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PM announces number of measures for welfare of farmers, small traders, women & senior citizens

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced two housing schemes, tax incentives for small traders, interest rebate for farmers and monetary assistance for pregnant women.

(1) Bonanza for Home Buyers 

In a big relief to home buyers, New Schemes under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana were announced. Now get 4 % interest relief on home loan upto 9 lakh rupees. And 3 % cut for home loan upto 12 lakh rupees.

(2) Subvention on Home Improvements 

In rural areas, now you can get 3 % interest relief on loan of upto 2 lakh rupees for the construction, renovation and expansion of home.

(3) Big relief to Farmers

Govt to pay interest for 60 days on loans taken by farmers for rabi season from district cooperative banks and primary societies.

(4) Fund to NABARD doubled 

Additional fund of 20,000 crore given to NABARD to give loans to farmers.

(5) Kisan Credit Cards to become RUPAY 

3 crore Kisan Credit Cards will be transformed to RuPay credit cards. Farmers had to go to banks to withdraw money. It will help farmers to sell and buy. 

(6) Big boost to MSME sector 

For small entrepreneurs, credit guarantee raised from Rs 1 crore to Rs 2 crore. Loans by non-banking financial companies will also be covered in this. Shopkeepers and small businessmen will get more loans because of this. 

(7) Relief to small traders 

For small businesses, cash credit limit raised to 25 per cent from 20 per cent. Working capital increased to 30 % from the current 20% if the transaction is done via digital mode. 

(8) Big push to less cash Economy 

In a bid to promote less cash economy, PM says small traders and businesses with a turnover of up to Rs 2 crore, 6% tax will be levied instead of 8% if they accept payments through banking and digital means. 

(9) Scheme for pregnant women 

For pregnant women, a national scheme launched. Would be Mothers will get Rs. 6,000 for their delivery, vaccination, and nutritious meals. This will be transferred straight to their account. This will help in saving lives of mothers and new born kids.

(10) Relief to senior citizens 

Senior citizens will be assured 8 per cent interest on their deposits up to Rs 7.5 lakh. Now for the senior citizens the interest rate shall remain fixed at 8 percent for next 10 years.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has lauded Prime Minister Modi’s announcements for enhancing economic activities and welfare measures. 

NRIs can exchange defunct notes up to June 30: RBI

I. Reserve Bank last night came out with conditions for exchange of defunct notes for those, including non-resident Indians, who failed to do so till 30th December 2016, the last day for depositing the invalid currency notes in banks. Resident Indian citizens who were abroad from November 9th to December 30th can avail this facility up to March 31st, 2017 and NRI citizens, who were abroad during this period, can exchange their defunct notes up to June 30th, 2017. 

II. While there is no monetary limit for exchange for the eligible resident Indians, the limit for NRIs will be as per the relevant FEMA Regulations 25,000 rupees per person. 

Justice Mian Saqib Nisar appointed as Chief Justice of Pak

I. Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has taken oath as the 25th Chief Justice of Pakistan. The oath was administered by the country's President Mamnoon Hussain at the President House. The event was attended by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other dignitaries. Justice Nisar has replaced Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali who retired after serving as Chief Justice for 15 since his appointment in September 2015.

Sikkim became India’s first fully organic state in 2016

I. Sikkim has emerged as the India’s first fully organic state by converting around 75,000 hectares of agricultural land into sustainable cultivation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi formally certified Fully Organic State Status to Sikkim at a sustainable agriculture conference in Gangtok earlier in 2016.

II. Around 75,000 hectares of agricultural land has been gradually converted to certified organic land by implementing organic practices and principles as per guidelines laid down in National Programme for Organic Production.  Organic cultivation is free of chemical pesticides and chemical fertilisers to maintain a balance with ecosystems. Sustainable farming also helps in building the soil health resulting in sustainable increased crop production. Organic Farming will also boost the tourism industry in the tiny landlocked Himalayan state of Sikkim.

British-Indian Professor Shankar Balasubramanian Receives Knighthood

I. Shankar Balasubramanian, an Indian- origin British professor of chemistry and DNA expert at Cambridge University, has received a Knighthood along with Olympic stars Andy Murray and Mo Farah among others by Queen Elizabeth II for their contributions.

II. Balasubramanian, 50, Herchel Smith Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at Cambridge University, has been recognised for his work as a co-inventor of Next Generation DNA sequencing, described as the most transformational advance in biology and medicine for decades.


Govt permits 12 PSU banks to raise Rs 3,000 crore from market

i.The Finance Ministry granted approval to 12 proposals of PSBs to raise a sum of Rs 2,914.038 crore through preferential allotment and permission given to raise Rs 200 crore by United Bank of India through QIP mode.
 ii.The government had already infused a sum of Rs 25,000 crore in 19 PSBs during FY 2015-16.

