Current Affairs – 10 Jan 2018

Current Affairs – 10 Jan 2018


Major changes in FDI policy by Union Cabinet

In a bid to liberalise and simplify the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy and to provide ease of doing business in India, Union Cabinet has approved a number of amendments in the existing policy.

a. 100% FDI under automatic route has been approved for Single Brand Retail Trading.Till now, only 49% FDI was permitted under automatic route while FDI beyond 49% and up to 100% was to be brought through Government approval route.

b. Foreign airlines have been permitted to invest up to 49% under approval route in Air India.

c. It has been clarified that real-estate broking service does not amount to real estate business and is thus, eligible for 100% FDI under automatic route.

d. Foreign institutional Investors (FIIs) and Foreign portfolio investment(FPIs) have been allowed to invest in Power Exchanges through primary market.

Quick review:

Single Brand Retail Trading100%
Air India49%
Real-Estate broking service100%


Important Cabinet Approvals:

I. MoU between India and Canada for cooperation in Science & Technology

 a.The MoU was signed between Indian Government’s Department of    Science and Technology and Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).

b. In order to promote multidisciplinary research partnership between India and Canada, the MoU envisages supporting India-Canada Centre for Innovative Multidisciplinary Partnership to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability (IC-IMPACTS) programme.

c. Safe and sustainable infrastructure and integrated water management have been identified as areas for mutual cooperation under this MoU.


II.Cabinet approves implementation of CCEA decision on closure of Tungabhadra Steel Products Limited  

Union Cabinet has approved the implementation of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA’s) decision on closure of Tungabhadra Steel Products Limited (TSPL) and disposal of its immovable assets.

a. In December, 2015, CCEA had approved the closure of Tungabhadra Steel Products Limited (TSPL) after clearing all dues to employees/workers and creditors.

b. Company had 37 acres of land at Hospet. Cabinet has approved to sell this land to Karnataka Government for use of the Karnataka State Housing Board.


III. Cabinet approves continuation of Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has given its approval to continuation of Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) till the term of the 14th  Finance Commission i.e. till March 31, 2020.

a. MPLAD Scheme is a Central Sector Scheme which was launched in 1993-94.

b. Under this scheme, Members of Parliament recommend works for creation of durable community assets (related to drinking water, education, public health, sanitation, roads etc.) based on local needs in their constituencies.

c. Durable community assets constructed under this scheme have positively impacted social, cultural and economic life of the local communities across India.

d. Extending this scheme till March 31, 2020 would entail an annual allocation of Rs. 3950 crore.


IV. Cabinet approves fixed term for Chairperson and Members of the National Trust

Cabinet has approved proposal to amend Section 4(1) and Section 5(1) of the National Trust for the Welfare of Person with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999.

a. As per Section 4(1) of the National Trust   Act, 1999,   Chairperson or a Member of the Board of National Trust would continue in office beyond the prescribed term of three years   until   his/her successor is  appointed.

b. As per section 5(1) of the Act, In case of resignation of the Chairperson, he/she should continue in office until his/her successor is appointed by the Government.

c. The amendment approved by cabinet fixes the term of the Chairperson and Members of the Board of National Trust for three years to avoid such a situation and eliminate any chance of prolonged continuation in the same post by any incumbent.

b. The National Trust is a statutory body of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. Its mission is to create an enabling environment, i.e. providing opportunities for Persons with Disabilities through comprehensive support systems.


Karnataka has topped in FDI inflows with investments intentions of Rs 1.49 lakh crore

karnataka topped all states with innvestments intentions of Rs 1.49 lakh crore till october 2017, according to R V Deshpande, Karnataka Minister for Large, Medium Industries and Infrastructure Development

The investment was  43% of the country’s total investment intentions and has performed well in exports, contributing about 40 percent in electronics and software materials.

Important Facts:

Karnataka CM – Siddaramaiah

Governor – Vajubhai Vala


India, Indonesia hold 1st security dialogue, vow to combat terrorism

On January 9, 2018, India and Indonesia held their first bilateral security dialogue in NewDelhi
i. During the dialogue, India and Indonesia agreed on operational cooperation in security and counter-terrorism.

ii. Indian side was led by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval  while Indonesian side was led by H Wiranto, Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs.

iii. At the 5th Indonesia-India joint commission meeting in Jakarta, held in first week of January 2018 during Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s Indonesia visit, both countries had agreed to strengthen strategic partnerships across various key areas, including defence, security, maritime and economy.

