Current Affairs 2017 January - Current Affairs Today Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs
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January 2017 – Current Affairs and Quiz
31 January 2017 Current AffairsQUIZ
Scientists from the UK, China and Germany have recently discovered a balloon-like sea creature called Saccorhytus, the earliest known ancestor of humans. The findings were published in the journal Nature in January 2017. The fossilised traces of this 540 million year old creature are exquisitely well preserved. This microscopic sea animal is the earliest known step on the evolutionary path that led to fish and humans. Saccorhytus : Saccorhytus is the most primitive example of a category of animals called deuterostomes which are common ancestors of a broad range of species including vertebrates. Saccorhytus was about a millimetre in size and is thought to have lived between grains of sand on the sea bed. Its body was symmetrical, which is a characteristic inherited by many of its evolutionary descendants, including humans. It was also covered with a thin, relatively flexible skin and muscles. It probably used to move by contracting its muscles and got around by wriggling.The most striking feature is its large mouth, relative to the rest of its body. It probably ate by engulfing food particles or even other creatures. However, the researchers could not find any evidence of anus in the creature, which suggests that it consumed food and excreted from the same orifice. The conical structures on its body might have allowed the water that it swallowed to escape and so these structures might have been the very early version of gills.Indian actress Priyanka Chopra, who has been turning heads on the red carpet with her elegant choice of outfits, has made it to the list of Harper's Bazaar's 150 most fashionable women. The 34-year-old "Quantico" star features on the list under the section of "New Guard. Thx u @harpersbazaarus for including me as one of ur 150 Most Fashionable Women, among such an extraordinary group!" Priyanka posted on Twitter alongside the link to the list. Other stars on the list include Brie Larson, Dakota Johnson, Emilia Clarke, Margot Robbie, Gal Gadot, Dakota Fanning and Elle Fanning.Cab-hailing firm Uber has launched two-wheeler aggregation service UberMOTO in Hyderabad. The firm, which has signed an agreement with the Hyderabad Metro Rail Ltd recently, formally launched the services . Using the app, people can hire two-wheelers for short-distance commute at cheaper rates. The agreement was aimed at providing the last-mile connectivity from and to the upcoming Metro railway stations. Uber Founder and CEO Travis Kalanick came to Hyderabad last month to seal the deal. Uber inducts two-wheeler owners into the network, the same way it ropes in cabs for the main service. It said the owners would be sensitised on safety aspects before being hired. Telangana Industries and IT Minister KT Rama Rao said the new service would help solve the transportation and congestion problems to some extent in the twin cities. Driver partners of Uber had organised a protest early this month against the reduced incentives. They were also protesting against the shared services and UberMOTO, which, they felt, would hit their earnings.India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) kicked off its operations by rolling out pilot services in Raipur and Ranchi. The bank will offer an interest rate of 4.5% on deposits up to ₹25,000; 5% on deposits of ₹25,000-50,000 and 5.5% on ₹50,000-1,00,000.The paid up equity of the new bank is ₹800 crore, of which the government has already infused ₹275 crore. The idea is to have a branch in every district and make 3 lakh postmen come alive in payment bank function.Also 1,000 ATMs of India Post will be transferred to IPPB. Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha stated that IPPB plans to have 650 branches across the country by September 2017.The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in its key recommendations for Union Budget 2017-18, has suggested differential excise duty regime and tax exemptions to be expanded to personal computers and servers. Ministry’s suggestions were as per the Phased Manufacturing Roadmap, it had worked out in consultation with the NITI Aayog. Retain differential excise duty regime and tax exemptions granted for the manufacture of mobile handsets and tablets, under the impending GST regime, to boost domestic manufacturing of electronic products. The current differential duty makes imports of mobile handsets more expensive compared with making them locally, encouraging smartphone players to set up manufacturing units in India. Specified capital goods for the manufacture of electronic goods be exempted from basic customs duty and countervailing duties to increase the competitiveness of the Indian electronics Industry. Specified key raw materials and inputs for the boosting manufacture of LCD and LED panels should be permitted at 0% customs duty. Extension of income tax benefit for research and development (R&D) to software products and the chip design industry. The proposal is expected to boost the generation of intellectual property in the country.The Union Finance Ministry has agreed to contribute partially to a new dedicated railway safety fund named as ‘Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh’ in the upcoming Union Budget 2017-18. The proposed safety fund will be utilised for track improvement, bridge rehabilitation, rolling stock replacement, human resource development, improved inspection system and safety work at level crossing, among other things. The Finance Ministry is likely to grant a fresh infusion of only Rs. 5,000 crore in the upcoming financial year out of the initial proposed corpus of Rs. 20,000 crore. About Rs. 10,000 crore will be earmarked from the Central Road Fund (CRF) that is collected by levying a cess on diesel and petrol at present for safety-related work. Railways may now be asked to fund the remaining Rs. 5,000 crore for the initial corpus from its own resources. For this Indian Railway’s may either have to bring back a cess on rail tickets to finance its share of Rail Safety Fund or look to fund it from non-budgetary resources. The Railway Ministry had requested the Union Finance Ministry to create ‘Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh’, a ‘non-lapsable’ safety fund of Rs. 20,000 crore over five years. Its request was based on the recommendations of a high-level safety review committee headed by Dr. Anil Kakodkar, former Chairman Atomic Energy Commission. The Committee, in its report submitted in 2012, had projected an investment requirement of Rs. 1 lakh crore on safety over five years.The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on 31 January 2017 presented the Economic Survey 2017 in the Parliament.’ The survey suggested following steps to revive the economy - It has advocated the concept of Universal Basic Income (UBI) as an alternative to the various social welfare schemes in an effort to reduce poverty. The survey juxtaposes the benefits and costs of the UBI scheme in the context of the philosophy of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. The Survey states that the Mahatma as astute political observer, would have anxieties about UBI as being just another add-on Government programme, but on balance, he may have given the go-ahead to the UBI. Based on a survey on misallocation of resources for the six largest Central Sector and Centrally Sponsored Sub-Schemes (except PDS and fertilizer subsidy) across districts, the Economic Survey points out that the districts where the needs are greatest are precisely the ones where State capacity is the weakest. This suggests that a more efficient way to help the poor would be to provide them resources directly, through a UBI. Exploring the principles and prerequisites for successful implementation of UBI, the Survey points out that the two prerequisites for a successful UBI are: (a) functional JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhar and Mobile) system as it ensures that the cash