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National – Across the India

1. The three -day Brahmaputra Literary Festival has ended on 30th January 2017, where Assam Governor Banwari Lal Purohit will grace the closing ceremony as the chief guest.

The function has been graced by Gauhati University Vice-chancellor Dr. Mridul Hazarika, eminent Italian author Carlo Pizzaati and Indian writer Narendra Kohli with few others.

2. The Chennai Police has decided to impose Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) at the Marina beach and surrounding areas, where agitation against the Jalikattu ban acquired the centre-stage.

According to police officials, the order, that came into force will remain effective until 12th February.

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3. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has decided to set up weather stations in 660 districts of the country.

In the first phase, the IMD plans to set up the system in 130 districts which have already been short-listed.

4. Union minister Nitin Gadkari said that the Centre will invest Rs 15,000 crores to develop 1,253 km of roads in Assam into National Highways over the next few years.

Centre has already sanctioned an investment of Rs 15,000 crores for developing the existing roads as NHs.

5. The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) has launched the climate change programme.

It is launched to conduct a study to assess the status, distribution, and conservation of Pheasants and Finches in Central Himalayas.

The Union Finance Ministry has agreed to contribute

6. partially to a railway safety fund named as Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh in the upcoming Union Budget 2017-18.

The fund will be utilized for track improvement, bridge rehabilitation, rolling stock replacement, human resource development, improved inspection system and safety work at a level crossing, among other things.

7. All India Radio Center at Agartala celebrated 50 years of completion.

Tripura Governor Tathagata Roy has inaugurated the 2 -day long programme at All India Radio Campus.

8. Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje has become the most liked Chief Minister on social media platforms, leaving behind Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and U.P. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

Her official Facebook page has notched up more than 71 lakhs likes so far.

9. Software-enabled mobile app M-STRIPES (Monitoring System for Tigers-Intensive Protection and Ecological Status) launched at Corbett Tiger Reserve for monitoring of tiger reserves in the country.

Foresters of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh are participating in the training workshop.

The foresters will learn about data collection and software entry under the guidance of scientists from Wildlife Institute of India at Corbett.

10. Textile minister Smriti Zubin Irani inaugurated the first-ever apparel and garment-making center in Meghalaya.

The event was inaugurated in the presence of Union MoS for home Kiren Rijiju and chief minister Mukul Sangma near Ampati in South West Garo Hills.

11. The Union Minister for Panchayati Raj and Rural Development, Narendra Singh Tomar stated that the Ministry of Defence is set to open its Defence Unit in Morena district of Madhya Pradesh.

The unit would be set up in Kailaras and Sabalgarh tehsil areas and span over 969.735 hectares of land at a cost of Rs.1500 crore.

12. The Indian government has proposed to launch an online education platform SWAYAM by leveraging information technology.

This platform will comprise of at least 350 online courses and will enable students to virtually attend the courses taught by the best faculty as well as access high-quality reading resources, participate in discussion forums, take tests, and earn academic grades.

13. The government will build two more underground crude oil storages at Chandikhol in Odisha and Bikaner in Rajasthan.

India has already built underground storages in rock caverns at Visakhapatnam (1.33 million tonnes), Mangalore (1.5 MT) and Padur (2.5 MT).

14. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced two new All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Jharkhand and Gujarat as part of increasing healthcare in the country in Union Budget 2017-18.

The government has targets to eliminate Kala-Azar by 2017 and Leprosy by 2018 among other diseases to be eliminated within a targeted time.

15. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu informed that the government currently has no proposals to link Aadhar number with railway passes.

The government is in the process of putting in place a Human Resources Management System (HRMS) to ensure that employees and pensioners of Railways can book tickets online through any portal.

16. To make India an innovation-driven economy, NITI Aayog, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) together launched a mega initiative India Innovation Index.

It will rank states on Innovations through index portal that will capture data on innovation from all Indian states and regularly update it in real time.

17. Tata Motors launches a sub-brand TAMO to introduce new technology equipped vehicles faster to the market.

Under the sub-brand, it will launch vehicles that are low in volumes requiring low investment.

