Current Affairs

Radha Mohan Singh to lead a delegation to Germany for participation in the Global forum for Food & Agriculture and G-20 agriculture ministers meeting 

Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Shri Radha Mohan Singh to lead a five member delegation to Germany for participation in the Global Forum for Food & Agriculture from 19-21 January,2017 and G-20 Agriculture Ministers Meeting on 22nd January,2017 in Berlin, Germany. Shri Singh will depart for Berlin, Germany in the late night of 18th January
●    The Global Forum for Food and Agriculture is an International Conference organized by Germany during 19-21, January 2017 in Berlin on the subject “Agriculture and Water – Key to Feeding the World” which is to be attended by Agriculture Ministers of 65 countries. G-20 Agriculture Ministers meeting, scheduled for January 22, 2017 would focus on the theme of “Agriculture & Water - Digitalization in the Agriculture Sector” and bring together Ministers from the world’s twenty biggest economies to discuss the way ahead for the global agricultural sector.
●    During the visit, the  Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Minister will address the participants of the 9thBerlin Agriculture Ministers’ Conference under the aegis of GFFA as well as the G-20 Agriculture Ministers meeting.  The Minister will also deliver the inaugural address at the Expert Panel convened as part of the GFFA meeting, apart from bilateral meetings with his counterparts from other countries including Germany, Mexico and Lithuania.
●    During the visit, Shri Singh will highlight India’s initiatives in the areas of Agriculture and Water including such flagship programme as Soil Health Card scheme and  Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) for improving soil fertility and water use efficiency to achieve ‘more crop per drop’ in a focused manner and extending the coverage of precision irrigation ‘Har Khet Ko Pani.  The Minister will also showcase India’s initiatives in the use of digital technology for the benefit of our farmers including the e-NAM scheme, the Kisan Call Centre, digital payment initiatives and other measures to bridge the digital divide in India’s rural and agricultural sectors.


Digi Dhan Mela held at Jammu evokes massive public participation

The Digi Dhan mela, a Government of India initiative aimed at incentivizing digitally enabled transformation in the country following the recent demonetization was held today at Gulshan Ground, Gandhi Nagar Jammu. Chief Minister J&K Ms Mehbooba Mufti, Dr. Jitendra Singh Union Minister in PMO, Shri Arjun Ram Meghwal Union MoS for Finance, Shri Haseeb Drabu J&K Finance Minister, Shri Imran Raza Ansari J&K Information Technology Minister and other dignitaries were present on the occasion. 
●    Speaking on the occasion, Dr Jitendra Singh Union Minister in PMO emphasized the need of digitization in the country for easy transfer of money. Digitization will pave way for a new revolution in which paper currency will be replaced by digital transactions thus proving beneficial to curb black money, he added. 
●    Dr. Jitendra Singh, further informed that the Union Government is contemplating to merge Jan Dhan, Aadhar and Smart Phones for boosting the economy of the country and for the easy transfer of money. In a few years, the mindset of the common masses would have a drastic change to adopt the digital technologies. 
●    Earlier, Shri Arjun Ram Meghwal, Union MoS for Finance while addressing the gathering said that menace of the shadow economy will be curbed by the adoption of digitization in the country. 
●    At the event huge public participation was seen thronging different stalls put up by various banks, telecom companies, Aadhar and different departments of the State Government to gather first hand information about various Digital Schemes of the Government of India.


