Bullet Express Current Affairs, December, 2017
• State-run Gas (India) Limited (GAIL) has placed orders for another 400-km natural gas pipeline project under ambitious Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga (PMUG). The orders were placed for 400-km for pipeline from Dobhi (Bihar) to Durgapur (West Bengal).
• The Union Government has inked Loan agreement with World Bank for $40 Million IBRD Credit for “Uttar Pradesh Pro-Poor Tourism Development Project”.
• The Union Ministry of Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has launched Livestock Disease Forewarning –Mobile Application (LDF-Mobile App).
• The Lok Sabha passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriages) Bill 2017 dclaring instant triple talaq illegal and criminalises it with up to three years in jail for the husband. The bill will now will be sent to the Rajya Sabha for passage before it is forwarded to the President for assent to come into force as law.
• The Parliament has passed National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second Amendment Bill, 2017. It seeks to amend National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second Act, 2011.
The Lok Sabha has passed the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Amendment Bill, 2017. The Bill amends the GST (Compensation to States) Act, 2017 and replaces an Ordinance promulgated in September 2017.
• The Parliament has passed The Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy (IIPE) Bill, 2017 after it was adopted by Rajya Sabha. Lok Sabha already had passed the bill in August 2017. The Bill establishes the IIPE at Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh as an institution of national importance.
• The 25th edition of National Children Science Congress (NCSC-2017) was held Gandhinagar, Gujarat from 27 to 31 December, 2017. It was inaugurated by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani in Ahmedabad.
• The Union Government, Tamil Nadu Government and World Bank have signed $318 million dollar loan agreement for the Tamil Nadu Irrigated Agriculture Modernization Project.
• The Uttar Pradesh government has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with South Korea on to enhance cooperation in the field of tourism, skill development, culture and farming.
• The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has directed all NGOs, individuals and business entities receiving foreign funds to open accounts in any of 32 designated banks, including one foreign, within a month. The MHA order comes in exercise of the powers conferred under Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 2010.
The Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) is going to roll out Condonation of Delay Scheme to provide a three-month window for defaulting companies and their director to submit their annual filings.
• The Union Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions launched the electronic-Human Resource Management System (e-HRMS) on the occasion of Good Governance Day (25 December).
• The Union Government has drawn up action plans for backward district programme to improve socio-economic profiles of 115 identified “most-backward” districts including 35 affected by left-wing extremism.
• India’s first-ever broad gauge air-conditioned AC EMU suburban train was flagged off from Borivali station on western railway in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The AC train departed from Andheri Station and reached Churchgate.
• The Good Governance Day (GGD) is celebrated every year in India on December 25 to mark the birthday anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
• India Government Mint (IGM), a unit of Security Printing and Minting Corp of India Ltd has launched India’s first home-grown high purity gold reference standard –Bharatiya Nirdeshak Dravya (BND-4201).
Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh are top contributors among states and Union Territories in the first five months since the rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime in July 1, 2017. The data was revealed by Minister of State (MoS) for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla in reply to a question in Lok Sabha.
• Scientists from University of Michigan in US have developed a new type of neural network chip using reservoir computing system to improve efficiency of teaching machines to think like humans.
• The Union Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation has formally launched ‘Ganga Gram’ project at the Ganga Gram Swachata Sammelan held in New Delhi.
• The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has created National Highways Investment Promotion Cell (NHIPC) for attracting domestic and foreign investment for highways projects.
• India has signed agreement with Switzerland for automatic sharing of tax-related information from January 1, 2018 with an aim to combat black money.
• India’s first and only design university World University of Design (WUD) has opened its campus at Sonipat, Haryana. The university promoted by Om Parkash Bansal Educational and Social Welfare Trust of Mandi Gobindgarh, Punjab is dedicated to education in creative domain.
According to recently released The State of the World’s Children Report of UNICEF, India’s girls and women are at risk of becoming further marginalised in society and at home if they remain digitally illiterate.
• The Union Ministry of Communications has launched DARPAN (The Digital Advancement of Rural Post Office for A New India) to improve quality of service, add value to services and achieve financial inclusion of un-banked rural population.
• The Union cabinet has approved auction of 683 private FM radio frequencies in 236 cities across country under Phase III of FM radio privatization. This decision will usher in new/enhanced experience of FM radio in more cities.
