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Current Affairs - 25 January 2017

General Affairs 

Police Use Anti-Drone Technology For Security Ahead Of Republic Day Celebrations
  • The national capital has been brought under ground-to-air security cover with thousands of armed personnel keeping a tight vigil for the Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi and police using anti-drone technology to thwart any aerial attack.

    Along with armed personnel being deployed at strategic points, police have also ensured that CCTV cameras are installed at key locations. Meetings are being held to decide on the security arrangements and leaves of police personnel have been cancelled.

    The entire Central and New Delhi region will have nearly 50,000 security personnel drawn from Delhi Police and central security forces guarding every nook and corner.

    This time, police will use anti-drone technology to thwart any attack or identify any suspicious flying object, a senior police officer said.

    Apart from this, security personnel will be stationed atop tall buildings with anti-aircraft guns. CCTV cameras have been installed and control rooms have been set up to monitor the feed from the cameras, the officer said.

    Various security layers have been put in place and Delhi Police personnel along with paramilitary and NSG commandos have been deployed.

    Show-Runner Priyanka Gandhi's Campaign Quotient Is Unchanged: Congress
    • Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, credited by the Congress for arranging an alliance in Uttar Pradesh with Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, is on a list of 40 star campaigners released by the party today.

      In earlier elections, the 45-year-old daughter of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has campaigned in the family constituencies of Raebareli and Amethi, but has not held rallies elsewhere. Sources said that this time too, she is likely to maintain those boundaries, though the party roster name-checks her as a speaker for the first set of constituencies that vote, which do not include the Gandhi strongholds.

      The Congress broke with tradition this weekend to out Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as the main negotiator in a partnership that skidded towards collapse before being salvaged, allegedly by her direct talks with Akhilesh Yadav, who enjoys an easy rapport with her brother and Congress No 2 Rahul Gandhi.

      When the alliance seemed wobbly over how many candidates the Congress would be allowed, media reports suggested that it was Sonia Gandhi who intervened to iron out the kinks. Her Political Secretary Ahmed Patel shot down that theory on Twitter, stating that it was Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and due respect was given to Akhilesh Yadav who was negotiating the alliance with the Congress.

      Senior Congress leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad have since acknowledged, with thanks, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's big say in selecting the party's 105 candidates.

      Sources in Akhilesh Yadav's party have said they would like Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to share stage space with his wife, Dimple Yadav, who is a member of parliament; but Congress leaders said that wish will not be fulfilled. Other Congress heavyweights who will be used for public meetings include her brother and mother as also former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

      While campaigning in Amethi and Raebareli for the general election three years ago, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra denounced Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP's allegations against her entrepreneur husband, Robert Vadra, over allegedly illicit land deals in states that were governed by the Congress. She asked voters to "avenge the humiliation of your son-in-law." The Congress went on to an embarrassing result, winning just two of the state's 80 parliamentary seats - the ones held by her mother and brother.

      In the last state election in 2012, the Congress won a gaunt 28 of 403 seats. Of the ten seats in Raebareli and Amethi, the party won just two.

      Prashant Kishor, hired as chief election strategist for the Congress, pushed early for Priyanka Gandhi as the party's presumptive Chief Minister, but failed to impress the party with his suggestion. Instead, it opted for 78-year-old Sheila Dikhsit who has governed Delhi multiple times. Akhilesh Yadav is now the alliance's Chief Ministerial candidate.

    Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu Flags Off Rail Line In Tripura
    • Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Tuesday flagged off a new rail line beyond Agartala - up to the southern temple city of Udaipur.

      Mr Prabhu inaugurated the service through video-conference from New Delhi. Tripura PWD and Health Minister Badal Choudhury, Transport Minister Manik Dey and others were at the inaugural at the Agartala station. 

      Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) Chief Engineer Harpal Singh said the 44.76-km rail line up to Udaipur (Gomati district) is part of the Agartala-Sabroom (114 km) new broad gauge line project.

