1. Chandra Bhushan Paliwal appointed UPSSSC chairman
Chandra Bhushan Paliwal was appointed as the chairman of the newly-constituted Uttar Pradesh Subordinate Services Selection Commission (UPSSSC) on January 22, 2018.
Other members appointed to the Commission include Hriday Narrain Rao, Seema Rani, Onkar Prasad Mishra, Arun Kumar Sinha and Ashok Kumar Agarwal.
UPSSSC is authorised to conduct examinations for appointments to various government posts in the state.
2. 'Potentially hazardous asteroid' to safely fly past Earth in February
An intermediate-sized asteroid, categorised as a "potentially hazardous asteroid", will make a close approach to Earth on February 4, but has zero chances of colliding with our planet over the next 100 years.
The asteroid 2002 AJ129, discovered in January 2002 is somewhere between 0.5 km and 1.2 km across. According to NASA, the asteroid will be no closer than 10 times the distance between Earth and the moon or about 4.2 million km.
The asteroid's velocity at the time of closest approach, 76,000 mph (34 km per second), is higher than the majority of near-earth objects during an earth flyby. The high flyby velocity is a result of the asteroid's orbit, which approaches very close to the sun -18 million.
3. NGT orders 'intensive survey' of rivers in western UP
The NGT has ordered "intensive survey" of the Kali, Krishna and the Hindon rivers in western Uttar Pradesh and directed the inspection of 316 industries, which are allegedly polluting the water bodies.
The NGT bench headed by acting Chairperson Justice U D Salvi has constituted a committee comprising officials from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), state pollution control board and UP Jal Nigam to jointly inspect and carry out survey of the rivers and groundwater in six districts in the western part of the state.
The committee would be collecting samples, which would be analysed at the Central Pollution Control Board Laboratory. The NGT order stated that the committee would be carrying out joint inspections of 316 industries as well.
The decision was taken by the green body after hearing a petition filed by NGO Doaba Paryavaran Samiti head C V Singh, a retired scientist of Haryana Pollution Control Board, who alleged that more than 50 villagers have died of cancer due to the consumption of contaminated groundwater in western UP.
4. WEF ranks India 62nd on Inclusive Development Index
The World Economic Forum on January 22, 2018 released the Inclusive Development Index, which places India at the 62nd spot among emerging economies, much behind its neighbours China and Pakistan, which are placed at 26th and 47th position respectively.
According to the report, Norway remains world’s most inclusive advanced economy, while Lithuania again tops the list of emerging economies. The report states that there is a huge decline in corruption rate in the index due to Indian Government's efforts of bringing transparency in the system.
The Inclusive Development Index is an annual assessment economic performance of 103 countries that measures how countries perform on eleven dimensions of economic progress in addition to GDP.
It has three pillars including 12 indicators and gives a more comprehensive indication of inclusive growth. The pillars include growth and development, inclusion and intergenerational equity - sustainable stewardship of natural and financial resources.
India was ranked 60th among 79 developing economies last year, as against China’s 15th and Pakistan’s 52nd position.
5. President disqualifies 20 AAP MLAs
The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind has disqualified 20 MLAs belonging to the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi for holding offices of profit.
The decision to disqualify the MLAs was taken by the President following the recommendation of the Election Commission.
The move comes as a major setback for the party, as the move would cut down AAP’s strength to 46 in the state Legislative Assembly and bring down the total house strength to just 50.
Unless the concerned MLA’s receive relief from the courts, the process of disqualification would see bypolls being held in the next six months. The elections could give a chance to the opposition to regain its footing in the capital.