Current Affairs: 18 January 2017

India becomes Associate member of CERN 


  • India became an Associate member of CERN on Monday with the Indian government completing its internal approval procedures in respect of the agreement it had signed with CERN on November 21, 2016. 
  • As an Associate member India will have full access to all data generated at CERN. As there are many experiments in CERN, there will be plenty of information available. When we were not an Associate member, India could data only from those experiments where we were participating 
  • There are other benefits of becoming an Associate member. Whenever any CERN facilities get upgraded and go through maintenance, it will provide opportunities for Indian industries to participate 
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India among top 6 promising markets 


  • India features among top six for global executives when it comes to overall growth prospects over the next 12 months, but enthusiasm for investing in the country has dropped from three years ago, finds out a survey. 
  • According to the annual global CEO survey of consultancy giant PwC, released at the WEF annual meeting, the top two markets from the growth point of view are the US, as voted by 43 per cent of respondents, followed by China (33 per cent). Others in the pecking order are Germany (17 per cent), UK (15 per cent), Japan (8 per cent) and India (7 per cent). 
  • Last year, India was among the top five most promising markets globally. 

South Korea ranked world’s most innovative economy 


  • South Korea is the word’s most innovative economy, followed by Germany, Sweden, Japan and Switzerland, according to the latest Bloomberg Innovation Index. 
  • South Korea notched top scores worldwide for manufacturing value-added as well as for tertiary efficiency, and was in the second place in R&D intensity, high-tech density and patent activity. 
  • The Asian tech powerhouse was ranked sixth in terms of researcher concentration. 
  • Rounding out the top 10 under the Innovation Index were Singapore, Finland, the United States, Denmark and France. 


Manipur’s Karang is India’s first cashless island 


  • Karang, a small lake island in Manipur, has become the country’s first cashless island. 
  • The Union ministry of electronics and information technology under its Digital India programme announced Karang as the first cashless island in India on Friday. Confirming it, deputy commissioner M Harekrishna of Bishnupur district said the island fulfilled the Centre’s necessary criteria. 
  • The Karang island is located in the middle of Loktak, the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India. 
  • The campaign was held from January 9 to 12. Karang Island Boat Association and Panthoibi Khoyol Standard Association extended help in holding campaigns on cashless transactions. 


Poet Jacob Polley wins 2016 TS Eliot Prize for Jackself, 'a firework of a book'


  • Jacob Polley has won the 2016 TS Eliot Prize for poetry, joining the ranks of previous winners including Ted Hughes, Seamus Heaney and Carol Ann Duffy. 
  • Polley won the coveted £20,000 award with his fourth collection, Jackself, a sequence of narrative poems partly inspired by his childhood in Cumbria. 
  • The chair of the judging panel, poet Ruth Padel, called Jackself "a firework of a book; inventive, exciting and outstanding in its imaginative range and depth of feeling". 


UNESCO recognises sitalpati or cool mat from Cooch Behar district as 'intangible cultural heritage' 


  • Sitalpati or cool mat from Cooch Behar district has been recognised as an "intangible cultural heritage" by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), according to a statement issued by West Bengal government. 
  • These mats are used for sitting or to hang on doors or windows during summer. The mats are made up of weaved green cane slips of murta plants which are indigenous to the region. 
  • The gradual decline of sitalpati weaving was arrested by the by the proactive efforts of chief minister Mamata Banerjee who helped this traditional product gain global recognition. 


Yes Bank launches customisable savings account 


  • Mid-sized private sector lender Yes Bank claimed to have launched the industrys first customisable savings account which will protect customers from "unwanted charges" levied in current offerings. 
  • Customers can choose from options like debit cards, alternatives to minimum balance requirements, and banking benefits such as ATM usage, digital banking products, branch banking and family grouping 


Yes Bank launched “Yes Fintech”, a business accelerator program 

  • Yes Bank, in collaboration with T-Hub, has launched 'Yes Fintech', a business accelerator program. T-hub is a startup incubator set up by the Telengana government and Anthil – a speed scaling platform for early growth stage start-ups. 
  • Yes Bank has been collaborating with more than 100 fintech start-ups and supporting them to provide creative solutions to the corporate, SME and retail customer base as a part of its Alliances, Relationship & Technology (ART) approach to digitised banking 


India 60th in inclusive development index 


  • India has been ranked 60th among 79 developing economies, below neighbouring China and Pakistan, in the inclusive development index, according to a WEF report. 
  • WEF’s ‘Inclusive Growth and Development Report 2017 said that most countries are missing important opportunities to raise economic growth and reduce inequality at the same time because the growth model and measurement tools that have guided policymakers for decades require significant readjustment 
  • The Inclusive Development Index (IDI) is based on 12 performance indicators. In order to provide a more complete measure of economic development than GDP growth alone, the index has three pillars — Growth and Development, Inclusion and Intergenerational Equity, and Sustainability. 
  • Lithuania tops the list of 79 developing economies that also features Azerbaijan and Hungary at second and third positions, respectively 


Petroleum awareness ‘Saksham 2017’ launched in Nagaland 


  • Every year the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MOP & NG) conduct mass awareness drive on oil and gas conservation across the country on January 16. 
  • From this year onwards the theme of the programme has been redesigned as Saksham – 2017 and the programme duration has been extended to one month. 
  • Saksham – 2017 was inaugurated for the state of Nagaland in a small function organised at Unity College, Dimapur on January 16 amidst gatherings comprising of people from State Government, people from Oil sector, petroleum Dealers community in Nagaland, people from business community, college students particularly girl students etc. 


Timothy Gonsalves Committee Suggests 20 Percent Reservation for Girl Students in IITs


  •  A committee formed by the IIT Joint Admission Board (JAB) has recently given its suggestion to create 20 percent reservation seats for the girl students in IITs out of the total number of seats available.
  • The committee headed by professor Timothy Gonsalves recommended the supernumerary seats to address the issue falling number of female students entering the institute.
  •  However, the recommendation of the committee will get the final approval after the decision of the Joint Admission Board (JAB) who will decide whether the reservation will come in effect from 2017 or 2018.
  • The decision will not affect the number of seats available for male candidates and only those candidates who have already qualified in JEE-Advanced will be considered. The decision will enable IITs to achieve the 1 lakh target by 2020.
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