Current Affairs 18th January 2018 (18/01/2018)

National Current Affairs:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said relative backwardness of some regions is an injustice to the people of those                regions. Addressing collectors and Officers-in-charge of aspirational districts, in New Delhi, Mr Modi said, there is a need to make efforts to develop 115 backward districts. He said regional imbalances should not be allowed to increase indefinitely and the development of backward districts is imperative.
  • The Budget Session of Parliament will be convened from 29th of this month. Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA) has recommended to the President to convene the session. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar told reporters in New Delhi that President will address the joint sitting of the both houses on the opening day. The budget will be presented on 1st February. The Winter Session of the Parliament concluded on 5th January.
  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development has launched NARI, an online portal, which will serve as the national repository comprising ofall kinds of information which will benefit women across the country.
  • The Government has said, 65 per cent of the country’s population will be covered by FM transmitters soon. Replying to questions in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore said, now 52 per cent of the population is covered by FM transmitters. Replying to supplementary questions from members, Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani said, 57 All India Radio (AIR) towers are shared with private broadcasters on rental basis.
  • The Special CBI Court in Ranchi has pronounced the quantum of punishment to RJD Chief Lalu Prasad and 15 others in the fodder scam case through video conferencing. The Court handed the former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad a jail term of 3.5 years and imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh.
  • Mr Vijay Gokhale has been appointed as the new foreign secretary. An Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of the 1981 batch, Gokhale will succeed S.Jaishankar of the 1977 batch. Ambassador of the US during his three-year tenure.
  • Mr Rajinder Khanna, a former chief of the country’s external intelligence agency RAW, has been appointed as the Deputy National Security Adviser (NSA), according to an official order.
  • A new species of blind fish has been discovered inside a cave in East Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya. According to a New Zealand-based science journal, the fish — Schistura larketensis — gets its name from Larket village, where the cave has been found.
  • Four new balsam species have been discovered               in Arunachal Pradesh during a Himalayas expedition. Researchers from the University of Calicut in Kerala came across the new species while scouring the Eastern Himalayas as part of an expedition supported by the Department of Science and Technology and the International Association for Plant Taxonomy, Slovakia.
  • The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority of India (PFRDA) run Atal Pension Yojana (APY) has reached a subscriber base of 80 lakh. The PFRDA said in a statement that the subscribers base under the Atal Pension Yojana (APY) has reached more than 80 lakhs and growing at a good pace. Uttar Pradesh is the highest contributing state at 11.41 lakh APY subscribers, followed by Bihar and Tamil Nadu.

International Current Affairs:

  • India and Indonesia have unequivocally condemned terrorism in all its forms, irrespective of its motivation and origin. After co-chairing the fifth meeting of the Joint Commission with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi in Jakarta, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said, both the nations expressed strong opposition to any selective approaches to deal with this global menace.
  • The US suspended about $2 billion in security aid to Pakistan for failing to clamp down on the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network terror groups and dismantle their safe havens, a White House official said.
  • India and Pakistan have exchanged, through diplomatic channels simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad, the list of nuclear installations and facilities under a three-decade old bilateral pact. According to an External Affairs Ministry release, the two sides exchanged the list under the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear Installations between India and Pakistan.
  • President Donald Trump has accused Pakistan of lying and deceiving the United States while receiving billions of dollars in foreign aid. ln his first tweet of the year, he also alleged Pakistan harboured terrorists.
  • North Korea has agreed to hold dialogue with neighboring South Korea for the first time in more than two years. South Korea’s Unification Ministry said in Seoul, the North Korean government has notified that it will send delegates to the high level talks. The meeting will be held at the border village of Panmunjom, inside the demilitarised zone (DMZ).

Business & Economy Current Affairs:

  • The Growth in GDP during 2017-18 has been estimated at 6.5 per cent as compared to 7.1 per cent in 2016-17. Addressing a press conference on first Advance Estimates of National Income 2017-18 in New Delhi, Chief Statistician T C A Anant said, agriculture, forestry and fishing is likely to slow to 2.1 per cent in the current fiscal from 4.9 per cent in the preceding year. He said, the growth in manufacturing sector too is expected to decelerate to 4.6 per cent this fiscal, down from 7.9 per cent in 2016-17.
  • The Rajya Sabha has passed the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2017, which bars unscrupulous persons from misusing the provisions of the Code. The Bill, which replaces an ordinance promulgated last November, was already cleared by the Lok Sabha.
  • The Parliament has passed the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Amendment) Bill, 2017 it allows Union Government to increase capital of NABARD from Rs. 5000 crore to Rs 30,000 crore. The Bill provides that Union Government alone must hold at least 51% capital share of NABAR D.
  • The government has announced the launch of 7.75% Savings (Taxable) Bonds, 2018. The bonds will have a maturity of seven years. The 7.75% Savings (Taxable) Bonds scheme replaces the 8% Savings Bonds Scheme, also known as RBI Bonds Scheme, which was a preferred choice for those looking for a regular guaranteed income.
  • A new Consumer Protection Bill-2018 has been introduced in the Lok Sabha. The bill seeks to set up an authority to safeguard consumer rights in view of current challenges posed by e-commerce, direct selling, tele-marketing and misleading advertisement. The bill was introduced by Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vitas Paswan in the Lower House and it seeks to replace the 31-year-old law.

Sports Current Affairs:

  • In Tennis, the Indian pair of Rohan Bopanna and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan has crashed out of the Maharashtra Open, formerly known as the Chennai Open, India’s only ATP World Tour event. The defending champions, who were the fourth seeds, lost to the unseeded French team of Gilles Simon and Pierre-Hugues Herbert, 3-6, 5-7, at Pune.
  • Former world number one Maria Sharapova has bowed out of the Shenzhen Open tennis tournament. At Shenzhen, China, today, she lost to defending champion Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic in the semi-final.

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