NRIs can exchange defunct notes up to June 30: RBI

i.Resident Indian citizens who were abroad from November 9 to December 30 during Demonetization can avail exchange facility up to March 31, 2017 

ii.NRI citizens, who were abroad during this period, can exchange their defunct notes up to June 30, 2017

26 crore accounts open under Jan Dhan Yojana across country 

i.Over 26 crore accounts have been opened under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana across the country now.
ii.The Scheme was launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August, 2014 with the objective of covering all households with at least one bank account. 

Mori in Andhra gets Smart Digital village tag

i.Mori, a tiny village under Sakhinetipalli mandal in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, sealed its place on India's digital map by transforming completely into a Smart Digital Village, in every sense of the term.

ii.All the 1189 households in the village with a population of 4500 became fully digital as Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu finally launched the AP FiberNet project that will provide internet at a speed of 15 mbps, WiFi, a telephone connection and 250 cable television channels for a total price of Rs 149 per month.

World famous 11-day gala festival Bargarh Dhanua Jatra begins

i. Odisha's World famous 11-day gala festival Bargarh Dhanua Jatra is all set to begin on 2 January 2017.All rituals were performed before Goddess Samaleswari, the presiding deity of the event.

ii.Dhanu Jatra is an annual drama-based open air theatrical performance celebrated in a 6 km radius in and around Bargarh municipality. It is considered to be the world’s largest open air theatrical festival.

Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani dedicated India’s first laser technology-based advanced AVMS RTO check-post at Shamlaji 

i.Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani dedicated India's first laser technology-based advanced AVMS RTO check-post at Shamlaji of Aravalli district . 

ii.The check-post is equipped with advanced ray technology with a cost of Rs 4.72 crore. Along with this programme, Rupani also laid foundation stones of various developmental works worth Rs 30 crore in tribal area of Aravalli district.

India successfully test-fires intercontinental ballistic missile Agni-IV

i.India has successfully test-fired its home-grown long range intercontinental surface-to-surface nuclear capable ballistic missile Agni-IV from the Abdul Kalam Wheeler Island off Odisha coast.

ii. Agni-IV is a two-stage, surface-to-surface missile that is 20 metres long and weighs 17 tonnes. It can carry a one-tonne nuclear warhead over a distance of 4,000 kilometres. 

India’s Petronet Signs MoU to Set Up $950 Mn LNG Project in Bangladesh

i.India's largest LNG importer Petronet has signed an agreement to set up a $950 million liquefied natural gas import project in Bangladesh.

ii.Petronet signed a MoU with with Petrobangla to set up a 7.5 million tonnes a year project to receive and regasify LNG on Kutubdia Island in Cox's Bazar and lay a 26-km pipline to connect it to the consumption markets.

SBI cuts lending rate by 0.9% across

i.Country’s largest lender SBI  cut benchmark interest rate across various maturities by 0.9 per cent, effective from 1st January  2017, a move that is expected to be shortly followed by other banks also.

ii.The bank has reduced marginal cost of funds based lending rate (MCLR) by 0.9 per cent from 8.90 per cent to 8 per cent for 1-year tenure 

Bharatiya Jananpith announces Navlekhan award 2016

i.Two new Hindi writers Shraddha and Ghyansham Kumar Devansh have been chosen for Bharatiya Jnanpith Navlekhan Award for the year 2016, the literary organisation announced .
ii.The decision to confer the award on Shraddha for her short story, 'Hawa Mein Phadphadati Chitthi' and on Devansh for his poem 'Akash Mein Deh' was taken unanimously by a selection panel chaired by eminent poet Vishnu Nagar.

NHPC CMD honoured at 10th ENERTIA Awards 2016

i.State-run National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) Chairman and Managing Director K M Singh has been conferred the 'Power & Energy Persona's Award for Individual Excellence' at the 10th ENERTIA Awards 2016.

ii.India and South Asia's awards for excellence in sustainable energy and power. 

iii.Singh received the award from Former Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Upendra Tripathy.

Indian Origin Appointed To Top Military Post In Kyrgyzstan

i.An Indian-origin Saudi-based entrepreneur Shaikh Rafik Mohammed, who hails from Kerala has been appointed Major General of Kyrgyzstan, a rare military position occupied by an Indian in the Central Asian country. 

ii.He is appointed by Ali Mirza, Defence Minister of Kyrgyzstan at an official ceremony held in the country, Khaleej Times reported.

British-Indian professor knighted in New Year's honours

Shankar Balasubramanian, an Indian-origin British professor of chemistry and DNA expert at Cambridge University, has received a Knighthood for his contribution to the field of science and medicine along with Olympic stars Andy Murray and Mo Farah among others by Queen Elizabeth II for their contributions in respective field's.

