BFSI & Economy

  • 1st January 2018 is World Day of Peace. This is a feast day of the Roman Catholic Church dedicated to universal peace.
  • The Union Cabinet has approved a proposal that government will bear the Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) charges on transactions up to Rs 2,000 made through Debit Cards, BHIM UPI or Aadhaar – enabled payment systems to promote digital transactions. This rule comes into force from 1st January 2018
  • Tto promote cashless payments, the Indian Railways is going to launch its own debit card in association with State Bank of India (SBI) and Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).
  • Parliament has passed the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Amendment) Bill, 2017 with the approval of Rajya Sabha. This Bill seeks to amend National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) Act, 1981. The Act establishes NABARD for providing and regulating facilities like credit for agricultural and industrial development in the rural areas.
  • Union Minister Manoj Sinha today announced that the government is going to roll out all 650 branches of India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) by April 2018. IPPB was incorporated as a public limited company with 100% Government of India equity under Department of Posts, he added.
  • The Union Finance Ministry has launched 7.75% Savings (Taxable) Bonds, 2018 scheme to help citizens invest in a taxable instrument, without any monetary ceiling. It will enable resident citizens/Hindu Undivided Families (HUF) to invest in a taxable bond, without any monetary ceiling.
  • The Lok Sabha today passed the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code Amendment Bill 2017. The Bill debars wilful defaulters and existing promoters from bidding for stressed assets of companies undergoing insolvency proceedings.
  • The World Bank today committed $40 million (over ₹256 crore) for the development of tourism facilities in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
  • Under it’s FAME India scheme, the government is going to provide ₹437 crore subsidy to 11 cities for launching electric buses, taxis and three-wheelers.The beneficiary cities include Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, among others
  • Bitcoin’s rival cryptocurrency Ripple has surpassed Ethereum as the world’s second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation.
  • The government has announced that the Indian economy slowed down in 2016-17, with the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declining drastically from 8% the previous year to 7.1%.
  • The Centre has made it mandatory for e-commerce firms to display the maximum retail price (MRP) on goods from today. Amendments in this regard were made to the Legal Metrology (packaged commodities) Rules in June 2017.

 

International

  • Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) introduced Value Added Tax (VAT) from today for the first time. This comes as the Gulf nations aim to diversify their revenue generation from sources other than oil and cope with low oil prices.

 

Sports

  • Indian chess grandmaster, a former World Chess Champion, Viswanathan Anand defeated  Russia’s Vladimir Fedoseev in a three-way tie-break to win the World Rapid Chess Championship in Riyadh today.
  • Indian marksman Jitu Rai today won the Men’s 50m pistol national title with a new national finals record score of 233 at the 61st National Shooting Championship in Thiruvananthapuram
  • Indian golfer Shiv Kapur won the Royal Cup in Thailand today. This is his third Asian Tour title of 2017

 

Science and Technology

  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is designing a Space Telescope which would be able to image 100 times larger than the Hubble Space Telescope. Scheduled to launch in mid-2020s, the 300-megapixel Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) would study how the universe expanded over time.
  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has announced that it will launch 31 satellites, including India’s Cartosat-2 series Earth observation satellite, in a single mission onboard its Polar rocket on 10th January 2018. The mission would consist of a combination of 28 nano satellites from foreign countries, and one micro and nano satellite from India along with the Cartosat satellite.
  • Sophia, the world’s first robot to be granted citizenship, made its first appearance in India during an annual festival at IIT-Bombay today.
  • The largest state-owned natural gas processing and distribution company in India, GAIL India Ltd has commissioned India’s second largest rooftop solar power plant in Uttar Pradesh.

 

National & Business

 

  • Three Ministries viz. Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) and Ministry of Science & Technology have signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for joint funding of Technology Mission for Indian Railways (TMIR).
  • The Lok Sabha passed High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, 2017 to hike the salaries of judges of the Supreme Court (SC) and High Courts (HCs).
  • Under the BharatNet project, the government has approved ₹4,066 crore for providing Internet connectivity to people in all gram panchayats. The first phase of the project aims to connect 1 lakh panchayats with 100 Mbps speed.The government plans to connect all gram panchayats with high-speed broadband by March 2019.
  • Kolkata is set to get its first floating market, named ‘The Floating Market of Patuli’, which is likely to be open for public in January.
  • The Karnataka state government is going to purchase 640 electric vehicles (40 buses, 100 cars and 500 three-wheelers) under the Central government’s FAME India subsidised scheme.
  • 4th January is World Braille Day.This day celebrates the 209th Birth Anniversary of French Innovator Louis Braille