Current Affairs: 28 January 2017

Published on Saturday, January 28, 2017

President appoints Banwarilal Purohit as Governor of Meghalaya

  • A day after Shanmuganathan decided to step down as Governor of Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh, President Pranab Mukherjee, accepting his resignation, gave Assam Governor, Banwarilal Purohit additional charge of Meghalaya
  • President Mukherjee also appointed P. B. Acharya, the Governor of Nagaland to discharge functions as the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh. 
  • Former Meghalaya Governor V Shanmuganathan resigned on January 26 after nearly 100 members of his staff alleged in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he had “compromised the dignity” at the Governor’s House and turned it into a “young ladies club”.

Sports Minister Vijay Goel reconstitutes committee to identify athletes under TOP Scheme

  • The Union Minister of State (I/C) for Youth Affairs and Sports Shri Vijay Goel has reconstituted TOP committee with the objective of identifying and supporting potential medal prospects for 2020 and 2024 Olympic Games under the “Target Olympic Podium” scheme. 
  • The committee will select elite athletes to provided financial assistance for their customized training at Institutes having world class facilities and other necessary support.
  • According to the Minister of State (I/C) for Youth Affairs and Sports Shri Vijay Goel Committee will decide on its own procedures and will be competent to invite subject experts as and when required. The Initial tenure of the committee will be one year from the date of notification.
  • The reconstituted committee is as follows: 
Shri Abhinav Bindra, Olympic Gold Medalist Chairman
Shri Anil Khanna, Sports Administrator Member
Shri Prakash Padukone, Renowned Ex Badminton Player and Coach Member
Ms. Karnam Malleshwari, Olympic Medalist (Bronze/ Weightlifting) Member
Ms. P. T. Usha Renowned Olympian Member
Shri Murlidhar Raja, President, Sports Administrator Member
Ms. Anjali Bhagwat, Renowned Shooter Member
Ms. Rekha Yadav, Secretary Railway Sports Promotion Board Member
Dr. S.S. Roy, ED (Teams) SAI Member
Shri Inder Dhamija, Joint Secretary (Sports) Member Secretary

ISRO Cryogenic Upper Stage for GSLV Mk III tested successfully

  • ISRO has successfully tested its indigenously developed cryogenic engine in a major step forward for its landmark ‘GSLV Mk III’ rocket, scheduled for launch within the first quarter this year. 
  • Cryogenic engines are used in the upper stage of a rocket launch as they provide the maximum thrust to a launcher vehicle.
  • The cryogenic upper stage, designated as C25, was tested on January 25 for 50 seconds at ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) at Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu, demonstrating all the stage operations
  • The development of C25 cryogenic stage began with the approval of GSLV MkIII, the next generation launch vehicle of ISRO, capable of launching 4 ton class spacecraft in Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). 
  • The vehicle consists of two solid strap-on motors, one earth storable liquid core stage and the cryogenic upper stage. 
  • The C25 stage is the most powerful upper stage developed by ISRO and uses Liquid Oxygen and Liquid Hydrogen propellant combination.

Alibaba's financial arm acquires MoneyGram for $880 millions

  • Ant Financial, e-commerce giant Alibaba's financial arm, has reached an agreement to acquire American money-transfer major MoneyGram for $880 million, in a deal that will expand the firm's business in the US after India and Thailand.
  • The company owns Alipay, one of China's biggest online payment platforms and controls the company that manages the country's largest money market fund, Yu'ebao.
  • The transaction will connect MoneyGram's money transfer network of 2.4 billion bank and mobile accounts and 350,000 physical locations with Ant Financial's users.
  • MoneyGram will remain headquartered in Dallas and continue to operate under its existing brand, 
  • The transaction will help expand Ant Financial's business following its partnering with Paytm in India and Ascend Money in Thailand,

National Geoscience Award for Keshav Krishna and N Purnachandra Rao

  • A Keshav Krishna, a scientist at the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) has been selected for the National Geoscience Award for 2016.
  • The award given by the Union Ministry of Mines is in recognition of his work in the field of geo-environmental studies.
  • Krishna is presently involved in studies on environmental risk assessment related heavy metal contamination in soil, sediments and water in industrial areas, abandoned mine sites and their interactions with the environmental pollutants.
  • Dr N Purnachandra Rao, Chief Scientist and an CSIR Professor at the CSIR-National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI), here has been selected for the prestigious National Geoscience Award by the Ministry of Mines, Government of India for the year 2016 in the field of Geophysics. Dr Rao has made significant contributions in the field of Earthquake studies towards understanding the geodynamics of the Indian plate margins, particularly the Burma-Andaman arc, the Himalaya-Tibet region and the diffuse Indian Ocean deformation zone

Three Indian-origin conferred with Australia's highest civilian award

  • Three Indian-origin persons have been awarded Australia's highest civilian honour this year for their contributions in the field of medicine and work towards the community.
  • Purushottam Sawrikar, a Sydney-based medical practitioner, received Order of Australia medal for the year 2017 announced on the Australia Day in General division category for his service to medicine, and to the Indian community.
  • Sawrikar was a former president of Australian Indian Medical Graduates Association and also founded a community radio called Akashwani Sydney.
  • Makhan Singh Khangure from Perth was given the award for his for significant service to medicine in the field of neuroradiology, to education, and to a range of professional medical associations.
  • Vijay Kumar, a nuclear medicine specialist and a researcher, was given the award for his significant service to medical research in the disciplines of nuclear medicine and biology, to professional organisations, and to the community.
  • Kumar, a founding member of Sydney Tamil Sangam Association, was also awarded Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation Award in 2007 and 2014.

