1. Justice T B N Radhakrishnan sworn in as Chief Justice of Telangana HC
- Justice T B N Radhakrishnan was sworn in as the first Chief Justice of the Telangana High Court.
- Telangana and Andhra Pradesh Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan administered the oath of office to him.
- As per the notification, 12 judges, over 360 district and civil judges have been allotted to the new Telangana state.
- Andhra Pradesh High Court got over 500 district and civil judges as the two high courts began functioning as separate entities today onwards.
2. 1st January: DRDO day
- The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) day celebrated on 1st January every year.
- The DRDO was established in 1958 with just 10 laboratories to enhance the research work in the defence sector.
- According to DRDO Chairman Dr G Satheesh Reddy, the country is self-reliant in areas of missiles, radars, sonars and torpedoes and many other systems.
- The Organisation has been working over the years to develop state of the art weapon system for the country’s armed forces.
Science & Defence
3. ISRO launches Samwad with students to engage them in space science activities
- Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched Samwad with Students as part of its outreach programme in Bengaluru.
- 40 students and 10 teachers from select schools interacted with ISRO Chairman Dr. K Sivan about the Indian Space Programme and their benefits to the common man.
- During the three-hour stay at ISRO Head office, the students and teachers also interacted with scientists and engineers.
- The Indian Space agency will engage youngsters across the country in activities concerning space science under this programme.
4. Govt approves additional assistance of over Rs 1,146 cr to Tamil Nadu
- The Union Government has approved the additional assistance of over 1146 crore rupees to Tamil Nadu (affected by the cyclone – Gaja) from National Disaster Response Fund.
- The approval was given by a High-Level Committee chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi.
- Cyclone ‘Gaja’ had crossed the Tamil Nadu coast early on 16th November 2018.
- It had claimed 46 lives and left a trail of destruction in over 10 districts, including Nagapattinam, Thiruvarur, Puthukottai and Thanjavur.
5. Dharmendra Pradhan launches Ujjwala sanitary napkin initiative
- The Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has launched the Ujjwala Sanitary Napkin initiative in Bhubaneswar (Odisha).
- It will expand women’s access to hygiene products and provide them with employment opportunities in every district of the state.
- The Central scheme will be a counter to the Odisha government’s Khushi scheme, in which sanitary napkins are provided free of cost to female students of government and government-aided schools in the state.
- In the first phase, Around 100 local manufacturing units will be set up by oil marketing companies at Common Service Centres (CSCs) across 93 blocks in all 30 districts of Odisha.
- The cost of setting up each manufacturing unit is expected to be Rs 2.94 crores, and the sanitary napkins will be priced at Rs 42 per pack of eight pads.
Source: Indian Express
6. Veteran actor-writer Kader Khan passes away in Canada
- Veteran actor-writer Kader Khan (81-year) passed away in Canada due to prolonged illness.
- Khan made his acting debut in 1973 with Rajesh Khanna’s “Daag” and has featured in over 300 films.
- He wrote dialogues for over 250 movies.
- Before becoming actor he had written dialogues for Randhir Kapoor-Jaya Bachchan’s “Jawani Diwani”.
- His films with Desai include “Dharam Veer”, “Ganga Jamuna Saraswati”, “Coolie”, “Desh Premee”, “Suhaag”, “Parvarish” and “Amar Akbar Anthony” and films with Mehra include “Jwalamukhi”, “Sharaabi”, “Lawaaris”, “Muqaddar Ka Sikandar”.
Banking & Finance
7. Sale of the seventh tranche of electoral bonds begins
- The seventh tranche of electoral bonds sale has begun (till 10th of Jan 2019).
- Electoral bonds are being pitched as an alternative to cash donations made to political parties as part of efforts to bring transparency in political funding.
- As per provisions of the scheme, electoral bonds may be purchased by a person, who is a citizen of India or entities incorporated or established in India.
- The State Bank of India (SBI) has been authorised to issue and encash Electoral Bonds through its 29 Authorised Branches.
