Current Affairs 27th January 2017

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Havildar Hangpan Dada, who killed four terrorists before laying down his life in Kupwara on May 26 last year, has been awarded Ashok Chakra, the highest peace time gallantry award.  His wife Changsen received the award from the President Pranab Mukherjee during the 68th Republic Day Parade in New Delhi.  Havildar Hangpan Dada of Assam Regiment killed four intruding terrorists at the height of 13,000 feet in the harsh and icy Himalayan range of North Kashmir.

Telangana ranked second in the `Cashless India Scorecard’ prepared by Walnut app to track the growth of digital payments in the country. The scorecard is meant for comparing how each state is moving towards a cashless economy post- demonetisation based on an aggregate and anonymised analysis of Walnut’s over five million user data. It ranked States based on percentage increase in overall cashless transactions, growth in shoppers using debit or credit card for the first time and growth in merchants accepting digital payments. Based on these parameters, Gujarat, Telangana and Haryana emerged as the top three states with the highest growth in going cashless. Telangana government promoted the cashless push through a mix of communication, infrastructure support and partnering with banks, an adoption at this level is only possible by a ground-up consumer willingness to learn something new.  

A Keshav Krishna, a scientist at the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) has been selected for the National Geoscience Award for 2016. The award given by the Union Ministry of Mines is in recognition of his work in the field of geo-environmental studies. Krishna is presently involved in studies on environmental risk assessment related heavy metal contamination in soil, sediments and water in industrial areas, abandoned mine sites and their interactions with the environmental pollutants.  

3 personnel from the Rashtriya Rifles unit of the Indian Army have been awarded the Sena Medal for killing Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.  Major Sandeep Kumar,Captain Manik Sharma and Naik Arvind Singh Chauhan led the operation on July 8, 2016.

Outdoor caged trials of genetically modified mosquitoes waere launched in Dawalwadi, Badnapur in Jalna district of Maharashtra to demonstrate the efficiency this technique to suppress wild female mosquito populations that transmit dengue, chikungunya and Zika.  The trials are conducted by Oxitec and uses the Release of Insects carrying Dominant Lethal genes (RIDL) technology. Oxitec’s technology uses GM male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that carry a dominant lethal gene. This gene is passed on to offspring after male GM mosquitoes mate with wild female mosquitoes.  The lethal gene in the offspring kills the larvae before they reach adulthood. Since male mosquitoes do not bite humans, the release of these GM mosquitoes will not increase the risk of dengue, chikungunya and Zika. Oxitec’s mosquitoes were first released in Brazil were they have successfully reduced the local populations of mosquitoes by more than 90%, whereas insecticides only affect 30%.   This strategy is considered as most eco-friendly solution so far to control the spread of infectious diseases as it only targets a specific mosquito strain and does not produce any toxic compounds. It has 99% efficiency to kill offspring. Dengue is estimated to infect 5.8 million people in India every year, costing the country over $1 billion annually. In recent times, outbreaks of Chikungunya, a mosquito borne viral disease have been increasingly reported in India.  Both viral diseases are transmitted by female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. The World Health Organization (WHO) has fully supported the genetically engineered mosquitoes during last year’s Zika outbreak.  

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has prohibited Indian entities from making direct investments in any entity located in Non-Cooperative Countries and Territories (NCCT) as identified by Financial Action Task Force (FATF).  The prohibition is for aligning instructions under FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) with the objectives of the FATF.  At present, there is no restriction on an Indian entity with regard to the countries where it can undertake Overseas Direct Investment (ODI).  The NCCT initiatives principal objective is to reduce the vulnerability of the financial system to money laundering by ensuring that all financial centres adopt and implement measures for the detection, prevention and punishment of money laundering according to internationally recognised standards. Financial Action Task Force (FATF)  : FATF is an inter‐governmental policy making body established in 1989 with ministerial mandate to establish international standards for combating money laundering and terrorist financing.  Its objectives are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to integrity of international financial system. Initially it was only dealing with developing policies to combat money laundering.  But in 2001 its purpose was expanded to act against terrorism financing. Currently, it comprises two regional organisations and 35 member jurisdictions, including India, UK, US, China and the European Commission.  