Minister of Railways Unveils Mission 41k 

Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu unveiled Mission 41k during the Roundtable Discussion with External Stakeholders on Energy Initiatives of Indian Railways. Shri Suresh Prabhu said that Ministry of Railways has come up with Mission 41k to save Rs. 41000 crore in the next decade in Railways’ energy costs. To implement this comprehensive strategy with the participation of various stakeholders, we shall take advantage of regulatory frameworks, look at new technologies. 
●    He said that this is an opportunity to relook at everything and determine an ideal baseline. All electrification works done in the last decade would be doubled and this would change the energy mix of Indian Railways. Indian Railways has set a target of 1000 MW of solar power and 200 MW of wind energy.
●    Shri Prabhu also informed that around 15 – 16 Roundtable Conferences with Stakeholders are in the pipeline on various initiatives of Indian Railways. He said that a Round Table discussion is planned on Data Analytics. Indian Railways generates massive amounts of data and has a huge captive audience. Ability to optimally utilise these will generate additional revenue for the Indian Railways.
●    Chairman Railway Board, Shri AK Mital said that a target of moving 45% of the freight traffic can be achieved only when it can move freight in a cost efficient manner. This has led to Railways competing with road sector. 
●    At present 70% traffic runs on electric traction. In next 6 -7 years target has been set to run 90% of the traffic on electric traction. By procuring electricity through open access, the cost of electricity procurement comes down drastically which contributes 25% of the working expenses. He also said that Ministry of Railways has launched Mission Raftaar to increase the average speed of movement by 5 kmph every year. Another important Mission for Indian Railways is the establishment of High hp Locomotive manufacturing plants at Madhepura and Marhaura.


Textiles Minister to inaugurate 58th IIGF 2017

The 58th edition of India International Garment Fair (IIGF) will be held in New Delhi from January 18 - 20, 2017. The 58th IIGF caters primarily to Autumn-Winter 2017/18. Organized by Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) India, the IIGF is one of the largest and most popular platforms in Asia, from which overseas garment buyers can source products and forge business relationships with India’s finest players in the apparel and fashion accessories domain.
●    The Union Textiles Minister, Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani will inaugurate the 58th IIGF and will unveil the Fair Guide as well. Minister of State for Textiles, Shri Ajay Tamta, and Textiles Secretary, Smt. Rashmi Verma will also be present on the occasion.
●    A total of 312 participants from 14 states of the country are participating in the Fair; the major participating states are Delhi-NCR, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Gujarat and Karnataka. The sellers would be showcasing womenswear, accessories, kids wear and menswear.
●    The IIFG will have two fashion shows a day (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) on all three days, for exhibiting the collections and developing business. A theme pavilion and best display awards are some other attractions of the event.  
●    Mr. Ashok Rajani, Chairman AEPC, informed that 58th IIGF is India’s largest garment show in South Asia, covering Apparel and Fashion Accessories, organized over a vast exhibition area. He said that the objective of IIGF is to showcase the latest trends in garment and fashion accessories, and to leverage brand India across the globe.
●    The India International Garment Fair was started in 1988. It is a B2B fair and is meant for conducting meaningful and quality business. 


AIIMS signs three MoU

All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi here today signed MoUs with NBCC (India) Limited, HSCC (India) Limited and with HITES HLL Life Care Ltd to expand infrastructure and other facilities.  The signing ceremony was presided over by Shri J P Nadda, Hon’ble Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare and Shri Venkaiah Naidu, Hon’ble Union Minister for Urban Development, Urban Poverty Alleviation, and Information & Broadcasting. 
●    AIIMS signed an MOU worth 4441 crores with NBCC (India) Limited, 2500 crores with HSCC (India) Limited and 729 crores with HITES HLL Life Care Ltd, a cumulative net worth of 7670.
●    The agreement with NBCC for redevelopment envisages construction of 3060 residential apartments at Ayur Vigyan Nagar campus and 868 apartments at West Ansari Nagar Campus by construction of 3060. The total augmentation of 3928 units would take the total available residential units of AIIMS to 4505. 
●    The detailed proposal identifying the housing requirements/type design/project rollout schedule has been firmed up after wide consultations and deliberations by a broad based committee of faculty and consensus was arrived at in a meeting Chaired by the Director, AIIMS in presence of  Heads of Departments, Faculty Association, the Officers Union, the Nursing Union and the Karmachari Union .
●    Also present at the function were Prof M.C.Misra, Director AIIMS, Prof Balram Airon, Dean (Academic) & Chief of the CTVS Centre, Prof Rath, Head, National Cancer Institute, Shri Srinivas, Deputy Director (Administration), AIIMS, Shri A.K.Mittal, CMD, NBCC Shri Gyanesh Pandey, Chairman, HSCC, Shri Sathu, CEO, HITES along with senior officers of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare along with faculty and students of AIIMS.