transfer goes directly into the account of a beneficiary and (b) Centre-State negotiations on cost sharing for the programme. The Survey says that a UBI that reduces poverty to 0.5 percent would cost between 4-5 percent of GDP, assuming that those in the top 25 percent income bracket do not participate. On the other hand, the existing middle class subsidies and food, petroleum and fertilizer subsidies cost about 3 percent of GDP. The Survey concludes that the UBI is a powerful idea whose time even if not ripe for implementation, is ripe for serious discussion.Hafiz Saeed, the chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and co-founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba has been placed under house arrest along with four others by Pakistani authorities. The order of detention was issued by Punjab Province’s Interior Ministry under Anti-Terrorism Act in accordance with a directive issued by Pakistan’s Interior Ministry on 27 January 2017. In the directive, Pakistan’s Interior Ministry had stated that the government had reasons to believe that JuD is engaged in activities that could pose a threat to peace and security and violate Pakistan’s obligations towards the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution No 1267. The directive further ordered the Punjab government to put JuD under Watch List. A similar order was also issued for Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) for a period of 6 months, which may be extended later. Highlights : The order called for preventive detention of Saeed, mastermind behind 2008 Mumbai terror attacks and four others including Zafar Iqbal, Abdullah Ubaid, Qazi Kashif Niaz and Abdur Rehman Abid. Saeed was arrested from Masjid-e-Qudsia Chauburji, the JuD headquarters in Lahore. He will be shifted to his residence in Jauhar Town, where he will be put under house arrest. His residence has been declared as a sub-jail. All party flags at the JuD offices were replaced with National flags on the directive of the provincial home department. The provincial authorities have also started removing JuD banners from the roads of Lahore. Hafiz Saeed : Hafiz Saeed is an internationally designated terrorist and his organisation JuD has been declared as a terrorist organisation by the United Nations and the United States of America. Saeed is one of the most wanted terrorists in India due to his involvement in three major terror attacks in India- 2008 Mumbai attacks, 2006 Mumbai train bombings and 2001 Indian Parliament attack. In April 2012, a $10 million bounty was placed on him by the United States of America for his alleged connection with the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, which lead to the killing of around 200 civilians. According to reports, the current crackdown is a result of immense pressure from the administration of the newly-elected President of the United States, Donald Trump.The Reserve Bank of India will lift restrictions on daily withdrawal of money from ATMs (automated teller machines) starting 1 February 2017. The announcement was made through a circular issued on 30 January 2017. According to the notice, the decision was taken after a review of the pace of remonetisation. Highlights : RBI has asked all banks to set their own daily limit as they did before the demonetisation of old high denomination currency notes on 8 November 2016. The RBI will also be removing all limits on cash withdrawals from current accounts, cash credit accounts and overdraft accounts. The weekly limit of Rs 24000 on savings bank accounts will continue to hold for now but is under consideration for withdrawal in the near future. Along with this, the RBI has also urged all banks to encourage their constituents to move towards digitisation of payments and switch the mode of payment from cash mode to non-cash mode.Chad's Moussa Faki Mahamat on 30 January 2017 was elected as the Chairman of the African Union (AU) Commission. Mahamat was elected through a voting held at the bloc's headquarters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. Mahamat defeated favourites Amina Mohamed of Kenya and Senegal's Abdoulaye Bathily after seven rounds of voting. The Chadian diplomat succeeds South Africa's Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the first woman to lead the AU. Moussa Faki Mahama : Moussa Faki Mahamat is served as the Prime Minister of Chad from 24 June 2003 to 4 February 2005. He is a member of the ruling Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS).He belongs to the Zaghawa ethnic group. From 2007 to 2008, he served as the President of the Economic, Social, and Cultural Council. Since April 2008, he has been serving as the Minister of Foreign Affairs. African Union Commission : The African Union Commission acts as the executive/administrative branch or secretariat of the AU. It is headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Commission is somewhat analogous to the European Commission.Thomas Kwasi Quartey is the Deputy Chairman of the Commission.AP Singh has been appointed as the interim Managing Director and CEO of India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) by the government. Earlier, he worked as a Joint Secretary in the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management. He was one of the founding members of the Unique Identification Authority of India. IPPB received the final license from RBI to start its operation as payment Bank. With this it has become the third entity after Bharti Airtel and digital payments firm Paytm to receive the approval from RBI and till now only Airtel has started operations. IPPB has been incorporated as a Public Sector Bank under the Department of Posts with 100% GOI equity. Payments banks can accept deposits from individuals and small businesses of up to Rs 1 lakh per account. IPPB would deal with acceptance of demand deposits, remittance services and other specified services.Dushyant Chautala is elected as youngest president of Table Tennis Federation of India during the Annual General Body meeting held in Gurugram on January 30, 2017. Chautala with two observers are selected for four years, extends until 2021. Kuldip Vats – representing Indian Olympic Association Ashwani Kumar – representing the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports from the Sports Authority of India The election has been conducted and supervised by Justice Ranjit Singh (Retd.) of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Three main office-bearers, eight vice-presidents, four joint secretaries and five out of eight Executive Committee members were filled as per the TTFI constitution and the other three vacant posts in the Executive Committee will be chosen by the TTFI head.Future Generali India Insurance Company (FGII) today said it has entered into a corporate agency tie-up with Bank of Maharashtra Bancassurance is one of the key avenues to distribute products. Our focus is to offer customised products, best customer service and sustain the trust of customers of Bank of Maharashtra . Currently bancassurance accounts for 5 per cent of Future Generali's total business. It has tie-up with over 100 banks across the country. Through this partnership, we aim to immensely benefit our customers by providing them an ease of access while choosing from a diverse range of non-life insurance products, all under one roofAmerican President Donald Trump has signed an executive order on January 27, 2017 to temporarily ban visas for refugees belonging to seven Muslim-majority countries namelyIraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. The decision aims at protecting United States from the entry of foreign terrorists to keep the nation safe. The ban is not aimed at restricting Muslim countries from entering US. As per the order, the travelers including legal permanent US residents residing in any of the seven mentioned countries would be prohibited from entering US for 90 days. Besides, refugee admission would also be banned for 120 days. The ban is not limited to these 7 nations. A further expansion of the list may be done as per the order of the US president. However, the