      "The anticipated cost of the Agartala-Sabroom project is Rs. 3,351 crore and it will be completed by March 2019," Singh told IANS.

      There are three crossing stations - Bishalgarh, Bishramganj and Udaipur - and one halt station at Skerkote on the Agartala-Udaipur railway line.

      There are 58 road crossings and 87 major and minor bridges across the new line.

      Sabroom is to be connected by rail to secure access to the Chittagong port in Bangladesh.

      Sabroom is the last border town of Tripura along the Bangladesh border and the sea port is just 75 km away.

      "After extending the railway line to Sabroom, Tripura and the entire northeast India would be linked with Southeast Asia very easily," Chief Minister Manik Sarkar told IANS.

      National Highway-8, the lifeline of Tripura, has already been extended up to Sabroom, 135 km south of Agartala. 

      "We completed laying railway tracks up to Udaipur before the March 2017 schedule," the NFR Chief Engineer said.

      In October 2008, with the extension of the erstwhile metre gauge track up to Agartala, Tripura was put on India's rail map. Subsequently, the metre gauge was converted into broad gauge.

      Meanwhile, the railways have undertaken work to lay a 15-km track to link Agartala with Bangladesh's Akhaura railway station adjoining Tripura.

    Money Should Not Be Used On Ads: Uddhav Thackeray's Jibe At PM Narendra Modi
    • Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray today said rather than merely spending money on advertisements, funds should be used for development.

      While addressing a gathering of party workers here on the 91st birth anniversary of Bal Thackeray, Uddhav said he would announce his stand on an alliance with the BJP on January 26, when he has called a meeting of party leaders right from the top to the bottom rung.

      "Some people asked me how much money has been spent on my promises in manifesto, I said whatever it is, it less than Prime Minister's advertisements. There is no need to spend money on showing a face to the people. Rather, that money should be used for their development," Thackeray said.

      In a reference to people hopping across parties ahead of the poll season, Thackeray said, "Elections are coming near and people who don't trust me and my leadership are free to leave me and go."

      "This is a crucial time and as long as Shiv Sainiks are with me, I will not bother about results. I know, we have to meet on the same day next month with a thumping victory. So don't bother what people are saying (about alliance). Keep calm till a final decision is taken. I will clear my stand on January 26," he said.

      Talking about his Hindutva agenda, Uddhav said, "Politicians are breaking the country using name of religion and caste. Hindus should come together to keep the country and the society intact," he said.

      "Tamil Nadu has shown a tremendous example how even a Supreme Court order (on Jallikattu) can be reversed if people come together. This is called unity," said the Sena chief.

      Earlier in the day taunting the PM on the birth anniversary of Bal Thackeray, ally Shiv Sena had said the late leader never boasted of a "56-inch chest" but the nation's enemies were scared by his very name and he stood by Narendra Modi when BJP had plans to remove him as the Gujarat chief minister after Godhra riots.

    Paris Experiments With Driverless Buses To Combat Pollution
    • Paris began its first experiment with driverless buses on Monday, with city officials saying they were eager to prepare for the coming "revolution" of autonomous vehicles.

      Two box-shaped electric vehicles capable of carrying around 10 people have been deployed -- within the safety of a special lane -- on a bridge connecting two railway stations to the east of the city centre.

      "Autonomous vehicles represent a revolution for every city on the planet... which will change our urban environment and public space in a spectacular fashion over the next 20 years," Paris deputy mayor Jean-Louis Missika told reporters.

      The test unveiled Monday, which will last three months, is the first stage of the city's embrace of self-driving vehicles which use a combination of lasers and cameras to detect other objects and people around them.

      The head of the Paris transport network, Elisabeth Borne, said she envisaged the buses being used one day to connect homes and railway stations in the suburbs, which are served by overland trains known as RERs.

      "We dream one day of having buses like these parked near RER stations which would come to collect passengers on demand," she told reporters at the launch.

