1. Tamil Nadu government has appointed B. Rajendran(former High Court judge) as the chairperson of the Real Estate Appellate Tribunal (REAT) for Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands with an aim to protect home-buyers and boost investments in the real estate industry
2. The 26th edition of annual World Book Fair organised by National Book Trust (NBT) was held in New Delhi with the theme for this year is ‘Environment and Climate Change’. It focuses on environment issues like climate change, global warming, and water pollution. European Union was Guest of Honour Country for this year’s book fair. The annual book fair saw participation of around 800 publishers from across the country in different languages. The theme for 2016 was ‘Manushi’ and had focused on writings on and by women from ancient times till the present.
3. Atal Pension Yojana (APY) has reached a subscriber base of 80 lakh and is growing at good pace announced by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority of India (PFRDA). Uttar Pradesh is the highest contributing state at 11.41 lakh APY subscribers, followed by Bihar (8.87 lakh) and Tamil Nadu (6.60 lakh). APY had replaced Swavalamban scheme. It is available to all citizens of India in the age group of 18-40 years (thus minimum period of contribution by subscriber is 20 years).There is no exit to the scheme before the age of 60. In case of death of subscriber, the spouse of the subscriber shall be entitled for the same amount of pension till his or her death. Under scheme, subscriber will receive a minimum guaranteed pension of Rs.1000 to Rs.5000 per month, depending on his contribution, from age of 60 years.
4. According to latest All India Higher Education Survey (AIHES) released by HRD Ministry the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education of Indian has registered an increase from 24.5% in 2015-16 to 25.2% in 2016-17
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6. India’s first National Park for differently abled people in Hyderabad.was inaugurated by State Government of Telangana .At the inauguration, Mr. Rao stated that Telangana State Government is also planning an Information technology (IT) park on similar lines.
7. Indian Coast Guard Ship C-161 (ICGS C -161) was commissioned at Porbandar, Gujarat. It has been built by Bharati Defence and Infrastructure Limited. ICGS C-161’s presence will strengthen security along west coast of India and will help in patrolling to prevent illicit activities such as smuggling, illegal fishing and infiltration.
8. The Himalayan Hydro Expo 2018 is jointly organized by the Independent Power Producers’ Association Nepal (IPPAN) and Event Management Services began at the Exhibition Hall of Bhrikutimandap, in Kathmandu, Nepal. The expo was inaugurated by Bidya Devi Bhandari, President of Nepal. Hydro power related products and services are displayed in the expo. Seminars, discussions and competitions are conducted for students.
9. China is planning to build its second foreign naval base in Pakistan according to a South China Morning Post (SCMP) report. After Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa in Indian Ocean , this is the second one. The base in Djibouti was formally opened in August 2017. China’s naval base in Pakistan will most likely come up in Gwadar on the southwestern coast of Balochistan, Pakistan. From Indian perspective, this news holds strategic significance, as Gwadar is located at a short distance from Chabahar port in Iran, that is being jointly developed by Iran, India and Afghanistan. Chabahar port is to be utilised as trade corridor for Indian exports to Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan.
10. As per data released by Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, India continued to be Sri Lanka’s top source of tourists in 2017. As per the data, India accounted for 384628 tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka in 2017, which marks 7.8 per cent growth as compared to previous year.
11. Conference on Transformation of Aspirational Districts was held at the Dr. Ambedkar International Centre, in New Delhi by NITI Aayog. The conference focused on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a New India by 2022. Government officials such as Additional Secretary and Joint Secretary have been made officers in-charge for the transformation of districts initiative of around 100 districts.
12. Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) have decided to put joint efforts for developing eco-friendly firecrackers and arriving at a cost-effective technology to make e-crackers (electronic-crackers). This research and development endeavour will initially focus on reduction of pollutants and in future will develop a solution which would remove the pollutants altogether from the compositions of firecrackers.
13. According to Reserve Bank of India (RBI), India’s foreign exchange (Forex) reserves have scaled to fresh record high of $409.366 billion as on December 29, 2017. The surge was due to massive spike in foreign currency assets, which is key component of the reserves. The components of India’s FOREX Reserves include Foreign currency assets (FCAs), Gold, Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) and RBI’s Reserve position with International Monetary Fund (IMF). FCAs constitute largest component of Indian Forex Reserves.
14. An on-line chat service has been launched by the Income Tax Department in its official website www.incometaxindia.gov.in .It has been launched to help taxpayers get their queries solved. The on-line chat service is provided from Monday to Friday between 10 am and 6 pm. It is also available on a mobile application called ‘AayakarSetu’. It is available to all Android mobile users.
15. Central Statistics Office (CSO) has announced the first advance estimates of National Income 2017-18 and stated that growth in India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) during 2017-18 is estimated at 6.5% as compared to 7.1% in 2016-17. As per CSO estimates, growth in agriculture, forestry and fishing is likely to slow to 2.1% in 2017-18 as compared to 4.9% in 2016-17. Growth in manufacturing sector too is expected to slow down to 4.6% in current fiscal as compared to 7.9% in 2016-17
16. Paytm Payments Bank has announced a partnership with Induslnd Bank .Under which, its customers’ account balance exceeding Rs. 1 lakh at the end of day will be automatically converted to a fixed deposit (FD) with IndusInd Bank. As per the current norms applicable to Payments Bank, a customer cannot have more than Rs. 1 lakh in his/her account. Customers whose balance has been converted to fixed deposit will be able redeem it instantly, at any time, without paying any pre-closure or miscellaneous charges.
17. RBI (Reserve Bank of India) has approved Telangana Industrial Health Clinic Ltd (TIHCL) to register and function as a Non-Banking Finance Company (NBFC). Karur Vysya Bank, Vijaya Bank, Canara Bank, Union Bank, SBI (State Bank of India) and SIDBI (Small Industries Development Bank of India) have showed interest to partner with TIHCL. TIHCL plans to support 5-10 enterprises per month in each district. TIHCL had won the SKOCH Platinum Award in September 2017 under the smart governance category in the MSME segment. TIHCL will be the first State promoted and co-financing NBFC according to the statement of its advisor and director. B Yerram Raju
18. The 2nd edition of the Elite Women’s National Boxing Championship, began in Haryana. Around 300 top boxers participate in the tournament.It is considered as selection trials for the upcoming Common Wealth Games and the Asian Games.
19. T S Tirumurti (IFS) officer of the 1985-batch)was appointed as the Secretary (Economic Relations) in the External Affairs Ministry. He is currently the High Commissioner of India to Malaysia. He replaces Vijay Keshav Gokhale who is recently appointed as Foreign Secretary.
20.First PAF (Pakistan Air Force) chief Air Marshal Asghar Khan (96yrs) died due to cardiac arrest in Rawalpindi,Pakistan on 5th January 2018.
Prepared By Sarala Dhavamanoharan
( Note : Current affairs monthly pdf in English will be available only from the month of Jan 2018.)