ban would not apply to diplomats and members of international organizations.The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) has launched climate change programme under which the first study funded by Oracle and facilitated by CAF-India, will assess the status, distribution and conservation of pheasants and finches in the Central Himalayas. The Himalayas hold a rich natural heritage with diverse flora and fauna enhancing the beauty of the region. The study will focus on their conservation in the context of climate change with the help of community participation. The Indian subcontinent is home to nearly 50 species of pheasants and 62 species of finches, with several species listed in 'Globally Threatened' category by IUCN. Both these groups are spread across the Himalayas. Shrinking habitats combined with several biotic factors, along with trapping and poaching pressures in many areas have pushed several of them to near extinction. Climate change can highly influence vertical and horizontal distribution of these groups making boundaries of protected areas fuzzy. The species that can adapt will survive but habitat specialist and species sensitive to temperature will suffer. The major aim of this project is to assess the status of phasinidaes and fringillidaes, particularly globally threatened species found in Himalayan region and evaluate their distribution . This long-term monitoring project also aims to assess the socio-economic activities of local communities and involve them in conservation efforts and sensitize the local forest department staff. The project will contribute in making an inventory of pheasants and finches, documentation of local specific conservation issues, and designing local as well as species specific conservation action plan with the community participation. The conservation action plan of these sites is a first step towards the protection of the ecosystem which benefits both biodiversity as well as the people in the system.In a first, India's Fanatic Sports Museum opened to the public in Kolkata . The museum will display memorabilia from cricket, hockey, football and the Olympics and Paralympics. Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar were among others to inaugurate the museum.Siliguri lad Abul Hossain won the Kolkata Marathon as amateur runners from north Bengal and Northeast India dominated the first edition of the meet here. Hossain won the race with a timing of two hours 34 minutes and two seconds to leave Kolkata lad Biswanath Pal second, five minutes behind. Paritosh Roy finished third with a timing of two hours, 52 minutes 48 seconds.Sikkim's Mangali Tamang won the women's half marathon with a timing of one hour 31 minutes and 13 seconds.The Union Government has launched nationwide “Sparsh Leprosy Awareness Campaign (SLAC)” on the occasion of Anti-Leprosy Day (observed on the last Sunday of January). The day is observed every year on January 30 in the memory of Mahatma Gandhi who attained martyrdom on this day in 1948, to remember his selfless efforts and care for the people affected with Leprosy. Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae and it usually affects the skin and peripheral nerves. The mode of transmission of leprosy is still not known. According to WHO, the diseased had affected 2,12,000 people globally in 2015. India alone reported 1,27,326 new cases, accounting for 60% of new cases globally. India is among the 22 countries considered as having a “high burden for leprosy” along with high transmission. The other high-burden countries were Brazil and Indonesia. Leprosy Awareness Campaign : The thrust of SLAC campaign is to promote community participation in diagnosis and treatment of leprosy in its early stages and to spread awareness about the disease to help in early diagnosis and treatment. It seeks to promote decentralised community-based demand-driven approach from present centralised top-down delivery-driven approach to fight the disease. It also seeks to empower local communities to take over the responsibility of sensitising people to not stigmatise and discriminate against those affected.Seven new countries Lithuania, Gabon, Hungary, Indonesia, Malta, Mauritius and Russia – have signed Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement for Country-by-Country Reporting (CbC MCAA). With this, the total number of signatories has increased to 57 including India (signed in May 2015). CbC MCAA is a tax co-operation agreement to enable automatic sharing of country-by-country information. The CbC MCAA aims to boost transparency by multinational enterprises (MNEs) by allowing signatories to bilaterally and automatically exchange country-by-country reports. This exchange of information is facilitated as part of Action 13 of the base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) Action Plan adopted by the OECD and G20 countries in 2013. The agreement will help to ensure that tax administrations obtain better understanding of how MNEs structure their operations and also ensure that the confidentiality and appropriate use of such information is safeguarded.India’s first dedicated space observatory, ASTROSAT has captured the rare phenomenon of a small six-billion-year-old vampire star preying on a bigger celestial body. The vampire star phenomenon is observed when smaller star sucks material (mass and energy) out of the bigger companion star, causing its eventual death. It is also called a blue straggler as small star becomes bigger, hotter and bluer, giving it the appearance of being young, while the ageing companion burns out and collapses to a stellar remnant. Astrosat is India’s first dedicated multi-wavelength space observatory launched in September 2016. It is one of the major scientific missions of ISRO after the highly acclaimed Chandrayaan-I and Mangalyaan. It is placed at low earth equatorial orbit at altitude of 650 km. It has ability to observe celestial bodies like cosmic X-Ray sources and distant stars in different wavelengths simultaneously. It can observe the universe through ultraviolet, optical, low and high energy X-ray components of the electromagnetic spectrum. It has mission life of 5 years. Its successful launch made India member of select elite group of nations comprising US, Japan, Russia and Europe having its own space observatory.The Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports constituted a Task Force to prepare an action plan for 2020, 2024 and 2028 Olympic games. An announcement in this regard was made by the Union Ministry of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs and Sports Vijay Goel on 30 January 2017. The tenure of the committee will be for three months or till the time it submits its report, whichever is earlier. To suggest a comprehensive action plan that includes short-term, medium term and long-term measures for effective participation of Indian sports persons in the 2020, 2024 and 2028 Olympic games. To suggest effective methods to identify core probable medal prospects for the 2020 Olympics, their coaches and support staff.To suggest effective talent identification system for 2024 and 2028 Olympics. To identify components of world class support system for elite sports persons and lay down the pathway. To suggest ways to achieve synergy in the efforts of key stakeholders within the Union Gover and across State Governments, Indian Olympic Association (IOA), National Sports Federations, NGOs, etc. To suggest ways to significantly improve the standards of coaching and sports scientists within the country. To suggest ways to create and upgrade sports infrastructure that is necessary to train top-level athletes.To make suggestions regarding foreign training and exposure of top-level athletes. To make recommendations on any other matters referred to the Task Force by the Union Government. Member Who is he Pulella Gopichand Olympian and coach Abhinav Bindra Olympic gold medalist Rajesh Kalra Chief Editor, Times Group Online Om Pathak School Sports Promotion foundation Viren Rasquinha CEO – Olympic Gold Quest S. Baldev Singh (Hockey) Coach Prof GL Khanna Professor and Dean (Exercise and Physiology), Faculty of Applied Sciences, Manav Rachna International University, Faridabad Sandeep Pradhan Director General, Sports Authority of Gujarat (Member Convenor)
