Current Affairs Today
Rami Malek won the Best Actor Award in the drama category for 'Bohemian Rhapsody' at the 76th Golden Globe Awards while Glenn Close got the Best Actress Award in the drama category for 'The Wife'.
Olivia Colman won the Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy for 'The Favourite'.
♦ Best Animated Film Winner - Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
♦ Best Motion Picture (Drama) Winner - Bohemian Rhapsody
♦ Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) Winner - Green Book
♦ Best Director Winner - Alfonso Cuaron ("Roma")
The government has said that it's on track to meet its official March 31 target to electrify every home.
It added that a December 31 deadline promoted publicly by the Power Ministry was only an "internal target".
As of December 31, about 10.48 lakh households were left to be electrified in four states - Assam, Rajasthan, Meghalaya and Chhattisgarh.
In April, the government launched the initiative - “Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana,” which translates to Prime Minister’s Power Plan for Every Home - “to achieve universal household electrification in the country by Dec. 31, 2018.”
PM Narendra Modi has laid the foundation of several irrigation projects, including the revival of Mandal Dam project worth ₹2,391.36-crore, in Jharkhand.
The dam, work for which was stalled since 1993, will provide irrigation to 19,604-hectare area in Jharkhand, and Bihar.
The project, once completed, will boost irrigation facilities in Latehar, Palamu and Garhwa districts in the state, besides Aurnagabad and Gaya in Bihar.
As part of the Mission Shakti scheme, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced interest-free loans of up to Rs 3 lakh for the women self-help groups (WSHGs) in the state.
There are around six lakh WSHGs in Odisha.
He also distributed financial assistance of Rs 3,000 each to six lakh WSHGs as part the state government's efforts to digitally empower women.
He also announced seed money worth ₹15,000 for new SHGs and ₹3,000 to purchase smartphones for digital empowerment.
He further announced a sum of ₹25 lakh for the existing 338 Block Level Federations.
Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari inaugurated six road projects, claiming that these roads won't have potholes for the next 150-200 years.
While at the event, he also emphasized on the use of bio-fuel, electricity and ethanol as an alternatives to the conventional fossil fuel.
Indian mountaineer Arunima Sinha has now become the World's first female amputee to climb Mount Vinson, the highest peak of Antarctica.
In 2013, Sinha had broken the world record by becoming the first woman amputee to climb Mount Everest.
A former national level volleyball player, Arunima had lost her left leg after being thrown off a moving train and getting hit by another in 2011.
Padma Shri awardee Sinha has already scaled five peaks - Mt Everest, Mt Kilimanjaro, Mt Ebrus, Mt Kosciuszko and Mt Aconcagua.
India won the four-match Test series against Australia 2-1 as the Sydney Test ended in a draw after the fifth day's play was washed out due to rain.
This is the first time ever that India have won a Test series in Australia. Before this, India had played 11 Test series in Australia since 1947, losing eight and drawing three.
Cheteshwar Pujara, who made 193 runs in the Sydney Test, was the Man of the Match, while Man of the Series also got the award.
BJP formed 17 groups for upcoming Lok Sabha election. The election is expected to be held in April-May. The party’s president Amit Shah announced the formation of 17 groups in preparation for the election.
Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Rajnath Singh is to head the party’s “sankalp patra” (manifesto) committee. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will head its publicity wing. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari will head a 17-member committee to reach out to social and volunteer organizations.
Defence Minister Sushma Swaraj will preside over a group that will produce literature for the polls. Mr.Prasad will head the party’s media group while Union Minister Prakash Javadekar will lead the wing which will organize meetings of intellectuals.
The Centre issued a notification to simplify the process for the approval of manufacturing of a range of defence and aerospace equipment and components by private industry. This will bring the industries under the licensing authority of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) which is under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The items are listed in three categories: defence aircraft, warships of all kinds, and allied items of defence equipment.
Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) said that the most significant aspect is that warships of all kinds, surface and sub-surface, have been included in the listing. It would accrue benefits towards Tier-I/Tier-II vendors giving a boost to the small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
This move is also expected to help foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) looking for partnerships with the private sector.
A 10-day long Indian Panorama Film Festival began at Siri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi.
Inaugurating the Festival, Information and Broadcasting Secretary Amit Khare films rise above all constraints of languages.
The films to be shown in the Festival reflect the economic progress the country has made and the changes that society has undergone.
One minute silence was observed in honor of Bengali filmmaker Mrinal Sen who passed away recently. Sen was a crucial figure of India’s parallel cinema along with Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak.
A total of 26 Feature Films and 21 Non-Feature Films will be screened during the festival.
Economists, researchers, and workers on the ground are worried that the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act scheme is facing a severe fund crisis. 99% of the money allocated already exhausted three months before the end of the financial year, and 11 States and Union Territories having a negative net balance.
The MGNREGA scheme’s financial statement showed that the total availability of funds was Rs.59,032 crore. The total expenditure, including payment due, stands at Rs.58,701 crore. It leaves a slim margin of only Rs.331 crore. For 11 States, that margin is non-existent, as their accounts are already in the red.
♦ Enacted by: Parliament of India
♦ Introduced by: Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Minister of Rural Development
♦ Launched by: 2 Feb 2006
♦ Mission: To guarantee the 'right to work'
♦ It aims to enhance livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work
♦ It also aims to create durable assets (such as roads, canals, ponds, and wells)
Veteran journalist Dinu Randive conferred with the lifetime achievement award by the Mantralaya and Vidhimandal Vartahar Sangh, an association of journalists covering Maharashtra legislature and secretariat.
