20-23 January 2018 Current Affairs

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23 Jan, 2018

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1) India’s first sovereign wealth fund – the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) on 22 January 2018 announced its first-ever investment platform that will invest up to $3 billion in ports, terminals, transportation and logistics businesses in India. This investment platform is being created with international ports operator? – DP World Pvt. Ltd.

Explanation: An investment platform to invest up to $3 billion in ports, terminals, transportation and logistics businesses in India will be created by the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) and Dubai-based ports operator DP World Pvt. Ltd. This was announced by the two entities on 22 January 2018.

This is the first investment platform from NIIF and will see investment up to $3 billion of equity to acquire assets and develop projects in these sectors. NIIF is India’s first sovereign wealth fund. On the other hand, with a portfolio of 78 operating marine and inland terminals, DP World, majority owned by the Dubai government, is the world’s fourth biggest container port operator.

The Indian government had created NIIF in 2015 to catalyse capital from international and domestic investors into energy, transportation, housing, water, waste management and other infrastructure and allied sectors in India.

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2) Union Government has decided to declare year 2018 as the ‘National Year of Millets’. This decision has been taken following a request by which state? – Karnataka

Explanation: The decision to declare 2018 as the ‘National Year of Millets’ was taken following a request by Karnataka, which is the country’s leader in the millet sector.

Union Statistics and Programme Implementation Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda on 20 January 2018 confirmed that the Union Agriculture Ministry had already completed the formalities regarding declaring 2018 as the ‘national year of millets’.

Karnataka Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda has been campaigning for declaring 2018 as national year of millets. The State government had spent Rs. 200 crore in the last four years publicising the health benefits of millets among consumers in a bid to trigger an increase in demand.

According to experts, dedicating a year for millets will not only increase awareness about its health benefits, but also result in higher demand for these drought-resistant varieties, resulting in remunerative prices for poor and marginal farmers.

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3) Which nine cities were chosen in the fourth round of the central government’s flagship Smart Cities Mission, as was announced on 19 January 2018? – Bareilly, Moradabad, Saharanpur, Erode, Bihar Sharif, Silvasa, Diu, Kavarati and Itanagar

Explanation: According to an announcement made by Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on 19 January 2018, 9 more cities have been chosen in the latest round (fourth round) of the central government’s flagship Smart Cities Mission.

The nine cities chosen in this round are – Bareilly, Moradabad and Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh, Erode in Tamil Nadu, Bihar Sharif in Bihar, Silvasa in Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Diu in Daman and Diu, Kavarati in Lakshadweep and Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh. These cities were selected from 15 cities that had submitted their proposals to the ministry. Shillong will be the 100th city provided it submits its proposal to the centre in next three months.

The number of cities picked under the project now stands at 99. Under the scheme, each city will get Rs. 500 crore from the centre for implementing various projects. An equal amount, on matching basis, will have to be contributed by the state or urban local bodies.

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4) Which entity is acquiring 51.1% government stake in Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) for Rs. 36,915 crore, a deal with which the Union Government surpass the disinvestment target of Rs 725 billion for 2017-18? – ONGC

Explanation: State-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) will acquire the 51.1% government stake in Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) at a cost of Rs. 36,915 billion. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of January 2018.

The deal will also help the government to surpass the disinvestment target of Rs 725 billion for 2017-18. As of 11 January 2018, the total disinvestment proceeds for the current fiscal year stood at Rs 543.3 billion and this will be for the first time since 2009 that a government will be surpassing its disinvestment target.

HPCL markets around 35.2 million tonnes (MT) of petroleum products. It also owns the biggest lube refinery and the second largest cross country product pipeline network of about 3500 km in India.

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Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar was crowned as the new Maharaja of of Mysuru (Mysore) royal family. He is the 23-year old grandson of Princess Gayathri Devi, who was the eldest daughter of the last Maharaja of Mysore, Sri Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar. The coronation was held at Mysuru’s famous Amba Vilas Palace, which was decked up for the occasion.

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