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DAILY G.K. DOSE - 24 January, 2017

1). PNB launches Contactless Credit Card

Punjab National Bank (PNB)
has launched a Contactless Credit Card. This new credit card, which has been named PNB Wave N Pay --Contactless Card, was launched by Usha Ananthasubramanian, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, PNB in the capital. This card could be used by just waving it across the terminal and the transaction will be through. There is no need to enter any PIN for transactions up to Rs 2,000. The cardholder has full charge back rights on the misuse.

2). Hong Kong withdraws visa-free facility for Indians

In a setback to Indian travelers, Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China, has withdrawn the visa-free facility for Indians who will have to complete a pre-arrival registration. The Pre-arrival Registration for Indian Nationals will be implemented on January 23. Till now Hong Kong has permitted Indians to enter with valid passport for a period up to 14 days without a visa. But the facility has been withdrawn despite representations from India ostensibly on the ground that the number of Indian asylum seekers was on the rise .

3). Subhash Chandra Bose remembered on his 120th birth anniversary

on 23 January 2017 celebrated the 120th birth anniversary of Subhash Chandra Bose, the Indian nationalist whose defiant patriotism made him a hero in India. Observing the 120th birth anniversary of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a series of tweets hailed the revolutionary freedom fighter. On this occasion, the Prime Minister also made files related to him public on the internet, which can be accessed on The first set of 100 files related to Bose was put in the public domain on 23 January 2016, the 119th birth anniversary of Netaji.

4). Delhi airport wins Corporate Social Responsibility award in aviation sector

The Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) announced that it won the prestigious Golden Peacock Award for Corporate Social Responsibility in the aviation transport sector for the year 2016. The award was presented on 20 January 2017 at a ceremony during the 11th International Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility. More than 325 responses were received for the annual awards in 2017. Out of them, 191 applications were shortlisted. They were then subjected to a three-tier assessment process for final selection. Earlier in January 2017, DIAL also won the 6th EPC World Awards for its contribution in the infrastructure and construction sector.

5). Sushmita Sen to judge the 65th Miss Universe pageant

Former Miss Universe Sushmita Sen
will be on the judges panel of the upcoming 65th edition of Miss Universe pageant. The news was announced in the third week of January 2017. The contest will take place on 30 January 2017 in Philippines. Roshmitha Harimurthy will represent India at the 65th Miss Universe pageant. Sushmita Sen is the first Indian to win the Miss Universe crown. She had won the pageant of 1994 held in Manila, Philippines. She had won the Femina Miss India in 1994. After completing her reign, she started her career with the Hindi film, Dastak. However, she rose to stardom with the Tamil musical Ratchagan opposite Nagarjuna. She earned the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for the movie Biwi No. 1.

6). Ex-BCCI president Anurag Thakur to head Himachal Olympic Association

Ousted as BCCI President
following a Supreme Court order, Anurag Thakur was unanimously elected head of the Himachal Pradesh Olympic Association (HPOA) for a four-year term. Thakur, who had to step down as BCCI President owing to the Supreme Court ruling on Lodha Committee reforms, was elected at the HPOA's Annual General Meeting. The HPOA decided to have a Himachal Olympic Bhawan at Shimla and to organise the state Olympic festival on the lines of the national games at hamirpur from June 23 to 26.

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DAILY G.K. DOSE - 22-23 January, 2017

1). Union Cabinet approves MoU between India and Vietnam in the field of cyber security

The Union Cabinet gave its  ex-post facto approval to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Vietnam in the field of cyber security. The approval was given at a meeting of the Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. The MoU was signed between Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) and the Cyber Security Department of Vietnam on 3 September 2016 at Hanoi in Vietnam. The MoU seeks to promote closer cooperation for exchange of knowledge and experience in detection, resolution and prevention of cyber security-related incidents between India and Vietnam. Implementation of the MoU will result in significant mutual benefits in the cyber security sector through institutional and capacity-building in Vietnam.

