Current Affairs 2nd January 2017

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Rio Olympian Sathish Sivalingam from Railways won the gold, for the sixth consecutive year, in the men's 77 kg category in the 69th men's and 32nd women's Senior National Weightlifting Championship, at the Ponjesly College of Engineering.  Sivalingam Sathish lifted a total of 317 kg (141 (snatch) and 176 (clean & Jerk)) while Ajay Singh from Services won the gold in the clean & jerk category by lifting 177 kg and 137 kg in the snatch category and finished second with a total of 314 kg.  

Two new Hindi writers Shraddha and Ghyansham Kumar Devansh have been chosen for Bharatiya Jnanpith Navlekhan Award for the year 2016. Shraddha was chosen for her short story ‘Hawa Mein Phadphadati Chitthi‘ and Devansh for his poem ‘Akash Mein Deh‘.  They were unanimously chosen by a selection panel chaired by eminent poet Vishnu Nagar. They were selected from the shortlisted from the list other writers work that included short stories ‘Amarbel Ki Udas Shakhein’ by Amiya Bindu and ‘Bohani’ by Bhumika Dwivedi, besides two works of poetry ‘Anantim Geet Ke Beech’ by Sujata and ‘Ek Atirikt’ by Reshmi Bharadwaj. Bharatiya Jananpith Navlekhan award  : The award is given to young authors in Hindi for their first creations. It was instituted in 2006 by Bharatiya Jnanpith trust. It consists of a statue of Goddess Saraswati, a citation and a cash prize each. Besides Jnanpith publishing their worksf

Following the tough decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has thanked citizens for undertaking sacrifice to cleanse the economy of black money. In his address, he announced a number of welfare sops to help the poor, the rural sector, small businesses and other citizens to lighten the burden of demonetization.  Rural and Urban Housing for poor: PM announced two new housing schemes for the urban poor. Under Pradhan Mantri Aawaz Yojana (PMAY), the poor and middle class in cities will get 4% exemption on interest for home loans up to Rs 9 lakh and 3% exemption for home loans up to Rs 12 lakh. Under PMAY, 33% more houses will be built in villages. Home loans up to Rs 2 lakh will get 3% exemptions for building a new house and also for renovation in villages. Farmers: 3 crore Kisan credit cards will be converted into RuPay cards in coming 3 months. Government will bear 60 days interest on select farm loans. Government will add Rs 20,000 crore more to fund created by NABARD of Rs 21000 crore for giving loans to cooperative banks and societies at low interest rate. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME): To give boost to the small entrepreneurs credit guarantee for small businesses doubled to Rs 2 crore. Banks have been asked to raise cash credit limit for small business to 25% from 20%. Banks also have been asked to increase working capital loans from 20% of turnover to 30% for enterprises that transact digitally. Women and elderly: Pregnant women and lactating women in above 650 rural districts will get Rs 6,000 in bank accounts to meet medical expenses and reduce child, woman mortality. Senior citizens will get guarantee of 8% interest rate on deposits up to Rs 7.5 lakh for 10 years.

India and Pakistan exchanged the list of their nuclear installations and facilities under the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear installations. This is the 26th consecutive exchange of such list between the two countries after the first list was exchanged on 1 January 1992. This exchange is done every year on 1st of January between them to prevent them from attacking each other’s nuclear facilities. Both countries also exchanged the lists of nationals (including civil prisoners and fishermen) of each country lodged in their respective jails as per provisions of the Agreement on Consular Access. Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear installations :  It is bilateral agreement signed between India and Pakistan that bars them from carrying out any surprise attack (or to assist foreign power to attack) on each other’s nuclear installations and facilities.  Under it, both countries inform each other about their nuclear installations and facilities that need to be covered under the Agreement on 1 January every year. It was signed on 31st December 1988 and entered into force on 27 January 1991. It was signed by then Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and his Pakistani counterpart Benazir Bhutto. It was signed between the two countries on May 21, 2008. It facilitates exchange of a comprehensive list of nationals of each country lodged in their jails twice each year on January 1 and July 1.