Central Power Sector PSU Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd, popularly known as POWERGRID, on 25 January 2017 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA) & its group of companies in Gurgaon. The MoU was signed by Saeed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director of Abu Dhabi Distribution Co (UAE) and Anil Mehra, Executive Director- International Business of POWERGRID in the presence of IS Jha, CMD of POWERGRID.  Highlights of the MoU : The MoU envisages cooperation between ADWEA & its group of companies and POWERGRID to work in different areas including smart grid, Transmission technology. Both the companies will also work for providing capability development and training in the field of Operation & Maintenance (O&M), Asset Management, Project Management, Power Transmission & Distribution, etc.  POWERGRID will also assist ADWEA in setting up an advanced World Class Capability Development institute in UAE. Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA) : Founded in 1998, About Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority is a financially and administratively independent organization. Owned by Abu Dhabi Government, the Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority researches and develops varied ways to efficiently produce, distribute and consume water and electricity. Presently, the company is striving to meet the Abu Dhabi 2030 vision by providing the water and electricity the UAE needs. Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd : POWERGRID is a 'Navaratna' Central Public Sector Enterprise. It works towards becoming the world class and integrated global transmission company with dominant leadership in the emerging power markets by ensuring reliability and economy.  Listed  in the stock exchange since 2007, the company is consistently rated as Excellent under the MoU that was signed with the Union Ministry of Power in 1993-94.

The Government of Andhra Pradesh on 25 January 2017 announced a Rs 100 crore fund of funds to develop financial technology (Fin Tech) startup ecosystem in the State. The announcement was made by State's special Chief Secretary JA Chowdary. Fin Tech Fund : The fund will be managed professionally by a venture capital firm. The fund seeks to strengthen the industry-academia-government partnership in order to develop skilled human resources in the Fin Tech sector. The focus of this fund of funds is to develop Vishakapatnam as a global FinTech hub. The Government of Andhra Pradesh identified as the Fin Tech sector as one of the promising industry to generate employment in the coming years. Accordingly, in December 2016, the State Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). The MoU seeks to explore projects of mutual interest on innovative technologies such as digital payments and blockchain (database) technology. The MoU also facilitates collaboration on the development of education programmes and curricula on Fin Tech. A decision was also taken to develop the Vizag Fintech Valley in Vishakapatnam.In the proposed Fin Tech Valley, all the necessary digital infrastructure will be developed to boost the Fin Tech sector in the city. In the short-term, the objective is to develop 100 start-ups and up to 15 global companies with their centres of excellence housed in the Vizag Fintech Valley. A high-level advisory board will be set up to advise the Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on the policies related to Fin Tech sector. The advisory board will consist of Fin Tech industry executives. The government is planning to hold a global Fin Tech competition with a high prize-money in October 2017.  

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) on 26 January 2017, on the occasion of 68th  Republic Day, launched  the Central - Air Traffic Flow Management (C-ATFM), a system designed to cut flight delays. The launch was marked by AAI chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra, who opened the dedicated C-ATFM facility at Delhi's new Air Traffic Services Complex. This system will be implemented by the authority itself at all the major airports and it will go on to cover the entire Indian airspace. Highlights of the Central - Air Traffic Flow Management (C-ATFM) : The C-ATFM system, mainly, aims to address the balancing of capacity against the demand to achieve optimum utilization of the major resources like airports, airspace and aircraft at every Indian airport. This service basically relies on a number of supporting systems, processes and operational data for efficient management of air traffic flow across the country. Once implemented fully, the system will lead to annual fuel savings of around Rs 1680 crore by reducing fuel burn while hovering or waiting to land.  This will also accrue benefits in terms of reduced carbon foot print, fuel savings and economic benefits to the air travellers as well.It displays weather information along with the static information about airports, air spaces and air routes.  It processes the demand and capacity information and then provides decision making tools to the ATFM flow managers for collaborative decision making. The decision making will be done in consultation with airlines, military and airports operators to facilitate the regulated flow of traffic in each airport in India.  The flight delays at Indian airports have become prevalent and passengers get troubled regularly by long waits to take off and land. Mumbai, in particular, has become a black spot for flight delays due to air traffic congestion, followed by other busy airports like Delhi.