• The Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has launched SAMEEP (Students and MEA Engagement Program). It is an outreach mission that aims to take Indian foreign policy and its global engagements to students across country and also to look at diplomacy as a career option. Its name was crowd-sourced through the My Gov portal and out of 550 suggested entries.
• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved Scheme for Capacity Building in Textile Sector (SCBTS) in order to ensure steady supply of skilled manpower in the labour-intensive textile sector.
• India and Myanmar signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at developing Myanmar’s Rakhine state. It was signed by Foreign secretary S Jaishankar and Myanmar’s deputy minister for social welfare, relief and resettlement U Soe Aung.
The Lok Sabha has passed Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property (Amendment) Bill, 2017 to make it easier for government to acquire immovable property for “national security and defence purpose”.
• The Lok Sabha passed Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill, 2017. The bill replaces Indian Forest (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 promulgated by President Ram Nath Kovind in November 2017 and amends Indian Forest Act, 1927.
• The Union Cabinet has approved proposal of Ministry of Railways to set up first ever National Rail and Transport University (NRTU) in Vadodara to skill its human resources and build capability.
• The Union Cabinet has approved extension of term of Commission to examine the issue of sub-categorization of Other Backward Classes (OBCs), by 12 weeks i.e. upto 2 April, 2018.
• India has inked Financing Agreement with World Bank for International Development Association (IDA) Credit of US $125 million (equivalent) for Skills Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement Operation (STRIVE) Project.
• The Lok Sabha has unanimously passed Central Road Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2017. The Bill seeks to amend the Central Road Fund (CRF) Act, 2000.
The Parliament has passed Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) Bill, 2017 to extend greater autonomy to IIMs by restricting government’s role in their functioning. It also grants them power to award degrees to their graduates.
• The Parliament has passed Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2017 to strengthen corporate governance standards, initiate strict action against defaulting companies and help improve ease of doing business in the country,
• The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog is planning to set up Methanol Economy Fund worth Rs 4,000-5,000 crore to promote production and use of the clean fuel.
• The Union Ministry of Railways in an eco-friendly measure to reduce power consumption, has planned to make all stations 100% LED lit by March 2018.
• India is planning to host meeting of World Trade Organisation (WTO) member countries in February 2018 to muster support for food security and other issues. It was announced by Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu while speaking at event organised by Apparel Export Promotion Council, AEPC in New Delhi.
• The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has granted permission to Indian firm to conduct Phase-I clinical trials for a Zika vaccine. It was announced by Union Minister of State (MoS) for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey in Lok Sabha.
The first national-level training of trainers programme to sensitise various Central Ministries and Departments on utilisation of Sendai Framework for developing action plans for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) was held in New Delhi.
• The national drug pricing regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has notified prices of 65 essential formulations, including those used for treatment of diabetes, pain, infections and high blood pressure. The 65 essential formulations fall under scheduled I formulations under Drugs (Prices Control) Order (DPCO), 2013.
• The Union Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship and Maruti Suzuki India Limited have signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support Skill India Mission in automobile industry.
• According to UN World Migration Report (2018) Indian diaspora is world’s largest, with slightly more than 15.6 million people from India living overseas. The report was released by International Organisation for Migration.
• Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 60 MW (megawatt) Tuirial hydropower project in Aizawl, Mizoram. It is first large hydropower central government project to be commissioned in Mizoram.
• The Karnataka High Court has struck down 2014 amendment rules that mandated pictorial health warnings to cover 85% of tobacco product packaging space, holding that they violated Constitutional norms. However, it made it clear that 40% pictorial health warning rule, which existed prior to amendment rules, will remain in force.
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for continuation of centrally sponsored scheme of National AYUSH Mission (NAM) from April 2017 to March 2020 with an outlay of Rs. 2400 crore over 3 year period to provide cost effective AYUSH services.
• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved Capital Investment Subsidy amounting to Rs.264.67 crore to four industrial units located in North Eastern Region (NER) including Sikkim.
• The Union Cabinet approved new Central Sector Scheme of North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme” (NESIDS) from 2017-18. It will be 100% funded by Central Government to fill up gaps in creation of infrastructure in specified sectors in North east till March, 2020.
• The Union Cabinet approved the establishment of International Training Centre for Operational Oceanography (ITCOO), as a Category-2 Centre (C2C) of UNESCO, in Hyderabad, Telangana.
• The Union Cabinet has approved National Medical Commission Bill, 2017. It will replace the Medical Council, 1956 Act and enable a forward movement in medical education reform.
