Latest Current Affairs January 17
- S Selvakumar appointed CMD of SPMCIL
The government has appointed senior IAS officer S Selvakumar as Chairman and Manging Director (CMD) of Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Ltd (SPMCIL).
The state-owned SPMCIL produces bank notes, coins, postage stamps, non-judicial stamps and other official documents.
Selvakumar replaces Anurag Agarwal who was appointed to the post on September 27, 2017.
- Government ends Haj subsidy
Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has announced the Centre would phase out subsidies for the annual Haj pilgrimage, two months after his Ministry had taken the decision.
The Centre’s decision followed a 2012 Supreme Court order asking that subsidies for the Haj be phased out by 2022 and the money saved (around ₹450 crore annually) diverted to more welfare-oriented activities.
- Coast Guards of India, Japan organised joint naval exercise
The biennial search and rescue exercise by ships and aircraft from the Indian and Japanese Coast Guards, to be witnessed by observers from 27 maritime nation.
The exercise, the eighth such in the series of ‘National Maritime Search and Rescue Workshop and Exercise,’ will see ships and aircraft of Coast Guards from India and Japan, the Indian Navy and Air Force and National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) taking part.
- Karnataka Government to Engage Blockchain for Governance
The Karnataka Government has decided to use the blockchain technology and is planning to bring out a White Paper on ‘Blockchain Use in Governance’ as a prelude to a separate policy.
As a first step, various government departments have been consulted to develop use case studies for a ‘Blockchain Hackathon’.
The Blockchain Hackathon for Governance will be held from January 19 to 21 and will be a fast-paced event designed to create demonstrable prototypes of the use of Blockchain in government applications.
- Haryana to set up NBFC for efficient management of funds
The Haryana government has decided to form a new non-banking financial company (NBFC) Haryana State Financial Services Limited (HSFL) to act as an in-house treasury manager for efficient management of surplus funds of state public enterprises and autonomous bodies.
The newly set up NBFC would enable quick and hassle-free lending and create financial discipline among the state government entities. It would also result in centralized mechanism for prudent management of funds under the overall control and supervision of the general administration department.
- Gujarat to get largest accelerator for start-ups – “DevX”
As the country celebrates two years of Startup India mission, a new chapter in the start-up field is opening up in Ahmedabad creating co-working spaces for tech startups to incubate and get nurtured.
To be named as DevX, the accelerator will have co-working space of about 15,000-18,000 square feet at single location with seating capacity for over 250 people. This will be Gujarat’s largest accelerator.
It will focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IOT), Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Financial technology areas. The first phase will get ready by May 2018 with about 10,000 sqft area and full commissioning will happen by December 2018.
- Centre, CII ink MoU for development of logistics sector
To enhance import and export performance, the Centre has entrusted the task of integrated development of the logistics sector to the Department of Commerce.
It is believed that improved logistics will up ways of doing business and be a game changer in the creation of billions of job.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has issued directions for a division for logistics in the government. To fulfill this objective, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
8. China builds ‘world’s biggest air purifier’ in Xian
China has constructed an experimental air purifying tower, touted to be the world’s biggest at a height of over 100 meters (328 feet).
The Xian smog tower is undergoing testing by researchers at the Institute of Earth Environment at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Cao Junji, the research head said that the tower has managed to produce more than 10 million cubic metres (353 million cubic feet) of clean air a day since its launch.
9. World’s fifth largest diamond discovered in Lesotho
A 910 carat gem diamond has been recovered in a Lesotho mine, the size of which makes it the fifth largest gem quality diamond ever found.
This is according to a statement from Gem Diamonds, a British-based diamond company listed on the London Stock Exchange.
Gem Diamonds has operations in both Botswana, where it owns Ghaghoo mine, and Lesotho, where it owns 70 percent of the Letšeng Diamond Mine.
10. Microsoft tops Thomson Reuters top 100 global tech leaders list
Thomson Reuters has published its debut “Top 100 Global Technology Leaders” list with Microsoft in the no. 1 spot followed by chipmaker Intel Corp (INTC.O) and network gear maker Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O).
The list, which aims to identify the industry’s top financially successful and organizationally sound organizations, features U.S. tech giants such as Apple Inc (AAPL.O) , Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) , International Business Machines Corp (IBM.N) and Texas Instruments Inc (TXN.O), among its top 10.
11. Brazil legend Ronaldinho retires from football
The Brazilian World Cup winner Ronaldinho has retired from football. The 37-year-old, who also won the Champions League and Ballon d’Or in a glittering career, has not played for a professional team since leaving Fluminense in 2015.
12. Renowned cinematographer W B Rao passes away
Renowned Hindi film cinematographer W.B. Rao passed away. Some of his famous films are blockbusters like ‘Hum’, ‘Khuda Gawah’, ‘Dhadkan’, ‘Rangeela’, ‘Judwaa’, ‘Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega’, ‘Afsana Pyar Ka’, ‘Barsaat Ki Raat’, ‘Insaaf’, and ‘Jurrat’.