- Moussa Faki Mahamat appointed as new African Union (AU) head
Chadian foreign affairs minister Moussa Faki Mahamat has been elected as the head of African Union (AU) Commission. He will replace Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Moussa Faki Mahamat – a former prime minister who has been at the forefront of the fight against Islamist militants in Nigeria, Mali and the Sahel – was chosen by the 54-member body at a summit that has exposed splits over Africa’s relationship with the international criminal court and Morocco’s readmission to the union.
- Rex Tillerson sworn-in as US secretary of state
The U.S. Senate confirmed Rex Tillerson as President Donald Trump’s secretary of state, filling a key spot on the Republican’s national security team despite concerns about the former Exxon Mobil Corp chief executive officer’s ties to Russia.
Tillerson, 64, retired as chairman and chief executive of Exxon Mobil at the end of 2016 after a four-decade career at the company.
- Anushka sharma becames the ambassador of Swachh Bharat campaign
Anushka Sharma is the new celebrity entrant in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan campaign. The actress will be joining Amitabh Bachchan in championing the initiative founded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, highlight the women-centric aspects of open defecation as part of the nationwide health and sanitation campaign.
AWARDS AND HONOURS
- Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh Presents 2016 National Entrepreneurship Awards
Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh presented the First National Entrepreneurship awards 2016 in New Delhi. The Minister of State (I/C) for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy was the guest of honour on the occasion. The awards have been presented in order to recognize the entrepreneurial spirit of India’s youth and encourage more young Indians to become entrepreneurs.
An overview of the winners in these categories, under Award Track is given below:
- Agri, Food, & Forestry Products – Wow Momo Foods Private Ltd
- Chemicals, Pharma, Bio and other processed material – Saral Design Solutions Private Limited
- E-commerce, Logistics, Transport & other Services – JETSETGO Aviation Services
- Engineering Services – Swadha Energies
- IT &ITES, Financial – Lucideus Tech
- SC/ST – JeevAnksh Eco Products Private Limited
- Women – S V Engineering and Consultancy Services
- Rajasthan, Telangana bag eGov awards
The Centre’s intense focus on Digital India seems to have drawn greater response this year to the CSI -Nihilent eGovernance Awards. This year, under the State category, Rajasthan and Telangana emerged Winners of Excellence while the Award of Recognition went to Odisha and Nagaland.
Instituted by the Computer Society of India’s (CSI) Special Interest Group with sponsorship from Nihilent Technologies, these awards help recognise the efforts of eGovernance practitioners from across central and state departments, projects and in district administrative units as well.
- Google dethrones Apple to become world’s most valuable brand
Apple has been dethroned from its position as the world’s most valuable brand for the first time in five years, with Google taking the top spot according to an annual study of the planet’s leading brands.
Apple’s brand value has dropped 27pc in the last 12 months, according to an analysis by leading valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance, which also found Lego to be the world’s most powerful brand.
- Fiscal deficit reaches 94% of the budget estimate
India’s fiscal deficit in the first nine months to December was 5.01 trillion rupees($73.87 billion) or 93.9 percent of the budgeted target for the fiscal year ending in March 2017, government data showed . The fiscal deficit was 87.9 percent of the full-year target during the same period a year ago.
Net tax receipts in the first nine months of 2016/17 fiscal year were 7.52 trillion rupees, the data showed. E-Paathsala Launches Unique Technology-Backed Services for Educational Institutions in India
- Ministry of Defence to Set up Rs 1500 cr Defence Unit in Madhya Pradesh
The Union Minister for Panchayati Raj and Rural Development, Narendra Singh Tomar stated that the Ministry of Defence is set to open its Defence Unit in Morena district of Madhya Pradesh. The unit would be set up in Kailaras and Sabalgarh tehsil areas and span over 969.735 hectare of land at a cost of Rs. 1500 crore.
The Cabinet has decided to hand over 334.584 hectare free of cost, acquired 34.745 hectare private land and has sent a proposal to give 600.406 hectare forest land in exchange of as much revenue land, to the Defence Ministry for the proposed unit.