• National Workshop on Role of Sakhi One Stop Centres (OSCs) in Strengthening Multi Sectoral Response to Violence is was held in New Delhi. It was organized by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) and was inaugurated by WCD Minister Maneka Sanjay Gandhi.
The Union Government is planning to club phase I and phase II of its ambitious Ken-Betwa inter linking river (ILR) project. The phases will be clubbed after Madhya Pradesh, one of the two beneficiary states (Uttar Pradesh in another), demanded so. It will result in revision of project’s cost. The costs for first phase was estimated at Rs. 18,000 crore and second phase was Rs. 8000 crore.
• The National Institute of Transforming India (NITI) Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission launched the Atal Tinkering Lab’s Community Day in New Delhi.
• The 4th India-Australia-Japan Trilateral Dialogue was hosted by India in New Delhi. It was hosted by India’s Foreign Secretary Dr. S. Jaishankar, Australia’s Secretary of Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Frances Adamson and Japan’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Shinsuke J. Sugiyama
• India and Morocco signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for enhanced cooperation in health sector. Through this framework MoU, both the countries can work together in identified areas of cooperation as both countries have much to offer to each other in the field of health.
• India and Morocco have signed four agreements for cooperation in Water Resources, Road and Marine Sectors. They were signed after Morocco’s Minister for Equipment, Transport, Logistics and Water meet Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Shipping in New Delhi.
• The Union Government has framed a scheme to set up 12 Special Courts for a year to fast-track the trial of criminal cases against 1,581 MPs and MLAs. This decision was conveyed by Government to Supreme Court and is intended to end inordinate delay in prosecution of politicians in criminal cases.
The Union Ministry of Railways has introduced Indian Railways E-Procurement System (IREPS), an online bill tracking system for vendors and contractors.
• The Union Government has signed US $250 million loan agreement with World Bank for “Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion” (SANKALP) Project to support livelihood.
• Dredging Corporation of India (DCI) and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) have signed a MoU for facilitating the supply of sand for highways construction work.
• India will host third Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in Mumbai, Maharashtra in June 2018.
• India is planning to hold talks with Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries to extend India-Myanmar-Thailand (IMT) highway up to Vietnam.
• India and Australia held their first ‘2+2 dialogue’ in New Delhi and highlighted need to maintain Asia-Pacific region as a “free” and “open” zone. The 2+2 dialogue model between both countries included foreign and defence secretaries.
The 7th International Ground Water Conference (IGWC-2017) was hosted by India in New Delhi from December 11 to 13, 2017. The theme of conference was “Ground water Vision 2030- Water Security, Challenges and Climate Change Adaptation”.
• The Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) launched first NIC-CERT, a setup of National Informatics Centre (NIC) to prevent and predict cyber-attacks on government utilities.
• The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched ‘LaQshya’ Initiative and mHealth: Safe Delivery Application on the occasion of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day. Moreover, Operational Guidelines for Obstetric High Dependency Units and Intensive Care Units were also released.
• The Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports will soon launch Khelo India programme for period 2017-18 to 2019-20 at cost of Rs 1756 crore.
• Government has made mandatory for Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to seek approval from Department of Heavy Industry (DHI) before accepting any proposal to supply electric buses for availing incentives under the FAME India scheme.
• The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched a door-to-door campaign for 15-days in the country for early diagnosis, detection and treatment of tuberculosis (TB) to eliminate the disease.
The ASEAN–India (Association of Southeast Asian Nations-India) Connectivity Summit (AICS) was held in New Delhi. The theme of summit was ‘Powering Digital and Physical Linkages for Asia in the 21st Century’.
• The Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has signed an implementation agreement with German firm GIZ GmbH for technical cooperation in implementation of transport projects in Coimbatore, Bhubaneshwar and Kochi. The main objective of these projects are to improve planning and implementation of sustainable urban transport.
• India was declared free from infective Trachoma, a contagious bacterial infection of the eye. The infection causes inflamed granulation on the inner surface of the lids.
• The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) launched Public Procurement Portal ‘MSME Sambandh’ for Public Procurement Portal for MSMEs.
• India hosted “Bodhi Parva: BIMSTEC Festival of Buddhist Heritage” at New Delhi as part of celebrations of 20th Anniversary of BIMSTEC. The Festival was inaugurated by Minister of State (IC) for Culture Dr. Mahesh Sharma.