All India Football Federation (AIFF) has launched the Women’s Professional League (WPL) in New Dehli. The WPL is the first ever such league in the country. The league was launched by AIFF President Praful Patel in the presence of Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Youth Affairs and Sports Vijay Goel and the 2016 Summer Olympics wrestling bronze medalist Sakshi Malik.  Women’s Professional League : The inaugural league will be held for two-weeks at the Ambedkar Football Stadium in New Delhi. The opening match will be held on 28 January 2017. 20 Teams from across 9 States had taken part in the first leg of the qualifiers. At the end of the qualifiers, 9 teams were qualified for the IWL prelims. The competitions were held in Cuttack in October 2016.  From among the 9 teams, the top 6 teams were selected for the IWL final event. The six participating teams are - FC Alakhpura (Haryana), Jeppiaar Institute of Technology FC (Puducherry), Aizawl FC (Mizoram), FC Pune City (Maharashtra), Rising Student Club (Odisha) and Eastern Sporting Union (Manipur). The teams would play each other in a round-robin format with the top four teams advancing to the semifinals. The number of participating teams will be increased to 16 by next year. All India Football Federation : The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is the governing body of the football in the country. Its primary responsibility is to  manage the Indian national football team and the I-League, India's premier domestic club competition.  The AIFF was founded in 1937. The federation gained FIFA affiliation in 1948. The AIFF was one of the founding members of the Asian Football Confederation in 1954. It is also one of the founding members of South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) since 1997. Its headquarters is located at Dwarka in New Delhi.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in January 2017 announced that the year 2016 was recorded as the hottest year ever. As per a consolidated analysis by WMO, the globally averaged temperature in 2016 was about 1.1 degree Celsius higher than the pre-industrial period. The WMO used data from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the UK’s Met Office Hadley Centre and the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit. The UN weather agency also drew on reanalysis data from the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts and the Copernicus Climate Change Service. Highlights : The year 2016 saw long-term indicators of human-caused climate change reaching new heights. Carbon dioxide and methane concentrations surged to new records. Greenland glacier melt started early and fast in the year 2016, which is one of the contributors to sea level rise. Arctic sea ice was recorded lowest at the start of the melt season in March 2016 and at the height of the normal refreezing period in October 2016 and November 2016. The continual loss of sea ice is making the weather, climate and ocean circulation patterns go haywire in other parts of the world. Record ocean heat contributed to widespread coral reef bleaching, including in the Great Barrier Reef.  

Jamaican men’s 4x100m relay team was stripped of a gold medal after a re-analysis of a teammate Nesta Carter's sample showed the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine. The team, which also consisted of sprinter Usain Bolt, had won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The International Olympics Committee (IOC) Disciplinary Commission found that: Carter is found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation pursuant to the IOC Anti-Doping Rules applicable to the Games of the XXIX Olympiad in Beijing in 2008. He is disqualified from the men’s 4x100m relay event in which he participated upon the occasion of the Olympic Games Beijing 2008. His medal, the medallist pin and the diploma obtained in the men’s 4x100m relay event withdrawn. He is ordered to return the same. The Commission also disqualified the Jamaican team from the men’s 4x100m relay event. The corresponding medals, medallist pins and diplomas are withdrawn and the athletes are ordered to return the same as soon as possible. The International Association of Athletics Federations is requested to modify the results of the event. On the other hand, IOC also stripped Russia’s Tatiana Lebedeva who competed in the women’s triple jump event and the women’s long jump event in which she won the silver medal. Following a re-analysis of her samples from Beijing 2008, she stands disqualified from event. The re-analysis had resulted in a positive test for the prohibited substance dehydrochlormethyltestosterone (turinabol).  

Meghalaya Governor V Shanmuganathan resigned from his position on 27 January 2017. His resignation came following a controversy that was triggered against him, accusing him of sexual misconduct. Moreover, a letter was sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by the staff of the Meghalaya Governor's House, accusing the Governor of compromising with the dignity of his office. Civil society groups in Meghalaya like the Civil Society Women's Organisation and a progressive political outfit of Meghalaya 'Thma U Rangli' launched a signature campaign following the reports of inappropriate behaviour by the Governor. The campaign was launched to demand Governor's resignation. However, Shanmuganathan, who also holds the additional charge of Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, denied such media allegations.  V Shanmuganathan : Shanmuganathan is a veteran Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh activist from Tamil Nadu. He was sworn in as Meghalaya Governor in May 2015.In September 2016, he was given the additional charge of Governor of Arunachal Pradesh after J P Rajkhowa was removed from the position. Shanmuganathan was also Governor in charge of Manipur from September 2015 to August 2016. Born on 21 November 1949, he hails from Thanjavur district in Tamil Nadu.