- Textile Ministry Inaugurates Meghalaya’s First Ever Apparel and Garment Centre at Ampati
The Union Textiles Minister Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani, along with Chief Minister of Meghalaya Dr. Mukul Sangma, inaugurated the first ever Apparel and Garment Making Centre in Meghalaya, near Ampati in South West Garo Hills. The Apparel Centre will create employment opportunities for both men and women of the region, thereby empowering them economically.
For local entrepreneurs with requisite background, required facilities to start a unit will be provided in ‘plug and play’ mode. Once such entrepreneurs get established, they can set up their own units, allowing the facility to be provided to new entrepreneurs.
- Railway Ministry Requests Separate Fund for Rashtriya Rail Safety Fund
The central government said that the Ministry of Railways has requested the Finance Ministry for a separate fund for improving safety of the Indian Railways. Ministry of Railways has requested Ministry of Finance to sanction a non-lapsible Rastriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK) totalling Rs 1,19,183 crore for safety improvements of Indian Railways.
The safety related works identified are related to track works, bridge rehabilitation, safety works at level crossing, replacement and improvement of signalling system, improvement and upgradation of rolling stock, replacement of electrical assets and human resource development.
- Air India to get Rs. 1,800 cr from govt in 2017-2018
National carrier Air India will receive Rs 1,800 crore as equity infusion in 2017-18 under the government’s ongoing financial assistance and the amount is slightly higher than the allocation for 2016-2017.
The allocation has been made in the Union Budget for 2017-18, which was presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. For 2016-17, the government had allocated Rs 1,713 crore to the airline against a demand of Rs 3,911 crore.
- 10,000 cr allocated for PSB recapitalization
The Union Budget has allocated Rs 10,000 crore towards recapitalisation of public sector banks in FY2017-18. As per the Indradhanush plan, the public sector banks will be provided with Rs 10,000 crore in the next fiscal. Additional allocation would be made if required.
Under Indradhanush roadmap announced in 2015, the government will infuse Rs 70,000 crore in state banks over four years while they will have to raise a further Rs 1.1 lakh crore from the markets to meet their capital requirement in line with global risk norms, known as Basel—III.
- Income Tax Department (ITD) launches Operation Clean Money
Income Tax Department (ITD) has initiated Operation Clean Money. Initial phase of the operation involves e-verification of large cash deposits made during 9th November to 30th December 2016.
- Data analytics has been used for comparing the demonetisation data with information in ITD databases. In the first batch, around 18 lakh persons have been identified in whose case, cash transactions do not appear to be in line with the tax payer’s profile.
- ITD has enabled online verification of these transactions to reduce compliance cost for the taxpayers while optimising its resources.
- The information in respect of these cases is being made available in the e-filing window of the PAN holder (after log in) at the portal https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in.
- The PAN holder can view the information using the link “Cash Transactions 2016” under “Compliance” section of the portal. The taxpayer will be able to submit online explanation without any need to visit Income Tax office.
- Payment regulatory board to be created in RBI: Budget 2017
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has proposed creation of a six-member Payments Regulatory Board in the RBI, headed by its Governor, as part of bringing about structural reforms in the payment eco-system.
- For the purpose, necessary amendments are proposed in the Finance Bill 2017 to create a Payments Regulatory Board in the Reserve Bank of India by replacing the existing Board for Regulation and Supervision of Payment and Settlement Systems.
- Department of Economic Affairs has recommended structural reforms in the payment eco-system, including amendments to the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007.
BANKING AND FINANCE
- ICRA Estimates Banks Credit Growth to Remain Subdued at 5-6% in FY17
As per the report of the rating agency, ICRA, the bank credit growth rate is likely to float between 5-6% in the current fiscal year (2017).The reason cited includes weak loan demand as the rate of return offered by debt market is better in comparison to banks. Besides, the deposit rate was also projected to drop to 12 percent from the current 14.7 percent this fiscal ending March 2017 due to better cash flow in the system and cut in the deposit rate by the banks.
- Lakshmi Vilas Bank Partners with Fisdom for Mission FINFIT
The private sector lender Lakshmi Vilas Bank in partnership with Bangalore based fin-tech startup firm Fisdom, has launched a mobile application Mission FINFIT to offer the customers of the bank financial planning and personal wealth management services based on Robot advisory.The mobile app would enable the customer of the bank to plan their finances in an effective manner using the online platform for wealth management thus encouraging them to invest smarter.