2). Ministry of AYUSH, ASCI signed MoU to co-regulate misleading advertisements in the AYUSH sector

Ministry of AYUSH
signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI). The MoU was inked with an aim to curtail the malpractices in the advertisement of AYUSH drugs. As per the MoU, ASCI will comprehensively monitor advertisements the cases of misleading advertisements of Ayurveda, Unani, Yoga and Naturopathy, Siddha and Homoeopathy drugs, treatments and related services, advertised across print and electronic media. The MoU was signed in New Delhi in the presence of Secretary AYUSH Ajit M Sharan.

3). India's biggest ship INS Vikramaditya gets ATM

Indian Navy's biggest aircraft
carrier, INS Vikramaditya gets an ATM onboard. State Bank of India will launch the ATM facility onboard premier warship in Karwar, Karnataka. This was made possible after the Navy approached SBI, the country's largest bank. The cash dispensing machine will operate via a satellite communication link and facility would be inaugurated in Karwar. INS Vikramaditya is based in Karwar and the jetty is located quite far away from the town. The topography of the area is such that travelling either from the jetty to the town or from the sailors' colony to the town can be arduous task.

4). Saina Nehwal wins 2017 Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold

Saina Nehwal
won the 2017 Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold Women’s Singles title. Nehwal defeated Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong by a score of 22-20, 22-20 in a 46-minute clash. It was Nehwal’s 23rd title overall and the first after 2016 Australian Open. On the other hand, Men’s Singles title was won by Hong Kong’s Ng Ka Long. Berry Angriawan and Hardianto clinched the 2017 Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold Men's Doubles, while Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai lifted the Women’s Doubles title.

5). MoU between India and Serbia for cooperation in IT and Electronics approved

The Union Cabinet gave its ex-post facto approval to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and Serbia. The MoU seeks to promote bilateral cooperation in the field of information technology and electronics. The MoU also facilitates exchanges between the private entities, capacity building institutions, the governments and other public and private organizations of the two countries that are involved in information technology and electronics sectors.

6). AIFF president Praful Patel becomes a member of Fifa's finance committee

All India Football Federation president Praful Patel
was appointed as a member of FIFA’s finance committee for a period of four years, PTI reported. The development follows just a month after Patel was made the senior vice-president of the Asian Football Confederation. According to the report, the FIFA finance committee takes care of the financial management and advises the FIFA executive committee on financial matters. The committee will also inspect FIFA budgets and financial statements prepared by the general secretary and submits them to the FIFA executive committee for approval.

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DAILY G.K. DOSE - 21 January, 2017

1). Union Cabinet approved MoU between ISRO and Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency

The Union Cabinet approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) for cooperation in the field of outer space. The MoU was signed by both the sides on 11 November 2016 at Tokyo, Japan. It aims to pursue future cooperative activities in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes in accordance with the laws and regulations applicable in each country. It provides scope for pursuing cooperation in diverse areas of space science technology and applications- earth observation, satellite communication, navigation; Research and development and Space industry promotion. ISRO and JAXA will bear the costs of their respective activities.

2). Adama Barrow sworn in as President of Gambia in Senegal

Adama Barrow
on 19 January 2017 was sworn in as the third President of The Gambia at a ceremony in the Gambian embassy in Dakar, Senegal. With the swearing in ceremony comes an event that marked The Gambia’s first change of presidency in 22 years. It is also the first change of presidency by democratic means since independence from Britain in 1965. Barrow had won the 2016 Gambian presidential elections that were held in The Gambia on 1 December 2016.

3). Railway Ministry launches Mission 41K to save energy worth Rs 41000 crore

Union Railway minister Suresh Prabhu
launched Mission 41k, a programme that will save energy worth Rs 41000 crore over 10 years through an integrated energy management system. This programme will be aimed at revamping the Indian railways. Under this initiative, Indian railways will electrify 24000 km of rail tracks over the next five years. It will double the annual rate of electrification from 2000 km to 4000 km in the next two years. The railways will award contracts on Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Model for railway electrification projects in order to achieve this target. It will also mechanise the execution of the project through self-propelled wiring trains.