HPCL, GAIL sign pact with AP for Rs 40K crore petrochem project

  • State-owned refiner Hindustan PetroleumBSE -1.47 % Corp Ltd (HPCL) and gas utility GAIL India LtdBSE 1.36 % today signed a pact with Andhra Government for setting up a Rs 40,000 crore petrochemical plant in the state. 
  • The 50:50 joint venture will set up a 1.5 million tons Ethylene Derivatives plant, which will produce a wide range of petrochemical raw materials for the manufacture of detergents, paints and coatings, cosmetics, textiles and adhesives. 
  • Andhra Pradesh government will support the project by providing infrastructure, power, roads and other clearances. 
  • The plant will be set up at the Petroleum, Chemical and Petrochemicals Investment Region (PCPIR) sites identified by the state government at Kakinada. 
  • The MoU was signed by Tripathi, HPCL Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh K Surana and Kartikeya Misra, Director, Industries in Government of Andhra Pradesh. 
  • The project is a truncated version of the earlier proposed refinery-cum-petrochemicals complex in Andhra Pradesh. HPCL has for the time being shelved plans to build a new refinery and is only pursuing petrochemical project. 
  • HPCL and GAIL decided to do the petrochem plan together after their plans to team up with France's Total, Lakshmi N Mittal Group and Oil India LtdBSE 0.22 % (OIL) for a 15 million tonnes a year refinery-cum-petrochemical plant at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh 

SBI wealth management product launched in Kochi

  • State Bank of India (SBI) has launched ‘SBI Exclusif,’ its wealth management offering, in Kochi. will be rolled out in other cities in the state during the course of the year.
  • Launching the product, S Venkataraman, Chief General Manager, SBI, Kerala Circle, said that wealth management has been one of the strategic priorities of the bank.
  • The bank has introduced an ‘open platform’ where customers will also have access to the best products across categories from market-leading institutions
  • SBI Exclusif offers what he described as ‘many firsts’ in wealth banking – for instance an ‘e-Wealth Center’ that can deliver quality relationship management services remotely for extended hours.
  • Similarly, Exclusif customers will have the flexibility to view their portfolio, transact and invest through digital channels such as internet and mobile.
  • SBI has tied up with leading technology and product partners to provide an extensive suite of privileged products and lifestyle benefits. These include top-tier credit and debit cards and concessions/waivers in charges, among others.

Surya Namaskar Yajna now recognised in US Congress

  • The annual "Surya Namaskar Yajna" or "Health for Humanity Yogathon" has been recognised in the US House of Representative on the occasion of its 10th anniversary.
  • Surya Namaskar integrates simple yoga postures in ten steps that along with teaching easy breathing techniques, can provide immense health benefits to both the body and the mind

India ranked 79th in the Corruption Perception Index 2016

  • India has been ranked 79th among 176 countries in the Corruption Perception Index 2016 released by the Transparency International organisation. Its score marginally improved from 38 in 2015 to 40 in 2016. India had a score of 36 in 2012. 
  • The organisation has used the World Bank data, the world economic forum and other institutions to rank countries by perceived levels of corruption in public sector. The score runs from zero to 100, from highly corrupt to 100. Belarus, Brazil, & China shared the same ranks as India.
  • The list was topped by New Zealand and Denmark with a score of 90 each. Higher-ranked countries tend to have higher degrees of press freedom, access to information about public expenditure, stronger standards of integrity for public officials, and independent judicial systems.
  • Somalia was ranked the most corrupt country with a score of 10

Navy’s Theatre Level Exercise, TROPEX 17, gets underway

  • The Indian Navy’s Annual Theatre Readiness Operational Exercise (TROPEX) got underway on 24 Jan 17.
  • The month long exercise will have ships and aircraft of both the Western and Eastern NavalCommands, as also assets from the Indian Air Force, Indian Army and the Indian Coast Guard exercising together. 
  • The exercise is being conducted off the Western Seaboard. The last edition of the exercise was conducted in January 2015. 
  • TROPEX has grown in scale and complexity over the years and will see participation of major surface combatants and air assets of the Indian Navy including the aircraft carrier Vikramaditya, nuclear submarine Chakra, Landing Platform Dock (LPD) Jalashwa, the recently commissioned destroyer Chennai, the P-8I long range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft operating alongside SU-30 MKI, Jaguars, AWACS, IL-78 Flight Refuelling Aircraft of the Indian Air Force and Infantry units of the Indian Army. 
  • The exercise will be conducted in various phases, both in harbour and at sea encompassing the various facets of war-fighting and combat operations.
  • TROPEX 17 assumes special significance in the backdrop of the current security scenario.
  •  The exercise is aimed at testing combat readiness of the combined fleets of the Indian Navy, and the assets of the Indian Air Force, Indian Army and the Indian Coast Guard. 
  • It will also strengthen inter-operability and joint operations in a complex environment.

Gujrat in Walnut’s cashless score card

  • Telangana ranked second in the `Cashless India Scorecard’ prepared by Walnut app to track the growth of digital payments in the country.
  • The scorecard is meant for comparing how each state is moving towards a cashless economy post- demonetisation based on an aggregate and anonymised analysis of Walnut’s over five million user data.
  • It ranked States based on percentage increase in overall cashless transactions, growth in shoppers using debit or credit card for the first time and growth in merchants accepting digital payments.
  • Based on these parameters, Gujarat, Telangana and Haryana emerged as the top three states with the highest growth in going cashless.

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