The Government of India on 25 January 2017 announced the Padma Awards 2017. Padma Awards are conferred in three categories: Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri. The Awards are given in various fields of activities, for example art, social work, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, public affairs, and so on. In the list of awardees, eight eminent sports personalities of India received the Padma Shri Awards. These sports persons are: Name Field Virat Kohli Sports-Cricket Shekar Naik Sports-Cricket Vikasa Gowda Sports-Discus Throw Deepa Malik Sports-Athletics Mariyappan Thangavelu Sports-Athletics Dipa Karmakar Sports-Gymnastics P R Shreejesh Sports-Hockey Sakshi Malik Sports-Wrestling Padma Shri Awards : Padma Shri is India’s fourth highest civilian award, after the Bharat Ratna, the Padma Vibhushan and the Padma Bhushan. The awards are announced every year on Republic Day of the country. Padma Awards were instituted in 1954 to be awarded to citizens of India in recognition of their distinguished contribution in various spheres of activity. However, some distinguished individuals who were not citizens of India have also been honoured with the award. It was because of their contribution in various ways to India. As of 2017, 2913 people have received the Padma Shri.

US President Donald Trump has signed directives to build a wall along the US border with Mexico and crack down on US cities that shield illegal immigrants, proceeding quickly on sweeping and divisive plans to Kerb immigration and boost national security.  The Republican President is also expected to take steps in the coming days to limit legal immigration, including executive orders restricting refugees and blocking the issuing of visas to people from several Muslim-majority Middle Eastern and North African countries including Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Yemen. Trump signed two executive orders at the Department of Homeland Security, one ordering construction of a wall along the roughly 2,000-mile (3,200kilometre) US-Mexico border and the other moving to strip federal grant money from “sanctuary” states and cities, often governed by Democrats, that harbour illegal immigrants.

Nearly one year after all Central University vice-chancellors decided to install the national flag on their campuses, Delhi University's Hansraj College on 25th January 2017 has hoisted its first monumental flag.  DU is the first public university in the country to get a monumental flagpole, according to the Flag Foundation of India. The 100-feet high flag was hoisted by former MP Naveen Jindal.  

Burj Khalifa tower, the world's tallest building located in Dubai, will be lit up in the colours of the Indian National flag  to celebrate India's 68th Republic Day. The LED shows were to be held on both days along with complimenting Dubai Fountain shows. The Indian Consulate in Dubai has a flag-hoisting ceremony at the consulate premises by Consul General Anurag Bhushan, followed by flag-hoisting at the Indian High School grounds in Oud Metha. The ceremony at the school will include a march-past by the students. In the evening, a cultural programme titled "Aaj Ki Shaam Desh Ke Naam", will be hosted at the school grounds where the students will perform various folk dances and other activities. The programme, under the patronage of the Consulate, will also present people a chance to try various India cuisines. The lighting comes as the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is the guest of honour for India's Republic Day on Thursday. He was ceremonially welcomed by President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday and held talks in New Delhi with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Both sides inked a number of agreements.

As many as 439 prisoners, over half of them serving life sentence, will be freed from Gujarat jails after the state government ordered their release on humanitarian grounds on the eve of Republic Day. The decision to pardon the remaining sentences of these 439 prisoners was taken by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on humanitarian grounds. This is for the first time that such a large number of prisoners have been pardoned by the state. Among these, 243 convicts, including 21 women, had been awarded life imprisonment and have completed at least 12 years of sentence, said the release. Another 110 inmates are those who were given lesser jail terms by courts and completed 75 per cent of the punishment period. Remaining include male prisoners above 65 years of age, those who have not jumped parole since the last 10 years and women above 60 years who complete five years in jail as on January 26. Those convicted for rape, multiple murders, robbery and under tough laws like POTA, TADA or under National Security Act, are not given state pardon.

President Donald Trump has appointed Ajit Pai to head the powerful US communications regulatory agency, becoming the third Indian American picked for key positions in his administration.  Pai, 44, will be the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the federal authority regulating cellphone spectrum and services, radio, television, phone, internet and satellite and cable.  The FCC also has a major role in controlling the content of television and radio, a sensitive issue given Trump’s contentious relations with the media.  The agency sets and enforces certain norms on content like obscenity in TV and conditions like having a certain amount of local news content for stations to keep their licences. 

