i. The Annual Status Education Report (ASER) 2016 found that Himachal Pradesh is doing well in many regards, on the education front, as compared to the rest of the states. It has the country’s highest reading and mathematics learning levels, shooting past even Kerala, which has an almost spotless track record of maintaining its position as the most literate state.
ii. Himachal Pradesh has the highest rate of children who can read a standard II level of text in the country. This stands at 47 per cent for standard III level of learning, a 70.5 per cent for standard V and an 87.9 per cent for standard VIII.
Gujarat: Over 3.5 lakh people sing national anthem, set new world record
i. More than 3.5 lakh people in Gujarat’s Rajkot district set a new world record by singing the national anthem at an event. The feat took place at the installation of a Khodiyar goddess idol at the newly-built Khodal Dham temple in the town.
ii. “Over 3.5 lakh people sang the anthem together at the idol installation ritual in the presence of observers from Guinness World Records,” said Hansraj Gajera, a member of Khodal Dham temple trust. The previous record stood for 2,54,537 people singing the national anthem in Bangladesh in 2014.
Bihar forms world’s longest human chain of 11,000 kilometres
i. Bihar on 21st January 2017 claimed to have formed the world’s longest human chain, covering an estimated distance of 11,292 kilometres, involving over two crore citizens against alcoholism and liquor.
ii. Bihar CM Nitish Kumar joined hands with Lalu Prasad and other political party leaders to start the 45-minute-long chain. The previous record was the 1,050-km human chain formed in Bangladesh.
PNB launches Contactless Credit Card
i. In another digitalisation initiative, Punjab National Bank (PNB) has launched a Contactless Credit Card. This new credit card, which has been named PNB Wave N Pay –Contactless Card, was launched by Usha Ananthasubramanian, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, PNB in New Delhi on 21st January 2017.
ii. This card could be used by just waving it across the terminal and the transaction will be through. There is no need to enter any PIN for transactions up to Rs. 2,000.
Special Task Force for women safety reconstituted
i. A special task force (STF) for women safety has been reconstituted under the Chairmanship of Lieutenant Governor (L-G)?Anil Baijal with his approval, the Delhi government’s Home Department said in a communication sent to the Delhi High Court .
ii. The L-G will be chairperson of the special task force and including him there will be 17 members in it. The task force will conduct a meeting in every 15 days. The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal is also a member of the STF.
With Russia’s help, India to increase train speed to 200 kmph
i. Russian Railways is helping India’s national transporter increase the speed of its passenger trains up to 200 km per hour. Russian Railways is at present collaborating with Indian Railways on a 575-km stretch between Nagpur and Secunderabad and submitted a preliminary report last week.
ii. To reach the desired speed limit, Russian Railways has proposed several technical and technological solutions, including reconstruction of railway alignment as well as treating the earth bed where there are speed restrictions.
Apple named most innovative company of 2016
i.Technology giant Apple has emerged as the most innovative company for 2016, according to Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG’s) annual list which ranks world’s 50 most innovative firms for the 11th straight year.
ii. Google was ranked second, followed by electric carmaker Tesla on the list. Further, ride-hailing service Uber and home rental platform Airbnb were among the firms included in the list for the first time.
Saina Nehwal wins Malaysian Masters Grand Prix Gold tournament
i. India’s ace shuttler Saina Nehwal has won the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold title at Sarawak in Malaysia. Saina, the top seed in the tournament, defeated Pornpawee Chochuwong of Thailand in straight games 22-20, 22-20