Current Affairs 17th January 2018 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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The Centre sanctioned projects over 10,000 crore rupees in the North East for better network connectivity. Two MoUs have been signed to cover the uncovered areas in the North East including Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Telecommunication Minister Manoj Sinha has been given to upgrade the network connection in border areas. 

The Union Ministry of Minority Affairs decided to end Haj subsidy from this year as a part of its policy to empower minorities with dignity and without appeasement. This decision was taken based on the recommendations of Afzal Amanullah Committee and May 2012 Supreme Court order. The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, the holiest city for Muslims. It is a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out.

The NITI Aayog launched the first course on Sustainable Urban planning using remote sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS) at IIT Kanpur. This is the first course conducted under Global Initiative on Academic Network (GIAN) Program of Union Ministry of Human Resource Development. The course aims to give participants state-of-the-art remote sensing and GIS skills to allow them managing rapidly changing the urban environment of Indian cities. Its prime focus is on issues such as water resource management, water pollution, and water treatment facilities.

India’s largest IT services firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) signed an over GBP 500 million (USD 690 million) deal with M&G Prudential, the UK and European savings and investments business of Prudential plc.  Under the contract, TCS will digitally transform M&G Prudential’s business and deliver enhanced service for its UK savings and retirement customers. “The value of this agreement exceeds GBP 500 million (USD 690 million) over 10 years and covers the support of over 4 million customer policies.

Brazilian World Cup winner Ronaldinho formally confirmed his retirement from football, more than two years since his last appearance as professional reports in Brazil. The 37-year-old former Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona star, a key member of the Brazil side which won the World Cup in 2002, last played in 2015 during a brief stint with Fluminense. Ronaldinho’s career began with Gremio in Porto Alegre, his hometown, before he emerged as a star with French giants PSG. He then spent five years with Barcelona between 2003 and 2008, helping the Catalans win the Champions League in 2006, after being awarded the Ballon d'Or in 2005.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) released the first image captured by its Cartosat-2 series satellite which was launched from Sriharikota on January 12. The image shows a part of Indore, Madhya Pradesh with the Holkar Cricket Stadium in the center. The Earth-observing satellite, weighing 710 kg, was successfully launched with 30 others aboard a PSLV-C40 rocket, completing 100 Indian satellites in orbit.

Jammu and Kashmir Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu announced an exclusive industrial development scheme to expand and promote business activities in the state. Winding up the discussion on the Budget for 2018-19 in the Assembly, Drabu said that under the scheme, to be rolled out soon, central capital investment subsidy of 30 percent would be provided for plant and machinery and buildings for hotels. The first time that such benefits are being extended to the services sector. Around three per cent interest subsidy for five years and 100 percent insurance subsidy under the scheme. All new industrial units in manufacturing and services sector operational in the state will be eligible for various benefits under this scheme.

China constructed a 330-foot tall air purifying tower dubbed the "world's biggest air purifier". The tower, which is being tested by researchers, has produced more than 10 million cubic meters of clean air since it was launched. The air purification system works through greenhouses covering about half the size of a soccer field around the base of the tower.

Afghanistan residents awarded Donald Trump a bravery medal for rebuking Pakistan over its failure in curbing terrorist havens.  As per local media reports, the medal has been forged using funds collected by Afghans from the Logar province worth 45,000 Afghanis ($645) and consists of 15 grams of gold. The US Ambassador in Kabul John R Bass promised that he will soon hand over the medal to the US President. The Syed Farhad Akbari, a community leader in the province, said that more than 300 people at an informal “jirga,” or council, of concerned citizens, agreed to award the medal to the US president.

The third edition of the geo-political conference – Raisina Dialogue was held in New Delhi. It was inaugurated by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The event is jointly organized by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and Observer Research Foundation (ORF). The theme of the conference for this year is ‘Managing Disruptive Transitions: Ideas, Institutions, and Idioms’.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the project commencement of the Rajasthan Refinery at Pachpadra in Barmer district. This is the first oil refinery in the state. The 43,000 crore rupee project is a joint venture between HPCL and the Rajasthan Government.  The refinery is expected to be operational in 4 years and the state will have an additional income of 34,000 crore rupees from it. The project is expected to generate thousands of direct and indirect jobs.

Indian Oil Corporation signed Letters of Intent (LoI) with Phinergy, an Israeli start-up company, and YEDA, a technology spin-off company from Weizmann Research Institute, Israel. The agreement with Phinergy will allow Indian Oil to work on adoption of advanced energy systems for the Indian market both for mobility and stationary industrial applications. This association could lead to the setting up of manufacturing units for these energy systems initially in India.

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