4). PNB to provide technology platform for pilot launch of IPPB

State-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB)
will provide technology platform for pilot launch of India Post Payments Bank (IPPB). The memorandum of understanding (MoU) in this regard was signed between PNB and IPPB. As per the agreement, PNB shall provide technology platform for pilot launch of IPPB on receipt of regulatory approval from Reserve Bank of India, the bank said in a regulatory filing to stock exchanges. The bank will be headquartered in New Delhi and plans to launch 650 branches across the country during the year. The first PSU under the Department of Posts, IPPB expects to complete the rollout of its branches all over the country by September 2017. IPPB aims to become the most accessible bank in the world, riding on advanced banking and payments technology. Coupled with physical presence across 1.55 lakh post offices and the reach of the postman, it plans to become a powerful and effective vehicle of real financial inclusion in the country.

5). Donald Trump sworn-in as 45th US President

Donald Trump
was sworn-in as the 45th President of the United States on 20 January 2017. He was administered the oath of office by Chief Justice John Roberts. In the ceremony, Trump placed his left hand on two bibles including the historic Abraham Lincoln Bible and recited the oath of the office to become the most powerful man on this Earth. With this swearing-in, Trump took over the reins from Barack Obama amid expectations of radical change in policies and apprehension at home and abroad. Apart from Trump, Mike Pence was also sworn-in as the Vice President of the United States. He took the oath of the office before Trump.

6). Dharamsala declared as second capital of Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh
declared Dharamsala town of Kangra district as the second Capital of the State. Dharamsala is located at some 250 km from the state capital Shimla. It has its own significance and history to make it the second capital of the state. This announcement is significant as 25 out of 68 assembly seats of the state fall in Kangra, Una and Hamirpur districts and Dharamsala was important for lower areas of Himachal Pradesh including Kangra, Chamba, Hamirpur and Una districts. The people of these areas will now be benefitted of this special status as now they will no longer travel longer distance to Shimla for their work.

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DAILY G.K. DOSE - 20 January, 2017

1). Union Petroleum Ministry launches petroleum awareness programme Saksham 2017

The Union Minister of State for Petroleum & Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan on 16 January 2017 launched a month long petroleum awareness programme 'Saksham - 2017'. On the occasion, the Ministry also distributed awards such as visit to Japan, laptops & cash prizes to National school winners of essay and painting competitions in order to encourage them for continuing their efforts and enhancing their knowledge on energy conservation. Saksham - 2017 is also named as Sanrakshan Kshamta Mahotsav. It is aimed at creating awareness amongst the masses towards judicious utilization and conservation of petroleum products along with efficient use of energy capable appliances and switching to cleaner fuels.

2). All India Institute of Medical Sciences signed 3 MoUs worth Rs 7670 crore

All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS),
New Delhi on 17 January 2017 signed three Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs). The three MoUs have a cumulative net worth of Rs 7670 crore. The signing ceremony was presided over by Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda and Union Minister for Urban Development, Urban Poverty Alleviation and Information and Broadcasting Venkaiah Naidu. On this occasion, both the ministers also presented All India Institute of Medical Sciences Leadership Excellence awards.

3). Antonio Tajani is new President of European Parliament

The Italian conservative Antonio Tajani on 17 January 2017 was elected as the President of the European Parliament. To be elected for the post, Tajani defeated another Italian Gianni Pitella with 71 votes. Tajani secured 351 votes, against 282 for Pittella, a socialist. The contest ran to the maximum four rounds. With this election, Tajani succeeds Germany's Martin Schulz. In November Schulz announced that he would return to German politics. He is a former spokesman for Italy's Silvio Berlusconi and an ex-European commissioner.

