Current Affairs: 25 January 2017

National Girl Child Day: 24 January

  • National girl child day is celebrated every year on 24th of January as a national observance day for the girl child.
  • This celebration was started to offer more supports and new opportunities to the girls in the country. It is celebrated to increase the awareness among people about all the inequalities faced by the girl child in the society. 
  • Inequality about girl child is a vast problem which includes many areas like inequality in education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, protection, honour, child marriage and so many.
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India rejects attempts by EU, Canada for global investment agreement

  • India, along with Brazil, Argentina and some other nations, has rejected an informal attempt by the European Union (EU) and Canada to work towards a global investment agreement at the World Trade Organisation (WTO)-level that would incorporate a contentious Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism.
  • The ISDS mechanism has become contentious as it permits companies to drag governments to international arbitration without exhausting the local remedies and claim huge amounts as compensation citing losses they suffered due to reasons, including policy changes.
  • The EU and Canada have inked an investment pact that has incorporated the contentious ISDS. At the meeting (of trade ministers of select countries held on the sidelines of the recently held World Economic Forum in Switzerland), they wanted the investment pact to be the template for a similar multilateral agreement. India summarily rejected such an idea.

Centre shifts disinvestment advice to new department

  • In keeping with its ongoing efforts to streamline the disinvestment process, the government transferred the role of advising the government on how to utilise the proceeds from disinvestment from the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) to the Department of Economic Affairs.
  • This comes days after the Union Cabinet approved an alternative mechanism to decide the modalities to do with stake sales in public sector undertakings (PSUs), so as to speed up the process.
  • Department of Economic Affairs in the Finance Ministry will now be in charge of “financial policy in regard to the utilisation of the proceeds of disinvestment channelised into the National Investment Fund

BCSBI to organise ‘know your rights’ programme 

  • To educate awareness on banking codes at grass root level, The Banking Codes and Standards Board of India (BCSBI) will organise “know your rights” programme in all the states.
  • For this, the organisation will adopt a three-fold approach in the awareness programme focussing Tier II cities, metros and other backward areas.
  • With the opening up of innumerable Jan-Dhan accounts and increased usage of formal and transparent modes of financial transactions.
  • It is now imperative for the lesser privileged section of the society to understand their rights.
  • Conducting an educational programme through an interactive session would prove to be more beneficial as people relate things better when delivered in simple language with situational references than conducting a mere class-room session.

T-hub launches GIS Innovation Hub powered by Esri India

  • Telangana government backed startup incubator T-Hub launched GIS Innovation Hub (GIH) for startups in the city, powered by Esri India, the geographic information system, or GIS, software and solutions provider. 
  • As part of this partnership, Esri India will induct startups into a three year startup program where they would receive free access to Esri’s ArcGIS, a cloud-based mapping platform, software development tools and ready-to-use content. 
  • They will also provide training and technical support to make the adoption of GIS technology conducive for the startups. 

Assam launches ‘Chief Minister’s Award’ to reward districts adopting digital payments

  • Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal mooted for cashless transactions through grassroot level programmes, saying his government has initiated several steps to digitise payment methods. “Cashless payment has the potential to root out corruption from the system and citizens must adopt cashless transactions as a way of life,” the Chief Minister said inaugurating the ‘DigiDhan Mela’
  • Sonowal announced that a ‘Chief Minister’s Award’ would be given to the best performing district in adopting digital payment methods and familiarising cashless transactions among a large section of people. 
  • A prize of Rs 50,000 would be presented at the end of financial year 2016-2017 after March 31, 2017 to Deputy Commissioner for the best performing district.
  • Assam has performed better than many states in the country in ushering in cashless transactions at tea gardens and other interior places of the state

UN appoints Director of UNIC António Guterres  in New Delhi

  • UN Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed a senior Dutch official as head of the world bodys information centre in New Delhi, covering India and Bhutan.
  • Derk Segaar of the Netherlands has been appointed Director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in New Delhi, covering India and the Kingdom of Bhutan.
  • From 2011 to 2013, Segaar was the Head of Communications of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in New York, where he directly managed its global media and communications activities, including the development and implementation of its corporate advocacy and communications strategy.