He also participated in the freedom struggle, the Sanyukta Maharashtra movement and the Goa liberation movement.
Award winners in other categories included Vishwas Waghmode, Mahesh Tiwari and Prajakta Pol.
New research suggested International Space Station (ISS) could be growing beans in 2021. It had already cultivated lettuce in space three years ago. The beans could be planted in high-tech planters developed at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).
The planters can regulate all the water, nutrients, gas and air the plants need. The project is to be carried out by NTNU in collaboration with Italian and French researchers. The food grown in space could be crucial to sustain the crew in future deep space missions.
International Space Station (ISS):
♦ Launched on: 20 November 1998
♦ Launched by: Russian Proton and Soyuz rockets, and American Space Shuttles
♦ Expected operation end date: 2030
♦ Crew: Fully crewed: 6, Currently aboard: 3
♦ No. of orbits : 113,456 as of September 2018
♦ ISS is a space station, or a habitable artificial satellite, in Low Earth Orbit (LEO)
♦ It is the largest human-made body in low Earth orbit and can often be seen with the naked eye from Earth
♦ It is the ninth space station to be inhabited by crews
♦ It consists of pressurized habitation modules, structural trusses, solar arrays, radiators, docking ports, experiment bays, and robotic arms. ISS components have been launched by Russian Proton and Soyuz rockets, and American Space Shuttles
Andhra Pradesh emerged on top of Asia Competitiveness Institute (ACI), Singapore’s 2018 Ease of Doing Business (EDB) Index ABC rankings for economies of 21 states of India, while Maharashtra and Delhi came in second and third place, respectively.
EDB index is based upon three parameters called ABC – Attractiveness to Investors, Business Friendliness and Competitiveness Policies.
ICICI Bank, in a first-of-its-kind programme, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Small Business FinCredit India Pvt. Ltd. (SBFC), a systemically important Non-Banking Finance Company for entrepreneurs, to jointly provide credit worth up to Rs 1 crore to MSMEs for a tenure of 15 years.
Under this arrangement, ICICI Bank will co-originate loan against property with SBFC at a mutually agreed ratio.
Vijay Mallya became the first tycoon to be charged under a new anti-fraud law, with a court in Mumbai naming him as an offender under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018.
The anti-corruption court was hearing an application by the Enforcement Directorate, seeking a direction to declare Mr. Mallya a fugitive economic offender.
The Centre launched the second auction of 14 blocks for prospecting of oil and gas in an attempt to raise domestic output to cut imports. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan launched the Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) bid round-II, with 14 blocks measuring 29,333 square kilometre in an aggregate area on offer.
In July 2017 India allowed companies to carve out blocks of their choice with a view to bring about 2.8 million sq km of unexplored area in the country under exploration.
Hopman Cup, an annual international eight-team indoor hardcourt tennis tournament was held in Perth, Western Australia. It is a mixed competition in which male and female players are on combined teams and represent their countries.
The Event was concluded on 5th January 2019.
This year Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic secured a 2-1 victory over Germany’s Angelique Kerber and Alexander Zverev to win the Hopman Cup for the second year in a row. It was Switzerland’s fourth title overall, behind only the United States with six.
This year’s tournament is the 31st edition of the Hopman Cup and potentially be the final edition of the tournament as it will be replaced by an ATP tournament from next year.
Due to financial constraints and other reasons 16 hydropower projects of 5,950 MW capacity are stalled. This might prompt the government to bring in a hydro policy at the earliest. A total of 37 hydropower projects of 12GW generation capacities are under construction in the country.
Central Electricity Authority (CEA) estimated an annual loss of energy generation from these stalled hydro projects is about 18,761 million units.
The Power Ministry has informed about formulating a hydro policy to Parliamentary Standing Committee on Energy. The policy will also shore up the hydropower sector, which is facing stiff competition from other clean sources and also from thermal power.
Kevin Sweeney, the chief of staff of the US Department of Defence, resigned from his position.
Kevin Sweeney retired as a Rear Admiral from the US Navy in 2014.
Nepal asked the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to declare newly circulated Indian currency notes of denominations higher than Rs.100 legal tender in the country.
After the demonetisation of Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 Indian currency notes, circulation of new banknotes of denominations Rs.200, Rs.500 and Rs.2,000 was started by the Indian government.
Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) has written a letter to RBI, asking it to make Indian bank bills Rs.200, Rs.500 and Rs.2,000 legal tender in Nepal Nepal had to ban higher denomination Indian notes since RBI did not allow their circulation after note ban The RBI has only allowed the circulation of Indian currency notes of Rs.100 and less in Nepal.
Nine-day long international kite festival which marks the Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti, the day when winter season starts changing to summer and farmers welcome the approaching harvest season, kicked off at Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
This year’s Kite festival in which Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Ahmedabad Mayor Bijal Patel and State Revenue Minister Kaushik Patel also took part was inaugurated by Gujarat Governor O P Kohli.
This year is the 30th edition of kite festival in which about 500 kite fliers from 19 cities of Gujarat and 13 different states of the country are participating. Besides more than 150 kite fliers from 45 different countries are also taking part in the festival.