Apple, the American multinational technology company is all set to manufacture iPhones in the Indian city of Bengaluru. The company is going to manufacture the iconic phones in the country in collaboration with Wistron, a Taiwanese original design manufacturer. The move is a part of the company’s efforts to cash in on India’s fast-growing smartphone market. Highlights : Wistron is planning to set up an iPhone manufacturing plant, especially for the Indian market in Bangalore’s Peenya Industrial Area. The manufacturer would start work with the assembling of the phones.  Local manufacturing of the iPhones is expected to help Apple price its products at a rate more suitable to the Indian market. Currently, Apple products attract 12.5% additional duty on imports. The company chose Bengaluru to set up the unit because it has the talent required to create high-quality technology products. This is not Apple’s first project in the city, as previously in May 2016, the company had announced the setting up of a design and development accelerator in the city in order to help grow the iOS developer community there. The announcement for the same was made during the company’s CEO Tim Cook’s visit to India. Wistron too has previously manufactured products, especially for the Indian market. The company in partnership with Optiemus Infracom Ltd had built a manufacturing unit in Noida, Delhi NCR to manufacture HTC phones. Reports suggest that this move has encouraged another one of Apple’s contract manufacturers-Foxconn- to set up a unit in the city.

A documentary by an Irish journalist and author Senan Molony claims that the tragic sinking of RMS Titanic was due to a massive fire in the ocean liner’s boiler room. The documentary, titled ‘Titanic: The New Evidence’, was aired on 31 December 2016 on channel 4 in the United Kingdom. Highlights : The documentary claims that a huge fire had started in the ship’s boiler room ever since it had left the shipyard in Northern Ireland’s capital city Belfast.  It revealed that enormous fire subjected the partitions in the hull to excess temperature of about 1000°C.The extremely high temperature led to the weakening of the hull, making it extremely brittle. The journalist behind the documentary, Senan Molony claims that it was the hull’s fragile state that made it unable to withstand the collision, as the iceberg struck the ship exactly at the same spot.  Molony claims that the collision could not have solely led to such a big disaster, especially since Titanic was claimed to be unsinkable. According to Molony, who has spent almost 30 years researching on the disaster, there are photographs that support the theory, as they reveal that the ship had a dark mark on her hull before she left Southampton and that too at the same spot that was struck by the iceberg. The photographs were brought to light recently at a private auction. Molony also claims that J Bruce Ismay, Managing Director of White Star Line, the company that built the ship, knew about the fire and yet hid its role in the disaster. He further added that Titanic disaster is much beyond a simple collision with an iceberg, in fact, it was a result of a combination of factors including negligence, fire and ice.  

Union Sports Minister Vijay Goel in the last week of December 2016 informed that the ministry has suspended the recognition granted to Indian Olympic Association (IOA). The decision was taken after the appointments of Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Chautala as life presidents of the national Olympic body. Goel stated that "the day the IOA took this decision to appoint Kalmadi and Chautala as life presidents, the government clarified that they don't agree with it as the decision was against basic ethics. That's why the government has decided to suspend their recognition till it reverses the order." After the suspension, the IOA will not be able to enjoy any kind of assistance from the Union Government. Following the appointment of Kalmadi and Chautala, IOA's assistant vice-president Narinder Batra had resigned from his post in protest over the appointments. Indian Olympic Association : The Indian Olympic Association is responsible for selecting athletes to represent India at the Olympic Games, Asian Games and other international athletic meets.It acts as the Indian Commonwealth Games Association. It is also responsible for selecting athletes to represent India at the Commonwealth Games. India’s participation in the 1920 and 1924 Olympics created the backdrop for the creation of the IOA. Therefore, the body was formed in 1927. Since then, it is being officially recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as India's national Olympic organisation. In December 2012, the IOA was suspended on the basis of corruption, government interference, and not following guidelines of the IOC.  It was in only in May 2013 that IOC decided to lift the ban on IOA.

India’s singles player Somdev Devvarman on 1 January 2017 announced retirement from professional tennis. Devvarman was India’s star singles player since he first broke into the scene in 2008. However, his career was hampered by a recurring shoulder injury in 2012. He has featured in an ATP Tour final by reaching the championship match of the Chennai Open in 2009 and the South African Open in 2011. Somdev Devvarman : Born on 13 February 1985, Somdev Kishore Devvarman is a former professional Indian tennis player. He is the only collegiate player to have made three consecutive finals at the NCAA. He won back-to-back finals in his junior and senior years at the University of Virginia. He was the 13th player in the 124-year history of the tournament to win consecutive titles. Also, he was the fourth player to do so in the 50 years. In 2008, he won his first career title at a Futures tournament in Rochester, New York. He reached the final of the Chennai Open in 2009 as a wild card entry. He won the gold medal in the men's singles event of XIXth Commonwealth Games at the R.K. Khanna Tennis Stadium in New Delhi in 2010. He grabbed both men's singles and doubles gold in the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.He received the Arjuna Award from the Indian government in 2011 for his tennis successes.