30 January 2017 Current AffairsQUIZ
The atomic clocks on the first satellite IRNSS-1A of the NavIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation), the indigenously built satellite-based positioning system, has developed a technical snag. One of the three crucial rubidium timekeepers (atomic clock) on IRNSS-1A satellites failed six months ago and the other two followed subsequently. ISRO will soon launch one of its back up navigation satellites as a replacement to IRNSS-1A satellite. Remaining satellites of NavIC constellation (having total 7 satellites) are performing their core function of providing accurate position, navigation and time. Each satellite has three clocks and a total of 27 clocks for the navigation satellite system. These clocks are supplied same foreign vendor. These clocks are important to provide precise data. The troubled IRNSS-1A spacecraft was put in space in July 2013 and has an expected life span of 10 years. The seventh navigation satellite, IRNSS-1G, was launched in April 2016. It is an extremely accurate type of clock regulated by the vibrations of an atomic or molecular system. Its principle of operation is not based on nuclear physics, but rather on atomic physics. It uses the microwave signal that electrons in atoms emit when they change energy levels. The accuracy of an atomic clock depends on two factors, temperature of the sample atoms and frequency and intrinsic width of the electronic transition (higher frequencies and narrow lines increase the precision).The Supreme Court has appointed former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai as head of four-member Committee of Administrators to run Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Other three members of the committee are noted historian Ramachandra Guha, Indian women’s team captain Diana Edulji and managing director of IDFC Limited Vikram Limaye. Committee of Administrators’ first task will be to find out how much the BCCI has complied with the recommendations made by the Justice R.M. Lodha Committee. Named Amitabh Chaudhary, Anirudh Chaudhary of BCCI and Vikram Limaye as representative of BCCI at the ICC meeting to be held in the first week of February, 2017. Declined Centre’s request to appoint Secretary of Sports Ministry as the member of the committee. It referred to its earlier judgement debarring Ministers and Government servants from holding office in BCCI. Dismissed the names to be appointed as BCCI administrators, submitted in a sealed envelope, while asserting that any individual over the age of 70 will not be appointed as BCCI administrators.2016 Olympic silver medalist PV Sindhu and Sameer Verma on 29 January 2017 won the men’s singles and the women’s singles titles respectively at the Syed Modi International Badminton Championships. To win the title, while Sindhu defeated Indonesia's Gregoria Mariska in the summit clash in straight games 21-13 21-14, Sammer Verma defeated B Sai Praneeth 21-19 21-16. For Sindhu, it was her maiden women’s singles title at the tournament. Overall, India won three titles out of the five events in the tournament, while the Men’s Doubles title and Women’s Doubles title were won by foreign nationals. India won the Mixed Doubles title when Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy emerged champions by defeating fellow Indians Ashwini Ponnappa and B Sumeeth Reddy 22-20 21-10 in the summit clash. In the Women's Doubles final, the Denmark duo of Kamilla Ryter Juhl and Christina Pedersen defeated the Indian duo of Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy 21-16 21-18. The Men's Doubles title was also claimed by Denmark. In the summit clash, Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen emerged winners against the Chinese Taipeh pair of Lu Ching Yao and Yang Po Han in straight games 21-14 21-15. P V Sindhu : Born on 5 July 1995, Pusarla Venkata Sindhu is an Indian professional badminton player. She received international attention as she broke into the Top 20 in the Badminton World Federation rankings released on 21 September 2012. On 10 August 2013, she became the first ever Indian women's singles player to win a medal at the 2013 World Championships. On 30 March 2015, she received India's fourth highest civilian honour, Padma Shri.She also became the second Indian female shuttler to win an Olympic medal after Saina Nehwal's Bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. In August 2016, she won the won historic silver medal in women’s singles badminton event at Rio Olympics.The North Eastern Council (NEC) on 29 January 2017 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts) of the Union Ministry of Textile in Shillong to harness the hidden potential of Cane and Bamboo of North Eastern Region (NER). The MoU was signed by Ram Muivah, Secretary of NEC and Development Commissioner(Handicrafts) Alok Kumar. Highlights : It will provide a push for the integrated and inclusive development of Cane & Bamboo Sector of NRE through skilled manpower, marketing support, technology dissemination and institutional support. This will altogether mobilise the masses and promote Bamboo sector as a whole throughout the country. The NEC and the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts) will promote Cane and Bamboo Technology Centre (CBTC) of Assam and the Bamboo & Cane Development Institute (BCDI) of Tripura as the Centres of Excellence in South East Asia. CBTC will be transformed into a Regional Centre of Excellence and the BCDI will be converted as a separate entity under the name Indian Institute of Bamboo Technology (IIBT). CBTC and BCDI will also collaborate for Institutional support for bamboo sector and will generate awareness among the masses about possibilities of sustainable utilisation of the raw materials. CBTC and BCDI will serve as a platform for generating and exchanging the knowledge base on the product development in Cane and Bamboo through the Discipline of Product Design and Innovation. The collective knowledge base of the sector will be made available through library resources, multimedia, publications and online resources. The Discipline of Bamboo and Cane product Innovation will also be helpful in defining the criteria for Industry standards and certification in terms of Quality. Moreover, in order to establish the presence of bamboo and cane as economically strong industry, education will also be imparted to Craftsmen, Designers, Farmers and Management professionals.P Vishwanath Shetty, retired judge of Karnataka High Court, was on 28 January 2017 sworn in as the Lokayukta of Karnataka, a seat that had been vacant since December 2015. He succeeds Y Bhaskar Rao, who left the seat in 2015. Shetty will be responsible for clearing all the pending cases and will work to re-establish the credibility of the anti-corruption ombudsman after the disgraceful exit of his predecessor Y Bhaskar Rao. Rao resigned in December 2015 after investigations showed that his son Y Ashwin was allegedly running threatening raids. Following this, Rao was arrested, but recently on 28 January 2017, he was granted conditional bail by the special Lokayukta Court. P Vishwanath Shetty : Shetty hails from Dakshina Kannada district. He has previously served as the Bar council nominee in the Press Council of India. Justice Shetty was enrolled as an advocate in 1966 and worked as a junior advocate under then Advocate General of Karnataka Thumbe Krishna Rao till 1971. He was elevated as a permanent judge of the High Court of Karnataka in 1995 and served till his retirement in May 2006. He has been practising as a Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court of India since July 2006.Anti-Leprosy Day was observed on 30 January 2017 across the country to spread awareness about the disease. Annually, the day is celebrated in the memory of Mahatma Gandhi to re-memorize his selfless efforts and care for the people affected by leprosy. Objectives of Celebrating Anti-Leprosy Day are : To raise awareness about the diseaseTo offer help to those affected by the disease through regular and free of cost treatment they need To make the diseased persons psychologically strong and help them to cope up with physical impairments of skin sores and nerve damage To ascertain that all affected persons are getting the necessary treatment, rehabilitation and care or not To estimate the marked decrease or increase in the rate of spread of the disease Leprosy Disease : Leprosy is also known as Hansen's disease (HD).It is a chronic infection caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepromatosis. Symptoms that develop include granulomas of the nerves, respiratory tract, skin and eyes. The disease results in a lack of ability to feel pain. Weakness and poor eyesight are also associated with the disease. India’s success story in eliminating Leprosy 1955: National Leprosy Control Programme launched 1983: National Leprosy Eradication Programme launched 1983: Introduction of Multi-Drug Therapy (MDT) 2005: Elimination of leprosy at the national level was achieved on 31 December 2005. 