- The 29 specified SBI branches are in cities like New Delhi, Gandhinagar, Patna, Chandigarh, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Mumbai, Jaipur, Lucknow, Chennai, Kolkata and Guwahati.
- The government had notified the Electoral Bond Scheme in January last year and the sale of the first batch of electoral bonds took place in March 2018.
8. RBI offers relief to MSMEs; allows restructuring of debt up to Rs 25 crore
- The Reserve Bank has allowed a one-time restructuring of existing debt of up to 25 crore rupees for the companies which have defaulted on payment but the loans given to them have continued to be classified as standard assets.
- The decision will help the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) which are facing a cash crunch in the wake of demonetisation and GST implementation.
- Earlier, The RBI’s board had advised the central bank to examine a scheme for the restructuring of stressed standard assets of MSME borrowers with aggregate credit facilities of up to 25 crore rupees.
- Eligible for the scheme:
- The aggregate exposure, including non-fund-based facilities of banks and NBFCs, to a borrower, should not exceed 25 crore rupees as on January 1, 2019.
- The restructuring has to be implemented by 31st of March 2020.
- Source: The Economic Times
9. 23 goods and services become cheaper with reduced GST rates
- The Union government has notified reduction in Goods and Services Tax (GST) rates on twenty-three goods and services, including movie tickets, TV, monitor screen and power banks
- On 22nd December 2018, The GST Council had decided to cut tax rates on these goods and services and exempted music books, preserved vegetables and savings bank accounts under the Jan Dhan Yojana from the Tax.
10. Loan subsidy for middle-income group extended till March 2020
- According to Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri, The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) loan subsidy for the middle-income group has been extended till 31st March 2020.
- Around one lakh beneficiaries have taken benefit of the scheme so far.
- under PMAY, 68.7 lakh houses have been sanctioned, 37 lakh houses have been grounded and 13.5 lakh have been completed and handed over.
- An investment of 3.85 lakh crore rupees has been envisaged under the mission.
- More than 6 thousand 9 hundred crore rupees interest subsidy on housing loans has been disbursed to over 3.14 lakh beneficiaries of Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme CLSS under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban).
11. Lok Sabha passes the Indian Medical Council (Amendment), Bill
- The Lok Sabha has passed the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill.
- It amends the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 and replaces the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018.
- The Bill is aimed at revamping medical education regulatory system in the country.
- The 1956 Act provides for supersession of the MCI and its reconstitution within a period of three years.
- The Bill amends this provision to provide for the supersession of the MCI for a period of one year.
12. US and Israel quit UNESCO citing bias
- The United States (US) and Israel officially quit the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) with the close of 2018.
- In 2017, The countries had announced their decisions in of withdrawing from the agency, accusing it of bias against Israel.
- It is best known for its World Heritage program, which designates cultural sites and aims to preserve traditions.
- UNESCO also works to improve education for girls, promote understanding of the Holocaust’s horrors, and to defend media freedom.
- The withdrawals will not greatly impact UNESCO financially since it has been dealing with a funding slash ever since 2011 when both Israel and the US stopped paying dues after Palestine was voted in as a member state.
13. ESAF SFB gets RBI nod to operate as Scheduled Bank
- ESAF small finance bank has got RBI approval to operate as a scheduled bank.
- This makes ESAF small finance bank (SFB) the fifth scheduled bank from Kerala.
- ESAF microfinance institution, started in 1992, was one among the ten applicants to receive approval from RBI to start banking operations in 2016.
14. India’s Smriti Mandhana named ICC women’s cricketer of the year
- India’s Smriti Mandhana (22-years) was crowned women’s cricketer of the year by the sport’s world governing body ICC.
- The left-handed batswoman was also named ODI cricketer of the year for accumulating 669 runs off 12 one-day internationals.
- She scored 622 runs in 25 T20 matches this year.
- Australia’s wicketkeeper-batter Alyssa Healy was voted T20 player of the year.
- She finished with 225 runs from six matches as Australia beat arch-rivals England in the final.
- England’s teenage spinner Sophie Ecclestone was named the emerging player of the year.