Current Affairs 7th January 2017 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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China has successfully launched a telecommunication technology test satellite from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in southwest China's Sichuan Province.  The satellite was launched late last night by a Long March-3B carrier rocket, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. China plans to conduct a "record" number of 30 space launch missions this year as part of its efforts to expand its ambitious space programme.  The record-breaking number space launches will be launched byLong March-5 and Long March-7 rockets,China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation said earlier.  Long March-5 is China's largest carrier rocket.  The successful test launch of the vehicle in November in South China's Hainan Province will pave the way for space station construction, state-run China News Service had said.  China recently released an official white paper on space stating that it will launch a lunar probe in 2018 to achieve world's first soft landing on the far side of the moon and a mission to Mars in 2018.

Tata Motors and Castrol have signed a 3-year strategic partnership agreement. As part of the agreement, Castrol will supply Commercial Vehicle Oils to Tata Motors globally.  The agreement will cover over 50 markets including SAARC and ASEAN region, Middle East, Africa, Russia and Latin America. 

The 44th edition of the New Delhi World Book Fair began at Pragati Maidan in national capital. The theme for this edition of the event is ‘Manushi– Books Written on and by Women’. It was inaugurated by Union Minister of State (MoS) for Human Resources Development (Higher Education) Mahendra Nath Pandey. The nine-day event has been organised by National Book Trust (NBT), under the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development. While, India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) is the Co-organizer. Based on the theme, the fair will exhibit the rich tradition of women writings from ancient times till the present. Posters and panels of some of the eminent women scholars of ancient and medieval India, and women pioneers of modern India be showcased in the presentation.  Nearly 800 publishers from across the country and abroad are participating in it. About 20 countries including China, France, Germany, Egypt, Japan and Iran are taking part in the Foreign Pavilion. Books on different genres like fiction, poetry, social science, and children’s literature are forming the main ingredients of the exhibition.  The NBT which is celebrating 60 years of its foundation, will showcase its journey in promoting books and reading at a special exhibit called ‘This is no looking back’. The exhibit will display the varied activities that have been undertaken NBT in promoting books including organising book fairs.

According to growth projection released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth is expected to grow at a slower pace at 7.1% in 2016-17 as compared to 7.6% in 2015-16. This estimate is in sync with the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) economic growth forecast and is largely based on data from the first seven months of the year.  The slowdown is chiefly due to an industrial slowdown. Per capita net national income during 2016-17: estimated to be Rs.1,03,007, rise of 10.4% as compared to Rs. 93,293 during 2015-16 with the growth rate of 7.4%.  Agriculture, forestry and fishing sector: likely to show a growth of 4.1% during 2016-17, as against the previous year’s growth rate of 1.2%.  Manufacturing sector: It is estimated to grow by 7.4% in 2016-17 as compared to growth of 9.3% in 2015-16.  Wholesale price index (WPI): food articles has risen by 6.9%, manufactured products 2.0%, and electricity -1.4% and all commodities 2.8% during April-November 2016-17 period.  Consumer price index: It has shown a rise of 5.0% during April-November 2016-17.

China has launched its longest bullet train “Shangri-la of the World” from Kunming, capital of south-west China’s Yunnan Province to Beijing, expanding its high speed train network to about 20,000 km connecting almost all provinces. The train left Kunming at 11:05 am on a 2,760-km trip to Beijing, which takes about 13 hours. The train’s name highlights the world famous resort in Shangri-la of Yunnan, a name first appearing in British novelist James Hilton’s Lost Horizon. A ticket for a second-class seat on the train from Kunming to Beijing costs 1,147.5 yuan ($166). The line is also the longest east-west high-speed railway in China. A longer rail line stretching north to south is the 2,298-km Beijing-Guangzhou line, put into operation in 2012. China has built more than 20,000 km of high-speed rail lines.  