- Ireland became the world’s first country to stop investing in fossil fuels
Ireland has voted to be the world’s first country to fully divest public money from fossil fuels. The Irish Parliament passed the historic legislation in a 90 to 53 vote in favour of dropping coal, oil and gas investments from the 8bn (£6.8bn) Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, part of the Republic’s National Treasury Management Agency. Once enacted, the bill would force the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund to sell its investment in fossil fuel industries over the next five years.
- UNICEF launches 3.3 bln USD to aid millions of children
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has launched an appeal of 3.3 billion U.S. dollars to provide emergency assistance in 48 countries around the globe, against the backdrop of ever increasing number of children driven from their homes due to conflict, disasters and climate change.
A total of 48 million children living through some of the world’s worst conflicts and other humanitarian emergencies will benefit from UNICEF’s 2017 appeal, which was launched on Jan. 31
- SAARC programming committee meeting begins in Kathmandu
The 53rd meeting of SAARC Programming Committee began in Kathmandu, Nepal. The two-day meeting at joint secretary/director general level only entails discussions about the budget allocation of five SAARC regional centres, some specialised bodies and their annual programme, it will definitely set a positive tone to reduce tensions between India and Pakistan and for resumption of the Saarc process
- Chinese New Year sparks world’s largest migration of people
Based on the Chinese lunar calendar, Chinese New Year falls between January 21 and February 20 each year. This year – the year of the monkey, according to the Chinese 12-year animal cycle – the Lunar New Year will fall on February 8. While there are many legends and stories surrounding the start and celebration of the Chinese New Year, the two main reasons for the festival are to celebrate a year of hard work by resting and relaxing with family, and to wish for luck and prosperity for the coming year.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
- Researchers Discover Oldest Human Ancestor
Researchers have discovered the earliest known ancestor of humans – along with a vast range of other species. They say that fossilised traces of the 540-million-year-old creature are “exquisitely well preserved”. The microscopic sea animal is the earliest known step on the evolutionary path that led to fish and – eventually – to humans.
- 18 fresh swine flu cases reported in Telangana
Eighteen fresh positive cases of swine flu have been reported in Telangana, where 13 people have succumbed to the H1N1 virus and other complications since August 1 last year. Eighty-five cases were tested for swine flu and 18 of them came positive for the deadly virus, a bulletin on swine flu issued by the State Government
- Lampard announces retirement from professional football
Former England and Chelsea midfield star Frank Lampard retired at the age of 38, calling time on a playing career that will be remembered as one of the Premier League’s finest.
Lampard was a pivotal figure in the greatest period in Chelsea’s history as he helped the west London club win the Champions Leagues.
- Pankaj Advani wins his 29th National Snooker title
Champion cueist Pankaj Advani won the Indian National Snooker Championship with a 6-0 win over Pandurangaiah of Railways in a one-sided final. He became the only Indian men’s cueist to be the holder of all national billiards and snooker titles at the same time – Billiards, 6-red Snooker and 15-red Snooker.
- 15-year-old from Dehradun ranked world number 1 jr shuttler
Sixteen-year-old shuttler from Almora Lakshya Sen created history after he became number one junior single badminton player in the world in the latest Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings. Lakshya is the first shuttler from Uttarakahnd to attain the numero uno spot at the international level.
- Amit Mishra becomes India’s highest wicket taker in T20s
Amit Mishra has become India’s highest wicket taker in T20 cricket, surpassing Ravichandran Ashwin’s record of 200 wickets. Mishra achieved the milestone in his 170th T20 match after taking the wicket of England’s Jason Roy in the third T20I at Bengaluru. Notably, Dwayne Bravo holds the record for the most wickets in T20s with 367 scalps.
- E Ahamed Member of Parliament passes away at 78
Ahamed, Lok Sabha MP from Malappuram in Kerala and former Union minister, passed away. The 78-year-old had collapsed during President Pranab Mukherjee’s address to the joint session of Parliament. Ahamed was a champion of minority rights and state legislator for about 19 years and parliamentarian for more than last 25 years.
He was one of the senior-most national leaders from Kerala and a key figure in India’s diplomatic talks with Arab countries because of his good relationship with most of the rulers in the Arab world.