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Daily Current Affairs from 15th to 18th Jan 2018 ( English)

1.       India’s first agricultural-commodity options in Guarseed unveiled by the National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange Ltd (NCDEX). NCDEX’s guarseed option is one of the most liquid contracts on the exchange platform. Its three options contracts in guarseed will expire in February,March and April 2018. It was launched by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi. Guar gum is extracted from guar seed which is used by drilling companies to thicken water mixed with sand and pumped through shale rock cracks to extract gas.
2.       IRFC green bonds became first debt security to be listed on exchange at International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in Gujarat’s GIFT city. India INX’s GSM segment is India’s first debt listing platform. It allows raising funds in any currency of choice by both foreign and Indian issuers from investors across the globe. IRFC is finance arm of Indian Railway.
3.       Under the Chairmanship of Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar, the 65th Meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE)  was held in New Delhi. During this meet resolution was adopted for the Operation Digital Board will be launched in all schools in five years and will be undertaken jointly by Centre, State, Corporate Social Responsibility. CABE also will ensure to provide Quality, Equity, Accessibility, Accountability and Affordability in education by pro-active action and plan. Education Ministers of 20 States, representatives of 28 states/UTs, members of CABE, heads of autonomous organisations, Vice Chancellors of Universities attended the meeting.
4.       The International Workshop on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (IWDRI) was inaugurated by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi. The workshop aimed to take this dialogue on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure and global cooperation further It  was organised by National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in collaboration with United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).
5.       Chhattisgarh HC has issued a directive to all trial courts in the state to mandatorily obtain Aadhaar cards of accused persons and sureties before issuing release warrant of a prisoner/accused.
6.       On 15th Jan 2018, the Unique Identification Authority of India ( UIDAI) approved authentication based on facial recognition in combination with fingerprint or Iris scan for Aadhaar users. It will come into effect from 1st July 2018.
7.       Punjab signed a MoU with Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to set up bio-gas and bio-CNG plants in the state. This agreement is in line with Punjab state government’s efforts to  find sustainable solutions to paddy straw burning , which has emerged a major cause of air pollution in North India.
8.        The eighth edition of  ‘National Maritime Search and Rescue Workshop and Exercise’- the biennial search and rescue exercise between Indian Coast Guard (ICG) and Japan Coast Guard (JCG) was held near Chennai, Tamil Nadu in Bay of Bengal. The aim of the exercise was to augment operational level interaction and capacity building in areas of search and rescue, pollution response and mari time law enforcement. It also aimed to share best management practices and continuation of personnel exchange. Ships and aircraft of Coast Guards from India and Japan, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force (IAF) and National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) took part in it.
9.       The third edition of the geo-political conference – Raisina Dialogue was held in New Delhi. It was inaugurated by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The theme of the conference for this year is ‘Managing Disruptive Transitions: Ideas, Institutions and Idioms’. Raisina Dialogue is an annual conference held in New Delhi. It is envisioned to be India’s flagship conference of geopolitics and geo-economics. The conference is held jointly by Ministry of External Affairs and the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), an independent think tank based in India.
10.   State Forests, Department  of Sikkim has issued notification titled Sikkim Forest Tree (Amity & Reverence) Rules 2017. It has allowed people from state to forge fraternal ties with trees. State government allows any person to associate with trees standing on his or her private land or on any public land by entering into Mitini relationship. Person can also adopt tree as if it was his/her own child, in which tree will be called adopted tree. Person can also adopt or preserve them in remembrance of a departed relative in which case tree shall be called smriti tree.. The purpose of this move is to preserve trees by encouraging people to forge relationship of brotherhood or sisterhood with trees through tradition practice locally known as Mitini or Mith/Mit.
11.   Mukshyamantri Kalakar Sahayata Yojana (MMKSY) to provide financial assistance to the literature and cultural artists of state was launched by Odisha Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik. The scheme is mainly for the welfare of literature and cultural artists of the state. It will provide monthly financial assistance of Rs. 1200 to literature and cultural artists of state. As per new eligibility criteria, male artist can get assistance under after attaining age of 50 years (earlier it was 60 years) and female artist can get it at age of 40 years (earlier it was 50 years).