The 2017 Island Tourism Festival began at Port Blair in Andaman and Nicobar Islands on January 6, 2017. The 10-Day Event was inaugurated by the Lieutenant Governor of Island, Jagdish Mukhi at the ITF Ground. The event will experience performances by the cultural troupes from mainland India to help the Islanders renew their cultural ties with mainland. The troupes from both India and Island will also perform in outer Islands apart from South Andaman. Besides the major attractions of the festivals including food courts, fun games, handicrafts etc. other events would include a performance by International Cultural Group from Khazkhistan, besides, a band of artists from mainland will perform during the festival at North and Middle Andaman and also at Nicobar Group of Islands, besides South Andaman.

The Telangana Government led by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, announced a new scheme on January 6, 2017, to provide financial assistance of Rs. 1000 per month to poor single women in the state. Making an announcement in the Legislative Assembly, the CM informed that the new scheme will be implemented from April 2017 and necessary funds will be allocated in the upcoming budget. Single women who are below poverty line constitute two to three lakhs in the state and the government desires to provide assistance to them with an aim to enhance their living standards. Mr Rao has directed the district collectors to start enrollment of single women and appealed to the beneficiaries to come forward to enroll their names under the scheme.

The Fourth Assam International Agri-Horti Show began in Guwahati, Assam on January 6, 2017. The Chief Minister of Assam, Sarbananda Sonowal inaugurated the programme. The Four-Day Show would be attended by about 200 organisations from 10 foreign countries. Nearly 600 farmers from Assam will be trained on doubling farmers’ income,more crops per drop and agri-preneurship development. Business meet and discussions are also being organised by the Assam government. Assam Agri-Horti Show : The Assam International Agri-Horti Show is the Exposition in Assam for Innovation and Inspiration in Agriculture, Horticulture, Food Processing, Floriculture and allied sectors. The Expo proposes to have a Horti and Agri exhibition, seminars, network gatherings, flower parade, farmer meets, and other high profile events. The Show, initiated in the year 1995, however, went “International” for the first time in 2014 and has seen participation of 15 countries and more than 80 international delegates in the year 2014 and 13 countries in the year 2015 and 12 countries with 200 international delegates in the year 2016.  

After the recent the political feud and vertical split in Samajwadi Party, the both warring factions are claiming their stakes on the party symbol, the ‘cycle’. Following this, Election Commission of India (ECI) has served notices to both factions to provide supporting documents and evidence in their favour for claiming the party symbol. The Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968 empowers the ECI to recognise political parties and allot symbols. The Paragraph 15 of the Order allows ECI to decide disputes among rival groups or factions of a recognised political party staking claim to its name and symbol. This paragraph applies to disputes in recognised national and state parties. Under it, the ECI is the only authority to decide issues over claims of Party symbol in case of split. Even the Supreme Court in Sadiq Ali and another vs. ECI case (1971) had upheld its validity. However, in case of splits in registered but unrecognised parties, the ECI usually advises the warring factions to resolve their differences internally or to approach the court. The first case was in the split in the Indian National Congress in 1969 in two factions Congress (J) led by led by Indira Gandhi and old Congress (O) led by Syndicates. The “old” Congress retained the party symbol of a pair of bullocks carrying a yoke and the breakaway faction of Indira Gandhi was given the symbol of a cow with its calf. The ECI primarily ascertains support enjoyed by a claimant within a political party in its organisational wing and in its legislative wing. First the commission examines party’s organisational wing by taking into consideration of support of office-bearers and finds out how many office-bearers, members or delegates support the rival claimants. If ECI fails to test the support strength to any faction based on support within the party organisation then it tests majority in legislative wing i.e. based on support of elected MPs and MLAs of party i.e. In case of the legislative wing, the ECI takes into consideration of majority of affidavits submitted by members for the support of group. Based on the majority support the symbol is allocated. So far, in almost all disputes decided by the EC, a clear majority of office bearers/party delegates, MPs and MLAs have supported one of the factions. When the party is either vertically divided or it is no warring group has majority, then ECI may freeze the party symbol and allow the rival groups to register themselves with new names or add suffixes or prefixes to the party’s existing names. In case of immediate electoral purposes, ECI advise the rival groups to fight the elections in different names and on temporary symbols.

