1. The second meeting of Island Development Agency (IDA) chaired by Rajnath Singh was held in New Delhi. It reviewed concept development plans and detailed master plans for holistic development of 9 islands which include four in Andaman & Nicobar Islands (Smith, Ross, Long, Avis) and five in Lakshadweep (Minicoy, Bangaram, Thinnakara, Cheriyam, Suheli). It was agreed to promote tuna fishing industry for improving livelihoods in Lakshadweep. It was decided that Naval air station at Shibpur near Diglipur in northern Andaman & Nicobar Islands will be co-used as Joint User Airport. It was also decided to develop PPP package including airport (Joint User Airport) at Minicoy Island, to unlock the tourism potential.
2. India has slipped to 7th position in ‘business optimism’ index in September-November quarter period from earlier 2nd slot in the previous July-September quarter. The fall in rank clearly shows clear signs of lag in the economy. In September-November quarter, the index was topped by Indonesia, followed by Finland (2nd), Netherlands (3rd), Philippines (4th), Austria (5th) and Nigeria (6th).
3. Five time world champion Mary Kom won gold medal in Asian Women’s Boxing Championships in Light Flyweight (48 kg) category by defeating North Korea’s Kim Hyang Mi in the final match held at Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, This was also Mary Kom’s first international gold medal since 2014 Asian Games and her first medal in over year. It was her fifth gold medal in 48 kg category in Asian Women’s Boxing Championships ( earlier won in 2003, 2005, 2010 and 2012) in only six appearances (in 2008 final she won silver). She is the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the six world championships.
4. In the last two years India, world’s second biggest wheat producer has been importing wheat after local production fell due to successive droughts. India had imported 5.75 million tonnes of wheat in 2016/17 fiscal year ended on March. The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) under Union Finance Ministry has doubled import duty on wheat to 20% from 10% to curb cheap shipments and give positive price signal to farmers in ongoing Rabi season. Doubling of import duty aims to give positive price signal and encourage farmers to grow wheat in more area as farmers have started planting of rabi (winter) wheat crop. It also imposed import duty of 50% on peas to check cheaper shipments from countries like Canada to boost domestic prices. The import duty on peas has been imposed to curb shipments and boost domestic prices.
5. The Union Government has announced that India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) will become operational in all 650 districts of the country by April 2018 to facilitate financial inclusion. This will be largest banking network in the country. Two such banks are already operational in Ranchi (Jharkhand) and Raipur (Chhattisgarh). These banks will be linked to 1.55 lakh rural post offices for its operations and carry out banking services..It will facilitate spread of financial services like insurance, pensions, mutual funds to customers especially from rural areas and the unbanked and under-banked segments.
6. The 82nd Senior National Championship title of Badminton in men’s single category won by HS Prannoy (World no 11) by defeating Kidambi Srikanth (World No 2). The women’s single title was won by Saina Nehwal (World No 11).by defeating PV Sindhu (World No 2). The mixed doubles title was won by Satwik Sai Raj R and Ashwini Ponnappa by defeating Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy pair. It is an annual tournament organized to crown the best badminton players in India.
7. Telangana has topped the yearly state-wise ranking on assessment of implementation of ‘Business Reforms Action Plan’ (BRAP) in 2017. Last year, Telangana was the joint topper with Andhra Pradesh in the ranking. The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) under Commerce and Industry Ministry is the nodal body at Centre for the exercise. This year’s assessment includes 372 reforms, up from 340 last year. The broad areas of assessment included online single window system, online tax payment, contract enforcement, paper-less courts, land availability and allotment, obtaining electricity and water connection, tax, labour regulation, construction permits, environmental registration as well as commercial dispute resolution and online systems for property registration. Telangana with an implementation score of 61.83% was followed by Haryana (54.03%), Odisha (45.70%), Chhattisgarh (45.43%), and West Bengal (44.35%).
8. Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce & Industry has signed Institutional agreement with Anna University for establishing TISC. India’s second Technology and Innovation Support Centre (TISC) will be established at Centre for Intellectual Property Rights (CIPR), Anna University, Chennai (Tamil Nadu) under World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) TISC (Technology and Innovation Support Centre) Program. It will thereby help to promote entrepreneurship and enhancing social, economic and cultural development by establishing network of TISCs in India.
9. The remains of humankind’s oldest mammal ancestor — a tiny rat-like creature that lived 145 million years ago was discovered by Palaeontologists from University of Portsmouth, UK. The new species of fossilized nocturnal mammal was named Durlstotherim newmani after an amateur palaeontologist and pub owner Charlie Newman, who helped scientists collect the new specimens. The fossils of nocturnal mammal were discovered on Jurassic Coast of Dorset. The mammal is earliest in line that evolved into humans and branched off into creatures as diverse as blue whales and pigmy shrews.
10. Researchers have discovered new species of ant in the Periyar Tiger Reserve, Kerala in Western Ghats, as one of the world’s ‘hottest hotspots’ of biological diversity. It has been named Tyrannomyrmex alii (or T. alii), after eminent myrmecologist Musthak Ali, who is regarded as the India’s ‘ant man’
11. Musa paramjitiana, new species of wild banana .was discovered by the Botanists in Andaman and Nicobar Islands(North Andaman’s Krishnapuri forest, 6 kilometres from any human habitation). It has been name in honour of Paramjit Singh, director of the Botanical Survey of India (BSI).
12. Grahak Sadak Koyla Vitaran application for smooth delivery of coal through road for benefiting customers have been launched by the Coal India Limited (CIL). The app will provide date-wise, truck-wise quantity of coal delivered against Sale Orders and information related to scheme-wise, Grade-wise, Colliery -wise, customer-wise details of Sale Orders issued during a period. GKTodayThe app aims to bring transparency in the system of loading programme and despatch of coal through road mode.
13. The Supreme Court has refused to pass an interim order to stay Ordinance allowing kambala, the traditional buffalo slush track race in Karnataka. Kambala is traditional slush track buffalo race that is held annually in coastal districts of Karnataka to entertain rural people of the area. However, the apex court will examine the Constitutional validity of the Ordinance. People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), a non-governmental organisation, had challenged the Ordinance.
14. SHe-Box (sexual harassment e-box) online complaint Management System for women to lodge complaints of sexual harassment at workplace was launched by the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD).Earlier the portal was launched in July 2017 for women working in central government offices. Now it can be accessed by all women who are part of work force in organised sector across the country. The new SHe-Box portal offers facility of making online complaints of sexual harassment at workplace to all women employees in country including government and private employees.
15.Chennai, capital city of Tamil Nadu was recently included in United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO’s) Creative Cities Network for Contribution in Music. Chennai is the third Indian city on the list of UNESCO Creative Cities list after Jaipur (added as City of Music) and Varanasi (City of Crafts and Folk Art) were added last year. With inclusion of these cities, total count of UNESCO Creative Cities Network has now gone up to 180 cities in 72 countries. It was among 64 cities from 44 countries that were designated as UNESCO Creative Cities.