12.   Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated HPCL Rajasthan Refinery Ltd (HRRL) project commencement of oil refinery in Rajasthan’s Barmer district. It is first oil refinery to be set up in Rajasthan. The project includes refinery and petroleum complex of 9 MMTPA capacity. It is expected to be operational in 4 years (2022-23) at a cost of Rs 43000 cr. The project is undertaken as joint venture between Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) and the Rajasthan government. HPCL owns 74% stake in the project, while the state government owns 26%.
13.   The Union Ministry of Minority Affairs has decided to end Haj subsidy from this year as a part of its policy to empower minorities with dignity and without appeasement. The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, the holiest city for Muslims. It is mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey and can support their family during their absence. This decision to end the subsidy was taken based on the recommendations of Afzal Amanullah Committee and May 2012 Supreme Court order. Now onwards, proceeds from Haj subsidy will be used for educational empowerment and welfare of girls from minority communities.. The committee had recommended for gradual withdrawal of Haj subsidy. It also had recommended to allow older Muslim women to travel to haj without male guardian.
14.   The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has cleared procurement proposal of 72,400 assault rifles a nd 93,895 carbines on fast track basis for Rs 3,547 crore. The procurement of assault rifles aims enable the Defence Forces to meet their immediate requirement for troops deployed on borders. DAC also simplified ‘Make II’ procedure which prescribes guidelines to be followed to develop and manufacture defence equipment through Indian Industry.
15.   60th edition of India International Garment Fair ( IIGF)  held at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi .
16.   Jammu & Kashmir assembly passed grants of horticulture department for 2018-19 for Rs 528.33 Cr.
17.   Madhya Pradesh becomes first state to achieve complete door-to –door garbage collection in all areas under urban bodies.I
18.   India has contributed $50,000 to United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres’s Office of Envoy on Youth to help with its mission of involving young people in the world body’s goals. The contribution made by India is voluntary with no strings attached. The Youth Envoy’s works to raise international awareness and attention to youth issues among others. Its mission aims to promote engagement of youth and advocate for them across all the four pillars of UN’s work –human rights, peace and security, sustainable development and humanitarian action.
19.   India and Israel have signed nine agreements following delegation-level talks headed by Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu in New Delhi to boost cooperation in the areas of space, cyber security and oil and gas between both countries. Netanyahu is first Israeli Prime Minister to visit India in span of last 15 years and second one overall. Ariel Sharon was first and only Israeli Prime Minister to visit India in 2003.
20.   India and Sri Lanka  have signed 4 agreements for collaboration in the ICT( Information and Communication Technology ) sector, setting up of an e-office system and connecting of National Knowledge Network ( NKN) for collaboration among universities and academics. With this, Sri Lanka became first country to be connected to NKN through Gigabyte (GB) optical fibre network. The MoU for cooperation was signed by Union minister for Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad with his Sri Lankan counterpart in Colombo.
21.   Under the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA), Bangladesh, India and Nepal agreed on text of operating procedures for passenger vehicle movement (Passenger protocol) in sub-region. Decision in this regard was taken at meeting of High-level officials of three countries held in Bengaluru, Karnataka. The passenger protocol agreed upon is document detailing procedures for cross-border movement of buses and private vehicles for transport facilitation in sub region. It will be signed by three countries after completing necessary internal approval processes in their government.
22.   ‘Vajra Prahar’- The Indo-US joint military exercise held at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) in Seattle in third week of January in line with the increasing military cooperation between both countries. The last edition was held in Jodhpur in March 2017.
23.   Wiki Leaks founder Julian Assange was granted Ecuadorian citizenship. It was announced by Ecuador’s foreign minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa.
24.   Indian peacekeepers in UN Mission in South Sudan ( UNMISS) have a re-built a key bridge in record time in strife-torn Akoka village of South Sudan.This bridge will enable people to cross the river and reach a town to access basic needs.
25.   World’s fifth largest diamond discovered in Lesotho mine. A 910 carat gem diamond found from Lesteng Diamond Mine owned by Gem diamonds Ltd.
26.   A new species of moth, scientifically named Elcysma Ziroensis was discovered by the researchers from Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) from Talley Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh. Elcysma Ziroensis is commonly called Apatani Glory, named after a local tribe called Apatani. It was discovered at an elevation of 1,700m in Ziro.
