The controversial renaming of the famous Sabarimala temple twice in the past 15 months has kicked up a controversy with many prominent citizens representing key stakeholders at Sabarimala taking strong exception to it.
Medaram’s Jatara to get national tag (The Hindu)
Central government is likely to declare Medaram’s Sammakka-Sarakka/Saralamma Jatara a national festival this year. Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs released Rs. 2 crore as Centre’s contribution towards conducting the massive event which is held bi-annually in Jayashankar Bhupalpally district to honour the twin goddesses Sammakka and her daughter Sarakka.
10% gender gap in Jan Dhan accounts: study (The Hindu)
A World Bank paper has noted a 10% gender gap in opening accounts under the country’s flagship financial inclusion programme — Jan Dhan Yojana — with 73 % men applying for accounts against 63 % women.
Why is Maharashtra on the boil (The Hindu)
On January 1, members of the Dalit community on their way to Bhima-Koregaon, a village near Pune, were attacked, allegedly by Hindutva forces. In the violence, a young man was killed. Protests erupted, and by January 2, they spread throughout Maharashtra.Prakash Ambedkar, head of the Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh party and a grandson of Babasaheb Ambedkar, called a State-wide bandh on January 3.
Vijay Gokhale, the man who will helm India’s diplomacy as Foreign Secretary for the next two years, is known for working “below the radar.” Thus, by the time his appointment was announced on January 1, he had already been at work, quietly, in South Block.
Rising Iran unrest at UN a blunder (The Hindu)
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif ridiculed U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday over what he called the foreign policy “blunder” of trying to raise its recent protests at the UN Security Council.
As momentum ebbs for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, both sides are taking another look at the one-state idea. But that solution has long been problematic for both sides.
The United States and South Korea on Friday completed the first round of review talks on a bilateral trade deal with Washington saying there was “much work to do” to reach a new pact.
Indian Constitution and Polity:
India’s second FTII to be set up in Arunachal (The Hindu)
Arunachal Pradesh would get its first Film and Television Institute, being set up by the Union Government as part of tapping the potential of the Northeastern region, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said on Saturday.
Now citizens bill hangs in fire (The Hindu)
Even as the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is being updated in Assam, the Citizenship Bill, 2016 has been in limbo.
Centre awaiting Siang report: Kiren Rijiju (The Hindu)
Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju has said that the Union government will wait for the final report of the Central Water Commission on the unusual darkening of the Siang river in Arunachal Pradesh before blaming any man-made activity by China.
The lowdown on Assam’s NRC drive (The Hindu)
On December 31, at the stroke of midnight, the Assam government published the first draft of an updated version of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) with the names of 1.9 crore people. In all, 3.3 crore people from 68.7 lakh families have submitted over 6 crore documents to back their claim of being a citizen of India.
Multiple data breaches from government portals, resulting in unfettered, unauthorised access to Aadhaar details, have affected 135 million Indians, and exponentially increased the danger of perpetuating Aadhaar as a “universal, unique identifier”, petitioners said in the Supreme Court,responding to the Centre’s submissions listing the benefits of Aadhaar.
MAT relief to firms facing insolvency (The Hindu)
The Income Tax Department has relaxed norms for levy of Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) on companies facing corporate insolvency proceedings.
A blue print for India’s Smart villages (The Hindu)
Sometime in early 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet put forth a plan for upgrading a cluster of 300 villages to ‘Smart Villages’. Christened as the Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission, after the founder of the Jan Sangh, the project aimed to develop the first phase by 2019.
On New Year’s eve, a fast-moving vehicle on Maharashtra’s National Highway 6 killed Bajirao, one of Bor Tiger Reserve’s charismatic, dominant male tigers.
Till 1990, Nayachar, a newly emerged island in the middle estuary of the Hooghly river, was completely barren, with hardly any plant or animal species. The land mass, which falls under West Bengal’s Purba Medinipur district, was created in the Indian Sunderbans by river silt deposits, and remained largely submerged, rising occasionally above the water level.
Science and Technology:
Kerala battles a new health risk (The Hindu)
With antimicrobial resistance (AMR) emerging as a major concern in the health as well as allied sectors such as veterinary, dairy, fisheries and poultry, Kerala is all set to launch its strategic action plan for tackling AMR.
Expanding the donor pool (The Hindu)
Indian scientists develop a mechanism to rejuvenate aged stem cells
Yesterday’s current affairs material by ForumIAS