Mian Saqib Nisar appointed as Chief Justice of Pak

i.Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has taken oath as the 25th Chief Justice of Pakistan.
ii.The oath was administered by the country's President Mamnoon Hussain at the President House.

Air Marshal Anil Khosla takes over as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Air Command

i.Air Marshal Anil Khosla took over as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Air Command on 1 January 2017. 

ii.As an Air Marshal he has held appointment of Senior Air Staff Officer, Central Air Command and Director General Air (Operations) at Air HQ, Vayu Bhawan. 

Somdev Devvarman announces retirement from professional tennis

i.India's star singles player Somdev Devvarman has announced his retirement from professional tennis.Somdev touched a career-high rank of number 62 in 2011. 

ii.He has two runners-up finishes on the ATP World Tour as his best performances on the Tour. He made the finals of Chennai and Johannesburg ATP events.

iii. Somdev also won Singles and Doubles medals in Asian Games and Commonwealth Games.

Sivalingam Sathish Kumar of Railways clinches gold for sixth time

 i.Rio Olympian Sathish Sivalingam from Railways won the gold, for the sixth consecutive year, in the men's 77 kg category in the 69th men's and 32nd women's Senior National Weightlifting Championship, at the Ponjesly College of Engineering.

ii.Sivalingam Sathish lifted a total of 317 kg (141 (snatch) and 176 (clean & Jerk)) while Ajay Singh from Services won the gold in the clean & jerk category by lifting 177 kg and 137 kg in the snatch category and finished second
with a total of 314 kg.

Rafael Nadal wins Mubadala Tennis Championships 2016 in Abu Dhabi

i.Rafael Nadal defeated David Goffin to win in Abu Dhabi.Rafael Nadal defeated Belgian David Goffin 6-4, 7-6 to win the Mubadala World Tennis Championships.

ii.Rafeal Nadal, 30, trailed at 1-3 in the first set but regained advantage over Goffin, who overcame world No.1 Andy Murray in the semi-finals.


Birth Anniversary of Savitribai Phule: 3 January
i.Hailed as the country's first woman teacher, Savitribai Phule was also a social worker and a poet. Born on January 3, 1831, in Maharashtra's Naigaon. 
ii.2017 marks her 186th birth year. Savitribai Phule is credited with laying the foundation of education opportunities for women in India and played a major role in improving women's rights in the country during the British Raj. 
iii.Many of her poems were against discrimination and spoke about the need to get educated. She campaigned against untouchability, Sati tradition, child marriage and other social evils most of her life.

BHIM becomes most popular Android app in India
i.Govt's online payments app, BHIM is now the number one free app on Google Play Store. The app was launched by PM Modi to simplify digital payments. 
ii.The app, with a rating of 4.2, has been downloaded more than 1 million times.Within 48 hours of being launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the app named BHIM was India’s most-popular, registering the maximum downloads of any free Android app in India. 
iii.The app was launched on 30 December 2016, to simplify digital payments. The app has already been downloaded 3 million times.  
iv.BHIM - which stands for Bharat Interface for Money - is named after Dr BR Ambedkar.

India 3rd among nations offering highest salaries to expats
i.India has ranked third among the countries offering the highest average annual salary to expatriates, according to HSBC Holdings data. 
ii.Notably, Switzerland offers an average salary of $188,275 a year to expats, the highest in the world and almost twice the global average. 
iii.Further, the best employment packages, including health benefits, are found in Middle East countries like Bahrain.

PM inaugurate Indian Science Congress at Tirupati
i.Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurate the five-day annual Indian Science Congress at the Sri Venkateswara University.
ii.‘Science and Technology for National Development’ would be the focal theme of the Indian Science Congress, Prof D Narayana Rao, General President of Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA).

Chandrababu Naidu Launches Arogya Raksha Scheme to cover APL Families
Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh has launched a new health scheme, Arogya Raksha Scheme Tummalapalli Kalakshetram in Vijayawada to provide the medical treatment to the people of the Above Poverty Line at Rs. 1200 premium per annum

Banks cut base rates: home, corporate loans to be cheaper
i.Housing, auto and corporate loans are all set to become cheaper with half a dozen PSU and private banks steeply reducing benchmark lending rate by up to 1.48% after spurt in deposits following demonetisation.
ii.Taking a cue from State Bank of India, other lenders including largest private sector lender ICICI Bank and state-owned Oriental Bank of Commerce and Andhra Bank announced a cut in the marginal cost of funds based lending rate (MCLR).
iii.SBI along with PNB and Union Bank of India, yesterday reduced the lending rate by a good 0.9% after Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his new year eve address urged the banks to focus on the needs of poor and lower middle class and middle class.

Centre launches mobile app for Haj applications
Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has launched mobile app 'Haj Committee of India', which will provide information and facilitate e-payments for Haj pilgrimage.