      The advent of self-driving vehicles poses a series of regulatory, ethical and  economic questions which policymakers will have to grapple with as the technology improves and grows more widespread.

      One of them is: What happens to the humble bus driver?

      "We need to start thinking from today about how to train drivers so they can shift into the new jobs created by autonomous vehicles," Missika, who is a transport expert in the mayor's office, told AFP.

      In October, delivery drivers got an uncomfortable glimpse of the future when a self-driving truck built by Uber's Otto unit successfully delivered a beer shipment.

      Cars with some autonomous functions are already on our roads, and more than a dozen automakers including BMW, Kia, Volkswagen and General Motors are racing to get fully self-driving cars to market by 2020.

    Business Affairs 

      Sensex rises 258 pts to two-month high, Nifty above 8,400 level
      • A set of strong corporate earnings numbers gave the market enough comfort as the Sensex soared by over 258 points on Tuesday to end at 27,376, a 2-month high, with covering of short positions ahead of derivatives expiry making the job easier.
        The big domestic trigger coming up next is Union budget, which is slated for February 1.
        Encouraging results from blue-chips led by HDFC Bank, Tata Communications and HCL Tech got investors going, with mood turning positive after a higher opening in Europe.
        The 30-share pack resumed higher and moved in a range of 27,393.35 and 27,140.85 before ending at 27,375.58, a sharp gain of 258.24 points, or 0.95 per cent. This is its highest closing since November 10, 2016, when it closed at 27,517.68.
        It had gained 82.84 points in the previous session.
        The NSE 50-share Nifty also recaptured the 8,400-mark by rising 84.30 points, or 1 per cent, to end at 8,475.80.
        "The market extended gains with increasing focus on the upcoming budget which induced participants for short-covering ahead of the expiry tomorrow (Thursday). Positive quarter results have also influenced the investors to participate in the pre-budget rally," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services.
        The rupee too closed higher against the dollar.
        But traders remained cautious ahead of the Union budget which will throw light on how the government spends money on various social and infrastructure projects.
        HDFC Bank ended 1.84 per cent higher after net profit grew 15.14 per cent to Rs 3,865.33 crore for the December quarter.
        HT Media went up 1.32 per cent after the company put up a similar show, helped by higher other income and lower tax expenses. Tata Communications surged 5.35 per cent after an over 12-fold jump in December quarter profit.
        In the domestic market, 26 stocks in the 30-share Sensex team ended higher while the remaining lost.
        Metal firmed up 1.69 per cent, followed by auto (1.67 per cent), power (1.43 per cent), oil and gas (1.31 per cent), capital goods (1.26 per cent), PSU (1.12 per cent) and banking (0.86 per cent).
        Bajaj Auto came out on top, up 3.42 per cent. M&M rose 2.68 per cent, Adani Ports 2.41 per cent, Coal India 1.96 per cent, L&T 1.88 per cent and Tata Motors (1.74 per cent).
        But Bharti Airtel fell 1 per cent, followed by Infosys, HUL and ICICI Bank.
        Broader markets also traded in a positive zone. The BSE mid-cap and small-cap indices rose 0.96 per cent and 0.85 per cent, respectively.
        Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) sold shares worth a net Rs 288.80 crore yesterday, as per provisional data.
        Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.22 per cent while Shanghai Composite edged higher 0.18 per cent. However, Japan's Nikkei fell 0.55 per cent.