4). India ranks 78th in Global Passport Index

The Indian passport was ranked 78th in a global ranking of the world’s most powerful passports. The visa-free score of India is 46. The list was topped by Germany with a visa-free score of 157. On the other hand, Singapore overtook South Korea and became the highest ranked Asian passport with a visa-free score of 156. Pakistan and China ranked 94 and 66 in the list respectively. The least powerful passport in the ranking was Afghanistan with a visa-free score of only 23.

5). ShaGun, a web-portal for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, launched

The Union Human Resources Development Minister Prakash Javadekar launched a dedicated web portal ‘ShaGun’ for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) at New Delhi. ShaGun was coined from the words ‘Shala’ that means schools and Gun, which is Gunvatta meaning Quality. It was developed with a twin track approach. ShaGun was created with an aim to capture and showcase innovations and progress in Elementary Education sector of India by continuous monitoring of the flagship scheme - Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). ShaGun will help in monitoring progress in the implementation of SSA by assessing the performance of Union Territories and the states on key parameters. This monitoring will allow the government to plan and deliver its promise of quality education to all. The SSA ShaGun web portal can be accessed at

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DAILY G.K. DOSE - 19 January, 2017

1). India becomes Associate Member State of CERN

became an Associate Member State of European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) after the Union Government completed its internal approval procedures for the membership. Earlier in November 2016, India signed an agreement with the organisation in this regard. The agreement was signed by Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission Sekhar Basu and CERN Director General Fabiola Gianotti in Mumbai. As an Associate member of CERN, India will have full access to all data generated at CERN. Moreover, it can now participate in all the experiments conducted at CERN by paying additional charges. Indian industry will also be entitled to bid for CERN contracts. From now onwards, India will be required to pay around Rs 40 crore every year as an Associate member.

2). South Korea ranked world’s most innovative economy

South Korea
is the world’s most innovative economy, followed by Germany, Sweden, Japan and Switzerland, according to the latest Bloomberg Innovation Index. South Korea notched top scores worldwide for manufacturing value-added as well as for tertiary efficiency, and was in the second place in R&D intensity, high-tech density and patent activity. The Asian tech powerhouse was ranked sixth in terms of researcher concentration. Rounding out the top 10 under the Innovation Index were Singapore, Finland, the United States, Denmark and France.

3). Union Cabinet approves Trade Agreement negotiations with Peru

The Union Cabinet has approved holding negotiations for Trade Agreement with Peru on trade in goods, services and investment. The trade agreement will be an important landmark in India-Peru relations and consolidate the traditional fraternal relations that have existed between India and LAC countries. The trade agreement will enhance the trade and economic relations between the two countries. India and Peru had agreed to carry forward the discussions on trade in goods, trade in services and investment after they concluded Joint Study Group (JSG) Report in October, 2016.

4). Yes Bank launched “Yes Fintech”, a business accelerator program

Yes Bank
, in collaboration with T-Hub, has launched 'Yes Fintech', a business accelerator program. T-hub is a startup incubator set up by the Telengana government and Anthil – a speed scaling platform for early growth stage start-ups. Yes Bank has been collaborating with more than 100 fintech start-ups and supporting them to provide creative solutions to the corporate, SME and retail customer base as a part of its Alliances, Relationship & Technology (ART) approach to digitised banking.

5). UNESCO recognises sitalpati or cool mat from Cooch Behar district as 'intangible cultural heritage'

or cool mat from Cooch Behar district has been recognised as an "intangible cultural heritage" by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), according to a statement issued by West Bengal government. These mats are used for sitting or to hang on doors or windows during summer. The mats are made up of weaved green cane slips of murta plants which are indigenous to the region. The gradual decline of sitalpati weaving was arrested by the by the proactive efforts of chief minister Mamata Banerjee who helped this traditional product gain global recognition.

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