Virat Kohli was officially appointed as the captain for all three formats of Cricket on 6 January 2017. With this appointment, Kohli took over leadership for the upcoming limited-over series against England. Virat Kohli will lead a 15-member squad in both ODIs and Twenty20s against England. Earlier on 4 January 2017, Mahendra Singh Dhoni announced his retirement from captaincy from ODI and T20 internationals. He will be playing as the keeper-batsman in the team. Dhoni announced his retirement as captain of the team in ODI and T20Is after leading the team for more than nine years. During his captaincy, India won World Cups (ODIs and T20Is) and Champion Trophy. Besides, the all-rounder Yuvraj Singh makes a return to ODI and T20 team after nine months. Batsmen Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane have been picked only for the ODIs. In addition to this, veteran Ashish Nehra also makes a comeback in the T20 squad. Rookie wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant is the only new face in the T20 team. The series against England will start with the first ODI in Pune followed by games in Cuttack, on 19 January 2017 and in Kolkata on 22 January 2017. The T20s are scheduled from 26 January to 1 February 2017 in Kanpur, Nagpur and Bangalore. Team for 3 ODIs: Virat Kohli (Captain), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), KL Rahul, Yuvraj Singh, Shikhar Dhawan, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Amit Mishra, Bhuvneshwar and Umesh Yadav. Team for 3 T20Is: Virat Kohli (Captain), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), KL Rahul, Mandeep Singh, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Rishabh Pant, Manish Pandey, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar, Jasprit Bumrah and Ashish Nehra. The decision to appoint Virat Kohli as the captain for ODI and T20I cricket was taken at the meet of the national selection committee. The meet was chaired by MSK Prasad in Mumbai. The meeting was convened by BCCI CEO Rahul Johri after joint Secretary Amitabh Chaudhary stood disqualified owing to the Supreme Court verdict, which sacked the entire BCCI top brass last week.

Reliance Power has announced the appointment of Suresh Nagarajan as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the company. At present, Nagarajan is working as the Senior Executive Vice President of Reliance Power. He was elevated to the position of CFO by the Board of Directors at their meeting. Nagarajan is a Chartered Accountant and Company Secretary. He holds many years of experience in the power sector. He has been associated with Reliance Power since 2006. Reliance Power : Reliance Power Limited is a part of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group .  It was incorporated in January 1995 as Bawana Power Private Limited. In February 1995, the name of the company was changed to Reliance Delhi Power Private Limited. In July 2007, the company was rechristened as Reliance Power Limited. The company was established to develop, construct and operate power projects in the Indian and international markets. It is the sole distributor of electricity to consumers in the suburbs of Mumbai. The company runs power generation, transmission and distribution businesses in other parts of Maharashtra, Goa and Andhra Pradesh. In 2010, Reliance Natural Resources was merged with Reliance Power. At present, it is developing 13 medium and large-sized power projects with a combined planned installed capacity of 33480 MW.

The United States army has issued new regulations, allowing servicemen and women sporting turbans, beards or hijabs to enrol in the military effective immediately. The new sets of rules, which have been issued by the Secretary of the US Army, Eric Fanning, are more inclusive of minority religious traditions, especially Indian ones. They will allow military men with unshorn hair, beard and turbans to enrol in the army unless they are not sincere in their beliefs. They will also allow religious accommodations to be approved at Brigade-level. Previously it was approved only at the level of Secretary. According to Joe Crowley, sitting Congressman from New York, this progress is not only major for the Sikh- American community but also for the nation’s military. He further added by saying that this move will give the Sikh Americans equal opportunity to serve America. The decision was welcomed by the Sikh Americans and the US lawmakers, who had been campaigning for the same right since the past few years.Up until the recent announcement, Sikh Americans and others facing this challenge had to be granted a restricted permission to serve in the army while maintaining their religious faith. Such permissions were not permanent and had no guarantee and were required to be renewed after almost every assignment. In some cases, service members were also required to remove their articles of faith while their accommodation request was pending, forcing them to choose between their religious faith and job. The campaign to liberalise the rules of the US Army was headed by the Sikh American Coalition. Though they welcome the current move, they feel that it is still short of what they had been requesting for.  The coalition’s legal director Harsimran Kaur said that while they are pleased with the progress this new policy represents for religious tolerance by the nation’s biggest employer, their plea for a permanent policy change enabling all religious minorities to serve freely without exceptions remains.  

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