The International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) in the last week of December 2016 named Lionel Messi as the World’s Best Playmaker for the year 2016. The footballer won the award for his overall contribution to club and country. Messi beat Andres Iniesta and Toni Kroos to win the prestigious honour for the second consecutive time in his career. Top Five Player :  Lionel Messi Andres Iniesta Tony Kroos Mesut Ozil Riyad Mahrez Lionel Messi : Lionel Messi is an Argentine professional footballer.He plays as a forward for Spanish club FC Barcelona.He is the captain of the Argentina national team. He is the only footballer in history to win five FIFA Ballons d'Or, four of which he won consecutively. He is also the first player to win three European Golden Shoes. He holds the records for most goals scored in La Liga, a La Liga season (50 goals), and a football season (82 goals). He has scored over 500 senior career goals for club and country.  International Federation of Football History & Statistics : The International Federation of Football History & Statistics is an organization that documents the history and records of association football. It was founded on 27 March 1984 in Leipzig by Dr Alfredo Poge. It was based at Al-Muroor Street 147, Abu Dhabi for some time. However, it was relocated to Bonn, Germany in 2010. At present, the organisation has confined its publishing activities to its website.

United Nations Security Council (UNSC) unanimously passed a Russian-drafted resolution 2336 (2016) that seeks to end violence in Syria via a nationwide ceasefire between the government and rebels. The resolution adopted on 31 December 2016 also seeks to start a political process in the war-torn Middle Eastern country. Highlights of the resolution : It calls for rapid and safe delivery of humanitarian aid across Syria. It calls for a meet of the Syrian government and representative of opposition in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, in January 2017. The text also stresses on fully implementing relevant Security Council resolutions, namely particularly 2254 (2015) and 2268 (2016), which endorses an inclusive and Syrian-led political process based on the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012. This implementation is the only sustainable solution to the current Syrian crisis, which is in its sixth year. This adoption of resolution also expressed its support to the efforts of Russia and Turkey to end the nearly six-year conflict in the Syria and launching a political process. Besides, the members of the council also said that the Astana meeting is an important step in the process toward the reconciliation of the Syrian conflict. Expectations from deputy ambassadors of US and Britain US deputy ambassador to the UN Michelle Sison: the truce should be observed across Syria British deputy UN envoy Peter Wilson: A system is required to independently monitor the ceasefire. On the other hand, Vitaly Churkin, the Russian envoy to UN praised the role of Turkey in reaching the ceasefire agreement. He also thanked all members of the council for their contribution to the peace process in Syria. The rebel groups in Syria said that they would consider the Russia-Turkey brokered resolution as null and void if the government forces and their allies continue to violate it.The drafted resolution was officially presented to UNSC on 30 December 2016, a day after Russia sent the texts to the UN body of two agreements signed between the government of Syria and seven armed opposition groups. Diplomatic voices engaged in the process, as well as the rebel groups involved, have suggested that this Russian-brokered ceasefire deal would succeed. It would succeed, even previous ceasefire initiatives undertaken in 2016 by the UN or the US collapsed, because this ceasefire came up after a commitment by both Bashar al-Assad and that the Syrian leader. The two sides had agreed on the implementation of the agreement with President Vladimir Putin.

President Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent for the promulgation of the Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Ordinance, 2016. The ordinance makes the holding of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 banknotes after 31 March 2017 an offence, which will attract a fine of Rs 10000 or five times the cash held, whichever is higher. Highlights and Objectives of Ordinance : It provides for amending the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Act, 1934 to provide legislative support for extinguishing the demonetised banknotes that are not returned. It also wants to provide a clarity and finality to the liability of the RBI and the Union Government for the Specified Bank Notes (SBNs).It provides an opportunity to those who were unable to deposit the Specified Bank notes within provided time. It facilitates all Indian citizens who were not in India between 9 November and 30 December 2016 to deposit these notes at the specified Issue Offices of RBI until 31 March 2017. Citizens who are not a resident of India or NRIs, the facility would be available until 30 June 2017. This timeline will provide an adequate time to plan a visit to India as per their convenience. During their visit, they will be able to declare the number of such denominations of such notes to the Customs authorities at the airports and other entry points. Any false declaration will invite a fine of 50 thousand rupees or five times the amount of the face value of the Specified bank notes tendered, whichever is higher. The aforementioned facility would be subject to the regulation of “Foreign Exchange Management (Export and Import of Currency) Regulations, 2015. According to the regulations, bringing in such currency notes into the country is restricted to Rs 25000 per person. However, other FEMA provisions will continue to apply in the case of people in Bhutan and Nepal. Earlier, the ordinance was approved by the Union Cabinet on 28 December 2016. The Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Ordinance, 2016 is a follow-up exercise of the Union Government’s decision in which it on 8 November 2016 cancelled the legal tender character of existing series of banknotes of denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 in circulation. Before promulgation of the Ordinance, the Union Government has taken several steps to eliminate the menace of unaccounted money in the economy. The steps taken include Setting-up of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) Enacting a law regarding undisclosed foreign income and assets Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements between India and Mauritius and India and Cyprus were amended Implementation of the Income Declaration Scheme 2016 Amendment to the Benami Transactions Act Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) with Switzerland for getting information on Bank accounts held by Indians in the country.Encouragement in the use of non-cash and digital payments and much more.  

