Current Affairs - January 2017

Current Affairs – January 2017 with Latest Current Affairs for Banking, SSC, CLAT, UPSC, State PCS, IBPS and other Competitive Examinations. Current Affairs Today – January 2017 with news summary on current events of national and international importance.

Current Affairs Daily Digest: January 31, 2017

The Current Affairs Daily Digest for January 31, 2017 with important tid-bits on current affairs.

National Current Affairs

Finance Ministry to aid Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh for rail safety

The Union Finance Ministry has agreed to contribute partially to a new dedicated railway safety fund named as ‘Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh’ in the upcoming Union Budget 2017-18. The proposed safety fund will be utilised for track improvement, bridge rehabilitation, rolling stock replacement, human resource development, improved inspection system and safety work at level crossing, among other things. Read more

IT Ministry urges tax incentives for PC manufacturers too

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in its key recommendations for Union Budget 2017-18, has suggested differential excise duty regime and tax exemptions to be expanded to personal computers and servers. Ministry’s suggestions were as per the Phased Manufacturing Roadmap, it had worked out in consultation with the NITI Aayog. Read more

Environment, Science and Technology

Bombay Natural History Society launches climate change programme in Central Himalayas

The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) has launched climate change programme to conduct study to assess the status, distribution and conservation of Pheasants and Finches in Central Himalayas. It is long-term monitoring project funded by Oracle and facilitated by CAF-India. It will focus on their conservation in the context of climate change with the help of community participation. Read more

Vampire star caught in the act by ASTROSAT

India’s first dedicated space observatory, ASTROSAT has captured the rare phenomenon of a small six-billion-year-old vampire star preying on a bigger celestial body. The vampire star phenomenon is observed when smaller star sucks material (mass and energy) out of the bigger companion star, causing its eventual death. It is also called a blue straggler as small star becomes bigger, hotter and bluer, giving it the appearance of being young, while the ageing companion burns out and collapses to a stellar remnant. Read more

Banking, Business and Economy

Reliance Defence bags contract for patrol vessels

Reliance Defence and Engineering Ltd (RDEL) has signed Rs. 916 crore contract with the Union Defence Ministry for design and construction of 14 fast patrol vessels (FPVs) for Indian Coast Guard (ICG). This is the first time, a private sector shipyard has been awarded a contract to design and build ships for Indian Armed Forces. FPVs are primarily used for patrolling carrying out anti-piracy, anti-smuggling and search and rescue operations and for fisheries protection and monitoring. They also have a secondary role of escort coastal convoys and providing a communication link, in times of hostilities and war. RDEL is a wholly-owned arm of Reliance Infrastructure Ltd (RInfra) led by Anil Ambani.

India Post Payments Bank starts pilot services

The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley launched operations of the India Post Payments Bank’s (IPPB) by rolling out pilot services in Raipur and Ranchi in Chhattisgarh. IPPB is the second payments bank to start operations after Airtel Payments Bank. It will offer an interest rate of 4.5% on deposits up to Rs. 25,000; 5% on deposits of Rs. 25,000 to 50,000 and 5.5% on Rs. 50,000 to 1,00,000. IPPB has been incorporated as a Public Sector Bank under the Department of Posts with 100% Central Government equity.

RBI withdraws limits on cash withdrawals

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has lifted limits on cash withdrawals for holders of current accounts, cash credit accounts, and overdrafts with immediate effect. The limits were imposed in November 2016 following the withdrawal of high-value banknotes. The move is expected to ease fund availability for small businesses and traders. However, the weekly limits of 24 thousand rupees on Savings Bank accounts will continue. Earlier, the cash withdrawal limit from ATMs was capped at Rs. 10,000 per day.

Highlights of Economic Survey 2016-17

Union finance Minister Arun Jaitley tabled the Economic Survey 2016-17 in Parliament budget session. The survey prepared by chief economic adviser in the finance ministry Arvind Subramanian. The survey projects the economy to grow in the range of 6.75% to 7.25% in fiscal year 2017-18 in the post-demonetisation year. It says that the adverse impact of demonetisation on GDP growth will be transitional. Read more

Miscellaneous

NDRF celebrates its 12th raising day

The 12th Raising Day celebration of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) was observed on 31 January 2017. On the occasion, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh presented the Jeevan Raksha Padak awards and Distinguished Service Medals to the NDRF personnel. NDRF is India’s elite disaster mitigation combat force established under The Disaster Management Act, 2005. It was raised on January, 2006. It is a specialised force capable of responding to any type of disaster (natural or man-made) in the country and abroad. Its main function is to undertake relief and rescue operations, mass evacuation and immediate relief in the case of an event of any disaster, accident or emergency.