It is also looking at a different buying experience for TAMO vehicles.

18. On the eve of World Cancer Day, a Centre of Integrative Oncology was inaugurated in Noida.

Ajit Sharan, the secretary of the Ministry of AYUSH and Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, the secretary of the Department of Health Research at National Institute of Cancer Prevention Research (NICPR) inaugurated the facility.

List of National and International Meets and Summits

International – Across the Globe

1. Denmark will become the first country in the world to appoint a special digital ambassador to work on building ties with the globe’s tech giants.

The purpose of the appointment is, to be on the forefront of technological development and the political and ethical issues that come with it, and to make Denmark more attractive for investment.

2. The 53rd SAARC Programming Committee meeting has taken place in Kathmandu on 1st February 2017.

The meeting discussed budget management for the operation of the Kathmandu-based SAARC Secretariat on 1st and 2nd February.

3. Ireland has voted to be the world’s first country to fully divest public money from fossil fuels.

The Irish Parliament passed the historic legislation in a 90 to 53 vote in favor of dropping coal, oil, and gas investments from the 8bn Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, part of the Republic’s National Treasury Management Agency.

4. A legislation has been introduced in the US House of Representatives which doubles the minimum salary of H-1B visa holders to $130,000.

The legislation making it difficult for firms to use the programme to replace American employees with foreign workers, including from India.

5. Kuwait has suspended the issuance of visas for nationals of Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran.

The Kuwaiti government has told would-be migrants from the five banned nations to not apply for visas, as it is worried about the possible migration of radical Islamic terrorists.

Kuwait was the only nation to prohibit the entry of Syrian nationals prior to Trump’s executive action.

6. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia, scheduled for 1st – 3rd June 2017, as the Guest of Honour.

The forum witnesses more than 4,000 people from over 60 different countries every year.

It brings together the chief executives of major Russian and international companies, heads of state, political leaders, prime ministers, deputy prime ministers, departmental ministers, and governors.

7. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and about 1,000 of his colleagues have donated over USD 1.5 million to a leading rights group.

The group has pledged to fight President Donald Trump’s temporary ban on refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries.

8. China plans to sell its new short-range missiles AR-2 to foreign countries.

AR-2 is a short-range air-to-surface missile with a weight of about 20 kg and a 5-kg warhead, an AR-2 has a maximum range of 8 km and a top speed of 735 km per hour.

9. The Right to Information (RTI) Act came into force in Sri Lanka.

A piece of legislation aimed at restoring transparency and good governance in a country that has been plagued by corruption and misrule.

9. India and Norway have founded a Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to accelerate life-saving research and development for epidemics.

An R&D blueprint for action to prevent epidemics will be prepared to develop a research and development blueprint during epidemics.

Sports & Athletics

1. PV Sindhu eased to her first title of 2017 at the Syed Modi International Grand Prix Badminton Championships, with Sameer Verma emerging victorious in the men’s section.

Verma had to go some extra miles before beating compatriot and ninth seed Sai Praneet 21-19, 21-16 for his maiden GP Gold title.

2. Former Team India cricket captains Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly inaugurated India’s first multi-sport museum.

Named ‘Fanattic Sports Museum’, this is a joint venture of sports historian Boria Majumdar and industrialist Harshavardhan Neotia.

3. Abul Hossain won the Kolkata Marathon as amateur runners from North Bengal and Northeast India dominated the first edition of the meet.

Sikkim’s Mangali Tamang won the women’s half marathon with a timing of one hour 31 minutes and 13 seconds.

4. Australian Open Tennis Tournament 2017 was concluded on 29th January 2017. It is the first Grand Slam tournament of the year.

Roger Federer beats Rafael Nadal in Men’s single category.

Serena Williams beat Venus Williams in Women’s Single category.

J Peers and H Kontinen beats Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan in Men’s Double category.

Bathenie Mattek Sand and Lucie Safarova beats A. Hlaváčková and S. Peng in Women’s Double category.

Abigail Spears and J Cabal beats Sania Mirza and Ivan Dodig in Mixed Doubles category.

5. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that his government would set up a task force to create a strategy to help sportspersons prepare for the next three Olympics-2020, 2024, 2028.

The members of the committee are: Pulella Gopichand, Abhinav Bindra, Rajesh Kalra, Om Pathak, Viren Rasquinha, S Baldev Singh, Prof. G. L. Khanna, Sandeep Pradhan.

6. West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell was banned for one year for a doping whereabouts rule violation.

He was revealed to have committed the violation 11 months ago, after registering three filing failures in 2015.

7. Amit Mishra, after picking up his 201st T20 wicket in the Bengaluru T20I, became India’s highest wicket taker in T20 cricket, overtaking Ravichandran Ashwin’s record of 200 wickets.

Mishra achieved the milestone in his 170th T20 match after taking the wicket of England’s Jason Roy.

Dwayne Bravo holds the record for the most wickets in T20s with 367 scalps.

8. Olympic and Paralympic medals for the Tokyo 2020 Games will be made from recycled mobile phones.

The Japanese public will be asked to donate old phones and small appliances to gather two tonnes of gold, silver, and bronze for the 5,000 medals.

The project hopes to promote sustainability and reduce costs.

9. Opener Rishabh Pant, who made his international debut in the T20I against England at Bengaluru has become India’s youngest T20I debutant.

Rishabh, aged 19 years, 120 days, has gone past Ishant Sharma, who made his India T20I debut aged 19 years, 152 days.

Rishabh was selected after scoring a triple century in the Ranji Trophy this season.

10. Young India leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal became the first Indian bowler to record a five-wicket haul by finishing with figures of 6 for 25.

Chahal is now only the second bowler after Sri Lankan mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis to snare six wickets in an innings in T20 Internationals.

11. Lakshya Sen became the latest junior World No 1 of badminton’s rankings, following in the footsteps of Siril Verma and Aditya Joshi.

He is the winner of U-19 tournaments in Switzerland and Denmark, as well as international series in Pune and Hyderabad.

12. The player auction of the upcoming edition for the Indian Premier League (IPL) will be held on 20th February 2017 in Bengaluru.

So far, more than 750 players have registered for the Player Auction 2017.

13. As per an official BCCI release, an auction will have eight franchises having a total balance purse of Rs.143.3 crore for player bids for the upcoming season.

List of Important Hydro, Thermal & Nuclear Power Plants in India [PDF]

Awards & Recognition

1. Iris Mittenaere of France bags the Miss Universe 2016 pageant held in the Philippines.

86 candidates were vying for the coveted crown, which was last held by Miss Philippines Pia Wurtzbach from the Philippines.

Bollywood actress Sushmita Sen, who won her Miss Universe pageant in the year 1994 at Manila, was also on the judges’ panel this year.

2. Indian superstar Priyanka Chopra has made it to the list of Harper’s Bazaar’s 150 most fashionable women.

She joins other stars on the list which included Brie Larson, Dakota Johnson, Emilia Clarke, Margot Robbie, Gal Gadot, Dakota Fanning and Elle Fanning.

3. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh presented the First National Entrepreneurship awards 2016 in New Delhi.

Awards were presented in 11 categories.

Agri, Food, & Forestry Products – Wow Momo Foods Private Ltd

Chemicals, Pharma, Bio and other processed material – Saral Design Solutions Private Limited

E-commerce, Logistics, Transport & other Services – JETSETGO Aviation Services

Engineering Services – Swadha Energies

IT & ITES, Financial – Lucideus Tech

SC/ST – JeevAnksh Eco Products Private Limited

Women – S V Engineering and Consultancy Services

Education institute – RSETI, Karnataka

Incubator – TREC-STEP Tiruchirappalli Regional Engineering College- Science and Technology Entrepreneurs Park

Mentor (Government Sector) – Dr. Harkesh Kumar Mital, Head, National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board, (NSTEDB), Department of Science &Technology, Govt. of India.

Mentor (Private Sector) – Mr. Pradeep Gupta, Chairman, CyberMedia Group

4. Noted Sitar and Surbahar player Ustad Imrat Khan has turned down the Padma Shri award.

He believes it comes too late and is not parallel to his worldwide reputation and contributions.