      Bharti Airtel Q3 net dips 54% to Rs 503.7 cr on Jio woes
      • Telecom major Bharti Airtel today reported over 54 per cent fall in consolidated net profit to Rs 503.7 for the October-December quarter due to "turbulence" from "predatory pricing" of newcomer Reliance Jio.
        The company had posted a net profit of Rs 1,108.1 crore in the same period a year ago.
        The consolidated income of Bharti Airtel declined by 3 per cent during the reported period to Rs 23,363.9 crore from Rs 24,103.4 crore in corresponding period of 2015-16.
        Bharti Airtel MD and CEO for India & South Asia Gopal Vittal in a statement said, "The quarter has seen turbulence due to the continued predatory pricing by a new operator. The present termination costs at 14 paise which are well below cost has resulted in a tsunami of minutes terminating into our network.
        "This has led to an unprecedented year-on-year revenue decline for the industry, pressure on margins and a serious impact on the financial health of the sector."
        Jio is offering free 4G services since its launch in September. The free service of Jio will continue till March 31, 2017, as per the last announcement made by Reliance Industries Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh D Ambani.
        Consolidated mobile data revenues of Airtel for the quarter was flat at Rs 4,049 crore compared to same period in previous fiscal.
        Vittal added that at the same time revenue market share of Airtel has crossed a lifetime high of 33 per cent.
        Airtel said that its India revenues were up by 1.8 per cent and that of Africa by 6 per cent on Y-o-Y basis.
        "India revenues for third quarter (stood) at Rs 18,013 crore grew by 1.8 per cent Y-o-Y. Slowdown in mobile revenue growth (was) primarily due to free voice and data offering by a new operator," the statement said.
        In Africa, Airtel saw impact of devaluation of Nigerian currency on Y-o-Y basis.
        Consolidated net debt of Airtel increased by 24 per cent to Rs 97,395.2 crore at the end of December 31, 2016, from Rs 78,451.5 crore in corresponding period a year ago.
        "Net interest costs of Rs 1,810 crore have risen from Rs 1,360 crore in the corresponding quarter last year largely due to increased spectrum related interest costs. Forex and derivative losses for the quarter came in at Rs 126 crore compared to Rs 57 crore in the corresponding quarter last year," the statement said.
        Shares of Bharti Airtel closed at Rs 316.35, down by 0.95 per cent compared to previous close, on BSE today.

      'Bill Gates could be the world's first trillionaire'
      • The world could see its first trillionaire in the next 25 years, and it is not difficult to guess that it could be Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. According to a recent Oxfam report, the richest are accumulating wealth at such an astonishing rate that the world could see its first trillionaire in just 25 years.
        In the report titled 'An economy for the 99 percent', Oxfam claims broken economies are funnelling wealth to a rich elite at the expense of the poorest in society, the majority of whom are women. The richest are accumulating wealth at such an astonishing rate that the world could see its first trillionaire in just 25 years.
        According to the report, when Bill Gates left Microsoft in 2006, he had net wealth of $50 billion. A decade later this had increased to $75 billion, despite his commendable attempts to give it away through his Foundation. The fortune of Bill Gates has risen 50% or $25 billion since he left Microsoft in 2006.
        "It is obscene for so much wealth to be held in the hands of so few when 1 in 10 people survive on less than $2 a day.  Inequality is trapping hundreds of millions in poverty; it is fracturing our societies and undermining democracy," said Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International.
        The report also claimed that eight richest men own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity. The eight men include Bill Gates, Amancio Ortega, Warren Buffett, Carlos Slim Helu, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison and Michael Bloomberg.
        Global financial services company UBS has estimated that in the next 20 years, 500 people will hand over $2.1 trillion to their heirs - a sum larger than the GDP of India, a country of 1.3 billion people. 