Nita Ambani, founder and chairperson, Reliance Foundation, has become the first South Asian to be honoured by the Metropolitan Museum of Art(The Met) in New York for her philanthropic work in the areas of education, sports, healthcare, rural transformation, urban renewal, disaster response, women's empowerment and promotion of the arts. The Met was impressed by the diversity and scale of the work carried out by Reliance Foundation, led by Nita Ambani.  The direction she gives the foundation has helped it to focus its work on sustainable urban and rural transformation as well as healthcare, education, grassroots development through sport, and women's empowerment, according to a statement.  The foundation supports Indian art and aims to take it across the globe. It has benefited over 10 million Indians, touching the lives of individuals across more than 10,500 urban areas and villages.

American plane maker Boeing Corporation has launched the Boeing India Engineering & Technology Center in Bengaluru.  The centre will employ hundreds of locals who will work to support Boeing, including its information technology & data analytics, engineering, research and technology, and tests . The company did not specify how many people the centre will hire or the investment gone into the facility.  The centre will leverage a talented pool of employees to increase productivity and long-term competitiveness to support Boeing's engineering growth in strong global markets like India . In India we see a true path towards a mutual partnership for success, and the launch of this centre is a major step in that direction . The centre will undertake high quality technology- driven work to support areas as diverse as the development of advanced environment-friendly coatings, data analytics for next generation airplane health management tools, software tools for airlines and airports to reduce their costs, and automation for more efficient next gen manufacturing, and analytics.  Boeing has been active in the country for the past 75 years primarily with commercial plane. More recently, its military aircraft and services business are playing an important role in the defence forces 

France has issued its first "green bonds" with a record seven billion euro ($7.5 billion) sale, paving the way for the establishment of a genuine market in renewable energy bonds.  Proceeds from Tuesday's sale of the 22-year bonds will be used to finance projects to address climate change.  Credit Agricole-CIB, which was one of the banks handling placement of the bonds with institutional investors, said it was a "historic" event for the green bonds market because of the size and long maturity of the loan.  The move demonstrates France has "a credible and robust framework to implement the Paris Agreement (on climate change) . The bonds' coupon was set at 1.75 percent, an interest rate comparable to conventional borrowing on the same timeframe.  The issue shows France is able to finance expenditure on green projects at the same price as traditional borrowing, Finance Minister Michel Sapin told reporters.  The initiative was first announced in April 2016 by President Francois Hollande who has championed his country's role as a leader in energy transition.  Poland was the first country to enter the green bond market with a more modest 750 million euro issue in December. Previously they had only been issued by companies or finance institutions such as the World Bank.  But because of its size and maturity, the French transaction marked the entry of states into the green bonds market, stressed Anthony Requin, CEO of Agence France Tresor, which manages French government debt.  The issue, which was reserved for institutional investors such as banks and pension funds, was oversubscribed with total demand exceeding 23 billion euros. 

Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju laid the foundation stone for a Rs 92.34 crore integrated check-post (ICP) at the India-Bangladesh international border here in Meghalaya to boost bilateral ties. The ICP will generate employment opportunities and provide a major fillip to the economy of the state and the region. The ICP will strengthen the already good relations between India-Bangladesh. Dawki is about 85 km from Shillong, the state capital of Meghalaya, which is the largest trade route with Bangladesh. The ICP is being built on an area spread over 22 acres, which includes a two-floor cargo terminal building of 2,456 square metres, two-floor passenger terminal building 4,625 sq metres, warehouse 1,420 sq m and parking 60,000 sq metres. Stating that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is committed to transform northeast into a developed region, he said, the erstwhile 'Look East Policy' has now become 'Act East Policy' and this has been evident from the numerous development projects that have been adopted by the Narendra Modi Government for the Northeast region. The efforts of the government have also resulted in improved ties with the neighbouring countries. We are grateful towards the Bangladesh government for aiding India in the implementation of the development projects in the region. Land ports authority of India is the nodal agency, while RITES Limited is the project management consultant. Work for constructing the checkpost has been awarded to M/s T.K. Engineering Consortium Private Limited. The project is targeted to be completed by August 2018. The ICP will have passenger terminal which will have lounge, prayer room, child care room, retail areas, medical facility and foreign exchange bureau besides other things. The cargo terminal will have bank and ATM, computerised cargo clearance, quarantine and weigh bridges. The ICP will also have warehouse and parking facility.