The General Secretary of Samajwadi Party, Ramgopal Yadav declared current Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav as the party’s new national president on 1 January 2017, replacing his father Mulayam Singh Yadav. The announcement was made amidst party members and leaders at an emergency party meeting, held at Lucknow's Janeshwar Mishra Park.  Highlights : Akhilesh Yadav was elected Samajwadi Party’s national president with a unanimous national executive vote. He will now reconstitute all of the party’s state bodies.  Mulayam Singh Yadav was transferred to the position of supreme guide or margdarshak of the party, whose main job would be to advise the new leadership.  Shivpal Yadav, President of Samajwadi party’s Uttar Pradesh unit, was removed from his position. Naresh Uttam has been appointed in his stead. Another prominent senior party leader, Amar Singh, was also expelled from the party.  The emergency convention was attended by several party members and prominent leaders.  These announcements closely follow the recent ouster of Akhilesh Yadav and Ramgopal Yadav from the party by party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, reportedly under the influence of Shivpal and Amar Singh. Less than a day later Mulayam Singh revoked his decision, inviting both of them back into the party. Ahead of the national party meeting, Mulayam Singh Yadav sent a letter to party members, asking them not to attend the national executive meeting. He called the convention unconstitutional, undisciplined and against the party image.  Mulayam Singh also declared all the decisions taken during the meeting as invalid, as it was convened without his permission or presence. He has called for another national party convention on 5 January 2017 at the same venue   

Country’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI)  has cut benchmark interest rate across various maturities by 0.9%, effective from 1st January  2017, a move that is expected to be shortly followed by other banks also.The bank has reduced marginal cost of funds based lending rate (MCLR) by 0.9% from 8.90% to 8% for 1-year tenure.  Banks have moved to MCLR as their new benchmark lending rate from June, replacing the base rate system for new borrowers. It is calculated on the marginal cost of borrowing and return on net worth for banks. It was introduced by RBI to ensure fair interest rates to borrowers as well as banks. It also seeks to address the regulator’s primary objective of expediting monetary policy transmission along with augmenting uniformity and transparency in the calculation methodology of lending rates. MCLR rates are revised every month.  

An Indian-origin Saudi-based entrepreneur, Shaikh Rafik Mohammed, has been appointed Major General of Kyrgyzstan, by the Government of the Country. He was invited for the prestigious military position in view of his earlier contribution to the country. Shaikh Rafik Mohammed, who hails from Kerala, was appointed Major General of Kyrgyzstan by Ali Mirza, Defence Minister of Kyrgyzstan at an official ceremony held in the country. It is a rare military position occupied by an Indian in the Central Asian country. Rafik, whose family resides in Dubai, holds Kyrgyzstan nationality conferred by its former President Kurmanbek Saliyevich Bakiyev whom he casually met in his 20s while working in Iran.

Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has been appointed as the as 25th  Chief Justice of Pakistan. He took the oath to new CJP at a ceremony held in the President House called “Awan-e-Sadr” on December 31, 2016. Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain administered oath to the new Chief Justice of Supreme Court. 62-Year-Old Nisar has replaced Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali who retired on December 30, 2016 after 15 months service since September 2015. The important delegates present at the ceremony included Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chairman of the Senate, Speaker of the National Assembly, Federal Ministers, Services Chiefs, Parliamentarians, Diplomats and Judges of SC.  