      Govt issues new tax rules to crack down on shell companies
      • Targeting shell companies, the government on Tuesday issued new tax rules requiring foreign firms to pay taxes in India if the effective control of business, management decisions and majority of board meetings take place within the country.
        The long awaited Place of Effective Management (POEM) rules, to be effective from the current fiscal (April 2016), will not apply to companies having a turnover or gross receipts of INR 50 crore or less in a financial year.
        The rules require foreign companies in India and Indian firms with overseas subsidiaries to pay local taxes based on where the business if effectively controlled.
        "The intent is to target shell companies and companies which are created for retaining income outside India although real control and management of affairs is located in India," CBDT said.
        The rules require company's residency to be determined by persons exercising effective control over decision making and the place where such control is exercised from, according to the guidelines issued by CBDT on Tuesday.
        This would help target shell companies, or holding companies, incorporated overseas to evade taxes by showing their residency as a tax haven even though the management and effective decision making takes place in India.
        "The place where these management decisions are taken would be more important than the place where such decisions are implemented. For the purpose of determination of POEM it is the substance which would be conclusive rather than the form," the CBDT said.
        As per the Guiding Principles, "place of effective management" is defined as a place where key management and commercial decisions that are necessary for the conduct of the business of an entity as a whole are, in substance, made.
        The guidelines provide for an Active Business Outside India (ABOI) test, so as not to cover companies outside India which are engaged in active business. "The intent is not to target Indian multi-nationals which are engaged in business activity outside India," CBDT said.
        EY Tax Partner Rajendra Nayak said the guidelines strikes the right balance between providing certainty to taxpayers as well as ensuring that offshore companies with no substance or activities, which are controlled from India, are subject to Indian tax jurisdiction.

      Automobile sales hit 60-month low in December
      • These are worrying times for the automobile industry. Demonetisation has hit them hard. Total automobile sales which include commercial vehicles, passenger vehicles and two & three wheelers hit their lowest level since January 2012 at 1,523,224 units in December 2016. It's a sharp decline of 16 per cent --  a year ago, automobile sales stood at 18,13,327 units,. The previous month, when this demonetisation exercise started, was no exception with 4.2 per cent decline.  This was not the plight earlier as the months before November saw good growth of 7-8 per cent in sales with double-digit growth witnessed in the month of August and September 2016.

        The note ban impacted the two and three wheeler segment the most. Sales plunged significantly, around 22 per cent in December to 11,56,084, over the corresponding month in the previous year. The month of November saw a decline of around 6 per cent year-on-year. None of the segments witnessed any fall in their sales, on a y-o-y basis, in this calendar year till October.   
        The next segment to fall prey to demonetisation was commercial vehicles with a y-o-y sales decline of 6 per cent and 7 per cent respectively in November and December. This was followed by the passenger vehicle segment where sales dropped from 3,05,253 units in November to 3,05,175 units in December. The pain is expected to remain for a while.