Mergers & Acquisitions

1. Future Generali India Insurance Company (FGII) has entered into a corporate agency tie-up with Bank of Maharashtra.

The focus is to offer customized products, best customer service and sustain the trust of customers of Bank of Maharashtra.

2. Idea Cellular and Vodafone confirmed that the two companies are exploring a merger of business operations which would create the country’s biggest telecom company.

The confirmation ended months of speculation that the two operators were exploring a deal to help fend off Reliance Jio whose recent arrival shook up India’s ultra-competitive mobile network market.

Appointments & Resignations

1. 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.

2. India Post Payments Bank (IPPB), has received Reserve Bank of India’s final nod to commence commercial operations.

The Centre has appointed AP Singh, who was earlier Joint Secretary in the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management, as the interim Managing Director and CEO of IPPB.

3. The government has appointed Amulya Patnaik as commissioner of Delhi police.

Patnaik, a 1985 batch IPS officer from Union Territories cadre, will replace Alok Verma, who has been named as the director of CBI.

4. Dushyant Chautala is appointed as new president of Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI).\

The election to all posts conducted and supervised by Justice Ranjit Singh (Retd.) of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

5. The Co-founder of Snapdeal investor Kalaari Capital, Vani Kola has joined homegrown startups Flipkart and Ola to hit out at foreign firms on their capital dumping practices.

6. Bollywood Actress Anushka Sharma becomes female face of Swachh Bharat Mission.

She has taken the responsibility of spreading awareness about the same among women.

Megastar Amitabh Bachchan is already doing his best to make India a cleaner place by joining forces with PM’s mission.

7. Former Delhi police commissioner Alok Verma took charge as the new Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chief.

Verma’s appointment was approved for a period of two years.

8. Godrej Properties has made changes to its leadership team with Chairman Adi Godrej assuming the Chairman Emeritus position.

Pirojsha Godrej, who is currently the Managing Director and CEO of the company, will be the Executive Chairman.

Mohit Malhotra, currently an Executive Director at Godrej Properties, will be the new Managing Director and CEO.

9. AIADMK General Secretary V K Sasikala appointed senior leaders, including some former Ministers and a former Mayor, to key party posts.

She announced the appointments of various senior leaders, including Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar to a number of posts.

Sasikala also announced the removal of Ambattur MLA V Alexander as AIADMK’s MGR Youth Wing Secretary.

10. Sanjeev Sanyal, economist, author and former global strategist and Managing Director of Deutshe Bank, has been appointed as the principal economic adviser in the finance ministry.

He has been appointed on contract for a three-year period from the date of assumption of charge of the post or until further orders.

11. The National Stock Exchange (NSE), India’s largest stock exchange by turnover, named Vikram Limaye as the new Managing Director.

The board of directors of NSE, chaired by former finance secretary Ashok Chawla, cleared the decision.

12. Former Deputy CAG Suman Saxena, Mukulita Vijaywargiya and Navrang Saini have been appointed as whole-time members in Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI).

Vijaywargiya, an officer of Indian Legal Service, is working as Additional Secretary in Ministry of Law and Justice.

Saini, who belongs to Indian Corporate Law Service, is Director General in Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

13. Pakistan’s High Commissioner in India Abdul Basit is set to replace Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhary as the new Foreign Secretary.

Chaudhary has been designated to become country’s envoy in the US.

Pakistan will take a decision about the new high commissioner in India after the return of Basit.

14. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Pannerselvam removed three top officials from CM’s office, who were appointed by former CM J. Jayalalithaa.

Former chief secretary Sheela Balakrishnan, K N Venkataramanan and A Ramalingam are the three officials who were removed.

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Economics & Banking GK

1. The Deshpande Foundation, the philanthropy arm of Silicon Valley entrepreneur Gururaj Deshpande, will launch the country’s largest start-up incubation centre here (earlier Hubli), alongside the new campus of information technology giant Infosys.

The foundation aims to promote entrepreneurship in India’s tier-II and tier-III cities.