27.   ‘IPrism’ for college and university students has been launched by the Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM), in collaboration with the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). The IPrism competition aims to foster culture of innovation and creativity in younger generation. It will provide young creators unique opportunity to see their creations recognized on national platform. The one of its kind Intellectual Property (IP) Competition was launched by CIPAM-DIPP in association with ASSOCHAM and ERICSSON India.
28.   NASA scientists have discovered SPT0615-JD, the farthest known galaxy in the Universe. The image was captured by NASA”S Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes.
29.   India ranked at 30th position among 100 countries on its Global Manufacturing Index (GMI) by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The index was released as part of WEF’s first Readiness for the future of production Report which analysed development of modern industrial strategies and urges collaborative action.
30.   Brazil’ s security regulator prohibited local investment funds from buying crypto currencies such as Bitcoin.  The prohibition has been imposed stating that crypto currencies cannot be considered as financial assets.
31.   The first course on Sustainable Urban planning using remote sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS) has been launched by NITI Aayog at IIT Kanpur’s outreach centre in Noida. The course aims to give participants state-of-the-art remote sensing and GIS skills to allow them managing rapidly changing urban environment of India cities. Its prime focus is on issues such as water resource management, water pollution and water treatment facilities. This is first course conducted under  Global Initiative on Academic Network (GIAN) Program of Union Ministry of Human Resource Development. It is actively supported by NITI Aayog and Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
32.   A MoU was signed  between the Department of Commerce and  Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for setting-up institutional mechanism for the development of Logistics sector in the country. They will follow Commerce Ministry’s roadmap for modernizing logistics sector and bring it at par with the global best.
33.   Bank of Baroda has tied up with Invoicemart, a digital invoice discounting market place as TreDS partner.
34.   RBI stated that all 14 designs of Rs 10 coin are valid and legal tender for transactions.
35.   Jan 15 –Indian Army Day is celebrated every yaer to honour Indian soldiers who fought and sacrificed their lives for India. Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Naval staff Admiral Sunil Lanba and Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa paid tribute to soldiers at Amar Jawan Jyoti in New Delhi.On 15th Jan 1949, General KM Cariappa became the first commander -in chief of Indian armed forces after independence.This year marks the 70th Indian army day.
36.   Jan 16 – Goa celebrated the opinion Poll day as Asmitai Dis ( Identity day ) to mark the historic poll in 1967 in which people of Goa not voted to merge with Maharashtra.
37.   Actor Sudhir Dalvi was presented with the Janakavi P Sawalaram award at a function in Thane, Maharashtra. Dancer Jaishree T was awarded with Ganga Jamuna award. This award is  given in memory of a popular song written by Sawlaram.
38.   Hyderabad hunters won the 3rd edition of the Premier Badminton championship by defeating Bengaluru Blasters at Gachibowli indoor statdium in Hyderabad.
39.   Assam Hockey won the 8th Hockey India Sub Junior Men National Championship2018 ( B division) at Hojai Hockey stadium in Assam by defeating Hockey Rajasthan.
40.   Union Minister of Sports Rajyavardhan Rathore launched the official anthem and mascot of Khelo India School Games in New Delhi.  Mascots of Khelo India School Games  are ‘Vijay the tiger’ and ‘Jaya the black buck’. Official anthem of Khelo India games is “ Aur Khelna Chahte hain hum….”
41.   Ronaldinho, Brazilian World Cup Winner has retired from foot ball.
42.   Virat Kohli won the Sir Garfield Sobers cricketer of the year , ICC cricketer of the year 2017 and ICC ODI cricketer of the year 2017 for his accomplishments in 2017.
43.   Vijay Kumar was appointed as MD and CEO of National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange limited ( NCDEX)
44.   Vice Admiral AB Singh appointed as Chief of staff of Western Naval Command.
45.   UK appoints Tracey crouch as” Minister for Loneliness “
46.   S Selvakumar was appointed as CMD of Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited (SPMCIL)
47.   Sarod Maestro  Pandit Buddhadev  Dasgupta passed away recently in south Kolkata. He is a recipient of Padma Bhushan award.
48.Gnani Sankaran , tamil writer and journalist passed away in Chennai on 15th Jan 2018.He was the editor of Tamil magazine “ Dheemtharikida”

Prepared by 
Sarala Dhavamanoharan
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