clock at National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in New Delhi added ‘leap second’ (extra one second) to the Indian Standard Time (IST) at 5:29.59 hours on 1 January 2017 to synchronise with the Earth’s rotational clock. The clock was programmed to add an extra second to the year 2017 in order to compensate for a slowdown in the Earth’s rotation. Read more
Defence Current Affairs
Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa takes charge as new Air Force chief
Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa took charge as the 22nd Chief of the Air Staff (CoAS) of the Indian Air Force (IAF). He succeeded Arup Raha who retires from the service. He is the third person from Sikh community to head the IAF after Arjan Singh and Dilbag Singh. Prior to this appointment he was Vice-Chief of IAF. Read more
General Bipin Rawat takes over as next Chief of Army Staff
General Bipin Rawat took charge as the new 27th Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) of India. He succeed General Dalbir Singh Suhag who retired from the service. He had superseded two seniormost Lt Generals, Praveen Bakshi and PM Hariz. Read more
ICBM Agni-IV successfully test-fired off Odisha coast
India successfully test-fired its home-grown long range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Agni-IV from the Abdul Kalam Wheeler Island off Odisha coast. The test was aimed at revalidating new technologies incorporated in Agni-IV system and checking the readiness of armed forces to launch the missile on its own. Read more
Persons in News
Indian origin Sheikh Rafik Mohammed appointed as Major General in Kyrgyzstan
Sheikh Rafik Mohammed, Saudi-based entrepreneur of Indian origin (from Kerala) was appointed as Major General, a top position in the defence department of Kyrgyzstan. This is the first time a Keralite has been included in top military leadership of a foreign country. Rafik, who also holds Kyrgyzstan nationality earlier had worked as an adviser to the former President Kurmanbek Saliyevich Bakiyev (2005-2010) whom he had met in Iran where the young Indian entrepreneur while developing a major steel plant. He had left Kerala at a young age and completed only his primary school education. At young age he learnt all the tricks of business in Mumbai from there to the Middle East. He has worked in the UAE, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Kyrgyzstan.
Justice Saqib Nisar takes oath as 25th Chief Justice of Pakistan
Justice Mian Saqib Nisar was sworn in as the 25th chief justice of Pakistan. He was administered the oath to the office by President Mamnoon Hussain. Justice Nisar has replaced Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali who retired on after serving as chief justice for 15 months since his appointment in September 2015. He was the judge of the apex court since February 2010. Before that he was a judge of the Lahore High Court (LHC).
Pakistan awards Nishan-e-Imtiaz to Army chief Qamar Bajwa
Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain conferred the country’s highest civilian honour ‘Nishan-e-Imtiaz’ on Army chief Qamar Bajwa and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Zubair Hayat. The award was bestowed upon them in recognition of their services. The award is given to civilians based on their achievements towards world recognition for Pakistan or outstanding service for the country. Earlier in December 2016, General Bajwa was chosen as Pakistan’s next Chief of Army Staff and General Hayat as the CJCSC.
British-Indian Shankar Balasubramanian knighted for his work on DNA sequencing
An Indian-origin British professor of chemistry and DNA expert at Cambridge University Shankar Balasubramanian received Knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for their contributions. He was recognised for his work as a co-inventor of Next Generation DNA sequencing (also known as Solexa sequencing), described as the most transformational advance in biology and medicine for decades. Read more
Shraddha, Ghyansham Kumar Devansh chosen for 2016 Bharatiya Jananpith Navlekhan award
Two new Hindi writers Shraddha and Ghyansham Kumar Devansh have been chosen for Bharatiya Jnanpith Navlekhan Award for the year 2016. Shraddha was chosen for her short story ‘Hawa Mein Phadphadati Chitthi‘ and Devansh for his poem ‘Akash Mein Deh‘. Read more
Sports Current Affairs
Ricky Ponting named Australia’s assistant Twenty20 coach for Sri Lanka series
Cricket Australia has appointed formerTest skipper Ricky Ponting as an assistant coach to the Australia Twenty20 international squad for February 2017 series against Sri Lanka. In his new role, he will work alongside the interim head coach Justin Langer and interim assistant coach Jason Gillespie during the three T20 internationals. Ponting is one of Australia’s greatest batsmen and had led his country in the first-ever T20 international against New Zealand in 2005. He also had captained Australian cricket team in the first two editions of the ICC World T20 in 2007 and 2009. He also coached the Mumbai Indians to the Indian Premier League title. Ponting had a decorated international career that included playing in three ICC Cricket World Cup-winning sides in 1999, 2003 and 2007. He was captain of 2003 and 2007 Australian team that had won world cup.
Somdev Devvarman announces retirement from professional tennis
India’s star singles tennis player Somdev Devvarman (31) announced his retirement from professional tennis. With this his promising career comes to an end. In 2011, Somdev had touched a career-high rank of number 62. He has two runners-up finishes on the ATP World Tour as his best performances on the Tour. He made the finals of Chennai and Johannesburg ATP events. He also had won Singles and Doubles medals in Asian Games and Commonwealth Games.
Andy Murray conferred with Knighthood
World number one tennis player Andy Murray (29) from Britain was conferred the Knighthood in the Queen Elizabeth II’s New Year’s Honours list. With this he becomes youngest recipient of the Knighthood. The year 2016 was Murray’s most successful year as he had won the presitigeous Wimbledon title for the second time and defended his gold medal at the Rio Olympics. Previously in 2013 he had received an OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) medal from HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge after winning his first Wimbledon crown.