Maharashtra government to organise Digi Dhan Mela in Mumbai
i.Maharashtra government will organise a Digi Dhan Mela in Mumbai under the aegis of central government’s Lucky Grahak Yojana for Consumers and Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojana for traders. 
ii.The day-long event, to be held at Mumbai University, aims to promote digital payment methods and inculcate a digital payment habit among all citizens.

Maharashtra Government Bans use of Purse Seine Nets for Fishing
i.Maharashtra Government has declared to ban the use of Purse Seine Nets for fishing across Maharashtra to safeguard the Fingerlings, a fish species. 
ii.The move is aimed at curbing the exploitation of fish by safeguarding the fingerlings and its eggs to increase their population.  

David R Syiemlieh appointed new UPSC chairman
i.David R Syiemlieh has been appointed today as the Chairman of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
ii. An official statement said President Pranab Mukherjee has appointed Prof David R Syiemlieh, Member, Union Public Service Commission, with effect from January 4, 2017 till furtherOrder.
iii.He will take over from Alka Sirohi, a former IAS officer of the Madhya Pradesh cadre.

Pakistan approves Hindu marriage bill
i.The Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights unanimously approved the Hindu Marriages Bill on 2nd January 2017

ii.The much-awaited bill to regulate marriages of minority Hindus in Pakistan moved closer to reality after a Senate committee approved the landmark draft legislation, nearly four months after it was passed by the National Assembly.
iii.The bill will enable the Hindu community members to get their marriages registered. It will become a law after it will be passed by the Senate, the upper house of the Parliament.

Amazon Wins Patent for Flying Warehouse to Deliver Parcels via Drones
i.The U.S. e-commerce giant, Amazon has been awarded a patent for launching a giant flying warehouse that would act as a launch pad for drones to deliver items within minutes.
ii.The U.S. e-commerce giant described plans for an "airborne fulfilment centre" (AFC) such as an airship or blimp that would float at an altitude of around 45,000. 
iii.The airship will be stocked with lots of products

Russia delivers Sukhoi jets to China
i.Russia has finally delivered four Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets to China after a delay of two years.
ii. The Su-35 is an advanced version of the Su-30s operated by the Indian Air Force.

Karnataka Minister H S Mahadeva Prasad dies at 58
i.Karnataka minister for co-operation and sugar H S Mahadeva Prasad passed away in Bangalore due to cardiac arrest. He was 58 years old.
ii.Halahalli Shreekantha Shetti Mahadeva Prasad was the Minister for Co-operation and    Sugar in Government of Karnataka.
iii.An active Congressman and five term member of Karnataka Legislative Assembly representing Gundlupet assembly constituency, prasad was also the In Charge Minister of Chamarajanagar District. 

Table tennis Olympic champion Li Xiaoxia announces retirement
i.China's table tennis Olympic champion Li Xiaoxia has announced her retirement.
ii.She is the eighth table tennis Grand Slam winner in history with singles crowns from the 2008 World Cup in Kuala Lumpur, 2012 Olympics in London and 2013 world championships in Paris. 
iii.She also has several doubles and teams world titles to her name.


Cabinet approves ratifying an agreement between India, Uruguay regarding cooperation in Customs Matters

i.Cabinet has approved signing and ratifying an agreement between India and Uruguay regarding cooperation and mutual assistance in Customs Matters.
ii.The Agreement will help in the availability of relevant information for the prevention and investigation of customs offences.

Election commission announces poll dates for five state Assembly 
i.The Election Commission today announced the dates for the assembly elections in five states Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa.ii. Uttar Pradesh, the biggest state in the country, will go to polls in seven phases for 403 seats on 11th February, 15th February, 19th February, 23rd February, 27th February, 4th March and on 8th March.

EPFO launches a campaign to enrol more workers, sets Re 1 fine for late registration
i.Encouraging firms to enrol their workers under schemes run by retirement fund body Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), a three-month campaign has been launched beginning 1 January  2017 where employers will get amnesty and pay just Re 1 as damages for not registering their employees earlier.
ii.To be called 'Enrollment and Establishment coverage campaign 2017'.

Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar sworn-in as 44th Chief Justice of India
i.Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar has been sworn-in as the 44th Chief Justice of India. President Pranab Mukherjee administered the oath of office and secrecy to Justice Khehar at a function in Rashtrapati Bhawan on 4 January 2017.
ii.He replaced Justice TS Thakur whose tenure ended.
iii.Justice Khehar's tenure will be till 27 August 2017.

Uttar Pradesh: Digi Dhan Mela being organised in Meerut
i.In Uttar Pradesh, day-long Digi Dhan Mela is being organised by the central government and the financial institutions in Meerut on 4 January 2017.
ii.Through such Melas, common people are motivated towards higher usage of digital transactions by offering incentives like Lucky Grahak Yojana for Consumers and Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojana for Merchants.

