Today Current Affairs 30th January 2018

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The Airports Authority of India allocated nearly 3,400 crore rupees for the up gradation of airports in the North East region.  AAI chairman Guruprasad Mahapatra told reporters in Guwahati that an amount of 1,720 crore rupees for Assam, 525 crore rupees for Tripura and 800 crore rupees for Manipur has been allocated.  Stating that projects worth 934 crore rupees have already been completed, he said work on the rest will be over in the next two or three years.

Bollywood playback singer Asha Bhosle will be given the 'Yash Chopra Memorial Award'. She will be the fifth winner of the award. The name of Asha Bhosle is in the Guinness World Records for recording over 11,000 songs in 20 different languages. The award will be presented to Asha Bhosle in February 2018. The award has been instituted by the TSR Foundation of T. Subbarami Reddy in memory of producer-director Yash Chopra, who died in 2012.

President Ram Nath Kovind called for simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and state assemblies. He made this statement while addressing the joint sitting of Parliament on the commencement of the Budget Session. He made this statement arguing that frequent elections impede the speed of development as an official language. The idea of ‘one nation one election’ has been proposed for many years starting with Law Commission suggestion in 1999.

Rating agency CRISIL revised its outlook on 18 public sector banks (PSBs) from “negative” to “stable” after the government announced bank-wise capital infusion and reform plans. The revision in outlook is primarily driven by the government’s PSB recapitalization programme for this fiscal (2017-18). This will improve the financial risk profile of these banks and help them meet Basel-III regulatory capital norms. It also provides a cushion against an expected rise in provisioning for non-performing assets (NPAs).

India is ranked second only to South Africa as the cheapest country to live or retire, according to a recent survey of 112 countries by GoBankingRates. The survey ranked nations on the bases of four key affordability metrics. The metrics are Local purchasing power index, rent index, Groceries index, and Consumer price index. India's local purchasing power is 20.9% lower, rent is 95.2% cheaper, groceries are 74.4% cheaper, local goods and services are 74.9% cheaper. The top three most expensive countries in the survey are Bermuda (ranked 112), Bahamas (111), and Hong Kong (110).

A three-day international bird festival will be held at the Dudhwa National Park, Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh in February 2018 with nearly 200 leading ornithologists expected to attend. The purpose of the international bird festival is to promote eco-tourism in Dudhwa and to give it a distinct international identity besides highlighting its traditional Tharu arts, culture, and heritage.

On the mark of 69th Republic Day celebrations, Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) and New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) have launched the first ever 'Khadi Haat' in the country. The Khadi Haat was inaugurated by Union Minister of State Giriraj Singh in Connaught Place, New Delhi.

The Parliamentary Group decided to confer Outstanding Parliamentarian Awards to five Members of Parliament. Dr. Najma Heptulla: She is former Rajya Sabha MP and was selected for this award for the year 2013. Hukumdev Narayan Yadav: He is Lok Sabha MP and was selected for this award for the year for 2014. Ghulam Nabi Azad: He is Rajya Sabha and was selected for this award for the year for 2015. The Outstanding Parliamentarian Award was established in 1992 by Shivraj Patil who was then the Speaker of Lok Sabha. The Indian Parliamentary Group selects an outstanding sitting Member of Parliament after considering his/her overall contribution to Parliament.

The India-Vietnam Bilateral Army Exercise (VINBAX-2018) was conducted at Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh. It is the first military exercise between the two countries. The six-day-long military exercise (from January 29 to February 3, 2018) was conducted as part of joint training undertaken with friendly foreign countries by Indian Army. VINBAX-2018 was Table Top Exercise to carry out training for Peace Keeping Operations under United Nations (UN) mandate. The Defence ties between India and Vietnam have been on an upswing with the primary focus being cooperation in the maritime domain.

