1. The proposals for procurement of 131 Barak missiles for Indian Navy and 240 precision-guided munitions (PGM) for Indian Air Force (IAF) together estimated at Rs.1,714 cr were cleared by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. It is a regular procurement through the revenue expenditure. These are SAM(surface-to-air missiles) designed to be used as a ship-borne anti-missile defence system.
2. The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment) Bill, 2017 has passed by Lok Sabha to allow government to take up infrastructure projects within prohibited areas around protected monuments. The Bill amends the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act, 1958. The Bill amends provision related construction in ‘prohibited areas’ in the parent bill to permit construction of public works in ‘prohibited areas’ for public purposes. It introduces definition for ‘public works’, which includes construction of any infrastructure that is financed and carried out by central government for public purposes.
3. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has exempted cruise tourists arriving with e-visa from the requirement of biometric enrolment for a period of three years i.e. till 2020 on request of the Ministry of Shipping. The purpose of the move is to promote cruise tourism in the country and make India attractive cruise tourist destination. E-visa facility is being implemented in five major ports viz. Mumbai, Mormugao, New Mangalore, Cochin and Chennai.
4. The details of electoral bonds for political funding that can be routed by donors to political parties were announced by the Union Government. It makes India first country in the world to have such unique bonds for electoral funding. The electoral bonds scheme was announced in Union Budget 2017 with an aim for increasing transparency in political funding. Electoral bonds can be purchased for any value in multiples of Rs.1,000, Rs.10,000, Rs.10 lakh, and Rs.1 crore from any of the specified branches of State Bank of India (SBI). The electoral bonds will be available for purchase for a period of 10 days each in months of January, April, July and October with additional 30 days to be specified by Central government in year of general election so that this does not become a parallel currency. It will have a life of 15 days during which they can be used to make donations to registered political parties. The bond can be encashed by an eligible political party only through a designated bank account with the authorised bank.
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6. Andhra Pradesh Grameena Vikas Bank (APGVB) operationalised its first desktop ATM at Kasibugga in Mandi Bazar in Warangal, Telangana. It is specifically meant for rural customer who typically has small cash needs. APGVB has laid out plans to install 100 such desktop ATMs in different busy branches. 60 of them will be in Telangana State and 40 in AP branches. The Tagline of this APGVB is ‘We are with you!’
7. Swachh Survekshan –the nationwide cleanliness survey was launched across India on 4th Jan 2018.The main objective of the survey is to evaluate the achievements in the cleanliness level in urban areas.it is deemed as the World’s biggest survey, it will conducted in over 4000 cities with a population of more than 40 cr.
8. The cabinet committee on economic affairs has approved the mandatory packing norms under the Jute Packing Material (JPM) Act, 1987. The approval mandates that 90 percent of the food grains and 20 per cent of the sugar products shall be mandatorily packed in jute bags. it’s provision for 100 % packing of food grains in jute bags is subject to the ability of the jute industry to meet the requirement.
9. The Haryana government has mandated installation of Solar Photovoltaic Power plant in new buildings . This has been done in a move to conserve electricity and use it efficiently.
10. Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal launched ‘Chah Bagichar Dhan Puraskar Mela 2017-18’ at a function held at Sarbananda Singha auditorium in Tinsukia, Assam. Under this scheme people belonging to tea community who opened bank accounts during demonetisation will be credited Rs 2500 in their accounts. In the next phase, another 2500 rupees will be credited to accounts which are continuously operated for 6 months from now.
11. The Dhanu Yatra festival held in Bargarh district of Odishacame to an end on 2nd Jan 2018. It began on 23 December 2017. This festival is based on Krishna Leela and Mathura Vijay. The Dhanu Yatra festival was held for 11 days. Bargarh was made to look like Mathura, which is the birthplace and homeland of Lord Krishna. River Jeera was made to resemble river Yamuna. Amapali region was transformed into Gopapura. Various artists from different parts of India performed in the festival.
12. AB Mathur was appointed as interlocutor on its behalf to hold talks with the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA). He is the former special secretary of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).
13. Emami Group announced actor Salman Khan as the brand ambassador for its edible oil brands. Salman Khan will work with Amitabh Bachchan in promoting Emami’s edible oil brands. Emami Healthy & Tasty, Himani Best Choice and Rasoi are Emami’s edible oil brands.
14. Four new species of balsam from various locations in Eastern Himalayas was discovered by the scientists in northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh. They are Impatiens haridasanii, Impatiens pseudocitrina, Impatiens nilalohitae and Impatiens roingensis. India is home to more than 230 balsam species. Their genus is called Impatiens, signifying impatient nature of their fruits which explode when touched.
15. Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) has won “Samudra Manthan-Caring Organisation of the Year” award which was organised by Bhandarkar Shipping. Bhandarkar Shipping is an important publication of the maritime industry. The objective of this award is to create healthy competition in the maritime sector. Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) is India’s number one container port in terms of volume and efficiency.
Prepared by Sarala Dhavamanoharan