Google introduces tools for small businesses in India
i.Google India has created two tools  My Business and Digital Unlocked for the small and medium businesses in India,that would help to create an online presence, besides a digital training programme.
ii.It is an India first tool which introduced this year. Google My Business would help small businesses set up website from their mobile devices.

Nepal Hosts Elephant Festival in Chitwan to Boost Tourism
i.The 13th edition of Nepal’s five-day Chitwan Elephant Festival kicked off in Kathmandu with the participation of over 50 elephants.
ii.The annual festival which brings fun, sports and adventure together was inaugurated on Monday in Sauraha, the gateway to Chitwan National Park

Finland First Country to introduces basic income for unemployed

i.Finland has become the first country in the world to pay a basic income to randomly picked citizens on a national level in an aiming at dismissing poverty, motivate people to join work force and decrease unemployment.
ii.It is conducted with 2,000 randomly picked unemployed participants between the ages of 25 and 58.

Britain Ambassador to the Europe Union Quits

i.The U.K.’s ambassador to the European Union Ivan Rogers resigned from his post.
ii.Sir Mark Ivan Rogers KCMG (born 1960) is a senior British civil servant, who was the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the European Union from 4 November 2013 until his resignation on 3 January 2017

Brijesh Patel and other two KSCA office-bearers resign
A day after the Supreme Court removed Anurag Thakur and Ajay Shirke as President and Secretary of the BCCI for obstructing Lodha Panel reforms, Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) bearers Brijesh Patel, Ashok Anand and Dayanand Pai, have resigned from the posts of KSCA Secretary, President and Treasurer.

Mithali Raj to lead India in Women's World Cup Qualifier

i.Seasoned player Mithali Raj will skipper the Indian women’s cricket team for the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup qualifiers to be played from February 3 to 21 in Colombo.
ii.The team comprises of most of the prominent names in the squad which guided India to clinch the women’s T20 Asia Cup 2016 title in December last year by beating arch-rivals Pakistan.


RBI appoints Surekha Marandi as Executive Director
i.The Reserve Bank of India has appointed Surekha Marandi as its Executive Director (ED) in place of U S Paliwal, who retired on December 31, 2016.
 ii.Marandi will look after Consumer Education and Protection Department, Financial Inclusion and Development Department, and Secretary's Department.

United Nation Recognises 2017 as Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development
i.The United Nations 70th General Assembly has recognised the year 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. 
ii.This recognizes the importance of international tourism and particularly of the designation of an international year of sustainable tourism for development, in fostering better understanding among peoples everywhere, in leading to a greater awareness of the rich heritage of various civilizations and in bringing about a better appreciation of the inherent values of different cultures, thereby contributing to the strengthening of peace in the world.

EC limits cash expense per candidate at Rs 20-28 lakh for Assembly polls
i.The Election Commission of India has issued a limitation for campaign expense per candidate.
ii. In Goa and Manipur, the limit on election expenses per candidate is Rs 20 lakh. 
iii.In Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand the election expenses limit per candidate is Rs 28 lakh.

Rs. 5 discount for online payment of LPG cylinder
i.State-owned fuel retailers, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) will offer an upfront discount of Rs 5 on every LPG refill to all LPG customers who will book and pay for it online.
ii.To provide cashless transactions, the government had asked oil companies to pay consumers 0.75 per cent discount on cashless fuelling of petrol and diesel at petrol pumps.
iii. This has now been extended to cooking gas (LPG).

PM Narendra Modi Releases special commemorative postage in 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh in Patna
i.Prime Minister Modi released special commemorative stamps on Prakash Parv in 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh in Patna on 5 January 2017.
ii. Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal, Union Minsters Ravi Shankar Prasad Ram Vilas Paswan and Harsimrat Kaur were present on this occasion.

Telangana, Assam join Uday Discom debt scheme
i.Telangana and Assam signed memoranda of understanding (MoUs) to join the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojna (UDAY)  taking the total number of states covered under the scheme to 20.
ii.An overall net benefit of approximately ₹6,116 crore to Telangana and ₹1,663 crore to Assam will come from joining the scheme.

Supreme Court Removes Anurag Thakur as BCCI President
i.The Supreme Court of India has stripped Anurag Thakur of his powers as BCCI President for not complying with the orders of the apex court with regard to implementation of the Lodha committee reforms. 
ii. He was elected as the BCCI president in May 2016 after Shashank Manohar was elevated to International Cricket Council's chairman post. 
iii.In 2011, he became BCCI joint secretary after spending little over a decade as president of the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA).

Two-day Assam Biotech Conclave to begins in Guwahati
i.The two day Assam Biotech Conclave began today in Guwahati.
 ii.Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal inaugurated the conclave in presence of 
Science and Technology minister Keshab Mahanta.
 iii.Chief Minister hoped that this conclave would help Assam in biotechnology sector.
 iv.This is organized by Guwahati Biotech Park in association with industry body FINER. The conclave will create business and partnering opportunities for its stakeholders and to showcase the facilities and opportunities offered by Guwahati Biotech Park.