      General Awareness

      Important Awards and their Fields
      • Hello Friends,
        we have seen in most of the exam one question is asking from Awards and their Fields name. So we have provided you Important Awards and their Fields list for upcoming exams like – RBI, RRB, IBPS , FCI, SSC CGL, IRDAI, UIIC, OICL and many more upcoming exams. Download the PDF from the below link.
        1. Bharat Ratna – It is the highest civilian award of the India. The award was given for outstanding achievements in the arts, literature, science and public services but the government expanded the criteria to include “any field of human endeavour”. The number of annual awards is restricted to a maximum of three in a particular year.
        2. Padma Awards – Padma VibhushanPadma Bhushan and Padma Shri  awards are for exceptional and distinguished service in any field including service rendered by Government servants.
        3. Gallantry Awards – Param Vir Chakra (PVC), Ashok Chakra, Shaurya Chakra    are given for appreciating the brave and gallant.
        4. Nobel Prize – The Nobel Prize is widely regarded as the most prestigious award available in the fields of literature, medicine, physics, chemistry, peace, and economics.
        5. Booker Prize – Literature
        It is an annual award for the best original novel, written in the English language, and published in the UK literary award.
        6. Vyas Samman – Literature
        Vyas Samman is awarded annually by the K.K. Birla Foundation in recognition of the Hindi literary work published in past 10 years.
        7. Moorti Devi Award – Literature
        The Moortidevi Award is an annual literary award in India presented by the Bharatiya Jnanpith organization for a work which emphasizes Indian philosophy and culture.
        8. Saraswati Samman – Literature
        The award was instituted in 1991 by the K. K. Birla Foundation. It is an annual award given for outstanding prose or poetry literary works in any 22 Indian languages.
        9. Jnanpith award – Literature
        The award was instituted in 1961 and it is It is presented by the Bharatiya Jnanpith, a trust founded by the Sahu Jain family, the publishers of the newspaper The Times of India. It is an annual award given for outstanding prose or poetry literary works in any 22 Indian languages.
        10. Bihari Puraskar – Literature
        Bihari Puraskar is a literary award instituted by K. K. Birla Foundation. The award is named after the famous Hindi poet Bihari and is awarded to an outstanding work published in Hindi or Rajasthani by a Rajasthani writer.
        11. The Oscar/Academy Awards – Films
        This is an annual American awards ceremony honoring cinematic achievements in the film industry.
        12. Dadasaheb Phalke Award – Cinema/Films
        The Dadasaheb Phalke Award is India’s highest award in cinema. It is presented annually at the National Film Awards ceremony by the Directorate of Film Festivals, an organisation set up by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
        13. Arjuna Award – outstanding performance from the sports persons in sports and games.
        The Government has modified the format of Arjuna Award very recently and as per the revised schematic guidelines a sports person must have very good consistent performances for the previous 3 years at the international level to be considered as eligible for the Award.
        14. Dronacharya Award – Eminent coaches of any particular sport
        The award is named after the very famous archery coach, mentioned in the epic of India known as the Mahabharata. This very award is not related with the sports persons who are still playing in the field; instead this is related to those eminent coaches of any particular sport.
        15. Dhyan Chand Award – The award that is given to the veteran sports persons of India for their lifetime achievement in their respective field of sport is named as the Dhyan Chand Award for Life Time Achievement in Sports and Games.
        16. Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award – The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna is the highest honour bestowed to a sports person for his/her achievements in India.
        17. Stirling Prize – Architecture
        The Royal Institute of British Architects Stirling Prize is a British prize for excellence in architecture.
        18. Aga Khan Award – Architecture
        The Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA) is an architectural prize established by Aga Khan IV in 1977. It aims to identify and reward architectural concepts that successfully address the needs and aspirations of Islamic societies in the fields of contemporary design, social housing, community development and improvement.
        19. Pritzker Prize – Architecture
        The Pritzker Architecture Prize is awarded annually “to honor a living architect.
        20. Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize – Science & Technology
        The Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology (SSB) is a science award in India given annually by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for notable and outstanding research, applied or fundamental, in biology, chemistry, environmental science, engineering, mathematics, medicine and Physics.
        21. Kalinga Prize – Science
        The Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science is an award given by UNESCO for exceptional skill in presenting scientific ideas to lay people.
        22. Grammy Award – Music
        A Grammy Award, or Grammy, is an accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry.
        23. Abel Prize – Mathematics
        The Abel Prize is an international prize awarded annually by the Government of Norway to one or more outstanding mathematicians.
        24. International Gandhi Peace Prize – This award is given to individuals and institutions for their contributions towards social, economic and political revolution through non-violence and Gandhian philosophy. The award carries Rs. 10 million in cash.
        25. Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award – This is for Excellence in Public Administration, Academics and Management.
        26. Green Star Awards – The Green Star Awards recognize those who have made extraordinary efforts to respond to environmental disasters around the world.
        27. Magsaysay Award – Public Service, Leadership, Journalism, Literature,creative arts and international understanding.
        28. Pulitzer Prize – The Pulitzer Prize is an award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature, and musical composition in the United States.
        29. Sahitya Akademi Award – Books in Indian Languages and English.
        30. Manthan Award – It is an initiative in India to recognize the best practices in e-Content and Creativity.
        31. FiFi Awards – The FiFi Awards  honor the fragrance industry’s creative achievements.
        32.  Sangeet-Natak Akademi Award – Music, dance and Drama.
        33. BAFTA Awards – Television, Films, Video Games and Animation.

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