Daily GK Updates 1st January 2017, Important Current Affairs

Daily GK Updates 1st January 2017, Important Current Affairs
1. PM announces number of measures for welfare of farmers, small traders, women & senior citizens
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced two housing schemes, tax incentives for small traders, interest rebate for farmers and monetary assistance for pregnant women.
(i) Bonanza for Home Buyers 
In a big relief to home buyers, New Schemes under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana were announced. Now get 4 % interest relief on home loan upto 9 lakh rupees. And 3 % cut for home loan upto 12 lakh rupees.
(ii) Subvention on Home Improvements 
In rural areas, now you can get 3 % interest relief on loan of upto 2 lakh rupees for the construction, renovation and expansion of home.
(iii) Big relief to Farmers
Govt to pay interest for 60 days on loans taken by farmers for rabi season from district cooperative banks and primary societies.
(iv) Fund to NABARD doubled 
Additional fund of 20,000 crore given to NABARD to give loans to farmers.
(v) Kisan Credit Cards to become RUPAY 
3 crore Kisan Credit Cards will be transformed to RuPay credit cards. Farmers had to go to banks to withdraw money. It will help farmers to sell and buy. 
(vi) Big boost to MSME sector 
For small entrepreneurs, credit guarantee raised from Rs 1 crore to Rs 2 crore. Loans by non-banking financial companies will also be covered in this. Shopkeepers and small businessmen will get more loans because of this. 
(vii) Relief to small traders 
For small businesses, cash credit limit raised to 25 per cent from 20 per cent. Working capital increased to 30 % from the current 20% if the transaction is done via digital mode. 
(viii) Big push to less cash Economy 
In a bid to promote less cash economy, PM says small traders and businesses with a turnover of up to Rs 2 crore, 6% tax will be levied instead of 8% if they accept payments through banking and digital means. 
(ix) Scheme for pregnant women 
For pregnant women, a national scheme launched. Would be Mothers will get Rs. 6,000 for their delivery, vaccination, and nutritious meals. This will be transferred straight to their account. This will help in saving lives of mothers and new born kids.
(x) Relief to senior citizens 
Senior citizens will be assured 8 per cent interest on their deposits up to Rs 7.5 lakh. Now for the senior citizens the interest rate shall remain fixed at 8 percent for next 10 years.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has lauded Prime Minister Modi’s announcements for enhancing economic activities and welfare measures. 

2. NRIs can exchange defunct notes up to June 30: RBI
i. Reserve Bank last night came out with conditions for exchange of defunct notes for those, including non-resident Indians, who failed to do so till 30th December 2016, the last day for depositing the invalid currency notes in banks. Resident Indian citizens who were abroad from November 9th to December 30th can avail this facility up to March 31st, 2017 and NRI citizens, who were abroad during this period, can exchange their defunct notes up to June 30th, 2017. 
ii. While there is no monetary limit for exchange for the eligible resident Indians, the limit for NRIs will be as per the relevant FEMA Regulations 25,000 rupees per person. 

3. Justice Mian Saqib Nisar appointed as Chief Justice of Pak
i. Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has taken oath as the 25th Chief Justice of Pakistan. The oath was administered by the country's President Mamnoon Hussain at the President House. The event was attended by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other dignitaries. Justice Nisar has replaced Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali who retired after serving as Chief Justice for 15 since his appointment in September 2015.

4. Sikkim became India’s first fully organic state in 2016
i. Sikkim has emerged as the India’s first fully organic state by converting around 75,000 hectares of agricultural land into sustainable cultivation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi formally certified Fully Organic State Status to Sikkim at a sustainable agriculture conference in Gangtok earlier in 2016.
ii. Around 75,000 hectares of agricultural land has been gradually converted to certified organic land by implementing organic practices and principles as per guidelines laid down in National Programme for Organic Production.  Organic cultivation is free of chemical pesticides and chemical fertilisers to maintain a balance with ecosystems. Sustainable farming also helps in building the soil health resulting in sustainable increased crop production. Organic Farming will also boost the tourism industry in the tiny landlocked Himalayan state of Sikkim.

5. British-Indian Professor Shankar Balasubramanian Receives Knighthood
i. Shankar Balasubramanian, an Indian- origin British professor of chemistry and DNA expert at Cambridge University, has received a Knighthood along with Olympic stars Andy Murray and Mo Farah among others by Queen Elizabeth II for their contributions.