Ludhiana district administration develops mobile app for Election Commission of India
i.For the benefit of voters, candidates, election staff as well as the Election Commission of India (ECI), the district administration of Ludhiana has developed a mobile application named ECI360.
ii. Developed by Harpreet Singh Chandoke from a company named 01 Synergy on behalf of the district administration and a brainchild of deputy commissioner Ravi Bhagat, this mobile app would prove beneficial for all the stakeholders of upcoming assembly elections.

Yes Bank ties-up with Bajaj Electricals for vendor financing using blockchain
i.Private lender Yes Bank has entered into a tie-up with Bajaj Electricals for vendor financing using blockchain solution, and announced to use the technology more aggressively as it saves over 70 per cent in cost.
ii. As part of the tie-up, the bank has completely digitalised its processes and blockchain solutions can be implemented.

Paytm gets final approval for payments bank
i.Mobile commerce and payments company Paytm has got the final permission to open a payments bank by RBI.
ii.Reserve Bank of India gave permission to formally launch Paytm Payments Bank.
iii. Paytm and 11 other players, including Vodafone, Airtel and Fino PayTech, had applied for a payments bank licence in 2015.

Munich Re to open reinsurance branch office in Mumbai 
i.Munich Re is opening a composite branch office in Mumbai to service the property-casualty, life, health reinsurance markets across the country.
ii. Munich Re Group or Munich Reinsurance Company is a reinsurance company based in Munich, Germany. 
iii.It is one of the world’s leading reinsurers.

Azure Power Commissions Largest Solar Power Project (150MW)
i.Solar power producer Azure Power commissioned 150 MW solar power project in Punjab, which is its largest in North India.
ii.For this project, Azure Power had signed a solar power implementation agreement with Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) under its Solar Policy Phase III.
iii. The 150MW solar power plant represents a portfolio of three projects of 50MW each. 

5 Indian Americans Takes Oath as Members of US Congress
i.Five Indian Americans Takes Oath as Members of US Congress.
i.They are Kamala Harris, Ami Bera, Ro Khanna, Raja Krishnamoorthi and Pramila Jayapal.
ii.The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States consisting of two chambers the Senate and the House of Representatives. 

Jovenel Moise elected as the President of Haiti
i.Jovenel Moise has been elected as the President of Haiti.
ii. The electoral tribunal officially declared the winner on 3 January 2017.
iii.Jovenel Moise has been declared the winner of Haiti's November 20 presidential election, ending a protracted electoral process that has paralysed the Caribbean country's politics for more than a year.

Mahindra Singh Dhoni steps down as captain of T-20 & ODI format of cricket
i.MS Dhoni has stepped down as the captain of India's limited-overs sides. 
ii.He will, however, be available for the selection for the upcoming England ODI and T20I series starting 15 January 2017.
iii. Dhoni had given up the Test captaincy in December 2014.

India win record 4th straight SAFF Women's Championship title
i.India's women's football team defeated Bangladesh 3-1 in Siliguri to win the 2016 South Asian Football Federation Women's Championship for the fourth consecutive time. 
ii.Dangmei Grace opened the scoring for India, with Sasmita Malik and Indumathi Kathiresan scoring second-half goals for the hosts.
iii.India have won all editions of the eight-nation tournament, which started in 2010.

Arthur Morris inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame
i.Arthur Morris, who became the 82nd player to be inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame, was given the honour posthumously.
ii.Arthur Robert Morris was an Australian cricketer who played 46 Test matches between 1946 and 1955. An opener, Morris is regarded as one of Australia's greatest left-handed batsmen. 

Ashirbad Behera, Ranjib Biswal quit posts from Odisha Cricket Association
On the direction of the Apex court, Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) secretary Ashirbad Behera, president Ranjib Biswal and all OCA office-bearers  quit from their posts. 


Om Puri passes away after a massive heart attack
i.Veteran actor Om Puri has passed away after a massive heart attack.The actor was 66.
ii.Om Puri was an Indian actor who has appeared in mainstream commercial Pakistani, Indian, British, and Hollywood, Independent films and art films. 
ii.His credits also include appearances in American films. 
iii.He has been awarded Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of India.

India & Kazakhstan sign 5 protocol to amend Double Taxation Avoidance Convention
i.India and Kazakhstan have signed the five national capital a Protocol to amend the existing Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC) between the two countries  which was earlier signed on 9th December, 1996 for the avoidance of double taxation and for the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income. 