Quick Facts about Indonesia:
♦ Capital – Jakarta
♦ Currency – Indonesia rupiah
♦ Current President – Joko Widodo
♦ Important Rivers – Mahakam, Citarum


Supreme Court stays High Court verdict against 85% pictorial warning on tobacco

On January 8, 2018, Supreme Court of India stayed a Karnataka High Court orderquashing 85% pictorial warnings on packets of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Information about Pictorial Warning on packets of cigarettes and other tobacco products:

i. On December 15, 2017, Karnataka High Court had struck down the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Amendment Rules, 2014 which mandated 85% pictorial warning on tobacco products packaging space.

ii .A Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud stated that it was “unimpressed” with the submissions of the Tobacco Institute of India (TII) asserting that the stay would infringe tobacco manufacturers’ fundamental right to do business.

iii .The bench is of the opinion that health of citizens should be accorded highest priority.

iv. In context of this news, it is to be noted that as per a report by World Health Organisation (WHO), pictorial warnings prove to be very effective especially in creating awareness among illiterate consumers.


3rd Meeting of Council of Trade Development and Promotion held in New Delhi

On 8th January 2018, the 3rd meeting of Council of Trade Development and Promotion was held at Vigyan Bhavan, in New Delhi.

3rd Meeting of Council of Trade Development and Promotion:
i. The 3rd Meeting of Council of Trade Development and Promotion was chaired by Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister for Commerce & Industry.

ii. Suresh Prabhu unveiled a study named “LEADS-Logistics Ease Across Different States”. This is the first ever sub-national logistics performance index.

iii. He also unveiled a compendium named the “State Exports Booklet”. This compendium is on the status of exports from the states in the past 10 years.

iv. He expressed the need for a new agricultural exports policy focussed on increasing exports of value-added agricultural products.

About India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO):
♦ Chairman & MD – LC Goyal
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi


Government restricts use of national flag made of plastic
On 9th January 2018, the central government insisted people not to use national flag made of plastic, ahead of Republic Day celebrations.

Restriction on national flag made of plastic:
i. An advisory from the Union Home Ministry has said that, since plastic flags are not biodegradable like paper flags, they do not decompose for a long time.

ii. Keeping in mind the proper disposal of national flag made of plastic, without affecting its dignity, the advisory has restricted the usage of plastic flags.

iii. The advisory has stated that on important national, cultural and sports events, only flags made of paper are to be used by public as per the Flag Code of India, 2002.

iv. These paper flags should not be discarded or thrown on the ground after the event. They should be disposed of, in private, without affecting the dignity of the flag.

v .The government has insisted everyone to comply with the Flag Code of India and The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.

National birds of few countries:
♦ United States – Bald eagle
♦ United Kingdom – European robin
♦ Singapore – Crimson sunbird


UIDAI introduces ‘Virtual ID’ for Aadhaar to strengthen privacy and security ofadhar data
On 10th January 2018, the UIDAI launched ‘Virtual ID’, which an Aadhaar-card holder can generate from UIDAI website.

Virtual ID for Aadhaar:
i. Virtual ID has been introduced to reduce privacy issues. This virtual ID that can be generated from UIDAI website can be used for purposes like SIM verification, instead of shajring the actual 12-digit biometric ID.

ii. The Virtual ID will be a random 16-digit number. Along with biometrics of the user, it will furnish limited details like name, address and photograph, required for verification to authorised agencies like mobile companies.

iii. Users can generate any number of Virtual IDs they want. The older ID gets automatically cancelled once a new ID is developed.

iv. UIDAI will accept Virtual ID from 1 March, 2018From 1 June 2018 it will be made mandatory for all agencies that perform authentication to accept Virtual ID for verification.

v. The virtual ID will be valid for a particular period of time, or till the user generates a new one.

About UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI):
Established – 12 July 2016
Functions under – Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY)
CEO – Ajay Bhushan Pandey



North and South Korea agree to hold military talks
North Korea has agreed to conduct talks with South Korea to reduce military tensions, to send a delegation to the upcoming Winter Olympics 2018 in  Pyeongchang, South Korea.