2012: Special action plan for 209 high endemic districts in 16 States/UTs launched 2016: A three-pronged strategy for early detection of leprosy cases in the community was introduced under the National Health Mission. 2016: A special Leprosy Case Detection Campaign was launched. As a result, more than 32000 cases were confirmed and were put on treatment.The Union Home Ministry has announced the appointment of Amulya Kumar Patnaik as the Delhi Police Commissioner. Patnaik succeeds Alok Kumar Verma, who has been made the Director of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Patnaik, a 1985 batch Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre IPS officer, is currently posted as Special Commissioner of Police (Administration). Commissioner of Police, Delhi : The Commissioner of Police, Delhi is the head of the Delhi Police. The Government of India constituted the Delhi Police Commission headed by Justice G.D. Khosla in the year 1966. The Commission was constituted to go into the Problems faced by Delhi Police. On the basis of the Khosla Commission Report, 4 Police districts, namely, North, Central, South and New Delhi were constituted. The Commission also recommended the introduction of Police Commissioner System, which was adopted from 1 July 1978. The Commission replaced the earlier Inspector General of Police system, where the Inspector General of police would report to the Divisional Commissioner of Delhi, thus having a dual authority in effect. After the Commission report, J.N. Chaturvedi was appointed the first Police Commissioner of Delhi.Y.S. Dadwal was the longest serving Commissioner of Delhi Police who served for 41 months (2007-2010).Wesley So on 29 January 2017 won the 2017 Tata Steel Chess Tournament at Manila, Philippines. So defeated Ian Nepomniatchi of Russia in the 13th and final round to grab the tournament. It is the third straight tournament victory for So, after winning the Sinquefield Cup and London Chess Classic. Wesley So : Wesley So is a Filipino-American chess grandmaster.He represents the United States. He became the youngest player to pass 2600 Elo rating in October 2008. With this, he broke the record held by Magnus Carlsen. He passed 2700 rating in 2013 and in February 2015 he entered the World top 10 after tying for second place at the 2015 Tata Steel Chess Tournament. In January 2017, he became the 11th player to pass the 2800 rating barrier, with a rating of 2808. Tata Steel Chess Tournament : The Tata Steel Chess Tournament takes place every year, usually in January, in a town called Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands. It was formerly called the Corus chess tournament. Until 1999, it was called the Hoogovens tournament. Later, the Dutch sponsor Koninklijke Hoogovens merged with British Steel plc to form the Corus Group, which became Tata Steel Europe in 2007. Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen are the only players to have won five titles of the Hoogovens/Corus/Tata Steel chess tournament.The North East Investors Summit 2017 was concluded on in Shillong, Meghalaya. The summit was held for two-days beginning on 29 January 2017. It was inaugurated by the Union Textiles Minister Zubin Irani. Highlights of North East Investors Summit 2017 : It was the first ever investors summit exclusively for the North Eastern Region (NER). It was organized jointly by the Union Ministry of Textiles and the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) in association with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CII). The primary objective of the summit was to showcase the NER as a global destination for investment. The summit also explored the possibility of bringing in the convergence of efforts of various central Ministries and North Eastern States to attract investment in the NER. The Summit was attended by all the North Eastern States, Export Promotion Councils, industries from North Eastern Region and leading investors across the country. The entire textile value chain from fibre to garment, including raw materials, was represented in the summit.The summit witnessed the participation of over 400 delegates from across the country. During the summit, 15 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed among local entrepreneurs, institutes and State Governments. Due to its inherent strength for skilled work force and locally available raw materials, the North Eastern Region has huge potential for investments, particularly in the field of textiles and handicrafts. In order to leverage this potential, the Union Ministry of Textiles is implementing projects worth Rs. 1,050 crore for handlooms, handicrafts, sericulture, apparel, garmenting and technical textiles sectors. Similar initiatives were launched by other line Ministries to boost investments in the NER. However, this information is mostly in silos and does not provide a comprehensive picture to the investors about the opportunities in the region. The North East Investors Summit 2017 was held to address this concern.Award-winning Hollywood film producer and Wimbledon tennis player Ashok Amritraj was on 27 January 2017 appointed as UN in India Goodwill Ambassador for the SDGs. In this capacity, Ashok Amritraj will work with the United Nations in India to amplify awareness about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Ashok Amritraj : He is an internationally-renowned iconic filmmaker. He has made over 100 films during the span of his 30-year extraordinary career.His films garnered global acclaim as well as worldwide revenues in excess of USD 2 billion. He has been a pioneering force in bridging the gap between India and Hollywood through film and media.At present, he is the Chairman and CEO of the Hyde Park Entertainment Group. Ashok Amritraj is also a former tennis player. During his 9-year career, he competed in doubles at the Wimbledon and the US Open. Winning the World Team Tennis Championship title with LA Strings in 1978 was one of his notable achievements in the career. Sustainable Development Goals : The United Nations General Assembly adopted the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda in September 2015. The SDGs, also known as Global Goals, build on the success of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that were in force between 2000 and 2015. The primary objective of the SDG is to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change.Serena Williams won the 2017 Australian Open Women’s Singles title. Serena defeated sister Venus Williams 6-4 6-4 to win her seventh Australian Open and 23rd Grand Slam singles title. Margaret Court of Australia, with 24, is the only player ahead of Serena in terms of Grand Slam singles titles. Serena Williams : Serena Williams is an American professional tennis player.She has been ranked world No. 1 in singles on seven occasions by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA). She became the world No. 1 for the first time on 8 July 2002. She holds the most major titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles.Her