Latest Current Affairs for IAS, UPSC , Bank and other Exams
Current Affairs January 2017
- Sikkim has emerged as the India’s first fully organic state by converting around 75,000 hectares of agricultural land into sustainable cultivation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi formally certified Fully Organic State Status to Sikkim at a sustainable agriculture conference in Gangtok earlier in 2016.
- The Union Government has constituted committee (Working Group) to frame uniform rules for the states to avoid delay in proper implementation of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 across the country. It will comprise of representatives from the Union Ministry of Health, DoPT, Labour, Legislative Department and representatives from NGOs as members. It will also have Principal Secretary/Secretary, Social Welfare Department from Karnataka, Gujarat, Odisha, Assam, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. The Act was notified in December 2016, after it received assent of President. It comprehensively covers a whole spectrum of problems from physical disabilities to mental illness and multiple disabilities under it. It raises number of disabilities from 7 to 21. It also raises reservation in government jobs for persons with benchmark disabilities from present 3% to 4% and in higher education from 3% to 5% per cent.
- US President Donald Trump signed an executive order to formally pull US out of the negotiating process of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a mega trade deal of 12 Pacific Rim countries. TPP was one of the major international trade initiatives of his predecessor Barack Obama aimed to set trade rules for the 21st century and bind US allies against growing Chinese economic clout. During the Presidential election campaign, Trump had vowed to withdraw the US from the TPP which he argued was harmful to American workers and manufacturing. 12 members are Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, US and Vietnam. India was not part of TPP.
- The Union Cabinet has given its approval to ratify the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol on containing the emission of Green House Gases (GHGs). The second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 2012 and is set to expire in 2020. So far, 75 countries have ratified the Second Commitment Period. The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997 to fight global warming by reducing GHGs emission and came into effect in 2005. The 1st commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol was from 2008-2012. The 2nd commitment period for the period 2013- 2020 was adopted in 2012 by the Doha Amendment of the Kyoto Protocol. The protocol is based on principle of Equity and Common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR). It places obligations on developed nations to undertake mitigation targets to reduce emissions by 5.2% of 1990 levels during 2008-2012 period) and provide financial resources and technology to developing nations. Developing countries like India have no mandatory mitigation obligations or targets under the Kyoto Protocol.
- Shankar Balasubramanian, an Indian- origin British professor of chemistry and DNA expert at Cambridge University, has received a Knighthood along with Olympic stars Andy Murray and Mo Farah among others by Queen Elizabeth II for their contributions.
- In a big relief to home buyers, New Schemes under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana were announced. Now get 4 % interest relief on home loan upto 9 lakh rupees. And 3 % cut for home loan upto 12 lakh rupees.In rural areas, now you can get 3 % interest relief on loan of upto 2 lakh rupees for the construction, renovation and expansion of home.
- For small entrepreneurs, credit guarantee raised from Rs 1 crore to Rs 2 crore. Loans by non-banking financial companies will also be covered in this. Shopkeepers and small businessmen will get more loans because of this. For small businesses, cash credit limit raised to 25 per cent from 20 per cent. Working capital increased to 30 % from the current 20% if the transaction is done via digital mode.
- In a bid to promote less cash economy, PM says small traders and businesses with a turnover of up to Rs 2 crore, 6% tax will be levied instead of 8% if they accept payments through banking and digital means.
- For pregnant women, a national scheme launched. Would be Mothers will get Rs. 6,000 for their delivery, vaccination, and nutritious meals. This will be transferred straight to their account. This will help in saving lives of mothers and new born kids.
- The Union Cabinet has approved the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bill, 2017, under which the IIMs will be declared as Institutions of National Importance. It will also enable IIMs to grant degrees rather than diplomas to their students. At present IIMs are not authorised to award degrees as they registered as societies. Hence, they are awarding Post Graduate Diploma and Fellow Programme in Management. All IIMs are separate autonomous bodies registered under the Societies Act and are not authorized to award degrees. These awards are treated as equivalent to MBAs and Ph.D, respectively, but their equivalence is not universally acceptable, especially for the Fellow Programme.
- The Union Cabinet has given its approval for launching of Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana 2017 (VPBY 2017). The scheme will be launched as part of Government’s commitment for financial inclusion and social security. The scheme will be implemented through Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) during the current financial year i.e. FY 2016-17. It will be open for subscription for a period of one year from the date of launch. The purpose of the scheme is to provide social security during old age and protect elderly persons aged 60 years and above against future fall in their interest income due to uncertain market conditions. It will provide an assured pension based on a guaranteed rate of return of 8% per annum for ten years, with an option to opt for pension on a monthly, quarterly, half yearly and annual basis. The Union Government will bear the differential return i.e., the difference between the return generated by LIC and the assured return of 8% per annum as subsidy on an annual basis.
- Improved Pinaka rockets, with a guidance system and an enhanced range were successfully test-fired for the second time from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur in Odisha. The guided version dubbed as Pinaka mark-II, has been evolved version of Pinaka mark-I. Its first successful test flight was conducted from the same venue on January 12, 2017. The conversion into improved guided Pinaka rockets has helped in enhancing the range and accuracy of Pinaka. The earlier range was 40 km, but now it is more than 70 km.
- Anti-Leprosy Day was observed on – 30th January 2017.