Current Affairs 20th January 2018 (20/01/2018)

National Current Affairs:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with leading economists and other experts across sectors. The meeting at NITI Aayog in New Delhi focused on finding ways to doubling farmers’ income. The issue was discussed at length during the meeting at NITI Aayog in New Delhi where over 40 economists and experts were present. Talking to reporters after the meeting, NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said, Mr. Modi interacted with experts and secretaries who shared their views on various economic themes such as macro-economy, agriculture and rural development, employment, health and education, manufacturing and exports, urban development, infrastructure and connectivity.
  • India successfully launched weather observation satellite Cartosat 2 Series and 30 other spacecraft onboard its dependable Polar rocket from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh the Cartosat 2 Series satellite, the seventh in the series, a nano satellite and 28 commercial payloads were successfully injected into the orbit one by one by the PSLV C-40. ISRO’s Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network took control of the Cartosat 2 Series satellite, India’s 100th in space. International customer satellites are three micro and 25 nano-satellites from six countries — Canada, Finland, France, Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
  • The Supreme Court has said, it would constitute a fresh three-member SIT to monitor the probe into the riot cases that followed the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984. A bench Headed by chief Justice of India Dipak Mishra asked the Centre to suggest names for its consideration and appointment in the proposed SIT. The bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said the proposed committee will be headed by a former High Court Judge.
  • The Unique Identification Authority of India, UIDAI has introduced a concept of Virtual ID to further strengthen privacy and security of Aadhaar number holders. The             Aadhaar number holder can use Virtual ID in place of an               Aadhaar number whenever authentication or KYC services are performed.
  • Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has said that infrastructure development on northern borders has to be stepped up. Addressing annual press conference in New Delhi, General Rawat said, the Army is also focusing on improving cyber security. The Chief of the Army Staff said, the Army will get over one lakh 86 thousand bullet proof jackets phase wise starting from June. General Rawat said, terrorism in Kashmir is not over and the focus of operations will shift to North Kashmir this year. He said, India has to wait and watch the impact of the US pressure on Pakistan.
  • Senior space scientist Dr K.Sivan has been appointed the new chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization ISRO. The Appointments Committee of the Union Cabinet gave the approval for his elevation. Dr Sivan is currently the Director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, an arm of the national space agency ISRO.
  • India has registered significant decline in mortality rate of children under five years of age. According to the recently-released 2016 sample registration system (SRS) bulletin, under-five mortality rate (U5MR) in India showed an impressive decline of 9 per cent, from 43 per 1,000 in 2015 to 39 per 1,000 in 2016. According to a health ministry statement, for the first time, the number of under-five deaths in the country has come down to below 1 million.

International Current Affairs:

  • With the US mulling reforms to end illegal immigration, President Donald Trump pushed for a merit-based system to allow only people with great track record to enter the country. He also called for ending the chain migration, the fastest and easiest way to gain legal entry into America, through sponsorship by a family member who is already a legal resident or citizen of the US. He has repeatedly called for the merit-based system to reduce overall immigration to the US. Mr. Trump said this during his meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers at the White House.
  • South Korea has proposed a meeting with North Korea next week to discuss details of its participation in next month’s PyeongChang Winter Olympics in the South. The South’s Unification Ministry said in Seoul that it suggested holding the meeting at the border village of Panmunjom with a delegation of three South Korean officials.
  • Foreign Affairs Minister of Maldives Dr. Mohamed Asim met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi. The two leaders discussed issues of mutual interest during the meeting. Dr Asim, who is also the Special Envoy of the Maldivian President, was in New Delhi on a three-day visit to India.

Business & Economy Current Affairs:

  • The Cabinet gave its approval to a number of amendments in the Foreign Direct Investment, FDI Policy including 100 percent FDI via automatic route in single brand retail. The decisions are intended to liberalise and simplify the FDI policy so as to provide ease of doing business in the country. It will lead to larger FDI inflows contributing to growth of investment, income and employment. As per the decision, Government approval is no longer required for FDI in Single Brand Retail Trading, SBRT. Currently, FDI, upto 49 per cent is allowed under automatic route but any investment beyond the limit required government approval. Government has now decided to permit 100 per cent FDI under automatic route for SBRT. Foreign airlines have been allowed to invest up to 49 per cent under approval route in Air India.
  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has barred auditor major Price Water-house’s network entities from issuing audit certificates to any listed company in India for two years after finding it guilty in the multi-crore Satyam scam. It also ordered disgorgement of over 13 crore rupees wrongful gains from the audit major and its two erstwhile partners who worked on the IT major’s accounts.
  • Industrial production growth rose to 8.4 per cent, seventeen months high, in November 2017 on the back of robust performance of manufacturing and capital goods sectors. The factory output, measured in terms of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) grew 5.1 per cent in November 2016. According to data released by Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Manufacturing sector, which constitutes 77.63 per cent of the IIP, recorded an impressive growth of 10.2 per cent in November as compared to 4 per cent a year ago.
  • Retail inflation crossed the RBI’s comfort level and rose to 5.21 percent in December on rise in prices of food items, egg and vegetables, dashing hopes of interest rate cut in the near future. The retail inflation, based on Consumer Price Index (CPI), was 4.88 percent in November. In December 2015, it was 3.41 percent. The Reserve Bank has been asked by the government to keep inflation at 4 percent, plus or minus 2 percent, and its rise beyond the comfort zone will put pressure on the central bank not cut interest rate (repo rate).
  • World Bank has projected India’s growth rate at 7.3 per cent in 2018 and 7.5 for the next two years. In its 2018 Global V Economics Prospect released in Washington last night, the World Bank said, India has enormous growth potential compared to other emerging economies as an ambitious government undertakes comprehensive reforms. It said, despite initial setbacks from demonetisation and – Goods and Services Tax (GST), India’s economy is estimated to have grown at 6.7 per cent in 2017.
  • Global aviation body the International Air Transport Association has said that India’s domestic air passenger traffic grew by 16.4 per cent in November last year, topping the growth chart worldwide. The IATA, comprising major air carriers, said India continued to witness double-digit growth for the 39th consecutive month.

Sports Current Affairs:

  • Former world silver medallist Sarjubala Devi representing Manipur claimed the gold in 48 kg category in the National Women’s Boxing Championships in Rohtak. She was also given the best boxer trophy. Sarjubala edged past Haryana’s Ritu 3-2 to clinch Manipur’s lone gold medal and her second successive national title.
  • India’s Yuki Bhambri outclassed Spaniard Carlos Taberner to reach the third and final qualifying round of the Australian Open Tennis in Melbourne. Bhambri routed the world number 183 Carlos 6-0, 6-2 in the second round of the men’s singles qualifiers.

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