• Kacheguda Railway Station in Hyderabad has become the first energy-efficient ‘A1 Category’ railway station in India. It falls under the Hyderabad division of the South Central Railway (SCR).
Elite export control regime Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) has decided to admit India as its new member. The decision was taken at two-day plenary meeting of grouping in Vienna, Austria. India will be Arrangement’s 42nd participating state.
• The first International Conference on Sports Medicine & Sports Sciences “SAICON 2017” was held in New Delhi. It was inaugurated by the Minister of State (I/C) Youth Affairs and Sports Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore.
• The Union Government has constituted high-level committee headed by NITI Aayog Chief Executive Amitabh Kant to address problem of Non-performing assets (NPAs) or stressed assets in India’s power sector. It comprises secretaries in the ministries of power, coal and department of financial services as it members. The Government is also planning to investigate whether private developers have inflated project costs to show higher debt.
• Uttar Pradesh became first state to endorse Union Government’s draft draft law — Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act that makes practice of instant “triple talaq” or talaq-e-biddat. a cognisable and non-bailable criminal offence. The draft law was endorsed by the state cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
• India and Israel have jointly set up a centre for excellence in floriculture at Thally in Krishnagiri district of Tamil Nadu. It is first agro-technology development centre to be set up with Israel’s assistance in Tamil Nadu. The centre at Thally and similar centre planned for vegetables to be established in Dindigul, Tamil Nadu.
• The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has set up three member committee to study the matter to give minority status to Hindus in 8 states where their population is less than 50%.
The Union Health Ministry and Rotary International India National PolioPlus have signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for intensive efforts towards achieving the immunization target.
• India and Cuba have signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for enhanced cooperation in the health sector. The MoU is important for exchanges in the health sector and to develop institutional framework for cooperation in the health sector between the two countries. The objective of MoU is to establish comprehensive inter-ministerial and inter-institutional cooperation between two countries in the field of health.
• The International Solar Alliance (ISA) became treaty-based international intergovernmental organization on 6th December 2017 one month after Guinea became 15th country to ratify it.
• The 22nd conference of Asian Harmonization Working Party (AHWP) was recently held New Delhi. It was inaugurated by Minister of State (MoS) Health & Family Welfare Anupriya Patel.
• The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia have formed new economic and partnership group named Joint Cooperation Committee, separate from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
• The Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP), Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers will constitute multi-disciplinary committee of experts for consultation on matters pertaining to implementation of drug price control order (DPCO) including technicalities involved in pricing and new launches.
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has appointed former CMD of ONGC Dinesh K Sarraf (60) as new Chairman of Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB). He replaces S Krishnan, who had demitted office in August 2015.
• The first International Exhibition and Conference on AYUSH and Wellness sector- AROGYA 2017 was held in New Delhi. It was inaugurated by AYUSH Minister Shripad Naik.
• The 6th International Tourism Mart (ITM) 2017 was held in Guwahati, Assam. It was inaugurated by Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi, Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal and Union Tourism minister K L Alphons.
• The XIth Annual MedTech Summit of Biodesign Programme was held in New Delhi. It was inaugurated by Minister of Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Environment, Forests & Climate Change Dr. Harsh Vardhan.
• India was re-elected to Council of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) at an assembly of body at its headquarters in London.
• In the first meeting of Working Group BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) member countries discussed draft text of BIMSTEC Coastal Shipping Agreement.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has entered into 2 Bilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) in November 2017. These two agreements are first ever Bilateral APAs with Netherlands.
• The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched the National Strategic Plan 2017-24 aimed at eradicating HIV/AIDS by 2030. It was launched on the occasion of World AIDS Day (1st December).
• The Union Cabinet approves setting up of National Nutrition Mission (NNM) with three year budget of 9046.17 crore rupees commencing from 2017-18.
• 7th edition Kathakar: International Storytellers Festival was held at Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA), New Delhi. It was inaugurated by Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju.
• The 22nd meeting of Board of Mangement (BOM) of Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC) was held in New Delhi. It was chaired by Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh. Various activities of SFAC were reviewed during meeting.
• The Border Security Force (BSF), the biggest border guarding force in the world celebrated its 52nd Anniversary of Raising Day. Various cultural programmes were organised for BSF veterans and personnel during the Raising Day celebrations.
• India and Spain have signed Techno-commercial agreement to provide institutional mechanism for mutual cooperation in field of urban transport and for construction of the three Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS).