record of 39 major titles puts her third on the all-time list and second in the Open Era. She holds a total of 23 Grand Slam singles titles that marks the record for the most Major wins by a tennis player in the Open Era. She is the only tennis player in history to have won singles titles at least six times in three of the four Grand Slam tournaments. She is the only tennis player to have won 10 Grand Slam singles titles in two separate decades. Australian Open : The Australian Open is a major tennis tournament. It is held annually over the last fortnight of January in Melbourne, Australia.The tournament was first held in 1905. Chronologically, it is the first of the four Grand Slam tennis events of the year. The other three are the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. The 2016 Australian Open Women’s Singles title was won by Angelique Kerber.The 105th edition of the Australian Open tournament 2017 was held at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia from January 16 to January 29, 2017. Title Winners Runners Men’s Singles Roger Federer Rafael Nadal Women’s Singles Serena Williams Venus Williams Men’s Doubles Henri Kontinen /John Peers Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan Women’s Doubles BethanieMattek-Sands /Lucie Safarova Andrea Hlaváčková/Peng Shuai Mixed Doubles Abigail Spears /Juan Sebastián Cabal Croatia’s Ivan Dodig/Sania Mirz Australian Open : The Australian Open is a major tennis tournament held annually over the last fortnight of January in Melbourne, Australia. First held in 1905, the tournament is chronologically the first of the four Grand Slam tennis events of the year – the other three being the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.France’s Iris Mittenaere on 30 January 2017 was crowned the Miss Universe 2016. The pageant was held at the Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines. Pia Wurtzbach of the Philippines crowned her successor Iris Mittenaere at the end of the event. Miss Haiti Raquel Pélissier was announced the first runner-up while Miss Columbia Andrea Tovar was named the second runner-up in the pageant. India’s Roshmitha Harimurthy could not even make it to the top 15. Iris Mittenaere : Born on 25 January 1993, Mittenaere is a French model. She is the second Miss Universe from France. France's Christiane Martel was crowned the Miss Universe in the year 1953. Mittenaere had represented Nord-Pas-de-Calais at the Miss France 2016. On 19 December 2015, she was crowned Miss France 2016. Miss Universe : Miss Universe is an annual international beauty pageant. It is run by the Miss Universe Organization. It was founded in 1952 by the California-based clothing company Pacific Knitting Mills, and the Miss Universe Organization.The current Miss Universe logo, "the woman with stars", was created in the year 1998. The International Pageant of Pulchritude first used the title Miss Universe in 1926. The competition was held annually until 1935. However, the Great Depression and other events preceding World War II led to its demise. The first Miss Universe Pageant was held in Long Beach, California in 1952. The crown was won by Finland’s Armi Kuusela.The Telangana Government today said it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with French Aerocampus Aquitaine for setting up Aero Skill Academy . The scope of this partnership is to create a world-class aero skills academy in collaboration with academia and industry based in the state capital. The project deliverables include identifying skill gaps, designing courses and enabling EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) and DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) certifications for the academy and its courses. This partnership focuses on developing skills across youth as well as experienced professionals in tune with the latest industry trends. The new academy will offer specialised aeronautical courses in engineering, manufacturing and maintenance domains and shall offer long duration basic training programmes for young students and vocational training and short duration courses tailor-made to industry requirements for experienced technicians The MoU was signed by Jerome Verschave, General Manager, Aerocampus and Jayesh Ranjan, Secretary IT, Telangana.The 29th Kerala Science Congress was inaugurated by the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on January 28, 2017 at the APJ Abdul Kalam hall in the Mar Thoma College in Thiruvalla. The three day annual science event has been jointly organized by the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment and the Kerala Forest Research Institute. The main theme of the congress is ‘Genomics in health and disease’. The aim of such congress is to provide a forum for young researchers, academicians, technologists and others from the State and elsewhere to exchange knowledge and share their research findings and development of technologies relevant to the State of Kerala.The three-day long Brahmaputra Literary festival began in Guwahati, Assam on January 28, 2017. The festival has been by the State Government jointly with the National Book Trust. The event was inaugurated by the Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar in presence of Assam Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal and others. The main focus of the festival is in the languages, literature, culture, society, politics, performance traditions, music, identity, media of the northeastern region of the country including national and international elements packages. The festival would see the participation of about 150 authors from ten countries. Besides, prominent personalities and celebrities, thinkers, artists and other performers will also participate. Seminars, discussions, film show, book fair, music concert will be held as a part of the festival. The HRD Minister will also inaugurate a colorful carnival to mark the festival.President Pranab Mukherjee launched the pulse polio programme for 2017 on 29 Jan by administering polio drops to children aged below five years at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The programme, which will cover 17 crore children under five years of age, was launched on the eve of the National Immunization Day. Health minister J P Nadda and Ministers of State for Health Anupriya Patel and Faggan Singh Kulaste were present during the event. The Ministry will soon introduce Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine that will help reduce the risk of diarrhea, pneumonia and meningitis and (launch) a countrywide campaign with Measles-Rubella vaccine in a phased manner.Denmark has announced it will appoint a 'digital ambassador' to manage its relationship with technology giants like Google and Apple, becoming the first country to do so. Such companies have become a type of new nations and we need to confront that, said Denmark's Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen. The companies' market values are large enough to enter G20, he added.Ant Financial, e-commerce giant Alibaba's financial arm, has reached an agreement to acquire American money-transfer major MoneyGram for $880 million, in a deal that will expand the firm's business in the US after India and Thailand. The acquisition of MoneyGram is a significant milestone in our mission to bring inclusive financial services to users around the world. The company owns Alipay, one of China's biggest online payment platforms and controls the company that manages the country's largest money market fund, Yu'ebao. The transaction will connect MoneyGram's money transfer network of 2.4 billion bank and mobile accounts and 350,000 physical locations with Ant Financial's users. MoneyGram will remain headquartered in Dallas and continue to operate under its existing brand. The transaction will help expand Ant Financial's business following its partnering with Paytm in India and Ascend Money in Thailand. Alex Holmes, CEO of MoneyGram, said Ant Financial is an ideal partner. The transaction is subject to approval of MoneyGram's stockholders and regulatory approvals.The acquisitions is expected to finish in second half