India’s Centre for Civil Society ranked among world’s top 100 think tanks

The Centre for Civil Society (CCS), one of India’s premier think tank was ranked among the top 100 think tanks globally in the recently published 2016 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report. The report was published by the Lauder Institute of the University of Pennsylvania (TTCSP). The CCS was ranked 80 which is one lower than its last year’s rank. Besides, nine other Indian institutes also have figured among the top 175. UK’s Chatham House, was declared the top think tank while US’s Brookings Institution retained the position as the top think tank worldwide in US and Non-US category. Other Indian think tanks in the top 200 are Institute of Defence and Security Analysis (IDSA) at 105, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) at 110. Observer Research Foundation (ORF) was ranked within top 10 think tanks among key Asian countries

Persons in news

Veteran journalist Devdutt passes away

Veteran journalist Devdutt passed away. He was 88. He was Gandhian since his early days and was present at Birla House in the lawn when Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated on January 30, 1948. He was seasoned political commentator, who had brought out a journal of political opinion called Point of View. He was associated with many newspapers and periodicals such asPunjab-based Hind Samachar, Gujarat’s Sandesh and Odia newspaper Pragativadi. He was highly respected by leaders of all political shades and hues.

Masaya Nakamura, Father of Pac-Man passes away

Masaya Nakamura, the Father of Pac-Man video game passed away. He was 91. He had founded Japanese video game company Namco in 1955. Pac-Man was designed by Namco engineer and video game maker Toru Iwatani in 1980. It was started out as an arcade item. Since then it is estimated to have been played more than 10 billion times and Guinness World Record has named it the world’s most successful coin-operated arcade game. The idea for Pac-Man’s design came from the image of a pizza with a slice carved out. The game has been adapted for cellphones, PlayStation and Xbox formats.

Sports Current Affairs

India’s first multi-sports museum inaugurated in Kolkata

India’s first multi-sports museum was inaugurated in Kolkata, capital of West Bengal. The museum entire project took shape under aegis of Harshvardhan Neotia, Chairman of the Ambuja Neotia Group. It is spread over 6700 square feet  and has amazing collection of sports memorabilia ranging from the gloves that Sachin Tendulkar wore while scoring his 100th hundred, a boot owned by Lionel Messi to a chess board signed by Vishwanathan Anand. It also has an impressive collection painstakingly gathered by cricket historian Boria Majumdar for over 25 years. It also display’s  books written by KS Ranjitsinhji such as ‘ The Jubilee Book of cricket’ and an anthology by PN Polishwalla.

Government Constitutes Task Force to prepare Action Plan for Next three Olympic Games

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the constitution of eight members Task Force committee for preparing action plan for next three Olympic Games 2020, 2024 and 2028. It has been given three months’ time to submit its report regarding a comprehensive action plan including short, medium and long-term measures for effective participation of Indian sports-persons in the Olympic games. Read more

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Highlights of Economic Survey 2016-17

Union finance Minister Arun Jaitley tabled the Economic Survey 2016-17 in Parliament budget session. The survey prepared by chief economic adviser in the finance ministry Arvind Subramanian.

The survey projects the economy to grow in the range of 6.75% to 7.25% in fiscal year 2017-18 in the post-demonetisation year. It says that the adverse impact of demonetisation on GDP growth will be transitional.

Major highlights from the Economic Survey 2016-17
  • Growth Forecast: Gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2016-17 pegged at 6.5%, down from 7.6% in last fiscal 2015-16.
  • Economic growth to rebound to 6.75 to 7.5% in 2017-18.
  • Farm sector to grow at 4.1% in 2016-17, up from 1.2% in 2015-16.
  • Growth rate of industrial sector estimated to moderate to 5.2% in 2016-17 from 7.4% in 2015-16.
  • Service sector is estimated to grow at 8.9% in 2016-17
  • GST, other structural reforms should take the growth rate trend  to 8-10%.
  • Taxation: Prescribes cut in individual Income Tax rates, real estate stamp duties.
  • IT net could be widened gradually by encompassing all high income earners.
  • Time table for cutting corporate tax should be accelerated.
  • Tax administration could be improved to reduce discretion and improve accountability.
  • Goods and Services Tax (GST): Fiscal gains from GST will take time to realise.
  • Fiscal Deficit: Implementation of muted tax receipts, wage hike to put pressure on fiscal deficit in 2017-18.
  • For fiscal health of the economy fiscal prudence for both centre and states is needed.
  • Fiscal windfall from low oil prices to disappear in 2017-18.
  • Inflation: The average consumer price index (CPI) inflation rate declined to 4.9% in 2015-16 from 5.9% in 2014-15. CPI-based core inflation remained sticky around 5% in the 2016-17.
  • Oil prices, seen rising by one-sixth in 2017-18 over the previous fiscal 2016-17 prices which could dampen India’s economic growth.
  • Monetary Policy: monetary easing headroom may be capped due to sharp rise in prices in 2017-18.
  • Market interest rates seen lower in 2017-18 due to demonetisation.
  • Government Debt to GDP ratio: It was 68.5% in 2016, down from 69.1% in 2015.
  • Banking: Suggests setting up public sector asset rehabilitation agency (PSARA) to take charge of large bad loans in banks. With government backing, PSAR can overcome coordination and political issues on bad loans.
  • Demonetisation: The adverse impact of demonetisation on GDP growth will be transitional. It will affect growth rate by 0.25-0.5%, but to have long-term benefits
  • It may affect supplies of certain agricultural products like sugar, milk, potatoes and onions.
  • Remonetisation will ensure that the cash squeeze is eliminated by April 2017.
  • Universal Basic Income (UBI): Advocates the concept of UBI as an alternative to the various social welfare schemes in an effort to reduce poverty.
  • It will be alternative to plethora of state subsidies for poverty alleviation. UBI would cost between 4 and 5% of GDP

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