Current Affairs January 12, 2019

In this post, GKToday presents Current Affairs of January 12, 2019 in Short Notes form for preparation of IBPS, Banking, CLAT, SSC, Railway, UPSC, IAS/PCS, UPPSC, BPSC, MPPSC, RPSC, TNPSC, MPSC, KPSC and all other competitive examinations of India.

1. On January 11, an agreement for Renukaji Dam Multipurpose Project was signed in New Delhi among 6 States - Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand. Under the agreement, three storage projects are proposed to be constructed on the river Yamuna and two of its tributaries - Tons and Giri in the hilly regions of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. These include Lakhwar project on river Yamuna in Uttarakhand, Kishau on river Tons in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh and Renukaji on river Giri in Himachal Pradesh. These three projects were identified as National Projects in 2008 under which 90% funding of the cost of irrigation & drinking water component will be provided by the Govt. of India (GoI) as central assistance and the rest 10% cost of the irrigation and drinking water component will be borne by the beneficiary states. In addition to this, a concession agreement was also signed for Namami Gange projects for the city of Prayagraj under Hybrid Annuity Mode and One City One Operator Concept.

2. Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen has appointed Su Tseng-chang as the island's new Prime Minister, during a Cabinet reshuffle following the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)'s heavy losses in local elections. Su’s appointment follows the widely-expected resignation of William Lai, the second premier to quit since Tsai took office in 2016, in line with a practice of leaders quitting when their party loses a major election. Su is a former premier appointed in 2006 by then-President Chen Shui-bian and was a chairman of Tsai’s DPP for two terms.

3. President of the Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWF), Birendra Prasad Baishya has been named as India’s Chef de Mission for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. it is for the first time that the sport of Weightlifting has been accorded with the honour of Chef de Mission for the Olympics. Baishya is also one of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Vice Presidents. He is a former Union minster and a former Rajya Sabha Member from Assam. The Japanese capital –Tokyo - will host the Games for the second time in 2020 after having organised it 56 years back in 1964.

4. As per 2019 Henley and Partners Passport Index, the Indian passport has been ranked as the 79th most powerful in the world. The Henley index ranks world’s passports based on how many countries they can get the holder access to without a prior visa. An Indian passport holder can visit 61 countries without a pre-travel visa. Japan tops the list and its passport gives holders access to 190 countries. Singapore and South Korea come 2nd with access to 189 countries each while France and Germany share the third spot with access to 188 countries each. The US passport gives its citizens access to 185 countries without the need for a prior visa and shares the sixth spot with UK, Austria, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, Belgium and Canada. The Henley Passport Index is based on data provided by the International Air Transport Authority (IATA) and covers 199 passports and 227 travel destinations. It is updated in real time throughout the year, as and when visa policy changes come into effect.

5. Ace Indian pugilist Mary Kom from Manipur has been ranked No.1 in the Light Fly (45-48kg) category by the International Boxing Association (AIBA), after scoring 1700 points. Earlier, Kom won the historic sixth gold medal at the 2018 Women’s World Boxing Championship by defeating Hanna Okhota of Ukraine in the 48kg category in New Delhi. She also won gold medals at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the Silesian Open Boxing Tournament in Poland.

6. IIT Kharagpur will launch a six-month course on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning for working professionals and engineering students. The aim of the certified programme is to strengthen India’s talent pool in Machine Learning and AI. The course will begin from March 2019 & will be offered at institute units in Kharagpur, Bangalore and Kolkata and possibly in Hyderabad. The course will comprise 16 one-credit modules and one capstone project. The course modules have been carefully designed to cover mathematical and algorithmic foundations, artificial intelligence fundamentals and several modules on statistical and machine learning methods.

7. On January 10, Union Environment Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan launched the much-awaited National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) to combat air pollution. The NCAP is a pollution control initiative that was launched with the intention to cut the concentration of coarse (PM10) and fine particles (PM2.5) by at least 20% in the next five years, with 2017 as the base year for comparison. The NCAP will be a mid-term, five year action plan with 2019 as the first year. The plan includes 102 most-polluting cities, across 23 states and Union territories, which were identified by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on the basis of their ambient air quality data between 2011 and 2015. Apart from experts from the industry and academia, the programme is expected to be a collaboration between the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Ministry of Heavy Industry, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health, NITI Aayog, and CPCB.

8. The book titled ‘We are Displaced: My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls Around the World’ has been authored by Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and Pakistani activist. In it, the author is charting her experiences travelling the world and visiting refugee camps. Here, Malala not only explores her own story of adjusting to a new life while longing for home, but she also shares the personal stories of some of the incredible girls she has met on her various journeys - girls who have lost their community, relatives and often the only world they’ve ever known.

9. Security and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has recently constituted a Research Advisory Committee (RAC) to strengthen its research function and enhance its linkage to policy making. It will be headed by Dr. Sankar De. The RAC will assist in formulating policy to undertake research relevant for development and regulation of capital markets. Among the other functions of the committee will be defining objectives, scope and direction of research relevant for development and regulation of capital markets in the country with focus on "linkage of research to policy making".

10. The World Economic Forum (WEF) has recently released its latest report titled ‘Future of Consumption in Fast-Growth Consumer Market – India’. The report stated that India is set to become the world’s third largest consumer market behind only USA and China by 2030. As per the report, consumer spending in India is expected to grow from $1.5 trillion at present to $6 trillion by 2030. With the annual GDP growth rate of 7.5%, India is currently the world’s sixth largest economy. The report noted that growth of the middle class will lift nearly 25 million households out of poverty. As per the report, growth in income will transform India from a "bottom of the pyramid economy" to a middle class-led one. The report produced in collaboration with Bain & Company builds on consumer surveys conducted across 5,100 households in 30 cities and towns in India, and draws from more than 40 interviews with private and public-sector leaders.


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