• The second India-Afghanistan air cargo route linking Kabul to Mumbai was officially inaugurated at Hamid Karzai international airport in Kabul. It is expected to boost export of fresh fruits and medicinal plants from Afghanistan.
• The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has overwhelmingly adopted resolution declaring United States of America (USA) recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as ‘null and void’.
• India was selected as Chair of Ad Hoc Committee on Review & Reforms to look into various issues pertaining to the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPSC) at recently held KP Plenary Session in Brisbane, Australia.
• The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared Gabon a “polio-free country”. This comes after lack of new reported or suspected cases in the central African country in recent times. But the UN health agency has recommended taking necessary steps to continue monitoring for possible signs of the disease.
The United Nations (UN) International Migrants Day is observed every year on December 18 to rcreate awareness about the protection and safety of the migrants. It also recognize efforts, contributions and rights of workers and members of their families worldwide. The theme for year 2017 is “Safe Migration in a World on the Move”.
• Sri Lanka has formally handed over its southern strategic port of Hambantota to China on 99-year lease. Two Chinese firms managed by China Merchants Port Holdings Company (CMPort) and Sri Lanka Ports Authority will own port and the investment zone around it.
• 15th trilateral meeting of the Russia-India-China (RIC) foreign ministers was held in New Delhi. It was held between India’s External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi.
• The World Human Rights Day (WHRD) is observed every year on December 10 to commemorate adaptation of Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Observance of the day seeks to encourage, support and amplify measures to be taken by everyone to defend human rights.
• The International Anti-Corruption Day (IACD) is observed annually across the world on December 9 to raise public awareness of corruption and what people can do to fight it. Observance of the day aims to promote and strengthen measures to prevent and combat corruption more efficiently and effectively. It also highlights the role of the United Nations Convention against Corruption in combating and preventing it. The theme for year 2017 is “United against corruption for development, peace and security”.
• The International Civil Aviation Day is observed every year on 7 December across the world to generate and reinforce worldwide awareness of importance of international civil aviation to social and economic development.
The World Soil Day is celebrated every year on 5th of December by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. It aims to communicate messages on the importance of soil quality for food security, healthy ecosystems and human well-being.
• The United States has pulled out of UN Global Compact on Migration. It has argued that Obama-era negotiated UN compact process deal contains numerous provisions that inconsistent with country’s immigration and refugee policies and Trump Administration’s immigration principles.
• Venezuela has launched its own cryptocurrency called Petro to circumvent US-led financial sanctions. It will be backed by the country’s vast natural resource reserves.
• The first phase of Iran’s Chabahar port (Shahid Beheshti Port) which holds significant strategic and economic importance for India was inaugurated was Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani.
• The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is observed every year on December 3 to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development. It also seeks to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life. The 2017 theme is “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all”. United Nations estimates that around one billion people are living with disabilities across the world and they are facing barriers of inclusion in many key aspects of society.
Business, Economy & Banking
• According to recently released report titled 2018 World Economic League Table, India is set to overtake the United Kingdom and France to become the world’s fifth largest economy in 2018.
• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently had initiated prompt corrective action (PCA) measures against Bank of India (BoI) in the view of its high non-performing assets (NPAs) and insufficient capital.
• The Union Cabinet has decided that Government will borne Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) charges on transactions up to Rs. 2,000 made through debit cards, BHIM UPI or Aadhaar-enabled payment systems (AePS) to promote digital transactions. It will be for two years with effect from 1 January, 2018 by reimbursing the same to the banks.
• India was ranked 100th among 149 countries on the list of prosperous countries released as part of The Legatum Prosperity Index 2017. The index offers an insight into how prosperity is forming and changing across the world.
• The Asian Development Bank (ADB) in its Asian Development Outlook Supplement has lowered India’s economic growth forecast for current fiscal i.e. FY 2017-18 by 0.3% to 6.7% from earlier 7%.
India’s first Electronic Manufacturing Cluster (EMC) will be coming to Andhra Pradesh. EMC has been designed and developed for providing facilities and amenities for manufacturing mobiles and allied products.
• The six member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to maintain status quo in policy rates by keeping repo rate unchanged at 6.0% under liquidity adjustment facility (LAF).
• According to index of eight core industries released by Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Core sector growth has grown 4.7% in October 2017, matching September 2017 growth, which has been revised down from 5.2%.