4th Assam International Agri-Horti show to begin in Guwahati
i.Fourth Assam International Agri-Horti show will begin in Guwahati, Assam.
State Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal will inaugurate the show.
ii.Assam Agriculture Minister Atul Bora informed that 10 foreign countries are also taking part in the show.
iii.Nearly 600 farmers from Assam will be trained on doubling farmers' income, more crop per drop and agri-preneurship development.
iv.More than 200 organisations from across the country will take part in the show.

Three Days International Conference on Yoga for Diabetes Organised in New Delhi
i.The Minister of State for AYUSH  Shri Shripad Yesso Naik inaugurated the International Conference on “Yoga for Diabetes” which began in New Delhi on January 4, 2017.
ii.The three days conference aims to generate discussions on the role of Yoga in the prevention and management of Diabetes and draw up a roadmap to be adopted for the control of Diabetes through Yoga.

Centre approves assistance of Rs 1782 crore for Karnataka
i.The Centre has approved an assistance of over 1782.44 crore rupees for Karnataka. The state will get this sum from the National Disaster Relief Fund as drought relief.
ii.The financial assistance was approved by Home Minister Rajnath Singh at a meeting of the High Level Committee in New Delhi.

Island Tourism Festival 2017 to begins in Andaman & Nicobar 
i.The Island Tourism Festival 2017 will begin today at Port Blair in Andaman & Nicobar islands. Lt. Governor Jagdish Mukhi will inaugurate the mega event at ITF Ground this evening.
ii. During the 10-day event, performances by the cultural troupes from mainland will help the Islanders renew their cultural ties with mainland India.

Govt imposes anti-dumping duty on Bangladesh, Nepal jute products
i.The Government has imposed an anti-dumping duty ranging from 6.30 US dollars to 351.72 US dollars per tonne on imports of jute and its products from Bangladesh and Nepal. 
ii.This anti-dumping duty has been imposed in order to protect the domestic industry. The duty has been imposed for five years. 
iii.It further added the import restrictive levy has been imposed on jute yarn, twine, Hessian fabric and jute sacking bags in all forms and specifications.

Launch of IPR Enforcement Toolkit for Police and IPR Awareness Campaign for Children
i.The Commerce & Industry Ministery launched an IPR Enforcement Toolkit for Police. 
ii.The toolkit has been jointly prepared by Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
iii.This toolkit will be a ready reckoner for police officials across the country in dealing with IP crimes, specifically Trade Marks counterfeiting and Copyrights piracy.

SIDBI ties up with LIC for capital support to enterprises
i.Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) on Thursday said it has tied up with Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) for augmenting capital support to enterprises in the country.
ii.The idea behind tying up with the state-run insurance behemoth is to give a boost to the venture capital ecosystem for MSMEs.

Karnataka Bank launches group Personal Accident Insurance Scheme named KBL Suraksha
i.Karnataka Bank has launched a month-long campaign to promote a group personal accident insurance scheme for savings bank account-holders. ‘KBL Suraksha’, which was launched on January 2, will be in force till January 31.
ii.Launched in association with Universal Sompo General Insurance, KBL Suraksha provides coverage against all types of accidental deaths.
iii.All savings bank account-holders of the bank in the age group of 18-70 years can subscribe to this scheme by paying an annual premium of ₹100 for ₹10 lakh and ₹50 for ₹5 lakh coverage.

S Padmanabhan Appointed as Chairman of Tata Power 
i.Tata Sons has nominated S Padmanabhan as the Chairman of Tata Power Co Ltd with immediate effect, in place of Cyrus Mistry.He is also the executive chairman of Tata Business Excellence Group. Recently he was appointed as the head of group for human resources for Tata Sons.
 ii.He is associated Tata group for 34 years, of which 26 were with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

Sir Tim Barrow has been appointed as the Britain’s ambassador to the EU
i.UK Senior diplomat Sir Tim Barrow was appointed the new ambassador to the European Union (EU).  ii.He replaced Sir Ivan Rogers.He previously served in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, as a representative to various bodies of the European Union, and as British Ambassador to Ukraine 2006–2008. 

Capgemini Appoints Anil Jalali of IBM as HR head for India Operation
i.French Consulting Corporation, Capgemini has appointed Anil Jalali as Chief Human Resources Officer for its India operation .
ii.Jalali takes over from BL Narayan who is joining Capgemini’s Business Services Strategic Business unit as head of solutions and sales support.

IBM India Appoints Karan Bajwa as Managing Director 
i.IBM has appointed Karan Bajwa as Managing Director of IBM India Pvt Ltd, succeeding Vanitha Narayanan who has been appointed as chairman of the Indian subsidiary.
ii.Bajwa joined IBM in 2016 as Executive for Strategy and Transformation in the Asia Pacific region. He was earlier Managing Director, Microsoft India where, besides leading the India business for the company, he also the led the cloud transition and the ecosystem engagement.