China on December 30, 2016, announced a plan to ban all ivory trade and processing activities by the end of 2017, to prevent the mass killing and threat of extinction of African elephants. The Chinese State Council’s plan to end the ivory trade will be carried out over the course of the year. It will first force a select group of legal ivory processing factories and business to close by March 31, 2017 and gradually will completely stop the processing and sales of ivories for commercial purposes by the end of 2017. The plan also involves strict regulation of legal ivory collection, strengthening enforcement and education and “vigorously” pushing for a transformation of the ivory carving industry. The plan also involves encouraging ivory carving masters to find work with museums or in preservation efforts. The government will no longer allow ivory products to be displayed in real or online markets only noncommercial sites, such as museums, will be allowed to display ivory. According to the World Wildlife Fund for Nature report, more than 20,000 Elephants are killed for their tusks each year, with much of the markets designated in China, Hong Kong, and the United States.

Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani launched India’s first laser technology-based advanced AVMS RTO check-post and also laid foundation stones of various developmental works worth Rs 30 crore at Shamlaji of Aravalli district in Gujarat. This new check-post is equipped with advanced ray technology with a cost of Rs 4.72 crore. All the check-posts in the state will be made advanced, automatic and transparent with a cost of Rs. 35 crore during next financial year. The income from this check posts will be used  for welfare of poor, deprived and last-person of the state.

State-run Bank of Baroda has launched an agricultural investment credit for the farmers of Rajasthan. Under the scheme, farmers can avail of loan from the banks branches for construction of farm ponds, installation of solar pumps, installation of micro irrigation, and for any other viable agriculture and allied activities.Initially, the scheme will be implemented in the districts of Sri Ganganagar, Hanumangarh and Bikaner and will be gradually extended to all the districts of Rajasthan. The bank has already entered into tie-ups with leading suppliers of irrigation equipments to boost micro irrigation. 

Madhya Pradesh has plan to develop 1,100 ‘climate-smart’ villages n a period of next 6 years to prepare farmers to manage the climate change risks timely and ensure good productivity said by state Farmer Welfare & Agriculture Development Department Principal Secretary Dr Rajesh Rajora  Highlights of the plan: According to the plan, 100 villages in each of the 11 agro-climatic zones of the state would be taken up under the National Agriculture Development Programme (NADP) and Indian National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture with a cost about Rs 150 crore every year. Farmers would be encouraged to go for short duration variety of crops and Agro-forestry also would be adopted by them. Nutrients management will be implemented to help in soil fertility and plant nutrients supply through optimisation of all possible sources of organic, inorganic and biological components. The integrated pest management, zero tillage, raised bed gardening techniques and micro-irrigation would also be introduced in the climate smart villages.

The 77th Indian History Congress was inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee at Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala on December 29, 2016 at the Kerala University Golden Jubilee Auditorium at Kariavattom campus. Kerala Governor P Sathasivam was the chief guest of the function while Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan launched the agenda of the History Congress by handing it over to the President. The three-day event which began on December 28 was held across 11 venues on the campus. Education Minister of the state, C Ravindranath addressed the conluding function of the congress on December 30. Over 3,000 historians and research scholars attended the Congress including historian Romila Thapar, musician T M Krishna, actor Nandita Das, poet Sachidanandan and leader of the opposition Ramesh Chennithala. As part of the congress, the campus hosted an exhibition that was free for students as well as the public. Beside a special cultural programme on Kerala’s art and culture was also organized on December 28 and 29.  The President also gave away the Rajwade Award for the best historian.

Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir,  Mehbooba Mufti  launched School Management Information System (SMIS) on December 30, 2016, to provide a complete database ofall the government schools spread across the state. SMIS been developed by the J&K Education Department in collaboration with National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT), ISRO, Digital India and MHRD. It is a comprehensive IT-enabled Database System to highlight important features of all Government Schools such as Staff strength, Student-Teacher ratio among others. Besides, the chief minister also launched a Unified Data Information System for Education (U-DISE) to provide the details about the enrolments and pupil-to-teacher ratios from school to school. Mehbooba also inaugurated the GIS (Geographic Information System) mapping of schools, in which the geographical locations and 3D structures of the schools have been distinctly marked. It also informs about the school infrastructure and school cluster structure zone-wise in a district. As many as 28,000 schools are being taken up under GIS mapping in the state. The chief minister also launched, Vocational Monitoring Details, an online portal for monitoring the implementation of various vocational courses in the state. The Minister also launched an e-Office for online management of files in the school education department to address the critical infrastructure gap and ensure time management. The Minister appreciated the launch of IT-Enabled Initiatives saying that it would enable the state’s students to get knowledge connectivity with the outside world along with promoting sports and cultural activities and giving a path to the schools to be converted into hubs of knowledge and excellence.  

