Current Affairs 10th December 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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Odisha-based acclaimed sculptor Adwaita Gadanayak has been appointed as the new director of National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA). He will replace Rajeev Lochan. Prior to this, Adwaita is working as the director of the Bhubaneshwar-based KIIT School of Fine Art. Born in Dhenkanal, Gadanayak is an alumnus of BK College of Arts & Crafts in Bhubaneshwar. He pursued his post-graduation at the Slade School of Fine Arts in London in 1995.  His works include the black marble replica of Gandhi leading the Salt March installed in the capital, the interactive art work at New Delhi's Lodhi Garden and the depiction of the Gandhi household 'Hriday Kunj' at the Gandhi Museum. The stunning sculptor park he created at the KIIT campus is another of his much-admired outdoor installations. 

Nabard will provide a grant of Rs 228 crore for deployment of point of sale machines and procurement of EMV based debit cards for farmers.  Nabard Chairman Harsh Kumar Bhanwala said demonetisation has posed a huge challenge to the cashbased transactions in rural economy and there is a pressing need to move towards digital transactions. Nabard will extend nearly Rs 120 crore to banks for deployment of two PoS devices each in one lakh villages of tier 5 and 6 areas having a population of up to 10,000.  For farmers who have RuPay Kisan Cards, Nabard will help in procurement of EMV chip and PIN-based RuPayKisan Cards by both regional rural banks and the rural co-operative banks.  The approximate expenditure for this will be Rs 108 crore covering around 4.32 crore RuPay Kisan Cards holders.  In the past, Nabard has brought the entire co-operative banking system onto core banking solution (CBS) platform.  It had also provided financial support to select regional rural banks for moving over to CBS platform.

The Hazrat Nizamuddin-Visakhapatnam train is renamed as Vizag Steel Samta Express to promote its brand Vizag Steel which was flagged off at Nizamuddin station by Mr. Prabhu and Mr. Singh in the presence of RINL Chairman-cum-Managing Director P. Madhusudan. The Samata Express or Samta Express is a Super Fast Express train plying between Visakhapatnamand Hazrat Nizamuddin near New Delhi Vizag Steel is the brand name of the state-owned RINL with an annual capacity of 6.3 million tonnes of long steel products and is one of the leading domestic long steel producers, supplying wire-rods, re-bars, structural, squares and rounds catering to construction and infrastructure sectors.  

The tropical cyclonic storm Vardah over southeast Bay of Bengal is expected to hit Andhra Pradesh coast between Nellore and Kakinada.  It is the third cyclonic storm of the season after Cyclone Kyant and Nada, that were formed during the Northeast Monsoon season. It was created as depression (low pressure) over Andaman Sea and later slightly intensified further as cyclonic storm. The reason for the intensification can be attributed to warm sea surface temperatures of Bay of Bengal and longer sea travel.  Since then, the tropical cyclonic storm Vardah has moved north-northwestwards with a speed of 10 kmph about 990 km southeast of Visakhapatnam and 250 km west-northwest of Port Blair. The system is very likely to intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm. However, there is possibility of slight weakening of the system before landfall. It may result into moderate rainfall at many places with isolated heavy falls over coastal Andhra Pradesh. Squally winds speed reaching 35-45 kmph gusting to 55 kmph would prevail over Andaman and Nicobar Islands & adjoining sea areas for some time. Fishermen have been advised not to venture into sea along and off Andaman Islands and off Andhra Pradesh coast and adjoining sea areas.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice, has called for transparency in the appointments process on the part of the judiciary and the government.  The committee was headed by Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Rajya Sabha), Anand Sharma. It has examined delay in filling vacancies in Supreme Court and High Courts.  It has tabled its report in the Rajya Sabha and now it is under the purview of the Union Law Ministry. Recommendations Need of transparency in the appointments process on the part of the judiciary and the government, while ensuring the independence of the judiciary.  Raising of the retirement age of Supreme Court judges to 67 from 65 and that of High Court judges to 65 from 62. Consideration of a fixed tenure for Chief Justices. The recommendations of the committee are only advisory in nature and are not binding.

The Uttarakhand High Court has directed the state government to impose a blanket ban on the sale and consumption of liquor in three districts of the state. The ruling came in response to a writ petition filed by Udit Narayan Tiwari, seeking a ban on a bar serving liquor in Haridwar, stating that it violated the government order passed in February 2002.The order had prohibited the sale and consumption of liquor in Haridwar given its religious prominence. The PIL was heard by a division bench comprising Justices Rajeev Sharma and Alok Singh who ordered a complete ban on liquor in Rudraprayag, Chamoli, and Uttarkashi districts, effective from next fiscal year. These districts are home to the highly religious Char Dham temples. While Kedarnath and Badrinath are located in Rudraprayag and Chamoli, Gangotri and Yamunotri are located in Uttarkashi. The bench stated that though the sale of liquor is already prohibited in the area, a complete ban is essential, especially considering the growing tendency of drinking among youngsters. Along with this, the bench of justices also directed the state government to ban public drinking and keep a check on ‘large drunken gatherings’. The court was of the opinion that no one should create a nuisance or become violent after being drunk in both public places as well as inside private homes. It also stated there should no liquor shop within a kilometre of an educational institution or religious place of worship, starting next fiscal year. Tobacco also took a hit, as the court ordered the state government to ban the sale of tobacco in areas that fall within the five-kilometre radius from Gurdwara Nanakmatta, Gurdwara Meetha Reetha Sahib, and Gurdwara Hemkund Sahib.