2. Union finance Minister Arun Jaitley tabled the Economic Survey 2016-17 in Parliament budget session.

The survey projects the economy to grow in the range of 6.75% to 7.25% in the fiscal year 2017-18 in the post-demonetization year.

3. Income Tax Department (ITD) has initiated Operation Clean Money.

The initial phase of the operation involves e-verification of large cash deposits made during 9th November to 30th December 2016.

4. Mumbai-based lender State Bank of India wants to increase its stake to at least 51% from 40% in GE Capital Business Process Management Services, and to 74% from 60% in SBI Cards and Payments, which markets and distribute credit cards.

The move is in line due to demonetization as it increasingly drives consumers to spend online or through cards.

5. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented Union Budget 2017.

Read the major highlights of the budget here – Union Budget 2017-18 Highlights – Impact, Reviews & Judgement

6. Hong Kong and Shanghai Corporation (HSBC) said that India is expected to clock a GDP growth of 7.1 percent in 2017-18.

This is because the country gets sufficiently remonetized and the schemes in the Budget play a supportive role.

It will boost the consumption levels in the country.

7. Taxpayers who do not file their Income Tax Returns (ITRs) on time will have to shell out a penalty of up to Rs. 10,000, but from the 2018-19 Assessment Year (AY).

A fee of Rs.5000 shall be payable, if the return is furnished after the due date but on or before December 31 of the assessment year and a fee of Rs. 10,000 shall be payable in any other case.

8. AT&T will launch 5G wireless in two cities this year.

The carrier has announced that its ultra-fast wireless will launch in two cities, Austin and Indianapolis.

Initially, these 5G areas will deliver peak speeds of 400Mbps or better.

9. Government plans to exit its holding in three PSUs, Bharat Pumps & Compressors, Bridge & Roof Co and Hindustan Fluorocarbons, by selling its stake to strategic buyers.

Finance ministry wants to merge four PSUs-Hindustan Prefab, Engineering Projects (India) Ltd, HSCC (India) Ltd and National Projects Construction Corporation with similarly-placed CPSEs.

10. Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that digital transactions had risen to 3 crores a day in 2016 from only 66 lakhs a day in 2013.

He exhorted entrepreneurs to develop more technologies for education and social inclusion.

11. The Reserve Bank will soon put into circulation new Rs.100 banknotes which will be like the design of the ones in Mahatma Gandhi Series-2005.

It will bear the signature of Dr. Urjit R Patel, Governor, Reserve Bank of India.

All the banknotes in the denomination of Rs.100 issued by the Bank in the past will continue to be legal tender.

12. Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das expressed confidence that the economy will grow upwards of 7 per cent next fiscal.

He said there will be a transient impact of demonetization on the economy, but it will not spill over to the next fiscal.

Bills – New & Amendments

1. The Union Cabinet had approved the amendments in the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 to modify the list of SC in Odisha.

It also approved amending the Constitution (Pondicherry) SC Order, 1964 to change the name of the Union territory to Puducherry from Pondicherry.

In this regard, The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Orders (Amendment) Bill, 2017, incorporating the above changes, to be introduced in the parliament.

2. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday introduced a Bill on demonetization in the Lok Sabha to formally make the banning of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes a law.

The bill seeks to replace the ordinance on demonetization promulgated by the government in December 2016.

The Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Bill states holding, transfer and receiving of the recalled Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes will amount to a criminal offence punishable with a minimum fine of Rs. 10,000.

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)

1. India and Sri Lanka signed an agreement to construct a multi-ethnic tri-lingual school in a north central district of the island nation.

It would provide opportunities to Sinhala, Tamil, and Muslim students to learn in a multi-cultural environment.

2. Apple India Pvt. Ltd seems to have reached an agreement with the Karnataka government to set up a manufacturing plant in Peenya Industrial Area of Bengaluru.

Apple’s representatives met officials of the Karnataka government and had positive discussions about manufacturing initiatives.

Apple is expected to start production for the Indian market in April.

3. State-owned Rural Electrification Corporation Ltd. has inked three pacts to extend financial assistance of around Rs 60,000 crore to Andhra Pradesh.

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