of 2017IndiaPost has become the third entity to receive a final license last week from the Central Bank to start its payment bank operations. Country’s largest telcom service provider Bharti Airtel and digital payments firm Paytm are the other two to have received the license while only Airtel has started operations so far. The government has also appointed AP Singh has interim MD and CEO of the India Post Payment Bank. A 1986 Indian Postal Service Officer he was earlier Joint Secretary in the department of disinvestment, ministry of Finance and Deputy Director General incharge of financial inclusion and payments systems at Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). Singh was one part of the founding team that launched Aadhaar and was stationed at the department of Post prior to UIDAI. As per the initial road map, each post office in the country will offer the post bank services. The department of post has an existing network of around 1,55,000 post offices currently. ET had reported earlier that IndiaPost plans to open 650 new branches for the payment bank. The branches will be co-located with the existing post offices. The idea is that the 650 branches will be in located in postal district headquarters and all the branches under that particular head post office will be enabled by the payment bank services. This will cover the entire network of 155,000 post offices in the country. Earlier this month, Airtel Payments Bank launched nationwide operations, offering 7.25% interest on savings bank balances, which is more than the maximum 7% paid by SBI on its fixed deposits. Bharti and Kotak Mahindra, which holds a 20% stake in the payments bank, would invest Rs 3,000 crore in the venture. Payments banks can accept deposits from individuals and small businesses of up to Rs 1 lakh per account. And RBI had set a condition that formal license has to be obtained before 31 March. While operation of Payment Banks such as Paytm are likely to be focused on technology based differentiation, IndiaPost is banking on its huge reach especially in the rural areas to be successful.Indian-American entrepreneur, philanthropist and venture capitalist Gururaj Deshpande is setting up India's biggest startup incubator in Hubballi, about 400km from Bengaluru. The 82,000-sqft facility is expected to open in September. It will have the capacity to seat over 1,200 people, which means it can accommodate at least 200 startups. The startups will be mainly from Dharwad district, said Deshpande at a startup event at Infosys's new campus in Hubballi. India's current biggest incubator is T-Hub in Telangana, housed in a 70,000 sqft building The Hubballi programme is a significant expansion of an idea that the Deshpande Foundation -founded by Deshpande and his wife Jaishree -seeded in 2008 and which has grown to be successful in the region. Called the Sandbox, the objective was to encourage problem-solvers from the local community and allow them to come with solutions with help from the foundation in terms of management, a financial model and connections to global innovators. Several innovative solutions have emerged through this programme, including a software-enabled machine that helps automate the process of sorting cashew nuts according to their quality , and a technique to improve the productivity of cotton farmers.Some 50 startups are part of the Sandbox. All of them will move to the new facility once it is ready. Deshpande was born in Hubballi, graduated from IIT-Madras and moved to the US. In 1998, he launched Sycamore Networks. The company went public in October 1999, and by March 2000, it was worth nearly $45 billion. With his 21% shareholding, Deshpande became one of the wealthiest self-made businessmen in the world. But when the internet bubble burst, Sycamore's shares too crashed, and it never quite recovered from it. In 2010, US President Barack Obama appointed Deshpande as co-chair of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.Country's foreign exchange reserves surged for the second consecutive week by USD 932.4 million to USD 360.775 billion in the week to January 20 on account of rise in foreign currency assets, the Reserve Bank The reserves in the previous week had increased by USD 687.9 million to USD 359.842 billion. Foreign currency assets (FCAs), a major component of the overall reserves, increased by USD 926.4 million to USD 338.434 billion in the reporting week . FCAs, expressed in US dollar terms, include the effects of appreciation/depreciation of non-US currencies, such as the euro, pound and the yen held in the reserves. Gold reserves remained unchanged in the week at USD 18.584 million . The special drawing rights with the International Monetary Fund rose by USD 2.3 million to USD 1.442 billion, while India's reserve position with the Fund, too, increased by USD 3.7 million to USD 2.314 billion .The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has issued a resolution to set up a Personal Status and Inheritance Court for non Muslims in Abu Dhabi. The aim of setting up the Court is to ensure access to services for all segment of the society and promote the culture of tolerance and acceptance of other communities values at the judiciary level. The strategic goals of the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department is to enhance the effectiveness and sustainability of the judicial procedures in harmony with the prevailing norms in the communityThe Centre will invest Rs 15,000 crores to develop 1,253 kilometres of roads in Assam into National Highways over the next few years, Union Minister Nitin Jairam Gadkari . Inaugurating the second road bridge over Brahmaputra here, the Union Road Transport and Highways Minister said the Centre has already sanctioned an investment of Rs 15,000 crores for developing the existing roads as NHs. Gadkari said the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL) will spend Rs 8,000 crores over the next two years for developing 143 kilometres of road, including a few bridges over Brahmaputra. The work on preparing the DPR for the bridge connecting Sonowal's constituency Majuli has already started. I have asked the officials to make a light weight and cost-effective bridge there . The Union Minister said the government was mulling construction of an axis control highway along the Brahmaputra for free flow of traffic and flood mitigation by dredging the river. He informed that Rs 1,00,000 crore worth of works for developing road infrastructure in Assam will be carried out by the end of the five-year tenure of the Central government. The Road Transport and Highways Ministry had set a target of constructing 40 kilometres of road every day by the end of this fiscal, but the ministry will miss the target. The new 1.49-kilometre bridge is constructed by National Highways Authority of India at an investment of Rs 475 crores. This much delayed bridge was scheduled to be inaugurated on January 1 this year by Gadkari, but the Assam government, in an unexpected 'superstitious' move, had postponed it to avoid the "inauspicious" month of Puh. The month of Magh, which started from January 15, is not considered "inauspicious" like Puh, Assam .The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has decided to set up weather stations in 660 districts of the country, a plan which will be further taken up to the blocks level. In the first phase, the IMD plans to set up the system in 130 districts which have already been shortlisted. The IMD has also tied up with the Ministry of Agriculture to use the Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in the districts, to use them as weather forecasting observatories. Every centre in a district will cost nearly Rs 10 lakh for salary and upkeep of infrastructure. Apart from it, the IMD will also spend Rs 3-4 lakh for setting up automatic weather stations which can measure temperature, wind velocity humidity and rains. The IMD will also start giving state-specific weather forecasts from this year. It currently gives region-specific weather forecasts namely for the southern peninsula, north-west, central and northeast regions during monsoons.