President Pranab Mukherjee has presented the Shilp Guru Awards and National Awards to master craftspersons for the year 2015 at Rashtrapati Bhavan. The recipient of the award included nine Shilp Gurus and 19 National Awardees. The awards are given in recognition of excellent craftsmanship and the major role played by them in continuing craft as a vital part of the traditional heritage. List of Shilp Guru Awardees for the year 2015 Sl.No. Name & Address Craft State Region 1. K Siva Prasada Reddy Kalamkari Painting Andhra Pradesh Southern Region 2 Irshad Hussain Farooqi Calligraphy in wood carving Delhi Northern Region 3 Rajender Parshad Bondwal Sandal Wood Carving Haryana Northern Region 4. Khatri Abdul Razak Mohmed Ajrakh Hand Block Printing Gujarat Western Region 5 Abdul Raouf Bidri Craft Karnataka Southern Region 6 Girish Kumar Rajsoni Thewa Craft Madhya Pradesh Western Region 7 Pravakar Maharana Stone Carving Odisha Eastern Region 8 Inder Singh Kudrat Enamel of silver & Gold jewellery Rajasthan Northern Region 9. Hari Charan Das Cane & Bamboo Tripura North Eastern Region List of National Awardees for the year 2015 Sl.No. Name & Address Craft State Region 1. Punam Das Mithila Painting Bihar Eastern Region 2. Ramrati Terracotta Delhi Northern Region 3. Zameer Ahmed Miniature Painting Delhi Northern Region 4. Mohd. Yaqoob Metal Embossing Delhi Northern Region 5. Zahid Hussain Beig Papier Machie Jammu & Kashmir Northern Region 6. M Ramamurthy Wood Carving Karnataka Southern Region 7. Laxmidhar Subudhhi Palmleaf Engraving Odisha Eastern Region 8 Biswanath Swain Palm Leaf Engraving & Painting Odisha Eastern Region 9. Jashobanti Meher Natural Fiber Craft Odisha Eastern Region 10. Abdul Ghani, Block Printing Rajasthan Northern Region 11. Vasudev Sharma Miniature Painting Rajasthan Northern Region 12. Jugal Kishor Chandel Miniature Painting Rajasthan Northern Region 13. Roop Kishor Soni Silver Engraving Rajasthan Northern Region 14. Akoju Venkateshwarlu Silver Filigree Telangana Southern Region 15. Munna Lal Soni Metal Craft Uttar Pradesh Central Region 16. Israr Ahmed Bone Carving Uttar Pradesh Central Region 17. Kunjbihari Singh Gulabi Meenakari Uttar Pradesh Central Region 18. Sohit Kumar Prajapati Black Pottery Uttar Pradesh Central Region 19 Shri Haradhan Das Copper Engraving West Bengal Eastern Region   Speaking on the occasion of the award ceremony, President Mukherjee said that proactive steps are needed to realise the full potential of Indian handicraft sector. Promotion of the same in both domestic and international markets would help in expanding the geographical reach. As per reports, in the financial year 2015-16, the handicraft exports saw a growth of 16 percent. This growth is an indication that Indian craftsmanship is important in the International market. The Shilp Guru Award consists of a gold coin and two lakh rupees, a Tamrapatra, an Angavastram and a certificate. On the other hand, the National Awards consist of one lakh rupees, a Tamrapatra, an Angavastram and a certificate. The Shilp Guru Awards were instituted to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the resurgence of Handicrafts in India on 15 November 2002. On that occasion, the then President Late Dr APJ Abdul Kalam honoured 10 masters of living traditions, responsible for the maintenance of the living cultural heritage of India. Since then, 117 artisans responsible for maintaining craft traditions have been selected for the award. The Shilp Guru Awards, National Awards and National Merit Certificate are awarded to a craftsperson only once in a lifetime. They are awarded to encourage master crafts persons to maintain excellence in craftsmanship and keep alive our old tradition.

The Human Rights Day 2016 was on 10 December 2016 observed across the world.   The day aims at promoting and raising awareness of the two Covenants of Human Rights Day. They are: International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). For the year 2016, the day calls on everyone to stand up for someone's rights. To commemorate the day, a campaign "Stand up for someone's rights today” was launched to encourage, support and amplify what one does in one’s everyday life to defend human rights. Human Rights Day commemorates the day on which the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. In 1950, the Assembly passed resolution 423 (V), inviting all States and interested organizations to observe 10 December of each year as Human Rights Day. UNGA in December 1993 created the mandate of High Commissioner for the promotion and protection of all human rights. The first Human Rights Day was celebrated in 1950.

The international financial institution, World Bank has cancelled a $100 million loan to Pakistan that was meant to be for a natural gas efficiency project. The loan was cancelled, as the gas distribution company that was responsible for the project, failed to make any progress in achieving its developmental objectives and showed very less interest in the project overall. The company in question is Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) and it was supposed to initiate the project in its distribution areas located in Karachi, Balochistan, and interiors of Sindh. The main aim of the project was to increase the supply of natural gas in the designated areas by reducing gas loss in the pipeline system. However, it failed to complete its procurement process in time due to bureaucratic processes and the management of SSGC stated that delay in the procurement process led to the failure of the project. According to a report by the World Bank, failure of the project resulted in its closure. With it, the levels of unaccounted-for gas (UFG) increased in the country. UFG mostly arises from broken or leaking pipelines and gas theft, which happens through tampered metres and illegal connections. So, instead of sanctioning the originally decided amount of $200 million, the World Bank just handed over $0.25 million.Apart from this, the international institution also stated that the company should have been more cautious and the country should not have initiated such a project in the first place when the company-in-charge itself showed such less interest.

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