Zhou Youguang, father of Pinyin writing system, dies

Chinese linguist Zhou Youguang, known as the father of Pinyin for creating the system of Romanized Chinese writing, passed away on 14 January 2017 in Beijing, China. He was 111.
●    Pinyin is the writing method that coverts Chinese characters into words using letters from the Roman alphabet. It changed the way the language was taught. In 1958, it was officially adopted by the Chinese Government. 
●    In 1982, Pinyin became the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 7098 after a vote. The United Nations adopted it in 1986.
●    Zhou Youguang was a Chinese economist, linguist, sinologist, publisher, banker, and supercentenarian (someone who has lived to or passed their 110th birthday).
●    He entered Changzhou High School in 1918, during which time he first took interest in linguistics. In 1923, he graduated with honours.
●    He majored in economics from St. John's University, Shanghai.
●    His committee was charged with developing a romanization to represent the pronunciation of Chinese characters.



IMF downgrades India’s GDP growth forecast to 6.6%

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on 16 January 2017 released the World Economic Outlook Update 2016 in Washington DC, the USA.
●    The update estimated the global growth at 3.1 percent in 2016. The growth forecast is in line with the October 2016 forecast.
●    With regard to India, the update projected India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate at 6.6% in 2016-17 against its earlier estimate of 7.6%. For 2017-18, the growth rate is trimmed by 0.4 percentage points.
●    After a lackluster growth in 2016, economic activity is projected to pick up pace in 2017.
●    This forecast is based on the assumption of a changing policy mix under a new administration in the United States and its global spill overs.
●    This projection is consistent with the rise in equity prices and the sizable appreciation of the U.S. dollar since the November 2016 presidential election.


CBDT signed BAPA with Indian subsidiary of Japanese trading company

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on 13 January 2017 entered into a Bilateral Advance Pricing Agreement (BAPA) with an Indian subsidiary of a Japanese trading company.
●    With the signing of this agreement, the total number of bilateral APAs entered into by the CBDT has reached eight.
●    Recently, the CBDT modified an existing Bilateral APA with another Indian subsidiary of a Japanese company.
●    All these bilateral APAs were signed as part of the Advance Pricing Agreement Scheme of the Union Ministry of Finance.
●    The Union Government has introduced the Advance Pricing Agreement (APA) Scheme as part of the Finance Act, 2012 and Income Tax (Tenth Amendment) Rules, 2012. The scheme came into force on 30 August, 2012.
●    The APA Scheme endeavours to provide certainty to taxpayers in the field of transfer pricing through an agreement in advance. 
●    Such an agreement is entered into by the CBDT with the tax payers on the transfer price of international transactions between associated entities.


Reserve Bank Increases ATM Cash Withdrawal Limit To Rs.10,000 A Day

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Monday decided to increase the cash withdrawal limit from ATMs to Rs 10,000 per day from the present Rs 4,500 with immediate effect.
●    However, there is no change in the weekly withdrawal limits, which stays at Rs 24,000. 
●    The limit on withdrawal from current accounts has been enhanced from the current limit of Rs 50,000 per week to Rs 1,00,000 per week. 
●    This also extends to overdraft and cash credit accounts.
●    From current accounts, the amount that can be collected each week has been doubled to a lakh.
●    Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has pointed to improved tax collections to dismiss reports of economic disruption after the notes ban.
●    The RBI has been criticised for following the government's lead on a landmark decision on currency and for taking a backseat in the days that followed, with Mr Patel missing from briefings that made important announcements on issues like cash limits.


69th Army Day celebrated on 15 January

The Army Day is celebrated annually to commemorate the day, when Lieutenant General (later Field Marshal) K M Cariappa became the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army in post independence period. 
●    He took over the command of the Army from General Sir FRR Bucher, the last British Commander-in-Chief on 15 January 1949.
●    The day is celebrated in the form of parades and other military shows in the National Capital as well as in all headquarters.
●    To mark the occasion, General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Army Staff, reviewed the Army Day Parade at the Cariappa Parade Ground, Delhi Cantonment. 
●    The parade was commanded by Major Geneal Rajesh Sahai, Chief of Staff, Delhi Area.
●    General Rawat also awarded fifteen Sena Medals for individual acts of Gallantry and thirteen COAS Unit Citations for commendable performance of their respective units.
●    Earlier in the day, the three Service Chiefs laid the wreaths at Amar Jawan Jyoti, India Gate, to commemorate the day.