Science & Technology
• The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has announced to launch 31 satellites, including India’s Cartosat-2 series earth observation space craft in a single mission onboard on January 10, 2018.
• China successfully tested its first photovoltaic (solar) highway based on home-grown technology in country’s eastern Shandong province.
• The World Health Organisation (WHO) is set to classify gaming disorder as a mental health condition in its forthcoming 11th International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is due to be published in 2018.
• The five-member committee set up for technical and safety standards of India’s first pod taxi project or Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) has invited fresh bids for strictest safety standards on lines of those prescribed in US.
• Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of NASA are jointly working on the development of NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR), a Dual Frequency Synthetic Aperture Radar Imaging Satellite.
China has successfully launched remote sensing satellites to conduct electromagnetic environmental probes. They are part of third batch of the Yaogan-30 project. The number of launched satellites was not disclosed.
• Karnataka’s Tirthahalli taluk has come under the grip of Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD), also known as monkey fever. So far, five positive cases, including one death, have been reported in humans. Moreover, deaths of 5 monkeys were reported in the forest of Ghantejanagallu near Suruvinakoppa village. In 2016-17, four persons died of KFD in Tirthahalli and 48 positive cases were reported.
• China’s home-grown AG600, also known as ‘Kunlong’, the world’s largest amphibious aircraft took off took off from the southern city of Zhuhai and landed after roughly an hour-long flight.
• China has successfully launched its second Land Surveying Satellite LKW-2 (also known as Yaogan Weixing-32) into a preset orbit from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi desert.
• The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has discovered eighth planet circling Kepler-90, a Sun-like star which is 2545 light-years far from Earth. It was dubbed as Kepler-90i.
• US based private rocket launching company SpaceX for first time ever has successfully launched used Dragon spacecraft with a used Falcon 9 rocket. The 2 pre-flown rocket parts were launched together for the first time as part of resupply mission to International Space Station (ISS).
Scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), US have found a novel way to induce plants to give off dim light by embedding specialised nanoparticles into their leaves.
• India ranked 109th out of 122 countries in the mobile internet speed and 76th out of 133 countries in broadband space in the November 2017 Speedtest Global Index (SGI).
• The Indian Space and Research Organisation (ISRO) is developing small satellite launch vehicles to launch low-cost small satellites.
• China started trial operations of world’s biggest automated container terminal at Yangshan Deep Water Port in Shanghai, the country’s commercial hub.
• China started trial operations of world’s biggest automated container terminal at Yangshan Deep Water Port in Shanghai, the country’s commercial hub.
• Government has launched Noxeno, a nasal foreign body removal device developed by start-up InnAccel Technologies Private Limited, Bangalore. It was developed by fellow trained under Biodesign program. Noxeno is It is first dedicated tool for anterior nasal foreign body (NFB) removal that allows doctors in any setting to quickly and safely remove objects that people (mostly children aged 2 to 10 years) put into their noses.
Awards & Honors
• India’s national academy of letters Sahitya Academy has announced names of 24 poets and authors who will be conferred the prestigious 2016 Sahitya Akademi Award in 24 different Indian languages.
• The Geneva-based International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) received the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize at ceremony held in Oslo, Norway. The award was received by Beatrice Fihn, leader of ICAN and Hiroshima nuclear bombing survivor Setsuko Thurlow.
• Renowned Hindi scholar and writer Mamta Kalia (77) was chosen for Vyas Samman 2017 for her novel “Dukkham Sukkham”. She was selected by selection committee headed by author Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari.
• Real Madrid and Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo was awarded the 2017 Ballon d’Or (Golden Ball) for world player of the year in Paris, France for the fifth time. With this he equals record of his great Barcelona rival Lionel Messi. Earlier Ronaldo had won Ballon d’Or in 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2016.
• Time magazine has named ‘the silence breakers’ as its Person of the Year for 2017. It was referring to those individuals, mostly women, who came forward this year with #MeToo movement to publicly expose patterns of sexual harassment and assault by powerful public figures in United States.
• Chess grandmaster Viswanathan Anand (48) won World Rapid Chess Championship Title 2017 held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. In the final tie-breaker mini-match, Anand defeated Russia’s Vladimir Fedoseev by 2-0 score to reclaim title he had won in 2003.
• Former wicketkeeper of India Saba Karim (50) was appointed as the new General Manager (GM) of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).