North and South Korea to hold military talks:
i. This outcome has come after officials from North and South Korea met for the first time in more than 2 years in Panmunjom, North Korea.

ii .North Korea has decided to send a high-level delegation consisting of athletes, cheering squad, art troupe, visitors’ group, a Taekwondo demonstration team and press personnel for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

About 2018 Winter Olympics:
♦ Host city – Pyeongchang, South Korea
♦ Motto – Passion. Connected.
♦ Dates – 9 – 25 February 2018



World Bank projects 7.3 per cent growth for India in 2018
According to the 2018 Global Economics Prospect released by the World Bank on January 9, 2018, Indian economy is projected to grow at 7.3% in 2018 and 7.5% in next two years.

Highlights of 2018 Global Economics Prospect:

i. In 2017, India economy is estimated to have grown at 6.7 per cent despite lingering effects of demonetisation and teething problems related to implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

ii. Chinese economy grew at 6.8 per cent in 2017. For 2018, its growth rate is projected at 6.4 per cent.

iii. The report outlined that in the next decade, India will register higher growth rate as compared to other major emerging market economies.

Quick Facts about World Bank:
♦ Formed in – 1945
♦ Headquarters – Washington D.C., US
♦ Current President – Jim Yong Kim


South Korea, GCCI sign MoU for business cooperation
On January 9, 2018, an official delegation from South Korea and the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for co-operation between South Korea and industries in Gujarat.

Details about South Korea –GCCI MoU:

i. The MoU focuses on cooperation in automobile, defence and textiles sectors.

ii. Through this MoU, Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Gujarat will get an opportunity to form joint ventures with South Korean firms in the above stated sectors.

iii. Technological help from Korean companies will enhance the export competitiveness of Gujarat’s textile industry.

Quick Facts about South Korea:
♦ Capital – Seoul
♦ Currency – South Korean won
♦ Current President – Moon Jae-in
♦ Important Rivers – Nakdong, Geum



Jeff Bezos surpasses Bill Gates’ net worth, becomes richest person ever

On 8th January 2018, Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, made a new record in terms of amount of wealth owned by a single person, with net worth of $105.1 Billion, as per Bloomberg’s Billionaire Tracker.

Jeff Bezos – richest person ever:

i. Jeff Bezos has become the richest person of all time.  Earlier, this position was held by Bill Gates, Microsoft founder.

ii. Jeff Bezos had been declared as the world’s richest person twice earlier also. Jeff Bezos also owns the Washington Post and Blue Origin, apart from Amazon.

iii .Bill Gates’ current net worth is $91.9 billion according to Forbes and $93.3 billion as per Bloomberg. And he has secured second position in both of these lists.

About Blue Origin:
♦ Founder – Jeff Bezos
♦ Headquarters – Washington, United States.


Indian-origin businessman Sunny Verghese appointed as WBCSD Chairman
Sunny Verghese, Singapore-based Indian-origin businessman, has been appointed as the Chairman of World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

Sunny Verghese – WBCSD Chairman:
i. Sunny Verghese is 57 years old. He is the Co-Founder and the CEO of Olam International Limited. Tenure of Sunny Verghese as chairman of WBCSD is 2 years.

ii. He has become the first World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Chairman from the agri-sector. He has replaced Paul Polman.

About World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD):
♦ Founded – 1992
♦ Founder – Stephan Schmidheiny
♦ Location – Geneva, Switzerland



Aanchal Thakur becomes first Indian to win an international medal in skiing
On 9th January 2018, India’s Aanchal Thakur became the first Indian to win an international medal in skiing, by winning a bronze medal in the Alpine Ejder 3200 Cup.

Aanchal Thakur -first Indian to win an international medal in skiing:
i .Aanchal Thakur hails from Manali. She won a Bronze medal in the slalom race category at Alpine Ejder 3200 Cup.

ii. The Alpine Ejder 3200 Cup was organised by Federation International de Ski (FIS) at the Palandoken Ski Centre, in Erzurum in Turkey.

About International Ski Federation:
♦ Headquarters – Oberhofen am Thunersee, Switzerland
♦ President – Gian-Franco Kasper


Harjinder Singh appointed as Chef De Mission for Winter Olympics Games 2018
On 10th January 2018, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) appointed Harjinder Singh as the Chef De Mission for the 23rd Winter Olympic Games to be held in Pyeongchang, in February 2018.

Harjinder Singh – Chef De Mission for Winter Olympics Games 2018:
i. Harjinder Singh is at present the General Secretary in the Ice Hockey Association of India.

ii. IOA President Narinder Dhruv Batra announced the appointment of Harjinder Singh as Chef De Mission for Winter Olympics Games 2018.


About Ice Hockey Association of India (IHAI):
♦ President – K. L. Kumar
♦ Member of – International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF)

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