The ceremony held on January 29 every year marks the culmination of the four-day-long Republic Day celebrations. As many as 26 performances were lined up by the Army, Navy, Air Force, state police and Central Armed Police Force bands taking turns to fascinate the audience including the president and other dignitaries. Out of the 26 performances, 25 tunes have been composed by Indian musicians, which are ‘Indian Soldiers’, ‘Jhelum’, ‘Aj Diya Rati’, ‘Herana Herana’, ‘Nritya Sarita’, ‘Kundan Singa’, ‘Mayur Nritya’, ‘Manohar’, ‘Natraj’, ‘Battle of the Sky’, ‘Sitare Hind’, ‘Mushkoh Valley’, ‘Giri Raj’, ‘Tejas’, ‘Gagan Shakti’, ‘The Great Marshal’, ‘The Brave Warriors’, ‘INS Nilgiri’, ‘Namaste India’, ‘Jai Bharti’, ‘Amrit Wani’, ‘Veer Gorkha’ and ‘Shere-E-Jawan’, while ‘Power of Sound’ and ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ are two new compositions. The only western tune will be ‘Abide with me’.

The Economic Survey, an annual publication of the Finance Ministry, is presented in both houses of Parliament during the Budget Session. It is a review of the developments in the country's economy over the previous one year. Sticking to the practice started last year, finance minister Arun Jaitley will present Union Budget 2018 on 1 February. It presents a summary of the performance of the government's major development programmes undertaken during that period. It also details the main policy initiatives of the government. The  Survey sees FY19 GDP growing 7-7.5% vs 6.75% in FY18. The Due to higher expected increase in imports, net exports of goods and services are slated to decline in 2017-18. The Exports biggest source of the boost to growth. It points out that the GDP growth has averaged 7.3% for the period from 2014-15 to 2017-18, which is the highest among the major economies of the world. Demonetisation helped share of financial saving to rise. The ratio of domestic saving to GDP reached 29.2 percent in 2013 to a peak of 38.3 percent in 2007, before falling back to 29 percent in 2016.  The Sanitation coverage in rural India increased substantially from 39 percent in 2014 to 76 percent in January 2018. With the launch of Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) on October 2, 2014, the sanitation coverage in rural India increased substantially. So far, 296 districts and 307,349 villages all over India have been declared Open Defecation Free (ODF). India is gradually improving its performance in Science and Technology. In 2013, India ranked 6th in the world in scientific publications. Its ranking has been increasing consistently. The growth of annual publications between 2009 to 2014 was almost 14%. This increased India's share in global publications from 3.1% in 2009 to 4.4% in 2014 as per the Scopus Database. The foreign exchange reserves grew by 14.1% on a year-on-year basis from the end of Dec 2016 to end of Dec 2017. The forex reserves as per 2016-17 were estimated at USD 370 billion. It grew to USD 409.4 billion in 2017-18.

Mobile payments company Paytm and Alibaba Group-owned AGTech Holdings Ltd have formed a joint venture to launch 'Gamepad' a gaming platform aimed at mobile users in India. The joint venture between Alibaba’s AGTech Holdings and Paytm was originally signed in July 2017. AGTech Media currently holds 45% in the joint venture, and Paytm owns the rest. At the time of the signing of the agreement, Paytm’s parent company One97 invested $8.8 million in the venture for its 55% stake, and AGTech Holdings put in $7.2 million for its 45% stake.

Union Minister Babul Supriyo and Madhya Pradesh Industrial minister Rajendra Shukla inaugurated Asia’s biggest auto testing track in Pithampur of Dhar district, Madhya Pradesh. The country’s research and development activities in the sector of automobile engineering and technology will get a boost, due to the construction of the auto testing track in Pithampur. Pithampur will emerge as a hub of the automobile industry in future. Union Minister further mentioned that the state government has provided 4 thousand acre land to NATRiP and the National Auto Testing Track has been developed on 3 thousand acre land. Automobile units can be established by the industrialists on the remaining one thousand acre land.

Sandeep Lamichhane became the first cricketer from Nepal to land a deal an IPL contract. He was picked by Delhi Daredevils in the player's auction. The 17-year-old, the only Nepal player in the IPL auction, was sold at his base price of Rs 20 lakh. The leg-spinner rose to prominence with a successful outing at the 2016 U-19 World Cup where he guided Nepal to a creditable eighth place. He hogged the limelight by becoming the second-highest wicket-taker in the tournament with 14 scalps in six innings.