Shankar Balasubramanian, an Indian- origin British professor of chemistry and DNA expert at Cambridge University, has received a Knighthood along with Olympic stars Andy Murray and Mo Farah among others by Queen Elizabeth II for their contributions. Balasubramanian, 50, Herchel Smith Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at Cambridge University, has been recognised for his work as a co-inventor of Next Generation DNA sequencing, described as the most transformational advance in biology and medicine for decades.

Sikkim as it became India's first fully organic state besides being adjudged the cleanest state, overall best in education and tourist destination while the famed Kanchenjunga National Park was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List.  Around 75,000 hectares of agricultural land were gradually converted to certified organic land by implementing practices and principles as per guidelines laid down in National Programme for Organic Production.  It took the state 13 years to fully implement organic farming since the idea was mooted way back in 2003.  2016 also saw the Pawan Chamling government amending the state gambling and casino rules banning all locals from entering casinos in the state starting July.  Kanchenjunga National Park in West Sikkim was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site by the world heritage site committee at its 40th session held on July 17 at Istanbul.  The threat of the lake bursting and causing a flash flood down river triggered panic along the Teesta river belt towards West Bengal.  Sikkim also had its share of lows in 2016. Sikkim was awarded the cleanest state in India by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) in September. The result was announced by Union Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar based on a survey for the year 2015.  Sikkim was once again conferred with the overall best state in education. 

BJP government was installed in Arunachal Pradesh on 31 December 2016. This development came after 33 out of 43 MLAs of the Peoples' Party of Arunachal (PPA), led by Chief Minister Prema Khandu joined BJP. Now, Prema Khandu who has a support of 47 MLAs in the Assembly of 60-members, paraded all MLAs before the Assembly speaker Speaker Tenzing Norbu Thongdok who accepted their joining. Of these 47, two leaders are independents. With this, Arunachal Pradesh has become 10th BJP-ruled state and 14th with BJP alliances. Arunachal Pradesh also became the second BJP ruled the state in the north east. The event occurred a day after Khandu along with six others was temporarily suspended from PPA for their anti-party activities. Earlier on 31 December 2016, PPA President Kahfa Bengia also expelled 4 more MLAs from the party, namely Bamang Felix, Honchun Ngandam, Punji Mara and Pani Taram. Apart from this, the PPA, which is an alliance party of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) in the state, selected Takam Pario as the new chief minister of the state. If all went right, then Pario would have succeeded Khandu as the Chief Minister of the state. The equation of forming a government led by Pario changed after the majority of the MLAs of PPA who initially supported Pario as Chief Minister, later shifted their alliance to Khandu. CM Khandu : He said that the state has failed to see a stable government since a year. He joined BJP and formed a government for the sake of development of the state. He also refuted all charges that were labelled against him by PPA chief. Instead, he blamed the party of having a weak organisational set-up, which was responsible for the communication gap that was visible among the party workers.

The daily limit of ATM withdrawal of banknotes on 1 January 2017 went up to Rs. 4500 daily from the existing Rs 2500. This enhancement of the limit, which will help the common man in relaxing themselves from the long lines near ATMs, can be treated as a New Year gift from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). In its notification, RBI said that there has been no change in the weekly withdrawal limit, which stands at Rs 24000, including from ATM, for individuals and Rs 50000 in the case of small traders. It further said such disbursals will predominantly be in the denomination of Rs 500. Earlier on 30 December 2016, RBI announced an increase in the daily limit of ATM withdrawal to Rs 4500 from current Rs 2500. It in its notification said that the increment in withdrawal will come into effect from 1 January 2017. Citizens of India were facing a cash crunch problem since 8 November 2016, the day when the Prime Minister announced demonetisation of biggest currency notes of India, that is, Rs 1000 and Rs 500. Following demonetisation of old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes limits had been imposed on withdrawal of cash from banks as well as ATMs. Earlier in the day, the RBI also permitted the White Label ATM Operators (WLAOs) to source cash from retail outlets. Maximum White Label ATMs were running dry since demonetisation as the operators were facing difficulties in sourcing cash from their sponsor bank (s). Besides, as part of its efforts to promote digital payments, the RBI also extended the period of enhanced Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPI) limit of Rs 20000. The notification said that it has been decided to extend the measures till the completion of review of the PPI guidelines. The decision as taken in view that Bank is undertaking a comprehensive review of the guidelines and framework for PPI issuance in the country. At present, 47 non-bank entities and 45 banks are operating payment systems for PPI.