Siddhartha Murarka is now ICSI Chairman

  • Siddhartha Murarka has been appointed as the Chairman of the Eastern India Regional Council of The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI). His term began from January 19,
  • Murarka, a fellow member of the ICSI, was the head of risk management and compliance at a member firm of the PwC before starting his own practice.
  • Murarka is also a “regular faculty”at ICAI and other professional bodies and chambers of commerce like the Merchant Chamber of Commerce and the BCCI.

Kansas rep Mike Pompeo confirmed as CIA director

  • The Senate has confirmed controversial candidate Mike Pompeo to head the CIA in President Donald Trump's new administration. 
  • His appointment was confirmed despite opposition from some Democrats, who highlighted the Kansas Republican's varying viewpoints on key issues such as surveillance, torture and Russia’s "influence campaign" in the 2016 Presidential election.
  • Mr Pompeo will lead the major agency as the intelligence community has been thrust into the spotlight and become an increasingly partisan issue. 
  • Mr Pompeo's appointment comes the same evening that Rex Tillerson, an oil tycoon with links to Russia, was confirmed as secretary of state.

Commerce & Industry Minister launched Rubber Soil Information System (RubSIS)

  • Commerce & Industry Minister Smt Nirmala Sitharaman launched Rubber Soil Information System (RubSIS), an online system for recommending application of appropriate mix of fertilizers to the specific plantations of rubber growers depending upon their soil nature in New Delhi today. Smt Rita Teaotia, Commerce Secretary and other senior officials of the Ministry and Rubber Board were present at the occasion.
  • RubSIS, developed by Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII) under the Rubber Board in collaboration with three agencies viz Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management, Kerala
  • Apart from preventing indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers and soil degradation, adoption of RubSIS will lead to reduction in the cost of production of rubber, increase in productivity and reduction in environmental pollution.
  • The scientific and user friendly online fertiliser recommendation system was launched for Kottayam (Kerela), the largest rubber growing district of India which will be extended to the entire traditional rubber growing region i.e. the states of Kerela and Tamilnadu this year.

PVR launches theatre on demand service Vkaao, eyes 100 screens

  • Multiplex chain operator PVR today launched theatre on demand service ‘Vkaao’ and plans to add 100 screens by end of next fiscal across the country.
  • Vkaao is an online platform that enables consumers to watch any movie of their choice at a theatre of their choice.
  • Vkaao is very disruptive and gives control to a customer to choose what they want to watch, when and where,” PVR Pictures CEO Kamal Gianchandani said.
  • Vkaao, a part of PVR Pictures, will initially begin service with 500 film titles across different languages and genres.
  • Minimum requirement for a show to be confirmed would be 50 seats.


UK experts launch project to tackle Delhi air pollution risks 

  • Indian and British experts are joining hands on a project to help tackle health problems associated with air pollution in Delhi, which affect some 46 million people in and around the country's capital city. With air pollution levels at times up to 30 times greater than those found in the UK, Delhi was rated the most polluted city in the world for ambient air pollution by World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2014. 
  • Experts will measure airborne particulate matter and analyse how the pollution is being generated. 
  • The project runs for four years and will involve a series of field studies and follow-on analyses to determine the sources and processes responsible for airborne particulate matter in Delhi, linking with other projects funded in parallel to develop mitigation options. 

Ronnie O'Sullivan beats Joe Perry to win record seventh Masters title

  • Ronnie O’Sullivan created history as he sealed a record seventh Dafabet Masters title after coming back to defeat Joe Perry in a 10-7 triumph at Alexandra Palace in London .
  • O’Sullivan’s victory means he has surpassed Stephen Hendry’s tally of six Masters trophies as the 41-year-old fought back from 4-1 down to retain the crown that he won in emphatic fashion in last year’s final against Barry Hawkins.
  • It also ensured the world number 13 ended a run of three defeats in finals this season and defended the title he won last year by thrashing Barry Hawkins 10-1.

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