Daily Current Affairs - 08th Jan 2018

Base effect lifts credit growth

  • According to RBI data, credit growth, after a long gap, grew in double digits to 10.65% to Rs. 80,96,727 crore in the fortnight ended December 22, 2017 due to the base effect. Advances stood at Rs. 73,17,391 crore in the fortnight ended December 23, 2016.
  • Due to demonetisation last year, the base figures are getting revised and so, that is we are seeing the growth.
  • Credit growth of scheduled commercial banks, on a y-o-y basis, increased from 4.4 percent to 6.2 percent between March and September 2017.
  • Public sector banks' credit growth increased from 0.7 per cent to 2.2 percent during the same period reversing the declining trend observed during the past two years.
  • Deposits in the previous fortnight ended December 8, 2017 had grown by 3.32 percent to Rs 109,01,613 crore as against Rs 105,50,392 crore in the period ended December 9, 2016. The decline in deposit growth is observed across all bank groups

Centre gives nod to construction of 14,000 bunkers along LoC, IB

  • The Union government has sanctioned the construction of 14,460 individual and community bunkers at a cost of Rs 415.73 crore along the Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB) for border residents facing Pakistani shelling in Jammu division.
  • A total of 13,029 individual bunkers and 1,431 community bunkers would be constructed in Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Poonch and Rajouri sectors. While the 160 square feet individual bunker would be able to accommodate eight people, the capacity of the 800 square feet community bunker would be 40.
  • India shares a 3,323km long border with Pakistan, of which 221km of the IB and 740km of the LoC fall in Jammu and Kashmir.

Defence Innovation Centre to be set up in Coimbatore to assist small industries in manufacturing components for defence sector

  • Union Defence Minister Nirmala Seetharaman said that a Defence Innovation Centre will be set up in Coimbatore to assist small industries in manufacturing components for the defence sector. The Defence Ministry will release 20 crore rupees as an initial funding to the Coimbatore District Small Industries Association (CODISSIA) to set up the innovation centre.
  • Small and micro units as well as startups, that can manufacture components required for the defence production, would be identified by the association. The Minister said that the Association can design or test their products at the centre.

Food poisoning, a common outbreak in 2017

  • According to a recent data put out by the Union Health Ministry’s Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) has indicated that food poisoning is one of the commonest outbreaks reported in 2017. This is apart from acute diarrhoeal disease (ADD). This is followed by chickenpox and measles. The incidence of ADD and food poisoning is high in places where food is cooked in bulk, such as canteens, hostels and wedding venues.
  • Food poisoning, also called food-borne illness, is caused by eating contaminated food. Infectious organisms including bacteria, viruses and parasites or their toxins are the most common causes.

Former WTO DG Sutherland dies at 71

  • Former World Trade Organization Director General Peter Sutherland passed away. He was 71. Sutherland became the WTO's first chief in 1995, having previously been head of its precursor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.
  • He also served as Ireland's youngest Attorney General and then youngest European Union commissioner during the 1980s.

Growth likely to be higher than CSO estimate of 2.1%: Agriculture ministry

  • Agriculture Ministry has said the country's agriculture sector is expected to grow higher than projected 2.1 per cent growth by the Central Statistical Office for the current fiscal, following better rabi crop prospects.
  • Agriculture, forestry and fishing is likely to slow a growth of 2.1 per cent in the current fiscal from 4.9 per cent in the preceding year.
  • The area coverage under different crops in Kharif as of August 2017 was below that of the previous year on account of delay in onset of monsoons in some parts of the country.

Haryana becomes first state to launch High Risk Pregnancy portal

  • Haryana has achieved the distinction of becoming the first state in the country to launch High Risk Pregnancy (HRP) Portal. This portal not only helps in early identification of high-risk pregnant cases up to the grass-roots level but also ensures their timely referral to the civil hospitals for further management and delivery by specialists.
  • This innovative web application has been designed to track every high risk pregnant woman till 42 days after delivery, so that she receives adequate treatment during the ante-natal period for healthy outcome of pregnancy.
  • This initiative will definitely increase the pace of decline in Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR), Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) and Still Birth Incidence as morbidity and mortality is quite high in high risk pregnant cases.

