Current Affairs India - 31 January 2015

1. India has successfully test-fired indigenously developed, inter-continental surface-to-surface nuclear capable ballistic missile Agni-5 from Wheeler's Island off Odisha coast today. This missile has a strike range of over 5000 kms and can carry a nuclear warhead of over one tonne. This launch was the third development trial of the longest range missile India has ever developed.

2. Nation observed Martyrs' Day and remembered the Father of Nation Mahatma Gandhi on 30th January on his 67th death anniversary. Famous politicians including President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid homage to him. Mukherjee laid a wreath at Gandhi-s memorial at Rajghat. The Father of the Nation was assassinated on this day in 1948.

3. S Jaishankar, India's Ambassador to the US, has been appointed as the new Foreign Secretary. He succeeds incumbent Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh whose tenure was abruptly curtailed by the Central Government.

Jaishankar played a key role during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the US in September and US President Barack Obama's visit as the Chief Guest for Republic day parade this year.

4. Senior IPS officer Krishna Chaudhary has been appointed the new chief of ITBP. She is currently working as the Director General of the Railway Protection Force.The post has been lying vacant since 1st January after the retirement of Subhas Goswami on 31st December 2014.

5. Defence Secretary RK Mathur has been given additional charge of Department of Defence Research and Development (DDR&D). He will take over the additional charge from incumbent Avinash Chander and will hold the additional charge for a period of three months.

6. Famous composer and actor Shekhar Sen has been appointed as the Chairman of the Sangeet Natak Akademi. He will succeed Leela Samson who resigned from the position on in September last year. The post was lying vacant since October 2014.

7. Founder of Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), Subhash Ghisingh passed away on 30th January at a Delhi hospital. He was 78. He had lead the Gorkhaland movement in the 1980s for a separate state for Gorkha people living in Darjeeling, West Bengal.

8. Reserve Bank of India has constituted a High Powered Committee headed by Deputy Governor R Gandhi to re-examine and recommend appropriate set of businesses, size, conversion and licensing terms for the Urban Cooperative Banking Sector.

The committee will examine the line of businesses that Urban Cooperative Banks (UCBs) may be permitted to undertake and their benchmark in terms of size of business, capital requirement, regulatory regime etc. It will also suggest the appropriate size up to which a UCB may be able to grow without undue risk to the system. The eight member Committee will submit its report within three months from the date of its first meeting.

9. India-s economic growth for financial year 2013-14 was revised upwards to 6.9% due to change in base year for computing national accounts. Earlier economic growth for same financial year projected at 4.7% before revision of base year.

Also for economic growth for financial year 2012-13 was revised upward to 5.1% compared to earlier growth of 4.5% due to same reason.

10. India-s foreign exchange (forex) reserves dropped by USD 97.9 million to USD 322.037 billion in the week ended 23rd January, as per weekly report published by the RBI.

Foreign currency assets was decreased by USD 19.7 million to USD 297.51 billion in the same week.  Special Drawing Rights and India-s reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were also dropped by USD 61.4 million and USD 16.8 million respectively in the same week. Gold Reserves remained unchanged at USD 19.377 billion in the same week.

11. Indian Tennis player Leander Paes and his partner Martina Hingis have reached mixed doubles finals in the Australian Open Tennis but Sania Mirza and her partner Bruno Soares lost in the semifinal match. Paes and Hingis defeated Chinese Taipei's Su-Wei Hsieh and Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas by 7-5, 6-4 in the semifinal match. The top seeded pair of Sania and Soares was defeated by third seed pair of Kristina Mladenovic and Daniel Nestor 3-6, 6-2, 10-8.