17-18 January 2018 Current Affairs

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18 Jan, 2018

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1) The third edition of “Raisina Dialogue” was inaugurated by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New Delhi on 16 January 2018. What is the theme of this edition of the annual geo-political conference? – “Managing Disruptive Transitions: Ideas, Institutions and Idioms”

Explanation: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu inaugurated the third edition of the geo-political conference, Raisina Dialogue, in New Delhi on 16 January 2018. The theme of the 3-day conference is “Managing Disruptive Transitions: Ideas, Institutions and Idioms”.

The inaugural session was attended by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj. The event is jointly organized by the Ministry of External Affairs and Observer Research Foundation (ORF). Important dignitaries taking part in the conference include former Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai, former prime minister of Canada Stephen Harper, former prime minister of Sweden Carl Bildt, Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat, Indian Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba and Admiral Harry Harris, commander of US Pacific Command.

The conference based on the lines of “Shangri-La Dialogue’ of Singapore was first held in 2016.

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2) The central government on 16 January 2018 scrapped the Haj subsidy and announced that the funds saved will instead be used for providing education to minorities. The government’s decision to scrap the subsidy is in line with the 2012 order of the Supreme Court and which committee’s recommendations? – Afzal Amanullah Committee

Explanation: The Union Government had in February 2017 formed 6-member committee headed by Afzal Amanullah, the former Consulate General of India in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), to give a report on ways to improve India’s Haj policy and also look into issue of subsidy to the pilgrimage in light of May 2012 Supreme Court order on gradually reducing and abolishing it by 2022. The committee had recommended numerous reforms in Haj policy as well as reduction in the subsidy for the annual pilgrimage.

The Union Government on 16 January 2018 announced that there will be no subsidy for Haj from this year. The Haj susbidy refers to the discounted airfares given to Mecca-bound pilgrims who fly by government-owned Air India. It also included assistance for domestic travel within India to reach special airport terminals meant for Haj departure.

Haj is the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, the holiest city for Muslims in Saudi Arabia. It is mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey and can support their family during their absence.

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3) BSE Sensex closed above which mark for the first time on 17 January 2018? – 35,000 points

Explanation: BSE Sensex closed above 35,000 milestone mark for the first time ever on 17 January 2018. On the other hand the 30-scrip Nifty hit the benchmark 10,800 points mark before closing at 10,788.

The markets were boosted by the government’s plan to cut extra borrowing for 2017-18 to Rs. 20,000 crore from Rs. 50,000 crore. Apart from a global market rally, optimism about acceleration in corporate earnings growth and economic growth has spurred markets to new highs this year.

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4) Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu on 17 January 2018 inaugurated the iCREATE facility near which city? – Ahmedabad

Explanation: Prime Minister Modi and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on 17 January 2018 dedicated to the nation, the iCREATE facility located on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. This facility aims to develop an ecosystem in India to generate quality entrepreneurs.

iCreate is an independent centre created with the objective of facilitating entrepreneurship through a blend of creativity, innovation, engineering, product design and leveraging emerging technologies to deal with major issues such as food security, water, connectivity, cybersecurity, IT and electronics, energy, bio-medical equipment and devices etc.

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5) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 16 January 2018 launched the commencement of work for the Rs 431-billion petroleum refinery at which place in Rajasthan? – Barmer

Explanation: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 16 January 2018 kicked-off the commencement of work for the Rs. 431-billion petroleum refinery at Rajasthan’s Barmer. The joint venture between state-run Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) and the government of Rajasthan will be the first refinery in the country to completely produce Bharat Stage VI (Euro 6) compliant fuel when it commences work by 2022.

However, this is not the first time that the refinery plan is being floated by the government. It was way back in 2009, that state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) had also proposed to set up a refinery there, but it shelved it later citing viability concerns. Later on 22 September 2013, the then UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi laid the foundation stone for the refinery by HPCL.

It was in January 2004 that Barmer rose to prominence after Cairn Energy struck oil in the Mangala field – the largest onshore oil discovery in India in more than 20 years.

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