Indian Navy & Cochin Port Trust enter into MoU

  • Indian Navy and Cochin Port Trust (CPT) have entered into an Memorandum of Understanding for utilising the Port's berthing facility at Mattancherry wharf for Naval ships. As per the MoU, Cochin Port’s Q2 and Q3 berths at Mattacherry wharf, totaling 228 metre quay length, would be be handed over to the Indian Navy for five years for berthing their ships.
  • The Indian Navy had requested for an exclusive berthing facility in Cochin Port for berthing their ships during reconstruction period of their berths.

Indian Railways to equip all 8,500 stations with Wi-Fi

  • All railway stations nearly 8,500 across the country, including those in rural and remote areas will be equipped with Wi-Fi facilities at an estimated cost of Rs 700 crore ($110 million).
  • As part of the government's ambitious Digital India initiative, the Indian Railways has currently commissioned Wi-Fi services at 216 major stations enabling about seven million rail passengers to log on to the free Internet facility.
  • The Wi-FI facility at these stations in rural and remote areas will be offered to the local population as part of the digital makeover of rural India to promote e-governance.

International kite festival begins in Gujarat

  • The international kite festival which attracts kite flyers from across the country and the world, began in Ahmedabad. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani inaugurated the event at Sabarmati Riverfront. Around 150 delegates from 44 countries, including the UK, South Korea, New Zealand, China, Indonesia and Malaysia, have arrived here to participate in the week-long festival that is being celebrated across cities in Gujarat. Chinese dragon kites and hundreds of kites tied to a single string hogged the limelight.

Jerry Van Dyke, comedian and actor, dead at age 86

  • Jerry Van Dyke, comedian, actor and younger brother of Dick Van Dyke, passed away at his Arkansas home at the age of 86. Jerry Van Dyke was a well-known comedian who performed at various military bases and appeared on television programs. The comedian made his debut on his brother’s hit show, “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and also appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and “The Judy Garland Show.”

Julia Goerges beats Caroline Wozniacki to win third straight title in Auckland

  • Julia Goerges won her third straight title as she clinched victory over former world number one Caroline Wozniacki at the ASB Classic in Auckland. She beat Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 7-6 (4) in the final. Georges won her last two tournaments of 2017 and extended her winning streak to 14 matches.

Mahathir to lead Malaysia’s Opposition

  • Malaysia’s veteran ex-leader Mahathir Mohamad was named as the Opposition's prime ministerial candidate as a bruising election battle looms against Premier Najib Razak and his long-ruling coalition.
  • Mahathir also agreed to make way for jailed Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to become Prime Minister on his release from prison if Mr. Anwar is granted a royal pardon.
  • Mr. Mahathir came out of retirement to take on Mr. Najib as anger mounted at allegations that billions of dollars were looted from a state investment fund, 1MDB, founded by the current Premier.
  • Malaysia:
  • Capital: Kuala Lumpur
  • Currency: Malaysian ringgit

Philippe Coutinho joins Barcelona to become second most expensive transfer

  • Philippe Coutinho’s move to Barcelona from Liverpool for a staggering 160 million Euros has helped him spiral as the second most expensive transfer in the world after Neymar’s world-record transfer to PSG (222 million Euros). As per reports, the transfer fee is believed to be 120 million Euros and 40 million Euros in add-ons.
  • Coutinho, who joined Liverpool in January 2013, scored 41 goals in 152 Premier League appearances, including seven in 14 matches this season.

Sudan bread protests break out across country, opposition leader detained

  • In Sudan, protests over rising bread prices broke out across the country including capital Khartoum, leading to death of a student and the arrest of a prominent opposition leader.
  • The demonstrations followed after bread prices doubled following the government's announcement late last month that it was eliminating subsidies in its 2018 budget. The removal of subsidies is part of austerity measures as the country struggles in the face of inflation running at about 25 percent.

World champion powerlifter Saksham Yadav dies in road accident

  • Powerlifting world champion Saksham Yadav died of his injuries after road accident near Delhi this morning. Four other power-lifters were also killed in the crash.
  • Powerlifting is a different sport from weightlifting in how the weights are lifted -- weightlifting involves overhead movements, while in powerlifting the weight is not directed vertically overhead.