India and France have signed White Shipping agreement to enable information sharing on maritime traffic and maritime domain awareness in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). The agreement was signed in New Delhi after both countries held their second dialogue on maritime cooperation for the IOR. The agreement will enable navies of India and France to coordinate their roles in stabilising Indo-Pacific region. It will enhance Indo-French maritime security cooperation in the region. It will be implemented over the next few months. India and France firmed up cooperation on sharing of radars in the Indian Ocean during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Paris in 2015.  India is setting up a grid of coastal surveillance radars in the IOR that will enable it to monitor increasing Chinese presence in the area, France has shown interest in sharing data from surveillance systems on its Indian Ocean territories in the region that includes Mayotte, besides military bases in UAE and Djibouti.   Both countries in the last couple of years are coordinating their naval movements and surveillance in the IOR. France retains interests and assets with territories like Reunion Islands in the IOR.

India has signed a deal with United Arab Emirates (UAE), fifth biggest oil supplier as part of its quest for energy security and strategic reserve system.  The deal allows UAE’s Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (ADNOC) to fill half (about 6 million barrels of oil) of an underground crude oil storage facility at Mangaluru, Karnataka. India has already filled the other half of the Mangaluru storage in Karnataka state with six million barrels of Iranian oil.  It also has filled a Vizag storage site in southern Andhra Pradesh with 7.55 million barrels of Iraqi oil and has invited bids from suppliers to fill an 18.3 million-barrel facility at Padur in Karnataka. As one of the fastest growing economies and world’s third-biggest oil consumer, India is building emergency storage in underground caverns to hold 36.87 million barrels of crude, or about 10 days of its average daily oil demand.  This move aims to hedge against energy security risks as it imports most of its oil needs. In 2014, India already had started talks to lease part of its strategic storage to ADNOC. Under those discussions, India was to have first rights to the stored crude in case of an emergency, while ADNOC will e able to move cargoes to meet any shift in demand. Significance  : Strategic petroleum reserves have become indispensable to safeguard the economy and to help maintain national security in the event of an energy crisis. These crude oil reserves (or stockpiles) can be held by the government of a particular country, as well as by private industry.

India has been ranked 79th out of 176 countries in the recently released Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for the year 2016 by the Berlin-based corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI). The index has been complied by using World Bank data, the World Economic Forum (WEF) and other institutions  It ranks countries on the score in the scale ranging from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). Top 10 Countries: New Zealand and Denmark in joint first place (with a score of 90), followed by Finland (3rd), Sweden (4th), Switzerland (5th), Norway (6th), Singapore (7th), Netherlands (8th), Canada (9th) and Germany (10th). Counties bottom of the index: Somalia was ranked the most corrupt country. Other countries with lower rankings were Syria, South Sudan, North Korea, Afghanistan, and Iraq.] In this edition of list, India, China and Brazil with a score of 40 each figured in the 10 key economies in the mid-range. Over two-thirds of the 176 countries in this year’s index fall below the midpoint of the scale of 0 to very clean of index.  The global average score is 43, indicating endemic corruption in a country’s public sector. In this edition of list, India has marginally improved its ranking index for 2016 by two points from 38 score in 2015. India’s condition showed growth with inequality.  India’s ongoing poor performance with a score of 40 reiterates the state’s inability to effectively deal with petty corruption and large-scale corruption scandals. Regionally, South Asia had performed poorly. Bangladesh at 27th and Nepal at 29th positions were slotted in the highly corrupt section.

Republic Day was celebrated on 26 January 2017 across the nation. This was the 68th Republic Day of India. The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the UAE Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was the Chief Guest at the 68th Republic Day parade. First Republic Day was celebrated on 26 January 1950 when India became a Republic with Constitution of India coming into force. Highlights of 2017 Republic Day Parade : This year Republic Day Parade on Rajpath witnessed tableaux from 17 States and six Ministries of the Central Government. The tableaux showcased varied themes starting from country’s rich cultural heritage and socio-economic development. The tableaux also showcased  nation’s progress in key areas like IT, women, empowerment and environment protection. List of Tableaux from 17 States are  :  STATE Tableaux Theme Odisha Dola Jatra Arunachal Pradesh Yak Dance Maharashtra Lokmanya Balgangadhar Tilak Manipur Lai Haroba Gujarat The Art and Life Style of Kutch Lakshadweep An unexplored Tourist Destination Karnataka Folk Dances NCT of Delhi Model Government School of Delhi Himachal Pradesh Chamba Rumal Haryana Beti Bachao – Beti Padhao West Bengal Sharod Utsav Punjab Jago Aaiya Tamil Nadu Karakattam Goa Musical Heritage of Goa Triupura Hojagiri Jammu and Kashmir Winter Sports at Gulmarg Assam Kamakhya Temple    