Book on Dr. Kalam titled 'The People’s President: Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam' released
i.Vice President Hamid Ansari on 4 January 2017 released a book titled The People's President: Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.
 ii.The book was released at a function in New Delhi which was attended by Union Finance.

Dilip Vengsarkar steps down from MCA vice-president post
i.Former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar has submitted his resignation as vice-president of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA).
 ii.The move comes on the line of the Supreme Court order. On December 17, Sharad Pawar resigned as president of the MCA.

Sitar Player Abdul Halim Jaffer dies at 88
 Renowned Sitar maestro Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan died  due to cardiac arrest. He was 88.Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan was an Indian sitar player and received the national awards Padma Shri (1970) and Padma Bhushan (2006) and was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for 1987


14th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas convention begins in Bengaluru

i. The 14th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD) convention has begins in Bengaluru. The three-day event will kick start with the Youth PBD, the theme of which is 'Role of Diaspora Youth in the Transformation of India'. Pravasi Bharatiya Divas has been held traditionally on 9th January every year to commemorate the return of Mahatma Gandhi as a Pravasi from South Africa to India.Three plenary sessions are scheduled to be held in Youth PBD. First will be on reaching out to Indian Students abroad, NRIs and overseas Indian Community Students in India. Second will be on Start-ups and Innovations and 3rd on Start-up ecosystem in Karnataka. 

Tata Motors, Castrol announce global strategic partnership

i. Tata Motors and Castrol have signed a 3-year strategic partnership agreement. As part of the agreement, Castrol will supply Commercial Vehicle Oils to Tata Motors globally. The agreement will cover over 50 markets including SAARC and ASEAN region, Middle East, Africa, Russia and Latin America. 

China launches longest high-speed train service

i. China has launched its longest high-speed train service from Kunming capital of south-west China's Yunnan Province to Beijing. The train named 'Shangri-la of the World' left Kunming at 11:05 am on a 2,760-km trip to Beijing. The mileage will increase to 45,000 km by 2030.

Foreign exchange reserves rose by $625.5 million to $360.296 billion:RBI 

i. The RBI stated that foreign exchange reserves rose by $625.5 million to $360.296 billion in the week to December 30, 2016. In the previous week, the reserves had declined by $935.2 million to $359.671 billion. The reserves had touched $371.99 billion in the week to September 30, 2016. 

All India Conference of Waqf Boards begins

i. The All India Conference of Chairpersons and Chief Executive Officers of States and Union Territories' Waqf Boards begins in New Delhi.The conference will be inaugurated by Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.Various issues, including review of progress under the schemes relating to grant of financial assistance for computerization of waqf properties, strengthening of waqf boards and development of waqf properties by National Waqf Development Corporation Ltd. will be discussed during the conference. 

Droom, Axis bank tie-up to provide quick loans on new and used cars

i. India’s pioneering online automobile transactional marketplace Droom has firmly entrenched its foothold as a complete eco-system for buyers to have an impeccable automobile owning experience. In its latest effort to sustain such a status, Droom has tied up with Axis Bank, India’s third largest private sector bank, to provide quick sanction of loans on both new as well as used cars.

ii. Loans are an integral element in almost all new and used car purchases and Droom’s recent collaboration with Axis bank is evidence of its continued efforts to cover the 360 degree eco-system of online automobile transactions. Loans will be provided for up to 85 percent of the value of the car with tenure of one to five years. Furthermore, loans on Used Cars can be availed on vehicles up to the age of 10 years at the end of the loan tenure.

Japan to Help in Developing Chennai, Ahmedabad and Varanasi Smart Cities

i. Japan has decided to be associated with the development of Chennai, Ahmedabad and Varanasi as smart cities. This was conveyed by Japan’s Ambassador to India Mr.Kenji Hiramatsu during his meeting with Minister of Urban Development Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu.

Per capita income of Indians to cross Rs 1 lakh in FY17

i. India’s per capita income, a gauge for measuring living standard, is estimated to cross Rs 1 lakh in 2016-17, up from Rs 93,293 in the previous fiscal. As per the ‘First Advance Estimates of National Income, 2016-17’ released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the per capita net national income during 2016-17 is “estimated to be Rs 103,007” at current prices. This is higher by 10.4 per cent compared to Rs 93,293 during 2015-16.

ii. The Central Statistics Office said India’s GDP is expected to slowdown to 7.1 per cent during 2016-17 from 7.6 per cent in the previous fiscal mainly due to slump in manufacturing, mining and construction activities.

30 Indian-Origin Men & Women Inducted into 2017 Forbes’ Super Achievers List

i. Over 30 Indian-origin innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders have been featured in the 2017 edition of Forbes' list of super achievers under the age of 30 who seek to break the status quo and transform the world.The Forbes list has 30 game changers in 20 industries including healthcare, manufacturing, sports and finance. 

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