28 January 2017 Current AffairsQUIZ
The Union Finance Ministry has announced that the General Anti Avoidance Rule (GAAR) will be effective from the 1 April, 2017. In this regard Income Tax (IT) department has issued a slew of clarifications on implementation of GAAR, seeking to address concerns of foreign investors over implementation of the anti-evasion measure. GAAR seeks to prevent companies from routing transactions through other countries to avoid taxes. The rules are framed mainly to minimize and check avoidance of tax. India will be the 17th nation in the world to have laws that aim to close tax loopholes. At present, GAAR is in force in nations like Australia, Singapore, China and the UK. GAAR seeks to give the IT department powers to scrutinize transactions structured in such a way as to deliberately avoid paying tax in India. It will not be invoked in cases where investments are routed through tax treaties that have a sufficient limitation of benefit (LOB) clause to address tax avoidance. It should be noted that LOB clause in tax treaties generally requires investors to meet certain spending and employment criteria to avail the benefits of the treaty. All transactions or arrangements approved by courts and quasi-judicial authorities like the authority for advance ruling and that specifically address the issue of tax avoidance will not be subject to the GAAR test. GAAR will not be applicable on compulsorily convertible instruments, bonus issuances or split/consolidation of holdings in respect of investments made prior to 1 April 2017 in the hands of the same investor. In order to prevent misuse of GAAR provisions by the IT department, adequate safeguards also have been put in place based on which GAAR will be invoked. The proposal to apply GAAR first will be vetted by an officer at the level of the principal commissioner or commissioner of income tax and at the second stage by an approving panel headed by a high court judge. GAAR will not apply on foreign portfolio investor if its jurisdiction is based on non-tax commercial considerations and the main purpose is not to obtain tax benefits.President Pranab Mukherjee on 27 January 2017 appointed Banwarlal Purohit and P B Acharya as acting Governors of Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh respectively. At present, Banwarlal Purohit is the Governor of Assam, while Padmanabha Balakrishna Acharya is the Governor of Nagaland. These appointments come in the backdrop of resignation of V Shanmuganathan as Governor of Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh. V Shanmuganathan resigned from the office on 27 January 2017 following a controversy, in which he was accused of sexual misconduct. V Shanmuganathan : V Shanmuganathan is a veteran Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activist.He was sworn in as the Governor of Meghalaya in May 2015. He was given the additional charge of Governor of Arunachal Pradesh in September 2016 after J P Rajkhowa was removed from the position. Shanmuganathan also worked as the acting Governor of Manipur between September 2015 and August 2016.Born on 21 November 1949, he hails from the Thanjavur district in Tamil Nadu. Banwarilal Purohit : He was appointed as the Governor of Assam by the President Pranab Mukherjee in August 2016. He took charge from Padmanabha Acharya. Banwarilal Purohit was a Member of Parliament for three times. He represented the Nagpur Lok Sabha constituency twice as an Indian National Congress member and once as a member of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). P B Acharya : He was appointed as the Governor of Nagaland on 14 July 2014 by the President of India under the Article 153 and Article 156 of the Constitution. He hails from Udupi district in Karnataka. He is credited for planning University of Delhi's Gyanodaya Express to North East of India.Alexander Kadakin, Russian ambassador to India, passed away on 26 January 2017 following a brief illness. He was 67. Kadakin was one of the longest serving envoys as he had spent a significant part of his life working to promote Russia's ties with India. Alexander Kadakin : He held the position of Russian ambassador to India in New Delhi from November 2009, this was his second stint as ambassador to India. He was also in India as Deputy Chief of Mission when the Soviet Union broke up in 1991 and at that time he became the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to India in 1999, an assignment he held for 12 years over two postings. He began his diplomatic career in 1971 as a Third Secretary at the Russian Embassy in India and since then, he had been closely associated with promoting Russian-Indian relations. He first came to India just ahead of the signing of the Indo-Soviet Friendship and Cooperation Treaty. Kadakin also stood out among the diplomatic community for his fondness for Indian culture and language. Apart from his diplomatic career, he also authored and translated several books from English and Hindi. He published over 50 articles in scientific journals and press in Russia and India.The Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan launched the IT Project, e-Health Kerala which is named Jeevan Rekha on January 25, 2017 at Peroorkada Model Government Hospital. The project has been developed by the Health Department in association with the state IT Mission. It aims to create a centralized database that will have the complete healthcare records of all the citizens in the state through the digitization of government hospitals. The pilot project would be launched in Thiruvananthapuram. After this the project will be launched in two phases. In the first phase seven districts would be covered including Kollam, Malappuram, Kasargod, Alappuzha, Idukki, Kannur and Ernakulam. The remaining districts would be covered in the second phase. The Health Minister of state K K Shylaja distributed 8,000 tablet computers to health workers to conduct the public health survey for creating the database. The comprehensive health project costs around Rs. 96 crore which has been funded mostly by the central government. The project will benefit the citizens to avail the medical benefits without the need go to the hospitals. They can use the unique IDs generated for each citizen to view their health documents from anywhere. Besides, the project will allow the state to closely monitor the health of its people and can take effective control measures over contagious diseases.