T K Kurien, Executive Vice-Chairman and Board member of Wipro, on 24 January 2017 announced his retirement. He will retire on 31 January 2017. In 2016, Kurien was elevated to the role of Executive Vice-Chairman along with the appointment of Abidali Z Neemuchwala as Wipro's CEO and Executive Director. T K Kurien :  T K Kurien began his career with Wipro in 2000.  He held leadership positions across businesses like EcoEnergy division, Wipro Consulting Services and healthcare and life sciences unit. Before joining Wipro, he worked as the Managing Director of GE X Ray from October 1997 to January 2000.Prior to this, he served as the CFO of GE Medical Systems (South Asia). Wipro : Wipro Limited is an Indian Information Technology Services corporation. It is headquartered in Bengaluru. The company was incorporated on 29 December 1945 by Mohamed Premji as Western India Palm Refined Oil Limited, which was later abbreviated to Wipro.  The company was initially set up as a manufacturer of vegetable and refined oils in Amalner, Maharashtra under the trade names of Kisan, Sunflower and Camel. Wipro’s logo still contains a sunflower to reflect products of the original business.  In 1966, after Mohamed Premji’s death, his son Azim Premji took over Wipro as its chairman at the age of 21.  The company shifted its focus to new business opportunities in the IT and computing industry during the 1970s and 1980s. The name of the company changed from Western India Vegetable Products Limited to Wipro Products Limited on 7 June 1977. In 1982, the name was changed from Wipro Products Limited to Wipro Limited.  In 2013, Wipro demerged its non-IT businesses into a separate company to bring in more focus on independent businesses.  

Cisco Systems has announced its intent to buy AppDynamics. Both the companies are based in San Francisco, the USA. As per the announcement, Cisco Systems will acquire AppDynamics for approximately USD 3.7 billion in cash and assumed equity awards. Cisco-AppDynamics deal :  With the acquisition, AppDynamics's cloud application and business monitoring platform will enable the Cisco to improve application and business performance. The combination of Cisco and AppDynamics will allow the Cisco to provide end to end visibility and intelligence from the network through to the application.Cisco will be able to re-define its relationships with customers through new software tools. Together AppDynamics and Cisco will provide customers with intelligent and actionable insights. The combination will also help the customers to make speedy business decisions and improve business performance. Even after the acquisition, AppDynamics will continue to be led by CEO David Wadhwani. AppDynamics will continue as a new software business unit in Cisco's Internet of Things (IoT) and Applications business. Subject to customary closing conditions, the acquisition is expected to close in Cisco's third quarter of fiscal year 2017.

Japan launched its first military communications satellite Kirameki-2 to boost the broadband capacity of its armed forces with an aim to reinforce its presence at the southern edge of the East China Sea.The satellite was launched through Mistubishi H-IIA rocket from southern-most islands of Japan, an area in which Tokyo and Beijing have clashed over the gas-rich East China Sea. Kirameki-2  is one of three planned X-band satellites that will allow communications across wider territory. It has a lifespan of 15 years. It was built by DSN Corporation for the Japanese Ministry of Defence. The Kirameki-1 satellite was damaged in 2016 during transportation to the launch site and is expected to be launched in March 2018. On the other hand, Kirameki-3 is intended to be launched in 2021. The country expects to send three X-band satellites into orbit over the coming years in order to quadruple the country’s broadband capacity. Usually, analysts and spectators keep an eye on the South China Sea but the East China Sea is little less controversial than the former.  East China Sea has generated some political tensions due to a group of five tiny uninhabited islands which are claimed by Japan as well as China. Moreover, these islands are claimed by Taiwan too. These islands are called Senkaku by Japan and Diaoyu by China.  Japan, the main US ally in Asia, is worried due to the recent increase in Chinese military activity in the East China Sea. In the nine months ranging from April to December, Japan scrambled fighter jets to counter these Chinese aircraft approaching Japanese airspace 644 times. Both the countries are also at odds over the exploitation of gas fields that overlap the exclusive economic zones which are also claimed by both the sides.